10 Thoughts On Destination X 2011 (Samoa Joe, RVD, AJ Styles, Chris Daniels)

 I know this is a little late, but here are some thoughts about a PPV that…
            No, I’m going to start with this. If THIS was TNA’s roster, and these were the matches we saw, and the people we saw (I don’t like them all, but you can’t like everyone on a roster) with one or two additions, then I would be a TNA mark. I said it on the Roundtable – these matches should have been World Title matches and #1 Contender matches, not a PPV designed to be a stop-gap.
            I honestly feel that TNA threw this PPV out there to fail. They will inevitably say, “There was no discernible bump in the ratings or buys at all for this PPV compared to the others – despite the fact the people we are currently pushing down everyone’s throats are not even there at all – so that must mean no one cares about the X Division and these guys.” And IF there is a bump, they will find some way to say it was all because of Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett, Crimson, Anderson and/or Eric Bischoff.
            As I also said on the Roundtable, I am therefore going into this match like I go into watching old PPVs from the 1990s. The results have no bearing on anything I am seeing on TV nowadays, but I want to be entertained. So I have come into this in order to, quite simply, enjoy what I am watching, ignoring as well as I can any TNA storylines…


(1) This does not look like a PPV. No cool opening video, perfunctory pyro, in the Impact Zone… it’s like just another episode of Impact. But, I smiled a little when I saw the 6-sided ring. And, to be honest, the Jeremy Borash/Mike Tenay commentating team has been the best commentary team this year from any promotion. When Tenay is allowed to call the action and be a smart-arse, and not be a shill, he is still good. And JB surprised me. Already that makes this PPV a pleasant experience.


(2) Kazarian def Samoa Joe with a victory roll (c.12 min). Best opening match of a PPV this year. My only issue with the match was Joe arguing with the ref for so long right before the finish. But, apart from that, this was great, like the way WCW used to put on the luchadores at the start of a PPV to make you think you hadn’t wasted your money watching a show with Hulk Hogan in the main event. But I still don’t understand why Joe is losing so much.


(2) Douglas Williams def Mark Haskins with a roll-up (c.7 min). This is the sort of match I like, some high spots, some good technical wrestling and some nice, clean moves. All that was missing was some in-ring psychology and storyline. No real obvious botches… until right before the end when Haskins slipped off the top rope. Damn shame. The crowd was weird though – they didn’t get into it, but ended up cheering for Williams. And then Williams did the babyface handshake at the end? So he is a real face now? A new member of the British stable? Well, I liked what I saw.


(3) Generation Me def by Eric Young and Shark Boy with a wheelbarrow into reverse cutter by EY on Max Buck (c. 9 min). I wonder if the Bucks asked for their release before this PPV and so were jobbed out on their way out in a nothing match. Shark Boy’s Austin-isms are like every other person who impersonates Stone Cold. Eric Young’s schtick is too strange for words, and he looks like Charlton Heston in The Planet Of The Apes. Just saying. The night’s comedy match, I guess. Some nice moves, and some good fast-paced interactions. And Eric Young certainly looked good out there. Good for what it was. And I’ve certainly seen worse on PPV this year. A lot worse.


(4) Ultimate X: Shannon Moore v Robbie E v Amazing Red v Alex Shelley; Alex Shelley won (c. 12 min). Shannon Moore leaves me cold and I have seen nothing in Robbie E to catch my attention. Still, this was a fun match, but this is my problem with a lot of these matches (and lucha libre matches as well) – it was a bunch of spots, and very little more. Moves that would end a normal match are suddenly transition moves. I think the best this sort of train wreck genre that has been done recently is the very first Money In The Bank, where there was great selling, setting up of spots that wasn’t obvious and jaw-dropping high spots. So it looked good, but was rather hollow.


(5) Jerry Lynn def by Rob Van Dam by 5-star frog splash (c. 15 min). These two fighting were what got me into watching ECW ‘back in the day’. For every stupid hardcore match featuring New Jack et al, these two could bring the goods more often than not. So this was my first mark-out match in a long time. A tad slower than in the past, and still lacking in-ring psychology (like every RVD match ever), this was still one of the better PPV matches of the year. That bump by Van Dam onto the chair from halfway across the ring looked… Christ! And that was the best 5-star I’ve seen him do in years. Yep, I marked out. So sue me.


(6) Zema Ion vs. Austin Aries vs. Low Ki vs. Jack Evans; Austin Aries won after dropkicking Low-Ki in the corner, then hitting him with a brain buster (c. 12 min). Can I just say the 630 is one of my favourite moves ever, no matter how much it is just all show? Well, this match was certainly fast. I’d hate to be a play-by-play reviewer following this! Evans’ drop kick into shooting star-style moonsault on a different opponent is now my favourite combo move. The duelling submission holds with Low Ki and Aries was really cool. Yeah, I marked out again! This match is high spot –errific, but the moves look like they actually hurt and are making impact. The 630 to the knees… how can Low-Ki walk after that? Ouch! Okay, this was – in my opinion – one of the best PPV matches of 2011. Haven’t I already said that? Is this already one of the best PPVs of the year?


(7) Brian Kendrick def Abyss with a victory roll (c. 10 min). I went into this match expecting very little. I got it. When the title match is the worst match on the card you know something doesn’t make sense. I have never been sold on Abyss, even after all these years. And I swear the only person on the card who Kendrick was bigger than was Amazing Red. And another victory roll? First time, cool, this time, not so cool. Standard big v little guy dynamic. Clash of styles. Worst match on the card, and I didn’t really like it much at all anyway. Ref bump, Bischoff waddles in, Immortal meander out and beat up Kendrick, 90% of the X-Division wrestlers run in, we have a brawl (thank-you, Tenay, for not screaming during this – well done!), the ref counts the win from the outside… and the X-Division guys celebrate with Kendrick while Immortal look on in stunned disbelief. Oh, and Abyss bled. They knew it was going to suck, so they threw everything at it. But – and I will give them this – this was the only match which was a clusterf**k in any way, shape or form. I thought it was not a good match, by the way.


(8) AJ Styles def Christopher Daniels with a Styles clash (c. 20 min). Match of the night, best PPV match of the year so far. Technical skill, high spots, and it told a story in the ring of the two of them knowing each other so well and for so long that they were almost wrestling themselves. They could not work on body parts, they just had to wear one another down. And Daniels was losing it a little, growing frustrated. It was really that good and there’s not much else I can say. Look, I liked it. A lot. A real lot.


(9) I liked that half the matches finished with mutual respect between opponents. That was an excellent touch. And that only one match was ruined by ref bumps, run ins and other shenanigans. Clean finishes abound!


(10) Okay, what does it all mean? This was, hands down, based on in-ring product, the best PPV of 2011. Apart from one, all the matches were good, and 4 – yes, four out of 7 – were better than just good. But… But… This PPV meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. WWE would never do anything this risky. TNA will essentially ignore this PPV while they have Anderson and Crimson to push. It is going to take some doing to beat this as PPV of the year, but the show means nothing. So can it really be called the best PPV if the results mean so little? Well, considering the anodyne storylines, champions and wrestling we are normally fed by the big 2, I say, “Yes.” Yes it can. Best PPV of the year so far.


If they wanted TNA could be putting on shows with this sort of quality all the friggin’ time! Matches had time to develop, endings were clean, the action was exciting. They can add in some decent women’s matches, some hardcore, some big guys, keep Sting and Scott Steiner to help the young guys, get Flair and Hogan to teach them to talk, push the right guys (and for what it’s worth, I think Rob Terry has more potential to be a good wrestler than Crimson). TNA could be awesome. Instead they give us WCW v2.1.
            TNA, come one! This was great!


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