In The Impact Zone Vol. 3: Final Resolution 2005

Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling

It’s 2005! Welcome back for our third instalment, exploring TNA’s Final Resolution pay-per-view, their first of the new year. Unfortunately, there’s little for us to reflect upon from 2004, as TNA only produced two monthly pay-per-views. Nonetheless, the company delivered a strong finish to the year with their Turning Point event, which featured a duo of excellent matches: America’s Most Wanted and Triple X’s incredible war inside Six Sides of Steel and Petey Williams (who was crowned the 2004 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rooke of the Year) versus Chris Sabin for the X Division Championship. Hopefully, TNA will build upon their previous outing as we kick off a brand-new year.

TNA Final Resolution, January 16th 2005:

The show begins with a somewhat generic opening video package, which runs through the marquee matches ahead. We’ll be treated to an Ultimate X match between Petey Williams, A.J. Styles and Chris Sabin, which has enormous potential. As usual, we’re in Orlando’s Universal Studios and our hosts are Mike Tenay and Don West. We’re promised intensity, innovation and intrigue. Yes, those are three I’s, but Kurt Angle isn’t due in these parts for another 18 months.

We head backstage, where Shane Douglas interviews the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett. There’s a Triple Threat match scheduled for tonight, with the winner challenging Double J for the title later this evening. The champion discusses the possibilities of facing all three men tonight, building intrigue around a potential clash against his (former?) friend, Kevin Nash.

1: 3 Live Kru (Ron Killings, Konnan and B.G. James) def. Christopher Daniels, Michael Shane and Kazarian in a Six-Man Tag Team Match in 8:21.

Once again, we’re kicking off the in-ring action with the 3 Live Kru, who do their usual shtick before the bell. They’re over with the live crowd, as is Christopher Daniels. The Fallen Angel is venturing into singles competition after Triple X (his former team with Elix Skipper) were forced to separate following their loss to A.M.W in the main event at Turning Point. It’s the babyface group who start stronger, working over Kazarian and forcing him to unsuccessfully attempt a couple of illegal tags, which is a fun spot. Regardless, Kazarian lures James to the outside before Daniels makes the blind tag and the heels gain control. The hot tag is made to Killings shortly after – that’s a solid choice as he easily possesses the most exciting offense of the 3LK members. He’s unstoppable, prompting the heels to intervene, at which point the referee loses control. Sure, it’s formulaic but the X Division athletes provide a decent opposition for the 3LK and the teams work well together. The chaos leads to Daniels inadvertently taking out Kazarian, leaving Shane to fall victim to the three on one for the finish. **1/2

Director of Authority Dusty Rhodes is backstage, sitting in the back of a truck. Doesn’t he have an office? Dusty sends Traci, Trinity and Johnny Fairplay on a scavenger hunt to find a clue. This unfolds throughout the evening, leading to the women accidentally tearing the clue in half before both returning it to Dusty. He instructs them to each form teams with partners who don’t currently wrestle in TNA. Whoever forms the winning team becomes his personal secretary. Fortunately, I didn’t enter the world of work until 2014 and interviews had evolved by then.

2: Elix Skipper def. Sonjay Dutt in 10:12.

These X Division competitors are simply fighting to determine who’s better, with the goal of eventual title contendership. That works well as a platform, providing the in-ring content delivers. Fortunately, this is reliably enjoyable X Division action. Dutt displays impressive athleticism early on and earns the advantage, successfully executing a dive off the guardrail. Sonjay works over Skipper’s arm to great effect (this doesn’t particularly affect the contest as it progresses, however) but goes for his finisher, the Hindu Press, too soon. Skipper meets him on the top rope, nailing an impressive vertical leap before dropkicking Dutt to the outside. He follows up by crotching Dutt on the guardrail and botching a spinning heel kick. Nonetheless, the remaining action is well-executed and the crowd are engaged, with standout moments including a buckshot lariat by Skipper and a devastating sunset flip powerbomb by Sonjay. Dutt sees an opening to attempt his finisher once again following a nice tornado DDT but Skipper moves, following up with a crisp spinning side slam for the win! The Play of the Day is easily the worst finisher of all time, so I’m glad he used something different to win. ***

A vignette airs for someone, I honestly can’t quite make them out. Apparently, he’s seen anguish and pleasure – sounds like a sexual deviant.

Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling

Kevin Nash, looking like a Geography teacher, proposes to Diamond Dallas Page that they work together in their Triple Threat match. D.D.P is not buying it but Nash promises he won’t put a hand on him until Brown has been eliminated.

3: Dustin Rhodes def. Kid Kash in 10:50.

That’s right, Dustin Rhodes is a new addition to the TNA roster! He’s dropped the Goldust character and his new gimmick is, uh, Guy Fieri dressed as American Badass Undertaker. He’s been feuding with Kid Kash after Kash disrespected Dustin and his father. The build-up suggests that this is a personal issue, however it’s not wrestled like one. It feels rather lukewarm. Kash fakes a knee injury to gain an underhanded advantage before working on the leg of Rhodes. The leg work makes psychological sense in terms of evening the odds, as Dustin is the much bigger man. It’s generally standard offense, although he does hit a frog splash on the leg at one point, which is a nice idea. Dustin starts a comeback, although he hits an atomic drop and buckles to the ground because of the injured knee. After controlling much of the match, Kash scores several near-falls and almost puts Dustin to sleep. Despite that, it’s the TNA newcomer who abruptly wins the bout, pinning Kash after a running bulldog. It’s unusual that Dustin seems so much more athletic in 2021 – he’s lethargic here and the match consequently lacks heat. **

4: Erik Watts def. Raven in 10:19.

Watts betrayed D.D.P in Page’s match against Raven at Turning Point, so how did we get here? Well, Raven bragged about manipulating Watts in the aftermath of last month’s PPV but was caught red handed by the man himself. This led to Watts and Page resolving their differences, repairing their friendship in the build-up to tonight. Despite Watts entering with a chair, he’s prevented from using it. Raven controls early and claims he still has his opponent wrapped around his finger. The crowd prefer Raven, however Watts manages to gain a foothold in the contest. The big man follows up with side russian leg sweeps into the guardrail, mirroring what Raven had done earlier, before trying to utilise the chair. The referee snatches the weapon off Watts as it’s a regular match. Regardless, both men utilise the chair in a variety of attacks, all of which the official allows. The timing is off for the finish, they re-do a chokeslam, which earns Watts the pinfall. Raven grabs a microphone afterwards and apologises to the victor, who is having none of it. He turns his back on Raven, who uses a trashcan to knock him off the stage.

Watts is exposed on multiple occasions – his most egregious offense was hilariously selling Raven’s clothesline by flipping the wrong way. Given the size of Watts, that would have looked dumb even had he flipped the right way. The match perhaps works in principle – the story and structure are fine – but it was poor in execution. This was always an uphill struggle because the fans weren’t feeling the babyface. *3/4

5: Jeff Hardy def. Scott Hall with Roddy Piper as Special Guest Referee in 5:42.

These men were on opposing sides last month when Jeff Hardy, A.J. Styles and Randy Savage defeated the Kings of Wrestling (Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall) at Turning Point. Savage pinned the champion that night, in his final appearance for the company. Not ideal. Anyway, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is our referee for the upcoming bout, adding to the genuine star power and massive personalities on display here. Hardy starts well, hitting a mule kick and Whisper in the Wind before Hall cuts off his momentum with a fallaway slam. Hall controls the bout until he throws Hardy into Piper, knocking him down. Hall tries to use brass knuckles but Piper stops him by poking him in the eyes! Hardy nails the Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb for the quick win. The action is nothing to write home about, yet it’s passable because of the vibrant personalities involved. Hardy grabs a microphone and outlines his intentions to target the NWA World Heavyweight Championship afterwards. It’s an effective red herring, as Abyss unexpectedly attacks Hardy from behind! The Monster executes a brutal torture rack backbreaker and a Black Hole Slam. **

6: Monty Brown def. Diamond Dallas Page & Kevin Nash in a Triple Threat Elimination Match in 9:40.

Remember, Nash proposed an alliance with Page earlier this evening. Page is hesitant but entertains the idea, as he and Nash alternate against Brown to start. It appears Nash is gradually earning Page’s tentative trust as they begin to outright double-team Brown. That lasts about ten seconds before Nash tries to betray Page, which backfires! He’s sent over the top and eliminated from the match. Page follows up with a Diamond Cutter on Brown, but Nash drags him from the ring and heads to the back. It’s down to the remaining two for number one contendership now. They exchange near falls until Page goes for a second Diamond Cutter, which is smoothly countered into the POUNCE for the pinfall.

What an unusual contest. The early pace was understandably deliberate, it was about story more so than action. The drama didn’t escalate well, however. Nash’s elimination felt sudden and underwhelming. This was followed by the remaining two competitors proceeding directly to the closing sequence. The match had a beginning, an end but no middle. The one-on-one portion was better but it felt like a series of moves, lacking the importance it should have had. A regular Triple Threat would have been much better. Nevertheless, Brown was booked strongly heading into his title challenge and the closing sequence looked great. *3/4

7: America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) def. Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young) (w/ Coach D’Amore) in a Tag Team Match to win the NWA World Tag Team Championships in 19:12.

Coming off a massive win in the incredible main event of Turning Point, A.M.W defeated Team Canada on iMPACT to earn a title shot. D’Amore attempts to hold a team meeting on the ramp but A.M.W aren’t waiting around, attacking the Canadians to start the match. A.M.W dominate on the ramp, the stage and at ringside before finally getting underway in the ring. Team Canada cut off their momentum and double-team Storm as the crowd chant “U.S.A”; it’s cheap heat but D’Amore sells the chanting hilariously. Harris eventually tags in and unloads on the heels. Before long, D’Amore inevitably intervenes, dragging the referee out the ring on a cover. A.M.W wisely negate the threat by tying him to the steel structure set up around the ring for the Ultimate X match. Team Canada member Johnny Devine interferes however, striking Storm with a hockey stick behind the referee’s back. Young crawls into the cover, but Storm kicks out! I can’t lie, they had me on that near fall. There’s another close call when A.M.W use Triple X’s Powerplex on Roode, with the riled up crowd convinced of a three count. Devine is back for more shenanigans – he thinks they’ve won after he inadvertently strikes Young with a chair, thinking he’d struck an opponent! Harris stacks up Young to win the titles!

As you can tell, there’s plenty happening here, yet it’s easy to follow and exceedingly enjoyable to witness. Everyone played their part to perfection; the wrestlers delivered a physical, well-structured match (Young, in particular, wrestles like he’s in someone else’s body, earning a bulging bruise on his head to prove it), whilst D’Amore’s comically dramatic reactions enhanced the events unfolding in the ring. The drama progressively escalates, as does the atmosphere in the arena. The near falls toward the end are gripping. We’d been conditioned to believe that the cheap heel tactics would once again work, but this time they backfired spectacularly for a satisfying pay-off. ***3/4

Photo Credit: Impact Wrestling

A promo for Against All Odds is shown, TNA’s upcoming February PPV. I’ve noticed that their major shows are somewhat generic, with no real identifying factors to separate them.

8: A.J. Styles def. Petey Williams (w/ Coach D’Amore) & Chris Sabin in a Triple Threat Ultimate X Match to win the TNA X Division Championship in 19:55.

For those unfamiliar, the only way to win an Ultimate X match is to retrieve the gold from the ropes hanging above the ring. A bit like a ladder match, minus ladders. The bout is kept fair, as D’Amore is thankfully ejected from ringside early. It’s tough to describe what happens from now onwards – the best I can do is recommend you watch it! Nonetheless, I am full of praise for the action that unfolded. There’s little lying around or awaiting turns, many of the high spots involve all three competitors in the execution or build-up. For example, Williams executes a falling hurricanrana from the overhead ropes on Sabin, off Styles’ shoulders. Additionally, Styles later springboard backflips into a reverse DDT on Williams, as the champion simultaneously hits the same move on Sabin. The standout moment involves only two men, however: Styles is hanging close to the title when Sabin hits a springboard dropkick, which Styles sells by flipping inside out as he drops! The finish comes when Sabin and Williams battle at the top for the belt, they both unhook it but Styles capitalises, springboarding in to grab the belt!

The unique layout of the ring, with the steel structures and overhead ropes allow for incredible moments of innovation here. This is a brilliant variation of the ladder match and the performers worked incredibly well within the framework. Crucially, everything was geared towards retrieving the gold, with no contrived setting up of spots. It was smart to have Williams work on the arm of Styles, which averted expectations of Styles winning. Trust me, you should watch this match. ****1/4

Ahead of Jarrett’s championship defence, he crosses paths with Kevin Nash backstage. They have words for one another each other. Jarrett tells Nash he’s already had his chance at the title. It’s a sure sign that a match between the two is on the horizon, right?

9: Jeff Jarrett def. Monty Brown to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 16:17.

The challenger enters looking relatively fresh, considering the Triple Threat he competed in earlier tonight. So that was a waste of time. Jarrett is fired up and gets in Brown’s face during the ring introductions. The crowd are behind the Alpha Male, who uses his power to gain the early advantage. The match spills to the outside, where Jarrett pushes the challenger into the steel post and throws him over the guardrail, leading to a brawl in the crowd. Jarrett uses a steel chair three times (and the announcer’s chair – which West says has 5x the density of a regular one), but the referee gives extreme leeway. The official is knocked down, allowing steel chairs, the title belt and multiple guitars to enter the fray. Not that anyone was enforcing rules anyway. The weapons allow the champion to gain the advantage before Brown hulks up and unloads. He accidentally POUNCES the referee into next week – it’s the wrong night to be a ref. Brown nails a guitar shot of his own and covers Jarrett; a new ref comes down but he’s a second too late! He’s easily distracted and checks on the fallen referee whilst Brown attempts another POUNCE. He’s countered with another guitar shot, however. Jarrett hits the Stroke three times and a low blow in between, which seals the victory.

That was a regular singles contest, by the way, not a Hardcore match. Between this and the preceding bouts, the referee bumps and heel tactics have been overdone tonight; they felt like a crutch here. There was no discernible connection between the Triple Threat and this match, other than Brown having to wrestle twice. Nonetheless, Brown emerged looking as strong as someone possibly can in defeat. He’s easy to root for and was organically elevated to a main event level tonight, so this succeeded on that front. **1/4

SCORE: 6.75/10

Final Resolution, like Turning Point, delivered two stand-out matches. Although the show started well, the midcard slump was noticeable, with several bouts failing to deliver anything exceeding television quality. Nevertheless, the Tag Team Championship match between A.M.W and Team Canada, alongside the fantastic X Division Championship Ultimate X match, made this event worthwhile. It’s a shame the main event was unable to build upon the prior championship matches, as it felt over-reliant on tropes that were utilised earlier on the show. TNA’s home-grown talent have provided the highlights on their first three PPVs, hopefully they’ll soon be given the opportunity to meaningfully infiltrate the World Championship scene.

As noted previously, I feel that there is little to distinguish TNA’s PPVs from one another thus far. The names of the events are interchangeable, as there’s minimal difference in the overall themes and presentation of the shows – this applied here. Regardless, TNA’s unique novelties, such as the Ultimate X match seen tonight and, of course, the six-sided ring give the promotion itself a refreshing individual identity.

Previous Reviews:

TNA Victory Road 2004

TNA Turning Point 2004