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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
TNA VICTORY ROAD PPV
JULY 16, 2006
LIVE FROM ORLANDO, FLA.
-A video preview aired for the PPV. Jeff Jarrett interrupted with a creepy-looking video of his own.
-Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd.
1 -- THE DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (Elix Skipper & David Young w/Simon Diamond) vs. THE NATURALS (Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens w/Shane Douglas)
"Have you heard the one about ECW. They lost a Franchise and gained a Dick... ha ha ha... Flair," said Douglas before the match. He talked about The Naturals becoming a new tag team under his training and guidance. He introduced them by name, but paused after saying Stevens's name, as if he forgot Andy's name. I hope he didn't forget Andy's name. He's got the same last name as he does. The Naturals walked out in new trunks and shorter hair (although still longer than average). After the ring intro, Douglas returned to the back. West and Tenay said Douglas was there to give them direction, but not hold their hands. We still know nothing about these two, though, other than Douglas trained them in recent weeks. Young flipped onto Stevens at ringside. In the end, The Naturals hit a double team move with a top rope dropkick to Elix as he was lifted into the air. Shane Douglas came out after the match and chewed out The Naturals with some tough love, as apparently they didn't wrestle to their capabilities in his eyes.
WINNERS: The Naturals in 5:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Not smooth. There were a couple blown spots. Overall, just too short to amount to much.
-Mike Tenay and Don West talked over graphics presenting the rest of the PPV line-up. Tenay always looks like he's fighting back an ugly burp when he talks.
-Jeremy Borash interviewed Christian Cage backstage. He said people are wondering what happened to the old Christian. "The old Christian took a little sabbatical, but it looks like's he's returning." Christian said Steiner's arms are intimidating, but his tattoo reveals he is missing heart. He said Samoa Joe has confidence and an unblemished record. "He says I am TNA, I am professional wrestling. He says, 'Are you done with those french fries.'" He said Sting is "just a carton of milk. It's good for you, it has all the nutrients, it smells okay, but you taste it and it's just not right. You turn it over and realize it expired yesterday." He said after Victory Road, he is confident he is taking back the title.
2 -- MONTY BROWN vs. RHINO
Rhino charged to the ring and attacked Brown at ringside. The crowd chanted "Rhino, Rhino." If you can get Rhino over with some in-your-face, anti-WWE, pro-TNA promos, imagine Samoa Joe in that position, too. Brown reversed Rhino into the ringside barrier. Rhino ducked an early Pounce opportunity and Brown knocked out the ref. Rhino sling-shot himself onto Brown at ringside. Rhino went for The Gore, but Brown moved and the ref, who had just stood up, took the brunt of the move. The wrestlers spilled to ringside again to exchange punches. Rhino threw Brown into the crowd and then followed. Eventually the bell rang signaling a no contest.
WINNER: No contest in 7:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Good intensity. It never became an actual match, though. The finish was predictable once you take into account that both are getting a big push and neither is likely to be asked to job to the other at this point.
-Borash interviewed LAX backstage. Konnan said, "For you white boys who don't speak Spanish, well, you better learn Spanish because in the next few days we are taking over." Some day, when Homicide is given mic time, TNA fans who haven't seen his work in ROH will wonder why he's been silent all this time.
3 -- RON KILLINGS & SONJAY DUTT vs. HOMICIDE & HERNANDEZ (w/Konnan)
LAX came out first, then Killings and Sonjay Dutt. Killings did his "What's up?" routine during his ring intro. LAX jump-started the match. Sonjay dove onto Hernandez at ringside. Hernandez had to step toward the ring to catch him, so it looked bad. Homicide then dove onto Dutt. Then Killings dove onto both of them. Those chains on Killings's outfit have to go. The mics pick up the clanging metal as if someone is shaking a chain right next to your ear to annoy you. It works. Dutt worked most of the opening seven minutes, first with offense, and then sustained selling. Dutt flipped over to hot-tag Killings. Killings did Konnan's roll-through clothesline and then showboated toward Konnan. Homicide surprised Killings with a neckbreaker for a two count. Killings tagged in Dutt, who dropkicked Homicide into his corner to tag Hernandez. Hernandez outpowered Dutt and chopped him. Dutt flipped into the air and dropped Hernandez. Homicide slide a chair into the ring. Killings dove onto Homicide at ringside. Dutt went to the toprope. Konnan hit Dutt. Homicide then gave Dutt a released edge for the win. Tenay said, "Oh, boy, we have a tag team on our hands here in TNA."
WINNER: Hernandez in 10:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Good tag match.
-Borash interviewed Scott Steiner. He said his job is to eliminate Sting. He said Samoa Joe and Christian will be casualties of war. Steiner said about Joe: "He hates on me because I call him a fat bastard. Don't hate on me because your parents gave you an extra fat cell in your X and Y chromosome." He said the match will be easy because he'll line up donuts that leads him away from the ring. He called Christian a stick-man and told him to eat a steak sometime. Borash asked him to comment on facing Jarrett if he wins. Steiner yelled that he has no friends in the business. Borash is much better at not making exaggerated facial expressions that distract from interviews. Steiner is one of my top five favorite interviews these days.
-Team Canada walked out to the Team Canada intro anthem. Tenay said it's the last time we'd hear it. If they really don't play it again, it will have a nostalgic ring to it in a few years. I won't miss it at all. It's always sounded bush league and schmaltzy. Scott D'Amore said this is the last time anyone would see Team Canada together again. He blamed Jim Cornette. D'Amore's Key to Being A Pro Wrestling Manager: Scream at the top of your lungs everything say with a sneer and exaggerated overenunciating. D'Amore predicted it's just a matter of time before he is NWA Champion. D'Amore hugged everyone, then left the ring. Eric Young's nervous facial expressions throughout this segment helped make D'Amore's yelling easier to tolerate. The crowd chanted, "Eric Young, Eric Young." D'Amore said he's never cared so much about a wrestler than Williams, the team captain. Williams welled up. Did they advertise that we'd have to sit through a dawn out TV angle like this on PPV? Williams refused to shake Young's hand as he left. Regarding A1, D'Amore said he never regretted his decision to take him from the strip club to pro wrestling. The crowd chanted at A1, "You can't wrestle! You can't wrestle!" D'Amore screamed, "He sure as hell can kick your asses." It came down to D'Amore and Young. D'Amore blamed Young for the end of Team Canada. "You make me sick, Eric Young!" he screamed. D'Amore demanded he give back the Team Canada jacket. He also demanded he give him back the Team Canada pants. Young had mismatched socks and boxer briefs. D'Amore said nobody can save him - "not even that metrosexual Jeremy Borash." The crowd chanted, "We will save you!" D'Amore said despite all of that, he still has a soft spot for him. He told him to be ready because his deepest, darkest fears will come true because soon he'll be fired. Left alone in the ring, Young then took on Eugene's body language and asked the crowd timidly, "Do you guys want me to be fired?" He asked if they'd be his friends. The crowd cheered. He said they'd have a secret plan together. He started a "Don't fire Eric!" chant. He jumped into the crowd and chanted with them. That was four times longer than it needed to be.
-A video announced that Detroit, Mich. would host their annual biggest PPV, Bound for Glory, on Oct. 22. Tenay and West they get asked about PPVs being taken on the road more than anything else.
-Borash interviewed Senshi. Borash asked about his having to face a former X Division mystery opponent. He said that was a champion of the past, and he's a champion of the future.
4 -- SENSHI vs. KAZARIAN -- X Division Title match
They're now calling Jim Cornette "the new management rep," which is at least better than "the new face of TNA management." Kazarian was revealed to be the mystery opponent. Could they have found a more generic guitar rock intro song for Kazarian than that? He's got a shorter haircut now. No more ponytail. Back and forth action for ten minutes. Senshi exploded with a charging dropkick at 12:00 and then hit the Warrior's Way for the win.
WINNER: Senshi in 12:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 -- Basic action. Disappointing for sure. The mystery wrestler gimmick will lose any drawing power if they use it to create a mystery but then reveal it to be someone few people would pay to see. Kazarian has potential, but he might as well have been Rob Conway in this match. He didn't do much of anything to cause any viewer to think he was anything special. With no backstory to the match, it was going to feel flat unless they really turned it up. They never got out of second gear.
-Borash interviewed Larry Zbyszko, who was warming up in a jogging suit backstage. Slick Johnson walked in and mocked Zbyszko and said he was the assigned ref for his match. Then they went to a video feature on both Zbyszko and Raven.
5 -- LARRY ZBYSZKO vs. RAVEN - Hair Match
Slick tripped Zbyszko as he charged at Raven in the corner. Zbyszko took Raven down with a reverse sidekick at 1:00, then choked Raven. Zbyszko applied a spinning toe hold. Tenay pointed out that Dory Funk Jr. was in attendance. Raven kicked Zbyszko off, and he bumped into Slick, who clutched his knee. Raven gave Zbyszko a DDT. Zbyszko used a low blow to make a comeback. He scored a two count with a small package. Raven then hit a Raven Effect DDT for the win.
WINNER: Raven in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Zbyszko tried to walk to the back and avoid the head shaving at ringside in the barber chair. About ten security members carried Zbyszko to the barber chair at ringside. Raven duct taped Zbyszko's arms to the barber chair. Raven then shaved Zbyszko himself. Haircuts are never as exciting in reality than they seem during the hype. Raven shaved some chest hair, then teased he was going to shave his pubic hair. Zbyszko kicked Slick between the legs when he taunted him with a hand mirror. Zbyszko yelled, "You're all fired!" Slick got off on shaving Zbyszko's hair for a while, too. Raven pulled out scissors. They cut to backstage.
-Borash interviewed Kevin Nash, Alex Shelley, and Johnny Devine backstage. Nash said the tag match would be about competition, what the X Division was founded on. Nash then shoved his pecs in Borash's face like a stripper might (for the right price) just to mess with Borash. Nash said, "These are real, and spectacular!" A video recap aired previewing the next match.
6 -- KEVIN NASH & ALEX SHELLEY vs. CHRIS SABIN & JAY LETHAL
After Sabin got the better of him in the opening minute, Shelley ran over and hugged Nash, then tagged Nash in. Lethal also tagged in. Nash arm-dragged Lethal to the mat, then basked in his accomplishment in the corner. The crowd chanted, "That was awesome! That was awesome!" The next move was botched. After a Lethal dropkick, he dove at Nash, but came up short. Lethal rolled onto Nash for a two count. It would have worked out better if instead off trying to catch him, he just stepped back as if he meant to avoid him. Lethal dove into Nash's arms. Sabin dropkicked Lethal onto Nash (which is apparently what was planned on the previous spot). Shelley ran into the ring. Sabin gave him a basement dropkick. Both Nash and Shelley bailed out to ringside. Tenay noted that Nash has had 13 knee surgeries during his basketball and pro wrestling careers. Shelley spit in Lethal's face, then hit him with a forearm. Lethal came back with a nice low dropkick. Devine knocked Lethal off the top rope. In an inexplicable directing decision, they cut to a close-up of Lethal before he was tripped, keeping the interference by Devine off camera when the wide shot they were on would have caught it. You really wonder what's going on in that truck sometimes. Nash tagged in and pounded on Lethal in the corner. At 8:00 Nash mistakenly hit Shelley. Sabin got a hot-tag and dropkicked Nash's knees. Sabin then launched off of Nash's back and dropkicked Shelley while upside down in the corner. Lethal and Sabin each dove off the top rope onto Nash. Shelley caught a charging Sabin with a boot. Four-way chaos broke out. Shelly escaped a Sabin attempt at Cradle Shock. Sabin nipped back up to his feet and went for Cradle Shock again. Shelley escaped, but Sabin maneuvered into a sunset flip and a headstand for extra leverage for the pin. When Devine joined Nash and Shelley in an attack on Sabin and Lethal, Jerry Lynn made the save with a chair in hand. Tenay and West said he is now working as an agent for TNA, but he threw his badge down and issued a challenge to the heels. The crowd chanted, "Jerry, Jerry."
WINNERS: Sabin & Lethal in 10:00.
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Some clunky spots, but the best athleticism and energy of the night with the three younger guys.
-Borash interviewed Brother Ray. Ray said "violence" about ten times in a row, then told Borash to guess what tonight's match was all about. He said he thought B.G. and Kip James would get Bob Armstrong as their mystery partner, not Abyss, but said Bob has one foot in the gutter and the other in the grave, so no surprise they looked to Abyss.
7 -- ABYSS & THE JAMES GANG (B.G. & Kip) vs. TEAM 3D (Brothers Ray, Devon, Runt)
A minute into the match, Runt demanded to be tagged in against Abyss. He threw everything he could at Abyss, but Abyss shook it off easily. Runt tagged in Ray, who stood up to Abyss. Ray went blow-for-blow with Abyss, then mocked B.G.'s dance routine. That gave Abyss a second to recover and attack both Ray and Devon, then press and toss Runt into the crowd. They body surfed him back to ringside where he was dropped to the floor. Kip entered the ring and swung a trash can lid. Then Kip and B.G. shared beers. Ray and Devon kicked them between the legs from behind to end their premature celebration. Ray and Devon stole the beers and had a drink. Abyss, meanwhile, beat up Runt on the rampway. All six brawled at ringside. Runt leaped off the stage onto Abyss on the floor. Back in the ring, Ray used a staple gun on Abyss's forehead. Ray held up a fan sign that read, "ECW fears TNA." He stapled it to Abyss's forehead. Kip and James returned to the ring and took it to Ray and Devon. Runt entered with the trash can. Abyss tossed him to the floor. Ray hit Abyss with a trash can lid, then bashed him between the legs with a cane. Devon then hit the top rope headbutt to the crotch. Kip and B.G. attacked Ray and Devon as they played to the crowd. B.G. slid a table into the ring. The crowd chanted, "We want fire!" B.G. slammed Runt tot he mat, but Ray moved the table so Runt missed it. Then they gave B.G. the 3D. They took Kip down, too. Abyss grabbed Devon by the throat, but Ray bashed him with a trash can twice for a two count at 10:00. Kip hit Ray from behind with a kendo stick. Runt went for the Acid Drop, but Abyss blocked it and gave him a Black Hole Slam. At first the table didn't break, but he pushed hard enough and it did, leading to the three count.
WINNER: Abyss & James Gang at 11:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Crazy enough brawl to be entertaining, especially on a show that has been mostly inside the ring so far.
-Borash interviewed America's Most Wanted and Gail Kim backstage.
8 -- A.J. STYLES & CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & SIREDLA vs. AMERICA'S MOST WANTED & GAIL KIM- NWA Tag Team Titles at stake
At 2:00 Kim tagged in. Sirelda tagged in, also. Storm tagged in and acted scared of her, then threw a bunch of air karate kicks and chops. West completely misinterpreted the signals AMW were trying to send with that spot, saying they were trying to play mind games with her. Storm tagged in Harris. Kim hit Sirelda from behind. That led to all six entering the ring. Styles and Daniels whipped Kip into James and Harris in the corner. All three fell into sexually suggestive positions with Kim in the middle. "It would be a fantasy if I was on one of those ends," said West, telling us way too much and creating a mental image none of us want. Styles and Daniels gave Storm the high-low. Styles flipped Kim into the ring and threw Storm to the floor. Styles ducked a Kim punch, then spanked her. Harris hit Styles from behind. At 5:00 the heels began working over Styles for four minutes straight, including a short stint where Kim applied a cool submission on him. Daniels got a hot-tag at 9:00 and hit a Death Valley Driver on Storm for a two count. He signalled for Angel's Wings. Kim raked his eyes from behind. Sirelda and Kim did a sequence where you couldn't tell who was supposed to be hurt. Kim then gave Daniels a head scissors. Harris nailed Sirelda with a clothesline. Storm lifted Styles and gave him a wrap-around DDT. Daniels then locked Storm into a submission out of nowhere. Cool looking hold. Harris broke it up at 10:00. Kim legdropped Daniels as Storm held him in place, leading to a two count. Harris swung at Daniels with handcuffs on his fist. Daniels ducked and hit Angel's Wings. Kim broke up the count. Sirelda slammed Kim to the mat. Storm superkicked Sirelda. Styles hit Storm with a crossbody block. Storm came back with an Eye of the Storm released airplane spin for a two count. Storm brought a beer bottle into the ring -w hich Harris had told him not to bring to the ring - and swung at Styles. Styles ducked, and Harris almost got hit. He chewed out Storm. Styles went for a pin on storm, but Storm escaped. They went into a sequence of pin attempts with Styles eventually hitting a bridge pin for the win.
WINNERS: Styles & Daniels in 13:00 to retain the NWA Tag Team Titles.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Sirelda was not smooth and looked green. The rest of the match had its moments, but it was clunky whenever they got too complex with their spots. Still, enough to be above-average.
-A video aired previewing the main event.
-Borash interviewed Samoa Joe backstage about the match.
9 -- SCOTT STEINER vs. SAMOA JOE vs. STING vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE - Winner Gets NWA Title match next month
The crowd chanted "Joe's gonna kill you!" Sting and Joe fought in the opening seconds in the ring as Steiner and Christian brawled to the floor. Sting hit a Stinger Splash on Joe from behind, but Joe caught him on a second attempt and slammed him to the mat. Sting went after Joe's legs and applied a Scorpion Deathlock early. Steiner broke it up, then threw Joe to the floor. Steiner gave Sting an overhead suplex. Christian clotheslined Steiner over the top rope to the floor. Joe rolled back in. He bumped into Christian. They went nose to nose and then exchanged punches. The director cut away right as Joe was about to hit a signature enzuigiri spot on Christian. What is going on with the director that he's that out of touch with what every TNA viewer knew was coming that he decided at that worst moment to cut away to Sting and Steiner brawling? Joe ended up brawling with Christian at ringside as Sting battled Steiner in the ring. Sting went for a Stinger Splash, but Steiner moved and set up a backslide. Jeff Jarrett entered the ring disguised in black and sprayed something in Sting's eyes. West said it smelled like gasoline. The ref and security checked on Sting, pouring water in his face. Meanwhile, Joe, Christian, and Steiner brawled at ringside. Joe and Christian exchanged chops in the ring at 7:00. Steiner tripped Christian coming off the ropes, then yanked him out of the ring and suplexed him on the floor. Joe dove through the ropes and knocked Christian and Steiner to the floor. Joe seemed to catch a foot on the middle rope during the dive, but it still looked good. Steiner DDT'd Joe onto the ring apron as he dropped to the floor. Steiner then set Joe on a table which Joe had set up at ringside a minute earlier. He leaped off the ring apron with an elbow, crashing Joe through the table. Joe looked KO'd and Steiner winced in pain. Christian threw Steiner into the ring. At 13:00 Steiner put Christian in the Recliner. Joe applied his rear-naked choke on Steiner from behind. Christian climbed to the top rope, so Joe released the choke and went after him. Sting then ran out with his head taped and he knocked Steiner into Joe who was knocked to the floor. Sting suplexed Steiner. Christian splash Steiner. The ref began to count, but Sting yanked Christian off of him. Sting and Christian exchanged words. Joe then hit Christian from behind and applied his rear-naked choke. Steiner dumped both over the top rope to the floor. Sting then gave Steiner the Death Drop for the pin.
WINNER: Sting in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Enough good spots to make it the best match on a mediocre in-ring show overall.
-Christian confronted Sting angrily afterward for stealing his title shot opportunity. They went chest to chest. Christian eventually, after hearing Sting out, offered a handshake. The announcers said Sting couldn't trust him, which meant he could trust him. Sting shook his hand. Then they hugged. Christian seemed to indicate he understood where Sting was coming from. Christian left the ring first and applauded as Sting celebrated his win.
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