It was time to return to the Impact Zone and the return of the six-sided ring as TNA presented their latest pay-per-view, Destination X, shown this past Wednesday evening on Challenge here in Britain.
The show began with a battle of former X Division Champions as Frankie Kazarian faced Samoa Joe.
This was an awesome opener. We haven’t seen Joe put on a performance like this in years. It was beautiful to watch him dominate Kazarian early on with passion and a sparkle in his eye.
Kazarian did his part in making this a great match with his usual top notch performance, and like everyone in the Impact Zone I was hoping that Joe would take the win when he locked in the rear naked choke. Sadly it wasn’t to be as Kazarian managed to get to the ropes.
A few moments later it was all over, with Kazarian countering Joe’s second rear naked choke attempt with a roll up for the winning pin.
It was a battle of the Brits next in Doug Williams’ open challenge as the former Anarchist went up against Mark Haskins.
Williams came down to the ring with his British Invasion cohorts, but soon sent them to the back, turning his attention to Haskins so his could dish out the verbals.
While not as good as the opening match this was still a pretty enjoyable encounter. Williams put in his usual solid performance, once again proving he’s one of the best to come out of old Blighty in recent years.
Haskins did on his pay-per-view and pulled off some nice moves, but he can’t really be faulted for slipping off the top rope as he went for a shooting star press.
When Haskins was finally able to execute the move Williams moved out of the way and took the win with a roll-up for the winning pin.
Tag team action followed as Generation Me, Max and Jeremy Buck, in their last TNA match, took on Shark Boy and Eric Young, who looks like he’s about to embark on a career as a Grizzly Redwood tribute act.
This was a lot better than I thought it would be. Of course we had the usual comedic moments from Young and Sharky, but as the match went on these four put together some pretty good sequences.
The Bucks came out with their usual double team moves, but their opponent were able to hang with them quite easily, and it was the departing stars who took the win, Sharky taking Max down with the chummer before Young took the win after what looked like a wheelbarrow into a neck breaker.
The signature match of the division, the Ultimate X match, featured Shannon Moore, Robbie E, Amazing Red and Alex Shelley., with the winner getting a shot at the X Division title.
This was a great example of just what the X Division is about. We saw plenty of high flying moves with all four men taking the big bumps as they went after the big X in the centre of the ring.
There’s normally some fool who climbs to the top of the structure in these matches, and this time it was the turn of Shannon Moore as he edged his way across the top of the structure. But at the same time Red was shimmying across the cables, and he almost took the prize until Moore stomped on his hands and sent him crashing.
Shelley had, by that time, made his own way across the cables, and knocked Moore down to the mat before grabbing the X for himself to claim the win and a shot at the title. Nice stuff.
Then came the match I was looking forward to the most as Jerry Lynn and Rob Van Dam renewed their long standing rivalry.
These two may have lost a step or two in recent years, but put them in wrestling ring against each other and they’re still capable of putting on a great match.
It was just like the good old days, move for move and counter for counter as they brought out the best in each other in what could possibly be RVD’s best TNA match ever.
Things got even better when a chair was introduced into the equation. RVD took two big bumps onto the metal item, but it didn’t stop him making the big comeback, taking the win after taking Lynn down with the five star frog splash.
It’s a shame RVD can’t have matches like this in TNA all the time.
More four way action followed as Austin Aries, Zema Ion, Low-Ki and Jack Evans fought it out for a TNA contract.
As good as Ultimate X was, this was a whole lot better. All four men put in tremendous performances, and I even enjoyed what Jack Evans had to offer, and that’s something I haven’t said in years.
So what we had hear was four men going all out in a hard hitting fast paced encounter. It was a joy to watch, and if I tried to describe how great it all was it would take me way too long.
In the end it was Aries who took the win, taking Low Ki down with his trademark brain buster for the contract winning pin.
The only title match of the evening saw Brian Kendrick challenging Abyss for the X Division title.
This was your typical David versus Goliath battle, and it was also damn entertaining. Kendrick was running into the proverbial brick wall early on as the Monster proved to be the immovable force, but once Kendrick managed to bust Abyss open with a right hand it wasn’t long before he took control.
But when Kendrick took Abyss down with his sliced bread move the official was taking a snooze after getting accidentally clobbered by Abyss. It was then that Eric Bischoff came down to the ring, only to find himself on the receiving end of Kendrick’s right hand.
All hell broke loose. Gunnar, Bully Ray and Scott Steiner came down to the ring to stop Kendrick, but it wasn’t long before the rest of the X Division sent them packing. Seconds later it was all over. Abyss went for his big choke slam, only for Kendrick to counter with a roll up for the title winning pin.
As the members of Immortal looked on in horror Kendrick celebrated his win with the rest of the X Division guys. It really was a great moment.
The main event saw another old rivalry renewed as Christopher Daniels went up against A.J. Styles.
I’ve seen these two against each other countless times over the years, not just in TNA but for promotions in Britain and Ireland. All of those matches were top notch, and this wasn’t just right up there with them, it was better than them.
For over twenty minutes these men went all out and put on an excellent contest in the process. They could have just gone through the motions knowing each other like they do, but they didn’t. They gave us their all.
It was a tremendous piece of storytelling. Move for move, hold for hold, counter for counter. It was so enthralling I just couldn’t take my eyes off it, especially towards the end. Daniels kicked out after the Styles clash. Styles kicked out after the angel’s wings. From the way things were going it looked like they were going to go on all night.
But after Styles countered Daniels’ top rope angel’s wings attempts with a back drop the end was in sight, with Styles using the spiral tap, the very move that won him his first title in TNA all those years ago, to get the pin it brought this classic to an end, with the two friends paying tribute to each other afterwards.
In conclusion - I really hope that the powers that be, and everyone else in the company for that matter, were watching this.
This was, by far, the best show that TNA have put in during the Hogan/Bischoff era. Everything about it just seemed right, from the return of the six sided ring to the performances, even down to the crowd. It was great to see them at their vocal best, cheering and chanting for each and every match, which is something I haven’t seen from a TNA show in I don’t know how long.
The matches were extremely well executed, and were all so good it’s hard to pick out which one was the best.
So at the end of the day this year’s Destination X gets the big thumbs up from this particular writer for a show that was great in each and every way. I just hope that those in control learn a lesson from this little exercise.