TNA “Lockdown” Review2 Comments
Apologies for the lateness. Yesterday was rough. Let’s pretend it’s still Sunday night, and cross the line!
Eric Young vs. Danny Bonaduce
Danny Bonaduce actually looked fairly legit and cool, although someone should point out that having a motorcycle with skull-themed artwork does not automatically make the motorcycle’s owner a man to be feared. Way too many close-ups of that. Still, the whole “free pre-show” idea is a sound one, and TNA should look into doing it more often. This particular match may not have sold any ppvs, but the idea itself isn’t bad.Bonaduce busted out a set of nunchuku, and spun them all around. Don West pointed out that Bonaduce is actually a third-degree black belt. Bonaduce attempts some skullduggery with his nunchuku, but Young rolls him up and gets the pin in less than four minutes. The post-match doings were the bigger deal. Bonaduce shook Young’s hand, and Young turned his back on Bonaduce to leave. No. No, Eric. Bonaduce attacked him from behind, causing Rhino to rush the ring and plant Bonaduce with a Gore! Gore! I Voted for Gore! Putting this match on the pre-show made sense, if they were going to do it at all, but in the end, the hype seemed too great for a Rhino run-in to be the high point of everything. This match actually got more hype than the three-way IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team title match, so it just seemed unfulfilling.
Winner: Eric Young
We meet Dixie Carter on tv for the first time. JB points out that TNA is not owned and operated by an egotistical billionaire businessman, they are, in fact, owned and operated by an attractive mother of two from Dallas, Texas. Dixie came off well, very sweet and down-to-earth, sincerely thanking the fans and talking about what the company means to her. That she’s nice to look at (if you’re into the MILFy kind of thing) didn’t hurt. Please don’t make her an on-air character! On to the main show!
Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles arrive together. Samoa Joe and Jeff Jarrett are nowhere to be seen. In contrast, the Main Event Mafia arrives (mostly) together.
The Smashing Pumpkins song (“Bullets with Butterfly Wings”) plays again. Billy Corgan speaks the lyrics rather than singing them, and adds a line about “still just a rat in a steel cage.” Nice!
Match #1: X-scape match for the X-Division Championship Suicide defends against Sheik Abdul Bashir, Kiyoshi, Consequences Creed, and “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal
For those with no previous X-scape match experience, wrestlers are eliminated via pinfall or submission until two remain. Then, the first man to climb out of the cage and land both feet on the floor wins. A perfectly sound concept. Referring to this match as a “fun” match with “some decent spots” isn’t really fair. A solid story was being told, as in this particular match, the champion was on his own, and the four challengers were actually two tag teams. Suicide did a neat “appearing in the center of the ring” entrance instead of flying in. Shaking up his entrance really helps the character, particularly before it can get stale. Jay Lethal eliminates Kiyoshi at between three and four minutes in with a top rope elbow drop, followed by a double-pin from Lethal and Creed. Lethal and Creed are extremely sloppy. Kiyoshi is better than this. Bashir plants Creed with the WMDDT (That’s one of the most ignorant, pointless, STUPID names for a finishing move ever! It isn’t a clever play on words. It’s just dumb.), and eliminates him. Now the team factor is gone, and Bashir and Lethal must go after Suicide on their own. Lethal squares off with Suicide, but is hit with the Suicide Solution. Bashir throws Suicide into the cage and steals the pin on Lethal, eliminating him at almost eight minutes in. Down to champion Suicide and challenger Bashir. Bashir tries to get out through the cage door, but Suicide is having none of it. Both men climb to the top of the cage. Suicide headbutts Bashir and causes him to fall, but not to the floor. Kiyoshi runs out and tries to climb the cage and stop Suicide, but several security members restrain him. Suicide looks down at Bashir, who is almost to the floor, and makes a beautiful “Suicide Dive” onto Kiyoshi and the security guards to hit the ground first.
Winner and still X-Division Champion: Suicide
Match #2: “Queen of the Cage” match
Sojo Bolt vs. Madison Rayne vs. ODB vs. Daffney
The one problem with this match is that Daffney was the only one actually wrestling in it. Super cool look for Daffney, both in ring gear and make-up. Everyone piles on ODB at first, but she’s not even brawling in the style in which we know she can. She’s a cartoon character, even more so than she was before. Cody Deaner pours the liquid from the flask into ODB’s mouth, and she cleans house. Actually, she mostly slaps her own butt and boobs, but that’s neither here nor there. Don Wests complains that if ODB isn’t going to share with everyone, she shouldn’t be allowed to drink from the flask during matches because it isn’t fair. Pretty funny. At one point, ODB is down long enough for Daffney to outwrestle everyone else, and nearly pins Rayne and Bolt. Another flask shot sees ODB hulk up, spit the flask’s contents into the eyes of Sojo Bolt, hit Bolt with a power slam, and get the pin. ODB and Cody Deaner celebrate. TNA gets rid of Sonjay Dutt, Jimmy Rave, and Petey Williams and brings in Cody Deaner. Cross the line….
Winner and “Queen of the Cage”: ODB
Jeff Jarrett arrives alone. Tension!
Match #3: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Title match
Motor City Machine Guns defend against No Limit and LAX
Regardless of who actually held the belts, there should have been more focus on this match. It’s hard to buy into the whole “international prestige” of titles from another company in another country, when you yourself (TNA) haven’t made that big of a deal out of them. A few short promos and/or video clips would have done wonders for this match. Show some clips from the matches where each team won gold, explain why they’re all fighting, and so on. LAX holds tag team gold in Puerto Rico. The Motor City Machine Guns hold tag team gold from Japan. No Limit used to hold the titles that the MCMG now hold, and want them back. This could have been “International Tag Team Domination,” for lack of a better term. I know. There was no time. If it was going on the ppv, time should have been made.
Some people seem to delight in referring to any TNA match not involving established main-eventers as “a fun little match with the usual cool spots,” or some variation thereof. This implies that no psychology, no storytelling, and no coherent plan are taking place. The aforementioned description does not apply to this match. “Texas Tornado” rules apply, which means that all six guys will be in the ring at once, and no tags have to be made. The big story here was both No Limit and MCMG going after Hernandez and trying to incapacitate him. This plan doesn’t work so well. Hernandez sends Sabin into the cage with a huge shoulder block. Ouch! Shelley and Sabin eventually try to double-team Hernandez with a suplex, but he reverses it and suplexes both of them instead. Hernandez is soon beaten down, and thrown into a corner, where every other guy takes at least one turn hitting him with a running clothesline. The double-team action can’t be done justice by trying to call it, so watch the match, already! All three teams look solid and strong throughout. At one point, Hernandez Cracker Jacks Sabin into the cage, and Sabin comes down head-first and painfully. Seriously, it looked bad, and I hope he’s ok. Shelley gets Border Tossed into the cage, and fares slightly less terribly than his partner. While the MCMG are down, LAX and No Limit go. Yujiro has Homicide on the top turnbuckle for something, but Hernandez gets Yujiro on his shoulders, and Homicide hits him with an Ace Crusher. The recovered MCMG take out Hernandez, and slam Naito from the top turnbuckle with the Made in Detroit combination. One! Two! Three! YES! It’s true! Don West actually says that now, TNA has to start considering the MCMG for a shot at the TNA tag team titles and a place in the division. Oh, ya think????
Winners and still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: the Motor City Machine Guns
Match #4: “Doomsday Chamber of Blood” match
Abyss vs. Matt Morgan
In this match, the object is to make the opponent bleed, then he can be pinned or made to submit. Fair enough. I’m not a fan of these types of matches, so I can’t really say how it compares with others of the kind. After punching chairs and such, Morgan opens up Abyss first. Abyss can now be pinned or made to submit. Morgan only gets a two-count. Morgan opens a bag of glass, and tries to drive Abyss’s head into it. Then Morgan tries to stab Abyss in the head with a shard of glass. Abyss sends Morgan into the cage, then choke slams him, but since Morgan isn’t bleeding, the referee refuses to count it. Abyss cuts Morgan’s forehead open with glass. Both guys can now be pinned or made to submit. Dr. Stevie comes out, and is finally publicly revealed as Stevie Richards. He takes a chair away from Abyss, and yells at him not to engage in violence with weapons. Morgan uses this opportunity to hit Abyss with the Carbon Footprint, but only gets a two-count. Abyss gets a bag of thumbtacks from under the ring. Stevie tells him not to. Stevie takes off his jacket, enters the ring, and slaps Abyss around like a little bitch. Morgan low-blows Abyss while Abyss argues with Stevie, then plants Abyss on the thumbtacks with a spine buster for the win. Stevie gets his jacket and leaves. Curious as to where this is going. Not down on it, but curious.
Winner: Matt Morgan
Match #5: Knockouts Championship Title match
Awesome Kong defends against Taylor Wilde and Angelina Love
Velvet Sky and Raisha Saeed are at ringside. Angelina Love looks terrified after Kong advances on her, which is totally the thing to do. People were really into Kong, which is nice to see. This was brute power (Kong) against technical prowess and sneakiness (Angelina Love) against vaguely high-flying (Taylor Wilde). Storywise, a good idea. Taylor Wilde just isn’t that good. Angelina is much better in the ring and it shows. If you need one good reason to watch this match, Awesome Kong does a somersault splash from the top turnbuckle. Read that last line again. Awesome Kong. Somersault splash. Top turnbuckle. Yes, I was sober at the time. Great moment when Angelina tied what was left of Kong’s braids to the cage wall, with the help of Velvet Sky. Raisha Saeed tried to untie them, but ends up chasing Velvet Sky around the ring. Taylor Wilde has Angelina Love in a rear chinlock hold, but Kong kicks out at Wilde, allowing Love to roll Wilde over and get the pin on her.
Winner and new Knockouts Champion: Angelina Love
Match #6: Tag Team Domination match (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles vs. TNA Tag Team titles, winners take all)
Team 3-D (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions) vs. Beer Money (TNA Tag Team Champions)
The rest of the wrestling world may disagree, but the wrong team won. For months now, the build has been just about perfect. Beer Money won matches. Team 3-D won matches. Beer Money are the TNA tag team champions for a long period of time. Team 3-D win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles in Japan. Mutual respect. Wanting to know for sure who is the best. A great sit-down interview with Tenay. Lots of “Rough Cuts” packages on Team 3-D. The last-minute destruction of mutual respect, even to the point of echoing Team 3-D’s own line, “Because we can!” Near-constant promos, video packages, and vignettes about Team 3-D. This was the absolutely perfect “pass the torch” moment. They didn’t do it. Just about every odd that could be stacked against Beer Money had been spelled out. There was no way that they could beat Team 3-D in Philly, therefore having them do so would have been the perfect thing to do. Too much has been made about the Philly fans. What? Would they have burned down the building if Team 3-D had lost? Sure, you eventually have to give the people what they want. Eventually. When the time is right and it suits the story being told. To have Beer Money lose this match, regardless of how strong they looked in it, defies good storytelling and long-term planning. Did Team 3-D need this win? No. Was Team 3-D in dire need of getting over? No. Where does the tag team division go from here? Does Team 3-D retire and allow the “young guys” to have a tournament to claim the vacated titles? Oh, that’s ever so much more effective than actually having Beer Money defeat a legendary tag team on their own. Beer Money defeating Team 3-D in their adopted hometown, and at their own game, in front of the oh-so-terrifyingly bloodthirsty Philly fans was exactly what should have happened, and that it didn’t is quite simply wrong.
Winners and still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and new TNA Tag Team Champions: Team 3D
Match #7: “Lethal Lockdown” match
Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner, Booker T, and Kevin Nash) vs. Team Jarrett (Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe)
Who was Joe talking to? By many accounts, it’s Tazz, which would be awesome. However, how many “mentors” does Samoa Joe need? We saw how well it worked out with Kevin Nash. The concept of “Lethal Lockdown” isn’t bad, but there were just too many bodies in the cage. A three-on-three match may have worked better. The AJ/Angle bit on the top was scary nice, and AJ’s landing looked pretty bad. This was not a bad match. It was simply too crowded, and the guys on Team Jarrett were limited in their movesets because of the cage. The Jarrett saga continues very nicely, and the chair shot to AJ looked completely accidental. Don West jumped all over it, which was great. Jarrett teasing the guitar shot to his own team, and then hitting Team Angle was ok, but it really gave off the vibe that Team Jarrett would not have won on their own. Again, the whole “We can’t do anything without Jarrett the Great to lead us!” only undermines the former Front Line even more. It was like, “Here, young guys, I am giving you this victory with this guitar shot.” Still, the drama of Jarrett’s true feelings has to keep going, and this was as good a way as any to do it. The appearance of Bobby Lashley as a possible ally of Angle and new member of the Main Event Mafia did nothing for me, but he is a former World Champion, and meets the membership requirements. I personally do not and have never cared for Lashley, and would just as soon he were not there, but the audience in Philly seemed pretty excited about his appearance. We shall see where this goes.
Winners: Team Jarrett
Match #8: TNA World Heavyweight Championship title match
Sting defends against Mick Foley
Wow. I truly did not think that Foley would win this one. Things will definitely get interesting now, as the fallout from this title win could go in many directions and covers quite a lot of ground. The match itself was quite good. Yes, they’re both old and slow. And? That was the whole point, that this could be the last match for either one of them. Foley’s Gollum/Smeagol changes during the match were great, like making sure that the cage door was properly locked at the start of the match, and then demanding that the door be opened later after Sting had taken out his left leg. Kicking the camera man through the camera hole and trying to get out that way was certainly novel. Pulling the barbed wire bat through the hole was also a nice touch. Sting went after Foley with the bat repeatedly, which raised the question of just how far into Foley’s world Sting was willing to descend. Did anyone expect Foley to win? It’s certainly intriguing. And isn’t that the point?
Winner and new TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Mick Foley
FINAL THOUGHTS: Several of the other sites that I’ve visited are practically crowing about how feedback on “Lockdown” has been almost universally negative. If so, it’s not deserved. The only truly bad match in terms of wrestling was the “Queen of the Cage” match, and that’s only because three of the four women were not actually wrestling. Sting and Foley were slow, yes. So only legends currently employed by WWE can have good matches? Enough with the TNA bashing just because it’s TNA, already! Honestly, if the Sting/Foley match had happened in a WWE ring, people would be saying almost across the board that while it wasn’t as good as HBK/Taker, it told a very solid story, the ending was a huge surprise, and the two old guys can still go pretty well, all things considered. You know it. I know it. The American people know it. Foley’s title reign is not the doom of TNA, and does not harken back to the dying days of WCW, and does not prove that there is no hope for the company. Quite the opposite, in fact. I paid for “Lockdown,” and don’t feel ripped off. I actually enjoyed most of it.
Join us later this week for “Impact” Impressions and the fallout from “Lockdown!”