Induction: Frank Trigg vs. AJ Styles: You can’t spell “suMMArily awful” without “MMA”

17 Submitted by on Thu, 28 March 2013, 20:00

Many people who aren’t wrestling fans are incapable of seeing the appeal of watching people pretend to beat each other up. This has always baffled me, since most all television, even so-called “reality” TV, is scripted. Anyone who has ever enjoyed fiction in any genre or medium knows the advantages of scripted entertainment and storytelling. When the action is written in advance, or when the actors are working together, magic happens that would never happen in real-life.

Only in movies would you ever see tripwires taking down helicopters and overturning semi trucks (like in The Dark Knight) or see a gutwrench suplex used in a street fight (like in They Live).  gut wrench
 they live knees they live bite And let’s face it, real-life fights are kind of boring, but what’s even worse is when fictional programming tries to imitate real life by say, showing two extremely-winded guys biting each others’ hands and kneeing each other in the groin as they struggle to their feet (also like in They Live).
The point is, in the same way that The Dark Knight focuses on the over-the-top action of heroes and villains that, while physically possible, would never happen in a million billion years (rather than on, say, Bruce Wayne sitting on the can or Harvey Dent clipping his nails), pro wrestling, by virtue of being staged, gets to showcase the highly unlikely performances and moves of athletes rather than (Randy Orton excepted) ten-minute-long headlocks or (Bryan-Sheamus excepted) eighteen-second fights ending in a knockout blow. There’s a reason why no one is clamoring for a Best of Ed ‘Strangler’ Lewis 5-DVD set (which would probably be just long enough to squeeze in a half dozen matches). FTAJ 1
 ultimate punching and kicking That’s not to say that MMA is boring, but its excitement derives from the fact that it’s real. The athletes are there to win, not to put on a good show. If a guy knocks his opponent out in under a minute, you’ll cheer for him, rather than vow never to watch UFC again for booking such a disappointing bout. But just as MMA fans would never put up with a fighter attempting an Irish whip or moonsault, wrestling fans would never put up with round after round of aimless punching and kicking.Just ask TNA.
Frank Trigg, an MMA fighter who had been hanging around TNA with lookalike Kurt Angle for months in 2008, finally decided to step into the six-sided ring at September’s No Surrender pay-per-view in Oshawa, Ontario. The only catch was that it would not be a standard wrestling match, but rather a fight contested under MMA rules. No pins would be counted; the only way to win would be by submission. Anyone vaguely familiar with the Brawl-For-All will know that shoot fights and wrestling shows don’t mix, so of course TNA had something different in mind: a worked MMA fight. FTAJ 2
 FTAJ 3 Hey, I only said it was a different idea, not a better one. And who better to do battle with the MMA veteran than The Phenomenal AJ Styles, who is known for his high-flying moves and acrobatic style, none of which would translate into an MMA fight?
The fake real fight would be contested across three five-minute rounds, as apparently TNA’s bookers were big fans of the fake boxing match between Roddy Piper and Mr. T as well as the rounds system of the legendary AWF. FTAJ 4
FTAJ 5 The match started off with Trigg demonstrating that mic skills are not a prerequisite for success in the world of MMA by delivering a rambling, half-hearted promo about how Canada and the Toronto-area sports teams suck. If this had been an NXT contest, he would finish somewhere between Eli “Mustache” Cottonwood and Michael “Genesis of” McGillicutty.
FTAJ 6
FTAJ 7

A sincere question.

Soon, Styles and Trigg (who was playing the heel, if you couldn’t tell) were tentatively punching and kicking each other. Within minutes, fans were revolting in droves against this “match,” with chants of “We want wrestling” and “This is bullshit.” The announcers did a commendable job ignoring these chants, which was not easy considering that the cameramen kept zooming in on fans chanting to fire Vince Russo. TNA fans, who are known all the world over for being able to identify what is and is not wrestling, were begging for the fight to end, which it eventually did… ultimate punching and kicking fire russo
morasca slaps …but not before Trigg delivered some Jenna Morasca-caliber slaps (a full nine months before Victory Road 2009!)…
…plus one inexlicable slap to AJ’s butt… butt slap
FTAJ 7.5 …AJ Styles delivered the only thing resembling wrestling, only to be interrupted by the end of the round…
…and the live feed went out for several seconds and was replaced by porn (which, considering that most people seeing this PPV were simply watching it online anyway, probably led viewers to chalk up the X-rated mishap to an absent-minded stream host rather than TNA’s production crew). FTAJ 8
 knee to groin The six-minute spar ended early in the second round when AJ accidentally kneed Trigg in the groin (or the quad). Fans in attendance had a mixed reaction; many were angry with the cheap finish, while the rest were angry about having to have watched the “match” in the first place. AJ then attacked Trigg with a kendo stick in an attempt to salvage the segment.
Now, you might remember that Trigg’s rules clearly stated that victory could only be achieved by submission, and TNA made good on that promise, declaring the match not a victory for Trigg by disqualification, but rather a no-contest in which nobody won.  FTAJ 9
FTAJ 10 And I can’t think of a more fitting ending. After all, Frank Trigg was never seen again in TNA, AJ would remain without the TNA title for another year, and wrestling fans were cheated out of ticket money, pay-per-view charges, or minutes of laptop battery life.

The 1-and-1/5-round exhibition was not a contest, and nobody won.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He currently runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws and Hasbro WWF figures. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
17 Responses to "Induction: Frank Trigg vs. AJ Styles: You can’t spell “suMMArily awful” without “MMA”"
  1. John Matrix says:

    I always laugh when people say that fight scene from They Live is the “best fight scene of all time.” It’s so boring.

  2. The Doctor of Style says:

    By the time Mike Tenay was reporting about Trigg “slapping him on the butt,” I’m sure the viewers at home were chanting “Fire Russo” too.

  3. Stephen says:

    That fight scene is one of the (many) reasons They Live! is the most underrated film of the eighties.

  4. patricko says:

    Caveat: I LOVE They Live….

    It was a great fight scene. And about as technical a wrestling match as I ever saw the Hot Rod wrestle.

    It was great because it was realistic.
    Save for the suplex.
    Most guys that don’t fight for a living are going to be sucking wind and kneeing at groin and rolling around on the ground after a couple minutes, if they’re serious about the fight and not posturing.
    And If they’re starting to lose, they won’t be above biting, pinching, nut-grabbing…

    Or: they’re going to be dropped by 1-2 punches, which would have been a boring, short fight scene, and whoever lost would have been a weak, non-threatening ally for the rest of the movie, which wouldn’t have worked.

  5. James S says:

    the other thing you forgot to mention is when a “real” fight happens in pro-wrestling and one of the participants in this “fight” throws knife edge chops. I remember that happening once on TNA and I thought “who throws knife edge chops in a street fight ?”

  6. Walt says:

    A worked MMA fight…it’s actually entertaining. The problem was, AJ Styles doesn’t know how to work shoot style, and Trigg didn’t know how to work a match; so the match-up was wrong.

    In Japan in the late 80′s and early 90′s groups like UWF, UWFi, and Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi changed Japanese wrestling. A lot of matches in the 80′s in NJPW and especially AJPW with the NWA influence had Dusty finishes. So guys defected, started up shoot style offices and had clean finishes. It forced AJPW and NJPW to clean up their finishes. The shoot style in UWFi, UWF, PWFG and then other groups like Fighting Network RINGS and Hybrid Wrestling Pancrase were a precursor to MMA, except they fought under pro wresting rules. Sometimes it was worked, sometimes it wasn’t depending on the office, but it can be entertaining. Battlarts was entertaining and still allowed room for gimmicks while not sacrificing in ring technical skills, like Keita Yano and his “surfer Joker” look.

    Even today, Inoki still has his crazy shoot style fed IGF, Daisuke Ikdea sometimes runs Fu-Ten, Original Tiger Mask has Real Japan Pro. It’s a shame TNA had to mess up shoot style for American audiences. Even though, maybe American audiences don’t want realism, which is why Gorgeous George is better remembered than Farmer Burns

    • outlawtotheend says:

      A little wrestling history never hurts. In this case, though, it just magnifies the mistakes these bookers made.

  7. Thomas Moffatt says:

    Hang on didn’t WWE do something similar with Ken Shamrock and Vader? And Ken Shamrock v some dude on RAW?

    • Jack Mehoff says:

      Vader vs. Shamrock IYH 15: Cold Day in Hell
      win by submission or KO with a standing 8 count

    • Dustin DuNicDustin NicholsholDustin NicholssDustDUstin says:

      Shamrock, prior to having his first “regulated” match in WWE, had a sparring session with his actual training partner on RAW. It was stopped when Shamrock left the guy a bloody mess.

  8. Mcmax3000mcmamcmax3000 says:

    I was actually in attendance for this show, since I live about an hour or so away from Oshawa, and was a big TNA fan at the time…

    Needless to say, I was chanting along with everybody else during this dreadful “match”.

  9. No Pants Mafia says:

    Um, shouldn’t they have just stopped the fight for a few minuets for Trigg to recover like they do for low blows in MMA? They didn’t even follow MMA rules.

    • Mcmax3000mcmamcmax3000mcmax3000 says:

      If you want to go down that route, they never should’ve had the fight in the first place because MMA wasn’t legal in Ontario until early 2011.

  10. Josh Dionio says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Frank’s nickname in MMA. Seriously. If you have a nickname given to you like Twinkle Toes, 1) You must be a tough mofo, 2) You don’t give a damn what people think about you, and 3) you can dance like Fred Astaire. I think that nickname alone is worthy of Wrestlecrap guys.

  11. Dody says:

    Well, I would like to see Ed “Strangler” Lewis DVD Collection though.

  12. adamclark52 says:

    I was at this show in Oshawa. I had no idea some of the match got cut out for porn. Now I feel even more ripped off.

    They haven’t been back to Oshawa since this. Too bad because it was a fun night.

  13. Trekkie313 says:

    Do the comments work?

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