April 21, 2012
Brian Hammons
Never Hand Over

TNA Victory Road '09

1. Tara vs. Angelina Love -4
2. Matt Morgan vs. Daniels - 5
3. Dr. Stevie vs. Abyss - No DQ Match - 5
4. British Invasion vs. Team 3D - 3
5. Sharmell vs. Jenna Morasca - 0
6. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Nash -3
7. Beer Money, Inc. vs. Scott Steiner and Booker T - 4
8. Samoa Joe vs. Sting - 4
9. Kurt Angle vs. Mick Foley - 5

There was a good opener to start. Tara has been too dominant thus far in the feud, so it was nice to see Angelina get some of heat back. The quality of the work was on par with WWE's woman pay-per-view offerings, if not better, with Tara throwing some of the best strikes for a female in the game, and both of them being pretty expressive facially. The finish felt a bit contrived, as Love got the pin although Tara's foot was clearly on the rope, the referee was out of position thus ending Tara's reign as champion not even two weeks into her run. Morgan and Daniels had a pretty good match to follow, with the crowd really getting into a lot of Daniels' stuff, and, Daniels being a good opponent to bump around and make Morgan's stuff look as good as possible. There were a couple miscues, but this flowed pretty well, and was athletic and paced good enough that it came off better than I'd anticipated. Daniels was selling a scripted knee injury throughout, it prevented him from doing one of his signature spots which lead to his downfall as Morgan capitalized and hit his finisher "Hellevator" to end it. The next match felt like an adequate blowoff to the feud between Stevie and Abyss. They've given the story a lot of time and development and this was when Abyss was to finally get his revenge. Seeing Stevie wrestling in medical scrubs reminds me of Norman the Lunatic, and speaking of wardrobe, Abyss is sporting new gear (that white outfit had to go) that's an improvement. At first Stevie is stooging, but as they ratchet up the intensity the emotion and selling get better. The crowd is super hot, chanting throughout it for specific actions, etc. They brawl through the crowd and later Stevie's blade job looks like someone just slapped him in the forehead with a big, fat paintbrush doused in red paint. Each guys' respective female second gets involved, and the finish, involving a prop taser that explodes and smokes was sort of silly, but overall this was an enjoyable brawl with some good story behind it.

The tag match was decent but seemed to lose interest and the crowd only really ever cared about seeing a table spot. Doug Williams looked good, I liked Devon's expression after Doug slapped him in the back of the head, and Magnus looked fine as long as he was taking athletic bumps and not having to do too much. It felt like a good, old school styled match until it lost direction, and the payoff itself only came after the match when the interfering Sheik Bashir got powerbombed through a table by Brother Ray. The women's match was the drizzling shits, just absolutely terrible, as Jenna (having a nice ass aside) was so hard to watch as her competence in the ring was that of a mentally handicapped hobo that Dixie Carter blinded with acid and sodomized with a lamp and forced out to the ring as a sick joke. Her selling was non-existent, timing (save her for stripper-like entrance) atrocious, and acting bad enough for a SyFy original movie. My favorite part was a botched spot where Sharmell's second Sojo Bolt got knocked off the apron and Awesome Kong (Jenna's second) was supposed to catch her but was out of place which resulted in Sojo taking a sick bump. After the match, Jenna infuriated Kong in a poorly executed bit of storytelling, that resulted in Kong squashing her and ending this debacle.

The crowd seems dead at this point and the next match didn't really help matters. Earlier in the night Kurt Angle threatened all of the members of the Main Event Mafia that if they didn't win they'd be fired, thus, more or less giving away the winners to all of the marque matches people had already paid to see. The crowd was flat, Nash was more immobile than usual, and the pace crawled like a snail in a match I didn't really care for. AJ took a nice bump or two, including getting kicked off the top and falling to the outside, but I've seen these guys have better matches on free TV so this doesn't cut it. The finish saw Nash push a ref towards AJ (who was in mid-air) which supposedly disorientated Styles enough that it allowed Nash to hit a chokeslam and get the win. The next match was better, but again, Steiner and Booker winning didn't come off as too much of a big deal considering the consequences Angle had earlier laid down. The crowd is eating up Beer Money, which is kind of hard to swallow, as I think Roode is a terrible face but they've got a catch phrase and that seems to be enough to appease to ADD fans in Orlando. Some stuff felt right but there were ugly moments also, like Steiner missing a clothesline and then uncharacteristically arching his head backwards so he could get hit with a neckbreaker (a la the spot Triple H does) was stupid. The work itself seemed to be overshadowed by the the bullshit surrounding it.

The next match was good but fell apart, thus hurting its final score. Some things I liked, Sting taking a suplex on the ramp, Joe's elbow suicida to the floor, the brawling in the crowd was moderately engaging, etc. but the end was a mess. Tazz comes out as Joe's mystery advisor to an embarrassingly indifferent reaction, stands around doing nothing, etc. His appearance fires up Joe, leading to a weird face-off with Sting, then Joe has Sting on the top turnbuckle but in positioning him for the "Muscle Buster" either Joe loses his grip or Sting refuses to do the spot, as Joe awkwardly fumbles with Sting and then just drops him. Joe quickly puts him in a choke and Sting taps in an anticlimactic ending. I thought there was supposed to be a Jarrett vs. Young match but apparently I thought wrong. Main event, well, Angle and Foley had both sort of sandbagged it verbally beforehand. In a non-TNA interview Foley admitted he felt inadequate performing alongside Angle and couldn't use his usual cheap tactics for heat, etc. and Angle, suffering from a recently injured groin, said earlier in the telecast to not expect a "high-quality performance" because he'd finish Mick quickly which was his scripted way of covering his ass incase the bout sucked. They did a real slow-paced match, a lot of punches, and I mean a ton, and guys crawling around woefully selling. It had a couple highlights, including Foley getting backdropped onto the steel ring steps, etc. but struggled to have that main event quality atmosphere it so desperately needed to save this show. I like both guys, and their backs were against the wall, but they pulled off a fairly good match given the circumstances although it won't make either guys' career highlight reel if you know what I mean. Angle got the submission victory as Foley tapped out to an ankle lock.

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