Views from the Hawke's Nest: TNA Destination X 2014
Posted by TJ Hawke on 08.03.2014
Austin Aries cashes in Option C again, but the Hardys and Wolves steal the show!
We saw an Austin Aries promo where he said he will take the TNA Championship from Bobby Lashley tonight.
The greatest stable in the history of professional wrestling, Dixieland, came out start the show. Dixie Carter cut a promo on how the fans are all living in the past with their ECW nostalgia. Is it a shoot!?!?! Rockstar Spud had a fantastic suit on. I hope TNA is footing the bill for his weekly fashion show. Dixie then put over WWECW as being better than ECW. It's definitely a shoot! EC3 then introduced Rycklon, Snitsky, and Rhino as a part of Dixieland. EC3 proposed one final battle between this group and the EV 3.0. Hopefully, EV 3.0 answers before the end of the show so there's something hyped up for next week. I thought this promo was entertaining in the best way possible. Dixie comparing WWECW and ECW was both hysterical and on point in several ways, which makes her words more interesting. It was also perfect for this crowd since the crowd will clearly be pro-ECW still after all these years. Is there something sad about running down the babyfaces for being sad, nostalgic driven acts? Yes, but I get the impression that the ECW nostalgia was something for this set of tapings, and it won't be a part of a major angle going into Bound for Glory. If ECW is a major focus for the next three months/rest of TNA's existence, it will be a mistake.
This was a really good tag match, and TNA deserves a ton of credit for putting this matchup and putting it in a position to succeed. Even with the clean finish, it felt like there was more than enough room for a rematch down the line.
The Hardys are not the daredevils that they used to be, but they still know how to put together an effective tag team match. At this stage in their careers, I firmly believe that The Wolves are better off in a TNA or WWE than on the indies. Their style does not work for long matches, and the indies are all about going long for the sake of long these days. Match Rating: ***3/4
There was a video package on Low Ki, which was well done. There was also a good backstage moment where Ki and Samoa Joe crossed paths. It effectively teased an inevitable rematch between the two.
Low Ki vs. Manik vs. DJ Zema
The winner of this match goes on to the Ultimate X match for the X Division Championship.
Ki was very over. Zema hit an early springboard dropkick on both men. The match was mostly back and forth action from all three men. Manik looked to have advantage at one point. He even took two big kicks from Ki before giving him a Northern Lights Suplex while he had Zema in a submission. Ki came back and hit both men with a shotgut dropkick. Ki hit Zema with a Tidal Crush that sent him to the floor. He then gave Manik a double stomp and Ki Krusher: 1…2…3
This match was also a lot of fun. They had a limited amount of time and got in a ton of action. I think the only way it could have been better is if they were all using big moves as a means of trying to end the match as quickly as possible. Regardless, this was very enjoyable. Match Rating: ***
We saw footage of Sanada turning on The Great Muta the week before. Sanada is apparently now allied with James Storm who came out. I can't think of anything less interesting for Sanada to do then to be in a group with James Storm. Storm did an official introduction for Sanada.
James Storm and Sanada Fan Fiction Intermission #1
Storm: I will be taking over TNA. Do you have interest in forming a secret alliance?
Sanada: Absolutely, I do.
Sanada vs. Brian Cage vs. Crazzy Steve (w/ The Menagerie)
Cage used his combination of speed and power to dominate the early moments of the match. Cage is a giant of a human being. Cage did the Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam spot on both of them. Brian Cage is perfect for TNA. Steve escaped the Fucking Machine Suplex and gave Cage a sunset flip powerbomb. Sanada and Steve went at it. Cage came back and went for the Lionsault on Steve, but Steve avoided it. Sanada then hit Steve with a bridging Tiger Suplex: 1…2…3. Sanada joins Low Ki in the X Division Championship match.
I like Sanada, but this match was structured to make Brian Cage look awesome. I guess this could start a story of Sanada getting victories without really earning them, but that's not all that interesting. Brian Cage was fun to watch, but in the end, this match was not much. Match Rating: *
Team 3-D and Tommy Dreamer got ready to give their response to Dixieland.
Robert Roode and Austin Aries interacted backstage. Roode took Aries off guard by pumping him up as someone worthy of the championship. He wants Aries to beat Lashley because it would be sticking it to MVP. Aries says he and Roode should be fighting for the belt after Aries wins. Aries and Roode actually showed some depth here as characters.
Team 3-D and Tommy Dreamer came out. D'von is a shitty promo, and he said nothing of note or value. It really is just like old times. Dreamer said they would die for each of the fans who cheered their asses; that is carny/pandering dialogue at a level that I could have never expected even from him. Dreamer, who seemed much older than I have ever seen him look before, wanted the fight right now. Dixieland came out. EC3 said the match will happen next week. Bully Ray said Carter could die right now if he wanted. He said he could start a "mother truckin'" riot. There's nothing cooler than living in the past and censoring curse words because you're not clever enough to use a different word. Bully challenged them to eight person hardcore match and then promised to put Dixie Carter through a table. Dixieland is hysterical but EV 3.0 are a bit insufferable as babyfaces without irony.
Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle were backstage. Angle wished him luck. Angle said the X Division is about to have no limits.
Dixieland did a hilarious backstage segment where they got themselves pumped for the match next week. King Mo was with them.
The Beautiful People did a nonsensical promo backstage. There was a video hyping up Jessicka Havoc's debut.
Samoa Joe vs. Tigre Uno vs. Homicide
Homicide was on fire early and hit a tope con hello on both men before a commercial. We came back with Uno doing well. Joe and Homicide took out Uno with a High and Low. Joe and Homicide then squared off. Homicide hit the Gringo Cutter, but Joe came right back. Uno got back involved quickly enough though. Uno hit a springboard corkscrew moonsault on Joe. Homicide then him with a diving tornado DDT. STJoe on Homicide. Joe called for the Muscle Buster. Uno failed to interfere. Joe then hit Cide with the Muscle Buster: 1…2…3. Joe joins Low Ki and Sanada in the X Division Championship match next week.
Since Samoa Joe was winning this match, I would have structured this match around him the way the last match was structured around Brian Cage. Just have him dominate and show off his best stuff. This was overall better than the last match though (but nowhere near the first qualifier). Match Rating: **
James Storm and Sanada Fan Fiction Intermission #2
Sanada: Remember when you were a good guy, and you used a lot of homophobic and misogynistic humor to get over more with the crowd? That wasn't cool, man. Do you have any regrets?
Storm: Sorry about your damn luck!
Abyss cut a promo on Bram after a video package showed Bram shoving Janice into Abyss's stomach. The video was laughably emo and serious. Abyss announced a Monster's Ball match between the two of them. Much like any brand TNA has or had, Monster's Ball could have meant something but it was rendered worthless a long time ago. I've heard good things about Bram at least and maybe the match will be fun.
Aries was trying to pick his spots early with mixed success. Aries went for axe handle to the floor, but Lashley caught him and hit an overhead suplex. Commercial Break
We came back with Lashley in firm control. He was working over Aries' midsection. This went on for quite a bit. Aries escaped a bearhug but then ate a gorilla press slam. Aries fired back with discus forearms. Aries managed to send Lashley to the floor and then hit the double axe handle. Aries followed it up with a missile dropkick in the ring. Lashley reversed the corner IED Kick into a running powerslam. Lashley went for the spear, but Aries reversed it into the Last Chancery! Aries transitioned it into some knee strikes. Lashley reversed a brainbuster attempt into a gourd buster. Aries avoided the spear again and hit the corner IED kick from the apron. Aries hit a series of running strikes and then hit the brainbuster: 1…2…NO! Great nearfall. Aries called for the 450, but Lashley rolled to the floor. Aries went for the heat seeking missile, but Aries only hit the barricade. Awesome. It was elementary from there. Spear: 1…2…3
Well, that was far more enjoyable that I could have reasonably expected. Aries played a convincing underdog here, and he made Lashley seem like a dominant force. Lashley's heat segment, while not especially exciting, did at least focus on the midsection of Aries which played a role in the finish. There were a couple of nifty moments and great nearfalls, and the crowd was into everything. I enjoyed this a lot. Match Rating: ***1/2
There was a video package that said Bully Ray is finally going to put Dixie Carter through a table next week. It seems somewhat comical to advertise a pro wrestling show around that, but at least TNA is advertising something that they plan on delivering. That seems like a net positive change for TNA overall.
James Storm and Sanada Fan Fiction Conclusion
Storm: Sanada and Storm are going to take pro wrestling by storm for years to come in TNA!
Sanada: I think I've made a huge mistake.
The 411: When I heard TNA was likely going to die due to the cancellation of their television contract, I could not help but laugh. While it's obviously very unfortunate that a bunch of people will lose their jobs, TNA has always been a comedy of errors. They are the pro wrestling equivalent of stepping on a banana peel. It's hard to feel bad for the entity as a whole though when they have surrounded themselves with banana peels for years and then seem to be constantly wondering why they end up flat on their ass.
Destination X as a concept appeals to be because it's theoretically what TNA should be all the time: an alternative to WWE. The 2012 show felt like that alternative, but the 2013 edition felt like a company that could not get out of its own way once again (even for one show a year). 2014 was closer to 2012 in execution if not quality. The company mostly got out of the way of the wrestlers. There were matches that the company could be proud of. There was a sense of direction and purpose that TNA could theoretically follow up on for some time. Will TNA ever follow through on their promise? It's something they've never been able to do for longer than a month in the past, and now it seems too late. It doesn't matter that they have done and are doing a bunch of tapings in front of a red hot NYC crowd. It doesn't matter that their roster has a solid balance between younger talent and more established names. It doesn't matter that they could have a killer Bound for Glory in Japan with Wrestle-1. The company finally broke its ass after one banana peel too many. For one night though, TNA produced a fun television program , and I recommend that everyone check it out.