THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It’s gimmick match overload time again as Total Non-Stop Action present their annual all cage match pay-per-view, Lockdown, shown this past Friday on the Extreme Sports channel here in Britain, with Mike Tenay and Taz handling commentary duties.
The show began with Rob Van Dam taking on James Storm, with the winner earning their team the one man advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match. This was a great way to start the show. It began with a brawl around the ring after RVD drop kicked the cage door into Storm. When they eventually got into the cage they put on a very good match, with RVD pulling out all the big moves, and Storm coming out with a few underhanded ones before RVD got the pin after the five star frog splash from the top rope. Boy, was it great to see RVD back on the big stage.
Next up was the Ultimate X escape match, with the winner getting the final spot in the X Division title match, and featuring Homicide, Brian Kendrick, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. The rules were simple for this one – first man to climb the cage and reach the floor wins. It was the usual X Division fare here, plenty of fast paced and high flying action, and Sabin and Shelley, yet again, showing what a great team they are. Homicide and Kendrick worked briefly as a team, until Homicide double-crossed him and climbed the cage to get the win before Kendrick could stop him.
More singles action followed as Eric Young sought to gain a measure of revenge against Kevin Nash. You know, ever since Young dropped the goofy gimmick he’s become quite watchable, and this match was a great example of that. It was actually quite an enjoyable match, with old Big Sexy putting in a performance as good as Young’s. Both men made good use of the cage before Nash got the win after a power bomb. Nash then made the announcement that he would be replacing the absent Syxx-Pac as Scott Hall’s partner against Team 3D later.
Knockouts action was next, with the Beautiful People facing Angelina Love and Tara, with both Love’s Knockouts and the BP’s Knockout Tag Team titles on the line. I don’t think I need to explain who would win what when someone got pinned. I’ve said this before, but this is what TNA does so much better than WWE. Good action throughout, with the simmering ill feeling between Love and Tara playing a big part here as they were reluctant to tag each other at times. In the end it cost Love her title when Lacey Von Erich clobbered Tara with a title belt while the referee was otherwise distracted. Madison Rayne then got the pin, winning the Knockouts title in the process. As the Beautiful People celebrated, Tara ended up attacking Love, sending her flying into the cage. A very enjoyable match here.
The X Division title match followed. It was announced at the beginning of the show that Doug Williams was absent because of the travel problems that had effected much of Europe, so TNA, in their infinite wisdom, stripped Williams of the title. So let this be a lesson to other wrestlers – if you’re a champion, never get stranded by a natural disaster, otherwise you’ll lose your title! Anyway, so this match was now for the vacant title, and featured Homicide, Frankie Kazarian and Shannon Moore. As with the previous X Division match, it was the usual fare, with plenty of good moves and good performances from all concerned, with Kazarian getting the title winning pin after taking Homicide down with what Taz described as a reverse inverted pile driver. The really ironic thing about this match was that they couldn’t give Kazarian the title, because Doug Williams still had it!
Then it was back to tag tea action, with Team 3D facing Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Before the match began Brother Ray turned this into a falls count anywhere street fight, and when it did start we got the obligatory brawl through the crowd, before all four men made their way into the cage in what was nothing more than one big fight. It wasn’t long before a table came into play, with 3D getting the pin after putting Hall through the aforementioned table. Well, it was entertaining in it’s own way, and at least Scott Hall looked more interested than he did last month. But I wonder if his threat from 2002, to kick out of the 3D, was ever in his mind.
The big grudge match followed, with Kurt Angle going up against Ken Anderson, with the winner being the first to walk out of the cage through the door, and with Anderson in possession of the key. This was the best match of the night, an excellent back and forth encounter filled with great drama. Both guys put in tremendous performances in what has to be their best encounter yet. But it wasn’t just about the action, it was also about the drama, and the moment when Angle, instead of leaving the cage, decided to re-lock it and throw the key away spoke volumes. Our Olympic hero then took Anderson down with a moonsault from the top of the cage, before revealing he had another key, and that still wasn’t the end as they brutalised each other a little more, with Angle choking Anderson out with a chain before walking out of the cage to claim the win. To say that this match was great would be a massive understatement.
The penultimate match saw “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero challenging Nature Boy wannabe A.J. Styles for the TNA World title. Before we even got the introductions the referee stopped Ric Flair on the ramp, and threw him out of the arena. When the match eventually started it was great to watch. This was definitely the best match of Dinero’s career as he really took it to the champion, coming close to getting the win on numerous occasions. Styles was, as always, on top form, further cementing his heel persona by gaining a somewhat tainted win, stabbing the Pope in the eye with a pen he’d grabbed from one of the ringside cameramen, sealing the deal with the Styles clash. Good work all from those concerned.
Then it was on to the main event, the Lethal Lockdown match, with Team Hogan – Jeff Jarrett, Rob Van Dam, Abyss and Jeff Hardy, taking on Team Flair – Sting, Desmond Wolfe and Beer Money. Abyss and Robert Roode were the first two entrants in this match, keeping the action going until all the team members entered the cage, although Hardy almost didn’t make it, having been taken out backstage by Sting. Tons of crisp action throughout, although business didn’t really pick up until the roof came down and the weapons came into play. Hardy was eventually able to get into the match, and was responsible for the crazy spot of the show, diving off the top of a ladder and putting James Storm through a table on the roof of the cage. I have no idea why a table and a ladder were on top of the cage, but then again that’s wrestling logic for you.
The entire nature of the match changed towards the end when both Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan entered the fray, and it was then that Eric Bischoff, who had apparently been absent from the building for the majority of the show, arrived on the scene, finally siding with Hogan and giving him some brass knuckles so the two old timers could start fighting. Flair eventually did one of his crazy staggering bumps onto a pile of thumb tacks. Then came the end, as Abyss took Wolfe down with the black hole slam to earn the win for his team.
In conclusion – you know, I thought that this would be a rarity, a TNA pay-per-view where I’d enjoy everything about it. But there had to be something that got my gander up.
First, the situation surrounding the X Division title. Stripping Doug Williams of the title because he was stuck in Britain due to the travel chaos made absolutely no sense at all. It was just plain dumb, and it’s booking decisions like these that leave me scratching my head so hard it starts to bleed. Williams is a hell of a wrestler, and he doesn’t deserve to be treated so shabbily.
Then there was the Lethal Lockdown match. Things were fine here, and everything made sense. But then we had the whole angle with Hogan, Flair and Bischoff. It was as if everything that had happened before in the match didn’t matter anymore, and Abyss pinning Wolfe became nothing more than an afterthought.
Going through this show I thought that I’d be able to enjoy every aspect of it, especially as I wouldn’t have to worry about the bullshit with Nick Aldis and his threat of legal action, but sadly that just wasn’t the case. Lockdown had the makings of a tremendous show, a four star event, but the old times had to steal all the glory at the end, and I get the feeling that, under the new regime, this won’t be the last time we’ll see this sort of thing on a TNA pay-per-view.