Induction: TNA Reverse Battle Royal: Three Stages of Hell

27 Submitted by on Tue, 26 December 2017, 09:00

In 2006, TNA felt the need to further live up to its reputation as the masters of pointless innovation. See, TNA was staging a “Fight for the Right” tournament, named after the Beastie Boys song, with the prize being a shot at the NWA title. While Dale Oliver had composed one of his famous and highly p(lagia)rized themes, TNA still needed a signature match to kick off the tournament, and a standard battle royal just wouldn’t do.

RBR 01

Thus, the land of the six-sided ring became home to the reverse battle royal.

Following in the footsteps of the reverse ladder match…  RBR 02
 RBR 03 …and foreshadowing the reverse cage match…
…TNA decided to turn the concept of the battle royal completely on its head. Or should that be “completely inside out”? Whatever the case, just like anything else that’s been turned on its head and inside out, the very concept of a battle royal suffered a cruel, gruesome death that should never have been displayed in public. RBR 04
RBR 05.1

RBR 5.2First rule of the Reverse Battle Royal: You do not watch the Reverse Battle Royal.

Unlike a regular battle royal, where you lost by going over the top rope to the outside, in the reverse battle royal, you won by going over the top rope to the inside. I was expecting eliminations to take place by taking both your opponent’s feet off the arena floor, or that victory could be achieved only by jumping out of the ring (like a cage match without the cage). At least with those options, there would have been no excuse to stretch the match out longer than ten seconds.
Instead, 18 men started out on the outside of the ring and pretended to struggle to find their way into the squared, er, hexagonalized circle. Men who step into the ring, literally, every single match somehow forgot how to do so on this night and instead engaged in pointless brawling on the outside. Not since You Don’t Know Jack’s “$2 Million Question” had such a simple task been sidetracked in such a contrived, frustrating, and time-consuming way.  RBR 06
RBR 07 In the place of in-ring action and, you know, wrestling moves, we got lots of punches between opponents on the ring apron. It’s as if whoever designed this match thought that countouts were the most exciting finish in pro wrestling and decided to build a whole match around getting into the ring before the other guy.
I could understand why it would be so important to keep your opponents from entering the ring if there were only one winner to this match, but in fact the first seven wrestlers to get into the ring were the “winners,” who advanced on to the next phase of the battle royal conducted under standard rules.  RBR 08
RBR 09 (For the record, yes, after hurling yourself into the ring, you then had to throw everyone else out of the ring. Then you won the battle royal…  but only after you and the other co-winner wrestled a standard singles match in the third phase of the battle royal. Then you got a title shot… provided you could beat the winner of a six-man tournament featuring the other finalists. Here, just listen to that theme music again and let Don and Mike explain the rules).
What I’m saying is, it realistically was not necessary (or even possible) to prevent everyone else from setting foot in the ring. With six sides to the ring and 18 men, that averaged out to three men on each side vying for entry. It made almost zero sense to waste your time brawling with your neighbors (while letting the other 15 men have a go at the ring) instead of just scrambling into the ring as fast as possible along with the one or two wrestlers nearby. That wouldn’t have made for a very entertaining match, but had that been TNA’s top priority, they wouldn’t have booked this match in the first place. RBR 10 RBR 10.1
 RBR 11 Perhaps I’m making this match seem much easier to win than it really was. After all, there was the added requirement of going over the top rope and into the ring in order to advance (get it? Because that’s the opposite of what you have to do in a regular battle royal!). However, whatever illusion existed of this being some impossible feat was shattered when Fatu was the first man to scale the ropes and set foot in the ring in one such match.
And yes, you read that right. There was more than one of these fiascoes. TNA thought that their first reverse battle royal was such a rip-roaring success (it did win a Wrestling Observer Award: Worst Worked Match of 2006) that they decided to hold another one in 2007 at the biggest event of the year, Bound For Glory. Money in the Bank match, this was not (although the later “Feast or Fired” battle royal combined MITB’s guaranteed title shots in briefcases with Vince Russo’s fascination with objects on poles). RBR 12
 RBR 13 RBR 13.1 The 2007 edition featured 16 men, eight of whom would advance to Phase II. Highlights included lots of stalling and moments when wrestlers had clear paths to the ring, but instead just stood around looking to beat someone up…
…Billy “Kip James” Gunn wearing God-knows-what…  RBR 14
 RBR 15 …both members of the Voodoo Kin Mafia failing to enter the ring after three entire minutes…
…and Chris Harris (the future Braden Walker) audibly shouting “Bullshit” when his former partner James Storm narrowly beat him into the ring. That’s what we were all thinking when this match began, Chris.  RBR 16
 RBR 17 All joking aside, imagine how embarrassing it must have been, trying to advance a mere three feet ahead to enter the ring and then failing to do even that.
The final two wrestlers were Robert Roode and Eric Young, who at the time were engaged in a Wrestlecrap-inducted feud. Eric Young got the surprise pinfall to get on the fast track to a title shot… except that that year, all the eliminations did was determine the seeding in the tournament, which Young lost in the first round. Did this make the second Reverse Battle Royal even more convoluted than the first one? RBR 18

Perhaps, but TNA at least deserves credit for squeezing as much use out of this one match as they possibly could. About the only aspect of this match that they didn’t turn into a competition was getting dressed: imagine the whole locker room changing into their ring gear as fast as possible, with the first 18 men in tights gaining a berth in the battle royal. It’s a wonder Pat Patterson never thought of that when he invented the Royal Rumble.

Like the Native Americans of old who used every part of the buffalo they hunted, TNA did not let any bit of this match go to waste, whether it be the order of eliminations or even the entrances themselves, which less resourceful wrestling promotions squander by letting the wrestlers simply step into the ring unimpeded without so much as a fist-fight.

If only TNA had been so thoughtful when they got their hands on a real-live Tatanka (buffalo).

RBR 19

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
27 Responses to "Induction: TNA Reverse Battle Royal: Three Stages of Hell"
  1. Down With OPC says:

    Man, when was Tatanka in TNA?

  2. Scott "The Man" Matias says:


  3. CaptainRon says:

    Didn’t they do a THIRD one shortly after Hogan came to TNA? I’m willing to bet that this HAD to be a Vince Russo Production.

  4. James says:

    Im suprised that this hasnt been inducted a lot sooner.

  5. Raven7309 says:

    What was the point/object of the reverse ladder match?

    • Art0Donnell says:

      It was the King of the Mountain match. Besides some rules about having to pin someone in order to climb the ladder, and a penalty box, the match was basically this: to win, you must take the belt, climb up a ladder, and hang the belt above the ring. Of course, you then immediately take the belt down after you’ve won the match, since you’re now the champion.

      • Raven7309 says:

        Wow. Just “Wow.”

        • Peter Santellan says:

          And don’t forget, to even get that chance to put the belt up, you actually have to be the one that pins someone. It’s sillier than it sounds.

          • Phantom Cipher says:


  6. Jason says:

    I like some of the rules. For example with the King of the Mountain match just have a belt presentation to the champ on the next show to give a reason to leave it hanging up there.

    as for the reverse battle royal I think it’d be better if it was unannounced, and open to everyone. THerefore a lot more people would be racing from the back, getting in each other’s way and jockeying for position.

  7. Fraser Buchanan says:

    Oddly enough, if they had a shit-ton of barbed wire on the ropes, then this would actually have the potential to not suck. There would at least be a reason for some hesitance when entering the ring and it might behoove a competitor to take out his opponents so as not to risk getting attacked while crossing a bunch of barbed wire. The fact that 16 men took part in an event where a 4-year old would be able to see how stupid the stipulations were and how to beat them boggles my mind.

  8. Wrestling Sickness says:

    In the tradition of the reverse battle royal and reverse ladder match, the best stipulation match that never was would have to be…a reverse lumberjack match! Think about it! It’s a falls count anywhere match where two guys fight on the outside of the ring while all of the lumberjacks are INSIDE the ring, then whenever an opponent is rolled inside the ring he gets his butt kicked by the lumberjacks! BRILLIANT!

    • CarlMarksGuy says:

      I like the cut of your jib, sir — but that way madness lies!

      Soon you’re booking ‘reverse no-disqualification matches’, the dreaded “ONLY Disqualification” matches (also known as “WCW Nitro, 1998-2000”).

      • TKG says:

        The “reverse no-disqualification match” (AKA the “no ‘no DQ’ match”) has already been done in DDT. Every rule was strictly enforced, with penalties given for so much as touching your opponent’s hair, or using closed fist punches, or any other things that would usually get a five count or warning from the ref.

  9. TMMTMTM says:

    After reading this induction, boy am I glad not to watch any current action

  10. Dustin DuNicDustin NicholsholsDustDUstin says:

    This actually wasn’t the first one. Believe it or not, TNA tried the reverse battle royal a few times during the weekly PPV days.

  11. rey says:

    feast or fired has to be next. it is a money in the bank rip-off where you dont have to win the match at all, just be the one holding the suitcase. (ie. if randy orton suddenly rko’s ziggler. takes his briefcase. he would be recognized as the mitb winner if it was tna)

  12. John Darc says:

    Have all the stupid TNA reverse something matches been inducted yet? Because I NEED to see a King of the Mountain induction.

    • John Darc says:

      Reading up on these matches on Wikipedia..I need to know more about this “Fans’ Revenge Lumberjack Match” where fans were given straps to whip the wrestlers with. That sounds like the most dangerous and misguided wrestling thing I’ve ever heard of.

      • Nitcholas says:

        It’s kind of ingenious if you consider it from a customer satisfaction standpoint. They have to sit through an awful show, and rather than demand a refund, they can take out their frustration on the wrestlers until they forget why they were angry.

        • Jeremy says:

          If you think that is ingenius, then you did not think it through very much (Hey, just like TNA never thought anything through) Do you have any idea how much of a liability that is if a fan gets hurt somehow?

  13. Guest says:

    And people say Hogan and Bischoff screwed up TNA.

  14. Adam says:

    I still remember a magazine’s explanation for ‘Billy “Kip James” Gunn wearing God-knows-what’ – “he was seemingly recycling some of Torrie Wilson’s old ring-gear.”

  15. Segaz says:

    I always thought this concept meant you only eliminated your opponents by rolling them into the ring. That would have been interesting to see them attempt. Probably just as stupid.

  16. Barronmore says:

    I remember the build up for that match. It was Jeff Jarrett vs someone but the whole gimmick of the match was them asking fans to send in the reasons why they hated Jeff Jarrett and the people.with the best reasons were flown out to Orlando to be the fans in the fans revenge match for the chance to whip Jeff Jarrett raw. I always wanted to enter for his JJ years.

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