Image Credit: TNA Wrestling

Best TNA Wrestling PPV Matches Of 2003

TNA Wrestling continued their run of weekly pay-per-views in 2003. The promotion witnessed some major changes behind the scenes. Dixie Carter became President after Panda Energy bought a 72% controlling stake in the promotion.

In March, Vince Russo went on a hiatus, leaving his S.E.X. (Sports Entertainment Xtreme) without an official leader. Russo would eventually return to the promotion in late May. There were also talks of Hulk Hogan potentially showing up for an NWA World Title Match with Jeff Jarrett, but the Hulkster’s injuries got in the way.

From an in-ring standpoint, TNA had some fantastic matches on their weekly pay-per-view events. Let’s take a look at some of the bouts that defined the promotion’s PPV action in 2003:

Video Credit: YouTube

CM Punk vs. Shane Douglas (Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match – NWA-TNA PPV #52)

CM Punk in TNA was brief but it was fun while it lasted. His booking in the promotion was the polar opposite of his work in ROH at the time. In ROH, Punk and Raven were out for each other’s blood. That wasn’t the case at all in TNA, where Punk was a protégé of Raven as part of The Gathering stable.

Raven’s crusade against TNA stars pitted him and his disciples against the likes of Shane Douglas and Abyss. Speaking of Shane Douglas, The Franchise would be Punk’s first opponent in TNA for a Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match. Punk mostly carried the match, with Douglas focused on more of a psychological warfare.

Video Credit: YouTube

AJ Styles vs. D-Lo Brown (NWA World Title No. 1 Contender’s Match – April 6)

AJ Styles and D-Lo Brown had already displayed their chemistry as tag team partners. They’d take things up a notch as opponents. Styles’ high-flying offense meshed well with D-Lo’s own ground and aerial-based ring-work.

D-Lo showed his agility by pulling off a spring moonsault and a frog splash onto the entrance ramp. Both men exchanged some great spots. The only downside was the interference angle, which was used to set up a triple threat between Styles, D-Lo, and Raven.

Video Credit: YouTube

Triple X vs. Amazing Red & Jerry Lynn (NWA World Tag Team Title Match – April 16)

Four of the best wrestlers collided to determine the fate of the NWA World Tag Team Championship at NWA-TNA PPV #77. Daniels and Skipper were already in conversation among the GOAT TNA tag teams at the time. Their incredible chemistry complemented the crazy aerial offense of Amazing Red and the smooth in-ring work of Jerry Lynn.

There were some cool exchanges, well-executed submission maneuvers, and a fantastic display of selling by Red and Daniels. This match lived up to its moniker of the “Best of X Division” with all four men going all out for nearly 15 minutes to entertain a lively crowd.

Video Credit: YouTube

The Gathering vs. Abyss, Kevin Northcutt & Legend (Six-man Tag Team Cage Match – NWA-TNA PPV #76)

The Gathering (Raven, CM Punk and Julio Dinero) took on Abyss, Kevin Northcutt and Legend in this chaotic six-man tag team steel cage match. Raven and his disciples were in a heated feud with TNA’s band of misfits in 2003.

Members of both teams, especially Punk, bled buckets in this all-out war. The use of weapons was on full display. There were some pretty random interferences that really didn’t add anything to the match. Punk and Dinero’s turn on Raven was a huge surprise.

America’s Most Wanted vs. Triple X (NWA World Tag Team Title Steel Cage Match – June 25)

AMW and Triple H defined tag team wrestling in early TNA. The two teams had some incredible matches against each other in 2003-04. They also had the honor of competing in the first-ever Steel Cage Match in the promotion’s history.

The bout in question kicked off the NWA-TNA PPV #51. Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper were the reigning NWA World Tag Team Champions at the time. This wasn’t a tornado tag match, but was contested under traditional tag team rules with the added steel cage stipulation.

Chris Harris got busted open early in the match, causing Triple X to work on him until James Strom got the hot tag. There were some insane spots, such as the spear from Harris off the top rope and Skipper’s crossbody from the top of the cage.

Honorable Mentions

  • Christopher Daniels vs. Jerry Lynn (NWA-TNA PPV #43)
  • Chris Sabin vs. Jerry Lynn vs. The Amazing Red (NWA-TNA PPV #45)
  • AJ Styles & D-Lo Brown vs. CM Punk & Jason Cross (NWA-TNA PPV #47)
  • AJ Styles vs. Kazarian (NWA-TNA PPV #52)
  • Abyss vs. AJ Styles (NWA-TNA PPV #43

Also read: Best TNA Wrestling PPV Matches Of 2006