7/18 Shore's TNA Impact Wrestling live coverage: Destination X special, The road to a new X Division Champion begins, plus Bully Ray vs. Chris Sabin for the TNA Championship
By Chris Shore
TNA Impact Wrestling on SpikeTV
Aired live from Louisville, Kentucky.
[Q1] Chris Sabin was shown getting ready backstage. A video hyped his road to the title match tonight while showing pictures of him as a kid…Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash checked in on commentary. It looks like a pretty good crowd. Borash said he had no idea where Taz was.
Bully Ray made his ring entrance via the ramp. Bully yelled for the music to be cut off and said enough was enough. He said everybody was talking about one little boy, Chris Sabin A "Let's go Sabin" chant broke out. Ray said they could chant his name until high heaven, but the kid had no chance of beating the World Heavyweight Champion. He said they were planning a parade, but they should have been planning a funeral.
Ray said it was the perfect night for him to beat Sabin, and the perfect night for his family to destroy the Mafia. He said that business was done and demanded Brooke come to the ring. Brooke came out and called him Mark. She said she didn't know what he wanted. She said he had tricked everyone and she had moved on and he should move on. She held up her hand to show her engagement ring.
Ray talked softly for a moment, but then yelled at her that she was done when he said she was done. Hulk Hogan came out to a good pop and said Ray was right, enough was enough. He said Bully had raped and pillaged his family to get what he wanted, and that was the title, and now it was over. He tried to leave with Brooke, but Ray yelled that he would never give her a divorce and he would never lose the title and there was nothing Hogan could do about it.
Kurt Angle appeared on the screen with the Mafia and said tonight Ray was going to lose his title in a fair fight to Sabin and there was nothing Ray could do about it. Sting added that they would find out tonight if Ray's crew was stronger than their family…
IQG asked Bobby Roode about Destination X memories and Roode said there was one word: fluke. He said he didn't want to concentrate on the past because the future was him winning the BFG series and the title…
Shore's Slant: Good hot open with both the video package and Bully Ray's promo. They are certainly giving this the big fight feel it deserves.
[Q2] The BFG leader board showed Magnus with a 30 point lead over Samoa Joe…
1. Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries in a BFG Series match. The announce team took the first minute to put over Dixie Carter's Twitter page and that you could see the X Division title "before anyone else." Except Dot Net readers, natch. Roode clotheslined Aries on the floor going into the break…[C]
Back from commercial, Roode had Aries setup for a superplex, but Aries knocked him down and hit a 450 for a near-fall the crowd popped big for. Both guys went for finishers, but Roode ended up in the crossface. Aries rolled back to start a series of reversals until Aries hit a DDT from the knees.
[Q3] Aries lifted for the brain buster. Roode popped out and lifted for his finisher. Aries escaped and hit the brain buster for the win…
Austin Aries defeated Bobby Roode at 11:55 to win 7 BFG points.
Post-match, the announce team pointed out that Roode was 0 for 4 in the BFG series. Roode snapped and destroyed the ringside area…Backstage, Homicide was talking with Hernandez. Chavo walked up and said he was a big fan. They shook hands and Homicide left. Chavo told Hernandez that he was going to win the X Division title, while Hernandez would win the BFG series. He said that meant next year they would be facing each other at Destination X for the TNA title. Oh dear god, no…[C]
Shore's Slant: Very good match between Aries and Roode, and Kentucky is hot for TNA tonight. I hope they can keep it up across both shows. I do like the serious turn of Roode's character. Let's see if it continues.
Backstage, Anderson said Knux's no vote pushed Doc over the edge and he turned in his cut. Really? That's how they write him out? Wow. He asked everyone if they knew what their job was and then sent them out to do them…
1. Homicide vs. Petey Williams vs. Sonjay Dutt in an Ultimate X qualifier. The new X Division Champion will be crowned in an Ultimate X match next week. Homicide hit a stiff diving head-butt on Williams's shoulder that nearly knocked Homicide out. Homicide hit the Gringo Killa on Williams, but Dutt hit a standing Sliced Bread, followed by a moonsault double stomp on Homicide for the win…
Sonjay Dutt qualified for Ultimate X at 4:19.
Shore's Slant: Fun little match I guess. None of these guys strike me as having a chance to win the whole thing so it was a little flat, but they hit all their spots and it was fun to see Homicide again.
Back from commercial, Kenny King and Chavo were already in the ring. Suici…er, Manic made his ring entrance…
2. Kenny King vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Manic in an X Division qualifier. All three guys stayed in the ring for the bulk of the match. The crowd died a little bit, and didn't get all that hot for the three amigos. Good for them He took out both guys with the suplexes and went to the top. King knocked him down with an enziguri, but Manic recovered and hit a double underhook suplex type move for the win…
Manic qualified to Ultimate X at 4:33.
Backstage, Sting got the Mafia fired up and led them out of a room like Anderson had with the gang earlier…[C]
Shore's Slant: If you had told me that was the matchup before I saw the entrances, or lack thereof, I never would have guessed Manic would have advanced. After seeing the entrances, or lack thereof, it was pretty obvious.
[Q5] The Sabin hype video from earlier played again… The MEM made their entrance. Sting said this was the night he had been waiting for, this was the night they destroyed Aces and Eights. Angle took over and said they were the greatest collection of wrestlers ever, and they were going to prove it. Magnus said they were all ready and got the crowd hot. He called the Aces and Eights out.
Anderson appeared on the big screen with the gang. He said they weren't going to come to the ring just because they were called out. He said they had to conserve their energy for their celebration later tonight. He said they were cordially invited to the party. Joe took the mic and said they were thirsty, so they were going to drink the gang's drinks and kick their asses right now. The Mafia headed to the back.
The camera stayed in the ring for a moment and then cut backstage to where the Mafia found Anderson alone. Like total morons, they chased the one guy into a room. Devon and Ray grabbed Angle from behind and slammed him into a wall. Devon locked everyone else in the room. Ray tossed Angle into a truck and the truck sped off…[C]
Shore's Slant: That was so dumb. I hate when babyfaces just run in after one guy they know is a member of a group. So stupid. Almost as stupid as another kidnapping. How many people have been abducted in TNA just in the last three years? Crazy.
The announce team put over the social media clearing house on their site and then replayed the video of Angle's abduction…In the ring, Jigsaw, who is wrestling as Rubix in TNA, made his entrance. Rockstar Spud was out next. Greg Marasciulo, who wrestled in WWE as Trent Barreta, was out last…
[Q6] 4. Rubix vs. Rockstar Spud vs. Greg Marasciulo in an Ultimate X qualifier. Spud started with a little comedy, but it got serious fast. Spud too the heat from Marasciulo first, then Rubix. Marasciulo hit a huge flip dive on the floor and it sure did look like Spud let him hit pretty hard. Rubix took advantage when they came back in the ring and hit a coast to coast drop kick on Marasciulo, but Spud knocked Rubix down and scored a near fall. Spud played to the crowd, and Marasciulo quickly recovered to hit a reverse piledriver type move for the win…
Greg Marasciulo qualified for Ultimate X at 6:30.
The camera man caught Bully Ray in the phone through a crack in the door. Ray thanked the person for driving Angle away and put over Wes Briscoe for taking a beating in the room while they abducted Angle. Ray told the guy on the phone to do it Mafia style and give Angle an offer he wouldn't refuse…[C]
Shore's Slant: Some definitely someone fresh as X Division Champion. This could be fun next week. Congrats to Marasciulo on the win, but change your name kid. I say that not as someone who has to type that monstrosity, but also it's hard to get a name like that over. Simple is better. I also loved how Bully Ray pointed out that the babies were dopes. They tried to blame it on Rampage being trigger happy, but still. That was ridiculous.
Backstage, the black truck that absconded with Angle pulled up. Angle staggered out from the driver's side and into the building…In the ring, Mickie James spoke in glowing terms about what sounded like the ladder match, but when she asked for the video to play, it was a Mickie James concert. She debuted her new catchphrase of the "heart-breaking, history-making" Knockouts Champion.
Gail Kim made her entrance to cut Mickie off and said all anyone was talking about from last week her ladder match with Taryn Terrell. She said the only thing that will make it perfect will be when she takes the title from Mickie. Mickie got catty and said Kim's match was maybe 2.5 stars, but her performance was a five. She counted to five on her fingers and went to slap Kim. Kim ducked and slapped Mickie back and they descended into a brawl until the refs broke it up…
[Q7] Backstage, Aries walked up to Sabin and said he didn't want to take anything away from Sabin, but he owed his position to Aries. Aries said he made Sabin raise his game last week. He said he beat Bully Ray, and Sabin beat him. He said all Sabin had to do was complete that equation to become the World Champion. He said he was pulling for him and walked off…[C]
Shore's Slant: So wait, are Gail Kim and Austin Aries now babyfaces? What the hell was that? Don't get me wrong, I liked both segments and thought they were well done on the whole, but that sure did feel like a couple of half-ass babyface turns. Especially for Kim. The fans have always wanted to cheer Aries, but Kim has been a hardcore heel for some time and I would have thought her turn would have been more pronounced.
Backstage, AJ Styles cut a promo. He said he had been there, done that, and put the X Division on the map. He said next week against the hero Jeff Hardy, he would take his points…Ringside, Tenay and Borash setup the main event that went a long way to building the match. Chris Sabin made his entrance to a good pop, while Ray drew good heat. JB jumped in the ring for introductions. This could be fun…
5. Chris Sabin vs. Bully Ray for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Bully got in Sabin's face and threatened him. He walked off, but Sabin got right back in his face. Rya pushed him and the ref called for the bell to start the match. Sabin hit a kick and then no sold a chop. Ray dared him to come on, so they repeated the spot, but Ray hit a heavy chop. They repeated it two more times, but Bully went after the knee after that as JB and Tenay told the story of the knee problems.
[Q8] Sabin rolled to the ramp and sold the knee. Aces and Eights came out down the ramp laughing and clapping. They closed in on Sabin, but the MEM walked out and everybody went to ringside without incident…[C]
Back from commercial, Ray stalked Sabin, stopping long enough to threaten Rampage. Ray undid the boot and knee pad on the left leg. He followed by removing the knee brace for that leg. OK, this does make me a little nervous. Ray worked over the leg with strikes, but he mostly spent time playing to the crowd. He tried to take the shoe off, but it looked like the laces got knotted, so he gave up.
Sabin hit a kick in the corner and climbed to the top. The corner was where the title belt was left. Why it never made it to the table I assume we find out in a minute. Ray crotched Sabin and hit a superplex. Ray went for the Bully Bomb, but Sabin blocked it and hit a kick. He climbed to the top for a missile dropkick. He hit it, but it knocked Ray into the ref.
Anderson tried to put the hammer in the ring, but Sting ran in and the Aces and Eights battled the Mafia to the back. Ray grabbed the hammer, but Sabin kicked him. Sabin grabbed the hammer, but Ray kicked him and lifted for a powerbomb. Sabin still had the hammer, so he hit Ray in the head. Ray fell down with Sabin on top and the ref recovered to count the pinfall. Sabin posed with the belt to end the show…
Chris Sabin won the TNA World Championship at 18:43.
Shore's Slant: Time to put on my thick skin because the hate mail is going to fly. I hate the move. I loved the match, but I hate Sabin winning. They took too much momentum off him with the stupid Suicide/Austin Aries thing, and while he had a good promo last week, it never felt like it was his time. Plus, it wasn't a clean win. He cheated after having his ass beat for 17 of 18 minutes. Weak win for the conquering hero.
And that brings me to the worst part: Bully Ray's title loss was given away on free TV with very little build. Destination X didn't feel like a big deal going in. I think most people assumed Bully would win, and I wouldn't be surprised if the ratings do very little for this week because of that. They may pop a rating next week based on the title change, but that's not the point. Considering how much effort went into the Aces and Eights storyline, not enough eyes were on the product for this moment. Ray's loss should have felt epic. As happy as I am for Sabin, this was far from epic.
All in all, a very good Impact with a fantastic opening match and lots of enjoyable segments, but a strange finish. I don't know if this is an attempt to try and freshen things up, or a poorly thought out temporary title change, but I'll be back next week to start to figure it out. Jason Powell will have more tomorrow in Members' Exclusive Audio and the Hitlist. Thanks for watching along tonight.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
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