The Chrononaut Chronicles: TNA Unbreakable 2005

With all the negativity surrounding what is or was or used to be TNA, let’s take a look back at what I consider to be the “Golden Era” of the company. You can argue that TNA never enjoyed such a period, but I would say that they were far more entertaining than WWE from the summer of 2005 until the arrival of Vince Russo in 2007. That journey begins with Unbreakable, featuring Christopher Daniels defending the X Division Title against AJ Styles and Samoa Joe in an all-time classic!

The Chrononaut Chronicles: TNA Unbreakable 2005 – Sunday, September 11, 2005

– A silent graphic before the TNA intro informs us that this PPV “is dedicated to the unbreakable spirit of the American people”, being September 11th and all.

– Since today was also the NFL’s season opener, the opening video features Monday Night Football music and a Howard Cosell soundalike doing the voiceover as tonight’s top matches are previewed. Of course, even though he isn’t wrestling tonight, they find a way to work Jeff Jarrett in there. Good, unique video though and they deserve credit for not going the obvious route and exploiting September 11, like some companies might have done.

– Six-Man Tag Team Match: Diamonds In The Rough (David Young & Elix Skipper & Simon Diamond) vs. 3 Live Kru (Konnan & BG James & Ron Killings)

Yes, for the second month in a row, the Diamonds In The Rough are curtain-jerking a PPV, but that’s still better than being stuck on the Preshow or not used at all. Konnan & BG James do their shtick on the mic as Mike Tenay puts over 3 Live Kru’s reunion last month at Sacrifice. 3LK dominate until Diamond slaps Skipper, who gets fired up and hits James with a nice springboard spinning heel kick. The Diamonds assault BG in their corner until Konnan gets the hot tag and cleans house, including a smart counter to Primetime’s Matrix with a reverse DDT. K-Dog throws his shoe at David Young and finishes him off with the K-Factor facejam at 4:20. *1/2 At least it was short and the crowd was into it.

– Footage from the Preshow: Monty Brown destroys Jerrelle Clark and Cassidy Riley, then challenges the winner of tonight’s NWA Championship bout at Bound For Glory next month. Jeff “Of Course” Jarrett, in his ring gear despite not being on the card this evening, interrupts the Alpha Male and says he deserves the next title shot. Kip James comes out and tells Monty to focus on their tag match tonight. Jeff Hardy runs out and attacks Jarrett before Kip pulls Double J out to safety.

– Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong

Tenay points to this match-up as proof that TNA listens to its fans, unless it has to do with Jeff Jarrett, in which case they’re just dumb marks who don’t know what’s good for them. Well okay, he didn’t say all that, but he might as well have. The crowd chants “Generation Next” as Don West, of all people, mentions that Strong and Aries are stablemates in Ring Of Honor and that Austin defeated Roderick in their two previous encounters. They do some solid mat work to start off before Strong catches Aries in a crossbody attempt and executes a traditional backbreaker, then presses him overhead and charges toward the corner, hurling Aries against the turnbuckles. That gets a two-count, as does a double-underhook suplex. Strong works over Aries’ back, but what else would you expect from a guy called the Messiah Of The Backbreaker? Strong applies a cool-looking surfboard with his legs but almost pins himself. The commentators explain that Strong wants to beat Aries with the Boston crab as Roderick hits a nice dropkick for two.

They trade chops and Austin takes control, dropping the Pendulum Elbow for two. Aries snaps Strong’s neck over the top rope (actually called the “Macho Necksnap” by West in honor of Randy Savage) and slingshots back in with the twisting corkscrew splash for two. Aries goes for the brainbuster, but Strong blocks it and counters with a flipping pumphandle backbreaker to score a near-fall. Strong lifts him in a fireman’s carry and crunches him with a falling gutbuster across both knees, following quickly with a seated dropkick to the side of the head for another near-fall. Roderick tries to apply the Boston crab, but Aries holds Strong’s leg to keep from being flipped over, so Strong kicks him off and catapults him into the turnbuckles. Strong hooks him up for a possible half-nelson backbreaker, but Aries escapes and nails him with a dropkick, then plants him with the brainbuster and dives off the top with the 450 splash for the 1-2-3 at 8:00. ***1/2 Great little match that the crowd loved.

– Shane Douglas interviews Monty Brown backstage as the fans can be heard chanting “That was awesome” in the arena until the sound guy cuts them off and plays some background music. Kip James cuts the Alpha Male off and asks him what all that was about, refering to the Preshow shenanigans, since Kip apparently hasn’t had time in the last half-hour to ask Monty about it off-camera. Monty explains he was just trying to get the job done, adding that it was something Kip hasn’t done lately, but the former Billy Gunn informs Monty that he is one of the “most decorated” stars in wrestling history, which really sounds stupid. Kip advises Monty to keep his mind on their tag team match tonight that nobody cares about.

– Kip James & Monty Brown vs. Apolo & Lance Hoyt

Sonny Siaki, wearing a neckbrace due to an attack by the heels I guess, accompanies Apolo & Lance Hoyt but they send him back to the locker room for his own safety while Monty & Kip mock his injured neck. Early miscommunication between JamesBrown results in Hoyt double-clotheslining them, but they eventually take over and dominate him. I almost fall asleep, but Lance finally makes the hot tag to Apolo, who unloads on the heels and drops Monty with a nice Sky High sit-out powerbomb for two. More JamesBrown miscommunication when Kip accidentally boots Monty off the apron and Apolo hits Kip with a superkick for a near-fall. Apolo strikes me as Batista with twice the talent but half the charisma. The Alpha Male returns and blasts Apolo with the Pounce for the three-count at 9:58. Was he the legal man? Apparently not even the referee cares about this match. -** Afterwards, JamesBrown argue with each other. Ultimately this would prove to lead absolutely nowhere.

– Traci Brooks interviews Team Canada about their matches tonight. Bobby Roode gazes into Traci’s bottomless cleavage and Eric Young goes from confident to pessimistic to outright suicidal in under 10 seconds. It’s redundant to say so now, but this guy is hilarious. Still no Coach D’Amore.

– Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin

Tenay runs through their history together, mentioning that they were both trained by Scott D’Amore, and informs us that Sabin was scheduled to wrestle Shocker tonight, but AAA booked Shocker in the Yucatan Peninsula and it was logistically impossible for him to be in Orlando. That was an oddly detailed explanation actually, very unusual for a wrestling company. I’m not a big Shocker fan (from what I’ve seen) anyway and I really dig Sabin/Williams matches, so I can’t complain. They kick off with some fast-paced action and go out to the floor, where Sabin misses a dive off the apron and hits the railing, allowing Petey to take the advantage in the ring and perform the “O Canada” nutstomp in the corner. In a strange moment, some dude in the crowd starts doing the Berzerker’s (and Jimmy Jacobs’) “Huss” routine and gets a “WTF” type look from Petey. Sabin builds a comeback off of it, but Williams counters a powerbomb into a DDT to take back control. Tenay dedicates the evening to those impacted by “9/11” and Hurricane Katrina; the rest of you can apparently go fuck yourselves.

The crowd rallies behind Sabin as he throws Williams, who lands on the middle turnbuckle and tries to float over, but Sabin catches him in mid-air with a dropkick to the back and both men are down. Sabin explodes with a rapid-fire series of forearms to the face and they trade chops before Sabin fires off a spin-kick to the gut, an enzuigiri, and a fisherman buster for a near-fall. Sabin goes for the Cradle Shock but Petey blocks it and sets up for the Canadian Destroyer, which Sabin counters with a back-bodydrop that Petey counters with a sunset flip into the Sharpshooter. These guys are so smooth together. Sabin makes it to the ropes to break the hold and when he gets up, springboards off the middle turnbuckle with a tornado DDT for two. After a few more nice sequences and another Sharpshooter, Petey ends up crotched on the middle turnbuckle so Sabin lifts him in a Razor’s Edge and charges across the ring, smashing Petey into the opposite turnbuckles. DAMN. Sabin goes for the Cradle Shock but Williams escapes and rakes the eyes, blinding Sabin, who then grabs referee Mark “Slick” Johnson and hoists him up for the Cradle Shock, thinking he’s Petey. However, Sabin feels the pants and bald head and realizes his mistake, so he releases the ref and Petey moves in for the Canadian Destroyer. Sabin counters with the Cradle Shock on Petey and scores the pinfall at 12:34. ***1/2 A good match that told the “Canadian Destroyer vs. Cradle Shock” story between two guys who know each other very well.

Afterwards, Sabin celebrates until Matt Bentley slides in and nails him with the superkick. Bentley takes the mic and says that a lot of people thought he was bound to head “up north”, but TNA is his home and he is Bound For Glory, announcing that there will be an Ultimate X match at BFG. Bentley drops the stick and goes to step out, but turns back and superkicks Petey for good measure.

– A video package sets up the match between Sabu and Abyss.

– No Disqualification: Abyss (w/James Mitchell) vs. Sabu

Father James Mitchell, in a stylish mustard-yellow suit, does some mic work before Sabu’s entrance and makes this a No Disqualification match. They slug it out in the ring for a bit before Sabu goes to the floor and accepts a chair from a fan, but when he brings it in, Abyss stomps on it and crushes Sabu’s fingers. Chair-assisted legdrop from Sabu gets a two-count, though, and Sabu sets up the chair, springboarding off and clotheslining Abyss over the top to the floor. Tenay puts over the Monster’s “tunnel vision” as Abyss prepares tables at ringside, but Sabu dives over the top with a somersault plancha. Back in the ring, Sabu springboards off a chair onto the top rope, then turns and drills Abyss with a wicked tornado DDT for two. Abyss gets caught in a sitting position between the ropes and Sabu charges, but Abyss catches him in an overhead suplex that sends Sabu over the top crashing through the two tables on the floor. The fans finally learn to chant “TNA” rather than “ECW” like they did earlier.

Abyss rolls Sabu in and scores a near-fall before bringing a table in. Sabu nails him with a trio of chairshots for two. Abyss gets up near the table and Sabu dives off the top with the chair-assisted flying legdrop across the back of the Monster’s head through the table, although it looked like Sabu got the worst of it as he crashed through and landed on his neck. OUCH. Sabu crawls over and covers Abyss, but Mitchell puts his Monster’s leg over the bottom rope to stop the pin. Sabu grabs Mitchell on the apron and Abyss capitalizes, snatching up Sabu and dropping him with the Shock Treatment on the broken table for a near-fall. Abyss retrieves the thumbtacks from under the ring and spreads them on the mat, but Sabu blocks the chokeslam with a kick to the yambags. Sabu springboards off a chair to the top, but Abyss catches him coming down and plants Sabu with the Black Hole Slam on the thumbtacks. Numerous tacks are stuck in Sabu’s bleeding back as Abyss covers him for the three-count at 11:30. ***1/2 Great violent spectacle, as Sabu and Abyss always work well together.

– Shane Douglas interviews Alex Shelley, who is supposed to team with Sean Waltman in tonight’s four-way tag title match, but he has no idea where Waltman is, and that’s a shoot. Shelley says he needs Waltman, but the “Total Nonstop Alex” tour is going to the ring with or without him. The Franchise makes constipated monkey faces that would embarrass even John Cena.

– Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy

“WHO’S THE GREATEST?!?” That gimmick wasn’t “Glorious,” that’s for sure. Roode attacks Hardy during his prematch posing ritual and they put on a solid match, as Tenay mentions that this is Jeff’s in-ring return and that he will have to prove himself to TNA Management. Roode dominates most of the action until Hardy mounts a comeback and goes to the top for the Swanton Bomb, but Petey Williams runs out and trips him up with the Canadian flag/hockey stick. Roode brings Hardy down with an overhead superplex for two. Petey distracts the ref and Roode tries to use the hockey stick, but Hardy ducks, knocks Petey off the apron, and drops Roode with the Twist Of Fate. Roode rolls out to ringside, where Petey helps him up as Hardy leaps off the top and floors both Canadians, landing on his feet. Hardy sends Roode back in and tries to follow, but Jeff “Who Else” Jarrett runs down and cracks Hardy with the hockey stick before rolling him in. Roode crawls over and picks up the easy victory in 9:07. Yep. **

– A video package recaps the three-way rivalry between the Naturals, America’s Most Wanted, and Team Canada. We also see Sean Waltman & Alex Shelley winning the Chris Candido Memorial Cup tournament to earn a title shot, making it a four-way match tonight.

– Shane Douglas interviews the Naturals with Jimmy Hart, but AMW interrupt them and act cocky and heelish as they vow to regain the NWA World Tag Team Championship tonight.

– NWA World Tag Team Title Match: Team Canada (A1 & Eric Young) vs. Alex Shelley vs. America’s Most Wanted vs. The Naturals © (w/Jimmy Hart)

Sean Waltman is officially a no-show as Tenay points out Chris Candido’s father Don and brother Johnny, along with longtime friend Jimmy “Kloudi” Shoulders, in the front row. When the Naturals come out, Andy Douglas has a yellow towel in memory of Candido and presents it to Don, which is a nice gesture. The Naturals and AMW scrap right off the bat as Tenay is obviously upset that Waltman no-showed the PPV and frames it as a personal insult to the Candido family, since Waltman & Shelley won the Candido Cup. Elimination rules here, by the way, as the early part of the bout is all about Alex Shelley fending for himself after tagging himself in. Shelley fights valiantly, but nobody will accept his tag and he gets beaten down by Team Canada until Johnny Candido hops the railing in street clothes and gets the tag. The Canadians and AMW bump for Johnny before Eric Young wraps him up in a small package (exposing his underwear in an unintentionally funny moment) for the three-count, apparently eliminating Shelley as well. It made no sense, but it was a cool moment to see Johnny fighting for the memory of his late brother.

James Storm gets a two-count on Showtime off the Eye Of The Storm, but Team Canada isolate the Cowboy in their corner and work him over until Storm smacks Young with a superkick and makes the hot tag to Chris Harris, who cleans house on the Canadians and attacks the Naturals on the apron. The Wildcat is on a roll and lifts Young for a vertical suplex while Storm goes after the Naturals, distracting the ref as A1 breaks the hockey stick across Harris’ back and Showtime wraps him up in a small package for the 1-2-3 to eliminate AMW. The Naturals, who were only in the ring briefly in the beginning, are fresh and unload on Team Canada until the Canadians AGAIN cut the ring in half and control Douglas, tossing him to the floor. Jimmy Hart tries to help Andy but Showtime shoves him against the guardrail, which Jimmy no-sells by rubbing his hands together as if they were dirty. Strange. Chase Stevens gets the hot tag and cleans house but A1 plants him with a nice powerbomb and Young superplexes Douglas. A1 lifts Stevens on his shoulders for the Doomsday Device as Eric goes to the top, but the Mouth Of The South knocks Eric off the turnbuckle and the Naturals drop A1 with the Natural Disaster. Douglas then scores the final pinfall on A1 in 18:01 to retain the gold and they celebrate at ringside with the Candidos. **1/2 Solid match, but way too much Canadian offense.

– Shane Douglas interviews Rhino, who cuts what could be considered a prototype of his later anti-ECWWE promo, talking about suffering in hell for the last four years and “Hollywood bitches” telling him to show emotion in the ring. The Man Beast promises to show emotion tonight and take the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Raven.

– A video package sets up this evening’s NWA Title bout. We see a clip from Impact of Jarrett trying to talk Rhino into letting him have the title shot, but Rhino says Jeff will get his title shot… after he wins it from Raven at Unbreakable.

– NWA World Heavyweight Title Match: Rhino vs. Raven ©

This contest will be held under Raven’s Rules. Raven looks like a hardcore homeless person as he pushes a shopping cart full of weapons down the ramp, wearing a hoodie and vintage Raven attire with the t-shirt and ripped denim shorts. Raven litters the ring with weapons as Rhino bails out to the floor and the NWA World Champion starts throwing things at him. Rhino comes back in and they pound on each other with various weapons before Raven slices him open with the pizza cutter and the crowd chants “We want pizza”, which gets a chuckle out of me. They go out to ringside and Raven smashes Rhino head-first against a beer keg set up near the announce table. I guess that explains Don West’s commentary. Rhino slams the keg into Raven twice and goes for a third, but Raven moves and the keg hits the ringpost, hurting Rhino’s hands. Back in the ring, Raven canes Rhino a few times and gets a two-count before applying…an ankle lock? Rhino makes it to the ropes and the hold is broken, even though it’s a No DQ match. I really hate that, IT MAKES NO SENSE. Grrr. Rhino hits Raven with chairshots and trashcan shots, then places the can on Raven in the corner and running-kicks the can. Rhino facewashes Raven, but when he goes for the running facewash, Raven avoids it and grabs his foot to reapply the ankle lock, which Rhino breaks by whacking Raven with the trashcan. Rhino picks up a staple gun, but drops it in favor of a larger one and staples Raven’s forehead. Maybe he should try stapling Raven’s stomach these days. The Man Beast places a chair underneath Raven and goes to the top, but Raven moves and Rhino splashes the chair.

Raven rallies back with the discus clothesline, the lariat, and the running kneelift, then splashes Rhino in the corner and brings him out with the bulldog for a near-fall. Raven sets up the chair, but Rhino slams his face into the chair and gets two. Cassidy Riley appears on the apron as Raven drills Rhino with the DDT and covers him, but the ref is busy with Cassidy and we all wait for the inevitable Jarrett run-in. Surprisingly, it doesn’t happen and the ref counts two. Riley says he’s sorry and leaves while Rhino rams a ladder into Raven’s gut and props it up on a chair. Raven ends up powerbombing Rhino out of the corner and crushing the ladder, which gets a close near-fall. Raven positions the ladder between the ropes, but eats it when Rhino pushes down on the other end from the apron. Rhino covers for two and retrieves the shopping cart, but irony rears its ugly head again as Raven takes control of the cart and rams it into Rhino’s lower midsection. Rhino responds with a mulekick to the hueves and charges with the Gore, but Raven sidesteps and drop-toeholds him head-first to the cart. Jeff “Are You Really That Surprised?” Jarrett does his much-anticipated run-in (even West says we’ve seen enough of him) and grabs the NWA Title belt to hit Raven, but Jeff Hardy comes out and takes the belt away, allowing Raven to drop Jarrett with the DDT. Rhino blindsides Raven and signals for a DDT of his own, but Raven escapes and drills Rhino with the DDT for the 1-2-3 to retain the NWA World Championship in 14:28. ***1/2 Another entertaining ECW-style weapons brawl, aside from the unnecessary involvement of the two Jeffs.

– A video package recaps the Daniels/Styles/Joe issue using the same voiceovers from the Sacrifice PPV-opening video last month. We also see an interview clip of the Fallen Angel doing his “Mr. TNA” bit as he states that his heart is six-sided and it beats, “T-N-A, T-N-A, T-N-A”. That’s great.

– TNA X Division Title Match: Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels ©

Kudos to TNA for showing appreciation not only to the X Division, but also to their internet-based fans (Impact was an internet-only show at this tim, so it stands to reason that most of the viewers were “smarks”) by making this the main event of the PPV. Jeremy Borash performs the Super Special Ring Introductions after all three men make their entrances to give it that special feeling, and you bet your ass I’m doing play-by-play.

In what could be considered questionable strategy, Daniels starts off the match by telling his two challengers that it’s his belt and they can’t beat him, so Styles and Joe attack the Fallen Angel and pound him with forearms, kicks, and chops. Joe snapmares Daniels and kicks him across the back, but Styles isn’t impressed and unleashes a kick of his own on Daniels to show Joe how it’s done. Joe nails Daniels again with a stiff kick, and Styles follows with another kick to the spine. Finally, Daniels has had enough and jumps up, screaming “STOP KICKING ME!” at both guys, who level him with a Total Elimination-style double-team with Joe kicking Daniels’ chest while AJ kicks his legs. The crowd loves it, so do I, and so should you. Styles quickly scores three consecutive near-falls on Joe with a cradle, a small package, and a roll-up before Joe locks him in a double-arm submission on the mat which Daniels breaks up. Daniels hits Joe with a back heel kick off the ropes and mounts him, but Joe pulls him off and chops away. Joe knocks Daniels through the ropes with an enzuigiri and unloads on AJ in the corner, but when he runs to the ropes, Daniels trips him and re-enters the ring, where he simultaneously bulldogs Styles and kicks Joe in the head. Daniels gets two on Styles and Joe moves in, cornering Daniels and trying to whip Styles into him. Daniels gets out of the way and Styles hits the turnbuckles, but Joe ends up whipping Daniels into Styles. Daniels tries to take AJ out of the corner with a bulldog, but the Phenomenal One puts on the brakes and Daniels runs right into the standing STO from Joe.

Styles snaps off a spinning headscissors on Joe and kicks away at him in the corner before charging across the ring and forearming Daniels in the opposite corner. Styles runs back toward Joe, but the Samoan Submission Machine is waiting and tosses AJ with an overhead belly-to-belly upside-down in the turnbuckles. Ouch. Joe facewashes Styles and goes for the running facewash, but Daniels cuts him off at the pass with a semi-Pounce to knock Joe to the floor. Daniels rebounds off the ropes and nails Joe with a double-footed dropkick through the ropes, then lands the split-leg moonsault to the floor on Joe. Joe and Daniels trade forearms at ringside as Styles springboards off the top rope with an incredible shooting star press onto both men that warrants a replay. Styles rolls Joe into the ring and gets a two-count before smacking Joe with a beautiful dropkick for another two. AJ corners Joe, but Daniels blindsides him and whips Styles to the opposite corner, then tries to whip Joe in after him. However, Joe reverses the whip and Daniels monkey-flips Styles, who flies out of the corner as a result and catches Joe in a huracanrana, all of this done in one fluid motion. OH MY GOD, words cannot describe that spot properly. Daniels can’t even believe it and looks from Styles to Joe to the crowd in shock with a great facial expression, wondering how it happened. Daniels rolls Styles up for two and elevates him over the top down to the floor in order to focus on Joe, hitting him with a running knee into the corner and slapping the big Samoan.

Daniels obviously forgot what happened to AJ at Sacrifice when he slapped Joe, as Joe explodes on Daniels with a series of open hands and knees to the face and head. Daniels gets behind Joe when he runs off the ropes and rolls him up, but Joe kicks out at two and snatches Daniels in the Kokina Clutch in one motion. AJ comes off the top and breaks up the submission (since this is one-fall, not elimination rules) with the awesome Spiral Tap. I hope AJ doesn’t bust that out again until Bound For Glory to make it more special, because the fans will explode. All three guys are down, but Styles crawls over and gets a two-count on Joe, then covers Daniels for another near-fall. Daniels uses the Phenomenal One’s tights to eject him from the ring and drops Joe with the reverse STO before going for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Styles sneaks in and hits Daniels, crotching him on the top turnbuckle and hanging him from the tree of woe. Styles kicks Daniels repeatedly until Joe charges over and crunches AJ with the flying knee to the face, squashing both of them in the corner. Styles collapses but Daniels is still hanging, so Joe runs off the ropes and creams the X Division Champion with a sliding dropkick to the face. Joe unhooks Daniels, who flops to the mat as Joe catches Styles in the inverted atomic drop and drills him with the running one-footed dropkick to the face, then lands the senton backsplash for a very close near-fall. Joe pounds Daniels with knees to the head, but Daniels manages to catch the leg and hauls Joe up, spiking him with the Death Valley Driver.

All three are down again as Daniels crawls over and covers Joe, but Styles breaks the pin at two. Styles tries to suplex Daniels, but they’re near the ropes and Daniels blocks it by hooking his leg on the rope, then suplexes Styles over the top. However, Styles lands on the apron so Daniels knocks him down with a back-elbow, then tries for a slingshot plancha, but Styles moves. Daniels lands on his feet though and Styles charges, so Daniels sidesteps him and the Phenomenal One effortlessly hops up on the apron before flipping back down with a moonsault, which Daniels also avoids. AJ lands on his feet and they exchange forearms as Joe dives over the top and splatters them both with a corkscrew plancha. DAMN. “Holy shit” indeed. Joe rolls Daniels back in and sets him up on top for the Muscle Buster, but Daniels fights him off with an eyerake and Styles climbs up to the top. They slug it out until Joe climbs up and brings them both down with a double overhead superplex as the fans chant “TNA”. Joe trades shots with Styles, who ducks a spinning backhand and fires off a Pele Kick, but Joe dodges it and Styles lands on his feet as Joe waistlocks him and drives him down with a vicious backdrop-type suplex. Joe plants Styles with the Muscle Buster and motions that he’s going to choke him out, but Daniels runs in with the X Title belt and Joe catches him in the snap powerslam. Joe picks up the belt and asks Daniels if he was going to hit him with it as the Fallen Angel begs off and the ref tries to pull the belt away. Joe wins the tug-of-war, but Daniels kicks the belt into Joe’s face and trades forearms with Styles, who runs off the ropes and gets thunderbombed by Daniels for two.

The Fallen Angel slams Styles with the standing STO and lands the BME, but Joe breaks the pin after a one-count and brutalizes him with kicks. Daniels blocks a kick and jacks Joe with a jawbreaker before dropping him with the Last Rites, a.k.a. Rolling The Dice. Joe rolls out to the floor, leaving Daniels to duke it out with Styles, who surprises the X Champion with the springboard inverted DDT to score a near-fall. AJ goes to the top, but Daniels meets him up there and superplexes him down to the canvas. Both men are down as Joe comes in to cover Daniels for two, then covers Styles for another two. Joe powerbombs Daniels for a cover, but Daniels kicks out and Joe immediately turns him over into the STF. Daniels finally grabs the rope and Joe goes after Styles, who responds to Joe’s forearm uppercuts with the Pele, but Joe stays on his feet, so AJ hoists him up into the torture rack (still very impressive) and slams him down for a near-fall. The crowd chants “This is awesome” and it is, as Daniels bodyslams AJ on top of Joe and AJ bounces off. Styles runs off the ropes and catches Daniels in a crucifix, sliding down into a sunset flip and standing up to plant Daniels with the Styles Clash, which almost gets three but Joe breaks it up. I thought that was the finish for sure. AJ is dumped out to ringside by Joe, who charges toward Daniels, but Daniels sidesteps him and Joe crashes through the ropes to the floor. Styles comes back in and slugs it out with Daniels, but Daniels thumbs him in the eye and lifts him in the Angel’s Wings, which Styles blocks in mid-move and counters by flipping Daniels over with a bridge to earn the deciding three-count at 22:50 and capture his fifth X Division Championship. ***** My choice for 2005 Match of the Year. Enough said.

Afterwards, Daniels is in denial and Joe seethes at ringside as Styles celebrates with the gold and the fans go banana. Tenay states that we have indeed witnessed something special (they don’t call him “The Professor” for nothing) and says that TNA will try to top this next month at Bound For Glory. Good luck.

Afterthoughts: There’s a reason that the three-way was pretty much a universal top Match Of The Year candidate for 2005, and that reason is simple… it’s fucking awesome. Non-stop action without a lot of the usual “two guys fight while the other guy sleeps on the floor” stuff that pervades triangle matches. Hell, I’m sweating just from recapping it. Add to that three very strong undercard bouts and a chaotic World Title match, and you have another highly recommended show, the final PPV before the SpikeTV era. Next time: are we Bound For Glory, or bound for disaster? What happens when your broken-down World Title contender pulls out before showtime because he has no heart? I’ll have the answers to these questions and more… thanks for reading, and see you in the future.

For more of my reviews, head over to The Chrononaut Chronicles.