The show began with Bully Ray coming down to the ring. After snatching a microphone from So Cal Val he threatened to take the show hostage until his match with James Storm was made a number one contender’s match.
It was then that Storm came down to the ring, agreeing to the match there and then.
So the match began. Ray clobbered Storm a few times before grabbing Storm’s beer and taking a swig. Storm then connected with the last call super kick, and a three count and just over a minute later it was all over.
Let me get this straight. So after they’ve built Ray up so much over the past few months he gets beaten in 70 seconds. What gives?
The first title match of the evening followed as Zema Ion challenged Austin Aries for the X Division title.
I’m guessing that both of these guys were meant to be heels, because given the reaction Aries was getting I think that particular plan went out of the window.
As for the patch, it was pretty good. But then again it did feature Austin Aries, who once again impressed the hell out of me. Together with Ion, who still looks a little green around the gills at time they put together some good sequences.
Ion, of course, used underhanded tactics to try and win the gold. When he grabbed the title belt the referee stopped him, and with the official’s attention diverted Ion took his hairspray can out of his tights and sprayed Aries in the eyes.
It didn’t do him much good in the long run. Aries was able to stop Ion’s top rope suplex attempt, taking him down with a sunset flip/powerbomb. Then, blinded but with the help of the crowd Aries took his man out with the brain buster for the winning pin.
The second title match saw Crimson and Matt Morgan challenging Samoa Joe and Magnus for the Tag Team titles.
If you don’t know by now why I won’t be reviewing this particular match then you clearly haven’t been paying much attention.
Yet more title action followed as TV Champion Robbie E, accompanied by Robbie T, came out for his open challenge.
At first E said there wasn’t going to be a match because everyone in the locker room already in the match, but after a brief word from his bodyguard E revealed that he’d let one of the fans challenge him for the title. (Hasn’t this happened before somewhere?)
When they searched through the fans they couldn’t actually find anyone, so the challenge was cancelled once again in favour of a pose in the middle of the ring. It was then that none other than Devon came through the crowd and into the ring.
E was none too pleased, demanding that the former Dudley Boy was thrown out of the building. The referee saw things differently though, and ordered the match to begin.
What followed was a short and sweet encounter. Devon took E apart early on, but when the referee tried to stop the champion from using a chair T clobbered Devon from behind.
E then had a few brief moments of offence until Devon came back and took E down with a spine buster for the title winning pin.
Even more title action followed as Madison Rayne challenged her former BFF Gail Kim for the Knockouts title.
The crowd were kind of quiet for this one. The action was okay, and it certainly can’t be faulted, but it just had that “nothing special” vibe about it. It’s the kind of problem the Knockouts division has had for quite a while now.
Kim retained her title in this one, taking out Rayne with her eat defeat finisher.
Then it was back to tag team action as Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian went up against A.J. Styles and Mr. Anderson.
Now this was pretty enjoyable. As always the sequences between Styles and Daniels were second to none, and the addition of Kazarian and Anderson to the equation made this all the more enjoyable.
Another addition was the simmering relationship between Kazarian and Daniels, with the Fallen Angel growing more and more frustrated at his partner whenever Styles and Anderson got the better of him.
In the end the win went to Styles and Anderson. Just as Kazarian was about to take Styles out with the fade to black the phenomenal one countered with the Styles clash for the winning pin.
The penultimate match saw Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy renewing their rivalry.
These two had a classic during the World title tournament a while ago, and while this one was good it wasn’t a patch on that encounter.
Hardy really is looking back to his best after his battles with his personal demons. The old enthusiasm was back, and he continued to impress with the big moves, while Angle, for his part, was Angle. Despite the fact that it seems that his injuries will soon catch up with him and his body will give out at any moment the Olympic hero continues to defy us all with his performances.
Together they put together some great sequences. There were a couple of dodgy moments early on but these were soon forgotten as they pulled out all the big moves, the Angle slams, the twists of fare, the swantons and more.
Hardy looked like he was going to get the win after diving halfway across the ring and connecting with a swanton. But when Hardy went for the pin Angle countered with a roll up of his own, getting the three count with his hand on the ropes.
The main event saw Sting taking on World Champion Bobby Roode in a non-title no holds barred match.
Despite the fact that this was advertised as no holds barred there actually wasn’t much brawling or weapons action. There was a sequence where they fought around the ring but for the most part it seemed like a regular match.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that because the action was very good. Roode and Sting were well suited to each other, with the boss showing that although he’s in the twilight of his career it wouldn’t be surprising if he was given another major run before he called it a day.
As for the ending, well that did seem a bit tame. Roode had brought a chair into the match, and having set it up in the middle of the ring he couldn’t use it. Sting then took Roode down with the scorpion death drop but ended up hitting the back of his head on the chair. A dazed Roode then rolled over for the cover and the pin.
That wasn’t the end of the action though. Roode dragged head honcho Dixie Carter into the ring, threatening to hurt her before clobbering Sting with the chair and taping him to the ropes as he slumped in the corner. Roode then threatened to hit her with the chair while she tried to free Sting from the ropes as the show went off the air.
In conclusion - even though I enjoyed this show for the most part it did leave me scratching my head a little.
Firstly, they’ve done a hell of a job building up Bully Ray. He’s recently put in some of the best work of his career. So how come he was squashed in just over a minute?
Secondly, why advertise the main event as a no holds barred match when it was more or less a regular match? And why wasn’t the World title on the line? Surely, from a storyline point of view, Sting would have wanted to get rid of Roode as champion by winning the title himself, and by beating a legend Sting in a one on one title defence Roode’s stock as champion would have risen considerably.
Thirdly, what’s with this new obsession with Twitter? By all means do what WWE do and show the world what’s trending, but I’d prefer it if Tazz stopped searching for tweets and started putting the match over.
But apart from these gripes this year’s Victory Road will go down as an enjoyable show. It gets the thumbs up from me. Not the big thumbs up mind, but the thumbs up nonetheless.