Ultimate X for the X-Division Championship
What an incredible let-down for a match they spent an hour building up at the start of the night. Ultimate X was supposed to be the flagship event for a PPV centered AROUND THE X-DIVISION, and they just didn't deliver. It may have ever been my least favorite match on the whole damn card, and I find it hard to believe that's even possible.
Don't get me wrong, my frustration has nothing to do with Zema Ion winning the belt. For months I've known it was going to be Ion to eventually take the belt from Aries (in fact, I wrote an editorial not too long ago saying he was going to do it without Aries ever losing). He was only X-Division talent involved in this tournament that has been pushed on Impact with any degree of consistency, so I really wasn't that upset. Kenny King will have his shot, Mason Andrews will probably stick around and once Dutt recovers from the shoulder injury suffered in this match, he may even grace TNA with his presence once again.
My frustration comes simply out of not being impressed. Five matches preceded this Ultimate X, not counting all the qualifiers from the last few weeks of Impact Wrestling. There were some cool spots, some fast-paced exchanged, but nothing that really blew my mind. The ending was weak, and despite it going along with Zema's gimmick, it cheapened the feel of one of TNA's most unique match types.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
I could just hear the words of good ole' JR in the back of my head last night: "Bah gawd, Austin did it!" This is the part where I have to eat my words, as just 24 hours ago I went out on what I thought was a very wide limb, and said "the title is not going to change hands tonight. Not at Destination X. And it shouldn't." I'm still not convinced this was the best PPV, in front of the best crowd to make the switch happen, but I'm damn sure glad I was wrong about the title changing hands!
Bobby Roode has had simply the best World title run in several years, for either company. Austin Aries has spent the last year resurrecting a dead X-Division – rather successfully if I may add. It's fitting that here at the showcase of that Division, Austin Aries would put everything he's worked for in TNA on the line for one shot at "immortality" (brother!). I should have seen this coming. Aries wasn't on the Bound for Glory series list, he had beaten everyone in the X-Division, and was being publicly endorsed by Hulk Hogan. I should have seen this coming a mile away.
The big accomplishment here was not only Aries and Roode following up a near-perfect match in Styles/Daniels, but actually doing justice to Roode's amazing Championship reign. The story told was spot-on, and they booked the ending to mimick all the other times Roode had cheated to win. It wasn't obvious that Austin Aries was going to walk away Champion in that match, and in fact most believed he wouldn't. When Roode hit him with the belt across the skull, I legitimately thought it was over. To my surprise, and to the surprise of those around me when I jumped out of my seat, he kicked out. And then he got back up, hit the brainbuster, and walked out of Destination X the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Sure, there will be time to question the intelligence of this decision. There will be a place for pre-maturely judging TNA for mishandling Aries as the Champion, even before he wrestles his first match with the title. But my job here is to talk Destination X, not Championship reigns. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode tore the house down, refused to play second fiddle to anybody else on the card, and showed why TNA is truly the best name in professional wrestling right now.
Destination X suffered from a lot of small details that piled up to make my viewing experience a lot less stellar than it could have been.
1.) The X-Division tournament could have been handled better. Enough has been said on that.
2.) Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash should never, under ANY circumstance, be alone on commentary. By the second hour we had already heard about JB "traveling with ____ and getting to know them" at least five times. They were boring as all hell, spotted moves incorrectly and stated facts that were simply wrong. The next time a PPV opens with this team at the table, I'm going to turn it off immediately.
3.) TNA can not continue doing pay-per-views at the Impact Zone. The live episodes of Impact are fine, but after the extraodinary Slammiversary crowd going back to the Zone cheapened the whole experience. The audience was flat the entire show, which made it hard for me to buy into any of the matches. The wrestlers don't deserve that, and more importantly, the fans actually paying to see the show don't deserve that.
If you get past these three major annoyances, Destination X was filled with great wrestling. AJ Styles and Chris Daniels stole the show (is anybody surprised?), but Joe/Angle and Aries/Roode more than held their own. Nobody was really out-shined or outclassed, save for maybe the whole of the X-Division after a rather poor Ultimate X match. I will say that TNA continued its string of great pay-per-views for the second month in a row, but they really need to fix the complaints I listed above to make the entire viewing experience worth the money.
OVERAL RATING: 8.5/10
Click here for complete results from TNA Destination X
Click here to read my official Preview & Predictions for TNA Destination X
Follow me on Twitter @MikeKillam
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?