Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame
Join Date: Dec 2004
Re: Official TNA DVD Help/Discussion/Review Thread
In celebration of Slammiversary & the 8th year of TNA coming close to an end, I thought I'd do this neat little 4 part series honoring the 10 best matches of each year in TNA.
Each "year" will be from June to June, or more accurately, Slammiversary to Slammiversary. Since TNA first debuted in June of 2002, I thought it'd make more sense to do it that way.
Year 1 = 1st Weekly PPV - 1st Anniversary Show
A majority of the footage I've seen of year one is from the DVDs I've collected (Best of TNA Title Matches, Best of AJ Vol 1, Best of AMW, & History of Year One), so I didn't have too much to work with. The Weekly PPV format, while not an ideal situation, was TNA's exposure to the wrestling world, & it was the start of their growth into a mainstream promotion. From what I have seen in Year 1, it was basically the X Division that carried the show, especially in the early months. They offered a brand of wrestling that, as has been stated before, was like the next stage of evolution from what was established by the WCW Cruiserweights back in the day. Later on the tag division picked up with AMW, The New Church, & Triple X doing really well, & the main event scene finally picked up once AJ Styles moved up the ranks & Raven signed with the promotion, which began his famous rivalry with Jeff Jarrett, which was by far the best World Title feud of the 1st year. The shining star of the year, without question, was AJ Styles who quickly became TNA's poster boy as he moved up the ranks of the X Division, Tag Division, & eventually into the World Title scene. He became World Heavyweight Champion right before the One Year Anniversary.
1) AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Low Ki vs. Psychosis: Very First X Division Championship Match (TNA's 2nd Show) = AWESOME match. To this day, its still one of my personal favorites from TNA's history. The ending between AJ & Lynn reminded me of Savage vs. Steamboat in how it came off, and it was their concluding 15 minutes that put this match, the X Division, and to a degree, TNA as a whole, on the map.
2) Low Ki (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn: X Division Championship Ladder Match (August 2002) = This is probably the most referenced match from the first six months of TNA. It was an excellent Ladder match (one of the best I've ever seen) that showed off the very best that the X Division had to offer at the time.
3) Jeff Jarrett (c) vs. Raven: NWA World Championship (April 2003) = This match has to be on there. It was the first World Title match built up by TNA that felt like a big deal and it delivered in spades. It was exciting, action packed, violent, & was just awesome to watch.
4) Triple X (c) vs. Jerry Lynn & Amazing Red: NWA Tag Team Championship (April 2003) = This is somewhat of a forgotten gem, but trust me when I say that its one of the best tag team matches in TNA history. Its a very good X Division type of tag match that was certainly fast paced & exciting.
5) Jeff Jarrett (c) vs. AJ Styles: NWA World Championship (February 2003) = This was the match that proved AJ Styles could hang with the heavyweights as his performance against Jarrett proved that his high flying & fast paced style could mesh well in the main event picture.
6) The New Church (c) vs. America's Most Wanted: NWA Tag Team Championship No Disqualifications Match (January 2003) = The AMW/New Church feud put TNA's tag team division on the map and this was the cap stone of what was a very violent tag team feud.
7) AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn: Best of 3 Series (Falls Count Anywhere, No DQ, & 10 Min Ironman) (August 2003) = It might be cheating to include the entire 3 match series as one match, but since all three matches happened on the same show, & the last two were back to back, I say why not? Anyways, this match was yet another example of how good AJ & Lynn were together as they tore the house down.
8) AJ Styles (c) vs. The Amazing Red: X Division Championship (October 2002) = This was my personal favorite 1 on 1 X Division Title match in the first year. It was very strange to see AJ working with somebody that he actually drawfs, and it made for an interesting match up. And of course it was a perfect example of that high flying daredevil style that the X Division is known for.
9) Raven vs. AJ Styles: Hardcore Ladder Match (March 2003) = This match was great because it was a perfect meshing of Raven's hardcore style with AJ's high flying, and it proved to be a pretty entertaining match up.
10) AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, & Low Ki vs. The Flying Elvises (TNA's 1st Show) = It was the very first match in TNA history, so it deserves some love right? It was a nice teaser for the kind of action that the X Division would soon give us.
Year 2 = 1st Steel Cage Match - 2nd Year Anniversary Show
Year 2 showed signs of TNA's growth & development into a mainstream wrestling company. With improvements in production & setting also came more daring experimenting when it came to making matches. In addition to having their very first Steel Cage match, TNA also debuted some of their more famous concept matches including The King of the Mountain Match & the trademark match of the X Division, The Ultimate X. Speaking of the X Division, they also saw some expasion with TNA trying some different things with them, including the creation of the Super X Cup Tournament & more famously, the World X Cup Tournament which highlighted X Division style talents from all over the World. Year 2 ended with TNA getting their first TV deal, which was a Friday afternoon slot on FSN.
1) Michael Shane (c) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki: X Division Championship Ultimate X Match (January 2004) = In my opinion, this was an awesome Ultimate X Match, and one that usually gets overlooked. This one perfected what was established in the first UX match & proved it was something worth doing again.
2) Triple X (c) vs. America's Most Wanted: NWA Tag Team Championship Steel Cage Match (June 2003) = This was the most highly praised match of Year 2 when it first happened. TNA's first Steel Cage match was an instant classic that combined elements of tag team wrestling & daredevil antics. Nowadays, it is sometimes compared unfavorably to the rematch in 2004, but its still very good in its own right.
3) Ron Killings (c) vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. AJ Styles vs. Chris Harris vs. Raven: NWA World Championship King of the Mountain Match (June 2004) = Another first for TNA was the King of the Mountain Match, This was a very strong debut for this concept & again, I feel its often overlooked when KOTMs are discussed & compared. It had great action from all five men throughout.
4) Jeff Jarrett (c) vs. Chris Harris: NWA World Championship (March 2004) = This is another one of those forgotten gems from TNA's past. Anybody who saw this match could tell you that at one time, Chris Harris had a lot of potential. It was a very good, old school kind of championship match.
5) Raven, D'Lo Brown, Jeff Jarrett, & America's Most Wanted vs. AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Shane Douglas, Simon Diamond, & Johnny Swinger: War Games Match (September 2003) = Long before TNA would create their own version of War Games with Lethal Lockdown, they tried to present the old school concept & with great results. By combining veterans like Jarrett & Douglas with TNA Originals like AJ, Daniels, & AMW & putting them all inside of a cage, we were treated to a very exciting bout.
6) AJ Styles vs. Abyss (November 2003) = I have always been a big fan of "David vs. Goliath" type of matches and putting AJ Styles against the much larger monster, Abyss, made for a natural chemistry and some very good matches. This was my personal favorite between the two in the Weekly PPV era of TNA.
7) Eric Young vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Mr. Aguila vs. Taichi Ishikari: World X Cup Ladder Match (May 2004) = TNA's 1st World X Cup was actually featured all on one show, and this was definitely my favorite match from that event. Eric Young was the star here as not only did he get Team Canada a victory, but he showed that he can bump around like few others. He really stood out in this very entertaining match up.
8) Chris Sabin (c) vs. Michael Shane vs. Frankie Kazarian: X Division Championship Ultimate X Match (August 2003) = The first Ultimate X had some problems with it, most notably the difficulty in keeping the belt attached to the X, but through it all, the three men pressed on and had a unique match up that would alter the X Division forever. Michael Shane definitely had the best performance of his career.
9) Chris Sabin vs. Juventud Guerrera: Super X Cup Finals (September 2003) = On the same show we got TNA's War Games match & the Super X Cup tournament, which culminated with this great athletic display from Sabin & Juvi. Like alot of the matches I've listed here, its a forgotten classic, and this is one of the earlier gems of the X Division.
10) America's Most Wanted vs. Johnny Swinger & Simon Diamond (July 2003) = AMW often gets praised for putting TNA's tag team division on the map, but this feud with Swinger & Diamond is often overlooked. The matches were very good, and I thought this one in particular (featured on the Best of AMW DVD) was a pretty awesome tag team encounter.
Part 2 will come up later where I'll have alot more to work with outside of my DVD collection as TNA began doing Monthly PPVs, and I actually started watching TNA once they got into FSN, so I'll actually have a memory to pull from.