Live Fan Report From TNA Victory Road: Jeff Hardy/Sting Thoughts, Problems

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Richard Trionfo of the Pro Wrestling Insider attended last night’s TNA Wrestling Victory Road PPV last night and had the following to say about the show:

On Sunday night, I was in the Impact Zone for the 2011 edition of Victory Road. The show that carries the name of the first monthly pay per view found its third different slot and this time, it is probably going to be remembered for a main event that would have been finished by this point if you started reading this column when the match began and a number one contender match that ended in a double count out.

Before I get into my detailed thoughts on the show, I wanted to give my recommendation on whether to purchase a replay of the show if it is available on your cable/satellite system. I know that Mike, on the post game show said that he would not recommend it based on the main event. While I agree that it is not a show that I would recommend, I think that from a live perspective this show was missing something that was there for Against All Odds, because that was a show that I thought was made better by the crowd in the Impact Zone.

I thought the show started off strong with the opening match and then things went off the rails and there was not enough to save the show as the night progressed.

As is the case with any pay per view thoughts column, I employ the Chart of Expectations in reviewing the show. Instead of looking solely at whether I liked a match or not, I also consider what I thought I was going to see prior to the pay per view. Using this method, it is possible that there could be a match that I did not like, but it can still exceed my expectations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there could be a match that I liked, but I might have expected more so it did not live up to my expectations.

Of the eight matches on this pay per view, one match exceeded my expectations, five matches equaled my expectations, and two matches fell below my expectations.

Here are my thoughts on the show:

When I saw that the opening match was going to be the Bully Ray/Tommy Dreamer match, I was a bit worried because I did not think that it would have connected with the crowd in Orlando like the Ultimate X Match would have. I was wrong because this match got the crowd into the show and it exceeded my expectations. This was my favorite match of the pay per view.

This match booked the right way. This was not a match that was going to have a lot of technical wrestling because of the way this match was built up. Then they added the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation. They had a good brawl around the ring and incorporated the fans. I liked that they did the spot with a fan holding the chair for Dreamer to send Ray into it. While I thought the use of the Minion was a bit corny, I liked it more than the blow up doll. The use of weapons was not excessive because they were not used in any other match so it was not something that would be forgotten or minimize things.

With the intensity that Ray had in this match, I did not expect him to fall for Unwritten Rule #2: When someone’s music plays during a match, you drop everything to watch them come out. While it wasn’t Devon who came out, it was his kids who were a diversion to allow Devon to come in and, with help from Dreamer, hit the 3D on Ray to get the win.

Then we saw our first of many promos where dissention among partners and groups were teased. Throughout the night, we saw the Beautiful People and Winter, Ink Inc, Generation Me, and The Jarretts. Just like with the overuse of weapons or gimmicks in multiple matches, doing four different ‘break up’ teases on a pay per view was way too much. The end result of these four segments were one likely break up (Ink Inc), one potential break up (Generation Me), one unlikely break up because the long term friendship will win out in the end (Beautiful People and Winter), and one where they will not break up because they are married (The Jarretts).

The Knockouts Tag Title Match fell below my expectations. This match was not very different than the matches we see from the Knockouts on Impact. There were a few spots during the match that seemed a bit off and the positioning of the women seemed to be a bit off. The finish of the match was very awkward with Rosita standing behind Winter for what seemed like a minute waiting for her to turn around. It was long enough to allow Velvet to come to the ring and stop Rosita. Why couldn’t she hit Winter from behind? Doesn’t a belt shot to the back of the head have the same effect as a shot to the face? Then we saw the rollup with the referee not seeing it long enough to allow the other team to get one over the champs.

I briefly mentioned the Jarrett videos when discussion the break up teases. Did they want us to think that the ‘honeymoon’ was going on during the show? If so, the sun had set by the time that the first video was shown. The segments were okay, but they felt like they should have been on Impact and not a pay per view. Jarrett was good in the segments and even though some of his acting was over the top, it fit with the segments.

The Matt Morgan/Hernandez match fell below my expectations. I thought that the match took a little too long to get into gear and by the time it felt like things were going to get moving, we had the run in by the ‘fan’ who was escorted to the back. Then we got the slow build to the squirting of the fake blood and the long amount of time it took for another referee to come out. The finish did not come out well in the building and the crowd was not into this match.

Don’t they have monitors in the back for the referees to watch so they know if something is happening for them to come out to help out their fellow referees if they are knocked out during a match? Why did the referee get in the middle of the running knee from Morgan?

I thought it was funny to hear the crowd chant ‘We Want Blood’ for a First Blood Match because they were going to get blood during the match.

When was the last time that there was a First Blood Match that did not end up with a screwy finish?

I liked the Generation Me promo before the Ultimate X match because it did a good job of telling everyone that Max was going to do something during the match that would piss off Jeremy to cost both of them the match.

The Ultimate X Match met my expectations for the match. There were some good spots that you expect from an Ultimate X Match. I really liked the finish to the match with Max and Jeremy fighting on the cable as they were right by the belt while Kazarian walked across the cable using the top of the structure for support to stop Robbie who used the ladder. I also thought the way that the towers were used well in the match. I liked the spot when Kazarian sent Max into the tower when Max was on the top turnbuckle. However, there were also a number of spots that were done for the sake of popping the crowd instead of trying to win the match. There was a point when the Bucks were the only people in the ring because Kazarian and Robbie were fighting on the floor. Instead of going for the belt, they decided to go to the floor as well.

If you are a fan of this type of action, I would assume that you enjoyed this match more than I did.

The Beer Money versus Ink Inc match equaled my expectations. There was some good action towards the end of the match, and I really liked the finishing sequence with Storm hitting the super kick before the DWI. There were a few points in the match where I thought Moore and Neal were going to win the match, so they did a good job of conveying that either team could win the match instead of having people sitting around waiting for the expected finish. I also thought the match had a few too many parts that went too slow. It felt like they could have cut a minute or two from the match. Even though they are now faces, I still don’t know why they do their ‘Beer Money’ chant in the middle of the match. Why not wait until the match is over to do it? It was not as bad as Robbie E doing the fist pump before he tried to climb the ladder during the Ultimate X Match.

The A.J. Styles versus Matt Hardy match equaled my expectations. I liked that A.J. got the win so it would give Fortune a sweep on the night and could help get them to be considered as the elite group in the company. It was also good to see A.J. bring back the Spiral Tap to win the match. I thought Ric Flair being at ringside took away from the match. When they did the usual ‘Ric Flair and Earl Hebner push each other’ spot, it was delayed because Flair was arguing with fans at ringside.

The Rob Van Dam versus Ken Anderson match equaled my expectations. About two thirds of the way through the match, someone I was sitting with joked that they would probably do a double count out finish. I think at that point in the match, I agreed with him. Other than the usual ‘asshole’ chants, I did not think the crowd was into this match. It felt like it was on slow motion for most of the match. I did like when Anderson avoided the corkscrew leg drop from the apron.

Unlike the Kurt Angle versus Jeff Hardy match from No Surrender, there was not a unanimous demand for the match to be given extra time when there was no determined winner.

Kick, punch, punch, Scorpion Death Drop, three count. That was your main event on this show. Even with that being the entire amount of offense in the match, it equaled my expectations. I was wondering why Hardy took so long to throw his t-shirt and I also wondered why Sting was getting in Hardy’s face at that time. The addition of Eric Bischoff into the mix might have improved the match. With that said, I don’t think we need to have Impact on Thursday start off with Eric Bischoff explaining his actions for twenty minutes.

How hard is it to prepare for a No Disqualification Match? Do you have to forget the ‘rules’ in order to prepare properly?

Because the main event was so short, I was wondering if they were going to have Sting be forced to face Anderson and Van Dam since they decided that Anderson and Van Dam were both worthy of being the number one contender. Or they could have said that since A.J. Styles won the last match with a ‘winner’ before the title match that he would be able to face Sting for the title.

I am not going to go into the argument that was brought up on the post game show regarding whether the main event should have been rebooked instead of giving the people what they saw. I know that TNA has been able to rebook things because at Bound for Glory 2005, they did a good job of rebooking the scheduled main event of Kevin Nash and Jeff Jarrett to give the title to Rhino, which had one of the best genuine reactions in all of the shows that I have attended at the Impact Zone.

I also thought something was going to happen after the match because TNA has a habit of running their pay per views until around 10:50 and the main event was over around 10:38 or 10:40.

There were also issues throughout the night with the DixieTron (or is it the JarretTron or the HoganTron because Hogan won the court case). There were a number of panels that would go out throughout the night. At times entire columns were not working. It did make for some good footage for Jimmy Kimmel’s censoring deal that he does where there is really nothing wrong. At points, there were parts were people were completely hidden so it looked like Christy Hemme was interviewing the invisible man or the wrestlers were being interviewed by nobody. I don’t know if it could be seen on the broadcast.

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