Your destination tonight is Universal Studios Florida, as Total Nonstop Action (TNA) presents the Destination X PPV. This event had it all folks, so let’s not waste any more time in getting to the details.
The main event featured Captain Charisma Christian Cage making his first NWA Heavyweight title defense against the Alpha Male Monty Brown.
Cage has his ribs wrapped in bandages, a direct result of Brown attacking the champ on a past episode of TNA Impact. Throughout the bout, Brown is making a conscious effort of attacking the ribs. Match goes to the outside early, with Brown stalking Cage into the crowd. Brown is hammering on Cage, who turns the tide and chases Brown back into the ring. Again, Brown dumps Cage to the outside, beating on the champ. Brown goes for a chair shot, but misses. Cage rolls Brown back into the ring and goes off the top turnbuckle for a double axe handle, but Brown intercepts with a shot to the gut. More brawling now on the edge of the ring, where Brown lifts Cage high into air and drops him to the outside floor. Far from being done, Brown drops Cage across the guardrail. The Alpha Male is going to work on the rib cage of the champ once again. Cage fights back and goes for a tornado DDT, but Brown sends him flying to the mat. Momentum swings back to Cage when he nails a spiked DDT on Brown, and follows up with a modified bulldog. Christian climbs to the top turnbuckle and goes for the frog splash, but Brown moves away. Brown now with a submission, but Cage is not giving up. Brown drops Cage across the top turnbuckle. Brown goes up after Cage, who fights off his opponent and sends him crashing to the mat. Back splash by Cage on Brown, Brown comes back with the alpha bomb, only a two count. F5 by Brown, again, only two. Brown lines up Cage for the pounce, but Cage stops it with a kick. Brown tries for the alpha bomb again, but Cage reverse and nails the unprettier. Clean three count, Cage retains the title.
After the bout, Jeff Jarrett comes down the ramp and demands his title shot now. Cage counteroffers by simply kicking Jarrett’s ass. The two are brawling when the members of Jarrett’s faction arrive for the beat down. Rhino comes to the rescue, but he too is overwhelmed. Crowd chanting for Sting, instead though, they get Steve Borden (aka Sting). He cleans house and is looking to take out Jarrett once and for all.
Enter Big Papa Pump – Scott Steiner.
Steiner proves to be trump card and the beat down ensues on Borden, Cage and Rhino as the show goes off the air.
Preliminary Match: Shannon “The Prince of Punk” Moore vs Cassidy Riley
Riley takes it to Moore at the beginning of this contest, with Moore turning things around and dominating his opponent for most of this one. Good array of wrestling from the self-proclaimed Prince of Punk. Riley mounts the comeback with a couple of clotheslines, followed by a very smooth springboard moonsault from the second rope. Moore turns it around and nails Riley with the twisting plancha off the top corner turnbuckle for the win. Nice opener.
Match Rating: 5/10
Preliminary Match: Diamonds in the Rough (David Young & Elix Skipper) vs Shark Boy & Norman Smiley
Simon Diamond accompanies his team to the ring and proceeds to rag on members of the St. Louis Cardinals in attendance. Diamond promises to prove that he is the greatest two sport athlete of all time. Now all we need is Bo Jackson to enter the fray!
TNA faithful give a rousing welcome for Norman Smiley and remain vocal for the master of the wiggle throughout this one. Speaking of wiggle, Smiley goes for it early, but Young breaks up the attempt. Action spills to the outside, where Skipper goes over the top rope and dives into Smiley. Action goes back into the ring, where Skipper and Young are hammering on Smiley. Young goes for the moonsault and misses. Smiley makes the hot tag to Shark Boy who cleans house, including his patented shark bite on Young. Smiley is back in the ring and finally gives what the crowd was wanting – the wiggle on Young. Simon Diamond interferes, allowing his team to hit their finisher on Smiley for the win. Fun while it lasted.
Match Rating: 5.5/10
Match One: Alex Shelley vs Jay Lethal
Crowd is firmly behind the 20-year-old Lethal in this match as both men lock up with some good mat work. Series of foot sweeps and pin attempts follow. Shelley gets taken to the outside via flying head scissors. Lethal follows up quickly with a suicide dive. In the ring now and Lethal is keeping Shelley on the mat, launching his comeback with a spinning heel kick. It’s not Shelley who is keeping Lethal grounded and attempts the springboard moonsault from the second rope, but misses. Lethal with a couple of bridging pin attempts, only a two count. Both competitors are on the top turnbuckle where Shelley delivers a flying atomic drop on Lethal – awesome! Back and forth action once again, Lethal delivering a flying head butt from the top rope, two count once again. Shelley finally puts it away, nailing the Sliced Bread #2 on Lethal for the win.
Match Rating: 7/10
Match Two: Matt Bentley vs Lance Hoyt
Hoyt is looking for some payback after being attacked and busted open by Bentley on TNA’s Impact show. Bentley ain’t intimidated by the big man from Texas, starting things off with a series of punches. Hoyt quickly counters, tossing Bentley high into the air and outside of the ring. Bentley looking for some recoup time while Tracy Brooks distracts Hoyt. Bentley charges back with the sneak attack, but Hoyt is there to intercept the effort. Change of strategy now for Bentley who zeros in on his opponent’s leg. Hoyt will have none of this and hits a power slam, followed up by the sidewalk slam. Bentley mounts the comeback, executing a nice looking neck breaker from the corner middle rope. Bentley continues to work over the neck, but goes airborne once again, compliments of a one arm flap jack by Hoyt. Bentley is draped across the top turnbuckle where Hoyt nails a field goal kick – it’s good! Pump handle power slam by Hoyt, who goes upstairs for the top rope moonsault and misses (this PPV is setting record for most attempted moonsaults). Both men struggle to get to their feet. Bentley is the first to recover, but is distracted by paper flyers that are being dumped from the rafters by Eric Young (don’t ask). Hoyt take advantage and nails the big boot on Bentley for the three count.
Match Rating: 6.5/10
Match Three: Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young) vs The Naturals
Match is underway with Roode hammering on Chase Stevens. Stevens fights back with a drop kick and side Russian leg sweep. Naturals are in control now with Andy Douglas isolating Young on the mat. Trip up by Roode on Douglas turns it around for the Canucks – Douglas now being isolated by his opponents. Hot tag made by Douglas, Stevens in the ring and cleaning house. Atomic drop delivered on Roode, then drop kicks Young off the top rope to the outside. Stevens flies outside to nail Young, but misses. Stevens is now being punished by Roode and Young in the ring now. Comeback arrives in the form of Stevens delivering an enziguiri on Young, launching the Canadian off the top turnbuckle to the matted floor below. Tag is made, Douglas nailing Roode with not one, but two variations of the DDT, but only gets two from the referee. All four men are in the ring now and a Tower of Doom suplex comes to pass, electrifying the live audience. Douglas is alone in the ring now and gets nailed in the head with the hockey stick from Young. Roode is there to score the pinfall.
Match Rating: 7/10
Match Four: LAX (Machete, Homicide & Konnan) vs The James Gang (BG James, Kip James and Bullet Bob Armstrong)
The James Gang initially enters the ring and cleans house. It’s BG James now, hammering on Machete. Fortune is reversed and Homicide is now taking apart the former Road Dog. LAX doing a good job of keeping BG James isolated in the ring with some crafty distractions. Tag is made to Kip who is whipping the floor with both Homicide and Machete. BG James dives to the outside of the ring and hammers on Homicide. Armstrong is also there, showing the crowd he can still deliver a beat down in his plus 60 years, pounding on Konnan as he lies prone on the announce table. Back in the ring and Homicide is going for the chair shot on BG James, but Armstrong is there to break it up. Homicide is dumped to the outside, leaving Machete alone in the ring. Kip James finishes Machete off and it’s The James Gang coming out on top.
Match Rating: 5/10
Match Five: Four-Way X Division Challenge – Puma vs Petey Williams vs Sonjay Dutt vs Chris Sabin
Trying to describe this one is like detailing every single item of swirling debris in a tornado. Puma is really winning over the fans with his Mach 3 speed and crisp execution – shades of the original Tiger Mask (Satoro Sayama) here folks. The action here is pretty much what you would expect: blind tags galore, followed by a series of lightning fast exchanges. All four athletes are really on the ball in this one. The contest really intensifies near the end with an over the top rope hurracana by Williams on Sabin. Puma follows up and dives over the top rope onto both Sabin and Williams. Not to be outdone, Dutt delivers a moonsault off the top rope to the outside – insane stuff here. The battle returns to the ring with a blinding array of high impact moves, pin attempts – each man hitting his finisher at one point. Eventually, it’s Sabin who plants Puma into the mat with the Cradle Shock for the win. Amazing bout to say the least!
Match Rating: 8.5/10
Match Six: Eight Man Tag Team – America’s Most Wanted, Abyss & Jeff Jarrett vs Rhino, Ron Killings & Team 3D
No brainer in how this one starts – all eight combatants are brawling all over the studio and the fans are just loving every moment of it. Order is actually restored, with all the wrestlers finding their way back to the ring where some semblance of an actual tag team bout is presented. Brother Devon is getting the beat down from the Jarrett faction, but comes back with a flying clothesline on James Storm of AMW. Tag is made to Brother Ray who takes on AMW single handedly. Rhino is brought in and Brother Ray launches The War Machine into the corner, goring the trapped members of AMW. Rhino presses the attack, getting some big moves on Jarrett. He sets himself up to plow Jarrett with the gore, but Gail Kim enters the fray for the distraction. It works – Abyss submarines Rhino. Jarrett’s team keeps the pressure on, corralling Rhino. Despite taking a lot of punishment, Rhino finds the gap, tag is made to Killings. The Truth is a whirlwind of offence, clocking all four opponents with varied big time moves. Action gets chaotic again, with Jarrett in the ring with the guitar, referee out of visual range. Jarrett swings at Killings and misses, while Rhino does not miss and gores Jarrett. Abyss enters the fray and delivers the black hole slam on Rhino. Killings clothesline’s Abyss over the top rope, both men go sailing to the floor. Brother Devon has Jarrett and holds his opponent’s legs apart for Brother Ray’s diving head butt from the top rope. Likewise, Jackie Gayda has Gail Kim the ring, legs apart for Killings to deliver a flying leg drop. Abyss is back with a double clothesline on Team 3-D who comeback and get the 3-D on Abyss. Super kick by James Storm on Brother Ray, AMW follows up with the death sentence on Brother Devon. Killings is there to break up the pin attempt. AMW try to handcuff Killings to the ring post, but it’s Chris Harris who gets locked there, leaving Killings to nail his finisher on Storm. Count is being made, but Jarrett pulls the ref away out of position. Killings and Jarrett are battling it out, where Jarrett plants Killings into the mat with the stroke for the victory.
Match Rating: 7.5/10
Ultimate X Three Way – Christopher Daniels vs AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe (C)
All three would go on to deliver a flurry of action that only they can deliver when they get in the ring. It starts off with Joe trying to stop both Daniels and Styles from reaching the belt hanging above. With that, both men team up in attacking the Samoan Submission Machine. With Joe incapacitated Styles takes out Daniels with a drop kick. Both men go upstairs, dangling across the ropes towards the X Division belt. They collide and kick each other off, falling to the mat below. Joe collides into Daniels with the flying knee. It’s Styles now fighting the Samoan, who back body drops Styles to the outside onto Daniels. Air Samoa Joe arrives over the top rope with a twisting plancha into both Daniels and Styles. It’s Joe now trying to make his way across to the belt, but loses his grip. Daniels is back in the ring, attacking both Joe and Styles. Action moves to the top turnbuckle where Styles delivers a sunset power bomb from the top rope on Daniels – sick! Styles making his way across to the belt, but is intercept by Joe who brings Styles down into an atomic drop. Joe is on fire now, pounding on Styles. Joe has Daniels on the outside and lines him up for the olé kick, but Styles intercepts from the air. Joe and Styles are back in the ring and the Samoan is looking to go for the muscle buster. Daniels comes and blows are exchanged with Joe. Daniels finds himself locked in the clutch from Joe in the corner, but Styles breaks it up with an enziguiri. Double muscle buster on Joe, Daniels and Styles left to face off. Styles wins the exchange with the Pelé kick. Again, Styles going for the belt, but Joe brings him down with a chair shot. Daniels with the drop kick and connects while Joe is holding the steel chair, driving it into Joe’s head. Daniels climbs and snags the belt, your new X Division champion.
Match Rating: 8/10
Main Event – Monty Brown vs Christian Cage (c)
Winner: Christian Cage, Match Rating: 7/10
Destination X PPV overall rating: 7.5/10
Post PPV Thoughts
Once again, TNA delivers a PPV well worth your money. No stinkers to speak of and the X Division competitors really shined in this event. For whatever reason though, the endings to the Ultimate X match and the main event had an anti-climatic feel. It may be that the live audience in Orlando were somewhat burned out from the previous match ups and just didn’t pop at the finishes. Having Cage win clean over Brown was a good move in building Captain Charisma as a legit champion who can overcome adversity. The loss does nothing to hurt Brown, who only continues to build his aura as a vicious wrecking machine that will keep coming back for the belt until he finally gets it.
Debate will now ensue about the future of Samoa Joe. Personally, I need a break from the trilogy that is Daniels, Joe and Styles. I’m also one those who feels that Joe should be elevated to the heavyweight title picture and now may be the right time to do just that, as Cage and Borden are going to need allies in their coming battle with Jarrett’s faction. Smart move not to have Borden come out in his Sting face paint; it avoids rusting the shine of the crow gimmick. Now Borden has a crusade and he’ll do it with the face paint, all to the delight of Sting fans everywhere
The debut of Scott Steiner will definitely intensify things up in the heavyweight title picture and offers TNA faithful the chance to see some first time match ups.
Overall, TNA is plotting a sound course for their big prime time debut come April and one can only expect more wrestling refugees to rally to their banner.
Great show TNA!
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- TNA Best of the Bloodiest Brawls Vol. 1 DVD
When he is not traveling to indy wrestling shows or watching his ever-growing collection of puroresu videos, long time wrestling fan Corey David Lacroix is on call as a civilian employee with the Department of National Defence. He can be emailed at [email protected].