ORLANDO, FL — Upstart wrestling promotion TNA (Total Nonstop Action) made their long-awaited debut on Spike TV on October 1, 2005, and according to sources who were there, it was the largest drug scene anyone had ever seen.
Critics of the debut episode of Impact noted that everyone involved in the presentation did everything in a fast paced, overly energetic, rushed, extremely hyper manner.
While some felt it was because TNA only has 60 minutes of air time to squeeze in as many matches as possible, sources said the real reason was the entire staff was high on “Every intoxicant you could imagine, and then some.”
In particular, announcers Mike Tenay and Don West were screaming at the top of their lungs, trying to talk over the various explosions and high decibels of crowd noise.
It was no coincidence that Tenay and West were seen coming out of the men’s bathroom moments before the taping, as one witness described, “Coked out of their minds.”
Tenay has no history of substance abuse, but West, a regular on the Tennessee radio DJ scene, had been known to snort lines during commercial breaks in his younger years.
TNA executive Dixie Carter, whose parents own the company, was clearly seen in the front row with D-Ray 3000 rolling joints, smoking them, and passing them around to ringside fans.
The first match on the show pitted perennial fan favorite AJ Styles against new TNA signee Roderick Strong. Stories had circulated that Styles had been suffering from strep throat, but sources dispute that story.
Said one person who wished to be remained anonymous, “The (strep throat) thing was just a cover-up. AJ was sick, but you’d be sick too if you had spent the entire afternoon doing bong hits with the 3 Live Kru.
The fact is, Styles was as stoned as stoned can be.”
Indeed, the finish of the Styles-Strong match was botched, and they had to re-tape the finish later in the show. Various people backstage said they saw Styles backstage trying to detox in order to do the finish as planned, sans error.
The Impact show also saw the TNA debut of Team 3-D, formerly known as the Dudleys in TNA rival WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Bubba and D-Von showed up in shirts that read “Trademark this,” on the back, but backstage, they almost didn’t make it.
“D-Von was totally tripping on acid, and Bubba was guzzling damn near every drop of booze in the house,” said another anonymous source.
“They were passed out in the locker room and Abyss, who himself had just done a few lines, had to wake them up and tell them to do a run-in.”
Former NFL star Monty Brown, whom TNA is grooming to be a headliner, won a quick squash match over an opponent who was never identified. Before the match, he cut a bizarre promo with Shane Douglas in which he sang a Led Zeppelin tune at the top of his lungs.
“Before that promo, Monty and I had just shot up about a pound’s worth of top-of-the-line heroin,” confessed ring announcer Jeremy Borash.
“I thought it was obvious to anyone watching. It would’ve been obvious to Shane too, except Shane had just inhaled some sweet-ass crack laced with PCP.”
The drug craze was so out of control backstage that Sean Waltman, who had missed the prior pay-per-view for reasons many people believe are drug-related, called it a “mad drug house” and immediately left the building in disgust.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Waltman later told The Armpit in a phone interview.
“You had Road Dogg back on heroin again, Konnan injecting the needle for him, and Ron Killings licking up anything left over that had spilled. It was sick. Jeff Jarrett and America’s Most Wanted were on the hunting spree for opium before their promo. They finally scored some, but Raven tried to take it away before they inhaled it. In fact, that scene of Raven going crazy was NOT part of the script. That was actual footage of Raven going nuts because they wouldn’t let him have any opium.”
Fans remember that scene well, because Larry Zbysko was later shown coming in and out of a white room.
“Why do you think Larry was in that room?” asked Waltman.
“Larry was bragging all night about these ‘shrooms he claimed would get you high as a kite. And he was right. He and Tito Ortiz were in there all night having a blast.”
The show that airs on October 8 was taped the same night, so fans should expect a similar fast-paced, rushed show full of high energy.
It will be apparent on the following shows, beginning October 15, whether or not TNA can stay sober and produce more relaxed, slower paced shows that will allow viewers to breathe.
Until then, expect more high spots and less psychology from the TNA wrestlers.
“They call them HIGH spots for a reason,” Waltman said.