Powell's TNA Destination X HItlist: Austin Aries wins the TNA Title, Xema Ion wins the X Division Title, A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels shine, Samoa Joe beats Kurt Angle for a change, Jesse Sorensen returns
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to my 58-minute audio review of TNA Destination X. They will also be listening to my audio review of WWE Raw later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership today via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
TNA Destination X Hits
Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode: A pleasant surprise with Aries capturing the TNA Title in a very good main event. The live crowd was a little slow to get into the match, but they were definitely there down the stretch and popped huge for the title change. I feel it's too soon to say this was the right move to make for long term business. It made for a hell of a pay-per-view finale and it could turn out to be a great move, but I am curious to see where Aries, Bobby Roode, and James Storm are at come Bound For Glory time.
It appeared Roode vs. Storm was set for BFG. Perhaps the company will still go in that direction. If so, it remains to be seen whether they can put the title back on Roode without damaging Aries, and whether Roode lost anything by losing to Aries. If they are going with Aries long term, then it also remains to be seen whether his future story will be better than the Roode vs. Storm scenario. There's certainly a way to take care of Aries and Roode, but there's no guarantee that will happen. If nothing else, it's great to see the company continue to ride Aries, who has been one of the most entertaining performers in the company since he returned. It's been fun to watch him work his way up from the Midwest indy scene and now to the top of TNA.
A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels: This was my favorite match of the night. My expectations were lower than most simply because Styles and Daniels don't have a good track record in gimmick matches. However, they did an excellent job with the Last Man Standing gimmick. They kept the referee's ten count attempts to a minimum so there weren't the awkward moments with one wrestler standing around while the other struggled to get to his feet. Their intensity was perfect given the tone of their feud. The Styles Clash through the table was awesome, and the Rocky finish protected Daniels while also making Styles look strong.
Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle: It was so nice to see Joe get a meaningful victory over Angle. Their rivalry should mean so much more than it did going into this match, and giving Joe this win is a step in the right direction. I was worried that we were going to get a 15-minute draw, so the ref stoppage at 14 minutes was a nice surprise. The finish also gave Angle an out in that he never tapped out, which is something they can play on the next time they revisit this feud.
Sonjay Dutt vs. Rashad Cameron: Dutt's moonsault double stop finisher is sensational. It was nice to see Cameron heel it up during his entrance because it gave viewers a sense of who they were supposed to cheer. One of my issues with the undercard is that it felt like we were supposed to cheer big spots more than a particular wrestler, but that wasn't the case here. Sonjay looks much better with his head shaved (maybe I have a bald guy bias) and his work has been great since he returned. Here's hoping the dislocated shoulder doesn't sideline him for long because I would enjoy a Dutt vs. Zema Ion feud.
Rubix vs. Mason Andrews vs. Lars Only vs. Dakota Darsow: A minor hit for a good four-way match. It benefitted from going on first in that some of the high flying spots that became repetitive were fresh in the opening match. It was nice to see Only redeem himself with a solid outing following his rough Impact match. Rubix stood out in a good way and I was actually hoping he would advance, though Andrews also had a good night. Poor Darsow can't catch a break in TNA that doesn't involve his nose.
Kid Kash vs. Mason Andrews: Another minor hit. I liked the way they went right to this match after the four-way opener. They did a good job of showing Kash watching the opener on a monitor and then attempting to take advantage of the situation by going right after Andrews after the opener. It kept the fast pace going and helped them tell a nice story with Andrews managing to get the win despite working the opener.
Jesse Sorensen and Zema Ion: It was great to see Sorensen appear on television again since he fractured vertebrae in his neck. It was an emotional moment with Sorensen's mother and girlfriend in the crowd, and the Impact Zone crowd's standing ovation for the returning X Division wrestler was great. Ion heeling it up as he walked to the ring and exchanged looks with Sorensen was perfect. Obviously, they are setting up a big return feud for Sorensen, and I liked the way Jeremy Borash claimed that this was their first contact because the cocky Ion never even bothered to call Sorensen after he suffered the injury during their Against All Odds match.
Overall show: Another quality pay-per-view effort from TNA. The X Division undercard matches featured great work rate involving wrestlers who didn't have clearly defined characters. It was all about the high spots and while that definitely works for some viewers, it became a bit repetitive for me. Thus, I'm not as crazy about the overall show as our readers seem to be based on the current poll. I actually enjoyed Slammiversary more than Destination X even though it wasn't as newsworthy. The good news is that TNA extended its streak of quality pay-per-view outings. TNA is giving pay-per-view buyers a good return on their investment and the company continues to deliver consistently entertaining television shows and pay-per-view events. Major props to the Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash pairing. I normally prefer the neutral play-by-play voice and a heel color commentator (remember those days?), but both men have passion and knowledge of the X Division and the overall product and it showed.
TNA Destination X Misses
Ultimate X: It was nice to know that Ion was the guy we were supposed to root against, but they never really made me feel like I should care about any of the babyfaces. I was surprised they didn't find a way to keep King looking strong given the publicity his Ring of Honor departure generated. He felt like just another wrestler by the time the night was over. The effort was there from all four wrestlers and I enjoyed the match until the finish. The match was too short and I hated the finish with Ion using the hairspray can. The good news is that they made the right call in going with the charismatic Ion as the X Division Champion.
Kenny King vs. Douglas Williams: A minor miss. I'm not sure if these two have worked together before, but it just seemed like an odd clash of styles. Williams has done a really good job with the smaller high fliers in the X Division, but it just didn't click here despite good effort from both men. King wasn't showcased in a meaningful way aside from this win. Here's hoping he has a TNA contract now that he's apparently burned a bridge with Ring of Honor.
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