My Thoughts on TNA Victory Road 2008
On Sunday June 13th, TNA Presented Victory Road with the finals of the 2008 World X Cup as one of the major selling points along with a full metal mayhem match between AJ, Christian and Rhino taking on Angle and Team 3D, and the main event of Samoa Joe taking on Houston’s own, Booker T.
The opening match, a 12 man elimination tag team match with Team TNA (Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin and Curry Man) taking on Team Mexico (Ultimo Guerrero, Ray Bucanero and Averno), Team Japan (Masato Yoshino, Milano Collection AT and Puma) and Team International (Doug Williams, Alex Koslov and Tyson Dux). This match is a testament to what TNA should be about. The name of the company is Total Non-stop Action, and that is exactly what this match gave us. From the start, it was non-stop. While the opening 3-4 minutes did seem a bit of a cluster, as soon as there was a couple of eliminations the match really took off. The whole story of the match was the survival of Masato Yoshino. He lost his 2 partners early on, and he was all alone. In the end, Alex Shelley got the pinfall on Masato Yoshino to give Team TNA the 3 points. This match was great all round. Yoshino was a serious contender for MVP of the match, second place goes to Alex Shelley.
Next up we had Gail Kim taking on Angelina Love who was accompanied by her running buddy Velvet Sky. It was a relatively good match, Angelina is just not at the level of Gail and I think that affected the quality of the match itself. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good womens match, but if Angelina were just slightly more up to Gail’s standards then this could have been a great match. The only other gripe I had was about the match itself was only 7 minutes long. The post match was a letdown. The Beautiful People need to work on the post match beatdowns if they will continue working as heels.
The third match of the night saw a grudge match between “The Guru” Sonjay Dutt and “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal. Both men are good workers, but I didn’t buy it. This isn’t a knock on TNA as outside of ROH we rarely ever see a grudge match turn out like one. The way I always expect a grudge match is that it should be more or less based on a fight, not a wrestling match. These are 2 guys who hate each other, why are they attempting a suplex? I know if I personally had a grudge, I would be trying to lay him out. I would be swinging for the fences and just smashing his head into anything I could before hitting him with anything that’s not nailed down. This just didn’t seem like much of a grudge match which is what it was billed as. If this was a regular match, it would have been good and made more sense. Outside of that, this was the right result since this feud will be continuing for another couple of months leading to SoCal Val turning on Lethal.
Match number four was the “fans revenge” match. This match again was a letdown, more because of the gimmick than the match. I don’t mind a good old fans revenge match every so often, but this type of gimmick is taken away from in a tag match. The stipulation is that when someone is outside the ring, the fans are free to whip them, surely the guy stood on the apron counts as being outside the ring, yet he was ignored. The best part of the match was Roode going under the ring to escape a whipping (after being stuck between the apron and the ring, something Finlay is known for doing to opponents). Besides that, the match just seemed to end suddenly and it was kind of anti-climactic in the end.
Next we had the Knockouts Championship on the line as the ultimate underdog, Taylor Wilde defended her newly won Knockouts championship against former champion, Awesome Kong. The match went as planned with Kong dominating and Taylor winning with a quick roll up. A lot of people online have been saying this destroys the whole mystique of Kong being a monster and making her look weak, in my opinion, it doesn’t. She dominated Taylor and while going for a trademark move (something they can play off since Taylor obviously scouted it and found an opening for the win), to me, this forces Kong to evolve and build on what she is already. Oh, and the fact she is injured makes sense why they would allow the title to be defended while allowing Kong to heal.
We come to the finalé of the 2008 World X Cup, Ultimate X. We have Team TNA (Kaz) taking on Team Japan (Naruki Doi), Team International (Daivari) and Team Mexico (Volador Jr). As a long time fan of TNA, I have seen every Ultimate X match and while this wasn’t one of the best, you have to give them some credit since 3 of the 4 people in the ring had never been in this type of a match. Kaz won the Crazy Spot of the Night award with his legdrop off the top of the Ultimate X structure onto Daivari who was climbing across the cables. Volador winning was slightly unexpected, but it’s good to see the relationship between TNA and CMLL strengthened by this result and hopefully we will see some more talents coming in from Mexico in the future.
Time for the semi-main event of the night as Team 3D and Kurt Angle defeated AJ Styles, Christian Cage and Rhino. Again, another really good match and my choice for 2nd place in the MotN stakes. Some of the best spots in the match included AJ’s Springboard Superman forearm from the top of a ladder onto Brother Ray, Christian hitting a diving crossbody off the top of the Ultimate X structure onto the heels, Rhino hitting the GORE, GORE, GORE (one for each of the opposition), Cage being taken out with a 3D off the apron through a table on the floor and the finish involving Frank Trigg, a Kendo Stick, AJ Styles and an Angle Slam through a table off a ladder. Oh, and Brother Ray hit a superkick on AJ as well.
Finally, we have our main event, Samoa Joe vs Booker T for the TNA Heavyweight championship. Naturally with Booker being the hometown boy, he was the acting babyface in the match. People are complaining about this match, specifically the finish, but I don’t see why it’s so bad. It caused people to watch iMPACT and see what happened, and that can only be a good thing. I understand the whole concept of sending the fans home happy with a conclusive finish, but seriously, when was the last time TNA never give us a decisive ending? When was the last time we got a DQ finish or other bullshit like that in a title match? I honestly can’t remember myself. The match, for what it was, was fun and exciting. Joe getting busted open by Booker before he took over and beat the crap out of Booker, infront of his wife. He then went into badass mode and destroyed some of Booker’s PWA students, 3 referees and a number of security guards before Sting made his presence felt, coming out and attacking Joe after Joe told him what he can do with his bat (not in a very polite manner though). The worst part of the match was the botched ref bump. Besides that, it was a good match before the finish and I don’t think that was as bad as people made it out to be.
Overall: The pay per view was seriously worth the money, the opener was one of the best matches in a while from WWE or TNA, Full Metal Mayhem was a really good match, Ultimate X, while not as good as previous matches was still a fun match, Joe vs Booker was a good match (although people may not like the finish). I’d say if you’ve not seen the pay per view, I would recommend purchasing the DVD when its released.