AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Psicosis vs. Low-Ki
NWA/TNA X Division Title Four Way Double Elimination Match (Special Referee: Ricky Steamboat)
NWA Total Nonstop Action #2 - June 26th 2002
TNA came along picking up the pieces that had fallen by the wayside when the WWF purchased WCW in 2001. Unfortunately some really good talent either didn't want to make the jump to Vince McMahon's playground or simply wasn't hired. AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, Low-Ki and Psicosis are all highly skilled high-fliers and innovative competitors that rose from the ashes of a fallen company and began anew with the Total Non-Stop Action X Division.
The Total Non-Stop Action X-Division Title was meant to bring a sense of extreme to the pro-wrestling scene. A Double-Elimination Four Corners match might sound like too much. But in reality it is a beautiful thing that I wish was used more often. We are able to watch all sorts of action. This match brings everything from high-flying luchador type moves to technical clinics. Whatever style the competitor needs in able to avoid being pinned twice. Then you add in a stipulation that says that when it comes down to the final two competitors Ricky Steamboat will officiate. Does it sound crazy? I hope so. This is one of the best matches of all time.
This match starts off really hot with Styles and Psicosis starting things off. They showcase their quickness and put on a good show. Psicosis puts in some really good offence and delivers an amazing Guillotine Leg Drop but he cannot secure a pin. However, after a Styles Clash, AJ Styles picks up the first pinfall.
Low-Ki and Styles go at it furiously. These two immediately have amazing chemistry in the ring. Ki hits a bunch of really stiff shots and kicks. But Styles is not to be outdone. He actually manages to hit a really impressive Hurricanrana from a laying down position! It's really neat. These two have awesome energy. This is the hardest hitting portion of the match. Ki locks in a vicious submission hold that looks to be a primitive version of the Bank's Statement but Styles gets the ropes. These guys are setting another level for the bar in the X Division. A Rolling German Suplex into a Facebuster gives AJ Styles the three. Then just when you think that it can't possibly get even crazier. Jerry Lynn jumps into the ring next and immediately hits a Cradle Piledriver for the three on Styles.
I had to pause the match here just to catch my breath. I was gassed just watching these guys putting so much into it. Psicosis starts his second entry out with a Dropkick from the top rope to Jerry Lynn. They go at it in the ring with some really nice intense high-flying moves. The action is pretty even. Psicosis knocks Jerry Lynn out of the ring and then hits him with a big Somersault Plancha. The two are performing moves you never see anymore! Psicosis connects with a Spinning Flying Leg Lariat from the top. Then Lynn drops Psicosis with a Reverse DDT but can only secure a two. Psicosis goes for another big move but it’s blocked as Jerry Lynn hits a Dropkick and then the Cradle Piledriver and gets the three count, eliminating Psicosis from the match.
Low-Ki jumps back into the ring and goes right after Jerry Lynn. Just like with Styles, Ki really takes it to Lynn with some stiff and brutal shots. He hits a devastating Elbow Drop and more kicks but cannot get the pin. Ki gets frustrated but keeps fighting. The frustration makes Low-Ki fight harder and Jerry Lynn has a tough time keeping up. But Lynn comes back. We get a good series of finisher reversals before Jerry Lynn plants Ki with a really impressive Powerbomb. Low-Ki is bleeds from the mouth. The crowd is on their feet. More reversals from both competitors before Lynn hits the Cradle Piledriver on Low-Ki followed by the pin. Low-Ki is eliminated from competition.
AJ Styles is ready and goes furiously at Lynn to start off his entry. These two really go at it. AJ starts things off with a Lariat and immediately goes for the pin. No dice. He goes for a powerbomb but Lynn reverses it into a Hurricanrana. A Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker into a pin only gets Lynn a two-count. Lynn hits a Sunset Flip on AJ Styles but cannot get him over, Styles stomps his head and then goes outside to deliver a Springboard Twisting Splash but still cannot get that win. They continue assaulting each other getting nearfalls. AJ hits a Hangman’s Noose Neckbreaker on Lynn. That was really cool. For this match already going this long, these guys are really not letting up on the energy. Styles hits the Styles Clash on to secure his second pinfall. Both men are now 1 - 1.
This brings out professional wrestling legend Ricky Steamboat as the featured referee. The match also goes into Sudden Death mode. This final pinfall will determine the first NWA/TNA X Division Champion. They start things off quickly with a series of roll-ups and nearfalls. It’s pretty exciting. They are both gassed but determined. AJ Styles is the young up-and-comer. While Jerry Lynn is the high-flying veteran. They both have something to prove. These guys take it everywhere and hit just about everything on eachother. Outside of the ring they deliver some solid action. Lynn hits a vicious Irish Whip on Styles, sending him headfirst into the guardrail. AJ goes for a Springboard Moonsault but he is caught by Lynn, so Styles just goes for a Reverse DDT. Back into the ring and Styles cannot get the pin.
Jerry Lynn starts dominating in the ring. He delivers some nice and innovative reversals to whatever AJ Styles dishes out. Like AJ Styles goes for a Hurricanrana but it's reversed into a Flipping Facebuster by Jerry Lynn, unfortunately he doesn’t get the three-count. AJ takes the reigns and mounts a comeback but it's short lived. Both guys are just trying to survive now. Jerry Lynn delivers an insane Top Rope Superplex to Styles but still cannot get the win! The crowd is really into it. AJ gets the advantage and levels Lynn, then goes to the Top Rope and hits the Spiral Tap for the victory. AJ Styles is the first ever NWA/TNA X Division Champion.
This match was not only fantastic and unique but extreme. It is definitely something that lives up to it's titles moniker. This match proved that the X-Division was another level in professional wrestling. Light-Heavyweight and Cruiserweight divisions had existed before. However in the X Division it didn't matter if you were 145 pounds or 445 pounds. It was about the work that you put in. About the determination that each competitor has. Determination that takes that performer to an extreme level.
Each wrestler in this match was amazing in their own right. This match had showcased them to the NWA/TNA world. After this matchup, Jerry Lynn had started to cap off an amazing career and his work in the X Division is great. Psicosis had bounced to the WWE and then back to Mexico before getting in trouble. Low-Ki would be featured in the X-Division for a long while and AJ Styles would catapult into stardom. Both were major players in TNA for years.