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By Alan Wojick on 9/19/2010 11:48 AM
On Wednesday July 24, 2002 NWA: TNA moved from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium into the Tennessee State Fairgrounds where they remained until September 8, 2004 when the powers that be felt they needed to relocate TV tapings to Orlando, FL and become the current TNA Wrestling. I was in attendance that night and remained a frequent visitor to the building that was christened “the Asylum” plus buying some of the weekly PPV’s. Like many fans I always felt TNA screwed the fans of Nashville by leaving them the way they did since we considered it to be our promotion like the Philadelphia fans felt ECW was their promotion.

The opening segment features TNA founder Jeff Jarrett reminding fans that the Fairgrounds hosted wrestling going back to the 1950’s so it was a natural home. I’m still not sure how a soundstage at Universal Studios is a natural home. The visitors to Universal Studios (and I was one of them from 2004-2007) & fans that attended the live events TNA has held since 2005 need to find Nashville residents and thank them (and me) for attending the Asylum from 2002-2004 (TNA does at the end of disc 2.) Because if we hadn’t attended the weekly shows, you wouldn’t have the honor of watching TNA Wrestling today. I am done being a soapbox preacher, let’s get to the action! Throughout the DVD presentation wrestlers offered their memories of wrestling in the Asylum, here’s the match listing:

July 24, 2002: NWA World Heavyweight champion Ken Shamrock vs. Sabu
August 28, 2002: Triple ladder match, World X Division champion Low Ki vs. Jerry Lynn vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles
April 30, 2003: Raven (w/the Gathering members Alexis Laree & Julio Dinero) vs. NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett
May 7, 2003: Sports Entertainment Xtreme members XXX (“Prime Time” Elix Skipper & Low Ki) vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles & D’Lo Brown
June 11, 2003: Raven vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett
June 25, 2003: Steel Cage match, NWA World Tag Team champions XXX members “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels & “Prime Time” Elix Skipper vs. America’s Most Wanted (“Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm & “Wildcat” Chris Harris)
September 17, 2003: Hair vs. Hair match, Raven vs. “the Franchise” Shane Douglas (w/Father James Mitchell)
November 12, 2003: NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett & “the Total Package” Lex Luger (w/Don Callis) vs. Sting & “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart)
November 26, 2003: Fans Revenge match, “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett
Bonus match:
August 6, 2003: Steel Cage match, NWA World Heavyweight champion “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles (w/Vince Russo handcuffed to DOA Erik Watts) vs. D’Lo Brown

Disc Two:
February 18, 2004: Raven & Terry Funk vs. Julio Dinero & CM Punk (w/Scott Hudson on commentary)
March 17, 2004: #1 contender Ladder match, “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. Abyss
April 14, 2004: Falls Count Anywhere Extreme Rules match, Sabu vs. “Alpha Male” Monty Brown
April 24, 2004: Steel Cage match, NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles. The original opponent was “Wildcat” Chris Harris but Raven took Harris out earlier in the evening. So DOA Vince Russo chose Styles.
June 9, 2004: World X Division champion Frankie “the Future” Kazarian vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles (Styles won a #1 contender four way on iMPACT on Fox Sports)
July 28 2004: “Alpha Male” Monty Brown vs. Jeff Hardy
August 18, 2004: No DQ Street Fight, “the Notorious K.I.D.” Kid Kash vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles
September 8, 2004: NWA World Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Jeff Hardy (last Asylum match)

Bonus matches:
April 28, 2004: Sabu vs. Abyss
June 9, 2004: “”Alpha Male” Monty Brown & Abyss (w/Goldilocks) vs. NWA World Tag Team champions America’s Most Wanted (“Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm & “Wildcat” Chris Harris)
June 23, 2004 (2nd anniversary show) the debuting Jeff Hardy vs. “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles
July 7, 2004: D’Lo Brown vs. “Alpha Male” Monty Brown

My wife & daughter found it amazing to see me sitting in the audience during the opening match, but for me personally it was great to see old friends like Lavonda Bell (and her mom), Cyndi, Nicole, Chicken Hat, Jimmy Daniel (WWRD), Gordon Dunaway, the Heel Section, the Goddess Athena, Sara Lee & Corsica Joe. Breaking up the matches with talent interviews was a good thing; I would have omitted wrestlers who had never wrestled in the Asylum. I also would have placed the bonus matches in the feature presentation for chronological placement.

Some of these matches appear on previous TNA releases so I was able to skip over them. Some of them are memorable & I watched all over again for their historical value (Triple Ladder match, XXX/AMW in the cage, Jeff Hardy’s debut) and some I would have omitted in favor of others. To be honest did we need to see four matches with former star Monty Brown? Why not show the inaugural Ultimate X match (Kazarian vs. Shane vs. Sabin) or America’s Most Wanted vs. The Naturals in the inaugural Six Sides of Steel match or some of the World X Cup battles or Ron “the Truth” Killings winning the NWA World Heavyweight championship; guess not that one since he works for WWE as R-Truth yet we get a CM Punk match. The great tag teams of NWA World Tag Team champions Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger or Kid Kash/Dallas AKA Lance Hoyt would have been great to see too. How about the entire X Division which at that time included “Baby Bear” Alex Shelley (find Goldilocks storyline for the reason), Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian, Michael Shane (Matt Bentley) to name a few, here we get only three matches. I do remember some great matches happening in 2002 yet TNA chose only 2.

All TNA Wrestling fans need to buy this DVD and email or Twitter the folks who run the creative side of the programming telling them that this is wrestling at its finest. The DVD is labeled Volume1, I hope that is not a false hope and the TNA production office creates many volumes of the Asylum years. It should be watched alongside the previous DVD releases The History of TNA: Year One and the 50 Greatest Moments in TNA History.

TNA Wrestling Presents: the Best of the Asylum Years Volume 1 can be purchased at retail locations like FYE or