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Ring Crew Reviews: TNA Victory Road 2008

May 24, 2012 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: TNA Victory Road 2008  

Scheduled Card:
1. Four Team Triple Elimination match in the Third Round of the World X Cup Tournament: Team Japan (Milano Collection A.T., Masato Yoshino, and Puma) vs. Team Mexico (Último Guerrero, Rey Bucanero, and Averno) vs. Team International (Alex Koslov, Doug Williams, and Tyson Dux) vs. Team TNA (Curry Man, Alex Shelley, and Chris Sabin).
2. Angelina Love vs. Gail Kim.
3. Grudge Match: Sonjay Dutt vs. Jay Lethal.
4. Fans’ Revenge Match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship: Beer Money vs. LAX (c).
5. TNA Knockout’s Championship: Awesome Kong vs. Taylor Wilde (c).
6. World X Cup Round Four: Ultimate X Match: Naruko Doi vs. Volador Jr. vs. Daivari vs. Kaz.
7. Full Metal Mayhem: Team 3D & Kurt Angle vs. Rhino, Christian Cage & AJ Styles.
8. TNA World Championship: Booker T vs. Samoa Joe (c).

• The video package for this is quite the mindfuck. They use grainy clips of Saturn rockets from the infancy of the space program and some of President Kennedy’s famous rhetoric about the space program (because the PPV is in Houston). But somehow this is supposed to relate to various TNA storylines. Are they boldly going where no man has gone before? Are they crossing new horizons? Venturing forth beyond that pale blue dot? Proving that TNA is no moon but a space station?

• We start with Borash who says the fans tonight get to vote for the stips in the six man tag.

• Then, for some reason, Road Dogg is given the stick to hype up the crowd by running down the card.

Four Team Triple Elimination match in the Third Round of the World X Cup Tournament: Team Japan (Milano Collection A.T., Masato Yoshino, and Puma) vs. Team Mexico (Último Guerrero, Rey Bucanero, and Averno) vs. Team International (Alex Koslov, Doug Williams, and Tyson Dux) vs. Team TNA (Curry Man, Alex Shelley, and Chris Sabin). This is announced as a “12 man elimination match” which is sort of true and sort of not true. Also, the World X Cup was one of those phenomenal TNA ideas that never got it’s full due. Much like the King of the Mountain gimmick match, it sounds more complicated than it is and winds up making a lot of sense once the match gets going. The MCMG are wearing chest protectors and lucha masks for their intros. Also, every team decided to bring their own flag with them to the ring. If we don’t have flag interference and shenanigans, I’m going to be pissed.

• Yoshino and Curry Man to start. Crowd chants USA as Yoshino wants a bow of respect before booting Curry to outsmart him. Yoshino runs the ropes lightning fast and then hits a dropkick. Curry Man wants a race to see who’s actually fastest and now HE trips up Yoshino off the blocks. Funny. Curry brings in the Guns for a double team hiptoss and a basement dropkick. Yoshino tags in Dux and Doug Williams. They in a couple clotheslines and some combo stuff on Sabin for 2. They try some combo Gory Special submission but Sabin escapes and tags in some from Team Mexico. They hit the World’s Greatest Tag Team move and a double team press slam flapjack. UG with a flip splash to the floor on Doug Williams. Dux tries countering a wheelbarrow suplex with a rollup and instead Bucanero just drops him on his fucking head with a Quakendriver and Dux is out at 2:58.

• Puma in now and he avoids a Bucanero dive that sends Bucanero to the floor. The rest of Team Japan sends him into the guardrail. Back in, more combo stuff from MCAT and Puma. Puma with a slingshot senton for 2. He lands on his feet out of a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker attempt but gets driven down with a reverse powerbomb from Bucanero. Averno runs through MCAT and Puma. They do some complicated but cool miscommunication spots before Averno eliminates Puma with the sitout pedigree at 5:06.

• MCAT and Averno now. MCAT with the enzuigri in the corner and a DR FG ENZUIGIRI before it was commonplace. He covers but it’s broken up at 2. Averno gets out while the getting’s good and tags in Sabin. MCAT avoids a flying burrito with the Matrix neckbridge and a DEADLY Dragon Screw LW. Shelly tries to break it up but MCAT instead locks in a DOUBLE HALF CRAB! Curry Man chops him to end that rally. MCAT distracts the ref and pretends like Sabin low blowed him. Ref isn’t sure but allows it to continue. Sabin with a ROARINGELBOW for 2 but MCAT no sells and comes back with an enzuigiri. Sabin no sells and gives him a DR FG and hits a combo Cradle Shock with Shelley’s help to eliminate MCAT at 7:13.

• Yoshino in but he runs into La Magistral from Sabin for 2. Yoshino comes back with a reverse flying armbreaker for 2. Shelley tags and blindsides Yoshino with an enzuigiri off a failed O’Connor roll. They both no sells some clotheslines and Shelley hooks him in the Tree of Woe so the Guns can hit a couple IEDs for 2. Shelley tries a tornado DDT but Yoshino lands on his feet and comes back with a TILT-A-WHIRL OCTOPUS STRETCH! Shelley rolls through and gives him the DR FG ENZUIGIRI. Averno blind tags in but not before Yoshino hits a reverse DDT on Shelley. More crisscrossing before Averno hits the reverse powerbomb. Averno with a burrito and a TKO. Yoshino no sells and rolls up Averno with La Magistral at 10:34.

• The match breaks down as Koslov hits a powerslam on Curry Man and now… WE DANCE! Sabin in with a superkick but Doug cuts him off with the CHAOS THEORY! Curry and Doug exchange counters and then collide on a clothesline. They chop it out before eating stereo crossbodies from Team Mexico. They stack Curry up in the corner for a handstand Bronco Buster from UG. Another springboard Bossman attack. Curry recovers to try a top rope rana but UG counters to a TOP ROPE POWERBOMB! Curry is eliminated at 12:56.

• Bucanero in with Doug Williams. He and UG hits a combo corkscrew senton/backcracker on Doug and he’s gone at 13:23.

• Bucanero and UG go for their secret handshake but the MCMG break it up. They dump Team Mexico to the floor and try to follow out with dives but both whiff. UG is back in with Koslov. Koslov stops the match to try and get a RUSSIARUSSIARUSSIA chant going but unfortunately the Koloffs aren’t in-house and the chant never gets off the ground. Koslov tries a superplex but UG counters to a top rope gordbuster. Cover gets only 2. Koslov distracts the ref and gives UG a low blow. Koslov with the Red Scare and UG “passes out” at 15:04.

• UG never actually tapped out which I’m sure has to do with the politics and inner workings of lucha libre and getting him to participate in the match. Regardless, he’s eliminated. Bucanero hits a side slam on Koslov for 2. Koslov comes back with the BLATANTEYEPOKE and tags in Sabin. Sabin preps and hits a top rope rana. The Guns hits a combo DR FG ENZUIGIRI and Bucanero’s out at 15:21.

• Yoshino recovers and is in but the Guns go through their outine on him and also boot anyone else on the apron to the floor. Koslov in as Sabin has Yoshino on the top rope. Shelley comes running in and springboards off Koslov’s back to give Yoshino a top rope jawbreaker to the mat. The Guns with a combo Flatliner but Yoshino still kicks out at 2. Yoshino avoids the dosie doe charge in the corner and tags in Koslov. Koslov flies in but eats a dropkick from Sabin. Sabin with a Diamond Cutter on Koslov and a LARIATO for 2. Koslov distracts the ref and then rolls up Sabin with his feet on the ropes. Sabin stays down for the 3 at 19:07.

• Shelley argues with the ref too but Koslov throws him to the floow and follows out with a tope con hilo. Back in, Yoshino tries a dive off the second rope but flies into an enzuigiri from Koslov for 2. Shelley dumps himself to the floor missing a charge. Yoshino with some smacks on Koslov and the tilt-a-whirl armbreaker TD. Yoshino hooks in the Sol Naciente and Koslov gives up at 20:33.

• We’re down to just Shelley and Yoshino. They chop it out. Yoshino with a Sling Blade and the MISSILE DOUBLE FOOTSTOMP for 2.9! Shelley with a superkick and Sliced Bread 2 and covers for 2. Shelley tries a Frog Splash but Yoshino gets the knees up. Yoshino hits a hammerlock-assisted Protobomb for 2. Shelley avoids a charge with a reverse powerbomb and Tiger Suplex for 2. Shelley puts Yoshino up top and gives him around superkick. Yoshino no sells and hits the Sling Blade off the top. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9. Yoshino says it’s over and calls for his move but instead Shelley hits an inverted atomic drop off the top and an Island Driver to end it at 24:16.

• This is a crazy match. It’s fast… REALLY fast and it’s cool, but that’s also a bit of the problem. Sometimes, less is more and sometimes more is less. One of my favorite matches ever is Do Fixer vs. Blood Generation and for that one instance, more is more because it’s just the greatest spotfest of all time. This, on the other hand, is a spotfest and a good one, but not necessarily a great match. Yoshino (one of the Dragon Gate six) gets to look very cool coming out of the match, but I’m still not sure if that would translate into a regular match. ***1/2

• Now, in sort of an odd setup all night long, Tenay says we are going to get a variety of clips of Booker’s homecoming. I call it odd because Book is the heel and this is kind of Joe’s first big singles feud since beating Angle for the belt at Lockdown 2008. The videos and the PPV being in Houston do such a good job of making Booker look like a cool dude that they kind of turn him face. The first one is an MTV Cribs-like tour of Booker’s mansion in Houston including his belt collection, his wall of fame, his car garage, and wines from his own personal winery. You see, they are trying to push Booker as a Bond villain who strokes his cat with his iron fist while meditating and drinking wine with a picture of himself on the bottle especially when Booker tops it off with a completely over the heel maniacal laugh, but it drifts past evil into camp because we know it’s all for show. Again, Book just comes off cool.

Angelina Love vs. Gail Kim. This was set up by Angelina interrupting Gail Kim’s ladder match the month prior at Sacrifice. AL attacks her before the bell from behind and sends her into a few turnbuckles. They now slug it out with forearms and Kim wins that one. Kim avoids a charge in the corner with a boot and a clothesline. She hits a couple chops and a clothesline in the corner. She tries springboarding in but Velvet Sky trips her up and Kim eats it to the apron. Velvet slides her in and AL covers for 2. AL goes to the BLATANTCHOKE and a clothesline for 2. Tenay runs down the card for the fourth time like this is a Free-for-All. Angelina rolls through Kim grabbing her boot and then Gail rolls herself up(!) for 2. AL with an eye gouge and an ugly spinwheel kick for 2. Gail avoids a charge with a Stun Gun and WTF, she applies a RING POST FIGURE FOUR! That’s a contender for best move in the most undeserving match ever. Sky breaks it up and gets sent into the barricade. Gail heads up top but Velvet crotches her. Crowd is so into the match that they tell Earl he screwed Bret. They probably were reminded about Bret by the ring post F4 and just decided to drop in that little addition. AL with a superplex that doesn’t entirely get over and winds up being a brainbuster. Delayed cover gets 2. Gail avoids a kick and hits a few clotheslines and a dropkick. AL slides out of a slam and gets an O’Connor Roll for 2. Gail with a Spear for nothing. AL goes for her finisher but Gail avoids with elbows and hits a Codebreaker. Gail with a neckbreaker to end it at 6:16. Mildly offensive but didn’t stay around long enough to wear out its welcome. *1/4

• Post-match, The Beautiful People try to put the boots to Gail but she escapes.

• Meanwhile, Road Dogg is in the back with the fans who will have the belts in the Fan’s Revenge match. He hypes the match by having their whip mannequins dressed as the heels, Beer Money. No, really.

Grudge Match: Sonjay Dutt vs. Jay Lethal. The “grudge” is over SoCal Val and who she’s really in love with. This feud is a contender for one of the worst of the new century, especially in relation to how capable the wrestlers are of having good matches and yet how much the feud handcuffed them. It’s kind of like the opposite of the MegaPowers explode with Hogan being the one to lose it over jealousy rather than Macho. Also, due to the stilted nature of the feud, you can count on a ton of gratuitous cutaways to Val during the match. Sonjay, showing he’s feeling the MegaPowers vibe, is going to work tonight in a do-rag. He also has a rose and card for Val and Lethal waffles him for that and hits a suicide dive to the floor. Lethal tears up the card and goes to work. In a nice little touch, you can see Val in the background still looking at the card after it was torn up. Lethal with some rights and a leg lariat. He heads up top and hits a MACHISMO HAMMER for 2. He goes to the GnP. Lethal with a back elbow but Sonjay pulls him down by the hair. Lethal comes back by handspringing into a basement dropkick. Lethal avoids the rope assisted kick in the corner from Sonjay but still gets Stun Gunned. Sonjay follows up with a guillotine legdrop and a springboard seated senton. HE’S DROPPING THE DIME! Sonjay poses with a maniacal look to crickets. Sonjay with a ribbreaker as the crowd perks up to hate him for a bit. Sonjay with the melodramatic, underwhelming boot to the face which always gets a pop from me. Sonjay just throws him down and goes to a headlock. Lethal tries a back suplex out but Sonjay lands on his feet. He drop toe holds Lethal down and hits another senton and a standing moonsault for 2. We’re up to the mid 50s on the Val cutaways. Sonjay no sells some rights and hits an enzuigiri. Lethal no sells that and avoids a headscissors with a shotgun and a release German suplex. Lethal avoids a charge and hits a few burritos. Lethal with an up and over but eats an elbow from Sonjay. Lethal throws him out of a tornado DDT attempt and hits a leg lariat for 2. Sonjay avoids a uranage and puts Lethal up top. Sonjay teases a Flux Capacitor which is nice and also insane and clearly not happening. Sonjay instead springboards in with a top rope rana and then follows up with a standing SSP that the camera misses. Lethal no sells all that so he can hit an inverted powerbomb for 2. Sonjay bails so Lethal can throws him into the guardrail and the apron. Lethal continues kicking his ass so Sonjay pleads with SoCal for help. She seems concerned as Lethal locks in the Texas Cloverleaf. Val accidentally distracts Lethal long enough for Sonjay to escape and try and plant a kiss on Val. Lethal’s pissed. He hits the Lethal Combination but wants more punishment. Val tries to get some more sympathy for the Guru but Dutt is more self-help and rolls up Lethal with the feet on the ropes to win it at 8:47. Just a lot of moves crammed into 10 minutes before it all stops for the inverse of the storybook ending. *3/4

Fans’ Revenge Match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship: Beer Money vs. LAX (c). Pre-match, Roode laughs off JB trying to talk about the fans and their “fury.” Ha. Fury? FURY is when Roode loses all his money in the stock market or the bartender tries to tell Storm, it’s last call. Roode says there is no fury in a “95 lb. MARK holding a belt.” Alright then. Storm says that he saw the footage of them beating up dummies. Do they look like dummies? Well, DO THEY, JB?! ANSWER THEM! Jackie backs them up but says she isn’t coming to ringside to protect herself. Quality promo all around.

• Alright. In this match type, fans are basically the lumberjacks except they have belts too. Tenay says they have 12 lumberjacks… er… make that 13 including one alternate. Oy ve. Well, let’s hope Tenay didn’t just give away the finish. Homicide and Roode to start. They slug it out and Roode grabs a headlock. They trade hammerlocks for a few but then Homicide dumps him for some fan revenge. Roode scampers to Storm for some sympathy. Always an easy pop. Storm in and he shitcans Homicide who the fans leave alone. Cide steals some of Storm’s beer and that brings him out to the floor as well. Fans whip him instead and Storm bails back to the heel corner. Cide tries a shitcan but Storm skins the cat and tells the fans to shove it. Awesome. Hector Guerrero isn’t having that and trips up Storm to bring him out for more whipping. Back in, Hernandez takes over with a Ho Train for 2. Cide back in but eats a thumb to the eye. Roode in but Cide with a flying headscissors. Roode tries a backdrop but Cide lands on the apron and then ties up Roode in the apron in the old Finlay spot. More whipping ensues. Back in, Homicide goes to the 3 Amigos and heads up top. Roode ducks under and hits a Spinebuster to come back. Storm goes to an anchor hold. Roode in for a double suplex. BEER! MONEY! Roode sends Cide into the turnbuckle a few times and pounds away. He knocks Hernandez off the apron so they can hit the Hart Attack. Storm with no tag locks in the Boston Crab but Hernandez breaks it up. Roode now back in with a front facelock. Cide blocks and hits a T-Bone suplex. Cide fights them off and tags in Hernandez. Hernandez with a slingshot shoulderblock and a Baldo Bomb. He gives Storm a backbreaker. Roode tries a crossbody but Hernandez catches him and counters to a powerbomb for 2. Hernandez wants another but Storm breaks it up with a Stinger Splash. Hernandez flips himself up to the top rope but Beer Money preps a double superplex. He fights them off and hits the splash on Roode. He covers for 1, 2, – Storm breaks it up. Homicide with a tornado DDT on Storm and he shitcans Roode out. LAX preps a Cutter Doomsday Device and hits it. Hernandez covers for the 1, 2, 3 to retain at 10:11. Nothing special. I’m not a fan of the stipulation but it barely played a part other than a few cheap pops in the first few minutes all of which worked. Just some simple formula stuff that never really got compelling. **3/4

• Now, time for part 2 of Booker’s homecoming. Here he is back at his local promotion in Houston. The rookies put over Booker as teaching them how to be a man and without him, they wouldn’t even be in the business. And how does any of this make the guy a heel?

TNA Knockout’s Championship: Awesome Kong vs. Taylor Wilde (c). Wilde had the upset of a lifetime in beating Kong for the belt the week prior. Kong attacks from behind before the bell and chops away in the corner. Wilde with a slow baseball slide and Kong just swats her down and splashes for 2. Kong throws her across the ring by the hair and then boots her down. Kong no sells some whatever with a Mongolian Chop and then chops Wilde around. Kong with a BLATANTCHOKE! Kong with a Camel Clutch. Wilde gets out by pulling the hair so Kong throws her around some more like a ragdoll. Taylor lands on her feet out of a powerbomb attempt and hits a few dropkicks. Taylor with a missile dropkick but Kong no sells and hits her with the LARIATO! Kong heads up to the second rope but Taylor no sells the clothesline and armdrags her off the top. Taylor covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Kong goes for a spinning backfist but Wilde schoolgirls her for 2. Kong wants an Implant Buster so Wilde counters that. Kong now with a goozle but Wilde rolls through for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 4:55. Good but was begging for at least twice that length with more heat and the same finish. Still great for what it was. ***

• Post-match, Raisha Saeed and Kong put the boots to Taylor. Kong preps a powerbomb on a chair until that crazy circus music. That’s right, IT’S THE MONSTER, ABYSS! Saeed talks trash and smacks him and Abyss no sells and gives her the Black Hole Slam.

• Meanwhile, we see Booker T and his wife at his own restaurant in Houston. The manager calls him a hero and a pillar of the community. Booker decides to twist the mustache a bit by telling the manager in private to water down the booze and cut back on portion sizes. That’s some quality Monty Burns-territory but the ship has already sailed. We get it – Booker is a professional athlete who has an attractive wife, he’s rich, he owns a lot of businesses, his workers love him, and his wrestlers idolize him. But making him occasionally wink and smile condescendingly won’t make him the bad guy. This isn’t 1987 and even back then, the majority of the crowd liked Flair doing the same stuff just because he was too cool to boo. ANYWAY, Booker says he himself is a brand and that adding the World Championship to his portfolio will make him millions. SMELL THE HEEL!

World X Cup Round Four: Ultimate X Match: Naruko Doi vs. Volador Jr. vs. Daivari vs. Kaz. We get a few minute video package and then Don West goes into shill mode for a few minutes while the gophers finish putting up the apparatus for this match. Basically, whoever wins this match, wins the X Cup for his home country because the points are close enough and everyone is still alive.

• Match breaks down into an early free for all. Kaz with a Stun Gun and tries to shimmy across already but Daiviri pulls him down. Daiviri preps a moonsault but Kaz shoves him into the metal pole and Daiviri eats it to the floor. Kaz again shoots up to the rope but gets pulled down. Doi and Jr. collide and Kaz clotheslines Jr. to the floor. Kaz standing tall early and tries to climb tall as well but Daiviri pulls him out to the floor. Daiviri sends him into the guardrail and starts working the arm in the guardrail. Back in, now everyone starts working on Kaz’s heavily taped up arm. Kaz fights them off with boots and tries shaking the arm back into commission. He tries to climb across but the arm gives and Kaz again eats punishment from everyone else. VOLADOR DROPKICK! Tenay was really excited about that one. They hook Kaz in a Tree of Woe but Doi clears the ring and then hits the somersault splash in the corner. Daviri meets Doi up top and headbutts Doi down to the floor. Volador pulls Daiviri down to the ring for a chop war. Daviri avoids a handspring back elbow but eats one of those lucha arm drag specials. Don: “LOOK AT THAT! HE JUST SPUN AROUND AND…USED HIS ARMS… AND–” Tenay: “Armdragged him.” Doi and Kaz slug it out as Jr. climbs across. Kaz alley oops Doi back and into Volador to knock him down. That was cool. Doi with an Elijah Express and says that’s it. He climbs up but Kaz follows him up. Kaz boots him down but Jr. is there only to eat a kick as well. Daiviri shimmies his way across and knocks Kaz down. Volador grabs Daiviri and powerbombs him down. Volador and Doi fight over a roll up for no particular reason and then collide on a crossbody attempt. Doi climbs but Jr. dropkicks him down and then follows with a moonsault to the floor. Daiviri and Kaz now work their way up to the top of the metal tower. They jockey for position. Daiviri climbs across but Kaz stands up on top. Oh no. What’s he doing? He’s… WHAT?! WHAT!? GUILLOTINE LEGDROP ON DAIVIRI DOWN TO THE MAT! Volador decides to upstage that spot by shooting up the tower and climbing across to win it at 10:14.

• Well, fuck that finish. It’s like they intentionally tried to kill the glory of that moment. Reminds me of old Smackdown vs. Raw challenge matches. One of them was that you had to beat JBL in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match on difficult. Well, see, ever the workrate snob, I’d actually intend to wrestle an entertaining match even on the video game and of course I’d fail because JBL would shoot up the ladder and beat me in about 30 seconds. Just goes to show that JBL can’t work even on a video game. (I kid, I like JBL.) ANYWAY, if you’re going to give Kaz the kamikaze spot at least let him win the match too. Otherwise, fine. ***

Full Metal Mayhem: Team 3D & Kurt Angle vs. Rhino, Christian Cage & AJ Styles. This is basically TNA’s version of TLC. Frank Trigg is joining Don and Tenay on commentary. Kurt jumps AJ but loses the fist fight to get us started. Christian starts choking Bubba on the announce table and D-Von and Rhino go at it. AJ knocks Kurt off the apron and then follows out with a tope con hilo on everyone. D-Von with a head of steam but runs into a dropkick from AJ. AJ with a Cactus clothesline that takes both to the floor. Rhyno with WHATASPINEBUSTER for 2 on Angle. Bubba takes down Rhyno with a clothesline. Christian waffles him with a couple of trash can shots. I guess Full Metal Mayhem is Texas Tornado-ish rules meaning no tags. Bubba comes back with a backdrop and Christian takes a breather. AJ springboards in with a burrito on Bubba for 2. The Dudleyz avoids a double clothesline and take down AJ with a double flapjack. Christian and Rhino take them out with a ladder but Angle’s got a chair to clear the ring. Kurt with a Euro uppercut and overhead belly to belly suplexes Christian on a ladder. Sweet. The Dudleyz sandwich Rhino between a ladder and then stand one up. AJ slingshots onto the ladder and then jumps on top of it and THEN hits a SUPER SPLASH onto D-Von. Covers for 1, 2, –Kurt pulls the ref out. Still an awesome spot. The heels now team up on AJ as it’s 3 on 1. Christian though manages to climb ALL THE WAY UP on one of the towers from the Ultimate X match and then hits a crossbody on all of them. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9! Christian gets the ladder but Bubba chairshots it back into him and then waffles AJ as well. Rhino in with a trio of GORE, GORE, GORES! Rhino now sets up a table and preps a superplex on D-Von. Bubba breaks it up so the Dudleys can hit the Doomsday Device on Rhino through the table. Bubba covers but Christian breaks it up. D-Von appears to legit twist his ankle on the landing. Christian with a double clothesline and wants the Unprettier on Angle. Angle counters but Christian flips out of a back suplex attempt. Angle wants the AngleSlam but again Christian avoids. Back to the Unprettier, Angle counters to an AnkleLock attempt. Christian rolls through for 1, 2, 2.9. Christian with the falling reverse DDT and heads up top. Angle follows him up for the Pop Up Superplex but Christian cuts him off by… BITING HIM! Christian preps a splash but D-Von low blows him and then sets up a 3D THROUGH A TABLE ON THE FLOOR! Didn’t see that one coming. Trigg sucks on commentary as he’s very monotone and just drab with his compliments. Bubba waffles AJ with a trash can from behind. It’s back to 3 on 1 on AJ. Angle preps a short arm clothesline but AJ ducks and D-Von eats it. PELEPELEPELE ON ANGLE! Bubba with a NICE superkick on AJ and then talks trash to the crowd. AJ tries coming back but Bubba pokes him in the eye and brings in a table. Bubba preps a splash but AJ comes back with a right cross to the stones and an X-Factor off the top through the table. D-Von with a head of steam but AJ sidesteps and D-Von takes himself out through a table! Angle in and wants the AnkleLock. AJ rolls through into a powerbomb—NO! STYLES CLASH! Cover for 1, 2, 2.99! Can’t believe that wasn’t the finish. Angle’s been one of the most protected guys in TNA since he came in back in 05/06 but that’s another story. BUT WAIT! JOHNNY DEVINE HAS COME OUT! He goes for the Kendo Stick waffle but AJ ducks and levels him with a Pele and a cane shot. AJ wants a piece of Frank Trigg but that allows Angle to hit the AngleSlam from behind. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9. Angle can’t believe it and decides to set up another table and a ladder. Angle shoves over Earl for no particular reason and Earl sells the leg on impact. AJ avoids the AngleSlam and puts Angle on the table. Trigg has had enough of this crap and slides in with the cane and blasts AJ over the head. Angle now with the Angle Slam off the ladder through the table in an awesome spot that is lost in the annoying glaze of a usual screwjob. Angle covers for the academic 1, 2, 3 at 16:00.

• Maybe, I’m just a homer for faces winning on this show but I would have preferred AJ winning on the 3 consecutive table spots taking out the heels. And where the hell were Rhino and Christian on the go home? Rhino sold that weak Doomsday Device for about half an hour and Christian was gone after that 3D through the table. Those are some tag finishers through furniture so I’m marginally OK with them taking a nap for the remainder. Also, this was a very entertaining brawl despite the mild booking issues. ***1/2

• Meanwhile, JB is with Joe. JB runs down how many factors are stacked in Booker’s favor – hometown, crowd, friends, family, etc. JB says he knows Joe has doubters—DOUBTERS!? Joe doesn’t doubt himself and Book is going to have to kill him to take that title away from him. Joe says when he gets in the ring tonight, he’ll have no problem with attempted homicide on Booker. Nash interrupts and offers a handshake to Joe and says he’s got his back. Joe shakes his hand and tells Nash to prove it by staying in the back and letting Joe handle his own business no matter what happens.

TNA World Championship: Booker T vs. Samoa Joe (c). This was set up by Nash interfering and saving Joe in a previous match against Booker for reasons that escape me. Nash then taunted Joe saying he couldn’t defeat Book and then they almost came to blows. It’s almost like TNA was determined to bury Joe as a challenger and champion by 07 by having him lose to Angle like ten times before finally winning and then never really giving him signature victories even as champion. This match gets an awesome video package and each wrestler than gets a package of his own. That’s right, 3 video packages. Book gets the hometown reaction for the in-ring introduction. Someone aped the ONS sign of “If Joe Wins, We Riot!” Joe is politely booed.

• Booker T chant at the bell led by Sharmell. Feeling out process and Book gets in a smack to a pop. Book with a chop in the corner. Joe no sells and comes back with the chops. Book with more chops of his own. Joe blocks a shot and sends Book into the turnbuckle to boos. Joe with the pump kick in the corner to more boos. I don’t want to make it sound like Joe’s getting booed out of the building because the crowd isn’t that loud but there is clearly no love for him. Book with a thumb to the eye and goes for the Houston Sidekick but Joe ducks and hits the Busaiku knee for 2. LET’SGOBOOKERLET’SGO! Joe with nothing of note so Book throws him to the floor. Joe with some chops but Book with a thumb to the eye and throws him into the guardrail. Book with a short arm clothesline and that brings out a Booker T chant. He sends Joe into the stairs and Joe blades and that’s a solid gusher. Sharmell is disgusted with the blood. Back in, Book hits the sidekick and covers for 2. Book with whatever and says the belt is his. More unnecessary cutaways to Sharmell as Book mounts with right hands. This is slow as shit. Joe ducks a kick and hits a atomic drop and a BOOT OF FEAR! Book avoids a senton and hits the Ax kick for 1, 2, 2 ½. Book with chops and a hook kick for another 2. To show how exciting this is, we’ve had 5 more cutaways to Sharmell. Joe gets a second wind and tries some forearms and another Busaiku knee to boos. Joe with a leg lariat off the second rope for 2. Book with another thumb to the eye but runs into a powerslam for 2 from Joe. Book wants the Book End but Joe counters to a T-Bone suplex for 2. This may sound fine but it’s just not clicking for me. It’s too methodical and was laid out like a TV match that’s getting 10 minutes with Book going to his signature stuff about 5 minutes in. Book with some muay thai knees. Joe ducks another sidekick and Book bumps the ref. Joe mocks Book and hits a lefty LARIATO to the loudest boos of the match. Joe’s huffing and puffing like he just ran a fucking 5K. He shitcans Book to set up the facewash into the guardrail. BOOOOOOOOOOOO! Sharmell can’t handle the brutality of Joe’s boot and wants him to show some mercy and let Book get back to painting her entire body in gold. Joe no sells a smack from her and instead beats up some plants. Book bladed some point in the interim. Another ref has come out and Joe piefaces him. One more ref and Joe waffles both. Joe now bites Book’s cut as more TNA officials come out to hold off Joe to no avail. Joe with some suplexes to clear the ring to the mild annoyance of the crowd. We’ll call it a no contest at 15:30. Sharmell begs for Book’s life and Joe is all “HA! YOUR PIG FIANCE IS TOO LATE!” BUT WAIT! THIS IS STING HAS COME OUT! Sting tells Joe to listen to reason and that he has gone too far. Sting says Joe has made his point. Joe flips him off so Sting waffles him with the bat a few times and now Sting gets booed as well. Book drapes the arm and now fucking SHARMELL counts to 3 and the crowd Does. Not. Care. Book and Sharmell steal the belt. Tenay: “HOW THE HELL CAN BOOKER T BE CHAMPION?!” WE’RE OUTTA TIME, TUNE IN TO NITRO!

• I remember hearing about this when it happened and the recap of the main event sounded convoluted but interesting. Some things read poorly but are entertaining to watch. This, however, is not one of them. This is just a heatless bore with the crowd barely into either guy and Book not even being motivated enough to put on a good showing on a night where he’s in his hometown and gets all the booking advantages in the world. Joe’s rather uneventful reign would continue for a couple of months needing various run ins and guitar shots to keep the belt before losing it at Bound for Glory to… wait for it… Sting. **

The 411: A couple of very good matches, but man that main event sucks the life out of the card and overshadows practically everything else. It's not the soul-crusher that plenty of WCW main events were but it's a long ways off from good. Decent but could be more enjoyable if you have are comfortable with TNA's handling of Joe's run.
Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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