Monday, 20 December 2010

TNA Twin Pack: Victory Road & No Surrender - DVD Review

It’s two strange occurrences for the price of one as we take a look at another recent TNA DVD release, the twin pack of this year’s Victory Road and No Surrender.


Disc One: Victory Road

This show began with title action as Brian Kendrick challenged Doug Williams in an Ultimate X or submission match, in which victory could be achieved in two ways, by submission or in the normal Ultimate X way.

The reason for the submission stipulation was because of Williams’ newfound fear of heights, something he never showed during his time here in Britain, and something which he’s obviously recovered from since this match.

The match itself was quite good. Williams put in another solid performance, and he played out his fear of heights quite well. As for Kendrick he put in his usual kind of effort.

Williams came out on top here. After both men fell from the cables above the ring Williams locked in a sleeper on the already out of it Kendrick. The referee dropped the challenger’s arm three times, and Williams was declared the winner.

Then it was on to three way action between Brother Ray, Brother Devon and Jesse Neal.

That was the original idea. After Ray attacked Neal during his entrance Devon never showed when his music played because he’d been barricaded into his dressing room.

This was basically Ray taking Neal to the woodshed, and not even the appearance of EV2 in the crowd and Neal’s partner Shannon Moore could stop the assault. Devon eventually appeared on the scene, and Ray took the pin after taking Neal down with the bubba bomb. Not bad, but it was a little strange seeing Ray and Devon beating on each other.

The title action continued as Madison Rayne defended the Knockouts title against Angelina Love in a title versus career match, with the stipulation that if any of the Beautiful People interfered than Rayne would lose the title via disqualification.

This was a highly charged and highly entertaining affair, and a fine example of how much the Knockouts division missed Love during her visa problems. Rayne and Love both put in good performances, and towards the end the mystery woman in leather on the motorcycle made her appearance, attacking Love.

That was the turning point, and where Rayne fell foul of the stipulation. The referee ruled that Rayne was disqualified because of the mystery woman, who he assumed was one of the Beautiful People. This mean that Love had won not just the match but the title as well.

The first tag match of the evening saw A.J. Styles and Frankie Kazarian going up against a team Ric Flair picked for them, Global Champion Rob Terry and Samoa Joe.

A well executed storyline in this one saw Styles and Kazarian struggling to get along at first but finally realising what was at stake when they managed to take Joe down together.

Terry did a good job in the power moves department, while Joe looked as solid as ever, while the future Fortune team eventually worked well together.

Despite the failed assist from Desmond Wolfe Styles and Kazarian came out on top after Styles took Terry down with a 450 splash.

Afterwards Joe took out his frustrations on Wolfe, taking him out with a muscle buster. Nice stuff throughout here.

The big grudge match followed as Hernandez faced Matt Morgan in a cage match.

An entertaining battle of the big men for the most part, but it suffered slightly because of a couple of dodgy moments and because it seemed a tad too long. Hernandez ending up botching a couple of border toss attempts because he couldn’t lift Morgan properly.

The ending was great though. After Morgan handcuffed big Super Mex to the ropes he climbed to the top of the cage. It was then that Hernandez broke the cuffs and barged his way through the cage door, claiming the win as a shocked Morgan looked on.

The battle of the generations was next as Ric Flair once again urinated on his retirement promise when he went up against Jay Lethal.

This was one match I wasn’t looking forward to seeing again. Let’s face it, Flair is definitely no spring chicken. Throughout this match the old Nature Boy looked like he was moving in slow motion as he did all the usual stuff, the chops, the face first bump to the mat, getting caught on the top rope, and the obligatory shoving match with the referee. In doing so he looked incredibly old.

Lethal, for his part, looked good, especially when copying Flair’s mannerisms. But then again he’s quite adept at adopting the personas of other wrestlers.

Lethal came out on top as Flair submitted to a figure four leg lock.

It was then time to fill the vacant Tag Team titles as Beer Money faced the Motor City Machine Guns.

To say that these are two of the best teams in the world today would not be an over-statement. Tag team wrestling is one of the things TNA has excelled at over the past few years, and this was a great example of that.

All four men pulled out all the stops, pulling out all of their big moves, and adding a touch of drama towards the end after the original referee took a beer shot from James Storm.

This brought a second referee down, and both men counted separate pins for both teams, with each thinking that they’d won the title.

The confusion was discussed, and the match was re-started, with the Guns taking the win after they took Roode down with their neck breaker/body block combination. Great stuff throughout.

Kurt Angle’s mission to move up the rankings continued next as he went up against D’Angelo Dinero.

This was another faultless performance from the Olympic hero, and it made me realise just how much TNA are missing him at the moment.

The Pope was more than able to raise his game to he could compete at Angle’s level in what has to be his best performance ever.

Angle came out on top, finally taking Dinero down with the ankle lock.

The main event saw World Champion Rob Van Dam defending his title against Mr. Anderson, Abyss and Jeff Hardy.

As main events go this wasn’t that bad. Hardy put in a performance that was far better than any of his recent outings, which doesn’t take much doing, while Anderson, Abyss and Van Dam did their part to make this an entertaining encounter.

RVD took the win, coming down from the top rope onto all three of his opponents, getting the pin on Anderson to retail the title. As he celebrated afterwards Abyss tried to clobber him with his nail board thing, only for the champion to narrowly escape.

Disc Two: No Surrender

One month after Hardcore Justice and after Rob Van Dam relinquished the World title this shown began with Generation Me, replacing London Brawling, challenging the Motor City Machine Guns for the Tag Team titles.

I never thought that TNA would find a team with the high flying and double team skills as good as Sabin and Shelley, but they found it with Max and Jeremy Buck.

I’ve seen these teams go at it countless times now, and I never tire of seeing them in action. Tons of fast paced back and forth action which was a joy to watch again, with Sabin pinning Jeremy after their neck breaker/body block combination. The Bucks attacked their foes after the match, doing further damage to Shelley’s neck with a DDT from the ring apron to the floor.

The singles action began with Sabu challenging Doug Williams for the X Division title.

This certainly was an interesting contrast in styles, Williams’ performance was as solid as always, while Sabu put in his usual showing, meaning that he botched a couple of his chair and rope-based spots. Mind you, that’s what we’ve come to expect from Sabu.

The champion came out on top here. After Sabu put himself through a table Williams tried to hit him with a chair. A struggle with the referee ensued, with Williams clobbering Sabu with his title belt while the referee’s back was turned, allowing him to get the pin. Good work from my fellow Brit.

The Knockouts were up next as Madison Rayne, accompanied by the motorbike-riding Tara, took on Velvet Skye, accompanied by Knockouts Champion Angelina Love.

A quickie from the girls here that wasn’t that bad. Rayne and Skye complimented each other pretty well. Add in a brief fight between those outside the ring and you’ve got an okay encounter, with Skye getting the pin after a DDT.

The falls count anywhere brawl between Rhino and Abyss followed.

It was pretty obvious what sort of match this was going to be. They fought all over the place, and used anything they could get their hands on.

But perhaps the best part was when they brawled under the stage, beginning with Abyss being thrown into it and Rhino being thrown out of it.

The end came with Abyss stepped out of the way as Rhino went for a gore and crashed into a piece of guardrail that the monster had brought into the ring. A black hole slam later and Abyss had the win.

Then it was on to the second tag team match of the show as Kevin Nash and Sting faced Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe.

This was a lot more than I remember from my first viewing. To me it seemed like a good old fashioned style of match. The performances were good, and the match made sense.

The good guys came out on top, Sting passing out to Joes rear naked choke after Jarrett smacked him with his own baseball bat.

The Fortune/EV2 rivalry continued as TV Champion A.J. Styles faced Tommy Dreamer in an I Quit match.

This was a fine example of how if you give Tommy Dreamer a chance he’ll show you what he can do.

This was Dreamer’s best performance since the days of the original ECW, a highly charged affair, with both men putting on a great showing, looking particularly brutal as they went all out to get the win.

But in the end it all came down to the use of one weapon, Invoking the spirit of Abdullah the Butcher Styles brought a fork into the equation, poking the prongs into Dreamer’s eye. The Innovator of Violence could take no more, and soon said I quit. A brutal way to end a brutal match.

The last two matches were the semi-finals of the World title tournament, beginning with Jeff Hardy taking on Kurt Angle.

This match really says a lot about Kurt Angle’s skills. Most of Hardy’s TNA matches have quite frankly pretty awful, but against someone the calibre of Angle Hardy raised his game, putting in a performance we haven’t seen since his WWE days.

For what seemed like an eternity these two went all out to attain victory. All the big moves came into play, suplexes, swantons, twists of fate, ankle locks, we saw them all, and even after twenty minutes of normal time and two periods of overtime Eric Bischoff finally declared the match a no contest because of the cut to Angle’s head. You know, after all that action this finish really made sense. A shame though that Hardy can’t be this good all the time.

The second semi-final saw Mr. Anderson taking on D’Angelo Dinero.

As good as this match was it suffered greatly because it followed the Angle/Hardy match instead of going on before it.

Also, it just never felt like a main event match. It had more of a mid-card feeling about it.

Anderson took the pin, advancing to the tournament final after taking the Pope down with the microphone check.

Bonus features on both discs contain pre and post-match interviews, as well as the usual photo galleries.

In conclusion - let’s look at each show individually.

Victory Road was a very entertaining show, with good performances throughout, except for Ric Flair’s effort against Jay Lethal.

No Surrender, although a good show for the main part, suffered because of the woeful planning. Given the drama of the Hardy/Angle encounter it was obvious that this should have been the show closer.

But despite these criticisms this latest twin pack gets my thumbs up, because these are two of the better pay-per-views TNA have put on this year.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. The Victory Road/No Surrender twin pack is available to buy from all the usual places, including www.shoptna.com.