April 6, 2012
Brian Hammons
Never Hand Over

TNA Victory Road '12

1. Bully Ray vs. James Storm - 2
2. Austin Aries (c) vs. Zema Ion - X Division Championship Match - 5

Opener was one of those quick 30 sec. flash KO finishes but the visual of Ray eating the Last Call and spitting beer into the air was aesthetically scintillating. Aries turned in another exciting flawless performance and seems to have the brass and Twitter support base now. Some great moments, Ion taking a nasty spill being shoved from the buckles and going splat on the floor, Aries' Heat Seeking Missle, Ion finally did his moonsault to the floor (the same move that nearly paralyzed Sorrenson) again in an uncomfortable callback, Zema got a little sloppy toward the end but Aries got it back on track before it unspooled with a vicious brainbuster followed by the Last Chancery for the finish. Good stuff.

3. Samoa Joe and Magnus (c) vs. Crimson and Matt Morgan - World Tag Team Championship Match - 3

Tag match was all about the dissolution of Morgan/Crimson. But it was interesting, as you've got the kayfabe part, them bickering, Crimson going into it for himself, etc. as well as the real life component of the crowd chanting "Tag in your partner!" at Crimson because they've soured on him and his monstrous push. Not sure if it was intended to be captured on camera but Matt got a rare audible "fuck you" out on TV while giving his ex-partner the Nate Diaz double-bird salute. Crimson going heel was about the only viable route so this served more as storyline construction and less of an actual competitive match.

4. Robbie E (c) vs. Devon - TV Championship Robbie E Invitational Match - 2

Devon came through the crowd to answer this open challenge. Another short match with Devon exhibiting some fire and getting (to my knowledge) his first-ever singles title. He can put it up on his mantle next to the his Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for "Worst Worked Match of the Year" from '06. I can't imagine his reign being anything but as horrifying as Baghead. Robbie has grown on me recently as his appearances on the Spin Cycle on TNA Xplosion are always humorous.

5. Gail Kim (c) vs. Madison Rayne - Knockouts Championship Match - 4

Women's match plays up the animosity between supposed "friends". Give these girls 15+ min. in Berwyn in-front of an appreciative crowd and you've got something but these Orlando mutes render it flatter than Linda McMahon. Gail looked she hurt herself worse than Rayne on a big missile dropkick that resembled Kim taking a flat back bump off of a house like she was Clark W. Griswold, Jr. I guess given that scenario Dixie Carter would be Frank Shirley. Slick transition into the finish. #SPEWEY is trending worldwide.

6. Daniels and Kazarian vs. AJ Styles and Mr. Anderson - 5

I could watch Daniels and Styles wrestle any time -- two of our generation's smoothest faux fighters. AJ takes a sick bump off of the apron into the rail. That guy takes more abuse than Rhianna. What secret does Daniels have over Kaz? He into water sports? On its own this is fine but it seriously feels like most of these guys are treading water at the moment. Anderson is our generation's Corporal Kirchner -- poor schmuck. Very awesome counter of the moonsault>inverted DDT of Styles as Daniels dropped down to his back and stuck his knees up so AJ landed in an uncomfortable place (not altogether unlike the one Shannon Hamilton from Mallrats likes to fuck girls in). Really hot finishing sequence with Kaz/Styles.

7. Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle - 7

Loved the goofy Angle line in the build about going into his son's room to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight and when he rolled him over little Cody was wearing a Hardy shirt, had dyed his hair, and was wearing face paint. Really good match, started sedate, but started flowing and picking up organically until we got into full-on Kurt Angle formula with people kicking out of and/or countering finishers, nearfalls, etc. Angle is sort of mercurial and in that sense one of wrestling's true enigmas. I'm hoping that this leads to a rematch of some sort.

8. Booby Roode (c) vs. Sting - No Holds Barred Match - 6

Sting's face paint is pretty cool: half-"Crow Sting" and half-"Joker Sting". Unfortunately no "Sparkie" from The Real Reason (Men Commit Crimes). Shame on you to Ashlynn Moore who, in the mini biography she submitted on Sting to IMDB said he's the "only wrestler who has never worked for WWE". Someone call Sid Fabulous and let me know he's moving to Connecticut! What idiocy. Crowd wildly chants "You've still got it!" at Sting. What? Hep C? Sting is moving around well early including an impressive dropkick. Roode takes some rude bumps on the ramp. Crazy to see Sting busting out a superplex in '12.

Crazy "OMG!" moment and absolute blunder when Sting hits the Scorpion Deathdrop but didn't realize there was an open chair behind him and crushed it with the back of his own skull -- unreal! Or, wait? That was the finish. So, then, it was planned. In that case, kudos to Sting for pulling it off, as he didn't hold back at all and definitely gave himself a little brain damage in the process. Interesting finish, though, clever even, as it kept the "icon" protected and makes Roode seem like even more of a weasel.

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