Asylum era TNA was best when they got weird. And they did that quite a lot. AJ Styles once wrestled Larry Zbyszko. Dusty Rhodes once had a ladder match with Brian Lawler. There was a good three-month stretch where dumb Sandman hardcore matches were the highlight of the show. And best of all people would just show up at random. Viscera would appear, side with Ron Killings for a couple weeks and never be seen again. One of those people was Mike Barton. Smoking Gunn and known shoot fighter, the former Brawl For All winner Bart Gunn had exactly one match in TNA and on this night in TNA Barton was shooting.
Barton wrestled Perry Saturn, who himself had an utterly wacky TNA run. Saturn’s singles matches in TNA were against Mike Barton, Mike Awesome, Glen Gilbertti and Kenzo Suzuki. What a resume! I’m pretty sure Saturn was worried about his own fighting credibility because these two decided to beat the living hell out of each other. Seriously, they pretty relentlessly punched each other in the face very hard. And when they weren’t punching each other in the face they were taking turns suplexing each other on their heads. Barton jumped Saturn before the match backstage to set the tone for things to come and busted Saturn open nearly immediately. I can only assume it was hard way, though if it wasn’t they certainly seemed to be trying to. A plucky, courageous Saturn fights back only for Barton to cut him off and hit a delayed vertical suplex. The imagery was amazing though as the blood was trickling down the head of Saturn onto Barton’s torso as he held him in the air. The finish was fantastic too as Barton punched Saturn in the head so hard that he hurt his own hand. He shot too hard on Saturn and Saturn’s thick dome went and broke Barton’s hand. He literally won the match by blocking a Barton punch with his face. Saturn then went full Zack Sabre Jr, bending and twisting Barton’s hand in every different direction until Barton submitted.
This match was amazing. I think Mike Barton vs. Perry Saturn is the most weirdly fantastic match in TNA history – because Barton was never seen in TNA again, Saturn never really did anything but a series of thoroughly weird singles matches, and in the grand scheme of TNA history and even the stories at the time this meant pretty much nothing. And yet they went out there, beat the unmerciful life out of each other, Saturn bled buckets and they had a stunningly compelling match where Barton was relentless in his assault and Saturn fought for everything he could. This match ruled. Weird TNA was the best TNA.