TNA Destination X 2008 3.9.2008
Written by: Arnold Furious
Destination X started life as a PPV in order to showcase the X division and the things that made TNA different to other promotions. So naturally their first main event at said PPV was Jeff Jarrett Vs DDP. Here, in order to showcase the talents of the X division, we have Rhino Vs James Storm in the Elevation X match. Wait, what? Yeah, TNA likes to think its an alternative but at times it struggles to live up to its own hype. However on the undercard for this show we have Kaz, Petey Williams, Jay Lethal, the Machine Guns, LAX, Curry Man and Shark Boy. So they are still trying to push X guys. And both AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are involved in the 6-man main event.
We’re in Norfolk, Virginia at the Scope. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West.
EARLIER Kurt Angle is all pissed off about the decision of a cage match last week. Tomko is pissed off because he had to come in early. AJ is a goofball. That just about sums up that team. Two pissed off guys and a goofball. Its important to note that the stipulations of the main event are based on this match and yet nobody seems inclined to mention this.
LAX w/Salinas v Rock N Rave Infection w/Christy Hemme v Motor City Machine Guns
Salinas is the re-named Shelley Martinez. RNR have a full on rock band gimmick now, or possibly a douchebag gimmick, I’m not sure, as Lance Hoyt doesn’t even know how to hold a guitar properly. At least its made them more interesting than a few months back when they got squashed by LAX. Don West reminds us that MCMG have never held tag gold (another 2 years off). Tenay goes full on Tony Schiavone by talking about Kurt Angle, Jim Cornette and the decision that might get overturned later. MAIN EVENT: COMING SOON! MCMG are so good that they demand attention with superior double teaming. MCMG’s dominate Rave while Hernandez holds Hoyt up for a freakishly long suplex. RNR are totally out there to make up the numbers. Hernandez then breaks out his suicide dive and he is SO over. Rave looks like he’s just out there to take other people’s moves. LAX mean business though and isolate Shelley. Oh, funny thing, if you search “douchebag rock star” on YouTube there’s a video of Metallica. Hahaha. RNR’s “rock star” gimmick is making me hate them so that’s a positive. Hate is better than nothing. Hernandez gets a slingshot double lariat and the roar when it connects is huge. I was going to write about how MCMG’s should win based on a combination of popularity and awesomeness but Hernandez is making LAX the favourites on both counts and thus showing me that TNA know what they’re doing sometimes. We run through a bunch of finishers and to Don West’s delight Homicide wipes out everyone with a tope con hilo. BORDER TOSS on poor jobber Jimmy Rave and LAX get a title shot. **1/2. That was a hot opener and LAX were surprisingly over.
BACKSTAGE Borash talks about the controversy about the finish on Impact. Borash shows us the alternative camera angles and fans can vote on TNAwrestling.com! Kurt Angle blatantly landed first escaping the cage but Christian got the win. Cornette may or may not overrule it. BUT why is this important TNA? Don West mentions something about a man advantage during the following match but for anyone who missed Impact this is all so vague. Like writing comic books, writing wrestling shows you have to assume this is somebody’s first wrestling show (or first show with this alternative promotion) so you need to explain yourselves. No need for a long-winded version just a quick and easy explanation as to why we should care who won a cage match that’s not even on this show.
X title – Jay Lethal (c) v Petey Williams w/Rhaka Khan
Rhaka Khan; DAAAAAAAMN! So Cal Val is continuing her role as “Elizabeth”. Her role in TNA is “ring girl” but this was a way to get the most out of her. Jay & Petey put on a solid opening based on speed and counters. Lethal channels Randy Savage, which is only natural based on gimmick, but Petey seems ill-prepared for the offence. His early avoidance of Lethal’s finish is the only time he’s looked ready for this. In fact its Rhaka Khan who makes the difference for Petey. She gets in the way and gives Petey recovery time and she’s arguably more intimidating. Petey’s slingshot reverse Lungblower is awesome but barely gets a 2 count. Lethal goes after more Savage-based offence but Petey counters him on the Savage Hangover and follows up with a slingshot rana on the floor. Petey finally shining in the spotlight and he takes it right into a front facelock. As a heel I figure that’s not a bad idea but from a fans POV its frustrating. Petey is in charge though and his range of offence is good enough. He’s certainly reading Lethal’s offence better now. Petey goes after the Destroyer but Lethal has done his research and escapes into a DRAGON SUPLEX…for 2. They run some nice counters and Petey gets the Sharpshooter and hooks the arm too. Its his vanity that costs him as he wants the Destroyer. Lethal counters into the Lethal Combo but he doesn’t pin either. Don’t either of you want to win? Rhaka gets the ref and Scott Steiner runs in. Petey has the CANADIAN DESTROYER! Game over BUT So Cal Val pulls the ref out. Rhaka isn’t happy and chases her off. Sonjay Dutt with the save. Oh, Sonjay, you’re totally the Hogan here. Petey then gets rolled up for the loss because he’s an idiot. ***. Booking was fun with the bigger picture getting put over nicely. Everything from Steiner’s mentoring of Petey to Sonjay & Lethal’s friendship to Sonjay’s possible interest in So Cal Val to Rhaka Khan’s aggressiveness. Although the match wasn’t great it was certainly good enough and everyone gets over. Am I praising TNA’s booking this highly? Why yes, yes I am. Logically you can go into a tag match from this or even Sonjay Vs Petey or 6 person mixed tag.
BACKSTAGE we have Samoa Joe, Christian and Nash. The only thing these guys have in common is a dislike for Kurt Angle. Joe points out that “divided they fall” and then walks off. Christian says he’s in this match regardless. Nash says with his history they’re expecting him to sit this one out but that’s not going to happen because he wants Joe & Angle in a cage match at Lockdown because he promised Joe that shot.
We cut to a recap of Kaz explaining made-up monsters to Eric Young so he’s not scared of Rellik. Which is cute. Especially when Kaz namedrops Hilary Clinton as being a fictional monster.
Kaz/Eric Young v Black Reign/Rellik
Rellik = great gimmick BUT saddled with a poor win/loss record and a fat Dustin Rhodes as a tag partner. Eric’s pyro scares the shit out of him. Kaz starts confidently to show Eric that Rellik isn’t to be feared. Eric gets a tag and the crowd support is incredible as they love Eric Young! They want him to overcome his fears. Its like the same love WWE fans had for Eugene to start with. When Kaz is in there he just dominates and almost pins BOTH the heels at the same time. This isn’t about him though its about him coaching Eric Young to not be afraid. Kaz plays face in peril but he’s not good in that role. But that’s the angle so Eric hangs around outside looking scared. Hot tag to Eric Young but Rellik scares him out of the ring and he runs to the back. CHICKEN! He comes back out as Super Eric. The cape doesn’t make it to the ring but the basics of this is that Eric found his own alter ego in order to battle the demons. Eric stakes up BOTH GUYS for a double DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Awesome. That’s your finish. *, match wasn’t much but the angle was cool. It was all about Eric Young finding his confidence. Now we’ve journeyed from A to B we’re in a more interesting place.
BACKSTAGE Jim Cornette has Kurt and his cronies in the office. The Dudleys butt in to tell Cornette he should be drug tested.
Knockouts title – Awesome Kong (c) w/ Raisha Saeed v ODB v Gail Kim
The other two discover quickly that even teaming up they’re not strong enough to do anything to Kong. They keep working together until they’ve thrown her out of the ring. Gail tries to add a dive but gets caught and ODB finally knocks them both over. ODB-Kim and ODB gets to use her power with Kong outside. Poor Kim; everyone’s punchbag. Kong gets back in there and she’s totally been watching Vader tapes! The dangers of a 3-way is that one person has to lie around doing nothing while the wrestling happens. Here ODB sits out doing nothing while Kong kills Kim for a while. Then Kim has a shoulder injury so ODB conveniently comes back in to take a beating. The others take it in turns to smack Kong around. They stop off to drink and then hit tandem(ish) missile dropkicks. Kong is finally down and ODB & Kim turn on each other. Now they start doing an actual 3-way match. Kong kicks out of a double pin. BACKFIST for ODB. AWESOME SPLASH! ODB has to save. ODB tries to slap at Kong but gets killed. AWESOME SPLASH…misses. Raisha trips ODB up. That’s Cheerleader Melissa btw. ODB is distracted – AWESOMEBOMB. Kong retains. **1/4. Suffered from a lot of the usual 3-way issues including at the end where Kim just disappeared. ODB added a different element to the Kim-Kong matchup but it didn’t really make it better just different. Tag match would be the logical continuation of everything and from this show alone it looks like TNA has some coherent booking and long term ideas. Not only that they actually DID do the tag match on the next PPV.
EARLIER Rhino talks about the horror of Elevation X. It’s a scaffold match fellas, no matter how pretty the scaffold is. AJ Styles practically re-invented the match when he was in it.
PROMO TIME – Jim Cornette. He tells Team 3D if they don’t make weight tonight they’re fired (they lost a match with a stip that meant they had to weigh 275lbs to compete). Cornette says Angle should have won the match based on slo-mo but Cornette doesn’t want videotape replays on controversial decisions (why not? – because it’d ruin the business, no finish would stand!) So Cornette says the decision stands. Angle isn’t happy.
Fish Market Street Fight – Team 3D w/Johnny Devine v Curry Man/Shark Boy
With Lethal impersonating Randy Savage, Shark Boy is impersonating Steve Austin and Johnny Devine is impersonating Matt Hyson. CURRY MAN DANCING! Shoot the Fin 3:16! Bubba points out he’s not fat “all of these women in Virginia are fat”. D-Von makes the weight and Bubba Ray squeaks it. AND THE DUDLEYS BREAK OUT THE SNACKS! Haha. They decide to walk because they beat the weigh-in so their jobs are safe. They’re cut off with an assortment of fish shots. “Holy Mackerel” – Tenay. Curry Man has a fishing rod. He attaches a cake and fishes for Bubba with it. AND IT WORKS! HAHAHA. Am I watching Chikara? Bubba throws all the fish into the crowd so they can’t be used as weapons again. Predictably the fans throw them back. Devine decides to interfere and bash Shark Boy with the kendo stick. Why didn’t he just interfere from the start; there’s no DQ. That’s the only major logic gap in this match and it bugs me. Oops, Shark Boy has crabs. WAAASUP sea bass to the balls. Bubba licking it = unnecessary. Oar to the groin! Fishing rod to the groin! Crowd wants tables. This match has been a blast so far and just as I type that Shark Boy starts channelling Austin. Thesz Press! Fists of Fire! Devon’s rarely used inverted DDT finisher pops up for 2. Bubba gets the wassup, also with fish. Shark Curry start with tandem offence and they’ve clearly done a little work on the team. Devine runs in again, why isn’t he just doing it all the time? And throws about $100 worth of blow but hits Bubba by mistake. Devine eats a Stunner and gets thrown through the table at ringside. Reversal on the 3D! Devon takes a 3D off his own tag partner (blinded by cocaine) and Curry Man gets the pin. ***1/2. That was way better than it had any right to be. Stupid idea but so well executed it shows that even retarded ideas can result in good matches as long as the wrestlers give it their all.
POST MATCH Team 3D get into a fight with the reality TV stars at ringside. But if they’re reality TV stars then they’re heels and if they don’t realise they’re heels then there’s nothing you can do with them.
BACKSTAGE Neither AJ or Tomko want to start the match. AJ’s mind is not in the game as he’s so obsessed with Karen Angle.
Strap match – Robert Roode w/Payton Banks v Booker T w/Ms Brooks
Losing man’s valet takes a lashing. Brooks is taking the stand against her former charge. Meanwhile Payton Banks is only here for this feud. She’d disappear after Lockdown with Roode forming the far more entertaining Beer Money with James Storm. Here Booker just goes through the motions, which is kinda weird because Roode did punch out his wife. Its like Booker has forgotten how to have an intensive feud. Worse still is Roode got over on the back of laying out Sharmell and this is the payoff? I guess they just plain forgot that strap matches suck. Especially for Booker who’s limited by the strap. Crowd don’t care as a result. Roode must think he’s in trouble. He can’t even get over by punching women and wrestling a main eventer. In fact the match focuses on the ladies at ringside. Brooks wants payback and she’s so desperate she throws in handcuffs and Roode uses them to punch Booker out. Oops. ½*. Bad match. Crowd just didn’t care and if I didn’t know better I’d say that TNA were about to cut their losses with Roode. In fact they’d just repackage him proving they can be smart sometimes.
POST MATCH Payton can now give Ms Brooks 10 lashes. This is the real payoff. Brooks does a wonderful job of selling the lashes in proper OLD SCHOOL fashion. So Tracey gets over more because of it. Woman-beater Roode grabs her after the lashes and there’s a shocking lack of security. Roode lashes away and SHARMELL MAKES THE SAVE! She’s lashing Roode, lashing Payton, lashing security, lashing the referees, lashing Penzer, lashing more refs and Cornette runs out here to stop her. LASHING FOR CORNETTE! If the aim was to turn Sharmell and Ms Brooks into mega-faces it sure worked and the post-match stuff was epic, which is handy because the match sucked. This is one of those rare occasions where the pay-off has nothing to do with an actual match. So the excellence of this segment isn’t reflected in any way by snowflakes.
BACKSTAGE James Storm gets interview time to discuss Elevation X. This feud was started by Storm pouring beer on Rhino, which is about a quarter step down from the spilled coffee on Kane. TNA then put in a shill spot for how dangerous this match was and how scary the last one was between Rhino & AJ.
Elevation X – Rhino v James Storm w/Jacqueline Moore
There’s a reason why the WWE has never gone in for the scaffold match. Two reasons actually. Reason one is that they’re really dangerous but that’s not enough to stop WWE doing a match because Mick Foley did some stupid bumps in WWE and so did other people. Second reason is scaffold matches suck. Its all anticipation for 2 seconds of entertainment at the end. The reason the first one worked is because AJ Styles is a freak of nature. Knowing that scaffold matches suck they start on the floor. So now instead of anticipating the finish the crowd are also anticipating them actually getting up there. It also allows them to set up some tables under the X. Hey, none of that looks like you’re preparing for later bumps. No, wait, the other thing. The exact opposite of that. Rhino chases Jacqui up top but Storm follows them up and now we’re actually underway. This is more of a spectacle for the live crowd. Storm finally does something interesting by hiding under the structure, taking a page out of AJ’s playbook, and Rhino should know that trick seeing as he was on the other end of it last time too. Rhino rips the structure apart like the Alien Queen looking for Newt. Storm with a ballsy crotching spot on the X. Rhino eventually stomps him off and Storm falls through that table they set up earlier. How convenient. DUD.
Angle Alliance (Kurt Angle/AJ Styles/Tomko) v Samoa Joe/Christian Cage/Kevin Nash
Angle is out for the opening 5 minutes because of a goofy stipulation. Joe comes out last just to emphasise that he’s about to get a title shot @ Lockdown. Christian goes after his former crew and does well against AJ but not quite so well against the power of Tomko until his buddies help out. AJ tries to save but gets speared. There’s no one else to help with Angle still in the back so Joe just pounds Tomko for a while. You know what this match reminds me of? 1996 WWF where they’d have a PPV with a meaningless tag match to main event just so Shawn Michaels could do a job and set up a bigger PPV. That’s all this is. After 5 minutes Joe bails out to meet Angle. Joe-Angle is what people came for. Although they’ve wrestled many times already this is still their main event. While Joe has little trouble with Angle’s cohorts Angle gets into trouble against Christian. Let’s face it; they’re bigger stars. So Kurt eliminates Christian by suplexing him over the top. Cage has some right to believe that this match is actually about him and how his former colleagues abandoned him. While that’s true its more a subplot than the centrepiece. Christian runs some nice stuff with Angle, which looks like they’ve done it a 100 times. Angle’s team sells like crazy for Nash, which is a nice touch of respect. Angle takes the Jack Knife but AJ clips the knee. Joe gets the hot tag and he cleans house too only with more mobility. Angle low blows him. PELE OUT OF NOWHERE! Angleslam and Joe just kicks out like it ain’t no thang. Super Joe! Tomko lariats him, Joe totally no sells it and chokes him out. **1/2. Short, messy and only really there to put an exclamation mark on Joe’s title credentials. However it was a decent match if you can overlook that.
• Joe promo from Impact where he thanks Kevin Nash and the fans for giving him the chance to do his thing.
• Nash/Cage v AJ/Tomko from Impact March 13th. Cage takes most of the heat, which is smart. The only two things of note are AJ trying to do the Styles Clash on Nash (not happening) and Team 3D beating Nash down for the DQ. This would be the addition of Team 3D into Team Tomko for the next PPV.
Final Thoughts: If you’re looking for snowflakes you won’t really consider this a good show. Several of the matches came up short of expectations. But they did so much stuff right on this show from a booking perspective. All the title divisions are doing well and set for future PPV’s and a surprisingly high percentage of people on display were over. So somebody was doing something right.