Inside Pulse 12

Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: Sports Entertainment eXtreme

Sports Entertainment eXtreme – NWA-TNA, 2002

History

Vince Russo had had enough. He’d come to TNA and was getting no respect, even from champion Jeff Jarrett. Finally, on December 4, he’d had enough. Roddy Piper had come out and was running his mouth. At last Russo came out and began responding to what Piper said. Things broke down quickly after that and wound up with the Harris Twins escorting Russo out.

After the main event, Ron Killings called Russo out. In response, the Harrises hit Killings with their H-Bomb finisher a second time (he’d gotten it during the match as well). BG James (formerly known as the Road Dogg) then came out and attacked Killings as well. Finally the four started back to the back. Percy Pringle (AKA Paul Bearer) stood on the ramp laughing as only he can.

The next week, James and the Harrises came out and began singing the praises of Russo. Bullet Bob Armstrong (TNA’s commissioner at the time) decided to take charge. He put the Harrises in a tag title match against the Disciples of the New Church (Slash and Brian Lee) and James in a chain match against Ron Killings where a chair was also fastened to the middle of the chain. James helped the Harrises win their match with the help of a few chair shots, at least until Percy Pringle made his way out and explained this to the referee, who promptly reversed his decision. James also lost cleanly to Killings. In the main event (Jarrett vs. Curt Hennig for the title), Russo made his presence felt again by nailing Hennig with a guitar during the match to ensure that Jarrett retained.

On the 18th, Hennig started off the show by calling out Russo. Russo came out with the Harrises, and then Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, and Elix Skipper came out of nowhere and jumped Hennig. Later in the show, Russo explained why Daniels, Ki, and Skipper had joined SEX. TNA wouldn’t fly Daniels in and wanted Ki to sign a 52 week deal. Okay, he forgot Skipper. Anyway, Russo called out Jarrett and invited him to join. Jarrett refused and was promptly jumped by the entire stable. In other news, the Harrises lost a three-way tag (non title) match between them, America’s Most Wanted, and the Disciples when the Legion of Doom ran in and obliterated every team without the initials A.M.W. Russo started working to convince Sonny Siaki to join, and BG James beat Ron Killings in a falls count anywhere match. The main event was made on the spot by Bullet Bob – The SAT (Joel and Jose Maximo and Amazing Red) vs. Daniels, Ki, and Skipper. Ki pulled out the win when he put Red down. Hennig then came out and was jumped by another new SEX member – David Flair. We’re starting to slide on member quality here, folks.

The next show was January 8, and started off with a tag match consisting of Kid Kash and EZ Money vs. Tony Mamaluke and David Young. Young got the pin, but it didn’t matter as Ki, Daniels, and Skipper attacked and leveled all four of them. On a side note – this is also when the three of them began calling themselves XXX, a name that would stick until Turning Point last year. Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings (The Truth) took on Heavy D (Don Harris) and BG James in a tag match. SEX was disqualified when Mike Sanders (no longer Above Average, apparently) came running in to attack Killings. One of Russo’s great loves also made its return tonight, as Curt Hennig defeated David Flair in an Axe Handle on a Pole match. In the main event, Jarrett had to run a gauntlet of World Title matches against XXX. He succeeded against Daniels and Skipper, and took the third by DQ when they jumped back in to help out Low Ki. SEX came running in to attack Jarrett. Then AJ Styles (who’d been chasing Jarrett for a while to get a title shot but was not a member of SEX) came down to help take out Jarrett. Then the LOD came in and started delivering Doomsday Devices. Then Dusty Rhodes came out and started passing out Bionic Elbows. Think this ending was just a tad overbooked?

On the next PPV (remember, these were weekly 2-hour PPVs at this point) Russo started off the show by declaring that SEX was not another version of the NWO. I can definitely see his point. After all, Hall and Nash hadn’t shown up yet. Percy Pringle came out and asked to join. Russo refused by having SEX attack him. Jorge Estrada came out from the back to help and went through a table for his trouble. Mike Sanders took on Jerry Lynn and lost after we saw interference from Heavy D and Dusty Rhodes. In the main event we had Skipper, Daniels, Ki, and Vince Russo defeating Jarrett, the LOD, and Dusty Rhodes after Mr. Wrestling came out and nailed Animal with a chain. Mr. Wrestling then unmasked to reveal himself as Nikita Koloff.

As a result of the win in the main event, Russo got the right to choose who belts were defended against on the next Wednesday night. As a result, Elix Skipper and Low Ki won the tag titles. Sonny Siaki successfully defended his X title against Athena (a woman) and Chris Vaughn (being used as one of the ring crew). Russo then booked a four-way for the main event: Jarrett vs. BG James vs. Heavy D vs. Christopher Daniels for the title. Jarrett finally was able to win the match, with Scott Armstrong (upset with his brother) as the ref and Dusty Rhodes and the SAT running interference on the ramp.

January 29 was a dark day for SEX. We’ll get to why in a minute or two. It started off as Jorge Estrada lost a match to the Amazing Red. Apparently he lost in an impressive way, because Mike Sanders came out and offered him a spot in SEX. Estrada attacked Mike Sanders and was leveled by the new SEX “Director of Talent Development” – the Disco Inferno. David Flair won a match against Jerry Lynn by Ron Killings’s interference. This is not the dark moment we are waiting for. Neither is America’s Most Wanted getting jumped by SEX only to debut the Rock `N Roll Express. The dark moment arrived as Goldylocks was out in the ring to interview Percy Pringle. Tony Schiavone took over, by insulting both her and Pringle. Vince Russo then came out and invited Schiavone to join SEX, and Schiavone accepted. Read that last sentence again. This elite group would only become stronger by having Tony “This is the greatest night in the history of our great sport” Schiavone join? Try and wrap some logic around that one!

The downward spiral continued the next week. Disco (now calling himself Glenn “The Gift” Gilbertti) lost to Jorge Estrada. Afterward, SEX came out and stole Jorge’s Elvis suit. Maybe it was for Tony Schiavone. Also, just to keep upping the goofy factor, last week they had kidnapped Jeff Jarrett because he had no “character development.” On a side note, I’d thought WCW circa 2000 was full of gold for this column. How could I have overlooked this stuff? Anyway, Siaki retained the X division title against Red; BG James lost to Tenacious Z (who would a couple of weeks later jump to the WWF and become major Hulkamaniac Zach Gowen); and Killings beat David Flair, Jerry Lynn and Christopher Daniels in a four way. In the main event, XXX and the Disciples double-pinned each other in a tag title match. When the referees held up the titles, things degenerated into a TNA vs. SEX brawl. SEX locked TNA inside the SEX locker room and appeared triumphant until Jeff Jarrett came out of nowhere and attacked.

The next week started off as it was announced that Bob Armstrong had resigned as TNA Commissioner. His replacement? JJ Dillon. Russo came out and confronted Dillon, then ordered the Harrises to attack. They were stopped by a Singapore cane-wielding Sandman. The Harrises next beat the Disciples (with a little help from Low-Ki), but Siaki lost the X title to Kid Kash. Killings, Z, and Jorge Estrada also defeated Gilbertti, James, and Mike Sanders. Steve Corino (in his TNA debut) defeated Low Ki after Ki disqualified himself by attacking Scott Armstrong.

Things were off to a strange start the next week as AJ Styles showed up for his world title match against Jeff Jarrett – with Vince Russo in the same car. Russo started the show by attacking Dusty Rhodes verbally, then had the Harrises do it physically. Dusty was saved when Vader came out of the crowd and jumped the Harrises. A tag match was set for the next show. Gilbertti next unveiled his next creation – a big fat guy dressed as Elvis. His name? Disgraceland. Well, now we know what Estrada’s suit was for. Disgraceland beat Shark Boy (with the Honky Tonk Man’s Shake, Rattle, and Roll) and was attacked by Estrada. Disgraceland, Sanders, and Gilbertti took Estrada backstage and gave him a swirly. Seriously. Sanders defeated Jonah Edelman (from Tough Enough 3). The show closed with Russo hanging around outside Jarrett’s house, needing to have a talk with him.

The next week Russo started off the show by announcing that Jeff Jarrett had joined SEX and threw out a blanket invitation for anyone in the back to also join. The new members? The Hotshots (Cassidy O’Reilly and Chase Stevens(now one half of the Naturals)). Later, Jarrett showed off his own SEX t-shirt during a Goldylocks interview. The Hotshots lost their match with America’s Most Wanted, and the Harrises lost by DQ to Dusty and Vader after Sonny Siaki interfered. The show ended with a video of Russo’s kids playing where they told how much they missed him and then Jarrett jumped Russo.

The next week, March 5, everything changed. Russo announced to Mike Tenay that he’d had a change of heart and left. Jorge Estrada got revenge on Disgraceland. The Disciples beat the Hotshots, and then the Harrises threw them out of the building. Finally, Mike Sanders and Sonny Siaki got into a fight over who the boss was now.

This was pretty much the beginning of the end for SEX. They would continue to linger until June 18. That night Russo did an interview where he announced that he owned the SEX trademark and took it back. That was the end of Sports Entertainment eXtreme.

Analysis

When you think Vince Russo, you think of Sports Entertainment, not wrestling. This is the man who gave us the Viagra on a Pole match, after all. SEX is comparable in many ways to the NWO. It started off with a small group of guys – Russo liked having the Harrises as his own personal thugs (just look at how he used them in WCW as “Creative Control”) and BG James, who was still fairly well known as Road Dogg. I’ll admit I don’t know how Percy Pringle figured into the whole thing. When Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and Elix Skipper joined, the fans were given a logical explanation as to why, and these were again very talented wrestlers. Then we got Mike Sanders (who in his defense was a very promising up and comer in the later days of WCW), Nikita Koloff (who’d been a major heel back in the 80’s), and David Flair (???).

David Flair’s induction was equivalent to the gross expansion of the NWO. That was when the NWO stopped going after elite guys and started bringing in the B-Team with guys like Scott Norton and Vincent (or Virgil, or Shane, or whatever he called himself that week). When Tony Schiavone joined, it was the equivalent of the B-Team all joining the NWO at once and promptly splitting the world title. Of course, the NWO had its own boneheaded move like this when an announcer joined. No, not Eric Bischoff. The announcer I’m talking about was Dusty Rhodes, and despite being… well, let’s be kind and say “past his prime,” Dusty had been a wrestler.

SEX and the NWO were a lot alike when looking at the big picture. Both of them had very promising starts. And then both of them completely fell apart toward the end. WCW was taken over by “NWO Fever,” giving us the NWO Black and White, NWO Wolfpac, LWO (Latino World Order), OWN (One Warrior Nation),… the list goes on and on. TNA gave us Disgraceland, David Flair, and Tony Schiavone. The big difference was that TNA recognized when the angle really started wandering and pulled the plug on it before it reached the ridiculous state the NWO had.

Where are they now?
This is going to be a long one, so forgive me if I forget somebody.

Vince Russo has mostly retired from the wrestling business and is now attending seminary. His book, Forgiven, comes out later this year.

The Harrises are still with TNA, but are now working with Traci as the Disciples of Destruction.

BG James is also still in TNA. He’s now part of the 3 Live Krew along with Konnan and Ron Killings.

Low Ki has left TNA and returned to the indy scene where he works with promotions such as Ring of Honor and Chaotic Wrestling.

Christopher Daniels is currently the TNA X Division Champion.

Elix Skipper is still in TNA, where his longtime tag team of XXX with Christopher Daniels was recently dissolved.

Sonny Siaki is still with TNA.

David Flair left TNA and is currently working the odd indy show here and there.

Mike Sanders was released by TNA and is now doing independent shows.

Glenn Gilbertti is still with TNA. His tag team with Johnny Swinger (the New York Connection) recently dissolved when Swinger left the company.

I have no idea what Disgraceland is doing now.

The Hotshots broke up, although both are still with the company. Cassidy O’Reilley is being used here and there, while former partner Chase Stevens joined Andy Douglas, calling themselves the Naturals. The Naturals are former NWA tag team champions, and have recently allied themselves with Chris Candido.

Tony Schiavone is now hosting a sports show on a radio station in Georgia.

Next week

The man of 1,004 holds.

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