**Edited on October 1st 2018. Removed broken pics/vids.**
The ‘Kings Of Wrestling’ stable of Jarrett, Nash and Hall started to crumble as Dusty Rhodes booked Nash in a number one contenders match. It lead to Final Resolution 2005, which saw Monty Brown defeat DDP and Nash to become number one contender. Some highlights from the PPV include:
- Jeff Hardy beat Scott Hall with Roddy Piper as special referee.
- America’s Most Wanted (Storm/Harris) and Team Canada (Roode/Young) worked a heated tag team contest for the NWA Tag Team titles. AMW won and claimed a history making fifth reign, beating the Rock N’ Roll Express’ previous record.
- Included a highly rated Ultimate X match between AJ Styles, Petey Williams, and Chris Sabin in the video below.
- Despite a screwy finish at the end, Monty Brown and Jeff Jarrett worked a decent match for the NWA Heavyweight title.
Leading in to the next PPV Against All Odds, the Kings Of Wrestling had disbanded as Nash challenged Jarrett for the title. Dusty told Jarrett if he used a guitar in any form (even behind the referees back) he would be stripped.
- Abyss and Jeff Hardy fought in a Full Metal Mayhem match to become number one contender. Abyss won after Jeff went crashing through four tables.
- A 30-minute Ironman match for the TNA X-Division Championship. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels. An important match as it intensified the rivalry for the rest of the year.
- In the main event .. it was actually an entertaining affair. Monty Sopp (being called Billy Gunn by commentators but no graphics used) made his TNA debut by attacking Nash. Sean Waltman made his return to TNA (this time as Waltman, not Syxx-Pac) and attacked Jarrett. As ever, the ‘Triple H of TNA’ kept his title by any means necessary.
After WWE threatened TNA for calling Sopp ‘Billy Gunn’ and ‘The New Age Outlaw’, they started referring to him as ‘The Outlaw’. Meanwhile, Jarrett formed a new stable called “Planet Jarrett”, which replaced Kings Of Wrestling as TNA’s dominant faction. He recruited Larry Zbyszko (as a lawyer) Tim Welch, Chris Candido and The Naturals to challenge DDP and his allies Konnan, Ron Killings, Monty Brown and B.G James. Destination X up next!
- Team Canada defeated 3LiveKru and America’s Most Wanted in a eight-man tag. Petey Williams wrestled with an injury.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Abyss in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Abyss attacked Hardy after the match and gave him a Black Hole Slam in to a pile of tacks.
- The Outlaw beat Kevin Nash in a First Blood match.
- Christopher Daniels became X-Division champion for the first time by winning the Ultimate X Challenge (modified Ultimate X) against champion AJ Styles, Elix Skipper and Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings.
- The main event was ringside revenge, so in other words a lumberjack match. Jarrett faced DDP for the NWA Championship. Near the end, Monty Brown, one of the most over faces in the company at this point, got in the ring, pounced DDP, and officially joined Planet Jarrett. Jarrett retained once again.
On April 3rd in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jarrett defended his title against Ray González. Jarrett lost the title to González after the wrong referee called the pinfall, so González was stripped and the title handed back to Jarrett. Neither TNA or NWA recognized the change for years, til the NWA claimed to recognize it in early 2015.
On April 24th, TNA held their first Lockdown event, a PPV dedicated to steel cage matches. The event is historic as being the first-ever wrestling show to hold all its matches in a cage. It was a mixed bag leading to the main event.
- Jeff Hardy continued his PPV winning streak by beating Raven in a Six Sides Of Steel Tables match.
- Christopher Daniels fought his former Triple X partner Elix Skipper for the X-Division title.
- Team Nash (BG James, DDP, Waltman) defeated Team Jarrett (Jarrett, Monty Brown, Outlaw) in the first ever Lethal Lockdown match.
- AJ Styles and Abyss fought in the best match of the night for the right to face Jarrett for the title at Hard Justice. AJ Styles came out victorious.
On April 26th, The Naturals defeated America’s Most Wanted for the tag team titles.
RIP Chris Candido (1972-2005)
During Lockdown 2005, Candido worked in the pre-show match as a manager of The Naturals in a three-way tag match. After taking a dropkick, Candido landed on his leg wrong and was later diagnosed with a dislocated ankle, broken tibia, and a broken fibula that required surgery. He had the operation a day later with a plate, screws and pins placed to fix the problem, and was scheduled to be out for 2-3 months.
A few days later, on April 28th, he was rushed in to hospital but died shortly after arriving. It was later deemed he had died of a blood clot as a result of the surgery. TNA paid tribute to Candido on the following episode of TNA Impact, and at the Hard Justice PPV. At WWE’s ECW One Night Stand 2005 PPV, Candido was included in the memorial video package highlighting the “ECW brothers” who had passed away.
May was significant for two reasons. Firstly, Dusty Rhodes decided to step down as head writer and booker after Dixie Carter suggested he join a creative team of Jeremy Borash, Bill Banks, and Scott D’Amore. Secondly, the TV contract with Fox Sports expired and was not continued. This left the company with no TV network for a while, so they turned to the only thing they could use to air their shows; the internet. TNA were forced to air webcasts, and made them available through BitTorrent, and later Real Player.
Enter the next PPV Hard Justice, which critics said was the best TNA PPV since Final Resolution:
- Ten-bell salute opened the show in memory of Chris Candido.
- Jeff Hardy no-showed the event due to missing several flights. Due to his history of no-showing, TNA decided to suspend Jeff til August. Sean Waltman replaced him in the Clockwork House Of Fun match against Raven.
- Candido’s tag team The Naturals defended the tag team titles against America’s Most Wanted.
- Daniels defended his title against upcoming star Shocker.
- A Gauntlet For The Gold match saw Abyss come out on top and become #1 contender for the NWA title.
- In a fairly average match, AJ Styles put an end to Jarrett’s one year reign to claim it for the third time.
An announcement of Samoa Joe signing with the promotion happened on June 14th. And now … the first ever Slammiversary event celebrating three years of the promotions existence:
- Shark Boy with a rare PPV win in a six-way X-Division match.
- Samoa Joe made his debut by squashing Sonjay Dutt in six minutes.
- Daniels continued to dominate the X-Divison by defending his title against Chris Sabin and Michael Shane.
- The second King Of The Mountain match saw AJ Styles, Raven, Sean Waltman, Abyss, and Monty Brown fight over the NWA World Championship. Raven won, claimed his first and only NWA title reign.
No Surrender saw another interesting debut, and was not a bad one overall.
- Samoa Joe and Chris Sabin wrestled a solid X-Division match. Joe still undefeated.
- Sean Waltman worked his best match in years, despite losing to AJ Styles in a singles match refereed by Jerry Lynn.
- Yet again, ‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels proved his worth by defeating Petey Williams to retain the X-Division title.
- Abyss challenged Raven for the NWA title in a Dog Collar match. As expected, it was a violent affair. Raven won by using the DDT on Abyss, forcing his head in to some tacks. Afterwards, a confrontation between Jarrett and Raven occurred. It was soon interrupted by a debuting Rhino … GORE!
The Sacrifice PPV up next, but there wasn’t much to take home. Raven and Sabu fought Jarrett and Rhino in the main event, with the stipulation that if Jarrett pinned Raven he would get a title shot, while if Raven pinned Jarrett he wouldn’t be allowed a title shot for a year. Rhino pinned Raven to win the main event and was named #1 contender after the event. Other notable matches included Jerry Lynn beating Sean Waltman, Daniels defending his title against ROH talent Austin Aries (who impressed TNA management so much they wanted to book him again), and Samoa Joe defeating AJ Styles in the finals of the Super X Cup.
Unbreakable was historic for one match. Arguably one of the greatest matches in wrestling history. But to describe this takes time to those who didn’t witness the build:
- Austin Aries defeated fellow ROH talent in a singles match.
- Jeff Hardy returned to PPV in a match with Team Canada’s Robert Roode. Hardy lost this match in nine minutes, his first PPV loss in many months.
- The Naturals defended their titles again, this time against Alex Shelley/Johnny Candido, AMW and Team Canada.
- In a brutal Raven’s rules match, Raven defended his NWA title against newcomer Rhino.
What was most significant about the PPV was the main event. It was for the X-Division title, a three-way dance between the champion Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, and undefeated Samoa Joe. Had you read up to this point, you may begin to understand why this match was considered the main event by a large margin. Daniels defeated AJ earlier in the year, and since had been untouchable and almost unstoppable in his quest to keep it.
After losing the title, AJ went back to the main event scene, even holding the NWA title, but had since lost that and returned to the division which made him famous. And then you had the X factor, the monstrous and undefeated Samoa Joe.
With the ingredients in place, all it needed was to take things from the earlier AJ/Daniels matches, and the recent AJ/Joe encounter, and mix it up in to one glorious back-to-back spotfest which no one would see coming. It was rated five stars by TNA’s biggest critic Dave Meltzer and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. I’ll include the match, but you have to remember this was a culmination of months of rivalries and hype. Everything was perfect, and critics labelled it “special”, and 10/10.
Four days later, Raven defended his NWA title against Jarrett at the BCW International Incident show. With the help of AMW, Jarrett won the NWA title. It was announced TNA would hold its premiere annual event Bound For Glory in late October.
On September 21st, TNA announced the Dudley Boyz had signed contracts and would go under the name Team 3D, Brother Ray & Brother Devon. WWE chose not to sign the Dudley Boyz in the summer, and at the same time informed them they could no longer use the “Dudley” name as they owned the trademark. This caused friction between the Dudleys and WWE as they believed the trademark had been given to them by Paul Heyman, but this was not true as Paul never saw it through before the demise of ECW.
Spike TV Deal
On October 1st, TNA Impact! made its debut on Spike TV, a move which helped to establish the company on a known channel, and the exposure and extra revenue saved the company from the hole left by Fox Sports. Team 3D debuted on the same episode, saving the 3LiveKru from Planet Jarrett and Team Canada. Their first feud was with America’s Most Wanted. Nash returned on the same night and challenged Jarrett for the title at Bound For Glory. On October 11th, AMW defeated The Naturals to begin their sixth and last reign as NWA tag champions. And here’s the BFG 2005 highlights:
- Nash was hospitalized before the event. Mike Tenay announced a new #1 contender would be decided before the main event in a ten-man gauntlet. It was later determined Nash was close to suffering a heart attack.
- The opening match was a match between the undefeated Samoa Joe and Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
- Petey Williams became #1 contender for the X-Division title after beating Sabin and Bentley in Ultimate X
- AMW defended against The Naturals.
- Rhino won a four-way Monsters Ball including Abyss, Jeff Hardy and Sabu.
- AJ Styles and Daniels wrestled another classic 30-minute Ironman match. AJ won the bout 1-0.
- Rhino won the ten-man gauntlet to become #1 contender. Other participants: Abyss, A.J. Styles, Jeff Hardy, Kip James, Lance Hoyt, Monty Brown, Ron Killings, Sabu and Samoa Joe.
- Tito Ortiz the special guest referee for the main event. In a short, yet memorable five-minute match,. Rhino won the NWA World Championship!
I remember watching BFG 2005, and the shock of seeing Rhino win the World title was truly awesome. Many felt Jarrett would win again and hold it for months, but Rhino came from nowhere and won the big one on the biggest PPV of the year. Two days later, Jarrett defeated Rhino on Impact to win the title for the sixth time; the heat was plentiful, and yes .. he held it for the rest of the year.
On November 13th, TNA held their Genesis event, which saw another debut of a former WWE talent. And this time, it was not an ECW original:
- After 3LiveKru beat Team Canada, ‘Captain Charisma” Christian Cage made his TNA debut. He stood in the ring and challenged Jarrett to a NWA title match. Scott D’Amore and Robert Roode of Team Canada came down to the ring and offered him a place, and a team shirt. D’Amore asked Christian to think about it and get back to them.
- Jeff Hardy and Monty Brown fought in a #1 contenders match to challenge Jarrett for the NWA title. Jeff lost again.
- The longest and highest rated match was a eight-man tag team elimination X match. The Ministry (Shelley, Daniels, Strong, Joe) defeated Aries, Sabin, Bentley and Sonjay Dutt.
- AJ Styles and Petey Williams tore it up one more time for the X-Division title. AJ did not let the Canadian Destroyer beat him.
- The main event was a six-man tables match, with Team 3D and Rhino beating AMW & Jarrett.
And lastly, Turning Point went down on December 11th:
- The biggest signing yet was announced at Turning Point. Getting Sting in to TNA was absolutely one of the best business deals the company has ever done.
- The opening match was the promotions first Barbed Wire Massacre. Sabu and Abyss with barbed wire? Do I need to say more?
- The Outlaw was going by Kip James now, and aligned himself with 3LiveKru. They renamed the group 4LiveKru.
- Christian Cage made his TNA PPV debut, defeating Monty Brown in 12 minutes.
- Team 3D challenged AMW to another tables match and won.
- Samoa Joe and AJ Styles stole the show as predicted. Again, Samoa Joe continued to be undefeated and won his first TNA X-Division title. Many hoped AJ would retain, but with Joe winning it told everyone it was going to take a huge amount to stop Joe.
- Groan … Jarrett defended the title against Rhino in the main event.
Ok, opinions. 2005 was the biggest year for TNA, not just with who they managed to sign, but also in the quality of the wrestling. The X-Division was made memorable by the continuous rivalries between AJ, Daniels, Joe, Petey Williams and Chris Sabin. While the main event scene was littered with Planet Jarrett and ECW originals, the X-Division and the tag teams carried the shows when the main events failed to live up to expectation.
What I like about TNA’s product in 2005 is its diversity. You have 3/4LiveKru providing light entertainment. Team Canada and other heel stables getting the heat and having chemistry. Abyss, Sabu, Rhino, Jeff Hardy as “monsters”, risking their bodies for the sake of hardcore. Having an undefeated Samoa Joe added the element of “can anyone really beat him?” And not in a bad way either, as he was believable and backed it up in the ring. Talents from ROH, Mexico and Japan would occasionally make it on to cards. AJ Styles and Daniels found each other, and their chemistry was so apparent they were booked for TWO ironman matches in the same year.
This was TNA at its finest. The right players, the right gimmicks, a fresh TV deal, everything you could want. And what was even better? You could watch it and know you won’t see John Cena or Triple H. I started watching here and there, just because I recognized the ECW guys and wanted to see them. At the same time, I was introduced to AJ Styles, Daniels, Joe, Sabin, and all these other guys who were very, very talented and working as professional wrestlers.
They loved wrestling, and I’d never truly appreciated a “wrestling match” before TNA. I was brought up on sports-entertainment and hardcore violence, so watching the X-Division for the first time was a mind-blowing experience. It opened me up to the possibilities of what a good wrestling match can be. Seeing moves like the Styles Clash and the Canadian Destroyer? A whole other level to me. The athleticism and level of competition is what kept me around.
Apologies if I missed out anything important. Still feels like there’s a long way to go in the series, and I’m sure 2006 is filled with many little gems. Let’s just remember this, TNA made its mark in 2005, and whether you love it or hate it doesn’t matter, the talent made it the true alternative to the ever dominant and expanding WWE product who had three brands by the following year. Thanks for reading everyone!