World X Cup 2008 Third Round Four Teams Elimination Match
Team TNA (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin & Curry Man) vs. Team International (Alex Koslov, Doug Williams & Tyson Dux) vs. Team Japan (Masato Yoshino, Milano Collection AT & Puma) vs. Team Mexico (Averno, Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero)
July 13, 2008
TNA Victory Road
Houston, TX

Reviewed by Dave Ryan (VOW Author Page / Days of Thunder)

Gifted by Brady Trappett (VOW Author Page / @BradyHasTakes

In many ways, this was a perfect match to start my holidays because, truly, nothing says Christmas, like 12 people gathering around dressed garishly only to end up having a scrap. And if I may stretch the comparison to breaking point, much like my extended family at the Christmas dinner table, one person is really into curry.

I’ve always appreciated TNA and its long and proud history of wacky tournaments. As a WCW fan, I always felt an affinity for the company, especially during the early years, as my interest in WWE was up and down. I loved that in these tournaments (hell sometimes just randomly on normal shows) I would be exposed to wrestlers I have never seen or heard of before. I vividly remember being on holiday in Spain when I was about 14, scanning through TV channels for anything I recognized. Lo and behold I land on the always eclectic Eurosport, who were showing… wrestling?? I think within that hour I first saw AJ Styles and that was it for me, I needed to absorb everything that was happening here.

All this was being thrown at me during a time when I was being exposed to the fact there was wrestling outside of the only company left standing after 2001. We all go through this phase, and a critical mass always comes. I was mostly out by 2008; college had started, and my friends who still watched things had whittled away to just usernames on the F4W board I would interact with after a night in the pub.

This is an incredibly verbose way of saying this was my first time seeing this match, and what a delight it was. The roll call for the match was absurd, just an assortment of freaks doing their thing. There were a couple of things worth appreciating about the match from the off. First of all, it’s such a small aesthetic touch, but adding the flags of representing countries is a really nice touch to accentuate the feeling of a clash of styles and cultures. The other thing that’s immediately striking is the fluidity of all teams competing. Each team has their smooth double or triple team spots to let you know this isn’t just a bunch of dudes being stuck together: these guys are training together, STRATEGIZING together. They are in it to win it.

I appreciate that by being elimination rules, they space out eliminations such that the action is absolutely relentless. The Houston crowd could take a break from this if they wanted (my man in the 2006 Real Madrid kit in the front row never even thought about sitting down). The match is such a flurry of action I barely have time to appreciate Yoshino in here pinging around, Ultimo Guerrero’s barrel chest being broad enough to project a film on, or Doug Williams somehow looking 50 already in 2008 but still keeping up with this madness.

By the end, the winning TNA contingent looked the strongest as you might expect, particularly the Machine Guns. In terms of an individual performance, Yoshino killed it. He took absolutely everything Shelley had for a long time in the closing stretch with some great near falls. My only problem now is I’m feeling an urge to continue watching 2008 TNA which is a promise only of heartache and nightmares. If only there were some sort of TNA recap podcast that could save me the trouble