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TNA Victory Road 7/19 ALT PERSPECTIVE report by Wilkenfeld: The momentum stops here.

Jul 19, 2009 - 10:59:09 PM
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By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor

Victory Road, on paper, is an odd PPV. TNA has lots of great plots going, almost none of which are represented on this show. If you'll look back to my Impact Recap from two weeks ago, the one feud that I thought was really deserving of a PPV spotlight was Jarrett-Young. That was, not surprisingly, the match they cut from the show. The result was a show just this side of a train wreck.

(1) ANGELINA LOVE (w/MADISON RAYNE & VELVET SKY) defeated TARA (w/POISON)
Knockouts Championship Match
Mini-Recap:
They had a standard women's match, by which I mean a women's match worse than the random one between the person they debuted Thursday and the jobber opposite her, and about 1% of what Gail Kim and Awesome Kong used to slap together on an almost daily basis. The Beautiful People misfired with the hair spray, but that turned out not to matter when referee Slick Johnson counted the three while Tara's foot was on the bottom rope. I know the Impact Zone seems to love her, but I really don't see any reason to root for Tara. Isn't she exactly what Angelina Love said she was—a "diva" who came over from the other company and immediately got the title in place of, say, the now fired Roxxi? Also isn't she the one who baited Angelina Love into a title defense by threatening her best friend, and who seems moderately abusive to her pet spider? Conversely, while I'm a fan of Angelina Love, I do wonder when she became skinnier than Stacy Kiebler. It's a sad state of affairs when you're hoping she's sick, cause that would probably be more conducive to her long term health than any mindset that could lead to her having that weight intentionally.
Bottom Line: This was not a very hot opening, as the action wasn't that hard hitting and the finish was anti-climactic. ¾*

In the back, Kurt Angle said that any member of the MEM who lost would be fired on the spot (it wasn't clear if he was counting himself). That's good, cause before I was only 97% sure how three of those matches would end (I wasn't ready to call the main event)—it's good not to have to worry about results. He also warned us that his match with Foley tonight wouldn't be very good. I'm honestly not sure whether that meant they did expect it to be surprisingly good or they thought it would be awful. It turned out fairly decent.

(2) MATT MORGAN defeated DANIELS
Mini-Recap:
This match told a decent story, with Morgan working Daniels's leg the whole time. The problem is that when your story involves grounding the better wrestler in the match, that leads to a suboptimal outing. Morgan won with a Hellevator after Daniels's leg gave out on a Best Moonsault Ever attempt.
Bottom Line: We're about half an hour in, and not off to a promising start. *

Dr. Stevie cut a decent promo backstage, wherein he announced that he made this match no DQ. Apparently Stevie's Sunday Night Heat booking powers carry over to TNA PPV's. Who knew?

(3) ABYSS defeated DR. STEVIE
Mini-Recap:
This was a ten minute brutal beating of Dr. Stevie. Abyss threw him into walls, and stairs, and busted him wide open. Bizarrely, he was missing the tacks. Daffney brought Dr. Stevie a taser, but Lauren then kept her occupied while Stevie foolishly charged into a Black Hole Slam. After the match, Abyss tased Dr. Stevie, just for kicks.
Bottom Line: There wasn't much of a match here, but as random PPV beatings of a despicable heel go, I found this more interesting than the putative main event of WrestleMania XXV. **

Foley rallied Beer Money and AJ Styles, pointing out that they really didn't want to end up with Mick Foley being all that stands between the Mafia and complete domination. Poor Homicide—he finally gets the X Division Championship, and everyone forgets it exists. This must be how Paul London always felt.

(4) TEAM 3D defeated THE BRITISH INVASION
IWGP Tag Team Championship Match
Mini-Recap:
I really think The British Invasion are growing into their role, and Team 3D can still work a respectable tag match when they're in the mood. The fact that the IWGP titles were on the line did make this yet one more match where there could be little doubt about the ending. I think Team 3D need to play the "patriot" card less. They won clean with a 3D, as is their wont.
Bottom Line: This was a thoroughly workmanlike match, and did what it needed to do for it's spot on the card. **1/4

Bashir and Kiyoshi ran down so that Team 3D could put a foreigner through a table without getting disqualified. That was thoughtful of them.

Lauren interviewed Slick Johnson, who seemed bummed that he blew the call in the opening contest.

(5) JENNA MORASCA (w/AWESOME KONG & RAESHA SAEED) defeated SHARMELL (w/SOJOURNER BOLT)

Mini Recap:
Remember that episode of The Simpsons (I believe it was the fourth season premier) where everything at Kamp Krusty kept going horribly wrong, but Bart kept muttering that everything would be better when Krusty got there? That's kind of how I felt during this match. I kept saying that if TNA booked two women who can't wrestle to go in a PPV match they had to have a plan. Once the plan kicked in, everything would be okay. They didn't, and it wasn't. Kong did squish Jenna at the end, but that was way too little too late.
Bottom Line: The problem with rating a match as a dud last month is that it didn't leave me any room to go lower this month. I see Caldwell went negative, which is probably the most fitting solution. For simplicity though, I'll just stick with my DUD.

JB interviewed Nash in the back, who said he'd retire if he lost to AJ, rather than let Kurt kick him out of the Mafia. Nash continued his golden streak on the mic.

(6) KEVIN NASH defeated AJ STYLES
Legends' Championship Match

Mini-Recap:
Nash dominated in the early going. AJ came back with a flurry of offense that lasted several minutes, but got distracted for a second and ate a Choke Slam for the clean loss. That's really all there was to it.
Bottom Line: I like Nash, and I'm pretty sure I could watch AJ Styles wrestle a broomstick and be moderately amused, so I was fine with this one. It was nothing to write home about, but a decent enough match. **1/2

Lauren went backstage to the women's locker room, where she found Slick Johnson showering with a surprisingly well-dressed Madison Rayne. Rayne told her not to tell anyone about it—normally I'd be annoyed by their obliviousness to the camera, but I can let Rayne's obliviousness go as a character trait.

(7) SCOTT STEINER & BOOKER T defeated BEER MONEY INC.
TNA Tag Team Championship Match
Mini Recap:
This was another fairly formulaic tag match, by another quartet of people who can all manage "formulaic tag match" really well. Booker & Steiner won clean-ish amidst a bunch of chaos at the end.
Bottom Line: Unlike the last tag match, this was in too important a place on the card to slide by on "formulaic". **

JB talked with Booker & Steiner. Lauren talked with Samoa Joe in the back. None of them said much.

(8) SAMOA JOE defeated STING
Mini-Recap:
Joe came out strong out of the gate. Sting eventually rallied by Sting-ing out, and even had the Scorpion Death Lock cinched in when Taz's music hit and he hit ringside. Whoever TNA has in order to write music a lot like people's old entrances without technically violating any copyrights is pretty good. When Joe saw Taz he got psyched up and burst out of the Scorpion. He went for a Muscle Buster, which Sting "blocked", so he locked in the Kokido Clutch and got the tap. I think that might have been a screw up at the end—if it is, Joe & Sting get mad credit for improvising a different ending rather than just having Joe lift Sting back up for a Muscle Buster.

Bottom Line: This was one of Sting's better outings in a while, and I enjoyed the story at the end. **1/2

Foley cut a killer promo in the back, selling the fact that he pinned Angle last month and that Kurt was suffering from some nerve damage. This is the right way to play this sort of match—don't pretend that Foley's still on Angle's level physically, but suggest that he might be wily enough to find an opening anyway. Foley's future in the ring might be questionable, but he can still cut a promo with the absolute best of them.

(9) KURT ANGLE defeated MICK FOLEY
TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Mini-Recap:
This was 90% brawl, which was probably a good way to play to Foley's strength. Foley did connect with his big diving elbow, but it was on the outside and he couldn't make the cover in time. Angle won clean when Foley tapped to the Angle Lock at the end.
Bottom Line: This was easily Mick's best match yet in TNA (not the best match he was in of course—that's presumably King of the Mountain or some such), and his first semi-legitimate main event. It wasn't nearly good enough to save the night, but it was better than it had any right to be, given that it lacked the benefit of a gimmick. **3/4

The show ended with the MEM all celebrating in the ring. We're supposed to pretend that one faction having four out of six belts makes them unstoppable, despite the fact that Kurt Angle once held four out of four by himself. I was really hoping Hernandez would show up and eat them all. He did not.

Star of the Night: Mick Foley. If you take a performance to expectations ratio, Mick blew everyone else out of the water. Without anyone putting in an objectively solid performance, that'll have to do. Incidentally—what about Raven?

Overall: Somehow this show managed to be less than the sum of its parts—I don't really know how that's possible. When I shell out $30 bucks, I expect to see something amazing, even if it's surrounded by crap—think Suicide's title win at Destination X. This was just a whole lot of "blah", with a chewy crap center in Jenna vs. Sharmell. Thursday's show was incredible, but I think they used up most of their ammo there. I was also counting on the X Division match to make up for the weak workers at the top of the card, so of course the bookers did the obvious thing and completely ignored the X Division. For that alone, this show tops out at a D+.

Daniel Wilkenfeld is a graduate instructor at The Ohio State University. He's fairly confident that there wasn't a Knockouts title yet when Angle won the other four belts, but if anyone remembers for sure they can email such information to dawilk316@gmail.com.


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