Title: TNA The Ultimate X Collection
Synopsis: We’re just hours away from Destination X and so I offer you a review of one of the rarest TNA DVDs of all time. When one hears “rare TNA DVD” they think of the original series from 2003: Best of the NWA Title, Best of the Bloodiest Brawls, and Best of the X Division Matches (incidentally I own 2 of those sets). TNA brought them back a few years ago to take advantage of their scarcity and offered them as a three DVD deal. Naturally since they were brought back, they aren’t so rare anymore, although you’d be hard pressed to find any of them in the TNA section of your local HMV. What they didn’t bring back however were the three DVD sets released in 2004: Best of the 3 Live Kru, Best of Americas Most Wanted (which is still available but supplies are limited) and this little gem we have here.
A single disc featuring the first two Ultimate X matches from 2003 and 2004 and the entire Super X Cup tournament from 2003. A bonus match is included: A six man elimination match featuring the return of the Amazing Red. For what it’s worth this is one of my top 2 or 3 TNA DVDs ever.
Reasons to Buy this DVD:
Chris Sabin vs Michael Shane vs Frankie Kazarian Ultimate X Match (August 2003)
The first ever Ultimate X match isn’t likely to blow anyone away by today’s standards but it is still an exciting attraction and worth possessing for its novelty value. Since this is the first match of it’s kind, there were clearly kinks to be worked out and it’s very obvious that the wrestlers were tentative about what would work and what wouldn’t. According to Kazarian on another DVD, they had originally intended to support the cables with four poles (similar to the ones used in Item on a Pole matches). On the day before the taping, the three men tested the poles by climbing a ladder in the middle of the ring and then grabbing the cables, but as soon as Kazarian took his feet off the ladder, he hung for all of one second before the whole thing collapsed and all four poles bent inward. While that error was thankfully fixed with the steel trusses still used today, the three men encounter another unexpected problem: the cables are not connected in the middle, that is to say they were hung from corner to corner, with one cable on top of the other. As a result when the men climb across the cables the belt falls twice (both incidents are edited out)! Still I am willing to overlook these blunders since this was only the first match and lets face it: the Ultimate X match is tough to prepare for even nowadays eight years later.
Michael Shane vs Chris Sabin vs Christopher Daniels vs Low Ki Ultimate X 2 (January 2004)
Far superior to the original UX match, this match was booked in the main event of the show and the four men had learned from the errors in the previous match (the cables are linked). The action is fast paced and spot heavy and the announcers do a good job explaining how the only rule is that ladders cannot be used (although apparently they may be used as a weapon). Having been in the first match Sabin and Shane are more confident and take to the cables with ease and Low Ki looks so comfortable it’s hard to believe it was his first UX match. Since this is only the second UX match, many of the stunts are experimental, but at least the wrestlers are more confident this time around so they come off a lot more smoothly. The best moments are Low Ki performing a Dragon Sleeper on Daniels while both hang from the cables, Daniels audibly saying “Shit!” when he misses the belt after a springboard dive and the table spot at the climax where Michael Shane breaks his arm. One thing that irritates me is that the ending has been edited. When Chris Sabin grabs the belt with both hands he tries to pull it down as he falls but the belt won’t budge. He manages to wrap both arms through the strap but the belt still won’t come down. It’s like Jack Swagger in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The story behind this amusing incident is that after the first match where the belt fell down twice, TNA weren’t taking any chances and secured the belt with duct tape. As a result Sabin hung there for nearly 30 seconds before the belt finally fell (that may not seem so long but remember he was hanging by his arms)! And so the ending is clipped to make it look like he retrieved the belt instantly. One of my favourite TNA matches ever.
Super X Cup Tournament
If you read my review of TNA World X Cup (and if you didn’t then you know where to find it!) then you’ll know how much I loved the original X Division tournaments from 2003 and 2004. Well TNA granted one of my wishes and released the entire 2003 tournament on DVD making this one a must-buy!
Your participants are Chris Sabin, Johnny Storm, Frankie Kazarian, Jerry Lynn, Teddy Hart, Juventud Guerrera, Michael Shane and Nosawa. It would take too long to go through all the matches but I can assure you the one night eight man tournament is a spectacular show that needs to be seen by all TNA fans, in fact all wrestling fans while we’re at it. The first round matches go less than ten minutes but are all pretty fun. The semi-final matches (Hart vs Guerrera and Sabin vs Kazarian) are longer and yield much innovation and excitement. The final match (I won’t spoil the semi-final winners) is a Match of the Year candidate.
Amazing Red vs Petey Williams vs Jerry Lynn vs Nosawa vs Frankie Kazarian vs “Primetime” Elix Skipper Six man Elimination match (Or Fray for all you DGUSA fans!)
The sole bonus match is a delightful six man Fray with typical X Division spots and highlighted by the fact that Amazing Red was making his TNA return. It goes about 15 minutes and to my knowledge it marks the first time Petey Williams used his Canadian Destroyer finisher in TNA. Yeah!
Like I said this DVD isn’t available on ShopTNA anymore and it’s damn near impossible to find in shops. I myself purchased my copy off Ebay from a guy who surely must regret his decision to sell it. So if you ever come across it online you should definitely get it while it’s still available. It won’t be for long!
Reasons to Avoid this DVD:
You heard me!
Okay so maybe two Ultimate X matches is hardly a “collection” but the tournament takes up a majority of the content and that’s fine by me. If WWE can produce a 3 disc Cage match DVD, not to mention Ladder, Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber and (according to that survey a while ago) Money in the Bank, then surely TNA can produce at least a two disc set comprised of the greatest Ultimate X matches. I tell you it would sell ten times as well as that upcoming Immortal DVD! So there’s my take. If you come across this rarest of TNA DVDs make sure you buy it. Steal it if you have to!
P.S. That was a joke obviously.
By the time most of you read this Destination X will have come and gone. But as long as it hasn’t happened yet I still hold out hope that we are treated to TNA’s best Pay Per View of the Year. I expect a decent buy rate, but I’m not optimistic enough to hope that TNA will respond to it by pushing the X Division further and releasing more outstanding DVDs like this one.