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.
Texas Death Match
Chris Harris vs. James Storm
TNA Sacrifice 2007
May 13, 2007
Orlando, Florida, USA
Americas Most Wanted were a key cornerstone of early TNA and arguably the first true TNA originals that rose to prominence within the promotion. While people like AJ Styles first gained attention on a national level in TNA, they were already well-established names on the US indie scene. Chris Harris and James Storm were lower-level guys, whose highest achievement at that point had been job duty on WCW Worldwide. Originally just a randomly thrown-together one-off team on the second TNA show, they quickly became regulars and the focal point of the promotion’s burgeoning tag team division. Early TNA being what it is they teased breaking up the team multiple times but never actually pulled the trigger. Meanwhile, it became clear that the promotion saw something bigger in Chris Harris than just a tag team guy. They saw him as someone with main event singles potential and started to insert him into the title mix in 2004. However, they ultimately shied away from pulling the trigger on him and kept AMW together. That is until they split up the team at the end of 2006. This lead to a James Storm heel turn, where he blinded Chris Harris with by hitting him with a beer bottle, which after some missteps ultimately resulted in this match.
When we put together the list of matches we wanted to review for the Impact20 project I put down this match because I remembered liking it a lot when I first watched it. But it also had been quite a few years since then and so I decided to rewatch it to refresh my memory. Sometimes when you rewatch a match years later it does not hold up to the memories you had of it, however, this is not one of those cases. Rather it is quite the opposite as this match was actually even better than I remembered it. This was a blood feud in multiple ways. There was some raw emotion on display here and both men leaned into that aspect heavily. They threw some incredibly stiff punches at each other and this felt appropriate as the fall out of long-term partners betraying each other. Chris Harris put his body on the line here with multiple big bumps including an insane top rope cross body to the outside while Storm did a masterful job selling Harris’ offense and putting him over strong. That is also where the second aspect of the blood feud comes in as both men did some major bladejobs here. But Storm’s bladejob warrants special mention as he was leaking blood everywhere on a Muta scale level. One of the key visuals of the match for me was Storm pulling out a table from underneath the ring while he is dripping blood all over it.
They also maximized the potential of the Texas Death stipulation to make Harris win feel definitive. However, Storm was portrayed as Harris’ equal and a performance this good should have served as the springboard for both men to be elevated to the top echelons of TNA. However, that was not to be. After a failed TNA World Title challenge in the King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary 07 a month later Harris’ push quickly fizzled out. He was gone from the promotion six months later only to reappear in WWE, making knock-knock jokes as Braden Walker, from which his career never recovered. Since then he has been working infrequently, including an ill-fated return to TNA in 2011. Storm meanwhile immediately became lost in the shuffle as a singles guy and floundered until he formed the Beer Money tag team with Robert Roode in mid 2008. He ultimately managed to break through as singles main eventer but that did not happen for another three years. So while this is an excellent match in a vacuum it was also the promise of a major elevation that remained unfulfilled and was emblematic of the issues that TNA had with elevating homegrown guys at the time. But a tremendous performance nonetheless. *****