June 10, 2015
The Destination X episode of IMPACT is truly definitive of what the current state of the X Division is, an afterthought which is given lip service once a year.
Last week, Rockstar Spud traded in his title for a World Title shot against Kurt Angle. It is the equivalent of me giving up the job I love for one of the most wanted jobs in the state. While there is always a chance, it is high-risk. I love Rockstar Spud but there was no chance he would have nor should have won the World Heavyweight Championship. What he did tonight was provide a competitive match against Kurt Angle that gave him a few spots.
My preference would have been that TNA take a different route this year and have Rockstar Spud hold onto the title, let Austin Aries cash in his title shot and then feature Spud defending the X Division Title in some sort of match. Unfortunately, TNA chose to have Spud go after the World Title tonight creating a similar situation of having the X Title defended and putting the division in a place of monotony or risk.
*During Destination X, we had 9 X Division Stars compete in three 3-Way Matches to advance to a future X Division Championship Match. Match 1 featured Low Ki, Crazzy Steve and an underutilized Manik. Match 2 featured Tigre Uno, Mandrews and DJ Z while Match 3 featured Kenny King, Cruz and...Grado.
All three were high-flying spotfests that represent the current state of the division. Low Ki and Kenny King were the best featured participants but have held the title recently and are involved in other things. Manik and Tigre Uno have been underutilized for the past year and both could be strong cornerstones of the division. DJ Z is involved in other things. Crazzy Steve is a comedy character. I don't know who Cruz is. Mandrews has been sitting at home and Grado doesn't represent the X Division.
Low Ki, Tigre Uno and Grado won their matches which means gives us a few options. Go back to Low Ki (which we have seen before), put the title on Tigre Uno (which is fresh but Tigre can be dangerous in the ring) or go with Grado (who is being featured the most but is a divisive wrestler). Unfortunately, I am betting TNA goes with Grado, which truly reflects the current state of TNA.
*There was a few good things about these series of matches. Some had good action. TNA kept its X Division promo, which makes the division stand out. Also, Jessie Godderz had a nice post-match beat down of DJ Z showing his new aggressive behavior and continuing his villainous momentum. Good for Jessie.
*Even though I am critical of Grado for being in the X Division, I did get a laugh or two out of his backstage segments. Him trying to make weight when it was unnecessary. It does beg the question of why TNA didn't keep their weight limit. He would be a fine character in TNA but he doesn't fit the X Division.
*The Knockouts stuff was interesting to as Taryn Terrell granted Awesome Kong a shot at the title only if it were a Lingerie Match. To me, this was a clever way to get out of a title defense as Taryn knew that Kong wouldn't be seen in lingerie. While people will complain that the Knockouts are becoming another version of the Attitude Era Women's Division, I see this as just more of a storyline to give Taryn heat. Its similar to Taryn feeding on Gail Kim's fear of losing her husband to another woman. Taryn fed on Awesome Kong's image.
This will likely set up a three way between Kong, Brooke and Taryn at Slammiversary.
*I am liking Bram calling out past IMPACT stars as we will see some nostalgia. Crimson answered Bram's challenge this week. I missed Crimson and am hoping he is back with the company. He freshened up his look and his moveset as he busted out the Rings of Saturn. The crowd and announcers were horrible in giving him any reaction killing his return though. I am excited to see who else returns and accepts Bram's challenge.
*Kurt Angle vs Austin Aries was definitely a Match of the Year Contender for me. Both men laid it all out there. Angle and Aries kicked out of each other's finishers and took things to the next level. Kurt Angle looked really good tonight going through two different opponents. After the match, EC3 attacked Angle setting up their upcoming championship match.
This brings me to my "rant of the week." TNA has announced that EC3 and Kurt Angle will face off on July 1st at "Bell to Bell." As most of you know, this is the IMPACT right after Slammiversary on June 28th. Slammiversary is one of TNA's remaining major shows. Being on July 1st, it appears that Slammiversary is losing its main event.
TNA probably decided to move the match to IMPACT because of their taping scheduled. In the past, TNA has saved their big matches for IMPACT as a way to boost the viewership. Unfortunately, while doing this, they have killed their PPVs. Last year's Bound For Glory show was taped in Japan and felt like a glorified One Night Only show, Lockdown this year went from a hyped 3-hour live PPV to a taped, rushed 2-hour episode of IMPACT on Destination America. Slammiversary will air after the post-Slammiversary shows are taped which will spoil its events.
Some of you will say "why would they have this match on Slammiversary when we know what the results would be beforehand?" Why would they put themselves in that position?
I have been saying for weeks that TNA constantly makes business decisions that get in the way of their product. This is another one of those decisions. Slammiversary was their last major PPV but with it being in Orlando without a World Title Match, it loses a lot of its luster. Its another disappointing decision in a line of them.
With Summer coming up, I will be increasing the amount of content I post on TNAsylum.com and at TalonThorne.Net including a Versus series focused on an ROH vs TNA feud on Destination America.