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4/8 TNA Impact on FSN: Caldwell's review of Cage Announcement, Sabin vs. Shane, Torch Talk Influence

Apr 8, 2005 - 8:49:00 PM

By James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor

TNA Impact Review
April 8, 2005
Taped April 5, 2005 in Orlando, FL at Universal Studios
Aired on Fox Sports Net
Report by James Caldwell, Torch Team Contributor

The Big Story. TNA changed up the overall feel of the show with some subtle, yet suggestive adjustments that made this week's show feel "different." If you didn't understand the power of the Torch Talk with Kevin Nash before, just wait until you read what they did with one of Dusty Rhodes's co-secretaries, Trinity. Whew, talk about a makeover. However, there was no Escalade, much to my dismay, but there's still time for the pimped out Caddy to debut in place of Dusty's pick up truck. We also had a huge Lockdown PPV announcement concerning the way in which each match at Lockdown will be fought. Onto the show we go.


- We began with a clip from last week when Prime Time defeated Michael Shane, Petey Williams, and Chris Sabin to win the #1 Contender spot to the X Division Title and face Christopher Daniels at the Lockdown PPV on April 24.

- From the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay and Don West welcomed us to the show, where Tenay indicated we would be hearing a major announcement from Director of Authority Dusty Rhodes here tonight. Tenay said Dusty Rhodes's comments would directly affect everyone involved in the Lockdown PPV. Tenay said the announcement has been the talk of wrestling – especially backstage – where speculation has run rampant as to what Dusty has up his sleeve. West said that every time Dusty speaks, he says something fantastic. Tenay said Dusty would clear up all the rumors later in the show.

(1) Chris Sabin defeated Michael Shane at 5:50. The ring entrance by Michael Shane told a story of Shane trying to get over with the fans by accentuating some of his more cocky characteristics by focusing on that to provide an image of who he is trying to be in the ring. If TNA can accentuate that, both in the ring and in backstage segments, they might be able to help Shane get over despite all the problems in the past where he hasn't been able to get over.

The match began with a lock up before Sabin broke the hold and asked for a test of strength. Sabin and Shane locked up with Sabin dropped Shane to the mat with a leg sweep, then a quick roll up for a two count. Sabin reversed a leg whip into a roll up then took Shane to the mat with a headlock take over. Very nice opening exchange. Shane brought the two to their feet then Sabin flipped out of a belly to back suplex attempt, but was run over by a shoulder block. Sabin countered with a deep headlock take over, dropping Shane to the mat. Shane brought both men to their feet then threw Sabin over the top rope to the outside. Shane stood in the ring selling his neck while Sabin gasped for air on the floor. Shane went to the outside and landed a few punches before whipping Sabin back-first into the guardrail. Shane broke the referee's ten count then sent Sabin back into the ring. Back in the ring, Shane played to the crowd ala Chavo Guerrero, trying to get himself over as a cocky heel. Shane picked up Sabin and slapped him across the face. Shane took a slap from Sabin leading to an exchange of right hands. Sabin delivered more right hands then leapt off the top rope with a turnaround splash attempt, but Shane blocked it with a gut buster across his knee. Shane made a cover, but scored a two count only.

Shane sent Sabin to the ropes and landed a nice drop kick. Shane played to the crowd then made a cover, losing valuable time. Shane locked in a grapevine submission hold around Sabin's neck, trying to block the flow of oxygen. Sabin countered a tilt o whirl head scissors off the ropes into a quick roll up for a two count. Sabin scored an atomic drop then dropped Shane to his knees with a perfect enziguiri kick. Sabin measured Shane then missed with a clothesline, but didn't miss with a powerslam that resulted in a two count. Sabin asked the referee for an explanation as he gasped for air, holding his ribs. Sabin punched Shane across the face then ran into a boot in the corner. Shane sent Sabin shoulder first into the ringpost, then rolled him up for a two count only. Shane picked up Sabin then dropped him to the mat with a right hand to the face. Shane dropped Sabin with a short-arm clothesline then picked him up again and dropped him with a second short-arm clothesline. Shane played to the crowd then picked up Sabin for a third short-arm clothesline, but Sabin ducked and rolled up Shane with a bridge pin for the quick three count and the impromptu victory.

- After the match, Sabin tried to catch his breath after Shane worked over his ribs and throat throughout the match. Sabin played to the crowd as Shane stared straight ahead with a glazed look of disdain and frustration from losing. Shane waited for Sabin to turn around then dropped him flat on his back with a super kick to the face. Shane laughed maniacally after screaming in Sabin's face as the referee asked for Shane to stop.

Nuggets from Tenay & West: West reminded us that Shane and Sabin were the last two participants in the X Division shoot out in the main event of last week's show, therefore were looking to step back into the limelight after both were eliminated by Prime Time. Tenay put over the winner of this match might impress Dusty Rhodes enough to earn an X Division Title shot after Lockdown.

Match Purpose: Michael Shane needs some character development, and it appears as though TNA is going to take a general characteristic of Shane's cockiness, and blow that up into his gimmick. Shane's frustration with always losing after being so close could become marketable along the lines of Edge's character where he always found a way to be screwed out of something. The match seemed to be geared towards focusing on both factors – cockiness and frustration. As for Sabin, this was a match to showcase his in-ring skills, as the imminent #1 Contender to the X Division Title after the Lockdown PPV.

Match View: This was a great back and forth match with some built-in psychology of Michael Shane working over Chris Sabin's ribs and neck after Sabin took a hard spill outside of the ring within the first two minutes of the match. From there, Sabin fought hard to put together a victory after overcoming the odds like any good babyface would. The one problem I had with this match – as a reflection of TNA in general – is the crowd noise. It's obvious they're trying to get Shane over as a heel, but the "boos" from the crowd were piped in so badly that you could tell without even paying attention that they manipulated the match sound. I understand the need to get Shane over as a heel, but use actual crowd noise to make it seem more authentic, and not so bush league or "WCW circa 1999."


[Commercial Break]

- From the Impact Zone, Mike Tenay and Don West discussed Dusty Rhodes's big announcement that will "directly impact and directly affect everyone scheduled for the Lockdown PPV on April 24." West rambled about something, but his voice didn't change from screaming to regular tone, so I'll just assume he was reiterating what Tenay said, but only ten times louder. Tenay introduced Dusty Rhodes to the Impact zone, who was flanked by Traci and Trinity.

- Dusty Rhodes came out with a much different look, as did Trinity and Traci, but Trinity even more so than any of the other two. Trinity had her hair pulled back with hairclips and was sporting more eye shadow than she's ever used on Impact, while wearing a more "hip" black outfit. Traci looked somewhat the same, except for a standard "straight from a shopping mall" top instead of the previous "cowgirl" top. Dusty decided to wear his shirt out instead of having half of it hanging out and half of it hanging in. The cowboy hat was gone and his sunglasses were toned down so he looked more professional and "2005." To the actual promo...

With Traci and Trinity flanked on each side, Dusty announced, "The last few years we have talked about some of the greatest matches in the history of TNA. I've got something to lay on you tonight that's gonna revolutionize the way we look at pay-per-view television. It's going to change the whole concept of pay-per-view television." Dusty gave the first batch of stipulations for some of the PPV matches including a "Prince of Darkness Match" between Bobby Roode and Dustin Rhodes, as well as a Tables match with Jeff Hardy and Raven, followed by America vs. Canada in Dustin Rhodes vs. Bobby Roode. Rhodes went on to address Jeff Jarrett, who will be in the six-man main event cage match between Team Jarrett and Team Nash, "Jeff Jarrett, you will be in a lethal lockdown inside that cage. That two means two men will start by lethal lottery draw, other men will enter the ring, may the best man win."

Dusty explained the stipulation for A.J. Styles vs. Abyss as, "A.J. Styles against 'the Monster' Abyss; winner goes directly to Hard Justice for the World's Heavyweight Title." Dusty moved to his big announcement about the entire Lockdown PPV concept, "When I look at an ole' bull walking down the pasture, I always say this bull's gotta have some really big ones. Well, I've got big ones. After great consultation, after meetings with different staff members, I have ordered all the building to be locked down, all the doors to be locked down, everything to be shut down. Women and children, you need to go hide somewhere because you're not going to be ready for this. Anybody with a pacemaker or weak at heart, just go hide somewhere. You better go hide somewhere. Not only will be there lethal lockdown of the final two matches, but for the first time in the history of pay-per-view, I will construct a cage for all eight matches at Lethal Lockdown!"

Impact Note: I'll reserve comments on the "all matches in a cage" concept until later, but I'll comment directly on this segment. It was obvious that Dusty Rhodes made a conscious effort to present himself, Traci, and Trinity in a more "urban" way by losing the hat and ruffled dress while having the secretaries dress up a little more as well. However, two big things stand out to me that despite the subtle changes, there's still an overall mindset that needs to be changed. For one, the concept of women not being able to handle brutality of what the PPV will contain is a fallacy that needs to be rid of before TNA can truly make a leap forward. It's an old saying, but it doesn't apply to 2005 because gender changes have occurred. Maybe TNA isn't aware of that. Second, Dusty needs to be more subtle with the "ole' bull walking across the pasture" sayings. Sure, it fits his character and is who he is, but if he's going to play an authority figure on TNA TV, he needs to present himself as more mainstream and not so country. The analogy may apply, but there are plenty of other analogies that can be used to get the same point across. For Dusty, he just needs to tone down the country over-tones and appear more mainstream. Today was a solid first step, but more can be done.

- Don West screamed about the big announcement, repeating that all eight matches at Lockdown will be in the "six sides of steel" cage. West told the women and children to hide because they're going to lock down the entire building. Rhodes left with Traci and Trinity leading into our next match. Tenay gave us three words: "Parental Discreation Advised." West agreed and said that if you order the PPV, you will see history in the making.

(2) A.J. Styles defeated Chase Stevens (w/Andy Douglas & Chris Candido) at 7:37. The match began with a collar and elbow tie up with Stevens taking it to a side headlock. Stevens drove Styles to the mat then Styles reversed it into a reverse arm lock. Styles wrenched Stevens's arm with a wrist lock, locking it up tight. Stevens reversed it into a back body drop attempt, but Styles landed on his feet and delivered two deep arm drags. Styles played opossum when he laid on the mat, drawing in Stevens for an elbow drop, which Styles moved out of the way to avoid, leading to his patented back flip drop kick. Stevens recovered to his feet and poked Styles in the eye. Stevens charged at Styles in the corner, but Styles avoided Stevens and flipped to the apron. Styles skinned the cat and wrapped his legs around Steven's head, flipping him over the ropes to the outside. Candido and Douglas checked on Stevens as we went to commercial.

[Commercial Break]

Back from commercial, we caught a glimpse of Styles's somersault splash over the top rope onto all three heels during the commercial break. Very nice spot that I saw twice over the weekend at the PWG shows. Back to live action where Stevens was working over Styles with a front face lock. The crowd rallied behind Styles as Styles moved back to his feet, breaking Stevens's grasp. Stevens flipped Styles around and delivered two back breakers across his knee before flipping Styles back to a vertical position for an STO. Stevens made the cover, but scored a two count only. Styles held his mouth as he laid on the mat. The fans chanted, "Let's go A.J." Stevens isn't over, so there wasn't a dueling "Let's go Chase," chant. Stevens ran over Styles with a kick to the head then mocked the Styles chant. Stevens delivered a nice snap suplex then asked the crowd what they think of A.J. now. Stevens played to the crowd too long allowing Styles to fight back with stiff right hands. Styles drove Stevens to the mat with a stiff right hand then dropped him hard to the mat with a leg lariat spin kick. Styles delivered a nice "suplex into neck breaker," then made a cover, only to have the referee distracted by Douglas. Styles slid under the referee and Douglas's legs, then dropped Douglas to the floor. Styles climbed up top for a springboard move on Stevens, but Douglas held Styles's feet down with the referee checking out someone in the crowd rather than paying attention to the match. (Maybe it was So Cal Val. ;-)) Douglas caught Styles, who was still on the apron, and delivered a back elbow taking Styles into the ring. Styles charged Stevens in the corner, but Stevens caught him and dropped him with a lift up slam. Stevens made a cover, but scored a two count only. Stevens went for a powerbomb, but Styles slipped out and caught him with the Styles Clash out of nowhere for the victory.

- After the match, Styles left the ring as Abyss ran into the ring with a chair in hand. Tenay and West talked about Styles and Abyss being locked inside the cage at Lockdown as Styles caught a glimpse of Abyss on the Impact Zone TV. Styles walked back towards the ring and appeared to be ready for a fight, only to be stopped by security. Security held back Abyss, as well, leading to a stand off.

Nuggets from Tenay & West: Mike Tenay put over A.J. Styles's quest to capture his third NWA Title, with that chase for the title being something many people (including myself) feel that Styles has deserved for a long time. Over the course of the match, they put over the "six sides of steel" cage concept, describing the potential for Abyss to rough up Styles, but would have a hard time since he's facing Styles who has consistent intensity. (Except for last week.)

Match Purpose: On the surface, this match appeared to be used to put over Styles as a legitimate threat to Abyss – and to take it further – the NWA World Title. However, we already know all about Styles's in-ring capabilities, so I feel like this match was used to put over Chase Stevens and the Naturals tag team itself. Stevens looked solid in the ring, taking control with a nice flurry of offense, while using Styles's popularity to get himself over. Solid heel performance by Stevens.

Match View: Two matches of over five minutes in length used to be unheard of on Impact. Thank goodness that appears to have been changed. Styles is always a good worker in the ring, and proved it with a solid match against a less-than-over heel opponent. Styles could get a broomstick over in the ring if given the right set of circumstances to work with. Stevens's body isn't supported by a broomstick, so it was a far easier task to work Stevens to a good match. I would have hoped for a little more interaction between Styles and Abyss following the match, but at least Styles didn't cower back like a scared dog at the mere sight of Abyss. However, it can be said that Styles only appeared fearless because he knew security was going to intervene. I'm hoping for a Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle "screw security, let's brawl" segment in the next two weeks before the Lockdown PPV.


[Commercial Break]

- We came back to find Mike Tenay and Don West sitting with America's Most Wanted members Chris Harris and James Storm. The camera zoomed in on the tag team titles to showcase the Lockdown match where AMW will defend the tag titles against Team Canada. Chris Harris described his over-joyed feelings of being able to step inside the cage with Team Canada. Harris said Team Canada has been running and hiding for so long now, that they can't wait to get them all alone in the cage. West said Team Canada won't be able to use any of the shortcuts they've used in the past to win. Harris said, "And no Scott D'Amore." Tenay seconded that belief and said, "Canadian bacon himself will be kept out of the match." Everyone was excited about that prospect.

(3) Dustin Rhodes & Cassidy Riley defeated Lex Lovett & David Young at 2:30. Prior to the match, Tenay put over the relationship between Dustin and Riley, describing Riley's role as Dustin's protégé, as a way of "passing the torch." After Tenay said that, he paused for dramatic effect as if to indicate he had been reading my reports about the lost relationship between Dustin and Riley. Harris said Riley is a future star in this business and is one victory away from becoming a huge prospect. The match began with Dustin and David Young in the ring. Dustin ran over Young with stiff right hands then a big boot, leading to Lovett tagging in. Riley took a tag and dropped Young with a handspring back elbow smash. Riley dropped Young with a hip toss giving Dustin the opportunity to set up Young for "Shattered Dreams" in the corner. With Riley distracting the referee by pointing to all the great members in attendance, Dustin kicked the turnbuckle, missing Young's crotch by a country mile. Lovett tried to charge at Riley from behind, but Riley moved and Lovett headbutted Young in the crotch. Riley rolled up Lovett and scored a two count. Riley delivered a nice Michinoku Driver then went for a springboard moonsault, but Young tripped Riley off the ropes. Lovett picked up Riley then tagged in Young. Lovett and Young double teamed Riley with quick in and out tags before Riley delivered a nice swinging DDT. Riley went for the hot tag, but Young ran into the ring to cut off Riley's tag. Dustin entered the ring anyways and took Young to the outside where he sent him head first into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Lovett went for a powerbomb, but Riley reversed it into a huricanrana with a roll up for the quick three count and the victory. Afterwards, Riley and Dustin celebrated as if they just won the Super Bowl.

Nuggets from Tenay & West & Chris Harris: All three of the men on commentary did their darndest to put over Cassidy Riley as a legitimate star in TNA. Sure, but will he even be paired with Dustin on next week's show? After all, Riley was teamed up with Dustin for two weeks, only to be dropped for about a month.

Match Purpose: TNA appears to have realized it's time to create some new stars. Cassidy Riley is their primary target at this point with this match serving as the first step to getting him over with a major, "break through victory" to make his star shine a little brighter. Allowing Riley to score the actual pinfall was a major accomplishment considering Dustin Rhodes was in the match.

Match View: Cassidy Riley has a lot of potential, if used correctly. After watching him on some OVW tapes when he was the OVW Champion, for all of two weeks, I can see that Riley has an opportunity to become a viable star in TNA. However, I don't see him gunning for the NWA Title and I certainly don't see him as an X Division Champion. Maybe it's time TNA creates a Television Title, or Impact TV Title, or something along those lines as a mid-card Title to recognize great accomplishments by wrestlers such as Cassidy Riley, Johnny Devine, Ron Killings, Andy Douglas, etc. Money could certainly be made if the mid-card acts, who aren't X Division style wrestlers, were given something important to vie for. (Maybe I need to pitch this on the TNA message boards. Hmm...)


[Commercial Break featuring Mark Madsen's "dance" from the first Lakers championship celebration in the now defunct Shaq & Kobe era. Just to clear something up, white men can dance, even if Mark Madsen has screwed us all for life.]

- Mike Tenay stood center ring to introduce NWA World Champion, Jeff Jarrett. Tenay hyped Dusty Rhodes's huge announcement some more, before bringing out the Champ. Jarrett came out with the NWA Title belt, his guitar, and one ugly "was Wal-Mart having a sale?" pink dress shirt. Good heavens, someone needs to check his wardrobe at home. Tenay brought up the six-man cage match between Team Jarrett and Team Nash, citing his opinion that Dusty Rhodes is one step ahead of Jarrett. Jarrett laughed at Tenay's comment. Tenay described the "six sides of steel" cage match where weapons will be involved, as well each team having the ability to bring anything they want to the match. In one of the most awkward and strange moves I have ever seen in the center of a wrestling ring, Mike Tenay grabbed Jarrett by the arm and spun him around to scream in his face. Jarrett, taken aback, listened as Tenay yelled, "In my opinion, for you and your tag team partners, there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide." Jarrett dropped his guitar and title belt, then yelled at Tenay that he's tired of Tenay running him down every time he comes out to the ring for an interview. Jarrett said, "I have built an evil empire of a one man wrestling destiny. The New England Patriots, the New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, all of those dynasties of the past don't measure up to me."

Jarrett turned his attention to Dusty Rhodes, telling him he can come up with anything he wants to, but it won't matter because there are no rules to this match. Jarrett said none of the three opponents Dusty lined up against Team Jarrett would even make it to Lockdown. Jarrett narrated a video clip of Jarrett's team attacking Kevin Nash two weeks ago, and then Jarrett said he was going to expand on what happened two weeks ago. Jarrett told Team Nash to listen up, "I'm giving you a fair global warning. Waltman and DDP, you better stick together 24/7 because you're not going to know when, you're not going to know where, you're certainly not going to know how – but one thing is for sure, I'm going to fire the second shot, and I know one thing, it will be violent; I assure you of that."

From the back, Diamond Dallas Page ran into the ring and scored some punches on Jarrett. The Outlaw ran into the ring to make the save, but DDP flipped him over the top rope to the outside. DDP landed some more right hands before heading for the hills once the Outlaw re-entered the ring. DDP celebrated with the fans, including Atlanta Falcons towel guy, as Jarrett and Outlaw yelled at him from the ring.

- We saw the same video package from last week highlighting the relationship and subsequent feud between Christopher Daniels and Prime Time. They should have saved the video package for this week instead of the middle of last week's show, giving away the winner of the main event match prematurely. As an aside, if TNA really wants to talk about the history of Triple X, inclusion of Low Ki is absolutely necessary. You can't bring up the debut of Triple X in a video package and not explain how Low Ki helped build the stable.

[Commercial Break]

- Prime Time was backstage talking to a Production Assistant until Christopher Daniels ran in to get some words in with Prime Time. Daniels asked Prime Time if he was absolutely sure he wanted to face him at Lockdown. Prime Time, grinning from ear to ear, said he was pretty sure he wanted the match. Daniels, not stopping to actually soak in Prime Time's comment, immediately jumped on Prime Time – just as the script read – and reminded Prime Time that they were going to be wrestling in a cage. Daniels said the last time the two of them were in a cage, Prime Time did a great huricanrana from the top of the cage, but Prime Time also lost the match. Daniels asked Prime Time if he was sure he wanted to lose two cage matches in a row. Prime Time answered that he was pretty sure he wanted to wrestle and tried to leave. Daniels stopped Prime Time and reminded Prime Time that, "I'm more experienced than you; I'm smarter than you; I know every move that you're going to make, even before you make it." Prime Time wasn't fazed at all.

Daniels went on, "Are you sure you want to go to Lockdown in front of all the world and get shown up by the Fallen Angel?" Prime Time confirmed that he would take the chance, leading to Daniels suggesting Prime Time should take the chance right here, right now if he was so confident. Prime Time said he didn't want to do that because no one was backstage to see him win and would rather win the belt in front of the world. Prime Time walked away and laughed at Daniels's title of "Mr. TNA." Daniels watched as Prime Time left, frustrated that he was unable to get inside Prime Time's head.

Impact Note 2: Ok, so TNA gave Daniels and Prime Time a solid minute exchange backstage to promote their X Division Title Match. Good move in theory, but really bad in execution. First of all, Daniels was not in his element. His element is in the ring chastising someone while being in the midst of a fight. In this backstage, he appeared to be completely unnatural, acting terribly, and just jumping from line to line without actually invoking normal human reactions. If Daniels was sure Prime Time wasn't getting the message, maybe he needed to stop and think of how he could better get the message across. Instead, Daniels just jumped to the next line like a robot, not giving any thought, as if he was in a real situation, of what his next line of questioning or argumentation might be. Prime Time was equally as bad, answering back with some real "Drama 101" lines that didn't work for me. I love the concept of giving them ample time to discuss their feelings heading into Lockdown, but you can't force them into situations that are unnatural to them. Have it set up in the ring or put Prime Time on commentary during a Christopher Daniels match.

(4) Apolo defeated Kid Kash (w/Lance Hoyt) by DQ at 9:57. On the way to the ring, Kid Kash ripped up a sign informing us that Kash doesn't use soap. Before the match began, Kash and Apolo had a pose down with Kash becoming upset leading to him poking Apolo's chest. Kash charged Apolo, but Apolo shoved him onto his back repeatedly. Apolo led a chanting clap by the crowd before Kash shoved him in the chest. Apolo responded with a hard knock down shove. Kash and Apolo went nose to nose before Apolo caught Kash off the ropes and dropped him with a high-elevated lift up slam. Apolo ran over Kash with a clothesline, sending Kash to the outside. Kash recovered with Lance Hoyt, and then returned to the ring where he ducked a clothesline from Apolo and ducked out of the ring to the outside to avoid further contact from Apolo. The fans ringside chanted, "Hoyt, Hoyt, Hoyt," as Kash walked around the outside, stalling for time.

[Commercial Break]

Back from commercial, we saw Apolo working over Kash with an arm wringer. Kash broke the hold then charged at Apolo, but Apolo flipped him to the apron. Kash distracted the ref allowing Hoyt to pull Apolo to the outside. That led to an exchange of right hands, with Hoyt sent reeling backwards. However, the distraction was momentary enough to allow Kash to set up for an apron-to-floor huricanrana, taking Apolo crashing to the padding outside of the ring. Very nice spot! Kash picked up a chair then threw it from a feet away right into Apolo's head. The referee, apparently incompetent as a doorknob, let everything slide including Hoyt landing a clubbing forearm to Apolo's back. Back in the ring, Kash made a cover on Apolo, but scored a two count only. Kash kicked Apolo's hamstring then chopped Apolo across the chest. Kash punched Apolo in the head then Apolo fought back with right hands of his own. Kash dropkicked Apolo's knee, sending the big Puerto Rican face-first into the mat. Kash made a cover, but scored a two count only. Kash locked on a knee-hyperextension submission hold, causing Apolo to writhe in pain. Kash broke the submission hold then stomped on Apolo's knee. Kash worked over Apolo's hamstring with a big kick, and then played to the crowd. Kash took Apolo to the corner and chopped him across the chest. Apolo responded with a chop of his own, sending Kash reeling backwards. Kash sent Apolo to the opposite corner then ran into a big boot to the face. Apolo missed with a clothesline then was sent crashing to the mat with a leaping shoulder block. Apparently the action was too hot for backstage viewing, so Dusty Rhodes joined Mike Tenay and Don West on commentary.

Kash went back to the hamstring, working over Apolo's leg with a stiff kick. Kash picked up Apolo and went for a springboard back flip splash, but Apolo caught him in mid-air and power slammed him to the mat. Kash came up arching his back, selling the power of the move. Apolo picked up Kash and sent him to the ropes, only to be kicked across the chest. Kash ran to the corner turnbuckle and leapt off with an amazing huricanrana on Apolo. Apolo no-sold it, just as he had been no-selling Kash's leg work all match, and went right back to his feet. Kash went for a swinging DDT off the ropes, but Apolo threw him off to the mat. Apolo ran over Kash with a series of clotheslines then picked up Kash and dropped him with an elevated back body drop. At this point, Apolo's running mate – Sonny Siaki – came ringside as Apolo connected with a sit down powerbomb on Kash. Apolo made the cover to very little pop from the crowd, but the referee was stopped short at two when Hoyt yanked him out of the ring. The referee immediately called for the bell, indicating Kash had been disqualified.

- After the match, Hoyt jumped up onto the apron and verbally chastised Apolo. Siaki entered the ring as back up for Apolo. Hoyt entered the ring leading to Hoyt and Apolo brawling in the ring. On the outside, Siaki picked a fight with Kash leading to a four-man brawl. Dusty Rhodes said, "I like this. I like this in the cage." Siaki picked up a chair then threw it from five feet away right into Hoyt's face. Siaki picked up the chair then threw it into Kashs face. Siaki went crazy laying into everyone with chair shots and right hands to the face. All four men lumbered around the ringside area exchanging right hands.

Nuggets from Tenay & West & Dusty Rhodes: Mike Tenay informed us that the 4-way X Division shoot out at Lockdown involving Chris Sabin, Shocker, Kid Kash, and Michael Shane has been made into an Xscape match where the object is to escape the cage. The loser will be determined by who the last man left in the cage is. (So, if I understand this correctly, there will be three winners in the match. That, my friends, is a terrible concept because no one wants three winners.) Rhodes effectively put over the intensity of the war between Apolo & Siaki and Kash & Hoyt, indicating it is a perfect example of what Lockdown will be all about.

Match Purpose: It was apparent TNA wanted to re-establish the hot feud between Kid Kash & Lance Hoyt and Sonny Siaki & Apolo, considering it was a key element of the Impact from two weeks ago. The match effectively showcased Apolo in a lengthy match, giving viewers a chance to see him in the ring for a sustained period of time.

Match View: Let's get the crappy finish out of the way first and foremost. How can TNA expect the fans to have faith in match outcomes when the referees TNA employs have been built up to have the integrity of Mark McGwire on the witness stand? In this particular match, the referee watched as a) Lance Hoyt hit Apolo with a chair, b) as Lance Hoyt struck Apolo with several right hands, c) as Kid Kash hit Apolo with a steel chair, and yet, refused to call for a DQ at any point during those blatant events that should lead to a DQ. Subsequently, Hoyt pulled the referee out of the ring, somehow earning a DQ. So, everything Hoyt did was as legal as a drop kick until the last moment? TNA must...must install judgment, integrity, and discernment into the portrayal of their officials. No one is going to take an important match seriously when the referees are constantly and consistently portrayed as dingbat ignoramuses. If TNA wanted to build up the officiating of the match as the referee giving Hoyt a warning that the next time he intereres, Kash will be DQ'ed, that's fine. At least set out the warning and then logically call for the DQ the next time Hoyt interferes. TNA didn't do that, so now we – as viewers – have no idea what TNA allows and doesn't allow over the course of a match. These types of regulatory inconsistencies have perpetuated Impact and PPV broadcasts for so long, that they might as well have self-officiated wrestling matches. It's absolutely insane.

Ok, enough with the officiating rant, let's discuss the other elements of the match. Kid Kash is always a good main event player because he can work a solid match with anyone. Apolo is a very athletic big man, who can move and take bumps like a normal sized wrestler. If you're lining up Apolo and Batista side by side, Batista would probably have a little bit of a size advantage, but I would take Apolo's in-ring skills and wrestling ability over Batista. If TNA could turn Apolo into a monstrous big man with enormous amounts of hype along the lines of what WWE did for Batista, they would have a goldmine on their hands because Apolo can actually wrestle and has the ability to back up the hype when performing in the ring. Lance Hoyt continues to be over with the Orlando crowd for some strange reason. Maybe they just decided to pick on one heel and turn him into their project to get over. Whatever the case may be, it's a good idea because Hoyt has a great deal of potential in the ring.


- Mike Tenay sent us backstage, where Diesel was laying into Skip. Oh, whoops, flashback to WWF circa 1995. Ahem. Kevin Nash was laying into Chris Candido with right hands next to what appeared to be a bathroom stall door. Of course, it was merely a door next to a trailer, but still, it looked like a stall door. Nash took care of the Naturals with stiff right hands before knocking Candido onto the floor with right hands. Tenay said, "Jeff Jarrett thought he had struck first, but Kevin Nash just struck last." Dusty screamed, "This is crazy, this is crazy!" as we faded to infomercials.


Matches Announced or Already Announced for the April 24 Lockdown PPV.
- All matches in a "Six Sides of Steel" Cage.
- Kevin Nash & DDP & Sean Waltman vs. Jeff Jarrett & Monty Brown & The Outlaw in a Lethal Lottery Lockdown – BYOW – Match. (That's Bring Your Own Weapons if you don't like acronyms.)
- Abyss vs. A.J. Styles with the winner receiving an NWA Title Shot at Hard Justice in May.
- X Division Title Match: Christopher Daniels(c) vs. Prime Time
- NWA Tag Team Title Match: America's Most Wanted(c) vs. Team Canada in a "U.S. vs. Canada" Match.
- Dustin Rhodes vs. Bobby Roode in a Prince of Darkness Death Match.
- Jeff Hardy vs. Raven in a Tables Match.
- Chris Sabin vs. Shocker vs. Michael Shane vs. Kid Kash in an Ultimate Xscape Match where there will be three winners!
- Apolo vs. Lance Hoyt
- Caldwell's Recommended Pick, But Not Anywhere Close To Being Announced Yet: 3 Live Kru vs. Chris Candido & The Naturals.

Closing Thoughts: Well, this was quite an eventful show. Announcements, happenings, feuds, storyline advancements, etc. However, there were a few noticeable absences. No Monty Brown, no Team Canada, no Jeff Hardy, no Raven, no 3 Live Kru. All of these people or groups of people need some storyline build up. We need to hear from Monty Brown again – or at least see him do something. We needed to hear from Team Canada in rebuttal to AMW and Dustin Rhodes. We needed to hear or see from Jeff Hardy and Raven in continuation of their feud that was red-hot last week. We definitely needed to see more from the teased dissention between 3 Live Kru. What has shocked me is the fact that not one member of 3 Live Kru is scheduled to appear on PPV. I can see where TNA would pass on B.G. James and Konan, but Ron Killings has to be on PPV inside a steel cage. I would like to see a six-man tag match added with 3 Live Kru taking on Chris Candido and the Naturals. The match would give us a chance to either turn B.G. James heel or have him truly hammer home his loyalty to 3 Live Kru, while also allowing Candido and the Naturals to advance past the Warm Up show to being on actual PPV. They deserve the opportunity because of how well they have performed the last few months.

The changes to the feel of Impact were quite obvious. If you underestimated the power of the Torch before, look no further than today's Impact for reasons why you should understand the power of Kevin Nash's Torch Talk. No more pick up trucks. "Texas vs. Canada" changed to "America vs. Canada." (Although, I hate that one.) No more daisy dukes and cut off shorts on Trinity and Traci. Longer wrestling matches. No more sloppy outfits from Dusty Rhodes. No more cowboy hat on Dusty Rhodes's head. There's still a long ways to go before TNA actually turns the corner to a more mainstream or "urban" wrestling program, but they took some nice easy steps in the right direction with this week's broadcast.

Weekend Replay Factor: Two and a half hamburgers out of five. Solid wrestling throughout the show with some subtle changes to boot that make this a recommended viewing on Saturday night. However, there was nothing "can't miss," that was absolutely necessary to see such as last week's X Division shoot out.

As always, feel free to send me feedback on today's show at I'm open to any and all reader comments. I'll be checking in with more TNA commentary in this week’s edition of the Sunday Brunch, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, I'll see all the So Cal fans at the big SCCW show Saturday afternoon!

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MCNEILL LIVECAST POLL: TNA will have a 32-person tournament to determine a new Hvt. champion - your thoughts? free polls
CENA POLL: If John Cena takes a year-end break, who should win the U.S. Title from Cena? free polls





PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. 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)


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