Saturday, 15 March 2008

TNA Destination X on Bravo 2 - TV Review

It’s that time of the month again, and TNA are on the road in Norfolk, Virginia, with The Angle Alliance taking on Kevin Nash, Christian Cage and Samoa Joe in the main event of Destination X, shown on a three day delay on Bravo 2 here in Britain, with Mike Tenay and Don West handling the commentary duties.
The show begins with a three-way number one contenders tag-team match, featuring LAX, the Rock & Rave Infection, and the Motor City Machine Guns. Before I write about the match, I have to say this - what the hell has happened to Christy Hemme? Anyway, back to the match. It’s a great way to start the show, with LAX and the Guns again proving what great combinations they are in what seems to have become a forgotten division as of late. I’m not sure what to really make of Rave & Hoyt’s new gimmick though, especially with Hoyt looking like a reject from a Guns ‘N’ Roses tribute act. Needless to say that once again I was really impressed with the performance of the big man Hernandez in this one. So, after tons of fast-paced action, the big man got the win for the LAX by taking Rave out with the border toss. As Don West said, all three teams delivered in this one.
Title action follows, as Jay Lethal defends the X Division title against the Scott Steiner-wannabe, Petey Williams, who has Steiner’s new lady Rhaka Khan along for company. So basically we’ve got a match here in which both wrestlers are trying to act like other wrestlers. This isn’t an Orig Williams tribute show, is it? Anyway, back to the match. The opening exchanges in this one need to be seen to be believed, and they sum up what the X Division really is about, a division which, like it’s tag-team counterpart, just hasn’t been what it should be lately. The second good match in a row sees both guys putting in great performances, with Williams almost getting the title win after unseen interference from Scott Steiner and a Canadian Destroyer, only for Lethal’s lady So Cal Val informing the ref what had happened. But instead of a disqualification for Williams the match continued, with Lethal pinning Williams with a small package. Hey! I just had a great idea for TNA - why not get Randy Savage in for a one shot, and put him with Lethal in a tag match against Williams and Steiner? Nah, probably wouldn’t happen, although it would mean Savage would have to stop bitching about Hulk Hogan for a while.
The third match of the night features tag-team action, with Black Reign and Rellik against Kaz and Eric Young. Given my dislike of some of the participants in this match, you can probably deduce that this wasn’t a match I was really looking forward to. So with Young playing the perennial coward, and Dustin Rhodes still annoying the hell out of me with this gimmick, Kaz and Rellik were the highlights of this one with their exchanges and their moves, which made me realise that Kaz really is wasted in matches and feuds of this kind. Towards the end of the match Young does a runner, only to emerge a few moments later as Super Eric, complete with mask and cape, cleaning house before taking both Reign and Rellik, at the same time, with a death valley driver, before pinning Reign. So now we’ve got Eric Young doing a Hurricane rip-off. Could this guy get even more annoying?
Normal action resumes with Knockouts Champion Awesome Kong defending her title against Gail Kim and ODB in a three-way match. Once again the Knockouts match proves to be one of the best on the card. Pardon the pun here, but once again Kong proves to be an awesome wrestler, well capable of handling both of her challengers, even though Gail and ODB prove, once again, to be worthy challengers. Kong’s big splash from the second rope is another of those things that has to be seen to be believed, and in the end the most dominating female wrestler in the world got the pin after taking ODB down with the awesome bomb. Another great outing from TNA’s women’s division.
More tag action follows, as Team 3-D, with their buddy Johnny Devine for support, take on Curry Man and Shark Boy in something called a Fish Market Street Fight. Before the match begins we get the weigh-in, with their jobs on the line if they fail to make 275 pounds. They both do, but if Brother Ray currently weighs under two-seven-five, then I’m the greatest wrestling writer in the world. Oh, and although it’s great to see Shark Boy on pay-per-view, I’m once again left wondering just why he’s now impersonating another wrestler. So what we’ve got here is two tag-teams hitting each other with big fish. Is Vince Russo still writing this stuff, or have TNA recruited the Monty Python writers for the creative team. In short, while the wrestling aspects of this match are fine, overall it’s crazy, and add Tenay and West’s fish-related puns, it’s even worse. Thankfully, the end came, and not a moment too soon, when Ray, blinded by an accidental powder throw from Devine, accidentally 3-D-ed Devon, with Shark Boy getting the pin straight afterwards. Hopefully we won’t see any more matches involving fish anytime in the future.
Normal action resumes with Booker T and Robert Roode going about their business in a stand by your man strap match, with Traci Brooks accompanying Booker, and Payton Banks going with Roode. The stipulations for this one were simple - the woman accompanying the winner would get to give the woman accompanying the loser ten lashes, and unlike other strap matches, this one would be decided by pinfall or submission. This was a good one, with Booker and Roode again proving how well they work together. Roode emerged victorious in this one. With the referee taking a snooze, a stunt with a set of handcuffs went wrong when Roode used them to knock Booker out, getting the pin moments later. So with Booker dragged way by security, Traci took her punishment, and then some, as Payton got in a few more shots for good measure, with Roode getting in a shot as well, before Sharmell came running down to the ring with a strap of her own, lashing out at everyone in sight. Even Jim Cornette got one, before security surrounded her. Me thinks this little rivalry between Roode and Booker isn’t going to end anytime soon.
Elevation X next, with Rhino and James Storm. I really didn’t like the previous encounter of this kind. I found it dull and somewhat tedious, and I really wasn’t looking forward to this one. This one doesn’t even begin on the scaffold, with Storm climbing back down after having second thoughts. Rhino then followed him back down, and the match actually begins in the ring. Eventually they go back up to the scaffold, when Rhino chases Jackie Moore up the structure after she tried to interfere. Once up there, nothing much happens, and when Rhino finally kicked Storm through the structure and through a table in the ring to win the match, I was thankful that this one ended, and if I see another Elevation X match, it’ll be too soon.
Main event time, with Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles and Tomko taking on Kevin Nash, Christian Cage and Samoa Joe in six-man tag-team action. The Angle Alliance team had the disadvantage of being two against three for the first five minutes, with Tomko and Styles going without their leader at the beginning of the match. This was a really good match, with six good performances (and I never thought I’d be saying that about a Kevin Nash match these days). The way that Samoa Joe was portrayed was excellent, a good way to build up the impending title match with Kurt Angle, which, given their previous encounters, should be a classic. There’s simply nothing to fault in this match, which Joe won for his team after Tomko tapped out to the rear naked choke. A great way to end the show, and to build up to the big match.
In conclusion - while a little over-loaded with the gimmick matches, including one rather strange one, Destination X wasn’t that bad. The main event was clearly match of the night, with a couple of other matches following closely behind. But the main letdowns for me were the fish fight and the evolution of Eric Young into a super-hero. The less said about those things the better.
So now it’s on to Lockdown, probably my least favourite TNA pay-per-view of the year. Let’s hope Joe v Kurt tears the house down.