The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Destination X</I Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz tells you what happened at the March and delves into what it means for the promotion and its fans!.
Destination X was a thorough disappointment. It wasn’t exactly terrible, but it certainly didn’t measure up to the standards most fans have for pay per view wrestling. It came off as tepid and uninspired, two things you can never say about a card that hits the target.
The Ultimate X match was good, if predictable, and the Sting vs. Angle main event was pretty good, too, but most of the other matches would’ve been weak on iMPACT, let alone Destination C
Let’s look at what happened at Destination X — and why…
The pre-show had stressed the Sting–Kurt Angle showdown, but it offered a video for each of the scheduled, announced matches.
The lyrics of the theme song ask, “When is it going to be my turn?”
The Kingfish comments: TNA chooses, on most shows including this one, to hype every item on the card, while WWE generally focuses on the main event with a little push for everything else. TNA’s strategy has its merits, but I think targeting the main matches is a better way to go. Of course, by the time fans are watching the pre-show, most of them have already committed to buying the event…
The theme of the atmospheric opening video was “challenge.” The video started with a black and white montage that stressed the need to pull together to reach common goals. Then the pace quickened, the pictures became action clips and color replaced the black and white as the voice-over announcer invoked the dissension that has recently hit the Main Event Mafia.
The Kingfish comments: TNA usually has good opening videos, though the last couples weren’t wildly original. This one hit the mark dead-center.
The Kingfish notes: Something was wrong with Don West’s mic at the start of the pay per view. Tenay’s wasn’t perfect, but it was better. They got the problem cleared up before the show advanced too far.
Taylor Wilde, Roxxi & The Governor d. Mi Pi Sexy (Angelina Love, Velvet Sky * Madison Rayne)
Six-Knockout Tag Team
The Story: Roxxi and Taylor played an extended trick on the Beautiful People, using the Governor to make them look and act foolish. Then the Beautiful People turned the tables b6y introducing the perfidious Madison Rayne and having her immediately turn on Taylor Wild. The jokes and tricks are done; now it’s time for these two trios to clash.
My Prediction: The feud won’t end here, but it’s time to give the three heels a chance to dump all the baggage they’re carrying after looking like idiots weeks after week. The Governor will suffer the pin after Cute Kip paves the way to an unfair win.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: This was a fast-paced match with lots of tag-ins by both teams. Roxxi and Taylor worked a nice double-team on Angelina Love early in the match. Roxxi picked up the diminutive former champion and threw her down on top of Love. It was too early in the match for a pin.
Velvet Sky tried to wrench a submission from Roxxi with an Octopus. Her technique wasn’t perfect, which gave the Hardcore Knockout the chance to escape the maneuver.
Madison Rayne blasted Roxxi with an Enzuiguiri, but that left her open to Taylor Wild’s Belly-to-Back Suplex. The bridging cover gave the babyfaces the win.
The Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: It’s unclear why TNA devoted so much time on the iMPACT before Destination X to putting over the name “Mi Pi Sexy.” At the pay per view, they referred to the Love-Sky-Rayne trio as “The Beautiful People.”
It won’t matter what they’re called unless TNA plans to book a few wins for them.
Lauren interviewed Jeff Jarrett and Mick Foley in the founder’s office. Double J dismissed the idea that the MEM would come out of this card more united as wishful thinking.
Asked whether he could call the match down the middle, Jarrett replied that he could and said that he would make sure that the combatant retained the title fair and square.
Foley, hunkered down on the couch, said that he would have to do his bit as enforced to make sure that Jarrett could be an effective referee.
The Kingfish comments: Jarrett did the bit about helping the fighter retain his title. It injected a note of strangeness into the whole story and gave Angle a further excuse for really blowing his top.
Brutus Magnus came to the ring to issue another challenge. Jesse Neal, a burly Navy hero came out to act as special guest announcer and introduce Eric Young.
The match, added to the card at the last minute, started as though Brutus Magnus was going to squash the plucky challenge. EY got off a short offensive run, but Magnus’ incredible strength cut off that comeback.
Brutus Magnus survived both a Death Valley Driver and a Flying Elbow. Magnus brought it on home with a Tormentum from the second rope. Though the match lacked any heat, the work was solid enough to earn a B-.
The Kingfish comments: Brutus Magnus needs a string of victories to establish his credentials. Sorry to see Eric Young become one of his vict8ims, but that’s what often happens in TNA when someone is working without a push.
Brutus Magnus returned to his heel ways in this match, which made his cameo on iMPACT look silly.
Sheik Abdul Bashir came to the announce table to protest the injustice of not putting him on the pay per view, again.
The announcers argued about Bashir’s comments. Don West observed that, though he didn’t agree with everything the Sheik said, this is America so he has a right to say it.
Jim Cote came out to tell Bashir that the reason he isn’t on the pay per views is that Jim doesn’t like him.
Cornette recalled Jesse Neal, who led the audience in a spirited, if off-key rendition of “America, The Beautiful.”
The Kingfish comments: Someone’s ultra-conservatism is wing. It’s hard to see West as a heel when he says something so right and proper. This <is America and everyone does have the right to voice beliefs, even unpopular one.
The announcers should have stuck to a disagreement about the appropriateness of Bashir barging into the show, not his right to speak. It’s a nuance, admittedly, but of such little things are great angles made.
Jeremy Borash stood by as Kurt Angle argued with the rest of the Main Event Mafia about Sting. The former Olympian claimed the Icon was in cahoots with Jarrett and Foley.
After Booker T and Scoot Steiner each told Angle that he would have to take care of his own problem, Kevin Nash really tore into Kurt with basically the same message.
The Kingfish comments: I feel like I’ve seen this scene, or minute variations of it, about six times. That’s probably not exactly true, but the repetition is annoying. I think everyone got the point that Angle was, supposedly, on his own a long time ago.
Matt Morgan d. Abyss
10,000 Thumbtacks Match
The Story: Once they were friends and partners. Now they are enemies. While abyss seeks psychiatric help for his fixation on weapons, Matt Morgan has descended into the hardcore realm where Abyss once reigned unchallenged. The Blueprint has harassed Abyss at every turn and now will confront him in the ring with the bag of tacks in legal play.
My Prediction: On the iMPACT on the Thursday before the pay per view, Brutus Magnus acted a bit like a face in turning down Kurt Angle’s proposition. That could mean they’ve decided to match him against Morgan rather than tea, them (or it could be bad writing). Lauren will spell the difference in this match. She will come to ringside against Abyss’ orders and, when Morgan menaces he again, it will give the Blueprint the edge he needs to defeat the Masked Monster. It will be an obvious screwjob to justify the final showdown between the two at Lockdown.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: Morgan attacked Abyss, who withstood the assault and mounted a successful counter-attack in the ringside area. With The Blueprint on the arena floor, Abyss spent some time carrying two trays of tacks up the ramp to a position just below the edge of the walkway on one side.
Morgan and Abyss then started emptying bags of tacks on a heap in the middle of the ring. After each had dumped a bag, Abyss added another with glass shards.
Matt Morgan started to leave the match and Abyss followed. Abyss followed him to the top of the ramp, where Morgan dumped him over the edge onto the tacks to win.
The Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: This didn’t go very well. The pace slowed when they moved to the upper stage, which is just where you’d expect things to get hotter, For all the pre-match bombast and the tacks, this match simply failed to catch fire.
Booker T and Sharmell went to Jim Cornette’s backstage office to protest that his match against AJ Styles had become a Legions Championship match.
Cornette refused to be intimidated. He shoved the contract under Booker’s nose and told him that was what would happen tonight.
The Kingfish comments: This short scene brought fans who hadn’t seen iMPACT up to speed. Cornette is still a little too wordy, but he played the scene pretty well and looked strong versus Booker.
The Finals of One Night with ODB
The Story: Wrestling fans and even wrestlers are vying for the opportunity to win a night with ODB. What will actually happen on that night is not established, but a fellow can dream, can’t he?
My Prediction: The inclusion of Shark Boy among the suitors raises the possibility that he will win and that TNA will then subject us to a series of videos in which the “happy couple” spends an evening together. It is my fervent hope that this is not the plan. Let one of the fans win to give this contest the credibility that will be necessary of they ever want to run another one.
The Angle: They brought out three contestants, Cody Deaner, Shark Boy and Bernie Webber. ODB, resplendent in a blue dress that flattered her lush figure, asked each man why he thought he should win and then called upon each of them to dance.
Jeremy Borash polled the arena crowd to see whom they want to win. The crowd voted for Shark Boy.
ODB then announced that Cody Deaner, of Muscle Shoals, AL. We are promised a full video report of the Big Night.
The Kingfish comments: Part of the humor of this segment was that it did a gender switch on the usual WWE-style Diva showcase. Unfortunately, it went on about twice as long as needed and it didn’t actually have anything funny in it.
Robert Roode, speaking for all of us in an interview with Lauren, said that he is tired of hearing about Tea, 3D’s 21 titles.
James Storm deplored the lack of respect given to Beer Money. He claimed they would write their name in the record book when they defeat Team 3D in the Off the Wagon Tag Team Challenge.
After a video and a “tale f the tape,” it was time for Sojourner Bolt to face her nemesis, Awesome Kong.
Awesome Kong d. Sojo Bolt
The Story: Sojourner Bolt was a member of the dreaded Kongtourage until she grabbed for a shot at Awesome Kong’s title. This will be Sojo’s first chance to prove that she can back up her words by winning the Knockout Championship from the seemingly invincible Kong.
My Prediction: The outcome hinges on what TNA perceives is Sojo Bolt’s future value to the promotion. If she’s worthless, then a straight squash would be right; if they think she can work a program against Kong, they’ll have to keep her creditable. That doesn’t mean that she has to beat Awesome Kong, which would be a tough sell. More likely is that Rhaka Khan and Raisha Saeed will interfere, Saeed will get the better of Khan and the Masked Manager will help Kong gain an unfair victory. This would set up a Sojo Bolt-Awesome Kong cage match at Lockdown.
Predicted Grade: B
The Match: Awesome Kong totally dominated the first half of the match and pretty much had her way with the challenger in the balance of it.
Raisha Saeed tried to interfere from outside, but Sojo Dropkicked her out of the way. Kong attacked, but Bolt sent her flying over the top rope to the ringside area!
Sojourner Bolt tried to come off the top with a Huracanrana. Awesome Kong turned it into an Awesome Bomb and scored the pin.
The Actual Grade: C+
The Kingfish comments: If TNA has plans for Bolt, it’s hard to imagine what they might be after this performance. This was a squash with very little face-saving offense for the challenger. As my grade indicates, it wasn’t very entertaining, either.
A long video extolled Samoa Joe’s Nation of Violence/
Scott Steiner d. Samoa Joe via DQ
The Story: The Main Event Mafia put Samoa Joe on the sidelines with a vicious attack, but they neglected to finish the job. Joe has returned, more intense than ever, with only one thing on his mind; revenge. He has attacked Big Poppa Pump a couple of times, but now they will have a showdown in the ring!
My Prediction: The best way to propel Samoa Joe right back into the Respect War after his lay-off is for him to get a smashing victory against Scott Steiner. He took his lumps and now ought to get some payback to go with the new face paint. Ideally, this match should lead to Joe’s next program, probably in a tag team match. But TNA has got to be working toward Joe-Angle.
Predicted Grade: B
The Match: Joe struck at the open bell and cracked open Steiner’s head. The big Samoan rushed back and forth across the ring with more urgency than fans have seen in well over a year.
Big Poppa Pump introduced Joe’s face to the canvas with a mighty Face Plant. Joe came back quickly with a barrage of well-placed knees!
Scott Steiner grabbed a pipe. Joe took it away fro him – and then hit both referees who tried to take the weapon. That caused the match to be called a DQ win for the MEM member.
The bell didn’t stop the action. They fought through the crowd, dealing vicious blows. At one point, it looked like Joe bit Steiner’s face.
The Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: This match turned out to be perfunctory, undeveloped and,. As a result, not all that good. It had a good start and a weak ending – and what came between wasn’t all that much, either.
Surely, these two performers can give a better match than this.
AJ Styles told Lauren the time for talking was done and then talked about what he would do to Booker T.
The “Styles returns” video ran.
After that came “Legends List” bullet points.
AJ Styles d. Booker T
The Story: AJ Styles is done taking crap from Booker T about his upbringing, his family and whatever else the self-anointed Legends Champions cares to say about him. Styles stole the belt, but gave it back under pressure from, Jim Cornette (and the police). Cornette return the belt to Booker, but he then cajoled Booker into putting it on the line against The Phenomenal One.
My Prediction: The Legends belt makes no impact on fans, because Booker T created it and has kept it ever since he introduced it. What would make the belt sit up and sing as a gimmick would be if he lost it to someone like AJ Styles. I have o idea if they plan to just plod along with the belt on Booker, but I’m predicting a Styles win (and a big-time rematch).
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: After a chain wrestling stalemate Booker’s cheap shot on a break gave him the match’s first momentum. He pummeled Styles in the corner, but AJ reversed and laid in some chops of his own!
The Phenomenal One Dropkicked Booker T out of the ring and then blitzed him with an out-of-ring Flying Forearm. Back inside the ropes, AJ scored with an across-the-knee Backbreaker, but he couldn’t convert it into a successful cover.
Styles gained control of the match as his wrestling negated the champion’s advantages in size and strength. It didn’t all go his way, though; Booker floored him with a kick that broke up an attempted top-rope move in mid-air!
Booker T executed a Spinnerooni, but he missed the Axkick! Styles hit the Pele! AJ then pulled off the Styles Clash and scored the pin!
The Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: Does anyone know if this is the first of the self-administered belt to actually pass to another champion. I’ll bet it won’t be long before Booker T gets to win it back.
A shocked Lauren watched Samoa Joe freak out in the parking lot.
He waved his big knife and told her to go see what he had done to Scott Steiner.
The Kingfish comments: Samoa Joe certainly has an edge now, I’ll give him that. Unfortunately, he just comes across as mentally disturbed, hardly someone you’d want to identify with or root for. Nuts is not an attractive color on anyone
Don West put Mike Tenay on the spot. He asked how the Professor c0ould justify Joe’s action. Tenay conceded that the Submission Machine was over the edge, but he concluded that it was all right, because Joe had warned people he would freak out.
The Kingfish comments: Somehow, I doubt that Mike Tenay volunteered to sound like an idiot. And if they’re making Don West into a heel announcer, putting him so obviously in the right at this crucial juncture probably wasn’t the smartest strategy.
Team 3D d. Beer Money, Inc. via COR
Off the Wagon Tag Team Title Match
The Story: Beer Money has gotten some off-the-wall ideas in the past, but none was more mean-spirited than the “Off the Wagon” Challenge It gained several teams a shot at the title, but there was a catch: the man who was pinned lost his TNA spot! Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt found that out the hard way. Beer Money’s campaign has roused Team 3D to action. Brother Ray and Brother Devon will go for the gold, even at the risk of ending one of their TNA careers.
My Prediction: I don’t think the concept was presented as well for this match. For one ting, there should’ve been a stip on this match that the Off the Wagon Challenge will end if Team 3D wins. Personally, I’d like to see Devon lose and come back under a hood on the next iMPACT. More likely is that the beer-spitting will backfire and Devon will get the tables.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Match: Brother Ray nullified everything that Robert Roode tried at the start of the match. Devon replaced his brother, but Roode didn’t seem to have much more luck against him.
James Storm was heavily taped on his upper left thigh.
The oddest moment of the match came when Storm and Ray approached each other at center ring. They started to make tentative gestures toward a Collar-and-Elbow but instead did a little dance together.
Brother Ray positioned Roode for the Wassup after a Bodyslam, but the Tennessee Cowboy broke it up before Brother Devon could make his deadly leap.,
Devon took a lot of punishment that led to several near-falls. He ducked a Stereo Clothesline and, as he bounced off the ropes, leveled both members of Beer Money with a Wingspread Clothesline! Brother Ray Chokeslammed Roode, but his teammate made the save, Rat dealt Storm a Flip, Flop & Fly and then an Elbow, but he didn’t even try for a cover.
Then it was Beer Money’s turn to show their stuff. The team racked up several near falls, including one set up by Storm’s top-rope Huracanrana on Devon.
Storm mistakenly spit beer into Roode’s face. It looked like the Three-D would lead to a pin, but he kicked out before the final count.
James Storm saw that his partner was about to wind up on the wrong end of a Three D. He grabbed a chair and when he whacked Devon with it right in front of the ref, the official disqualified Beer Money.
James Cornette came to the upper stage. He ordered the match restarted and changed it to a No DQ contest.
It appeared that Storm got caught by another Three-D and got pinned. It turned out not to be a pin, which came obvious when referee Andrew Thomas counted out the champions.
Roode threw his sidekick over his shoulder and carried him up the ramp. As he passed Don West, the announcer handed him the tag team championship belts.
The Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: What a rancid ending to an otherwise good match! It is obvious that they are setting up a cage match for the title for Lockdown, but this sure was a clumsy way to do it.
The post-match argument about West giving Beer Money the belts struck me as especially pointless. Beer Money couldn’t lose the title on a COP, which is not eliminated by a “No DQ” stip, so they should’ve collected their belts on their way to the dressing room.
A lot of shouting and arm-waving is no substitute for a logical and tightly constructed storyline.
A long series of videos and other pre-recorded content ran so that the crew could set up the Ultimate X Match.
Next came the X Factors bullet points. The most interesting was that Chris Sabin has participated in nine Ultimate X matches and won three.
Suicide d. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin & Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed
Ultimate X Match for the title
The Story: TNA doesn’t trot out the Ultimate X match once a month or even once a season. This dangerous match, which calls upon the participants’ great athleticism, only takes place once a year and always for the X Division championship. Now it’s time to see whether anyone can haul down the X and dethrone Alex Shelly.
My Prediction: My first thought, like that of my compatriot Jay Shannon, was that suicide will demonstrate his superiority by blasting everyone in sight and taking the “X” down from the scaffolding. That’s not a bad way to go, but it does leave the Mysterious Masked Man as champion, when it would be more exciting to see him challenge for the belt than defend it. With that in mind, a better finish might be to have Suicide about to win when the Machine Guns combine against him so that Shelly can claim victory and retain his title. It would have to be gross double-teaming, though, to preserve Suicide’s mystique.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Match: The Machine Funs took control at the start of the match. They ejected Suicide from the ring so they could blast Lethal Consequences with a rapid-fire series of Dropkicks.
Chris Sabin became the first to try to get the “X.” He got about halfway before Consequences Creed jumped up and hauled him to the canvas.
After suicide threw Creed at the Guns, the Masked Mystery Man tried to capitalize on the distraction by making a stab at the “X.” Jay Lethal Dropkicked him away from the prize.
Creed and Lethal did a double-team move that nearly ended the match. Black Machismo boosted his partner in the air and Creed caught on top the “X.” As he hung there, trying to detach it, Chris Sabin grabbed his legs and yanked him down to the mat.
Jay Lethal had three Suicide and the Guns lined up for a Tower of Doom. The Masked Man hung onto the scaffold and only the Guns took the crash. The Masked Man made a rush at the “X,” but he got tangled in the rope. Lethal Powerbombed him back to Earth!
Creed took a tremendous amount of punishment from the Machine Guns. The most eye-catching of several big moves was Sliced Bread from the top turnbuckle.
Shelley, Sabin and Lethal each advanced across the cable from different directions. They all clustered around the “X,” until Suicide flew across the ring, snatched the X and took out the other three in the same dive!
Suicide is the new X Division Champion!
The Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish comments: As I said in my predictions, it might’ve been better to have Suicide lose</I. this one by unfair means, but he certainly won it in spectacular fashion.
Suicide’s character needs some more definition. Fans sense he is a face, but he has not acted the part consistently. This will probably change now that he is actually wrestling and holds the belt.
This was a fine match on what had been mostly a lackluster card up to this point.
Sting told Jeremy Borash that he had a job to do, defend the title.
The Kingfish comments; This must’ve come as a huge revelation to those who thought he was simply early for trick or treating.
A series of videos and a “Tale of the Tape” preceded the main event.
Jeremy Borash did the ring announcing for the main event, the usual TNA practice.
Sting d. Kurt Angle
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Special Referee — Jeff Jarrett
Special Enforcer — Mick Foley
The Story: Dissension has ruptured the harmony and unity of the Main Event Mafia. To the delight of the TNA Frontline specially Foley and Jarrett, Sting and Angle must now clash in the ring with the championship at stake.
My Prediction: Kurt Angle will take the title (and perhaps move on to battle Samoa Joe), but Sting will feel he has lost it unfairly. The presence of Jarrett and Foley suggests that one or the other will “cross the line” and cause Sting to either lose by DQ or actually give up the belt, I consider the former more likely than the latter, so I expect Sting to leave with the belt – and a chip on his shoulder.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Match: There were more videos between each introduction, four clip fests in all.
The match started slowly as the two circled each other warily. They locked up, but Angle abandoned chain wrestling very quickly in favor of kicks and punches.
Sting stopped Angle in his tracks with a boot as the former Olympian bounded off the ropes. The Icon worked on him until Angle retaliated with kicks. Sting threw the challenger out of the ring. Angle’s return led to some more tentative circling.
Sting Back Body Dropped Angle over the top rope to the arena floor. He followed him around the ringside area, adding to the punishment. Kurt wisely got back in the ring. Sting trapped Angle in the corner and rained down 10 punches while the crowd did the count.
Kurt scored with an Angleslam and then began kicking Sting around the ring. Angle added a Suplex and covered. Jeff Jarrett counted fairly, but Sting beat the final tap on the canvas. He tried again with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex, but he just couldn’t keep Sting’s shoulders pressed to the mat.
A pair of Lariats got Sting started on another run, which also included a Snap Suplex. Angle attempted another Suplex, but Sting turned it into an Armdrag to a Powerbomb! The Challenger raised his shoulder at “two.”
Angle briefly caught Sting in the Anklelock, but the Icon kicked free. The leader of the Main Event Mafia then subjected the champ to three German Suplexes!
Angle missed an Angleslam.
Sting missed a Stinger splash
Angle hit an Angleslam – but he couldn’t get the all-important three count.
Kurt hit a German Suplex, but sting turned it into a Scorpion Deathdrop that nearly won the match.
Kurt Angle tried to Clothesline Sting, but clobbered Jeff Jarrett! Sting applied the Scorpion Deathlock, but Mick Foley was too busy attending to Jarrett to count the potential pinfall. It appeared that Angle actually tapped out, but no one saw it.
As sting bent over the fallen Special Guest Referee, Kurt came up behind him and pulled off an Angleslam! Sting got free in time.
Kurt Angle low-blowed Foley to take him out of the action. Kurt wound up to give Sting a chairshot, but Foley roused himself in tune to seize the weapon!
Foley whirled around and, it appeared, accidentally hit Sting. Jarrett started to count, but Sting beat the final one.
Kurt angle started to argue with Jeff Jarrett. Sting grabbed his adversary from behind and dealt a Scorpion Deathdrop! Sting covered quickly to retain his title.
The Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: This could’ve easily been an A- if the end wasn’t so perfunctory.
Predicted Grade for Against All Odds: B+
Actual Grade for Against All Odds: B-
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll come back, too, and please, bring your friends..
— Arnie Katz