THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It was about twenty years ago, on a Monday afternoon wrestling show on Screensport here in Britain, when I first saw a young, good looking wrestler with long blonde hair. I immediately saw how talented he was, and I began to wonder how he’d fair in the big leagues of the NWA and the WWF. The answer was pretty bloody well. But I never had any idea that he would go on to found a wrestling promotion that would, within the space of just a few years, go on to become the second biggest wrestling promotion in the United States. That man was Jeff Jarrett, and the company, Total Non-Stop Action.
Jeff Jarrett: King of the Mountain takes a look back at his career. Jarrett talks openly about everything, beginning with how he got his start, to his initial training, through to his early career, and, of course, his time in WCW and the WWF, and how TNA was born.
Jarrett talks candidly about everything, and comes over really well. There’s some great stories on this DVD, but the most emotional one surrounds the death of his wife Jill, and how it affected not just his family, but TNA as well.
As with other TNA releases of this kind, the interviews are spliced in with matches from Jeff’s TNA career. They begin with two segments that feature Jarrett in the Gauntlet for the Gold on the very first TNA show, and of how he caused havoc on the next few shows as he demanded a shot at the NWA title, which had been won by Ken Shamrock, before moving on to the first actual match.
July 31st, 2002: Jarrett takes on Scott Hall. Hall came down to the ring with a stretcher (the foldaway kind, not the kind you find in an ambulance). The action goes all over the arena, with rather lax refereeing allowing the use of the stretcher as a weapon. It’s actually a very good match, although it’s overbooked at the end with countless run ins by the likes of Jerry Lynn, A.J. Styles and many others. Things eventually settled down, although NWA official Ricky Steamboat inadvertently helped Jarrett to his victory. As Steamboat tried to stop Hall from using a steel chair, Jarrett came up from behind and took Hall out with the Stroke onto the chair.
November 20th, 2002: Jarrett challenges Ron “The Truth” Killings for the NWA World title. I’m guessing that this was after Jarrett’s face turn, judging by Killings’ rap during his entrance. It’s an interesting match, not the best I’ve seen mind you, pitting Killing’s athleticism and cocky attitude against Jarrett’s old school kind of style. Jarrett bleeds for his art, before taking part in the obligatory brawl through the crowd, which sees Killings dive of a balcony, putting Jarrett through a table. Eventually they return to the ring, where the referee takes a snooze, before a masked man comes to the ring and clobbers Killings with a guitar. The referee soon wakes up to see Jarrett covering Killings for the title winning pin, with the masked man revealing himself to be none other than Vince Russo.
January 15th, 2003: Jarrett teams with Dusty Rhodes & The Road Warriors against the Sports Entertainment Xtreme combination of Vince Russo & the Triple X team of Christopher Daniels, Low-Ki & Elix Skipper. It’s a match pitting the wrestling tradition of the NWA greats against Russo’s up start faction, with the leader of S.E.X. coming into this one wearing an ice hockey helmet and mouth guard. Triple X looked great as a team here, with Daniels and Low-Ki in particular putting in good performances. Jarrett took the beating for his team in this one, before getting the hot tag to Rhodes as the rest of the team cleaned house. Eventually Rhodes called Russo into the ring, but with the referee trying to control the various brawls around the ring, a masked man came in and clobbered Rhodes from behind. Russo dragged Skipper on top of Rhodes, and the referee returned to the ring to administer the three count. The masked man then revealed himself to be none other than Rhodes erstwhile opponent and tag-team partner Nikita Koloff. A very good match.
February 19th, 2003: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against A.J. Styles. The Phenomenal One, by this time, was already a two-time Tag-Team & X Division champion, and was flirting with Vince Russo and S.E.X. Back then a match between these two didn’t look that appetising on paper because of their contrasting styles (no pun intended). What they produced was a tremendous match, using their differences to their advantage. Larry Zybysko came out to give Styles a helping hand, which included clobbering Jarrett in the back of the head with brass knuckles, which resulted in NWA official J.J. Dillon escorting him to the back. We also had two referees taking hits, a brawl that saw the Harris brothers take on Vader and Dusty Rhodes, Sonny Siaki attacking Jarrett, who was then attacked by Styles, and Jarrett getting the title retaining pin after the Stroke from the second rope. A good match, but a little overbooked with all the run-ins.
April 20th, 2003: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against Raven, accompanied here by The Gathering, Julio Dinero and Alexis Laree, aka current WWE Diva Mickie James. This was one match I was really looking forward to seeing. It’s another interesting contrast in styles, and damn good to watch. It begins as a normal style wrestling match, with Raven showing the champion that he can match him hold for hold and move for move, before it turns in a bloody brawl with liberal amounts of interference from the cronies at ringside, which eventually led to their eviction from ringside, Jarrett putting Raven through a table with an elbow drop from the middle rope, another referee snooze, a brawl between S.E.X. members and the Disciples of the New Church, the Extreme Revolution team of the Sandman, New Jack, Justin Credible and Perry Saturn coming down to the ring to handcuff and attack Jarrett, before the arena goes dark and Sabu appears to attack his former ECW buddies, before the referee eventually wakes up and frees Jarrett so he can take Raven out with the Stroke and get the title retaining pin. Another overbooked match, but the action between the two main protagonists was great to watch.
June 18th, 2003: Jarrett teams with Sting against NWA World Champion A.J. Styles, accompanied by Vince Russo, and Sean Waltman. If memory serves this is the match that Waltman almost didn’t arrive in time for, and he had so little time in which to get ready that he competed in his street clothes. A nice little tag match with good performances from both sides, the referee taking another snooze after getting accidentally kicked by Styles, Russo clobbers Jarrett with a baseball bat, Raven runs in to make the save, only to be attacked by Shane Douglas, and Jarrett getting the pin for his team by taking Styles out with the Stroke from the middle rope. They sure did like their multi-man endings back then, didn’t they? And so on to disc two…
October 22nd, 2003: Jarrett challenges A.J. Styles for the NWA World title. This was actually one of the first TNA matches I remember watching on The Wrestling Channel when it launched in 2004. When the channel first started they showed the weekly TNA shows on a delay a few months later. It was also around this time that there stories of Hulk Hogan going to TNA, stories that were all-but confirmed when Jarrett travelled to Japan and attacked Hogan with a guitar at a press conference. Storyline wise Styles went into this one without Vince Russo at his side. Before the match even began Jarrett began by taking several steel chairs into the ring, which brought out TNA bosses Erik Watts and Don Callis down to ringside to try and sort things out. Eventually the match started, but as the match went on you could tell that something big was about to happen. Styles, the supposed heel, wasn’t taking any short cuts, while Jarrett was more aggressive than usual. Mid-way through the match, Sonny Siaki came down to the ring, only to be stopped by Watts and escorted out of the building by Dusty Rhodes. With the referee distracted by this, Jarrett took the opportunity to hit Styles with a chair, later using that chair to deliver a Stroke. He brought the title belt into the ring, and after some confusion, which saw the referee take a hit, Jarrett hit Styles with the belt, and got the three count as the referee came to, turning himself heel and Styles face in the same match in what was a great piece of booking.
October 29th, 2003: Jarrett takes on “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. After Jarrett’s attack on Hogan, Jimmy Hart went to TNA to confront Jarrett, and a challenge was made where Jarrett would face Hart’s mystery opponent – Duggan. Old Hacksaw was as entertaining as ever as he brawled with him all around ringside, even hitting him with a pumpkin at one point. Jarrett actually puts in very little offence, but when Don Callis tries to stop Duggan from using his two-by-four, Jarrett comes up from behind, clobbers Duggan with his guitar, and gets the pin. But Jarrett’s problems aren’t over when Hart brings out Rick Steiner as his next opponent. Another brawl follows, which includes the obligatory fight through the crowd. With Jarrett getting in more offence in this one than he did against Duggan, the fight soon returns to the ring, where Steiner brings out a few of his suplex variations. Steiner is about to take Jarrett down with his top rope bulldog, but Jarrett pulls the referee into the way, and the champion clobbers Steiner with another guitar, earning himself a disqualification, and ending a very good angle and match.
March 17th, 2004: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against “Wildcat” Chris Harris. By this time Vince Russo was now a face, and director of NWA authority, naming Harris the number one contender to Jarrett’s title, even though Russo himself wondered if Harris was ready for a title shot. As for the match, it’s the best of the release so far, with Jarrett constantly taunting Harris, and the Wildcat proving that he deserved to be in the same ring as the champion. In a way it reminded me of a certain Sylvester Stallone boxing film, with Harris coming close to win the title. We also saw two referees taking snoozes, chair and belt shots, Harris’ America’s Most Wanted partner take Jarrett out with a super kick, Raven pulling the referee out as he was about to make a count, and Jarrett finishing Harris off with his trademark guitar shot, ending an enthralling and entertaining encounter.
June 2nd, 2004: The first ever King of the Mountain match, with Ron “The Truth” Killings defending the NWA World title against Jarrett, A.J. Styles, Raven & Chris Harris. I don’t think you need me to explain the rules for this one. It’s a wild, action packed match with bodies flying everywhere and five great performances. There’s really too much great action to name anything in particular, it was that good. Raven took the big bump in this one, engaging in a battle of fists on the top of the ladder before a blow from Harris sent Raven crashing into a table below. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of action, Jarrett stopped Killings from hanging the title belt with a guitar shot, hanging the belt himself a few seconds later, and winning the NWA title again.
July 7th, 2004: The first of the matches on this release in the six sided ring, with Jarrett defending the NWA World title in a Gauntlet for the Gold match against Hernandez, Onyx and Collyer of the Elite Guard, Ron Killings, Konnan & B.G. James of the 3 Live Kru, & Ken Shamrock. The Elite Guard were actually a group that Jarrett used to protect his title, and included a certain big guy who would go on to even greater success in another unit a couple of years later. Perhaps the best performance in this one came with Shamrock’s brief cameo as he took everyone apart as soon as he got in the ring, before being eliminated by several members of the Elite Guard, and then going absolutely ape, almost hitting Don West with a chair, and attacking several members of the security team. The final two were Killings and Jarrett, which meant it became a normal singles match. Soon, after Hernandez broke up Killings’ pin, and James broke up Jarrett’s pin, a ringside brawl ensued, while Shamrock returned to the ring, snatched the guitar Jarrett had, and after threatening to hit the champion with it, hit Killings instead, giving Jarrett the chance to get the title retaining pin in another great match.
Victory Road 2004: TNA’s very first monthly pay-per-view, with Jarrett defending the NWA World title against Jeff Hardy in a ladder match. Originally, Kevin Nash was meant to be in Hardy’s corner, with Scott Hall in Jarrett’s, but neither of them were at ringside when the match began. It’s an exciting match, with Hardy taking some crazy bumps for the cause (well, this is Jeff Hardy in a ladder match we’re talking about here), and some great uses of the various ladders. Hall makes his appearance mid-way through, attacking Hardy twice, before we got the big, crazy bump with both Jeff’s crashing down onto the ramp off an even bigger ladder, with the ladder landing right on top of Hall. Nash eventually makes his appearance, coming down to the ring with two guitars, handing one to Hall as he turns on Hardy. Three guitar shots later, and with Hardy lying on the mat, Jarrett grabs the title belt for the win, with a little help from his friends. Next, it’s on to disc three…
December 3rd, 2004: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against “The Alpha Male” Monty Brown. I’ve always been a big Monty Brown fan, and I was really disappointed that his WWE career didn’t seem to go anywhere. But anyway, back to the matter at hand. A match originally broadcast on Impact when it was on Fox Sports Net (hence the annoying info bar at the top of the page), was a back and forth affair, with Brown going into the match with taped up injured ribs, which acted as a target for the champion. Brown gave a good account of himself here, putting in a good performance against the champion. Not even a guitar shot and the Stroke could put Brown away, and having taken Jarrett down with the Pounce, Scott Hall came into the ring and attacked the Alpha Male – which for some reason didn’t earn Jarrett a disqualification. Brown took Hall out with another Pounce, and as the referee was ushering Hall out of the ring, Jarrett hit Brown with a chair, getting the winning pin when the referee turned his attention back to the match. Well, it was a good match, but the ending, and the lack of a DQ, was rather confusing.
Against All Odds 2005: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against Kevin Nash. By this time the Kings of Wrestling group of Jarrett, Hall and Nash was history, with Nash now a beloved baby face. Jarrett went into this one knowing that if he used his trusty guitar he’d lose his title. As always, it’s the slow, methodical approach from Big Sexy, with Jarrett trying to match him blow for blow, with the obligatory brawl through the crowd, and Jarrett getting busted open in the process. Jarrett then got one up on the powers-that-be, by clobbering Nash with a cello, and not a guitar, and, once again, there was no disqualification, even when he hit Nash with the cello case a few moments later. The champion then works over Nash’s left knee, before Nash makes his comeback, and then, in an ironic twist, the referee stops Nash from using the cello on Jarrett. The referee then takes a snooze as Nash is about to powerbomb Jarrett. In the end, Nash power bombs him down onto the cello, and is attacked by the man of a thousand gimmicks, The Outlaw Kip Billy James Gunn, with a steel chair. A groggy ref then counts Jarrett’s pin, but Nash kicks out, and with the referee still groggy, Sean Waltman suddenly appears and attacks Jarrett. A groggy ref then counts Nash’s pin, but Jarrett kicks out. The Outlaw Billy Kip Gunn James then tries to clobber Nash with the title belt, but is stopped by his former partner B.G. James. Jarrett then clobbers Nash with the belt, and Nash kicks out of the pin. Jarrett is only able to get the pin after a second Stroke. (Pauses for breath.) Well, some of the action was great, but the whole ending seemed overbooked and contrived to me.
Turning Point 2005: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against Rhino. This was the rubber match in their series, with the two having traded the title. It’s another one of those strange but good matches. Jarrett and Rhino are well suited to each other, and in this one we got the obligatory brawl through the crowd, chair shots from both men, and both men getting put through tables, none of which resulted in a disqualification. In fact they seemed to spend more time brawling outside of the ring than they did actually wrestling in it, and it was only after Rhino put Jarrett through a table that the referee finally began a count – only for Rhino to be attacked by Petey Williams and Eric Young of Team Canada, helping Jarrett back to the ring, with Rhino running back down to the ring straight afterwards. So when they got back into the ring, the referee took an accidental gore, and more Team Canada members in the former of Bobby Roode and A1 attacked Rhino, and later, Jarrett hit Rhino with his trusty guitar, none of which got him the winning pin. We also got a visit from Jackie Gayda, who was then taken away by security. Team Canada boss Scott D’Amore then ca me down to the ring, clobbered Rhino with an ice hockey stick just as he was about to powerbomb Jarrett onto two steel chairs from the middle rope. The champ then took Rhino down with the Stroke from the middle rope onto the aforementioned steel chairs, getting the title retaining pin straight afterwards. Well, some of the action was good, but once again some of the action and booking was somewhat confusing.
Destination X 2006: Jarrett teams with America’s Most Wanted and Abyss against Rhino, Ron Killings and Team 3D. We’ve also got Gail Kim, a reluctant Jackie Gayda and Father James Mitchell in the heels corner for company. This one starts out as a fight straight away, with not one but for obligatory brawls through the crowd with all eight men hitting each other with anything they can get their hands on. They eventually make it to the ring, where normal tag rules are resumed, and when the match settles down, it’s actually quite good, with Rhino acting as the punching bag for Jarrett’s team before he got the hot tag to Killings. Within moments the mass in-ring brawl began, which saw Gayda almost getting choke slammed by Abyss, and a funny segment which saw James Storm accidentally handcuff Chris Harris to the ropes. The end came when Jarrett took Killings out with the Stroke to get the winning pin for his team.
Lockdown 2006: Jarrett teams with Scott Steiner and America’s Most Wanted against Sting, A.J. Styles, Ron Killings & Rhino in the Lethal Lockdown match. TNA’s version of War Games has given us some great performances and memorable moments since it began, and this match was no exception. Beginning with Styles against Harris, it progressed into a wild brawl as all the team members eventually entered the match, and the roof came down. Now that’s when things got really interesting. Within minutes of the roof lowering, Storm and Styles climbed on to the top of the cage, where tables and ladders had been placed. After they slugged it out for a while, Styles climbed to the top of the ladder, shimmied over to one of the lighting riggings, and put Storm through the table with a big splash. It was one crazy moment, and a few moments later, Sting countered Harris’ Sharp Shooter with his own Scorpion Deathlock to get the winning submission for his team. Oh, and Jarrett didn’t do too badly either!
Sacrifice 2006: Jarrett teams with Scott Steiner against Sting and Samoa Joe. Joe was the undefeated X Division Champion at the time, and the hottest star in the company. There was also a ton of speculation as to whether Joe and Sting could co-exist. What we got here was a great tag-team match, showing that Joe could hang with the top guys in the company. His exchanges with Steiner were great, and I never thought I’d be saying that about Scott Steiner again. Jarrett and Steiner looked good as a team, but it wasn’t enough to get the job done. As Sting and Steiner brawled around ringside, Joe took Jarrett down with the Muscle Buster to get the winning pin. The drama continued after the match, when Joe initially refused Sting’s handshake, but didn’t return to the ring as Steiner and Jarrett attacked Sting first with a steel chair, and then with Jarrett’s trusty guitar. And so on to the final disc…..
Slammiversary 2006: Jarrett, along with Sting, Ron Killings and Abyss, challenges NWA World Champion Christian Cage in the King of the Mountain match. As with the previous King of the Mountain match, it’s full of action, with bodies flying around the ring, and the obligatory brawl through the crowd, and good performances from all involved. Abyss took the crazy bump in this one. As the monster was climbing a ladder near the ropes, Sting came up and pushed it, sending Abyss crashing into a stack of four tables that had been positioned outside the ring. We also got championship committee man Larry Zybysko screw Cage out of the title by taking him down with a low blow while he was climbing the ladder. The king of Larryland earned himself a fist from Sting for his troubles. Then, referee Earl Hebner turned heel, pushing the ladder when Sting and Cage were fighting over the belt, and as they crashed to the mat Jarrett took the opportunity to climb the ladder and hang the belt himself, winning the match. But as rubbish was being thrown into the ring and Jarrett celebrated on the ramp, another referee came down and snatched the belt from Jarrett, handing it to the new public face of TNA management, Jim Cornette.
No Surrender 2006: Jarrett faces Samoa Joe in a Fans Revenge Strap Match. Basically, there’s eighteen TNA fans standing around the ring with leather straps. Jarrett came into the ring wearing quite a few shirts as protection against the leather straps. Joe began this one strongly, but the tide turned when Jarrett managed to get a hold of one of the straps. Eventually Joe was able to remove the shirts that Jarrett was wearing, much to the delight of the fans at ringside as they got their licks in, and it’s not long before Jo ties Jarrett to the ropes and invites some of the fans to get into the ring so they can whip the champ some more. The end came when Joe countered Jarrett’s attempt at a Stroke from the middle rope, setting him up with the muscle buster for the win, ending a good match.
Bound for Glory 2006: Jarrett defends the NWA World title against Sting, with Kurt Angle as special enforcer, with the challenger putting his career on the line as well. Sting came into this match after a two month lay off, and physically he looked in tremendous shape. This was probably Sting’s best TNA performance at the time. However, there was one rather odd moment. After both men were down in the middle of the ring, having gone for cross body blocks at the same time, the referee began to count both wrestlers out. However, when he neared ten, Angle came into the ring and gave him the Olympic Slam, pushing the referee out of the ring and going from special enforcer to special referee. From there things got a little more interesting, with Jarrett even using an ankle lock against Sting at one point, and after Angle stopped Sting from using his baseball bat, Jarrett came in and clobbered him with his guitar, which had absolutely no effect. Sting quickly locked in the Scorpion Death Lock, and within seconds Jarrett was tapping, with Sting winning the title.
Lockdown 2007: Jarrett teams with Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Rhino & Sting against Christian Cage, A.J. Styles, Scott Steiner, Abyss & Tomko in the Lethal Lockdown match. This one also had the added stipulation that whoever got the pin or submission would get a shot at Cage’s NWA World title. If memory serves this was Jarrett’s first match since he lost the title at Bound for Glory ‘06. Beginning with Styles against Angle, this was another wild brawl, which only got better and better as the number of combatants increased. There were big doubts about Jarrett’s motives in this match, but those were dispelled as soon as he entered. Once again Styles climbed onto the roof of the cage, this time fighting with Angle, and a brawl around ringside after Rhino sent Tomko crashing through the cage door. Then came the crazy bump, with Angle knocking Styles off the top of the cage onto a crowd of wrestlers below at ringside. The end came when Jarrett downed Abyss after clobbering him with a guitar shot loaded with thumb tacks. He then instructed Sting to pin the monster. At first the Stinger didn’t know what Jarrett was doing, mainly because of the title shot stipulation, but it wasn’t long before he realised that Jarrett was being genuine, and got the pin for his team. A great way of ending a great match.
Bound for Glory 2008: Jarrett faces Kurt Angle, with Mick Foley as special enforcer. Now this was one that I just had to see again, because it just blew me away when I first saw it. Despite having been away from active competition for so long, Jarrett put in a great performance in this match, keeping up with the man regarded by many as the best wrestler in the world today. This is, by far, the best match of the entire collection, one of those that you just have to watch time and time again, with tons of drama, a referee hit, Angle hitting Foley and then Jarrett with a steel chair, the return of Mr. Socko, and Jarrett getting the win after clobbering Angle with his trusty old guitar. A great way to finish looking at Jarrett’s TNA career.
But that’s not the end of the matches, because there’s also five bonus matches from the beginning of Jarrett’s career, including his first television appearance as a referee, as well as singles matches against Tony Falk, Hector Guerrero and Jerry Lawler, as well as a tag-team match in which his teams with Bill Dundee against Gary Young and Cactus Jack.
In conclusion – it took me a while to get through this one, but it was worth it. This is a great DVD release. The documentary segments are well made, with those interviewed, including Jim Cornette, A.J. Styles, Kurt Angle, Terry Taylor and more speaking candidly about Jarrett as a person, wrestler and promoter.
As for the matches, although some of them were ludicrously overbooked, they’re a good showcase of Jarrett’s talents as a professional wrestler. He may not get the same amount of plaudits as some of the other stars, but this DVD proves that he is one of the best wrestlers of the past twenty years, capable of having a good match with anybody.
So does this four disc set get the recommendation? It sure does. If you’re a fan of Jeff Jarrett, or of TNA in general, then you’ll enjoy this immensely, of that I have no doubt.