THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s that time of the month again when the great and the good of Total Non-Stop Action wrestling gather in the Impact Zone in Florida for their latest pay-per-view offering, Victory Road, shown on a three day delay here in Britain on Bravo 2, and headlined by Mick Foley challenging Kurt Angle for the TNA World title. As usual, Mike Tenay and Don West are handling commentary duties.
The show begins with the first title match of the evening, with Angelina Love challenging Tara, accompanied by a big hairy spider, for the TNA Knockouts championship. Needless to say that Angelina is accompanied by her Beautiful People co-horts. It’s a good outing from the girls here, another example of how the Knockouts are far superior to their Diva counterparts. Tara and Angelina put together a great little match, with liberal amounts of interference from the other harpies, who almost cost their queen the title when they accidentally sprayed hairspray into her eyes. It also had a controversial ending. After Tara missed a top rope moonsault, Angelina got the pin, but referee Slick Johnson failed to notice Tara’s foot on the bottom rope. Tara would later super kick poor old Slick for his troubles, before taking Angelina down with the widows peak. To top things off, she put the big hairy spider on top of Slick. Looks like someone’s been watching old Jake Roberts matches recently.
The action continues with the Main Event Mafia wannabe Matt Morgan taking on Christopher Daniels. It’s the proverbial David v Goliath battle, pitting Morgan’s power against Daniels’ speed and agility, and it certainly made for an interesting match. Both guys looked good early on, but Daniels began to heavily favour his left leg after missing a slingshot over the ropes, the leg that had been previously injured by Morgan. Morgan proceeded to work over the injured limb, and although Daniels mounted a comeback, the injury came back to haunt him. Unable to execute the BME, Daniels slipped off the ropes, with Morgan countering with the carbon footprint, finishing his man off with the elevator slam. Good stuff here. Morgan is really starting to grow on me as a heel.
Then it was on to Doctor Stevie taking on Abyss. Nice to see that Stevie Richards is finally being allowed to wrestle on pay-per-view, even if it is with a dumb ass gimmick. Also nice to see that Abyss is no longer wearing his mental hospital uniform. It’s you basic big monster beats up his opponent kind of match, with Richards starting by beating on Abyss with a security baton, before the monster came back with his power moves. We then got the obligatory brawl through the crowd, and later the good doctor bleeding for his art, a catfight between Lauren the announcer and Daffney, and Abyss getting the pin after using a tazer. Not bad, I suppose, but this was little more than a squash match.
The second title match of the evening followed, with The British Invasion, accompanied by Rob Terry, challenging Team 3D for the IWGP Tag-Team Championship. Now, I’m still bound by the threat of legal action from Nick “Brutus Magnus” Aldis if I say anything negative against him. So because of that, and because I can’t be arsed to find anything else to put in place of this match review, I’m going to leave a blank space, and this is how things will remain from now on until Mr. Aldis withdraws his threat.
The second women’s match saw the women of the Main Event Mafia, Sharmell, accompanied by Sojo Bolt, and Jenna Morasca, accompanied by Awesome Kong. I really didn’t have high hopes for this one, and my fears were justified. What you had here was a match between two highly untrained people, and it was poor, very poor, and it also went on way too long, with Jenna getting the pin after Kong clobbered Sharmell. The best thing about this one was when Kong attacked Jenna afterwards. So a quick note to TNA – if I wanted to see two untrained women fighting, I’d go up to Norwich’s nightclub district on a Saturday night.
Then it was on to the third title match of the evening, with Kevin Nash challenging A.J. Styles for the TNA Legends title. Slow and methodical was the order of the day here, but then again that’s always the case as far as a Big Sexy match is concerned. These two may have had a vast difference in size, but it didn’t detract from the match quality. Although I must say that I did find it a little surprising that Styles was the most dominant wrestler in this one, working over Nash’s legs, and almost knocking him out at one time. This didn’t help Styles retain the title though. After Styles leapt over the referee from the top rope, Nash caught him and quickly took him down with a choke slam. A three count later and Nash was the new champion. Interesting match, very interesting.
The fourth title match of the evening followed immediately, with Booker T and Scott Steiner challenging Beer Money, Inc. for the TNA World Tag-Team titles. Another example of what TNA does better. Once again Robert Roode and James Storm proved just how good they are as a team, and even though they haven’t been teaming together for that long, Steiner and Booker put in a good effort as well. All of this made for a very good match. Beer Money looked like they were going to get the win, but after Storm spit beer in the eyes of Steiner, and after they took him down with the DUI, referee Earl Hebner was slow to make the count, because some of the beer that Storm had spat had gotten into his eyes as well. Hebner made the count, but Steiner kicked out. As Hebner then argued with Storm about the count, Booker axe kicked Roode as he stood by the ropes, with Steiner getting the roll-up for the title winning pin, making it two in two for the Main Event Mafia, and ending a very good match.
Grudge match time, with the newest member of the Main Event Mafia, Samoa Joe, taking on Sting. Interesting to see Slick Johnson as the referee in this one. I guess his stint in the shower with Madison Rayne didn’t take too much out of him. As for the match, it was pretty good. Joe and Sting looked tailor made for each other, putting on a match that had some good psychology, and made sense in all the right places. Sting looked like he was going to get the win with the scorpion death lock, until the worst kept secret in professional wrestling was revealed, as former ECW Champion Taz made his TNA debut as Joe’s special advisor. Then came the one iffy moment, with Sting fouling up the planned finish by failing to let Sting got for the muscle buster. Joe quickly improvised though by synching in a rear naked choke, with Sting tapping out seconds later. Good stuff, but I’m surprised that a veteran like Sting forgot the planned finish.
After the announcement that Bobby Lashley had officially signed for TNA, it was main event time, with Mick Foley challenging Kurt Angle for the TNA World title. Once again, slow and methodical was the order of the day, which was hardly surprising considering that Angle was suffering from a groin injury and Foley isn’t exactly in the best of conditions. A few years ago this would have been a great match, and even though this was okay, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something missing from this, something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. As the match went on you could tell that Angle’s injury was bothering him, especially after he missed a moonsault from the top rope. We also had a rather confusing moment when Angle elbow dropped the fallen referee, who then magically sprang to life whenever he administered a pin count. In the end Angle emerged victorious, with Foley tapping out to the ankle lock. I don’t know, something just doesn’t seem right about TNA pay-per-view main events at the moment.
In conclusion – once again I have to say that a TNA pay-per-view had it’s good and bad points. The good points were the great TNA Tag-Team title match, the Knockouts title match, and the Morgan/Daniels, Sting/Joe and Nash/Styles matches. The bad points were the battle between the Main Event Mafia’s female contingent, the Abyss squash match, Sting fouling up his match finish, and the tepid reception a Mick Foley singles match always gets. Let’s face it, Kurt Angle versus any of Mick Foley’s incarnations would have been great nearly ten years ago, but in the professional wrestling world of 2009, Foley’s performances aren’t just good enough, and that’s really difficult for me to say considering that I’m a big fan of the guy.
I was also disappointed that there were no X Division matches on the show. Their matches really are the highlight for me, and surely they could have scrapped one of the lesser matches (Jenna v Sharmell) for them. After all, the X Division title is TNA’s longest serving title, the only title that survived when they split from the NWA.
So in all, as my old teachers used to say, good, but could do a whole lot better.