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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S TNA VICTORY ROAD REPORT
JULY 11, 2010
LIVE FROM ORLANDO, FLA.
-Finally, I get to see a TNA PPV in high-definition as my cable system finally added an HD PPV channel.
-I'm really digging the theme song for the show, "Ten Things To Do If I Live" by The Wake Effect. Has a "Smashing Pumpkins" feel to it.
-Mike Tenay and Taz introduced the show.
1 -- DOUG WILLIAMS vs. BRIAN KENDRICK -- Ultimate X / Submissions Match
Williams did his head bobbing on his way to the ring. Early in the match Williams slowed Kendrick with some mat holds. Kendrick came back with some dropkicks and then he backdropped a charging Williams to the floor. Kendrick climbed the scaffolding to try to get to the X, but Williams back suplexed him to the mat. Kendrick repeatedly tried to apply the cobra clutch. At 6:00 he finally applied it. Kendrick climbed the scaffolding, but Williams knocked him off of it. Kendrick landed on the top rope and fell to the floor. Williams dropped down. Taz wondered why. Tenay gave a good answer, which is Williams believes he can win with a submission so he doesn't need to climb and face his fear of heights. Williams pulled out a pair of white gloves, which are climbing gloves to give him a better grip. Taz asked if there was such a thing as climbing gloves. Williams climbed across the ropes toward the belt. Kendrick chased after him. He yanked Williams off with is legs. Both dropped hard to their feet. Williams was the first to rise and he applied a body scissors and chinlock submision. Kendrick passed out and Williams got the win. He celebrated with a head bob. A trainer woke Kendrick with smelling salt. Nice touch.
WINNER: Williams in 10:00.
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- The finish came sooner than expected. They didn't do much with the ropes crossing above the ring and the whole Ultimate X gimmick. That's fine, though, because it's a dangerous gimmick and it makes sense Williams would try to win with submissions instead of facing his fear of heights. He didn't, though, seem particularly scared of heights during the match.
-Taz and Tenay hyped the rest of the line-up.
-Christy Hemme attempted to interview Brother Ray. Ray yanked the mic from her and said Jesse Neal is a failure just as her edition of Playboy was. He said Neal is a failure to everyone including his "dead friend." Christy did what every female interview in TNA history has done - overact by 500 percent. She nearly cried as Ray got in her face and trash-talked Neal. He snarled and sneered at him.
2 -- BROTHER RAY vs. JESSE NEAL vs. BROTHER DEVON
A video package aired on the Team 3D-Jesse Neal saga. Ray came out first, then he hid side-stage. When Heal walked out, Ray jumped him from behind on the ramp. No Devon. They cut backstage to a shot of Devon being boarded into his locker room and unable to get out. Devon pounded on the door and wanted someone to help him get out. That can't be in compliance with the fire code! The camera operator didn't help unlock the door. Ray, meanwhile, went to work on Jesse as the crowd chanted "Jesse! Jesse!" The four former ECW wrestlers - Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards, and Rhino walked out in the stands. That distracted Ray and gave Jesse a chance to hit a spear and score a two count. Ray went back on offense quickly.
At 4:00 Shannon Moore ran out and tried to make the save, but the referee got in the way and ordered him to return to the back. Meanwhile, Ray hit Neal in the back with a chair. Taz pointed out that the ref should have heard it. Devon's music then played and he walked into the ring and went face-to-face with Ray. Taz called it a history-making moment. They had a staredown stalemate for nearly a minute, then turned to Neal. Taz said he thought Ray and Devon were going to turn on Neal. Why would Taz think that after all Devon had said and done that he would consider turning on Neal? Tenay said he thought the same thing. Again, why? However, Ray went after Devon with a punch. Neal tried to spear Ray, but hit Devon instead. Ray gave Neal a Bubba Bomb for the win.
WINNER: Brother Ray in 5:00.
STAR RATING: * -- Easy night of work for Devon.
3 -- MADISON RAYNE vs. ANGELINA LOVE
Rayne is morphing a bit into Terri Runnels with her style of make-up and general features. She wore a flesh-colored two-piece which nearly made he seem naked. Love scored the first near fall at 2:00. When Rayne brought a chair into the ring at 4:00, Love kicked the chair into her face. Then someone rode to ringside on a motorcycle. It was a woman dressed in a black bodysuit and helmet that made her look like a charred alient out of a sci-fi movie. She threw Love into the ringpost. The ref wanted to know who it was. If it was Velvet or Lacey, that would cause a DQ since they weren't allowed to interfere. Actually, what Tenay meant to say is that it was a DQ either way, but if it was Lacey or Velvet, the title would change. The ref told Jeremy Borash at ringside that the title was being awarded to Love. Tenay said the ref assumed it was Lacey or Velvet. Taz said he shouldn't assume. Rayne rode to the back on the motorcycle.
WINNER: Love in 4:00 to capture the TNA Knockouts Title.
STAR RATING: * -- Tenay said Love made history as the first-ever four-time champion. Winning a title that way goes a long way to cheapening the whole value of being a champion multiple time.
-Christy interviewed Mr. Anderson backstage. He said: "Tonight the Enigmatic Assholes square off... It's going to be like the left butt cheek faces the right butt cheek." He asked Christy to turn around to show off the visual representation. He said he meant it in the most proffesional way. He said he also faces the Monster Abyss, but he said he will control that monster. He admitted that's kind of cheesy and corny and lame. He then said RVD's dreams of remaining champ would go up in smoke, then he pretended he was smoking a joint. He said he had an epiphany as "four-twenty... one p.m. today." He added: "When the dust settles and the smoke clears, whether it's for medicinal purposes or otherwise, he has a chance to become a World Heavyweight Champion Asshole." The crowd chanted "Asshole!" He asked Christy again to do the visual representation. She refused. He called her an asshole and walked away.
4 -- KAZARIAN & A.J. STYLES vs. "THE FREAK" ROB TERRY & SAMOA JOE
Tenay said Terry is the longest-reigning Global Champion in TNA history. The title is so new that statement means nothing. Terry & Joe were the mystery opponents Flair booked against Styles & Kaz to test them. Styles opened against Terry, but he immediately tagged out to Kaz. Terry grabbed Kaz and by the head and knocked him to the floor. Joe threw Kaz back into the ring and fended off a ringside attack by Styles. Terry tagged in Joe. The crowd chanted "Joe's gonna kill you!" They were loudly pro-Joe. If you went by crowd response, Joe should be the top pushed babyface in TNA. If you went by a lot of things, Joe should be the top pushed guy. Joe casually avoided a dive by Kaz, then tagged Terry back in. Kaz tagged in Styles.
Styles danced and tried to distract Terry. When he moved in toward Terry, Terry threw Styles over the top rope to the floor. Kaz charged at Terry, so Terry tossed him to the floor, too. Terry then propelled Joe through the ropes with a dive onto both Kaz and Styles on the floor. Back in the ring Joe charged at Styles, then kicked him in the head. Joe tagged in Terry, but the ref didn't see it. Kaz interfered against Joe and slingshot DDT'd him. That gave the heels their first sustained advantage. Tenay said they'd have updated Top Ten Rankings on Thursday, as they do after every TNA PPV. Joe came back at 5:00 with a urinage. Joe then tagged in Terry who press slammed Styles. Terry then fallaway slammed Kaz. He powerslammed Styles. Kaz broke up the pin attempt. Joe set up a Muscle Buster.
Desmond Wolfe came out and grabbed at Joe. Joe rammed Wolfe into the ringside barrier. Kaz leaped off the ring and hit Joe. Wolfe charged at Terry in the ring. Terry hit Wolfe with a clothesline. Kaz distracted Terry as Styles springboard forearmed him to the back of the head. Kaz kicked Terry and then gave him a turning legdrop off the second rope. Styles hit a 450 splash and scored the pin. Kaz pressed on Styles's back during the pin attempt, which the ref either didn't see or didn't care about, but the announcers didn't point out the illegal nature of the pin. Afterward Wolfe congratulated Styles and Kaz. After Styles and Kaz left the ring, Joe gave Wolfe a Muscle Buster.
WINNERS: Styles & Kaz in 8:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2
-Christy interfered Abyss backstage. Tenay said Abyss has been out of control for a month.
5 -- MATT MORGAN vs. HERNANDEZ
Tenay wondered if Hernandez might be too fired up and too hell bent on revenge. Hernandez came out aggressive from the start, but Morgan did turn the momentum quickly and tossed Hernandez around and into the cage for several minutes. Morgan showboated, which gave Hernandez a chance to recover a bit. Morgan, tough, through a barrage of rear elbows to Hernandez's head in the corner. He followed with a Carbon Footprint. He had the cage door opened and put one foot out. He just had to step out to win. However, he decided to reenter the ring and administer more punishment. He kicked Hernandez in the head. Morgan rubbed Hernandez's face into the side of the cage. Hernandez bled. Morgan showed off blood on his hand and wiped it on his abdomen.
At 6:00 Hernandez made a comeback by nailing Morgan with a clothesline out of nowhere He made a bit of a Tommy Dreamer comeback, showing no signs of the beating he had endured for the previous five minutes. Morgan countered with an eye poke. Hernandez battled back by blocking the Carbon Footprint with a shoulder block. Hernandez lifted Morgan for a Border Toss, but Morgan wriggled and fought free. Hernandez lifted Morgan again, but couldn't quite hold him properly and dropped him like a powerbomb. It wasn't clear what was supposed to happen there. Hernandez paused, signaled to the crowd, climbed to the very top of the cage, and dove off with a big splash. Morgan moved. The crowd chanted "TNA! TNA!" Taz said, "Talk about crashing and burning." Morgan got up and revealed that he had hidden handcuffs in the t-shirt he brought into the cage and set in the corner. He handcuffed Hernandez to the top rope.
Morgan climbed to the top of the cage and was going to climb to the floor to win, but Hernandez yanked his hand free from the cuffs and then dove through the cage door onto the rampway. That gave Hernandez the win before Morgan could drop to the floor.
WINNER: Hernandez in 10:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4
-Christy interviewed Flair backstage. Flair told Christy, when she suggested Jay Lethal might win, "Sometimes I think you're blond." Flair said he is the reason there is a sport called pro wrestling. He said he has spent 39 years being The Man. He said Lethal will get such a bad beating he's going to return to mom and ask to be breast fed back to health. He said tonight he should be drinking red wine making love to a beautiful woman, but instead he's having to put a young punk in his place. He let out some whoos to close out another good promo.
-They went ringside to Tenay and a smiling Taz at ringside. Tenay said nobody has gotten under Flair's skin like Jay Lethal has. Taz said it's a rare, awesome experience to witness a legend like Flair wrestle. Taz said Lethal may be intimidated once he stands across the ring. He said he never had a chance to wrestle Flair, and he wishes he had, but maybe he should be glad he didn't since, he said, "I probably would have lost."
6 -- "THE NATURE BOY" RIC FLAIR vs. JAY LETHAL
After a staredown, Flair applied a headlock. Lethal escaped, executed a backdrop, and clotheslined Flair over the top rope to the floor. Lethal suplexed Flair back into the ring. Flair gave Lethal a thumb to the eye. Lethal battled back with chops in the corner. Flair staggered out of the corner and did the face-first bump mid-ring. Flair climbed to the top rope. Lethal caught him up there and superplexed him at 4:00. Lethal then climbed to the top rope and went for a moonsault. Flair rolled out of the way.
At 5:00 Flair went on offense. The crowd loudly battled in chants of "Let's Go Lethal!" and "Let's Go Flair!" Flair worked over Lethal's legs and then applied a figure-four. Lethal reached the ropes. Flair was upset when the ref made him break the hold. He argued with Earl Hebner and then shoved him. Lethal schoolboyed Flair for a two count. Flair and Lethal exchanged chops again. Lethal rebounded from a swing into the ropes with a handspring elbow. Flair backed into the corner and begged off. Lethal pounced on him, though.
Seconds later Lethal flipped into the corner and then strutted on the ring apron, imitating Flair's signature series. He then yanked on Flair's trunks and revealed his cheeks. The crowd popped and squealed at once. Flair battled back and applied a sleeper. Lethal escaped by dropped Flair's head into the turnbuckle. Lethal swing splashed Flair in the corner, landing on his knees. Flair let out an "ohh sh--!" Lethal worked over Flair's legs and then applied his own figure-four leglock. Flair tapped out. Lethal seemed overcome with emotions. He leaned in the front row of fans and exclaimed, "Mom, I did it!"
WINNER: Lethal in 11:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- Formula Flair match with him relying on his Greatest Hits that he can still do. Lethal kept things moving and athletic and made it a decent match.
-Christy interviewed Hardy backstage. He had his face painted in blue and wore a body suit that looked painted on with blue sleeves. Hardy said his fans would fly high with him.
7 -- ALEX SHELLEY & CHRIS SABIN vs. BEER MONEY (Robert Roode & James Storm) -- For Vacant TNA Tag Team Titles
This should be the best match of the night. TNA should always pick out one or two matches on every PPV and really give them a chance with time allotment and booking to become stand out buzz-worthy matches, with some contending for Match of the Year. Let the wrestlers know they want something really special out of them and this should be one of their special efforts of the year. Fast-paced action for the first five minutes. Beer Money isolated Shelley for three minutes. Shelley finally hot-tagged Sabin at 8:00 and scored a near fall on Roode after a flying clothesline. Taz said there's nowhere else that fans can see a tag match with this type of athleticism. Tenay agreed. This is one of those things TNA needs to hang their hat on. Storm broke up a subsequent pin attempt on Roode. Shelley tried to save Sabin from a double-team, but he was quickly dropped over the top rope. Sabin held his own until Roode caught him on a head scissors attempt and held him for Storm's Eye of the Storm. Roode catapulted Sabin into Roode who dropped his chin into his knees for a near fall. Roode looked shocked he didn't get the pin.
At 11:00 Sabin and Shelley double-teamed Roode. Storm broke it up. Taz noted the referee was being liberal with the enforcement of the rules. Sabin dove onto Storm at ringside. Roode, meanwhile, recovered and kicked Shelley. Shelley went for a back suplex, but Roode battled free and then slingshot himself onto Sabin. Shelley then dove onto Roode. Taz said they were in the fourth quarter with everyone tossing themselves into the wind and leaving it all out there. At 12:00 a "This is Awesome!" chant broke out. Storm spit beer toward Sabin, but Sabin ducked and the ref got a face full of beer. Shelley dove onto Roode, who was held by Sabin. The ref was still down. Earl Hebner ran out and replace the fallen ref - Brian Hebner - and counted nearly to three, but Roode kicked out. Shelley and Sabin went into rapid-fire offense. Shelley gave Roode a top rope crossbody, but Roode rolled through for a believable near fall at 14:00. Roode reacted with frustration. The crowd loudly chanted, "Motor City! Motor City!" Shelley and Sabin double-teamed Beer Money. They kicked Roode to the mat. Storm surprised Shelley from behnd and schoolboyed him as Sabin covered Roode. Each ref counted to three simultaneously. There was confusion in the ring. Beer Money's music played first, but then stopped.
After chaos and arguments and discussion between the referees, Earl told Borash that the match should be re-started. Good call. This match deserved a finish. Storm missed a dive into the corner. Shelley superkicked Roode. Sabin then set up Roode for Sabin's top rope crossbody splash for the pin. The Machine Guns finally won the TNA Tag Titles after all of these years.
WINNERS: Shelley & Sabin 16:00 to capture the vacant TNA Tag Team Titles.
STAR RATING: **** -- Very good showcase tag match for TNA. It's the type of the match the Guns should have had the first time they won the tag titles. It felt like a throwback to the stronger WCW Tag Team Title matches in the late-'80s and early-'90s with various creative, athletic established teams battling over the belts, from the Rock & Roll Express to the Midnight Express to the Southern Boys and many others.
8 -- KURT ANGLE vs. "THE POPE" D'ANGELO DINERO
Tenay noted that Angle said if he can't beat everyone in the TNA Top Ten, he will leave TNA. Taz said that's crazy, but that's the type of expectations that he puts on himself that makes him an athletic superstar worldwide. Angle controlled Lethal early with mat wrestling. Pope came back with a series of two unreleased hip tosses. Angle blocked the second. Pope came back with some kicks and a flying tackle. Angle bailed out to ringside. Lethal held the ropes open for Angle. Angle accepted it. Pope applauded. Angle kicked Pope in the gut and powerbombed him into the corner.
After several minutes of methodical solid back and forth action, at 7:00 Lethal scored a two count. Angle came back with the unreleased German suplex series. Angle hit three of them and scored a two count. Pope came back with a neckbreaker and climbed to the top rope. Angle leaped toward Pope and suplexed him to the mat for a two count at 9:00. At 11:00 Angle applied an anklelock. Pope surprised Angle and the ref with a roll up reversal for a near fal. Angle went for a sunset flip, but Pope blocked it. Angle then re-applied the anklelock, stretching it this time and forcing a tapout. Angle and Pope hugged afterward.
WINNER: Angle in 12:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Very good match. Not a show-stealer, but a very good supporting semi-main event straight-up battle. Refreshing not to see ref bumps, interference, secret masked people, or anything else. You need a match like that more often to make the other stuff stand out. Instead, this really stood out, in a good way.
-Christy interviewed Rob Van Dam backstage about his upcoming title defense. RVD said he's going to insert Abyss's board where the sun don't shine and he can worry about how it will feel coming out. It was RVD trying in a promo, but he's still not particularly "invested" when he speaks. He typically seems to be performing because he has to and it's part of his job, not because he really feels it. This was a little better than usual, but a little forced.
9 -- ROB VAN DAM vs. ABYSS vs. MR ANDERSON vs. JEFF HARDY -- TNA World Hvt. Title
Taz said RVD needs to keep his head on a swivel. He added: "Strange bedfellows, and I actually hate that expression, but I said it anyway, it's that kind of deal right here." You gotta love Taz. All three faces teamed up against Abyss early. They took turns attacking him in the corner. Anderson went for a cover after an RVD monkey flip, but Hardy and RVD broke it up. Hardy flipped off of RVD's back onto Abyss at ringside. Anderson schoolboyed RVD for a near fall at 1:00. Anderson's body language indicated he doesn't blame him. RVD hit Anderson with a drop wheelkick followed by a spinning legdrop. He set up Rolling Thunder, but Abyss yanked on RVD's legs and dragged him to the floor and threw him into the security railing. Abyss entered the ring and went after Anderson. Hardy attacked Abys. Hardy and Anderson double-teamed Abyss. Abyss countered with by grabbing each of their throats. They broke free and shoulder tackled him. They threw stereo legdrops. Anderson kneeled down to let Hardy leap off his back, but Anderson got up and caught Hardy mid-air for a two count at 3:00.
At 4:00 with everyone else on the floor, Anderson leaped off the top rope at Abyss on the floor, hitting him with the sledgehammer. For 20 seconds nothing happened and the crowd was dead silent. Awkward. It's a safe bet Hardy forgot a spot there, but that is just a hunch. RVD rolled into the ring to go after Anderson. RVD kicked Hardy in the face when he entered the ring. Anderson and RVD fought on the top rope. Hardy joined them and set up a superplex on RVD with Anderson helping. Abyss entered the picture and tossed all three to the mat Tower of Doom style. A "TNA! TNA!" chant broke out. All four were slow to get up. Abyss stood first. Taz said it looked like the other three fell out of a building. As RVD showed off his flexibility, Taz said he saw him stretching at 5 p.m. earlier in the day and it's why he's so limber. RVD hit Abyss with a flying sidekick off the top rope. Anderson shoved RVD off the ring apron into the steps. The crowd chanted, "Let's Go Asshole!"
At 10:00 Anderson and Hardy finally went at it as Abyss and RVD were knocked out at ringside. Hard hit a Twist of Fate and a Swanton. Abyss chokeslammed Hardy onto Anderson. As Abyss covered Hardy who was on Anderson for some unknown reason, RVD hit Abyss with a Five-Star Frogsplash. Hardy and Abyss rolled off of Anderson and then RVD made the cover on Anderson for the win.
WINNER: RVD in 13:00 to retain the TNA World Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- A bit of a clustermess a lot of the time. Just too many moving parts. So just an okay main event.
-Abyss pulled out the board with nails, which Tenay says he calls "his girl." He scared the referee out of the ring and swung it at RVD. RVD slipped out of the way. Abyss then tore up the ring apron with it. Tenay wondered what would have happened if RVD hadn't moved out of the way. Tenay wondered who could control Abyss.
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