Throughout the month of June, we will be celebrating 20 years of TNA/Impact Wrestling with our #Impact20 series of reviews, columns and podcasts. One particular series will look at a handpicked selection of the best TNA/Impact Wrestling Matches of All-Time. 

TNA World Tag Team Title Best Of 5 Series Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match #5
The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money, Inc.

TNA iMPACT #319
August 9, 2010
Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida

Watch: Impact Plus

If we are mark’d to die, we are enough

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,

Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;

It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

Such outward things dwell not in my desires.

But if it be a sin to covet honour,

I am the most offending soul alive.” – Henry V, Act IV Scene iii

Bringing tag team wrestling into prominence has been a theme in modern professional wrestling, especially since the advent of AEW which sports a tag team as a pair of Executive Vice Presidents in the Young Bucks. But Matt and Nick are not alone in the chorus of voices that call for the showcasing of tag-team wrestling and advocate for it to be positioned in the Main Event. The modern movement to put the spotlight on tag teams can owe its genesis to the Best of 5 Series between Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns in 2010.  Paul Heyman said on MMA Hour Live in 2010 that if he were running TNA, that the final match of the Best of 5 Series would be elevated to the main event, the first of credible voices in the wrestling space that would advocate for highlighting and supporting tag teams at the highest level for the next decade. Given the quality of tag teams in 2022 and the matches that are presented with the utmost prestige – one can say that the movement that was started by this match, has been successful.

An important caveat when considering the quality of this match is that the drama and energy it has to offer is dependent on the four matches that preceded it.  In a vacuum, Match 5 is well worked, well crafted, and deserving of high marks, however, the emotional impact it has to deliver requires that one had witnessed the struggle between Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns that had led up to that point.  Otherwise, the nuance and storytelling that this match provides falls by the wayside, which is of a quality that is one of the best arguments as to why those that ignore the tag teams in their roster do so at the peril of possibly missing out on the best talent, matches, and stories at their disposal.

The match itself is artful in that it is a microcosm of the four matches that came before it. It’s important to note that not only had Beer Money put the Guns into a sudden death situation in the series by winning the first two matches, but had done so after Motor City Machine Guns had scored visual wins before being subjected to Beer Money shenanigans.  Dropping two straight to open the series put the Guns into a must-win situation for every match that came after, leading us to Match 5. And as the match was underway, these two teams turned up the drama once again.  Beer Money earned the first fall, and again it all seemed to be slipping away from the Made in Detroit team of Shelley and Sabin. But in the second fall, the Machine Guns used their high octane offense to their advantage, and evened the score with a quick win for the second fall. 

Drama was at its apex as each team punished the other with their most impressive signature maneuvers and finishers, and near-fall kick outs made even the trained wrestling observational eye have a hard time picking out who was going to be the ultimate winner.  After following up one Skull & Bones Neckbreaker/Splash combination, with a second to put Beer Money away, The Motor City Machine Guns earned a desperately fought victory.

But the significance of the win wasn’t just a reinvigoration of life into a tag-team scene in North America that was dying a painfully slow death in the aughts. By Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin as the Motor City Machine Guns winning the Best of 5 Series against James Storm and Robert Roode – it was also the legitimization of a new style of tag-team wrestling: one comprised of juniors, using fast-paced, innovative offense – that can compete with comparably skilled heavyweight teams.  It was the logical evolution that the Hardy Boys introduced in the late 90s.  And while TNA seemed to rely on a junior style in their X-Division, there certainly seemed to be a WCW mentality when the X-Division’s athletes interacted with the heavyweight division. With the Guns defeating Beer Money in the Best of 5 Series, it seemed that there was a shattering of glass ceilings in a way as well.

While TNA perhaps would not be able to fulfill the potential and promise that this match offered for it as a promotion, it would be foolish not to acknowledge what the Best of 5 Series did for tag-team wrestling in the years that would follow. And while TNA may have missed the opportunity to make tag teams a main event showcase, it seems that there are others that see the potential there, and are working to realize it.