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COMMENT





TNA: Extremely exciting X-Cup
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling


Team TNA celebrates their win. (courtesy TNA)

The World X-Cup concept has quickly become one of the best reasons to watch NWA-TNA. Since February, Team Mexico has headed off Team TNA, Team Canada and Team UK to retain the X-Cup. There’s been some roster shuffling, with Heavy Metal replacing Juventud Guerrera on Team Mexico, and Teddy Hart & Jack Evans being replaced in Team Canada by Eric Young and Bobby Rude, but the concept still remains the same. Take a bunch of X-division style wrestlers, match them up in different matches, and watch the great wrestling unfold.

Team Japan tells us not to steal cable ... I think. Hard to tell because they are speaking Japanese.

A video package preps us for the X-Cup, with a great deal of it involving the TNA vs. Canadians feud that has been simmering. Let's hope it continues after tonight.

Round 1 will have a 16-man gauntlet, Round 2 has a pair of four-man tag matches, the third round will feature a four-way ladder match, and the team with the least points is eliminated and the final three go at it in Ultimate X! In result of a tie, the captains face off next week.

Match 1: 16-Man Gauntlet.

Wrestlers enter every 60 seconds, over the top rope rules, last two men go pinfall or submission. The first entrant is “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, and number 2 is JOHNNY DEVINE.

Welcome to my dream match.

Devine looks less than impressed with the fans chanting USA, and the two men trade slaps, then punches, and Devine sends him to the ropes. Leapfrogs abound. Already there is too much to call. Tenay goes over Devine’s history in Calgary as Nosawa enters and he and Devine double team Daniels. A camel-clutch dropkick allows both men to continue to work over Daniels, but he takes them down with a double clothesline. Ishikari hits the ring and goes after Daniels. Tenay throughout this match gives us history on each wrestler, which is another reason why he is one of the best in the business, because he does his research. Number 5 is Chris Sabin, who rescues his Team NWA partner. A springboard dropkick sends Ishikara to the outside and eliminates him. Mr. Aguila, the first Team AAA member, hits the ropes, springboards, backflips over a double clothesline and takes down Devine and Nosawa. A definite split, with the evil Japanese and Canadians facing off against TNA and Mexico. Petey Williams hits the ring and does a cool crucifix. Things slow down as everyong trades punches and make elimination attempts in the corners. Team Japan sends out Ryuiji Hijikata, who locks a cross-armbreaker on Daniels. Petey Williams eliminates Chris Sabin with a headscissors. Jerry Lynn hits the ring and goes after Hijikata and eliminates Nosawa, before stompin' a mudhole in Devine. Petey avoids elimination via Fallen Angel. Heavy Metal joins the ring and catches Petey on his shoulders, slamming him to the mat. Petey kicks Heavy Metal when he tries to leap at him, but Aguilla sends him outside, only to land on the apron. Heavy Metal finishes the job with a baseball slide, sending Petey flying to the floor. Nobukazu Hirai, the final Team Japan participant hits the ring. I start a “Lets Go Devine” chant. Aguilla almost eliminates Lynn. Bobby Rude joins Devine and spears Daniels before tossing him to the outside. Japan and Canada collide as Rude and Hijikada go at it and Hijikada tries to eliminate him but fails. Abismo Negro hits the ring and takes out devine with a DDT and a clothesline. Team Mexico tries to eliminate Devine, he skins the cat, gets back in and is double clotheslined out. NOOOO! Heavy Metal and Hirai go out together as Elix Skipper enters the ring and took Mr. Aguila out as Rude pushes Lynn off the buckles to the floor. Rapid fire eliminations start as Aguilla goes over. Rude, Skipper, Negro and Hijikada are left with a few more to enter. Negro with a nice dropkick on Hijikata. Eric Young struts to the ring he and Rude work over Negro in the corner. Hector Garza enters as number 16 and immediately goes house a fire on Team Canada, taking Young out with a superkick and clotheslining Rude out of the ring. Negro with a stunner, sets up a tombstone and Garza hits a sliding dropkick through Negro's legs. Negro and Hikada get eliminate at the same time. Down to Young, Skipper and Garza. Young gets flapjacked and tossed. Most of the eliminations are clotheslines tonight, which is odd for a X-Division match.

Garza vs. Skipper, pinfall or submission to end things, but both teams will get points. Both men miss dropkicks and Garza goes for a small package, two count, Skipper’s victory roll also gets two. A big slam by Garza sets up moonsault, lands on his feet and is kicked down by Skipper. Garza rolls up Skipper and bridges for the three count and three points, TNA gets one point. Team Mexico takes a important step towards remaining X-Cup champions.

Winner: Hector Garza.

Recap of Ron “The Truth” Killing’s title win in the Deadly Draw last week.

Oh goody, Jeff Jarrett is here. Because we wouldn’t want the focus to not be on Jarrett despite this being a gimmick show. I like Jarrett as a talent, and I am sure he is a nice guy but it gets frustrating to see him always be a focal point even in gimmick shows, although I realize that the reasoning is to give the wrestlers time to catch their breath before the second round. He wants Vince Russo to confirm that on June 2nd he gets a title shot at Killings. “I will never not give you a title shot” says Russo. Jarrett challenges all of the top contenders as of late. That was a mistake, because Russo tells him he will get all of them in one match, a “King of the Mountain” match. Five men in the ring (Jarrett, Raven, Truth, Chris Harris, AJ Styles) and when a man gets pinned, he ends up in the penalty box for two minutes and then gets back in the match. If you score a pinfall you get to climb up a ladder and hang the world title, and whoever hangs it gets the belt. That’s not overbooked at all. (Enjoy recapping that one Jaya!)

Scott Hudson talks to team NWA. Lynn runs down the credentials of the team, and promises victory.

Match 2: Johnny Devine & Bobby Rude vs. Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper.

Skipper and Daniels are, of course, former tag team champions together as Triple-X (With Low-Ki) who had a classic cage match with America’s Most Wanted last year. In March, Devine was the top scorer in the X-cup. Fistacuffs start and Skipper ends up outside and Team Canada goes after Daniels, but Devine ends up outside after Skipper flips into the ring and takes both men out. Double-hiptoss on Rude gets a two count. Devine tags in and jaws before hitting a snap suplex for a two. A bodypress gets a two, Skipper matrix’s out and kicks Devine’s head off. Quick tags in this one on both sides, as Daniels drops Devine on the top rope and Skipper hits a springboard legdrop. A DDT by Skipper sends Devine bouncing off the ropes, ducking a clothesline and hitting a superkick before tagging Rude. Team Canada takes over and Rude beats on Skipper. It just occurred to me that Elix Skipper used to be a part of WCW’s team Canada. Despite this, Devine and Rude show no sympathy to the former Canadian. Devine hits a fisherman stunner for a two count but Daniels breaks it up. Devine mouths off, taking too long and thus hitting canvas instead of Skipper with a shooting star press. Rude is tagged in, But Daniels finally tags in, leaps over Rude and clotheslines Devine down, enziguri’s Rude, takes down Devine and hits the STO on Rude for a two count. Best moonsault ever but Devine breaks up the pin, drags Rude over and tags. Daniels & Skipper do a suplex-springboard cross body for a two. Rude spears Daniels as Skipper hits a slam on Devine. Rude breaks up the pin, hits Skipper with a TKO, Devine covers for a two. Devine and Daniels go at it, Daniels sets Devine up in the corner, is pushed off when Daniels tries a frankenstiener, takes him out with a missile dropkick. Sit out powerbomb by Rude on Skipper followed by “Devine Intervention” moonsault by Devine for a two. Daniels kicks out of a sponebuster. Devine goes up top, Skipper crotches him and walks along the ropes into a headscissors. A neckbreaker/powerbomb combo on Devine gives the win to Team NWA.

Winners: Daniels & Skipper.

Right now, TNA & Mexico are tied with 3 points each, Canada and Japan are not yet on the board.

Video recap of Dusty Rhodes & James Storm vs. Dallas & Kash, and Kash cuts a promo. Scott Hudson allows Rhodes & Storm to respond, they go for the tag titles next week.

Match 3: Hirai & Hijikata vs. Abismo Negro & Heavy Metal.

This one will be fun to recap. Why can’t all wrestlers have simple names? Like “Rock” or “Y2J?” Japan takes over early as Tenay gives us some history on All Japan, where TJ is from. Hijikata sets Negro up and hits a shattered dreams, then continue with double teaming Negro, who ducks a clothesline and hits a dual dropkick. Suicide dive by Negro, Metal dives off the top and takes TJ out. Hijikada kicks Metal in the head and hits a fisherman buster and tags in Hirai, who misses an elbow. Tag to Negro and a frog splash gets two. Sit out powerbombdriver gets a two count. Hirai hits a top rope hurricanrana but Negro breaks it up with the frog splash. The referee forces Absimo out of the ring, allowing Hirai to hit Metal with the exploder suplex for the pin.

Winners: Team Japan.

So now Canada is the only one with the big old goose egg. Come on guys, don’t let your country down!

Scott D’Amore and Scott Hudson talk about being on the verge of elimination. If Eric Young doesn’t win the ladder match, 26 million Canadians will be empty handed. Corporate Sponsers like Molson Canadian will be empty handed. D’Amore channels Jacques Rougeau and gets his team pumped.

Match 4: Ladder Match – “Showtime” Eric Young vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Ishikara vs. Mr. Aguilla Young immediately goes outside for the ladder, Ishikira tries to baseball slide, Young takes him down with the ladder but gets nailed by Aguilla with a baseball slide and a plancha. Lynn dropkicks the ladder off the apron into Aguilla and he and Ishikara go at it in the ring. Taking a page from Lynn, Ish hits a Tornado DDT, but Young goes after Ish. The action is hard to recap properly! Young gets whipped into the ladder in the corner but sidesteps a leg lariat. The ladder is set up crosswise in the corner as Young and Lynn go at it. Another moonsault tonight, this time by Young. Young and Lynn end up outside and Ag & Ish go at it, with Ish going after Ag’s leg. He hits the first headscissors but the second one is reversed into a slam. Aguilla heads up but Lynn crotches him on the top and uses the ladder as a platform to set up a superplex but gets dropped ribs-first onto the cold metal. Young climbs a ladder outside and dives onto Lynn as Aguilla makes the first attempt to set up the ladder. Young slides between Aguilla's legs and the ladder and dropkicks it into his head! Ishikara does his Bubba Ray Dudley/Terry Funk impression, wearing it around his head and spinning to take everyone out. Young takes Ish out but gets DDT’d onto the ladder and then is draped across it halfway out of the ring and Lynn hits a high legdrop. Aguilla & Ishikara catch a breather while Lynn and Young fight it out on the floor, into the ring, and onto the buckles, where Lynn tries to DDT Young off the apron onto the ladder, Young blocks and sends Lynn into the ring with a clothesline, but gets tripped up and lands on the ladder. Aguilla traps Ish’s leg in the ladder and licks away at the leg. The match actually has a flow rather than just a bunch of moves thrown together, which can likely be attributed in a big part to Jerry Lynn. Eric Young returns to the ring, Lynn tries a headscissors and gets tossed hard into the ladder as Young does the “arrogant Canadian strut.” I have to start using that. Payback is a bitch though as Ish backdrops Young onto the ladder. The crowd is unfortunately really dead for this match, not popping for anything despite it being a hell of a match. Neat moment sees Ish get whipped into the ladder by Aguilla, who is sent in by Lynn, who is sent in by Young. Lynn tries to powerbomb Ishikara onto the ladder, which is propped up on the second rope, but Ish reverses into a hurricanrana onto the ladder. Young takes out everyone else and does more Canadian bragging. You’re from a country known for its mountains, get climbing Eric! Instead he hits the ropes and is hiptossed onto the ladder and Aguilla comes out of nowhere with a second rope moonsault onto Young on the ladder! Nice exchange with Aguilla & Lynn results in Jerry being powerbombed onto the ladder. Aguila again tries to moonsault onto Young on the ladder but you go to the well one too many times and you end up crashing ribs-first into it. Broken bodies everywhere! Finally the ladder is set up and Lynn and Young climb to try and reach the red “X” above the ring, but Aguilla shoves the ladder over. Young sets up the ladder on the ropes, gets hit with a drop-toehold and then Lynn and Aguilla use the ladder to catapult Young over the top to the floor! Finally the crowd comes alive. Ag & Ish climb up, sunset-flip powerbomb by the former Essa Rios. Lynn drags the ladder into the corner as the crowd chants his name. Aguilla climbs up top and misses a legdrop on Lynn. Jerry points as Young and climbs the ladder, but Eric cuts him off and gets Lynn in the corner. Jerry meets him and tosses Lynn ala Ric Flair off the top of the ladder to the mat! Ishikara & Aguilla climb and are pushed off by Young, who climbs up, Lynn scales the other side and keepy Young from grabbing the X. Shades of the classic three-way ladder match early in TNA history with Lynn, Styles and Low-Ki is teased with the cradle piledriver off the ladder set up, but Scott D’Amore nails Lynn with the hockey stick. Young pulls himself back up the ladder and grabs the X to keep Canada alive!

Winner: Eric Young.

Yes! Canada is in Ultimate X, Team Japan is out! Take that!

After three rounds, the score is Team Canada 4, Team AAA & Team NWA tied at 3, and Team Japan eliminated with a sad and pathetic 2.

Interview with the new champ Ron Killings & Three Live “I really want to work for WWE” Kru. Tenay & West are kind enough to shill TNA Impact on Fox and next week's show.

Interview with Hector Garza and Team AAA about the Super X. It's on his shoulders to maintain Mexico’s streak.

Match 5: Super X – Petey Williams vs. Hector Garza vs. Chris Sabin.

This should be a fantastic match. Little Petey has really grown on me since the first Canadian participation in March. Poor Williams is teamed up on by Sabin & Garza in the early going, but that alliance falls apart when Garza tries to scale the cables and Sabin dropkicks him. Moments later when Williams crosses the cables, he drops off them into a great looking DDT on Garza. Sabin tries to German Williams, but Garza grabs Sabin and suplexes them both. Basic wrestling continues until Williams uses the cables to dump onto Garza and frankenstiener him. Sabin hits a shoulderbreaker on Williams but walks into a kick and a tilt-a-whirl slam by Garza. Willams hits the awesome sunset-flip piledriver, dubbed “The Canadian Destroyer” on Sabin. All three men worked their way across the cables and kicked each other off before Williams hits a michinoku driver on Sabin who comes back and climbs again, fighting off Petey Williams attempting to bodyscissors him and evaded a Garza dropkick to grab the “X” and bring the World X cup to America. Team TNA headed to the ring to celebrate their victory and Hector Garza shook all of their hands and we cut to a video promoing “The King of the Mountain” next week as the show ended.

Winner: Chris Sabin.

Final Tally
Team NWA – 7 Points
Team Canada – 4 Points
Team Mexico – 3 Points
Team Japan – 2 Points.

Yes! Canada came second! GO TEAM! We have a great deal to be proud of tonight as our guys really did well, proving they can hang with guys like Garza, Lynn, Daniels & Skipper. The worst match was the Mexico vs. Japan tag, but it was still watchable and everything else was steller stuff. Hopefully this will not be the last of Team Canada in TNA. To heck with Dusty Rhodes & James Storm, Devine & Williams for tag champs in 2004!


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    Jason Clevett is based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is also home to 'Hot Shot' Johnny Devine and some hockey team. He can emailed at j_clevett@hotmail.com.