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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
TNA LOCKDOWN PPV
APRIL 23, 2006
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, TORCH EDITOR
-Mike Tenay introduced the show using his indoor voice for once. He talked about the all-cage format.
1 -- TEAM JAPAN (w/Black Tiger & Minoru Tanaka & Hirooki Goto) vs. TEAM USA (Jay Lethal & Sonjay Dutt & Alex Shelley)
Don West spoke up, wondering if Shelley was ready to be loyal to Team USA. Shelley insisted he start the match. Shelley took the brunt of some early kicks from Tanaka. Tenay noted that Eddie Guerrero once wrestled as Black Tiger in Japan. Lethal tagged in at 3:00. Tenay said this was Goto's first trip to the U.S. and he really talked him up as an up and coming standout. Lethal and Goto had a nice mat exchange. Team USA hit a cool triple-team move ending with Dutt hitting a springboard blackflip onto Tiger when he was bent over Lethal's knee. Shelley then dropped Dutt with a senton onto Tiger's chest. Team USA dominated for several minutes until Dutt missed a charge into the corner. Tiger tagged out to Goto. They triple-teamed Dutt with some nice combination moves. Dutt came back at 9:00 with a headscissors out of the corner, then a hot-tag to Lethal. Lethal hit Tiger with a flurry of offense including a neckbreaker for a two count. Each Team USA wrestler hit Goto in the corner with a series of moves. Shelley then hit a Frog Splash for a near fall. The counted despite Lethal leaning on Shelley's back to help him score the pin. Goto kicked out, but then got German suplexed by Lethal for another two count. Dutt hit a standing shooting star press splash for another near fall on Goto. The crowd chanted "USA, USA." Tanaka tagged in and applied a sweet crossarm breaker (the way he applied it was great), titled the "Minoru Special." Dutt kicked Tanaka to break the hold. Tanaka tagged out to Tiger. Chaos ensued for a minute. Shelley hit Dutt by mistake during the confusion. Tanaka superkicked Lethal into a Tiger Suplex by Tiger for the pin. Tenay said Jushin Liger will be added to the team for the World X Cup tournament.
WINNERS: Team Japan in 12:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Too many cool moves to not rate highly, especially because it was in the context of a match long enough to have a storyline. It played out logically, with hot-tags coming at good times. The false finishes were well done, too. A few more minutes or more of a back story to play off of, and this could have hit four stars with all of the talent in the ring.
-Tenay and West were shown on camera for the first time. They ran down the rest of the PPV line-up. Tenay said they had something for every wrestling fans' taste.
-Jeremy Borash interviewed Team 3D backstage (Devon, Ray, and Runt). Ray said, "I'd rather go work for that miserable company in Stamford, Conn. than ever have to listen to the Canadian National Anthem again." Devon said, "Please tell me you were kidding." Ray said he was. This whole anti-Canada thing is so 1997. Team 3D left and Larry Zbyszko walked into the picture. Between Borash and Zbyszko, I don't know whose suit was more out of the 1970s. Zbyszko wanted to know something about the rumors of a big announcement.
2 -- CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. SENSHE (a/k/a Low Ki)
Low Ki has changed his name to Senshe, which is Japanese for "Warrior." (Those who have dealt with him behind the scenes would say that's an appropriate name.) West pointed out that he and Daniels had been former partner of Daniels in TNA and a former X Division Champ. Senshe and Daniels yapped in each other's face, then Senshe opened up with an aggressive series of chops and punches to take control. Daniels came back a minute later. The crowd got in a battle of chants: "Let's Go Low Ki" vs. "Fallen Angel." Senshe fired at Daniels with some roundhouse kicks. He followed up with a series of chops. Daniels fired back. It was Ric Flair-Ron Garvin like for a minute there. Senshe did a double stomp on Daniels's chest. He then applied a python on the mat. Daniels elbowed out of it, eventually breaking Senshe's grip. Tenay and West noted that Senshe is more aggressive than ever. Daniels came back with an enzuigiri and then an elbow to the face and a rapid-fire clothesline. Senshe swung, but Daniels ducked and suplexed him into the cage, then knocked him hard to the mat with an STO takedown. Daniels then hit a Death Valley Driver at 9:00. He then hit the Best Moonsault Ever for a near fall. Daniels's red chest was showing the effects of the chops. Daniels put Senshe on the top rope, but Senshe punched back. They both fought while standing on the top rope. Daniels rammed Senshe into the cage and then went for Angel's Wings. Senshe shoved him to the at and went for a top rope double stomp. The crowd chanted "This is awesome!" Daniels went for the Angle's Wings, but Senshe blocked it and leveraged himself onto Daniels, put his feet on the middle rope for leverage, and scored the three count.
WINNER: Senshe at 12:00.
STAR RATING: *** -- Good match with some very good spots. There was something missing to keep it from being a show-stealer contender. It felt a little rushed and void of emotion. Still, a lot of little things with the execution of basic moves mixed with some not-so-basic moves gets this to three stars.
3 -- KONNAN (w/Hernandez, Homicide) vs. BOB ARMSTRONG (w/Kip James, B.G. James) -- Arm Wrestling in a Cage
Before the match, Konnan said he was at a disadvantage because he hurt his knuckles last night beating up a bunch of Orlando punks. Tenay noted the "big guns" on the 66 year old Bullet Bob. Bob won clean in less than a minute. It's lame that a 66 year old is portrayed as stronger than Konnan. All six squared off afterward. As a result, B.G. and Kip got to whip LAX. B.G. pointed out they had to take the whipping or else they'd be suspended indefinitely. The crowd rightfully chanted "Boring" after the first of ten whips. B.G. was dragging it out. There's just not enough of the type of heat you need for this type of thing on LAX to make this work. As often is the case, TNA takes old tricks and misapplies them, but understanding the key that made it work in the first place. They cleared the ring of LAX before the ten whips and then B.G. said, "Who's your daddy?"
WINNER: Armstrong. For so many reasons, this segment had no place on this show. Among the reasons, Bob is not worth giving this much TV time to, Homicide could be much better utilized, and B.G. went on and on with mic work that drew "boring" chants.
-Borash interviewed Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarett, and two guys in the background (known previously as America's Most Wanted). Zbyszko asked Jarrett what he knew about this big announcement. Jarrett told Zbyszko to chase down the Hebners because they know all about a screwjob. Lame lame lame. Time to move on. This facsination TNA has with the Hebners is much greater than that of wrestling fans. Chris Harris stepped up to the mic and cut a promo on Sting, then Steiner wrapped it up, saying he lives for moments like this. Steiner said he's ready to snap. Borash made a face when Steiner turned to him.
4 -- ELIX SKIPPER (w/Simon Diamond) vs. CHRIS SABIN vs. CHASE STEVENS vs. SHARK BOY vs. PETEY WILLIAMS (w/Scott D'Amore) vs. PUMA
Shark and Petey began the match. Diamond and D'Amore chatted at ringside. D'Amore got his obligatory mic time, shouting at Tenay and West that he was predicting it'd come down to Elix and Petey. Petey pinned Shark Boy after a Canadian Destroyer out of nowhere at 5:00. Chase finally tagged in and went to work on everyone. Petey went for a Destroyer, but Stevens was fresh enough to block it. Skipper hit Puma with a Sudden Death (one of those cool moves, but where you don't know who was supposed to be more hurt from it or even who executed it on whom). Sabin surprised Skipper with a kick to the face. Stevens saw enough and decided to climb the cage and get out. He then hung up there for a minute until Puma met him. Stevens kicked him to the mat. Stevens then positioned himself on the top of the cage and flipped onto all four below. He came down at an angle where nobody was able to catch him and pad his landing. "Did you see that landing!?" said Tenay. Rather than land on the others, he brushed them and landed hard. He eventually crawled over and covered Petey for a two count. Skipper surprised Stevens with a spike brainbuster for the pin, eliminating Stevens at 10:00. Puma, Petey, and Elix attacked Sabin. Sabin fought back, but when Skipper went for a cover, Petey sunset flipped Skipper for a three count. Diamond looked at D'Amore with shock and betrayal. Puma kicked Skipper out of the ring onto Diamond. Petey then catapulpted Puma into Sabin's arms, and Sabin gave him Cradle Shock for the pin. That left Sabin and Petey one-on-one at 12:00. At this point, the first to escape the cage won. Sabin tried to sunset Petey off the top rope, but Petey blocked it. Sabin face-washed Petey with his boot to the face, then hung him upside down in the corner. Sabin hit his running hesitation dropkick, then climbed over the top fo teh cage and down to the apron. D'Amore prevented Sabin from jumping to the floor. Petey then met Sabin on the outside of the cage. Sabin knocked Petey off the cage, but Petey landed on D'Amore shoulders. Sabin then jumped to the floor to win.
WINNER: Sabin in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Another solid collage of highspots. The finish cost it a quarter star. It was too cute by half. There were moves that took too much cooperation on the parts of those involved to be believable. There was some really dazzling athleticism in there, too. I really didn't like that finish. It's D'Amore trying to prove his value, but in the process overbooking himself.
-Borash interviewed James Mitchell and Abyss backstage. Mitchell gave Christian a hard time for going off to Toronto to film movies rather than defend the title. I get the point - make sure everyone knows Christian is a movie star - but in the process undercut Christian's credibility because what Mitchell says rings true. Mitchell was funny in making fun of Christian's "that's how I roll" catch phrase. Mitchell was almost too good. Abyss then roared and Mitchell laughed.
5 -- SAMOA JOE vs. SABU -- X Division Title match
Sabu went after Joe by throwing a chair at him to jump-start the match. Joe came back with boots to Sabu's head and Sabu bladed. Sabu came back by leaping off a chair and catching Joe with a knee to the side of the head. Sabu launched off a chair and springboarded off the top rope with a turning legdrop onto Joe. Sabu was wearing a cast on his left arm. He tried to use a spike against Joe, but Joe blocked it and applied a cross armbreaker. The ref wrested the spike away from Sabu. Joe pounded and stomped away at Sabu's cast. Joe rammed Sabu's arm into the mat with a twisting motion. Joe then gave Sabu a Samoan Cutter (a Stunner off the second rope) for a near fall at 6:00. When Sabu came back and went for a springboard off the top rope, Joe hopped up and threw a chair at Sabu, then gave him the Muscle Buster for the win.
WINNER: Joe in 7:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Stiff, non-stop action. Above average. Would have been better had it lasted longer, but considering Sabu's probably headed to WWE and he had a recent arm injury, no shock it went short. Joe gave him enough offense to keep Sabu respectable.
-Borash interviewed D'Amore and Team Canada backstage. Generic promo for their six-man tag. D'Amore said he's sick of the same old song and dance from Team 3D. He imitated Brother Ray. D'Amore's one to talk about "same old song and dance." Zbyszko barged in and said he needs to have a man-to-man chat with D'Amore about the rumored big announcement. D'Amore said he's heard a little something, but he wasn't telling Zbyszko.
6 -- TEAM CANADA (A1 & Eric Young & Bobby Roode w/D'Amore) vs. TEAM 3D
Team 3D dominated most of the early minutes of the match. Runt (Spike) was pretty entertaining, leaping off the top rope with several offensive moves, and scaling the side of the cage to try get to the American flag. Brother Ray gave a Bubba Bomb to Roode at 2:00. Given the domination of Team 3D of almost all offense, it telegraphed that they were losing. The ref got crushed at 5:00. The Dudleys gave A1 a flapjack. Devon then hit Young with a diving headbutt as Ray and Runt held his legs apart. Ray then grabbed the flag. The ref was still down. As Team 3D celebrated, Team Canada attacked them from behind. Runt set up hsi finisher on A1, the Acid Drop, but Roode caught him and powerbombed him. Young then put the American flag back up in the corner. D'Amore knocked out the gate keeper with a chair, unlocked the pad lock, and slid a table into the ring. Team Canada set Runt on the table. young went for a top rope elbow. Runt moved. Young overshot the table. Runt then gave A1 the Acid Drop. Ray and Devon gave Roode the 3D. Runt then grabbed the flag and the ref saw it this time. Brother Ray gave a lame pro-USA rant after the match, sounding a lot more like Hacksaw Duggan than he probably wants.
WINNERS: Team 3D in 9:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- It was what it was. It was overbooked to keep D'Amore involved, as usual.
-After a plug for next month's PPV, Tenay and West wondered what the surprise would be. Christy Hemme made her debut and handed Tenay a card to read. Tenay read the statement that said TNA management was undergoing a major overhaul. Tenay said Zbyszko was placed on probation. Zbyszko interrupted with a rant. He wanted to know "what nitwit" put him on probation. He accused Tenay of stabbing him in the back. He said he deserved better because he tutored Tenay back in the day. Zbyszko wanted to know who signed the card. Tenay said there was more. He said Raven was reinstated to the TNA roster. Raven then walked out. Zbyszko blew a gasket, but when Raven made a move toward him, Zbyszko ran into the cage and closed the door to keep Raven out. He called for security to drag Raven away. What a self-indulgent mess. This is booked as if people care deeply about Zbyszko, Tenay, and Raven at this point in some battle over authority. Is there even a clear-cut babyface?
-Borash tried to interview Christian, but Christian just shoved the mic down and gave Borash an intense, angry stare. Borash said Christian is going to do his talking inside the ring, apparently.
7 -- CHRISTIAN CAGE vs. ABYSS (w/James Mitchell) -- NWA World Hvt. Title match
Christian attacked Abyss on the rampway, almost slipping early on. They brawled through the crowd for a couple minutes, then back to ringside. Christian sidestepped Abyss swinging the cage door into his face, then slammed Abyss with the door several times. He chased Mitchell, who successfully fled. When Christian turned around, Abyss surprised him with a cage door shot. Once they entered the cage, after several minutes of brawling outside the cage, the bell rang to officially start the match. Abyss crushed Christian in the corner with a running splash. Abyss threw Christian like a dart into the side of the cage. Christian saved the ref from getting caught in a corner splash, but then Abyss went for a clothesline, which Christian ducked, and the ref caught instead. Christian hit Abyss with a tornado DDT off the ropes. When he went for the cover, the ref was still down. Mitchell handed Abyss the title belt through the hole for the camera. Christian, though, surprised Abyss with an Unprettier. The ref was still out, so Christian grabbed him, then covered Abyss. The ref made the count, but Abyss kicked out. Christian then went to the top of the cage and hit a frog splash on Abyss. Christian made the cover and scored just a two count at 8:00. "He's not a man. He's a monster!" said Tenay. Abyss then gave Christian, who was stunned from the impact of the splash, his Shock Treatment finisher. Abyss then poured thumb tacks onto the mat. Christian used Mitchell's cane to knock Abyss down. Then he climbed to the top of the cage again. Abyss grabbed the ref by his throat and threw him into the side of the cage. Christian began climbing down the other side of the cage. Abyss climbed the cage, too. Abyss grabbed Christian by the throat. Christian escaped and gave Abyss a sunset flip onto the thumb tacks. The execution was a little clunky, the end result was the same - Abyss had a back covered in thumb tacks (through his shirt) and arms (with no layer of clothing to protect them). A second ref, Slick Johnson, entered the ring and counted, but Abyss kicked out before three. Christian held his belt in the air, but when he charged at Abyss, Abyss gave him a Black Hole Slam for a believable near fall. Mitchell tossed Abyss another bag, which was filled with more tacks. Abyss poured them onto the mat and went to chokeslam Christian on them. Christian gave Abyss his Unprettier on the tacks for the win. After the match, Abyss "got his heat back" by attacking Christian and hanging him with a chain after the match.
WINNER: Christian in 14:00 to retain the NWA World Hvt. Title.
STAR RATING: *** -- Eh. Pretty good cage match. A bit overdone, too. The brawling through the crowd fit the tone of the feud, but it's been so overdone by TNA that it doesn't mean much anymore. The sustained Abyss beatdown of Christian wasn't anything special. The finishing sequences were good in that there were several believable near falls. I don't like the thumb tack gimmick with Abyss since almost always he ends up taking the bump on them. For it to seem threatening, Abyss has to be successful using them against his opponents more often.
-Borash interviewed Sting, Rhino, A.J. Styles, and Ron Killings backstage. The interview set must be soundproof or else they've got their priorities screwed up, since certainly Christian would have appreciated a little help from his friends during the long post-match beatdown. Sting didn't say anything until the end, and then just shouted, "It's Showtime!" It's best that he not say anything more, but it's sad that that's the promo TNA's top paid star is capable of.
8 -- STING'S SQUADRON (Sting & A.J. Styles & Rhino & Ron Killings) vs. JARRETT'S JOKERS (Jeff Jarrett & Scott Steiner & America's Most Wanted)
This is War Games rules with one wrestler from each team fighting for five minutes. Scott Steiner and Sting began for their respective teams. Yeah, right. Styles and Harris, predictably, began the match. The two best workers from each team with the best cardio almost always begin this type of match. By 3:00, Styles took firm control with splashes of Harris against the cage. He rammed his head into the cage several times. Harris came back with a Catatonic with just 30 seconds left in the first five minutes. Styles came back with a Styles Clash. As per the predictable structure of this match, the heel team always wins the coin flip and gets to add a third member to the match first. Out came James Storm, again totally predictable. Styles slidekicked the cage door, and Storm ducked, but Gail Kim at ringside took the metal to the face. Jackie Gayda relished in Kim's agony at ringside. Storm entered the ring and immediately gave Styles a beating. Rhino came out second for Sting's team. It was either him or Killings. Rhino of course beat up both members of AMW. Sometimes the best thing to do is book by numbers and follow a successful formula, but when it comes to the War Games format, there's ways to change up the execution to freshen it up. This is really predictable for anyone whose seem a few of these before. Presumably TNA wants to appeal to long-time fans, not just people whose days watching wrestling began in the past year. Next out for the heel team was, of course, Jeff Jarrett. Rhino met him on the rampway. Styles punched Jarrett on the floor, too. They doubled on him by the announcers' table. Jarrett entered the cage, and with the help of his partners, took control and beat down Styles and Rhino. Killings came out next for the Sting team. He cleaned house for a minute. Styles climbed to the top of the cage. Storm and Jarrett caught up to him and set up a double superplex on Styles. Killings and Rhino then got underneath Storm and Jarrett to set up a double electric chair on all three. Harris then got underneath all of them and sent them all crashing to the mat. The crowd chanted "Holy sh--!" Scott Steiner came out next. He would have broke into six pieces had he been part of that spot. Steiner gave Rhino his signature belly-to-belly, then tossed Styles over his head, followed by Killings. Then he did a few push-ups. he pressed Styles into the air and threw him into the side of the cage. Steiner tossed Killings to the mat off the ropes. He looked physically dominant. Steiner called for Sting to bring it. Sting, of course, entered and cleaned house. He stacked all four heels in the corner, then gave them all a pretty harmless looking Stinger Splash. He did a second one, and then they tumbled to the mat. Sting then asked for the roof to be lowered, which mean the weapons hanging from the roof could be used. That made it officially "Lethal Lockdown" time at 20:00. Styles and Storm made their way onto the top of the cage roof as everyone else fought inside the cage with the weapons. Gail Kim climbed the cage. Jackie yanked off her skirt. Storm superkicked Styles on the roof. Styles came back with a Pele kick on Storm. In the ring, Jarrett grabbed a guitar. Sting had one, too. Sting put down the guitar and grabbed a bat. Sting then threatened to hit Jarrett with the guitar. As Jarrett begged off, Steiner gave him a low blow. Meanwhile, Styles set Storm on a table on the roof and then set up a ladder. The others below stalled like they were in a 20 man battle royal filling time. Styles then monkey barred his way across the rafter and swung and splashed onto Storm, through the table on the roof. They showed fans going nuts in the crowd. The cage roof held up. The crowd chanted "That was awesome!" It was more convoluted and awesome. Steiner applied the Steiner Recliner on Rhino. Sting broke it up with the Scorpion Death Drop. Harris then KO'd Sting with handcuffs. Harris applied the Scorpion Deathlock on Sting. Sting reversed it and had Harris in a Scorpion. Harris tapped a few seconds later. The PPV ended a few seconds later, so they were tight on satellite time. No time for a feel-good celebration or a chance to see how the mess of everyone in and on top of the cage would separate themselves and react to the finish.
WINNERS: Sting's Squadron in 28:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Exciting if you've never seen that format before, so it worked on that level. Exciting if you were totally into all of the characters in the ring, so it worked on that level. Exciting if you are satisfied with a couple big stunts during a match, so it worked on that level. Yet the whole was less than the sum of the parts because for most, it was very familiar and formula, without a twist. It also, as usual for TNA, felt rushed. They just don't have any time to let anything sink in before you have to pay attention to something else about to happen that's the most important thing ever. Also, if you paid to see Sting, you didn't get to see much as Styles was used to distract from the fact that Sting's bag-o-tricks is pretty limited. The younger athletes carried this, and the "big stars" were along for the ride. Steiner looked good as the overpowering brute, but he could have killed a couple people in the process.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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