Written by: Jake Ziegler from InsidePulse
Reliant Center – Houston, Texas
MATCH #1: World X Cup Four-Way Elimination Match – The Motor City Machineguns & Curry Man vs. Tyson Dux, Doug Williams & Alex Koslov vs. Masato Yoshino, Milano Collection AT & Puma vs. Ultimo Guerrero, Rey Bucanero & Averno
Two referees are on hand to help control the action. The winning team gets three points, second place gets two points, third place gets one point, and fourth place gets nothing. Yoshino and Man start the match with some immediately fast-paced offense. Man gets hit with a dropkick, and then decides he would rather engage in a test of speed. It was actually a trick, as Man trips Yoshino up and tags in the Guns. Sabin gets backed into the corner and Dux gets tagged in and he and Williams go to work on Sabin, briefly. Sabin makes the tag to Team Mexico, and they go to work on Williams. Guerrero wipes Williams out with a dive on the floor. Bucanero hits Dux with Chemical Imbalance II for the first elimination at 2:58. Puma gets in the ring and goes after Bucanero. Milano pulls Bucanero to the floor and whips him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Team Japan continues beating Bucanero down. Bucanero reverses a victory roll attempt with a powerbomb of sorts and makes the tag to Averno. This is Averno’s first appearance in the World X Cup, and he makes it a good one. He hits the Angel’s Wings to eliminate Puma at 5:07. AT jumps in the ring to battle Averno and he kicks him down on the apron. Averno makes the tag to Sabin, and AT is able to immediately go after Sabin’s leg. Shelley comes in to break it up and AT locks both Guns in a half crab. Man breaks that up. AT pushes the referee out of the way and pretends he was hit with a low blow, but outside referee Rudy Charles refutes that claim. Awesome, they’re actually USING the referee outside the ring. Moments later Sabin kicks AT in the face and hits the Cradle Shock for the pin at 7:14.
Yoshino is on his own now but he gets right in the ring to battle Sabin and the Guns go right to work on him. They both hit hesitation dropkicks but Yoshino kicks out. Yoshino comes back with the Octopus hold, but Shelley escapes and kicks Yoshino’s head off. Shelley goes for Sliced Bread but Yoshino pushes him into the corner and Averno tags himself in. Tenay and West are doing a good job putting Yoshino over as a super underdog as Averno works him over. Yoshino comes back with a rollup out of nowhere to pin Averno and eliminate him at 10:34. Williams and Kozlov immediately jump Yoshino, and then the Guns and Man come in. Kozlov hits Man with a powerslam and then does the Russian Hat Dance. Sabin answers it with a superkick. Williams hits Sabin with the Chaos Theory but Man breaks it up. Man goes for the Spice Drop on Williams but can’t it. Team Mexico comes in with cross body blocks on both Williams and Man. They execute some impressive double teams, but Man comes back and puts Guerrero on the top for a super hurricanrana. Guerrero counters with a super powerbomb to eliminate Curry Man at 12:57. Moments later Guerrero hits Williams with a twisting senton off the top rope to eliminate him at 13:24. Half of the competitors have now been eliminated.
The Guns battle Guerrero and Bucanero now, and they miss simultaneous dives to the floor. Koslov gets in the ring to go after Guerrero, and they go up top. Guerrero is able to hit Koslov with a super gourdbuster for two. Koslov comes back with a low blow and then a Cobra Stretch and Guerrero taps out at 15:12. Bucanero jumps in the ring and slams Koslov down for a two-count. Koslov tags Sabin in and takes a break. Bucanero slams Sabin and goes to the top rope. Sabin cuts him off and hits a super hurricanrana. The Guns then hit Bucanero with a double superkick to eliminate him and Team Mexico at 16:20. Yoshino gets back in the ring and the Guns show him no sympathy. The Guns utilize some incredible double-team maneuvers on both opponents. Sabin hits Koslov with a running Ace Crusher and then hard clothesline for two. He charges in and Koslov pulls the referee in front, and then scoops Sabin’s legs and puts his own on the ropes (but has trouble) and Sabin is out at 19:07.
Shelley protests to the referee and Koslov knocks him to the floor. Koslov wipes him out with a somersault. Koslov and Yoshino battle briefly, and then Shelley gets back in the ring. Shelley goes for a running knee in the corner but Koslov moves and Shelley crashes right back to the floor. Moments later Yoshino traps Koslov in the Sol Naciente and Koslov taps out at 20:31. We’re down to two men. Yoshino uses his speed to take advantage. He hits the shotgun missile dropkick for a two-count. Shelley comes back with Sliced Bread but Yoshino kicks out once again. He goes up for a Frog Splash but Yoshino gets the knees up and hits Another Space for a two-count. Shelley comes back with a face-first powerbomb and a Tiger Suplex for two! He puts Yoshino on the top rope and superkicks him. Yoshino fights back and hits the Sling Blade for two. He puts Shelley on top and goes for a super something. Shelley counters with a super inverted atomic drop and then an Air Raid Crash to get the pin and win the match at 24:19. That was just an incredible match with nonstop action for the duration of the contest. The story of Yoshino lasting as long as he did by himself gave the match an underlying story that gave meaning to all of the incredible action.
Now Team TNA is in first place with six points, Team Japan is next with four points, and then Team International and Team Mexico tied for last with three points.
MATCH #2: Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love
Love attacks before the bell and away we go. Kim fights back and takes Love down and fires off some chops and a clothesline in the corner. She goes to the apron and tries a springboard maneuver but Velvet Sky pulls her down to the apron. Back in the ring Love takes control. Kim catches a kick and they keep going back and forth. Love pokes the eyes and hits a spinning heel kick for two. Kim comes back by avoiding a charge in the corner and snapping Love’s neck on the top rope. She then locks on a ring post Figure Four Leglock (sort of) and when the referee checks on Love, Sky tries to interfere but gets herself thrown into the barricade. Kim goes up top and Love shakes the ropes to knock her down. Love hits a superplex for a near-fall. She misses a kick and Kim unleashes a flurry of offense. So she’s just not selling the superplex. Love slips out of a bodyslam and gets an O’Connor Roll for two, and Kim fights back with a Spear. Sky gets on the apron for a distraction. Even so Kim hits a Codebreaker and then the handcuff neckbreaker to get the pin at 6:15. This seemed more about showing off all the neat stuff they could do rather than telling a coherent story.
MATCH #3: Jay Lethal vs. Sonjay Dutt
This feud started with the long drawn out wedding of Jay Lethal to SoCal Val last month at Slammiversary. Dutt has a flower and a card for Val, and Lethal takes offense to he knocks Dutt off the apron and hits a suicide dive. Back in the ring the match officially begins and Lethal is all offense. He hits the double sledge off the top for a two-count. The pace quickens as Val literally is clapping for every offensive move Lethal delivers. It’s kind of annoying actually. Dutt fights back by snapping Lethal’s neck on the top rope and then hitting a springboard legdrop to the back of the head. He follows up with a springboard seated senton. He steals KENTA’s slingshot kick to the head and then locks on a headlock. No, really. Lethal fights out of that but Dutt takes him right back down and hits a standing moonsault for two. Dutt hits an enziguiri and goes for the Asai DDT but Lethal catches him in a Tombstone and drops him on the turnbuckle. Lethal then hits an overhead release German Suplex and both men are down. Back on their feet Lethal takes control but Dutt quickly reclaims it. They fight up on the top rope as Val is so distressed she can’t watch. Dutt hits a hurricanrana from the top and then a standing shooting star press for two. Lethal fights back with a face plant for two. They take it to the floor and Lethal pounds on Dutt while he begs for help. Back in the ring Lethal locks on a Texas Cloverleaf as Val continues to look upset. Val climbs up the steps but Lethal tells her to get down. Dutt continues to appeal to her and Lethal grabs him with the Lethal Combination. Now Val gets up on the apron and pleads with him to stop, giving Dutt the opportunity to roll Lethal up for the pin at 8:29. That started off just fine but descended into silliness surrounding SoCal Val.
MATCH #4: Fan’s Revenge TNA World Tag Team Title Match – The Latin American Xchange vs. Beer Money, Inc.
LAX have been the champions since 5.11.08 and this is their third defense. Twelve angry fans are surrounding the ring with straps for this important title match. You know, couldn’t they have found some fans that didn’t look so much like stereotypical wrestling fans? Yay, I get to see Salinas again! Homicide and Roode start it off slugging. Roode gets dumped to the floor early and the fans take their shots. Storm gets the same treatment. In the ring it’s no better for him, as LAX double teams him and generally controls the match. Storm tags out to Roode, and he dumps Homicide to the floor. He tries to follow him out with a baseball slide and Homicide traps him in the ring apron. Roode crawls under the ring and makes it back inside for more punishment from Homicide. The challengers use some less than savory tactics to gain an advantage. They isolate Homicide and work him over for a few minutes before Hernandez gets tagged in. Hernandez hits the Crackerjack on Storm and a back body drop for Roode. Storm gets a backbreaker, and Roode gets caught off the second rope with a sit-out powerbomb for two. The match has broken down to the usual brawl. Homicide nails Storm with a tornado DDT and dumps Roode to the floor. Back in the ring Hernandez puts Roode on his shoulders and Homicide hits an Ace Crusher off the top and LAX retain at 10:09. That was a perfectly solid tag team match.
MATCH #5: Knockouts Title Match – Taylor Wilde vs. Awesome Kong
Kong is accompanied by Raisha Saeed. Wilde has been the champion since 7.10.08 and this is her first defense. TNA definitely did pay off the Awesome Kong challenge on free TV and then did the rematch on pay-per-view. And they wonder why they can’t make money? Kong immediately attacks and starts throwing the smaller Wilde around. The champion uses her speed to try and come back but Kong knocks her down and hits a big splash for two. Kong continues to wear Wilde down, looking totally dominant. She locks on a camel clutch but Wilde won’t give up. Wild slips out of an Awesome Bomb and hits a couple of dropkicks and a missile dropkick, but Kong pops up and decapitates her with a clothesline. Kong goes up top and Wilde meets her up there and armdrags her down for a two-count. Wilde ducks a spinning back fist and gets a schoolgirl rollup for two. Kong tries a chokeslam but Wilde reverses it to a victory roll for the upset pin at 4:54! That was a decent squash/upset match.
Saeed grabs Wilde in the aisle and brings her back for a beating. Kong goes for an Awesome Bomb on a chair but Abyss comes out to make the save. Saeed gets right in his face and slaps him. Abyss hits Saeed with a Black Hole Slam and then carries Wilde to the back.
MATCH #6: World X Cup Ultimate X Match – Kaz vs. Daivari vs. Volador Jr. vs. Naruki Doi
This is the fifteenth Ultimate X match. This is the third appearance for Kaz and the first for everyone else, so he has a distinct advantage. No one wastes any time in going after someone, so the offense is fast and furious. Kaz makes the first attempt at the X but Daivari cuts him off. As expected Kaz seems to have the early advantage, and everyone seems to be gunning for him. Volador makes an attempt at the X but drops down hit Doi with a hurricanrana, and then Kaz clotheslines Volador to the floor. Kaz goes after the X but Daivari pulls him down to the floor and whips him into the guardrail. Daivari now targets Kaz’s arm, which is great strategy. Volador and Doi team up with Daivari in a show of solidarity against the USA. Kaz briefly recovers and goes for the X but his arm prevents him from getting too far. Doi decides to go into business for himself and dumps Volador to the floor. He goes up for the X and Daivari joins him up there and drops him all the way to the floor. Now Volador and Daivari go at it as all bets are off. Doi goes up for the X and Kaz knocks him down, but then Daivari knocks him down, and Volador knocks HIM down. All four guys are recovering, but Doi gets up first and goes after the X but Volador dropkicks him down to the floor and then hits a moonsault off the top rope. Kaz and Daivari climb up for the X now and Daivari traps Kaz’s arm in the truss, and then scurries over towards the X, but Kaz goes to the top of the truss and legdrops Daivari down to the canvas! That was pretty intense. Volador Jr. picks the bones so to speak and goes up to retrieve the X at 10:59. That was a compact Ultimate X match but they did some cool stuff in there and I certainly wasn’t expecting Volador Jr. to win.
That actually gives Team Mexico the win in the 2008 World X Cup Tournament. Mike Tenay comes in to present them with the trophy and get a word with them. Thankfully Spanish commentator Willie Urbina is on hand to translate for us stupid Americans. Kaz looks despondent at the loss.
MATCH #7: Fan Stipulation Match – Team 3D & Kurt Angle vs. Rhino, AJ Styles & Christian Cage
The fans get to choose between a Tables Match, Falls-Count-Anywhere Match, or a Full Metal Mayhem Match. Not surprisingly, the winner is Full Metal Mayhem. Frank Trigg is joining Don West and Mike Tenay on commentary. Angle attacks Styles in the aisle and it’s a big brawl right away. Styles and Devon are briefly in the ring but they soon tumble back to the floor, to be replaced by Angle and Rhino. Ray and Christian take their turn as well. Rhino and Christian introduce a ladder into the match, and Angle follows with a chair. Christian climbs all the way to the top of the steel truss that was used for Ultimate X and hits a beautiful cross body block. Rhino starts throwing out Gores, one for everybody. A table gets set up in the ring, and Team 3D hits a Doomsday Device on Rhino, dropping him right through the table. Devon took a rough landing on his ankle on that one. There’s barely been a break in the action throughout the entire match. Christian takes the 3D through a table on the floor. With both Rhino and Christian out, Styles takes quite the beating from all three of his opponents. Styles recovers and hits Angle with the Styles Clash for two. Then Johnny Devine runs out and tries to hit Styles with a kendo stick, but Styles thwarts him. Angle hits an Angle Slam for two. He brings in another table and the referee gets bumped. Styles comes back and sets Angle on the table and climbs a ladder. Trigg leaves the commentary table and hits Styles with a kendo stick. Angle hits an Angle Slam off the ladder through a table to get the pin at 15:57. That was a great hardcore brawl, with non-stop action and cool spots. Trigg interfering seemed unnecessary, and he took away from the match with his commentary too. Good stuff otherwise though.
MATCH #8: TNA Heavyweight Championship Match – Samoa Joe vs. Booker T
Joe has been the champion since 4.13.08 and this is his fifth defense. This is an interesting dynamic because Joe is the face and Booker is the heel normally, but they’re in Booker’s hometown of Houston so the roles are reversed. They’re throwing bombs at each other right from the get-go as Sharmell watches on. Joe traps Booker in the corner but the challenger escapes with a thumb to the eyes. That doesn’t faze Joe for long though, as he comes back with a running knee strike. They take it to the floor and Booker takes another shot to the eyes and slams Joe into the guardrail. Booker slams Joe’s head into the steps and the champion is busted open. Back in the ring Booker wears Joe down. The champ comes back with a knockdown and goes for a senton but Booker moves and hits the Axe Kick for two. Joe ducks a clothesline and hits a knee strike. He goes up to the second rope and hits a kick to the face for a two-count. He hits the snap powerslam for another two. Booker comes back and tries the Bookend but Joe blocks and hits a t-bone suplex for two. Joe looks to be going for the Muscle Buster but Booker blocks it and hits a series of knees. They both duck each other’s strikes and they manage to mess up a ref bump spot that looked awkward and forced. Joe hits a big lariat and dumps Booker to the floor. He hits the Ole Kick, right in front of the man’s wife. Sharmell begs him to stop and she slaps Joe in the face, so he beats up her bodyguards. Back in the ring now Booker is busted open as well. Referee Slick Johnson comes out to take over and calls for another referee. They’re pleading with Joe for some reason, so Joe kicks their asses as well. This has turned into an absolute slaughter. More security people come out and try to stop Joe, but I have to ask why? This is a World Title match, and certainly worse things have been done in TNA that no one tried to stop? And why are they making Booker T look like such a giant pussy in his own hometown? This whole thing makes no sense. Then from out of nowhere Sting’s music hits and out he comes. He lectures Joe as well but Joe decides to blow him off as well and go right back in the ring to beat Booker up some more. Sting comes in and forces Joe off Booker and hits him with the baseball bat. Booker actually covers Joe and Sharmell makes the three-count to unofficially end this idiocy at around 17:30 (no actual bell). Sharmell and Booker claim the belt on their way to the back. The match started off fine enough, but quickly descended to levels of stupidity only TNA could dream up. I mean I’ve seen them do a lot of stupid stuff over the years but this one has to be top five for ridiculousness. This passed stupid and made it to counterproductive and pathetic. What the hell was Sting doing there? I would love to hear anyone try to defend this.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.