The Recap for TNA Destination X, live from Louisville, KY, 7/18/2013. This arena doesn't look like the Yum! Center or Freedom Hall, so I have no idea where in Louisville this is.
We open with a video package about Chris Sabin - a 10-year journey comes to a head today. This has a "Lose Yourself" vibe going for it.
Bully Ray is out to open the show, and Tenay tells us that Tazz is not on commentary. Neither Tenay nor his commentary partner have any idea as to his whereabouts. Bully is incensed that all he's heard about all week long is "one little boy." This gets the crowd going in a "lets go Sabin" chant. It doesn't matter because Bully knows Sabin doesn't have a chance in hell of winning the World Title. Bully wants the fans to plan a funeral for Sabin. He declares this to be the perfect night to destroy all his enemies. He also wants to talk to his wife, so he calls out Brooke. Bully reiterates that she can only move on when he wants her to. He does this while waggling his ring finger in her face. That brings out Hogan, who's had enough and starts to leave, but Bully stops them. He promises never to give Brooke a divorce or lose the World Title. Now the Main Event Mafia appear on the screen to promise Bully that he's going to lose the title tonight, because his "brotherhood" is not stronger than the MEM's "family." 0 for 1. A strange way to open the show, and unlike their last few shows, it didn't really establish any show-long arc.
Match 1: Bound for Glory Series: Bobby Roode (0) v Austin Aries (7) We start with a bit of mat wrestling, but Roode manages to avoid Aries' headstand dropkick for a stalemate. The next exchange has Aries running into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but he blocks an apron-to-inside suplex and dumps Roode. He follows up with an axehandle, but in the ring, Roode stops a missile dropkick with a dropkick of his own. Aries has to catch his breath, but Roode follows with a diving clothesline as we head to a break. Back from the break, Aries runs right into the spinebuster for 2. Roode sets up for a superplex for Aries fights him off and follows with a 450 for 2. They slug it out, and Roode winds up outside, where Aries hits him with the Heat-Seeking Missile. Roode is laid out on the metal staircase at ringside, so Aries drags him back in and nails a missile dropkick and the corner dropkick. Roode stops the Brainbuster but gets rolled up, but turns it into the crossface. Backslide gets two for Roode, but Aries drops him with a DDT. Roode stops the charge with a boot, but nearly runs right into the Brainbuster. Aries blocks the Payoff with the roaring elbow, but Roode AGAIN blocks the Brainbuster by reversing into a fireman's carry. Aries, however, slips out of that and the Brainbuster finishes in 12 minutes. 1 for 2. The usual good stuff from these two. Roode is still winless in the BFG Series. Postmatch, he takes his frustrations out on various things around ringside.
Homicide meets Hernandez backstage for an LAX reunion, but Chavo interrupts. They tease a little tension, but all's well in the Latino camp tonight. Chavo has the dream scenario laid out - Chavo will win the X-Division title, Hernandez will win the BFG Series, and next year at Destination X, it'll be Hernandez v Chavo for the World Title. Dream on, Chavo.
Aces and Eights are backstage where Anderson briefly addresses the departure of DOC, apparently because losing the election "pushed him over the edge." Anderson wants to make sure everyone is on their game tonight, because it's going to be a big night.
Match 2: X-Division Tournament: Homicide v Petey Williams v Sonjay Dutt This is the first of three triple-threat matches tonight, the winners of which will face each other for the X-Division Title next week. Homicide beats up on Sonjay to start and dumps both of them, but Petey dropkicks him coming back in. Sonjay gets ranas on both of them, but Petey drops him on his head with a slingshot DDT. Cool little spot as Petey has Dutt in an Indian deathlock, and hiptosses a rushing Homicide while maintaining the hold. Homicide breaks that up with a diving headbutt, and it's a pier-3 brawl. Homicide has the advantage with the Cutter on Dutt for 2, and he sets him up in the corner, but Sonjay fights him off. Petey crotches HIM, however, but Homicide breaks up the Oh Canada. Petey and Homicide escape each other's finishers, but Homicide gets the Cop Killa on the second try. Dutt breaks up the pin and finishes Homicide with the Moonsault Double Stomp in 4 minutes. 2 for 3. The very definition of Impact Special(tm), but a hot finish saves this from being a miss.
Match 3: X-Division Tournament: Kenny King v Manik v Chavo Guerrero Tenay keeps emphasizing the "Jr." part of Chavo's name. King dominates both with kicks as Guerrero gets dumped. King rolls a suplex into a full mount on Manik, but Manik comes back by catching him in an octopus hold. Manik switches to a deathlock and catches a charging Chavo in a Northern Lights bridge at the same time. Both escape, and Guerrero controls with dropkicks on both Manik and King. A flying bodypress by Manik wipes out both Chavo and Kenny, and they do a cute alley-oop dropkick that King catches in the face. Guerrero escapes a hammerlock with the Three Amigos, but takes too long to set up the Frog Splash, allowing Manik time to catch up with him. King nails the running knees and dumps Chavo off an enzuigiri. He stops to celebrate, but takes too long and Manik finishes him off with the PUMA Crush in 5 minutes. 2 for 4. It's the exact same formula as the last match, though the execution isn't as great.
Backstage, Rampage Jackson wants to knock somebody out. Magnus approves.
Chris Sabin is hanging out with Hogan, who wants to make sure he brings home the belt tonight.
The Main Event Mafia head out and Angle promises a brutal fight tonight. He puts the A&E on notice for turning TNA upside down. Magnus plays cheerleader, but now Mr. Anderson appears on the screen, pressing the need to conserve energy for the post-match celebration. Anderson invites the MEM backstage, and they are only too happy to oblige. Backstage, it's all a plan to isolate Kurt Angle from the rest of the Mafia, and he's beaten up, thrown into the back of a truck, and driven away. 2 for 5. Pretty lame for what was supposed to be a brutal, intense brawl.
Match 4: X-Division Tournament: Rubix v Rockstar Spud v Greg Marasciulo They really should've considered the placement of these matches. Rubix is Jigsaw, and Greg is Trent Barreta. Spud gets dumped to start and Rubix and Greg fight it out. Spud tries to get back in it, only to get hit with a baseball slide and a suicide dive. Greg takes out Rubix outside, but the cover inside gets only 2. No one gains a decisive advantage until Spud runs right into a Rubix German for 2. Spud kicks his head in for 2, but gets taken out by Greg's missile dropkick. Spud wants to take a breather, but Greg busts out a tope to take him out! Back inside, Rubix crotches Greg at the turnbuckle and goes coast-to-coast on him, but Spud tries to steal one with a sneaky cover for 2. Spud's kick takes care of Rubix, but then he walks right into Greg's Jig N Tonic and that's game at 6 minutes. 3 for 6. Extended Impact Special(tm), but it was chaotic and hard-hitting.
Bully Ray is quite happy about a plan well executed and instructs the driver to take the kidnapped Angle to a spot they had previously discussed. Bully says to do it "Mafia style" and make him an offer he won't refuse.
Mickie James heads out as we take an abrupt commercial break. Back from the break, Kurt Angle has driven himself back to the arena and heads inside. Mickie wants to talk about a moment last week that transcended everything and raised the bar for women's wrestling. She's talking about her performance at Music City, of course! Gail Kim takes offense to this, and points out that her match with Taryn Terrell stole the show. Mickie rates Gail's match a "solid two, two-and-a-half" but says her own performance was a certified five. She counts it out for Gail, but misses with the slap, and now we have a catfight! The refs separate them, giving Mickie the chance to gloat while stuffing the belt right in Gail's face. 3 for 7. I'm a huge fan of heel Mickie, but Gail can't carry a promo to save her life. The match borne out of this should be good, though.
Austin Aries catches up to Chris Sabin to remind him that Aries beat Bully Ray, and Sabin beat Aries, so he can beat Bully. Aries takes credit for pulling Sabin's game up to a level that even Chris didn't know existed.
AJ Styles, looking more emo than Jeff Hardy, puts Jeff Hardy on notice for their BFG Series match next week. AJ claims that Hardy's a "hero," but this is no place for a hero.
Match 5: TNA World Heavyweight Title: Bully Ray v Chris Sabin They engage in a trash talk battle, which Bully predictably wins. They man up and exchange some strikes in a surly sequence. Sabin bursts a blood vessel or two in that sequence, because his chest looks like he's been through a chopping war with Ric Flair. Ray rushes at him but Sabin unleashes a flurry of strikes until Ray catches a kick and slams him down with the weight coming down on Sabin's injured knee. Sabin heads out to recover, but now both the A&E and the MEM make their entrances as we go to a break.
Back from the break, Ray is in the process of destroying Sabin's knee while mouthing off to each Mafia member in turn. Ray grabs a leglock but takes too long to pull off Sabin's kneepad and shoestring, allowing Sabin to come back with a brief flurry. Bully ends that with a clothesline and goes right back to dissecting the leg. Ray stops to talk trash to Rampage Jackson, allowing Sabin another brief comeback, but this one ends when Ray takes the other leg out from under him.
Ray starts to go after the other kneepad now, tossing Sabin from corner to corner. Sabin decides to try heading up, but his leg is shot, so it takes too long. Ray crotches him and brings him down with a superplex for 2. Now Sabin comes to life and stops the Bully Bomb. Enzuigiri sets up a missile dropkick, but referee Brian Hebner is inexplicably in such a horrible position that he too gets wiped out. Anderson tries to sneak in the hammer, but Magnus spots him, kickstarting a big brawl. The Mafia gain control and clear the ring of A&E. Both factions brawl towards backstage, but the hammer is still in the ring. Ray gets his hands on it and wants to do some damage, but Sabin stops him. Bully regains control and wants a powerbomb, but Sabin has the hammer, TONKS him in the head, and lands on him for the pin in 19 minutes. Chris Sabin is TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Louisville is down with that. 4 for 8. Slow and methodical formula match here that is elevated by the intensity of both men and the crowd. Bully brought some great character moments, Sabin had the requisite spunk, and his title win was a great moment to close out the show.
Wrestling Counter: 46 minutes.
A great main event saved an otherwise middling show. It opened and closed with good wrestling and everything in-between managed to flow without being noticeably bad. The crowd were pretty energetic throughout, which is in sharp contrast with the Impact Zone.
They put the belt on Sabin?! They wasted Bully Ray's big loss on that, on a free show on a midcarder for life who has no hope of becoming a big main event star? Jesus Christ, this is like last year all over again where they blew off Roode's reign for no adequate reason, except instead of the shooting star of Aries they've got a guy who's barely been back five minutes and couldn't even retain his X-Division title three weeks ago.
I guess we can definitely pencil in Bully/Hogan for BfG now.
Good for Sabin. I meet him at a house show a few years ago and he is one of the good guys. When TNA has all, but given up on PPVs, you might as well try to pop the rating. I imagine this will be more of a Lex beating Hogan during the NWO storyline. As much as everyone loves heel Bully Ray, its not like he is moving the ratings. This might generate interest to move the ratings up which is TNA's primary concern.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Their ratings haven't moved in *four years*. Sacrificing a long form storyline for some phantom ratings bump, especially when it involves burning the heat of a top heel they've invested *18 months* of build in, is crazy. At BfG you've either got a heel champ who's already been beat once by a midcarder, or a face champ who's nowhere neat being a credible top guy.
One would argue this 18 month story has gone on about 12 months too many. That whatever juice there was for someone going over these guys is long gone. Aries would be my pick, but they seem determined to keep him a heel, so here is the best choice that isn't Sting or Jeff or Hogan.
Should TNA built Sabin up more, sure. No question about that, but sometimes the out of nowhere win generates the most buzz. It may not, I honestly don't care. Sabin is been one of their guys for a long time and he deserves this. I am sure it will last for a few weeks and that will be it. Its better to take the belt off of Bully, so Hogan doesn't find a way to get it at BFG even if he is not in the tournament. He'll pull a WM9 on them. Let Sabin and Aries tear the house down and let Bully and Hogan have their old timers match.
(edited by lotjx on 19.7.13 0720) The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Put me in the camp of Sabin supporters. The X matches were fine for tv outings. Nice to see some non regular guys brought in.I actually liked the catfight segment for what it was, simple story set up to a match pitting the 2 top heels looking to outdo each other. My main concern though is that the remaining babyface KO's are going to struggle trying to carry a decent title chase. The ME was good but Aries/Roode was still match of the night IMO. The MEM is cool in concept but flawed in execution as they're bogged down in the continuously awful Aces & 8's program.
I enjoyed Bully Ray's run as champion. He was helped a lot by the elimination of monthly PPVs. Without having to go through stale repetitions of challenges from foes of the month his reign never felt like it was dragging on for too long.
Chris Sabin is a ridiculously out of nowhere champion. Since I started watching TNA in late '09, his primary portrayal has been as a tag guy. I'm vaguely aware that he used to be a singles star years ago, but I never saw much sign of him being ready for another big singles run (especially with his injury issues).
James Storm's 2011 win was a shock as well, but in that case Storm had been on a roll in the BfG series beforehand at least. We'll see if Sabin can hold onto the title for longer than Storm's two weeks.
Rampage Jackson needs to wear a suit if he's going to be in the Mafia. He can keep his chain though. Magnus continues to wear his suit well. Its weird seeing Joe be relevant again.
Aces and Eights should have had a segment where they beat down everyone who was leaving the company, so as to wrap up their characters. Particularly Doc.
They actually pulled the trigger on Sabin? That's...very surprising. I thought this had "plucky underdog puts up a valiant effort, but just comes up short" written all over it. It just feels very...sudden. Sabin's initial X Division title win was pretty out-of-nowhere and the three-way format killed just about any interest in his short title reign. Contrast this with Aries taking the world by storm last year and going into his Destination X match with all the momentum in the world and you can see why Sabin's win this year just didn't have that same effect.
I don't expect this to stick, as I'd imagine Ray gets the title back in their rematch. But hey, all issues aside, good for Sabin! He's a hard worker who's paid his dues. What does a few weeks in the sun hurt?
I think characters and stories, don't you? The fact that you know the Michaels character so well... and you know the Jericho character so well... and you know that one really is related to the other...