20 Years of IMPACT: 2008

You know they say that all years of TNA are created equal, but you look at 2008 and you look at all the other years and you can see that statement is not true. See, normally if you go one on one with another year, you got a 50/50 chance of winning. But 2008 is a genetic freak and it’s not normal! So you got a 25%, AT BEST, at beating 2008. Then you add all other years to the mix, your chances of winning drastic go down. See the 3 way at Sacrifice, you got a 33 1/3 chance of winning, but I, I got a 66 and 2/3 chance of winning, because all other years KNOWS they can’t beat 2008 and they’re not even gonna try!

So all other years, you take your 33 1/3 chance, minus 2008’s 25% chance and you got an 8 1/3 chance of winning at Sacrifice. But then you take 2008’s 75% chance of winning, if we was to go one on one, and then add 66 2/3 per cents, 2008 has got 141 2/3 chance of winning at Sacrifice. See all other years, the numbers don’t lie, and they spell disaster for you at Sacrifice.

Since his debut in June 2005, Samoa Joe destroyed all the competition in front of him in TNA. He started with the X-Division and smashed through legends like AJ Styles, Chris Sabin and Christopher Daniels. He then moved onto top heavyweight contenders like Sabu, Rhino, Jeff Jarrett and Monty Brown only to dispatch them too. For 18 months he remained undefeated in TNA. Until Kurt Angle arrived. 

Through all of 2007 Kurt Angle remained a thorn in Samoa Joe’s side – the single force capable of keeping Samoa Joe away from the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Angle became Champion in King of the Mountain at Slammiversary in 2007 at the expense of Joe and bested Joe in the Match of Champions at Hard Justice.

So as we entered 2008, Samoa Joe redoubled his efforts on Angle and the title. After Joe became number one contender a date was set – Joe would challenge Angle for the title at Lockdown. This was all or nothing for Samoa Joe. Not only was the title on the line, but Joe also put his career at stake. If he couldn’t defeat Angle to become Champion, he’d never wrestle again. Angle brought a new MMA influenced hybrid style to Lockdown to try and throw Joe off his game but the “Samoan Submission Machine” was ready for anything. After nearly three years in TNA, Joe finally won the big one – Joe planted Angle with a Muscle Buster to finally become TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

Joe overcame seemingly insurmountable odds at Sacrifice to retain against Steiner and Kaz, became the first Champion to emerge from King of the Mountain with his title at Slammiversary, and entered into a rivalry with Booker T for the remainder of the summer. All the while, a resentment was stewing within “The Icon” Sting. Sting increasingly felt that the younger generation weren’t paying respect to the veterans of the business. Sting took this crusade into his own hands and for the third year in a row became World Champion at Bound For Glory, this time at the expense of Samoa Joe.

The X-Division continued its innovative streak with the introduction of the TerrorDome, later renamed the Steel Asylum match. The ring was surrounded by a striking large red steel cage with the only exit being a small hole in the ceiling. The first man to escape from that hole would be declared the winner. The first match took place at Sacrifice with Kaz emerging victorious in a frantic and chaotic affair. Jay Lethal was the victor of the second iteration of the match at Bound For Glory. The World X-Cup returned in July as Team Mexico (Volador Jr, Rey Bucanero, Ultimo Guerrero and Averno) defeated Team TNA (Kaz, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley and Curry Man), Team Japan (Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, Milano Collection AT and Puma) and Team International (Daivari, Doug Williams, Alex Koslov and Tyson Dux) to win the team competition which culminated at Victory Road.

While LAX had held the NWA World Tag Team Titles twice, they had yet to become TNA World Tag Team Champions. As they worked toward that goal, controversy resulting in AJ Styles and Tomko having to vacate the titles opened the perfect opportunity. LAX defeated Team 3D in the finals of the Deuces Wild Tournament to become Champions at Sacrifice. However an all-star tag team was emerging. James Storm and Bobby Roode began to form an alliance that was once unthinkable – half of AMW uniting with half of Team Canada. Storm and Roode formed Beer Money Inc, managed by Jackie Moore, and became fast rivals with LAX. Beer Money dethroned LAX at Hard Justice and reigned for the remainder of the year.

Awesome Kong and Gail Kim’s rivalry continued into 2008 including a classic contest at Final Resolution 2008 – as Gail became the first person to pin Kong in TNA in a memorable No Disqualifications match. Kong would take the Knockouts Title from Kim as they made history becoming the first Knockouts match to main event IMPACT. Kong was completely dominant from there – turning back challenges from ODB and Gail Kim. Kong was so dominant as Champion, she was willing to put $25,000 as well as her title on the line in open challenges. Taylor Wilde completely shocked the world to walk into TNA and defeat Kong to become Champion. While Kong would regain the title later in the year, Wilde’s high-energy upset went down as one of the most memorable in IMPACT history.

Some other notes from 2008: “The Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley arrived in TNA as the new executive shareholder. He oversaw Jeff Jarrett’s return to action for the first time in 18-months against Kurt Angle at Bound For Glory. Abyss conquered his half-brother Judas Mesias in the second Barbed Wire Massacre match at Against All Odds. Shark Boy and Curry Man’s dispute with Team 3D ended in one of the more unusual matches in TNA history – a Fish Market Street Fight at Destination X. The year ended with Sting finding a collection of likeminded individuals in his crusade for respect as he formed the Main Event Mafia alongside Kurt Angle, Sting, Scott Steiner and Booker T. The battlelines were drawn heading into 2009. 

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