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Stay At Home, Watch Wrestling: Vol. 3

By Joe Baiamonte, published on 22nd April 2020

Back in 1989, De La Soul assured us that three was the magic number and, far be it from us to doubt the words of Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo, we’ve followed that mantra ever since.

So, being that this is the third instalment of ‘Stay At Home, Watch Wrestling’, it seemed apt that we featured trios, triple threats and trilogies as the theme of the day.

3…2…1…

TNA Unbreakable 2005: X Division Title Match: Christopher Daniels (c) vs Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles

When TNA released a DVD of the company’s top 50 greatest moments in 2007, this match ranked at number four on the list. That there were three superior moments in TNA’s five year history at that point is extremely questionable and we’re hard pressed to think of a better match that has taken place inside the six/four sides of TNA/Impact’s rings since.

With WWE once again trying and hopelessly failing to piece together a compelling cruiserweight division in 2005 (even with the likes of the Mexicools, Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, Shane Helms, Paul London, Brian Kendrick and Kid Kash at their disposal) TNA’s X-Division was the the ultimate calling card for a company that was fast establishing itself as the (far distant) second promotion in North America. Similarly to WCW in the ’90s, the Orlando based outfit were generating exposure for a host of high fliers, the likes of which weren’t exactly commonplace among the upper echelons of their Stamford, Connecticut rivals.

However, unlike WCW, TNA were placing their high fliers in the main events of PPV’s, such as Unbreakable 2005. Realistically, no match could adequately follow the efforts of Daniels, Styles and Joe on this night, even if the card itself delivered in spades. So it was only natural that this triple threat pulled the curtain down that night. The WCW parallels, unfortunately, do not end there however…

In the mid noughties, TNA, it appeared, had developed a formula for presenting a genuine, exciting alternative to WWE. The X-Division was fresh, explosive and could draw a ton of legitimate appeal from indie fans, while the acquisitions of Christian, Kurt Angle and The Dudley Boyz – Top tier former WWE talents with plenty of miles left in the tank, drew many more mainstream eyes towards the product.

Throw into this equation crowd pleasing legends and familiar faces such as Sting, Raven, Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Hardy, Billy Gunn and Rhyno and young up-and-comers with bags of potential such as Team Canada, Lance Hoyt, Monty Brown and Abyss and there felt like there was something for everyone in this burgeoning brand.

Yet it wouldn’t be all that long before the wheels came off, the wrong people were put in charge and pushed. And, like WCW, the shining lights were significantly dimmed to the point of irrelevance. While it’s great to see Impact finding their feet again over the last 12-18 months, the main event of Unbreakable 2005 will always provide us with the ultimate ‘what might have been’ glimmer. These three lads also had a rematch four years later at Turning Point 2009. It is, predictably, brilliant.

WWE WrestleMania 32: Women’s Title Match: Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks

It may not have been the first ever women’s WrestleMania main event, but try telling that to pretty much anyone inside Dallas’ AT&T Stadium during WrestleMania 32. The reintroduction of the Women’s Title, at the expense of the lousy titled and looking Divas Championship, felt like the seminal shift Stephanie McMahon’s ‘Women’s Revolution’ needed for the division to be taken seriously.

With Hall of Famer Lita on hand before the bout to introduce the new title and the three women involved featured so prominently on all promotional materials around Dallas, the WWE website, network and social channels during WrestleMania weekend in 2016, you could have been forgiven for telling The Undertaker, Shane McMahon, Roman Reigns and Triple H to not bother bringing their gear to Arlington, Tx, such was the fervour that had been created around the efforts of these three women.

From the get-go, you sensed this match was a big deal; Sasha, sporting her Eddie Guerrero inspired ring gear, was rapped to the ring by Uncle Snoop Dogg. Charlotte was accompanied by father Ric, adorned in his retirement robe from WrestleMania 24. That the crowd inside ‘Jerryworld’ could only be further roused by surprise appearances from The Rock and John Cena and Shane McMahon flinging himself off the top of a Cell, should tell you everything you need to know about how much this match delivered.

There may have been better and more significant women’s division matches than this in the intervening four years, but none are more important. On that hot April night in Dallas four years ago, the standard was set. It’s rare that any of these women have fallen below it since.

WCW Clash of The Champions VI: NWA World Heavyweight Championship 2/3 Falls Match: Ricky Steamboat (c) vs Ric Flair

Two of the greatest in the middle match of the greatest trilogy pro wrestling has ever seen, over three falls. It doesn’t get more magic than this…

If you want to catch up with the first two volumes of the initial SAHWW trilogy, you can do so HERE and HERE.

Until tomorrow, remember; Stay At Home, Watch Wrestling.

By Joe Baiamonte, published on 22nd April 2020
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