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.
AJ Styles vs. Chris Sabin vs. Petey Williams
TNA Final Resolution 2005
January 16, 2005
When you think of TNA, there are a lot of different things that come to mind. For some, it’s them trying to recreate different eras of wrestling from other companies and for others, it’s the resilience to persevere throughout the course of time.
For me, I will always remember the greatness of the X Division circa 2004-2006.
The X Division, as its tagline said, isn’t about weight limits, it’s about no limits. These three epitomized that to the fullest. Chris Sabin entered the match as a two-time champion, AJ Styles is the only three-time champion and two-time triple crown winner (NWA Heavyweight, Tag Team and X Division), and Petey Williams enters as the longest-reigning champion in the titles three-year history. For my money, these three wrestled the best X Division match in the history of the company and one of my all-time favorite matches period.
The match starts off like a lot of three-way matches. The two challengers go after the champion with a series of tag team moves. Once they got Williams out of the way, Sabin and Styles went after each other. We got our first big spot of the match at this point after Williams pulled Sabin out of the ring. Styles sees this and hits a tope con hilo. Once he gets back on his feat, Styles tries to go for the belt, and Sabin skies high for a dropkick and knocks him against the pillar.
One of the turning points comes at this point in the match. As Sabin is scaling the cables, coach Scott D’Amore of Team Canada grabs his legs. Williams gets into the ring and pulls him down. This gets him kicked out and garners a loud pop from the crowd. Mike Tenay has the line of the show. “You’re out of here you bozo, you fat load”
Now that things are even, we get a beautifully contrived spot fest. Everything flows really well and makes sense. While there weren’t a lot of spots where one of the three was lying outside the ring like a lot of three-way matches, they did a great job giving each other breaks while still being around. There were some cool spots throughout the rest of the match. Styles had Sabin in position for an electric chair and Williams climbed the rope to hit a super frankensteiner. Styles did his signature lionsault reverse DDT on both guys.
Right after the DDT comes one of my favorite bumps of all time. Styles climbs the ropes and as he is suspended, Sabin hits a springboard dropkick turning Styles inside out and he drops nearly 20 feet and flat back bumps. A truly remarkable spot that only a wrestler like AJ Styles would attempt.
The focus of the match becomes Styles’ arm. Williams traps Styles’ arm in the column and torques it which would lead to Styles falling down from the suspended X. All three end up hitting their finishers on each other with the final one being the beautiful Canadian Destroyer.
The finish is beautiful. Both Williams and Sabin climb up to the top to get the belt and end up struggling for it while grapevine around the X. Styles is unable to climb up to the top with the arm injury so he does what only he can do: springboards and knocks down the belt to secure the victory. ****½
In the signature TNA match, these three men do it more than justice for the X Division Championship. They combined high spots with psychology and connective tissue. As were the years prior, 2005 belongs to AJ Styles.