Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Despite all their rage, the TNA roster is still a bunch of rats in cages as we march towards Sunday's Lockdown, Team Roode gets the advantage, more!
By Will Pruett
The rivalry between Magnus and Samoa Joe is a pretty interesting one in TNA. They have been partners, rivals, stablemates, partners again, and now are major rivals, about to face off in a pay-per-view main event. It's kind of cool to see their careers cross paths so many times. It's even cooler to see young talent facing off for the TNA Championship.
To adequately look at this feud, we need to go back to 2008. Samoa Joe defeated Kurt Angle for the TNA World Championship at Lockdown and began his only TNA Championship reign. The match he won was the only match of its type in TNA's history. Joe and Angle, longtime rivals, wrestled a match different than any they had wrestled. They wrestled a hybrid of professional wrestling and MMA and the match became legendary.
After this match, Joe floundered. It was the last time he had a real story in TNA. It was the last time he really had direction and motivation. He lost the title to Sting at Bound for Glory later in 2008 and had occasional feuds, but nothing amazing. He was kidnapped, turned, turned again, and so many other odd things.
Magnus, during this time, was introduced to audiences as a member of the British Invasion. He was inexperienced and still learning, but he had an intangible charisma and a great look. Magnus was on TV sparingly for a long time, until he finally teamed with Joe. What seemed like more nothing for Joe seemed like a major break for Magnus. The two eventually became champions, then lost those titles. After this, Magnus turned on Joe, but nothing came of it.
They teamed again as members of the Main Event Mafia. They never truly reprised their tag team, but it worked for them. There wasn't animosity until Magnus broke off from the Mafia and became a member of "Team Dixie," and won the TNA World Championship.
Samoa Joe became a killer again through the Mafia run and afterwards. He took down opponent after opponent and seemed to find the fire inside of himself he was lacking since 2008. Magnus was playing the cowardly heel really well.
The most interesting aspect of this match is the rules under which it will be contested. TNA has called them "Joe's Rules" and they happen to feel like the rules Joe and Angle had their 2008 classic under. Wins can only happen by knockout or submission. Magnus is no Kurt Angle and he hasn't been presented as the technical warrior Angle is, but he could easily become more than the "paper champion" should he beat Joe. Samoe Joe has the chance to recapture the fire many thought he had lost. He has the chance to go on a classic run in TNA.
This is one of the more interesting main events TNA has come out with in some time. It's going to be fun on Sunday and I hope it delivers.
Picking up the pieces:
- I'm not sure pay-per-view is still a viable medium in professional wrestling, but TNA sure did push Lockdown hard this week. Given how their pay-per-views are normally rumored to do, it'll be interesting to see how many fans purchase this. My hopes aren't high.
- The opening segment, focused on Lethal Lockdown, worked for me. MVP, for all the flaws in this story, is good on the mic and is selling the story well. Dixie Carter's role was small. Bobby Roode (and his slightly conflicted team) did a nice job. It was a good opening for Impact.
- Is Jeff Hardy on MVP's team or is Willow? What if Willow comes in and costs Hardy the match? Could we ever have Willow and Hardy as tag team champions? Think of the possibilities!
- When the fight began and TNA instantly cut to commercial, I found myself question the directing of the show. It's odd to go straight to commercial when a match is about to begin. TNA has issues with not putting emphasis on wrestling and this illustrated them.
- I would not have had Eddie Edwards get pinned three minutes into this match. I believe this is the first pinfall loss for any of The Wolves. Edwards definitely didn't gain anything from this.
- The elimination concept before Lethal Lockdown worked for the eventual full-show story TNA was telling, but I'm not sure it promoted Lethal Lockdown well. This is a small nitpick, but it's worth thinking about.
- Davey Richards' injury angle carrying through the entire show was one of the better full-show stories TNA has told in a long time. Maybe it's because it didn't involve a biker gang. It was pretty refreshing.
- Samuel Shaw's story still doesn't seem to fit a wrestling program. On this show he wrestled the second match I can remember him in and he spends his time stalking Christy Hemme. He's doing a nice job playing the character within the story, but good performances don't redeem bad stories. Shaw's character doesn't make sense in a wrestling context. Stalking people is weird.
- Wresting in khakis is also weird.
- Ethan Carter III did a nice job promoting the match he doesn't seem to be having with Kurt Angle. I could see a major happening occurring in EC3's eventual match at Lockdown, but I could also see EC3 beating Norv Fernum in a cage. Time will tell for those who buy this show.
- The Kenny King vignette was a nice way to reintroduce this character. King needs strong character support and strong writing behind him to work. He's a good wrestler, but there needs to be a little something more. Hopefully he finds it in TNA.
- Was Dixie Carter's meeting in New York all about resigning the cage lid to the Lethal Lockdown match? Last year, it held out for more money and TNA couldn't have their big lid/weapon lowering moment. This year, with any luck, the lid will return. I believe in you, Dixie! Lid that cage up!
- MVP gave Davey Richards some really strange wrestling advice in Japan. It seemed tailored towards being in a place with an authority figure battle going on. Why not mention something involving wrestling?
- It doesn't matter much, but why beat Alpha Female already? Her selling Velvet Sky's weak version of the pedigree doesn't make her look indestructible.
- Gunner, as good as he was two weeks ago, is back to not clicking with me at all. His Last Man Standing match with James Storm combines one of my least favorite match types with one of my least favorite wrestlers.
- The Richards vs. Roode return of the elimination match was really good. It made me want to see them have a true rivalry after Lockdown. It also made Davey Richards look exceptionally tough. TNA did some really nice work here.
- Tigre Uno is apparently fighting Manik on pay-per-view. Who knew?
TNA sold Lockdown with a very strong go-home show. It is fun to see TNA stop a lot of the nonsense and focus on a goal. I feel like Lockdown could be a very strong show for TNA, despite being hampered by the all-cage format. Hopefully it is.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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