Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Impact Report: Destination Ecch

Did this match need to happen at Destination X?
Photo Credit: Impact
There was so little honest story development on this episode that it’d be unfair to do a critical review and really do it justice. Like always it seems that the backstage antics of TNA have ended up more interesting than what is going on in-ring, and never has that been more apparent than with this year’s Destination X, which is a real shame. This was an opportunity to really show off what could set it apart from WWE, and I feel like they dropped the ball.

The biggest flaw here is that our two marquee events, the Tag Title match between the Hardy Boyz and The Wolves, and the World Heavyweight Title match against Austin Aries and Bobby Lashley, had nothing to really do with the X Division. Sure, Aries was a recent X Division champion who cashed the belt for a title shot, but the tag match really had no business happening at Destination X. The nostalgia pop could have been used elsewhere. I had issues with the Hardys getting hot-shotted to a title match the week after Matt Hardy returned anyway, so it would have been more interesting to see them in a #1 Contender’s match this week and the title match next week, if we absolutely had to have them wrestle for the belts.

As for the actual matches on the show, they were decent but really exemplified how much I kind of loathe most wrestlers’ take on the “indie” wrestling style. There’s room for the spot-heavy style companies like Ring of Honor are known for, as long as it serves the story. Too often in these style matches do we see a bunch of cool moves thrown around with little to known reason for it, other than the fact that they look cool and the crowd will cheer and chant "THIS IS AWESOME!" It’s a cotton candy type of wrestling that is good in small doses but you wouldn’t want to make, say, a two-hour show revolve around. Right in the first match we got a bunch of nonsense spots from the Wolves and the Hardys, including an enziguri-into-German-suplex spot which would have been cool if the one Wolf had used the momentum of the other Wolf’s enziguri to bring Jeff Hardy over in the suplex, but that wasn’t the case. The qualifying matches for the X Division Championship match were littered with moments like this as well. I know that it’s a style of wrestling that the X Division is known for and maybe it’s unfair to complain about it but it’s one of those things that once you notice you can’t ever not see.

It was also here where TNA’s reliance on nostalgia for a history they didn’t create (while sacrificing a history they actually did make for themselves) showed the most damage. Their X Division roster has been gutted, and while they did the right thing by bringing back roster member’s from the past who actually made a name for themselves in the X Division, like the returning Low Ki, Homicide and of course Samoa Joe, it’s bittersweet to think of all the men who have left the company in just the past year while more ex-ECW wrestlers collect paychecks off banking on the name of a company that doesn’t even belong to them anymore. The returns also took away some of the drama of who will actually win the matches and ultimately the X Division title. There’s only one full-time member of the roster in the final match for the title, I wonder who will win: Samoa Joe or SAMOA JOE???

At least TNA is seemingly more self-aware of the ECW Reunion Tour they’ve been running since Lockout earlier this year, with Dixie Carter burying the nostalgic Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer for clinging to the past, all while elevating the great talent from when ECW was a WWE brand. I’m fairly certain this is the first time anyone has paid Gene Snitsky a compliment in months. The self-awareness is too little too late, unfortunately. TNA has backed themselves into a corner, where the guy getting the most cheers from the crowd is a guy threatening to do harm to a woman, and there’s only one way this can end, sadly. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is an angle that should have never happened, but since it is I’m going to give TNA all the criticism it deserves once...