03 August 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jul 31, 2014

Chris Regal
Destination X is one of my favorite shows of the year so I especially look forward to it.  I have to say, this year's edition delivered in a big way.  If you take everything into account, this year's Destination X was the best one, at least since it became a true X-Division themed show in 2011.  Although 2012's show will always hold a special place in my heart, this week's show was overall much superior.

Let's begin with the main event.  In my opinion, Lashley vs Austin Aries for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was the TNA match of the year.  I can't remember the last time a main event on Impact had a big fight feel like this week's show.  From the moment the wrestlers made their entrance, it felt like I was experiencing a real prizefight.  The venue and the live crowd had a lot to do with it but it was also the way Lashley and Aries carried themselves.  They looked like stars going to battle for the company's top prize.  The match itself was phenomenal.  The story of an underdog trying to topple the destroyer was evident from the very beginning.  In the end, Aries came up short but proved on this night that he was just as big a star as his opponent.  It was an excellent match.

The Wolves vs The Hardys was the co-main event, if you will, and although it wasn't as dramatic, it was a dream match for so many wrestling fans, myself included.  If you had told me that we'd be watching these two teams wrestle in TNA for the tag team championships a year ago, I would've thought you were insane but deep down inside hope that you were right.  It was a great match that saw the Wolves prevail but I have a feeling this was only the beginning as it felt like these two teams can take it to another level.  Hopefully, I'm right.

In other developments, the Team Dixie vs Bully Ray feud seems like it's winding down with a war on the horizon and the possibility that Dixie is going through a table.  The writers set up next week's scenario quite nicely.  It's a moment that we've been waiting to see for months, and really, didn't quite know if we'd get it.  Well, TNA is giving it to us next week, and I for one can not wait.  And lastly, there were three qualifiers to crown the next X Division champion.  The three men who were victorious, Samoa Joe, Low Ki, and Sanada, will face off next week in what should be a fantastic match.  It really feels like TNA is making a genuine effort to revive the X Division this year whereas in years past, it felt more like they were simply trying to appease the fans for a couple of months.  I don't think that's the case this year, judging by what I'm seeing.

Favorite Moment - So many to choose from but I will go with the opening sequence of the first X Division qualifier.  The exchange between Low Ki and Manik was amazing and something I hope we see more of in the future.

Least Favorite Moment - It's hard to say because this was a top notch show but I'll go with Crazzy Steve's involvement in the X Division.  It's simply not working for me.  I don't mind the comedy aspect of his character, which is something we've seen much of in the X Division in the past, but it's the fact that he's booked as a non-wrestler who's acting like one.  It's disruptive to the matches and I think TNA need to finally unleash the wrestler in him or not book him in the X Division.

MVP of the Night - I think it's a tie: both Lashley and Austin Aries deserve this honor for treating us to an outstanding performance.

Grade - Excellent show, with great matches and emotional promos from Bully Ray and EC3.  Everyone seemed to kick it up a gear this week and it made for one of the best Impacts in years.  For this reason, this year's Destination X gets a well-deserved A from me.

Fantastic opening promo with Team Dixie. So much heat on her and her boys, it's pretty amazing to see.  EC3 just keeps impressing with each passing week.  There are not adequate words to describe the Hardy Boyz VS Wolves tag title match.  It had the attention of social media, wrestling fans and ex-WWE employees alike.  This was one of 2 tremendous PPV-quality matches.  Low Ki VS Manik VS DJ Z was a perfect example of what the X-Division can be again.  Low Ki's stiff style is an absolute joy to watch.  What a stud.  So glad TNA brought him back as it seem to be just what the doctor ordered for this division.  The "Evil Cowboy" Storm promo introducing Sanada was very enjoyable.  The subsequent X-Division qualifier of Sanada VS Crazzy Steve VS Brian Cage bout was the weak point of the night but Cage was still impressive and it really wasn't bad overall.  I enjoy Steve's antics but I also realize it's not for everyone. 

The in-ring promo with Team 3D and Dreamer was a thing of beauty.  They had the crowd in the palm of their hand and it felt absolutely electric in The Manhattan Center at this point of the show.  All of the backstage segments were very effective through-out the show also.  Samoa Joe VS Tigre Uno VS Homicide was a very good X-Division fight too.  The crowd loved the return of Homicide and they remained hot for the duration of this match.  Samoa Joe wins as we get him VS Sanada VS Low Ki next week for the X-Division Title!  WOW!  That should be an terrific match.   

I got goosebumps during the Abyss backstage promo for The Monster's Ball match with Bram next week.  That was easily Abyss' best promo since before the Joseph Park character.  The demented "My Girl" lyrics were a very chilling, effective touch.  Aries VS Lashley in the main event for the World Title was simply a breath-taking match.  It was just brilliant, as both men maximized their skills between the ropes.  Aries always brings out the best in whomever he faces.  That suicide dive where he hit the guardrail (in front of our own Numero and Brett btw) with his head was SICK!  Lashley spears the bejesus out of him for the victory and that's that.  I wrote a POV on the #ItHappens situation, but needless to say, the ending video package got a significant reaction from people and I'm just as excited for next week as I was for Destination X. 

Favorite Moment  - The Aries/Lashley match was amazing.

Least Favorite Moment - I liked it all so nothing here.   

MVP of the Night - Austin Aries proved why he should be in the main event scene yet again.

Grade - Best show of 2014, hands down.  An A+ show from me.  Doesn't get much better than Destination X 2014.

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