Background: Thanks to the interference of Vince Russo, D-Lo Brown was unable to wrest the NWA World Championship from AJ Styles. After gaining a measure of revenge on Russo, Brown challenged the champ to a Two Out of Three Falls match where the bout would consist of three different stipulations and happened throughout the show’s duration. The first two falls (AJ winning the first fall while Brown made the champion submit during the second) created a perfect finale – a bout contested under Ladder Match rules.
NWA-TNA PPV #54
July 23, 2003
AJ Styles vs. D-Lo Brown
Though Vince Russo was barred from ringside, Styles had women’s wrestler Trinity escorting him to the ring to give the champ a definitive numbers advantage. The fight began on the floor, with Styles avoiding an Irish whip into the guardrails by sliding underneath the steel. The challenger countered Styles’ incredible show of agility by running up the steel ring steps to dive over the guardrail and clothesline the rising champion. Brown was the first to grab a ladder, tossing it to avoid Styles from kicking the ladder into his face. Rather than place the ladder in the ring, Brown retrieved a table that he set up beside the ring. The champion avoided a suplex through the table, using a springboard hurricarana to put Brown in position for Styles’ incredible somersault plancha. Like his challenger, Styles grabbed another potential weapon rather than the ladder, bashing D-Lo in the back with a steel chair.
Styles was the first man to shove the ladder into the ring, placing it against the turnbuckles. Big Irish whip from Styles not only sent Brown into the ladder, it also caused the ladder to fall on top of Brown upon impact. The challenger took a chance to recover as the champ placed the chair between the top and middle turnbuckles. The challenger hit AJ from behind before going for the gold. A back and forth exchange broke loose until Brown was able to get underneath Styles and power bomb him. The champ responded by shoving the ladder so Brown fell chest first again the top rope. Styles looked to do more damage by getting another table in hopes of setting it up near the entrance ramp. D-Lo caught the working champion, punching him onto the table after a big back drop onto the entrance ramp. Setting the ladder near ropes, the challenger hit the Lo Down Frog Splash off the ladder to send AJ through the table! That was a fifteen-foot drop at least.
D-Lo Brown reentered the ring, setting up the ladder. The challenger was in reaching distance of the title belt when Sonny Siaki entered the ring to shove Brown off the ladder, over the top rope, through the table Brown set up earlier! It seemed the match was over for D-Lo, but the damage that had been down thanks to the Lo Down gave him more than enough time to meet AJ on the ladder before the champion could unhook his title belt. Both men had a hold of the belt when it came loose and the ladder fell from underneath them. The referee had no choice but to call this a draw. AJ Styles retained the championship.
Winner: Draw (10:59)
Is It A Classic: Horrible ending to a very good ladder match. There’s no real reason why AJ couldn’t have won the match following the Siaki interference; still leaving room for a rematch in the process. The D-Lo Brown WW(E) fans know was completely different from the one going through/delivering some brutal punishment. This is a very good match that was marred by a terrible ending.