Monday, March 19, 2012

3/18/12 Victory Road

James Storm vs. Bully Ray: 1/4*

Zema Ion vs. Austin Aries (X-Division Title): **

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Matt Morgan & Crimson (Tag Team Titles): *1/2

Devon vs. Robbie E (TV Title): *

Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne (Knockouts Title): DUD

AJ Styles & Mr. Anderson vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian: **1/2

Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy: ***1/2

Bobby Roode vs. Sting (No Holds Barred; World Title): ***1/4

Bully Ray promo at the start, and crowd starts "We want Devon!" chants. Bully wants his match with Storm to be for the #1 contendership at Lockdown. Vintage hostage taking! Storm says Bully's calves are chicken legs. Chicken legs are probably trending worldwide.

Didn't think that match would start the show, as I was certain something X-Division-related would have that slot. Bully spilled beer! That's never good. Sure enough, Storm caught him with the Last Call. Vintage beer spitting moment! Storm wins a short match. Why the hell was this at the start?!

Borash tries to interview Aries, but Eric Bischoff steps in. Looks like they are going with a take on the real interview Bischoff gave trashing Borash (look it up if you don't know what I'm referring to).

Ion comes out first, then Aries. Fun stuff at the start, trading arrogant/cocky segments. Aries tweets during a match. Yeah, don't see that one very often. Aries with control early, then Ion. Pretty formulaic match with extra theatrics. Ion puts the hairpsray in his tights. Crowd loves Aries more than Ion, that's for sure. Ion distracts ref by bringing the title in, then sprays AA. Rollup only got two, classic Ion stunned reaction. Nice AA powerbomb counter out of the corner. Blinded AA gets help to find Ion, brainbuster gets three. Not bad. And "Austin Aries" trended worldwide on Twitter. Awesome.

Tag title match is next. Seems pretty clear who will win here and how. Crimson unbeaten for 14 months -- as in he hasn't been pinned or forced to submit. All about the technicalities! Crimson keeps telling Morgan he's got things under control, refusing to get Morgan in the contest. Morgan grows more agitated by the second. Crowd wants Matt in the match. Magnus gets the hot tag to Joe, and Crimson again refuses to tag Morgan in. Morgan drags Crimson to their corner and tags himself in. Crimson does the same thing a bit later. Predictable argument, then Crimson leaves the corner. Crimson says he's the winner of the team. Morgan flips the double bird. Crimson spears Morgan, leading to Magnus and Joe retaining. As expected, official severing of Morgan and Crimson as a tag team. Let the singles feud resume!

Borash is back to let Roode cut a promo. Storm gets in RR's face. Storm wants to fight Roode now. Roode walks away.

Here we go with the Robbies. Open challenge #2. It's happening tonight -- open challenge to anyone in the Impact Zone. How fun. Me! Pick me! Oof, he dissed the large women! I woulda paid to see Robbie and SoCal Val go at it. Come on!

Vintage Robbie posing. Uh oh, it's a trimmed-down Devon! HA, Brian Hebner on the mic, and he said "ass" to big Rob! WTF, Brooke Hogan?! She tried to grab the chair from little Rob. There are Hogans everywhere, dangit! Small comeback from Devon, and a spinebuster gets three. That's it? Lame.

How the hell has TNA been in business for 10 years?! They'll be in Dallas (Dixie's hometown) for Slammiversary. UT-Arlington's new arena. Cool beans.

Knockouts title time. So I guess we have five titles on the line tonight. Seems like Taz is down with the latex on Gail. OK, the crowd can go back to being mostly dead now. Faint split chants. Gail with that missile dropkick, but Madison seemed a bit close to the ropes, so Gail took a hard splat on the mat as well. Crowd is still dead. Really feeling sorry for the ladies at this point. Madison goes for her finisher, but Eat Defeat "out of nowhere" for three. Well, that filled time.

At least "Gail Kim" trended worldwide on Twitter.

Tag match with AJ/Anderson vs. Daniels/Kaz was good. Since they know each other very well, there were many counters. But dammit, the crowd. They need to be injected with more life. Cool spot with Styles landing on his feet after getting monkey flipped. Clothesline and a Pele. That was awesome. Hot tag to Anderson. Great counter by Daniels on AJ's backflip inverted DDT attempt. Nice finish with AJ countering the Fade to Black into the clash.

Split chants for Angle and Hardy. Finally, TNA's version of a lively crowd shows up! Nice battling on the outside. Angle did the Cactus Jack bump with the steel steps. Hardy crashed and burned against the steel barricade. This was a pretty slow-paced match here. Hardy's Twist of Fate looks like a Stunner now. Angle kicked out of another Twist of Fate, which didn't draw a huge gasp from the crowd. Didn't understand Hardy just gingerly walking to Angle, only to get kicked in the gut. Really? Angle's cut up. Angle slam gets two, and crowd is saying it's awesome. Angle chokes Hardy with those arm sock bands. Third Twist of Fate. Conditioning on these two is amazing. Swanton hit! Angle counters using the ropes. Ref in an overall poor position but counts three. Great match overall.

Main event title match. Champ out first, then Sting. Dixie cheering Sting on. Borash main event intros. "You still got it" chants for Sting. Icon with upper hand early as the chants get a little louder. RR tries to walk away but that's not working here. "Over here!" chants from the crowd, telling Sting to go where they are. Haven't really heard that too often. Stinger Splash on RR against the rail! Figure four on Sting. Reversed after a few minutes. Crowd cheers for this one. Vintage Sting hulking up! Sting attacks RR's legs to set up for the Scorpion Death Lock. Sting gets it on and with great ring positioning before RR gets to the ropes.

RR gets a chair, and it's in the middle of the ring. Sting counters. Scorpion Death Drop...OH SNAP. Sting's head snapped back into the chair hard. Hope that was planned because that hurt like hell. He hit the chair so hard that he broke the seat off its hinges. RR covered for three in another shady finish.

Post-match, RR gets another chair and grabs Dixie. All in the ring now. RR threatens Dixie, Sting tries to intervene but gets cut down. RR duct tapes Sting to the bottom rope in one of the corners. RR leads Dixie to the opposite corner. RR wants to deck Sting with one final chair shot but Dixie crawls over and lies down as a shield on Sting. RR wipes a bunch of Sting's sweaty face paint on Dixie. "Fire Bobby!" chants from the crowd as the show goes off the air.

Must admit, the last two matches and the post-main event segment had the most crowd reaction.

Yet another so-so PPV, in my book. The last two were physical and by far the best of the night. Even when Angle is going much slower than he usually does, he's still an amazing athlete.

I was very happy with the heel reaction Roode got after the match, and I thought the finish was fine. He's the top heel, winning in underhanded or controversial manners, and now Roode's really gotten to threatening Dixie Carter even more. The focus should be on strengthening Roode's heel run. This sets up Roode and Storm at Lockdown. I can't tell for sure right now if TNA will just let Storm win at Lockdown, but I'd just go with the title change because Roode already has a (controversial) win over Storm during his reign. **1/4

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