In The Impact Zone Vol. 13: Genesis 2005

TNA Genesis 2005 logo
Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling

Following Bound For Glory, TNA’s grandest event of the year, it’s a fresh start for the promotion. The beginning of a new cycle is marked by their appropriately named Genesis pay-per-view. In the main event, Team 3D and Rhino fight the NWA World Tag Team Champions and the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, America’s Most Wanted and Jeff Jarrett, in a grudge match. A.J. Styles defends his TNA X Division Championship against Petey Williams, Abyss battles Sabu under No Disqualification rules and a major acquisition debuts in TNA…

 

TNA Genesis, November 13th 2005:

This show is presented in memory of Eddie Guerrero, who sadly passed away during the day of the PPV; several wrestlers pay tribute to their late friend throughout the evening. The opening video package focuses on the theme of a new beginning in TNA in the wake of Bound For Glory. It’s satisfying when a PPV name actually relates to the event’s content somewhat.

1: Raven vs. P.J. Polaco:

Raven entered Orlando’s Universal Studios to kick off proceedings, where he was confronted by Larry Zbyszko. The TNA Director of Authority has crossed paths with Raven since declaring his NWA World Heavyweight Championship loss to Jeff Jarrett (who benefitted from A.M.W’s illegal interference) at a BCW event official. Zbyszko vowed to make Raven’s career a living hell before handpicking an opponent from his past: P.J. Polaco, better known as Justin Credible. Polaco controlled much of the bout, however fell victim to the DDT in relatively short order. The contest itself was quickly forgettable. Nonetheless, it concisely furthered Raven and Zbyszko’s rivalry. Ahead of the match, the Director of Authority referenced a woman in Raven’s life (as Rhino had done on the Bound For Glory pre-show), triggering an angry reaction from the former NWA World Heavyweight Champion – we’ll keep an eye on how that unfolds.

Winner: Raven in 5:45

Rating: *3/4

2:Team Canada (Eric Young, A-1 & Bobby Roode) vs. 3 Live Kru (Ron Killings, B.G. James & Konnan) in a Six-Man Tag Team Hockey Stick Fight with Special Guest Referee Kip James:

The relationship between Kip James and the 3 Live Kru turned a corner at Bound For Glory, although Konnan remains dubious of the ex-Billy Gunn. Kip offered to officiate this bout in order to neutralise the threat of Coach D’Amore at ringside. The booking makes sense yet comes unstuck upon D’Amore failing to appear with his team! Regardless, Kip donned the referee shirt and some unnecessarily tight shorts, eliminating the prospect of more Gunn Club members. Following Konnan’s pre-match tribute to Eddie Guerrero, Kip was able to neutralise Team Canada’s cheating throughout the contest, including confiscating a kendo stick illegally used by Eric Young, who comically sulked. Fortunately, contrived laborious climbing was minimal here and 3LK’s strategy of hoarding the weapons, a rarely-used but obviously effective tactic, made sense. This was a surprisingly fun match, given the number of occasions we’ve seen these factions square off. Killings executed a stick-assisted diving leg drop into Young’s crotch for the unusual finish. The babyfaces were finally able to reconcile with their former rival afterwards, a Konnan and Kip fist bump indicating that the four are finally on the same page.

Winners: 3 Live Kru in 10:23

Rating: **1/4

Accompanied by Abyss, James Mitchell was interviewed backstage regarding the new talent who has signed with TNA, scheduled to debut tonight. Mitchell could not care less, however warned them to not cross Abyss’ path. He also threatened Sabu, Abyss’ upcoming opponent, by drawing the ECW legend’s face on an egg which the Monster symbolically crushed, covering himself in yolk…

Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling

Appearing on camera for the first time this evening, announcers Mike Tenay and Don West discussed the major talent acquisition, touting its significance. We don’t have to wait any longer to discover his identity. The new signing arrives backstage before the lights go out in the arena…

In the immortal words of Todd Grisham: “It… it’s Christian”. Christian Cage has debuted in TNA! His reception was deservedly fantastic, he’s seldom appeared a bigger star during his career to this point. Tenay ad-libs on Captain Charisma’s promo like Offset on a Migos verse, shouting “Amen” after Christian took a shot at WWE and “he jumped” when Christian reminds us that he wasn’t fired by his former employer. It’s an effective promo but could have done without the cuts to the backstage area for wrestlers’ reactions, who literally talked over Cage. He addressed the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, outlining his intentions to capture the gold until the interruption of Coach D’Amore and Bobby Roode. D’Amore reminisced upon old times, whereas Roode’s pitch was far more aggressive – they want Christian Cage in Team Canada. The debutant decided not to reveal his decision, for now…

3: Jeff Hardy vs. Monty Brown:

This is a “Contender’s Match”, meaning it will influence future NWA World Heavyweight Championship contendership. Brown cut a lively pre-match promo, addressing both Christian Cage – whose arrival has upped the ante for the upcoming bout – and Jeff Hardy, who seemed rather off tonight. Between crawling down the ramp and convulsing like a zombie, his behaviour appeared erratic. Despite Hardy’s early dive from amongst the crowd, which he barely made, the Alpha Male controlled most of the action. Whilst they didn’t quite click physically, the audience were engaged due to the clash of unique personalities and split in their support of both competitors. Considering the enduring popularity of the Charismatic Enigma and Brown’s attempts to antagonise the audience, it’s indicative that Brown is miscast as a heel. Hardy missed a Swanton Bomb, likely because he screamed the move’s name twice ahead of attempting it, prior to suffering a POUNCE for the pinfall.

Winner: Monty Brown in 8:43

Rating: **

4: Team Ministry (Samoa Joe, Alex Shelley, Roderick Strong & Christopher Daniels) vs. Austin Aries, Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin & Matt Bentley w/ Traci in an Elimination X Match:

This is a four-on-four traditional Survivor Series elimination match, displaying the depth of the talented X Division roster. The notable narrative is the tension between Daniels and Joe, who have argued the leadership of their group. Following a fast start featuring a collection of excellent mini-matches, Daniels and Joe are able to co-exist efficiently to earn an elimination. After Aries’ 450 Splash eliminates Strong, Daniels rolls up Aries, capitalising on Joe’s brief distraction. Dutt has an impressive showing until he’s submitted by Shelley, whose remaining teammates prevent the opposition from breaking the hold. Bentley uses a superkick to eliminate Shelley moments later, evening the numbers. Daniels also tastes the superkick but Joe rescues his partner. They continue to display their remarkable teamwork to earn Bentley’s elimination via the Coquina Clutch. Sabin fights valiantly to resist the numerical disadvantage yet ends up in Joe’s clutches until Bentley pulls the undefeated Samoan from the ring. Regardless, Daniels eliminates Sabin immediately afterwards, performing Angel’s Wings to earn the win. The victors share a brief moment of acknowledgement before Joe lays his partner, unleashes his fury in a shocking assault, utilising a steel chair to bloody the Fallen Angel. Joe arguably had Sabin beaten and sought to secure the elimination himself. The X Division Champion, A.J. Styles, appears on-stage in a display of concern as the doctors tend to his long-time rival.

The high-octane action maintained a strong standard throughout, with eliminations spread nicely to keep the match engaging for over twenty minutes. Perhaps genuine stakes could have elevated this further, though the ongoing story of Daniels and Joe’s evolving relationship provided the emotional hook. Angles that revolve around co-existing enemies are contrived, yet this one worked. Without any fuss, they functioned as a well-oiled machine until Daniels’ misstep caused Joe to definitively put a stop to their co-operation. The post-match beat down was brutal and shocking. The fans seemed inclined to side with Joe. I also interpreted it as his babyface turn initially, however the sheer brutality of the beatdown, added to Daniels’ relative innocence, did just enough to put Joe in the wrong, making his heel alignment crystal clear. The Fallen Angel came across sympathetic in my eyes. It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd reactions develop for both men moving forward.

Winners: Team Ministry in 23:15

Rating:***3/4

Shane Douglas is backstage with NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Jarrett, who dropped the title to Rhino at Bound For Glory, however regained it days later on Impact. He’s joined by Gail Kim and the NWA World Tag Team Champions, America’s Most Wanted. For months, Double J has been paranoid about new wrestlers joining TNA and has convinced Storm and Harris that TNA management are attempting to replace the talents who built the company. It’s an intriguing angle, particularly now that their fears have come to fruition – the best heels are always somewhat justified in their complaints. Gail Kim’s involvement in their group seems contradictory, though. The champion warns Christian Cage that he’s either with them or against them.

5: Abyss w/ James Mitchell vs. Sabu in a No Disqualification Match:

As Mitchell wisely pointed out previously, Sabu has discovered Abyss’ kryptonite: barbed wire. Something occurred in Abyss’ dark past to trigger his phobia, which has been exploited lately. It’s an interesting layer of psychology added to your standard, often mindless, hardcore violence. Sabu used the threat of barbed wire as a mind game early, although I question what prevented him from, you know, actually utilising it at that point. These competitors are at home under No Disqualification rules, yet this was slightly underwhelming. The table spot, a slingshot leg drop by Sabu to the outside, looked sloppy. The two thumbtack bumps – a Chokeslam on Sabu, followed by Abyss’ missed second rope splash – which we’ve seen regularly on TNA PPVs in 2005, are yielding diminishing returns. The ECW legend unveiled a barbed wire wrapped steel chair, though he eventually suffered a Black Hole Slam on his own weapon for the finish. Sure, it’s a unique ending, however the barbed wire chair wasn’t much of an escalation upon the tacks – it’s ultimately still a wrestler landing on sharp metal. Nevertheless, the crowd responded favourably to the key moments and the wrestlers told a coherent story. Mitchell was eager for Abyss to strike Sabu with the chair afterwards but the Monster refused to go near it, an amusing continuation of the angle beyond the bell.

Winner: Abyss in 10:48

Rating: **1/2

6: Petey Williams w/A-1 vs. A.J. Styles (C) for the TNA X Division Championship:

Ahead of his title defence, Styles is interviewed regarding Samoa Joe’s earlier assault on Daniels. He says Joe violated an unwritten code in the X Division, teeing up a potential clash in the near future. Tonight’s challenger, Petey Williams, earned contendership on Impact in an Ultimate X rematch from Bound For Glory. If the Canadian is victorious tonight, Jarrett’s heel faction will hold a monopoly on TNA’s title belts. Regardless, Styles starts stronger here, executing a wild somersault dive that somehow sends the Phenomenal One himself flying into the crowd. As they head back to the ring, Williams attempts a German Suplex from the apron, which never works – but he hits it! Styles crashes hard into the barricade and is in deep trouble.

A-1 is ejected from ringside but Williams remains in control, snuffing out the champion’s attempted comebacks. Styles eventually begins to sequence some offense, culminating in a belly-to-back wheelbarrow facebuster for a two count. They go back and forth until the Canadian applies a Sharpshooter. The challenger intelligently hooks an arm to prevent his opponent making the ropes, yet the resilient champion survives. Looking to capitalise on the damage inflicted, Williams runs the ropes but is turned inside-out by Styles’ sudden springboard forearm. After A.J. counters a top turnbuckle Canadian Destroyer, Samoa Joe surfaces on stage, distracting his foe. Williams is unable to take advantage, as his attempted Superplex is miraculously countered by the champion, who transitions into a second rope Styles Clash for the win!

The earlier build-up focused upon the battle of two finishers, a theme which wasn’t meaningfully explored here. Nonetheless, this was another very strong outing between two of TNA’s most consistent performers throughout 2005, who excelled once again. The contest hit a slight lull during its middle section, lacking any particular focus – parts drifted by almost inconsequentially. However, the match was bookended by two stand-out spots: The stunning German Suplex off the apron and A.J.’s spectacular reversal into a rare Styles Clash from the turnbuckles. This continued to build tensions among Styles and Joe effectively, although Williams felt like an afterthought in the title picture before his championship opportunity had concluded.

Winner and still TNA X Division Champion: A.J. Styles in 18:20

Rating: ***1/2

7: NWA World Tag Team Champions America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) & NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett w/ Gail Kim vs. Rhino & Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) in a Six-Man Tag Team Match:

This is a blood feud between two rival trios. A.M.W cost Rhino the World Championship against Jarrett and bloodied Team 3D ahead of holding their mock funeral prior to Bound For Glory. As displayed in their pre-match promo, the babyfaces are intense and hell-bent on revenge. The heels enter first and retreat to three separate positions in the stands, enticing their opponents to chase. They oblige, leading to a hectic brawl that spans the arena. Brother Ray attacks Storm, Devon battles Harris whilst Rhino targets Jarrett. It’s fiercely fought, resulting in both tag champions busted open by the revenge-driven Dudleys. Team 3D attempt to use tables but are thwarted repeatedly by A.M.W. After dropping Jarrett with a piledriver on the stage, Rhino leans a table of his own against the entrance tunnel and looks set to GORE the champion. Storm suddenly superkicks Rhino, his interception sending the Man Beast crashing off the ramp.

Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling

Inside the ring, Jarrett hits a Stroke on Devon for a nearfall. The frustrated champion shoves the referee, who boldly responds with a push of his own, re-routing Double J into the path of a GORE! A.M.W regain control for their trio, preventing the pinfall before double-teaming all three opponents respectively. They want to beat Team 3D at their own game by putting Devon through a table. Nonetheless, they’re denied when Brother Ray makes the save and the half-brothers capitalise by nailing a 3D for the win!

As the babyfaces celebrate, the World Champion executes a cheap shot on Rhino, nailing his rival with his signature guitar. Team 3D attempt to retaliate by driving both Jarrett and Gail Kim through a table, however they’re again thwarted when Team Canada intervene. They assault Team 3D until Christian Cage arrives, steel chair in hand, as the heels (barring Jarrett and D’Amore) subsequently retreat. The new acquisition tricks them by revealing a Team Canada shirt underneath his jacket before dropping D’Amore with an Unprettier. Brother Ray, Devon and Cage follow up by executing the 3D on Jarrett, finally smashing someone through a table to end the show on a high.

The fifteen minutes of bell-to-bell time were action-packed, baring similarities to The Shield’s great six-man wars in WWE. Much of this main event occurred away from the confines of the six-sided ring, with arena-spanning brawls remaining a crutch for TNA’s main events throughout 2005. Nevertheless, this was energised by the intensity of the protagonists and the palpable excitement of the crowd, who were immersed in the action. Initially, the match finish appeared abrupt because of multiple teased tables spots that never came to fruition. This was, of course, part of a wider story playing into a satisfying pay-off, which arrived in the chaotic aftermath. The eventual table spot was maximised by its build-up and felt like a real exclamation point to the night’s stories.

Winners: Rhino & Team 3D in 15:48

Rating: ***1/2

SCORE: 7.25

Featuring just seven matches, the least of any TNA monthly PPV to date, this show was streamlined and focused. Everything was afforded the necessary time to deliver and served a clear purpose, whether that be storyline progression, championship contendership, or settling a personal feud. Despite the evening’s imperfections, there was no filler. Crucially, the headline contests all delivered. The X Division produced as always, the Elimination X (***3/4) and X Division Championship (***1/2) matches were both brilliant before the exciting, lively main event (***1/2) punctuated an entertaining night of action with its cathartic aftermath.

Whilst no bouts reached the elite territory required to stand out historically, Christian Cage’s debut in the middle of the card will serve as the enduring memory for this event. His allegiance was smartly left unclear, setting an engaging hook that remained intriguing throughout the evening. The resolution – recent acquisitions, Christian Cage and Team 3D standing tall in front of the delighted fans – was a payoff to Jarrett’s long-running paranoia storyline and the Genesis of a new chapter in TNA history.

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