Title: The Best of the X Division Volume 2
Synopsis: This follow up to The Best of the X Division Vol 1 (See previous Review!) offers a collection of 15 X Division matches between October 2005 and August 2006, plus a documentary style look back at the epic series between AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe. This time around an obvious effort has been made to feature the new generation of X Division stars and keep the established stars like Styles, Daniels and Joe separate. As a personal note I would just like to add that the artwork for this DVD is awesome!
Reasons to Buy this DVD:
I have a few problems with this but I’ll get to those later. What matters is that this is a very good feature to begin the DVD and I liked it so much that it had to be included here. This 30 minute documentary examines the feud between AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe, starting with Sacrifice 2005 and ending at Destination X 2006. Though no matches are shown in their entirety, we get various highlights of the action, all of which are well produced and fast-paced. The music involved really adds to the action. All three men offer their perspectives on these matches, explaining why they were so memorable, how they developed the ongoing feud and (most importantly) how these matches distinguished TNA from every other promotion. These three men always put on the best matches on every Pay Per View during that era, and they made TNA a must-see product. What’s more is that they explain the importance of the X Division Title and how it was the whole reason they were feuding in the first place. You NEVER see a belt get that kind of treatment these days. And it’s a real shame because it’s unbelievably simple to do so. That’s why this is such a good feature for the set and definitely worth a look.
Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels (Impact 2006)
This match follows on from the documentary and is the only full match on the DVD featuring two of those three men, although all three show up again in different matches against different opponents. The match is already in progress with Daniels receiving a nasty kick to the face outside. If I remember correctly the reason for them starting the show mid-match was because this was their debut on Thursday nights and they were following UFC that night. So before the UFC viewers had a chance to change the channel, the first thing they see is Joe and Daniels putting on an incredible, hard hitting, and bloody bout. This is also the only match in TNA where Joe uses his Avalanche Island Driver, which if you’ve never seen before then you’re in for a treat.
AJ Styles vs Chris Sabin (Impact 2005)
Though the DVD is meant to focus on the younger stars of the X Division, we can’t have an X Division DVD without AJ Styles! This match with Chris Sabin is a wonderfully competitive match between two babyfaces where Chris Sabin looked every bit AJ’s equal as they both went back and forth and the finish is quite innovative as I’ve never seen a Styles Clash delivered like that before … you’ll have to get the DVD to find out what I mean. Also of note is a singles match between Styles and a young(er) Jay Lethal who had only just joined TNA at the time. Like Sabin, the young rookie looks like an equal even in defeat. How does Styles do that?
Petey Williams vs Puma vs Sonjay Dutt vs Chris Sabin (Destination X 2006)
This a lost classic that stole the show at that years event. A fast paced 20 minute four way with all four men going at it full pelt. Yes there’s some spots, naturally, but they’re spaced out in a way that makes it seem like a traditional wrestling match. Towards the end the crowd are on their feet and so am I. Even the heels were getting positive reactions. One thing I love was how Petey Williams had his bodyguard A1 (raise your hand if you remember A1) and the announcers were suspicious about his presence at ringside like they expected him to get involved, but in the end he didn’t interfere once. By not having him interfere, it shows that Williams doesn’t need an enforcer to help him win matches and thus makes him more credible as a threat. Puma also got a great response from the crowd even though it was his debut and only a few people seemed to know who he was at the beginning. This is my favourite match on the DVD.
Chris Sabin vs Petey Williams vs Puma vs Elix Skipper vs Chase Stevens vs Sharkboy Xscape Match (Lockdown 2006)
This was better than the previous years Xscape match, mostly due to Chase Stevens’ jaw-dropping Shooting Star Press off the top of the cage! Unfortunately the move was botched as none of his opponents actually caught him (whoops!) but it’s still an amazing sight to see. Also the six men put on the usual exciting display and even Sharkboy looked impressive despite being the first one eliminated. Puma makes a welcome return in this math. I enjoyed seeing him wrestle in TNA despite the fact that if you listen to Mike Tenay, he is apparently 21 forever. During his appearance in the 20 man gauntlet at Victory Road 2004, the four way at Destination X and this match in 2006, and his brief cameo in the Ultimate X Gauntlet at Victory Road 2007, he is referred to as 21 years old in all three years. What is this guy a time traveller? But still I’m a fan of Puma. The last time I saw him (unmasked and using his real name TJ Perkins) was on a 2009 episode of ECW in a squash match against Sheamus. He’s a very underrated wrestler. What I also liked about this match was the finish as, unlike the last years match, it was timed perfectly and despite myself I thought it was pretty funny.
Team USA vs Team Japan World X Cup Tag Team Match (Impact 2006)
I would have loved to see more World X Cup matches on here. To this day I’m still holding out hope for the entire tournaments from 2004 and 2006 to be released on DVD. I do however have the 2008 tournament! But anyway this fun little match was a nice touch. Alex Shelley and Sonjay Dutt vs Minorou Tanaka and Hiroki Goto. An interesting blend of styles. Only awkward part was when Tanaka attempted to get the crowd to chant “Lets go Alex!” (at least that’s what it sounded like). I’ve heard of showing respect to your opponent but that seems a bit much, especially as Alex Shelley then used that moment to counter Tanaka’s offense and get a tag to Dutt. Maybe he should have given Shelley a Low Blow and spat in his face instead?
Senshi vs Sonjay Dutt vs Petey Williams vs Jay Lethal vs Alex Shelley vs Sharkboy (Slammiversary 2006)
Hey look at that Sharkboy made it twice! This is very similar to the Destination X match, except there’s six men this time and elimination rules apply. This went a good 20 minutes or so and featured many spots, but at no point was it boring. Possibly my second favourite match on the set. Highlights include a new meaning to the term “rope burn”, a six pack suplex (their words not mine!), and a finish that Kaval/Senshi would never have been allowed to use in the WWE.
Senshi vs Petey Williams vs Jay Lethal (Hard Justice 2006)
What probably should have been the final match on the DVD. A very good triple threat match between three stars of the “New X Division” this DVD was meant to highlight. A pre-Black Machismo Jay Lethal gets a strong reaction from the Impact Zone and shows he belongs in the X Division. Petey Williams continued to shine following the break up of Team Canada and Senshi … well Senshi just kicks people and they love him for it. I’ve seen better but still a pretty good match, plus after four ways and six ways, it makes sense to throw in a Triple Threat match.
Reasons to Avoid this DVD:
Hey guess what? The comments made by Styles, Daniels and Joe are … Kayfabe! I really liked the documentary and I’d still recommend watching it but the Bill Watts approach doesn’t work in this day and age! It’s a DVD! Talk Human for a change! If I want to hear them cut promos on each other for thirty minutes I’d just watch Impact!
No Styles/Daniels/Joe matches
Now the documentary was great and I understand that the purpose of this DVD was to get the next generation of X Division Stars over like Petey Williams, Alex Shelley and Jay Lethal. But I’d still have loved to see the complete series between these three which brought the X Division so much prestige.
Too much of the same thing and Not enough consequence.
Looking back over the content listing I’m happy to say that there’s no match on the DVD that I didn’t like. However the fact remains that too many of the matches were either triple threat, or fatal four way matches that went less than ten minutes. The same faces show up in more than a few of them (As much as I like Chris Sabin, I was starting to get sick of the sight of him by the end of it, quite frankly). Some matches, despite being genuinely entertaining, hardly meant anything afterwards. The last match on the DVD instead of the worthy triple threat match from Hard Justice 2006, is a forgettable six man tag with Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt vs Alex Shelley, Johnny Devine and Petey Williams. You always need a good strong match to end the DVD. Indeed (with a few exceptions like the ones mentioned in the Reasons to Buy list) you pretty much forget every match on here as soon as you’ve seen the next one. That’s not good now is it?
The documentary is one of the best produced features on a TNA DVD, so good that even the Kayfabe approach doesn’t hurt it. The matches range from decent to superb and are consistantly watchable and rewatchable. Granted the Volume 1 DVD is more satisfying in the sense that the matches are longer and meant more in the long run. However this is a set that I’d heavily recommend to any fans of TNA’s X Division. The four Pay Per View matches are excellent and once again make the viewer wonder why the X Division hasn’t been more heavily hyped over the last three years. Even the Impact matches, forgettable though they may be, are simply fun to watch.