The SmarK Rant for TNA Destination X 2012
Live from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Mike Tenay & Jeremy Borash
Opening match: Mason Andrews v. Rubix v. Dakota Darsow v. Lars Only
Winner of this immediately faces Kid Kash in the X title tournament. WWE viewers may be confused because these are all new people being showcased in a meaningful match. Rubix and Andrews clear the ring and Andrews gets dumped by a low dropkick, but Only comes back in with a flying headscissors. Only controls Smash Jr. with armdrags, but Repo Kid hits him with a spinning backbreaker and drops an elbow and leg for two. Only rolls him up for two. Rubix comes back in with a bodypress on Blacktop Boy for two, but charges and gets splatted. Dakota “Hole In One-Half” Darsow gets a front suplex for two, and I’m pretty much out of jokes about his name. Rubix clears the ring again and suplexes Andrews back in, but Mason changes his momentum off the irish whip and hits the other guys with a dive. SWEET. Rubix follows with his own and they should probably just give this dude a job already. They can just deduct the cost of Only’s bus ticket back to the high school gym they found him in, to save money. Back in the ring, Only gets a goofy indy-riffic neckbreaker on both Andrews & Rubix and goes to a facelock on Andrews, but Darsow breaks it up. Andrew charges and misses, and Only goes up, but Darsow cuts him off and we get the TOWER OF DOOM spot. That gets two for Darsow, but Rubix flies in with a springboard dropkick. The crowd picks Rubix as their favourite and everyone slugs it out, leading to finisher trading sequence. Only is left against Andrews, and Andrews hits him with a diamond cutter for the pin at 8:20 to advance. Total spot-fu, but this was fun and different and I enjoyed it. *** I kind of hope they hire Darsow so I can keep making fun of him, but WWE might be a better fit for him so they can use his heritage to….AHAHAHAHAHAHA, sorry, I couldn’t even finish typing that sentence with a straight face.
Mason Andrews v. Kid Kash
Winner of this advances to the finals. Kash immediately attacks and sends him into the ringpost. That gets two and Kash throws chops on the ropes, but Mason comes back with dropkicks and a crucifix for two. Kash drops him on the top rope and puts him down with kicks for two, and a drop suplex gets two. Elbow from the middle rope gets two. Kash flips him off and gets two again, and then cuts off a comeback with a clothesline and drops an elbow for two. Kash goes to a top wristlock and slugs him down to cut off another comeback. Kash goes up and misses the moonsault, and Andrews finally gets his comeback. Elbows and a dropkick and Kash misses a blind charge, allowing Andrews to hit a flying headscissors and missile dropkick that suffered from a bad camera angle. Pump kick/knee gets two. They trade sunset flips and do the pinfall reversal sequence, but Andrews rolls him up for the pin at 8:05. Good basic “underdog v. veteran” match with no fancy stuff to keep the story simple. **1/2
Kenny King v. Douglas Williams
Doug takes him down with a headlock and they work off that to start, with Williams getting a sunset flip for two. King comes back and slugs away in the corner, and he blocks a rollup for two. King with a backslide for two. Doug offers a handshake and then CHEATS TO WIN, dumping King off a cheapshot, but Kenny hits him with a dive for his troubles. Back in, King slugs away and they go back a headlock to keep it basic, and King fires off some armdrags to control. Williams fires back with a flying elbow out of the corner and clotheslines him to set up another heat segment on King. Kenny fires back with a sunset flip for two. I like that Williams is working a more slow and deliberate style so that King looks better with his sudden offensive flurries. Williams gets an atomic drop, but King hits him with an enzuigiri and they’re both down. King makes the comeback with clotheslines and a high kick for two. Spinebuster gets two. Williams evades him in the corner in a neat spot and they fight to the top, but King bumps to the floor and Williams follows with a high knee from the top. Back in, that gets two. King comes back with a springboard clothesline for two. Williams rolls him up for two, but King gets the ropes to break. They go back up and King escapes him, then hits the uranage for the pin at 10:32. Again, simple and effective to get King over. ***
Meanwhile, Chris Daniels and his APPLETINI talk to Christie Hemme about tonight’s match with AJ Styles.
Sonjay Dutt v. Rashad Cameron
Sonjay with a dropkick for two, but Kirk Cameron quickly dumps him and hits a dive. Back in, Rashad Evans gets two and throws chops in the corner. Sonjay blocks a charge and snaps off a headscissors to put Candace Cameron on the floor, but Phylicia Rashad chokes him out on the ropes when they head back in. Ahmad Rashad with a bodyscissors and he chops away in the corner, but Dutt bulldogs him into the corner and guillotines him. Dutt with the springboard splash for two. Dutt has just improved SO much since his sprinkler days. Larry Cameron comes back with a rollup for two and a flying headscissor takedown into a cross armbreaker, but Dutt makes the ropes. James Cameron goes for the finish, but Dutt reverses into his own DDT and goes up to finish with the MOONSAULT FOOT STOMP at 7:09. Holy FUCK is that move badass. How does he DO THAT?!? Cameron Diaz was game here, but Dutt is just THE MAN right now and he made him look bush league. **1/2
Jesse Sorenson gets a video package, with a doctor who actually says “Oh yeah, he broke his neck, but I think he’ll be fine” instead of the usual thing where they play up his career-ending injury. If it was James Andrews his diagnosis would be to tape it up and work through it. And indeed, Jesse joins us in the ring for a promo, which is more promos than he ever got on Impact when he had a neck in one piece. He does a good speech about how he’ll be back soon, and that he hopes Zema Ion wins the X title tonight so he can beat him for the belt. What a concept. The heel does something bad and they use it to set up a program. See, now Jesse actually has something to DO besides “Guy who used to play football in high school.” Now he’s “guy who had a broken neck and wants revenge.” Sure, both make him about the same level as Buff Bagwell, but you could do worse. And Zema comes out for his match and continues to NOT FEEL SORRY about breaking his neck.
Zema Ion v. Flip Cassanova
Ion attacks Flipper to start and chops him in the corner, but Flip flips and hits a dropkick, or flipkick, then flips into a headscissors. Ion bails and Flip flips into a dive. He should have FLIPPED him off for good measure. Back in, Flip flips into a standing moonsault, but lands on Ion’s knees and flips into the corner, allowing Ion to take over. This guy just gets on my nerves. Flip McFlippity, not Ion. Ion is annoying but at least he doesn’t embody every indy worker cliché in the book. Ion hits his own dive and stomps him into the ring, then pauses for a hairspray break. Chekhov’s gun, baby. Or Checkhov’s hairspray can, I guess. Flip flips on him for two and goes up, missing a flip, and Ion finishes with a Gory Special into a faceplant at 4:00. Flip can fuck off back to the indies now and hopefully never return. *1/2
Meanwhile, Christie interviews the X-division contenders and they drop some quick promos before Boddy Roode interrupts and calls them all losers.
Bound For Glory Series: Samoa Joe v. Kurt Angle
Crowd is split here and Joe fights for a headlock to start and goes for the choke quickly, but Angle reverses to the anklelock, and Joe escapes that. I love that both guys are submission specialists and therefore GO FOR SUBMISSIONS because it’s more points. I’m also enjoying that Joe gets pushed and therefore becomes motivated and justifies his push as a result. Maybe ROH should hire Russo and then fire him, too. Joe slugs him down in the corner and adds the boot rubs, then dumps Angle and hits the suicide dive. Back in, Angle gets a cheapshot and stomps a mudhole in the corner, but Angle blocks a muscle buster attempt and busts out a missile dropkick of all things. Joe fights back, but Angle catches him with a belly to belly for two. Angle goes to a rear chinlock and Joe fights up, but Angle tries the pop up superplex, which Joe blocks with a flying leg lariat for two. Angle fights back, but Joe hits him with an atomic drop and senton for two. Powerslam gets two. Joe floats into the cross-armbreaker, trying for the submission win again, but Angle reverses into the anklelock and then the rolling germans. Sure, suplex the 300 pound dude around the ring on a bad neck, why not? He might be crazy but you can’t fault him for lack of effort these days. Joe escapes the Angle Slam and punts him in the face, but Angle reverses the muscle buster into the anklelock. Joe rolls out of that and catches him on a blind charge with the uranage, and this time he gets the muscle buster for two. He tries the choke, but Angle reverses to the anklelock again and he’s got in the middle. Joe does a cool reversal into the rear naked choke, as the camera catches the “Joe-Ism” motto on his wrist tape. Is that a Street Fighter Alpha reference? Because if so, KUDOS. Angle escapes and hits the Slam for two. The straps are down and he goes for it again with time running out, but Joe reverses to the choke again and hangs on until the ref calls for the bell at 14:35 when Angle can’t respond. So that’s 10 points and the lead for Joe, but Angle revives and complains that he didn’t tap. That’s quite the technicality. These two are obviously motivated and having fun right now, and I say MORE OF THIS! ****
Last Man Standing: AJ Styles v. Christopher Daniels
Daniels pauses for some stretches outside the ring, because conditioning is important, and then pokes AJ in the eyes. AJ is all fired up and slugs away in the corner, so Daniels ducks out again and they brawl on the floor, as AJ is clearly upset about being accused of fathering a crack baby. If this is what it took to get him motivated again, I would have done it months ago. They head back into the ring and AJ gets the high dropkick and throws kicks with MUSTARD before pounding Daniels down with elbows. Suplex into the corner elicits a smile from me because they guys love their artform. Styles misses a splash and Daniels throws chops in the corner, but AJ throws them HARDER because he’s a MAN and not a big pussy like CM Punk has become. Daniels slugs him down and they head out for supplies, as Daniels brings a chair in, but AJ comes back with a dive off the chair…and misses. Daniels suplexes him onto the chair and breaks the damn thing, giving us our first count of the match. AJ is up before 10 and Daniels clotheslines him to the floor and introduces him to the stairs in between arguing with the front row. AJ is bleeding this is wrestling and blood is awesome sometimes. Like now. Daniels adds a suplex on the floor and preps the stairs for nefarious purposes, but AJ fights back until Daniels kicks him in the face to stop him. Back in, Daniels takes a run at him with the chair, but AJ springboards with a forearm, knocking the chair back into Daniels’ face, and oh yeah we’ve got double blood. Selling toys is wonderful, but sometimes you just want to watch guys who hate each other kicking each other in the face and bleeding all over the ring. Because we’re WRESTLING FANS, not members of a Universe. They fight up the ramp and AJ continues kicking his ass, but he charges and they clothesline each other. They slug it out and AJ hits the enzuigiri and tells the ref not to count because he’s not finished kicking ass yet. He sets up for the Clash, but Daniels backdrops out. They fight by the screen and AJ hits his moonsault DDT off the railing, and this time the ref does count Daniels down. Despite AJ’s orders to stay down, Kazarian comes out and throws Styles off the ramp and allows Daniels to recover. AJ beats the count at 8 and they continue fighting into the crowd, as Daniels retrieves a table. He goes for the Angel’s Wings, but AJ backdrops Daniels into Kazarian, hits the Pele, and then finishes Daniels with a Styles Clash off the ramp and through the TABLE! HOLY SHIT! Daniels is dead, AJ is your winner at 17:34. How are they gonna follow THAT?! ****1/2 This was AWESOME. Two men kicking the shit out of each other for HONOR. AJ was WRONGED and he put Daniels through a fucking table to prove his point. Because that’s what real men do in wrestling.
Meanwhile, speaking of real men, Austin Aries is ready to challenge for the title.
X Division title, Ultimate X: Mason Andrews v. Zema Ion v. Sonjay Dutt v. Kenny King
Ion makes the quick climb first and has to fight off all three guys, and they combine for a TRIPLE DROPKICK on him. Dutt hits King with a flying headscissors and climbs, but Ion shoves him and King down. He gets rid of Andrews and climbs again, but King saves and hangs him in the Tree of Woe, then suplexes Andrews into Ion. Nice. King and Dutt slug it out on the apron and King kicks him to the floor and pops right to the cables, but Sonjay knocks him down and adds a standing moonsault, but overshoots and messes up his shoulder in the process. The refs give the X sign (apropos I guess) and Dutt disappears. The others carry on as Ion climbs and gets halfway to the belt, but the others pull him down and King hits a legdrop on him. King goes up and Andrews brings him down with a backdrop suplex. King whiffs on a dive on Ion, but Andrews hits both of them as a result. Mason gets back in and climbs for the belt, but King spears him off the cables. Dutt actually returns and climbs the scaffolding like a crazy person, while King and Andrews meet in the middle at the belt and take each other out. Ion and Dutt bypass the cable and climb to the top of the scaffolding itself, fighting in the middle there, but Ion pulls out the HAIRSPRAY OF DEATH, blinds Dutt, and claims the X title at 8:40 to piss off the crowd. Yeah, he might be annoying, but now you’ve got the Dutt program for a couple of months and then the Sorenson program at Bound for Glory, so I can see why they did it. Not the best Ultimate X match because it was pretty short with guys who didn’t have the experience, but it didn’t need to be, luckily. ***1/4 Ion cuts a funny heel promo afterwards, thanking Jesse for breaking his neck and making the title win possible for him.
TNA World title: Bobby Roode v. Austin Aries
Aries offers a high five and then DENIES Roode. Bet he did that to Steve Austin and that’s why he was cut from Tough Enough. They trade wristlocks and Roode puts him down, but Aries gets a side roll for two. He rolls into an STF attempt, but Roode escapes and gives him a little slapping for some mental warfare. Aries rides him to the mat and gives him the slaps right back, then slingshots in with a splash and an elbow for two. They work off the headlock and Aries dropkicks him out of the ring and follows with the double axehandle from the top. Back in, Aries misses a missile dropkick, allowing Roode to take over and choke him out in the corner. Suplex into a kneedrop gets two. Roode goes to the chinlock and Aries fights up, but Roode elbows him down again. He goes up and misses a kneedrop from the middle. Aries comes back with kicks into an atomic drop, and he tries for the Last Chancery, but Roode makes the ropes. Aries dumps him and follows with the suicide dive, but this time it proves to be apropos as Aries hits the railing. Back in, Roode gets a suplex for two and goes to a bodyscissors, then cuts off a comeback attempt with a knee to the gut. He whips Aries into the turnbuckles not once, not twice, but THRICE and follows with a fireman’s carry into a faceplant for two. Aries elbows out of a bearhug, but Roode puts him down with a clothesline for two. I think it’s really cool that the front rows are all standing because they want AA to win so badly. Roode puts the badmouth on him and Aries gets fired up, and they slug it out with forearms. Aries gets a spinning forearm to put him down, showing some awesome fire, and he clotheslines Roode to the floor and this time he hits his dive. Back in, Aries with the missile dropkick, but he runs into a Roode powerslam that gets two. Roode tries a spear, but Aries catches him with the Last Chancery, which Roode reverses into the crossface. Aries reverses into his own submission again and the crowd is hanging on everything, but Roode pokes him in the eyes to break. Roode spears him into the corner and follows with a superplex, but Aries hits him with knees while hanging in mid-air, and comes down with a 450 that misses. Roode hits the spinebuster for two, and I thought that might have been it. Roode sends him into the post to set up the crossface again, and the crowd is freaking right out about this. Aries tries to roll out, but Roode hangs on. The current WWE finish is that Aries taps here because he’s a spunky cruiserweight who just can’t hang. Aries finally fights and makes the ropes, so Roode grabs the belt, but the ref cuts him off. This allows Roode to go low for two. Roode stops to argue the cadence of the count, and Aries hits him with the dropkick intot he corner and goes for the brainbuster, but Roode escapes and the ref is bumped. Roode gets the belt again while Aries revives the ref, and Roode puts him down for two. That was an awesome near-fall. Aries’ last-moment kickout was tremendous timing. Roode gets frustrated now and Aries cradles for two off a suplex. Roode charges, hits the post, and Aries hits the brainbuster for the pin and the title at 22:30, and the crowd goes APESHIT. Like they were all hanging on the edge of their seat and just EXPLODED with relief when Aries actually won the damn thing. So hey, even if they reverse this next month, they’ve made a new star by having Hogan endorse him and then pulling the trigger at exactly the peak of his popularity. I LOVED this. The middle was a bit slow, but if I was watching live I would have been losing my mind at the end along with the crowd. ****1/2
What an amazing palette-cleanser after RAW. Here’s a quick personal anecdote for you: A couple of days ago I smashed the back of my head into an open tailgate on a van through circumstances too banal to relate here. Basically I’m Homer Simpson and that’s what happens to me. I have a hard head so I wasn’t concussed or anything, but I messed up my neck and pinched a nerve in it, resulting in me laying around the couch in pain most of Sunday with a blinding headache and stiff neck. Finally after the various drugs, hot and cold treatments, and attempts at massaging it away, I woke up this morning, went to work, and suddenly felt my neck crack out of nowhere while walking around, and the pain miraculously disappeared as fast as it came. Anyone who has endured the same type of thing knows the wonderful feeling of relief that comes when the body suddenly fixes itself like that. To put it in wrestling terms, RAW was the pain in my neck tonight, and this PPV was the wonderful crack that made me feel better again. Yeah, the first half kind of dragged and the indy guys pretty much suck, but I can’t think of a better series of matches than the last four that I’ve seen all year. I loved this show so, so much. I hope they keep doing this until they get 2.0s and 30,000 buys per show, because I’ll keep pimping them until they do.