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Posted in: The Crow's Nest
The Crow's Nest - Destination X Predictions: Will Austin Aries Be Victorious?
By TheCrow
Jul 7, 2012 - 9:27:40 AM

1) Destination X Predictions (07/07/12)

With this year's Destination X PPV only a day away, it's time for me to take a look at the show and make my predictions. This particular PPV is interesting as TECHNICALLY the full 9-match card has already been announced, but only 4 of those matches have had their participants announced, though the potential participants of the other matches have also technically been announced. Confused? Don't worry, it will become clear momentarily.

Destination X, much like it was last year, is meant to highlight everything that's great about the X-Division of TNA. While the division has certainly seen better days, TNA is slowly but surely making it matter again, thanks in no small part to the greatness that is Austin Aries. That man has single-handedly made people care about the X-Division Championship again, and with his "Option C" becoming an annual tradition, the X-Division Championship is now a legitimate stepping stone to any TNA wrestler that hopes to make it to the main event.

In case you haven't been paying attention, allow me to briefly explain what "Option C" is all about. Austin Aries wanted a World Championship shot at Destination X, but Hulk Hogan told him that in order for that to happen, Aries had to drop the X-Division Championship (Option A). Aries could turn down the offer and keep his belt, but would forfeit his World Championship opportunity (Option B). Aries decided to present "Option C", where he would drop his belt for the World Title shot, but only if Hogan created a rule that every year before Destination X, the reigning X-Division Champion would be given the same opportunity Aries received: the ability to forfeit the X-Division Championship for a shot at the big title. Hogan agreed, and now here we are.

Not only has this made the X-Division matter again, it has created TWO new annual traditions for this PPV: the "will he or won't he" for whoever holds the X-Division Championship at the time, and (in the event of "he will") a tournament to crown a NEW X-Division Champion. Destination X is once again going to be all about the X-Division, and words don't describe how truly awesome that is. Six (arguably seven) out of nine matches on this card are X-Division matches, and I look forward to seeing what these guys can bring.

But enough of all that, let's take a look at the match card.

The Tournament to Crown a NEW X-Division Champion

Because this tournament is going to take up a large amount of time of the PPV, I want to start by taking a look at it. Remember when I said your confusion would be cleared up eventually? Well now is the time.

There are going to be FOUR singles matches between X-Division wrestlers, and the winners of those matches will advance to the "Ultimate X" match later in the night to crown the NEW X-Division Champion. However, only 7 of the 8 participants of those singles matches have been pre-announced: Douglas Williams, Kid Kash, Zema Ion, Flip Cassanova, Kenny King, Rashad Cameron, and Sonjay Dutt. The eighth participant will be the winner of a Fatal Four Way match between Rubix, Mason Andrews, Dakota Darsow, and Lars Only.

I like the idea of the match-ups being a surprise. There's so many possibilities here, and with the quality of names in that list there's little doubt in my mind that this tournament will be worth watching. But which name on this list is going to take the win?

Well that depends on who makes it to Ultimate X, obviously. But, regardless of who makes it that far, I have made my prediction of who is going to take the win. My pick is a guy who I wasn't always a fan of. When this guy first debuted in TNA around this time last year, I figured he'd be a flash-in-the-pan spot monkey that was only being used as enhancement talent for the REAL X-Division wrestlers. However, when he executed a great heel turn, he became a great part of the X-Division, and of TNA in general. He plays the cocky heel role like a natural, and were it not for Austin Aries being as great as he is, he would probably have already won this belt once or twice already.

My pick as the winner of the X-Division Tournament at Destination X, and the NEW X-Division Champion, none other than Zema Ion. After the unfortunate injury to Jesse Sorensen at Against All Odds, Zema Ion elevated his game to a whole new level. Luckily for everyone, TNA didn't rush him to the X-Division belt however, and chose to let Austin Aries rule the division for a long while. Zema Ion might not be a World Champion calibre wrestler just yet, but if he can effectively use his chance as the new ruler of the X-Division to elevate his game once more, he might get one step closer to that goal. Or at least he can keep Sorensen's seat warm until he returns from injury next year, either way works for me.

Last Man Standing Match: AJ Styles VS Christopher Daniels

This current incarnation of the Daniels/Styles feud has been brewing for some time now. These two never fail to deliver in the ring against each other, and with the "Last Man Standing" stipulation added to this match, it shouldn't be any different tomorrow night. Unfortunately, I'm not really crazy about the feud that led into this match. I get that they're trying to garner sympathy for Styles and Dixie Carter, but this is not the way to go about it. The storyline was just fine when Styles and Carter were having an affair, and that could have led to some more interesting TV, and perhaps a Styles heel turn down the road. Something about this storyline with "Claire" just isn't working for me.

I wish I could say that I believe this match will be the end of this feud, but somehow I doubt it. Claire is too recent an addition to this feud to be swept under the rug so quickly, and with TNA being so insistent on Daniels and Styles constantly feuding, this is only going to continue. Unfortunately.

As for who wins at Destination X, the pick seems pretty simple to me. AJ Styles has been on the losing end of this feud for the majority of it, and it's time for him to get a big win. I'm sure there's going to be lots of false finishes, and Kazarian is bound to make an appearance at some point, but in the end Styles will be the one with his hand raised.

Prediction: AJ Styles wins

Bound For Glory Series Match: Kurt Angle VS Samoa Joe

Unlike last time, this year's BFG Series is seeing Samoa Joe emerge as a real contender to win it all. He's currently in second place with 27 points, trailing 9 points behind James Storm. He seems to be enjoying a resurgence of popularity he hasn't had in a while, and it'll be interesting to see what becomes of it down the road.

Kurt Angle on the other hand is already one of the biggest stars in wrestling today. In a tournament like the BFG Series, his main purpose is to make everyone else look good. Angle does not need to win this tournament to be considered a World Championship contender, and the whole point of the BFG Series is to elevate NEW stars to the main event. Just look at what the tournament did for Bobby Roode and James Storm. Both men put on strong showings last year, and now both of them are main event talents. Not only that, but Roode is the longest reigning TNA World Champion in the title's history. This year, with names like Magnus and Samoa Joe in the mix, there's no need for Kurt Angle to win.

Right now, Angle is in 4th place with 20 points. He's close enough to the top that there's still a very real possibility he'll make it to the final four, so there's no real need for him to take the win tomorrow night. Right now, James Storm needs someone to close the gap on him to make him look a little less like "Super Storm" and to make this tournament seem like a real competition rather than having the fans all presume one guy (Storm) is going to take it all. Samoa Joe is in the best position to close that gap right now, but he needs the win over Angle tomorrow night to really accomplish that. Hell, maybe even give him the win via submission so he actually pulls into first place. Either way, Joe needs to win tomorrow, and while I may not be 100% confident in my pick, that's the way I'm going here.

Prediction: Samoa Joe wins

TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Austin Aries VS Bobby Roode {c}

And now, the main event of the evening.

Austin Aries making it to the main event is long overdue in my opinion. Since coming to TNA, Aries has been one of the best parts of their weekly programming. He is arguably one of the absolute best all-around wrestlers in the industry today, and if he can do for the World Championship what he did for the X-Division Championship, he is going to bring TNA to a whole new level of success.

In the other corner, we have the reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode. At the risk of sounding like a douchey hipster, I've been a big supporter of Roode's for a long time, before most people ever thought there was a chance he'd someday be in the main event. Now, as the longest reigning World Champion in TNA history, Roode has established himself as one of the top names in wrestling today.

Most people seem to see Roode winning tomorrow night if only because James Storm seems slated to win the BFG Series, which would set up a massive World Title rematch between the two later this year. The only problem with that train of thought is that it all hinges on Storm winning the tournament, which I don't believe he will. Yes, it seems as though that's the way TNA is going given how far ahead Storm is in the standings, but remember last year when it seemed like Crimson was slated to take it all, but he didn't even make it to the final four? There's no doubt Storm will at least make it that far, but I don't think he's going to take it all. That, however, is a topic for a whole other column.

So with that out of the equation, Aries' chances at winning the belt tomorrow night increase significantly. With this new "sacrifice the X-Division belt for a World Title shot" tradition being implemented for the first time this year, it's almost necessary for Aries to take the win so the fans buy that it's actually possible for future X-Division stars to do the same. That, and it would be nice to think that TNA has learned from their mistakes in the past of waiting too long to put their top belt on a deserving wrestler. Look at what happened to Samoa Joe. The fans were SCREAMING for him to finally win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but TNA kept delaying it. When Joe finally did win the belt, his popularity was much lower and the reign ended up not being very good.

Austin Aries is in that same position right now. He's one of the most over wrestlers on the roster, and the fans are ready for him to be at the top of the mountain. Will it suck that Roode is going to lose the belt? Yes, absolutely. But he was going to lose it someday anyways, and what better way for Aries to start his first big title reign than to topple one of the best heels in the business today?

A Roode/Storm World Title rematch would be fantastic, hell it even has the benefit of being LOGICAL (something TNA doesn't do a whole lot of). But if Roode is going to hold the belt until Bound For Glory (which isn't until October), and Storm is slated to defeat him for the belt and go on to hold it for a decent amount of time, it could be close to a year before Aries gets his shot as World Champ. What is Aries to do during that time? Go back to the X-Division? Sure, he could light that world on fire once again, but he would run the risk of falling into the same trap that Joe did.

Aries needs to beat Roode to begin establishing himself as a top name in TNA. Even in a non-kayfabe sense, with Austin Aries only re-signing with the company for one year, TNA needs to make sure he's happy during his stay. I'm sure WWE would love to get their hands on him now that more people are aware of Aries' awesomeness.

Roode and Storm will have their big feud, and sure it might even eventually be over the World Championship, but it's Aries' time to shine. Bobby Roode has been a great World Champion, and I don't doubt he'll recapture the title down the line, but Austin Aries is ready to light the wrestling world on fire in a whole new way, and I hope TNA is ready to let it happen.

Prediction: Austin Aries wins


So there we have it, my picks for tomorrow night's Destination X PPV. I don't remember the last time I looked forward to a TNA show this much. The X-Division is being put back in the spotlight, Styles/Daniels is sure to deliver, Joe/Angle are going to deliver a potential MotY candidate, and of course Austin Aries is finally getting a much deserved World Championship shot. I'm sure the haters will be out in full force to shit on the show, but I'm anticipating one hell of a PPV. I guess we'll see tomorrow night. I'll be watching, and if you want to join me on Skype to discuss the show as it happens, my username is listed below. Thanks for reading, and I'll catch you all next time.


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