As part of the TNA One Night Only series, TNA Tournament of Champions set out to pit the greatest wrestlers the company has to offer against each other to answer an oft-asked question—who is the greatest champion of all time?
Filmed on March 19, Tournament of Champions did just that from Miami, Fla. as the best the company has to offer clashed in a one-of-a-kind tournament featuring past and future champions.
The participants easily made the pay-per-view worth a buy as James Storm, Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Bobby Roode and Sting took to the ring to win the title.
Here's how TNA's major event went down.
|James Storm||Mr. Anderson|
|Samoa Joe||Jeff Hardy|
|Austin Aries||Kurt Angle|
|James Storm||Bully Ray (DQ)|
|Samoa Joe||Austin Aries|
|Bobby Roode||James Storm|
|Bobby Roode||Samoa Joe|
Preliminary Round: James Storm Defeats Mr. Anderson
The first match of the night was actually what can be classified as a wild-card match for the right to enter the actual tournament.
"The Cowboy" had little issues moving past Mr. Anderson, who has become somewhat of an afterthought at this point with the company. It took a surprise superkick in the early goings for James Storm to move on into the tournament itself.
Here's what fans had to say about the match:
Storm hits Anderson with the Last Call Superkick to get the win and face Bully Ray in the quarterfinals. #TournamentofChampions— Seth Drakin (@SethDrakin) November 2, 2013
As noted, Storm moved on for a serious matchup with the powerful Bully Ray in the next round.
Quarterfinals: Samoa Joe Defeats Jeff Hardy
In a matchup with historic implications for the company itself, TNA fans likely paid the price of admission just for this one. It could have easily passed as the main event.
Samoa Joe put the company on the map, and combined with Jeff Hardy, the two elevated TNA together.
On Friday, the two put together a special match that eventually saw Samoa Joe steal the win, which was a bit of an unexpected loss for the three-time TNA world heavyweight champion.
Austin Aries Defeats Kurt Angle
After a plethora of in-ring taunts, Austin Aries took it to Kurt Angle early and never really looked back en route to victory.
As expected, the five-time TNA world heavyweight champion put on a show with the younger talent in an effort to make Aries look great:
@RealKurtAngle You're truly a great ring technician! Your matches are pure gold!— Shawn Powell (@ShawnP75) November 2, 2013
Angle did just that all the way to the end, which saw him attempt an Angle slam that Aries easily reversed into a pin.
Quarterfinals: James Storm Defeats Bully Ray via DQ
Bully Ray, leader of Aces & Eights, started the night by trash-talking a fan, cutting a promo in which he demanded the tournament shut down and the prize given to him, and finally lost via disqualification for cheating.
Sounds about right.
James Storm, fighting for the second time on the night, was in full control of the match and prepping to land a superkick when Devon interfered, which caused the disqualification.
Sure, Storm won, but Devon delivered a crushing blow to his elbow with a hammer. That's a steep price to pay to simply move out of the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: Bobby Roode Defeats Sting
Suffice to say, the tournament to this point did not go as many would have expected.
"The Icon" Sting did an amazing job of putting over young talent here, but to see Sting tap out to anything, even a crossface hold, was odd.
Alas, one of the sport's fastest-rising stars scored the win here. Roode holds one of the longest runs ever atop the company, so his continued push for the sake of veterans makes sense.
The match itself was a great show of talent and made both fighters look strong. It's a shame both could not advance, but fans could say that after every match at this point in such a star-studded affair.
Semifinals: Samoa Joe Defeats Austin Aries
Now here is a match that may go down as the best of the pay-per-view. As always, Austin Aries is entertaining in the ring—not just sound technically—he's entertaining as fans illustrate:
Once again, Aries is being boastful and Joe is laughing while showing him up. #TournamentofChampions— Seth Drakin (@SethDrakin) November 2, 2013
Aries leaves, but runs back in when he realizes Joe isn't following and he could lose by countout. #TournamentofChampions— Seth Drakin (@SethDrakin) November 2, 2013
In not-so-surprising fashion, Samoa Joe was able to obtain the victory by submission via his patented Kokina Clutch after Aries attempted to grab the trunks on a pin, which is how he won his quarterfinal bout.
Unfortunately for Aries, that sort of tactic won't work on Joe, who moved on to the championship match.
Semifinals: Bobby Roode Defeats James Storm
Beer Money, Inc. was at it again, but this time in the semifinals Bobby Roode and James Storm were facing each other for the right to move on to an encounter with Samoa Joe in a quest to be named the greatest champion in company history.
In his third match of the night, Storm entered winded and with a seriously injured elbow after the hammer attack from Dudley earlier in the evening.
After a lengthy bout, Roode still needed to exploit the injured arm and utilize a low blow before applying the crossface, which caused a depleted Storm to eventually tap out.
Finals: Bobby Roode Defeats Samoa Joe
There's plenty of history here, but recent accolades and implications took center stage.
Samoa Joe is responsible for putting TNA on the map, but Roode did much in recent years to elevate the importance of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to the point where a pay-per-view such as this was even justified.
So it should come as no surprise that Roode knocked off Joe to be named the greatest TNA world heavyweight champion in the company's history—he is. Roode held the belt longer than anyone else in the company and helped to add more prestige to it along the way.
The bout between Roode and Joe was great, but the latter's prior bout with Aries was much better. That said, the highlight of the show had a satisfying end with Roode's excellent counter to win the match.
Roode is TNA's best champion.