Tonight is live, and TNA is addressing what happened at Lockdown. MVP's team took over wrestling operations by defeating Team Dixie on Sunday night. How will MVP address the future of the company now that he has full control of all wrestling operations? Also, there are some teased returns for this show as well.
Show Open, Aired Live from the iMPACT Zone in Orlando, FL
We start backstage where Ethan Carter, the BroMans, and Rockstar Spud approach Bobby Roode and blame him for Sunday's loss. Roode told Carter to blame his aunt because her insurance policy, Bully Ray, screwed them over. Roode says that since Dixie isn't present to take responsibility they need to punish the insurance policy.
We get a video recap of the two closing matches for Sunday. The announcers check in on commentary.
MVP comes to the ring and puts over his team winning and taking over wrestling operations. MVP says Bully Ray will come out to explain his actions later. MVP says his approach to operations will be to motivate talent, validate what they do and participate if they give him a hard time.
Magnus' music hits to interrupt. Not much reaction from the live crowd. Magnus calls MVP's principles a joke. MVP asks if it's more of a joke than his title run. Ouch. Finally we get a "you suck" chant. Magnus says Dixie dropped the ball but he kicked it through the uprights to retain his title. He claims that he is more powerful than ever and introduces his own insurance policy, Abyss.
Abyss comes to the ring wearing a new mask. The crowd tells him that he sold out and Magnus agrees with them. He says he doesn't look at Abyss like a freak as Jim "Sinister Minister" Mitchel or Eric Young did. He calls Abyss a powerhouse that is motivated by money. Magnus says they all had that in common. MVP retorts, telling Magnus he is getting his English ass kicked until he pulled the monster literally ouf of his ass.
MVP says he can't continue until he brings out the number one contender, Samoa Joe. Joe sells his ribs/midsection being injured. Joe stands by as MVP says Joe isn't killing them because he believes in the MVP principle and knows MVP would do the right thing. He announces Magnus vs. Joe for the title next week and Joe vs. Abyss for next.
Magnus has no heat at the moment, at least from that crowd. I really like Magnus, but this title run is doing him no favors at all this point. They can still heat it up and save it but it'll take work. And the new Abyss mask looked corny.
Match #1 - Samoa Joe vs. Abyss
Joe goes right after Abyss when the bell rings. Abyss controls the action after commercial. The announcers spend their time talking about the debuting Brittany and how Dixie melted down after the Lethal Lockdown match. Joe starts a comeback, but Abyss shuts him down and goes out for the Janice weapon.
Eric Young runs out and hits Abyss with a missile drop kick and the match ends in disqualification. Abyss takes a couple moves and rolls out, staring at EY.
I feel like the story between Eric Young and Abyss has sailed, so I'm not big on this coming back again and continuing. Guess we'll wait to see how this plays out.
JB is backstage waiting to talk with Bully Ray. He looks off camera and asks what the person is doing there. Angelina Love walks onto the camera and asks JB if he missed her, then she walks away.
There was an earlier in the day report that there would be a surprise Knockout on the show tonight. So, well, hello Angelina. Nice to see you. Good talent addition, if she's back for good, but will there be any better booking?
JB is still looking for Bully Ray. The camera cuts to Willow who cuts a weird promo.
I think Willow can get over, but it'll be challenging with fans knowing it's Jeff Hardy behind the character.
Match #2 - Brittany vs. Gail Kim (w/Lei'D Tapa)
Brittany comes out as a video package runs. She says Madison Rayne is her influence.
Gail drops Brittany right off the bell. Brittany battles her way back into it, but Lei'D Tapa tries to run some interference. There's a screw-up by the heels and Tapa nails Kim instead. The official lets things go on, however. A short time later Brittany rolls Gail up for the win.
Afterward, Kim shoves Tapa, and Tapa shoves her down in return. They brawl, with Tapa getting the better of Gail until officials run out to break things up.
Not going to get too hard on Brittany on her first night, but this was lackluster. We'll see how she does going forward. The Gail/Tapa brawl immediately took any shine away as well.
Backstage, Bully Ray shows up. Rockstar Spud confronts him and says he will pay for what happened. BroMans and EC3 jump him from behind and beat him down, then Roode walks up and yells at him. Spud chokes him with the chain then Roode smashes him with a whiteboard. Roode screams at him that no one screws Bobby Roode.
Match #3 - BroMans (w/DJ Zema) vs. Tigre Uno and Sanada
DJ Z does his gimmick and introduces the BroMans. Tigre Uno and Sanada (the new X-Division Champ) make their entrance. They show a recap video of Great Muta telling Sanada he represents all of the Japanese wrestling industry.
BroMans get a few moments of offense in, but this is all Uno and Sanada. Sanada hits his trademark moonsault to grab the win.
I liked seeing Sanada and Uno getting somewhat of a feature in this match to help introduce them to viewers. I did feel like the pairing was random though, especially with Sanada carrying an undercard title. A bit of an odd decision there.
Bully Ray is shown recovering backstage. He grabs his chain that is on the floor by him.
Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky talk backstage. Madison asks what they will do about Angelina. Velvet is shocked that she has returned.
Not bad, but just odd that Madison knew Angelina was there, and Velvet didn't.
In their locker room, BroMans whine about losing their match. Ray walks in and whips all their asses and calmly exits.
Sam Shaw thanks someone off camera for their help at Lockdown. He says "you inspired me, Christy" and asks her to accompany him to the ring tonight for his match with Anderson. He spies the camera man at that point, asks him if he has a problem, and heads toward him.
Shaw is weird. I'm not a fan of this character, at this point.
They show Willow up in the rafters. He's the new Sting.
EC3 and Spud are setting up for the "Honor Dixie Carter" segment. They show a giant picture of her. That segment is up next.
Samoa Joe is looking for Eric Young. Joe finds him and says they need to talk. Joe says he understands that EY needs revenge on Abyss. Joe says he will give him a pass tonight, but if he gets in his business again there's a problem. EY takes it as a threat and says Abyss is his problem and he has to deal with it. Joe tells him to "have at it." and EY says he will. Young says he gets Abyss next week and they'll be chained together.
Honoring Dixie Carter
Rockstar Spud's music hits and he comes out with EC3 carrying the overblown photo of Dixie. Spud and EC3 put it on an easel in the ring while Taz says Dixie's life work blew up on one night.
The fans chant "Dixie's Lapdog" at them before Spud introduces the segment. Kinda funny. He says they're there to mourn Dixie losing control of wrestling operations. Spud says that he, the fans and EC3 - pause for a boring chant - are collectively mourning because the "ex-con MVP" is now in control of wrestling operations. More "boring" chants and EC3 tells them to calm down because it makes Spud emotional.
Spud says that Dixie picked him up out of obscurity, cradled him in her arms and matured him as a man. That is why he is the great man, big man, he is today. Spud sells tears and just wants to say "thank you Dixie." He cues a video package for Dixie, with it ending "on a cold dark Sunday in Miami it was taken away."
The fans boo the tribute package, but Spud has a reading. He dons his glasses to read a poem about Dixieland but MVP's music cuts him off. MVP says they need to put an end to this and it's over. MVP says Spud was growing on him of late, like a fungus or a rash. He says he has seen such loyalty from Spud that he wants him to stick around. He needs him to fulfill his contractual obligations as a wrestler.
Spud says everyone's bigger than him, even some of the Knockouts. MVP motivates Spud, talks him up, and gets him to participate. Spud say he can face a rookie. MVP says this man is making his iMPACT debut - Willow. Tenay flat out says it's Hardy's alter ego.
EC3 laughs at Spud's misfortunes but MVP isn't done. MVP tells him he has a match next week against this man...Bobby Lashley. His music hits and he comes out to the ring. He poses in front of Spud and EC3 who are upset. EC3 argues that Lashley isn't on the roster, so he can't fight. MVP agrees that it's a good point, and signs Lashley.
Spud pokes Lashley in the chest and that gets him upset. He pops Spud in the head with the Dixie picture, but it doesn't break. Spud grabs it and strokes Dixie's hair in the photo which was a bit comical. EC3 and Lashley get face to face, but EC3 backs off before anything else happens.
JB catches EC3 coming through the curtain. He vows to shred Lashley's knee like he did to Kurt Angle. Bully attacks Carter from behind and beats him down, then smashes the sign that Roode used on him over Carter, then stares at him.
Personally I wasn't a fan of this segment. These things usually don't always work out very well as it is, but this was just doomed to fail I think. Spud had some good stuff in there, but overall it was a dud. And when Bully used the "sign" to hit EC3, you could tell it was cardboard. A bit of a lame visual.
Also, not sure how they're going to work through EC3 vs. Lashley. Both men are in a place where they are getting established in the ring, so how do you put one guy over the other without hurting them? Guess we'll find out next week.
Match #4 - Samuel Shaw vs. Mr. Anderson; Street Fight rules
Shaw comes out, but goes back to get a mannequin. Anderson comes out, and Shaw attacks him before Anderson can finish his entrance gimmick.
Shaw controls early on as they fight in the ring. Anderson fights back, and starts tinkering with the mannequin. Shaw freaks out over that. Anderson throws the mannequin at him and uses the distraction to hit the Mic Check to get the win.
Afterward, Anderson does his intro gimmick and repeats his name to the mannequin.
I would like to see TNA do a better job of booking their heels. I don't understand why they jobbed Shaw out like that in 4 minutes.
Backstage, Angelina tells HerveyCam that we're about to find out why she's back.
The announcers hype up the coming tour and pre-show. They run another Willow video package that is just him walking around with music playing. They then run a Kenny King video package.
Angelina Love comes out. She says she thought she might never hear that music again, but it's great to be home in TNA. She says she has grown wiser while she was away. Her dad told her she doesn't know what she has til it's gone. Close enough - I decided to quote a Cinderella (the hair band) song to capture the gist of her comments. Angelina says she didn't understand it, but she does now. She calls out Velvet Sky.
Velvet comes to the ring and hugs Angelina. Angelina says she wants to get the Beautiful People back together. Velvet tells her she needs to think about it, and Angelina asks what the problem is. Velvet says she just needs more time.
That started out strong, but the end fell a bit flat. The fans didn't know how to react to it, and Velvet's non-committal answer just felt like it was out of place. Something seemed missing there.
Bully Ray is shown walking backstage, as is Willow.
Match #5 - Rockstar Spud vs. Willow
Spud is in the ring after commercial. They introduce "Jeff Hardy's alter-ego, Willow" to the ring. Willow does this stumble around bit and throws himself down in the ring. Willow takes off the jacket and chases Spud away. Hardy tackles him and the "hypercamera filter" cuts out and it's normal screen now. Kinda like they went "Sin Cara Mood Lighting" for the entrance.
Tenay tries to make this serious by focusing on Spud costing Hardy the title months ago. Hardy dominates as the announcers look for words. Hardy grabs his umbrella from outside the ring and hits Spud with it, causing the disqualification.
Hardy kicks the referee and makes him eat the Twist of Fate. He grabs a ladder from under the ring and then suplexes Spud. He smashes Spud's ankle in a chair, then splashes Spud from the ladder. Spud cries out, and Hardy leaves.
This was an odd thing to me. Spud is the heel, but Willow (Hardy) beat him down and made him sympathetic and I don't think that's what they wanted to get to. Taz was sloppy on the mic too here and called it oddly.
Bully Ray's music hits. He walks out, right past Hardy, and heads to the ring. Tenay hopes for answers as we go into commercial.
Ray cuts a promo, saying he woke up when Anderson hit the Mic Check on him into the coffin. He says he was going to explain himself, but all these guys made it physical tonight. He says he saved Roode from himself, because if Roode would have won the match he would have turned into another Dixie Carter. Wrestling doesn't need another Dixie. He says he took care of Roode's boys, and now he wants to fight Roode.
Roode comes out, and slides in the ring. Ray beats him down then sets up a table. Roode hits him with a spinebuster. Roode tries for his Roode Bomb, but Ray counters and hits a powerbomb of his own through the table.
I was really hoping we'd get more out of Ray than that as far as explaining his turn on Sunday. We got a little bit, but I think we needed more here. I was not a fan of the immediate dominant beatdown either. I would have had no issue with them brawling, but Ray standing over Roode already doesn't excite me for a program going forward all that much. It's not something that can't be recovered from, but it wasn't the smartest booking decision in the world.
This show was just kind of "there" tonight. I thought we might have gotten a better sense of direction coming out of Lockdown, but some of the angles that could be seen coming just weren't advanced well, or were passed over. There was a bit of stupidity that they compounded upon also. They have a month before Sacrifice, so hopefully they can pull some good stuff out next week to better set the tone heading toward that next pay per view.
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