By Jeff Hamlin<p>
The Big News: Not much of a show in terms of storyline advancement, but lots of good matches. Plus, Kevin Nash will face Booker T next week.
Black Machismo, not talking in his Randy Savage voice to show it was a "shoot," was in the Pink Taco looking for Sonjay Dutt. What a feud that should be. The guy who got beat up by 80’s headliners at the PPV versus the man who got beat up by THAT guy at the PPV.
Booker T defeated B.G. James. B.G has to have the worst music in wrestling. Samoa Joe was watching on a monitor backstage as they continue to build the main event for Victory Road. Total squash where Booker got almost all the offense and pinned him clean. Maybe that’s for the best because B.G.’s punches didn’t look like much. Booker jumped him on the floor before the bell, threw some Anderson Silva knees followed by a side kick and pinned him with an ax kick. It was different to see TNA not rely on parity booking in a match like this.*
Jeremy Borash told Joe maybe Nash had a point about Booker being in his head. Joe got pissed and threatened Borash. Nash walked in and did the weekly run down of the TNA locker room. Somebody explain to Vince Russo it is not cool to run down your own employer. It may add realism, but only at the cost of your company’s credibility. Nash bragged he had beaten Booker many times. I was waiting for Nash to mention how he had been waiting to fight Booker since he came back, or that Booker was too clumsy to match up with him, but that was the wrong clique member. Joe asked Nash why doesn’t he stop talking and prove he can still do it. Nash said he would wrestle Booker next week, and told Joe to watch carefully so he could learn something. Joe screams so much during these skits he pretty much turns himself into a whiny heel. Nash, of course, is being Nash. Good for him, but it hasn’t drawn in years and won’t now.
There was a package for the World X Cup. There will be four rounds to the tournament, culminating in a match at Victory Road in a "World X match." There will be four teams. Mike Tenay explained that the first round would consist of tag matches (where one point would be on the line per match), round two singles matches, round three a 12-man elimination match and the final round would be Ultimate X at Victory Road.
The Motor City Machine Guns (Team TNA) defeated Daivari and Tyson Dux (Team International) in a World Cup X Division Match. Alex Shelley opened with a baseball slide on Dux. Sabin did a flying arm drag off the top rope on Dux. Daivari, now with a shaved head, kicked Shelley from behind, leading to a Dux DDT. Shelley turned a Toyota roll into a hot tag to Sabin. Later, Sabin was about to do a springboard move when Daivari grabbed a leg from outside the ring and Sabin took a face-first bump into the apron. Just as Sabin was getting the big heat, they cut backstage where A.J. Styles jumped Tomko in a weight room. There was a divided screen where one side had a building match, and the other had a heat angle. And neither one of them got over because this company can’t leave a good thing alone. After a commercial, Shelley got the hot tag and opened with a crossbody onto Daivari and Dux. Shelley did a downward spiral on Daivari, and followed with a frog splash for a two count. Shelley teased a sliced bread #2, but Daivari broke it up and hit a huracanrana off the top for a near fall. Sabin came in for a ace crusher on Daivari and a drop kick on Dux. Lots of great moves down the finish, ending with Shelley getting the pin on Daivari following a Sliced Bread #2. Damn good, but not in the league of last week’s Guns match. So Team TNA gets the first point in the cup competition. ***1/4
They shifted backstage for an odd scene. Styles jumped someone with a bald head who we were supposed to believe was Kurt Angle. It was only after A.J. laid him out that we realized it was Frank Trigg. They rushed the angle so badly that, after Styles saw he beat up the wrong guy, the announcers never even mentioned that it was Trigg instead of Angle.
A Gail Kim profile piece featured her talking about her background. Scott D’Amore, identified as an agent, made his first on camera appearance since the breakup of Team Canada (a good two years) talking about Kim’s days in Canadian indies. Pat Kenney (Simon Diamond) also got a cameo. Kim even mentioned her past with Traci Brooks and Angelina Love, which was a bad idea. Kim called her "Angelina" like they were friends from back in the day. They brought up her WWE run, winning the women’s title her first night in the company.
Karen Angle did an interview "via satellite." No one has lost more steam in the company for the past year than Karen. She started great as a heel, but her shelf life has been reduced to screaming about not having an affair with Styles and wondering why Styles put the hit out on her. Whole segment went nowhere.
Jim Cornette came out and said LAX had issued a challenge to Robert Roode and James Storm. LAX came out, and Cornette announced there would be a "Fans Revenge Lumberjack Match" at Victory Road. It’s a lumberjack match with fans stationed at ringside with straps, playing off the angle from last week where Storm grabbed a fan’s belt during the beatdown of LAX. Hector Guerrero cut a promo on Roode, Storm and Jacqueline that was lacking in intensity. All I could think about was how much better an interview K.J. Noons’ father would have cut if the evil Diaz brothers had laid his family out with whips the previous week. Guerrero signed the contract on page three (how wordy can those deals be?). Cornette called Roode and Storm to sign, but only Jacqueline came out. Jacqueline cut a promo on Salinas saying she was envious because Jacqueline’s boobs were real while her’s were fake. Jacqueline’s promo got ten times the heat than Hector’s. They challenged each other to a match later tonight, and Cornette told them to come to the ring alone. Roode and Storm never signed the contract.
Awesome Kong, Raisha Saaed and Jeremy Borash came out for another $25,000 challenge. There were three finalists, and Kong shoved each of them at ringside. She chose "Taylor," who pushed the barricade into Kong.
Awesome Kong defeated Taylor. This idea is catching on because it got a ton of heat. Taylor got, by far, the most offense of anyone from this gimmick yet. She hit several missile drop kicks and escaped the awesome bomb twice. Fans even thought she had a chance to win for a while. Taylor went for a huracanrana, but Kong got another stiff awesome bomb for the pin. Surprisingly entertaining, and Taylor got over. **1/2
Backstage, Team 3-D was hovering over Rhino, who was lying across a broken table. He apparently took a 3-D through the table, though we didn’t see it. Story here was Christian Cage would have to find a new partner for the main event.
Sonjay Dutt did a promo backstage, even though he was supposed to be at the Pink Taco. Dutt talked about how he was in love with So Cal Val, and Val was in love with him.
There was a package of Kaz and his career highlights. Thankfully they didn’t mention how much steam he’s lost since January and that horrid White Sunshine promo.
Kaz defeated Alex Koslov. It was a special challenge match as opposed to a X Cup match. First big move was Koslov giving Kaz a kick on the apron, and following with a springboard plancha. Koslov put on his Ivan Koloff hat and did a dance while kicking Kaz. The comeback by Kaz included a Magistral cradle for a two count. Kozlov did a cool Romero Special (called the Perestroika) against the ropes. Kaz didn’t sell it nearly enough, as he reversed a Russian leg sweep into a side kick. Kaz teased the Flex Kapacitator, but Koslov reversed into a kick to the head. Finish occurred when Koslov missed a frog splash, and Kaz hit the Wave of the Future for the pin. Good match. ***
Christian Cage did an interview teasing that Styles would replace Rhino as his partner tonight.
"Rough Cut" was back, more as a up-close and personal feature rather than building up a match. The subject was Matt Morgan, who talked about struggling against ADD as a child. He spoke of his basketball career, and talked of getting scholarship offers from Syracuse and Indiana. Then he signed with Monmouth. Something doesn’t add up there, although I guess he could have received more playing team in the Northeast Conference. He talked of being nominated for a McDonald’s All-American the same year that Kevin Garnett made the team, and said his goal was to make it to the NBA.
Dutt finally showed up to the Pink Taco, where Machismo confronted him. The Pink Taco was the ECW Arena of bars. Total shack. I’m just taking a guess here, but in the movie "Police Academy" there was a gay bar called the "Blue Oyster," so perhaps the Pink Taco was a takeoff on that. Anyway, Dutt claimed that Val loved him. Machismo, with catlike reflexes, slapped him and they brawled around the room. Machismo got most of the offense, threw a beer bottle, a drum, a trash can and numerous other objects at him. It ended when Machismo speared Dutt through a wall, and they were both beaten to exhaustion.
Team 3-D did an interview saying they knew A.J. Styles was going to be Cage’s partner tonight.
Jacqueline defeated Salinas. The difference between the working ability of these two women was noticeable within seconds. Salinas might as well be at WWE diva, while Jacqueline had to carry her. Jacqueline pulled off a T-bone suplex. Salinas turned the tables with an electric chair and a STO for a two count. Jacqueline tried a sloppy DDT and finished her with a guillotine choke (seriously) for the tapout clean as anything. Jacqueline then pulled out her belt and began strapping Salinas, and hit referee Mark Johnson as well. *
Christian Cage and A.J. Styles defeated Team 3-D. Standard brawling before the bell. They traded offense early, concluding with Styles missing a splash in the corner, allowing 3-D to hit wazzup. 3-D then went for the tables, but for some reason they weren’t under the ring. They had to go backstage, which was only 30 feet from the ring. As if Nash’s constant harping about the locker room doesn’t make the building look bush league enough. By the time 3-D got the table, Styles recovered to give both Dvon and Ray a flying flip plancha to the floor. During a commercial, Dvon gave Styles a hangman’s neckbreaker off the second rope. Dvon missed a splash in the corner, and Styles gave Dvon an enzuigiri to make the hot tag to Cage, who gave each member of 3-D a clothesline. Cage tried the unprettier on Dvon, who reversed it into an attempt at the Saving Grace, but Cage got the edgeomatic. Dvon and Ray collided in the corner, and Cage got a frog splash on Dvon, leading to Ray making the save. 3-D hit the reverse 3-D on Cage for a near fall. Styles made a blind tag and caught Dvon with a springboard forearm, and Styles and Cage hit stero headbutts off the top rope. Ray made the save. Styles tried a huracanrana, but 3-D turned it into a Doomesday Device for another near fall. Cage cut off Ray while he was on the top rope, and Cage hit a huracanrana, only to get caught with a saving grace by Dvon. 3-D teased the 3-D on Styles, but Styles hit the Pele kick on Ray, and pinned Dvon after the quebrada into a reverse DDT. ***
SUMMARY: Good wrestling, bad angles. Par for the course, but it didn’t exactly build the Victory Road main event when Joe appeared in one segment and the top drawing card in the company may never be 100% again.