For years, TNA/Impact Wrestling has been considered by many (especially on this site) to be the spiritual successor to WCW. Granted, much of that reputation has more to do with TNA’s mismanagement than with any commitment to Southern-style wrestling. Still, many former WCW stars did end up plying their trade in TNA, such as co-founder Jeff Jarrett and The Icon Sting.
TNA’s Lockdown 2009 saw two men make their debuts in the company after having wrestled their last WCW match in 1994. Most notable was Mick Foley, who challenged Sting for the world title in the main event…
…but less heralded was the return to the ring of Danny Bonaduce, the former child star from The Partridge Family who last wrestled the actor who played Peter Brady in a dark match at WCW Spring Stampede.
Fifteen years later, TNA invited the 49-year-old radio host and celebrity boxer back to the wrestling ring. As in his WCW match, it would take place before a pay-per-view broadcast, but this time it would be televised to convince any last-minute holdouts to order the pay-per-view…
…and, this being Lockdown, it would be contested inside Six Sides of Steel.
Instead of trying to justify the booking by first having Bonaduce get into some kind of feud with a TNA wrestler, the company simply announced that Bonaduce would be in a match against an opponent yet to be made.
A few weeks before the match, Jeremy Borash went down to the radio station in Philly to promote the match and reveal Danny’s opponent.
Danny said he wasn’t getting paid to wrestle at Lockdown, which helped to explain why TNA booked him in the first place. They would have booked Dennis Stamp if he’d agree to wrestle pro bono.
Besides pride, Bonaduce’s reason for accepting the match at Lockdown in his hometown of Philadelphia was – no joke – to prove that he actually lived there.
Bonaduce wanted to know why it’s called “Six Sides of Steel” when a wrestling ring only had four sides. Did that mean he’d be wrestling in the first-ever steel cube match? No, it just meant that he’d never seen TNA before.
Borash then introduced Eric Young as Danny’s mystery opponent, which didn’t impress Bonaduce too much because he’d never seen the show. Eric answered Danny’s questions humbly – or maybe it was Danny who answered Eric’s questions humbly. They have the same voice.
Danny got a little impatient with Eric being so humble, asking him how he really felt about their upcoming match. “Honestly, it’s, to be honest,” said Young, “it’s kind of a letdown.” Young said Danny wasn’t a professional wrestler, but Bonaduce disputed this, saying he had been paid a lot of money in the past to wrestle, therefore he was, by definition, a professional wrestler.
You might be wondering what the hell Danny was talking about here, as his one and only wrestling match was against one of the Brady Bunch kids before Spring Stampede 1994…
…but he was apparently referring to his boxing matches against the likes of one of the other Brady Bunch kids.
Turns out, not only had Danny never seen TNA before, it seemed he’d never even seen pro wrestling before. “I don’t know if they bent a rule or two for me,” said Bonaduce of his upcoming match, “but I’ve been told I’m allowed to use my feet.”
All in all, Eric showed the utmost patience for a man with the same level of understanding of pro wrestling as Art Donovan…
…who, after seeing Bam Bam Bigelow hit an enzuigiri kick, asked, “When you do that kind of work with the feet, can you hit ‘im?”. Except instead of the clueless old guy just talking about Eric’s match, he was going to be the one wrestling him.
Eric lost his patience and implied, rather generously, that Danny Bonaduce was a D-List celebrity before slapping the radio host.
“Did you just hit me in the face, dude?” asked Bonaduce, superfluously. Well, it was a radio broadcast, so there is a certain level of exposition needed.
Danny wasn’t impressed with the first slap, and called Eric a bitch. More like Danny Bona-douchey, am I right? Eric slapped him again just as lightly, leading to a brawl in the studio.
I’ve seen more heated fight scenes on Are You Being Served?
Flash forward to match time: Danny Bonaduce came to the ring to a warm welcome from the hometown crowd.
See that fan’s sign? It had Danny’s name on it and everythnig!
Not every fan in attendance was on the Bonaduce Bandwagon, though. This very animated man, who had just perhaps been paid by TNA in an effort to make Danny look like a bad ass, got into Danny’s face. Imagine being this worked up about Danny Bonaduce. Danny bit him, which I guess makes him an herbivore.
“The Professor” Mike Tenay, in what was surely a highlight of his illustrious career, reminded fans of the build-up to this all-important match, including Bonaduce “calling E.Y. a bitch.”
The bell rang, and immediately Danny took out nunchaku, which Professor Tenay repeatedly called, “numb chucks”.
As he twirled his weapon, Don West informed viewers that Bonaduce was a third-degree black belt. Danny proceeded to drop his nunchaku, making himself look like a Bona-dunce.
Okay, I admit that insult looks a lot better on paper than it sounds when you say it out loud.
Bona-dookie (There we go!) bent down to pick up his weapon, so did Eric Young give him a cheap shot? No, because this spot was not planned, as this was not a comedy match. TNA really wanted to make Danny Bonaduce appear a credible threat to one of their wrestlers.
So Danny twirled his ’chucks some more, but didn’t use them after all. He instead tossed them away to distract EY so he could kick him (which was legal in this match!).
Danny picked up the nunchaku again, but this time he was cut off by Young, who dropkicked him. Apparently, EY’s feet were legal, too!
Eric tossed Danny around, press-slamming and suplexing him into the cage…
…but still only managed a two count.
Bonaduce fought back and hit a swanton that was as good or better than any other radio host’s in the country. And Danny Boy is pretty damn proud of it, too!
This time, it was Eric Young who kicked out. After hitting a powerbomb…
…Young attempted a moonsault…
…but juuuuust missed, allowing Bonaduce to grab the nunchaku once again.
Eric Young defused the situation by rolling up Danny for the 1-2-3.
Had this been an MMA fight, Bonaduce could have won, but he was overwhelmed by Eric Young’s amateur wrestling tactics (peculiar to this form of combat) and pinned before he could do any real damage.
The two shook hands…
…but it was a trick! Bonaduce clocked the naive wrestler with the “numb chucks”, allowing this Bonaduce-Young program to possibly continue at future pay-per-views.
“I’ll kill you with these,” said the local radio host.
Fortunately, Rhino arrived on the scene to save his buddy Eric from the clutches of Danny Bonaduce. Thus concluded the former ECW champion’s involvement at this event in Philadelphia.
In the end, Danny Bonaduce might not have belonged in a wrestling ring, but at least he didn’t main-event the show, wrestle well beyond his cardiovascular conditioning would allow, or win his match…
…which can’t be said of Mick Foley, who stumbled out of Lockdown the world champion.