I recently found a TNA DVD called The Best of the X Division Vol. 1 for a cheap price so I purchased it. The first two matches I watched on the DVD were good. The third match I watched was an Ultimate X match. It was AJ Styles vs. Chris Sabin vs. Petey Williams. It was the first time I had seen that match or even heard of it and I liked what I saw. I thought there are probably many people like me who have never seen this match so I decided it was a good match to review this week.
- This match happened at the TNA Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. The attendance was 875.
- This was the sixth TNA Ultimate X match. The first Ultimate X match happened on August 20, 2003.
- Chris Sabin competed in five of the first six Ultimate X matches.
- Sabin earned his spot in this match by defeating Christopher Daniels on the January 14 episode of TNA Impact.
- The TNA X Division Championship held by Petey Williams was on the line in this match.
- Mike Tenay and Don West were the announcers during this match.
- This match is on TNA’s Ultimate Matches and The Best of the X Division Vol. 1 DVDs.
- The time length of this match was 19:55.
- The match can be watched at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYhojbmK6fw.
Before I review this match, I will explain what an Ultimate X match is because not everybody watches TNA. An Ultimate X match is very similar to a ladder match. In this match, the X Division Championship (TNA’s version of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship) was hung above the ring. Holding the title belt above the ring was red cables that crisscrossed to form an “X”. The cables were raised up by four pillars so a ladder was not needed in this match to get up to the cables. First wrestler to remove the title belt and have possession of it after falling down to the mat wins the match.
This match started like a normal wrestling match except that there was a giant “X” and the X Division Championship above the ring. I’m used to seeing a ladder in the ring when there is something hanging above the ring so it’s different to see this match start as a technical wrestling match and not seeing people hitting each other with ladders. Styles and Sabin worked together and got Williams out of the ring. That turned the match into a one-on-one match. Williams pulled Sabin out of the ring and Styles hit them with a somersault plancha over the ring ropes. Unfortunately, TNA cameras only caught Styles landing on them and missed the most of the leap, but the crowd enjoyed it. TNA did not show a replay so maybe they completely missed the spot. That’s just one of the many reasons why WWE is superior to TNA. Styles tried to climb one of the pillars and Sabin stopped him by dropkicking him on the top turnbuckle. That’s a unique place to do a dropkick. Sabin went to the top turnbuckle, jumped up and grabbed the cable. Sabin started pulling himself towards the title belt and he was stopped by Scott D’Amore, the manager of Petey Williams. The referee ejected D’Amore from the match. Sabin and Williams wrestled in the ring. I’m not going to talk much about the technical wrestling from this match and I’m going to focus mostly on the wrestlers climbing onto the red cables and trying to grab the X Division Championship belt. Pinfalls and submissions did not count in this match so what happened on the ring mat was not very important. While Williams had Sabin in a submission hold (he wasn’t trying to get Sabin to tap out, he was trying to weaken him), Styles got up to the red cables. Sabin pulled Styles down and hit Styles with a suplex. Sabin went to the top turnbuckle to try to climb up one of the pillars and Styles got Sabin on his shoulders. Williams was on the cables above them and was pulling himself towards the title belt. Williams was right above Sabin and hit him with a hurricanrana while Sabin was still on the shoulders of Styles. That was awesome and it’s hard to describe in words. Styles and Williams were on the cables at the same time. Sabin pulled Styles down. Styles did a springboard and knocked Williams off the cables. It wasn’t a great spot because it looked like Styles barely touched Williams. Maybe it was a bad camera angle because it got a good response from the crowd. Sabin grabbed the cable. Styles went to the top turnbuckle to get Sabin down and Sabin hit Styles with a hurricanrana. Great spot. The crowd started a “This is awesome” chant. This next spot is hard to describe, but I will do my best. Williams had Sabin in position for an inverted DDT. Styles did a lionsault, landed on his feet behind Williams and pulled Williams down. Williams still had Sabin in position for the inverted DDT so Sabin went down too. It was a cool looking spot and the crowd loved it. Mike Tenay on commentary called it a double inverted DDT. Styles grabbed the cable. Sabin did a springboard, dropkicked Styles and Styles flipped in the air on the way down to the mat! Amazing! Williams climbed one of the pillars. Styles tried to stop him and he got his arm caught in the pillar. Styles was dangling by his arm on the pillar for several seconds before falling down. That really injured his arm. Sabin grabbed the cable. Styles pulled Sabin down and tried to hit the Styles Clash, but Sabin put Styles in an arm submission hold. Styles somehow was able to hit Sabin with the Styles Clash with one arm. Styles was in so much pain that he was almost in tears. That’s amazing selling. Styles got up to the cable and fell before reaching the title belt because of his arm injury. Williams hit Styles with the Canadian Destroyer! I love that move! Styles looked dazed on the mat. Sabin and Williams got up on the cables. They both unhooked the title belt at the same time. Styles flew from the ring ropes and stole the X Division Championship from them! Styles won the match and became a four-time TNA X Division Champion.
Winner: AJ Styles
***** – Michael Benjamin (411mania)
****3/4 – Larry Csonka (411mania)
****1/2 – Dave Meltzer (Wrestling Observer)
****1/2 – Jacob Ziegler (411mania)
****1/2 – Matt Peddycord (411mania)
****1/2 – J.D. Dunn (411mania)
I haven’t seen many Ultimate X matches. The first one I saw was I think The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Generation Me from Destination X 2010. The last one I saw was the Ultimate X match that aired on Impact Wrestling last month. I can’t remember seeing any other Ultimate X matches so this match would be my third Ultimate X match. I really enjoyed this match and I immediately thought, “I got to watch more Ultimate X matches.” There are 31 Ultimate X matches that happened so I was assuming that many of them were awesome matches. Then, I went online to find out what other people thought about this match and I was reading a lot of people calling it one of TNA’s best matches. I’m not talking about a top 10 match. It seemed like all of them had it in the top 5. Some had it in the top 3. What I also found out is that this match is considered to be the best Ultimate X match and finding that out disappointed me because I thought there were many Ultimate X matches that were just as good as or better than this match. I still want to see more Ultimate X matches, but now I have this expectation that none of them will be as good as this match.
I haven’t seen many classic TNA matches so this match is the best TNA match I have ever seen. If you regularly read my reviews, you know that recently I reviewed my favorite TNA match which was Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair and now I feel like Ariane from Tough Enough (currently Cameron in WWE) when she told Stone Cold that her favorite match was Melina vs. Alicia Fox. I can imagine TNA fans having the same reaction Stone Cold had and saying, “Out of all the matches in the history of TNA, that was your favorite?” I still think it’s my favorite even after watching this match, but now I realize that Foley vs. Flair was definitely not one of TNA’s best matches. I was very entertained by this Ultimate X match and a lot of the spots were awesome and very original. The crowd made this match fun too because I loved seeing their reactions to every big spot. AJ Styles was the best performer in this match. It was an amazing performance by him and it made me wish I was watching TNA in 2005 because AJ must have been very fun to watch back then. This felt like a ladder match even though a ladder wasn’t used during this match. If you haven’t seen this match and you enjoy ladder matches or spotfests, I highly recommend this match. It’s more than just a great TNA match. I’d rank it among the best professional wrestling matches from any promotion.