Thursday, August 13, 2015

WWA: The Retribution (2003 PPV)

Glascow, Scotland
December 06, 2002 (aired February 9, 2003)

This was a surprise to me when I first heard about it because by this point, you already had NWA-TNA (that's the original moniker for Impact Wrestling, kids) and that was the "cool" alternative to WWE. So it was easy to assume that once TNA became a thing, the World Wrestling All-Stars tour would be nothing more than a distant memory... and yet here we were in 2003, the overall fourth Pay-Per-View event under the WWA brand. And in even more of a surprise, you actually have some TNA talent on here, including then-reigning NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett. So that's something.

Your commentary team comprises Jeremy Borash (who doubles as ring announcer) and the Disco Inferno. Happy to see that they stuck with a team that works. Borash is fairly passable for the most part and Disco is at least pleasant to listen to. They're no Monsoon-Ventura or JR-King, but they get the job done.

Your commissioner for tonight's show is Mike Sanders, a guy known for a brief stint towards the tail end of WCW's existence. I suppose, at this point, if you can't afford a big name to be a one-time-only commish, might as well go for someone who at least worked for one of the big two. On the bright side, however, at Sanders is somewhat coherent in his promos, so there's something.

Shark Boy defeated Kazarian in a pretty decent opener. Both guys were also in TNA at the time.

Konnan pins Nate Webb in, like, three seconds after Perry Saturn came beat the crap out of Webb with his usual moves (powerbomb, Death Valley Driver, Rings of Saturn). This was a thing that happened.

Johnny Swinger and Buff Bagwell defeated Norman Smiley and Malice (WCW's The Wall) in an otherwise forgetable time filling affair. This just so happened to be a thing that happened with four guys who generally have nothing to do with each other, but there you go. If there is one weakness to these PPVs, it's that sometimes you have these odd pairings and little background to care otherwise.

Teo beat Puppet in another hardcore "little person" match... but this time we got Midajah (Scott Steiner's former valet with nothing to do, apparently) serving as special referee. This is like, what? The third PPV in a row these two have been going at it? It's like the midget equivalent of John Cena vs. Randy Orton, for fuck's sake.

Mike Sanders defeated Joe E. Legend in a match that was just there.

NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett defeated Nathan Jones to retain the title... I honestly don't know what people saw in this Nathan Jones character to treat him like a big deal because, good lord, I've seen El Gigante put on better showings. But more than anything, I don't know what WWE was thinking when they signed this guy shortly thereafter and gave him his one Wrestlemania moment of running in during an Undertaker vs. Big Show and A-Train handicap match... which originally going to be Taker and Jones vs. Show and Albert, but WWE wisely saw how much of a bust this guy was and... well, goes to show that just because someone "looks" like a star doesn't mean they're worth the star.

Sabu beat Simon Diamond and Perry Saturn in a three-way hardcore match when Sabu pinned Simon... meh. Went on too long, didn't care, and after all the little bits where Saturn would beat up midgets and some jobber, he didn't play so much as a big role in this. He didn't win the thing nor did he get pinned. It's as though he didn't matter and we probably would've been better off with Sabu and Diamond going at it one-on-one while Saturn did something else. I mean, it just feels like a waste of the guy.

Lex Luger defeated Sting to win the vacant WWA World Title... a week later, Sting would beat Luger for the title at a live event... which makes watching this in 2003 feel completely worthless because this was already old hat. This match, comprising a couple mid-match promos and a run-in El-Kabong from Jeff Jarrett, was not very good. Maybe Luger couldn't go or didn't care to go, but for some reason, this felt like two big-name guys content with putting on a half-assed match and hope the crowd didn't notice. Luger would fall off the radar shortly after this, while Sting would eventually make his way over to TNA and become something of a staple there for the next decade.

Months after their previous PPV event, Retribution is just sorta there, almost as if to say that WWA was still a thing. In all honesty, though, The Retribution was not that great of a show. It wasn't completely goofy, gimmicky, or outright awful - though some would suggest otherwise - but it was also a show that felt somewhat tossed together with little thought or care behind it. As a result, there was very little reason to care about most of these matches beyond "a bunch of names wrestling" and even then, the wrestling was nothing to write home about. Even Shark Boy and Kazarian more than likely had better matches in TNA than they did here.

So, that's four down. One to go... should be fun... I hope.

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