Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: When Did Rhino Turn Into Mary Worth?

An alternate title is: We’re teaching wrestlers how to fly!

Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: When Did Rhino Turn Into Mary Worth? – TNA, 2006-2007

On the November 23rd episode of Impact, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels teamed together to take on the Naturals. Styles and Daniels had been having problems and had announced that this would be the last time they teamed up.

After the match, Rhino came out. He’d just wrapped up a feud with former best friend Christian Cage, and (in true Mary Worth form) tried to help patch things up between AJ and Daniels. Styles, however, ignored him and left.

The next week Mike Tenay was conducting a sit-down interview with Styles about his childhood. Styles got upset and yelled at Tenay, and that brought Rhino in. As Styles got madder and madder, Rhino told him he just didn’t want for Styles and Daniels to go through the same problems that he and Christian had.

The following episode of Impact saw Rhino having a change of heart. He challenged Styles to a match. Daniels came out to try and calm things down only for Styles to jump Rhino from behind, resulting in a pull-apart brawl.

The battle continued during the show’s main event. A scheduled “All-Star War” pitting Kurt Angle against Samoa Joe, Rhino, Abyss, Sting, and Christian went awry when AJ jumped Rhino before the match and they brawled backstage. In the end, Angle won and attacked Joe after the match.

That led to a grudge match at Turning Point. The match was off to a quick start as AJ jumped Joe backstage and they battled down to the ring. AJ flipped over the top rope and fell to the floor, grabbing his knee. As trainers rushed to his aid, he insisted that he wanted to try and finish the match, despite the fact that he couldn’t even stand. When Rhino turned his back, AJ slid into the ring and rolled Rhino up for a quick three count before clearing out and returning to the back on his miraculously-healed knee. He had to hurry when Rhino figured out what had happened and took off after him.

On the December 21 episode of Impact, Jeremy Borash talked to Rhino and then to AJ. Rhino said that he’d made a mistake at Turning Point, and AJ called Rhino a sore loser.

In the main event, Angle and Rhino teamed against AJ and Joe. After AJ and Joe won, Angle locked Joe in an ankle lock and refused to release it.

The first Impact of 2007 saw Rhino facing off against Robert Roode. Miss Brooks tried to distract Rhino, but the attempt backfired and led to Rhino’s win. After the match, AJ attacked Rhino while Roode chewed out Miss Brooks. Afterward, Roode directed traffic while AJ hit a Styles Clash on Rhino.

That brought us to Final Resolution, where Rhino faced AJ in a Last Man Standing match. The first pin went to AJ, but Rhino was able to beat the 10 count. A spinebuster soon put AJ down for a pin, but he also beat the count. Rhino hit AJ with two Gores and quickly set up a table, preparing to send AJ through it. AJ saw what was going on and stayed down, giving Rhino the win but taking his revenge.

Afterward, Rhino swore that it wasn’t over and attacked AJ on the entrance stage. He then set up a table against the entrance and tried to send AJ through it, but AJ moved out of the way at the last second, sending Rhino tumbling down the ramp backstage.

On the January 25 Impact, Rhino was set to face off against Raven, who headed to the ring wearing his usual mask. Before the match could even start, Kaz, Matt Bentley, and Johnny Devine attacked only for Rhino to fight them off. Raven joined the fun and leveled Rhino with his kendo stick. Raven then removed his mask, revealing AJ Styles. Styles continued attacking Rhino with a chair and left him bloodied.

The main event the next week saw Samoa Joe taking on AJ Styles. The match never really happened as Rhino soon ran out and chased Styles to the back.

The following week Jeremy Borash talked with AJ about hit match against Rhino at Against All Odds. It would be a Motor City Chain match,

At Against All Odds, the chain match had a twist. Because this was Vince Russo, a pole had to be involved. And on top of this pole were the key to the chain and a night stick. The match had its twists as AJ freed himself and then cuffed Rhino to the ropes, only for referee Earl Hebner to kick the key to Rhino so he could release himself as well. In the end, a missed Gore gave AJ the win.

The February 22nd Impact saw AJ Styles unveil his latest creation – Elevation X. Elevation X was a scaffold match with two cross beams instead of one (forming an X). As AJ bragged, Rhino climbed onto the scaffold as AJ cleared out. Rhino promised to Gore AJ off the side of the scaffold at Destination X.

The final Impact before Destination X saw a main event of Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, and Rhino taking on Christian Cage, Scott Steiner, and Tomko. AJ soon began interfering and Rhino chased him up to the Elevation X structure above the ring.

At Destination X, the brawl started out on the ground but Styles soon climbed and taunted Rhino from the scaffold. Rhino seemed hesitant, but finally joined Styles and the fight started again. Styles soon found himself overpowered by Rhino so he climbed underneath the scaffold to try and figure out a plan of strategy. In the end AJ tried to throw powder in Rhino’s face but it backfired and Styles took a Gore. Styles then tried to climb down, but Rhino stomped his hands. Styles fell to the ring, ending the match and the feud.

The scaffold match is a tricky proposition. There is a very real danger of injury if something goes wrong (if you don’t believe me, just ask Jim Cornette). It’s all too easy for wrestlers to drop to their knees and just throw punches at each other until one goes over the side.

However, someone like Styles is perfect for a scaffold match. He’s got an exceptional sense of balance, and he’s light. He’s also used to the high-risk style and could take the fall without injury. Someone like Rhino falling, however, would be an iffy proposition at best.

The feud’s greatest flaw was the lack of buildup. There were several weeks where the feud was completely ignored, and the fallout was dropped as well when AJ quickly joined Christian and Tomko.

This has been Rhino’s curse since arriving in TNA. Ever since Day One, it just feels like he’s never done anything that is completely unforgettable. As a result, he just keeps sliding into the background.

Where are they now?
AJ Styles remains with TNA today and is currently (with Tomko) one of the TNA World Tag Team champions.

Rhino also remains with TNA. Rhino recently renewed his alliance with Christian Cage.


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