Here it is, the All X-Division PPV Extravaganza, Destination X, live from Orlando Florida. This is the part where I'd normally go into the History of the show a bit, but, really, Destination X's History is a bit wonky, and has almost nothing to do with tonight's premise, other than the fact that TNA has been trying (with various measures of success) to make Destination X the X-Showcase show since its inception. Whether they advertised an Ultimate X showdown, debuted the Elevation X match (basically, a scaffold match where the scaffold is shaped like an X, a structure eventually incorporated into making the Ropes for Ultimate X more steady, allowing for more competitors and more weight on the Roped X above the ring), or, like tonight, just had the entire show revolve around the division, TNA has always tried to make Destination X the showcase for their Signature Division. Unfortunately, TNA has always been skittish about betting the farm on an X-Division showcase, and until this year, have always held back in one form or another when it came to devoting the entire show to the Division, or, at the very least, putting any real effort into promoting the Division this show is supposedly the showcase of in the first place.
This year... really, it's more of the same. The show was promoted as an afterthought and, on paper, looks like it was booked at a lunch meeting between Vince Russo and AJ Styles last Tuesday, with about all the creative effort of writing names on paper and putting "vs." between them at various intervals. With that said, the WRESTLING on this show is bound to be pretty damn good. We also live in an age where "the matches were pretty good" only matters when it comes to DVD sales, when fans read reviews similar to this one, see the show with no real creativity used in order to sell it in the first place turned out to actually be pretty good, then buy the DVD. You need good angles and stories to sell a Pay Per View, while good matches generally sell DVDs, thus, why Ring of Honor does better on iPPV than Dragon Gate USA or EVOLVE - because ROH actually tells stories that make you want to see the show live, while DG:USA and EVOLVE tend to gain their audience by word of mouth after the fact via reviews and DVD sales.
To put this in Mainstream Terms - WWE does better on PPV than TNA ever could because WWE tells stories that allow fans to invest their emotions into the characters they want to see succeed, and rewards those fans by... well... letting John Cena win all the goddamned time. It's not a perfect formula, obviously, but it's 1000 times better than trying to sell a show headlined by an Asshole you don't like fighting an Idiot who deserves to have his ass kicked, which is what TNA does most of the time.
Anyway, enough of the history... We have a show to review. Allons-y!
I should note at this point that, for tonight, TNA is once again using the 6-Sided Ring. Because of this, the seating arrangements have been adjusted, and it appears there's something like an additional hundred or so people in the Impact Zone tonight. The place actually looks FILLED tonight, which is something I haven't seen TNA do in this venue in years. Also, we have Jeremy Borash filling in for Taz on Color Commentary for the evening.
We start the show with Kazarian vs. Samoa Joe, and it's at this point where we, as fans, really just need to accept the idea that TNA sees NOTHING in Joe, despite the fact that every single person in the Impact Zone is, as I type this, on their feet, chanting for Joe. For whatever reason it is, this company simply does not see "it" in the guy. Why the hell they went to so much trouble to resign him last fall when they knew all they were going to do to the guy is make him the Green Hornet, feud with Pope in a feud designed to piss in the face of any possible remaining Long-Term Fans TNA had left after Jeff Hardy's heel turn, then put him on a losing streak that'd even make David Young feel sorry for him (and my god, if you get the David Young reference, congratulations, you've watched this show for about as long as I have), I have no idea. But it is what it is. Joe's a curtain jerker, and he's fighting Kazarian because, sadly enough, Kaz is in this same boat where TNA feels they need to keep him around, but cannot for the life of them figure out what the hell to do with him.
It needs said: Mike Tenay is talking about the bar fight Kaz and Joe had two weeks ago on Impact. He also continuously refers to it happening this past Thursday on Impact. I had actually suspected that the bar fight was supposed to be edited into last Thursday's episode of Impact, because it just seemed wedged in rather quickly in the episode it actually appeared on, as, mere minutes after they had to be pulled apart in the Impact Zone, they were both showered, changed clothes, and at a bar they couldn't have possibly been able to get to so quickly in Orlando, based on the traffic alone... and somehow, TNA was able to get random cell phone footage of this fight in supposed real time. Now, with this, it's become painfully obvious that I was right, someone in TNA f*cked up, the Bar Fight was supposed to be on last week's Impact, it actually aired the week before, and Mike Tenay doesn't even watch the show, apparently, because he thinks the bar fight aired on the right episode.
TNA - people notice sh*t like this.
Also, to add to the on-going discussion about TNA's Biggest Problem - How Babyfaces Are Portrayed - the Impact Zone is cheering, overwhelmingly so, for Samoa Joe. Joe, in case you weren't paying attention the past two months, is currently a heel. In other words, the fans are cheering for the guy this company wants to you boo.
It also needs said: This is the most life the Orlando Crowd has shown since last year's Hardcore Justice. People are on their feet, chanting, cheering, actually reacting to what they're seeing with passion and gusto... you know, stuff you want a wrestling audience to be doing when the cameras are on. Once again adding to my notion that the Orlando Crowd isn't nearly as "burnt out" as everyone wants to believe they are. When you give these people a good show, they react, and react overwhelmingly well. When you bury Joe, give him a Kato, make him wrestle a Campy Batman Villain, and fill the show with nothing but long, boring, repetitive, pointless talking segments featuring assholes and idiots whining about stuff no one cares about, they sit there on their hands.
About halfway though, Joe and Kaz realize there's no way Joe's getting booed, and we see Kaz start playing the heel, more, biting Joe, getting cocky, and feeding into the energy of the crowd. Joe keeps going for the submission out of the Coquina Clutch, but Kaz keeps weaseling his way out of the hold through less-than-noble means. Fans chant for the Muscle Buster as Joe argues with the ref after Kaz, once again, forces a break, this time, getting to the ropes. Joe goes for the Clutch again, though, and Kaz rolls Joe up for the pinfall victory, playing into the story two weeks ago where Kaz was ripping into Joe for trying to go for submissions instead of just trying to win. This, sadly, also sucked the life right out of the match, as the sudden finish seemingly came out of nowhere, just to play into this angle that no one honestly gives a sh*t about. Why? Because TNA is still trying to make us boo Joe for not going for the Muscle Buster, instead of tying to make money off a babyface Joe we were just cheering for in this match.
You remember that thing I said about TNA not wanting your money in this Sunday's
This Week in TNA? Here's another example of that. Joe has the Impact Zone on its feet, cheering, chanting, reacting, and practically filled to the gills with people ready to spout money to see this man dominate and kill people. So, instead of having Joe dominate and kill people, they want you to boo the guy because he'd rather go for a submission win instead. In the meantime, they have Crimson, a guy you don't know, don't care about, and, for the most part, sucks donkey dick in the ring, dominating and killing people while the fans, who don't know the guy, don't buy into him AT ALL, and see him sucking the big fat donkey dick in the ring week in and week out, sit there on their hands, bored as sh*t, waiting for something interesting to happen.
Is this getting through to anyone in the Impact Wrestling Office at all? Seriously, let's break this down so even a Caveman could understand it -
Guys We Actually Like Doing Things We Actually Like = You Make'em Money
Guys We Like Being Made To Look Like Idiots and/or Douchebags = You No Make'em Money
Samoa Joe = Guy We Actually Like
Samoa Joe, as you're currently writing him on TV = Idiot and/or Douchebag
Samoa Joe, being portrayed as an Idiot and/or Douchebag = You No Make'em Money
Is this getting through to you at all?
Moving on... We have footage of Suicide, Sangriento (who apparently ISN'T dead, yet, after all), and Curry Man signing autographs for the fans, meaning that either Chris Daniels actually isn't Curry Man, after all, or Kazarian is wearing the Suicide mask again (for the moment). Eric Young approaches the masked men and asks them if they can be his tag partner in match, because EY was once an X-Division Champion, and apparently, Danny Bonaduce no-showed. So, Curry Man, who apparently now speaks English fluently, explains that none of them can do so, because Suicide is hurt, Sangriento doesn't have his Visa (which essentially writes the character out of TNA), and Curry Man (who, at the point, has more than proven he is Daniels, as the voice is the dead giveaway) is wrestling Cody Deaner tomorrow in Tokyo or whatever. Wow... Cody Deaner, you say? Not sure when he became such a threat, so much so that you're conserving your strength to fight him, but okay... Shark Boy then walks in and agrees to be Eric's Partner for the night.
Up next, we get Doug Williams' Open Challenge, which I completely forgot to preview on Sunday for
This Week in TNA. Of course, none of that would matter, as I'd have been wrong no matter what. Doug is apparently going to be taking on British Newcomer, Mark Haskins, who apparently did some work for TNA during the UK tour earlier this year. Haskins, from the look of it, appears to be a British John Morrison Clone. Doug cuts a promo on Haskins, simply to inform the Impact Zone (chanting "Who Are You?" at Haskins as we speak) about who this guy actually is, letting us know he was on the TNA UK tour, putting him over as the next great UK X Star, but not as good as Doug. Fans react to this by chanting "We Want Shark Boy." This turns out to be a decent match, predominantly in the British Mat Style. The UK JoMo goes for a Shooting Star Press, but misses, allowing Williams to roll Haskins up for the win. After the match, Williams helps Haskins to his feet and shakes his hand in a show of good sportsmanship.
We go to the back where SoCal Val is interviewing Austin Aries. First, he takes the time to thank the people who bought the show, while ripping on the folks who are watching this via an illegal stream. Good points to be made, for sure. Austin then gives us a very condensed version of his resume, reminding us that he may very well be one of the most complete packages in pro wrestling today - a tremendous athlete who works hard, has personality out the ass, and can out-perform anyone on the TNA roster. He wraps it up by saying his opponents tonight may be good, but they aren't the Greatest Man That Ever Lived, as A Double will walk out tonight with the contract.
How this man isn't in WWE right now astounds me.
We then see Generation Me take on Eric Young and Shark Boy. Basically, this match is meant to be a short, fun comedy match, and that's basically what we get. The Bucks go for the More Bang For Your Buck Combo on EY, Shark Boy saves EY and nails Max with the Stunner, allowing Young to nail Max with the Wheelbarrow Neckbreaker for the win.
In the back, Daniels and Styles seem on good terms as Chris is talking with a production team member about some promos they need to have him tape for overseas shows and conventions or whatever.
We then join SoCal Val in the back with Zema Ion. Now, to clarify, I've seen this name spelled a few different ways, with the most common being Shiima Xion (pronounced Sheema Zeon), but for this column, I've been using the spelling TNA has displayed, Zema Ion (pronounced Zima Eye-On). Please keep this in mind. Promo-wise, the guy came off better here than he did in the X-Rookies Match he won to qualify for tonight, so hopefully he does better with this match because, honestly, the one that brought him here didn't exactly make him look on par with Low-Ki, Austin Aries or Jack Evans. If his performance tonight is as good as the promo here, even if he loses tonight (and he likely will), TNA may bring him back again in the future.
We then go to our Ultimate X Match, where the winner does, in fact, get a shot at the X-Title. For those new to this, Ultimate X is basically a Ladder Match minus the Ladder. TNA sets up a set of ropes in an X over the ring, hangs an object (either the X Title, or a large red X) in the middle of the X, and the first guy who grabs the X wins the match. In recent years, the ropes have been either added to, or, in a few cases, outright replaced, with a Scaffold (also in the shape of an X), which allows for more competitors, more weight on the structure, and helps solves one of the major problems Ultimate X has had over the years, namely, keeping the Object in Question hanging on the X Structure. Some folks may remember the first Ultimate X Match, which had to be restarted three different times because the X-Title would keep falling off the cables hanging over the ring.
Tonight's Ultimate X pits Alex Shelley against Amazing Red, Robbie E, and Shannon Moore for a shot at the X Title. It really helps you understand the place of the X-Title in TNA when you realize that the only real "name" in this match is Shelley, the half of the Motor City Machine Guns not currently sitting out with an injury. Everyone else here is a low-card guy who tend to see most of their TV Time on TNA's C-Show, Xplosion. With that said, though, the guys here make the most of the opportunity, having a pretty exciting showing, considering that Ultimate X, much like Money in the Bank, is merely an exhibition of highspots interspersed with guys attempting to go after the X. It's hard for it not to be. You have more than two guys in the match, and that's all it becomes. It's virtually impossible to have real psychology for a match that's basically a glorified race to a prize once you have more than two entities involved because that's really the only thing you can do, psychologically, to work the gimmick of the match. It's also why I really can't recap this match now. It'd just be a list of spots followed by, "then Guy X grabs the X and wins," which would do a serious injustice to the effort the men put into making this visually exciting and entertaining.
So, how'd the match turn out? Pretty good, for what it was. The finish saw Shannon Moore kick Red off the cables from the scaffold above while Alex Shelley kicked at Shannon to knock him to the ground. Robbie E gets to his feet and just looks up, dumbfounded as Alex pulls off the X and wins the match. Afterwards, the injured Sabin makes his way out to congratulate his partner on his victory.
SoCal Val talks to Low-Ki about the X-Contract Tournament Match later tonight.
Jerry Lynn takes on Rob Van Dam in a match that's about as close to their ECW encounters as humanly possible, considering their age and current physical limitations, Lynn in particular, who's coming off a series of injuries that have forced him to end his full-time career. Meanwhile, this crowd went from hopping to just flat out mean when it came to this match. It started out with dueling chants for both men, followed up by the Zone seeming to take a harsh turn on RVD almost three minutes in, with chants for Jerry and "RVD Sucks" chants being some of the loudest, angriest, most passionate chants I've ever heard on a wrestling broadcast, including some of the nuclear heat Shane Douglas got back in the day after Gary Wolfe broke his neck. Then the crowd goes Japanese for a while (keeping quiet as they watch the match intently, and clapping for highspots) before going back to the dueling chants. In the meantime, this is about as close to a Match of the Night Contender as you could get, knowing Styles/Daniels was to come. Lynn doesn't even seem to look like he's lost a step, proving that the guy really doesn't know how to slow down or take it easy. That should be commended. If anything, you got to respect a guy who, when he goes, he goes hard. It's a drive more people in the business, especially in TNA, should have, to be the absolute best you can be, every single time you go out there.
As the match continues, the crowd calms down, and it seems whatever venom they had in their system when it came to RVD dissipated as the match went on. As the match goes on, the story really begins to play out, as Jerry Lynn is the semi-retired guy going up against the supposed "still in his prime" RVD, and RVD starts gaining momentum. Lynn, knowing he's close to beat, goes for the chair. Earl Hebner tries to warn Jerry that this isn't ECW, and the chair isn't legal here, but Lynn doesn't care. RVD tries to kick the chair into Lynn, but misses, and Lynn drops the leg on RVD face first into the chair. After a powerbomb into the chair, the elder Lynn regains momentum, but still can't put RVD away. RVD nails a Van Daminator, kicking the chair into Lynn's face, then nails the 5 Star to end what may have very well been, psychologically speaking, the best match these two ever had. From a physical standpoint, their matches in ECW were miles ahead of this, but as far as the story they were telling was concerned, the elder wrestler (Lynn) trying to keep up with the current superstar (RVD) was masterfully told. The psychology here made up for whatever limitations these two had physically.
SoCal Val talks to Jack Evans about the X-Contract Match Tonight. Jack make a point to quote an Eminem song here ("Lose Yourself") as he talks about not missing the opportunity to make his name here in TNA. It's also the most serious promo I've seen from him, almost totally devoid of the Parkland Trailer Homeboy gimmick he's best known for. Jack Evans has a serious side? You may make me a fan of yours, yet, Jack...
We then go to the X-Contract Match, featuring Austin Aries, Low-Ki, Zema Ion, and Jack Evans. The fans show their appreciation for everyone in the ring by chanting "EVERYBODY". I have never, EVER seen an instance of this happening, anywhere, at any time, ever before in wrestling. Usually, fans will be divided in their loyalties and do the dueling chants in matches like this. Not here. The Impact Zone is sending you a message, TNA - they want you to sign, and use, all 4 of these guys. In fact, the life this crowd has had all night really ought to be sending a message to the Impact Office - fans like the X, liked the 6-sided ring, and want Impact Wrestling to be the "Small Guys' Company" that emphasizes Total Nonstop Action over talking segments and over-the-hill "stars".
If you never saw Impact in 2004 or 2005, this match is a perfect example of the X-Division "Shoot-Out" matches you'd see almost every week. 3 or 4 X guys would be put in a match, one fall to a finish, and you'd get a solid 10 minutes of Total Nonstop Action, minimum. That's basically what we have here, but instead of Petey Williams, Hector Garza, Jay Lethal, Jimmy Yang, Matt Bentley, Kid Kash, Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley or the plethora of other awesome talents I could have listed here, you have two of the absolute best the Indy Scene has to offer (Aries and Ki), a strong up and comer in Zema Ion, and Jack Evans at the absolute best I've ever seen the guy. At a point, you even have Aries and Ki talking smack to one another while putting Ion and Evans in their signature submissions (Last Chancery for Aries, the Dragon Clutch for Ki), telling the other, in almost exact words, "you ain't sh*t".
Let's just say this now - buy the DVD. Buy the DVD, see this shootout, and tell me this isn't what you wish Impact Wrestling was every week, even with the bullsh*t storylines. Then realize I, as a fan, had this show back in 2005, and understand that whatever bitterness I have towards TNA now comes from the fact that once upon a time, THIS was an undercard match on Impact. Yes, THIS was once Impact. THIS is what we used to get. THIS was the same show that drew a 1.1 for Spike at 11 PM on Saturday Nights (which, when you break down who actually watches TV in specific time slots, would be the equivalent of pulling the 2.Whatever SmackDown does on Fridays in Prime Time for SyFy). THIS is the show I'd either have to give up drinking and trying to get laid to watch, or remember to tape so I could have something resembling a social life. THIS is the show I wish I reviewing every week, where, even when you'd have something stupid like AJ in a crown, or Jay Lethal pretending to be the Macho Man, or Low-Ki nailing the Warrior's Way on a blow-up doll, you still at least had THIS to look forward to every week.
It's at this point where I no longer recap this match. I just saw Low-Ki kick Austin Aries in the head as he was about to nail the Heat Seeking Missile Dive to Ki on the outside in a spot I would have loved to see from about four different angles. So, I'm going to watch this f*cking awesome match, and you guys are just going to have to hope I'm still here to give you the finish when I'm done...
I should mention, these fans are not chanting "IMPACT" as this is all going down. No, they're chanting "TNA". That's a chant you haven't heard for a while, let me tell you...
In case TNA hasn't gotten the message by now, the Zone is now chanting "Sign Them All" as they all lie on the mat, wiped out, after having hit one another with the best kicks in their arsenal.
As Aries nails a neckbreaker on Ion in the ropes, and is now going for his 450, I have to make a correction. This is NOT the typical X-Shootout we got on a weekly basis circa 2005 on Impact. This is the X-Shootout we got on a near monthly basis on PPV between 2004 and 2007, when the X would go out and try and top themselves with every breath. These guys are practically killing themselves for this match, and my God, is this worth your money.
And, as I finish that sentence, Low Ki nails a kick on Aries on the top rope. My God, I've missed this stuff! Jack Evans follows this up with a springboard top rope rana on Ki, and Ion cutting Evans off in mid 630 to hit his 450. Evans goes for the 630 again, just to land on Low Ki's knees, then gets kicked in the face by Aries. Aries nails Ki with a sick dropkick, then drops Ki with the Brainbuster to win the contract.
Yeah - AUSTIN ARIES is the new full-time signee to TNA, not Jack Evans. Color me surprised. I know Aaron Wood made a comment on Sunday's column about this being possible, but I didn't think, considering his colorful history with the promotion, that they'd be willing to bring him back. At the same time, the very fact this man wasn't with a Major Company was outright criminal. Now, it seems, the crime is likely to be how TNA uses the self-proclaimed "Greatest Man That Ever Lived" from here.
Abyss talks about how he's going to kill Brian Kendrick tonight when he defends his title against the Head Case.
This brings us to the X-Title match between champion Abyss and challenger Brian Kendrick. Now, let's get this straight - the X-Division is supposed to be a division that exemplifies the most extreme athleticism in wrestling today, regardless of size, focusing on the best and most unique athletes in the business. With that said, Abyss is a classic big man, in every sense of the word. He's also one of the best in that style in the world. But if you were ever going to have a man of his size and style be a part of the X, you'd have likely gone for Lance Hoyt, or possibly even Mike Awesome in his prime (circa 2000). Abyss, while being one of the best big men in the sport today, though, is not an X-Style Athlete. He also tends to have very good matches with those kind of guys, including AJ Styles, who may very well be Abyss' Greatest Opponent. Generally speaking, Abyss vs. an X-Man should be a really good match.
This match, though... not a great example of that theory in practice. Mostly, the match is underwhelming because Abyss is seriously underselling Kendrick to the point Brian may as well not even be there. This isn't even necessarily Abyss' fault - he could have very well have been told to undersell to this extent. The problem is that he shouldn't be. Kendrick looks weak here, like Paper trying to knock down a Brick Wall, and eventually, the Wall, realizing it's supposed to lose the match, just falls over on it's own accord, and the paper wins. Of course, it's obvious the only reason the Paper was able to knock over the Wall was because the Wall just decided to fall down on its own, but because the Wall did fall, there's going to be a Stupid Person out there, or, in Impact Wrestling's Case, an entire Army of Stupid People out there, that's going to whine at me and tell me that I should just accept that the Paper won. Except, the Paper didn't win, the Wall just gave up. This is not how you tell the story of the underdog defeating the Giant. After all, if Goliath no-sold the rocks David slung at him, then just decided to throw the kid a bone, and lay down for David, the Bible Story wouldn't be the go-to example for Underdogs, would it? No.
To make it worse, Immortal has to run in, because, apparently, the Giant that isn't even being phased by the little guy's offense needs help beating the little man who is in no way really harming him. This then brings out the rest of the X-Division to chase Immortal off, except, of course, Immortal beats all of them up, too. Yep, the bad guys, who are outnumbered something like 3 to one, beat up the good guys within seconds without breaking a sweat. Way to put over the X-Division, guys! So, Immortal beats on Kendrick, and then, a second wave of X-Men come out, and now, even with a 5 on one advantage over each member of Immortal, the bad guys are just BARELY held off long enough for Kendrick to get caught in a chokeslam by Abyss. Fortunately, the kid got lucky, rolled Abyss up, and with a 900 on 4 advantage, the X just barely sqeaks by with a fluke victory over the faction that controls all of Impact wrestling, and will just easily roll over them at a moment's notice, because, hell, even with a 900 on 5 advantage, the X can only managed to just barely squeak past a win.
You remember that part about me telling you to buy the DVD, just so you can see the Impact I used to get every week in 2005? Yeah... this sh*t was there, too. Stupid booking, protagonists being made to look weak and stupid, and bad guys who only seem to lose because they're so bored, they just give up. Meanwhile, the good guys, who ought to thank their lucky stars the bad guys got bored, celebrate with parades and confetti falling from the ceiling, as if they actually won anything at all.
People are not stupid, and this is not how you tell an Underdog Story. Watch the Mighty Ducks. THAT is how you tell an Underdog Story. The Ducks beat the Hawks, the kids learn an important lesson about teamwork and sticking together through adversity, and the Hawks don't just lay down and decide to leave in the middle of the 3rd Period because they feel sorry for Charlie and his Mom, who's just going to be written out of the second movie when it turns out she and Emilio Estevez weren't do great together after all!
You guys did know that the kid who played Charlie grew up to become Pacey on Dawson's Creek, right? Another show that did a better job of telling the underdog story than TNA did. After all, when the show ended, Joey was with Pacey, not Dawson. Dawson was too busy nailing young starlets who wanted parts in his movies, once he finally grew a set of balls and took over his own production.
Yes, I watched Dawson's Creek. Shut up!
One last match to go, and it's our Main Event - Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles. A clear 4+ Star performance, but, of course, the same expected result - AJ wins, and the seeds of a Daniels turn are, once again, planted. AJ and Daniels trade finishes, but kick out of both the Styles Clash and Angel's Wings. Daniels goes to the top, but AJ catches him and goes for a superplex. Chris fights it off and goes for a top rope Angel's Wings, but AJ fights it off and backdrops Daniels to the mat. Aj then follows up with the Spiral Tap to pick up the win. After the match, AJ wants to shake hands, but there's obviously tension between the two, and Daniels turns his back on AJ. He then turns around, they shake hands, and they hug. Hopefully, this is not the beginning of yet another Daniels turn on AJ, and this is the last of their issues, for now. To be perfectly frank, we've seen TNA tell this story before, twice, actually, and it'd be nice if this company could tell a new story with these two.
It'd also been nice if, for once, Daniels was allowed to win the "Still Friends with AJ" match, but hell... so long as this isn't the catalyst of another Daniels turn and subsequent feud with AJ, I'll be happy.
It was a fantastic match, but at this point, it really should go without saying.
It's the TNA we had in 2005, using the talent TNA had in 2011, for the most part. By far the best PPV this company has put on all year from a wrestling perspective, but from a Creative One, most of this stuff won't even matter come Thursday, and the few things that might (namely, the post-match tension between AJ and Daniels) really shouldn't.
As for whether or not you should bother with the replays, or buy the DVD, I'll leave that to you. There's matches on here definitely worth the money, especially the X-Contract 4-Way, the RVD/Lynn match, and the Main Event, obviously, but two of these are matches you've seen before, and, may have, arguably, been better than the ones you had here. Once again, I'll say the RVD/Lynn match tonight, from a psychological standpoint, may have been the best in-ring story these two have ever told, but physically not on the same level as their classic ECW encounters. They essentially did a lot more with a lot less and told an effective story. As for Styles and Daniels, it's hard to say, because, really, all of their matches are great. The 4-Way was physically intense, emotionally satisfying, and a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
Unfortunately, this is counter-balanced by the ridiculous booking in the Kendrick/Abyss match, which, if anything, makes the X-Division as a whole look weak and stupid. Kendrick needed to go out there looking strong, and for whatever reason, Abyss severely undersold Kendrick to the point where nothing Brian did even looks like it affected Abyss at all. Kendrick may as well been a gnat, which, in and of itself hurts the match, the story TNA wanted to tell, and the credibility of not only Kendrick, but the entire division, once he "won". And I put the word "won" in quotations for a reason, because, let's be straight here... the giant got bored, Kendrick fluked the win, and even with a 900 on 5 advantage over Immortal, the X-Division only just squeaked by with a victory. The X-Men were made to look completely inferior to Immortal in the situation, doing far more damage to the X in defeat than Abyss could have done to the Division if he simply squashed Brain in 30 seconds, as most anyone could have assumed he would have in the opening minutes of the match where not one bit of Kendrick's offense seemed to even phase Abyss. It was absolutely horrible, horrible booking all around, as if TNA were saying to us, "Okay, you want your flippy guys?
(poops in their hand and gives it to you) Fine! Here's your flippy guys!"
The other matches on the card were okay. Williams and Haskins had a decent match, and there's certainly a possibility we'll see more of Mark Haskins in the future. I also highly doubt after tonight's performance that we've seen the last of Zema Ion, as he also turned in a hell of an effort tonight.
As I type this, I'm getting word that this show was actually Generation Me's last with TNA, as the Young Bucks have been released from TNA. Honestly, I'm surprised it's taken this long, as they've supposedly been on the outs in the Locker Room and with Management for some time now.
Joe's screwed. Not much more I can say about that, really. TNA sees absolutely nothing in Samoa Joe - Less than Kazarian, less than Homicide, less than Amazing Red, even less than the Pope. WWE sees more in Zack Ryder and Gail Kim than TNA sees in Joe right now, and that, folks, is the cold, hard, sad truth. Meanwhile, someone we don't know, don't care about, and don't respect in the ring whatsoever is playing the role we all want to see Joe in. Oh, well. Figure that contract's got to run out someday, right? Maybe then Joe can go someplace where his name value (providing he still has any) and talent will be appreciated. Or, he'll just retire.
So, there's your show. Decent enough, but, once again, this is a one-off. Come Thursday, it's back to the same old stuff we're used to - Talking, Hogan, Sting, Anderson, Angle, and Lots and Lots of Talking.
Yippee. I can hardly wait...
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