Sunday, 8 February 2015

TNA Impact Wrestling - Lockdown 2015 Review

      For the first time ever, TNA decided to giveaway Lockdown on free television, rather than hold the event as a pay-per-view. An interesting choice, a clear attempt to build up the fledgling Destination America viewership, but would the event offer classic matches, of the ilk of AJ Styles vs. Abyss from 2005, Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle from 2008 or Angle vs. Mr. Anderson of 2010? Would the show actually end up as pay-per-view quality making fans feel like they've been given an extra special treat, or would it leave fans thanking their lucky stars that they didn't have to pay? Let's find out!

Lethal Lockdown Match
Beatdown Clan 
vs. 
Team Angle




  Taking up around a quarter of the television time was the continuing storyline between the Beatdown Clan and Team Angle, culminating in the Lethal Lockdown main event for the show. For some reason, it was decided that angle was needed earlier in the show, in which MVP (who was joined by Kenny King and Eric Young) offered Kurt Angle's team the opportunity to back out of the match, due to Team Angle being one member down at the time. For someone who is given so much mic time by TNA, MVP can't hold my attention for more than a minute. Of course, Angle didn't accept MVP's offer and it all ended up in a big brawl, with Low Ki and Samoa Joe ambushing Gunner. The pair trapped Gunner's arm in the cage door and delivered a chair shot, to give the match a bit of story later on. This segment should have taken place a week before the match, to help build up the feud, having it on the Special edition itself just made everything feel very rushed. 

The build up continued backstage with Gunner told by a Doctor not to compete, however Gunner decided he would any and would start the match, because he's a fucking moron apparently. Instead of telling their partner that this was a bloody stupid idea, Angle and Austin Aries simply sat by. Instead of reasoning with Gunner that it might be a good idea to go in last, Angle went to track down World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley, throwing him into a wall in an attempt to get him to join the team, that's exactly what I do when I want someone to write for Across The Pond, ask Billy and Sean.

So the two stories running throughout the bout were clearly set out earlier in the show. Gunner going in first with an injured arm, that was played up nicely earlier on in the match with Kenny King and Low Ki delivering a number of kicks to the arm and Gunner selling completently throughout the first five minutes or so. It was a shame not to see this picked up on later, although the crowded nature of Lethal Lockdown doesn't really lend itself to such subtleties. The other story, of course, was whether or not Bobby Lashley would turn up to help Team Angle. The moment Lashley came out was played nicely, although it was clear to everyone that he wasn't about to rejoin MVP's stable. Personally, I would've liked to have Lashley on the offence for a bit longer, as he cut of fairly quickly by the BDC, I think it would have really cemented the moment to see Lashley explode out of the blocks on his former friends. 

Angle's team managed to pick up the victory, with Angle, Aries and Gunner all managing to lock in their signature submission holds on members of the opposite team in a cool moment, allowing Lashley to hit a spear on MVP to pick up the victory. The interaction between MVP and Lashley lasted a little bit too long, with MVP standing around for a bit instead of saving any of his team. I'm not entirely sure if Angle's team going over was the correct decision, The Beatdown Clan needed a victory to make them feel like a viable threat at the top of the card, having only been in existence for a month. Where does everyone go next? Who will become Lashley's number one contender? Will Gunner continue to randomly drift in and out of storylines? 

Steel Cage Match for the World Tag Team Championship
The Hardys 
vs. 
James Storm & Abyss (C)
with Khoya, Manik & The Great Sanada




       It was refreshing to see a wrestling match open the show and seeing as this was supposed to be a "Pay-Per-View" style show it's exactly what should be happening on these special editions of Impact Wrestling. This match had recieved a lot of attention in the promos for this show, simply because of THAT bump by Jeff Hardy after the match, with the feud between the two teams being flimsly at best, with The Hardys winning a number one contender bout against The Wolves three weeks ago, before the teams faced off in singles matches over the last two weeks.

This match did little for me and for a match this long, very little of note actually happened during the match. The Hardy's ran through their signature moves (Four Twist of Fates?), Storm and Abyss didn't do much at all beyond kicks and punches, and most of all there was no sense of drama or urgency to attempt to get the win. This was two teams going through the motions for most of the match, which all seemed like it was there simply to allow for the big spot to happen after the match. I think seeing Jeff and Abyss using all sorts of weapons on last week's Impact also didn't help this one.

Elements of the finish however were strong. I say elements because Matt getting pulled out of the camera hole in the cage by Khoya was just plain stupid and completely negated the reason the purposes of the cage match concept! But, The Great Sanada's interference using his Green Mist to prevent Jeff from hitting a Swantom Bomb was a clever use of Sanada's offence and allowed Storm to pick up the pinfall victory for his team following a Last Call Superkick. 

The aftermatch of the match was what everyone tuned in for though, wasn't it? Everyone wanted to see Jeff Hardy's stupid bump from the door of the cage onto the steel steps. And you needn't have worried if you missed it the first time round, because it was replayed numerous times throughout the remaining two hours. The Revolution looked dominant, and Storm in particularly is doing good character work in the role, it is important that the younger guys on the faction get some time to get themselves over, as TNA desperately needs to get some upward movement from it's roster.          


Steel Cage Match
Eric Young 
with MVP
vs. 
Bobby Roode





This is the match I was most looking forward to heading into the show, mainly because Bobby Roode has proven to be TNA's most consistent in-ring performer over the last few years. That being said, I was left a little disapointted by this match overall. The action throughout was technically sound, both men looked comfortable in the ring together, but this wasn't anywhere near as competitive a match as I was hoping it would be. Roode dominated for most of the match and never really looked like he was losing this one, even when MVP came out to hand Young a steel chair through the fucking camera hole! 

This match needed, at least, five minutes more than it was given to tell a satisfying story and to give both men the opportunity to show what they could do. The story heading into the match was that Roode wanted to draw blood from Young, but when that happened it felt almost like a footnote, rather than the cresendo to the match that it should have been. Roode picked up the win with a Roode Bomb onto a steel chair, so it would seem like Roode would slot straight back into the title picture. This was a decent match, but it killed any momentum that the feud, or Eric Young, may have had going forward, after only a month. Roode's backstage promo later in the show would seem to confirm that also.

Handicap Steel Cage Match
Mandrews & Rockstar Spud 
vs. 
Tyrus 
with Ethan Carter III




This was my favourite match of the night, not the best match on the show, but my favourite to watch. Simply put, the match set out to do exactly what it had to do and told a story that was easy to follow and well told. Everyone in the bout played their roles excellently, with Spud especially standing out throughout the match, with his believable selling and his heel-o off the top of the cage onto Tyrus. It was Tyrus however who picked up the victory after EC3 managed to get Mandrews to leave the cage, ending up in a nasty bump onto the steel steps for Mandrews, before Tyrus picked up the win following his Tongan Death Grip chokeslam. Spud however managed to keep hold of his hair again, as following the match Jeremy Borash managed to snip the power chord to EC3's clippers. This storyline has brightened TNA's television product up for a long time and it doesn't look like losing steam any time soon, both Spud and EC3 are benefitting, with Mandrews and Tyrus also getting involved on the action, TNA needs to look at what it's doing right here and implement it throughout the rest of the show.

Steel Cage Match
Havok 
vs. 
Awesome Kong





Billed as a "Dream" match, this match turned out to be all hype. Awesome Kong looked like she'd rather be anywhere else as she plodded through the bout, whilst Havok did weird things like remove the mats from around ringside to apply a bear hug on them. There were two notable spots, Kong throwing Havok into the cage door and steps on the outside and Havok missing a spear on Kong that sent Havok into the cage, I don't know about you but I expect a little more from my dreams. Kong picked up the win, following an awkward top powerbomb and a standing splash, so I'd imagine we're going to get more between these two. Hopefully, they'll get a bit longer and be able to up their game next time out.

Beautiful People segment


For reasons known only to TNA, a segment involving Velvet Sky explaining to Angelina Love that she had been fired aired with the caption "Two weeks ago". AND REVEALED NOTHING! We'd already seen Angelina the week before coming out with The Bro-Mans and not giving a shit about Sky being fired. You could have saved us from Angelina and Velvet's acting TNA, but you chose not to! 

Robbie E and Brooke's "Amazing" Race





Thank the lord that this segment was kept to only highlights. Brooke and Robbie E had a race to get into the cage and then leave the cage. For the minute it was on screen it was mildly entertaining, although I can't help but for feel for the live crowd who had to watch it in full.

Finally...


This was not a pay-per-view quality show, neither was it a particularly strong episode of Impact Wrestling. Whilst there were elements of the show that were enjoyable, notably the Handicap bout, this felt like a show of missed opportunities. An extra five minutes for Roode vs. Young, a few tweaks to the Lethal Lockdown match and more urgency and drama to the tag team title bout and this conclussion could have been very different. 

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