TNA DVD Review – The History of TNA Year One

I have to admit – this DVD wasn’t what I’d been expecting. I’d expected The History of TNA: Year One to cover different angles and storylines over the first year of the company.

Instead, (after Mike Tenay’s final audio check from the first weekly PPV) we open with Jeff Jarrett talking about the summer of 2001, which he refers to as the Summer of No Worries because he was still under his WCW contract. After touring to wrestle, Jarrett had begun to think about founding a new company.

Bob Ryder then talks about how he, Jeff, and Jerry Jarrett had gone fishing and come up with the basic thoughts for TNA, including the idea of weekly PPVs since they thought that after the Turner networks had axed WCW programming that no one would be looking to pick up wrestling. One thing you’ll notice – TNA keeps mentions of Jerry Jarrett to a minimum.

During chapter breaks, they include clips from early PPVs. Here they show Toby Keith playing the Ugly American and getting interrupted by Jeff Jarrett during the first show. They then go to the battle royal in the main event and show Toby Keith coming out, suplexing Jarrett, eliminating Jarrett, and then hopping out himself.

We come back and Jarrett talks about starting to work toward setting up the weekly shows and also locating financiers. We then hear from Jeremy Borash and Mike Tenay on how the company began working to set up the weekly PPVs, which Jarrett elaborates on a bit more.

After that, we see Ken Shamrock winning the NWA title from the first show, making him the first world champion of the TNA era.

Building the Roster is up next. Bob Ryder talks about a tryout night for the announcers at one of Bert Prentice’s shows. By the time the night was over, Chris Harris, James Storm, Abyss, and referee Rudy Charles had gotten jobs with the new company.

Storm explains that Prentice had set up a match between Harris and himself because they’d been feuding with each other and Prentice knew they’d deliver. Storm then talks about how Ryder hinted at the job offer and Jarrett gave the same offer to Harris.

After that, Don West talks about how hard it was for him to find his place in the commentary rhythm.

Up next, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn defeat the Rainbow Express on the third show to win the NWA World Tag Team titles.

We then move on to the first show. Jarrett talks about the difficulty with getting everything for the production side set up properly, and Ryder adds the problems he faced with getting everybody there. Jeremy Borash then chimes in with the first ever TNA chant.

Don West then brings up a story about an anxiety attack he suffered before the show was ready to start. And then Cheex arrived.

Cheex was a 450 pound wrestler in a dark match. He came off the ropes during his match and broke the ring. While the Harris brothers ran to ringside and fought to get the ring repaired, backstage everyone was making plans to scrap the format and reschedule the show on the fly.

We get a lot of talk about the ring following this. Bob Ryder thought they wouldn’t get the ring fixed, but Jarrett knew that it could be repaired quickly. AJ Styles adds that he was nervous because he was scheduled in the first match – teaming with Jerry Lynn and Low Ki against the Flying Elvises (Sonny Siaki, Jorge Estrada, and Jimmy Yang). Styles knew they’d plan on using the top rope during the match and was worried about improvising. In the end, the Harrises fixed the ring and can be seen running backstage during the opening of the first PPV.

The next PPV clip is from the fourth show and features Jarrett brawling with members of the Tennessee Titans football team.

The million dollar question – Will TNA Last? is addressed next. Ryder and Jarrett are candid about the money problems that TNA ran into during that first year. Jarrett adds that everyone except his wife and himself had doubted that TNA would succeed.

For the most part, most of the roster admits to having doubts as well. Mike Tenay, AJ Styles, BG James, Elix Skipper, Chris Harris, and James Storm all heard the talk that TNA would fail and a lot of them admit to not believing that the company would last.

Up next is a clip from the eighth show where Ron Killings defeated Ken Shamrock to win the world title.

The involvement of the Carters is next on the agenda. Dixie Carter had run a publicity company in Tennessee, and had actually lived in the apartment next to Jarrett while he’d been in Dallas for World Class.

They explain that Dixie had believed in the company so much that when Jarrett told her that TNA’s major financial backer had dropped out she had approached Panda Energy, which was run by her father. Her father had seen an opportunity since the only competition in the large-scale wrestling scene was the WWE so he’d signed on board.

Jarrett and Ryder then cover some of the financial setbacks that TNA had faced, including the fact that they were lied to by their PPV provider about how many systems would have TNA programming available and also about their buyrates.

Dixie then brings up the fact that she’d worked to help redesign the set and paint the bleachers in the Asylum. She was also the original TNA makeup artist.

We then go to a clip from the thirteenth show where America’s Most Wanted win the tag team titles for the first time.

The rise of the X Division is up next. Skipper talks about the similarities between TNA’s X-Division and how hard WCW had pushed their cruiserweights in the company’s dying days.

Ryder then mentions that the first wrestler they knew they wanted was AJ Styles because they’d been exposed to him in WCW. He adds how Borash named the division by getting the idea from the X-Games.

West then talks about the Lynn/Styles/Ki match vs. the Elvises and what it was like to call that match.

Christopher Daniels adds in the fact that although WCW wanted to push the cruiserweights, he never believed that WCW could see them in main events.

We then go to PPV #22, where Mr. Wrestling blasted Ron Killing with a guitar to give Jarrett the world title and then unmasked to reveal Vince Russo.

Next up is a discussion on the tag team division, and the lynchpin of the division is addressed as AMW. Their feuds with the New Church and Triple X are then remembered by Harris and Storm. Harris also mentions how he and Storm had both expected to be singles wrestlers when they came in. Daniels and Skipper then chime in with memories from the Triple X side of the feud.

Skipper then points out how TNA had a camaraderie backstage that WCW never had. He compared the TNA locker room and the WCW one he’d come from.

PPV 24 is up next when Roddy Piper showed up. His speech is cut off fairly quickly which is no surprise considering some of the subjects of his rant.

The next topic is the move to the Asylum. The reason for the move was simple – TNA could no longer afford the Municipal Auditorium. Rudy Charles comments about Jill Jarrett leading the charge to dress up the Asylum. The wrestlers then talk about how the more intimate atmosphere helped them to interact with the fans better.

We then skip to show 24 as Jarrett defeated Christopher Daniels to retain his world title and was promptly attacked by Raven, who stole the world title to kick off one of TNA’s first major feuds.

The wrestlers talk about how Raven had been the first guy to come to TNA after getting released from the WWE. Harris adds that Raven coming in may have drawn in ECW fans as well.

Don West then shares an interesting story. He came to the building for the Raven-Jarrett match and discovered an enormous line of people waiting to get in for the show. He estimates that about a thousand people had to be turned away.

Raven closes the segment by mentioning how nicely he’d fit in to fight babyface Jarrett. He adds that after the match everybody was happy except for the fans who wanted him to win.

The next stop is show 49 as Vince Russo’s interference gives AJ Styles his first world title win, also making him the first ever TNA Triple Crown winner.

We close the disc as the wrestlers look back on the first year and share their thoughts about the year as a whole.

The bonus features contain five matches. The X-Division is represented by the elimination match to crown the first X-Division champion and a triple ladder match for the X-title between Styles, Lynn, and Low-Ki. The tag team titles are contested in a match between AMW and the New Church. The World title is represented by the Jarrett-Raven match.

Overall bonuses contain a montage of notable year one appearances, the first commercial that ran to promote TNA tapings in Nashville, the tryout match that got Harris and Storm their jobs, and some of the wrestlers remembering Curt Hennig.

The disc does have its flaws. There are a few facts that are glossed over (like the fact that TNA was supposed to stand for Tuesday Night Action until the PPV providers remembered that Tuesdays were the traditional night to reair WWE PPVs). Also, Jerry Jarrett is mentioned only in passing.

Another problem I saw was in the special appearances bonus. Wrestlers are included like Sabu, Brian Christopher, and CM Punk. The problem is that these guys were on the actual roster, not just making guest appearances. Also, Alexis Laree (WWE’s Mickie James) is ignored and Dusty Rhodes, despite showing up several times in the montage is also not mentioned.

The Harris-Storm match is clipped, and is more of a music video. Why couldn’t TNA have included the full match with Tenay and West redoing commentary on it? At least the four TNA matches appear to be complete.

The flaw with the matches is the fact that all of them are already available. The Raven-Jarrett match is included on Raven’s DVD. The AMW-New Church match is on the Best of NWA-TNA Title Matches (which, admittedly, can be difficult to find). The two X-Division matches are on the first AJ Styles DVD.

One nice touch is the fact that while the DVD clocks in at an hour and 46 minutes, there is an extra one and a half hours in the four TNA matches, let alone the bonus features.

Still, I would have liked to see some more clips from back then. A feature showing the champions of each division during the year would have been nice. I would have also enjoyed a video tour of the Asylum, and Tony Schiavone’s heel turn on Mike Tenay would have also been a nice touch.

The disc can be purchased at most major retailers as well as through the TNA site at tnawrestling.com.

The Inside Pulse
Overall, the disc is interesting if you like hearing how things happen backstage. It’s more along the lines of a shoot interview.

As mentioned above, the bonus features aren’t bad, and the memories of Hennig is interesting to see. The TNA matches that were selected are excellent representatives of the first year.

Recommended if you’re interested in what goes on backstage when starting a wrestling promotion.

If you only want to focus on the wrestling, you may want to give this one a pass and pick up some of the other discs that contain these matches instead.

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