Thursday, March 10, 2022

TNA Victory Road 2011

I didn't watch the AEW PPV yet. Didn't watch it live because I attended a WWE house show that night; the experience having been recounted on this here program. As for today's PPV musings, I was going to hold off until a couple weeks later, but with Jeff Hardy having made his AEW debut last night, I might as well get this out of the way. What timing, I guess.

So, for those who don't know, Jeff Hardy was signed with WWE and his last appearance had him walking out during a live event. He was then released after taking a drug test, although Jeff's brother Matt had assured people that the release was pre-mature and Jeff passed his drug test, but never got the results. This whole thing sounds like really skeevy and swarmy. And look, if Jeff is fine and dandy, good for him and I hope he does well in AEW... but this whole scenario reminds me of a show that took place a little over a decade ago, in a little promotion called TNA.

Hence, our PPV musings for today will cover TNA Victory Road 2011. This is the infamous TNA PPV show where Jeff Hardy showed up in no condition to perform, was sent out before a live PPV audience to get embarrassed and killed in quick fashion by Sting in the main event. I've already vented my thoughts on the matter way back when and suffice it to say, I have no real further thoughts on the matter... or at least, not until I watch the match again.

That having been said, I only vented on the main event because that's all I've really seen; I had not seen the entire show and reviews at the time weren't exactly beaming, either. Thanks to the cheap tier on Impact's Youtube page, I can watch the rest of this PPV. All I can say is that TNA should be thankful that something like the Jeff Hardy fiasco happened because otherwise, this would've been another shitty TNA PPV in a series of shitty TNA PPVs.

And I'll get this out of the way; I'm not covering this show to shame anyone. This was a really ugly situation and thankfully, Jeff is fine nowadays, for the most part. Hell, I'm not even using this to remind people of how shitty of a promotion TNA was at the time, because that's been documented. The timing, if nothing else, was purely coincidental and really, I was curious about how bad this show could have been. Besides, if I can sit through a shitty Fiend match from 2019, then you can sit through my musings on what people have considered to be a vile PPV. And if nothing else, you can use this as a lookback at Jeff's lowest point and see how far he's come since.

With that in mind, let's get this shitshow started.

Tommy Dreamer defeated Bully Ray in a no-holds-barred match, which is basically your typical ECW-style hardcore wrestling match, except nowhere near as extreme or bloody. Funny thing was that this was booked as a regular match, but Bully Ray, who was tight with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff (who were the heel authority figures of TNA at the time, having turned at the previous year's Bound For Glory PPV months prior), managed to have the match changed into a hardcore match. Bully would eventually be distracted by Brother Devon's two sons, while Dreamer and Devon ambushed Bully for the win. Did I mention that Bully Ray was the heel? I might have forgotten to bring that up.

Next up was what was apparently billed as a women's tag-team match for the Knockouts Tag titles, except everyone hates each other and so everybody just beat each other up. Or something. I don't know. This was hard to follow and quite frankly, the fact that I am withholding names is partly because a) I forgot all of the women's names, and b) I'm sparing them the indignity of being identified as the participants of a truly incoherent and abhorrent wrestling match. And to think, this was the promotion that prided itself on having a top-tier women's division while WWE had interchangeable Divas competing for butterfly belts. Fuck off.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Jarett family vacation vignette of Jeff and Karen Jarrett with their kids at the amusement park. Karen's outfit is... something, I guess. I will leave it at that for the perverted minds to use their imagination.

Matt Morgan defeated Hernandez in a first blood match... holy fuck, where do I begin with this shit? The match is about as good as you'd expect until they start doing goofy shit, which includes Hernandez cutting himself and then tossing a bag of red stuff at Morgan. And then the ref gets knocked out and another one comes out to award the match to Morgan. My brain hurts just recapping this shit. Fucking awful.

Frankie Kazarian defeated Max Buck, Jeremy Buck and Robbie E in an Ultimate X match that was probably nowhere near as good as past Ultimate X matches, but certainly good enough to break the streak of largely terrible matches. And yes, them Young Bucks are THOSE Young Bucks and they certainly look like Young Bucks, except in TNA, they're called Generation Me. I don't know what else to tell you folks, but there you go.

TNA Tag champs Beer Money (James Storm & Bobby Roode) defeated Ink. Inc. (Shannon and Neal) to retain the titles in another surprisingly good match.

AJ Styles defeated Matt Hardy in somewhat controversial fashion, as AJ was pinning Matt and referee EARL HEBNER was counting the pin until Ric Flair stopped him, but Hebner called for the bell anyway and declared AJ the winner. The match was perfectly fine until the convoluted finish and I'm wondering what Matt's mindset was like while all the stuff that happened later was taking place.

The match between Rob Van Dan and Ken Anderson ended in a double-countout and HOLY FUCK, THIS WAS A GLORIOUS FUCKING DISASTER. Some shit got fucked up and the crowd chanted YOU FUCKED UP, to which Anderson replied that he meant to do that. I wonder if he meant to have a shitty match with RVD, because that's exactly what happened here. Then they brawled outside and got counted out. Then to cap off this shitshow, half the crowd were chanting for the match to be restarted and the other half screamed NO! It is, for all intents and purposes, one of the most embarrassing displays of sports entertainment that I've witnessed and is just as awful as I've heard people proclaim this to be. But you want to know something? I did not hate this. I knew going in that this was going to be god-fucking-awful and this did not disappoint. This may be right up there with that Seth/Ziggler ironman match from a couple years back in terms of how fucked up things can get.

And then we have the main event.

Yeah, so once more, I'm not going to go into a big ol' spiel over this thing; if you want to read my thoughts at the time, the links are down below. But basically, Jeff Hardy hobbled his way to the ring looking completel fucked up, then Sting came out with that shitty TNA World title that Jeff made. And then Bischoff came out, babbled on for ten year before telling everyone that the match is no-DQ, then Sting punched Bischoff. Bell rang, Jeff took off his shirt, ate a punch and deathdrop from Sting, and got pinned in a little under 90 seconds. Then Sting had this blank look on his face as the crowd chanted "BULLSHIT" and he shouted back "I AGREE!"

I see this match a decade after the fact and I'm still baffled that TNA let this farce take place. And yeah, Jeff shouldn't have been out there under any circumstances and the fact that he allowed himself to be in that position is inexcusable, but equally inexcusable and outright insulting is that TNA allowed this match to happen despite knowing that this was a fucking horrible idea. Even WWE, for as much shit as I'd give them over the years, would not have allowed this match to happen had Jeff been in no condition to perform. And part of me is pleased to see that lessons have since been learned from this experience. The term "card subject to change" exists for a reason; it's the disclaimer you put out in case things beyond your control go wrong. And this was certainly the case here.

Victory Road 2011, for the most part, sucked. And the sad part is that the middle portion of the show was where things looked to be turning around before it just fell apart again. I had expected this to be one of the worst PPVs I've seen and while it certainly came close, there was enough silver lines that it'll have to settle for being one of the most infamous shows I've seen. I wouldn't go out of my way to give this a rewatch, however. There's better TNA shows you could be revisiting; seek those out instead.

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