Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Random Match Reviews #12 (3/28/17) - A Look At Lethal Lockdown: Part 2

Part 2 of my extensive look at TNA's Lethal Lockdown!

To be clear (in case it was missed in Part 1), I’m not doing this because I’m a big fan of TNA (I don’t hate them, but I’m far from a fan of them). I’m doing this because I enjoy the concept Lethal Lockdown, and wanted to do a project on it. Additionally, I’ll will continue to give these matches numbers for organizational purposes. Finally, all of these matches (and the matches I reviewed in Part 1 of this two part series) can all be seen on The Fight Network's Roku app.

In Part 1 of this mini-series with the context of my Random Match Reviews, I looked at the Lethal Lockdown matches from 2006 to 2010. Based on that review, it’s clear that the match got off to a really hot start, but started to decrease in quality as time went by, and a number of other factors started to dilute it. In Part 2, I will be taking a look at the Lethal Lockdown matches that took place from 2011 through early 2015. Would the match quality improve, or would things be more stagnant? Let’s find out!

1.) TNA Lockdown 2011 (4/17/11) - Lethal Lockdown IX - Fortune (Christopher Daniels, TNA X-Division Champion Kazarian, & TNA World Tag Team Champions Beer Money Inc. [Robert Roode & James Storm]) vs. Immortal (Ric Flair, Abyss, Bully Ray, & Matt Hardy): ***1/2

In an interesting note, there was a slight tweak to the layout of the match, as the initial period was reduced from five minutes to three minutes. The two minute period between entrants coming into the match remained the same. Like Bound For Glory 2010, all of the competitors involved were at ringside, and waited until it was their turn to go in. Kazarian & Abyss started the match off for their respective teams. Immortal would have the numbers advantage in this one. The order of entry was Matt Hardy, Christopher Daniels, Ric Flair (who was wrestling in street clothes), James Storm, Bully Ray, and finally, Robert Roode. This was definitely a step up compared to the Lethal Lockdown matches we saw in 2010. There really wasn’t any bullshit, and the older team (Immortal, in this case) was able to do more than what EV 2.0 did in their match. Of course, there was the hardcore schmoz once the roof came down. Here, it was Christopher Daniels & Matt Hardy who fought on top of the cage (Interestingly enough, they had a singles match against each other in ROH all the way back in 2005). Hardy took out Daniels with a Twist of Fate on the roof of the cage, but Daniels responded soon thereafter with a massive dive off the roof of the cage onto Abyss & Matt Hardy! That was pretty crazy. Immortal then had the edge for a brief period, but then AJ Styles came out and attacked Bully Ray! Styles had been taken out by Bully Ray a few weeks prior on Impact. Roode then eventually got Ric Flair (who was bloodied up) in an armbar, and Flair tapped out, giving the win to Fortune. This was surprisingly good, especially considering who was on the heel side.

2.) TNA Lockdown 2012 (4/15/12) - Lethal Lockdown X - Team Eric Bischoff (Eric Bischoff, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, & Gunner) vs. Team Garett Bischoff (Garett Bischoff, TNA X-Division Champion Austin Aries, AJ Styles, Mr. Anderson, & Rob Van Dam): ***

The losing Bischoff would have to leave TNA forever. In an interesting note, this match started the show. That was an odd move, because Lethal Lockdown was either in the main event, or was the semi-main event. They also returned to the traditional of format of guys making their normal entrances when it was their time to come out, which was good to see. Garett Bischoff & Gunner started the match off for their respective teams. Team Eric Bischoff would have the numbers advantage in this one. The order of entry was Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Kazarian (with his freshly shaven head), AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Mr. Anderson, Eric Bischoff, and finally, RVD. This match did have some entertaining stuff before the roof got lowered. Once such spot occurred when Eric Bischoff came out. He held his son and let all of the heel just destroy him with chops and kicks. It looked brutal. Plus, you had a good lineup of competitors in this match. There were some solid guys on the heel side (Daniels, Kazarian, Bully Ray), and when you look at it, the babyface side actually had A LOT of really good guys on it. There was solid action throughout, and the match was doing well.

Unfortunately, one the roof got lowered, the rest of the match was a massive disappointment. We got the hardcore schmoz for a bit, and some noteworthy spots. I think Aries got TOSSED into the cage really hard at one point, while AJ Styles & Kazarian hung from the rafters on the cage, which led to Kazarian getting knocked off and Styles hitting a big elbow drop. Eventually, we got to a point where the only guys left standing were the team captains. Eric Bischoff attacked his son with a kendo stick repeatedly, but Garett Bischoff recovered, hit his father with a guitar, and just won. That ending was very anti-climactic. Similar to Team Hogan vs. Team Flair from 2010, the regular roster members worked hard, but in the end, the spotlight was put on the Bischoff Family. What made the match even worse was the fact that they didn’t go on top of the cage. Now, the match doesn’t necessarily need that spot to be good, but what really irked me was the fact that they had a Ladder and some tables on the top of the cage. Why would you place those items on the top of the cage, and not even use them? It made absolutely no sense, and honestly, took away from the match. Those two aforementioned issues seriously hurt this match, and in my view, it was probably the worst Lethal Lockdown yet (even though it was still pretty solid).

3.) TNA Lockdown 2013 (3/10/13) - Lethal Lockdown XI - Aces & Eights (Devon, D.O.C., Mr. Anderson, Knux, & Garett Bischoff) vs. Team TNA (Sting, Magnus, Samoa Joe, James Storm, & Eric Young): ***1/2

This was the first time that Lethal Lockdown didn’t have a roof. I’m not exactly sure why this was changed. Maybe it was because they were running in a small corner of the Alamodome, and couldn’t actually hang up the roof (I don’t know, I’m just guessing)? It was also the first time that Lockdown wasn’t an all steel cage PPV, as only the main matches were held inside the steel cage. In an interesting note, this show was (I think) the highest attended TNA show ever, as they had over 7,000 fans in that small section of the Alamodome. Magnus & Mr. Anderson started the match off for their respective teams. Aces & Eights would have the numbers advantage in this one. The order of entry was Knux, Samoa Joe, Garett Bischoff, Eric Young, Devon, James Storm, D.O.C., and finally, Sting.

I was a little unsure of how this one would work without the roof, but it turned out to be a pretty good match. It was definitely a step up (in general) from the Lethal Lockdown a year prior. It’s so weird seeing Aces & Eights again a few years after the fact. They were far from the best stable in TNA’s history, but in this particular match, I thought they were fine. There was some solid action throughout, and some very entertaining spots, including the return of the Tower Of Doom spot, which hadn’t been seen in this match in a long time. The way they handled the weapons was that, when Sting came out as the final entrant of the match, he brought two trash cans out filled with weapons. The momentum changed a few times in this final section of the match, and in the end, Team TNA got the victory after Eric Young hit a massive elbow drop off the top of the cage. That was actually pretty awesome, especially considering that this steel cage that TNA used is very high. Again, as a whole, this was pretty fun.

4.) TNA One Night Only: Hardcore Justice 3 (12/29/13) - Lethal Lockdown XII - Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, James Storm, & Abyss with Eric Young) vs. Team Roode (Bobby Roode, TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus, & The BroMans [Robbie E & Jessie Godderz]): ***

Starting in 2013, TNA really started to reduce the number of traditional PPVs they would run. Instead, they started running these One Night Only PPVs, which are taped and air on PPV at a later date (similar to what ROH did from 2007-2009). All of them usually had some sort of gimmick behind them, and in this case, it was Hardcore Justice 3. It was taped in Lowell, Massachusetts, in a venue that WWE used in the late 1990’s, and that NXT & ROH have all used in the last year. As far as this particular match was concerned, there was no roof once again, but we saw the return of initial five minute period to start the match. James Storm & Jessie Godderz started the match off for their respective teams. Team Roode would have the numbers advantage in this one. The order of entry was Robbie E, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Magnus, and finally, Abyss.

This was relatively fine, but as a whole, it was essentially a glorified house show cage match. James Storm brawled with Jessie Godderz on the outside of the cage before the match even began. There was decent action throughout, but nothing really stood out. The way they handled the weapons here was that the final man to enter the match on each respective team would bring out the weapons. Magnus came out with a trash can filled with weapons for his team, and Abyss (who was revealed to be the mystery partner for Team Angle) had some help from Eric Young when he brought his weapons out. We got the hardcore schmoz at the end, and Abyss won the match for his team after hitting Robbie E with a Black Hole Slam onto a barbed wire board. Again, this match was good, but it was probably the most forgettable Lethal Lockdown Match.

5.) TNA Lockdown 2014 (3/9/14) - Lethal Lockdown XIII - Special Guest Referee: Bully Ray - Team Dixie (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, & TNA World Tag Team Champions The BroMans [Robbie E & Jessie Godderz] with DJ Z, Rockstar Spud, & Dixie Carter) vs. Team MVP (MVP, The Wolves [Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards], & Willow): ***1/2

In this Lethal Lockdown, we finally saw the return of the roof, which was good to see. The storyline here is that Dixie Carter and MVP (who recently made his TNA debut alongside The Wolves) are battling for control of “wrestling operations” in TNA. Dixie Carter had promised Bobby Roode at 10% stake in the company if he led her team to victory. Austin Aries & MVP started the match off for their respective teams. Team Dixie would have the numbers advantage in this one. The order of entry was Robbie E, Eddie Edwards, Jessie Godderz, Davey Richards, Bobby Roode, and finally, Willow (aka Jeff Hardy).

Most of the reviews I’ve seen of this show rated didn’t rate this match too highly, but honestly, I really enjoyed it. There was plenty of solid action throughout this one and, of course, we did get some crazy spots. When he came into the match, Willow jumped off the top of the cage onto the heel team, but unfortunately, the heels barely caught him, and Willow essentially belly flopped onto the mat. Some other crazy moments included Austin Aries giving someone a brainbuster on a chair, Willow hitting Aries with this sick reverse powerbomb into the cage, and The Wolves hitting and awesome Double Coast-To-Coast to The BroMans (while Jessie Godderz was in a trash can). Once everyone was in the match, Dixie Carter introduced an “insurance policy from New York” as the Special Guest Referee, and this turned out to be Bully Ray. He brought a table in the ring, and it seemed like he was on the side of the heels, but when he was confronted by Roode, he retaliated! This allowed MVP to take advantage, and he won the match for his team, leaving Dixie Carter shocked (she and Rockstar Spud were watching from the stage). Again, I enjoyed this match a little bit more than most. I thought it was pretty good.

6.) TNA Lockdown 2015 on Destination America: Part II (Aired 2/6/15) - Lethal Lockdown XIV - Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Austin Aries, Gunner, & TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley) vs. The Beat Down Clan (MVP, Samoa Joe, TNA X-Division Champion Low Ki, & Kenny King): **3/4

At this point, a lot of things had changed for TNA. They had moved from Spike TV (their longtime home) to Destination America, and they really weren’t doing live PPVs anymore outside of Slammiversary & Bound For Glory. Instead, they did PPVesque specials on their normal TV show. This was one of those, and it took place inside the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center (the room that WWE used for RAW during the mid-1990’s, and the same room that ROH has used many times over the years). TNA had also brought back the six-sided ring, meaning that the Six Sides Of Steel was back for this match. There was no roof for this Lethal Lockdown (I don’t think that would’ve been logistically possible in the Grand Ballroom), and as far as the weapons are concerned, they were attached to the side of the cage. Kenny King & Gunner started the match off for their respective teams. The Beat Down Clan (what a wacky name for a stable) would have the numbers advantage in this one. The order of entry was Low Ki, Austin Aries (in street clothes), Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, MVP, and finally, the mystery partner from Team Angle, Bobby Lashley. There’s honestly not much to say about this match. It was probably the weakest Lethal Lockdown out of the bunch, taking that honor from the Lethal Lockdown from One Night Only: Hardcore Justice 3. The action was very standard, and as a whole, it was pretty underwhelming. The weapons were used, and we got a hardcore schmoz, but it wasn’t as noteworthy as past matches. Of course, Lashley revealed himself to be a member of Team Angle, after initially teasing joining The Beat Down Clan. I did like the finish, as Lashley speared MVP for the win while the rest of Team Angle had the other members of The Beat Down Clan in their respective submission holds. Again, it had it’s moments, but this Lethal Lockdown was very weak, especially compared to all of the others.

Well, there you have it! That concludes my look at the Lethal Lockdown Match from TNA. I know there was a Lethal Lockdown later in 2015, between Team TNA & Team GFW, but I’m saving that match for a different project! Thanks for reading this special two part series! I will continue to do my Random Match Reviews in the future, but in addition to doing just random matches from an assortment of promotions, I might do more Random Match Reviews projects like this in the future.

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