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TNA Victory Road 2009 7/19/2009

Written by: Arnold Furious

When this PPV aired it received somewhat negative reviews. Come December people had calmed down a bit and it got “Worst PPV of the Year” @ the 411 Year End Awards 2009. Maybe ‘calmed down’ isn’t the right term. It’d be fair to say people hated this show. Seeing as I’ve hated practically every TNA show leading into this one maybe I’ll feel differently. After all Angle-Foley has to be someone’s dream match. Somewhere. I guess Foley 1996 Vs Angle 2003 would have been cool.

19th July 2009.

We’re in Orlando, Florida. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West. Tenay plugs the Main Event Mafia’s aim to ‘dominate’ tonight.

Knockouts title: Tara (c) v Angelina Love w/Velvet Sky/Madison Rayne

Angelina lost the title on impact and is exercising her re-match clause. The Beautiful People are bringing the T and A to TNA this evening. In spades! Tara has a tarantula with her now. What is this; mid 80s WWF? I look forward to the British Invasion being saddled with a bulldog mascot shortly. Hey, Slick Johnson has actual trousers on this evening. Tara still looks a bit rusty, which is to be expected. She dominates from the bell before the numbers game takes over. I’d be concerned that Tara’s strikes look so bad. There are also considerable timing issues between these two. I’m very aware of how fake everything looks. Of course this has been an issue in women’s wrestling for a long, long time. Until they get chemistry going its never great. Tara tries to get her trademarks in. Jigglesault gets 2. The numbers game almost backfires but Slick Johnson is out of position. Tara misses a moonsault and the cameraman gets a great shot of Tara getting her foot on the rope as she’s pinned, Angelina’s facial reaction to it and Slick missing it. *1/2. Kinda sloppy but since they went from Kong to pretty girls that was to be expected. I’m sure Tara will be a better competitor once she’s up to speed again. I was always a big Victoria fan.

SIDENOTE: I was reading about Angelina’s concussion from the night she won the belt. TNA had her back in the ring five days later with no medical support. They are going to get sued. Again. Konnan took them for $1M. Next time it’ll be worse.

POST MATCH Tara superkicks the ref. Widow’s Peak to Angelina and the Beautiful People have to save Angie from the tarantula. Crowd chant “Slick” so he gets Damien draped across him instead. Oh wait, that’s the 80s again.

BACKSTAGE Borash gets a word with Kurt Angle about tonight being the culmination of Angle’s prophecy; MEM to get all the belts. Angle tells us his match with Foley won’t be good, it’ll be quick. Angle tells all the MEM if they lose tonight they’re fired.

Matt Morgan v Daniels

Morgan wants to be considered for the MEM so he has to win for his own personal gain. Morgan has an obvious size advantage and uses that. Daniels always has issues when working a bigger opponent. The only time he’s been really successful was against Joe and he’s still a similar height. AJ is better at the contrast matches. They do some astoundingly dumb things on the floor. First Morgan whips Daniels into the ropes without even looking then he turns around and watches Daniels go up top and hit the Arabian press to the floor. Why? Why is he doing any of that? It makes him look like an idiot. Out of that Daniels develops a knee injury. Morgan gets slightly creative on the leg work but Morgan is inherently boring on offence, which is why he’s never gotten anywhere. Use that size! Learn some cool power moves. How are you not doing a powerbomb or variation of one? Daniels gets his jollies avoiding big impact moves and countering them. Bulldogs and DDT’s are his friends. Crowd totally wants the BME but Daniels has an injured leg and CAN’T DO IT! Yeah, that’s more like it. CARBON FOOTPRINT. Morgan gets to finish with the Hellavator. **1/4. I’ll give them bonus points for working the injury into the finish. The match was dull but I’ll take dull and smart over exciting and stupid sometimes.

BACKSTAGE JB has Dr Stevie & Daffney. Shame Raven wasn’t retained. Stevie wants no DQ so he can use his mind and his environment to destroy the monster.

Daffney: I love you Stevie.
Dr Stevie: I know.

No DQ: Dr Stevie v Abyss

Stevie is dressed in white as an orderly while Abyss has taken a new black attire. The idea being that Abyss has opened himself up to his own evils and accepted them while denying his potential saviour. Stevie meanwhile is willing to sacrifice himself. Its good Vs evil but only from their POV. The crowd see it totally the other way around. Plus the nature of the backstory allows them to do very little and still get pops. They go the ECW route and head into the crowd. Nice to see TNA are once again prepared with a crane to capture the action as well as the camera that follows them. That’s twice tonight they’ve been on the money with the coverage. The beating continues until morale improves and Stevie is bleeding. The crowd just eats this up as Abyss takes Stevie apart. There’s no threat from Stevie at all and the Shock Treatment should finish but Abyss pulls him back up. Daffney runs out but Interview Girl makes the save. Stevie grabs her taser anyway but runs into the BLACK HOLE SLAM. The taser is gimmicked btw. Abyss uses it and gets the pin. **1/2. The storyline made this work. It had an ECW feel. Unfortunately now they’ve run out of places to go. The story will drag on for a bit until Foley & Raven get involved. Again, all very ECW-esque. I think the biggest issue they have with Abyss is he’s too dominant for anyone to get a good realistic feud going. Unless they’re equally big but if a bigger guy wrestles him its boring. Stevie brought the psychology to make this feud interesting.

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BACKSTAGE Mick Foley gives a pep talk to Beer Money & AJ Styles. Foley’s character has been a mess in TNA and this was a further example as he went from face to tweener during the promo and no one seemed to notice in the room. I don’t feel Foley was himself at all during his title run and his character needs repairing. But its not a long journey because Mick is so likeable.

IWGP tag titles: Team 3D (c) v British Invasion

British Invasion works for me. You’ve got Doug Williams as the in-ring talent, Brutus Magnus as the promo man and Rob Terry as the muscle. This doesn’t start well as D-Von overpowers both challengers despite being outwrestled at every step. BI should make it about actual catch wrestling and just boss it that way. Instead we get the same Dudley’s offence we’ve been seeing for nearly 15 years. Their characters should be enough to get over the beating but that beating just isn’t happening. It doesn’t help that Bubba can’t sell anything Doug has. Bubba won’t even take the choke on the ropes spot, much to Magnus’ frustration. They go for the Wazup headbutt but D-Von climbs slowly, slowly, slowly while Rob Terry goes around the ring slower, slower, slower and shoves him off. Jesus Rob, you barely have anything to do, at least show some fucking hustle. 3D look off the pace, aren’t willing to put over the BI offence and 3D can’t even hit their own stuff without it looking really obvious that BI are helping them. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that 3D have deliberately made their opponents look bad here but they’re not wrestling a good match at all. Crowd wants tables. Ref is then so busy fucking about with the table that he misses Rob Terry getting in the ring. Bubba makes Magnus look like shit one more time before Doug eats the 3D for the loss. ½*. The Dudley’s at their lazy worst. Not only did they look bad but they made their opponents look even worse. It’s a pity because they’ve not been like this for some time. They’d been earning respect but this was shocking.

POST MATCH Bashir & Kiyoshi run in. 3D make their own save and Bashir gets tabled. After that Bubba anally rapes the entire tag roster’s grandmother’s while eating some nachos. Maybe.

BACKSTAGE Interview Girl has Slick Johnson. He feels terrible about making a mistake but he’s going to recommend Tara gets a re-match. Which she gets anyway because she was the champion.

Sharmell w/Sojo Bolt v Jenna Morasca w/Awesome Kong

Sharmell must have been told this was an evening gown match based on her ridiculous attire. Both ladies are in the MEM but there’s no stipulation here so there’s no real heat. Jenna bumps and grinds, probably not realising the Beautiful People were out here earlier. They make her look like shit. I wouldn’t call Sharmell a ring general but her experience allows her to dictate the pace. Jenna just falls over sideways every now and again. Its quickly apparent she has NO business being out here. Crowd is bored. You don’t get many audible “boring” chants in TNA but here’s proof they exist. Sojo is more effective as a second as Kong charges blindly around and is easily positioned by Sharmell. She’s the brains of this operation. Jenna’s pathetic slapping and catfight offence doesn’t go over well. An unintentionally great spot follows with Sharmell charging, missing and knocking Sojo off the apron. Kong is supposed to catch her but instead she slides over Kong’s shoulders and goes SPLAT at ringside. OWWWW. Poor Sojo. Kong punches Sharmell out and Jenna gets the pin. DUD. I’ve heard this get a savaging (worst match of the year etc) but I’ve seen far worse women’s matches (Jackie Gayda etc) and its not far off the usual standard of Knockouts matches. Jenna was bad but only because she has no training…or coordination.

POST MATCH Jenna wants Kong to lift her up in celebration but she doesn’t do it right so Jenna slaps her. BIG FUCKING MISTAKE. Kong kills that bitch dead.

BACKSTAGE Roving reporter Jeremy Borash has Kevin Nash. He says if he doesn’t get the job done he’ll retire. Another fine reason to route for AJ.

Legends title: AJ Styles (c) v Kevin Nash

I realise they wanted the MEM sweep but they had to load the deck against AJ so he didn’t look like a punk. After all they’re only taking this title off him because he’s too good for it. Easy story; speed vs power. Youth vs experience. AJ aims for the knees to start, with Nash struggling to sell. AJ discovers its more fun to flip around and make Nash miss. Nash looks equally accomplished when he cuts off the ring and traps AJ in a corner. Tenay mentions that Nash recently compared AJ to Shawn Michaels. Nice spot with AJ going up top and Nash big booting him off. The great thing about a Nash match in TNA is that he’s aware of how much importance should be put on bigger spots. Like that one. He lets the crowd absorb it and AJ sell it. Then they go for a powerbomb and AJ counters it. It’s a smart match but unfortunately the crowd are gone. This is more of WWE style match up and TNA fans aren’t conditioned to like things that make sense. Obviously Nash & AJ discussed this match and how AJ can slow himself down. Here he does it by just kicking at a grounded Nash. Crowd want a tap-out and clearly don’t give a fuck about the MEM winning all the titles. An ongoing theme is that TNA tell people they listen to their audience but they really don’t. They listen to the audience when unimportant talent is concerned (in fact everything about TNA has that glass ceiling divide that they claimed doesn’t exist). Nash’s selling here is tremendous. He stays down and looks like he’s about to cry. You could argue he’s just being lazy but hey. Nash is too slow to run standing counters and eats the Pele Kick while still telegraphing the sell. That’s how slow AJ had to do it. AJ springboards over the ref but right into a chokeslam and that’s it. That was it?

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**1/2. Some clever wrestling on Nash’s part. He slowed AJ right down and showed us that AJ could quite easily work WWE style. Unfortunately you could tell AJ was frustrated with how slowly he had to work in order for Big Kev to keep up. The finish shouldn’t be so fucking clean either. Get some MEM support for Nash and load the odds against AJ so he doesn’t look like a loser. Again. Luckily he’s so over and talented he can take losses (like Benoit in WCW). But TNA shouldn’t keep using that as an excuse for him taking clean jobs to heels all the time. Nash needed help here (Joe would have been fine) and having him go it alone makes AJ look incapable of main eventing. They should change his name to AJTTS Styles.

BACKSTAGE Interview Girl is looking for Tara but finds Slick getting fresh with Madison Rayne. She tells Lauren to keep her mouth shut but, in case she didn’t notice, SHE’S ON PPV. THERE’S A CAMERA RIGHT THERE!

TNA tag titles: Beer Money (c) v Main Event Mafia (Booker T/Scott Steiner)

Booker & Scott used to be in world class tag teams; Harlem Heat & the Steiner Brothers. And they were even the stars of those teams. Despite their tag experience they still feel like a thrown together team of singles wrestlers. Beer Money can’t get a break in TNA’s tag division. The 3D feud was at least fun at times. But if TNA are prepared to job AJ out they won’t think twice about Beer Money lying down to preserve their precious MEM storyline. Booker & Steiner don’t look interested at all. This is what I hate about the MEM storyline. In normal circumstances Booker & Steiner would be outclassed by the better team. Here they get an even share of the match…because of the storyline, not the abilities. Which is what happens when you try and do the New World Order storyline all over again. Russo is so obsessed with it he’s done it over and over again. The challengers get less and less interested as the match goes on. Its depressing. Why couldn’t they just get fired from the MEM? Booker will be gone in a few months and Steiner isn’t that important is he? This match is only ever fun or energised with Beer Money in charge. Hell, Storm looks like he’s wrestling for his place in the company he’s bringing so much effort. Steiner takes the beer spit. Lousy ref bump follows. DWI! Oh come on. Booker pulls the ref out but blames Storm for it. What? In the confusion Booker gets the Axe Kick and MEM take these belts too. **. A fine demonstration of what a great talent James Storm is. Beer Money is a great team because of him. He really showed his determination during this match but the MEM guys dragged it down.

POST MATCH Borash gets a word with the *NEW* tag champions.

BACKSTAGE Interview Girl asks Joe who his mysterious mentor is. Joe is posing like Tazz incidentally. Just sayin’. During the prep for this match we see “13” and “FTW” logos. Just in case you missed what they were hinting at.

Samoa Joe v Sting
Joe sold out and took Sting’s spot in the MEM. They follow Stevie-Abyss and brawl into the crowd like they did when Sting won the title. The match lacks an edge until Joe hits the ELBOW SUICIDAAA! Sting is well capable of taking a beating. Something he demonstrated way back in 1992 against Vader. Joe doesn’t have Vader’s size but he can be that stiff. Tenay talks about the MEM and with Sting gone the faction has lost its conscience. Much like their TNA title match Joe has a lot of fun beating the crap out of Sting. He’s a dude that sells like a champion. He’ll take abuse and lie down. You have to drag him back up so you can beat him back down. And because the crowd love him, it works. The older he gets the more Sting channels Ricky Morton and that babyface beatdown he takes so well. But Morton was a midcarder. Sting is a main eventer and eventually he’ll stop selling. Stinger Splash leads to the Scorpion Deathlock. Crowd wants the tap again suggesting they aren’t keen on the MEM sweeping tonight. TAZ strolls out for his debut. Joe feels the ORANGE MIDGET RAGE inside him and powers out. Taz starts earning his money immediately; “get up!” Sting sandbags Joe to block the Musclebuster so Joe goes right into the Koquina Clutch, after a brief chat with Sting to see if its ok to do so. Sting taps out. **1/4. They blew the finish big time. Joe did the same domination job he did on Sting when he lost the belt. I’m glad they’ve refocused the ideas behind this Joe heel run. Taking Taz as a mentor means he’s all about using his body as a weapon again. Although the crowd didn’t seem too concerned about the arrival of Taz.

EARLIER Bobby Lashley confirms he’s signed for TNA via radio. Lashley went away for a while to train for MMA but kept his eye in by getting Inoki to pay him huge dollar for Japanese tours.

BACKSTAGE Borash chats with Foley pointing out the MEM have won everything tonight. 3-3. Foley claims he has the offence to beat Angle and Kurt has such a bad neck that his nerve damage counts against him.

We get a video package of Angle trying to explain how Joe turned. It doesn’t make much sense and suggests that Joe was after money not revenge all along.

TNA title: Kurt Angle (c) v Mick Foley

Angle is hurt coming in but then isn’t he always? Foley has gotten a few matches in recently so he’s in better shape than a few months ago. Foley works at the arm he mentioned beforehand. Angle looks out of sorts and stalls a lot. Its been a long, long time since Foley used his size to dominate matches. He looks ill at ease with doing so. Foley takes it to the floor where Angle backdrops him onto the steps to level it up. Foley said pre-match he wouldn’t tap out, which is tested as he gets strapped in the Anklelock. He doesn’t tap as he has too much strength left. Double Arm DDT gets 2 and out comes Mr Socko. Angle looks legitimately injured. Angle bumps the ref and kicks Foley in the balls. Angleslam gets 2. That’s not been a finisher in quite some time. Ref is bumped again and Angle bails for a chair only to get caught in the Socko Claw. CACTUS ELBOW!

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With Angle feeling fragile that could be enough but he kicks out. Socko Claw again but Foley adds in a bodyscissors! Wow, he’s working smart tonight. Angle, being a wrestler, is able to slip out into the MMA mount and then segues to the Anklelock. Foley again refuses to tap but he’s left on one leg now. HEEL HOOK! He can’t survive and has to tap. ***. A bizarre match. Foley used his smarts to work a match against an injured Kurt Angle but it was Angle who brought an even smarter game to take the win. Using his wrestling skill to submit the brawler. Both guys were working with injuries and couldn’t work the match they could if they were fit but I enjoyed what they came up with. Shame TNA can’t just put the title on someone who’s fit. Last fit man to hold the belt was Samoa Joe. Which is also the last time they had a great title match. I’m sick of people having to work with limitations in the main event.

BONUS

Post match interviews. Photo gallery. Music video.

The interviews were the only interesting part. Dr Stevie reiterates that wasn’t a match it was a therapy session. He feels Abyss has regressed and he’s failing as a doctor. AJ is depressed about losing and thinks MEM having all the belts jeopardises everyone’s job. Nash has ice on his neck. He says the New World Order never had five guys of the calibre of the MEM. Nash puts over how intelligent Taz is and thinks he’ll be of benefit to the MEM because he knows the business. Beer Money says they proved they were a great team and the MEM got lucky. Booker says MEM has the power now so they’ll be restructuring the company although its hard to understand him because he keeps slipping out of promo into street slang. Taz refuses an interview saying they’ll hear from him Thursday. Mick Foley gets his kids to cheer to him by playing Jingle Bells with their armpits. Bobby Lashley is even shorter than Taz (not height-wise obviously) saying the landscape is changing in TNA. He only said one sentence and he was boring. Quite the achievement.


Final Thoughts:
Obviously this is not a good show but its not a bad one either. Only the women’s special attraction match and the Dudley’s match sucked. Everything else was competent at the very least, which is an improvement over some TNA shows. Usually I think TNA’s shows are overrated but here I think Victory Road was underrated because its an ok, albeit underwhelming, show. True, its way better on paper than in reality but that’s no reason to call it the worst show of the year.

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