Written by Alan J. Wojcik of http://alanwojcik.com .
I have remained quiet about TNA Wrestling since there was an internal decision to not allow my laptop in the Impact Zone. But I am not ashamed to say I covered TNA from the initial PPV in Huntsville, Alabama when Cheex broke the ring nearly destroying the initial PPV until this past summer. Unlike most people covering TNA then and now, I was at every event from June 19th to the September 2002 when they went dark trying to find new financing. I even reviewed Jerry Jarrett’s the Story of the Development of NWA- TNA: A New Concept in Pay-Per-View Programming in 2004. So being a “TNA expert” I was excited and intrigued to see what TNA DVD producer Bill Banks would create to remember the days of the Flying Elvises and the Cage Dancers, in the DVD release The History of TNA: Year 1.
Let’s talk about the good stuff before I talk about the bad. TNA does their best to keep an accurate timeline from the shutdown of WCW in March, 2001 that left Jeff Jarrett with lots of free time to a boat trip with Bob Ryder and Jerry Jarrett. Along the way Banks lets the talent do the talking including Jarrett, AJ Styles, “Prime Time” Elix Skipper, “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, BG James, “Wildcat” Chris Harris, “Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm, Raven, referees Andrew Thomas and Rudy Charles, TV announcers Mike Tenay, Don West and Jeremy Borash plus Dixie Carter whose family saved TNA from shutting down in September 2002. The DVD is broken down into named chapters: Summer of No Worries, The Genesis of TNA, June 19, 2002: the 1st Show, Will TNA last, the Carter Family, Rise of the X Division, the Tag Teams, The Asylum, Raven vs. Jarrett and Looking Back at Year One including video flashbacks between chapters. The best part of the special features is a segment on the legendary Curt Hennig who worked for TNA around the time of his passing.
Now for the bad and there is lots of bad. TNA co-founder Jerry Jarrett is virtually absent with only two or three mentionings in the initial chapters by Jeff and Ryder and that is a shame because anyone who read Jerry’s book knows he is eloquent. Jerry’s book goes where this DVD does not such as having to abandon the taping of two PPV’s in one night and taking the PPV’s on the road plus how the weekly concept was born. I remember going to the initial events in at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium (home of Slammiversary 2007) and it was weird to go from the 8,000 seat Auditorium to the 800 seat Tennessee State Fairgrounds but the people talking on the DVD make it like that was a positive. Ron Killings winning the NWA World championship is covered but Killings must not have been under contract to do interviews. The Jay Haussmann-PPV lawsuit is mentioned but not spoken about fully and probably for legal reasons (Haussmann was feeding the Jarrett’s false PPV numbers while he was a 3rd party contracted WWE employee) as is the bankruptcy and federal lawsuit against initial financial backers Health South. There is no mention of how the NWA came into the fold or where the TNA name came from and that would have been interesting to know. Everyone talks about the great job Ron and Don Harris did rebuilding the ring after Cheex destroyed it but why can’t we hear from them for two minutes? The tag team segment of the DVD ignores the Hot Shots (Chase Stevens & Cassidy Reilly) or Rick Vaughn/Rick Santel (Black Shirt Security) and the others who help make AMW into the number one team in the promotion. Finally there is no talk about or with Vince Russo being the creator of the Sports Entertainment Xtreme clique or dressing the then NWA World Tag Team champions; Mike & Todd Shane as walking penises called the Johnson’s or the Rainbow Express or the Dupps and the much hated Dupp Cup. Jerry Jarrett covers that in his book including his sometimes outright hatred of Russo and his ideas.
The four matches on this DVD are all good but if you own the Best of AJ Styles, Best of America’s Most Wanted, Best of Raven and Best of the TNA Title matches you aren’t seeing anything new. Same goes for the June, 2002 tryout match between Storm and Harris which is edited down for this DVD. Also in the extras are visitors to the Asylum and the original TV spot that aired in Nashville for the July 3rd show (anyone remember Puppet and Teo the midget wrestlers.)
You can log onto www.tnawrestling.com to purchase the DVD or visit your local retailers