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June 25, 2003 / JP

America’s Most Wanted vs. Triple X (Cage Match) (NWA TNA Weekly PPV #50: 6/25/2003)

Recap by: JP

June 25th, 2003
Nashville, TN
NWA TNA Weekly PPV #50
Steel Cage Match
NWA World Tag Team Championship Match
America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) vs. Triple X (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper) (C)

Coming off victorious in a blood feud with the New Church, AMW won the NWA Tag Team Championship in January 2003 for their second reign with the belts. Over the course of the next five months, Christopher Daniels, Elix Skipper, and Low Ki would beat AMW four times with use of the numbers game including for two separate tag team title victories of their own. Low Ki would have Japan commitments and received an injury derailing him from in-ring action and leaving it to Daniels and Skipper vs. AMW. One week before this match on TNA’s First Anniversary Weekly PPV, Triple X defeated AMW for the fourth time with help from Low Ki. Harris laid out the challenge after the match for the first Steel Cage Match in TNA history to settle this feud once and for all.

The original cage that they used in Nashville was not the easiest to see through. It is also very tall, possibly one of the taller cages used in wrestling for a while. This match was the first match to bring in the “second year” of TNA. As both teams make their entrances, Mike Tenay references the Steel Cage Match from March of 1983 between Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood against Sgt Slaughter & Don Kernodle as the most famous Cage Match in NWA History turning away 6000 people and drawing 16,000 and references it as the reason for why Starrcade was created.

Following the big intros with Jeremy Borash, the match is underway as both teams begin fist-fighting immediately. Rudy Charles makes it clear that both non-legal partners need to be in their corners between the ropes and the cage. AMW launch Skipper and lay out Daniels. Harris goes to work on Daniels but he and Skipper take turns launching Harris into the cage. Harris gets a rope-break out of a Skipper submission attempt and is bleeding from hitting the cage wall. Skipper double springs to the top for a moonsault on a standing Harris for a 2-count from Daniels~! Harris fires up but Daniels lays him out with a leg lariat before attacking Harris’s wound. He and Skipper take turns wearing down on Harris with fists and use of the cage wall. Harris lays out Skipper with a clothesline before tagging in Storm. Storm makes his comeback including hitting a reverse suplex on Skipper into the cage wall~! Neckbreaker on Daniels and Nashville has come alive. Powerslam on Daniels for a 2-count. Daniels kicks Storm low and launches him into the cage wall and follows up by Stinger Splashing him into the wall while Storm was in the ropes, now causing Storm to bleed.

Don West calls Storm the most improved wrestler in TNA since TNA began a year ago. Skipper goes up top and nearly slips from pain in his midsection and knee. Daniels holds up Storm for a Suplex/Top Rope Diving Crossbody Combination by Skipper. Skipper’s ribs are too banged up for him to cover immediately. Tenay notes this is only Skipper’s first cage match and Christopher’s second while this is Storm and Harris’s third cage match each. Storm and Skipper lay each other out. Both make the tags and now Harris is fired up. Harris backbody drops Skipper into the wall~! He then hoists Daniels up and runs him from side to side head first like a lawn dart back and forth into the wall and hits a full nelson slam on the now bloodied Daniels for two. Harris goes for the Catatonic, but Daniels counters and hits Angel’s Wings for 2. Storm saves Harris from Last Rites. They end up on the top turnbuckle and walked on the ropes. Daniels hits a Reverse STO from the top on Storm~! Skipper belly-to-belly suplexes Harris, launches him into the wall, and dumps Harris on his head with Saka Otoshi~!~! Skipper goes to climb out of the cage. Harris stops him and hits a Powerbomb off the top rope~! He crawls on Skipper for only two. Daniels snapmares Storm and hits Last Rites, but Harris makes the save. Harris sets Daniels up top. Daniels tries climbing away and is hanging on to the wall in the center. He loses his grip and Harris flies off the top turnbuckle and spears Daniels to the mat~! All four are down.

Skipper hits the Play of the Day on Harris. Skipper goes to climb up top once again. Skipper FLIES off the top with a Diving Crossbody on Harris~!~! Nashville is very loud at this point. Skipper is back up top to the turnbuckle already. As he gets to the top of the cage, Harris knocks Skipper, sending him falling to the floor. Daniels yells at Skipper to get back in, but now the numbers game is in the favor of AMW. Skipper tries to climb in but Harris knocks Skipper from the cage wall to the ramp. Superkick by Storm on Daniels. Harris and Storm go for the Death Sentence, which sees Harris come up short on the leg drop portion pretty poorly. Thankfully, it is only two. Skipper tries to climb in AGAIN and takes a nasty spill to the floor. Harris then climbs all the way to the top of the cage and FLIES off the top of the cage to hit the leg drop and the Death Sentence with Storm, allowing AMW to get the win for their third NWA Tag Team Championship reign in 17:49~!~!

This match often goes under the radar on account of their match they would have about 18 months after. While not as spectacular as that match, this match was great for a number of different reasons. While I was not nuts about the usage of the rope breaks and the tags initially, this feud was about the numbers game coming in to play and the cage was meant to serve as a way to keep the wrestlers locked away. With the limitations of those rules, they still found various ways to use the cage to sell the violent nature of the match, seeing ¾ of the wrestlers bleeding and with many moments that I have not often seen replicated since. They even found a clever way to get Skipper isolated and see the whole basis of the feud get a payoff. While the ending got initially botched, they made up for it by going above and beyond from the top of the cage. Nashville became very fired up for this match and they got to see two of their favorites win in a title switch. This is a very strong cage match and holds up as one of the strongest matches that TNA ever had during the Nashville Era.

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