A2Z Analysiz: TNA X-Travaganza (Samoa Joe, Austin Aries)

xtrav

Impact Zone – Orlando, Florida – Friday, April 5, 2013

MATCH #1: Xscape Match – Matt Bentley vs. Alex Silva vs. Lince Dorado vs. Sam Shaw vs. Puma vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Christian York

In an Xscape match, elimination occurs via pinfall or submission, until we get down to the last two men, and then you have to escape the cage. Dorado and Silva start it off and it’s fast and furious right away. Everyone gets a chance to show off a bit in the early going. The match breaks down and all seven men brawl in the ring, but just briefly. We settle with York and Dorado going at it, but they quikcly give way to Silva and Shaw, two Gut Check competitors. We go back to York and Dorado, and York scores the first elimination with a big boot to the face and a gnarly swinging neckbreaker at 7:17. There’s no break in the action as Puma and Shaw get in the ring. Shaw hits the Orton backbreaker and a neckbreaker to eliminate Puma at 8:00. Silva and Bentley are next to go at it, but Shaw sneaks in and hits Silva with the same combination he used to eliminate Puma, and Bentley steals the pin at 9:00. It’s a fatal four-way match now. Rave comes in and hits Shaw with a Lightning Spiral to eliminate him at 10:41. Bentley and Rave team up on York and start wearing him down. York weathers the storm and hits Rave with a half nelson suplex, and then hits the swinging neckbreaker on Bentley to eliminate him at 12:38. Now we’re down to York and Rave, so it’s escape rules from here. Both men try to climb out the cage and slug it out at the top. They go down to the top rope and York brings Rave down with a swinging neckbreaker! That’s enough for York to climb up, and when Rave tries to stop him he gets kicked back to the mat. York climbs out and touches the floor to win the match at 16:00. This was a decent way to kick off the show and highlight York, but the rest of the guys were either released (Silva), not brought back (Bentley, Dorado, Rave), or brought back with different characters (Puma, Shaw), so it was hard to get too invested.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Kid Kash & Douglas Williams vs. Anthony Nese & Rashad Cameron

Williams and Cameron start it off. They chain wrestle a bit and Williams would seem to have the advantage there but Cameron keeps up with him. What I don’t understand is why Wiliams has his knee pads around his boots instead of his knees. Why have them if you’re not going to use them on your knees? Kash and Nese tag in and they go back and forth trying to establish dominance. Nese clotheslines Kash to the floor and looks for a dive but Williams cuts him off with a clotheslines. Cameron comes to his partner’s aid and sends Williams to the floor, and then wipes out both Kash and Williams with a dive. Nese follows with one of his own and the Impact Zone is digging it. Back in the ring the veteran duo of Williams and Kash take control and wear Nese down in their half of the ring. Cameron gets a hot tag but is quickly cut off and Williams and Kash continue to do their thing. Kash tries a Merosault but Cameron gets his knees up. Nese gets the hot tag and he unloads on Kash. Williams tries to help out but Nese takes it to him too. Things break down and Cameron takes Kash out with a dive to the floor. That leaves Nese and Williams in the ring, and Nese is giving Williams everything he has. Kash comes to his partner’s rescue, giving Williams the chance to hit the Chaos Theory for the win at 13:17. This was solid tag team formula stuff, and a good internal story of “old school” versus “new school.”
Rating: ***

MATCH #3: Robbie E vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr.

Robbie comes out to brag about being the best X Division Champion ever. Chavo comes out and takes umbrage with that claim, and challenges Robbie to a match. Robbie says he would love to, but they don’t have a referee. Chavo says that they do have a referee – the brother of former X Division Champion Abyss, Joseph Park! Robbie stalls a bit to start, and Chavo is the aggressor. Chavo charges at Robbie and gets back dropped to the floor. Robbie tries to follow with a dive but Chavo avoids it. Chavo hits a slingshot senton to get back in the ring. He tries to cover but Robbie kicks out before a count of one. Robbie uses Park as a shield and then takes a cheap shot on Chavo to take control. Chavo fights back with a dropkick and a headscissors. He hits a leg lariat and then tries the Three Amigos but Robbie pushes him off. Robbie tries a cross body block but Chavo ducks and Robbie lands in Park’s arms! Cute spot. Park drops Robbie, and Chavo follows with the Three Amigos. One Frog Splash later and Chavo gets the win at 5:10. That was a whole lot of not much from two of my least favorite X Division wrestlers ever. At least they kept it short.
Rating: *½

MATCH #4: Ultimate X Match – Zema Ion vs. Rubix vs. Kenny King vs. Mason Andrews

This is the twenty-ninth Ultimate X match in TNA history. Ion is the Ultimate X veteran here, having appeared in three prior, winning the X Division title in one at Destination X 2012. King and Andrews are both appearing in their second Ultimate X match after appearing in the same one that Ion won the X Title. Rubix is making his Ultimate X debut.

King and Rubix square off in one half of the ring while Ion and Andrews fight on the other side. That doesn’t last long as all four men end up battling each other. The action is fast and furious both in and out of the ring. Rubix is eager to prove himself in his first Ultimate X match, and he looks good in the early going, as does King, who is the first man to go after the X but he gets pulled down with aggression by Rubix and Andrews. Rubix dumps Andrews to the floor and he goes after the X but Ion stops him before he gets too far. Action continues on the floor, with King, Andrews and Ion all hitting impressive dives. Rubix won’t be outdone though, and he climbs up the steel truss and takes everyone out with a cross body block. Rubix tries to grab the X but King is able to stop him. Andrews takes King down in the ring, and almost gets the X but Ion pulls him down. Offense comes from all sides and all four men find themselves hurting on the mat. They all get up and it’s right back to 100 mph for everyone. Rubix is in the best shape and he makes it out to the X and takes it off the cables, but King sneaks in and drops Jigsaw with an Electric Chair Drop, claming the X in the process and winning the match at 15:25. That was fun and energetic, and the finish was quite clever. Outside of the finish though it wasn’t at all memorable, and nothing at all was on the line so it was just a match that happened and nothing more.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Bad Influence vs. Sonjay Dutt & Petey Williams

Williams and Christopher Daniels start it off. They go back and forth briefly and then tags are made, leaving Dutt and Kazarian to do battle. Williams and Dutt show impressive teamwork in the opening minutes, even trapping Bad Influence in simultaneous submission holds. Soon after Daniels and Kazarian use some dirty tactics to take control, isolating Williams in their half of the ring. Eventually of course the hot tag is made and Dutt is a house afire. Sadly for Dutt it doesn’t last, as Kazarian cuts him off with a slingshot DDT for a two-count. The referee loses control as all four men are in the ring doing whatever they want. Williams goes for the Canadian Destroyer on Daniels but Kazarian breaks that up. Dutt hits Kaz with the Asai DDT and Daniels breaks up the cover. Williams sends Daniels to the floor and follows him out with the slingshot rana. Dutt takes Kaz down and goes to the top rope and Daniels knocks him down on his crotch. Kaz hits Fade to Black, Daniels adds the Best Moonsault Ever, and Kaz gets the pin at 12:50. More solid tag team goodness here, as they kept it interesting throughoutand kicked it into a higher gear for the second half of the match. It’s too bad that Petey Williams has since retired, I always thought he was underrated.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #6: No Disqualification Match – Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam

They start off with their usual back and forth circle jerkery. It doesn’t take long for RVD to introduce a chair, and he tries to monkey flip Lynn onto it but Lynn cuts him off. They head to the floor and RVD drapes Lynn over the guardrail and leaps onto him with a legdrop. RVD brings a table into the ring and sets it up in the corner, where it waits. Back to the floor RVD sets up another table and tries to suplex Lynn from the ring through the table, but Lynn counters with a sunst bomb attempt, which RVD blocks. Back in the ring they continue to exchange maneuvers, neither man holding the advantage for very long. They work in several of their contrived spots, including Lynn hitting the sunset bomb right on the chair for a two-count. RVD sells that for about five seconds before trying the chair-assisted running dropkick in the corner, but Lynn thwarts that with a spear through the table! That also gets sold for like five seconds. RVD takes Lynn down on the steel chair and goes for the Five-Star Frog Splash but Lynn moves so RVD hits nothing but chair. Lynn rolls RVD up for a two-count. He hits a TKO on the chair for another near-fall. Lynn goes to the top rope with the chair, but RVD kicks him in the face and Lynn crashes through the table at ringside. Back in the ring RVD covers for two. RVD then goes up top and hits the Five-Star Frog Splash to get the pin at 15:53. They did a bunch of stuff and then RVD won. It was just like every other match they’ve ever had, and if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
Rating: **

In a nice moment, Lynn and RVD embrace, and then they locker room empties to give Lynn an ovation. I’m not a huge fan, but he definitely had a big impact on a certain style of wrestling, and I can certainly respect anyone who gave himself to the business the way Lynn has.

MATCH #7: Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe

These two have faced each other numerous times over the years so they start off slowly, feeling each other out. Joe takes the first advantage using his size and power, and he keeps Aries grounded. The crafty Aries goes to the floor and tries to slam Joe’s legs into the ring post, but Joe is all like “na I’m good bro,” and he chops Aries out into the crowd. Joe beats on Aries some more and then throws him back in the ring. Aries catches Joe with a dropkick to the knee and that’s the opening Aries needed. Aries relentlessly (and wisely) targets Joe’s legs, keeping the big man on the mat. That totally neutralizes Joe’s striking ability, which is why it’s always good strategy against Joe. Aries maneuvers Joe to the floor and follows him out with a Heat Seeking Missile. Back in the ring Aries hits a Missile Dropkick, and Joe pops up for one last gasp with a hard clothesline. Both men are down. Back on their feet Joe fires up and unleashes a flurry of offense, culminating in a senton splash for two. Joe hits a snap powerslam for two. He follows with a powerbomb for two, and then he rolls it into the STF. Aries escapes and goes back to the leg, but Joe catches him in the Choke! They’re too close to the ropes though and Aries is able to reach out and break the hold. Aries traps Joe in the corner and hits the IED. He tries the Brainbuster but Joe counters it. Aries recovers and hits the crucifix bomb and then a solid kick to the skull. That gets a two-count. Aries goes up top but misses the 450 Splash and then runs right into the STJoe. Now Joe is fired up and goes for the Muscle Buster but Aries slips out and cradles Joe to get the pin at 18:18. These two have had great chemistry together for the last decade and this match was no different. Both men had solid strategy and hit all of their moves right on. The finish was a bit underwhelming, but I understand wanting to keep Joe strong. On the other hand, so few people actually see these shows it probably doesn’t matter.
Rating: ***¾

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