**Edited on October 1st 2018**
(2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) — Welcome back to the history of TNA series, and apologies it’s taken so long to get back to it. Today we’ll be looking into the year 2009 and highlight what worked and what didn’t. The last two have been too big for my liking so I want to scale it down so it doesn’t take too long to read.
Champions going into 2009 included: Sting (World), Lethal/Creed (Tag Team), Awesome Kong (Knockout) and Booker T (Legends). The X-Division was vacated and to be decided at Genesis.
As part of a cross-promotional deal between TNA and New Japan Pro Wrestling, several TNA stars including Kurt Angle, Team 3D, Kevin Nash, and the Motor City Machine Guns worked matches at Wrestle Kingdom III. On the show, the Machine Guns won the IWGP Junior Tag Team titles, and Team 3D won the IWGP Tag Team titles, and were allowed to carry and defend them on future episodes of TNA Impact and PPV events.
The main story going in was Mick Foley leading the TNA Frontline into battle against the Main Event Mafia.
- The IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin fought in a tournament final to decide the new X-Division champion after it was vacated. Clearly one of the best matches of the night and worthy of the X-Division, and while Shelley used a cheap trick to fool Sabin in the end, they embraced afterwards and kept going as a team.
- Beer Money Inc. won the tag titles for a second time in a triple threat against Lethal/Creed and Abyss/Matt Morgan.
- ODB picked up a Knockouts title shot in a six-Knockout tag team match with Taylor Wilde and Roxxi against the Kongtourage (minus Awesome Kong).
- Easily match of the night was No DQ between Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle. This wouldn’t be the last epic match between them, as they continued having classics over the next couple of years. Lots of crazy spots, emotion, character building, and a finish which suited the feud. Angle managed to roll him into a pin in the latter stages as Jarrett didn’t have the strength to kick out after a vicious beating.
- Heel Sting vs. Face Rhino for the TNA World title. Yeah .. no, that was never going to work out so Sting finished it with a Scorpion Death Drop after eight minutes.
- Foley, AJ Styles and Devon fought Cute Kip (Billy Gunn), Scott Steiner and Booker T in the main event. A disappointing end to an average PPV as Foley and the TNA Frontline won, but AJ Styles was the only one trying to make it exciting. Sting and Angle were too busy with their own matches, Samoa Joe was nowhere to be seen, and let’s be honest and say (with all due respect) that Mick Foley had no right wrestling in the main event at this point in his career.
The best and worst of TNA on one PPV. This became a continuing trend in 2009 as they struggled to realize they had a franchise in AJ Styles, and instead used older guys like Sting and Foley for much of the year. Also the Knockouts Division had gotten gradually worse, and Beer Money had no competition in the tag team scene. Angle, Jarrett, and the Motor City Machine Guns were the stars of Genesis.
Against All Odds – “Power Concedes Nothing Without a Fight”
A show which had potential to further tensions between Sting and Kurt Angle and split the Main Event Mafia, but instead we got nothing. Despite AJ Styles and Samoa Joe featured on the poster, they were not booked to work any matches, although Joe did make an appearance. Neither man managed to get revenge on the Main Event Mafia.
- Shelley retained his title against Eric Young.
- Scott Steiner defeated his former student Petey Williams, which prompted Joe to appear on-screen and give him a warning.
- Brutus Magnus had his TNA PPV debut match and easily beat Chris Sabin.
- Awesome Kong squished her strongest challenger ODB in five minutes to retain.
- Booker T defended his Legends title against indy worker Sean Sewell.
- Morgan blamed Abyss for them not winning the tag titles, so he challenged him to a match and lost.
- Match of the night .. despite it being fairly average for a tag team contest, Beer Money retained against Lethal Consequences (Lethal/Creed).
- In the main event, Sting was set to defend his title against Team 3D and fellow MEM member Kurt Angle in a four-way. Angle showed he just wanted to take the title for himself by saying “it doesn’t matter which MEM member holds it”. In a main event that was shorter than the previous two matches, Sting retained.
A complete waste of time. I ain’t had to say that about many PPV in this series thus far, but I’m saying it here. Avoid this one like the plague.
The main bout for this one was Sting defending his title against Kurt Angle with Jarrett as referee and Foley as the enforcer.
- The Beautiful People introduced a third member in Madison Rayne, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Wilde, Roxxi, and Daffney dressed up as “The Governer”.
- Magnus won again, this time against Eric Young.
- Morgan returned the favour on Abyss in a 10,000 tacks match.
- Awesome Kong defeated one her former minions Sojourner Bolt in a squash match to retain.
- There was some kind of competition to get a date with ODB which Cody Deaner won? Yeah .. I don’t know why.
- So Samoa Joe threatened to kill Scott Steiner with a knife on live television. How wise! This was followed up by Joe destroying Steiner and getting himself disqualified. Again, I don’t know what’s happening in TNA anymore.
- Decent match of the night alert! And guess who’s involved? You guessed it, the one and only savior of PPV AJ Styles. He challenged Booker T for the Legends title, and not only that, made Booker T work (!) like he was back in WCW again. Probably one of the best matches Booker ever had in TNA if I’m honest, but anyone can do that with AJ. TNA officially recognized the Legends title after Styles won it and it also made him the first TNA Grand Slam Champion.
- Beer Money vs. Team 3D for the tag team titles looks good on paper .. but this time it sunk to a new low. Storm got himself disqualified with a chair shot, so Jim Cornette came out and restarted the match. Beer Money got counted out, but this time Jim did not appear to restart it. The crowd chanted bullshit, and even Don West was dumbfounded. Team 3D had a go at West for handing the tag titles to Beer Money afterwards.
- An Ultimate X match for the X-Division before the main event between champion Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Consequences Creed, Jay Lethal, and the debuting Suicide (portrayed by Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian). It was pretty good actually, nothing legendary about it but it was certainly entertaining. The character of Suicide won the match and picked up his first X-Divison title, while in reality it was Daniels’ fourth and Kaz’s third.
- Due to certain things like .. Jarrett getting bumped by a clothesline for 70 years, and immediately no-selling a punch from Angle after recovering, mixed with Foley hitting Sting by accident, this over booked main event will not be fondly remembered by anyone. It was terrible, and only those in charge can be blamed for this disaster. Sting won in the end with the Scorpion Death Drop.
The quality of PPV from 2009 compared to previous years fell dramatically. Many people say “Hogan and Bischoff killed TNA”, but they fail to realize the booking was already in the toilet a year before they showed up. Part of this could’ve been Vince Russo who took over as head writer in 2009 with his own team, but you should also consider Jarrett and Dixie seen as they were around and letting these things happen. AJ Styles winning a meaningless title and the Ultimate X match were the only decent things to come out of Destination X.
The main event was a six sides of steel match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship between Sting and Mick Foley.
- Suicide retained the X-Division title in an “Xscape” match which included some being eliminated by pin-fall for no reason other than they forgot the rules.
- ODB beat Daffney, Madison Rayne and Sojourner Bolt to become the second Queen of the Cage.
- The Motor City Machine Guns retained the IWGP junior tag titles in a decent three-way against LAX and No Limit (Naito and Yujiro)
- Morgan beat Abyss in a Doomsday Chamber Of Blood match where you have to make your opponent bleed before you can pin them. It was a good effort, even if the rules took away from it.
- A three-way for the Knockouts title ended with a new champion as Awesome Kong kicked Taylor Wilde so hard she fell into Angelina Love who took the fall and her first reign as champion.
- A unique match with both the TNA and IWGP tag team titles on the line, Team 3D were in ECW country (Philly) and entered through the crowd. It was quite the heated match which ended with Storm accidentally hitting Roode with the cage door. Team 3D added to their legacy and claimed both championships for themselves.
- Team Jarrett (Jarrett, Styles, Joe, Daniels) challenged the Main Event Mafia (Angle, Booker, Steiner, Nash) in Lethal Lockdown. Instead of it being TNA vs. evil WWE/WCW guys, it was billed more like Jarrett and company vs. Angle and company. There was much teasing through the night and during the match itself that Jarrett would turn on his team and help the Mafia. This did not happen however, as Jarrett nailed Booker with a guitar and got the win for his team.
- While the storytelling had been pretty great considering who’s in the main event, it still left fans with a feeling that Foley was definitely not going to win as he’d been retired for a few years and was still capable, yet not totally believable as World Heavyweight Champion. He showed up as Cactus Jack and stated Mick Foley was at a business meeting. The match had one or two decent moments but the pace was slow and Foley climbed out in the end. It didn’t make any sense, but Foley won and it was the last championship of his career.
The tag team title match was the most exciting, and the rest certainly did not live up to expectation. Foley vs. Sting for the title in 2009 should not have happened, but you can’t blame either man for doing as asked.
The main event was scheduled as a Four Way Ultimate Sacrifice match which saw champion and challengers each put something on the line.
- Eric Young and Lethal Consequences won an entertaining opener against Bashir (Daivari) and MCMG. EY didn’t like the way Lethal won and complained about it backstage.
- Taylor Wilde won a really short Monsters Ball match against Daffney.
- Daniels, the guy who won the X-Division title as Suicide, challenged Suicide for the X-Division title. And this time Suicide was portrayed by his buddy Frankie Kazarian. The problem being, Kaz didn’t want to give himself away so he had to hold back on any trademark moves which did not help things. To make it worse, Daniels did the honourable thing of saying he didn’t want to win the title (even though he clearly pinned him and got the fall) after the MCMG interference and wanted five more minutes, which didn’t make it anymore exciting and ended in a draw.
- Angelina Love retained against Kong by using some spray can stuff. Yep, seriously.
- Remember the Nash and Samoa Joe feud from the previous year? Yep, they finally ended it here with Joe making him tap out after eight minutes.
- High point of Sacrifice was the Team 3D Invitational Finals between Beer Money and The British Invasion (Doug Williams & Magnus). Rob Terry tried running interference but it backfired and Roode nailed Doug with the Feast or Fired briefcase.
- Booker T challenged AJ Styles to get his Legends title back in a I Quit match. Like their previous encounter, it was done really well with the two playing to Booker’s weaknesses to tell a story. However, after Sharmell came down to ringside, Jenna Morasca showed up and threw in the towel on Booker’s behalf. A poor end to a really good match.
- Stipulations for the main event: Foley has the title on the line, but can only lose it if he loses the match, Jarrett has control of the company up for grabs, Kurt Angle put his leadership of the Main Event Mafia up, and Sting has his career on the line. Only one of these outcomes was decided. Wouldn’t they all want the title? Either way, it was a good match but nothing thrilling. Sting stole a pin after Jarrett hit The Stroke on Angle, making him the leader of the Main Event Mafia.
Certainly an improvement with some decent matches in there. The main event was a bit much, and I think most fans were happy with Sting keeping his career and not much else mattered otherwise. It’s a brain teaser without a doubt.
The show featured two King of the Mountain matches on the same card for the first time in history, one contested for the X-Division, and the other for the World title in the main event.
- The first match was the longest, with Suicide retaining against Lethal, Creed, Sabin and Shelley in King of the Mountain.
- Shane Douglas returned to TNA and challenged Daniels. but his sluggish pace made it an easy one for The Fallen Angel.
- Tara (aka Victoria) made her TNA PPV debut in a losing effort to Angelina Love. Hairspray finish again.
- The most surprising match of the night was the mixed-tag Monster’s Ball match, with Taylor Wilde teaming up with Abyss to fight Raven and Daffney accompanied by Dr. Stevie (Richards). Some nice spots here, and the ending was cool with Abyss putting Raven in thumbtacks via Black Hole Slam.
- Matt Morgan wanted to join the Main Event Mafia, so Sting challenged him to a match and if Morgan won he would get a spot. And proving why Morgan’s never been a World Champion, he lost against The Icon.
- In a surprisingly lackluster tag team title contest (Team 3D defended their IWGP titles in Japan the night before), Beer Money was able to get their tag team titles back with a little help from The British Invasion. Team 3D lost their TNA titles but kept the IWGP.
- In another main event which will be remembered for the moment instead of the action, King of the Mountain decided the World Championship between contenders Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. There was talk of taking the company over from all sides which played a part in the end. The crowd was hot for AJ and hoped he would win. Despite chasing the Main Event Mafia for months, Samoa Joe showed his allegiance by helping Angle to win the title.
An enjoyable show, but again it should have been more than it was. When the Monster’s Ball stands out over other matches there’s an underlying problem. Not putting the title on Joe or AJ could be seen as a mistake by loyal TNA fans who grew sick and tired of seeing them being kept down in favour of former WWE/WCW guys. Joe joining Angle didn’t make much sense either, it was shocking .. yet illogical.
Angelina Love lost her Knockouts title to Tara on Impact before the event. The story going in was that the Main Event Mafia (now led by Angle, with Joe replacing Sting) wanted to take all TNA Championships.
- Morgan defeated Daniels in the opener, and Abyss beat Dr. Stevie in a No DQ match.
- Team 3D worked an appalling match with The British Invasion to retain the IWGP tag titles.
- In what many consider to be one of the worst matches of all time, Jenna Morasca overcame Sharmell.
- Kevin Nash challenged AJ Styles for the Legends title. It was a slow match, but it wasn’t a bad match, the only thing was Nash beat Styles on his own with no outside shenanigans. Believable? I don’t think so.
- Thanks to James Storm the tag team title match was not a total stinker. You guessed it though .. the Main Event Mafia continued winning with Scott Steiner and Booker T taking the titles off Beer Money.
- Samoa Joe got a much needed victory over Sting, and Taz made his TNA debut as his manager.
- Angle and Foley went in to the main event with injuries. They worked smart and made it one of the better matches of the night despite limitations. Angle made Foley tap out after locking it in fully in the middle of the ring. The Main Event Mafia celebrated with all the TNA Championships.
It was voted Worst Show of the Year by numerous outlets. Honestly it’s not as bad as some make out, I think what got it most of its criticism was because fans were tired of the same old “nWo” style booking with the Main Event Mafia “taking over” everything and not caring about the TNA Originals.
Story going in was whether Matt Morgan would go in to business for himself, or side with the champion Kurt Angle in the main event to stop Sting.
- Opening match was a Steel Asylum match to become number one contender to the X-Division title. Thanks to the Machine Guns it was a pretty good way to start the show. Other challengers included Amazing Red, Lethal, Creed, Suicide, the debuting “Pope” D’Angelo Dinero (Elijah Burke of WWECW) and eventual winner Christopher Daniels.
- Hernandez squashed Rob Terry in nine seconds.
- The British Invasion retained against Beer Money in another lackluster tag title match, this time with World Elite leader Eric Young giving an assist.
- In a tag team match, Cody Deaner (a man) pinned Velvet Sky to win Angelina Loves Knockouts title, thanks to Madison Rayne failing with the hairspray. Damn .. my head hurts.
- Homicide won the X-Division title a couple of months before from Suicide, but due to tape delay it didn’t air til July. Samoa Joe challenged Homicide for the title as he was the odd man out in the Main Event Mafia and needed gold. As predicted, Joe beat Homicide in a short and uninspiring match.
- Steiner and Booker T saw a challenge for their TNA tag titles by Team 3D. To ensure fairness two referees were assigned. Obviously, this didn’t work out as intended as the referees counted falls for both teams at the same time, igniting the crowd in to “bullshit” chants. MEM was deemed to have won.
- Foley pinned Nash in a tag team contest on Impact to become Legends champion. A bloodbath occurred in the match between Kevin Nash and Mick Foley for the Legends title, which was literally the only memorable part. Traci Brooks interfered, giving Nash the opportunity to take the title for a second time.
- A three-way match for the TNA World title with champion Kurt Angle, Sting, and Matt Morgan. And yes, it was mediocre again .. and Angle retained by use of a chair.
A poor show which should not see the light of the day again. The opening match is probably as much as you can handle before it turns sour.
After years of Mike Tenay and Don West on commentary, West was replaced by Taz in August. The Main Event Mafia began to show cracks amidst a brief alliance with Eric Young’s World Elite (AKA Elite Mafia). AJ Styles returned to the main event scene in a four-way match for the World title against champion Angle, Sting, and Matt Morgan.
- TNA crowned their first Knockouts Tag team Champions when Sarita and Taylor Wilde beat The Beautiful People in the finals.
- Hernandez squashed Eric Young as he kept pestering the big guy to join the World Elite.
- Joe and Daniels worked an average match for the X-Division title, with Joe retaining.
- For no other reason than to put an end to the misery, ODB beat the only male wrestler to hold the Knockouts title Cody Deaner.
- Nash challenged Abyss because he wanted Dr. Stevie’s 50,000 bounty for defeating The Monster, but would have to put his Legends title up too. Nash got the win by taser to the balls .. and no, I am not joking. Dr. Stevie refused to give him the money so Nash took it by force.
- In a fairly entertaining Lethal Lockdown match away from the Lockdown PPV itself, the team of Beer Money and Team 3D defeated the team of Main Event Mafia and British Invasion.
- Lashley returned to the ring and after seven minutes KO’d Rhino with a MMA punch to the head.
- Hernandez cashed in his Feast of Fired briefcase to make the main event a Five-way. To many that would be considered an idiotic decision. In a much more entertaining main event than previous outings, AJ Styles pulled out the surprise win following a Styles Clash on Angle.
A step in the right direction! After months of poor to mediocre shows, TNA turned a corner and proved they could produce good shows. And it ended with a massive celebration including the locker room and half the crowd rejoicing AJ’s win. The fans made it happen with their continuing support for The Phenomenal One.
Bound For Glory – “The Final Curtain?”
The main event was Sting challenging AJ Styles for the TNA World title, in what could be his last match.
- Amazing Red shocked the world by beating Samoa Joe for the X-Division title on an episode of Impact. This led to him having to defend it in an Ultimate X match against Sabin, Shelley, Daniels, Suicide and Homicide. And wow it was one hell of a spotfest, one of the best in some time. Reminiscent of the old Ultimate X matches with everyone playing their part. Red somehow managed to survive and retain.
- Sarita and Wilde retained in a few minutes against The Beautiful People, which now also included Lacey Von Erich.
- In a sloppy three-way, Eric Young won the Legends title in spite of Nash and Hernandez.
- A stacked tag team contest with both the TNA and IWGP titles on the line with four teams challenging, including Team 3D, Beer Money, British Invasion and Booker T/Steiner. Team 3D won the first fall, taking the IWGP titles from the British Invasion. However, the Brits won the second fall and claimed the TNA tag titles for the first time.
- Thanks to Raisha Saeed failing with the sliding of the chair, ODB managed to overcome her nemesis Awesome Kong and Tara in a three-way to retain the Knockouts title.
- Wrestler vs. Fighter in an encounter between Samoa Joe and Bobby Lashley. Of course, we all knew TNA wanted to make him a big deal so he got the win in the end, but he ended up working a decent match thanks to Joe.
- As predicted, Abyss and Mick Foley in Monster’s Ball was a violent mess. So much so, that Daffney got dumped through a barbwire board on the outside and injured pretty bad. In fact, she tried to sue TNA for insisting she go through with the spot. Regardless of the controversy, Abyss and Foley did what you expected them too.
- In probably the best Matt Morgan match I’ve ever seen, Kurt Angle made him look like a million bucks in a straight up singles contest. Angle won of course, but he appreciated Morgans efforts and showed him respect afterwards. Sadly for Morgan, that was the biggest highlight of his career.
- As one would expect from AJ Styles and Sting, it’s always going to be a good match. Even with Sting’s lack of mobility, AJ made it easy and they delivered. AJ Styles got the win, and it felt like a passing of the torch from Sting to AJ. The crowd chanted “one more year” at Sting as he put AJ over and said he wasn’t sure if he was done yet, but if the crowd kept supporting him he would come back.
Feeling more like the TNA of old, this event included a main event of AJ Styles vs. Daniels vs. Samoa Joe for the TNA World title, and an intriguing encounter between Kurt Angle and debuting Desmond Wolfe AKA Nigel McGuinness.
- Amazing Red retained against Homicide.
- British Invasion retained against Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns in a match which lacked focus.
- Tara and Awesome Kong had a grudge match in a cage. Really it was only about two spots, but the one off the top of the cage was pretty awesome and Tara beat Kong by doing so.
- Steiner and Lashley continued their feud in a Falls Count Anywhere, with Steiner picking up the win surprisingly.
- In one of my favourite TNA matches ever, Kurt Angle and Desmond Wolfe tore the house down in a near perfect encounter. Some excellent psychology, with Angle having to change his game plan after realizing Wolfe had him scouted. This should’ve made Wolfe a main event star in the company, yet it was his peak and sadly so. Match of the Year candidate without a doubt.
- Joe, Daniels and Styles showed why they were TNA originals and built to keep the company going forward in another excellent three-way contest which never felt awkward in any form. The callbacks to previous encounters, as well as some new things thrown in, ensured fans they got a top quality main event which was only beat by the Wolfe/Angle encounter .. and not by much! Styles retained and kept his momentum going.
Again another solid PPV which I would recommend, even if it’s just for the last two matches on the card. TNA did the right thing by taking Foley away from the main event, and reducing the roles of Angle, Sting, Jarrett, Nash, Steiner, and others. Prior to the event, it was reported Hulk Hogan was interested in signing with the company.
Final Resolution – “Someone Will Be Fired!”
Again it was much like Turning Point, except this time Wolfe and Angle were in three degrees of pain (Three stages of hell to WWE fans), and Daniels challenged AJ for the title in a singles match in the main event.
- British Invasion retained against Motor City Machine Guns .. which was beginning to get old as MCMG had never won the titles and were a popular team for years.
- Tara defeated a heel ODB for the Knockouts title.
- In a clusterfuck Feast or Fired match, Nash won a tag team title shot, Joe won a world title shot, Rob Terry won a X-Division title shot, and Sheik Abdul Bashir got the pink slip and fired.
- In somewhat of a throwaway eight-man tag, Morgan, Hernandez, Pope and Suicide defeated Rhino, Team 3D and debuting Jesse Neal.
- Lashley beat Steiner in a boring Last Man Standing.
- In Foley’s Funhouse rules (no rules), Abyss and Foley defeated Raven and Dr. Stevie in another chaotic, violent, and entertaining hardcore fight.
- Angle vs. Wolfe. First match was decided by pinfall and won by Wolfe after the Tower of London. Angle won the second match which had a submission stipulation, and the third match saw the cage lowered. Winner to be decided by who escapes first, and this time it was Angle. I don’t want to spoil this much as it was another classic, and sadly the last time they met in singles action.
- AJ and Daniels’ chemistry is top-notch. They’re almost like twin brothers they know each other that well and have wrestled hundreds of matches against each other. It was a match filled with counters, a truly competitive contest for the TNA World title. AJ had to win, he’s always had Daniels number, but it’s crazy that this was the first time they main evented a PPV show together in a singles match. Personally I could watch them go all day, and it’s sad I may never get to see them do it one last time.
Just like Turning Point, Final Resolution had an average undercard and two amazing main events. The last few PPVs of 2009 were a really step up and it looked like the company finally understood what its fans wanted to see.
Many will see 2009 as the beginning of the end of the Golden Era of TNA Wrestling. The over reliance on Angle, Foley, and Sting despite their limitations and injuries was something which killed any potential the year had. Also, the Main Event Mafia perhaps dragged on longer than it needed too, and putting all the belts on them for a short time was ridiculous. Still, the negativity bubble popped the second AJ Styles won the TNA title, and from there the quality of PPV increased dramatically.
However .. the impending debut of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff was around the corner, meaning the end of stables like the World Elite, and other major changes effecting what made TNA work as an alternative. It seems .. just when TNA figured out how to be TNA again, they brought Hogan and Bischoff in to fix something which didn’t need fixing. And as you’ll see in the next edition, 2010 was a year which continues to plague the minds of die-hard TNA fans who defended the company and could no longer do so. They promised TNA would change for the better when they came in, and Hogan vowed he would take TNA to the next level and compete with the big dog WWE. Oh .. how wrong they were. Thanks for reading everyone!