I know it may be hard for some of you to believe, but TNA really did honest-to-goodness have some good moments in their history. Even in the worst of times, even they've once in a blue moon made people think, you know if they got their act together, they would be on to something. Maybe this is happening now, but it's probably way too little and much too late. Their TV deal will likely be pulled at the end of the summer, and unless they find a new home, they will likely cease to exist. I know, I know, we've been there before. But this summer may be honest-to-goodness the end. So let's celebrate the good times of Total Nonstop Action with...
The ten greatest moments in TNA history.
As voted on by you, the Cagesiders, of course. Remember kids, if your moment didn't make it, you have but yourself to blame.
10. Awesome Kong wins the TNA Knockouts Championship.
When this 272 3/8 (yes, you must account for the six ounces) behemoth stepped into a TNA ring for the first time, the thought of many, myself included, was probably, OMG, I've never seen anything like her. And the second thought probably was OMG, she's gonna kill all these poor women. Like literally kill them. Forget the fact that Kong was unlike anyone the company had seen before; Kong was unlike anyone any national company had seen before. She wasn't pretty. She was a brute. She was a monster. No, literally, she was a monster. And if she ever won the Knockouts Championship, she would hold it in perpetuity. On January 7, 2008, Kong did just that: she killed Gail Kim STRAIGHT dead with not one, but three powerbombs back to back to back and began her dominance over the division. She would hold the championship for twelve of the next sixteen months.
Thankfully, the people of Cageside Seats seem to have better sense than the people that run TNA. Last year, they put this moment as the best in TNA history. For those that don't know the backstory, for months, Bully Ray channed her inner WWF Bubba Ray Dudley from more than a decade ago and made it his mission in life to powerbomb Dixie Carter through a table and kill her dead (only one of these things is true). The much maligned owner turned heel for some reason in late 2013 and made herself the focal point of TNA programming. The former Buh-Buh Ray was given hell by Dixie, and Ray sought revenge. After teasing it for months, the then 49-year old finally got put through a table. But in the most TNA fashion, they (a) gave away the payoff a week before it actually happened, and (b) gained almost no viewers when it actually happened (look, 28,000 viewers out of 1.44 million is a drop in the bucket). That sucked considering it was the last significant storyline of the Spike TV era. Hope it was worth that broken back, Dix.
8. Beer Money vs. Motor City Machine Guns Best of 5.
TNA on more than one occasion has gone back to using this with different tag teams, but they don't quite measure up to the Best of Five Series that Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns put on in July and August 2010. Losing a ladder match and a street fight to Beer Money, the Guns came back and won the final three bouts: an Ultimate X match, a steel cage match, and a best of three falls match to claim the TNA World Tag Team Championship. The series may have been the height of the tag team division in TNA's history. If you got about an hour and a half to kill, do yourself a favor and watch all five of these bouts.
7. Mick Foley knocks out Bubba the Love Sponge.
The artist formerly known as Mankind and Howard Stern wannabe Bubba the Love Sponge were two of the bigger blemishes in TNA history. Foley was clearly a shell of his former self, and Bubba was only there because of Hulk Hogan. In March 2010, both left TNA; one for a short time, one permanently. And only one got a hero's exit. See around the time, Haiti was recovering from a massive earthquake. Awesome Kong, all around badass and caring and loving person, was raising money for Haitian earthquake relief. Bubba the Love Sponge, the tool that he is, tweeted out "Fuck Haiti!" Kong of course got wind of this and killed Bubba dead. And Kong getting fired for some reason. Anyways, after Foley lost a "loser leaves town" match to Jeff Jarrett, toolbag Bubba wanted to get in one last dig on the Micker. And Micker got one last dig on him... in the form of a right hand to the face. Turned out it would be Bubba's last appearance on TNA programming; a month later, Sponge's fired after he ambushes Kong in a radio interview. Survey says: one more for the good guys. And Kharma.
6. Christian wins NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
In November 2005, longtime Internet fan favorite Jay Reso, aka Christian, left WWE and joined TNA. The move at the time was seen as a shocker. The thing was, Reso probably hit his ceiling in WWE. He was never going to be a world champion, so he crossed the line if you will. His move put TNA on the map in a national sense. Just three months later, the "Instant Classic" scored TNA's biggest prize: the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. It was a cool moment for a guy who gave his entire adult life to the wrestling business. And credit to the fans: they saw it too. Of course it helped that the man holding the NWA world title was "not Jeff Jarrett". Seriously, anybody but Jarrett.
5. Elix Skipper walks the cage.
Turning Point 2004 was main evented not by a world title match or a match involving the world champion, but by a blood feud coming to an end: America's Most Wanted and Triple X met in a steel cage match. The price of defeat in this match was severe: the losing team would be forced to go their separate ways, never to team again. Considering these were two of the most successful units in TNA's early days, that was a heavy price to pay. Late in the match, Chris Daniels hits Angel's Wings on Chris Harris and looks to make it out of the cage. James Storm catches up and they fight on top of the cage. Moments later, Elix Skipper climbs to the top. Instead of escaping, he—and you really have to see this to believe it...more than once, probably—DOES A TIGHTROPE WALK ON TOP OF THE CAGE, AND—I SWEAR TO GOD ALMIGHTY—HE HURANCARANAS JAMES STORM OFF THE TOP OF THE CAGE. Oh, and Chris Daniels drops an elbow because...fuck it, why not? Still though... HURANCARANA FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE TO THE CANVAS! It's insane. It's INSANE.
INSANE, I TELL YOU. A fraction of an inch off in either direction and Elix is a dead man.
4. Dueling Flairs.
A moment to remind you that TNA once had Jay Lethal. And Lethal won the TNA X Division Championship six times. Dude could have been a superstar there. A cornerstone of the company. Maybe even their world champion. In 2010, Lethal was feuding with Ric Flair and his Four Horsemen ripoff stable Fortune for some reason. The highlight of that feud would be this awesome promo between Jay Lethal and Jay Lethal ripoff Ric Flair. Or Ric Flair and Ric Flair ripoff Jay Lethal. See if you can tell the two apart. It wasn't the first time, but it was surely the best.
Tna Sacrifice 2014 Part 3 by wrestlingcity
3. The worst ref bump EVER.
At last year's Lockdown, Bully Ray screwed Bobby Roode out of a chance to be a minority owner in TNA. That set off a chain of events where each man put the other through a table. So naturally, the feud would be settled in a tables match. About ten minutes in, Bully Ray was set to put a bow on it by putting Bobby Roode through a table. What followed may be the worst ref bump in professional wrestling history and basically an encapsulation of TNA's ills in one six second moment. A screwy finish that finally screws itself. It may be the most LOLTNA moment ever.
Scott Steiner Maths by ShinWesker
2. Steiner math.
Scott Steiner has always been a bit of a loose cannon. Ok, he's been a lot of a loose cannon. Despite his attitude, he's actually been one of the most successful pro wrestlers ever, winning nearly every major tag team championship and every major championship in WCW. On the mic, well, putting a hot mic in front of the Genetic Freak is pretty much like putting your hand on a stove burner and not knowing if it's running or not. In 2008, Scott Steiner was set to be part of a three-way world title match with Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe. Steiner assessed his chances in the most Scott Steiner fashion. It's one of the most quotable promos in wrestling history.
"You know they say all men are created equal. But you look at me and you look at Samoa Joe and you can see that statement is not true. See, normally if you go one on one with another wrestler, you got a 50-50 chance of winning. But I'm a genetic freak and I'm not normal. So you got a 25 per cent - at best - to beat me. And then you add Kurt Angle to the mix, your chances of winning drastically go down. You see, the three way at Sacrifice you got a 33 and 1/3 chance of winning. But I, I got a 66 and 2/3 chance of winning cause Kurt Angle knows he can't beat me and he's not even gonna try. So Samoa Joe, you take your 33 and 1/3 chance, minus my 25 per cent chance and you got an 8 and 1/3 chance of winning at Sacrifice. But then you take my 75 per cent chance of winning if it goes one on one and then add the 66 and 2/3 per cent chance, I got a 141 and 2/3 chance of winning at Sacrifice. See McJoe, the numbers don't lie and they spell disaster for you at Sacrifice! See, but I'm gonna break it down for you, ladies. Would you rather be with me or would you rather be with Joe?"
Believe it or not, the numbers checked out. Angle wasn't going to try because he was injured a few days prior and had to be pulled from the event. In the most TNA fashion, they do not announce the until the day of the PPV. His replacement, Kaz, had no chance. So despite Steiner having a 141 2/3's chance of winning, Scott not only lost to Senor McJoe, he tore his ACL, sidelining him for five months. Math's cruel that way sometimes.
1. Unbreakable three-way.
Turning Point 2004 wasn't the only time a TNA PPV was main evented by a match not involving the world champion. Perhaps the most notable time was not noticed even by some of TNA's most diehard fans. Around the time of Unbreakable in 2005, TNA actually had no TV deal at all. Their TV deal with Fox Sports Net expired, and Fox decided not to reup (sound familiar?), and their deal with Spike TV didn't kick in for a few more weeks, so TNA actually spent the summer of 2005 on this thing called the Internet. Unless you had a high speed connection, keeping up with TNA programming was tough. A shame really, because arguably some of TNA's best work came during their dark summer. The best of the best came on September 11, 2005 when Unbreakable was main evented by a three-way X Division Championship match between Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe. It's 23 minutes of awesome that even the most hardened TNA critic can get into. The company's had a plethora of four-star plus matches with five-star talent, but this match to this day remains the only time Dave Meltzer went full boat on a TNA match. It's well worth the five stars this bout deserves. Though TNA couldn't do it, you sensibly named this classic the top moment in TNA history.
Anything we missed? What moment should have made it?