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4/10 Impact Review by Wilkenfeld: A good PPV hype does not an entertaining episode make

Apr 10, 2008 - 10:47:28 PM

By: Daniel Wilkenfeld, PWTorch Contributor

Where We've Been: For the first time in the last couple years, I'm not all that enthusiastic going into Lockdown. I'm not sure why really. The last few weeks have been decent, if thoroughly uninspired fare. Destination X was, I thought, incredibly good, but had the poor fortune to take place just before WrestleMania XXIV reminded me what a really great PPV can do. Team 3D are taking on Sting and Kevin Nash tonight in advance of Ultimate X, but I'm not yet entirely clear on why I should care. Actually what I'm looking forward to most tonight is the (re)debut of Consequences Creed, if only because the X Division is in desperate need of some new blood. Samoa Joe has been called out for a contract signing, which is a little weird when you consider that he vowed not to appear in the Impact Zone again without the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Also it would be nice if we got some explanation for Matt Morgan's face turn last week, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

The Show: "It All Ends in the Cage"
[Opening Pyro]

Team Tomko hits the ring. Tomko takes the mic first, but he gets annoyed by the crowd's boos and hands it off to Brother Ray. Ray agrees that as team leader Tomko shouldn't be wasting his breath on this crowd. He says that Christian didn't get over on them last week—all he did was piss them off. Morgan shouldn't even show up in Boston, cause it'll be the last time he ever laces up a pair of wrestling boots. From the perspective of TNA, won't it also be the first time? He addresses Nash and Sting, calling them both leaches and blaming them for the death of WCW. But as long as they've been around, they've never been in the ring with the greatest tag team of all time—Team 3D. As he says this he lifts Tomko's belt into the air, which seems to tick off Tomko something fierce. Christian comes out right away, so it's actually a very quick moment, but it's a nice touch. Team Cage is in the entranceway, and Christian wants Brother Ray to stop whining about how Sting and Nash didn't pay their dues—he's like Hillary Clinton in a fat suit. Tenay says no candidate should be compared to Brother Ray, and Cage admits it's a bad analogy—Hillary Clinton has bigger balls than Ray does. Didn't they realize that Cage knew the second Storm returned that they'd try to maneuver Cornette to get a fifth member on their team? This is why he told Tomko never to think—"The Champ" is always one step ahead. If we don't know, now we know. AJ's sick of that catch phrase, and says that Cage shouldn't bring it, he should sing it. Tenay says he botches the English language worse than the President—I guess it's political season here on Impact. AJ stands in the ring inviting Team Cage in, but the rest of Team Tomko bails. When AJ realizes he's alone, he decides that maybe this isn't the right moment for a fight after all.

Samoa Joe is in the back with Crystal, and he says he'll sign the contract in his own blood if he has to. If he doesn't win the match at Lockdown, he's not just leaving TNA—he's leaving professional wrestling.

[Commercial Break]

JB pops into Kurt Angle's locker room, and he tells Angle what Joe just said. Kurt doesn't believe that Joe will actually sign; Kurt's won three out of their four matches, and no one bets on a 25% chance. He thinks JB looks like he has something on his mind, and asks what it is. JB admits to being worried about Joe's new training regiment with the best fighters in the world. Angle points out he can't be training with the best fighter in the world, cause Kurt is the best himself. Joe's been training for five weeks, whereas Angle's been the best his whole life. At Lockdown there's a 100% chance that someone will tap out, that it will be Samoa Joe, and that it will be for the last time.

Consequences Creed wants us to know that while man judges, life does not. It doesn't care if we're good or bad—it just requires us to deal with the consequences of our actions. Are we ready for the [C]onsequences?

(1) Consequences Creed defeats Jimmy Rave (w/Lance Hoyt and Christy Hemme)

This match is for a sport in the X-scape match at Lockdown. Rave starts on offense, but Creed reverses a Chin Lock into a Hammerlock. He goes for a Monkey Flip in the corner. He misses, but comes back and nails a Body Slam before whiffing on a big Leg Drop. Rave takes him down with a clothesline and some stiff kicks. Creed reverses a whip into the corner, but Rave floats over and tosses Creed into the turnbuckle. Suddenly Creed explodes with some punches and a Rolling Clothesline. A distraction by Hoyt leads to a School Boy for two. Creed pops up swinging and takes Hoyt off the apron. He lands some punches on Rave, complete with doing the splits in the middle for no obvious reason, and then finishes him off with a Hammerlock DDT ("The CreeDDT"). There was nothing to write home about there, but Creed has nothing to be ashamed of either. I do like that finisher.

Crystal is in the back with "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal and SoCal Val. Lethal's not worried about the match, because he has lady luck on the outside, and his best friend on the inside. Dutt pops into the frame excited about the match as well, and gets Val to go shopping with him.

[Commercial Break]

Cornette's joined the announcing team to run down the card at Lockdown. We've added a six-team handcuff match, I assume because someone finally noticed that LAX and the Motor City Machine Guns weren't on the card. Lethal Lockdown is mentioned after the title match, which is interesting. Cornette is also here to address Matt Morgan's actions last week. He says he's fine with the fact that he cut a deal with Christian, but he should have kept him in the loop. Also, he (Morgan) can't be both management and talent, so he's relieved of his administrative duties effective immediately.

Crystal's in the back with Morgan, and he's fine with going his own way. For ages now he's been at the back of the bus in TNA management, dealing with wrestlers when he knows he could take 99—no, 100% of them. So when Christian Cage asked him to join Team Cage, he knew it was his chance to shine. After Lethal Lockdown he promises everyone will understand why people say he's the most genetically jacked, athletically stacked, big man today. Wow—that was a much more rational explanation than I'd expected. Kudos.

[Commercial Break]

They recap Steiner torturing Williams. I don't know why either. Supposedly tonight will be Petey's "final test".

(2) Petey Williams & Scott Steiner defeat The Motor City Machine Guns

Sabin and Petey start things off with some really neat chain wrestling. Shelley comes in and they hit back-to-back Legdrops, and then take out Steiner with some Hi/Low kicks. Sabin comes back in and hits a Senton Splash, and then Shelley flips him into a Moonsault. Awesome, awesome, stuff. Sabin gets too close to the wrong corner, and a shot from Steiner lets Petey retake control. Rhaka Khan comes down to the ring with a mysterious looking black bag. I don't like where this is going at all.

[Commercial Break]

Steiner is in control of Sabin, nailing his Push-Up Elbow Drop and a Belly-to-Belly Overhead Suplex. He tags in Petey, which might not have been the best idea, as Sabin immediately takes him down with a Bulldog and makes the tag. Shelley takes out Petey with a Superkick. Steiner comes in and knocks down Shelley, but while Shelley's crouched Sabin hits a Poetry in Motion on Steiner on the apron. Shelley gets a Sprinboard Tornado DDT and a Frogsplash on Petey. Steiner breaks it up at two. They toss Steiner and plant Petey with some type of double-team Facebuster for two. Sabin sees Steiner getting up on the outside and tries to dive into him, but Scott sidesteps. Steiner hits Shelley on the inside, and Petey nails the Canadian Destroyer for the three count.
After the match, Steiner grabs the mic, and says that Petey making it through initiation proves that he's not only tough, he's a crazy SOB, which is what you need to be a wrestler. He says that tonight is the final task. Petey immediately puts out his hands out to be cuffed, but Steiner pulls out scissors instead. He gestures to the hair, and after a moment of shock Petey agrees. They cut off the ponytail and shave the rest of his head. I'm not sure what the point of this is. When they're done they exchange a high five and Steiner bestows on Petey Williams his own chain mail. I want chain mail.

[Commercial Break]

We recap the history of Kurt Angle-Samoa Joe. Nash, Christian, and some MMA folk all pick Joe to win.

Angle makes his way to the ring and grabs the mic. He says the match this Sunday will be the most important match of his career and the most important match of Joe's career. One reason is the TNA World Heavyweight Championship—the other is this contract in the ring that says if Joe doesn't win the title at Lockdown he'll quit TNA wrestling. That's a little weaker than Joe said it would be, but that doesn't matter. Angle says Joe should make it real—make it damn real. Joe comes down to the ring, and I'm not sure I remember ever seeing him in a suit before. Angle apologizes for interrupting Joe's training sessions, cause he's definitely going to need them, but he doesn't trust Joe to keep his word without a contract. He runs down the details, and this time he does specify that Joe will have to quit wrestling altogether. Joe fixes Angle's lapel, and then says that he always keeps his promises. His first promise was that if he loses he's done, but it's the second Kurt has to worry about—the second is that he's going to end Lockdown with that title. Joe signs the contract. Angle smirks and extends his hand, which Joe takes. That's it? No attack? I did not foresee that, but it's a nice touch.

[Commercial Break]

Crystal is in the back with ODB and Gail Kim, and she wants to know if they'll be on the same page at Lockdown. Kim says that they've realized that they're their own worse enemies. The time will come when they'll figure out which of them is better, but that time's not now. Now they're going to work together to end Kong's dominance. ODB says that Raisha Saeed must be pretty ugly to wear that thing over her face, so at Lockdown she's going to rip it off so they can have an ugliness contest. Of course, ODB will win that one too, cause she's not just another pretty face.

(3) Roxxi Leveaux defeats Angelina Love (w/Velvet Sky)

Velvet Sky taunts Roxxi from ringside, which lets Love get the early advantage. Leveaux hits a Drop Toe Hold, but Love comes right back with a Jaw Breaker for two. She follows up with a Cross Body Block and a jumping boot to the face for two. Roxxi dodges a charge in the corner and clotheslines Love to the mat. She hits some stiff forearms and a boot, but Velvet Sky distracts the ref during the cover. Love rakes her eyes, but she's still able to sidestep an attempted boot, which ends up knocking Sky off the apron. She hits the "Voodoo Drop" for the win, which looks sort of like a Front Chancery into a Stunner or a Sit-Out Powerbomb.

JB is in the back with Super Eric, whom JB refers to as Eric Young. Super Eric talks in a deeper voice and with background music. He doesn't know who Eric Young is, but Super Eric is here to rid TNA of all its villains, starting tonight with Black Reign. He says that when the world begins to frown, we should look to the sky, because Super Eric will be around. And remember—fear is temporary, but heroes are forever. I totally want that t-shirt. Maybe they'll release it in a package with the chain mail.

[Commercial Break]

We check out the latest edition of "Rough Cut". You know I didn't mind the first couple of these, but they've been fairly redundant. BG says that he can see the day when they're friends again, but Kip doesn't think BG will even be around after Lockdown. BG fears for his physical being, and hopes Kip does as well.

(4) Super Eric defeats Black Reign

Super Eric is listed as from Metropolis. Reign pulls Super Eric out of the ring to start as the crowd starts up a massive "Super Eric" chant. Reign whips him into the apron and takes him into the ring. He knocks him down for two. A Facebuster gets two. He clotheslines Eric in the corner, but when he whips him to the opposite ringpost Eric comes back swinging. He nails a Super Dropkick off the top rope for two, and follows up with a Death Valley Driver for three.
After the match, Rellik attacks and takes down Super Eric. They handcuff him to the ropes and lay in with right hands. Where's Kaz? Oh, there he is. Kaz has the monsters rocking when the Rock & Rave Infection come out to back up their sometimes-tag team partners. They start to beat down Kaz, but Super Eric breaks the cuffs and beats up all four. That was cool, but they should have found a better way to display the visual of him breaking the cuffs.

They recap Roode-Booker T. Booker says that he will prove why he is simply the best. I always thought that was Jericho.

[Commercial Break]

They hype the Queen of the Cage match. I'm not sure how much of a sale they're making, but I appreciate the fact that they're trying to make one of the throwaway matches seem cool. Then they preview the double main event.

Crystal is in the back with Sting and Nash, and she wants to know if Brother Ray succeeded in making things personal. Sting seems upset—Ray asked why he's back. Well this is his home, this is his family, and he's standing next to Kevin Nash for crying out loud. Ray's marking out for himself, but what roads has he paved? Nash seems amused. He says that while Sting's intentions are honorable, he (Nash) is just here for the money. He'd rather be overpaid than underpaid, and the way to get to be overpaid is by being in main events. So he's going to step on Team 3D, and after that he's going to go where the money's at. I really hope that this isn't the start of a Nash & Roode alliance. Please?

(5) Kevin Nash & Sting defeat Team 3D

You know, when it's not a big-match situation Sting's long walk to the ring is actually kind of boring. Sting and Nash share an nWo salute to start. Nash starts things off with Devon, powering him around the ring for a bit before tagging in the Stinger. Sting calls in Brother Ray. Ray shoves him back and calls him an old man, but Sting spits in his face and unloads a series of punches. He sets him up in the corner and bites him. Ray pushes him back and hits a Stinger Splash in the corner, but Sting's not about to sell his own move. He comes back with a Back Body Drop but whiffs on a Stinger Splash attempt of his own.

[Commercial Break]

Brother Ray is in control of Sting, having bounced his head off the steel steps during the break. He tags in Devon, but Sting takes them both out with a Double Clothesline. Sting makes the tag, and Ray and Devon are both kind enough to walk into punches from Big Sexy. Ray eats a Big Boot and Devon eats a Sidewalk Slam that is broken up at two. Things break down—Ray and Devon are stacked in the corner and eat Splashes from both Nash and Sting. Sting locks in the Scorpion Death Lock on Devon as Nash Chokeslams Brother Ray for 1…2…no? The ref sees Styles & Tomko running down to the ring, which is apparently now grounds for disqualification.
After the match, Team Tomko tee off for a few seconds till Christian Cage and Rhino come out. Storm comes down next to give Team Tomko the edge. I wonder what could possibly happen next? What do you know, it's Matt Morgan! They give him the Kevin Nash treatment, walking into his punches one-by-one. Jacqueline jumps on his back, but he knocks her down. He lifts her up and Press Slams her out onto Devon and Tomko on the floor. Everyone pairs off and fights into the crowd, with Team Cage largely in control. Somehow AJ Styles ends up eating another brutal Gore in the ring. How awesome will it be if from now on every show ends with AJ Styles eating a brutal Gore in the ring? That would be almost as cool as chain mail. Anyway, Storm takes a hip toss on the ramp and we end a couple minutes early to air a video preview of Lockdown.

Where We're Going: So tonight we had video recaps of the history of Joe-Angle and Booker-Roode, and even a bit of context for the random Queen of the Cage Match. We also had nWo references galore. Trying to predict TNA's phases is notoriously difficult, but they seem to be shifting towards a greater emphasis on history and context. I didn't like the production of the vignettes today, but in principle I really like the concept. A match between Joe and Angle should be about more than one match. It should be the culmination of a year of history. WWE banked on these sorts of historical frameworks to make any moment when certain people were in the ring together feel like a big deal—Rock and Austin, HBK and HHH, and Kane & Taker (formerly Y2J and HHH, though they somewhat killed that one at WrestleMania XVIII). You don't want to do the same match over and over, but once you have a longstanding feud you might as well bank on the whole thing. Wrestling fans are probably disproportionately trivia nuts, and so mentioning the win-loss record in the year-plus Joe-Angle series is a nice touch. For some reason baseball deemphasized historical stats a few years back, and I never understood why. They're the good stuff. They make what you're watching part of something bigger. Of course, with only a six-year history and no video library at their disposal, there's a limit to what TNA can do here, but it's a good idea to play around with a bit.

Overall: The show did an okay job hyping Lockdown, but a pretty terrible job being an entertaining show. I'm not rating their business model though, I'm rating Impact, and this show left a lot to be desired. The "+" is for the effective—not always entertaining, but effective—promo work by Joe, Angle, Cage & Morgan. D+

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