Monday, 6 June 2016

Catch-Up: TNA One Night Only: Victory Road

Our latest catch-up offering sees us venturing into the Impact Zone for the first time in ages as we take a look back at TNA’s latest One Night Only pay per view, Victory Road, shown recently on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with Gregory Shane Helms guy Andrew Everett, accompanied here by Trevor Lee, taking on DJ Z, who had Eddie Edwards watching his back.

As far as show openers go this wasn’t too bad, and very much in the X Division style. Both guys pulled off some nice moves, and although Everett looked quite impressive it’s obvious that he needs a bit more polishing as it were and is in need of a character that doesn’t scream out “generic”.

As expected there was quite a bit of involvement from those around the ring, including the breaking up of pin attempts when Zee had the upper hand, and during what would turn out to be the last of these engagements Everett took Zee down with a low blow while the referee’s back was turned. When he returned his attention back to the action the first thing he saw was Everett covering his man for the winning pin.

The Knockouts were up next as Marti Bell went up against Velvet Sky.

Now where do I start with this one? You see, it’s obvious that the Knockouts are way behind their Diva counterparts these days, but this one was kind of ruined by all the jaw-jacking before the match began and the loopy ending.

The action was okay. Sky and Bell didn’t exactly put in top notch performances, but it was a passable contest, but when Bell began to berate referee Earl Hebner for his counting things went downhill from there. A shoving match ensued, which ended when Hebner put Bell on his knee and put her in a lip lock. Yep, even though WWE were blasted for something similar at the Royal Rumble TNA still had an aged referee snogging a young woman during a match.

But the worst was yet to come. The kiss was apparently too much for old Earl as he grabbed his chest as if he was having a heart attack. Sky then connected with a boot to the bread basket before finishing Bell off with a luke warm stunner, with the somewhat ailing Hebner making a very slow three count.

Luckily it looked as if old Earl didn’t need the electric shock paddles, but when Sky grabbed him and planted a smacker on his lips I thought I might need them, not because I was jealous of the old man, because I couldn’t believe I was seeing that on a wrestling show in 2016.

Next up were a couple of guys I hadn’t seen much of as Beauregarde took on Chris Melendez.

Before I go I must say that I have the utmost of respect for what Chris Melendez has gone through, and what he’s gone though to become a professional wrestler. But the whole storyline for this match left me feeling a little uncomfortable.

The main part of the action centred on the so-called southern gentleman going after and eventually removing Melendez’s artificial leg, and as soon as he managed to remove the limb the first thought I had was that this shouldn’t be part of a wrestling match.

But despite Beauregarde’s underhanded tactics Melendez came out on to, taking his man down with a top rope dropkick for the winning pin.

Then it was on to more long-haired bearded guys as Bram faced James Storm.

This was basically one big fight, and quite an entertaining one at that. It began when Bram attacked Storm as the Cowboy led a “Bram sucks” chant, and before they took it into the ring Storm took great delight in running that scooter thing of his into Bram’s nether regions.

From there these two went about beating the proverbial out of each other. Both men came close to getting that elusive win until Bram made the cardinal mistake of taking a bottle of Storm’s beer. After he’d taken a mouthful the referee snatched the bottle away from him. This left him open to the Cowboy’s last call super kick, a move that gave Storm the winning pin.

The only tag team match of the show saw the Tribunal, Basile Baraka and Baron Dax, taking on the BroMans, Robbie E and Jessie Godderz.

There was a hell of a lot of jaw-jacking at the beginning of this one as we were reminded of how much overseas wrestlers hate competing in the States, and there were times when I started to wonder if they were ever going to have a match.

Eventually the match actually began, and the action wasn’t that bad. There were some nice exchanges early on before the Frenchman began to use E for target practice as they worked over his left arm and shoulder.

That particular form of punishment didn’t last though when E managed to get back to his corner, and after a brief all hell breaking loose segment Godderz took the pin after he and E took Dax out with their bro-down finisher.

It was back to singles action for the next match as Braxton Sutter, accompanied by Allie, faced the other half of Beer Money, Bobby Roode.

This one came about when Sutter issued an open challenge to anyone in the locker room, with Roode answering the challenge by simply walking down to the ring. At least there wasn’t as much jaw-jacking as in the previous match.

The match itself fits firmly into the not too bad category. Both guys put in good efforts, and as expected Allie made her presence known a few times with that ever so lovely voice of hers (in case you don’t realise I’m being sarcastic), and she actually contributed to her husband’s demise when she leapt up onto the apron to confront Roode, with the former champion simply moving out of the way as Sutter collided with her.

The distress Sutter felt at having injured his wife left him wide open, and when he turned his attention back to the match Roode took him down with the Roode bomb for the winning pin.

The penultimate match saw the other Gregory Shane Helms guy Trevor Lee taking on Eddie Edwards.

Without wanting to sound like a stuck record this is another match that fits into the wasn’t too bad file. It was nice to watch, and it showed that Edwards is once again more than capable of putting on a good match without his regular partner around. As for Lee, well, I guess he’s an acquired taste as it were. Despite having the former Hurricane in his corner his character seems a little bland and in need of a personality transplant.

Of course with Helms in attendance there were plenty of chances for outside interference, and in the end it was Lee who took the win when he connected with a high knee to the head and followed up with a fisherman’s buster for the winning pin.

The final match of the show saw Eli Drake taking on Ethan Carter III.

Well, this was a little more like it, even though we had to put up with even more jaw-jacking before the action got underway. It was quite a keenly contested encounter, and the performances seemed to be a notch or two higher than most of the others on this show.

Both guys looked pretty decent throughout, and Drake played the heel part quite well, although seeing EC3 as a beloved baby face seems a little strange. As for the ending despite his best efforts Drake came up a little short, and when EC3 applied his cobra clutch-like move Drake had no choice but to tap out to give Carter the submission win.

In conclusion – it’s been a while since I’ve seen what TNA has to offer these days, and having seen a certain video that’s been doing the rounds I thought there would be no better time than to see what their in-ring product is like at the moment.

Well I’m afraid I’m going to have to use that phrase again. Most of the action here wasn’t too bad, but as seems to be the case with these One Night Only shows there were no real stand-out moments, and most of these matches won’t be remembered in a few weeks time, let alone a few months or a few years, so I doubt if I’ll be pulling this recording off my shelf in a few years time for a retro review.

As for my prestigious match of the night no-prize, in a show filled with not too bad moments I’m going for the final match on the card and the EC3/Eli Drake encounter.

So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do. Most of the matches here didn’t stink up the Impact Zone, but they didn’t exactly set it alight either, so the thumb goes up for this one, but only just.