Powell's TNA Lockdown Hit List: TNA Title match ends with another awful finish, Lethal Lockdown match ends with Bully Ray helping the babyfaces, Gunner vs. James Storm, The Great Muta, Bobby Lashley
By Jason Powell
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TNA Lockdown Hits
The Great Muta, Sanada, and Nakanoue vs. Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, and Chris Sabin: Let's get the negative out of the way first. Sanada's X Division Title win was presented in a way that did him no favors and continued the recent trend of demeaning the X Division Title. On the plus side, the TNA crew seemed very motivated about working with Great Muta and worked even harder than usual. I was actually more impressed by their efforts than the Japanese trio, which is saying something. It was obvious that Muta is physically unable to do much, but it was still a treat to see him and the Miami crowd was more than receptive.
Gunner vs. James Storm: Both wrestlers worked hard and it was nice to see Storm look and act more heelish than he did during the television tapings. Gunner showed good charisma. I really liked the spot where Storm slammed his head into the turnbuckle pad repeatedly and then Gunner kept doing it after Storm let go. It got an immediate reaction from the crowd and made him look intense.
Tigre Uno vs. Manik: A good showcase match for the debuting Tigre Uno. His Triple Lindy Corkscrew 74,083 Splash (better known as the Sabertooth Splash) was impressive and the crowd was hot for the move. TNA has to work on the presentation before the Impact taping. The generic music used for Uno was lousy and seemed like something reserved for random trios of luchadors used in the opening match on WCW Thunder.
Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim: A minor Hit for the effort shown by both women. The problem I see with the Knockouts Division is that all the women feel interchangeable. Rayne doesn't feel like a strong champion, but rather like it's simply her 90 days to hold the title before passing it on to the next Knockout. The Knockouts trade wins and it feels like they simply pass around the title. TNA really needs to pick the right Knockout to showcase because the current approach isn't clicking.
Bobby Lashley accepts EC3's challenge: I never would have expected the live crowd to pop like they did for Lashley. He got a star reaction and he came off like a star in the ring when he hit a couple of power moves. Of course, EC3 rolling out of the cage means he actually would have won this if it were a match, which I actually hope he plays up on television. TNA needs to take a similar approach with Lashley going forward. Less is more with him. The longer they can get away with him not saying anything and keeping his in-ring work brief, the longer he'll be over. I still fear there will be a disconnect once he talks if his past promo work is any indication. Nevertheless, TNA delivered a good surprise. I also hope they learn from this. Imagine if this had been something that Dixie Carter overhyped on television and Twitter. The fans would have had time to come up with their own ideal surprise scenario and it would not have been Lashley, so the reaction to his reveal would have been very different.
Mike Tenay and Taz: I've been down on the work of both men, but I felt real pity for them last night when they had to act outraged by the latest screwball finish in the TNA Title match. Poor Tenay has had to sit there with a straight face and try to make sense of this mess for over a decade. I couldn't do it. I would have cracked years ago and had a complete meltdown on live television over the stupidity of TNA's booking. God bless them both.
Team MVP vs. Team Dixie: A minor Hit at best and the confusing moments with Bully Ray and Willow didn't help. The crowd was hot for MVP initially, and they got up for the Wolves' offensive spots a few times. It was nice to see the show end with the babyfaces going over, but the whole thing felt overbooked, as usual.
TNA Lockdown Misses
Overall Show: Lockdown lacked energy. The crowd wasn't mic'd well, but there were too many times when there was no noise and you could look at the fans and tell it had nothing to do with the way they were mic'd. The fans reacted to impressive moves, but it seemed like they were numb to many of the characters. The awful finish of the TNA Title match really killed the crowd and whatever enthusiasm I had for the show. This wasn't the worst TNA pay-per-view by any means, but I just keep waiting for something to change. It's the same old story. TNA has a talented crew of wrestlers who work hard. The problem continues to be the poor creative decisions and hideous big match finishes. It doesn't seem to matter who is on the creative team, the same mistakes continue to occur and stunt the company's growth.
Magnus vs. Samoa Joe finish: Magnus and Joe had a nice match that was building up nicely until the horrible finish. Dumpy looking Abyss sticking his hand up through the mat and blindly search for Joe drew groans from the crowd and bullshit chants. What happens when people join the TNA creative team? When they're on the outside looking in, these are the types of finishes that they would mock along with the rest of the world. Once they join the team, they book the same awful match finishes and swerves as the creative team members who came before them. TNA scaled back to four annual live pay-per-views. This was their first live pay-per-view since October. They had roughly five months set up a title match with a clean finish, but they just can't stop themselves from delivering these dreadful show killing, major turnoff finishes. This didn't leave me wanting to see Joe get a rematch next month or Joe feuding with Abyss. This made me regret spending $45 on another poorly booked TNA Title match.
Bully Ray helps the babyfaces: The guy who was threatening Mr. Anderson's wife and newborn children and teasing the idea of setting opponents on fire is suddenly a babyface. The alternative is that MVP paid him off, meaning MVP had no faith in his own team to get the job done. Fortunately, Ray is among the best in the business on the mic and I trust that he can find a way to play this right on Thursday. His post Aces & 8's character was a mess so this could turn out to be a positive.
Dixie Carter promo: I can't tell you what every fan was thinking when they were booing her, but that sounded like Go Away heat to me. I can live with Dixie in small doses. It just seems like she's always scripted to overstay her welcome. So even if there is real heat, I suspect that it turns into Go Away heat by the end.
Samuel Shaw vs. Mr. Anderson: I was looking forward to this match because Anderson seems to be having a resurgence and the Shaw character is a guilty pleasure. The pre-match angle led to both men overstaying their welcome. Of course, the obligatory TNA ref bump didn't help their cause, and I love the way they damaged the cage gimmick just two matches into the show by showing that the camera hole was big enough for some of the wrestlers to get in or out of.
Willow: Holy Abdullah the Butcher side boob, this was an overbooked mess. The live crowd was ready to pop big for Hardy, but they seemed more confused than anything when Willow showed up on the top of the cage before diving onto his opponents who split like the Red Sea when it was time to brace his fall. I'm not saying this can't get over, but I don't see what the point is. Hardy is one of the most over wrestlers in the company and he still has name value. The announcers all but told viewers it was Hardy, but the whole thing felt confusing and unnecessary, and that's coming from someone who got a kick out of the bizarre video packages.
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