Last year at this time, Austin Aries didn’t even have a TNA contract. Now, one year later, Aries has reached the apex of the company. Aries upset Bobby Roode to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday at TNA Destination X, capping an improbable odyssey for The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.
The Impact Zone in Orlando was at a fever pitch for the main event as both Roode and Aries were introduced.
Aries shows up Roode early with some amateur wrestling and then some head slaps. He follows that by relaxing on top of the ring ropes. He’s all over Roode here but Roode grabs a head scissors and returns a slap to the head.
Aries escapes and they go to the outside where Aries gets the best of it. He throws Roode back in the ring and goes to the top but misses a missile dropkick, crashing and burn as Roode side steps him. Roode goes to work now.
Aries, though, gets Roode on the apron and knocks him off. He hits the back ropes and comes through for the suicide dive, but Roode moves! Wow. Never seen him miss that. Back in the ring, Roode with a spear and then puts a boot in Aries’ chest. Front suplex and then a rear waistlock into a body scissors. Roode drops Aries again with a knee to the gut.
Roode drives Aries into the corner and then whips him into the opposite corner. Roode takes a moment to tell Aries to give up, that Aries isn’t in his league. Roode with a flapjack for two. Another rear wasitlock for Roode but Aries elbows out. Roode goes for the knee to the gut again, but Aries sees it coming and rolls Roode up for two. Roode, though, quickly regains momentum with a big lariat.
Roode gets in Aries’ face and mouths off, but this fires Aries up. They start unloading on each other and Aries drops Roode with a huge roaring elbow. He drives his shoulder into Roode and clotheslines him over the top and now he crushes Roode with the Heat Seaking Missile.
In the ring and Aries is also able to hit the missile dropkick. Aries really heating up. He charges Roode in the corner but Roode catches him with a power slam. Roode stalks Aries and goes for a spear, but Aries sprawls out and locks in the Last Chancery. Roode nearly taps but is able to escape and he locks in the Crossface. Aries slides out and puts Roode back in the Last Chancery. Roode is able to rake Aries’ eyes to break the hold.
They go to the top and Roode wants a superplex but Aries knees him in the head and sends him down. He goes for the 450 Splash but Roode moves and Aries rolls through it but runs right back into the Double R Spinebuster. Roode throws Aries into the post shoulder-first and grabs him in the Crossface right in the middle of the ring. Aries is fighting it but Roode can’t get full extension because of the sweat and Aries makes the ropes.
Roode goes to the outside and grabs the title belt but referee Brian Hebner takes it away. With Hebner looking away, Roode hits Aries with a low blow but Aries kicks out at the last second. Roode gets into an argument with Hebner and this allows Aries to hit the big corner dropkick. Crowd to its feet now as they sense the Brainbuster but Roode slips out of it and shoves Aries into Hebner. He hits Aries with the title belt and grabs Hebner. He makes the cover but Aries somehow kicks out. Crowd can’t believe it.
Roode wants the Perfect Plex but Aries counters into a small package for two. Roode still down. Aries kicks him right in the head, grabs him up for the Brainbuster and hits it! Aries into the cover, 1-2-3! It’s all over! Unbelievable! Austin Aries is the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, ending Roode’s 256-day reign as champion.
Red and white colored confetti comes down through the sky in the Impact Zone as Aries celebrates one of the most improbable world title wins in professional wrestling history.
The next TNA pay-per-view is Hardcore Justice on Aug. 12.
Following a video package, Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash welcome us to tonight’s show, a nine-match affair from Orlando, Fla.
Match #1 – Last Chance Four-Way – Rubix (The Bronx, NY) vs. Mason Andrews (Big Bear, Calif.) vs. Lars Only (San Diego, Calif.) vs. Dakota Darsow (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Rubix hits a big flying crossbody on Darsow for two. He goes after Darsow but Darsow pushes him off and hits a Michinoku Driver but it’s broken up. Rubix and Andrews go at it now. Andrews off the ropes and instead of coming back to Rubix, he hits a big flip dive onto Only and Darsow on the outside. Not to be outdone, Rubix hits the ropes and hits a reverse flip dive onto all three men.
Rubix brings Andrews into the ring, but Andrews grabs an armbar. He turns it into a straight armbar but Only breaks it up. Only hits a move that affects all three men and goes to work on Andrews. Andrews eats a big boot and Only goes to the top but Darsow cuts him off. Andrews with two big leg kicks that hurt Darsow. Oh boy. Tower of Doom featuring everyone but Rubix, but Rubix comes flying in after and hits a big dropkick. Crowd loves Rubix.
All four men now at a standstill. Darsow with a neckbreaker but Rubix hits him with a kick. Only hits a face plant on Rubix but Rubix rolls out of the ring. Only goes for that on Andrews, but Andrews hits a big jumping knee and then a TKO on Only and that does it. What?
Winner via pinfall: Mason Andrews
Match Rating: 6/10
Match #2 – X Division Tournament – Kid Kash (Nashville, Tenn.) vs. Mason Andrews (Big Bear, Calif.)
Kash comes right down and attacks Andrews. He is all over him, barely allowing Andrews the chance to breathe. Kash wants the moonsault but Andrews gets his knees up and Kash lands face-first on them. Here comes Andrews. Elbow, clothesline and dropkick land for Andrews. Head scissors connects and then a missile dropkick for two. He clocks Kash with a big jumping knee but Kash kicks out at two.
They do a series of pinning reversals and Kash goes for two knees. He hits the first, but misses the second and Andrews rolls him up and gets the duke.
Winner via pinfall: Mason Andrews
Match Rating: 6/10
Match #3 – X Division Tournament – Douglas Williams (The United Kingdom) vs. Kenny King (Las Vegas, Nevada)
King hits a twisting slingshot dive onto Williams. Snap suplex into mounted punches for King. Williams with a shoulderblock but King with a drop toe hold into a headlock. Arm drags for King and then into an armbar. This is a very even back-and-forth match here. Williams wants the Chaos Theory Suplex but King hangs on to the ropes. King with a big kick for a two count.
King charges the corner but Williams moves. Williams wants to go to the top but King cuts him off only to have Williams shove him to the floor. Williams rises and flies to the floor with a big knee. King is slow to get back in the ring and just barely beats the count.
King snaps Williams’ neck and hits a Blockbuster but Williams kicks out at the last moment. Williams with a high knee in the corner, but King comes out and hits the Coronation and gets the win.
Winner via pinfall: Kenny King
Match Rating: 7/10
Match #4 – X Division Tournament – Sonjay Dutt (Mumbai, India) vs. Rashad Cameron (Philadelphia, Pa.)
This gets busy early as Cameron hits a big flip dive on Dutt. Cameron in control here in the early-going. Dutt, though, gets going and hits a sliding dropkick. He hops on the apron but Cameron swipes his legs out. Cameron with a leg scissors. They trade some quick reversals and Dutt sends Cameron face-first into the middle turnbuckle then hits a guillotine leg drop on the back of his head. He follows with a springboard splash for two.
Arm-drag for Dutt but Cameron responds with a roll-up for two. Cameron rolls through and locks in an armbar. Dutt escapes and comes back and hits the spinning double foot stomp and that does it
Winner via pinfall: Sonjay Dutt
Match Rating: 7/10
After a video package detailing his ongoing rehabilitation, Jesse Sorensen comes to the ring to a standing ovation. If you recall, he broke his neck at Against All Odds in February. He talks about the journey he took to get here and the journey he has to complete his comeback. He thanks everyone who has stuck by him. Then he says he hopes Zema Ion wins the title tonight because, just like Ion tried to take his career from him, he’s going to take the X Division Championship from him. He promises that at Destination X 2013, he’s going to be the X Division Champion and he’s going to be facing the world champion.
As he leaves, Ion comes down to the ring. It’s tense as they walk by each other.
Match #5 – X Division Tournament – Zema Ion (The Philippines) vs. Flip Cassanova (Mt. Clemens, Mich.)
Ion stomps Cassanova’s head into the ground and then he grabs his can of hairspray and reapplies it. He goes for a moonsault but Cassanova gets the knees up. Cassanova follows with a springboard twisting moonsault of his own, but Ion kicks out at two. He slams Ion and goes to the top and goes for his sitting moonsault but Ion moves. It doesn’t take long after that and Ion finishes him.
Winner via pinfall: Zema Ion
Match Rating: 4/10
Match #6 – Bound For Glory Series – Samoa Joe (Isle of Samoa) vs. Kurt Angle (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Joe dumps Angle over the top and follows with a suicide dive that connects. Back in the ring, though, Angle takes over until Angle hits the corner splash and kick combo. He loads Angle up and wants the Muscle Buster but Angle headbutts him and hits a missile dropkick to Joe’s back.
Angle with a rear chinlock. He follows with a belly-to-belly suplex that sends Joe flying. Angle tries the run up the ropes suplex but Joe pushes him off and hits a leg lariat for two. Joe with an inverted atomic drop, big boot and back splash for two. Angle charges but Joe with a scoop slam for two, which he turns right into an armbar, but Angle slides out and puts Joe in the ankle lock. Joe pushes him off.
Angle comes right back, though, and hits the triple German suplexes. It takes him a second to recover. He goes for the Angle Slam but Joe arm drags out of it. Joe wants the Muscle Buster but Angle again slides out and locks in the ankle lock. Joe again pushes off. Angle flies in to the corner but Joe catches him with a uranage. Now Joe loads Angle up and does hit the Muscle Buster. He goes for the cover but Angle kicks out at the last moment.
Now Joe wants the Coquina Clutch but Angle again slips out and applies the ankle lock right in the centre of the ring. Joe crawls toward the ropes but Angle pulls him back. Angle goes to grapevine it but Joe pulls him back into the Coquina Clutch and this is also in the middle of the ring. Angle trying to escape. Joe loses his leg position and Angle gets to a vertical base and hits the Angle Slam for two.
Now the straps are down for Angle and he wants another ankle lock but Joe kicks him before he can get close. Angle Slam attempt but Joe rolls through into a modified Coquina Clutch. It’s a bit of a Twister, as Joe has one of Angle’s arms locked down and is cranking the neck. Angle fighting, but he goes out and Earl Hebner stops the bout!
Winner via submission (10 points): Samoa Joe
Match Rating: 8/10
Match #7 – Last Man Standing – Christopher Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.) vs. AJ Styles (Gainesville, Ga.)
Daniels spits in Styles’ face and it’s on from there. Styles with a vicious suplex, sending Daniels right into the turnbuckles. Styles sets up a chair and tries to jump off it into a flying corner forearm onto Daniels, but Daniels moves and Styles eats the turnbuckle. Daniels grabs Styles and drives him through the chair with a uranage. Ouch.
They go to the floor and Daniels has busted Styles open with punches to the face. Snap suplex and Daniels is giving it to the crowd almost as much as Styles. Daniels sets the steps up but before he can whip Styles in, Styles lands some strikes only to run right into a big boot. Daniels throws him back in the ring but Styles gets a boot up. Daniels has the chair in his hand and Styles goes to the apron and goes for the springboard forearm. Daniels gets the chair up but the forearm drives the chair right into his own head.
Back to the outside and Styles uses Daniels head as a battering ram right into those steps that Daniels set up. Now Daniels is split open. They brawl up the ramp and to the stage. Styles goes to the other end and starts charging, but Daniels gets up and they clothesline each other right in the middle. Ouch.
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Styles with a kick and wants the Styles Clash on the ramp but Daniels back drops him. They battle a bit and Styles hops up back-first on a steel pole and does his back flip reverse DDT and plants Daniels back of the head first on the stage. The referee counts but Kazarian comes flying in and drills Styles off the ramp and to the floor.
Hebner counting but Styles beats the count. Daniels comes down and runs him into the rail and then goes back to ringside and drags a table back to in front of the stage and sets it up. He pulls Styles to the ramp and wants the Angel’s Wings but Styles shoves Daniels into Kazarian. He follows with the Pele and that puts Daniels down. He grabs Daniels and loads him up for the Styles Clash and hits the move off the ramp and through the table. Oh my goodness.
Both men are down now. They are stirring around seven. Styles is able to get near the barricade and barely pulls himself up. Daniels can’t find something to do the same with. It’s over!
The Last Man Standing: AJ Styles
Match Rating: 9/10
Match #8 – Ultimate X Match for the TNA X Division Championship – Mason Andrews (Big Bear, Calif.) vs. Zema Ion (The Philippines) vs. Kenny King (Las Vegas, Nevada) vs. Sonjay Dutt (Mumbai, India)
This is all-action here. Dutt takes himself out hitting a running moonsault where he hits his head on the bottom rope. He slides out of the ring and is taken to the back. Flips aplenty here and Andrews starts climbing, but about midway through, King springboard spears him off.
Well, now Dutt’s back. And he, Andrews and King are all up there. King and Ion both fall back-first. Oh my goodness. Now Dutt and Ion are climbing to the very top of the structure. Dutt slides though it but so does Ion and he has his hair spray. He sprays Dutt and Dutt falls to the canvas. No one there and Ion grabs it.
Winner and NEW TNA X Division Champion: Zema Ion
Match Rating: 6/10
Match #9 – TNA World Heavyweight Championship – (c) Bobby Roode (Toronto, Ontario) vs. Austin Aries (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Winner via pinfall and NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Austin Aries
Match Rating: 10/10
Event Rating: 8/10