TNA "Lockdown" Alternative Perspective PPV Review
April 24, 2005
Live from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
By: James Caldwell, Pro Wrestling Torch Team Contributor
Four days later, I was finally able to catch the Lockdown PPV in order to put together an Alternative Perspective review on the show after haggling with the cable company more times than should be necessary in the year 2005. However, that pales in comparison to what I just read about Chris Candido prior to posting this report. My heart instantly leapt out of my chest when I read the tragic news about Candido and certainly wish his family the best in recovering from Candido's loss.
- We opened with a video package highlighting the "beast" that is the "six sides of steel" cage. The "cage" was the focal point of the package, with shots of wrestlers mixed in for dramatic effect. The voice-over person on the video package closed, "God have mercy on their souls."
- From the ringside area, Mike Tenay and Don West welcomed us to the Impact zone. After the Jerry Jarrett-inspired small-budget fireworks shot off, we saw a wide shot of the arena where fans were packed in with a shoehorn. Don West was sporting another hideous dress shirt, this time in black rather than slap-you-in-the-face blue or silver. West and Tenay ran down the entire card with Tenay reminding us that the winner of the main event match – Abyss vs. A.J. Styles – will go on to Hard Justice to take on Jeff Jarrett for the NWA Title.
- We went backstage where we saw Kevin Nash peeling away a bandage exposing the staph infection that restricted him from wrestling at the PPV. Tenay suggested that the ball is in Dusty's court to name a replacement for Nash. Well, Dusty certainly dropped it later on.
(1) Apolo & Sonny Siaki defeated Lance Hoyt & Chris Candido at 6:57. Hoyt and Candido shook hands before the bell rang, with the fans chanting "Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt" since he's over with the crowd. Siaki and Candido started things off, with no mention being made to Candido's pseudo injury he sported the previous two weeks on Impact. Siaki ran over Candido with a clothesline then whipped him off the ropes where he proceeded to drop kick him, leading to Candido's leg bending backwards in an awkward position, breaking the ankle. Siaki covered Candido and actually scored a three count, but Hoyt kicked Siaki off the pin attempt to give the illusion that he broke up the three count. Candido rolled to the edge of the ring as all three of the other wrestlers were momentarily lost on what to do. Candido was eventually carried to the back as Don West talked about "parental discretion being advised" because of the brutal nature of the PPV.
Hoyt took the offensive momentum and scored a moonsault off the top turnbuckle on Siaki. Hoyt slung Siaki back-first into the cage wall as the referee pushed Apolo back to his corner. Hoyt hammered on Siaki's back then took him to the corner, where he drove a hard elbow to the chest of Siaki. Hoyt placed Siaki in between the ropes and the cage, and then ran into Siaki's back, smashing his face into the cage wall. Chants of "Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt" greeted Lance, who soaked it all in. Hoyt climbed up top for another moonsault attempt, but took too long, allowing Siaki to climb up top and score an overhead release suplex, sending Hoyt stomach-first into the mat. Apolo tagged in and dropped Hoyt with a super kick. Apolo made a cover, but scored a two count only. Apolo drove right hands to the face as a mini "Apolo Sucks" chant started up. So much for the heels being booed and the babyfaces being cheered. Apolo picked up Hoyt in a fireman's carry then dropped him with modified Diamond Cutter. Siaki climbed up top and scored a top rope splash on Hoyt, leading to the pin for the win.
- After the match, Andy Douglas and Chase Stevens of the Naturals entered the ring and tried to place blame on Hoyt for Candido's injury. Hoyt fended off the Stevens, but was no match for a sneak attack by Douglas. Stevens and Douglas worked over Hoyt's legs before standing him up and connecting with stiff right hands. Hoyt fought back against the Naturals, only to suffer the Natural Disaster double team finisher, leaving him down and out on the mat. The fans chanted, "Naturals Suck."
Match View: I was originally going to use this space to discuss the callous nature of Don West calling Candido's injury a result of the "barbaric nature of the PPV," when in fact he was merely injured during a simple drop kick. However, I just read the news that Candido passed away and am simply stunned. He was just beginning to contribute a great deal to TNA, and you could tell he truly enjoyed his role in the company. Apparently, Candido's death was a result of complications from ankle surgery, cutting a life short in tragic manner. Best wishes go out to the Candido family.
Moving back to the actual match, the ending almost seemed to be a way to get over Hoyt as a babyface, because he drew a lot of babyface sympathy from the Orlando audience after the post-match beat down. Hoyt has been cheered for two months, so it might be advisable to turn him babyface now that Orlando has consistently cheered him as a babyface and because Kid Kash is no longer associated with Hoyt or TNA.
- Dusty Rhodes was backstage with Traci and Trinity to talk about upcoming matches on the PPV. Dusty said AMW vs. Team Canada for the NWA Tag Titles would be a strap match. Traci and Trinity proceeded to draw two names for who was going to begin the Lethal Lockdown six-man match. Jeff Jarrett and Sean Waltman were the first two names drawn. Dusty, not showing an ability to adjust the script to the situation, told Traci and Trinity to settle down, despite them being pretty calm.
- We saw a video clip highlighting the feud between Dustin Rhodes and Bobby Roode, with the match becoming a battle of "Texas vs. Canada." After three weeks of no interaction between Dustin and Roode, we witnessed the chair shot attack by Roode on Dustin during last week's Impact broadcast.
(2) Dustin Rhodes defeated Bobby Roode (w/Coach D'Amore & A-1 Ralphz) at 15:02 in a 2 out of 3 Falls Prince of Darkness Match. Roode and Dustin exchanged right hands early on, with Dustin scoring a back drop followed by stiff right hands to the face. Dustin taunted Roode then scored some more right hands, followed by a bionic elbow. Dustin chased Roode to the corner, with Roode using the referee as a shield. Roode waited for Dustin to turn around, then rolled him up from behind and used the cage wall as leverage for a quick three count.
*Bobby Roode scored Fall 1; Roode 1, Rhodes 0
Dustin immediately popped up to his feet and regained his heat from losing the first fall by pounding on Roode with hard right hands. Dustin placed Roode in the corner, where he split the uprights with a stiff kick to the turnbuckle, which was supposed to reverberate to Roode's crotch. Key words are "supposed to." Dustin took Roode up top and scored a superplex, drawing emotional back pain from Roode. Dustin went for a suplex, but Roode blocked it and set up for a powerbomb, only to be unable to execute because of the pain in his back resulting from the superplex. Dustin dropped Roode on his back then slingshot him into the cage wall. Dustin walked into a boot to the gut, but recovered to score a powerslam. Dustin made a cover, but scored a two count only. Dustin went for a bulldog, but Roode blocked it and kicked Roode in the crotch with a mule kick. Dustin went for another bulldog, but Roode blocked it for the second time. Roode waited for Dustin to reach his feet, and then ran in with a shoulder block to the gut. Roode pounded on Dustin with hard right hands then kicked him in the ribs. Roode stalked Dustin's fallen body, and then drove a knee to the gut from corner to corner. Roode delivered a side belly to back suplex, resulting in a two count. Tenay, like a complete tool, said it was admirable of Dustin to really care about passing the torch to some of the younger guys. Just look at the booking of this match for how void of validity that statement is.
Roode went for a powerslam, but Dustin rolled him up with a small package, resulting in a two count. Roode went up top and flew off the top turnbuckle with a high-impact knee drop to the face. Roode cinched in a "reverse chin lock, leg grapevine around the stomach" submission hold. Dustin nearly submitted, but rallied to his feet behind the crowd's cheers. One fan ringside tried to tell the other fans not to rally behind Dustin. Roode locked in a Camel Clutch after Dustin broke the previous submission hold, but Dustin broke yet another submission hold, this time with an electric chair back drop. Dustin and Roode reached their feet simultaneously with Dustin scoring right hands to the face. Dustin sent Roode head first into the cage door, but the door gave way, opening it up slightly. Dustin grappled Roode and set up for a Reverse DDT, but Roode blocked it and scored the Northern Lariat clothesline from behind. Roode took too long to make the cover, allowing Dustin to place his leg on the bottom rope, breaking up the pin attempt. Roode took Dustin to the corner and perched him up top. Roode went for a German Suplex from the top turnbuckle, but Dustin blocked the move while holding onto the cage. Dustin grabbed Roode and bulldogged him off the top turnbuckle, resulting in a three count for Dustin to even the score.
*Dustin Rhodes scored Fall 2; Roode 1, Rhodes 1
The referee put masks on both Roode and Dustin as per the stipulations of the match. This led to both men pointing and feeling their way around the ring. Dustin tried to get the crowd to help him out, but that was of no avail. Roode and Dustin continued to avoid each other, as both wrestlers walked the wrong way. Dustin and Roode bumped into each other, with Dustin attempting a bulldog, but Roode pushed him off. Roode and Dustin both neared the referee, resulting in Roode laying out the ref with a right hand. D'Amore threw a chair over the top of the cage before chasing away the "gatekeeper" to enter the cage. Wow, that cage is quite restrictive. Roode picked up the chair and clocked D'Amore, thinking it was Dustin. Roode dropped the chair, allowing Dustin to pick up the chair and lay out Roode with an absolutely sick, stiff chair shot. Cassidy Riley, one of those "guys Dustin is passing the torch to" ran to the ringside area and awoke the referee as Dustin made the cover for the three count to win.
Match View: Considering that I'm seeing this match four days after the fact, my opinion of the match result is even more unfavorable of this decision after seeing that Dustin wasn't even used on Tuesday's Impact tapings, meaning his victory over Roode was basically meaningless. Certainly, it was already obvious that Dustin's victory was meaningless even before the Impact tapings considering Dustin's prospect for a future main event push is slim to none, while Roode's prospect for a future main event push is quite real. I really just don't understand a) the first fall, b) the match decision, and c) the seemingly easy entrance into the cage that undermined the entire cage concept. It's already been discussed in depth, so I won't get into the cage aspect, but the fact that Dustin couldn't even take a legitimate fall in the match, much less try to sell the first fall is absolutely pathetic. That's just really poor booking, with no excuses available to explain the booking of this match.
- Shane Douglas was backstage with X Division Champion Christopher Daniels. Daniels took charge of the mic and took us through a history lesson involving his former tag team, Triple X. Prime Time ran into the backstage segment where he said the time is right for him to take the X Division Title from Daniels. Douglas said the X Division Title match is going to be...wait for it...wait for it...Prime Time. teh he!
(3) Shocker defeated Michael Shane (w/Traci), Sonjay Dutt, and Chris Sabin at 15:39 in an Ultimate Xscape Match. Don West said Shocker is a "worldwide star because of that McDonald's commercial." Enough with that crap, West. The match began with Dutt and Shocker, who exchanged a quick series of match opening moves. Dutt ran over Sabin with a shoulder block then missed with back flip splash. West said, "It's like watching a circus." Goodness, does West hear himself talking? Dutt and Sabin exchanged another series of amazing counters before Dutt hit a five-revolution head scissors take down. Sabin countered a tilt-o-whirl take over with a huricanrana, leading to Shocker tagging in. On the opposite side, Shane tagged in, leading to Shane and Shocker going at each other with a series of match-opening exchanges. Once again, West talked about the McDonald's commercial and gave a full play by play of how the commercial was scripted. Dutt tagged in for Shocker, leading to Shane taking a double team beat down from Shocker and Dutt. Sabin entered the ring and flipped Dutt onto Shane with a moonsault. That drew a "That was awesome" chant from the Impact zone. Shane took control with a short-arm clothesline then hung Dutt upside down in the tree of woe. Shane drove a foot to Dutt's throat then kicked him in the face, while upside down. Shane made a cover, but scored a two count only. Shane drove a knee into Dutt's back, while wrenching the neck backwards. The match slowed down for awhile with Tenay and West filling the time by talking about TNA being "ahead of the competition" with their production values surrounding the cage concept.
Dutt tagged in Sabin, leading to Sabin and Shane going at it. Sabin was caught in the corner as Shane took Sabin by the legs and slammed him back-first into the cage wall with an Alabama Slam. Shane made a cover on Sabin, but scored a two count only. Shane sent Sabin to the ropes, only to have Sabin spin backwards onto Shane's head, leading to a Tornado DDT by Sabin. Shane and Sabin struggled to their feet, leading to Shocker scoring the tag from Sabin. Shocker connected with a moonsault on Shane then made a cover for a two count only. Shocker rolled up Shane with a La Mahistral Cradle, but scored a two count only. Shocker and Shane were tangled up in the corner, leading to Dutt wrenching Shane's neck back with a submission hold. Sabin joined in with a Camel Clutch on Dutt. Eventually, the four-man action was broken up when Sabin scored a running powerbomb on Shane. Sabin had a cover, but Shocker broke it up with a kick to the head. Dutt climbed up top and scored an amazing 450 Splash, and had the cover, but Shane inexplicably broke up the pin attempt, apparently not wanting to see Shocker eliminated by Dutt. Shane sent Dutt into the cage wall with a huricanrana, leading to Shocker making the cover on Dutt, eliminating him.
*Sonjay Dutt Eliminated First
Shocker dropped Shane with a tilt-o-whirl slam then went up top for a high risk move, only to have Sabin run up top and drop him to the mat with a back drop suplex. Sabin and Shane fought to the corner with both men up on the top turnbuckle. Shane appeared to be setting up for a superplex, but Sabin fought back with right hands. For no apparent reason, Trinity started climbing up the cage wall. Traci ran to the ringside area and started climbing up the cage wall to grab Trinity. Unfortunately, for Traci, Trinity kicked her to the floor, resulting in Traci screaming out in pain while holding her foot. Trinity finished her climb up to the top of the cage then flew off the top with an amazing moonsault onto all three remaining participants! Traci managed to enter the cage and went right after Trinity with a knock down clothesline. Michael Shane grabbed Traci and threw her through the cage to the outside. Sabin grabbed Shane from behind and delivered the Cradle Shock, resulting in a three count for the second elimination.
*Michael Shane Eliminated Second
With the match now down to two wrestlers, where the final fall is decided by escaping the cage, Shocker smartly began climbing the cage wall to escape the cage as soon as Sabin covered Shane. Sabin ran up the cage and grabbed Shocker. Eventually, both men ended up on the other side of the cage wall. As both men hung on the cage wall with one hand, Sabin sent Shocker's head bouncing off the cage wall repeatedly, leading to Shocker falling off the cage and landing on his feet to win the match. Sabin dropped down from the cage wall, but only after Shocker had won.
Match View: One thing that consistently annoyed me throughout the match – and to a larger extent, the entire show – were the constant "you'll only see this in TNA" or "you won't find this kind of action anywhere else" statements made by Tenay and West. It just comes across as pandering and very fake, where there isn't a real sense of excitement from Tenay and West, merely an expression of some line force fed by management. They may underestimate their Orlando audience where they feel the necessity to tell their audience who to cheer for before each match, but telling the TV viewing audience how awesome the action is without allowing the viewers to get caught up in their own excitement is just plain insulting. I don't need someone telling me that the X Division action is so exciting and found nowhere else in professional wrestling. I don't need to hear that and instead of getting wrapped up in the action, I'm constantly rolling my eyes trying to block out the next mindless line Tenay and/or West is going to tell me. Let me watch the match and form my own opinions while you provide some broadcast analysis.
I still haven't talked about what really irked me – Shocker's victory. It boggles my mind trying to figure out exactly what they see in a guy like Shocker, because he's not drawing in a larger audience, and his 1 out of every 1,000,000 markets McDonald's commercial that Tenay claims "has been airing nationwide for the last six months" isn't exactly something worth touting as Shocker's main accomplishment. This match should have been about Dutt, Sabin, and Shane – three guys who are long-term X Division wrestlers. Shocker seems like another one of TNA's misguided fixations along the lines of Johnny Fairplay, where someone in management saw the guy on TV and just had to have him come into the company and work. It makes no sense when the gold is right under their nose, but they choose to dig in hollow waters.
- Tenay and West narrated a clip of the drop kick that resulted in Chris Candido breaking his leg. They once again cited the "viewer discretion, barbaric nature" of the PPV as part of the cause of the injury. Too bad the drop kick and subsequent injury had nothing to do with the actual cage concept.
- We saw a video clip highlighting the history between Raven and Jeff Hardy, where Raven proposed an alliance with Hardy, only to be denied, leading to him attacking Hardy several times before their PPV match.
(4) Jeff Hardy defeated Raven at 14:01 in a Tables Match. Hardy brought two chairs to the cage with him, giving Raven a glimpse into some potential weapons to be used. Hardy tried to slam the chair into Raven, but Raven ducked. Raven couldn’t duck the next few shots, leading to Hardy smashing a chair across Raven's leg. Hardy set up a chair in the center of the ring and tried to run off the chair into Raven, but missed and flew into the cage wall. Raven threw Hardy into the cage wall then slammed Hardy's head into the cage wall repeatedly. Raven drove a foot to Hardy's head then sent Hardy's head into the seat of the chair with a drop toehold. Raven mounted Hardy and drove right hands to Hardy's head. Raven propped up a table against the ropes then dropped Hardy with the Raven's Effect DDT. Raven placed Hardy against the table then charged Hardy, but Hardy moved, causing Raven to crash through the table. Hardy picked up a chair and smashed it across Raven's back. Hardy drove a chair into Raven's throat and followed up with a nice suplex. Hardy sent the chair into Raven's back with a leg drop then delivered Raven headfirst into the cage wall. Hardy took Raven by the hair and drove his face into the cage wall, causing Raven to bleed from the forehead. Hardy dragged Raven's blood-soaked face across the cage wall then scored a suplex. Hardy climbed up top for a high-risk move, but Raven met him up top and both men seemingly just fell off the top turnbuckle. There didn't seem to be any semblance of a planned move, and both men simply laid on the mat. Hardy and Raven reached their feet with Hardy setting up a table in center ring. Hardy placed Raven on the table then climbed up the cage wall as Tenay and West were too busy talking about all the major league baseball players who watch TNA. Hardy failed to find his balance atop the cage, and then threw himself off the cage with a swanton bomb attempt, only to find wood because Raven moved off the table just in time.
Raven picked up a chair and drove the chair into Hardy's throat as the camera focused on the Impact zone's reactions of disbelief and anguish. Raven drove Hardy face-first into the seat of a chair then climbed up the cage wall. Raven stood atop the top rope, but took too long, leading to Hardy running at him, knocking Raven off the ropes to the mat. Raven and Hardy struggled to their feet before Hardy took Raven by the head and slammed his head into the cage wall. Hardy ran towards Raven and connected with a drop kick, snapping Raven's legs back. Raven picked up a piece of wood from the broken table and drove it into Hardy's throat. Hardy recovered with a Swinging DDT, sending Raven head first into the mat. Hardy climbed up the cage once again, only to be crotched across the cage door when Raven swung the door open. Hardy kicked Raven off the cage to the mat, and then leapt off the cage towards Raven, but only found the mat. Apparently, he just decided to throw himself to the mat. Raven stomped a mud hole in Hardy after setting up a double stack of tables. Raven picked up a third table and stacked it atop the other two tables. Inexplicably, the referee assisted Raven in his table setting manners procedure. Raven grabbed a fourth table and stacked it atop the third table, creating a dual double stack of tables. Raven and Hardy fought atop the cage wall, with Hardy flinging Raven off the cage onto the four tables. As Raven rested on the stack of tables, Hardy turned his body to face Raven then leapt off the top of the cage with a leg drop, taking Raven through three of the four tables to win the match!
Match View: If there's one thing you can count on from Jeff Hardy on PPV, it's a solid train wreck match. It may not be pretty, it may not have any sense of continuity, it may not have any sense of logic or planning, but there certainly is excitement. You can't deny the excitement factor. Sure, there will be a blown spot or two...or maybe three or four...but it is all part of the Jeff Hardy experience. Raven certainly put together a solid in-ring performance, despite having a failure to communicate on a few spots with Hardy. He definitely appeared more inspired than in his previous two PPV matches against Dustin Rhodes, and certainly contributed a great deal of intensity to make this a highly watchable car wreck tables match. Jeff Hardy continues to show great fire and intensity in the ring, after sleep walking through the first half of his stint in TNA. That’s a good sign from Jeff, who is certainly excited about the prospect of his brother coming to TNA in the possible near future.
- We saw a video package highlighting the history between America's Most Wanted and Team Canada, serving as a preview for the NWA Tag Title Match.
(5) America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defeated Team Canada (Petey Williams & Eric Young) (w/A-1 Ralphz) at 15:09 to retain the NWA Tag Team Titles. The match was given an additional stipulation of being a strap match as per AMW's request. Before the match began inside the cage, Chris Harris laid into Petey with right hands outside of the cage. Eric Young climbed up the cage wall and found himself crotched atop the cage. Harris and Storm climbed up each side and threw Young's legs into the cage wall repeatedly. AMW dropped to the floor where A-1 took one of the tag titles, slammed it across Harris's head, and then reciprocated the attack on Storm. A-1 demanded the cage door be locked, leaving Chris Harris outside of the cage. Inside the cage, James Storm was opened up by Petey Williams and Eric Young, with blood smearing all across Petey and Young's fists. A-1 sent Harris back-first into the guardrail ringside as Team Canada double-teamed Storm inside the cage. Young took a strap and rapped Storm across the back. Petey drove a foot to Storm's face as Harris struggled to his feet outside of the cage. Petey took Storm to the cameraman, giving the viewers at home a good look at Storm's blood-soaked face. Petey stalked Storm's fallen body as A-1 laid into Harris with another series of right hands outside of the cage. Petey and Young sent Storm into the cage wall several times as a small minority of fans chanted, "Let's go Cowboy." A-1 took Harris by the head and slammed him headfirst into the announcer's table ringside. Back inside the cage, Young whipped Storm across the back with the strap. Petey raked Storm's eyes and then climbed up the cage wall to grab the American flag. Young took the flag and choked Storm with the flagpole before referee Rudy Charles took the flag away and removed it from the match.
Storm somehow found an extra burst of energy to fight back against Team Canada, leading to Petey and Young taking bumps to the mat. Harris fought off A-1 ringside then climbed up the cage. Young saw Harris beginning to climb up the cage wall to enter the ring and flung his body into the cage wall, knocking Harris off the cage to the floor. Storm picked up Young and delivered a sick power bomb. Storm found a huge burst of energy and beat the snot out of Young with a strap. Petey quickly put an end to the sudden outburst with a textbook Tornado DDT on Storm. Petey made a cover, but scored a two count only. Outside of the ring, A-1 continued to work on Harris, preventing Harris from entering the ring. Young and Petey choked Storm in the corner while drawing even more blood from his forehead. Harris reached his feet outside of the ring and flung A-1 into the ring steps ringside. Harris climbed up the cage wall and entered the ring. Harris flew off the top turnbuckle with a double clothesline on Young and Petey. Harris followed up by dropping Petey with a Full Nelson Slam and delivering a spinebuster to Young. Harris took Young up for a suplex attempt, but before completing the suplex, he slammed Young's back into the cage wall twice. Storm reached his feet and held Young up in the air, allowing Harris to bounce off the ropes and clothesline Young to the mat. Harris made a cover, but scored a two count only.
Petey recovered and caught Harris from behind with a Russian leg sweep. All four men laid on the mat before Young reached his feet and began climbing up to the top turnbuckle. Harris reached his feet and grabbed Young's leg, only to be thrown off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Petey took Storm down and slapped on a Sharpshooter in the center of the ring. As Petey held the Sharpshooter, Young flew off the top turnbuckle with an elbow drop to Storm's head. Curiously, instead of keeping the hold locked in, Petey released the Sharpshooter and made a cover, resulting in a two count only. Petey set up for the Canadian Destroyer, but Harris ran over Petey with a flying clothesline out of nowhere. Young set up Harris for a super kick, but Harris caught him and spun him around, where Storm met Young with a sick super kick. AMW set up for their Death Sentence finisher, but Petey pulled Young out of harms way. A-1 handed the Canadian hockey stick flag to Petey, which Petey cracked across Storm's back. Petey made a cover, but scored a two count only. A-1 wasn't sure what else would get the job done, so he pulled out a bag of powdered salt and handed it to Petey through the cage wall. Petey opened the bag then turned around and took a boot to the hand, sending the powder into Petey's eyes. Petey was momentarily blinded, causing him to grab Eric Young, while thinking he was a member of AMW. Petey scored the Canadian Destroyer on Young as AMW watched with approval. Storm and Harris seized a blinded Petey and set him up for their Death Sentence finisher. Harris held Petey over his legs as Storm flew off the top turnbuckle with a leg drop across Petey's throat. Harris covered Petey and scored a three count to retain the tag titles.
Match View: Unfortunately, this match suffered from a distinct lack of internal logic. While A-1 was putting Harris in his place outside of the cage, leaving Team Canada with a distinct two-on-one advantage, Team Canada settled for just working on James Storm as if they were waiting for Harris to get in the ring. If you hold a one person advantage and you're gunning for the tag titles, why in the world would you take your time trying to beat down your sole opponent while your other opponent is helpless outside of the ring? I fail to see the logic in not doing everything humanly possibly to subdue James Storm and pin him before Chris Harris could enter the ring. It's not like Harris entered the ring at the two minute mark, because A-1 put Harris down on the floor at least five minutes, resulting in a good eight minutes of Harris being outside of the ring. There's no way Petey shouldn't have been attempting a Canadian Destroyer every five seconds while A-1 took care of Harris. I understand it doesn’t make for a compelling, exciting match, but that's not Team Canada's fault, that's a reflection on a poorly booked match. The entire concept of Harris being outside of the cage for so long was ridiculous because a team under those same real-life circumstances would seize the opportunity to win the tag belts by any means necessary. Harris should have been in the ring the entire match so the match could have some sense of logic. Instead, we were treated to another poorly booked match that defied logic. On a comparison level to previous AMW vs. Team Canada tag title matches, this one was not on the same level, mainly due to the poor booking, not so much the in-ring performances.
- We saw a video package highlighting the history between Christopher Daniels and Prime Time, dating back to when they formed Triple X back in 2002, only to be split apart at Turning Point when they lost a "losing team disbands permanently in TNA" tag match to AMW. We saw clips from when their paths crossed once again at Destination X when Christopher Daniels eliminated Prime Time in a four-way elimination match, setting up Daniels's X Division Title defense at the Lockdown PPV.
(6) Christopher Daniels defeated Prime Time Elix Skipper at 15:27 to retain the X Division Title. Daniels and Prime Time locked up at the sound of the bell leading to a stand off, drawing cheers from the Impact zone. Prime Time scored a snap mare take over, only to have Daniels counter it. Both men countered a series of offensive maneuvers with neither man being able to sustain more than two seconds of an offensive advantage. After a minute or so of constant reversals, Daniels and Prime Time stood off against each other leading to Prime Time scoring a drop toe hold. Prime Time locked in a side head lock, which Daniels broke free from to lock in a side head lock of his own. Prime Time and Daniels exchanged shoulder blocks before Prime Time finally scored the deciding shoulder block. Daniels came up looking very frustrated as Prime Time appeared to be outsmarting Daniels by not falling for Daniels's typical tactics. Daniels chopped Prime Time then walked into a boot to the gut. Prime Time scored a double underhook suplex followed by a gut wrench take over suplex. Prime Time made a cover, but only scored a two count. Prime Time did a headstand on the top turnbuckle then flew off with a turnaround splash on Daniels. Prime Time set up for a reverse DDT, but Daniels fought out and sent Prime Time arm-first into the cage wall. Prime Time came up lame, holding his shoulder and arm muscles. Daniels stalked Prime Time, as Prime Time continued to favor his left arm and shoulder. Daniels kicked and punched Prime Time's shoulder and arm area then played to the crowd. Daniels drove Prime Time's arm underneath the top rope, wrenching the arm upwards into the top rope.
Daniels absorbed a kick to the gut then connected with a top rope arm drag take over, taking Prime Time by the arm into the mat. Daniels sent Prime Time head first into the steel cage then made a cover, but scored a two count only. Daniels continued to work on Prime Time's left arm with clubbing forearm shots. Daniels connected with a Northern Lights Suplex, but held onto Prime Time's arm and locked in a Cross Arm Breaker submission hold. Daniels released the hold once Prime Time reached the ropes then stomped on Prime Time's injured arm once again. Daniels wrapped Prime Time's arm around his back then hit a turnaround slam. Daniels drove Prime Time down to one knee then wrenched the arm backwards trying to create a submission move. Prime Time fought out and used his good arm to knock down Daniels with repeated right hands. Prime Time continued the false comeback with a huge spin kick, knocking Daniels down to the mat. Prime Time made a cover, but scored a two count only. Prime Time slammed Daniels in the center of the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex then went up top. Prime Time walked the top rope then connected with a leg drop, resulting in a two count only.
Prime Time tried to use his injured arm on Daniels, but came up lame giving Daniels the opportunity to score a body slam. Daniels followed up with the Best Moonsault Ever, resulting in a two count. Daniels reached his feet then climbed up the top of the cage. Prime Time ran up the cage wall and crotched Daniels across the top of the cage. Prime Time climbed up the opposite side of the cage for the apparent set-up for his "walking the top of the cage into huricanrana" move. Instead, Daniels fell to the mat and recovered with the referee's assistance. Prime Time waited for Daniels to turn around then flew off the top of the cage with a forearm smash, knocking out Daniels and the referee. Prime Time went for his Sudden Death finisher, but he couldn't use his left arm allowing Daniels to set up Angel's Wings. Prime Time managed to fight out of the finisher, and went for Sudden Death once again, but Daniels held onto the side of the cage to prevent Prime Time from hitting his finisher. Daniels kicked free by hitting Prime Time's injured arm, which allowed him to score Angel's Wings for the pin and the win to retain the X Division Title.
Match View: This was a solid psychological battle with the storyline leading up to the match actually being used into the match. Often times, the storyline is completely abandoned once the match actually goes down, but Prime Time and Daniels executed the "mind games" very well. We saw Daniels becoming increasingly frustrated early in the match as Prime Time matched him move for move, just as Prime Time predicted. However, once Prime Time's arm became victim of a serious beat down by Daniels, the match really became juicy. The two-minute finishing sequence certainly capitalized on the psychological factors, with Prime Time blocking Angel's Wings, only to have Sudden Death countered into Angel's Wings. That finish was a nice exchange of Prime Time outthinking Daniels until Prime Time outthought Daniels until Daniels finally gained the advantage over Prime Time in the battle of "I know what your next move will be." They did a nice job putting over Daniels as being just one move ahead of Prime Time, leading to the victory. Solid effort from both men, with the cage serving as more of a tool rather than a distraction for a match that did not need the presence of a cage to be effective.
- Dusty Rhodes was backstage to finish the order of entry for the Lethal Lockdown six-man match. Dusty announced that the Outlaw would be the third entry, leaving us with Diamond Dallas Page as the fourth entry, Monty Brown as the fifth entry, and the mystery replacement for Kevin Nash as the sixth entry.
- We saw a video clip highlighting the history between Team Nash and Team Jarrett, with Jeff Jarrett finding a way to retain the NWA Title at every fork in the road.
(7) Diamond Dallas Page & Sean Waltman & B.G. James defeated Monty Brown & Jeff Jarrett & the Outlaw at 15:48 in a Lethal Lottery Match. Don West said Kevin Nash may not have been ringside for the match, but he was there for his friends "in spirit." Waltman came out first with a ridiculous get up of kneepads over blue jeans, looking like one of those rollerbladers on Venice Beach who has no concept of style. Jeff Jarrett, not exactly the most fashionable adept himself, came out in street clothes. Before Jarrett could reach the cage, Waltman met him in the entranceway and smashed a trash can over his head. Waltman took Jarrett through the crowd, up the bleachers, and to the top of the stands only to have Jarrett send him headfirst into the cage wall outside of the bleachers. Jarrett sent Waltman headfirst into the bleacher railing, and then cracked a trashcan across Waltman's face. Jarrett picked up a cookie sheet and baked some cookies smashed it over Waltman's head. Jarrett tried to send Waltman face-first into the announce table, but Waltman blocked it and sent Jarrett face-first into the table. Waltman picked Jarrett up and dropped him onto the table with a spin kick. Waltman picked up a chair and took a swing at Jarrett's head, but missed. Jarrett sent Waltman inside the cage at 3:00. Jarrett placed a garbage can in the corner then tried to send Waltman into the trashcan, but Waltman reversed an Irish Whip and sent Jarrett back-first into the trashcan. Waltman smashed a trashcan over Jarrett's head then played to the crowd. Waltman set up for the Bronco Buster, but ran in and missed as Jarrett moved out of the way. Waltman and Jarrett laid on the mat as five minutes expired leading to the Outlaw entering the cage.
*The Outlaw entered the match at 5:00
As Waltman ran over Jarrett with a flying clothesline, the Outlaw entered the ring and took a spin kick from Waltman. Waltman somehow took the advantage over both heel opponents, but was no match for a trash can lid to the head from the Outlaw. The Outlaw measured Waltman then slammed the trash can lid over his head one more time. Jarrett and the Outlaw smashed a cookie sheet over Waltman's back, but Waltman no-sold it. Outlaw sent Waltman headfirst into a trashcan before Diamond Dallas Page entered the cage with a kendo stick in hand.
*DDP entered the match at 7:00
DDP cracked the kendo stick over both the Outlaw and Jarrett, breaking the stick into pieces. DDP threw Jarrett headfirst into the cage wall then cracked the stick across Jarrett's back. DDP dropped Outlaw with a big boot to the head then slammed the stick over Jarrett's back once again until the Outlaw dropped DDP with a cookie sheet to the back. Outlaw scored a mule kick on DDP leaving everyone lying on the mat. Outlaw came up bleeding from the forehead as the next two minutes expired.
*Monty Brown entered the match at 9:00
Brown went right after DDP with a baseball bat, attacking his former tag partner. Jarrett laid into DDP with the kendo stick, leading to Jarrett smashing Waltman across the head with a cookie sheet. Brown, wearing cut-off dishwasher gloves, took care of some kitchen duty using a cookie sheet on Waltman. Brown caught Waltman in mid-air and threw him into the cage wall with an overhead suplex. Two minutes expired and Nash's mystery replacement came out.
*B.G. James entered the match at 11:00
The Roadie went right after Double J, knocking him out with a trashcan. James entered the ring as a House of Fire, laying out all the heels with a trashcan, except for The Outlaw. James and Outlaw went face-to-face, but neither one budged, adding more tension to the "relationship or no relationship" storyline surrounding James and Outlaw. Tenay and West heightened the tension by teasing fans that we might see the definitive word on their relationship. Waltman took Brown to the corner and delivered the Bronco Buster to Brown. Brown no-sold the Bronco Buster, hopped up to his feet, and delivered the Pounce to Waltman. James missed with a trash can shot and took a Pounce from "no-sell Brown." DDP took a knee to the gut from Jarrett and Jarrett set up for the Stroke, but DDP countered with a Diamond Cutter. DDP had the pin, but Outlaw broke up the pin. Outlaw delivered a crotch chop in DDP's direction and set up for the Fameasser, only to take a spin kick to the face from Waltman. Brown no-sold some trashcan shots to the head then Pounced both DDP and James simultaneously. Brown lifted up Waltman for a power slam and Waltman slipped out, with both men falling to the mat. Neither man seemed to know what to do after the spot was screwed up. Everyone laid around the edge of the ring as Waltman and Brown set up the finishing sequence for the second time, with Waltman spinning around Brown's head resulting in a victory roll for the inexplicable three count for the victory. Boy, did that finish suck.
- After the match, Outlaw and James stared each other down as we saw a close up of Monty Brown's blood-soaked face. The heels stood atop the entrance ramp as if they won the match, despite Waltman scoring the screwed up finish for his team's victory.
Match View: Talk about a mess of a finish. Part of the problem with how the finish came about was because all throughout the match, Waltman was in helter skelter mode, not really having any control of his movements, except for his spin kicks. I will give him credit, his trademark spin kicks were very well executed throughout the entire match, but the helter skelter pace at which he was wrestling finally caught up to him. Throw in the fact that Monty Brown wasn’t selling anything even if there was a buyer willing to pay top dollar and you had a recipe for a disastrous finish. I don't want to doubt Brown's credibility or professionalism, but I'm sure part of the messed up finish came from a lack of desire to do the job in the match, considering there were more than several candidates available to do the job. Maybe I'm just missing the boat, but I'm not seeing TNA developing any big plans for the Outlaw in the near future, so he was more than a prime candidate to do the job. B.G. James isn't exactly a title contender and a member of the 3 Live Shoe, so there's not much happening there. It just boggles my mind that you have a match with five "big name" non-TNA wrestlers and one TNA wrestler, yet the core TNA wrestler is the one doing the job. TNA should be having the big names putting over the core TNA guys, because the big names aren't exactly at the peak of the careers with five more years left to contribute to TNA. I fail to see the logic, especially when TNA instructed Brown to no-sell the babyface offense in order to look strong at the end of the match. Look strong? How is doing a job after appearing to be completely invincible for seven minutes looking strong? Explain that one to me.
On a side note, I have mixed feelings about the choice of B.G. James as Kevin Nash's replacement. On the positive side, TNA certainly continued the storyline between James and the Outlaw, teasing us as to whether one might strike the other, but nothing was really advanced to the point where they gave us the definitive answer as to the basis of their relationship. Maybe they want to save that for the Hard Justice PPV when they can build up "the decision" or "revelation" on Impact leading up to the PPV. If that's the case, then why not stick Ron Killings, a core TNA wrestler, in the big six-man match? Why not give Killings some extra rub when there was plenty of opportunity to shine? It really seems like TNA did not realize the significance of the open slot and simply wanted to fill it with a marginal talent so as to match James with the rest of the marginal talent in the ring. Might as well have called it the Marginal Talent Lethal Lockdown Match. I just look at a match like this and wonder if maybe we could have seen a line up such as A.J. Styles & Prime Time & Chris Sabin vs. Christopher Daniels & Petey Williams & Bobby Roode if the proper build up was given to the core TNA wrestlers upon the entrance of the "big name" stars. Maybe one day we can realize the seemingly impossible dream.
- We saw a video package highlighting the history between Abyss and A.J. Styles leading to the main event #1 Contender's Match between the two heated rivals, with the winner going on to Hard Justice to take on Jeff Jarrett for the NWA Title.
(8) A.J. Styles defeated Abyss at 21:40 in a #1 Contender's Match. Before Abyss could enter the cage, Styles flew over the top rope onto Abyss with a somersault splash, instantly creating an exciting buzz in the audience. Abyss recovered and sent Styles underneath the guardrail to the front row. Styles hopped up to his feet and flew off the guardrail with a huricanrana, sending Abyss crashing to the floor. Abyss and Styles exchanged blows ringside, with the match still not officially beginning. Abyss sent Styles to the ring steps, but Styles avoided the ring steps and ran into the fifth row of the stands. Styles flew back over the first row of fans and took out Abyss with a flying fist smash. Abyss moved out of the way of another aerial attack from Styles, causing Styles to fly over the guardrail back into the stands. Abyss followed to the outside and brawled with Styles up the bleacher steps. Abyss delivered hard right hands, only to have Styles fight back with right hands of his own. Styles delivered martial arts kick to the gut then walked into a chokeslam grip. Abyss grappled Styles by the throat and threw him five rows up the bleachers and into the wire fence surrounding the bleachers. Abyss threw Styles down the bleacher stands to the bottom steps, before tossing him over the guardrail to the Impact zone floor. Abyss went to the floor and delivered right hand blows to Styles's head. Abyss sent Styles headfirst into the ring apron before Styles fought back with right hands to the face. Styles took Abyss into the guardrail before opening the cage door.
Before sending Abyss into the cage, Styles scored several right hands to the face. Styles went behind the cage door – huge mistake – allowing Abyss to slam the door into Styles's shoulder. Styles reached his knees and Abyss absolutely creamed Styles's face with the edge of the cage door. Styles fell to the floor as Abyss waited for Styles to get back up. Abyss slammed the door into Styles's head once more, causing Styles to bleed from the forehead. Abyss sent Styles into the cage, officially beginning the match despite the bell never sounding. Before actually getting inside the cage, Abyss picked up a chain and a bag of thumbtacks and brought the items with him into the cage. Abyss choked Styles with the chain, allowing for a super-sick close up of Styles's bloody face. Abyss threw Styles headfirst into the top turnbuckle then used him as a torpedo, sending Styles headfirst into the cage wall twice. West and Tenay went into disheartened, disparaging "one, two..." mode when counting a pin attempt by Abyss, giving away the fact that Styles was not going to be pinned. Styles screamed out in pain as Abyss slapped on a neck wrench submission hold. Styles appeared to be down and out, but Styles slipped out of a lift up slam and scored an amazing DDT onto Abyss's chain, sending the big man crashing into the metallic object. Styles crawled to his feet and landed right hands to the face followed by an enziguiri kick.
Styles, with his second wind, scored a tilt o whirl head scissors. Styles went for the back flip Reverse DDT, but Abyss flung Styles aside. Styles reversed a slam to score a German Suplex, resulting in a two count. Styles set up for the Styles Clash, but Abyss slipped out and went for a power slam, only to have Styles slip out and roll up Abyss for a nearfall. Styles ran at Abyss out of the corner, but ran right into the Black Hole Slam! Abyss made the impromptu cover, but only managed a nearfall! Abyss went to his bag of thumbtacks and laid out the tacks in the corner of the ring. Abyss set up Styles for another Black Hole Slam, but Styles slipped out and punched Abyss in the face. Styles went for another punch, but Abyss blocked it with a right hand. Abyss set up for a powerbomb into the tacks, but Styles slipped out and delivered a modified Styles Clash, sending Abyss face and body-first into the tacks. Abyss came up in a state of shock, clutching his ripped up body. Styles covered Abyss, but scored a two count only. Styles went up top but Abyss grabbed the referee and threw him into the cage wall, crotching Styles. Abyss climbed up top with his chain and choked Styles across the top of the cage. Abyss punched Styles atop the cage before grabbing him in chokeslam position. Styles bit Abyss's hand, breaking the chokeslam grip, leading to him flipping over Abyss and powerbombing Abyss off the top of the cage and into the thumbtacks!!! Styles made the cover on Abyss and the referee came alive in order to count the three count for Styles's victory.
- After the match, Styles celebrated his victory as Abyss tried to figure out how he managed to lose his NWA Title shot. The crowd continued to jump up and down as we did not see another replay of the powerbomb finish, but the lasting moment of Styles's victory was more than acceptable to close the show.
Match View: This was an absolutely phenomenal match on many different levels. For one, I didn't seem to be phased by the seven previous matches containing the cage. Sure, I was a little numb to the cage by the time the main event came around, but it didn't bother me to the point where it hurt my personal rating of the match. Another very key element of the match that really helped was the commentary. Now, before you start typing those emails asking how I can give props to Tenay and West for their commentary, let me explain. For the first time all night, they did not go into full pandering mode telling us how amazing the action is and how "it's the only place where you'll see this kind of action" or "we're way ahead of the curve." No, they didn't do that, and they should be commended for not doing so, because I was able to fully enjoy the match without having to be told that I needed to enjoy the match. Tenay and West kept their intensity and excitement level at the usual overboard levels, but I was able to tolerate them because they didn't insult my intelligence by throwing out the usual back-handed complement lines.
As for the match itself, I absolutely loved the match because A.J. Styles came into his own in this match. He was intense, ferocious, failed to back down, and absolutely delivered an all-star performance. There was a different feel to this Styles, almost as if he wanted to prove himself in the ring before gunning for the NWA Title. It's almost as if he had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to show an ability to "get hardcore" and endure some pain. This almost seemed like a "Mick Foley vs. Randy Orton" type match from last year's Backlash when Orton proved he was hardcore and able to withstand some brutality. Styles certainly measured up and looked even more the better for the way in which he won. On the topic of Abyss over-using the thumbtack gimmick, I disagree because it plays into his character. It's almost as if he's used the thumbtacks so often that it's become his trademark weapon, which the fans have grown used to seeing and popping for accordingly. It's his tool for drawing heel heat, and with the limitations, he faces from not being able to speak or show his facial expressions through the mask, the use of any tool for Abyss to draw heat is a good idea.
Closing Thoughts. On the whole, Styles goes into Hard Justice with a lot of momentum, despite TNA really dropping the ball by not having him and Jarrett interact in some manner on this month's PPV. That really could have created a nice storyline basis for them to work with in building towards the Hard Justice PPV to create a program that fans can identify with and get involved in. By not having Jarrett and Styles interact, whether in a backstage segment or during the actual main event with Jarrett possibly doing commentary or watching from ringside, I feel like TNA wasted an excellent opportunity to lock in some sure-bet PPV buys for Hard Justice. Now, they have to convince potential buyers why they should see the Jarrett vs. Styles match, when they could have hammered it home in one felt swoop during Lockdown. Instead, they'll have to rely on Impact to sell a PPV headlined by two guys who really haven't interacted with each other in quite some time.
The booking on this show was downright terrible. Too many holes in logic, too much undermining of the officials (as has been TNA's greatest curse for months), and a complete misuse of the entire gimmick – the cage. I just don't feel like a promotion can heavily hype a specific gimmick so much, and then fail to enforce the gimmick under its strictest intentions. If people could just walk in and out as they pleased, what's the point of having a cage? Why not keep the cage door open and have people walk in, smack someone with a chair, then leave? It doesn't follow a logical booking pattern, and leaves the gimmick exposed for being a very shallow idea. That said, I liked the cage concept because it created some excitement, despite the excitement serving as a strict cover-up for the garbage wrestling and lazy writing on display. Not all matches were strict garbage wrestling, but the six-man garbage match was downright lazy, with no one doing much other than throwing a kendo stick, trash can, or cookie sheet around for a few minutes.
TNA has plenty of comparable and competent talent that can draw money on a standalone basis, without needing a full-scale gimmick PPV, if the talent I'm thinking of were to be given the right amount of build up and attention. Another name from the UFC, WWE, or WCW days gone by is not the answer. Building around the stars already available is the answer, and TNA management is just too enthralled with the "big name" to see what's sitting there right under its collective nose. Once they get around to developing the available stars, then maybe this entire idea of needing a PPV full of gimmicks to pop a buyrate will be outdated, leading to the focus being on quality wrestling (characters and workers) that should sell itself.
James Caldwell welcomes all feedback, comments, or suggestions on this month's TNA PPV review. Caldwell can be contacted at the usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org and looks forward to reader feedback. In the meantime, Caldwell would like to send his best wishes to the family of Chris Candido in such a time of tragedy.
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