It’s time to step into the Impact Zone once again as we take a look at the latest pay-per-view offering from TNA, with Austin Aries challenging Bobby Roode for the World title in the main event of Destination X, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.
The show began with the last chance qualifying match as Rubix, Mason Andrews, Lars Only and Dakota Darsow fought it out for the final spot in the X Division title tournament.
This was a great way to start the show. I’d only seen one of these guys before but they all impressed the hell out of me.
We saw a ton of fast-paced action and high flying moves from all four men, with Rubix, clearly the crowd favourite here, the best of the bunch for me. Mind you I’m probably only saying that because he’s the one I’ve seen before.
In the end it was Andrews who emerged victorious, taking Only down with a TKO-like move for the winning pin to earn the final spot in the tournament.
Andrews work was far from over though as his tournament match with Kid Kash began straight after.
Kash attacked as soon as the bell sounded, dominating the majority of the match and putting on a good display when he wasn’t arguing with the referee, a sign of his frustration at his inability to put his younger opponent away.
Andrews’ moments of offence were few and far between until he got his second wind and engaged in a great series of sequences, and when Kash underhooked his man’s arms and delivered a series of knees Andrews countered with a roll-up for the winning pin, earning a spot in the Ultimate X match.
The second tournament match saw Doug Williams taking on Kenny King.
This was good. It was great to see Williams back on the big stage again, and in King, one of the highlights of Ring of Honor in recent years, he had the perfect opponent.
It was an exciting back and forth encounter with excellent performances from both men. There were plenty of great moves in a match that looked like it could go either way.
But in the end it was the new boy who took the win as King took Williams down with a side slam-like move to take the winning pin and the second Ultimate X spot.
The third tournament match saw Sonjay Dutt taking on Rashad Cameron.
While the previous match was a very technical encounter this match was very much in the X Division style.
Cameron, another guy I’ve never seen before, put in a fine performance against the division’s veteran. Everything the guy did was just so good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a permanent fixture in the Impact Zone in the future.
As for Dutt, this was the best I’ve seen from him in ages. No longer languishing in the shadow of Black Machismo did him no end of good and showed just why TNA have missed him.
I think you can guess by now how much I enjoyed this one, so let’s cut to the chase and reveal that Dutt won after a double somersault foot stomp from the top rope.
After an emotional Jesse Sorensen returned to the Impact Zone it was on to the final tournament match as Zema Ion took on Flip Casanova.
Casanova committed the cardinal sin at the beginning of the match, turning his back on his opponent before the action began. Ion saw the opportunity and took it.
From there we saw a very enjoyable back and forth encounter. Ion was his usual arrogant self, while Casanova was another of those guys I knew little about but who impressed me a great deal.
Casanova’s downfall came when he went for a somersault move from the top rope and landed on his backside after Ion moved out of the way. Ion then put his man on his own back and fell backwards, sending Casanova crashing to the mat for the winning pin. I hope the creative guys come up with a name for that move soon.
With the four combatants for the Ultimate X match decided upon it was on to the Bound for Glory series as Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle renewed hostilities.
This certainly brought back some great memories, and although this wasn’t as intense as their encounters a few years ago it delivered, and then some.
This was by far the best performance Joe has put in this year, and in Angle he had the perfect foil once again. It was a tremendous back and forth encounter, and the performances of both men can’t be faulted.
Both guys looked like they were going to get the win with their trademark moves, with Joe surviving the ankle lock and Angle surviving the rear naked choke.
But when Joe synched in the choke for a second time our Olympic hero held on for as long as he could until he passed out for a few seconds, the referee stepping in to give Joe the submission win and putting him top of the BFG leader board.
Another old rivalry was renewed next as one half of the Tag Team Champions Christopher Daniels took on his old buddy A.J. Styles in a last man standing match.
I don’t think I need to use the old “I never tire” line for this match. There’s no need to.
This was just great. We’ve seen these two wrestler and now we’ve seen these two fight as they beat the proverbial you know what out of each other.
It was great to watch these two masters of their art in action against each other again as they took it all around the Impact Zone. Both guys pulled out all the big stuff, especially with the hard bumps they took on the stage, and the even harder bump that Styles took when Frankie Kazarian appeared and pushed him off the stage.
Kazarian’s interference had a negligible effect though. After dragging a table from under the ring to just beneath the top of the ramp Daniels looked to take his man out with the Angel’s Wings through the table.
Styles countered though, pushing Daniels into his crony and then taking the Fallen Angel down with the Styles Clash from the top of the ramp and through the table.
The referee began his count as both men lay in the wreckage, with Styles beating the count and claiming the win.
The penultimate encounter was the Ultimate X match for the vacant X Division title featuring Mason Andrews, Zema Ion, Kenny King and Sonjay Dutt.
This was the perfect way to end the one night tournament. These four put on outstanding performances throughout the evening, culminating in this match.
The bodies flew all over the place as they brought out all the high impact moves. In fact one was so high impact that Dutt was taken out of the match for a few minutes after injuring his elbow.
So after a ton of big bumps and crashes it went down to Dutt and Ion as they crawled across the top of the scaffolding and dropped down onto the wire. Ion then sprayed his hairspray into Dutt’s eyes, sending him crashing to the mat so he could grab the title belt and claim the win.
The main event saw Austin Aries challenging Bobby Roode for the World title.
Now this was a match. A tremendous one at that.
It was a remarkable piece of storytelling. As soon as the match began it didn’t really feel like a TNA main event. It felt more like an ROH main event.
They began slowly with their initial exchanges before Roode took control as he constantly told his challenger that he wasn’t in his league. But no matter what the champion did he just couldn’t put Aries away.
A Double fought back time and time again as Roode’s frustration at his inability to defeat Aries grew by the moment. He threw everything at him, and Aries just kept coming back for more.
Roode’s best chance came when he tried to bring the title belt into the equation. The referee grabbed it off him, and while his back was turned Roode delivered a low bow. Aries still kicked out of the pin though.
Then, while the referee was taking a snooze after an accidental collision Roode finally clobbered him with the gold before he revived the official, only for Aries to kick out of the pin attempt once again.
Finally, after both men had given everything they had Aries lifted Roode up and took him down with the Brain Buster. A three count later and we had a new World Champion.
In conclusion - out of all the TNA pay-per-views I’ve seen over the years this was the one I was looking forward to the most.
My expectations were met, and then some. From the opening four way through to the classic main event Destination X delivered big time. In fact I’d go as far as saying that this may be the best TNA show I’ve seen.
As for the match of the night, although each match delivered big time there really was only one winner, so this particular honour is going to the classic Roode/Aries encounter.
So with al of that business out of the way it’s time to close this thing by giving this year’s Destination X the big thumbs up.