By Mike Mooneyham

Aug. 31, 2003

Tired of watching the weekly WWE soap opera? Then it might be time to give NWA-TNA a chance.

The Nashville-based outfit will offer a one-cent pay-per-view on Sept. 10 that will feature some of the greatest matches from the company’s recent history and other highlights from its weekly programming.

You read it right. For a penny, you can get a virtually free sample of what this company has been doing as it attempts to position itself as a viable alternative to Vince McMahon’s juggernaut.

“This special pre-recorded event is designed to give viewers a chance to sample TNA’s fresh brand of professional wrestling for practically no cost,” according to a company release. “The ‘One Cent Special’ is anticipated to receive the highest level of television exposure that TNA has experienced since its debut in June 2002. TNA Entertainment, LLC – the parent company of TNA Wrestling – has visibly committed to working with the cable operators and pay-per-view networks to regenerate the wrestling category. Employing a strategy of ‘Winning Back the Disillusioned Pay-Per-View Wrestling Fan,’ TNA has joined with the cable industry to acknowledge the downward trend that pay-per-view wrestling events have experienced since competition was eliminated from the wrestling world two years ago, as well as the vast pool of revenue that is currently available to be targeted.”

A.J. Styles

A.J. Styles

The NWA-TNA succeeds more often that not in providing entertaining programming. The weekly Wednesday night pay-per-views, normally priced at a relatively affordable $9.95, feature the likes of Raven, AJ Styles (managed by Vince Russo), Dusty Rhodes, America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm), Shane Douglas, D’Lo Brown and an exciting X division that includes Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Elix Skipper and a host of other high flyers.

Now’s the time to give this hard-working group a try.

– Triple H, still far from 100 percent as he recovers from a painful groin pull, was scheduled to work tag-team matches over the weekend, including a Memphis show with Ric Flair against hometown favorite Jerry “The King” Lawler and Shawn Michaels.

– Evan Ginzburg has released his always enjoyable Wrestling Then & Now annual. The 2002-03 version is his biggest ever (84 pages) and includes tributes to Lou Thesz and Superstar Billy Graham.

Cost is $15. The address is P.O. Box 640471, Oakland Gardens Station, Flushing, N.Y. 11364.

– A recent article on ESPN’s Web site listed the XFL as the No. 1 “sports bust” of all time, ahead of such other failures as Mike Veeck’s Disco Demolition Night (No. 3) and Michael Jordan as a baseball player (No. 9). The lone comment on Vince McMahon’s money-losing football venture: “If only the cheerleaders had been totally naked …”

– The always controversial Brian James (former Road Dogg) said in a recent radio interview that The Rock had a major ego and had allowed his push to stardom to go straight to his head. He commented that Vince McMahon’s creativity makes him morally and personally bankrupt, but added that’s the way he has to be in order to be successful as a businessman. He also said he hasn’t talked to former New Age Outlaws partner Billy Gunn since he was released from WWE, and added that he never understood the Bret Hart “phenomenon.”

– One has to wonder just how long it’s going to take before WWE hires “Father” James Mitchell. The man behind the characters Daryl Van Horn, James Vandenberg and The Sinister Minister, Mitchell is one of the best talkers in the business today and knows how to advance a storyline. Currently plying his wares as manager of The New Church, Mitchell has been a proven commodity in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, WCW, ECW and now NWA-TNA. He could be a very valuable asset in WWE.

– Eddie Guerrero could easily be the most over performer on Smackdown. And that’s saying a lot, since the list includes a considerable array of talent including Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Chris Benoit and others.

– Joe Laurinaitis, also known as Road Warrior Animal, will join former New York Jets running back Marion Barber in coaching the Minneapolis Lumberjacks in the minor league Mid-American Football League, according to a recent article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

– Alexis Lareee is the latest diva to sign a developmental deal with WWE. Laree, who will report to Ohio Valley Wrestling, has been working as a heel member of Raven’s Gathering in NWA-TNA and as a babyface for Ring of Honor.

– Shannon Ward, who appeared in WCW several years ago as the screaming Daffney character, also has signed a developmental deal with WWE.

The Georgia State grad is married to rocker Rich Ward of Stuck Mojo and Fozzy Osbourne.