Last Chance Fourway Dance
Dakota Darsow vs Rubix vs Lars Only vs Mason Andrews
In the first match of the night, the four wrestlers who lost their respective qualifiers will be granted one final opportunity to win our hearts and carry on to the tournament later in the evening. I have no prior knowledge of them all before seeing them lose on their Impact Wrestling debuts. I would guess much of the audience at home will be rather in the dark also, so I would hope this fatal fourway to be short and sweet, carried by their high-flying X Division shenanigans. However, I did take a liking to Rubix for his unique look and TNA certainly don't have any masked competitors at the moment, so the niche is always open.
Prediction - Rubix wins via pinfall and progresses to the X Division Tournament
X Division Tournament
Featuring Douglas Williams, Kid Kash, Zema Ion, Flip Cassanonva, Kenny King, Rashad Cameron, Sonjay Dutt and the winner of the Last Chance Fourway Dance
Prediction - Sonjay Dutt wins Ultimate X to become the new X Division Champion
Bound for Glory Series
Kurt Angle vs Samoa Joe
Long-time TNA fans will immediately peg this match as a special occasion. Not only will it feature fifteen minutes of quality mat wrestling, but the history between the Olympic Gold Medalist and the Samoan Submission Machine goes back years to Angle's own debut in 2006. At the time, Samoa Joe was the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and in the midst of an impressive undefeated streak. Upon arriving in the Impact Zone, Angle made his intentions clear with a swift headbutt to the Champ's face. What followed was one of the hallmark feuds in TNA's ten year history.
In retrospect, I think the bookers were far too eager to appease their new imported star. By allowing him to be the first to defeat their homegrown monster and strip him of the Heavyweight Title, they put the brakes on Joe's momentum, something he's never entirely gotten back. He beat Angle several times in the next two years, the pair going back and forth, but the damage was already done with that initial loss.
Knowing how much Samoa Joe has struggled to climb back to the top of the proverbial ladder, I'm extremely happy to see him sitting pretty at number two in the Bound for Glory Series so far. Last year, TNA lumbered their formerly unbeatable monster with a ludicrous losing streak, so I was pleased they avoided repeating themselves. Now they've finally decided to start treating Joe with the respect he deserves, I'd hate to see them fall back on old habits and have Angle go over for no other reason than he's a bigger name in the industry. With Kurt winding down his career, this is the perfect time to pay it back to the next generation and start putting guys over. He certainly doesn't need to win the Bound for Glory Series to have a place on Impact Wrestling, but it'd do Samoa Joe the world of good.
Prediction - Samoa Joe defeats Kurt Angle via submission
Last Man Standing
AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels
This feud has been the backbone of Impact Wrestling since the last Destination X pay-per-view in 2011. First it began with the pair as friends simply wanting to know who was the better wrestler. His eventual loss led to jealousy for Daniels and he spent the better part of last year trying to find a way to best his former friend. Frankly, the whole angle should've ended back at Bound for Glory, when it escalated to Daniels threatening to kill Styles with a screwdriver. I certainly zoned out around then.
Somewhere along the line, Frankie Kazarian was lured to the darkside by Daniels and the pair proceeded to spend the past six months taunting Styles with evidence of imagined improprieties with TNA President, Dixie Carter. In theory, this climaxed several weeks ago, when it was revealed that they were simply aiding a troubled family friend named Claire with rehab. But did it end there? Oh no. Now we have Daniels making even more accusations that family man Styles is having an illegitimate child by Claire. What Daniels says could be true in the context of a new swerve storyline meant to add an edge to AJ's boyscout image, but we're long past caring.
I once thought I could watch AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels wrestle all day long and I wouldn't get bored. Then it lasted a year. Now I'm at the point where I never want to see these two men in a room together, let alone wrestling each other for twenty minutes. I'm sure the match will be technically sound and even try to teach the upstart X Division kids a thing or two, but the terrible storyline has killed whatever interest I had in either man. The sooner they go their separate ways and focus on fresh material, the happier I'll be. Styles probably won't win this match, but I wish he would.
Prediction - AJ Styles defeats Christopher Daniels after he fails to answer the count
World Heavyweight Championship
Bobby Roode (c) vs Austin Aries
With this being the match the entire pay-per-view has been built around, tremendous pressure lays on the shoulders of "The IT factor of Professional Wrestling" and "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived". A year ago, the notion of this match would've been viewed as absurd, but here we are and both men have earned the privilege, their ascension through the ranks of TNA second to none.
While this match is most notable for Aries' first ever main event on PPV, it also holds an element of mystery for Bobby Roode, being the first time he's ever been relied upon by TNA as a dependable, bankable World Champion. For the past seven months, Roode has run a gauntlet of icons, whether it be Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam or Sting. He's always been the question mark, relying on other wrestler's star-power to get over with the crowd. Even against long-time Beer Money partner James Storm at Lockdown, you could argue the feud itself had precedence over any draw on Roode's part. Only, this time, he is the big name and all eyes backstage will be watching to see if that trust on TNA's part was well-deserved.
As for the match itself, I haven't seen a bad performance out of either man in months. The wrestling quota will be top notch, with both men putting each other through a physical war and elevating their status in the process. They have a lot to prove and I think we'll get their top game as a result. The only downside is the inevitable screwjob finish. No matter the momentum Austin Aries has coming out of a solid year of success and notoriety, Bobby Roode is unquestionably locked in for the Bound for Glory main event in October and will hold the World Title until that day, guaranteed. As a huge fan of Austin Aries over the past year, I'll be disappointed to see him take the loss and leave Destination X with nothing, but I take solace in the fact that he made it to main event level and if he can do it once, he can do it again.
Prediction - Bobby Roode defeats Austin Aries via foreign object to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
Written by Mark Clements