TNA Lockdown on Challenge – TV Review
by Julian Radbourne
It’s time to step into TNA territory once again as we take a look at their first major pay-per-view of the year, Lockdown, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.
With all the matches inside the confines of the steel cage the show began with six man action as Bad Influence’s Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, along with Chris Sabin, faced X Division Champion Sanada, Yasu and the Great Muta.
If this is what we’re going to get from TNA’s new working relationship with Japan’s Wrestle-1 then I say give me more! It was the first time I’d seen Sanada and Yasu in action, and they impressed the hell out of me.
In fact everything about this match did. It was a quality outing from start to finish, and all of those involved put in a great effort, from Bad Influence’s outstanding team work and their triple-teaming with Sabin, to the moves from the Japanese youngster, and even though Muta’s involvement was quite brief he showed us flashes of what made him so brilliant.
The best sequences came during the all hell breaking loose segment. After Yasu had taken the punching bag treatment Sanada came in after the hot tag and cleaned house before taking a few moments of punishment himself. Muta then tagged in and gave Sabin the old green mist treatment before Sanada sealed the deal with a moonsault on Daniels.
The first singles match of the evening saw Samuel Shaw taking on Mr. Anderson, with escape from the cage the only way to get the win.
Now from what I gather young Shaw is rather taken with TNA’s resident ring announcer Christy Hemme, which is the reason why Jeremy Borash handled the introductions, and with Miss Hemme nowhere to be seen Shaw threatened to end it all by throwing himself off the top of the cage. The friendly Mr. Anderson managed to talk him out of it before dishing out some advice on how to do the job properly.
Let’s be completely honest here. This match just didn’t do it for me. The storyline was okay I suppose, but for me it was just lacking that certain something.
Early on it was only Anderson who was actually wrestling as Shaw spent most of his time trying to escape the cage, and when he did string a few moves together he didn’t exactly set my world on fire.
The most dramatic moment came when the referee went to unlock the door for Shaw. Anderson attacked him from behind, and the momentum sent Shaw crashing into the official.
This meant that escape from the door was no longer an option, and with Hemme, who had come down to ringside early in the match, cheering him on Anderson took his man down with a couple of mic checks before climbing the cage and jumping down to the floor.
There was no referee to declare him the winner though, and after Shaw dragged a screaming Hemme through the camera hole and into the cage Anderson found the key and got back in, giving Hemme the chance to escape.
It proved to be his undoing though. Shaw locked in a standing arm triangle and put Anderson to sleep before walking out the door, and with the referee now fully recovered Shaw was declared the winner.
After Bobby Lashley returned to the wrestling business to kick Ethan Carter III’s backside it was back to regular action and a battle of the masked men as Manik faced Tigre Uno.
This was the first time I’d seen Tigre in action, and like his fellow debutants he impressed the hell out of me. Mind you, this entire match did.
Fast-paced action was the order of the day here as these two put together some pretty explosive sequences. It looked like air traffic control would be needed early on. The pace slowed down a notch in the middle, but it wasn’t long before normal service was resumed and the high flying stuff came out again.
Manik came close a couple of times, but in the end it was the visiting Mexican who took the win with his top rope sabre tooth splash finisher. Nice work all round.
The battle of former tag team partners followed as James Storm faced Gunner in a last man standing match.
These two began their night’s work by brawling in the aisle. It was a fight that took them all around ringside, and it took them a while before they eventually got into the cage.
Once inside they proceeded to beat the proverbial out of each other. At one point Storm even took the tag ropes and made a makeshift noose to put around his man’s neck.
Gunner managed to make his way back into the match though, and as the chair shots came we soon got the holy you know what moment. Storm had set up a couple of chairs in the ring but hadn’t managed to use them, and after both men jockeyed for position on the top rope Gunner took Storm over with a superplex right onto the aforementioned chairs.
The referee then began his count, and as he neared the magic number Gunner managed to get back to his feet, and with Storm failing to beat the count Gunner was declared the winner.
The first title match of the evening saw Gail Kim, accompanied by Lei’D Tapa, challenging Madison Rayne for the Knockouts title.
This was a pretty decent match. It began with Kim trying to get the early escape, but with the champion stopping her early attempts the challenger began to realise that she’d have to get the win with some good old fashioned wrestling.
The only problem was that no matter what she did she couldn’t get the pin. Rayne kept coming back for more, and when the big guns came out both champion and challenge came very close to getting the win.
Later on, as they jockeyed for position on the top rope Kim looked to take her woman down with her eat defeat finisher. Rayne managed to counter with a simple push that saw Kim land throat first on the top rope, and a few moments later Rayne came flying off the top and took Kim down with a spear for the winning pin.
The penultimate match saw Samoa Joe challenging Magnus for the World title. Moving on…..
The main event was the Lethal Lockdown match, as Team Dixie, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries & the BroMans faced Team MVP, MVP & the Wolves, with the winning team getting control of wrestling operations, and Roode getting ten percent of the company if his team won.
Originally Jeff Hardy was meant to be on MVP’s team, but with Dixie Carter ordering security to keep Hardy out of the building nobody knew who would be the fourth member of their team. Also, it was revealed earlier in the evening that the esteemed Miss Carter had hired an insurance policy for this match.
Beginning with Aries against MVP this certainly proved to be an eventful match. There were some pretty good sequences here as all of the protagonists put in decent stints.
What I was interested in the most was how the Wolves would fare in TNA territory. The answer to that question was very well. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards looked as good as they did in their Ring of Honor prime, and all the great double team moves were there.
As for Carter’s plan to turn this into a handicap match that failed when MVP’s fourth man, the “mysterious” Willow made an appearance, entering the match by flying down from the top of the cage and taking out all four of his opponents.
As the lethal part of this match began Carter revealed what her insurance policy was all about as she introduced Bully Ray as the special referee, and his first task in his new role was to introduce a table into the proceedings.
So with the referee standing passively in the corner ready to make the count the two teams proceeded to beat the hell out of each other with their various toys. Both teams came close to getting the win and taking control.
The scene was then set when Roode set up the table. But when he tried to put MVP through it he found his path blocked by the Bully, and despite Roode’s orders Ray refused to move, until he took Roode down with a side slam that is.
That was the beginning of the end for Team Dixie. As Roode struggled to get back to his feet MVP connected with a kick to the head, and a three count later he and his buddies had control of the company.
As an irate Miss Carter and her chief of staff Spud watched on from the stage the Bully stared down MVP before raising his hand, and after the Rock Star stopped her from getting into the cage to confront her insurance policy the Bully ended the evening by power bombing Roode through the table.
In conclusion – so how would I rate TNA’s first major show of the year?
Pretty darn good is the answer to that particular question. While I wasn’t really impressed with Samuel Shaw everything else I saw was very good. I really enjoyed the performances of the debuting Japanese and Mexican stars, and as I said before I was eager to see how the Wolves were getting on, and after seeing all of this I was quite satisfied with my night’s viewing.
As for my match of the night no-prize I’m going for the six man opener for the reasons I already mentioned, and even though it was only really a cameo performance from the Great Muta it was still great to see the legend in action.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this show the thumbs up.