Written by: Jake Ziegler
TNA – Destination X – Impact Zone – Orlando, Florida –March 12, 2006
PRESHOW MATCH: Elix Skipper & David Young vs. Shark Boy & Norman Smiley
Simon Diamond leads his charges to the ring, and immediately gets on the microphone. He has a problem with AJ Pierzynski and Dale Torborg being awarded a replica TNA X-Division Title belt. He also is mad that some St. Louis Cardinals are in attendance. Mike Tenay is getting all uppity about the things Diamond is saying. Seriously, we’re not even two minutes in and Tenay is already annoying the piss out of me.
The Diamonds in the Rough attack right away and the crowd is chanting “Let’s Go Norman!” They toss Smiley outside and Skipper hits a dangerous looking dive on him and tosses him back inside. Smiley takes abuse for a minute and then Shark Boy gets tagged in and takes out both guys, and executes the Shark Bite. Smiley gets tagged in and hits the wind-up slam and the Big Wiggle on Young. Shark Boy takes a spill to the floor and Diamond nails Smiley on the outside and the Diamonds hit a double STO to get the win at 3:17. I have no problem with Shark Boy and Norman Smiley appearing on the pre-show.
The opening video is in the form of an old silent movie that stars someone in a Sting mask. It shows clips for the three-way Ultimate X match tonight featuring Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles for the X-Division Title, as well as the main event World Title match between Christian Cage and Monty Brown. There’s also an eight-man tag team war tonight, with Jeff Jarrett, America’s Most Wanted & Abyss taking on Rhino, Ron Killings & Team 3D. But the biggest even of tonight is that Steve Borden (not STING, underlined), will be appearing on the show tonight. I was not a fan of the way they pushed Sting around this time, just to be totally clear.
MATCH #1: Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelley
These two aren’t really feuding at this point as far as I know, but West reveals that they are the two youngest members of the roster, which is kind of neat actually. Shelley uses his unique submission skills in the early going, and Lethal keeps up with him. They go move for move and neither man can get an advantage. Shelley is the first one to gain a sustained advantage, and he goes to work on the neck, presumably to set up for the Border City Stretch. Lethal makes the comeback and the crowd is getting behind him. They continue to trade moves and near falls. Lethal hits the diving Headbutt but it only gets two. Lethal keeps going for the Dragon Suplex. Shelley blocks it and hits the Sliced Bread #2 to get the win at 10:08. That was a good opener, and it got the crowd into the show right away. It could have used 2-4 more minutes, but what they gave us was real solid.
Tenay and West officially welcome us and put over the card for later tonight, namely the top three matches outlined in the video package.
We go backstage, where Jeremy Borash is standing by with Team Canada. Petey Williams will be in a four-way match later on, and Bobby Roode & Eric Young will be facing The Naturals. They cut their usual promo, which was tired and stale by this point.
MATCH #2: Lance Hoyt vs. Matt Bentley
This is during the “Maverick Matt” phase, which is just about the worst name ever. This is a feud that actually started on the syndicated Xplosion show. I really don’t care about either of these guys, but I do enjoy Traci’s enormous rack. Tenay and West try to get the Maverick nickname over, which is just so sad. Hoyt dominates the early going, clotheslining Bentley over the ropes and to the floor. Traci tries to distract Hoyt, but it doesn’t work. Everything Bentley tries gets countered by the much bigger Hoyt. They continue to go back and forth and the crowd is actually staying into it. Hoyt uses power moves and Bentley tries to cheat. They avoid each other’s finisher and Bentley hits a flatliner. Borash notes that Alex Shelley and Eric Young are up in the rafters and they’re dropping flyers down on the crowd, right in the middle of this super exciting match. Bentley gets distracted by the flyers, and Hoyt hits a big boot and pins him at 7:59. That was solid if unspectacular before TNA all but admitted we should not be caring about this match.
Borash is backstage with Team 3D, Rhino, and Ron Killings. They’re going to battle Jeff Jarrett, America’s Most Wanted, and Abyss in an eight-man tag team match. Each guy gets to say a few words, and I’m not sure if I could think of a lamer four-man team. Truth is actually the worst, which is really saying something.
MATCH #3: The Naturals vs. Team Canada
Bobby Roode & Eric Young are representing Team Canada in this match. The Naturals are all fired up because apparently it was Team Canada’s fault that they lost a tag team title match to America’s Most Wanted. I don’t recall this, and for some reason they can’t show a video clip of it to help me out. So Douglas and Stevens are the aggressors early on. Every time Roode or Young try something, the Naturals have an answer. I just realized that both teams are former two-time NWA World Tag Team Champions. The announcers should note this. Roode and Young take over and take their heat on Stevens. Douglas finally gets the hot tag and the crowd just doesn’t care. Tenay’s overreactions here are really out of control. Most commentators get better over time (e.g. Michael Cole), but Tenay just gets so much worse. Team Canada uses the hockey stick to get the pin on Douglas at 12:24. Wow, what an innovative and fresh finish. The match was barely average and the finish sucked hard.
Borash is backstage with Monty Brown, who challenges Christian Cage for the NWA World Title tonight. The two had a good match back in December at Turning Point, so hopefully they can recreate that tonight. Brown cuts a good promo that proves TNA made a mistake by not hanging onto him and pushing him harder. Larry Zbyszko comes out to tell Monty that Earl Hebner is refereeing the match tonight, so everything will be fair. Monty shakes off Zbyszko’s handshake, and continues the awesome promo. I don’t care what anybody says, I think this guy is great.
MATCH #4: The James Gang & “Bullet” Bob Armstrong vs. The Latin American Exchange
Most of this feud centered on putting over Bob Armstrong as some kind of legitimate tough guy. Yeah, I look at Bob Armstrong and I see dollar signs too. LAX is Konnan, Homicide, and Machete at this point. The James’ control the match early on and I have no idea who Machete is. The LAX cheats to gain the advantage, and Homicide does most of the work sine Machete sucks and Konnan is probably worse. Kip James gets a lukewarm tag and this one is breaking down to a brawl and the crowd isn’t making much noise. Bullet Bob and Konnan are face to face now as everyone else is outside the ring. Konnan does a great job selling for that ridiculous old man. Tenay and West are enjoying it a little too much. Machete gets left alone in the ring with all three of his adversaries, and Kip gets the cobra clutch slam to get the pin on him at 6:38. Wow, that really sucked. And why are they wasting time with that old man?
Eric Young and Alex Shelley are backstage with Borash, and they’re presumably looking for Sting. They believe they’ve found him in a bathroom, but it’s actually AJ Styles taking a dump. Styles warns Shelley that his video camera is going to get him hurt.
MATCH #5: International X Showcase – Petey Williams vs. Chris Sabin vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Puma
Dutt and Puma start it off with some lightning quick exchanges. Williams tags Dutt out and now its Williams and Puma. Sabin quickly tags in for Puma. All four men come in and hit some moves and the crowd is really getting into it. A1 is hanging out outside the ring, ready to help Williams if at all possible. The crowd really likes Puma, and from what little I’ve seen of him in TNA and ROH I like him too. They also like the heel Petey Williams though, so whatever. Dutt and Sabin have some nice exchanges. Dutt and Puma actually appear to be working together on Sabin, which is strange because Dutt and Sabin are fairly regular tag team partners around this time. They get the requisite dive spot in, but Puma puts a stop to it after participating in it. Tenay’s comparison of Puma to Spider-Man doesn’t seem at all apt. Tenay is weird. The crowd gets the “this is awesome” chant going. I wish Mark Briscoe was there. Meanwhile they are doing some pretty cool spots. Williams locks Puma in the sharpshooter but Dutt breaks it up. Dutt hits an inverted piledriver and the referee starts his count way too late and screws Dutt out of the win I say! Dutt tries the Canadian Destroyer but Williams knows how to reverse his own hold, and he hits one of his own on Dutt. Sabin tries a Cradle Shock but Petey tries the Destroyer but Puma hits a sweet blockbuster. Sabin recovers and hits the Cradle Shock on Puma to get the win at 14:57. That was a tremendously fun and spot-tastic, and makes me wish Puma would get a full-time gig there.
Borash is backstage with Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, James Mitchell, America’s Most Wanted, Gail Kim, and Jackie Gayda (with huge boobs). They cut the usual lame promo, and Young and Shelley come in and report to Jarrett that they cannot find Sting anywhere.
MATCH #6: Eight-Man Tag Team War – Rhino, Team 3D and The Truth vs. Jeff Jarrett, America’s Most Wanted and Abyss
The babyface team all runs to the ring together, and match starts off as a big brawl. Soon after it starts they’ve all made their way outside the ring and everybody pairs off and brawls for several minutes. Back in the ring the faces get a few moves on, but the heels soon take over. Rhino is the recipient of most of the abuse, and after he makes a hot tag to Killings the match starts to break down. Jarrett tries to bring in the guitar, but he isn’t able to use it, and now it’s time for the parade of signature maneuvers. Killings uses Harris’s own handcuffs against him, and now it looks like the heels are a man down. But then he proves me wrong by grabbing Killings’s foot from outside the ring, allowing Jarrett to hit The Stroke at get the pin at 20:10. That was 3-4 minutes too long but had some good action in it and I was never bored.
Tenay and West hype next month’s show, Lockdown, and then change their focus to the Ultimate X match coming up next. Jarrett gets on the mic and says that both Sting and Steve Borden are cowards. Jarrett gives him to the count of 10 to come out, and it doesn’t happen. Jarrett declares himself the winner of his feud versus Sting, and says that he’s coming for the winner of Christian Cage versus Monty Brown tonight.
MATCH #7: Ultimate X Match for the X Division Championship – Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
The video package is all about how these guys have fought many times before, but never in a match quite like Ultimate X. Joe delivers the sole live promo, and he’s intense and ready to destroy Daniels and Styles one more time. Joe has been the champion since 12.11.05, and this is his third title defense. Daniels is a former champion, and Styles is a former five-time champion. As usual when these three are involved, the action starts right off the bat and everyone is going for big moves on everyone. Styles gets the first noticeable advantage and he heads up. This is the tenth Ultimate X match; Styles has been in three of them, Daniels has been in one prior, and this is Joe’s first time. Styles and Daniels get dumped to the floor, but Joe doesn’t have the energy to climb for the X. He opts to hit spinning dive over the top rope to the floor on both guys. They’re back in the ring for a minute and then Joe gets dumped to the floor. No one has even come close to getting the X yet. Joe gets his wind back and he dominates on both men. They go back outside the ring and Joe goes for the Ole Kick on Daniels but Styles cuts him off. Back in the ring all three men are hitting moves now, pulling out the big ones. Styles and Daniels hit a double-team Muscle Buster on Joe, and then they beat each other up. Styles hits a Pele kick on Daniels and tries to go for the X, but Joe nails him with a steel chair and he falls. Daniels then kicks the chair into Joe’s face. He then climbs up to grab the X a most non-dramatic finish in Ultimate X history at 13:26. Eh, the action was good, but it was really short and the finish was in no way satisfying.
Borash is backstage with NWA World Champion Christian Cage, who is making his first title defense after winning the title last month at Against All Odds. Cage says it doesn’t matter that Monty Brown has kicked his ass before, because apparently anyone can do it. He cuts his usual promo to finish it off.
MATCH #8: NWA World Heavyweight Title Match – Christian Cage vs. “The Alpha Male” Monty Brown
Cage actually used the “what’s the capital of Thailand” joke on Brown, the video package shows. How could he have gone through life not having heard that before and thus fall for it? Cage has been the champion since 2.12.06, and this is his first defense. These two met back at December’s Turning Point, which was Cage’s first Pay-Per-View match with TNA. Cage has his ribs taped, so Brown goes after them early on. The battle soon spills out into the crowd, with Brown in control. The Alpha Male continues to work on the champion’s ribs, inside and outside the ring. Cage gets almost no offense in, and the crowd is dying. Brown tries a superplex but Cage headbutts his way out and hits a back senton. Brown hits the Alpha Bomb for a near fall. Cage keeps trying the Unprettier but Brown is able to counter it. Brown goes for the Pounce but Cage kicks him in the face. Brown tries the Alpha Bomb again but Cage reverses it to the Unprettier to get the pin and retain the title at 17:11. That was a good, technically sound match, but Cage really could have used a little more offense to make the finish more dramatic.
Jeff Jarrett comes out to interrupt Cage’s victory celebration. Jarrett says he wants his rematch for the NWA World Title right now. Cage says he’s not able to put the title on the line, but he will kick Jarrett’s ass for free. Brown jumps back in the ring and it’s a 2-on-1 assault. Cage fights back and goes after Jarrett mostly. Abyss comes out too. Rhino comes out to help the Champion. This brings out Team Canada, America’s Most Wanted, Alex Shelley, and James Mitchell. They handcuff Cage to the ropes and take turns whipping him with a belt. Finally, Steve Borden comes out of the crowd. He’s able to beat up twelve people all by himself. Sting clears the ring, but then Scott Steiner runs down and he is able to thwart the Mighty Sting. So twelve guys can’t take Sting down, but one guy has no problem? There’s so much stupidity in this segment it makes my head hurt. Plus I don’t really see the point of bringing in Steiner anyway.
Final Thoughts: Well, the best match on this show (the International four-way) didn’t mean much in the long run, so let’s look at the main events. I rated all three of them exactly ***, so it wasn’t like they were bad, but all just disappointing in one way or another. Christian and Monty have good chemistry, but with Monty stuck playing a second fiddle to Jarrett he really didn’t have much of a shot of winning here; being Cage’s first defense didn’t help in that area either. The aftermath, with Sting coming out and looking like a superhuman being of some kind really irritated me, because he’s way past his prime to be beating everyone like that.