It's been eight long years since TNA first debuted. The time has flown and the moments are living in our brains. The Elix Skipper cage walk, Kurt Angle's debut, Samoa Joe's win at Lockdown. What are your favorite moments? Are yours like mine?
Do you replay your favorite matches over and over again? Do you still clamber for Michael Sha..err...Matt Bentley because of his amazingnes winning the X- Title with Kazarian?
I'm sure you do, we all do. That's why we're fans. And it's because of that stuff that's why we keep coming back, and sometimes why we suffer through the bad times. So with out further a do and no more delay, let's get into an LOE official TNA Countdown!
How do you define tag team wrestling? With heart, desire and quick tags! And these two teams put forth that in abundance!
The Guns and Beer Money went through a brutal best of five, with a shocking quick start, Beer Money went up 2-0 on the champions. However thanks to plenty of well timed kicks, The Guns were able to roar back and even it all up 2-2 when at the Whole F'N show in a dramatic two out of three falls match, The Guns solidify the right to be called the best Tag Team today!
What's in store for the Guns next? Only one way to find out.
November of 2005 at the Genesis pay per view, he debuted. After wrestling against Monty Brown and earning a future title shot, he tags with the returning Sting.
That's not a shabby first three months huh? But after that wasn't even the most impressive part, the most impressive part was that he challenged the reigning champion Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Title at Against All Odds in February of 2006.
The match was hotly contested. Jarrett and Cage went back and forth, going toe to toe for the entire match. But even with Gail Kim's interference, Jarrett's attempt to use the guitar and countless other outside interferences, Christian was able to do what few has: beat Jarrett 1..2..3 clean in the middle of the ring.
The amazing part of this night was that he did it by himself. But the celebration sure wasn't done alone. The fans joined with Rhino and celebrated in the ring with Christian, ultimately breaking the ring in the celebration!
The Celtics have more titles in NBA history then anyone. Only fitting that Samoa Joe, one of the most decorated competitors to date in TNA should face off with the Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle for his last chance at the TNA Title.
Joe risked his career for this title. Joe put it all on the line against a man who has a pinned him before cleanly.
So it was a match that Joe could lose, but he didn't.
Joe went in hell bent and was able to pull of the miraculous win over Angle.
Joe would go on to hold the belt for 182 days before succumbing to the Main Event Mafia's will.
A seemingly regular Impact that saw Abyss vs. Rhino. The two men battled in a typical match that didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
That was until Rhino decided a renovation of the Impact Zone was in order. Rhino decided that instead of using a hammer, saw or even a wrecking ball, he'd use the 350 pound monster Abyss. Rhino gored Abyss through a wall that was so stunning Shane Douglas barely got out of the way!
The match ended abruptly after that for some odd reason....
Go figure, you go through a wall an suddenly people don't think you should keep fighting...weird.
This match was a true classic.
Some say the 30 minute time limit draw took away from the match, but I think it added to it.
You don't go through the action these guys went through for 20 minutes and not feel really sore. Add on another two 5 minute over times with even more damage inflicted, it's not surprised that it went to a draw, a human body can only take so much and the TNA management knew that.
This simply was Jeff Hardy's greatest match ever and Angle's best in several years.
A true classic.
Why did AMW side with Jarrett...simple
For the money...
For the power...
For the benefit of making this segment...
Nothing from Team Canada?
This was an amazing sketch as we saw Team Canada (Eric Young, Bobby Roode, A-1, and the captain Petey Williams), Abyss, James Mitchell, Coach D'Amore, Gail Kim and Jeff Jarrett joined America's Most Wanted in mocking the beat down Team 3D received. It was a powerfully funny segment that I encourage everyone to go see, a great way to lead into Bound For Glory 2005.
In easily the promo of the year in any promotion, Mr. Anderson at Sacrifice 2010 dubbed himself an asshole. And... he dubbed his fans...Anderson's Assholes...
Gotta say pretty catchy and damn sure made me laugh. Not only was this a great verbal moment in TNA's history but both Anderson and Christy Hemme had a fantastic visual interaction as well. Both nailed their cues and both had fun with the promo and that's how you know it was successful.
Hemme and Anderson had every right to win one of those Emmy thingy's but unfortunately they don't hand those out to the world of Pro Wrestling for best skit.
So expect In The Other Side awards this December for both Hemme and Anderson to be properly rewarded.
While Gail has come and gone, and TNA's focusing more on certain women over others, this is still a very good division. The women in this promotion are amazing talents and have every right to be called the best in the world.
But go back to 2007, and thank Gail Kim. Because before people were talking about Kong, The Beautiful People, Tara or anyone else for that matter, it was Gail.
Gail Kim won every first match, she won the first woman's Lockdown match, she won the first Knockout's title at Bound For Glory and she won the hearts of many many fans.
She's always gonna be a legend in TNA even if she's no longer in TNA.
James Storm and Chris Harris both were on the very first show in TNA History.
They captured their first taste of gold September 18th, 2002.
They went on to be the biggest set and most popular tag team in the early years of TNA. They feuded and beat everybody. They hold wins over The Three Live Kru, Team Canada, The Naturals and even Team 3D.
They were ceremoniously passed the torch by The Road Warriors thus making them a living legend tag team. AMW eventually wanted more and joined with Jeff Jarrett for the final year of their run together. It was ultimately their failure against the emerging strength of Latin American Xchange aka LAX.
The long time friends, almost brothers, started to crack. They started to loose faith. But they would get one more shot against LAX, as AMW vs. LAX was booked for a special title vs. team match. Meaning Harris and Storm would have to win the belts, or break up. The match was all but in doubt, AMW was mere seconds away from reclaiming the NWA Tag Team Titles...until James Storm nailed Chris Harris in the back of the head...ending the team's existence.
Harris would come back in time for Lockdown 2007 and have an awful blindfold match that many fans called to end the feud.
But a month later, at Sacrifice, Harris and Storm would redeem themselves by having the most hard fought battle where Storms and Harris competed in a last man standing match that would earn both men acclaim.
One day we might see Harris and Storm in a TNA ring again. But until then, all we can do is remember the great matches, and the emotional break up and feud that we got from the greatest tag team that TNA has ever seen.
The opening of TNA meant an alliance with the largest indy promotion in the world, the National Wrestling Alliance. The NWA would allow TNA to piggy back off of it's name and in doing so the NWA would gain main stream attention from TNA by having them as an affiliate and by allowing them to use the NWA World Title.
The belt would first be won in a battle royal on TNA's debut show. 19 wrestlers and one country music star competed in this event that included names like Steve Corino, Rick Steiner, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett, Ron Killings, Buff Bagwell and Konnan. The object of the match? Be one of the final two men left in the ring for a chance to wrestle for the NWA World Title.
The favorites heading in were Scott Hall and Jeff Jarrett but both men were tossed out leading to the unexpected finals of Ken Shamrock vs. Malice (formerly known as The Wall of WCW fame.) The two men battled it out for several minutes until Shamrock was able to reverse a chokeslam into an overhead belly to belly to give Ken Shamrock his first ever World Title in any company.
He'd go on to drop the belt Ron "The Truth" Killings a few weeks later.
But Shamrock will always be known as the first.
Lets take you back to the live Impact from Las Vegas. The night four men decided that the young stars of TNA needed to be taught a lesson in humility after months of beat downs from A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and others among the top talent in TNA.
Those four men, all world champions decided to take a vow that night to up hold what they thought would be the foundation of success. Sting, the World Champion at the time, Booker T; the newly christened Legends champion, Kevin Nash and the Olympic Gold Medalist himself Kurt Angle all came together in front of the Las Vegas crowd. But the battle lines that night were not only drawn from The MEM's stand point, but from TNA's as well as Mick Foley declared that he had bought shares in TNA and now had the fate of TNA and the MEM in his hands.
However just one week later as Mick Foley and his band of young stars were combating Mafia for the very first time, a threat "beware of five" came to fruition as Scott Steiner came to the ring and pummeled everyone with a lead pipe, officially joining the Mafia. The span of two weeks saw a group grow so powerful that their reign of terror would last for almost a year.
Though it wasn't always with out inner-turmoil. The group was almost constantly at odds between the leader Kurt Angle and the soul of the group and TNA World Champion, Sting. The rivalry between the two heads would spiral so far and so fast that in a 2 month span, Sting would loose The TNA World Title to Cactus Jack/Mick Foley, put his career on the line in a title match involving three other men and then at Slammiversary 2009 on orders form Angle, Matt Morgan attempted to remove Sting from the MEM. That same night Samoa Joe reached out and literally handed Angle the TNA World Title and helped Angle become a World Champion once again.
For a brief time after the MEM kicked Sting out, they reached a whole new level of physical success, winning the Tag Team Belts (Booker T/Steiner), The Legends Belt (Nash), The X-Division Title (Samoa Joe) and of coarse the World Title.
But soon, Joe would become disenfranchised with being a part of a group for the money. Booker would leave the company and Angle would begin to respect men like A.J. Styles and Matt Morgan. The group broke up shortly there after Bound For Glory V, but the impact and the ramifications of the group are still being felt to this very day.
Before Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns there was... America's Most Wanted vs. Triple X.
AMW, the most decorated and vaunted team in history of TNA. Triple X, three of the baddest men who you've ever seen.
On one hand you had The Wildcat Chris Harris and The Cowboy James Storm. Two men who made their claim beating other people with brutality. And on the other hand, Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper, three men who made their name by being faster, quicker and deadlier then anyone else in pro wrestling.
And it was only a matter of time that this near 2 year feud would cost of these two teams their careers in TNA.
Going back as far as possible one can see that to look at AMW, you must see XXX as well as both teams mirror each other. AMW lost many a matches to XXX as well as the other way around. The tag titles were constantly swapping waist's and neither team could get a real advantage of one another.
In a bizarre turn of events, The Naturals beat both AMW and XXX to retain their NWA Tag Titles. But the next week, James Storm of AMW was not cleared to wrestle and Christopher Daniels of XXX was injured, so Chris Harris and Elix Skipper teamed up and won the titles. Shortly after their victory, James Storm and Daniels would partner up and win the tag belts from their former partners!
Both teams were for the most part at each others throats! Until Team Canada entered the title picture and took the tag titles for themselves. And that allowed harmony to return to the tag team world and AMW and XXX would engage in one last feud with each other. The feud would go on for the first TNA PPV, Victory Road 2004 and culminate the next month at Turning Point 2004 in a steel cage match where who ever lost....would be forced to break up and never tag again. Skipper hit the highlight of the night by tightrope walking the top of a steel cage, but with that move, AMW was still able to go on and win the match.
The span of matches that these two teams had with each other could fill up a dvd by themselves.
Heading into September of 2009 it had been 4 long years since A.J. was at the top of TNA, his last World Title win was in May of 2005 against Jeff Jarrett and this time, there was no Tito Ortiz.
A.J. walked into a match that had Kurt Angle, fresh off a DUI arrest and clearly not completely focused on the match. Sting, fresh off his war with The Main Event Mafia. Matt Morgan, the wrestler that was most on a roll during this time period, having picked up wins over Abyss, A.J. Christopher Daniels and almost beating Sting earlier in the year he was the clear cut favorite to win the belt. However just as the odds were bad enough for Styles,they got worse when Hernandez finally cashed in his TNA World Title Feast of Fired Briefcase. A.J. was stunned, distraught, on a loosing streak, and having to face three men who have beaten him over the last year in Sting, Angle and Morgan. A.J. was as low as one can be....but he was never out.
A.J. spent a majority of the match doing what he could from where he could and thanks to some interference on behalf of Eric Young, Hernandez was no longer a threat, and thanks to Hernandez's beating of Angle during his time in the match, Angle was barely a threat either. That left Styles to face off with his mentor Sting and his own personal Goliath, Matt Morgan. The match was hotly contested and it seemed almost painfully obvious that Sting or Morgan would win, until Angle came back with a vengeance! However, Matt Morgan would cap off Angle's night by sending him to La La Land via a Carbon Footprint. Sting sent Morgan to the floor and stood up to as if to tell A.J...'it's your turn' and leaps to the floor to make sure Morgan didn't get involved! A.J. would win the belt with a 450 splash and cement his legacy as only the 2nd person to win both the NWA World Title AND TNA World Title.
Just think that a few weeks prior to this, A.J. wanted to retire after loosing the best of three to Morgan.
What a turn around...
Say what you will about the Hogan and Bischoff regime but they have had some impressive moments. While yes, I will admit I believe they are finally heading in the right direction, it will take time to build TNA up to a whole new level, and that all started January 4th, 2010.
A night that was filled with controversy before it even started a live Monday Night Impact! on Spike T.V., it featured many a surprises and great wrestling a like.
That night we saw the legendary figures debut in TNA in Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. We saw the hottest and most popular wrestler of the last 5 years return to TNA in Jeff Hardy. We saw the ugly as well as Orlando Jordan, Sean Morley and The Nasty Boys all debuted that night as well.
But what we also saw was the Band reunite in TNA, they hadn't been together as a group since 2002 and that night the reformed.
But what most people will remember about the show, is that amazing main event match pitting Kurt Angle against the TNA World Champion A.J. Styles in a match that some 9 months later is still in the top three for match of the year.
But it wasn't what happened that night that truly made the biggest mark in the company, it was what it allowed, Rob Van Dam, Ink Inc, Generation Me, Mr.Anderson, The Pope's rise to glory, Beer Money/MCMG, Tommy Dreamer, Fourtune and a Bound For Glory main event that has every fan wondering...who's gonna win..
The ground work was laid and yes, Hogan/Bischoff made a lot of moves that weren't popular but when you look at the landscape and possibilities TNA is playing with now, it's no wonder that they are in the best possible position to start making real progress. And all that can be attributed to January 4th.
It truly was a match of the year candidate and it falls short for me to the No Surrender Ultimate X match involving Daniels/Styles and LAX. But this match for me takes the cake as my favorite match of 2006 and number 6 on the countdown for several reasons.
1) It pitted three men who were on the first ever TNA show in a match together and it showcased all four men who had been with the company since the first year.
2) It pitted the best the X-Division ever saw vs. the best the Tag Division ever saw.
3) AMW had their numbers. They had yet to loose to the triple crown champ and the longest reigning X-Division Champion we had seen at the time.
4) This was it, make it or break it. Win the belts, or go home as loosers.
The match was hard hitting, fast paced and had more near falls then a bunch of drunk 12 year olds on stilts. Thanks to a well timed debut from Sirelda, Gail Kim (AMW's valet) was neutralized ensuring no outside interference.
AJ and Daniels were finally able to overcome the odds that night and captured the NWA Tag Team Titles.
Few men win a world title in their career.
Fewer men win two world titles in their career in two different promotions
Even fewer men have won a world title in a night after winning three matches total in one night.
And to my knowledge non of them did it starting the night as a heel and ending it as a face.
But that's what Rhino did to start the first ever Bound For Glory off! Rhino wrestled in a Monsters Ball match against Jeff Hardy, Abyss and Sabu, earning the victory after Rhino-driving Hardy off the 2nd turnbuckle and through a table.
Then it got out and the night was in chaos, Kevin Nash, the challenger in the main event featuring Jeff Jarrett was unable to compete due to an irregular heart beat... so TNA management decided the new number one contender will be decided their tonight in a battle royal which would happen just prior to the main event. Rhino entered that match a heel and outlasted the likes of Samoa Joe, Ron Killings, Sabu, Lance Hoyt, Jeff Hardy, Monty Brown,Kip James and A.J. Styles, where he finally beat Abyss to move on to the main event. Tito Ortiz would serve as special enforcer again for the 2nd time that year.
Rhino went into the match having been beaten on for nearly 27 minutes in a combined hardcore/battle royal. He would however....do what no one thought he could do and actually beat Jeff Jarrett!
A night to remember for Rhino that's for sure.
A.J. Styles a triple crown champion and the biggest face in TNA in 2005. Jeff Jarrett, the longest reigning World Champ in TNA's history at 347 days.
He was unbeatable. He had wins over Hardy, Nash, DDP, Monty Brown and even his competitor A.J. Styles. But even with all that in mind, Jarrett was still weary. So weary that he didn't trust special ref Tito Ortiz to call it down the middle.
Maybe next time you don't piss off Ortiz?
With Styles in control, Jarrett looked to take control of the match but in doing so, caught the attention of Tito Ortiz who knocked Jarrett's lights out. Memo: don't push the ref...when the ref punches harder then you.
Styles then went up to the top rope and hit the Spiral Tap for the first time in near 2 years. Ortiz called the match down the middle, and didn't even DQ the match when Monty Brown interfered.
Styles ended the near year reign, to bad he'd drop the belt the next month to Raven.
This was the night that TNA finally made it. The night they were gonna be on prime time t.v.. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could top that moment!............oh....yeah...never mind, I lied.
There was one announcement, the announcement of KURT ANGLE!
Fresh off his release in late August, Kurt Angle signed a contract with TNA and debuted in a video package at the end of No Surrender's pay per view. But it was still yet, not the most polarizing image of Angle's debut.
Two weeks before Bound For Glory Angle debuts in the Impact Zone gunning for Samoa Joe and his hijacked title.
The two men had the most intense stare down in the history of wrestling, before Joe got headbutted by Angle and then Angle Slammed!
The visual that stand outs in everyone's mind is Angle holding the NWA title in triumph...and Joe rising slowly behind him...bloodied and enraged.
A fantastic moment for the history books.
Jeff Jarrett was the corrupter in 2005. First it was the ever lovable Monty Brown, and then America's Most Wanted fell to Jarrett's power. Even Abyss was influenced by the man who lived on Planet Jarrett.
But TNA knew that to unseat Jarrett, they had to go to an outside source, Christian Cage. But with Brown and Jarrett already laying waste to Rhino, Cage's long time friend, and he then having to deal with Abyss, TNA was desperate, so they turned to a legend, they turned to the man, they turned to the rafters for Sting!
Sting was hinted at after the main event of Turning Point 2005 as Jarrett and Brown celebrated in the ring. Then at the New Years party to usher in 2006, Sting had officially declared that he was signing with TNA. And then at Final Resolution 2006, Sting teamed up with Christian Cage to finally put a dent in Jeff Jarrett's impervious armor. It was then and only then that people saw hope for a non Jarrett controlled TNA.
Sting has gone on to help Abyss, Christian, A.J. Styles, Matt Morgan and others reach a whole new level in their career. But it all started in the Impact Zone with chants of..."YOU STILL GOT IT!"
Sabu wrestles Samoa Joe at Lockdown 2006
Christian Cage wants to be a champion like Jeff Jarrett
Team 3D's debut
Sacrifice 3 way
Jeff Hardy debuts in TNA (2004)
Angle vs. Styles last man standing.
Sting vs. Styles Bound For Glory V
Team Sting vs. Team Jarrett, Lethal Lockdown 2006
Raven wins the NWA Title
Raven vs. Hardy in a tables match at Lockdown 2005
Styles vs. Abyss at Lockdown 2005
Mr. Anderson's Debut
Why this pay per view was amazing
1) The Kevin Nash Open Invitational X-Division Gauntlet Battle Royal For Bound For Glory. Not really the match, but the commentating, the pre ppv skits with Alex Shelley and Kevins Nash were comedy gold.
2) The four corners match that showcased three legendary teams, America's Most Wanted, Team 3D and The James Gang (aka The New Age Outlaws)
3) A Monsters Ball involving Abyss, Joe, Raven and Brother Runt that was just bloooooddddddy!!!!
4) The 8 Mile Street Fight pitting former friends Rhino and Christian Cage
5) The X-Division Title Match where Sabin finally out wrestled Senshi to win the belt
6) The NWA Tag Team title cage match where LAX beat Styles and Daniels in a bloody display.
7) Sting winning the NWA title from Jarrett with Angle as the Special Enforcer. Now if only WCW had tried that ending at the end of Starrcade...
For anyone's good hard money, Bound For Glory II (2006) was the best pay per view to date. It was the most ground breaking, had the best matches, and was the first ever event held outside of the television studios.
If your a wrestling fan, then this is the pay per view for you. It has pretty much everything one can ask for. Hell even a Looser leaves TNA match... with the infamous "DON'T FIRE ERIC" chants. What more can you want out of a show!?
Chad is the founder of Lords Of Evolution Radio and all the LOE branches including the forum, facebook, myspace etc. He runs the daily operations with his long time co-founder Andrew Campise and runs the show with good friend Ed Scoglio. They are on the air together every Monday and Tuesday.
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