Rasslin’ Roundtable – TNA Victory Road

Can Samoa Joe overcome the challenge of Booker T to retain his world heavyweight title? Will Awesome Kong regain the TNA Women’s title? What does the Pulse Wrestling staff think? Find out inside!

TNA World Heavyweight title
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Booker T

Andrew Wheeler: As I was about to start writing my picks, I decided to save the Word document just in case my office’s power goes out (seeing as right now its raining pretty hard and I wouldn’t want to waste my time on talking about TNA a second more than necessary) and when I typed in Victory Road Roundtable, I was informed that I already had a doc under that name. To my shock and amazement, I did a write-up for last year’s Victory Road PPV, a show that I have no memory of. Last year the show was headlined by Angle/Joe v. 3-D and gun to my head I have no clue what happened at all in that match. I have no real clue what happened in that entire PPV. If that doesn’t sum up TNA, I don’t know what does. Total Nonstop Action one year ago was bad. They were spinning their wheels and wasting talent left and right. Fast-forward a year later and they’ve made the TNA of 2007 look like WCW 1995. I still maintain that this company is pathetic. Beyond pathetic. Every time I write a column talking about how poor the company is doing, I find myself being overly repetitive. No major ratings movement. No big buyrates. No definable superstar in mainstream society. No outside press coverage. No electrifying storyline that’s got the industry talking. Yes, I’m the WWE guy here at the Pulse, but I’m open to any wrestling that’s good. I download the indies and even sit through Impact on occasion. I understand just like any other fan that having a strong wrestling scene is important to the survival of the industry. I want TNA to achieve some success, but when they’re this bad it’s almost too easy to kick them when they’re down. Easy, but not without joy, mind you. Take this match for example. In one corner you’ve got Booker T, a guy that the WWE wouldn’t spit on if he were on fire towards the end of his tenure there. Vince saw the writing on the wall and figured Booker would be a great upper midcard heel to elevate future talent. If he were on RAW right now, ironically enough, he’d be the number one or number two heel on the show. Instead? He’s in TNA, where he didn’t get to be the number one babyface or the number one heel. Not only that, his Texas-based wrestling school is no longer a potential feeder to the WWE Developmental System, which means his golden parachute has a gaping hole in it. What exactly has Booker done in TNA that’s infinitely better than his role in WWE? At least before he left he had a character that gained major traction and allowed him to have what at this point has got to be his twelfth comeback. Sure, he was pissed that he got jobbed out to Triple H that quick, but you know what, letting him look strong against Hunter would have been bad for business. King Booker could have taken the loss and continued no problem, especially when you look at the WWE’s new focus on promoting black wrestlers. But no, main eventing in a lame-duck TNA title match is better than that. Great exposure, Booker. To be honest, I actually forgot he was even still an active wrestler. In the other corner is Samoa Joe. Nothing makes me swell with pride quite like the knowledge that TNA completely botched their last and final meal ticket. Joe, for years, was going to be the guy to save the company. His title reign was something fans clamored for, and there was a time when he was not only the hottest act in TNA but the hottest act in wrestling. His every match became an event. His potential feud with Kurt Angle was going to be like Savage/Steamboat. It wasn’t. His title chase was going to get the fans to rally behind him and tune in weekly in droves to see if he would climb the mountain. They didn’t. His title win was going to cement him as THE new face of wrestling in North America. It didn’t. TNA is going forward with a main event between a lackluster champion and a has-been contender, with the outcome all but certain considering the lackluster champion is going to feud with another has-been contender. I tell you what, TNA now officially surpassed WCW in booking smarts. If the fans cared about Booker T, they would have tuned over to TNA. That was the whole theory behind the superstar jumps of the mid-90s, that there were fans who were wrestler-loyal, not show-loyal. Now? Not so much. If Booker didn’t draw fans to TNA, he isn’t drawing fans to this PPV. I didn’t want to watch Booker compete for free and I never bought a PPV because he was headlining, why would I start now? Oh, and as for Joe? Must feel good to know that Punk’s title win got more impact, more coverage and more buzz then Samoa Joe’s entire TNA run. In six months, Punk will be doing national press and advertisements while Joe will be wrestling at a TNA sponsored event at the Lubbock Civic Center. But I digress, we’re talking about who’s going to win the match. Booker can work a decent match and can make Joe look like a million bucks, which is his only job (aside from doing THE job, of course). Samoa Joe can gain more credibility in the eyes of the fans as a true world champion by beating a 5-time previous champ so that when he fights Kevin Nash in what one must assume is the least exciting year-long feud since Ken Shamrock and Val Venis he can come in with momentum. I guess we’re just going to truck along until Joe retires Sting. To quote a man I loathe more than any other in pro wrestling, “Yeah, that’ll put some butts in the seats.” I hate you TNA, you led me to quote Schiavone.
Winner (and I use that term loosely): The guy from ROH who’s a world champion and wears a towel around his neck but despite being a main eventer for a year is less known to the mainstream public as a guy who won the world title two weeks ago and is now the most buzzed about wrestler in the industry.

Mark Neeley: This is pretty much a filler PPV main event title match as there’s no way in hell they would take the belt off of Joe right now, especially to Booker. In respect, at least Booker (unlike the Christians, the Rhinos, ect) didn’t have to jump into the main event picture and win the title immediately and wanted to go in and mentor the younger guys on the roster, which is pretty much everybody. I’m just hoping this match doesn’t involve Kevin Nash-ference and set up that title match for Hard Justice. Cringe.
Winner – Samoa Joe

Paul Marshall: I remember saying how Samoa Joe isn’t drawing as a champion, so now would be a prime time to hot-potato the title to Booker T, since a Sting/Booker T feud would sound very interesting, since the last time they feuded was back in WCW. Since this is TNA, I’m predicting the exact opposite.
Winner: Samoa Joe

Danny Cox: Being called “the biggest match in TNA history” surprises the hell out of me considering the great battles Joe had with Angle. I’m done with Booker, and if they give him the title just because it’s his hometown then that is absolute bullshit.
Winner and STILL Champ – Samoa Joe

Brad Curran- Surely Joe. Surely. Even if Booker’s been kind of awesome on the mic lately, and his smoking jacket is cooler than 8 Joes standing on each others shoulders.
Winner- Samoa Joe

David Brashear: Let’s face it. TNA cannot let Joe lose this match and leave Joe with any momentum whatsoever. Joe has waited too long to win the title in the first place. Look at Kong. She dominated the women’s division for months before finally losing the title. That’s similar to what TNA needs to do for Joe to recapture some of the mystique he had during his first year in the company. And it would also be great if he’d stop talking and just destroy people.
Winner – Samoa Joe

TNA World Tag Team titles
Fans’ Revenge match
LAX (c) vs. Robert Roode and James Storm

Mark Neeley: It seems to me that the LAX has worn out its once somewhat fresh gimmick, and the singles careers of both Roode and Storm have gone nowhere since their departures from America’s Most Worthless and the Canuck Crew. I say they put the belts on the heels since that’s where they belong, and just to mix things up a bit. But please, come up with a better name than “Beer Money Inc”.
Winners: Robert Roode & James Storm

Paul Marshall: So we have fans with straps? What is this? Oh, the match? I’m not buying Beer Money, Inc. as a credible challenger because they’ve lost more matches than they were #1 Contenders. Again, this is TNA, so the opposite booking will prevail.
Winners and NEW World Tag Team Champions: Beer Money, Inc

Danny Cox: What a lovely waste of time and Beer Money Inc. is incredibly gay, but watch this bit of shenanigans.
Winners and NEW Champs – Storm/Rick Rude 2.0

Brad Curran: I’m gonna pick the heels, just because it makes sense to me.
Winner: Beer Money

David Brashear: I hate to see LAX lose the titles this quickly, but I’ve got a bad feeling it’s going to happen.
Winners – James Storm & Robert Roode

Andrew Wheeler: You know, I thought I got all of the bile and hatred for TNA out of my system in my last pick, but I was wrong. Let me get this straight, TNA decided to split up Storm and Harris, the hottest tag team possibly in wrestling, so that they could become singles superstars. Then, they split up their strongest faction so that Robert Roode could become the next great heel and assume the mantle of Rick Rude Version 2.0. Then TNA goes and lets Chris Harris leave the company to go to the WWE rather than try to morph him into a main eventer. Then they allow Storm to languish in a series of useless feuds while drinking beer and walking around with the Mr. Ed-esque Jackie. Then, they stick Roode in a year-long go-nowhere feud with Eric Young, a guy who’s one-note joke should have been washed away like Eugene before him. And now, after blowing off their top tag team and squandering not one, not two but THREE future superstars, they’ve decided to just stick Roode and Storm IN A TAG TEAM?! Seriously, I don’t know what kind of drugs are being passed around by TNA “creative” (I can’t even bring myself to use the tongue-in-cheek Creative that I use for the WWE because at least those guys deliver every now and again) but they need to lay the hell off (and yes, it’s very hard to write this stuff and not be allowed to swear anymore). This, TNA apologists, is yet another reason why this company needs to be sucked into the ground like the house at the end of “Poltergeist”. I’m at a loss here, a complete loss. What is this going to accomplish? Their once proud tag ranks is now LAX, Beer & Money and 3-D. Yes, Beer & Money isn’t the worst tag team name ever, but still, this is just stupid. This is TNA conceding that they botched the Storm push, botched the Roode push and have absolutely no idea what the hell they’re doing anymore. Now, since I have no idea how long LAX has even been holding the belts for, I will assume that TNA will just stick the gold around the waist of the “new” team and then we’ll get this match about 8 more times. Oh, and I made a comment of the (to paraphrase another cantankerous columnist) Super-Secret Writers Forum that since I had no idea what the Fan’s Revenge Match was that I just assumed it involved Vince Russo walking around with a bag of money handing out refunds, and after having to write this Roundtable, I think he should compensate me just for having to try and logically write about this crap. At this point, I would pay good money to hear Cornette’s thoughts on how this company is being run, especially when you consider he sat back and watched as people a lot drunker and a lot less enlightened than “creative” booked Midnight Express/R&R Express for years and made a fortune.
Winner: Robert Roode and James Storm. Why? Why the hell not?

Fans Pick the Stipulation (voting takes place during the PPV)
AJ Styles, Christian, and Rhino vs. Kurt Angle and Team 3D

Paul Marshall: This has “Full Metal Mayhem” written all over it, and if that is the case, I really fear for Kurt Angle’s health. Either Angle’s gonna rebreak his neck for the 100000th time and retire like he should had two years ago…or he’s going to continue to prove the IWC wrong. No opposite booking needed here.
Winners: AJ, Christian, & Rhino

Danny Cox: Cyber Sunday all in one little match. Don’t care!
Winners – Faces

Brad Curran: The WWE exiles (as opposed to the other team, consisting of one WWE exile, one guy who chose TNA, and their golden boy, so I have no idea what to label them) have been jobbing an awful lot, so I can see them going over here.
Winner: Angle and 3D

David Brashear: I’m really torn on this one. On the one hand, I can see Christian, AJ, and Rhino finally getting their revenge on their foes. On the other hand, I can see Karen interfering (likely with AJ) and giving Kurt the win. Which would TNA pick?
Winners – Angle & Team 3D

Andrew Wheeler: Pick the stipulation? Like you even need to ask what I’m going to pick. Someone do me a favor and rent a pole and call Judy Bagwell, please. Just looking at who’s in this match makes me weep for society. What must these guys be thinking? I mean, I know what 3D is thinking. They’re thinking, “I can’t believe people are not only paying us to still wrestle but that they’re letting us act like we’re still relevant.” I know what Angle’s thinking. He’s thinking, “Maybe ECW wasn’t the worst place in the world. I could make John Morrison look like a freakin’ main eventer and people wouldn’t just write me off as an injury-prone borderline schizo.” And the faces? Two of them probably wish Heat wasn’t cancelled and the third is thinking that living off of the money made between ROH and Japan is something he could live on. This match reeks of Smackdown 9 pm main event and nothing more. They’re fighting over Kurt’s wife and the fact that the only fresh thing about the Dudleys is that they used a glass table instead of a wooden table. Christian’s leap to TNA should have served as a great warning to any WWE superstar ever thinking of jumping ship; you’ll get an immediate push, get forgotten about, turn face and heel a bunch of times and then get stuck as an interchangeable cog in rotating storylines.
Winner: Flip a coin…Styles, Christian and Rhyno

Mark Neeley: Whatever the stipulation is, I say the faces win, because, well, it’s the faces, why not. No point in trying to actually break down this mess of a match. Maybe CC gets revenge and puts the Dudleys through a glass table?
Winners – Styles, Christian & Rhino

World X Cup Finals
Ultimate X match

Danny Cox: Meh!
Winner – Team TNA

Brad Curran- I forgot what the convoluted stips are, but I’m guessing the USA (and Curry Man, that mysterious man from the orient who is not Christopher Daniels, I bet).
Winner: America, f#@@ yeah!

David Brashear: If you’ve read me for any length of time, you know I’m a major fan of the Guerreros, and getting to see Ultimo and Bucanero in a US promotion has been great for me (as was seeing Rey bust out the Buca Storm and look like he’d killed a guy with it, as usual). That said, Mexico’s way too far ahead to take the tournament again (if you’ll remember, Team Mexico won the first ever World X-Cup). Gonna have to go with Team TNA, but I’m really hoping to see a Team Japan or Team Mexico representative in the Ultimate X match.
Winners – Team TNA

Andrew Wheeler: Latvia’s looking pretty strong so far, but the Netherlands always have a strong showing when it counts. Regardless of which country wins, we can all be sure of one thing; no and’s, if’s or but’s, these kids got guts. So whoever makes it to the top of the Agro Crag, remember that they’re all winners and they all get Huffy Bikes and a trip to space camp. Pretending to care about the World X Cup is like pretending to care about soccer or climate control, it seems like the nice thing to do but everyone knows you’re humoring them.
Winner: Mexico, which is kinda like the TNA of countries

Mark Neeley: Whoever wins, I don’t think it will be the current dominating leaders Mexcio, because that would just be too obvious. So I’ll go with Team TNA this time, with Kaz pulling down the X to continue the push they seem to be giving him lately (and rightfully so).
Winners – Kaz & Team TNA

Paul Marshall: You would think that TNA would make the World X Cup seem important instead of the “As the Angles Turn” soap opera vignettes. Sadly, I don’t care about a tournament that isn’t been the company’s full focus the past few weeks. Thank you TNA…you gave me good reasons to want to continue tuning your program out. Thank you Vince Russo, Dutch Mantel, hope you got what you wanted.
Winners: Team TNA, just for laughs

Jay Lethal vs. Sonjay Dutt

Danny Cox: This feud has gotten incredibly retarded and has pulled Jay Lethal from off his high horse to the pits of hell.
Winner – Jay Lethal

Brad Curran- I totally stopped caring about this feud months ago. Right around the time Lethal lost the X-belt to absentee champion Petey Williams and Sonjay stopped cock blocking him to my (and possibly only my) amusement. I bet Val turns on Lethal in a completely shocking and unexpected swerve, ‘cuz that’s never happened before!
Winner: Sonjay

David Brashear: Let’s face it. This will not be the end of the feud. That will probably be a match with a “Winner Takes Val” stip. Since Jay can’t win till the end, that means:
Winner: Sonjay Dutt

Andrew Wheeler: They’re fighting over SoCal Val? SoCal Val? Do they not realize that this chaste young woman has done several videos on RingDivas that consist of nothing more than 30 minutes of her taking crotch shots? For an entire half hour its low blows, atomic drops and punt kicks. The thought of watching that instead of this has never seemed more appealing in my life. Who would have thought that her starring in those videos would be less painful than this storyline. Hopefully the match doesn’t get bogged down in storyline theatrics (though it will) or outlandish run-ins (which you can count on happening) and we’ll get to see two decent guys work a decent match. I give it two weeks until Dutt adopts Rick Martel’s old Model gimmick and they bring in Kid Kash to recreate the Texas Tornado and we just bring back the 1991 WWE midcard. Anyone else in?
Winner: Sonjay Dutt. Why? Hell if I know.

Mark Neeley: I just realized that, with reading the SmackDown spoilers, the Edge-Vickie wedding is back on so we’ll now be treated to TWO horrid bizzaro professional wrestling weddings within a month of each other! And in two different promotions, at that. How special. I say Dutt wins for the hell of it.
Winner – Sonjay Dutt

Paul Marshall: Apparantly the stipulation with this match is that if Jay Lethal wins, So Cal Val will be freed by the evil Sonjay Dutt. As with the majority of these “save the love of your life” type of matches, and especially with Vince Russo having a raging hard on with writing swerves that can be seen a mile away…So Cal Val screws Jay Lethal and rides away with Sonjay Dutt. Yes, you heard it here first.
Winner: Sonjay Dutt

Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love

Brad Curran: I have a feeling this match could be pretty damn good, and not just because I think both of them are hot, although that helps. The build has been well done as well. I’m gonna give the win to Big Boobs McGee, because she could use on to keep her heat.
Winner: Angelina Love

David Brashear: Let’s see… the Beautiful People have been getting the edge on everybody they’ve taken on. Time for Gail to get her win back.
Winner – Gail Kim

Andrew Wheeler: Angelina Love is supposed to be attractive, right? This isn’t one of those Meta jokes where they call her one of the beautiful people to be ironic, is it? Because I gotta be honest, she looks like a washed out crack addict. She looks like the kind of girl that would blow you in a gas station bathroom and not expect a ride home. And Gail Kim? Doesn’t do it for me in the least. She looks too much like Sandra Oh and if that does it for you then, hey, more power to ya. Give me Maria any day. Or Mickie. Or even Katie Lea. I’m pretty sure Magilla Gorilla still has the Knockout Title so let’s attempt logic and say Kim goes over to fight Jabba’s pig solider once it’s done with the whole fighting challengers from the crowd gimmick. Oh, and STOP RIPPING OFF ANDY KAUFMAN.
Winner: Sandra Oh, star of the excellent movie “Sideways” and TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”, which airs opposite TNA on ABC. I can’t believe I’m finally done talking about this stupid pay-per-view.

Mark Neeley: I could care less, nor could anyone else even though they’ve been trying to build it up as an epic match on Impact this month. I say they have more going for them with the Beautiful People shtick so I guess Love wins.
Winner – Angelina Love, but really Reliant Arena, as their concession sales will skyrocket during the course of this match.

Paul Marshall: This is the battle between the wrestler and the porn star wanna-be. Does it take a rocket scientist who’s going to win?
Winner: Angelina Love

Danny Cox:Point?
Winner – Angelina Love

TNA Knockouts Championship
Awesome Kong v. Taylor Wild (c)

David Brashear: I’m torn on what happens here. If Kong loses, it’ll give her two straight losses to Taylor. If Taylor loses, she looks like a chump who just got lucky. Taylor retains by DQ, maybe?
Winner – Taylor

Paul Marshall: Taylor can go toe to toe with the monster. It’ll be interesting to see if what they have planned for Kong should she lose the title at the Pay-Per-View. If there was one thing that I enjoyed from last week’s Impact (first one I watched in a month – thank God for Mark Neeley’s return to Impact.), that was Taylor Wild winning the Knockout’s Title. I’m interested in this rematch. It’s a coin flip pick, however.
Winner: Taylor Wild

Danny Cox: One of the shortest title reigns ever or another “greatest upset in TNA history.” Good choice of words there Professor. Ass clown.
Winner and Still Champ – Taylor

Brad Curran- I missed the title change (haven’t watched Impact yet). I guess Kong had to lose it some time. I have a feeling this is a really short reign just to show Kong’s not invincible, although I am picking mostly heels to go over, so I’ll go with Taylor.
Winner: Taylor

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