The History Of TNA Wrestling. (2008)

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**Edited on October 1st 2018**

(2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007)Hello everyone! Been a few weeks since the last installment so this month we kick off with a look at the history of TNA Wrestling in the year of 2008.

The creative team remained the same from the previous two years with Jeff Jarrett and Vince Russo leading the way, while Dutch Mantel focused on the Knockouts Division and other things.

Champions: Kurt Angle (World Champion), Gail Kim (1st Knockouts Champion), AJ Styles & Tyson Tomko (Tag Champions), and Jay Lethal (X-Division Champion).

The year also marked the introduction of a new secondary title called the ‘TNA Legends Championship’, which would later be deactivated and renamed several times. Also there was a change to the PPV schedule, with Genesis being taken out in favour of a second Final Resolution. The issue of the same PPV name being used twice was rectified the following year.



Final Resolution (“Best Friends… Better Enemies”)


Not one of the best events .. by any means, but still managed to deliver two decent contests.

  • LAX continued their mediocre run with a win over The Rock n’ Rave Infection.
  • Kaz had a match with Black Reign (AKA *fat* Goldust) where he predictably came out the victor.
  • The best match of the night was between the first Knockouts Champion Gail Kim and her nemesis Awesome Kong in a No DQ match. They showed what women could do while other promotions focused on Diva Searches (or had no women at all!), and pretty much beat all the other bouts including the main event.
  • Booker T and Sharmell joined forces to defeat the couple of Robert Roode and Ms. Brooks.
  • Johnny Devine and Team 3D enjoyed a win over Jay Lethal and the Motor City Machine Guns in an Ultimate X match. As expected, Team 3D were inventive with their offense.
  • AJ Styles and Tomko were challenged to a title match by Samoa Joe and Kevin Nash. Styles and Joe did everything they could to carry things, but it wasn’t too memorable in the end. Christian’s Coalition came out on top.
  • In the second best match of the night, Kurt Angle and Christian Cage fought over the TNA World title. Critics say the first half was slow, but the second half really picked up and made it worthy of a main event. Sadly the way it ended took away from it, as Karen interfered, and AJ Styles turned on his leader and sided with The Angle Alliance to give the champion the easy victory.

On future episodes of TNA Impact there were further title changes. The next day, Awesome Kong became the 2nd Knockouts Champion with a win over Gail Kim. On the 21st January, Johnny Devine won his only major TV championship by overcoming his rival Jay Lethal to claim the X-Division Championship.


Against All Odds (BARB-WIRED!!!)


The event drew 3,500 fans to the BI-LO Center in Greenville, South Carolina. It marked the first time matches from other venues aired together on a TNA PPV. It was also the second time they used the Barbed Wire Massacre concept. Something I totally overlooked was the TNA World Beer Drinking Championship which James Storm and Eric Young had feuded over since November.


  • Styles and Tomko opened the show with an easy title defense against B.G James and Bob Armstrong.
  • A terrible five-minute match between Payton Banks and winner Traci Brooks.
  • Scott Steiner had taken a liking to Petey Williams, so much so he challenged Petey to a match for his World Championship Feast Or Fired briefcase and his own X-Division briefcase. Steiner defeated Petey to take both title opportunities for himself.
  • Eric Young defended the World Beer Drinking Championship against James Storm.
  • With the help of manager Raisha Saeed, Awesome Kong defended her Knockouts title against worthy challenger ODB.
  • The son of James Mitchell and brother of The Monster Judas Mesias, fought hard against Abyss in Barbed Wire Massacre but was unable to keep the big man down.
  • Booker T and Robert Roode continued their feud in a forgettable brawl.
  • In one of the better matches of the night, Johnny Devine and Team 3D looked to destroy the X-Division forever in a six-man Street Fight against Jay Lethal and The Motor City Machine Guns; which was also for the X-Division title. Also had Team 3D lost, they’d be forced to work with a weight limit. After 12 minutes, Jay Lethal elbow dropped Devine through a table and reclaimed his X-Division gold.
  • In the best match of the night .. Angle defended his World title against Christian Cage; this time with Samoa Joe as special outside enforcer. While Joe managed to stop Angle from cheating, and AJ Styles from interfering, he was unable to stop Tomko from showing his true colours as he turned on Christian much like AJ did the previous PPV. Angle walked out with the gold once again.

Before the following event, James Storm managed to reclaim his World Beer Drinking Championship on Impact with a win over Eric Young. At the following tapings, Rhino stole the belt and bashed the belt across the ring post, destroying it and the storyline surrounding it in one swift act.


Destination X

The venue was originally scheduled to take place in the Impact zone, but plans changed and instead it ended up in the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia. The event drew 3,200 fans.

  • In the opening match the #1 contenders to the Tag Team titles were decided between three teams. Despite a poor run of form, and Motor City Machine Guns being featured on the poster, LAX overcame MCMG and The Rock n’ Rave Infection to become number one contenders.
  • Petey Williams had joined forces with Scott Steiner and Rhaka Khan, and underwent a gimmick change where he was basically a smaller version of Scott. Despite this, he was unable to defeat Jay Lethal for the X-Division title.
  • Awesome Kong once again proved her dominance with a win over Gail Kim and ODB.
  • In a rather amusing angle, Team 3D had lost and won several matches against Shark Boy and Curry Man due to the weight restriction. They were not to exceed 275 Ibs otherwise they would be unable to compete. Jim Cornette stated if Team 3D showed up to Destination X within the weight limit he would do away with the limit altogether. They made it, so they fought in a Fish Market Street Fight (like a normal street fight, but with fish paraphernalia around the ring) where they were unsuccessful as Brother Ray got white powder in his eyes (due to Devine’s failed interference) and gave Brother Devon a 3D.
  • Rhino and James Storm fought in the second-ever Elevation X match which was not well received by critics. Rhino won in the end by throwing Storm off the structure and through a table.
  • The Unlikely Alliance of Christian Cage, Samoa Joe and Kevin Nash defeated The Angle Alliance. Not one of the best main events .. it was good, but not worthy of a PPV.

Lockdown

Lockdown was held in the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts, with 5,500 fans attending the event while the venue had the capacity to house 6,500. Once again critics felt like TNA PPVs were steadily declining in quality, but was still able to deliver some worthy matches.

  • Jay Lethal opened the show with an X-Division title defense against five others in an Xscape match.
  • A Queen Of The Cage match was held to decide the #1 contender. Roxxi Laveaux showed her class with a win over Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Christy Hemme, Traci Brooks, Jackie Moore, Rhaka Khan and Salinas (Shelly Martinez)
  • Another unique cage concept .. “Cuffed In The Cage”. Basically whoever was able to cuff all the other teams to the cage won. Kaz and “Super Eric” showed how great they were together with a victory over LAX, MCMG, Rock n’ Rave Infection, and Black Reign/Rellik.
  • Awesome Kong’s first PPV loss since becoming champion came in the form of a tag team contest with Raisha Saeed against winners Gail Kim & ODB.
  • Booker T and Sharmell continued their drawn out feud with Robert Roode, this time with Payton Banks in his corner. Booker and Sharmell won.
  • Sting made his return to TNA Wrestling and announced he would be part of Team Cage in Lethal Lockdown. In one of the more exciting matches on the card, Team Cage (Christian, Sting, Matt Morgan, Kevin Nash & Rhino) survived Team Tomko (Tomko, AJ Styles, Team 3D and James Storm.
  • In a highly anticipated main event, Samoa Joe challenged Kurt Angle for the TNA World title. Joe put his career on the line to get the opportunity. As TNA had experimented with MMA before, the title match had elements of MMA and pro wrestling mixed together. Some critics welcomed this, as it felt like an evolution of the wrestling style we’d grown used to in recent times. Angle picked up a few injuries, including getting knocked out during. After 17 minutes, Joe hit Angle with the Muscle Buster and claimed his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship reign.

On April 15th, two championships changed hands on Impact. First, Petey Williams used the Feast Or Fired X-Division contract (given to him by Scott Steiner) on Jay Lethal to claim his second reign. In a three way tag team match, Kaz and Super Eric defeated AJ Styles/Tomko and LAX to win the Tag Team titles. On the same show, Jim Cornette stripped Kaz and Super Eric of the titles as Eric Young would not admit to being Super Eric.



Sacrifice (“Are You Willing To Give Up What Means The Most?”)

Kurt Angle was originally scheduled to challenge for the TNA World title against Scott Steiner and champion Samoa Joe, but due to an injury the company pulled him off the card on the day of Sacrifice. In order to counter this, they set up a “TerrorDome” match to not only give the winner a future X-Division title shot, but they would also wrestle in the main event of Sacrifice. There was also a Deuces Wild Tag Team tournament to decide the TNA Tag Team Champions.

  • The first four matches were Deuces Wild Quarter-Finals. Team 3D won first, eliminating James Storm and Sting. Christian Cage and Rhino got a win over rivals Booker T and Robert Roode, and LAX beat the odd team of Kip James and Matt Morgan. In the last quarter, AJ Styles and Super Eric teamed up to beat the even stranger combination of Awesome Kong and B.G. James.
  • A ten-man X-Division TerrorDome match to decide who would go to the main event featured: Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Consequences Creed, Curry Man, Jay Lethal, Jimmy Rave, Johnny Devine, Kaz, Shark Boy and Sonjay Dutt. The only way to win was to climb the structure and escape the cage through a hole at the top, which Kaz was able to do after knocking off Johnny Devine.
  • In the Deuces Wild Semi-Finals, Team 3D reached the finals with a win over Christian and Rhino, while LAX knocked out AJ Styles and Super Eric.
  • Similar to the TerrorDome match, the Knockouts had a 10-woman Makeover Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender, which featured most of the division and the win going to Gail Kim after ten minutes.
  • In one of the better told stories of the night, LAX found their way back to tag team dominance after months of hardship .. by taking out the legendary Team 3D in the finals and claim the vacant tag titles.
  • Without Angle the main event didn’t quite live up to the hype but was still considered a good match. Despite Steiner having help from Petey Williams and Rhaka Khan, neither he or Kaz could take the belt off the Samoan Submission Machine.

Slammiversary (“In a town where legends are made, one strives to reach immortality”)


The event drew 2000 fans to the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi. A severe accident happened after the event aired which I’ll explain after the card:

  • Kaz challenged Petey Williams for the X-Division title but was unsuccessful due to Steiner and Khan’s interference. Abyss returned to the promotion to save Kaz from a beatdown.
  • The Beautiful People kicked up a fuss in the Knockouts Division, so along with Moose (the female Moose, not the current Moose) they fought the team of Gail Kim, ODB and Roxxi in a losing effort.
  • LAX proved they were the rightful tag champions with another win over Team 3D.
  • Awesome Kong won two squash matches in a row against Serena Deeb and Josie Robinson.
  • Much to anyone’s surprise, AJ Styles vs. Kurt angle in a singles contest was not an instant classic as the bout never seemed to get going. Despite Angle having Tomko in his corner, AJ found a way to beat the former champion.
  • The main event was the traditional King Of The Mountain match for the world title with Kevin Nash as special guest enforcer. The champion Samoa Joe managed to become the first man in history to successfully defend his title in a KOTM match, and he did so at the expense of Booker T, Christian, Rhino and Robert Roode.

After the PPV aired, an accident occurred as the crew disassembled the set. A man named Kevin Sinex was working on a light fitting when the scaffolding he was working on collapsed and slammed him to the concrete floor below. He was rushed to the nearest hospital but was pronounced deceased on arrival. TNA had a moment of silence and a banner to pay tribute to him on the following episode of Impact, and they also released the following statement:

“A tragic accident following TNA’s PPV event at the Desoto County Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi, resulted in the death of an employee of a TNA independent production contractor. The accident occurred following the conclusion of the event as technical crews worked to disassemble the TNA set. Currently, TNA is working in cooperation with local authorities to investigate the details surrounding the accident. TNA is deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in their time of loss.”



Victory Road (“Houston, We Have a Problem”)

The PPV took place at the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas with 3000 fans in attendance. Previously on Impact, Taylor Wilde shocked the world by becoming the third Knockouts Champion after defeating Awesome Kong on June 24th. Also the World X Cup was brought in to decide which country had the best talent: USA, Mexico, Japan, and Team International. The talent featured in the tournament included: Kaz (USA Captain), Último Guerrero (Mexico Captain), Milano Collection A.T. (Japan Captain), Daivari (International Captain), Alex Shelley, Averno, Masato Yoshino, Alex Koslov, Chris Sabin, Rey Bucanero, Naruki Doi, Doug Williams, Curry Man, Volador Jr, Puma and Tyson Dux.

  • In the first match of the night, Team TNA (USA) came out on top over other teams in the World X Cup third round. The match was said to be the best of the night, even more so when teams were eliminated and less tags were made.
  • Gail Kim continued a feud with The Beautiful People with a win over Angelina Love.
  • Sonjay Dutt picked up a rare PPV win by beating Jay Lethal, who was accompanied by SoCal Val.
  • Beer Money Incorporated (James Storm & Robert Roode) made their PPV debut as a team in a Fans Revenge Lumberjack match against tag team champions LAX, but were unsuccessful.
  • Taylor Wilde shocked the world again by retaining her title against Awesome Kong via a roll-up.
  • In the final round of the World X Cup, a member of each team fought in an Ultimate X match. Volador Jr won the bout for Team Mexico at the expense of Kaz, Naruki Doi and Daivari. This win meant Team Mexico won the tournament by one point over Team TNA.
  • In an entertaining, yet clustered Full Metal Mayhem, Angle and Team 3D worked together well enough to defeat the team of Christian, Rhino and AJ Styles.
  • The main event was for the TNA World title, with the challenger and hometown hero Booker T facing Samoa Joe. It started well, but it soon turned in to a confusing mess of interference and ref bumps. Sting came down to try and calm Joe down, but he wasn’t having any of it so Sting hit him with the baseball bat. Booker T pinned Joe while Sharmell counted the fall, and the two walked up the ramp with the title before the match was officially declared a no-contest. Yes it’s as bad it sounds.

Hard Justice

The event took place at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey. Attendance figures varied, with one saying they managed 3500 fans while another stated there were only 2300.

  • Petey Williams opened the show with a title defense against Consequences Creed.
  • Gail Kim, ODB and Taylor Wilde continued their feuds with Awesome Kong and The Beautiful People with a victory over them in a six woman tag match.
  • Beer Money (Inc.) arrived as the tag team we know and love by taking the tag team titles away from LAX.
  • The ongoing feud between Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt was placed in a ‘Black Tie Brawl and Chain” match. The fans figured the concept was booked by Vince Russo so they chanted “Fire Russo!” as a way to show their frustration to management.
  • Christian and Rhino teamed up once again and defeated Team 3D in a New Jersey Street Fight.
  • Easily the best match of the night was a Last Man Standing between AJ Styles and Kurt Angle which made up for their previous PPV encounter. AJ Styles won in the end .. but the real winners were the fans.
  • The main event was pretty short, and again it was for the TNA World title with Booker T challenging Samoa Joe. Near the end of the match, the lights went out, and when they came back on a guitar had mysteriously appeared. Joe smashed the guitar over Booker T’s head and retained the title.

No Surrender

It was the first TNA PPV to be held outside the United States. The event drew 3500 fans to the General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

  • Awesome Kong defeated ODB in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
  • The new team of Abyss and Matt Morgan got a win over Brother Ray and Brother Devon, only continuing Team 3D’s poor run of form.
  • There was much criticism over Sheik Abdul Bashir’s (aka Daivari) entrance theme which included a falling plane mere days after the 9/11 anniversary. Petey Williams was treated like a hero by the Canadian faithful. Bashir ended up winning the triple threat against Williams and Creed to claim the X-Division title; which was not a popular decision.
  • Taylor Wilde continued the most successful run of her career with an easy title defense over Angelina Love.
  • In another crazy gimmick match in the feud between Jay Lethal and former friend Sonjay Dutt, they fought in a Ladder Of Love match with the winner claiming the love of SoCal Val. While it seemed that Val was helping Lethal, in the end she turned heel and helped Sonjay win.
  • Beer Money Inc retained the tag titles against LAX in a surprisingly average wrestling match.
  • AJ Styles and Frank Trigg fought in a “MMA” match. The crowd chanted “this is B.S” as the wrestler and the mixed martial arts fighter fought with MMA rules. AJ Styles seemed to win the first round, but after the round ended the feed for the PPV gave out. For some unknown reason, the feed was replaced by a pornographic film for a short time. TNA was able to cut back to the beginning of the second round, where AJ Styles found a kendo stick and assaulted Trigg. It was determined that the referee had ruled it a No Contest due to Styles ‘accidently’ hitting Trigg in the groin.
  • The main event was a Three Ways To Glory match (triple threat) which originally was meant to include Booker T but he couldn’t make it due to a hurricane threat. Samoa Joe defended his title in a forgetful match against Angle and Christian, and even interference from a returning Jeff Jarrett could not save the main event or the show.

Critics panned the show as one of the worst in TNA history. The recent overbooking of shows was beginning to leave a bad taste in fans mouths and the show in Canada didn’t help at all.


Bound For Glory (“The Battle For Respect Emerges”)

The event was held in the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The PPV drew 5000-5500 fans (numbers vary) which was considered a record for the promotion despite some free tickets being handed out, and the venue being capable of holding 8000. A lot of the build surrounding Bound For Glory was Sting pointing out the disrespect AJ Styles and Samoa Joe had for veteran wrestlers, whereas Jarrett stated they had every right to do so as the veterans were holding them back from being stars. Angle didn’t agree with either of them, and instead labeled himself as the reason for TNA’s success, and challenged Jarrett to a match; which Jeff eventually accepted after some reluctance.

  • The show opened with another X-Division contest, and again Jay Lethal beat the majority of the X-Division in a Steel Asylum to become #1 contender. It was one of the weaker outings of recent times despite the talent on show.
  • In the ongoing build of The Beautiful People, Kip James aka Billy Gunn (now called Cute Kip) joined the stable and helped them in a match with ODB, Rhaka Khan and Rhino, but they were unsuccessful.
  • Sheik Abdul Bashir defended his title against Consequences Creed.
  • Taylor Wilde continued to shock the world with a short win over Awesome Kong and Roxxi.
  • In one of the better matches of the night, four teams fought in Monster’s Ball for the tag team titles, with Steve “Mongo” McMichael as the special guest referee. Beer Money remained on top of the division with an exciting victory over Abyss/Matt Morgan, LAX, and Team 3D. Also Abyss went through a flaming table; which was dangerous yet memorable.
  • Booker T bounced back from his losses to Samoa Joe with a win in a Three Way War against AJ Styles and Christian.
  • Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett were due to collide in a singles match. A couple of weeks earlier, Mick Foley confirmed to signing a short-term deal with TNA after a poor run as a colour commentator in WWE. He made his debut on Impact and expressed his love for the product, while at the same time belittling WWE’s. He was made the special ringside enforcer for the match. Due to Angle attacking Foley with a steel chair, he assisted Jarrett and the match ended with a guitar shot to Angle’s head.
  • Samoa Joe and Sting fought in a heated main event for the TNA World title. Also, regardless of the outcome there would be no rematch. It had been reported Kevin Nash had left the company, but during the main event he made his return and stood at ringside. He helped Joe by taking the baseball bat off Sting before he could use it behind the referee’s back. However, this was just a ruse as Nash used the bat on Joe, assisting Sting in his win to become two-time TNA World Champion.

Bound For Glory was a return to form, but it still didn’t live up to being named the biggest PPV of the year. It was a vast improvement over No Surrender and critics seemed to enjoy the show overall.

On the October 23rd episode of Impact in Las Vegas, Nevada, Awesome Kong became the first two-time Knockouts Champion with a win over Taylor Wilde. On the same night, Booker T introduced a belt called the “TNA Legends Championship”, which was unsanctioned by TNA in storyline. The premise was to give veterans something to fight over when they were out of the world title picture. The title belt went on to be renamed several times over the years: the Global Championship, the Television Championship, and lastly the King of the Mountain Championship.

One of the biggest developments of the show was the introduction of the Main Event Mafia stable, which originally consisted of Kurt Angle, Sting, Booker T and Kevin Nash. The goal of the group was to keep the younger talent down and teach them the meaning of respect. The following week, Scott Steiner returned from injury and showed his allegiance to The Mafia.


Turning Point (“The balance of power has reached a Turning Point”)

The show was interesting as a power shift was happening due to the Main Event Mafia taking over the product while the TNA originals fought to save the company.

  • In a rare X-Division appearance, Eric Young became #1 contender after winning a Ten-Man Elimination match.
  • Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns fought for the tag team titles, sparking a rivalry which would last several years. Beer Money were the victors this time around.
  • The TNA Legends title was defended for the first time by Booker T against challenger Christian Cage. There was a stipulation where if Christian lost, he would be forced to join the Main Event Mafia. Christian was unsuccessful and became part of MEM.
  • In a match critics praised as the best of the night, Kurt Angle fought ‘The Monster’ Abyss in Falls Count Anywhere which he won after throwing Abyss through the Spanish announce table.
  • Samoa Joe and Kevin Nash fought in a personal match which had elements of storyline dating back to the infamous shoot promo Joe cut on Scott Hall in December 2007. It had an old school vs. new school feel which fans seemed to enjoy, but the theme of the night continued with the Main Event Mafia taking over and doing anything to make it happen. After a Jackknife powerbomb failed to get him the pinfall, Nash hit Joe in the groin and covered him for the win.
  • AJ Styles, as a member of the TNA Originals, challenged Sting for the World title. Despite a solid effort, Angle and Booker T distracted AJ long enough for Sting to roll him up and retain.

Critics liked the show overall. The “new school vs. old school” mentality appeared to rejuvenate the product, and while Turning Point was a clear win for MEM, it gave fans more incentive to get behind the TNA Originals.

Christian was kicked out of the Main Event Mafia the following week as he was returning to WWE. Rhino became the leader of the TNA Originals stable and renamed it the “TNA Front Line”. Team 3D also joined the Front Line after being asked to join MEM.


Final Resolution (“Respect is Earned”)

Due to the reshuffling of PPVs, this was the second Final Resolution event of 2008.

  • The show opened with a Feast Or Fired match, which saw Homicide winning the X-Division case, Hernandez winning the World title case, Jay Lethal winning the tag team title case, and Curry Man getting a Pink Slip and fired from his contract.
  • Eric Young defeated Sheik Abdul Bashir for the X-Division title, but due to a crooked referee .. Jim Cornette stripped Young of the title and set up a tournament.
  • Christy Hemme challenged Awesome Kong for the Knockouts title, and won the match .. but it was by disqualification so Kong kept the title.
  • Beer Money continued to show why they were the best tag team in the world by retaining their titles against Abyss and Matt Morgan.
  • The leader of the Main Event Mafia Kurt Angle fought Rhino in a match to get another shot at Jeff Jarrett. Mick Foley was the special guest enforcer again as well. Had Angle lost he would be forced to leave TNA. Due to interference from Al Snow, Angle was able to use a chair and end this poorly worked contest.
  • The main event was an 8-man tag between the MEM and the TNA Front Line (AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Team 3D). The only problem with the match was that Joe took a lot of the offense and lost again due to a low blow. Once again the younger talent were made to look bad while the old veterans reigned supreme. Sting teased a face turn by choosing not to celebrate the win with his stablemates.

Not a very good event. Even the Angle match sucked, so Final Resolution marked a poor end to an average year.

Nine days later on a taping of Impact, Jay Lethal chose Consequences Creed to be his tag team partner when he decided to cash in his tag team title shot against Beer Money. Much to everyone’s surprise, Lethal and Creed were successful and dethroned Beer Money for the time being. This title change did not air til January 8th, a few days before Genesis.


Conclusion

The biggest problem with 2008 was its overbooking. While the company had Russo around for years and only garnered some criticism over certain decisions, 2008 was wrought with gimmicks and match endings reminiscent of Russo with no filter. It got to the point the fans knew there would be some form of interference, and it could easily be compared to the dark days of WCW.

While Samoa Joe was able to get back to the main event scene after his shoot promo, he never came across like a serious champion because TNA didn’t book him against credible or exciting challengers. Aside from a decent main event against Kurt Angle where he won the title, his matches with Booker T, Scott Steiner, and Sting did not go down well. The reluctance to have two TNA originals fighting for the title is very apparent when you look back over these events. TNA had relied heavily on former WWE/WCW/ECW guys in the past, but 2008 bumped it up to another level.

Even more so when the Main Event Mafia started up, with Sting turning on his fans and joining a group filled with natural heels. It didn’t make sense for him to be a bad guy, it didn’t make sense for him to ally with Angle. And while they built the MEM, Joe was buried despite being world champion half of the year. AJ Styles managed to get back to the main event scene after his tag team with Tomko ended, but it still wasn’t enough. AJ was a huge star for the company, yet he continued to be considered an afterthought in the booking in favour of old WCW guys who had no business wrestling at all.

The Knockouts Division started well, but without Gail Kim challenging Kong for the title (she was feuding with The Beautiful People most of the year) it lost much of its focus. Sadly, Taylor Wilde never recovered after losing the title to Kong, although she did get a brief run with another title which I’ll touch on next time. Beer Money arrived as the new team to beat, which is definitely one of the positives to take from 2008. However, the X-Division almost died .. the moment Sheik Abdul Bashir got the belt. Why in the blue hell would you take the belt off Petey Williams in his home country and put it on Daivari? It blows my mind. Luckily they noticed how bad it was .. eventually, and got the belt vacated so the company could get back to some real X-Division.

Such a difficult year to review. Had it’s good moments, plenty of well-known talents, but the increasing reliance on old names (aside from “good” old names like Angle and Sting) over the TNA Originals was something the fans were getting sick of in a hurry. Also I didn’t like the fact they had three on-air authority figures in Jim Cornette, Mick Foley, and Jeff Jarrett; that’s too much! The focus on the mid-card had diminished considerably, and the overall quality of PPV and wrestling matches suffered. Not to the point it was unwatchable .. but certainly not a good trend leading in to 2009.

I’m going to be bold here and say .. the downfall of TNA didn’t start in 2010 with Hogan and Bischoff .. the cracks were already forming. There was time to save things, but it required logical booking and the fans knew it wasn’t going to happen as long as Russo and Jarrett had creative control. The “sports-entertainment” aspect was slowly nudging the “wrestling show” out of the door. And I can’t say anything else really .. it’s been a long one again so thanks for hanging in there. You’ve been awesome! See you again soon.

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