THE SPECIALISTS 4/31 TNA Lockdown PPV Review by Wilkenfeld: Pacing killed the TNA star
Apr 13, 2008 - 11:40:55 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor
We spend five minutes talking about how big a deal Joe vs. Angle is, and then six minutes on entrances.
(1) JAY LETHAL defeats JOHNNY DEVINE, CURRY MAN, CONSEQUENCES CREED, SHARK BOY, and SONJAY DUTT.
This is a throwback to the traditional X Division spot-fests. The first big hit was Johnny Devine clinging to the cage to avoid being the top of a Tower of Doom, only to eat a leaping Arm Drag from Consequences Creed. Sonjay Dutt and Lethal work together, with Dutt saving Lethal from a cover at the cost of eating a School Boy for three from Johnny Devine. Creed eliminates Shark Boy with a CreeDDT, but then he and Divine eat an insane somersault flip off the top of the cage by Curry Man. CM follows up with a Spice Rack on Creed for the elimination. He actually catches Lethal with a Spice Rack as well, but Devine decides to pick off the strongest opposition and eliminates him with a Devine Intervention. He uses his wrist tape to tie Lethal to the rope, but Dutt gets Lethal a blade and stalls Devine long enough for Lethal to win with a dive out the door.
This was a fun spot-fest with a really clever finish. I'm baffled why they didn't play up the tension between Dutt and Lethal, but this was the next best thing. The action was good, and the final spot with Lethal diving through the door was extremely memorable. Curry Man stole the show, but that doesn't come as so much of a surprise.
Star of the Match: Curry Man.
JB is in the back with Frank Trigg, who gives his analysis. He doesn't think Joe can beat Kurt Angle. He actually makes some decent points, but I really don't want to hear some MMA guy talk for three minutes.
The women get four minutes of entrances.
(2) ROXXI LEVEAUX defeats ANGELINA LOVE, VELVET SKY, RHAKA KHAN, TRACI BROOKS, JACKIE MOORE, CHRISTY HEMME, and SALINAS
The women all fight to get into the cage. Angelina Love makes it in first, and Roxxi Leveaux just beats Velvet Sky to get the second spot. Love and Sky actually have a nice old school match inside the ring, culminating in Leveaux kicking out of a Lights Out (Reverse STO) and then winning with a Voodoo Drop.
The bad: the bit with the reverse cage match for the first minute and a half really added nothing to the show. I suppose if they want to make this an annual tradition it makes sense to have it be a multi-person match, but they really need to come up with something for the other women to do other than climb and pull each other off the cage. Some wrestling on the outside might have helped, as if it really were a cage match (only backwards).
The good: Once it came down to Love and Leveaux, it was a fun little four-minute match. The crowd started pretty dead, but came alive behind Roxxi at the end. That shows that they did something right. If they can just get Roxxi a bit of a personality she might be able to break into that top tier of TNA women.
Star of the Match: Roxxi Leveuax
Joe cuts a two-minute promo where he says nothing, but says it very angrily.
We get a two-minute recap of Kip James vs. BG James, and then two minutes of entrances.
(3) BG JAMES defeats KIP JAMES
Kip dominates most of the match. He hits a Fame-Asser but goes for a lackadaisical cover, and BG kicks out at two. He tries to go for one off the top rope, but it's reversed into a low blow. BG wins with a School Boy. After the match BG tries to shake hands with Kip. Kip accepts, and then insists on raising BG's hand in victory, only to decapitate him with a brutal clothesline. He hits a crotch chop and then leaves.
This match probably came in at about one star, which honestly meant it pulled out about a star more than I would have anticipated. So it gets props for exceeding my expectations, but really that did not require all that much. Hopefully they'll end this feud, but I doubt it.
Star of the Match: N/A.
Kurt Angle cuts a two-minute promo in the back where he talks about his need to destroy Joe while staring creepily at nothing. This was actually fairly intense. While not the sort of thing they can pull off too often, crazily focused Angle can be very effective in short doses.
We get seven minutes of entrances, during which Rellik and Black Reign are shown ambushing Eric Young in the back.
(4) KAZ & SUPER ERIC defeat BLACK REIGN & RELLIK, THE ROCK & RAVE INFECTION, LAX, THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS, and SCOTT STEINER & PETEY WILLIAMS.
The only way to be eliminated is to be handcuffed to the cage. Steiner starts out decimating everyone, until Hernandez slows him down long enough for everyone else to gang up on and eliminate him. Eric Young tries to come out, but the monsters scare him off. Shelley gets handcuffed by Petey Williams, and Sabin is taken out after eating an awesome Wave of the Future into the cage. Reign and Rellik hit a nasty looking double-team move on Petey and then lock him up. LAX go on a tear, hitting a Super Gringo Cutter on Kaz and then a Crackerjack on Rave. Hoyt attacks Hernandez from behind, however, which allows Rellik to lock up Homicide as Black Reign locks up Hernandez. Kaz hits the Flux Capacitor on Jimmy Rave and a jumping kick to the groin on Hoyt on the top rope. When he tries to follow up with another Flux Capacitor he eats a Chokeslam off the top rope and gets locked up. With only The Monsters of Rock remaining, the crowd starts massively chanting for Super Eric. Sure enough, his music hits and they go nuts. He takes out all four men in the ring with a Cross Body Block off the top of the cage and locks up Hoyt and Rave. Reign and Rellik go to lock him up, but just when it looks like he's been eliminated it suddenly turns out that its Rellik who is attached to the cage. Super Eric eliminates Reign for the win.
This match had a lot of fun stuff, but also a lot of wasted potential. The Guns being the first team eliminated baffles me. LAX had a good showing, but were also taken out too easily. The good part was the creative handling of Steiner's involvement and Super Eric's. Steiner was made to look like a main-eventer without actually getting the win, which was nice. While Super Eric's triumphant appearance was predictable from the moment he was ambushed backstage, the anticipation just got the crowd even hotter. Also, the optical illusion where they locked up Rellik when it looked like Super Eric was in cuffs was, while extremely silly, still momentarily jaw dropping.
Star of the Match: Super Eric
We see the terrible new interviewer Lauren talk to Joe's family for two minutes, recap Kong-ODB-Kim for two more, and then get four minutes of entrances.
(5) GAIL KIM & ODB defeat AWESOME KONG & RAISHA SAEED.
Kim insists on Kong tagging in Saeed, and Saeed proceeds to keep pace with Kim for four minutes before tagging Kong back into the match. After that things break down, and ODB is eventually able to pin Saeed with a Splash off the top rope.
This was very good stuff. It was a solid and important women's match that did not have the title on the line, which really speaks well to the growth of the division. Kong, Kim, and ODB all did as well as we've come to expect, and much to my surprise Saeed was able to keep up with them the whole time.
Star of the Match: Raeesha Saeed—she didn't do any better than the other three, but the fact that she held her own makes her stand out.
JB interviews Karen Angle, who is there to support her husband. We then recap Booker T-Robert Roode for two minutes.
(6) BOOKER T & SHARMELL defeat ROBERT ROODE & PAYTON BANKS.
Booker and Roode did some competent but forgettable wrestling. Then Sharmell came in, and while Booker was down Roode held her to be slapped. She nailed Roode with a low blow to break the hold, and was able to dodge just as Banks connected with Roode. She rolled up Banks in a School Girl for the win. After the match Roode yelled at Banks some, and gestured as if he was about to hit her before storming off.
Eh. Since I tend to like the massive spot-festy brawls, this actually came in as my second least favorite match of the night after VKM. It mostly gets points for the fact that Roode was so stunned by a slap from Payton Banks that he couldn't break up Sharmell's cover (Rachael caught this point). If Roode abuses another valet it'll just be silly. Actually, it might send a decent message if he did and then they "fired" him in the plot—his character could use a rest anyway. It might be an interesting idea to play around with.
Star of the Match: N/A
We have another interview with some MMA guy, but this time it only takes a minute. We recap Cage-Tomko for a minute as well.
(7) CHRISTIAN CAGE, RHINO, STING, MATT MORGAN & KEVIN NASH defeat TOMKO, AJ STYLES, JAMES STORM, & TEAM 3D.
Christian comes to the ring first. Tomko starts to make his way down the ramp, but then Cage is ambushed from behind by The Phenomenal AJ Styles. Ha! The two of them engage in five minutes of awesomeness (okay, 4.5 minutes of awesomeness and a Chinlock) before being joined by Brother Ray. Rhino comes in, and then for no obvious reason Christian and AJ Styles end up brawling on the rim of the cage. Christian gets pushed to the outside, and Ray shakes the cage enough to knock Christian off. Everyone else files in and the cage roof is lowered. Storm immediately goes up to the top, and Christian comes up after him. AJ joins them on top, where they set Christian up on a table. AJ goes to Splash Christian from the top of the ladder on top of the cage, but Christian cuts him off on the top of the ladder. They tease one of them falling all the way to the floor, before Storm pushes the ladder back towards the center of the roof, sending AJ and Christian careening through the table atop the cage. He then makes the mistake of going back into the cage, where he eats a Gore and the loss.
That was a lot of fun, if significantly more random and less exciting than last year. The spot on the top was awesome, but having the finish come from a Gore right after just seemed anti-climactic.
Star of the Match: AJ Styles
We get three minutes recapping the Joe-Angle feud. Then we get two more minutes hyping the match. Then we get two more minutes recapping Joe's motivation and then a one-minute entrance. We see Angle walking in the back, and just when I'm getting excited for the match...we get a two-minute recap of Kurt Angle's desire to win. We get three minutes of entrances and announcements, and then two minutes of Kurt having Karen kicked out of ringside. For those keeping score at home, that's fourteen minutes between the end of the last match and the start of this one, during which exactly nothing happens.
(8) SAMOA JOE defeats KURT ANGLE.
We start off with 8 minutes of MMA style grappling before Angle shifts into a more traditional gear by locking in a Figure Four Leg Lock. Joe rolls out, but Angle keeps working his leg until Joe suddenly explodes with a vicious clothesline. He maintains control until Angle reverses an attempted Muscle Buster into an Angle Lock. Joe rolls him off and hits a mean Power Bomb, which he turns into a Lion Tamer! If he's allowed to do it, why can't Jericho? Angle starts to make it to the ropes, so Joe transitions into an STF. Angle reverses that into an Angle Lock, which is reversed into a Crippler Crossface. Angle gets to the ropes, but Joe locks it right back in. Kurt somehow rolls directly into an Olympic Slam for two. I have no idea how that was even possible. Angle cinches in the Angle Lock again, and this time it's reversed into a Rear Naked Choke. Angle pulls on the referee to get himself to the rope. Angle goes for another Olympic Slam, but Joe shoves him off into the cage. As Angle rebounds Joe nails a Superkick and a Muscle Buster for the win.
Wow. I have to say I started off bored during the MMA stuff, and would have been horribly annoyed had it lasted the whole match. As it is, it was a great way to set up the escalating pace later. This was simply great stuff.
Star of the Match: Kurt Angle—no offense meant to Joe, but this is the sort of match Angle lives and breathes.
Overall: This PPV turned out to be exactly what it looked like on paper—two solid main-events atop a load of fun but meaningless garbage. Normally, that's the sort of PPV I really like, but the pacing issues just killed me here. Every time I started to get into something there'd be another recap package. By my count we spent twenty-six minutes hyping the main event, which only lasted about twenty. A lot of the hype was individually very well done, but collectively it just pulled me out of the game (and cost me like $5). What otherwise would have been a top notch PPV gets dropped to what I consider a generous B-.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**