Recap from TJ Hawke:
The NWA stripped TNA of the rights to the NWA Title, so this match is actually to determine the very first TNA Heavyweight Champion…sort of. At the previous PPV, there was a finish where Angle won the belt, but there was a double pinfall or something so the belt was held up after Angle was declared the new TNA Champion. So, no one had really been TNA Champion yet. Fuck Vince Russo for making me try to explain it.
Styles and Cage were working together at the start. Joe destroyed AJ and Cage for a bit. Chris Harris and Cage battled it out in the ring. Harris killed AJ with a Catatonic: 1…2…3! Harris can now hang the belt, and AJ had to go to the penalty box. A lot of finishers got traded and reversed, but no one was getting pinned. Cage was on a ladder bridged between the apron and the guardrail. Harris dumped AJ onto Cage and the ladder. Harris climbed the ladder, but Angle gave him a Drunk Slam off the ladder: 1…2…3! Angle can now win the match. Angle accidentally took out the refereee with a lariat. Joe had Angle in the Coquina Clutch. Angle tapped out, but the referee was knocked out. Cage knocked out Joe with a ladder, and he then pinned Angle: 1…2…3! Cage can now win. Cage and Joe climbed a ladder. Joe gave him an Ace Crusher off the ladder! Harris climbed the ladder, but AJ knocked him down with a springboard dropkick. Joe and AJ were on the penalty match. Joe threw him off through a table on the floor. Nasty bump. Harris and Cage were on the box. Harris gave him a gourd buster to the mat. Harris then hit a diving lariat on Angle. Harris climbed again, but Cage knocked him off. Cage and Angle battled on the ladder. Harris then dove from the turnbuckle and speared Cage off. Angle easily climbed the ladder and hung the ladder. Angle is the new TNA Heavyweight Champion.
Angle gave Joe a Drunk Slam after the match.
This was a really fun trainwreck. Everything was clearly planned out very well, and with so many talented men in the ring, the execution was pretty much top notch the whole way through. It’s weird to see the booking of this match so clearly set up to make Chris Harris look like a top guy (or at least close to the level to the other men in the ring). I say weird because this is the same man who ended up being Braden Walker.
Match Rating: ***3/4