Friday, 20 April 2012

TNA Lockdown on Challenge - TV Review

It was gimmick match overload time again as TNA ventured to their hometown of Nashville for their latest pay-per-view offering, with James Storm challenging Bobby Roode for the World title in the main event of Lockdown, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.

The show began with the Lethal Lockdown match as Garrett Bischoff, Austin Aries, A.J. Styles, Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson faced Gunner, Bully Ray, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels and Eric Bischoff, with the careers of both Bischoffs on the line.

Well, this wasn’t too bad. Beginning with Garrett against Gunner, the vile villains had the one man advantage until all ten men were in the ring and the toys came into play.

Once this happened Bischoff senior spent most of the time cowering on the ring apron, staying out the action until Aries and Styles dragged him into the ring, taking him out with a couple of moves before his buddies saved his hide.

Eric would come into play again later in the match. Having recovered on the ring apron he returned to the ring, kendo stick in hand, to beat the snot out of his baby boy. However, when he began to brag about his achievements young Garrett recovered enough to grab a guitar, smashing his old man over the head. A three count later and the heroes had won the day, banishing old Eric from the company forever. Which means he’ll probably be back within the next three months.

The first title match of the evening followed as Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, the Motor City Machine Guns, challenged Samoa Joe and Magnus for the Tag Team titles.

This is one match I won’t be reviewing for reasons I’ve documented before. If you don’t know why just visit my website and look for the article.

The second title match of the evening saw Robbie E, accompanied by Robbie T, challenging Devon for the TV title.

This somewhat short encounter began with T refusing to step off the ring apron, only leaving after Devon threw E into him and then sent him packing with a big right.

E dominated for the most part, but it wasn’t long before Devon came back into the match and scored the winning pin after a spine buster. He didn’t get the chance to celebrate for long though as T came back into the ring and clobbered him from behind, leaving him laying in the middle of the ring.

The title match action continued as Velvet Sky challenged Gail Kim, accompanied by Madison Rayne, for the Knockouts title.

I quite enjoyed this one. Both ladies put on good performances here, which is something I haven’t seen in a Knockouts/Divas match for a while. Kim, as always, looked great in more ways than one, although move of the night came when Sky took her down with a sunset flip powerbomb from the top rope.

Miss Rayne at ringside came into play towards the end, arguing with Sky while Kim tried to leave the cage. Sky countered with a roll-up, which Kim countered with a handful of tights for the winning pin.

After an in-ring confrontation between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan (please tell me that these two old codgers aren’t going to work another program together) it was back to normal action as Crimson went up against Matt Morgan.

This wasn’t too bad, although the crowd were so silent it was like they were at a funeral. Basically we had two big guys beating the hell out of each other, attempting to show who was the best member of their team.

Morgan looked like he was going to take the win early on after dominating the early stages but decided against walking through the entrance. This would later prove to be a big mistake as Crimson came back into the match, putting in a good showing.

From there Morgan came back into the match, but the big man ended up getting crotched on the top rope after he stopped Crimson from climbing over the top. The fall left his leg caught between the middle and bottom ropes, giving Crimson the chance to climb over the top unopposed to claim the win.

Then it was on to the big grudge match as the man who won’t be making the trip to London this summer, Kurt Angle, took on Jeff Hardy.

Despite being clearly hampered by the injuries that are keeping him out of the Olympic trials this weekend Angle did what he always has done, he sucked it up and put in a great performance.

Granted, these two have had better matches against each other before, but this was nearly up there with them.

For the first time since the opener the cage came into play as a weapon, with Angle busting Hardy open. Both men went close to winning the match several times as they pulled out all of their big moves, with Hardy coming close after a couple of swantons and Angle with an Angle slam off the top rope.

Finally, we got the big move of the night. After Hardy took Angle down with his own namesake slam he climbed to the top of the cage and came down with a third swanton, finally getting the three count moments later.

The so-called special bonus match saw Sarita and Rosita of Mexican America challenging the newly-married Eric Young and ODB for the Knockouts Tag Team titles. Yep, if you haven’t watched TNA for a while, you did indeed read that correctly. Young now holds a woman’s title.

This was basically ODB taking on the Latinas handicap match-style, while Young and his Grizzly Redwood-like beard watched from the ring apron.

Sarita and Rosita dominated early on, pulling off some good moves while also trying to flirt with Young. But as the Latinas began to show their wares to the bearded one ODB took a swig from her hip flash and took both of her opponents down, taking the pin after a Samoan drop. Well, it was what it was, and it wasn’t very good.

The main event saw James Storm challenging Bobby Roode for the World title.

These two didn’t even wait to get into the cage before they began fighting. As Roode made his entrance, walking around ringside, Storm attacked him from behind. A massive brawl ensued, with Roode busting Storm open after ramming his head into the cage.

What followed was a match that was slow and methodical at times, and although it was quite good it just seemed to be lacking in the drama department, lacking that certain spark that a match between two former friends and now heated rivals called for.

Roode soon joined Storm in the blood letting stakes as they continued to beat the proverbial you know what out of each other, and like Matt Morgan before him Storm passed on the opportunity to climb the cage and take the win so he could inflict more punishment on his former buddy.

A few moments later Storm went to take Roode down with the last call super kick, but Roode, being the heinous villain that he is, pulled the referee in front of him to take the hit for him. He then called for the door when Storm was down, but instead of going through it he ordered the second official to give him a bottle of Storm’s beer.

He soon smashed it over Storm’s head. But to Roode’s surprise Storm kicked out of the ensuing pin as he began to make his comeback, finally taking Roode down with the super kick.

But as the saying goes Storm would soon be sorry about his own damn luck when a second super kick sent Roode through the door and onto the arena floor, gifting the victory to the champion as the evening’s action came to an end.

In conclusion - I suppose the best way to describe this year’s Lockdown would be a mixed bag.

Although these matches won’t go down as match of the year candidates there was some good stuff here, with the Angle/Hardy encounter the best of the bunch for me.

I was a little surprised with the running order though. In years gone by this event has been built around the Lethal Lockdown match, and I was left scratching my bald pate a little when that match opened the show. Personally I would have put it on just before the Roode/Storm encounter. That way they could have got rid of the Young/ODB debacle early on.

So with my gripe out of the way you’re probably wondering what my final verdict is. Well, it’s a thumbs up for Lockdown. Not a big thumbs up mind, because as many of my old teachers would say they could do better.