Mike Reviews Shows That Are Considered Stinkers – TNA Victory Road 2009 (19/07/2009)

Hello You!

Something new this week as I’m taking a bit of a break from reviewing Main Events every Saturday until September/October time. Seeing that I have a free slot this week, I’ve decided to introduce a new feature that I’ll dive into now and then when I’m feeling masochistic, where I look at shows that are widely considered to be awful to see if they really are as bad as their reputation purports them to be.

It’s not too different from what the people at Wrestle Crap do, but I’m going to at least give these shows a chance before declaring that they are stinkers. If you folks enjoy it then I might do some more down the line, but we’re just trialling it this time to see how it goes.

I’ve gone with this pay per view because I recently listened to the classic Bryan and Vinny Show where they reviewed this particular event and Bryan coined the famous “MINUS FIVE STARS! Phrase that you can still here every time you watch an episode of Botchamania (Which is a show you should totally watch over there on the YouTube machine!)

So without further ado, let’s see if this puppy is as sick as the neighbours are saying as we watch some chuffing wrestling!

The event is emanating from Orlando, Florida on the 19th of July 2009

Calling the action are Mike Tenay and Don West

Opening Match
TNA Knockouts Title
Champ: Tara w/ Poison Vs Angelina Love w/ Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne

Tara apparently scared her way into a Title match on TV by using her pet spider Poison, and this is this is the rematch. Tara shines on Love to start, even attacking her two seconds at ringside even though they weren’t even doing anything, and that allows Love to cut her off with a baseball slide. That was pretty stupid on Tara’s part. The shine itself wasn’t bad, but the crowd is a bit muted for whatever reason.

Love’s heat segment is okay, as she plays to the crowd and doesn’t do anything overly complicated, which is fine for an opener. A double clothesline leads to a double down and then a comeback from Tara, which is worked well. The finish gets a bit overly complicated, as Velvet tries to spray Tara with hairspray but ends up getting Love instead. The referee decides to send Velvet and Madison to the back, but whilst he’s doing that Tara has a roll up and, when he eventually goes over to count, Love has enough time to kick out. Tara heads up for a moonsault but misses it and Love makes the cover, which gets three but Tara had her foot on the rope and the ref missed it.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: ANGELINA LOVE
RATING: **

Fine for an opener, if a bit silly at the end but they have a point for that at least which will get revealed later.

Tara batters Love post-match and then sticks Poison on top of the ref, who looks super uncomfortable having a big spider on him. As far as post-match animal attacks go, I don’t think anyone is topping Jake Roberts to be honest.

Tenay and West run down the card.

Kurt Angle is backstage and gives fellow Main Event Mafia members Samoa Joe, Kevin Nash, Booker T and Scott Steiner a dressing down, demanding that they win all their matches by pin tonight or they are getting fired from the group. He also says that he’s not going to have a pay per view quality match with Mick Foley later, which is certainly an interesting way to sell a Main Event.

Match Two
Matt Morgan Vs Christopher Daniels

Morgan wants to join the Main Event Mafia and is going to try and batter Daniels so he can impress them. That works as a story I guess. Morgan has size and charisma, but his in-ring isn’t especially good. However, Daniels is a good a worker and knows how to bump and sell to make Morgan look good, so they do some good Power Vs Speed spots in the early going, with the cut off coming from Daniels tweaking an already injured knee that Morgan had attacked on TV.

That works well as a story point actually, as speed was the big leveller that was allowing Daniels to be competitive, so removing his mobility makes sense as a way for the bigger heel to gain control. Morgan shows some good heel charisma in the heat and spends most of it working over Daniels’ leg with basic stuff. That’s not really his strong suite but Daniels sells well, so it works for the most part. Daniels makes a good one legged comeback and gets some pinning holds and cradles for some two counts.

In a great spot, Daniels turns a choke slam into a DDT for two, but when he tries the Best Moonsault Ever his leg goes out and he collapses in pain. West actually does some good commentary by noting that going for the BME is an instinctive thing that Daniels goes for in his matches, which is why he’d try it even though his knee is hurting. Thus, rather than looking dumb, Daniels looks like a gutsy face who let his adrenaline get the better of him. Good job Don! Morgan quickly pounces with a suplex styled move right after and that’s enough for the three.

WINNER: MATT MORGAN
RATING: **1/2

This was good for the most part, with Daniels selling well and Morgan showing some good heel personality. It was perhaps more of a TV match than a pay per view quality one, but it told a story and they took it home at the right time, so I have few complaints.

Dr. Stevie and Daffney have promo time with Jeremy Borash. Stevie says he’s making the upcoming match with Abyss into a No DQ bout, because he’s smarter than Abyss and he’ll find a way to win regardless of the stipulation.

Match Three
No Disqualifications
Dr. Stevie Vs Abyss

Stevie was Abyss’ shrink (I guess he got his degree between his time in the bWo and Right To Censor?), but he’d abused him so Abyss rebelled to set this up. Abyss also had something going on with interview woman Lauren, so Stevie had targeted her to get Abyss good and mad. This might be our first properly awful match of the night. Stevie uses a baton early on, but Abyss shrugs that off and we head into the crowd for some brawling.

Stevie bleeds as a result of that, which his all white outfit kind of demanded, and the crowd is mostly into watching Stevie get battered. Daffney comes down with a tazer, which was Stevie’s weapon of choice at the time, but Lauren takes her out. Abyss grabs hold of the tazer and then pure unbridled Wrestle Crap takes place as Abyss zaps Stevie with it and smoke comes off him like this is Carry On Screaming or something. All it needed was for Don to yell “Frying Tonight!” to make it absolutely as cartoonish and stupid as possible. Anyway, Stevie is not surprisingly pinned following that.

WINNER: ABYSS
RATING: *

That finish was an all-time stupid one and the type of thing that makes you embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. The match itself was serviceable as a babyface getting their revenge, but the finish killed all good will I had towards it.

Mike and Don recap Angle’s threat from earlier and then we take a look at Mick Foley giving Beer Money and AJ Styles a pep talk of his own. Their jobs are on the line if they lose tonight, although I’m not sure why exactly.

Match Four
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles
Champs: Team 3D Vs The British Invasion (Doug Williams and Brutus Magnus) w/ Rob Terry

Magnus would perhaps be better known today as NWA Champ Nick Aldis. British Invasion cost 3D a couple of matches in order to heat this one up. Apparently the Brits will get 3D’s Japanese bookings if they win the belts here, which I’m sure New Japan has signed off on without any consternation on their part whatsoever. 3D shine on the Brits to start and the men from the UK sell it well by bumping around and stooging. Doug is not only the best technician of the four men involved in the match but he doesn’t look out of place size wise either, which makes me kind of wish he was ten years younger so he could be in AEW or NXT having great matches with those companies best workers.

Rob Terry interferes to allow the heels to take over and they work some heat on Brother Ray. Magnus didn’t have the poise back then that he has since gained through more experience, but he’s fine here and has Doug to tag in if he ever gets lost. Ray catches Magnus with a Spear for a double down and then it’s the tag to Devon, who works a nice hot tag segment. The crowd seems more interested in seeing some tables though, and 3D oblige them by getting one out even though it would just lead to them getting DQ’ed. The referee stops them using the table though and heel miscommunication sees Terry hit Doug, leading to The 3-D for the finish.

WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: TEAM 3D
RATING: **1/2

Another inoffensive under card bout, that you’d again be happy to see on TV but for a pay per view the overall match quality has been disappointing thus far. We need a great match and ASAP.

Daivari and Japanese wrestler Kioyshi come down to attack 3D following the bout, but they get dealt with pretty easily and Daivari gets tablised for a crowd pop.

We head backstage where the referee from the opener is being quizzed by Lauren. He apologises for making a mistake earlier and says he’ll petition for Tara to get a rematch.

Match Five
Special Challenge Match
Sharmell T w/ Sojo Bolt Vs Jenna w/ Awesome Kong

Oh yeah, it’s THIS match! Both Sharmell and Jenna are linked to the Main Event Mafia, but because this is TNA and they are women they are both catty bitches who don’t like one another. Jenna does possibly the lewdest ring entrance ever, as she crawls into the ring whilst the camera zooms so far up her bum that it almost goes through to the other side. Jenna was on Survivor apparently and made some good money from it, so the Main Event Mafia wanted to keep her onside so they could make use of her money.

This match is absolutely horrible, with rotten looking offence and little in the way of believable selling. It’s just generally hot garbage from start to finish, to the point that I actually start to feel pity for the two ladies who have been sent out there to die like this. Jenna does some terrible slaps at one stage that look like they wouldn’t even bruise a peach and Kong eventually puts us out of our misery by punching Sharmell so that Jenna can essentially sit on her face for the win.

WINNER: JENNA
LOSERS: THE REST OF HUMANITY
RATING: DUD

This is possibly one of the worst matches to ever make it onto what is supposed to be a major pay per view event. Just atrocious.

Jenna stupidly decides to chew out Kong following the bout for not being excited enough for her win, so Kong lays her out and delivers a splash. Jenna sold that move really badly but Kong was at least super safe with her.

Jeremy Borash is with Kevin Nash, who as usual is complaining about the younger wrestlers having the temerity to care about more than just money. He says he’ll retire if he loses tonight.

Match Six
TNA Legends Title
Champ: AJ Styles Vs Kevin Nash

The Legends belt went through a number of name changes, with it eventually becoming the TV Title I believe. One of the problems with this match is they essentially just do the same sort of match that Morgan and Daniels did because of the size difference. Its fine, but we’ve already seen it earlier in the show.

AJ uses his speed in the early going but Nash eventually cuts him off and works him over, with AJ selling it all well. AJ takes a few big bumps in order to get the match over, including one from the top rope to the floor, but keeps coming and makes a good comeback by peppering Nash with a number of shots.

Again, we’ve seen this earlier in the night, but Nash being a better worker than Morgan improves it somewhat. AJ kicks away at Nash’s legs, which Nash sells well, and we actually get a submission tease as AJ goes to a modified Texas Cloverleaf. Nash manages to survive that, as the crowd is starting to feel really flat now after so many so-so matches.

They finally wake up when AJ catches Nash with a Pele kick, which gets a two count, but when he tries to follow up with the Phenomenal Forearm he gets caught by Nash and then dropped with a choke slam for the three count.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: KEVIN NASH
RATING: **1/2

Nash sold a lot here and AJ looked on his level before getting caught, and they make sure to push that on commentary too as Nash sells up the ramp with the belt. As a match it was fine, but the lack of crowd heat hurt it and this show desperately needs something to perk it up. It’s just been a collection of okay but totally middling matches thus far, with a couple of duffers added in for good measure.

Lauren tries to interview Tara in the women’s locker room, but instead she finds the referee from the opener and Madison Rayne coming out of the showers. Shenanigans, Shenanigans!!

Match Seven
TNA Tag Titles
Champs: Beer Money (Bobby Roode and James Storm) Vs Booker T and Scott Steiner

This one came about because Foley wanted a shot at Kurt Angle and had to give the heels a shot at the tag belts in order to get it. Beer Money do some good tag stuff in the shine and end up clearing the ring so that they can do their trademark tandem taunt to pop the crowd. That’s about all the crowd do react to though, as they die again once Storm gets cut off. Man, when the Impact Zone crowd are invested they can really add to a show, but when they’re not arsed it only magnifies the fact that the show is happening on a sound stage at an amusement park rather than an actual arena.

The work from Booker and Steiner is basic and a bit plodding, but it’s not especially bad or anything due to the number of combined years of tag experience they have. The crowd perks up occasionally to chant for Storm, but it’s not consistent sadly. Storm eventually manages to DDT Steiner and makes the tag to Roode, who does a good hot tag segment that builds to an Over Castle on Steiner for two. The finishing stretch is done well with both teams getting some near falls, but sadly the finish itself doesn’t play out how they want.

The idea behind the finish is that Booker and Storm are outside the ring and Booker pulls the ref out of the ring when Roode has Steiner pinned, before blaming it on Storm in a great spot, as the ref couldn’t see who did it and the ambiguity means he can’t really call for a DQ. That’s a great tag spot that someone should pinch actually. Whilst the ref is chastising Storm, Booker sneaks in with a Scissors Kick on Roode so that Steiner can steal the pin. However, he doesn’t take out Storm, which means Storm has to just stand there watching his partner getting pinned like an absolute plum when he clearly could have broken it up. What a shame, as it was a good idea.

WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: STEINER & BOOKER
RATING: **

Match was okay for the most part, but the finish was pretty awfully executed. Neat idea, but they just didn’t get it right.

Borash interviews the winners, and they brag about the result. Steiner adds that Angle will win his match later.

Lauren is with Samoa Joe backstage. Joe says his mentor will be debuting tonight to watch him win.

Match Eight
Samoa Joe Vs Sting

Joe screwed Sting and joined the Main Event Mafia in his place to set this one up. We get a brawl to start, with both men fighting into the crowd, in another instance of the match structure meaning more if we hadn’t already seen it earlier in the night. You know what this show is really lacking? A really exciting X-Division spot fest of some kind. They’ve clearly chosen this show to be a storyline heavy one with the narrative being about the Main Event Mafia dominating, but they’ve neglected to stick a banger or two on the undercard to give the crowd some good wrestling to go along with the storytelling.

What hasn’t helped as well is that they’ve filled the card with a bunch of matches where the heels are required to go over because that’s what the story dictates, and TNA just doesn’t have the cache to get away with such a negative and depressing kind of show. The WWE could afford to do that with a show like Judgment Day in 2000 because they were on such a hot streak and the fans had faith in the babyfaces to make a comeback in the storylines, so they could get away with a heels over show now and then. TNA in 2009 was barely even mild, let alone hot, so it’s harder to give them the benefit of the doubt and none of the bigger matches have come close to the quality of the big matches on that Judgment Day show.

I’m kind of ignoring the match, because it hasn’t been that interesting. There’s nothing especially wrong with it, but it’s just two guys having a match and by this stage in such a boring show they really need something more to inject some life into proceedings. Sting eventually has it won with the Scorpion Deathlock, but that’s the cue for Taz to debut as Joe’s mentor. Seeing Taz arrive fires Joe up and he powers out of the hold before setting up Sting for the Muscle Buster. Things go awry however and Joe loses his grip on Sting, so they abort the move and just transition to choke instead and Sting taps out.

WINNER: SAMOA JOE
RATING: *1/2

Boring match with a botched finish.

Taz and Joe bump fists post-match

Mike sends to a tape of Bobbly Lashley doing a radio interview where he declares that he is coming to TNA. He also kind of challenges Brock Lesnar to an MMA fight, which seems weird as TNA are never going to book Brock, so talking about him serves no purpose other than to disappoint people.

Borash is with Mick Foley, who says he can hurt Angle with the biggest moves in his arsenal and also notes that Angle is still nursing a sore neck that he can target. This was a great fired up promo from Foley where he laid out a storyline reason for him having a chance to win that made sense.

Main Event
TNA Title
Champ: Kurt Angle Vs Mick Foley

Kurt won the King of the Mountain match thanks to Joe at the previous pay per view and the Main Event Mafia battered Foley with weapons on TV in the build up to try and heat things up. Foley targets the head and neck early on, which makes sense from a psychology perspective and allows Angle to lie in holds without taking too many bumps, as he legitimately did have health issues at the time. The action isn’t especially exciting, but it’s executed decently.

Like everything else on this show thus far it just feels flat and the crowd is pretty muted for it all. My tolerance for the duller aspects of the TNA Main Event scene is considerably lower when they don’t include some hot matches underneath as a way to offset it. A lot of the match is kicking and punching, which isn’t a bad thing on its own but can be boring if you don’t have a hot crowd who are into it. At least with a technical battle you can enjoy the artistry on display even if the crowd isn’t into it that much.

Angle actually misses a moonsault at one stage, which is kind of nuts to do when you’re legitimately hurting, and Foley gets the Double Arm DDT for two. Mick pulls a flaccid white object out of his pants and looks to stick it in Angle’s mouth, but Angle fends that off with an Olympic Slam for two. Angle knocks down the ref and goes for a chair, but Foley fights back and drops a big elbow off the apron. I’m surprised Foley didn’t tease that more before delivering it actually, but perhaps they’re getting rushed to take it home?

Foley gets a pin attempt from it back inside, but Angle is able to kick out at two. That kick out got barely any kind of reaction from the crowd, which is really disheartening after Foley busted it out despite his litany of injuries and ailments over the years. Mr. Socko assisted Mandible Claw looks to follow, but Angle fights it off and then goes to the ankle lock. Foley had previously said he wasn’t going to tap out, but with no escape from the hold he’s forced to uncle and Kurt retains.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: KURT ANGLE
RATING: **1/2

Let’s just say Angle delivered on his promise not to have a pay per view quality match. As a TV Main Event it would have been fine and both guys were doing moves and spots they really shouldn’t have at their age and with their physical problems, which made it even more disappointing that the crowd sat on their hands for it all.

So the heels now have all the belts and celebrate with them. So not only do we get a dull show but we also get a complete downer ending also. What a treat!

In Conclusion

This show was more boring than terrible, with it taking me a couple of tries to eventually type it all up from my written notes due to just how much of a nothing show it was. Hopefully that didn’t come across in the finished review too much.

I wouldn’t go as far to call it a genuine Grade A stinker or anything, but it’s certainly not a show I’m ever going to want to watch again. Sometimes a show being woefully dull is almost worse than it being bad, as bad shows at least give you something to get your teeth into.

If you enjoyed this and fancy torturing me, suggest some other famous stinkers from wrestling history and I’ll have a go at reviewing them down the line if I ever want to bring this particular feature back.