Date: August 1, 2014
Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Jeremy Borash
It’s another One Night Only show with a look at the X-Division again. The first show was the first entry in the series and is still one of the better shows produced. The idea here is a series of singles matches with the winners going to an Ultimate X match at the end of the show. There’s actually a prize for the winner that matters too, as the Ultimate X winner gets an X-Division Title shot at some point in the future. Let’s get to it.
We open with the usual package from the show we’re about to see.
Low Ki talks about how his martial arts skills will help him win.
Video on Chris Sabin with nothing being said.
Ultimate X Qualifying Match: Low Ki vs. Chris Sabin
Sabin hides in the corner to start and then heads outside. Back in and Sabin takes over for a bit but stops to pose on the ropes. Low Ki chops Sabin out to the floor before chopping him in the corner back inside. Sabin finally comes back and drops Low Ki ribs first across the top rope. Off to an abdominal stretch on Ki’s weakened ribs followed by a running knee to the same target.
Sabin hooks a bodyscissors before putting Ki in the Tree of Woe and nailing a baseball slide for two. Ki comes back with a kick to the chest for two of his own and a springboard kick to the head gets the same. After doing nothing on the floor, Ki takes him back inside but Sabin drives him into the corner to counter the Ki Crusher. The second attempt works far better though and is good for the pin on Chris.
Rating: C-. I liked this better than I expected to but I still don’t care for Low Ki all that much. The guy just doesn’t do it for me with all those kicks. It was clear that Sabin was going through the motions and didn’t have a ton of interest in having a good match. That’s not the best way to go out, but man alive how was he World Champion a year ago?
We’re getting a list of Top X-Division Moments throughout the night, including all of Destination X 2011.
Austin Aries says he isn’t a sucker and is ready for his 2/3 falls match tonight against Sanada. He isn’t going to complain about cutting his foot on a shell at the beach, or being car lagged from driving up from his house, or being blinded by Sanada’s shiny clothes. Aries promises to take the title back tonight.
Ultimate X Qualifying Match: DJZ vs. Rashad Cameron
DJZ takes him into the corner but hides from the threat of a right hand. Cameron gains control and cranks on a headlock, causing DJZ to yell about Cameron touching his hair. Naturally Rashad pulls him down by the hair before putting on DJZ’s headset. He throws the headphones in the air for a distraction and chops DJZ down, only to have his dive attempt broken up. DJZ stomps in the corner and gets two off a flapjack.
We hit the chinlock and Tenay throws a big wrench into the whole concept of the night. Apparently these are NOT qualifying matches, at least not in the traditional sense. Only Cameron can qualify for whatever reason, meaning that if DJZ wins, both guys’ night is done. The idea is current X-Division guys vs. outsiders and only the outsiders can qualify. So if the TNA roster wins in a sweep, there’s no Ultimate X? How do they manage to screw up something this easy? Why do they need to make something this simple so complicated? Such is life in TNA.
Anyway, Cameron fights out of a chinlock but gets dropped ribs first onto the top rope. The fans chant DJ CHICKEN LEGS as DJZ misses a charge and falls out to the floor, setting up a big flip dive (Tenay’s words) to take DJZ down again. Back in and a high cross body and hurricanrana get two each for Cameron. With DJZ hunched over, Cameron jumps backwards from the middle rope into a cutter. I’ve never liked that move. Cameron misses a top rope splash but comes back with a small package for the pin.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t bad but DJZ really doesn’t do anything for me in the ring. The story here though was how hard my mind was blown by the stipulations. Insiders vs. outsiders is a fine idea, but why in the world would you not just let the winners into Ultimate X? I don’t see the benefit of having the active roster guys get nothing for a win, but to be fair there’s a lot of stuff about TNA I don’t get.
Video on Sanada which we’ve seen a few dozen times.
Ultimate X Qualifying Match: Rubix vs. Kenny King
Only Rubix can qualify. They circle each other for awhile until King takes him into the corner (popular opener tonight) for some knees to the ribs. Rubix comes back with AJ Lee’s Black Widow before nailing a dropkick to send King outside. King avoids a dive and nails a quick suplex to take over. Back in and King hits a running elbow in the corner and slaps on a chinlock.
It doesn’t last long, much like everything else tonight, allowing Rubix to nail a quick hurricanrana to send both guys back to the floor. Back in again and Rubix scores with a missile dropkick, only to get caught in a German suplex for two. Rubix hits another kick but charges into the Royal Flush for the pin.
Rating: C-. This wasn’t bad but it’s the same going through the motions that all three matches have done so far. Rubix is a guy I’ve enjoyed in the few matches he’s been in around here, but he doesn’t seem like someone that’s going to be around long term. I still don’t get why neither of these guys is going to Ultimate X either. King gets bragging rights, which he really shouldn’t be pleased with.
Highlight reel of big moves in X-Division.
Sonjay Dutt promises to get another shot at the X-Division Title tonight. Spud comes in and says it’s his night instead. Ethan Carter comes in and makes a match between them. Spud and Dutt leave and Ethan says he’s won almost all his matches, making all of them five star quality. Therefore, he’s going to put up $25,000 of his own money for a ladder match tonight.
Ace Vedder (Trent Barreta) is going to prove himself.
TJ Perkins, the man under Manik’s mask, talks about being homeless to follow his dreams.
Ultimate X Qualifying Match: Ace Vedder vs. Manik
Only Vedder can qualify. Tenay acknowledges that both guys used to wrestle under different names. I get the idea with Manik but I don’t get why Vedder changed from Greg Marasciulo. They start fast for a change with Manik putting on AJ Lee’s Black Widow. Quick pause for a history lesson here.
Back in the USWA, Dutch Mantell gave a rookie named Steve Austin a great wrestling lesson: he handed him a chair and said sit in the back and watch every single match all night long. Austin did just that and started to catch onto something: if you watch a match, you know what’s been seen that night. For example, if everyone had been working an arm that night, he would work a leg or a lower back. Why would he do that? Because the fans aren’t going to cheer as hard if they saw the same thing twenty minutes earlier.
This is the second person to use a unique submission move in two straight matches. Yeah that might be a move Manik likes to use and it does look cool, but when we just saw Rubix use it, I don’t want to see it again. You hear about wrestlers today playing video games or something like that during the show until their match is up and this is what happens as a result.
Remember what I said about taking someone into the corner being a popular way to start a match? It’s the same idea. There are dozens of ways to start a match, and any competent wrestler should be able to use a ton of them. However, if no one is paying attention, there’s a good chance they’ll repeat stuff and the fans are going to get bored. That’s not what a wrestler is paid for and it’s a problem that happens WAY too often in wrestling today.
Anyway, Vedder escapes the hold and puts on an armbar before kicking Manik in the ribs. Manik rolls out of the armbar and hooks a hurricanrana before doing the Ultimo Dragon handstand in the corner. They head outside and Manik sends him face first into the apron and nails a dive from the ring. Ace heads back inside and nails a dive of his own before running Manik over with an elbow for two.
Manik does his hanging in the ropes spot before avoiding a charge to send Ace back out to the floor. A slingshot dropkick drops Vedder and a missile dropkick back inside has him in big trouble. The fans are bordering on dead for this. Manik suplexes him down but takes too much time going up and gets slammed down. Ace’s tornado DDT gets two and Manik’s lifting powerbomb gets the same. Manik misses a top rope splash and Vedder hits a running boot to the back of the head for the pin.
Rating: C-. The match wasn’t bad but this show is dragging worse than a trailer with no wheels. There’s no reason to care about most of these guys as these are one off matches with no stories behind them. I have no reason to care about any of these matches because there’s almost no character to any of these guys coming in and the old guys have nothing to gain by winning. These kind of shows can work with good matches but this is almost all mediocre, making it hard to sit through.
Bad Influence says they’re awesome and will win the $25,000 in a ladder match against the Wolves. Ok there’s no way that won’t be awesome.
Video on Sonjay Dutt.
Ultimate X Qualifying Match: Sonjay Dutt vs. Rockstar Spud
Only Dutt can qualify. They finally lock up after a minute with Dutt flipping around a lot to counter a wristlock. Spud crawls around on his knees as Tenay compares Dutt to the Chicago Cubs. Sonjay whips him into the corner, does a Bushwhacker march for some reason, and nails a running clothesline. A standing moonsault gets two on Spud but he breaks up a springboard dive to take over.
Spud misses a top rope legdrop but keeps hammering away and puts on a neck crank. The Rockstar goes up again but misses a splash. Dutt nails a Downward Spiral into the middle buckle for two, followed by a middle rope missile dropkick for the same. Spud comes back with a slam and goes up a third time. It’s a missed elbow on this attempt and the moonsault double foot stomp gets the pin for Dutt.
Rating: D. See, Spud’s comedy only works when someone else in the match is bouncing off of him. In this case, Dutt was wrestling the match straight, making Spud look like an unfunny dolt who had no business being in the ring. In other words, he looked like himself. The match was dull and this formula really needs a break.
Video on Ultimate X from Victory Road 2008.
Petey Williams is back for one night only and declares tonight old school.
Video on Tigre Uno.
Video on Petey Williams, focusing on the Canadian Destroyer.
Ultimate X Qualifying Match: Petey Williams vs. Tigre Uno
Only Williams can qualify. They trade arm work to start (of course) before Petey drives him into the corner. A bouncing hurricanrana takes Williams out to the floor and a big corkscrew dive puts him down again. Back in and Petey puts on a half crab before changing over to a Crossface and then the Rings of Saturn. That goes nowhere so Williams puts him in the Tree of Woe and stands on Tigre’s crotch to sing O Canada.
Tigre comes back with an enziguri, counters a German suplex and nails another enziguri for good measure. In a quick ending, Tigre goes up and tries what looks to be a seated senton splash but it turns into a low blow for the pin. Petey pops up and seems surprised by the ending and doesn’t sell the move.
Rating: D. You bring Petey Williams back and he doesn’t even try the one move that people remember him for? Tigre Uno is one of the few guys in the X-Division that can actually do anything and he gets to beat a single guy and then go home for the night? This concept continues to make less and less sense every match.
Rashad Cameron says he’s the best and won’t stop until he has the title. Simple but not terrible promo here.
Another video on an Ultimate X match from 2003.
Here’s Ethan Carter III to introduce the ladder match. He talks about how it’s been all flips and kicks and dives tonight, but now it’s going to be kicks and flips and dives with LADDERS. Ethan goes on about how you can’t grab the brass ring because it’s on his finger as this is clearly filling time.
Bad Influence vs. Wolves
Ladder match for $25,000 and this HAS to be more interesting. It’s a brawl to start with the Wolves easily getting the better of it. The villains come back and send the Wolves into the barricade as they start isolating Richards in a sound strategy. Bad Influence tries to bring in a ladder but are forced to drop it to avoid a double baseball slide. Back in and the Wolves take over on Kaz before dropping Daniels ribs first onto the steps.
Kaz gets back up and grabs a ladder but gets in a tug of war with Davey. Eddie comes over and helps by pulling the ladder, and Kaz, into the post. Back in again and the Wolves hammer away on Daniels in the corner before throwing him out onto Kaz. Instead of climbing though, the Wolves try a double suicide dive but Bad Influence gets up a ladder for a block.
Two more ladders are brought inside and all four guys climb as fast as they can. That only lasts a few seconds as everyone is rammed into the steel and come down in a bunch of heaps. Daniels throws out a ladder and Kaz drops another on the mat. Daniels suplexes Kaz onto Eddie onto the ladder before Daniels drops a leg of his own. Davey stops a Kaz climb and runs him over with a ladder.
The ladder is wrapped around Bad Influence’s heads and kicked very hard in a spot that wasn’t as impressive as it should have been. Both Wolves try to climb but Daniels and Kaz are right back up for the save. Kaz kicks both of them into the ladder in the corner so Bad Influence can climb, only to get shoved down onto the ropes. Richards goes up top but gets kicked in the head. An attempt at a top rope Angel’s Wings is countered and Daniels lands hard on the ladder. Davey nails a top rope double stomp onto Daniels onto the ladder. There’s the powerbomb/Backstabber combo to Kaz, allowing Eddie to climb up for the win.
Rating: B. That might be a bit high but this was so different than everything else I’ve had to sit through tonight that it was much more entertaining. These are teams that know how to entertain a crowd and that’s exactly what we got for about sixteen minutes. They didn’t do anything unique or special but there’s nothing wrong with using spots that have been done before as long as they haven’t been seen in awhile.
Ethan comes out to congratulate them and start a Wolves chant but takes the check back. The Wolves kick him in the head and take the check.
We recap Sanada taking the X-Division Title from Austin Aries at the last One Night Only in Japan. This is the first time they’ve brought these things up from a previous show and it’s a nice change of pace.
X-Division Title: Sanada vs. Austin Aries
Sanada is defending and this is 2/3 falls. Aries starts in a crane position and they hit the mat for an early standoff. Sanada spins out of a wristlock into one of his own before they head back to the mat. The champion avoids a basement dropkick and Aries is getting frustrated. They run the ropes and this time it’s Sanada missing a dropkick, allowing Aries to lounge on the top rope. Another lockup goes to the champion as he pulls Aries down into a rolling cradle for two.
Sanada heads to the apron and they fight over a suplex, only to have Aries snap his throat across the top rope to put the champion on the floor. The suicide dive is blocked by a forearm (looked more like Aries tripped) and Sanada’s moonsault gives him the first fall in about five and a half minutes.
After a quick rest period, Sanada tries another moonsault to start the second fall (why he didn’t cover when Aries seemed to be unconscious isn’t clear) but gets shoved off the top and into the barricade. A neckbreaker onto the middle rope sends Sanada back to the floor but he beats the count at nine. Aries hits a middle rope dropkick to the back for two and the frustration is setting in.
Off to a figure four stump puller of all things on Sanada. After he drops back for a two count, Aries takes Sanada into the corner but the champion just unloads on him with forearms. Sanada loads up a springboard but gets knocked into the barricade to put him in trouble again. Aries nails a top rope ax handle to the floor but Sanada beats the count back in again.
With nothing else working, Aries tries a moonsault (looked good too) but only hits the mat. The champion gets a breather and comes back with a springboard chop to the head to put both guys down. Aries hits a quick knee crusher and a belly to back suplex followed by the running dropkick in the corner. Austin is all ticked off and loads up the brainbuster, only to have Sanada counter into a bridging rollup for the pin to retain.
Rating: B. I was really getting into this one at the end but the 2/3 falls stipulation caused some issues here. Aries not being able to pin Sanada was a great story as his mastery kept being one upped every time, but throwing everything at him just to get a single fall didn’t work. Still though, VERY good match here with an excellent story being told.
Video on the history of Ultimate X. This one is more in depth and has people talking about how dangerous but amazing the match is.
Low Ki says he’s done everything he wanted to do but when he comes back to TNA, he feels that desire to win one more match.
Ace Vedder talks about not being scared of anyone in the match.
Sonja Dutt calls himself an OG of the X-Division.
We recap how all four guys got to Ultimate X.
Rashad Cameron vs. Low Ki vs. Ace Vedder vs. Sonjay Dutt
The winner gets a future X-Division Title shot. In case you’ve never heard of Ultimate X, there will be a metal tower at each corner of the ring. Two red cables cross the ring and a big red X hangs at their intersection. You have to climb the towers and use the ropes to get to the X in the middle. The first person to pull it down is the winner. It’s one of TNA’s signature matches but isn’t used as much as it used to be.
We have Cameron vs. Dutt in the ring and Ki vs. Vedder on the floor to start. The pairings switch places and Ki crotches Vedder in the corner before pulling him down into a dragon sleeper while in the Tree of Woe. Dutt tries to climb but Cameron gets up for a save. That’s fine with Dutt as he knocks Cameron off the ropes and down onto the floor in a big crash. Ki and Dutt fight in the corner before having to work together to dropkick Cameron off the ropes and down to the mat.
Everyone is down until it’s Vedder chopping it out with Sonjay. Ki is thrown to the floor as Sonjay superkicks Ace down. Back in and Low Ki goes up, only to have Cameron climb after him. Vedder will have none of that and superplexes Cameron down to the mat. All four are down again with each guy in a corner. Dutt kicks Ki in the back of the head and Cameron hits a kind of reverse hurricanrana to drop Vedder. Dutt stops Low Ki from going for the X but gets sent outside by Cameron.
Now it’s Ki dropkicking Cameron out to the floor but a standing sliced bread #2 from Dutt drops Ki. Sonjay goes to the floor and climbs the tower instead of the buckle, only to climb above the ropes. Vedder goes up on the opposite side and this is rather terrifying. They chop it out as the structure is shaking. Sonjay actually puts on a camel clutch before sliding through one of the holes in the structure to stop Cameron. He takes too long though, allowing Low Ki to sneak in behind them and pull down the X for the win.
Rating: B-. Good match but as someone terrified of heights, that stuff at the end with Vedder and Dutt was nerve racking. They did some good high spots but nothing that hadn’t been done before. I was hoping for more from Cameron and Vedder, but Dutt and Ki were the most popular guys in the match and had to be the guys to take it.
As a total sidebar that I can’t imagine was intentional, Low Ki was tipped off as the winner for a reason that has nothing to do with the match. Ki was the odds on favorite for one reason: he was the first man introduced in the competition. Here’s the problem with One Night Only competitions: outside of bracketed tournaments, someone in the opening match has advanced to the finals and won the competition all but one time. James Storm did it at Joker’s Wild I, Gail Kim did it at Knockouts Knockdown, and now this. The lone exception was Joker’s Wild II with Ethan Carter III.
Overall Rating: C-. I’d be hard pressed to come up with a show where the last hour bailed out the first hour and forty minutes more than this one. The worst part of this is that the first six matches weren’t all that bad, but having them back to back had me begging for this show to be over. They needed to mix up the big matches with the qualifying matches to give us a break. Either that or have four qualifying matches and cut out the whole insiders vs. outsiders thing which didn’t need to happen. It’s not a terrible show but it’s very hard to get to the good parts.
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