TNA Impact Review
April 22, 2005
Taped April 5, 2005 in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios
Aired on Fox Sports Net
Report by James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor
- We began with a clip from last week when Jeff Hardy was attacked by a Raven, who used a trashcan as his weapon of choice, setting up this week's main event of A.J. Styles & Jeff Hardy vs. Abyss & Raven
- From the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay and Don West welcomed us to the show where Tenay indicated this week's show will feature the aforementioned Styles & Hardy vs. Abyss & Raven match in the main event. Tenay reminded us that Lockdown is only two days away and every match will be contested inside the "six sides of steel" cage. Tenay asked West if he could feel the excitement about "all cage, all the time." West said Dusty Rhodes shocked the entire world and can't wait for Sunday.
(1) 3 Live Kru (B.G. James & Konnan & Ron "the Truth" Killings) defeated Buck Quartermain & Lex Lovett & David Young at 5:00. Konnan and B.G. James did their usual pre-match mic work, leaving us with way too many crowd shots of awkward White pre-teens and awkward White adults doing gang signs. Yeah. The match began with Konnan and Lex Lovett in center ring with a collar and elbow tie up. Konnan went for the ugliest Irish whip to the corner turnbuckle I have ever seen, and then – to top it all off – resorted to taking his shoe off and throwing it across the ring into Lovett's face. (JC Note: If you can't wrestle, you're grossly out of shape, and you have no other reason for being in the ring, you might as well throw your shoe at somebody.) Buck ran into the ring, showing indignation for Konnan's offensive attack, and took a shoe to the back for his efforts. Ron Killings ran into the ring and dropped Buck with an arm drag flip over. Killings waited for David Young to run at him then caught him in mid-air resulting in a powerslam. James and Konnan held Young's legs apart allowing Killings to leap off the top turnbuckle with a leg drop to the crotch. James entered the ring as the legal man and walked right into a spinebuster by David Young after James was distracted by the other two heels.
Buck tagged in and dropped a knee across James's face then took James to the heel corner and tagged in Lovett. James took a snap mare as Lovett locked in a neck wrench submission hold. Lovett allowed James to reach his knees, and then slammed him back-first into the mat. Young tagged in and sent James to the ropes for a high-elevated drop kick. Young made a cover, but scored a two count only. Young tagged in Buck, who ran head into James's head, causing a mid-ring collision. Both men laid on the mat as referee Andrew Thomas applied a ten count. James reached his feet first and rolled up Buck with a quick roll up for a two count. Buck quickly hopped to his feet and clotheslined James to the mat. Buck followed up with a cover for a two count only, and then tagged in Lovett. Buck and Lovett went for a clothesline, but James ducked leading to him clotheslining both Buck and Lovett to the mat. Young scored a hot tag for the heels while Killings scored a hot tag for the Kru. Killings knocked down everyone in sight then tossed Lovett over the top rope to the outside. The action broke down with all six men doing battle in the ring and on the outside. In the ring, Killings was alone with Young allowing him to drop an axe kick across the back of Young's head resulting in a three count for the win.
- After the match, 3 Live Kru celebrated their victory, showing unfound unity that we had not seen the previous few months. The Impact zone saluted the Kru by removing one shoe and holding it up in the air. (JC Note: After standing up for approximately three hours at this point, I'm sure some of those people in the Impact zone had some stinky, sweat feet. With that said, having about one hundred people take their shoe off might have led to the nastiest smell in an arena in the history of wrestling. Good thing they never invented Smellovision for the viewers at home.) Kru continued to celebrate as the camera captured the one shoe salute and gang signs with awkward people. (G.S.W.A.P. unite!)
Nuggets from Tenay & West: Throughout the match, Tenay and West touted the fact that Konnan was back with the 3 Live Kru after going the singles route on last week's show. West seemed to take the classic announcer route in being confident all was well with the Kru, which inevitably leads to a sudden blow up occurring down the road. On the flip side, West described the members of the heel team as being "one victory away from taking off like a rocket ship." Well, if TNA had saddled Johnny Fairplay with Buck and Lovett – as appeared to be the case at Destination X – it could have been possible for their careers to take off. However, without someone to do the speaking for them, they can't get over, because they appear to have little to nothing in terms of mic skills or an ability to get their respective characters over.
Match Purpose: This served as the match to bring the Kru back together in an effort to show some semblance of unity after several months of dissension and a teased break up. In addition, this amounted to a progression in the standard timeline where a team fights and bickers in stage one, only to make an apparent reunion with an apparent understanding in place in stage two, only to blow up in stage three. We haven't seen the blow up stage quite yet, but we've now advanced to the stage two with an inevitable appearance from stage three in the on-deck circle. This was also a good way to set up this Lockdown pre-show teaser match where both teams will be joined by the Naturals and Chris Candido in a big nine-man tag match.
Match View: B.G. James and Konnan are best served wrestling on a tag team basis rather on a singles basis, while Killings is the exact opposite. James and Konnan are at a stage in their careers when they need to spend the majority of the time on the apron or exchanging quick in and out tags to get a fresher man in the ring, so they don't have to put together any long-term selling that could require some actual movement in the ring. Konnan resorting to throwing his shoe at his opponents should be a sign that its time to throw in the towel, because his in-ring performance is quickly disintegrating into embarrassment. Killings, on the other hand, needs a singles run so he can break free from the restrictions of the Kru to show us whether his slow decline into mediocrity has merely been a result of being associated with the Kru or a sign that he's just plain lost a step or two in the ring. Either way, Killings need to come out of the potential break up looking strong, so TNA can make some money running with him in a singles program.
- In the first installment of the "Top Five steel cage moments in TNA history," we took a look at #5, which was Chase Stevens moonsaulting off the top of the steel cage onto America's Most Wanted and Andy Douglas.
- We saw footage from TNA's involvement in the big IWA-Puerto Rico show this past weekend at the Sola Morales Stadium. Jeremy Borash narrated clips of the TNA superstars participating in the action. You can find the clip on TNAWrestling.com.
- In the second installment of the "Top Five steel cage moments in TNA history," we took a look at #4, which was the Tower of Doom Suplex involving Triple X and AMW at Turning Point back in December.
- From ringside, Mike Tenay and Don West talked about the big X Division title match pitting Christopher Daniels against Prime Time Elix Skipper. West said Triple X had such a strong bond, which was broken in a big way, leading to the blow off match for the title at Lockdown. West said both men are familiar with the steel cage, but only one man will be able to leave the cage.
- We went to an excellent video package highlighting the history between Daniels and Prime Time. Daniels narrated various clips, indicating he had been held back by TNA as lesser men held the X Division Title before him, leading to the current time when the "era of true greatness has begun in the X Division." We saw a clip from Destination X when Daniels stole the X Division Title from A.J. Styles, leading to Daniels claiming that every person who held the Title before him was merely a prologue to the beginning of Daniels's era of being "Mr. TNA." Daniels complemented Prime Time as being "pound for pound, the best athlete in TNA." Daniels turned it around by claiming to be much better than just a great athlete, unlike Prime Time. Daniels said that when young boys and girls turn on their TV sets to watch Impact, they aspire to be as great as the Fallen Angel. Daniels rhetorically asked, "How can Prime Time can beat someone as great as me?" We went to a clip from two weeks ago when Daniels questioned Prime Time's desire to challenge him for the title, trying to get into his head before Lockdown. Daniels closed by directly saying to Prime Time, "When I deliver my gospel at Lockdown, it will be your last rites." We closed with a profile shot of Daniels's face, giving us the lasting image setting up the Lockdown match.
Impact Note: This was an absolutely beautiful piece of video footage. The quick shots to previous encounters between Prime Time and Daniels were interwoven magnificently with Daniels's narration of his side of the story. The video piece looked first-class and worthy of something you put together for a major pro wrestling organization. That type of quality is what TNA should strive for in all areas of their company, whether it's production, in-ring, or management.
- In the third installment of the "Top Five steel cage moments in TNA history," we took a look at #3, which was Chris Harris executing his leg drop portion of AMW's Death Sentence finishing move off the top of the steel cage.
- At the Impact zone broadcast table, Dustin Rhodes joined Tenay and West for commentary on our next match. Tenay brought up Dustin's match against Bobby Roode set for Sunday when he faces Team Canada's enforcer in a Prince of Darkness Death Match. Before Dustin could respond, Bobby Roode came to the broadcast table out of nowhere (if you weren't paying attention) and smashed a chair over Dustin's head. West tried to warn Dustin before the "surprise" chair shot, but Dustin couldn't put his hands up in time to avoid the contact. Roode pounded on Dustin's head as he was laid out on the floor. Roode picked up Dustin and flung him across the ringside area. Security tried to run in to prevent Roode from inflicting further damage, but Roode shoved a rent-a-security member aside and scored another chair shot to Dustin's head. More rent-a-security members ran over to push Roode aside, followed by Chris Harris and James Storm of America's Most Wanted. AMW checked on Dustin's fallen body, while Roode taunted AMW as he backed away. West screamed that he tried to warn Dustin about the attack, but Dustin was unable to heed the warning in time. Tenay told West to check on Dustin's condition as security and AMW helped Dustin to his feet. West patted Chris Harris on the back, asked Dustin how he was doing, and then sneakily placed something in Harris's ring jacket. It was very quick and very nonchalant, but you could see West scandalously hand off an object into Harris's jacket. Dustin sold the chair shot attack by falling down on the floor before regrouping to his feet. Tenay said that he looked into Dustin's eyes and he could tell that Dustin was out cold.
Impact Note 2: Let's begin with why this segment did not work then move to why this segment did work. First of all, when Bobby Roode was within a good ten feet of the broadcast position, the camera panned to the left indicating someone was about to strike. That gave away some of the potential shock value of the attack. What made it even worse was Don West blatantly staring in the direction Roode was coming from before giving the warning to Dustin. West flinched and then remembered he was supposed to give the warning, causing viewers to see the entire sneak attack coming from a mile away. Essentially, for TNA's purposes, it's not a sneak attack if you give it away ahead of time. What worked in this segment, ironically, was the actual sneak attack. The last time we had any interaction between Roode and Dustin was way back on March 25, so it was nice to actually see them in the same segment together to build towards their PPV match Sunday night. The attack by Roode was well done to give him some solid heel heat going into Sunday, where the fans will want to see Dustin get his babyface revenge on Roode for the vicious attack. Of course, there are plenty of Roode fans and plenty of Dustin haters, so we could have a mixed babyface and heel reaction for both wrestlers, meaning the entire "revenge on Roode" factor could be met with the opposite sentiment expected from the fans.
- Leading to our next match, The Naturals came to the ring wheeling Chris Candido to the ring in a wheelchair. Candido was strapped to the chair while a neck brace and sling adorned his body. Candido sold the injury really well, drawing the ire of the fans ringside and Mike Tenay at the broadcast position, as they saw through the ridiculousness of the "injury." Good heel work from Candido. AMW was reluctant to start the match because they were concerned about the condition of their fallen buddy, but finally made their way to the ringside area.
(2) The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas) (w/Chris Candido) defeated America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) at 7:32 in a non-title match. AMW approached the ring to start the match, but the Naturals attacked them from inside the ring leading to AMW pulling both members of the Naturals to the outside for a ringside battle. Storm teed off on Stevens while Harris went to work on Douglas. Harris dropped Douglas hand-first across the Spanish announce table while James Storm stood right next to Chris Candido. The fans ringside begged Storm to beat the crap out of Candido, so Storm smiled and teased the fans into thinking he was going to wheel Candido into the ring. Storm decided not to and went back to work on Stevens with hard right hands. On the other side of the Impact zone, Harris slammed Douglas on the entrance ramp, and then mounted him for stiff right hands. Storm sent Stevens head first into the guardrail while Harris dropped Stevens's head across the Spanish announce table once again. AMW continued to dominate and absolutely berated the Naturals outside of the ring until Harris sent Douglas back into the ring. Storm kicked Stevens in the crotch then went back into the ring to help Harris double team Douglas, leading to a commercial break.
[Commercial Break featuring the TNAWrestling.com Shop zone Promo with So Cal Val modeling merchandise!]
We came back, as always, with the heels working on the babyfaces after the babyfaces dominated the entire portion of the match prior to the commercial. Chris Candido was shown ringside staring at the action in the ring while fans looked on indignantly. Back to the match, where Andy Douglas was in the ring with James Storm. Douglas locked in an abdominal stretch in the middle of the ring causing Storm to scream out in pain. Storm hip tossed Douglas out of the hold then scored a power slam off the ropes. Storm reached his feet then tagged in Chris Harris. Harris dropped Douglas with a hard left hand then scored a neck breaker that was equally botched by both Douglas and Harris. Chase Stevens scored a tag and went up top, only to be thrown off the top turnbuckle by Harris. Harris laid out both members of the Naturals then scored a running powerslam on Stevens. Douglas broke up a pin attempt by Harris then was clotheslined over the top rope to the outside by Storm. On the other side of the ring, Stevens dropped Harris with a weak jawbreaker and side kick combination.
Stevens turned around and found Storm awaiting him. Storm went for the "Eight Second Ride," but Stevens slipped out and sent Storm to the corner. Storm came out of the corner with a high-elevated super kick, scoring a boot to Stevens's jaw. (Well, that disproves Kid Kash's theory that Storm can't hit a super kick.) AMW signaled for the Death Sentence, but Andy Douglas reached under the ropes and pulled Storm out of the ring to the outside. Douglas took Storm by the hair and sent him head-first into the guardrail. At this point, the referee was tied up with Chase Stevens, allowing Chris Candido to miraculously rise from his wheelchair – as if he was at a Benny Hinn crusade – and enter the ring. Harris, not knowing Candido was in the ring, set up for the Catatonic side slam only to take a cast to the face from Candido. After knocking Harris out, Candido draped Stevens's arm over Harris's fallen body then ran out of the ring and returned his wheelchair position. The referee left the discussion with Stevens and counted the three count for the Naturals.
- After the match, Candido smiled and grimaced from his wheelchair, exchanging feelings of joy from helping his team fraudulently win, while still selling the "legitimacy" of the injury in case the referee glanced in his direction. As we saw more clips of Candido in the wheelchair, we also picked up the facial expressions of the disgusted fans ringside, who all had a look on their faces as if someone just ran over their cat.
Nuggets from Tenay & West: Mike Tenay expressed concern over AMW's involvement in a highly competitive match two days before Lockdown, and how it might affect AMW in their NWA Tag Title defense against Team Canada. We also heard Tenay and West pass around doubt about the legitimacy of Candido's injury in the first portion of the match, before Tenay and West exploded upon seeing Candido rise from the chair and enter the ring.
Match Purpose: This match seemed to be positioned as an opportunity for AMW to get in some ring work before their tag title defense at the PPV. Additionally, it allowed for the Naturals and Chris Candido to continue building up Candido's pseudo injury, scoring a fluke victory in the mean time. Scoring a victory over AMW, whether by fluke or by natural causes, should help restore heat on the Naturals. With Candido ringside drawing the absolute ire of the fans, the purpose was executed nicely, giving the Naturals a solid segment to build on.
Match View: Some might argue that a loss two days before a title defense cheapens the tag title match at Lockdown. For one, some might argue that if Team Canada were to lose to AMW, it would be viewed as momentum-killing for Team Canada, because they would have lost to a team that had their back sides handed to them in the ring. Well, that theory should not apply here because the loss by AMW was of complete illegitimacy, spurned by the faux nature of Candido's injury. Viewers were able to see right through the victory as nothing more than a cheap decision that will not affect AMW, because AMW will be defending the tag titles inside a steel cage, eliminating any potential outside interference that could affect the match decision. With that said, the Naturals's victory was probably the right decision to be made – but only in the way the match was decided – because it placed an enormous amount of heat on Candido and the Naturals. That's what TNA needed to do in this situation because it gives the trio momentum to build on after the dust from the PPV settles, allowing the writers to build up the Naturals and Candido as a legitimate heel stable with a great deal of momentum behind them. Candido plays his part very well and can create huge payoffs for TNA if given the opportunity to continue drawing heel heat.
- In the fourth installment of the "Top Five steel cage moments in TNA history," we took a look at #2, which was Jeff Hardy missing a swanton bomb on Jeff Jarrett off the top of the steel cage.
- We came back to see Tenay and West at the broadcast table to run down the Lockdown PPV line up. Tenay reminded West that every single match will be inside a steel cage. West said he is intrigued by seeing A.J. Styles and Abyss trapped inside the steel cage, with the winner receiving a shot at the NWA Title in May at Hard Justice.
- We went to a video package setting up the Lethal Lockdown six-man main event cage match, where the match will be done lottery style, with everyone able to bring his own weapons. We heard a clip from two weeks ago when Jarrett said his three opponents (Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, and Diamond Dallas Page) weren't even going to make it to Lockdown. Well, that was very prophetic for Kevin Nash. The video teaser showed Kevin Nash as part of the line up, so they apparently didn't have time to edit the graphic, or they simply are going to address Nash's removal from the match at the PPV, possibly creating a storyline for the non-Internet fans who didn't know Nash was already removed.
- In the final installment of the "Top Five steel cage moments in TNA history," we took a look at #1, which was Prime Time scoring a huricanrana on Chris Harris off the top of the steel cage at Turning Point.
(3) A.J. Styles & Jeff Hardy and Abyss & Raven wrestled to a Double Disqualification, No Contest at 11:29. The match was given a 30-minute time limit under Dusty Rhodes's instructions for the big main event tag match. The match began with Raven and Hardy dancing around the ring until Raven took the heel way out by tagging in Abyss before getting any contact in against Hardy. Abyss and Hardy locked up, rekindling the flame from Destination X and Against All Odds. Hardy tried to knock Abyss down with two straight clotheslines, but Abyss merely absorbed the blows like an Ultra Supreme Huggies Diaper. Abyss took a third clothesline attempt as a means for dropping Hardy with a knock down clothesline of his own. Abyss bounced off the ropes and attempted a leg drop, but Hardy moved out of the way and followed up with a flip over neck wrench. Hardy tagged in Styles, but dropped a double leg drop to Abyss's wide-open stomach before allowing Styles to drop a knee to Abyss's head. Styles clotheslined Abyss over the top rope to the outside then pointed at Abyss as if to say he had him figured out and wasn't afraid. Raven tagged in and we instantly went to the three step Styles drop kick combination where Styles leap frogs the heel opponent, then allows the heel to run over him after dropping to the mat, then awaits the opponent to bounce off the ropes a third time where he promptly connects with a back flip drop kick. Very nicely done, but you would think that by now Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe wouldn't be the only ones in pro wrestling who are prepared enough to see it coming.
Styles followed up with a spin kick to Raven's face, dropping Raven to the mat. Styles delivered overhand right hands to Raven's head then took him to the corner and delivered forearm blows to the head. Styles sent Raven head first into the corner turnbuckle then threw Raven into the opposite corner with an Irish whip. Styles draped Raven's neck across the middle rope then leapt over the top rope and scored a leg drop, smashing Raven's throat across the middle rope. Styles hopped up onto the apron and went for a springboard maneuver, but Abyss shook the ropes, causing Styles to drop crotch-first across the top rope. Abyss shoved Styles off the top rope to the floor then sent him over the ring steps and into the steel guardrail ringside. Abyss sent Styles back into the ring allowing Raven to make a pin attempt, but only resulting in a two count. Abyss made a tag into the match and told Styles to get up. Abyss flung Styles into the corner turnbuckle then ran in with a big running body splash. Abyss stalked Styles's fallen body then delivered a knock down right hand to the face. Raven tagged in and kicked Styles in the gut. Raven dropped Styles with a clothesline out of the corner the made a pin, but only scored a two count. Raven delivered another knock down clothesline then tagged in Abyss. Abyss pounded on Styles's back with forearm blows then picked him up and dropped him again with a stiff right hand. Abyss made a cover, but scored a two count only. We went to commercial with a heel dominating a babyface! Is that a first?!
[Commercial Break featuring "I'm Mike Jones" spending time on his newly leased computer that will cost him thousands of dollars in interest, when he should have just bought the darn thing outright.]
After the break, we came back to find Abyss still working over Styles, this time with a neck wrench submission hold. Styles broke the hold, bounced off the ropes, and then ran right into a high lift up slam into a heart punch from Abyss. Abyss made a cover, but scored a two count only. Raven tagged in and drove a boot into Styles's face. Raven ran across the ring and knocked Hardy off the apron with a punch to the face. Abyss tagged back in and drove a boot to the throat of Styles. Meanwhile, Raven grabbed a table and leaned it against the guardrail ringside. Raven instructed Abyss to throw Styles through the table. Abyss set up for a powerbomb to throw Styles out of the ring to the outside, but Styles slipped out after Abyss took too long. Styles waited for Abyss to turn around then dropped him with a kick to the head. Styles crawled over to his corner to make a hot tag, but Hardy was nowhere to be seen because Raven knocked Hardy to the floor a few minutes earlier. Styles, realizing he was alone temporarily, turned around to find Raven staring right at him. Raven grabbed Styles's leg for a leg whip, but Styles balanced himself and delivered an Enzuigiri kick to Raven's head. Styles made the hot tag to a recovered Hardy, giving Hardy the momentum to knock around both heels. Hardy shoved Abyss off the apron to the outside, and then turned his attention to Raven with hard forearms to the head.
Hardy scored a jawbreaker then went down on his knees allowing Styles to run off Hardy's back over the top rope for a cross body splash onto Abyss. However, Abyss caught Styles in mid-air and proceeded to drive Styles's back into the corner ringpost. Back in the ring, Hardy and Raven went at it with Hardy scoring a series of right hands to the face. Abyss ran into the ring for an attempted splash on Hardy, but Hardy moved out of the way, and Abyss splashed Raven incidentally. Hardy clotheslined Abyss over the top rope to the outside then waited for Raven to turn around, leading to a Twist of Phate. Hardy made a cover, but Abyss broke up the pin attempt. Abyss picked up Hardy and sent Hardy to the ropes. After initially missing with a clothesline, Abyss waited for Hardy and delivered the Black Hole Slam. Abyss made a cover, but Styles broke up the pin attempt with a springboard smash off the top rope. Styles picked up Abyss and set up for the Styles Clash, but Raven drop kicked Styles to the mat. At this point, Abyss's steel chain came into play when he wrapped it around his fist for an apparent fist shot to Hardy's face. As Raven held Hardy's arms back – exposing Hardy as an easy target – Styles ran in and shoved Hardy and Raven aside, sacrificing himself to take the chain to the face from Abyss. The referee called for the bell, apparently disqualifying Abyss and Raven for using an illegal object in the match. Tenay clarified the decision by the referee as a double disqualifaction, no contest, which didn't make any sense at all.
- After the match, Raven dropped Hardy face-first into the mat with the Raven Effect DDT. Abyss brought a chair into the ring and sandwiched it in between the top and middle turnbuckle in the corner. Abyss took his chain and swung it across Styles's body, causing Styles to fall to the mat in writhing pain. Raven took Hardy by the hair then threw him through the ropes into the aforementioned table that Raven propped up against the guardrail earlier in the match. Very nice! Abyss picked up Styles and wrapped his chain around Styles's throat then swung him by the chain face first into the steel chair. Styles dropped like a rock to the mat while Abyss did his "clutch my arms and place near head" motion indicating how much he enjoyed the pain and suffering delivered to Styles. Jeremy Borash checked on Hardy while Raven and Abyss celebrated their victory together as only two crazy people can understand.
Security entered the scene, showing that Hardy and Styles have no friends to make a save. Styles was placed on a stretcher and given a neck brace while Abyss and Raven stood atop the entrance ramp. Abyss ran back to the ringside area and fought through security to get in some hard right hands to Styles's head. Styles, after being subdued by the neck brace, shook off the restraint and fought back with hard right hands of his own! We closed with a great scene of Abyss and Styles at each other's throats trying to get in the final blow. Tenay and West screamed that we would see this kind of action at Lockdown on Sunday. With that final go home image of Styles and Abyss trying to kill each other, we faded to Poker.
Nuggets from Tenay & West: Mike Tenay and Don West discussed the crisp tag team work between Abyss and Raven as something that may have come about from both being of like minds because of how deranged each one is. West did a nice job selling the "only crazy people understand crazy people" factor as the basis for the match, leaving us to wonder how a teacher's pet and a glowstick raver found a way to mesh in this match.
Match Purpose: This match was used to showcase the type of insanely crazy action viewers who purchase Lockdown will be able to see Sunday night. TNA couldn't have picked a better main event match to give us that "go home" image of four men who genuinely despise each other and would like nothing more than to destroy each other for our personal PPV enjoyment. The match also allowed us to see a resurgence of the fire beneath Styles, drawing out that rage and "show no fear" attitude that Styles needs to openly display to be taken seriously as a potential next NWA Champion. He certainly came a long way from where he was on April 1 when he looked like a scared kid on the first day of school when he went face-to-face with Abyss. Great recovery by Styles to come full circle in preparation for his Lockdown match.
Match View: TNA hit the nail on the head with their selection of Abyss & Raven vs. Styles & Hardy to close the final sales pitch for Lockdown. Excellent decision because we saw some solid wrestling action, coupled with some really good workers, all capped off by some really good carnage to close the show. As my roommate pointed out, the lasting image of seeing two guys who hate each other duking it out as if there's nothing that can stop them was exactly how you should sell a PPV when the entire premise and story behind the PPV is carnage and destruction in the form of eight steel cage matches. I can honestly say the ending to this match made me excited for the PPV, because I want to see some carnage and fighting where two guys put together a match where you get the feeling they are genuinely wrapped up in a competitive fight. That's how a PPV match should be sold, and that's what TNA did perfectly to close the show.
Of course, beyond the surface-level desire to see carnage in the ring, there is a desire to see solid wrestling. Well, Abyss vs. Styles will definitely deliver that because both men are solid workers and have good chemistry in the ring together. One thing Abyss does so well to make up for his inability to deliver facial reactions – because he wears a mask – is to deliver great body language and movements that still tell a story in the ring. A story was definitely told in the main event match, and Raven didn't even look half-bad in the ring, unlike previous performances when he was saddled with Dustin Rhodes. I guess working with decent workers will bring out the best in an over-the-hill wrestler. Solid – if not picture perfect – ending to the "go home" edition of Impact.
Matches for the April 24 Lockdown PPV.
- All matches in a "Six Sides of Steel" Cage.
- DDP & Sean Waltman & ??? vs. Jeff Jarrett & Monty Brown & The Outlaw in a Lethal Lottery Lockdown, BYOW Match. (That's Bring Your Own Weapons if you don't like acronyms.)
- Abyss vs. A.J. Styles with the winner receiving an NWA Title Shot at the May Hard Justice PPV.
- X Division Title Match: Christopher Daniels(c) vs. Prime Time
- NWA Tag Team Title Match: America's Most Wanted(c) vs. Team Canada in a "U.S. vs. Canada" Match.
- Dustin Rhodes vs. Bobby Roode in a Prince of Darkness (Blindfold) Death Match.
- Jeff Hardy vs. Raven in a Tables Match.
- Chris Sabin vs. Shocker vs. Michael Shane vs. Sonjay Dutt in an Ultimate Xscape Match where there will be three winners and one loser.
- Apolo vs. Lance Hoyt
Weekend Replay Factor: Three out of five hamburgers. I highly recommend watching the main event match because it was really well done, and featured a nice mix of solid workers in the ring. The opening match and second match were both nicely executed, but nothing near "can't miss." Also recommended is the Christopher Daniels video package, because it was absolutely terrific.
Lockdown PPV Buy/Pass Factor: It comes down to this: do you want to see non-stop action in the ring? If you answered yes, then this is the PPV for you. There won't be much down time, room for bathroom breaks, or time to catch to your breath, so the only question remaining is how the PPV will be booked. The recent string of TNA PPV's has exposed Dusty Rhodes's weakness of not being able to install logic into match planning. That could become a factor again because TNA has the option of taking the easy way out with many of the matches by relying on the steel cage too much. However, there are too many good matches, too many good workers working together, and too many intriguing possibilities to pass this one up.
Closing Thought: This week's Impact broadcast did a fantastic job capturing the essence of the PPV coming up on Sunday. The "top five steel cage moments" was nicely done to remind viewers of the spectacular nature of cage matches, as a preview of what they can see if they order the PPV. The blending of solid wrestling and great storyline features really made this a solid "go home" edition of Impact, taking viewers to a point where their level of excitement should be bubbling to its peak.
James Caldwell welcomes any and all reader feedback and comments on this week's Impact Review at the usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Caldwell will be back on Sunday night with an "Alternative Perspective" review of the Lockdown PPV and might even drop some audio sound bytes for your listening pleasure. In the mean time, Caldwell will be back with a full Lockdown Preview this Sunday in the Lounge, so keep your eyes peeled for even more by the Madavi-appointed "TNA guru."
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
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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PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**