Professional wrestling is a sport that has spanned over a century. In fact, its foundation may well span to ancient times as early as ancient Babylonia from 3000 BCE.
Through all that time until the modern day, we have seen some of the greatest athletes and performers of all time come and go. We have seen these men and women fight in rivalries that have not only developed the business but molded it through the stories.
The greatest rivalries are so many and so numerous that is hard to limit them, to isolate them in such a way that we can truly find the one that exceeds all others.
So instead, we here at Wrestle Enigma have begun a series known as Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries where we will be breaking sixty of the greatest rivarlies over all of professional wrestling history.
Many of the best rivalries in wrestling past and present will be covered by some of the best writers here at WE.
Six years ago, TNA’s top dog team was its arguably premier athletes: AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. Holding the NWA World Tag Team Championships, Styles and Daniels reigned supreme. Yet their reign was not without struggle, for a new team was emerging to challenge the Champions. This team was known as the Latin American Xchange and this is their rivalry, a rivalry that will become personal, a rivalry that may not be able to be matched.
Let’s look at the Tale of the Tape:
The Tale of the Tape:
AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels
Weight: 515 lb.
Birthplace: Latino Nation
Weight: 439 lb.
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California= Daniels
Gainesville, Georgia = Styles
A relatively new tag team, LAX had everything to prove. A prefect combination of speed and strength, LAX was certainly a team to be reckoned with. Feeling overlooked by Daniels and Styles, LAX took it upon themselves to make a statement.
Two of TNA’s best talents teaming up? Sounds like a dream come true and it was. Capturing the NWA World Tag Team Titles, Daniels and Styles decided to prove they were fighting champions leading to a spectacular feud.
“You can hate LAX all you want, but they’re a perfect blend of a tag team.”- Don West
On July 20, 2006 Daniels and Styles had an announcement. To prove they were fighting champions, they had a special gift for all the tag teams in TNA. A stack of envelopes with contracts for title shots for each tag team in TNA. Not to be overlooked, Konnan spoke up and criticized the champions, claiming they were ducking TNA yet it was all a trap. As Daniels and Styles were distracted giving Konnan the contract, out came Hernandez and Homicide to ambush the champions. The champs tried to fight back but in vain, the two were soundly beat-down with Styles on the receiving end of a Gringo Killa by Homicide meanwhile Daniels would be bloodied. LAX decided to do something drastic and Konnan would sign the contract of Daniels……IN HIS OWN BLOOD! Understand this readers, Konnan used his competitors blood to sign the contract. A statement if I ever saw one and would become a metaphor for these two teams for the next few months; These teams would be bonded together through hatred, titles, and blood spilled.
The attack would leave Styles and Daniels injured and off television for a couple of weeks. Yet these resilient champions can’t stay down for long. The two would make an appearance after a match between LAX and Jerrelle Clarke & Chasyn Rance. Styles would be in a neckbrace from Da Gringo Killa from Homicide but would be the bitter of the two. Angry and wanting revenge, Styles wanted to go after Homicide but was not cleared to compete. As a result, Daniels took his place telling Homicide:
“If you have any…what do they call em? Oh Los Pantalones. How about next week on Impact you try killing this gringo? And yo, here’s a gospel even you can understand, this match it won’t end in a 123 its gonna end in in a 187 on you bitch!”
Konnan would retort “Guys like me, make guys like you my bitch!” Konnan would go on to preach about the ferocity, the hunger of LAX. They have passion and will “stomp you, cripple you, bloody you” to win the titles.
The following week, Homicide and Daniels would face off. Interestingly enough, only Konnan came down to support Homicide. Meanwhile, Daniels came down completely alone. The two faced off with Daniels eventually gaining the upper hand. He locked in his Koji Clutch with Homicide tapping! Yet it was not a victory for Konnan was distracting the referee at the same time, allowing big Hernandez to interfere. Hitting the Cracker Jack on Daniels, Homicide pinned him 1-2-3. Worn down and tired, LAX pounced on a perfect opportunity to weaken the Tag Champs and began beating down Daniels even more. Seeing his partner in danger, out came AJ Styles neck brace on and steel chair in hand to clear the ring. With his partner safe and the coast clear, Styles ripped off his neck brace meaning one thing: The champs are healthy and looking for revenge.
The First Battle
Now the two teams clash for the first time. LAX vs Styles/Daniels for the tag titles at Hard Justice. Konnan made sure the views of LAX would be heard and understood clearly:
“AJ Styles and Chris Daniels you two have coddled to, you two have been catered to, you’re posters boys for these companies . You’ve been ducking us. You guys have been privileged since you got into this company. They’ve spoon-fed you everything!”
The two heated rivals stare down and the hatred already starts to show. The ref tries to keep the two teams seperated, meanwhile each team is talking trash trying to elicit a response. The big man Hernandfez and Daniels start it off. Hernandez uses his strength to his advantage, taking control easy.
Yet Daniels’ speed comes into play and he sends Hernandez to the floor. Taking a moment to egg on LAX, Daniels throws a bandana at Homicide. Not to be disrespected, Homicide comes at Daniels who is held back.
Tag and now we have the Styles and Homicide in the ring. Remember that Homicide is the one who injured Styles’ neck earlier, these two have a grudge to settle. Homicide is thrown to the outside and a double team on Hernandez allowing Daniels and Styles take control. A nasty double powerbomb into a knee drop by Styles.
Homicide takes advantage of Styles’ neck with a neckbreaker on the ropes. Double team by LAX now with a Homicide corner mini body splash and a Hernandez corner huge body splash. Hernandez dominates Sty;es with power and a half nelson release slam. Tag to Homicide who throws Styles to the apron.
Hernandez holding Styles feet allows a quick shot by homicide and Styles is dumped to the floor. Suicide dive through the ropes by Homicide!! Out come the “TNA! TNA! TNA!” chants. Distracted by Daniels, Konnan and Homicide beat down Styles. Styles is kept away from his partner and LAX has complete control. Homicide even takes time to taunt Daniels with a one finger salute.
Hot tag by Styles and Daniels takes control! Daniels cleans house with throwing Homicide to the outside and Hernandez left in thering. A split leg moonsault to the outside takes out Homicide but he neglects Hernandez. A spear sends Daniels back outside and now it’s time to fly! SuperMex Hernandez goes AirMex taking out Daniels and his own partner!!!
Don’t forget about AJ Styes though with a springboard shooting star press taking out everyone on the outside!! “That was Awesome!!” chants break out in the crowd. Styles and Daniels set up Homicide for a crossbody/suplex combo. Pin and 1! 2! No! broken up by Hernandez. Mike Tenay even voices his displeasure. ”Oh damn Homicide!”
It’s LAX’s turn for a electric chair/bulldog double team. Styles and Homicide battle on the turnbuckle and here comes Hernandez to hit a Tower of Doom! Daniels off the top right into a Cracker Jack by Hernandez! A Pele by Sty;es on Hernandez followed by a springboard inverted DDT! A cutter by Homicide takes out Styles and Daniels takes out Homicide
All men are sprawled out! They get back to their feet with a pele to Hernandez followed by a knee by Daniels sending him out to the floor. Homicide sends Styles to the apron and quickly gets over-powered bwith a onearmed spinebuster by Daniels.
Styles goes up top but Konnan pushes him off! Daniels angered goes after Konnan but Hernandez stops him. LAX goes for the kill: Da Gringo Killa by Homicide to Styles and Border Toss by Hernandez to Daniels…….but wait! Styles reverses it, and sends Homicide into Hernandez. Hi-Lo by Styles and Daniels!! 1! 2! 3! and the champs retain their titles!!
“Oh this crowd saw tag team best!”-Don West describes this great match in a few short words
LAX may have lost the first battle, but the war was from over. On the following Impact!, the two teams came out swinging and brawling. Daniels and Styles a bloodied mess but still fighting. The two teams would eventually get lost in a huge brawl between various wrestlers. Daniels was not happy though and made his thoughts known later in the night speaking for himself and Styles.
“Do you want to know what my blood tastes like? It tastes like hell, it tastes like hatred, and I don’t like it!! Konnan you son of a bitch, you had our shot and we beat you! If you wanted another go-around, all you had to do was ask. You guys are real bad when you’re jumping us from behind, why don’t you guys get in the ring with us one more time, face to face, any time you want! We’ll even put the belts on the line. And this time we wont stop until every one of you bastards is dead!!”
Hearing another title opportunity, Konnan accepted the challenge by Daniels and Styles. He pointed out though that Daniels & Styles sweetened the pot by allowing them to choose whatever match type they wanted. Using that to their advantage Konnan chose a border brawl: no rules, no disqualifications, anything goes. The perfect match type to street hardened thugs such as Hernandez and Homicide.
The Second Battle:
Here we go: The two rivals facing off once again with even more hatred, animosity, and a deeper wish to straight up kill each other. Daniels and Styles come out in street clothes while LAX comes out in ring gear and the two go right at each other. Fiststicuffs thrown down and the two go at it gang style. LAX opens up the wounds of both Styles and Daniels who have crimson masks.
Chairs galore as both teams utilized them to their advantage. Brutal back shots and head shots for each man from the cruel steel chair. Styles would eventually dump out Hernandez to the ringside and decided to go for a suicide dive incapacitating both men.
Homicide would take the time to set up a table and started to prep Daniels for a superplex. Daniels fights him off and starts to set him up for his finisher, the Angel Wings. Here comes Konnan with a flapjack to the head and Homicide his a cutter through the table! 1! 2! 3! LAX is the new tag team champions!!
The Tables Are Turned
LAX has taken the tag team titles and now reigns supreme in the tag divison. Their fatal flaw being their greatest accomplishment: Being the tag champs. Now they have a target on their backs, and Styles & Daniels are heading for a bullseye.
LAX, of course, took the time to celebrate their win with a tribute. Konnan thanks the numerous Latino wrestlers that preceded them: Pedro Morales, Tito Santana, Mil Mascaras, and Eddie Guerrero. Konnan then issued a challenge to anyone who wanted to stop their revolution…..and their rivals appeared. Daniels & Styles are granted a title rematch at No Surrender and chose one that suits them the best. A match that LAX is not familiar with: A tag team Ultimate X match, the first tag team variation of its kind.
The next week of Impact!, LAX faced the Mack Brothers in a squash match but what happened after the match is the important part. Konnan held a No Surrender poster and pointed out the fact that they weren’t on it. They’re the underdogs, no one ever expected them to make it far, nor to even become World Champs no less. LAX would bring it at Ultimate X and crush them. Out came Styles & Daniel for a mini brawl with LAX eventually getting forced out of the ring. To add insult to injury, Christoper Daniels scales the Ultimate X structure around the ring and places himself in the middle holding the one of the tag titles. Even the chants gets into it with “You can’t get it!!” chants.
The following week LAX announced that they would be having a Hispanic Heritage Celebration. The celebration came upon them and featured LAX with some latinas in the ring, enjoying themselves. Konnan took the mic to declare that once they win the Ultimate X match, it would be renamed to Ultimate LAX. Daniels & Styles came out to interrupt the celebrations and took control for a brief second until Konnan provided a distraction.
Daniels would be hit with a press slam throw by Hernandez to outside of the ring leaving Styles all alone. Displaying their cruel nature, LAX tied Styles’ legs together and proceeded to hang him from the ceiling. Kendo stick in hand, Konnan would beat a hanging Styles who was bloodied and battered. LAX would close the show, arms raised, and dominance displayed.
The Third Battle
The teams face off again once more, yet Styles & Daniels have an ace in the hole this time: Ultimate X. The challengers, Styles & Daniels, come out first followed by the champions, Hernandez and Homicide with Konnan.
Jeremy Borash does the introductions and ignoring the opening bell, Homicide and Hernandez go straight at their competitors. Homicide is taken out and a duo of kicks to Hernandez takes him out. Homicide goes for Da Gringo Killa quickly on AJ but gets reversed. Hernandez and Homicide take control but Daniels fights back and stops Homicide from climbing the cables.
A reverse of control and LAX is being controlled now. Daniels attempts to guard AJ but cannot stop the two men. Homicide grabs a chair and goes afer Daniels but misses. Daniels dumped outside and Homicide with a suicide dive to Daniels! He even goes over the guardrail and a “TNA TNA TNA” chant breaks out already. Styles dives to the outside too!
Big SuperMex Hernandez, who we know can fly, tries to jump but gets stopped by Daniels. Daniels takes Hernandez to the mat and locks in a semi-Koji clutch. Springboard crossbody by Styles but he’s caught by Hernandez.
Caught by Hernandez, a kick to a trapped Styles by Homicide and a powerbomb throw. Displaying some creativity and ingenuity LAX decides to cheat in a sense by bringing in a ladder to the ring. Homicide goes up the ladder but gets halted by Styles. Bouncing him against the ropes, Styles pushes Homicide face first into the ladder!!
Daniels and Styles focus on Hernandez now. An atomic drop on the ladder by both men. Being the good and righteous men they are, Daniels & Styles see no need to use a ladder. They want to win the true and old fashioned way: climbing the cables. Styles starts to go up top, but Homicide grabs his foot and drops him to the outside with a huge SPLAT!
Daniels goes up top but gets stopped by Hernandez who wits a huge Cracker Jack from the top rope! “This is awesome” chants break out within the crowd. Styles is being picked apart by both LAX members in the ring. Big man Hernandez starts climbing the cables and gets caught by Styles with a springboard forearm smash. Styles gets caught by a steel chair to the back though by Homicide.
Homicide climbing up and almost at the titles, but Styles rushes up to meet him! Struggling, both men are dropped to the ring!! Daniels takes his chance to go for the titles but Hernandez grabs him. An electric chair/top rope bulldog combo and Daniels is put down. Homicide goes for Da Gringo Killa but gets reversed by Daniels. Hernandez up top, gets shaken off the ropes onto his own partner!
Styles picks himself up first, but he’s left alone with LAX. Styles starts taking on all competitors and hits a Pele on Hernandez and a springboard Inverted DDT on Homicide. Styles goes for a suplex on Hernandez but fails. Daniels comes in and they hit a double neckbreaker. Homicide perks up and takes out the competitors.
Homicide goes for a frog splash on Styles and misses! Styles and Daniels hit a Hi-Lo on Homicide. Double clothesline on Styles on Daniels by Hernandez! The power of Hernandez shown tremendously with that. Konnan sets up a table outside and Hernandez goes for a Border Toss on Styles through the table.
Styles and Daniels hit the frogsplash/BME combo! Even more to put him away, Styles hits the Spiral Tap! Swinging neckbreaker by Homicide puts down Daniels. Homicide and Styles fighting on the apron near the table! Both men exchanging blows! STYLES CLASH THROUGH THE TABLE!!
Konnan takes advantage of a weakened AJ and hits him with the slapjack. Daniels knocks Hernandez off the cables and Konnan enters the ring with a kendo stick. Daniels leaps at the titles and takes them down! Daniels and Styles are the new NWA World Tag Team Champs once more!!
The Final Stretch Home
The week after No Surrender, both teams kept quiet and were suspiciously absent. Styles as it turns out was traveling for the Impact! Global tour down in Mexico. Down in Mexico, Styles would meet a little welcome party planned for him by his good friends LAX.
The following week, LAX announced that they would get their rematch at Bound For Glory in a 6 Sides of Steel Match! Locked in a cage, the 4 men would have no choice but to beat each other mercilessly.
LAX would participate in a backstage interview with Jeremy Borash where Konnan said that LAX was on the hunt for some gringo meat meaning Styles & Daniels. Not to be taken lightly, Styles & Daniels decided to go on the offensive for once and jump LAX. The two teams brawled in the backstage area for a bit until they made their way to ringside area. Daniels would eventually get caught by LAX inside their cage area. Locked away from his partner LAX triple teamed Daniels and beat him mercilessly. All Styles could do was watch as his best friend and partner was being tortured.
LAX would be forced to team with America’s Most Wanted against Styles/Daniels with Kip and B.G. James in a 4 man tag team match. Each rival focused on each other until Styles came away with a rollup win on Homicide.
The Final Battle
“It’s about just ending this right here with LAX because they are Chris Daniels and AJ Styles. They are TNA Wrestling.”- Don West
And now we come to the final battle in this explosive and bloody grudge. The challengers came out first, followed by the champions. Both teams entered the cage and already they take the offensive to LAX. The bell hasn’t even rung yet but both teams already came at each other.
Hernandez working Styles meanwhile Homicide being taken out by Daniels. Quick and explosive attacks by Daniels and Styles to keep control. The non-legal men are finally put in their corners. Tag and Styles begins to work Styles who gets pushed back by Hernandez’s power. Dropkick into the face of Homicide by Styles takes him out.
Tag and Daniels and Styles hit the double team. Don West mentions the fluidity of Daniel/Styles who seem the most on point in this match. Homicide tries to take back momentum but Styles keeps him down. A miss by Aj and he goes into the steel cage side! Hernandez comes in and just flings Styles into the cage side again.
Daniels comes out and tries to fight back but gets hit with a massive clothesline by Hernandez. LAX tags and goes for an electric chair drop/ elbow drop combo. Styles is bloodied already meanwhile Daniels is being kept in LAX’s corner. Homicide asks something from Konnan and is handed…..a fork!! Shades of Abdullah the Butcher! Screams of pain is all we hear from Daniels as Homicide keeps jamming the fork into his forehead.
Tag to Hernandez who slams Daniels into the cage side followed by a powerbomb. One thing this match displayed was the versatility of LAX with Homicide spraying tequila into Daniels face. The two go up top and start trading blows. A massive hiptoss from the top turnbuckle and “TNA” chants break out. Hot tag to Styles who takes control with an inverted DDT followed by a springboard forearm shot from the steel cage!
Daniels and Styles working in sync with simultaneous clotheslines on Hernandez and Homicide. Bounced off the ropes and Hernandez is elevated into the steel cage. Hi-Lo on Homicide! Pele kick to the back of the head of Homicide! Now it’s time for payback, Homicide getting the fork jabbed into his head!
Each man keep taking the other down with Hernandez and Styles left standing but then a Pele! “TNA TNA TNA!” chants are all you hear from the crowd. Styles climbs to the top of the cage and gets caught by Homicide. Daniels comes from behind followed by Hernandez. A tower of Doom!!! Aj is still on the top of the ring and a massive crossbody off the top of the cage!!!!!!
Cover 1! 2! and Homicide breaks up the pin!. Mike Tenay is almost speechless from excitement. Homicide takes out Styles with a cutter but Daniels comes at Homicide. Hernandez with the Cracker Jack on Daniels! “This is awesome!!” chants resonate loudly.
Hernandez goes for a splash off the top of the cage and MISSES!! The 6 foot, almost 300 pound man went up top and paid the price. Daniels goes for the Angel Wings but Homicide comes at him with a coat hanger! He is choking the life out of Daniels with the hanger!
Daniels gets dragged to the side of the cage and Konnan grabs onto the coat hanger from the outside. Daniels is essentially out of the match for now with him being choked by the hanger.
Styles doesn’t notice and won’t stop fighting. He drops Homicide and goes for a Styles Clash but then a massive clothesline to stop him! Da Gringo Killa! 1! 2! 3! New NWA World Tag Team Champions!!
And there it ended. A vicious and blood filled war between these four men who put everything they had into their matches. LAX would go on to face AMW meanwhile Styles and Daniels would begin to fall apart as a team. Yet these four men and to an extent wrestling fans, would never forget the intensity these four men put into this feud, this rivalry which can be called one of Wrestling’s Greatest.