When the main event of TNA’s third anniversary show was announced, it was unlikely that anyone pegged Raven as the man to walk out with the strap, since he wasn’t even in the match. When Jeff Jarrett was arrested for assaulting a fan, Raven was reinstated and entered into the King of the Mountain bout, fulfilling his destiny since he debuted in January 2003 by winning the NWA title.
Unfortunately, Raven’s crowning moment was capped off not with a hard-earned singles win, but a multi-man cluster to an otherwise very good event. While the “King of the Mountain” main event that saw champion AJ Styles facing Raven, Monty Brown, Sean Waltman and Abyss was fun, the rules are so convoluted and confusing that it ended up being a complicated spotfest.
Not so simply put, the goal was to pin your opponent, who would be locked in a penalty box cage for two minutes, at which point the wrestler who scored the pinfall could then try to climb a ladder and hang the NWA Heavyweight Title above the ring.
If you think that is confusing to read, try watching it.
Things kicked off hot with Waltman diving off the cage onto Raven and Styles hitting Abyss with a ‘rana off the ladder. Every wrestler ended up pinned at least once, and some of the crazy spots included a Bronco Buster by Waltman on AJ off the ladder, AJ doing the Spiral Tap to the outside through Abyss and a table and Waltman and Raven trading shots with a staplegun. Styles got out of the box in time to scale the ladder, but Abyss shoved it over and he and Waltman hit the floor, with Styles crashing through a table. Abyss tried to hang the belt, but Brown Pounced him through a table. Raven hit the Evenflow DDT on Brown and hung the belt as the crowd went crazy and chanted his name.
The show came to an end with Raven striking his trademark crucifix pose with the title around his waist.
The next TNA pay per view is “No Surrender” July 17, 2005.
The show kicked off with another stellar video package recapping the history of the company. Mike Tenay and Don West then ran down the confrontation between Jarrett and Raven and the beat down on a fan that resulted in Jarrett being arrested and pulled from the main event.
Match 1: Zach Gowan vs. Delirious vs. Amazing Red, vs. Jerelle Clark vs. Shark Boy vs. Elix Skipper.
A fun and hot opener with a crazy closing few minutes that saw a five-man Tower of Doom that took Delirious out of the match. Amazing Red broke up a pinfall by Skipper on Sharkboy, and Clark powerbombed Red. Sharkboy hit the Dead Sea Drop on Delirious to score the pin. Shockingly, he did not dedicate his win to his partner in crime, Lavagirl.
Winner: Sharkboy at 6:23
A promo then aired for Abyss and then Shane Douglas interviewed Shocker. Alex Shelley returned and cut an awesome promo – it’s amazing what one can do when not tied down by Goldilocks.
Match 2: Alex Shelley vs. Shocker
Shelley has improved so much since he left TNA and without the lame “Baby Bear” gimmick, and looks like a totally new wrestler. The match was a cool blend of Shocker’s lucha libre and Shelley’s menagerie of North American and European wrestling. The two wrestlers traded cradles until Shocker held Shelley’s shoulders down for a three count.
Winner: Shocker at 10:15
Continuing with the theme, they aired the fifth most memorable moment in TNA history, AJ Styles winning his first NWA title. An interview with 3 Live Kru left Konnan and Killings questioning BG James’ loyalties.
Match 3: The Outlaw vs. Ron “The Truth” Killings
Ahh memories of the classic K-Kwik vs. Billy Gunn feud, revisited. Or not. A decent match that saw them brawl at ringside, where fans held up a chair for Killings to send The Outlaw into. He missed a scissors kick in the ring and was blasted with a Famouser. Outlaw locked on a Cobra Clutch, but Killings slid out and rolled up Outlaw, whose shoulders were up for the three count. This was a decent match despite the blown finish. Outlaw attacked Killings after with James making the save, but not hitting his former partner.
Winner: Ron “The Truth” Killings at 7:27
Moment number four is Raven’s debut. Team Canada proved more of their Canadian awesomeness by being all Canadian in an interview. What can I say? We rule.
Match 4: NWA Tag Team Championship — The Naturals (Champions) vs. Team Canada (Challengers)
A great tag match as Petey Williams and Eric Young have really gelled and The Naturals are awesome. Young feigned a leg injury early on but was playing possum, which may be considered in bad taste considering The Naturals were managed by Chris Candido. After months of hinting at a new mentor, speculation came to an end as Jimmy Hart hit ringside and tossed Chase Stevens’ the megaphone, which he hit Williams with and apparently broke his nose, and scored the pin.
Winners: The Naturals, retaining at 15:22
Moment number three was Trinity’s moonsault off the top of the cage in April, making me seriously question some of these choices. Douglas interviewed Waltman afterward, who promised to avoid locker room politics and win the belt on his own.
Match 5: Samoa Joe vs. Sonjay Dutt
It is weird to see Joe on a TNA PPV, but the crowd seemed to love him. Tenay talked about Joe’s dominance in Ring of Honor which surprised me. This was a “competitive squash” with Dutt getting in enough offense on Joe to rock him, but in the end falling to the musclebuster/rear naked choke combo. Being used to seeing Joe working 20-minute matches, watching him go less then seven was weird, but he proved he could do it.
Winner: Samoa Joe at 6:21
A Raven promo about fate and destiny aired.
Match 6: Lance Hoyt vs. Bobby Roode
My God Hoyt is over, with fans wearing “Hoytamania” shirts and chanting his name. TNA needs to capitalize on this. A another really solid match between the two rugged fighters, although the “assault with the flag” gimmick has gotten very old after a year and a half. Oh, and props to the fans in the front row who had a “We Miss Johnny Devine” sign. I miss him in the ring too, but make sure you catch is columns right here on SLAM! Wrestling.
The Coach’s distraction only affected the referee, allowing Hoyt to get the pin. D’Amore made the mistake of trying to teach Hoyt a lesson, missing a moonsault and in return had the back of his pants pulled down, was chokeslammed and hit with a moonsault and then stretchered out.
Winner: Lance Hoyt at 7:22
AJ Styles was next with a promo in the locker room. Poor AJ hasn’t had a good run with the belt since he first won it.
Match 7: America’s Most Wanted vs. Three Live Kru
I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this but all four men worked hard and had an okay match. Another short match in a series of them tonight, although I wouldn’t want to see them go 20 minutes. Konnan chased The Outlaw around the ring while AMW hit the Hart Attack on James for the pin. James then left through the crowd.
Winners: America’s Most Wanted at 6:50
The top TNA moment of all time was Elix Skipper’s cagewalk ‘rana. Okay, that one I agree with.
Match 8: X-Division Championship — “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels (Champion) vs. Michael Shane (Challenger) vs. Chris Sabin (Challenger)
The match was a good blend of the storyline involving Sabin, Trinity, Shane and Traci Brooks, Daniels fighting to keep his belt and some killer spots. Trinity had quite the outfit, or lack thereof. Sabin had Shane locked in the Cradle Shock while Daniels set up Trinity for the Angel’s Wings. Having to make a choice, Sabin sacrificed Trinity to pin Shane and eliminate him. Sabin narrowly avoided getting pinned several times, including follwing the Best Moonsault Ever. He came back and attempted a springboard, but Daniels crotched him and hit the Angel’s Wings to retain his belt.
Winner: . . . and still X-division Champion. . . Christopher Daniels at 17:08.
Monty Brown, back to his old and much more entertaining character, was the last of the main event participants to speak.
Match 9: King of the Mountain NWA Title Match: AJ Styles (Champion) vs. Abyss (Challenger) vs. Raven (Challenger) vs. Monty Brown (Challenger) vs. Sean Waltman (Challenger)
Winner: Raven (new champion) at 14:17
Overall Event Rating: 7/10