The Contentious Ten 1.21.13 The 10 Best TNA Genesis Matches
Posted by Gavin Napier on 01.21.2013
From Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe in 2006 and Beer Money vs. The Motor City Machine Guns in 2011 to AJ Styles vs. Christian Cage and more, 411's Gavin Napier counts down the top 10 TNA Genesis matches of all time!
Last week, TNA held their annual January pay per view, Genesis. As with most pay per views these days, it was a mixed bag. Some good matches, some bad, and a pay per view somewhere in the middle. Historically, though, Genesis has provided some excellent matches. That's not to say that all of them have been at the top of the card or for the TNA World Heavyweight Title, but good matches are good matches. As you may suspect through TNA's history, there are some usual suspects clogging up the list. Even so, here are the Top 10 Genesis Matches in TNA History.
Criteria used to determine The Top 10 Genesis Matches:
-Must have taken place on a Genesis PPV
-Or Final Resolution 2008
The reason that 2008 is the exception is that Final Resolution was in January and Genesis was in November that year, which made no sense whatsoever. I'm just going to pretend that Genesis was in January and they got the name mixed up. From there, the rankings are pretty standard fare. The better the match and the hotter the crowd, the higher the match is going to land. And, as always, my personal opinion plays a part.
Matches that just missed the cut:James Storm vs. Christopher Daniels (2013), Elimination X (2005), AJ Styles vs. Petey Williams (2005)
AJ Styles vs. Christian Cage (2006)
Two remarkably consistent performers. -#1 Contender's Match
I miss Christian Cage in TNA. It's selfish of me, and I'm glad he's getting a better payday these days (at least I think he is). I miss him having an opportunity to let his personality shine and work in the main event on a steady basis, though. In TNA's history, AJ Styles and Christian Cage have been two remarkably consistent performers. AJ has been their workhorse from the word go, and not much has changed. In his time in TNA, Christian proved that he was every bit as talented as his former tag team partner that broke through in WWE, Edge. These two men squared off more than once, but this was arguably their best match together.
Christian Cage vs. Kaz (2007)
How could you go wrong? -Ladder Match
-#1 Contender's Match
Christian Cage's credentials in ladder matches are almost unparalleled within professional wrestling. Well, really anywhere I guess. Not a lot of ladder matches in tennis or billiards, are there? Then you've got Kaz, who's been a quality performer in the X Division for years. Aside from Kaz bearing such a striking resemblance to Triple H, how could you go wrong? I'm always impressed when guys can come up with new spots in ladder matches, because sometimes it seems like everything has been done. Christian and Kaz pulled out several new tricks and turned in one of the better ladder matches in TNA history, and one of the best matches overall at Genesis.
America's Most Wanted and Jeff Jarrett vs. Team 3D and Rhino (2005)
Jarrett could deliver. -6 man tag match
One of the biggest criticisms in TNA's ten year history is Jeff Jarrett's early and prolonged dominance of the main event scene. It came at the cost of a push to Raven that could have helped TNA with a title change and robbed them of creating their first legitimate homemade star in Monty Brown. Politics aside, Jarrett could deliver in the ring. His old school style and southern psychology tendencies made for entertaining matches. There was good heat for this match, and if you notice the honorable mentions and the top 10, there are three matches from the 2005 Genesis pay per view. The quality up and down the card, as well as the debut of Christian Cage, make this one of the most memorable pay per views in TNA's history.
Jeff Hardy vs. Robert Roode vs. Austin Aries (2013)
TNA in a nutshell. -Triple Threat match
-World Heavyweight Title Match
For better or for worse, this match is TNA in a nutshell. Rather than a conventional one on one matchup, TNA opted to do something a little different and have a triple threat. They also included two of their "own" talents in Austin Aries and Robert Roode. It almost feels like a safety net having former WWE Champion (and current TNA Champion) Jeff Hardy in there, as well. Personal preferences aside, Hardy moves a ton of merchandise and is a valuable commodity for TNA. I don't know that many people were surprised by anything in this match. It was a very good match and Jeff Hardy kept the title. Again - TNA in a nutshell. There are worse things.
Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin (2009)
Bar raiser for the X Division. -X Division Championship Match
Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin are about as important to TNA's history as any two non-main eventers could be. Both are cornerstones of the X Division, They formed a magnificent tag team that remains one of the most popular duos in TNA history. And then there's this match. The X Division Championship was vacant going into this match, and TNA couldn't have made a better choice to square off for the belt. The two men knew each other in the ring very well; maybe better than any two men in TNA. The result was a bar raiser for the X Division. Sabin and Shelley fed off of each other to produce one of the most fluid, exciting X Division matches to date. More on them just below this.
Beer Money vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (2011)
Best tag team match of the last five years. -World Tag Team Championship
One of the things (along with the X Division and the Knockouts from time to time) that has helped TNA distinguish itself from everyone else in North America has been tag team wrestling. You could make a very good case for Beer Money and the Machine Guns as TNA's best tag teams ever. They had a ton of matches against each other and kept things fresh throughout. This particular match saw Beer Money come out on top, but is a prime example of just how well the four men work together. Both teams worked in their trademark spots without forcing them, but were able to keep things new for the fans that had seen them square off a half dozen times or so. I miss Alex Shelley being in TNA. Not quite as much as I miss Christian Cage, but I miss him just the same. Seeing him and Sabin come down the ramp together was reassuring, as you could all but bet on a quality match happening shortly after.
AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle (2010)
Not their best work. -TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Welcome to the Kurt Angle portion of the list. If you're surprised, shame on you. Kurt Angle has turned in more classics since his debut than anyone else in the same time frame. It's not even close. Whether WWE or TNA, Angle has been the most reliable performer of the last 15 years, with no offense intended to Shawn Michaels. With AJ being TNA's best all around performer through the years, it should come as no surprise that these two work remarkably well together. What's incredible is that this is not their best work. Not even close. Even so, it's one of the best matches that we've seen at Genesis, and deserving of a top 5 spot.
Christian Cage vs. Kurt Angle (Final Resolution 2008 Version 1.0)
Did I mention I miss Christian in TNA? -TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Take one? Yes, TNA managed to have another pay per view named Final Resolution in 2008, only it was in December. This is personally my favorite match on the list. I'm a full fledged Christian mark, and I've already discussed Kurt Angle's reliability in big matches. Matches like this went a long way towards reaffirming that Christian could compete with the best of the best and carry his own weight. Did I mention I miss Christian in TNA? Kurt Angle was defending the TNA World Championship against Christian here due to interference in the form of AJ Styles' Superman forearm. Without TNA's insistence on overbooking..okay, without wrestling in general's insistence on overbooking pay per view main events, this match could have crept up near four and a half or five stars. Even though personal opinion is a criteria, I understand that there are better matches on the list than this one. It's still very, very good though, and I have no misgivings about ranking it in the top 3.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle (2009)
A throwback feud. -Just a plain old one on one match between two guys that didn't like each other. Imagine that.
During 2009, Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle embarked on a throwback feud. The premise was simple - the two men didn't like each other. Somewhere along the way, Jeff ended up with Kurt's wife. They went back and forth in promos, attacks, and matches. Unlike when he was facing Raven and Monty Brown, Jarrett's political stroke was nearly non-existent at this point. It made for a more enjoyable program as there was actual suspense in regards to who would win matches. More than just the premise of the feud, the matches were very old-school in their presentation and feel. There wasn't a lot of fancy stuff. The high spots were more things that were brutal and with ill intent than jumping from the top rope through four tables with a Tiger Bomb. There was blood, and lots of it, at various points. I've said in other articles that I feel like The Rock vs. Steve Austin is the best feud of all time. This isn't anywhere near that, but is in the discussion for TNA's best feud of all time along with AMW vs. XXX and Joe vs. Angle. This is one of the best chapters of that feud.
Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle (2006)
TNA did this perfectly. -Grudge match
For all the things they've done wrong, TNA did this perfectly. This, more than anything they had done before or have done since, had a big match feel to it. Kurt Angle was still a fresh face, and Samoa Joe was still a monster. The initial interaction between the two, when Angle split Joe open with a headbutt, is still my favorite single moment from TNA's history. It immediately established a feud, made both guys look important, and let you know that there were big things on the way. This match delivered on the hype and left plenty more to the imagination. Angle and Joe had immediate chemistry and went full speed ahead against each other. The result was an instant classic, and one of the best matches not only in Genesis history but in TNA history. Side note: it's unbelievable how relatively thin Joe was back then.
That's my list. What's yours? What'd I miss, what needs to be in a different spot? What'd I (heaven forbid) actually get right? Let me know and I'll join the discussion later in the week. Until next week, you can find me on Twitter @GavinNapier411 and check out my new podcast on iTunes by searching for The Casual Heroes, or go to www.thecasualheroes.com and I'll be back here in 7..6..5..