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3/18 TNA Victory Road PPV results and review: Bobby Roode vs. Sting in a No Holds Barred match, Austin Aries vs. Zema Ion for the X Division Title, Samoa Joe and Magnus vs. Matt Morgan and Crimson for the TNA Tag Titles
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to my exclusive audio review of TNA Victory Road later tonight. You can score ad-free access right now and correspond with other members in the Dot Net Members' Forum throughout the show by signing up for membership by visiting Dot Net Membership Signup Page.
TNA Victory Road
Aired live on pay-per-view
Orlando, Florida at the Impact Zone
The show opened with a video that focussed on Bobby Roode vs. Sting... A small pyro display shot off above the ring and on the stage... Mike Tenay introduced the show and immediately hyped Roode vs. Sting and four title matches. Tenay and color commentator Taz invited fans to comment on the pay-per-view and to send in questions for Austin Aries via Twitter using the Victory Road hashtag...
Bully Ray headed to the ring. Tenay recapped the story that Ray threatened to hijack the pay-per-view. Ray chased the referee away and took a mic. He paused while the fans chanted "We want Devon."
Powell's POV: It was very polite of Ray to wait for the opening video package and the introduction from Tenay and Taz before he hijacked the show.
Ray asked the fans if they know who he is. A "You suck" chant started. Ray introduced himself and said he's the talk of the wrestling world. He said he's trending worldwide on Twitter (he was not at the time he made that comment). He said there will only be a pay-per-view if he gets what he wants. Ray said he wants his match with James Storm to be for a title match at Lockdown.
Ray said he will beat the crap out of wrestlers, referees, etc. if they try to remove him from the ring. Storm's music played and he made his entrance. Tenay recapped the Sting tweet in which he wrote that Ray would get his No. 1 contenders match if Storm agreed to it. Storm stood on the ramp and said he'd give Ray the No. 1 contenders match right away. The announcers questioned his decision...
1. James Storm pinned Bully Ray in 1:10 to earn a TNA Title match at Lockdown. Ray attacked Storm at the start, but Storm came back and hit the Last Call superkick and scored the clean pin...
Powell's POV: The match was likely short due to the fact that Storm underwent minor ankle surgery this week. It also makes him look strong heading into his match with Bobby Roode at Lockdown. Ray is the ideal opponent for the short match, as he looks weak now, but he has the ability to get his heat right back with a promo.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash was about to interview Austin Aries, but Eric Bischoff showed up. Bischoff essentially told him to get lost. Borash asked if he had any authority or if his name was Dixie Carter. Bischoff said he could kick Borash's ass and that's all the authority he needs. Bischoff did a chummy interview with fellow heel Aries...
Powell's POV: I mentioned in Dot Net Weekly that I strongly suspected a work when it came to the Bischoff and Borash online drama. It was either just that or they are trying to turn it into a storyline now. More than anything, I'm disappointed that Aries had his promo time reduced.
2. Austin Aries defeated Zema Ion to retain the X Division Title in 11:10. The wrestlers met face to face. Zema slapped Aries, who went after him, only to have Ion leave the ring. Aries jumped out to the early advantage. He grabbed a phone from So Cal Val and said he tweeted something. Yes, really.
Back inside the ring, Ion went on the offensive and hit a corkscrew cross body block off the ropes at 5:00. At 9:35, Zema sprayed his spray can into the eyes of Aries while the ref was distracted. Ion got a near fall. Aries acted like he couldn't see as the match continued. Aries hit a sunset flip into a power bomb off the ropes. Aries relied on the crowd to direct him toward Ion and then hit the Brainbuster and locked in Last Chancery for the submission win...
Powell's POV: The crowd was more in favor of Aries than Ion. The important thing is that they were into the match even though they weren't given any incentive to cheer for one heel over the other going into the match. The bit with Aries being blinded was a nice touch, as that gave the crowd some incentive to help Aries and feel good about him getting the win. Selfishly, I hope they don't turn Aries. I can't blame them if they do because he is a marketable wrestler, but I enjoy his heel work.
A black and white Motor City Machine Guns video aired. It teased that we have yet to see the best of them. "This is the beginning of the rise," read the graphic. "Coming soon"...
Powell's POV: The vibe of the video didn't do much for me. When viewers think of the Machine Guns, TNA should want them thinking young and cool. Black and white video with shots of gritty Detroit didn't accomplish that. Alex Shelley was shown in the video, but Chris Sabin was not. I like that decision, as they should save our first look at him for his return.
A video set up the TNA Tag Title match...
3. Samoa Joe and Magnus defeated Matt Morgan and Crimson to retain the TNA Tag Titles in 10:15. Joe was sporting a mohawk. Crimson was cocky from the start and told Morgan he would start the match. Morgan didn't look pleased, but he accepted it. A graphic noted that Austin Aries was trending on Twitter. Morgan showed frustration when Crimson bowed to ringside rather than tagging him in at 2:40.
Taz noted that Crimson was working the match as if it were a singles match by refusing to tag in Morgan. There were dueling chants of "We want Morgan" and "No we don't." Funny. Morgan showed frustration with his partner by calling for a tag, only to have Crimson stay in the match at 7:00.
Joe worked over Crimson with some of his signature spots. Morgan helped Crimson by shoving Crimson to the mat and out of Joe's path at 7:30. Morgan tagged himself into the match and went on the offensive, only to have Crimson tag himself back in. Morgan then tagged himself into the match. Crimson said fine and left.
The tag champs hit a flurry of offensive moves on Morgan, including a boot from Magnus that looked like it missed by a mile. Morgan got to his knees in front of Crimson, who stood on the floor and said Morgan needs him. "F--- you, I don't need your ass," Morgan said while giving the double bird to Crimson.
Moments later, Crimson reentered the ring and speared Morgan. The tag champs hit their finishing sequence and got the win. Crimson smirked at ringside as Joe and Magnus celebrated their win. "You can't ride on my back anymore," the camera picked up Crimson saying...
Powell's POV: Sure, most of us saw it coming a mile away, but I think Crimson will be better off as a cocky heel who gloats over his winning streak and cheats to keep it going. The tag champs won the match, but they could have been anyone since the focus was on Crimson's turn.
Backstage, Borash apologized for Bischoff's antics. "What can be said about him that hasn't been said over the last 20 years," Borash said. Bobby Roode entered the picture and Borash read him a question that was submitted by a fan via Twitter. Roode blew off the question and cut a promo in which he said he would end Sting's career.
Roode also said James Storm has never beaten him in a singles match. Storm entered the picture and Roode stopped talking. Storm said they have a match at Lockdown, but he's not looking for a match, he's looking for a fight right here and right now. Roode walked away...
The announcers spoke at their perch and mentioned Twitter comments. Taz said he loved interacting with fans. He questioned why it's not called a pound sign rather than a hashtag. Tenay said a Dixie Carter interview was coming up, and he plugged her Twitter account...
Powell's POV: WWE finally toned down the Twitter obsession and TNA appears to have picked up right where they left off. As I said with WWE, I'm all for pro wrestling companies using social media to their advantage, but they need to realize that there is also a risk of turning away viewers by driving them nuts with the Twitter references.
Robbie E and Robbie T came out to the sound of crickets. Robbie E took the mic and got the crowd to react a bit, and he said one of the fans will get to accept his open challenge. They looked around the crowd and mocked them. Robby E mocked three women for being "400 pounds each" and said he wouldn't get in the ring with them.
Robbie approached So Cal Val at ringside and said they'd wrestle in his hotel room later tonight. Robbie said he made a mistake. He said none of the fans deserve a shot against him. He said his open challenge was officially cancelled. He said they would give the fans what they really want by posing.
Devon entered through the crowd and received a good reaction. "Security, this fan is trying to get in the ring," Robbie E yelled. "This is cancelled. Get him out of the ring, bro." The referee got the mic and said Robbie wanted an open challenge, so Robbie T needed to get out of the ring so that they could ring the bell...
4. Devon defeated Robbie E (w/Robbie T) to win the TNA TV Title in 3:00. Devon worked over Robbie E to start the match and the crowd was into it. The announcers said Matt Morgan was trending. Later, Robbie grabbed a chair from ringside. Brooke Hogan, who was at ringside, tried to take it away from him. Devon eventually scored the clean pin and was announced as the new TV Champion...
Powell's POV: Maybe I'm just used to the old creative setup, but I kept waiting for someone to take the title belt away from Devon. I suppose that could come at the Impact tapings. The Orlando crowd digs Devon and reacted favorably to the title change.
Backstage, Borash interviewed Dixie Carter, who spoke about TNA approaching their tenth anniversary. She announced that they will be going to the Dallas/Forth Worth market. She said they will be at the University of Texas Arlington. Borash turned the focus to the main event, and Dixie said she would be at ringside...
A video set up the TNA Knockouts Title match...
5. Gail Kim beat Madison Rayne to retain the TNA Knockouts Title in 7:05. Madison had the first prolonged stretch of offense. A small group of fans doing the dueling chant bit, while the rest of the crowd sat quietly. Gail hit Eat Defeat and scored the clean pin...
Powell's POV: The overwhelming majority of the fans didn't care. Of course, you can't blame the women simply because the fans weren't given any incentive to cheer for one woman over the other. I actually felt bad for the women because they tried hard and most of the fans just didn't care.
Backstage, Borash interviewed Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Borash tried to ask Kazarian a question, but Daniels interrupted to say he's the one running the show. He said Mr. Anderson is involved in something he shouldn't be. He said Styles and Anderson would pay for their mistakes... A video package set up the match...
Powell's POV: Kazrian's facial expressions seemed to suggest that he's not on the same page with Daniels this week.
6. A.J. Styles and Mr. Anderson beat Christopher Daniels and Kazarian in 14:00. Anderson was out last and did his entrance routine on the stage. The crowd liked it and chanted his name as the bell rang. Tenay pointed out that Gail Kim and Madison Rayne were both trending on Twitter, which is true. Dixie Carter and Josh Lewis of "Repo Games" were shown seated at ringside next to one another.
The fans weren't exactly hot for the first Styles vs. Daniels exchange despite their ongoing feud, but Daniels did a good job of heeling it up to get a reaction. All four men ended up fighting at ringside briefly at 3:30. They headed back inside the ring and Styles and Anderson whipped Daniels and Styles together.
Later, Daniels knocked Styles off the ring apron with an elbow and he crashed onto the guardrail (the bump was a little much for a simple elbow). Daniels followed him and ran him into the rail again before throwing him back inside the ring at 6:35. Tenay acknowledged that Kazarian seemed to be rethinking things regarding his relationship with Daniels.
Daniels did a hard tag to Kazarian and ordered him to "get in there" at 8:35. He didn't look pleased when Kazarian had to tag him back into the match 20 seconds later. Daniels worked over Styles and the crowd rallied behind A.J. Styles made his comeback and then made the hot tag to Anderson at 11:05.
At 13:40, Styles made a blind tag as Anderson was running the ropes. Anderson and Daniels tumbled to the floor. Kazarian went for Fade to Black, but Styles countered with a Styles Clash and scored the clean pin.
Powell's POV: A solid match and the crowd liked the babyface personalities. I didn't care for it creatively, though, as Anderson feels out of place, and I have no idea what they want me to feel regarding Kazarian.
The announcers spoke about the show and TV Title change from their perch on the stage. Tenay invited viewers to send in their questions via Twitter...
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed Kurt Angle regarding his match with Jeff Hardy. Angle said hello to his son. He said he normally doesn't allow his son to watch violence on TV, but he wanted him to watch every second of this match while he destroys his hero Jeff Hardy. Kurt said he's going to pull Hardy's hair out of his head and shove it down his throat. He said real men "look like this" while pointing at his bald head...
Powell's POV: I could not agree more with that last line. We're not follically challenged, we made a choice! Or something like that. Anyway, some of Angle's comments about Hardy have been humorous, but I don't see where the heat is supposed to come from with the heel being cast as an out of touch and jealous father. By the way, Kurt is no Phil Dunphy.
7. Kurt Angle beat Jeff Hardy in 19:10. Hardy was the star of the night to the live crowd. He got the rock star reaction from the women in attendance. They traded offense early and then Angle had a long stretch. They ended up at ringside, where Jeff whipped Kurt into the ring steps. Hardy tried to follow up with a jump off the stairs onto Angle, but Angle moved and Hardy crashed into the rail.
Later, Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind for a two count at 12:25. Tenay put over the energy both guys had this deep into the match. Angle came back with three German suplexes. The crowd chanted Hardy, as Angle went for the Angle Slam. However, Jeff countered and eventually hit a Twist of Fate.
Hardy went up top for a move, but Angle popped up and did the suplex spot off the top rope for a near fall. Angle applied the ankle lock on Hardy, who kicked him off. Hardy hit another Twist of Fate. Angle kicked out at the last moment and the referee emphatically said it was just a two count as Hardy questioned his ruling. A dorky "this is awesome" chant amongst two or three guys who couldn't even chant it simultaneously.
Hardy went for his Swanton finisher, but Angle got his knees up. Angle came back with the Angle Slam and went for a cover, but Hardy kicked out at the last moment for a good, believable near fall. A real "this is awesome" chant started. Tenay said the crowd was right. Angle choked Hardy with his own armband until the referee took it away.
Angle ate a third Twist of Fate from Hardy. Hardy went on the offensive with a round of offensive moves. He went up top and hit the Swanton in a manner that looked painful for both men. Hardy went for the cover, but Angle recovered and rolled Hardy over into a pin and then held the ropes while the referee counted the pin...
Powell's POV: The best match of the show thus far with the expected finish of Angle going over to set up a likely rematch inside the cage at Lockdown. They need much better storyline support this time around, but they did a hell of a job in the ring. It was a nice redemption moment for both men, as Angle is coming off a couple of rare forgettable PPV performances against James Storm, and it was a year ago that Hardy was in no condition to perform in the main event match against Sting.
The announcers spoke about how great the show has been at their perch. It would mean more if they didn't say this every month. They recapped the TV Title change and then spoke about the main event match...
Backstage, Borash talked about various things that trended on Twitter. He asked Sting a question from a Twitter follower. Sting blew off the question and said he's tired of "twittering" and "Facebooking." He said he feels like wrestling...
Powell's POV: Amen. So two guys were asked fan questions on Twitter, and they both blew off the questions. I love it. Yes, the Twitter stuff is good for brand identity, but it sure is annoying to have shoved down your throat as a viewer.
A video package set up the main event...
8. Bobby Roode beat Sting in a non-title, No Holds Barred match in 17:00. Jeremy Borash handled the in-ring introductions for the main event. The fans chanted "You've still got it" at Sting. Taz said he never lost it, then joked that they must have been talking about referee Earl Hebner. Sting got off to a good start and the "You've still got it" chants continued.
Roode came back and got the better of Sting. The crowd rallied behind Sting with only a few detractors pulling for Roode. Taz read a Tweet from a person who claimed to be 85 years-old. Dixie Carter was shown watching with an intense look on her face as Roode had Sting in the figure four. Sting tried to roll it over and the live crowd cheered him on as he did so. Roode reached the ropes to break the hold.
Sting hit a superplex for a big pop around 14:00. He followed up with the Scorpion leg lock. Roode eventually reached the ropes. He came back by clotheslining Sting on the top rope and then speared him for a two count. Roode headed to ringside and slid a chair inside the ring. Tenay reminded viewers that it was no holds barred, but he said he hoped it wouldn't come to this after they've had such a competitive match.
Roode tried to piledrive Roode onto the chair. Sting backdropped Roode, who landed feet first on the ring apron. Sting punched him and dragged him inside the ring. Sting hit the Scorpion Death Drop and slammed his own head hard on the chair. Roode covered Sting and pinned him. The announcers told the story that Sting didn't realize the chair was even there. Tenay said Roode stole the win.
After the match, Roode threw the referee to ringside. Roode followed and got in Dixie Carter's face. Roode grabbed Dixie and brought her inside the ring. The fans chanted "Hogan." Roode told Carter to look at Sting. "Shut your mouth, bitch," Roode said. He backed Dixie into a corner. Sting stood up. Roode went to hit him with a chair, but Dixie grabbed his arm and Sting was able to hit Roode a couple times.
Roode recovered and slammed a chair over Sting's back. "Damn you, Roode," Tenay said. Roode backed Carter into a corner again. He then put Sting against the bottom turnbuckle. A "Cowboy" chant broke out for James Storm. Roode used duct tape to tie Sting to the bottom rope. He shoved Carter aside.
Carter tried to untie Sting, but Roode grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the other corner of the ring. Roode picked up the chair again. Dixie went over and started to untie Sting. Roode teased hitting her with the chair. "Bobby, please," Carter said. He asked her what the problem was. "You don't like me?" Roode asked. The crowd chanted "Bobby sucks."
Roode tried to take face paint from Sting and smear it on Dixie's face, but it didn't work out very well. He asked Dixie what she was going to do. "There's nothing you can do," Roode said. She finished untying Sting. A "fire Bobby" chant broke out and a graphic appeared on the screen... A Lockdown video aired to close out the show...
Powell's POV: The match finish was different, yet not great. I initially assumed that Sting mistakenly hit the chair, but it was obviously done to give him and out while giving Roode the win. Sting worked hard and it wasn't the usual shortcut match with brawling in the crowd. The post-match bit with Dixie Carter made Roode look sleazy. The question is whether viewers felt it also made the company look sleazy, but I don't believe that's the case given the live crowd's reaction.
Speaking of the live crowd, this was one of the better Impact Zone crowds there's been for a recent pay-per-view. They were flat at times when they had good reason to be, but they came to life for guys like Sting and Jeff Hardy. It still wasn't a hot show by any means, but it was better than I expected it to be going in. The problem was that the show looked inconsequential going in, and it still feels that way coming out, though it was nice to see better finishes and less silliness. Now if only they could find a balance between raising their social networking image and driving viewers nuts with it in a way that would make Michael Cole blush. I'll have more to say in Dot Net Members' audio on Sunday night, and in the TNA Victory Road Hitlist on Monday.
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