A2Z Analysiz: TNA X-Travaganza 2014 (Austin Aries, Sanada)

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Universal Studios – Orlando, FL – Friday, August 1, 2014

Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash are on commentary. There’s an interesting gimmick for tonight’s show, in which six non-roster performers – Petey Williams, Rashad Cameron, Ace Vedder, Sonjay Dutt, Low Ki, and Rubix – will face six current TNA wrestlers, and if any of those six win their matches they will advance to the main event Ultimate X match for a shot at the X Division Title.

MATCH #1: Chris Sabin vs. Low Ki

These two are no strangers to each other, having feuded over the X Division Title way back in 2006. Sabin is cocky in the early going, avoiding Ki and then slapping him right in the face. Ki bides his time and starts attacking Sabin with vicious strikes. Sabin fights back and targets Ki’s midsection, dropping him on the top rope. Back in the ring Sabin puts on an abdominal stretch and otherwise punishes Ki for several minutes. Ki eventually fights back and lands a double stomp for a two-count. He hits the Tidal Wave for another near-fall. Ki sends Sabin to the floor and dropkicks him in the face. Back in the ring Ki covers for two. Sabin fights back and tries a catapult but Ki lands on the second rope and jumps back with a double stomp. Ki then hits the Ki Krusher to get the pin at 9:30. Good choice for an opener here, and both men had a solid strategy that they stuck to.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: DJ Z vs. Rashad Cameron

Cameron is the aggressor in the early going, as Z tries to avoid him for the most part. That changes when Cameron goes after Z’s hair and then his headphones. It’s on now! Z charges and gets back-dropped to the floor. Back in the ring Cameron continues to dominate, sending Z back to the floor. Cameron goes for a suicide dive but Z cuts him off with a shoulder to the gut. Z then snaps Cameron’s neck off the top rope. That puts Z in control and he works to keep Cameron on the mat. This goes on for a bit, but when Z tries a quebrada Cameron gets his knees up. Cameron sends Z to the floor and connects on a wicked flip dive. Back in the ring Cameron hits a top rope cross body. Cameron continues flying around the ring and hits a jumping Flatliner for two. He hits a leaping Ace Crusher from the second rope and then goes up for a Frog Splash but Z avoids it. Z goes to the apron and tries a DDT variation but Cameron pushes off and then traps Z in an inside cradle to get the pin at 9:04. That was perfectly solid for the most part, with just a few awkward spots. Cameron definitely looked motivated, which is not always the case for everyone on the One Night Only shows.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Kenny King vs. Rubix

These two have faced each other before, so both are a little cautious in the early going. Rubix quickens the pace and uses his agility to creatively target King’s arm. He hits a nice dropkick that sends King to the floor and follows him out. King is able to sweep Rubix’s legs out from under him on the apron, which is generally a cool spot. Back in the ring King follows up on the advantage and keeps Rubix grounded. Rubix fights back and sends King to the floor; this time he’s able to connect on the dive to wipe King out. Back in the ring Rubix goes up top and hits a missile dropkick. King cuts him off with a stun gun for a two-count. He hits a bridging T-bone suplex for another near-fall. Rubix pulls off a quick inside cradle for two, and then this a release German Suplex. He charges at King but gets tossed in the air and hit with the Coronation! Cool spot there, and it gets King the win at 7:01. That was like a truncated version of a really good match, and King looked strong in going over such a worthy competitor.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #4: Manik vs. Ace Vedder

Manik starts off strong, keeping Vedder grounded and off-guard with a variety of maneuvers. Vedder fights back and targets the arm, but Manik is able to quickly cut him off and go right back on offense. Manik sends Vedder to the floor and looks for a dive but Vedder avoids it and pulls Manik down on the apron. Vedder tries to follow up but Manik is able to leap onto the apron and hit a turnaround cross body block. Back in the ring he goes for a cross body but Vedder catches him with a dropkick. Vedder then catches Manik with a flip dive over the top rope. Back in the ring Vedder covers for two. Vedder keeps Manik grounded and wears him down. Manik fights back with a dropkick. He’s able to send Vedder to the floor and he follows with a springboard dropkick. Back in the ring Manik hits a missile dropkick to the back. Manik pours on the pressure but still can’t put Vedder away. A series of reversals ends with Vedder hitting a release German Suplex. Vedder hits a tornado DDT for a two-count. He tries a super rana but Manik rolls through to a sunset flip for two. Manik hits a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. He goes up top and tries a splash but Vedder moves out of the way. Vedder measures Manik and hits a flying knee to the back of the head to score the pin at 8:52. This was yet another solid match in a string of them here. They worked well together and the finish was unique.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Sonjay Dutt vs. Rockstar Spud

Full disclosure – I hate Rockstar Spud. They start with some chain wrestling and Dutt gains the advantage so Spud hides behind the referee. Spud argues with the referee and shenanigans ensue. Dutt continues to control the match easily. He tries a slingshot move but Spud knocks him out of the air. Spud actually has the advantage for the next several minutes. He goes up top and misses a big splash attempt. Dutt fires up and unleashes a flurry of offense but nothing that can put Spud away yet. He hits a missile dropkick from the second rope but only gets two. Spud comes back and slams Dutt down. He goes back up top but once again can’t connect. Dutt kicks Spud in the chest and heads up top. He lands the Moonsault double foot stomp to get the pin at 8:07. The best part about that match is Dutt winning means I won’t have to watch a second Rockstar Spud match on this show. The match was not terrible otherwise.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #6: Tigre Uno vs. Petey Williams

They start off with some fast-paced chain wrestling, eventually coming to a standoff. Uno takes the advantage with a dropkick for two. Williams comes back by driving Uno into the corner, but Uno fights out of that and uses his Lucha expertise to send Williams to the floor. Uno takes Williams out with a twisting corkscrew dive to the floor. Back in the ring Williams cuts Uno off and goes to work on his leg. After a few minutes Uno is able to connect with an enziguiri, but Williams quickly cuts him off and grounds him once again. Uno slips out of a suplex and hits another enziguiri. He follows with a spin kick and what appeared to be a senton straight to the balls. That gets the pin at 6:45, but it looks kind of like Williams might have kicked out? That didn’t seem right. This was quite short and the finish was awkward, so it ended up a disappointment.
Rating: **

MATCH #7: Tag Team Ladder Match – Bad Influence vs. The Wolves

For some reason Ethan Carter III decided to put up $25,000 of his own money to the winner of this match. All four men start brawling, with Eddie Edwards facing Christopher Daniels and Davey Richards squaring off with Frankie Kazarian. The Wolves take first control but the momentum shifts back and forth multiple times. This is definitely going to be a fast-paced encounter. Both teams are adept at using the ladders as weapons, so this could get creative. The Wolves control a majority of the opening minutes, but when they go for a simultaneous dive, they get a ladder shoved in their faces. Two ladders get set up in the ring and all four men climb up and slug it out. Everyone knocks each other down and we’re back to square one. Bad Influence is in better shape and they send Richards to the floor so they can focus on Edwards. Richards makes it back to the ring and comes to his partner’s rescue with a ladder. The Wolves smash Bad Influence’s heads with a ladder-assisted kick. Offense continues to come from all over the place but Daniels and Kazarian manage to stay one step ahead. They get a chance to bot climb the ladder together but Richards shoves them down. Kazarian and Richards battle on the top rope and Richards knocks Kazarian down. Daniels hits Richards with a Palm Strike and sets up for a super Angel’s Wings. Richards fights that off and shoves Daniels down onto a ladder. He comes down with a double stomp and Daniels rolls to the floor writhing in pain. Richards and Kazarian battle on top of a ladder and Kazarian wins that battle. Edwards grabs Kazarian and powerbombs him off the ladder right into a backstabber. With both Daniels and Kazarian down, Edwards climbs up the ladder and retrieves the money at 14:15. That was a lot of fun, just like you’d expect it to be. It was a pretty random ladder match for a random prize, but these four are good enough to make an entertaining match out of it.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #8: X Division Championship Match – Austin Aries vs. Sanada

This match is best two out of three falls. Sanada has been the Champion since 3.2.14, and this is his second defense. Aries is rather confident for a former four-time Champion facing the man he most recently lost the title to. They chain wrestle back and forth, with momentum changing back and forth as both men try to set their own pace. Sanada strings together a flurry of offense and clotheslines Aries to the floor. They fight on the apron and Aries tries to bring Sanada back in the ring with a suplex, but Sanada fights it off. Aries is able to shove Sanada to the floor and he tries the Heat Seeking Missile but Sanada decks him with a hard forearm strike. Back in the ring Sanada hits a bodyslam and a beautiful moonsault to win the first fall at 5:45. They get a 10-second rest period, and the second fall begins and Aries is still out. Sanada figures he’ll go up for the moonsault again but Aries was playing possum and he pops up and shoves the Champion to the floor. Aries follows him out with the Heat Seeking Missile. He attacks Sanada’s neck and goes for a countout, which would even the score. Sanada makes it back to the ring and Aries continues the punishment, keeping the Champ grounded. Aries works Sanada over for several minutes but he gets cocks and tries his opponent’s finishers and misses the moonsault. Sanada recovers and goes to the apron so he can hit the springboard chop to the head. He hits a rana and then a cartwheel into a back elbow. Aries fights back with a discuss forearm and the shinbreaker-back suplex combo. He hits the IED and then lands another one. Aries goes for the Brainbuster but Sanada slips out and executes a perfect O’Connor Roll with a bridge to win his second straight fall at 15:53. I’m surprised that Sanada won two straight, and I like that he did it both by hitting his finisher and then with a classic wrestling hold. Beating Aries in two straight is no small deal in TNA, but on the other hand I think me and Larry Csonka are the only people who review these shows so how much does it really mean? Either way, that was a terrific match and a good showing for both men.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #9: Ultimate X Match – Low Ki vs. Rashad Cameron vs. Ace Vedder vs. Sonjay Dutt

Dutt is 0-4 in Ultimate X matches; Vedder is 0-1, Cameron is making his Ultimate X debut; and Ki is 0-3. The action starts off fast and furious, with all four men chomping at the bit to win their first Ultimate X match and get that shot at the X Division Title. All four competitors are very evenly matched as they get to show what they can do in the opening minutes. The first big spot comes when Cameron and Ki are battling in a corner and Vedder sneaks up and brings Cameron down with a super release German Suplex. Vedder tries an Alabama Slam on Cameron but it gets countered into a sick piledriver. Now Cameron and Ki square off and Ki hits the Tidal Wave. Ki makes the first serious attempt at grabbing the X but Dutt pulls him down. Cameron sends Dutt back to the floor, and then Ki takes Cameron out with a shotgun dropkick. Dutt comes back in and goes after Ki, hitting the Asai DDT. He has an opening and climbs up the scaffolding above the X rather than go across the ropes. Vedder joins him up there as well. They slug it out and Dutt eventually puts Vedder in the Camel Clutch! Cameron and Ki start going after the X and Dutt shimmies his way down but he can’t stop Ki, who brings down the X at 12:06. That was a solid edition of TNA’s greatest match creation, and with no one watching I can see why they didn’t do any absurd spots. It was just four guys battling it out for a title shot and that worked well enough for me.
Rating: ***¼

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