TNA Destination X 2011
Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of future one hit wonder Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we seek out TNA’s Destination X 2011, where assumedly the treasure is buried. Now we’re deep into summer now, boys and girls, so this is the downiest down time on the wrestling calendar. Wrestlemania is far, far off, and consequently most American wrestling is subdued, waiting for Wrestling Season to come back again, bringing with it the interest of the majority of wrestling fans. As such, summer is the time for experimental booking, and new things to begin, and nowhere is this truer than here tonight, as TNA devotes an entire pay per view broadcast to a division they could barely be bothered to dedicate 8 minutes of television time to 6 months ago, as we get ourselves an all X Division PPV. Will the X Division guys step up and make the effort worthwhile? Will the experiment fail horribly and kill off the division once and for all? At what moment, exactly, did Vice mark out like an 80s child for a Cabbage Patch doll? Only one way to find out.
Cewsh: Going into this PPV, you may have thought that the long awaited Jerry Lynn/Rob Van Dam matchup would be the focus of this show. Or maybe AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels mixing it up one more time. Or even the fatal fourway for the TNA contract. What you may not have expected is for the hype video to this show to focus solely and completely on the X Division title match between Abyss and Brian Kendrick. Now, while this match may not have gotten much build on television in the past month, this video pretty much erases that problem, as by the end of it this match seems like a BIG FUCKING DEAL, as the plucky (and odd) underdog tries to save his division from the rampaging (and odd) monster. This is good shit, and really alters the scope of the whole show right from the start. This isn’t a show with a bunch of X Division matches. This is a show about SAVING the X Division, both in the kayfabe sense and not.
Best of luck, boys, that’s one helluva burden. Let’s see what you’ve got.
Oh, and by the way, there’s no Tazz tonight, so Jeremy Borash is filling in. My spirits feel lighter already.
Cewsh: Back when this pay per view was first being set up and built to, Christopher Daniels came up with an idea. It’s an X Division PPV right? Well then the main event needs to be the most beloved, the most classic, and the most legendary matchup in TNA history. A match that had been repeated several times but never produced anything but pure gold, and made each of the participants a star on a different level. Surely you know where we’re going with this.
Or maybe not.
See, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles clearly believed that Daniels wants Joe/Styles/Daniels Eleventy Five, and were both more than a bit taken aback when Daniels instead challenged AJ to a one on one match to determine who was the greatest X Division star of all time. The rest of their story, we’ll save for later, but Joe left that a tad bit embarrassed, and when you add that to his current unprecedented losing streak it only took one spark to set him off. That spark happened to be the taunts of Mr. Kazarian and he went off, beating the fuck out of Kazarian first backstage and then viciously in a bar the next week. Leading to this.
Now immediately, I am going to tell you something, and you’re going to have to trust me here, because I know we’ve all been burnt by false allegations of this before. This was the old Samoa Joe. Seriously! For realz and everything! When Joe first made his entrance the crowd cheered and chanted a bit and things were nice, but from the second Joe started treating Kazarian’s head like a goddamn basketball.
He then sets about pulling off his old moves (including my personal favorite the “wander away while your opponent goes for a complicated move”) the crowd immediately went absolutely batshit. In the space of 5 minutes Samoa Joe went from a total afterthought to the most over man on the entire roster as the entire audience rose to its feet to watch Joe FUCK KAZARIAN UP. Like, no offense for Kaz for 5 straight minutes fuck him up.
It was so good to see that it was frankly cathartic, and when Kazarian fired up on Joe and brought out the mean side of Joe it was like a slice of 2006 right there in my living room.
Now, naturally Kazarian beats Joe out of nowhere, leaving Joe shocked and even angrier, but now that I see where this storyline is going, with him becoming madder and madder and reverting to Joe Classic, I couldn’t be more in support of it if it were a magical blowjob contraption. This is what I have sighed and wished for after every Samoa Joe match since the day he joined the Main Event Mafia. This is our Joe.
Vice: When I first heard that Kazarian and Joe were going to square off, I wasn’t too excited. But then I got to thinking, and it became a match I really wanted to see, for reasons more than just a potential good match. Joe is sluggish and a bore these days when he’s used horribly, treated like a nobody, ignored, and generally just a complete afterthought to the writers. Yeah, he’ll go out and wrestle, but it’s just whatever. But every time TNA has put him in a big match situation, or given him some sort of chance at SOMETHING, he immediately goes 100% back to the Joe of 2005 that we all loved and adored, and drooled over every potential PPV bout he could have.
Kazarian is one of those guys that is very solid all around, but is a very by the motions kind of guy when it comes to doing stuff on TNA. When it comes to PPV though, a fire gets lit under his ass and he goes out and gives it his everything. I dare say he is one of TNA’s better PPV performers. The dude does not fail when the pressure is on. So when I thought about that, Joe is a perfect opponent for him. Kazarian is tough enough to be slapped around like a motherfucker, small enough for Joe to manhandle, big enough to be a convincing threat to Joe with his offense, and again, he does not fail to be great on PPV.
What happened? Joe reverted right back to his old self, Kazarian went toe to toe with him, and both guys were extremely motivated to get the show started HOT. The crowd was super into it, and were cheering for Joe like he was The Rock. Both guys fed off the crowd perfectly and had themselves a great match. Anyone who says Joe doesn’t have it in him anymore can shut the hell up, because he still has that beast inside that fat body of his.
He just needs to be motivated and put into better situations. Joe has been the world champ before, but aside from his matches with Angle, he hasn’t shown a lot of ability to mesh properly with the other main event talent. But he’s just so comfy in the X Division, and I do think he should stay there for a while. Lots of people might consider it a demotion of sort, but I don’t. I think he could do wonders with the roster. I’ll take Joe up against Ki, Aries, Evans, Ion, Kendrick, Shelley, Sabin, Williams, Red, whoever, over him facing guys like Sting, Jarrett, etc. He could be the big bull of the X Division and really help them put on fantastic matches that truly help legitimatize the division.
So basically, this was a great start to the show.
Cewsh: Eric Young is backstage where a few of the wrestlers are signing autographs and he’s looking for a partner for his big tag team match tonight against Generation Me. He runs into a table featuring the legendary trio of Sangrieto, Curry Man and Suicide and demands that one of them enlist and join him tonight. Unfortunately Curry Man tells him that they can’t since Suicide is injured, Sangrieto has no Visa and he has to defend the TNA Fired Championship in Tokyo against Cody Deaner later tonight.
The sheer idea that Curry Man misunderstood when he won the “Fired” briefcase some two years ago and has been defending it against other TNA releases in Japan all this time is so outrageous that it tickles me to death. But we’re not done, superfriends, oh no.
For you see, out of the darkness of the well lit backstage hallway, out of the shroud of mist that isn’t actually there, and instilling in all who see him a feeling of dread and hunger for sushi, SHARK BOY appears, and demands that he be Eric’s partner. Eric agrees, and we get ourselves a one night only reunion of the Prince Justice Brotherhood.
In case you were wondering, this is the point where Vice did the Cabbage Patch thing.
Cewsh: Okay, so apparently at some point recently Doug Williams put out an open challenge for someone to face him at Destination X. I don’t remember this, but in fairness I drink a lot to bury the memories of IWA:MS. So here he is to present this challenge and who should come out to face him? Why, none other than Mark Haskins!
Well I’ll tell you, intrepid reader. Mark Haskins is an English wrestler who has developed something of a reputation in the land of tea and crumpets for being an unfiltered badass. When TNA made its last trip over to Europe, he wrestled a few matches here and there and impressed everyone with the way that he would walk away from explosions like he JUST DIDN’T CARE. Also he, like pretty much every British wrestler who has broken into the business in the past decade, has two major active legends to look up to who are monsters in their home country. Their names are William Regal and Doug Williams. Now here he is to try to make his name in his official TNA debut against one of his heroes. Oh fucking fuck yeah.
Now, occasionally you’ll see someone say that two wrestlers “put on a clinic”. The suggestion being that they were wrestling so well and so technically that it may as well have been a class that we were all paying to attend. This is very much one of those times, as Haskins goes nuts in the early going trying to beat the British legend at his own mat wrestling game. Williams basically laughs this off as Jesus and the B-Sharps together couldn’t outwrestle Doug Williams on the ground. But Haskins hangs in there, showing a lot of fight and fire, and when Williams gets a bit complacent, he finds himself on the receiving end of some lightning fast offense. This puts Williams totally off of his game and Haskins battles him all over the ring, and they go back and forth before finally Haskins surprises Williams out of nowhere with a big move and heads up for his signature Shooting Star Press.
And then he slips.
He falls off the ropes and has to climb back up again. But now when he goes for the move Williams has recovered enough to move, and he rolls up Haskins right off of the impact and wins. Now I could be seeing things where there is nothing, and perhaps I am, but it seemed to me like this wasn’t a real botch. Haskins hadn’t been so much as a hair out of line all match long, and it feeds perfectly into the story with the excited rookie getting too nervous and taking just that second too long, that the veteran can capitalize on.
Real botch or not, this match is exactly what people are asking for when they ask for more “technical” wrestling on their wrestling show, and for 10 minutes it was a whirlwind of surprises from Haskins, and a chain wrestling masterpiece from Williams. In other words, its something you wont see anywhere else in American wrestling anytime soon. Savor it while you can.
Vice: Coming into this match, I had no idea who Mark Haskins was. In a brilliant move, Doug Williams was given the microphone to explain it all. We were told who he was, some of the history involved, and it was all a perfect way to introduce us to one of TNA’s newest signings.
This is one of the things I’ve always really enjoyed about TNA’s debuting talent—they’re generally given the green light to do whatever it takes. They don’t come in and do squash matches or have a 2 move offense for the first few months or whatever. They debut and immediately show you what they’re all about. Haskins and Williams started the match with some extremely crisp hold for hold move for move wrestling to kick things off, and it was great to watch. The amount of styles and different kinds of matches you can have under the banner of the X Division is staggering. This had a great pace to it, and was well worked throughout.
Haskins got put over perfectly. He went toe to toe with the established Doug Williams, and looked great in defeat. He made himself out to seem like a potential very credible threat, while not being pushed like he’s going to be the new guy TNA is immediately pushing to the moon. Such a thing is very difficult these days, and first impressions are extremely important. This was a fantastic first impression, and everything about it was executed well. Even the botch at the very end was great, almost to the point where I wonder if it wasn’t done on purpose.
2/2 so far, TNA.
Cewsh: Austin Aries is backstage making a case for why he’s better than his opponents, the roster of TNA and you and everyone you’ve ever met combined. It’s a compelling case, I think I’m going to have to take his word for it.
Vice: Just having Shark Boy in this match was enough to get the thumbs up from me. But with a shockingly entertaining Eric Young and Generation Me to boot? Oh man. This is one of those matches that just worked out so well. Sure, the best this match could ever be will pale in comparison to other, bigger matches , but for what it was, it was executed to perfection. For a random midcard match thrown together at the day of the PPV, it was quite fun and entertaining.
3/3? GIVE ME A SHELL YEAH.
Cewsh: Good god this match was fun.
What, you wanted play by play of a Shark Boy match?
78 out of 100.
Vice: The video packages they make for Ultimate X are lovely, and make it seem like THE craziest, most dangerous, most unique match type on the planet. On the flipside, they have the negative effect of making you assume something absurd is going to happen, and you spend the entire match waiting for that. This offered a good group of people. Alex Shelley is perfect for the X Division, but is without his partner due to him being injured. Amazing Red and Robbie E are both entertaining acts, but really have no business being in singles matches. And Shannon Moore, while I never give him credit for anything he does because he’s a stupid looking penis of a questionable man, has impressed me the last few outings I’ve seen him have on PPV, and putting him in a match like this hides a lot of his weaknesses and gives him quick memorable bursts of entertainment before going back into the shadows.
This wasn’t the best Ultimate X match, and nothing extreeeemely crazy happened, but it was entertaining enough to keep me interested. The end stretch was really great with Shannon Moore navigating the steel structure, making me think he was going to win due to the history of the match type and people doing ridiculous things to get to the X always winning. But no. My hero Alex Shelley didn’t want that used condom getting any glory, and kicked his face off before taking down the X. It was a great way to cap it all off, plus Shelley seemingly getting a singles push while Sabin is on the sidelines is a very good thing for TNA, as he is one of their best assets. And utilizing assets in the right way is good. See: Joe, Samoa
Also, the X never fell.
Cewsh: Okay, before we get into how this match actually was, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. After like 846 of these things, I am fairly confident in telling you that there are three kinds of Ultimate X matches. The first is just a crazy spotfest where everybody goes nuts, takes huge bumps and kills each other. The originals were often this sort. The second is the sort where teamwork is employed and they try to tell a story about trying to get the X. This is usually in the tag matches (obviously). The third is a sort of half hearted version of the first one. Nobody wants to die, so instead of committing suicide (Suicide?) they just try to do cool looking things and keep interest high without actually putting themselves in huge danger. This is that sort, and is the kind we usually get these days.
Alex Shelley is pretty much the star of the match, as he uses his superior experience in these matches and his ring savvy to his advantage by playing everyone against each other and consistently finding himself out ahead without ever seeming to be able to quite get to the X before somebody wakes up and cuts him off. Shannon Moore, apparently deciding that the only way to make himself memorable is to turn this into X Division match type #1, goes ahead and climbs the scaffolding surrounding the ring holding up the Xs. Seeing as this takes LONGER than climbing the conventional way, and he proceeds to come down above the X and slowly lower himself towards it, this pretty much a Shannon Moore worthy plan of action.
Luckily Shelley darts in and snatches the X from the jaws of mediocrity and becomes the number one contender.
As you may have guessed, this wasn’t exactly stirring by Ultimate X match standards, and they didn’t exactly put the best of the best in there to make it anything other than what it was. But it was certainly enjoyable, and for fuck’s sake, at least nobody got spiked on their head like Daniels does every time he’s near one of these.
78 out of 100.
Cewsh: Low Ki is now backstage hyping up the four way match, and it becomes immediately very clear that those years in WWE helped him a lot, because he’s miiiiiiiles better at this than he was before he left, and gets his point across well with out shouting and snarling at the camera.
Its all an act, though. Deep down, he wants to headbutt you through the camera for not keeping kayfabe. Just don’t make any sudden moves and he may not notice you.
Cewsh: I remember where I was the first time I saw Jerry Lynn wrestle Rob Van Dam. In was in late 2001 and I was still downloading wrestling matches off of Kazaa for fuck’s sake. I had seen some ECW stuff before, through the DVDs they released that were like greatest hits packages of a period of time. It had been okay, but not really to my taste, but this wrestling clip must have had at least 75 exclamation points on it, so I figured if the guy were that excited about it, maybe it’d be worth checking out. As the match (the November to Remember one, I believe) unfolded, I was immediately just startled. I had never seen two guys work so smoothly together, flitting in and out of countless moves like they had done this every day of their lives, and pulling out spots that were ahead of their time even in 2001 when I saw them. It was riveting, interesting stuff, and while I may see it through different eyes if a watched it today (AES is a deadly foe) to my innocent eyes it was as grand a display of chain wrestling and high flying as I could imagine.
I’m not alone in experiences like these, as throughout the vast community of wrestling fans it is not hard to find someone trumpeting the virtues of the Whole Fucking Show vs. The New Fucking Show, even over a decade later. It’s a match up that has never been far from the thoughts of a certain type of wrestling fan, and since that fan is pretty much TNA’s target audience, having the two of these men meet up here for the first time in ages is not only momentous, but it’s on a level of anticipation that will be nigh impossible to reach.
But they did try.
For nearly 15 minutes, these two legends went at each other in a manner so competitive that they turned back the clock on both of their careers. They did spots that recalled and fed on their previous matches, including Lynn giving Van Dam one of his vaunted rolling Sentons from the ring apron to the floor, and Van Dam going for every inch of height on every jump to hurt Lynn as much as he possibly could. They never missed a step, not even when an accident with a chair caused Van Dam to have his right eyebrow busted open in gruesome fashion.
Van Dam’s response? Immediately get up and take a powerbomb off the ropes that involved him jumping over halfway across the ring to make a crash landing on a chair.
In short, the match was immensely satisfying, and all the more so for not trying to be what it no longer couldn’t. These men can’t do what they once could, but what they can do, and did, is put on a fun show that brought back fond memories to everyone who had been waiting for this match for all these years. They did what they came to do, and can remember this match as the end of their great feud with pride.
It was the closing of the book. Now maybe those fans can find something new to treasure.
Like a woman.
Vice: After so many years of these two being apart, it’s amazing that they haven’t lost a single beat together. Did you know that Jerry Lynn is nearly 50? Good god that man looks great for his age.
A lot of this match is standard Lynn/RVD routines, but you know what? That’s just what they do, and it’s fun to watch. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. When I go to a restaurant and get a slice of apple pie, I can do such a thing safely because I know what I’m getting. So maybe Lynn/RVD isn’t your type of comfort wrestling, but there are still tons of people that love it. I enjoy it a lot, and psychology-wise it’d actually be all kinds of wrong if they DIDN’T do their usual fare.
After they’re done doing their trademark standoffs, shit heats up a bit and things get a lot more spicy. It was still fairly standard stuff for these two, but again, it’s enjoyable enough to watch. Plus it’s good that TNA gave us this match, because it was originally booked as the main event for Hardcore Justice, but Lynn had to pull out at the last second [strike]to avoid getting RVD pregnant[/strike] due to injury, thus Sabu replaced him. So them giving us this match finally was a kind gesture that also pays respect to Lynn.
While their best in 2011 doesn’t quite compete with their best of the ECW days, I still found this all to be really fun in the end. It was exactly what it needed to be.
5/5? What madness is this?
Cewsh: There’s no way this guy can possibly be the Jack Evans from my memories, the Prince of Parkland who was 1 part Gumby and 9 parts Eminem. THIS is Jack Evans? This humble, pale, guy looking to do his best and show what he can do? Its truly crazy how things can change for and with a wrestler while they’re out of the mainstream spotlight for a few years, but the transformation here is incredible. This Jack Evans you might actually believe to be capable of winning a wrestling match.
When you look at the wrestling landscape today, there is gobs of talent, good storytelling aplenty, and entertaining characters. All of these things are, on paper, the things that you need for a wrestling company to be great and to prosper, but ever you hear about people feeling that something is missing. Something that they can feel from other eras and not this one, and something that escapes explanation and leads to various blame laying sprees against the likes of John Cena, Vince McMahon, Dixie Carter, and all the usual suspects. But it is my belief, after viewing this match, that the one thing truly missing from the American wrestling industry is urgency. See, back in the good old days of the Monday Night Wars, every night was electric. It didn’t even matter sometimes what the content of the shows were half the time, there was just something tangible about the feud between the promotions you could feel and something that drew people to WWE that gave them the victory. It was the urgency that they felt, the burning need to succeed lest they fail and be lost to the Time Warner juggernaut. It was what drew your eyes to every action of Steve Austin, who was literally fighting for the recognition and respect he felt he had been denied. When he told you he NEEDED the World title, you believed the man, because something in his eyes said he’d go through hell to get it.
Now, there is no urgency. WWE is the king, TNA can’t sort out how it intends to compete, and championships change hands with less fanfare that at any time in recent memory. Wrestlers try to function with characters that don’t suit them, and everyone walks around on eggshells like they’re afraid of what will happen if they push too hard. Fans feel like they know every step of every match and feud before it even reaches the halfway point, and as such, wrestling has lost much of the flavor it developed when it sucked us all in. But it hasn’t lost all of it, because I’m here to tell you that these four men captured it in a bottle here as they competed for a lone guaranteed contract with TNA, in a match that any of the four of them could have rightfully won without any issue. For nearly 20 minutes, these four put on an absolutely electric display that resulted in Vice and I typing more things in caps to one another than should legally be allowed by the Punctuation Police.
They put on a show that not only reinvigorated 3 of their careers, but which made a star out of young Xima Ion, who you may remember as Shiima Xion, who two years ago we chose as an unheralded independent wrestler who was going to blow doors off someday, and here he did in the best possible company.
I could sit here and talk about this match until my fingers wear to the bone but that’s only extending the time you spend not watching it. Some will call it a spot fest. Maybe they’re right. But urgency is the key, ladies and gentlemen. And I will reward it anywhere I find it, because as long as it is here in this crazy wrestling industry of ours, I am too.
Wait, do you realize what this means? It means that Shiima Xion is currently AVERAGING a 90 for the year.
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR IS LOCKED IN.
Vice: Hoooooooooooly shit.
I love TNA for this match. I also hate them for it in a way, too. On paper, it’s a fantastic match and the stakes are very high with the winner getting a TNA contract. But that is a double edged sword, because while one gets signed, that means three of these guys don’t (yes, MATH!). See, I want them all to get signed. Eventually I’m sure they’ll pick up at least Ki and Ion, and hopefully Evans will also get signed.
This was just nuts, but such a thing was to be expected considering the talent here. Right now I have a weird mix of having like 3,000 words to type about it while also not knowing what I can possibly express clearly aside from “WATCH THIS MATCH”.
Aries picks up the win and it’s great. Very glad to see him back. But seriously, download this match. Order the replay. Do something that involves watching this match. It is so worth it.
6/6? Is this TNA?
Cewsh: Indulge me for a moment.
Yes, I know, but more than usual this time.
I’ve mentioned before how the small things in wrestling can really add to a match in unbelievable ways. The way that the opening video focusing solely on this match making it seem so vitally important on this show regardless of the prior build up. The way that Brian Kendrick comes out for this match fired up like he’s about to fight World War 3 and is ready to get it over with. These things add to the atmosphere of the match and suck you in, making something good great and something mundane special. But of all the tools that wrestling has in its toolbox, nothing holds a candle to an effective entrance, and with Abyss doing easily the best (or only good depending on your view) work in years right now, his entrance here is something that bears pointing out.
From the way it cuts off the peppy violin music, to the way the crowd falls utterly silent except for a few frightened screams, from the seemingly generic music that somehow conjures a sense of foreboding, to Abyss easy manner of certainty that Brian Kendrick is nothing to be worried about, this is a monster at his finest, and the first time in his entire career that I have thought highly of Abyss.
Now, with our atmosphere firmly ingrained, Brian Kendrick gets his face kicked in. Its inevitable really. The man is plucky, but Abyss is nearly twice his size and every attempt at suitable offense Kendrick attempts results in fuck all result and ends with Abyss beating him down, and going and reading from the Art of War again. This scene repeats itself until Kendrick is in a sorry state and Abyss goes to finish him, but is surprised when Kendrick fires up and makes his comeback, rocking Abyss with quick strikes and high risk offense, and putting Abyss off of his game. Before it can go any further, though, Scott Steiner, Gunner and Brother Ray, Abyss’ stable mates in Immortal come out to help and rough Kendrick up. A few X Division guys come to help, but they’re dispatched quickly by their much bigger foes. Finally though, the entire CALVARY of the X Division comes to call, wiping Immortal clean out of the ring with a righteous and well deserved pummeling. Abyss, distracted by all of the craziness, turns around into a flying clothesline attempt from Kendrick. He blocks it and goes for the chokeslam, but Kendrick tucks under instead, victory rolling Abyss for the shocking win and finally redeeming the X Division once and for all.
Now I’ve already begun to hear people shouting from the rooftops that this match was overbooked, and the ending certainly did have a ton of interference. But the thing about overbooking is that it is not an evil thing in and of itself. The majority of your favorite memories from wrestling are probably the result of crazy overbooking from Rock/Austin at Wrestlemania 17 to anything the NWO did at any point ever. The difference here is that this was a simmering issue between these two groups and these were the figureheads of each clashing. The groups got involved, nullified one another, and not only did it not truly decide the end of the match, but it resulted in a much larger redemption for the X Division than could have been managed otherwise. If Brian Kendrick wins, he is great. If the X Division wipes the floor with Immortal and Kendrick win, then they’re all kings, and that’s exactly what happened.
Vince Russo didn’t always book things you hated. Once upon a time, he took situations like this, and brought them to life. Somehow, someway, he reached back into 1998 and produced one here.
What the hell is going on with this show?
Vice: I really enjoy Abyss in the role of the big bastard that just beats up people half his size. There are none of the massively idiotic storylines that usually come hand in hand with Abyss, and he has always been great at these matches. He’s a really big dude that can manhandle pretty much anyone, yet he also sells extremely well. When someone is on offense and hacking away at him, he makes it seem credible and makes them look like a million bucks. And then he throws them on their face and looks like a million bucks himself. Repeat this a number of times throughout the match, and, well, you’ve got many million bucks in the ring.
So really, not only is Abyss not currently being awful and one of the worst parts of the show because of who he is and how his feuds go, but he is actually ENJOYABLE. It’s a complete 180. And it’s because TNA went back to basics. That’s what they need to do more often, because it simply works.
This match was really fun to watch, because Kendrick is fantastic at taking an ass beating, and jesus Abyss can fling small people around. It’s fairly fast-paced and tells a good story. Up until now, there hadn’t been any bullshit on this PPV, which is beyond shocking since it is TNA and they specialize in overbooked nonsense.. so needless to say, I was terrified when Bischoff came out. Like, eyes beginning to roll/hand getting ready to facepalm levels of scurrrrrrred. But, magically, everything was done perfectly. A long storyline with Abyss being champion ends when Bischoff gets knocked out, and the X Division locker room comes out to swarm Immortal, allowing Kendrick to get the victory and the X Division title. Confetti flies everywhere as Kendrick is hoisted on the shoulders of his fellow Xsters, celebrating winning the title and bringing the X Division back to its roots on THEIR show. He was a hero.
It all made the X Division, and its title, seem incredibly important. More important than it has been in ages. I almost want to say that this is the most important it has seemed since Samoa Joe’s first reign back in 2005/6.
The end was an overbooked clusterfuck and the type I usually dread every time I tune in to TNA, but this was done perfectly. And it was the first screwy segment of the entire show, so in a way it was almost very.. fresh. It just worked. Perfectly.
Something tells me I’m soon going to be complaining about it being done horribly wrong, though, unfortunately…
7/7. I don’t even know what to say anymore.
Cewsh: Do you understand how weird it is not to be typing some kind of title or gimmick in front of the participants in an American PPV main event ? Its fucking bizarre.
Now as I was saying earlier, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels have been friendly rivals for years, and are currently stable mates in Fortune. But Daniels isn’t satisfied as he looks back on a long career of having made his name as the preeminent indy wrestler of his day only to be utterly surpassed in ever way by his protégé AJ Styles. Now he sees the opportunity to drag himself out of the doldrums and stop himself from getting lost in the shuffle yet again by putting on a show for the ages and finally beating his pupil to show that he’s the man they should have been looking to all along.
Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly what happened here.
Vice: Styles and Daniels have had some amazing matches in the past, and I always look forward to them in the ring. While this was probably the worst of all of them (well, the main ones), that doesn’t make this match bad by any means. I still thought it was really good, in fact.
There was a lot of story here. TNA has made it very clear how close their friendship is, how much they’ve trained together, how much they respect each other, how Daniels got AJ’s foot in the door in TNA, and all that good juicy stuff. And it’s made better by the fact that it’s completely true. They really are BFF’s, named their kids after each other, train together, etc. The “feud” is a perfect blend of kayfabe and reality.
I can understand it if you thought this match was boring or that there wasn’t a lot to it, or whatever. It wasn’t nearly as eventful or intense as their previous bouts. This one was very smartly worked though, with Daniels and AJ knowing each other so well that they have a counter and a reversal for everything, he reversals to reversals to reversals. Plus there were so many nods to their previous matches which I enjoyed. Things that caught the other off guard in their previous bout were sure as hell countered here. I also really enjoyed what Daniels was doing in this match. In Wrestlingland, he has a losing record against AJ despite being the “better” wrestler. The problem is that AJ Styles is, well, AJ Styles. And AJ is crazy and amazing and refuses to die, which makes defeating him rather difficult. Daniels knows this, so he gets a bit crazy at times. My favorite moment of the match was Daniels getting AJ outside of the ring and then giving him a sick suicide dive into the guard rail, only to roll back in the ring and do a Taker-esque dive over the top rope, knocking AJ into the guard rail AGAIN.
Not only was it visually cool to watch, but it showed how Daniels was willing to do whatever it took. He also didn’t want to cheat to win (he’s respectful!), but he certainly bent a few rules here and there while laying on the trashtalk, hoping such a thing could put him on equal footing with AJ.
At some point in the match, either one or both ended up concussed or at the very least knocked three quarters of the way to stupid, which made things a bit sloppy. While some will surely say that it took away from the match, I’ll say that it actually added to it. While I wish injuries on no one, sometimes such things can make it all seem all the more real, and add to the story. These guys battled and battled until they were actually hurt and still managed to go at it. If they were 100% crisp up until the very last bit of the match, I might not be able to buy into it as well. While obviously this all completely pales in comparison to Undertaker almost legitimately dying against Shawn Michaels, that all made the match so much more compelling to me since it added not only to the story, but to the real life aspect as well. So, I don’t believe I’m actually going to crap on the later parts of this match because of the sloppiness. It was real.
That said, these two got a LOT of time to wrestle. Almost too much time, as they had trouble pacing themselves here and there. So this is not the main event to end all main events, and was not as good as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed it very much. I love these two, whether they are wrestling each other or tag teaming.
Cewsh: The trouble with matches that SHOULD be great and have been endless times before is that when you go into them, you start looking for reasons why they aren’t as good as you expected. A match like Lynn/Van Dam is exempt from this because they’re up there in years and your expectations are tempered in reality, but Styles/Daniels? No way, man, it has to be legendary. Unfortunately, that’s not what this was. What happened here was a great start with Daniels establishing that he intends to stay one step ahead of Styles all the way through with his experience advantage no matter how much of a dick it makes him look like, and that was great. But then, towards the middle of the match, the whole thing just sort of…drifted.
After that it was sort of lifeless for a bit, before picking up again before the end, which was good, but that middle part just perplexes me as I sit here right now. Not only was there not much going on, but there were actual botches, and not just one or two, from two guys who treat botches like the SARS virus. Rumors since then say that Daniels may have sustained a concussion in the match, and I certainly thought AJ himself looked awfully red and woozy for him at points, and that makes me wonder is something like that may have pulled this down from where it could have gone.
Whatever the cause, it was a fine match. But the curse of the TNA main event stands. With a brilliant match here, this show could have been something that could be held up with any show ever produced. With a good match, we’ll see.
79 out of 100.
Cewsh: What in the name of Fuckaham Lincoln did I just watch?
A few days later, I’m still sitting here trying to convince myself that what I witnessed here can’t actually be what happened. That TNA would not only dedicate an entire PPV to the X Division and pure wrestling matches is gobstopping, but the idea that that PPV should turn out to be the single highest rated and most consistently quality PPV in Cewsh Reviews history is absolutely stunning. After watching the show, Vice and I just sat there for hours daring one another to find a serious fault with this show and…we never did. This is as fun and varied a wrestling show as you are likely to find this year, or, frankly, any year close to this one. Spot fests, chain wrestling, comedy, crazy gimmick match, hugely anticipated match ups, and all of it wrapped in a kind of urgency to please that is utterly absent from TNA’s usual PPV offerings.
Fuck man, a show with NO BAD MATCHES. And all they had to do was give a bunch of hungry, unappreciated wrestlers a chance to prove they were worth something.
Enjoy it, guys. They’ll soon be wishing you well in your future endeavors, but they can’t take this night away from you.
Vice: Overall, this is definitely TNA’s best PPV ever. Everything shown here is exactly what the company SHOULD be, and it pains me that it’s not. Every match delivered in its own way, there was only one overbooked wacky finish, and it actually made sense and was great, and it was just great. Plus not only did Curry Man show up and talk about the Fired Championship, Shark Boy showed up and actually got to wrestle. Plus Tazz couldn’t make it, which meant that the commentary wasn’t like trying to crap out Janice. This was just a brilliant night of wrestling, in my eyes. This was like they were doing everything they possibly could to get me to come back as a fan after I boycotted them.
Hook. Line. Sinker.
And now, the triumphant return of…
Well that’ll do it for us this time boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed reading about a startling new entry into Cewsh Reviews history and we’re bursting with curiosity to find out if this Sunday’s WWE Money in the Bank 2011 PPV turns out to be another one as CM Punk and John Cena clash in a battle of NOBODY KNOWS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Can’t wait. Until then, though, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.