Live From Orlando, It’s Friday Night
– Much to TNA’s credit, they managed to stir some buzz concerning the show’s opening five minutes and for the most part, delivered on that front. Eight months isn’t exactly a quick vacation and is close to a year, so it made sense to hype the return of Bully Ray as something big. Better yet to have it happen at the demand of Eric Young, who was great with his “everybody owes me everything” schtick. Bully’s short promo was delivered with good timing and established his role as Special Guest Referee for the main event. Of course, this left us to wonder if he was back for the long run or a one-off appearance, but given his high status in the company, if he was going to appear, some sort of deal was likely struck.
Night Of Knockouts
– The opening video highlighted the advertised “TKO – Night of Knockouts” themed show, with a 4-way #1 Contender’s Match between Brooke, Angelina Love, Gail Kim and Madison Rayne, Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell defending against Awesome Kong and Eric Young facing Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Hunting For Hidden Gold
– The opening video put over how the Tag Team Championship tournament came to be with the relinquishing of the belts by The Wolves – with eight teams taking off, going to four in Ultimate X. The concept itself is actually pretty nifty to fill time for a two-hour show and was the perfect opportunity to make the Tag division somewhat relevant again. Read the rest of this entry
– This sounded like a loaded show from the get-go with Eric Young-Bobby Roode in a Submission match, Magnus-Bram in Falls Count Anywhere, Gail Kim-Angelina Love and Kurt Angle-Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The show – for this reason – was solidly paced and moved quickly. Some Impact shows have the tendency to feel like they will never end. Not the case here.
– The Young-Roode match was preceded by a good Young promo where he was determined to write “the final chapter” of Roode’s sad story. This book must have about 37,000 chapters. Roode’s comeback statement was all well and good, as we know to be, but this feud felt like it had ended already, but we’re not going to complain seeing these guys go at it again. Also, come on Josh Matthews, we wouldn’t quite call it Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao-esque now. Also, why announce it as a submission match in the opening video before the segment takes place that makes it sound impromptu? Yet another week of TNA spoiling its own surprises again. The match itself was pretty good – though a notch below some of their past efforts. The faulty finish with the referee was questionable logic, but at least Young came out with the win and looks good from here on out. He needed it more than Roode.
– The Wolves segment was all about an update on Eddie Edwards’ fractured heel injury at a “One Night Stand” taping and this was a good way to get them on TV and announce that Edwards would be out indefinitely. Davey Richards set a good tone defending his partner and wanting to be fighting champions, the reason for relinquishing the belts. A tough time for The Wolves, who were assumedly set on topping the Tag division for a while. The “farewell” message was also solid and set the table for a return angle whenever they choose to pick it up.
– The Lashley backstage promo had him talk about being motivated to get what he once had and it was actually a good, short promo. This didn’t come off rehearsed a bit.
– The Kim-Love match started with a good promo from Love, where she complained about being overlooked. Taz taking responsibility for crediting Kim all the time as Love pointed out was strange at best. Are they trying to make Taz in love with Kim or something? The arguments between Matthews and Taz were stupid. Worst yet, the split screen took away from the action in the ring. The match was good though after that point. Kim winning probably sets her in line for a future Knockouts Title shot.
– Nothing like some Network cross-promotion, with The Revolution and James Storm speaking how there’s always room for more to the ghost show dudes. We don’t know nor care about them and the acting was Pacman Jones bad.
– The Magnus-Bram falls count anywhere match had some good action and went all over the ringside area, as both guys took it to each other. Mickie James’ involvement in the match was expected, but set up the incredibly random appearance of James Storm, who stopped Bram from attacking her with a chair (face turn?) and disappeared. The finish was okay and Magnus got his feel-good moment of victory. Will Storm and Bram feud next? Maybe they turned Storm to give some time to a Beat Down Clan-Revolution feud? Note: the BDC were not on the show or even mentioned. No mention of The Rising either. Good, necessary break from some of the nonsense was a pleasant change of pace.
– Kurt Angle’s backstage promo put Lashley over as a good competitor and the sharpness in their first match, thus setting up this next match well.
– The backstage interaction between Magnus and James Storm had Storm say he was “looking out for an old friend” as Magnus looked confused at that statement. Will he try to seek her out for The Revolution? James has been in a non-wrestling role, so it wouldn’t make much sense. Perhaps it’s a slow face turn for Storm. Either way, it’s a little intriguing.
– The TNA World Heavyweight Championship match between Angle and Lashley was much like their first match – formulaic yet entertaining. We could actually say it was better than the first match by just a little bit. The closing minutes of the match were really good – having Angle tease tapping out and Lashley coming close to winning, both guys almost trying to finish each other off in desperation. Lashley’s look of shock sold the controversial finish and the replays seemed to back Lashley’s claims. Where will this lead? Probably a third match, but the only bad thing about it is that Lashley needs a pick-me-up victory and facing Angle won’t let that happen, because Angle is the new Champion and needs to look strong. That aside, their rivalry has been fun to watch and made for some great TV matches.
– Submission Match – Eric Young def. Bobby Roode
– Gail Kim def. Angelina Love via pinfall
– Falls Count Anywhere – Magnus def. Bram via pinfall
– TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Kurt Angle (Champion) def. Bobby Lashley via pinfall to retain
Lashley Vs. Angle
– You can fault TNA for all their past wrongdoings and chalk their Creative lack of logic to carelessness or just plain stupidity, but there are times that when they get it right, they get it right. The hype for the first-ever meeting between Kurt Angle and Bobby Lashley (for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, no less) was nothing short of brilliant. They made this truly feel like a match worth seeing, from the hype video clips for each man, to the camera shots of them in preparation and from input from the commentary team and other wrestling talent. You had the feeling that all eyes were on this match, as this had implications for the future and the very foundation of TNA as a company. Granted, last week’s Rockstar Spud-Ethan Carter III Hair Vs. Match was a tough act to follow and while this match didn’t match that magic, it excelled in its own little way.
– Despite the annoying Bro-Mans backstage promo that had Robbie E “depressed” over losing to Brooke (Shake it off Robbie, barely anyone watched), TNA did a decent job of toning down said annoyance by keeping the duo to DJ Z and Jesse Godderz, who actually had better chemistry than the Godderz-Robbie E team. Who knew? Angelina Love remains with them, but doesn’t really gain much from this situation either. Shouldn’t she be vying for the Knockouts Championship?
– The Ultimate X Tag Team Championship match between The Wolves, Jesse Godderz/DJ Z and The Great Sanada/Manik was the expected glorified spot fest that it sounded like on paper. While everyone had their moments to shine, The Wolves were the only team that looked like they had a real chance of winning and won the match before the action became stale.
– Austin Aries has always given a good promo and he had purpose being that he had his briefcase in the hands of the Beat Down Clan. Him calling them out was good for this reason. Low-Ki and Samoa Joe representing the BDC also worked here. That said, why on earth would Aries put up his earned World Title briefcase shot to get a shot at a lower Championship that he’d be due a rematch for anyway? The match between him and Joe had some time to turn into something decent, but had “BDC antics” written all over it, with Low-Ki attacking Aries to cause the DQ. Kudos to Taz for the technical hold pointers, which upped the ante in the action’s importance. Aries ended back up with the briefcase, but the moment was quickly and rightfully overshadowed by Spud’s surprise cash-in of his X-Division Title briefcase. That was great, because it gave Spud new direction and a new feud with the BDC. You can even throw Aries into things too.
– Magnus’ brawl-styled clobbering of Bram was a great follow up of last week’s segment. Even Mickie James looked good while beating on him. This raised their personal feud up a notch and felt necessary at this point in their blood rivalry. Only complaint possibly here was that this directly followed the Spud cash-in and we had no time to really digest anything, though this helped helped give the show an “unpredictable” feel, despite being taped a while back.
– The three-way Knockouts Championship match between Awesome Kong, Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell was okay, nothing too special. Why Terrell continues to get the nod over Kim/Kong is beyond us, because she still feels like a vague paper champion. She says she seeks to “validate her reign,” but we still don’t know much about her besides she always ends up winning. She is becoming the Knockouts John Cena. We hope TNA sees this and tries to fix it soon, because the longer she stays Champion, the more damage her character hurts from it this way.
– The James Storm promo put over the no DQ match and his “coin toss” talk was interesting in his own James Storm way. Who can deny the creepy whistle?
– Angle’s comments towards the upcoming match had him put over Lashley as a monster and that he was eager to show he was still one of the best in the business. Good promo.
– The Storm (w/The Revolution)-Matt Hardy No DQ match was a decent weapon fest, as the story was Hardy fighting off all of The Revolution, eventually falling victim to the match rules. Storm’s postmatch promo put over his desire to have Matt join Jeff in the hospital, as we assume happened, with all those brutal shots and camera cutaway. Being that Jeff “returns” next week, it was a good way to set that up.
– The TNA World Heavyweight Championship match between Lashley-Angle was a great match given lots of time for both guys to wear each other down, with Angle’s German suplexes and Lashley’s sudden bursts of energy. That said, it took four Angle Locks to finish Lashley off and the win was a pleasant surprise, as it seemed Lashley had the momentum going with the belt again, but Angle on top of the mountain in TNA opens up some new possibilities.
– Tag Team Championships Destination X Match – The Wolves (Champion) def. Jesse Godderz/DJ Z (w/Angelina Love) and The Great Sanada/Manik to retain
– Austin Aries def. Samoa Joe (w/Low-Ki) via DQ
– X-Division Championship Match – Rockstar Spud def. Low-Ki Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion; Briefcase Cash-In
– Knockouts Championship – Taryn Terrell def. Gail Kim, Awesome Kong via pinfall to retain
– No Disqualification Match – James Storm (w/The Revolution) def. Matt Hardy via pinfall
– World Heavyweight Championship Match – Kurt Angle def. Bobby Lashley (Champion) via submission to become new Champion
– The opening video did a good job of hyping the three “bitter feud” matches – all comprising out of former friendships with Eric Young-Bobby Roode, Bram-Magnus and Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III. This was more or less the theme of the show and gave us something to look forward to already with decent payoff match son paper.
– The Young-Roode Last Man Standing match was a great way to start the show off, a bit surprising considering you think that’d be main event material out of the three matches hyped. The match itself was lengthy enough to tell its own story and it had that “bitter feud” feeling to it with all the action on the outside and the chair in play as the visual aid of how they became enemies in the first place. The finish with the table spot was well done, even though Roode basically won with an Attitude Adjustment, but that table was smashed with authority and Young sold it extremely well with his body shaking. A good payoff to one of the better recent feuds – or was it?
– The Jeremy Borash-Spud backstage segment was another example of Spud standing up for himself with a lot of passion, carrying on his momentum from last week.
– Drew Galloway’s theme music strays too close to Roman Reigns’ music as does his gimmick, loosely. His promo was once again a repeat of his debut promo against the Beat Down Clan, standing amongst the crowd. More shots at WWE was necessary for his character gimmick we suppose, but how about staying away from that from here on out and accenting his in-ring abilities because he can actually wrestle and not lead a “movement” to do it? Even the use of the word “movement’ copies WWE. MVP’s promo was good stuff, and the crowd reaction definitely brought more out of him. Have to love the London faithful.
– The MVP-Galloway match wasn’t anything special until the expected BDC run-in, which got better as it continued, doing exactly what it needed to; as they got their moment over Galloway, laying him out. As for the “Stand Up For Wrestling” gimmick, still not sure Galloway is the true voice for this movement. He doesn’t come off as a leader a tiny bit.
– The Mickie James-Magnus backstage segment set up the brutality of his upcoming match with him wanting James backstage, which of course, we had to know that meant that she couldn’t possibly do so.
– The hype video for the Spud-EC3 feud was necessary given the match later on, but was more relied upon Spud’s recent big promo. EC3’s backstage promo put over his streak and how Spud wanted it all to happen. Good stuff.
– The hype video for Bram-Magnus was also well done, albeit short, as the story was simple here and put over Bram’s recent dark side, which was a big focus during the match and evidently after.
– The Bram-Magnus match was on a good route especially with James coming to ringside to support Magnus, making the match feel bigger, until the blatant DQ by Bram on a low blow stunted that momentum. Bram’s postmatch actions at least had him come across as sadistic, making us feel sympathetic for Magnus, being humiliated to save his wife. Good angle.
– The BDC’s backstage promo was more of them bragging and sounding tough, with everyone saying a little something. That’s the second promo using “synonymous” on this show. Word of the night, we guess?
– The Robbie E-Brooke match of course had to derail what was almost a perfect episode for Impact standards. This was lame all around with the boxing theme as corny as you could get. Ironic they brought up the “Stand Up for Wrestling” movement in a segment like this. Brooke won, but no one gained anything from this, except maybe a few minutes of precious nap time.
– The hype for next week’s Bobby Lashley-Kurt Angle World Heavyweight Championship match was solidly done as the video package and attention paid by the broadcast team made it feel like the big match it needed to be. Heck, we know this match would happen since before it was official, so why not go all out on it?
– The EC3-Spud Hair vs. Hair match was insanely good, especially as it went on towards the end. This was probably Spud’s biggest moment in TNA, with the blood pouring down his face as he was in the middle of his comeback, evidently pushing the envelope on Destination America, but really good stuff. The inclusion of Tyrus, Mr. Anderson and JB in the match was slight overbooking, but made sense in terms of the payoff concept surrounding the whole match. The last five minutes of the match was the best of TNA’s stint on Destination America so far and it was huge that Carter got the win, as the crowd would’ve went nuts for Spud had he won. Carter’s postmatch promo teasing a face turn was also well-crafted and genuine until he tossed Spud back into the ring and shaved his head. EC3 comes out of this looking like a beast, but how will Spud move away from this? He got his big TNA moment, but didn’t get the payoff win and lost his hair in the process. Either way, this was the best close to a TNA show in a long time.
– Last Man Standing – Bobby Roode def. Eric Young
– Drew Galloway def. MVP via DQ
– Magnus def. Bram via DQ
– Brooke def. Robbie E (w/Jesse Godderz, Angelina Love, DJ Z) via pinfall
– Hair Vs. Hair Match – Ethan Carter III def. Rockstar Spud via pinfall
– The opening video showcased Kurt Angle’s almost-too-melodramatic attempt to win the Battle Royale for the World Heavyweight Championship number one contender match go all for naught. The video made the match and moment look better than it actually was. Angle was definitely the focus here.
– The first segment with Angle, Bobby Lashley and the Beat Down Clan was good in that it continued the established tension between Angle and Lashley, with neither vowing to save each other and BDC had a bone to pick with both guys. Samoa Joe had a memorable night on the mic and it was interesting to hear him lead off the BDC side of the segment, albeit strange that MVP wouldn’t get the mic right away, but it all hyped the main event decently. You have to wonder how Joe will be written off with the now common knowledge of his TNA departure. Nights like this let us see just what intensity he brings (or brought) to the BDC.
– The Ethan Carter III/Tyrus-Mr. Anderson/Rockstar Spud match was good while it lasted, as Anderson hit a low blow on Tyrus and the mic check. This carried their program, but why did they need to cheat to beat the dirty heels? It maybe fits Anderson’s “rebel” character per se, but Spud doesn’t seem like someone who would side with winning in that fashion.
– It was smart to see the little highlight moments chronicling the history between MVP and Lashley throughout the night. Attention to detail can do wonders for hyping a match.
– EC3 screamed backstage and he promised to shave Spud’s hair. Still on this hair thing. Why?
– The segment with Taryn Terrell, Gail Kim and Awesome Kong was probably set up to give Kong a reason to lay out Terrell, who looked tough in her own way, but maybe deserved what she asked for. Kim looked good as the voice of reason and was a credible witness to Kong’s destruction in the past. Getting to the real picture: everybody wants Kim-Kong. It doesn’t matter how we get there, TNA. Just get there. Josh Matthews also made a great point of Terrell still having yet to get Kong off her feet.
– The MVP backstage segment talking to his BDC counterparts was the usual until they acknowledged the cameras bring there and threw them out. Something you wouldn’t see in WWE, who seemingly don’t realize cameras are backstage. It’s the little things.
– The Austin Aries backstage promo was interesting in providing intrigue for the main event.
– The Robbie E/Angelina Love (w/Jesse, DJZ)-Brooke/Chris Melendez was okay, nothing special, though the highlight was the finish where Robbie E pinned Brooke after flipping her off the top rope. The broadcast team also first explaining the rules with much knowledge and then being confused by them was pathetic. How can the viewer trust a broadcast team that’s unsure of what they’re talking about?
– The segment where Anderson made the save on EC3 trying to scalp Spud before Tyrus took EC3 continued their program more, though it changed little. Did we need this?
– The Gunner-Angle backstage segment had Gunner be the motivator, providing an ounce of irony with it.
– The Aries-Joe interaction was good, as Joe continued to be a good mouthpiece. Aries suicide diving on Joe was also good. The match that followed was also very good as Aries outsmarted King at the end and pinned Joe clean. The BDC did their thing after on Aries which gave them heat into the main event and the briefcase to prevent a cash-in.
– The Lashley backstage promo had him sound confident about MVP and Angle, as per his character.
– The MVP-Eric Young backstage interaction had MVP brainwash Young into wanting to take out Lashley. Intriguing.
– The Noam Dar-Rampage Brown match couldn’t have occurred at a more random time. What about some video hype explanation? Bram came out of nowhere and took out the younglings. Him calling out Magnus was good, but out came Grado and he got beat down as well. Bram looked good at least, but poor British Bootcamp peeps didn’t.
– The announcement of The Wolves vs James Storm/Abyss for the Tag Team Championships was made. That should be a decent match at best.
– The World Heavyweight Championship match between Lashley and MVP (w/Samoa Joe, Low-Ki, Kenny King) was entertaining and had a little of everything. Young attacking Lashley and Bobby Roode making the save was all good. Gunner also saved at one point too, followed by Drew Galloway and helped Lashley retain. The only problem here though is that Lashley is a Champion that claims he needs no help beating the BDC, yet when he has three guys coming out to help him, he has no problem with it. WTF-ness?
– Mr. Anderson/Rockstar Spud def. Ethan Carter III/Tyrus via pinfall
– Robbie E/Angelina Love (w/Jesse Godderz, DJZ) def. Brooke/Chris Melendez via pinfall
– Austin Aries def. Samoa Joe via pinfall
– Noam Dar and Rampage Brown to a No-Contest
– World Heavyweight Championship – Bobby Lashley def. MVP (w/Samoa Joe, Low-Ki, Kenny King) via pinfall to retain
Run The Gauntlet
– The opening video decently hyped the 20-man gauntlet to decide the number one contender for Bobby Lashley’s World Heavyweight Title. If TNA is good at one thing, it’s making the World Title look like a huge prize. Some of the other belts? Not as quite.
– The Kurt Angle promo was focused solely on the gauntlet as the “odds-on favorite” since he was the last man who will enter. For match hype alone, this was fine.
– Lashley’s backstage thoughts on Angle wanted him to have a “little chat” with him. We knew that possibly couldn’t be good things. This kept their ongoing conflicts arise.
– Is it the smartest thing to be able to almost read the run sheet on the announcer’s table word-for-word while the camera is trained still on Josh Matthews and Taz?
– The six-man tag between Matt Hardy/The Wolves and James Storm/Abyss/Manik had solid action, especially towards the end as Hardy and The Wolves worked great together. The Revolution got their heat back with the postmatch attack. The attack on Manik or “tough love” was unexpected. Where will this lead? Probably nowhere.
– The segment with Ethan Carter III, Tyrus, Mr. Anderson, Rockstar Spud and Mandrews was decent in that it allowed Spud/Mandrews/Anderson to gain the upper hand by scalping Tyrus’ trademark hair after a few teases of EC3 getting the treatment. All this focus on hair though? Seems unnecessary. EC3 is billed as undefeated but it’s not like he wrestles every week either.
– The BDC backstage segment had MVP make the BDC set on stopping Angle, which made sense.
– Mickie James was seen entering the arena and she wanted to talk about Magnus’ condition, which set up the segment decently.
– The Grado-Al Snow match was okay for what it was. Grado is obviously over across the Atlantic, but some kind of video hype to show his British Boot Camp history to American viewers would’ve been cool. Snow ended up respecting him at the end, just for them to get beat down by the BDC. Good to get the hometown heat at least. This was also a wise moment to debut Scotsman Drew Galloway – the former Drew McIntyre. A lot to digest in one segment though.
– Backstage, Angelina Love and The Bro-Mans took an “us-ie” about as annoyingly as possible. Nice to see Awesome Kong creeping in the background as they walked away.
– The Knockouts Championship match between Taryn Terrell and Love was okay, but rather anticlimactic with Love being cleanly pinned. Postmatch however, Kong-Terrell interaction was a lot better. The Gail Kim-Kong standoff was even better, as this was the one thing we’ve been waiting to see when Kong returned.
– The hype video for the Gauntlet was okay, if not for most of the guys speaking literally had no chance, besides EC3 and the BDC members.
– The “old school rules” match between Eric Young-Tommy Dreamer was one of the better parts of the show, as it made sense for Dreamer to irately call out Young, who continued to look psychotic as he focused on biting the area around Dreamer’s eye, busting him open. Dreamer sold like crazy here and it all worked out. If only there was a better move for Young than the piledriver, but either way, this kept his momentum up strong.
– The segment with James and Bram was a good way to tie her into his feud with Magnus. Her shots at Bram made sense and his retorts made him come off even more despicable, despite it being a bit hard to pick up what he said on the mic. Security getting between them was okay, but it did its job in making fans want to see Magnus.
– The Angle-Lashley backstage segment had them focus on their eventual showdown.
– The 20-man gauntlet match had its share of good action though it seemed terribly melodramatic to almost have Angle eliminate all BDC members towards the end, though MVP eliminating Angle with help was no surprise. Might as well get the MVP-Lashley match out of the way.
– Matt Hardy/The Wolves def. James Storm/Abyss/Manik (w/Khoya, Masada) via pinfall
– Grado def. Al Snow via pinfall
– Knockouts Championship Match – Taryn Terrell def. Angelina Love (w/The Bro-Mans, DJ Z) via pinfall to retain
– “Old School Rules” Match – Eric Young def. Tommy Dreamer via pinfall
– 20-Man Gauntlet to Decide Number One Contender for TNA World Heavyweight Championship – MVP eliminates Kurt Angle
– The opening video highlighted the Beat Down Clan’s dominance over Bobby Lashley and the cold (literally) standoff between Roode and Lashley outside the Manhattan Center, as Roode held Lashley’s Belt. This was only a prelude of what was to come.
– The opening segment with Roode, Lashley, MVP and Austin Aries got the show off to a decent start. Roode coming out with the Championship had to confuse people. Lashley – who was established as a beast all summer long – looks incredibly weak that he can’t even hold on to his own Belt. The interaction between the two was good as Roode put over the Belt’s importance to him and Lashley was eager to fight. Aries thrust himself back to the Title picture with the briefcase and his involvement (and cash-in tease) made sense and of course, MVP had to be in there too to represent the BDC peeps. The idea of Lashley defending against all three guys later made him appear somewhat tough, but the announcers lacked any follow-up as to whether the match was made official and we had to just assume it was.
– Kurt Angle’s promo put himself over and announced Team Angle-BDC at Lockdown and he’d have his team assembled by the end of the night – or so we thought. This foreshadowed things later pretty well.
– The Knockouts Championship match between Taryn Terrell (Champion), Gail Kim and Madison Rayne had some good action with some inventive spots like the three-way submission hold and even putting the steel steps into play. Terrell came out with the pin over Rayne with Kim coming close to stopping it. Terrell won with a Diamond Cutter pretty much. Actually one of the show’s brighter spots.
– Magnus – the family man, was hoping to settle differences with Bram at a bar, because approaching a drunken man in a serious manner will always pan out well. We had to know this would end with violence.
– Rockstar Spud showing off 34th Street landmarks to Mandrews misguidedly was kind of funny but nothing memorable. This just made them both look like confused tourists. Maybe that’s what they were going for.
– The in-ring segment with Tommy Dreamer, Eric Young and Roode was good in furthering Young as a tough heel. Dreamer was the perfect candidate with the credibility to talk sense into Young and sympathetic enough for the fans to emotionally invest when Young attacked him and hit a piledriver. Roode coming to make the save when Young started assaulting ringside personnel and checking on Dreamer was also good, as the feud continued. Will Dreamer play into things later on? He can still go at it. Young was also much better on the mic here.
– The Hardys promo that hyped their Lockdown bout with Abyss/James Storm of The Revolution and the later Monster’s Ball match was decent, upbeat stuff. Jeff introducing weapons as his friends was cheesy though.
– The backstage segment with Angle and Gunner was okay, as Gunner was supposed to transform into some kind of warrior with a slap to the face. Gunner still needs something more to his gimmick. He still comes off as Bram with a different name.
– Did anybody not expect Magnus to be attacked by Bram by the end of the bar segment? They couldn’t have set that up more predictably. Magnus magically couldn’t find a way out of the bar? It was almost like we’d be disappointed if Bram didn’t attack. Not bad, but maybe this would’ve had more impact done in the ring in front of fans.
– If you’ve seen past Jeff Hardy-Abyss matches, you know they can put on an entertaining hardcore match like no one else. This was more of the same – as the match started in the crowd and didn’t slow down. Some memorable spots in there like Hardy crashing through a ringside table and the sunset flip onto the thumbtacks was cool. At one point, the match was an all-out brawl with the rest of The Revolution, Matt and The Wolves thrown in. For that reason, it was good the match actually had a decisive finish and wasn’t sidetracked after the brawl.
– Matt and Jeff’s promo about the match was directed towards the performance and hyped the match for next week. Again.
– Aries’ turned his promo about his free World Title shot without a briefcase cash-in to putting Lashley over as a fighting champion and something he could take advantage of. Aries has become Seth Rollins all of a sudden.
– The billed Mandrews/Spud-Ethan Carter III/Tyrus match became a bait-and-switch for the Bro-Mans to take Carter/Tyrus’ place. The match was good as Mandrews/Spud looked good with the finish and the fans were hot for it too. The post match attack on Spud/Mandrews by Tyrus was expected and Carter announcing Spud/Mandrews against Tyrus next week in a steel cage was decent. We know one day Spud will get his hands on Carter. For all the attention Jeremy Borash got in this storyline alliance with Spud, it was odd to not see him involved this week at all.
– Backstage, Spud being outraged, yelling at Mandrews was pretty good stuff.
– Kong vs Havok, Hardys vs Revolution, Spud/Mandrews vs Tyrus, Team Angle vs BDC was hyped for Lockdown before the main event. Kong/Havok was the only match to not receive any kind of hype, which was odd.
– The “Top 5” ranking concept makes no sense at all. The number needs to be bigger than five and the way it is right now lacks any structure and TNA should just do away with it.
– The World Heavyweight Championship match between Lashley, Roode, MVP and Aries was given enough time to tell a decent story with the four competitors. Young expectedly attacked Roode at one point and the spear finish with Lashley on Aries was great. We knew Gunner and Angle would make the save once the BDC tried to beat Lashley again.
– Roode officially challenged Young to a steel cage match next week, which may or may not have blood in it. Cool. Angle’s reveal of his team saw him recruit Aries who asked to join. Lashley turning down Angle’s request was interesting on its own. Lashley as a full-fledged face doesn’t work with his lackluster mic skills, though the fans popped for some of his moves in the ring. It seems TNA wants Lashley to be in the middle as a tweener or “lone wolf,” even though the BDC has owned him. Why wouldn’t he want to join their opposing team, from a storyline standpoint? Maybe this sets up Lashley coming down to eventually join and this was just a hook for next week.
– Knockouts Championship – Taryn Terrell (Champion) def. Gail Kim, Madison Rayne to retain
– Monster’s Ball – Jeff Hardy def. Abyss
– Rockstar Spud/Mandrews def. The Bro-Mans (w/DJ Z, Angelina Love) via pinfall
– World Heavyweight Championship – Fatal 4-Way – Bobby Lashley (Champion) def. Bobby Roode, MVP, Austin Aries to retain
– The opening video was good in introducing most of the talent in a hotel setting, as James Storm deemed it “the year of the Revolution” and Bobby Roode gave a tour bus pep talk. Once Roode and Lashley stood toe-to-toe outside the Manhattan Hotel, a brawl ensued. Chaotic as usual, though the crowd ate it up, as the action was all over and it set up the Kurt Angle-MVP match well. Robbie E was also shown on camera before his “return” segment, for those who didn’t catch it.
– The Angle-MVP confrontation came across well on TV, but the loud crowd’s obscene chants had to be edited out and some of what MVP said got chopped up in the process. It was the perfect way to bring Angle back to the roster, though it wasn’t announced who would be new Director of Operations. The street fight more or less kept the energy from the opening brawl and put Angle over. They edited the “M-V-Pussy” chant, but not the “M-V-Penis” one. Sounds about right.
– The MVP-King backstage segment focused on MVP’s anger as he looked for Lashley.
– It’s still crazy that Josh Matthews is now announcing with the company. Him and Taz aren’t strangers to commentary either, going back to their WWE days. Taking over Mike Tenay’s place might be hard, but it helps bring a “new” feeling to the show.
– Ethan Carter III just oozed charisma as we saw in his backstage promo and he can definitely help get Tyrus, or the former Brodus Clay, over.
– Tenay’s interview with James Storm portrayed him as a brainwashing bearded-man – well, TNA’s version of it. Storm said the Revolution was “out for blood,” but not for Titles? How can the Titles be important if even The Revolution doesn’t want them?
– The Revolution-Wolves Tag Team Championship match had its moments, particularly the four consecutive suicide dives by the Wolves. The Hardys were also ringside, to make us remember they exist. They weren’t a distraction here though, though the crowd loved them when they first came out, though they played into the finish. The camerawork was somewhat sloppy as it missed a few kicks at one point. The Revolution retained.
– The hype videos from the previous Lashley-Roode matches throughout the night provided good hype.
– The backstage segment with MVP, King and Lashley maybe planted some seeds of a possible face turn for Lashley down the road as MVP lashed out at him.
– The segment with Jeremy Borash, EC III, Tyrus and Rockstar Spud made EC III look like a star and Borash looked tough for putting up a fight, though the camera missed his slap to Carter. Spud also looked sympathetic here, which was good. It will take some time for Tyrus to ditch the image WWE set him with, as the crowd chanted, “Somebody call my momma,” but TNA is smart to use him as a henchman. Borash was a trooper for taking the beating and having his head shaved.
– The backstage segment with King-MVP continued to play up that MVP might work against Lashley in the future, all the more setting up the big “shocking” heel turns.
– The Austin Aries-Low Ki X-Division Championship match was purely physical, with lots of inventive spots and chops and high-flying maneuvers. Kudos to the X-Division hype video as well. The crowd was evenly divided and Aries came out victorious with a brutal-looking kick that may had knocked out one of Low-Ki’s teeth. Low Ki’s eventual heel turn would overshadow this match by the end, but in the moment, it was great.
– The Knockouts Championship Battle Royal had a lot of action, surely Gail Kim and Havok had a good showing, though Taryn Terrell retained, but it seemed she slipped in at the end out of the background, not exactly “fighting champion” ways. The return of Robbie E was also somewhat newsworthy as we saw before the match. Obviously, the match was overshadowed with the return of Awesome Kong. The feud with Havok should be interesting, but any true TNA fan is looking for another Kim-Kong match. The Knockouts could become must-watch again.
– The Bobby Roode-Bobby Lashley match was built up well throughout the night and went the way of their previous two bouts, initially. The shot of King, MVP and Co. midway through the match took attention away from it and as we saw with the reveal, the focus was never really on the match. The turns themselves of Low Ki, Samoa Joe and Eric Young were executed well in terms of shock value, but it remains to be seen just how it will work long-term. Given that, TNA has found a way to make people want to tune in next week, whether it was the three big heel turns, the return of Kong, or just what EC III will do next.
– Street Fight – Kurt Angle def. MVP via pinfall
– Tag Team Championships – The Revolution def. The Wolves via pinball to retain
– X-Division Championship – Austin Aries def. Low-Ki via pinfall to regain
– Knockouts Championship Battle Royal – Taryn Terrell def. Velvet Sky, Angelina Love, Havok, Madison Rayne, and Rebel
– TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Bobby Lashley def. Bobby Roode to regain