Friday, 18 March 2011

TNA Victory Road on Challenge TV - TV Review

It’s the most talked about wrestling pay-per-view of recent times, and for all the wrong reasons as TNA presented their latest offering, Victory Road, shown on a three day delay on Challenge TV here in Britain.

The show began with the battle of ECW alumni as Bully Ray went up against Tommy Dreamer in a no disqualification falls count anywhere match.

This was a highly entertaining opener, a great brawl between two guys who know each other so well.

These two really took it to each other as they hit each other with anything they could get their hands on, We also had the brawl through the Impact Zone crowd, something we don’t seem to get much of these days.

The quite inventive ending saw Ray call out Brother Devon so he could watch him power bomb  Dreamer through a table. Devon’s music played, but it was his sons who came out.

As Ray wondered what was going on Devon came through the crowd and crept up behind him. Seconds later he joined Dreamer in putting Ray through a table with the 3D, allowing Dreamer to get the win.

The first title match of the evening followed as Sarita and Rosita challenged Angelina Love and Winter for the Knockouts Tag Team titles.

Another entertaining encounter saw Love and Winter putting in a good team performance, dominating for the most part as the challengers missed several moves.

But once again their problems came to the fore. While Love and Sarita were brawling on the outside Rosita prepared to hit Winter with one of the title belts.

However, Velvet Skye came down to the ring and stopped the attack. But then, as Winter pinned Rosita with a roll-up Sarita came back into the ring and reversed the positions, so when the referee returned his attention back to the match he saw challenger pinning champion. A three count later and the Mexicans were the new champions, with Skye pleading her innocence as Love and Winter left the arena.

The rivalry between Hernandez and Matt Morgan continued next in a first blood match.

The third entertaining match in a row saw the two big men putting on good displays as they attempted to bust each other open, with Hernandez using a pointed stick at one point.

But after a fan charged the ring and the referee took a snooze in the aisle Morgan clobbered Hernandez with the chain that Super Mex had brought into the equation.

But as Hernandez began to bleed he produced a bottle from somewhere and squirted red liquid onto Morgan’s chest. It was then that a second referee came down to the ring, and after seeing the “blood” on Morgan he immediately called for the bell, giving Hernandez the win.

The second title match of the show saw Frankie Kazarian defending the X Division title against Robbie E and Generation Me in an Ultimate X match.

This was the usual X Division fare, a fast paced encounter with tons of big bumps and great performances from all four men, once again proving that this is what TNA does best.

We also had another great ending. As Robbie brought a ladder into the ring Kazarian walked across the top of the wires, and just as Robbie was about to grab the belt Kazarian snatched it from his grasp to retain the title. Nice stuff.

The title action continued as Ink Inc, Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore, challenged Beer Money, Robert Roode and James Storm, for the Tag Team titles.

This is another thing that TNA does really well. From the moment this match started these two teams put on a great example of tag team wrestling at it’s best. It was one of those matches you just couldn’t take your eyes off.

A disagreement between the challengers led to their downfall, with Roode and Storm taking Moore down with their power bomb/neck breaker combination for the pin.

Afterwards, as Neal shook hands with Roode and Storm Moore took a swig from the beer bottle and spat it at the champions, leaving the ring and telling Neal that he’s got to “harden up”, that he was no longer the student.

Then it was on to A.J. Styles taking on Matt Hardy, accompanied by his new best friend Ric Flair.

This was a really enjoyable encounter, a well put together match with great pacing that certainly made sense, and another example of how Hardy is starting to progress nicely in his TNA career.

Sadly we had the usual ringside shoving match between Flair and referee Earl Hebner, but apart from that the action was sound with plenty of near falls until Styles took the pin after the spiral tap.

The number one contenders match followed as Rob Van Dam went up against Mr. Anderson.

Although there were a couple of dodgy moments these two continued the run of enjoyable encounters in this show. Anderson and Van Dam put together some good sequences here, which is why this match ticked most of the boxes for me.

Sadly no winner in this one. After Anderson took RVD down with the microphone check on the ramp both men had trouble moving. Anderson was the first man to his feet but by that time he couldn’t beat the referee’s count, so neither man won and neither man earned a shot at the title.

The main event saw Jeff Hardy challenging Sting for the World title.

So what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this one?

It was obvious from the moment he stepped into the arena that Hardy was completely out of it. He looked shambolic as he staggered down the ramp and up the ring steps.

Not even Eric Bischoff changing the rules of the match at the last minute could help matters. Hardy’s addled brain was more intent on sorting out his tee shirt problems than actually starting the match.

Hardy’s initial lock up looked as weak as hell, and mere seconds later Sting took him out with the scorpion death drop for the three count.

As the old saying goes a picture paints a thousand words, and Sting’s expression afterwards said it all.

In conclusion - you want to know the really said thing about this show?

Right up to the main event Victory Road was a highly enjoyable affair. Okay, there weren’t any five star classics but the matches were good nonetheless.

But then we had the situation surrounding Jeff Hardy. It was obvious from the outset that he shouldn’t have been anywhere near a wresting ring, and this whole shambles had completely overshadowed everything that was good about this show.

It really came as no surprise that TNA have tried to appease their fans by offering free access to their on demand site for those who purchased this pay-per-view. But I’m left to wonder how Dixie Carter and her crew are going to appease fans outside of America? I can’t see TNA helping me pay my monthly Sky television bill.

But enough about the screw-up that is Jeff Hardy, because overall Victory Road gets my thumbs up, and unlike many I’ll try and remember it for the entertaining moments, and not for what has become known as the Victory Road screw job.