Pruett's Pause: TNA Destination X - Austin Aries captures the TNA World Championship from Bobby Roode, Zema Ion becomes X Division Champion, A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels have a few tricks left, and more
By Will Pruett
- There are a lot of things not to like about pay-per-views at the Impact Zone, but this show somehow overcame them all. It isn't the best place to watch a wrestling show, but it is a fine place to do so. TNA has done a better job hyping up crowds lately and this one was no exception.
- I'm convinced Jeremy Borash is the second best commentator in wrestling today. His only rival at the top is the best announcer ever, Jim Ross. Borash was engaged in storylines, knowledgable about wrestlers and characters, and working hard to fit the tone of each match. I don't understand how TNA can have this resource and not use him on a regular basis.
- The last chance four way match was really fun for what it was. Lars Only (Johnny Yuma from the L.A. indie scene) redeemed himself with his performance. Rubix (Jigsaw) looked fantastic and was very over with the TNA crowd. Dakota Darsow seemed decent, but he didn't seem to fit in with the X Division. Finally, Mason Andrews (Scorpio Sky) was impressive and seemed polished and ready.
- My only gripe about the four way match was how it was the first of many matches that followed this spot-fest formula. It was also better than the Ultimate X match, which shouldn't have been the case. These are small complaints.
- Just as I said a year ago about the contract four way match that Austin Aries won, this was a spot-fest for sure, but it was a good one. I'm all about judging by good and bad.
- Kid Kash looks a lot like the actor that played Hawkeye in "Avengers." Does anyone else feel this way?
- Mason Andrews vs. Kid Kash was a fun match that told a decent story. Kash's work as a heel was strong. Andrews played a nice conquering babyface as well. I would love to see Kash get more opportunities to shine in the X Division.
- Kicking the show off with five X Division matches in a row may have been a mistake. Even if all of them are great, this was a little too much of the same style over and over. It makes every dive and flip mean less when we see so many of them in a row. This is a flaw with the concept of this show, more than the booking of this particular iteration.
- I've been saying it for a while now, but Samoa Joe appears far more motivated than he has been in the past couple years. I'm loving it.
- Kenny King didn't quite get the chance I thought he would to shine with Douglas Williams. Something in the match didn't quite click. It wasn't bad, but it also didn't stand out as a star-making performance.
- Douglas Williams is another X Division veteran that seemed to be playing heel with no apparent reason to do so. Much like Kid Kash, he deserves more time to develop his character. Isn't it funny that the remnant of the X Division with Aries gone was all heels in Ion, Williams, and Kash?
- Kenny King still has a great finishing sequence and some fantastic charisma. I'm hoping now that King is kept in the X Division for the long-run.
- Somehow, in a world with crack baby storylines, Christopher Daniels continues to shine in his promos. I'm constantly impressed by how great his mic work has become. Watch his very poor promo from five years ago at Slammiversary 2007 and then watch this and you'll see how far he has come.
- Sonjay Dutt, more than anyone else in the new X Division, has star quality. He comes off like a main event player, both as he walks down the aisle and in the ring.
- Rashad Cameron and his iron on t-shirt looked silly. It is 2012. Iron on logos are not impressive and shouldn't be seen on national pay-per-view.
- Dutt and Cameron did have a great X Division match. This was the best qualifier of the night. They mixed spot and psychology perfectly. Dutt's offense looks extremely painful (especially that finisher) and equally impressive. If used right in TNA, he can become a major draw.
- Seeing Jesse Sorensen walk down the Impact Zone aisle was amazing. To go from legitimately breaking his neck in a match, to actually able to walk is impressive enough, but his vow to return to the ring was even more impressive. Sorensen will be a star upon his return.
- In all seriousness, congratulations to Jesse Sorensen on his recovery. It is truly inspiring.
- Zema Ion and Flip Casanova managed not to injure each other in their match, which is impressive. Casanova still came off as an unpolished wrestler, not quite ready for the bright lights. Ion was impressive as the lead heel of the X Division here.
- Bobby Roode's promo with Sonjay Dutt, Mason Andrews, and Kenny King was fantastic. He was a bully. He was a jerk. He was everything he needed to be and he sounded great. Roode has come into his own as a heel promo at last.
- The fan with the Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle VIII sign deserves a cupcake for counting. Nice work. I hope there is a Sprinkles near you.
- Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle didn't have the type of match they had six years ago, but they still had a good one. It was hard-hitting and intense. They made the Bound for Glory Series seem important with this contest.
- Samoa Joe can't work the style that he used to, but he can work a great technical power style. That was on display here. Kurt Angle worked for and with him extremely well. This match clicked and flowed in an unexpected way.
- Angle losing to Joe was surprising to me. There were quite a few convincing near falls as the match climaxed and it seemed like it could end at any moment. Angle and Joe put out a good effort that needed a little more time to be great.
- I've been wondering for a while how James Storm would lose the top spot on the Bound for Glory Series leader board without losing a ton of matches and Samoa Joe's multiple submission wins are the answer. This should be a fun couple of months as the top spot in the series is up for grabs.
- I've seen enough Last Man Standing matches to last me a lifetime. They tend to be slow and plodding, with the main points of them involving a referee almost counting to ten. This is not my idea of entertainment. That said, A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels managed to take a tired feud and a bad match stipulation and make it thoroughly exciting and entertaining. This match was great.
- The Styles Clash off the stage through a table was insane. It was an impressive moment in a violent and exciting match. This match almost made me forget how bad the story around it was. I'm guessing that this Thursday we will be back to crack babies, but on this show, I was thoroughly impressed.
- With 71 percent of TNA fans voting for Austin Aries to win the TNA World Championship, Joey Ryan declared him the new champion already. Wrestling is booked by fan voting now, right?
- Austin Aries' promo backstage about giving TNA a champion they could be proud of was amazing. It was when he said this that I began to suspect that there would actually be a title change on this show.
- I expected an all-out spot-fest from Ultimate X and I was a little disappointed. It seemed like all four men were working hard, but this match didn't live up to past Ultimate X matches in terms of risk or big bumps taken.
- Part of the loss of flow in this match was probably the injury to Sonjay Dutt. Things happen in the ring and I give Dutt all the credit in the world for making it back out, but it seemed like the match came to a halt when he was gone.
- Zema Ion winning the X Division Championship with the hair spray made sense for the character, but it didn't quite impress me. He should be fun to watch as a conniving X Division Champion, but I hope TNA does not repeat the mistake they made with Aries as X Division Champion and fail to build up ancillary heels.
- The opening four way match definitely topped the Ultimate X match, but that is partially because it was the first spot-filled match of the night, not the sixth.
- Zema Ion is already helping to build for Jesse Sorensen's return to the ring. I hope that story stays in the background after tonight and the new X Division stars are able to shine without Sorensen hanging over their heads until his return.
- Jeremy Borash, who was phenomenal for the entire night on commentary, was also amazing when handling the ring introductions for the main event. Borash is one of the most talented voices in wrestling today. Please put him on commentary full time, TNA.
- The main event took a few minutes to work the crowd into the match. Perhaps the wrestlers were trying to bring them down, so they could work them into a frenzy, but it's also possible that the fans just weren't into it at first. Either way, they were quiet, but they got into the match eventually.
- Aries looked like a major star all through this match. He held his own in the ring with Roode and Roode held up his end as well. This match was a great example of how to get two men over in one match.
- All of the false finishes with attempted screw jobs by Bobby Roode were impressive. It was everything that Roode had tried for the last eight months to keep his title all being thrown in at once. These moments have infuriated me for a long time, but the story they were used to tell was fantastic.
- I didn't believe that Aries would be leaving with the TNA Championship until the referee's hand slapped the three count on the mat. What a moment and what a great way to make a star.
- TNA failed at Bound for Glory last year to make Bobby Roode into a star when it was time. TNA failed at Lockdown in April to make James Storm into a star when it was time. With Austin Aries, they did not risk failure and they created a moment to turn him into a star when he was at his peak. This was the right call. Who knows if they would have had this opportunity again?
- We all have to wonder now how Aries becoming TNA Champion will play into the long-term plan of Roode vs. Storm. Will that feud still reignite? Did Aries throw a wrench into it by becoming the hottest act in wrestling? Is it possible that this was always the plan?
- Austin Aries is a star after this show. The TNA World Championship feels important. The X Division Championship feels important. The promotion feels hot and feels different right now.
- The challenge in front of TNA now is how to book Aries as champion. If he stays as hot as he is, will he an event Bound for Glory? The next few months in TNA just became infinitely more interesting.
This was a great show, not by TNA standards, but by any standard. Sometimes it felt like I was watching a show on repeat with the multiple X Division matches, but it was impressive throughout. The moment with Austin Aries winning the TNA Championship was worth the purchase price alone. Nothing on this show was awful and nothing didn't work.
Impact on Thursday should be a very fun show. Aries as champion should be fun to watch evolve. We have seen the best month of booking in TNA history and I truly believe that. Kudos to this company and their creative team on the turnaround.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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