A) Konnan & Ron Killings won a sudden-death three-way over The Naturals (w/ Chris Candido) and Lex
Lovett & David Young at 6:35. (Mike)
Jeremy Borash and Shane Douglas opened the countdown show. Personally, I think they should have called the countdown show “Peddle To The Metal,” but nobody listens to me. There was a little countdown clock in the corner. At first I thought it was counting down how much time was left before the company went out of business, but I guess it was just counting down to the PPV. It won’t take us long to find out.
This was the “free” match on the countdown show, and it was the only non-cage match of the broadcast. These six sure tripped into gold manure. They get PPV payoffs without having to risk themselves in a cage. Konnan’s new spot is throwing tennis shoes at his opponents and referee. Andy Douglas hit a nice kneelift on Young, giving the announcers a chance to talk about Kevin Nash’s staph infection. They claimed that the injury (and thus, the infection) was caused by an attack from Jeff Jarrett. Okay, I fully understand Jarrett-bashing, but to claim that the guy is responsible for infections? I think that’s taking things a bit far, and I rate matches on a scale of dead Von Erichs. Fans chanted “boring,” which is a bad sign for the first match of the night in front of the country’s hottest crowd. Anyway, Killings got the hot tag and cleaned house, forearming Chase Stevens. Buck Quartermain (Lovett’s regular partner) did a run-in. Young tried to bring a chair into the ring, but Konnan tripped him, sending him face-first into the chair. Killings axe-kicked Buck into the chair, and then pinned LL after a lie detector. Buck juiced. Filler.
A well-produced feature aired, chronicling the history between Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper.
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Don Harris is in the ring. The good news is that it’s only because he’s part of the crew that’s setting up the cage. It was easily the most watchable eight minutes Don Harris spent in a wrestling ring throughout his entire career.
A feature aired on the “Lethal Lockdown” main event. When they showed the match graphic, there was a question mark on Kevin Nash’s picture. Hey, don’t look at me. I don’t know why the hell you guys keep booking him on PPVs either.
Back in the ring, J.B. and the Franchise were sitting in director’s chairs, running down tonight’s card as the cage went up around them. At one point, Douglas said that the cage was bringing back bad memories for him. At least, I think it was Shane Douglas. It could have been Tom Zenk in disguise. Oh yeah, and Douglas also said that Team Canada were the Word Tag champs. (Fun fact: They aren’t.)
After a nice Sahadi piece, Mean Shane ambushed AMW as they entered the building. The lads had big smiles on their faces. They must have just heard that Kid Kash got fired. Team Canada promptly attacked AMW, beating them down with their evil Canadian leather straps.
Borash signed off from the countdown show. The FBI sternly warned me not to illegally intercept this show. Hey, that gives me an idea. The final episode of the Sopranos should end with the Feds busting Tony for pirating HBO. Just saying.
Mike Tenay and Don West welcomed us to the show. Tenay reiterated Dusty’s edict that the “entire building” was locked down. That’s just great, TNA. What if there’s a fire, you evil bastards? First you want to take our schlongs, now we’re falsely imprisoned? And you wonder why half the internet wants you to die.
Right out of the gate, the first thing they show us is a clip of Kevin Nash pulling off a band-aid to reveal his nasty infected scab. I’m not making this up. We’re not five minutes into the show and we’ve been threatened with castration, quarantine, and treated to a disgusting pus-filled scab. I can only hope the Jarretts are clueless enough to show this PPV to the various cable networks they’re trying to court.
1) Aportion & Sucky Siucki beat Lance Hoyt & Chris Candido in a cage match at 6:57. (Chris)
On TV leading up to this show, they were building a feud with Aportion & Siucki vs. Hoyt & Kid Kash, but they only officially booked Aportion-Hoyt for the PPV. They were going to change it to a tag match, but when Kash got fired for one shoot interview too many, Candido was shuffled into the mix at the last minute. Candido and Hoyt did the HBK/Diesel high five spot, but that’s about as far as CC’s luck held. 49 seconds into the match, Siucki hit a dropkick on Candido, but landed on him so that Candido’s leg folded up under him and snapped. It was a legit broken leg, and they couldn’t hustle Candido out of there fast enough. Tenay smartly leapt on the opportunity to point out that they weren’t kidding when they said “viewer discretion advised” for tonight. Obviously, this killed the match for two reasons. One, it left one heel battling valiantly against two babyfaces. Two, the heel was Lance Hoyt and the babyfaces were Aportion & Sucky Siucki. Hoyt botched an attempt to fallaway-slam Siucki into the cage. Fans chanted “Hoyt.” Well, out of the three, their options weren’t exactly stellar.
The spot of the match was supposed to be Siucki doing Kurt Angle’s “Spider-Man” climb up the ropes to give Hoyt a belly-to-back superplex. Even with the cage to help him, Siucki was still way too awkward in doing the move, though Hoyt did take a good bump off the move. Aportion got the hot tag and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Fans chanted “Apollo sucks” and “We want Kid Kash.” Ahhh, now THERE’S the Orlando crowd I know and love. Finish saw Aportion bodyslam Hoyt, setting up Siucki’s super-sucky-splash off the top for the pin. After the match, The Naturals confronted Hoyt and laid him out with their finisher, the Natural Disaster. I guess the original idea was for Candido to blame Hoyt for losing the match, but now the storyline will likely expand to where the Nats blame Hoyt for Candido’s injury. The freak accident doomed the match, but let’s face it; this match wasn’t going to blow anybody’s mind to begin with.
TNA Director Of Authority Dusty Rhodes was backstage with hotties Traci and Trinity. For those of you new to TNA, this is how Dusty books himself. Just because there weren’t enough stips flying around tonight, Dusty made AMW-TC a strap match. Dusty drew names for the “Lethal Lockdown” match. Surprise of surprises, Jeff Jarrett and Sean Waltman will start the match for their respective teams.
2) Dustin Rhodes beat Bobby Roode (w/ Coach Scott D’Amore & “A1” Alistair Ralphs) in a steel cage 2/3 falls “Prince Of Darkness” death match at 15:19. (Chris)
The build to this match consisted of the lads cutting promos on each other with Dustin insisting that “No Canadian ever beat a Texan.” Are we still talking about Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels? Ah, but if only this was 12 years ago and wrestling’s greatest “Rude” (Ravishing Rick) was again carrying Dustin to the best match of his career (a 30-minute Ironman match at Beach Blast 93). But it ain’t. Tenay was quick to explain that the POD hoods would only come into play if the match went to a third fall. Well, thank God for that. They did a finish before they did the match as Roode got a schoolboy with his feet on the ropes to win the first fall in 53 seconds. This part was done so badly, the announcers had no idea it was a three-count until a minute later.
In a spot that was just sad, Dustin hit a superplex, but just couldn’t do the Barry Windham float-over. In another clumsy spot, Dustin catapulted Roode into the cage and held his legs until he fell back into a goofy-looking pin position for a nearfall. Roode came back when he shoved off Dustin’s bulldog. Roode got a chinlock and the crowd chanted “USA.” The guys thought this got over so well, they did an encore chinlock. As sequels go, that was Blues Brothers 2000. Dustin lifted Roode into an electric chair drop. Bobby Roode looks more and more like Billy Jack Haynes with each passing week. The most embarrassing part of the show happened next as Dustin shoved Roode into the cage…and the cage broke. Cameras quickly switched away from the broken side, and it was patched up soon enough. Still though…AHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Roode hit the northern lariat, but Dustin made the ropes. Second fall ended with both standing on the top rope so Dustin could hit a big bulldog for the pin at 11:03. Okay, that part was good.
For the deciding fall, in came the hoods. If you’ve ever seen a blindfold match before (and Jake Roberts vs. Rick Martel at WM7 is the most famous one), you know that it largely consists of guys stumbling around aimlessly. Blindfold matches are best viewed if you are wearing a blindfold yourself. Did I mention that blindfold matches suck? First, the guys both clotheslined the referee for a ref bump. Then D’Amore threw a chair in the ring, but since Roode couldn’t find Dustin to use said chair on, D’Amore entered the ring to help his man. You’d think Roode could have still smelled the Terri on him, but I digress. Naturally, Roode blasted his own manager with the chair and tried to pin him. Roode felt D’Amore’s face, and freaked out upon realizing what he had done. Now that was funny. Dustin recovered the chair, and Dustin’s protégé/partner Cassidy Riley ran-in to point him in the right direction. Dustin gave Roode a chairshot for the deciding pin. Credit where it’s due, they kept the third fall short and the comedy worked. Still though, this was way too long, way too bad, and the wrong guy went over. But on the plus side, now I can go around impressing ladies with the fact that I have a steel cage 2/3 falls blindfold death match on tape.
Mean Shane interviewed XD champion Christopher Daniels. In a good line, Daniels pointed to the big red “X” on his belt and said this X means more to him than XXX ever did. Elix Skipper interrupted and chided Daniels about using his “outdoor voice.” Good segment.
3) Shocker won a four-way XD “X-scape” steel cage match over Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt, and Michael Shane (w/ Trinity) at 15:36. (Kerry)
This had elimination rules with tags until the last two were left, at which point the match was won by whoever escaped the cage. Dutt and Sabin danced well, including a subtle homage to the classic Malenko-Guerrero “stalemate” spots, earning a “TNA” chant. Next was Shock and Shane’s turn. Shock gave Shane a pair of bulldogs. I just had a scary thought. They’re kinda sorta pushing Hoyt as the new Diesel, and Michael Shane is the cousin of Shawn Michaels and uses HBK’s finisher. Both Hoyt and Shane recently lost their TNA tag team partners, soooooo…for Shane’s sake, let’s hope nobody else figured that out except me. Anyway, Sabin and Dutt hit a SWEET double-team assisted moonsault/legdrop on Shane. Dutt juiced after Shane launched him into the cage. Dutt took a beating until hitting a bad headscissors out of the corner. Shane gave Sabin a sick Alabama slam into the cage for a nearfall. Sabin recovered and hit a second-rope springboard into a tornado DDT. Shock tagged in and hit a lionsault on Shane for a nearfall, followed by a tight la magistral for another nearfall. The X Division clusterspot of the night saw Shane put a version of Tajiri’s tarantula on Shock, followed by Dutt reaching through Shock’s legs to chinlock Shane, topped off by Sabin grabbing Dutt in a crab. The fans gave it a respectful pop and “TNA” chant. Sabin threw Dutt into the cage, then held on and gave him a running sitout powerbomb. Chris Sabin is the most underrated guy in the whole f’n industry. Shock hit Marc Mero’s TKO on Sabin for a nearfall, then ate an enziguiri. Dutt hit Shock with a picture-perfect Hindu press. Shane zapped Dutt with sweet cover music, and Shock dropped a spinning elbow on Dutt to eliminate him via pinfall at 10:55.
Shock was on the top rope when Sabin did the Spidey climb for a northern lights superplex. That ruled. Just when I thought this couldn’t get any better, Trinity started climbing the cage, prompting Traci to run out and grab her. I officially take back half the bad stuff I’ve said about TNA. Trin kicked Traci loose to the floor, and Traci screamed, selling as if her ankle was broken (it wasn’t). Next was spot of the match as Trinity MOONSAULTED OFF THE TOP OF THE CAGE onto the three wrestlers. Superhugemegapop. Good God, do I love me some Trinity. Traci attacked Trin again, but Shane pitched Traci out of the ring. Before you ask, no they never did explain why Traci left Shane in the first place. Sabin caught Shane with the cradle shock to eliminate him by pin at 14:02.
This left Sabin vs. Shocker in the final, with the escape rule in effect. Disappointingly, the announcers didn’t really play up the fact that Shocker debuted at last month’s PPV assisting Sabin against The Naturals. The guys yanked each other off the cage and did a double crotch spot. Finish was an uninspired slugfest atop the cage, culminating with them ramming each other into the steel and both dropping to the floor. I think they were supposed to do the old Hogan-Orndorff “photo finish,” but Shock clearly had a two-and-a-half-second headstart, so there was no ambiguity to the finish.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was a very good, unique spotfest of a match, with each guy getting his stuff in. The biggest negative was despite the fact that it was every-man-for-himself, guys kept breaking up each other’s pins. The hell? To their credit, Tenay and West explained that the breaker-uppers wanted the “honor” of making the pin themselves. Hey, at least they tried.
They showed several replays of Candido’s injury. It looked pretty bad, but Sid still holds the honor of having wrestling’s best break. If you need proof, look no further than the fact that half the wrestling fans on the internet have already compared Candido’s break to Sid’s. That right there shows you that Sid set the gold standard.
4) Jeff Hardy beat Raven in a steel cage tables match at 14:01. (David)
Hardy came out wearing chairs on his elbows for some reason. Two tables were propped up in various corners, with three more were immaculately stacked under the ropes. They started fast, as Hardy attacked with his elbow chairs. Hardy hit one poetry-in-motion off an elbow chair, but missed a second attempt. Raven hit his trademark drop-toehold into a chair, followed by a Raven effect DDT. Raven set up Hardy on a standing table, but missed a charge through it. Tenay suggested that Raven “uses food poisoning to get fired up for this match.” Well, it would make more sense than his preparation for that fucking Monster’s Ball match at TNA’s first three-hour PPV.
Raven juiced and the crowd chanted, “We want tables.” It looked like Raven tried to stroke Hardy from the top rope, but they slipped and both came tumbling down. The excitement was so blistering, they cut to members of the NY Mets sitting in the audience. Hardy hit the twist of fate and set up Raven on a table, and then did the inevitable “holy shit” spot of missing a swanton off the cage, crashing through said table when Raven moved. Or maybe Jeff was just doing his impression of his brother’s career. You never know.
They periodically went to the crowd to show horrified women as the punishment was heaped on Jeff. In a great live TV moment, they showed one young lady while West meant to scream, “Look at the horror!” But with West’s slight southern accent, it sounded like he yelled, “LOOK AT THE WHORE” right as they went to the girl’s close-up. Poor kid. The camera missed Hardy launching off a chair into Raven, who was standing on the top rope. A clever sequence saw Hardy climb over the cage so Raven could crotch him outside with the door. In a bad spot, Hardy clumsily hopped off the cage and got caught by Raven’s boots. The fans reiterated this point by loudly yelling, “BOOOOOOOOOOOts!” Um, I think. Finish saw four tables used as the referee helped Raven set up two side-by-side double stacks. That seemed kinda tacky and amateurish. Hardy knocked Raven onto the tables, and hit a legdrop off the top of the cage, sending Rave through two of the four tables for the win. At least the right two tables broke so it didn’t look TOO horrible. Even with stuff going wrong left and right, this was still an entertaining garbage match that brought back fond memories of late-90s hardcore.
The strap-wielding AMW looks even more like an 80s hair band than usual tonight. Ain’t looking for nothing but a good time. An American flag was placed atop one corner of the cage, while a Canadian flag was atop another. This was supposed to be a capture-the-flag match at first, but they never really got around to pushing it as such on TV, so they dropped that aspect of it…except apparently, no one told whoever placed the flags. A1 gave Chris Harris a beltshot and continued to abuse him outside the ring until Harris finally catapulted him into the cage and threw him into the steps. So for seven straight minutes, James Storm was getting a 2-on-1 beatdown from TC (straps optional). It was kinda like the famous 1987 match where The Hart Foundation beat The British Bulldogs for the WWF Tag Title. Dynamite Kid got KO’ed by Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and sold it outside the ring for the whole match, leaving Davey Boy Smith to get gang-banged.
Storm juiced early. After a solid right hand, Young got a nearfall, with Petey hilariously fast-counting along with the ref. TC retrieved Old Glory and accosted Storm with it. This was supposed to incense the fans, but they actually dug it because they’re so into TC (especially Petey). Petey is so over, fans even sang along as he did the “O Canada” spot. There was even a surprising lack of heat for Storm’s comeback, which was a jawbreaker on Young, followed by an enziguiri for Petey. Harris tried to climb up over the cage to enter the match, but Young torpedoed himself into the cage to knock him loose into the rail. Great spot. Storm tried to launch Petey into the cage, but Petey landed feet-first on the second rope. Petey jumped backwards for a hurracanrana, but Storm caught him with a powerbomb. Petey rules your bitch ass. Storm then press-threw Petey into the steel. Oh yeah, this was a strap match. I forgot for a while because the straps were just lying there neglected for like five minutes. But fortunately, Storm and Young shared a spirited strap-off. Better that than had they shared a spirited strap-on. Storm got the best of Young, but Petey grabbed him and hit a SWEET tornado DDT off the cage wall. The ref caught Petey using the ropes in his pin attempt.
Harris finally joined the match at 9:36 with a double-clothesline off the top. Harris used a vertical suplex on Petey, repeatedly slamming him into the cage before dropping the suplexes. I guess AMW remembered that 1987 match too, because they hit a Hart Attack on Young for a nearfall. Petey stopped their comeback with his Canadian legsweep, earning a “Petey” chant from the crowd. Petey then caught Storm’s superkick and turned it into a sharpshooter. See? Everything really is all about Bret vs. Shawn. While in the sharpshooter, Young dropped an elbow on Storm for another nearfall. In a kick-ass spot, Petey went for the Canadian Destroyer, but was speared by Harris for a nearfall. Young measured Harris for a superkick, but Harris caught his foot and spun him around into Storm’s own superkick. Great timing on that spot. Petey saved his partner from the death sentence. Scott Peterson could use Petey’s help right about now. A1 tossed in D’Amore’s hockey stick, which was used on Harris for a nearfall. A1 then slipped some white powder to Petey in a manner so obvious it would have made Hector Garza proud. Storm kicked the powder into Petey’s face, blinding him. While under the powder’s influence, Petey accidentally gave the Canadian Destroyer to his own partner. AMW then hit the death sentence on Petey and Storm made the pin.
Hmmm…a blinded member of Team Canada mistakenly attacking another member of Team Canada? Why does this sound familiar? Maybe because THEY JUST DID THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING TWO MATCHES AGO. Crazy match. It bears mention that a true “strap match” has a wrestler tied to his opponent with a long leather strap, not two guys carrying leather belts into the ring. The strap aspect was just unnecessary overbooking in the Dusty tradition. There was as much bad stuff as there was good, and given the pure talent of the four involved, this was a slight disappointment in my eyes.
6) XD champion “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels pinned “Primetime” Elix Skipper to retain the title in a steel cage match at 15:28. (Kerry)
Great open saw the former XXX size each other up and escape early attempts at each other’s finisher. PT channeled the spirit of Sting, as Daniels’ chops had no effect on him. PT suplexed Daniels all over kingdom come, but Daniels came back with a fireman’s carry into the steel. From there, Daniels worked PT’s arm, including a funny spot where he forced Skipper’s limp arm to wave to the camera. The fans ate everything up, with the dueling chants in full force. PT had a hope spot with a nice dropkick, but Daniels regained control with a flying armdrag. Daniels then hit a sweet northern lights suplex with a float over into an armbar. PT did his “matrix move” to avoid a dive, then hit a legdrop off the top rope. Daniels hit the BME for a nearfall. That just ruined everything I thought I knew about wrestling. I can’t remember Daniels ever hitting that move before, so I always thought it was kind of an inside joke that the “best moonsault ever” always missed its target. Someone in the crowd was blowing bubbles in appreciation. I guess this is kinda like the new version of Japanese streamers. Or something.
You knew it was coming. Daniels sat atop the cage, and PT teased walking the cage again, just as he did in his career moment at Turning Point. Daniels fled, but PT leapt off the cage anyway, hitting a crossbody type thing for a nearfall. PT sold his shoulder and ate an enziguiri as the lads headed for home. Daniels went for his Angel Wings finisher, but PT countered it into a setup for his own finisher, sudden death. Daniels grabbed the ropes and turned them back over, this time hitting the Wings for the pin. Excellent match that exceeded its high expectations.
Backstage, Dusty’s women left him. Yeah, yeah, no more Matt Hardy jokes. Fine. Just because Dusty needed more TV time, he announced that the third man in the match would be Outlaw, from Jarrett’s team. So that also gives away that Monty Brown will be the last man in for the heels, while DDP was obviously the second man in for the babyfaces since they were selling Nash’s absence. Okay, so a match that needed all the help it could get just had what little intrigue it brought to the table totally stripped away. Imagine watching a Royal Rumble where they kept cutting back to Eric Bischoff or whoever telling you the entrance order of the wrestlers. It’s the little details like this where TNA keeps screwing the pooch. Trust me, it matters.
Waltman came out first, throwing a garbage can into the ring. What a New Jack wannabe. Then again, maybe I’m being too hard on Surreal Sean. For all I know, that garbage can is where he lives now. Sean attacked Jarrett on the ramp during his intro, and the two brawled in the crowd for three minutes before finally getting in the ring. The funny thing is that JJ wore his championship belt through the whole brawl. The unfunny thing is that people stopped taking WCW cage matches seriously when Hulk Hogan would do the same brawling-outside-the-cage crapola. The funniest thing was a fan sign that said “BILLY GUNN IS A HOMO.” Oh yeah, and because only one camera was following the guys, we were looking at the backs of the fans for part of this mess. Final outside spot was Sean giving JJ a spinkick on the announce table, then almost tripping over his own feet. Hey, I thought they were educated feet! Maybe they only got a GED. In the ring, Sean missed a Bronco buster. Hey, remember when these two did a hair vs. hair match at SummerSlam 98 in MSG? That match was pretty good.
Outlaw joined the match at 5:26, and unwittingly launched Sean into a dropkick on JJ, lucha style. Outlaw hit Sean with a trash can lid, then Jarrett spanked him with a cookie sheet. See, no wonder WWE threatened to sue TNA for sending Traci after their workers with a cookie sheet. Those damn things are dangerous! DDP entered the ring at 7:38. It was perversely amusing to watch DDP stop and pose for his pyro while his teammate was getting double-teamed into oblivion. DDP brought a large kendo stick with him and cleaned house with it until Outlaw zapped him with the Kryptonite cookie sheet. Not since the late Miss Elizabeth’s shoe has the wrestling industry seen such carnage. Somehow, DDP recovered enough to hit a double-clothesline. Outlaw low-blowed out of an attempted diamond cutter. Monty Brown was the last heel in at 9:42, carrying a black baseball bat. Monty seemed confused (like the rest of us) at why a former football player would be carrying a baseball bat. Then again, he might have just been shamed that his weapon was clearly shorter than DDP’s. “Alpha Male,” my ass!
The heels dominated until 11:41 when the big surprise replacement for Big Scabby entered the match to help Sean & DDP. The fans deluded themselves by chanting “We want Sting.” Instead, they got B.G. James, so the chant soon changed to “bullshit.” Tenay put over BGJ’s history with both Jarrett and Outlaw, but on the grand scale of PPV surprises, this rates on the low end of the list between the Gobbledy Gooker and Rockabilly. Speaking of Rockabilly, he faced off with James to continue their issue. During James’ rampage, a cameraman was knocked down, so we were looking at a sideways TNA ring banner for way too long. Monty had given Sean a good fallaway slam into the cage, but Sean recovered too quickly and royally screwed up an attempted X-factor on Outlaw. Sean bronco-busted Jarrett and Monty. This combined with the stick envy made Monty snap (read: no-sell). Monty went pounce-mad, taking out both Sean and BGJ. DDP turned a stroke attempt into a diamond cutter on Jarrett, but Outlaw saved. Outlaw went for the fameasser, but Sean met him with a spinkick. DDP and BGJ pinballed Monty back and forth with trash cans, though from the overhead camera shot, it was obvious that nothing was connecting. Monty juiced anyway. They tried to double-whip Monty into the ropes, but he reversed the whip sending both guys into the ropes for a double-pounce on them both. I dunno, it looked semi-cool in an absurd kind of way, but it really was a ridiculously contrived spot that snapped the suspenders of disbelief. I blame the splotch.
The finish was supposed to be Monty powering out of Sean’s finisher so Sean could turn it into a victory roll for the pin, but they completely fucked it up. The crowd helpfully chanted “You fucked up” to point out that very fact. So they tried it again, and got it right the second time. The former New Age Outlaws (or “Dogg Ass” as they were called by many sites) had another staredown after the match. Out of the six guys who should have done the job in this match, Monty wasn’t even in the top five. It would have kinda made sense had DDP pinned Monty in revenge for the screwpounce last month, but naturally, that didn’t happen either. Remember how Monty did a Goldberg undefeated streak that made him last year? Well, screw it, screw him, and screw you. I guess Waltman needed the pin seeing as how tonight’s “Surreal Life IV” finale on VH1 reinforced Joanie Laurer’s claim that he’s an abusive douchebag. Gotta love politics. Sweet jerking Jesus, was this thing a train wreck. If you listen carefully, you can hear Fonzie jumping over a shark for steel cage matches.
Styles “jumpstarted” the match with a picture-perfect dive to the floor, interrupting Abyss’ intro. In the first creative spot of the match, Abyss whipped Styles into the rail, but Styles slid under it, jumped up, and hit a springboard off the rail into a hurracanrana on the floor. The floor brawl continued, but for some reason, nobody minded this time. I guess the lesson is that if it’s good, fans will dig it. That, or it’s okay to brawl outside the cage if there’s no opening bell.
In the most amazing scene since Rob Van Dam’s famous hilo into the ECW crowd, Styles leapt over five rows of fans, then jumped back over them again, zapping Abyss with a sweet flying forearm. When A.J. missed another dive, Abyss literally beat him up (as in, up through the crowd). In a truly sick spot, A.J. ate the cage door full-force in the face. Many replays followed, and Styles juiced heavily. Somewhere up in Heaven, Terry Gordy has a big smile on his face. He’s also probably on his 37th drug overdose of the day. Good on ya, Bamm Bamm.
Abyss reached under the ring and retrieved his trademark Bag O’ Tacks. The crowd chanted, “We want thumbtacks,” but I don’t think that’s a good thing. Remember, the crowd is supposed to behind the babyface. For them to chant that they just wanted to see someone – anyone – take a bump in the tacks is not the right kind of heat. Abyss wrapped his chain around A.J.’s neck, but A.J. literally unleashed himself, only to eat a big boot. Abyss wrapped the chain around a turnbuckle, then launched A.J. into it. The crowd chanted, “This is awesome.” Now that’s more like it. Abyss darted A.J. into the cage twice and got a nearfall. I can’t remember the last time I saw a babyface take a beating this well. Abyss unchained the buckle, leaving the chain lying in a heap. This set up a spot where Styles turned a press-lift into a huge DDT on the chain. Fans then chanted, “TNA.”
A.J. started his comeback with a Pele kick and a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, but uncharacteristically blew the moonsault-into-a-reverse-DDT spot. Styles rammed Abyss into a chair that was wedged between the buckles, then hit an impressive belly-to-back for a nearfall. Abyss escaped a Styles clash attempt and went for a chokeslam, but A.J. victory-rolled him for another nearfall. Abyss caught Styles with a black hole slam for a nearfall. Huge pop for the kick out. Tenay was doing an incredible job of putting over Styles as the ultimate lionheart. Thumbtack time! Abyss made a bed of tacks in the ring and tried to hit another BH slam onto ‘em, but A.J. escaped. Abyss tried a powerbomb, but Styles again escaped, and hit a Styles clash ON THE TACKS. The fans exploded, and TNA finally got an honest-to-goodness “holy shit” chant. When Abyss kicked out of the pin, another “awesome” chant went up.
The finish was the spot of the year, times two. Styles was standing on top of the cage, so Abyss shoved the ref into the steel, causing A.J. to lose his footing and actually STUN GUN HIMSELF ON THE TOP OF THE CAGE. Abyss climbed up and hung A.J. with his chain. Abyss teased chokeslamming A.J. into the crowd, but A.J. bit his fingers to escape, then leapt over the cage and SUNSET-POWERBOMBED ABYSS ONTO THE THUMBTACKS. The fans popped like a supernova up through the three-count. Somewhere in here, Abyss suffered a legit separated shoulder. The show signed off during A.J.’s celebration. This was one of the most astonishing matches I’ve ever seen. An electrifying must-see MOTY candidate.
PPV MVP: A.J. Styles, easy. Not since Sabu hit in the 90s was there a wrestler who not only lived up to his hype, but exceeded it. If nothing else, tonight solidified his rep as the best highspot wrestler in the game today. “The Phenomenal One” went totally balls-out trying to save the show and tear down the house. He accomplished both feats better than I ever would have expected. I defy anyone to watch Lockdown’s main event and then tell me that A.J. Styles shouldn’t be the #1 guy that this company is built around. A major plus for the company is that for the first time in over seven months, the company came out of a PPV with a clear main event direction for their next PPV, as Styles goes gunning for Jarrett.
PPV LVP: Sucky Siucki. There was no shortage of shitty workers on this show, but SS is the only one who injured someone else. SS was also responsible for the injury that ended Alan Funk (a.k.a. Kwee Wee)’s career. He’s the new Ahmed Johnson.
Overall over-analysis: I remember when SummerSlam 97 opened with Mick Foley vs. HHH in a cage match. I thought that was strange then, and it was the blowoff match to their hot summer-long feud. From the moment it was announced, everyone with half a brain started screaming about what a moronic idea it was to do an all-cage-match PPV. Cage matches are supposed to be the last resort to settle an issue, not something thrown out there for the hell of it. It’s not like everyone in the company is ignorant of this fact; the AMW-XXX blowoff cage match from last December was universally hailed as one of the greatest cage matches of all time. Daniels-Skipper especially could have had a nice long feud, culminating inside the steel. But they just gave it away, and thus, robbed themselves of a potential PPV-selling money match. To be honest, I feared that this show would rank among Heroes Of Wrestling and the first two Uncensoreds as one of the worst PPVs ever. It didn’t approach those “standards” by a longshot.
I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that a PPV that gave me the “lethal lockdown” six-man could also have me jumping out of my seat minutes later for the Styles-Abyss match. Don’t be surprised if we look back eight months from now to see a show similar to the Royal Rumble 2003, with the best match of the year (Angle-Benoit) following the worst match of the year (HHH-Steiner). One of the most enduring questions of modern times is, “Can a great main event save an otherwise bad show?” Mind you, the two XD matches had already saved this show from being entirely “bad,” and Styles-Abyss was a full-blown modern-day classic. If the elimination chamber saved New Year’s Revolution, the Styles-Abyss match definitely saved Lockdown.
This Observer’s Thumb……………………is up.
A) Konnan & Ron Killings won a sudden-death three-way over The Naturals (w/ Chris Candido) and Lex
Lovett & David Young at 6:35. (Mike)
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).