It's the go-home edition heading to the Lockdown pay per view this coming Sunday. Team MVP is missing a player - who will that person be? Team Dixie is licking their chops knowing this fact. Who will get the advantage going into Sunday's event? And will Magnus try to get a leg up on Samoa Joe before their clash in the cage in Miami?
It's the Cliff's Notes Edition tonight as we just finished recording RingRap Audio. Look for that to go live on the site, on Stitcher and iTunes, very shortly.
Show Open, taped in London, England on 2/1/14
We get video recap of the storyline developments with Austin Aries and Bobby Roode to open. Bobby Roode, Jesse, Robbie E, and Zema Ion come to the ring, and they show footage of the BroMans getting the tag titles back in Japan. The announcers check in as Roode cuts a promo. He says TNA would be run the Roode Way and MVP is standing in his way.
Austin Aries' music hits and he tells Roode to not get ahead of himself. He says his decision last week was well thought out and in his best interests. Aries says that ten percent isn't a big piece of the pie, but that since Roode won with his help, he wants to get his hands on that piece. He wants half of Roode's ten percent ownership if Team Dixie wins.
Robbie speaks up and says that Roode is the It Factor, but he and Jesse will be the Deciding Factor. Roode says everyone wants a piece of the pie, but he's the captain and he calls the shots. Roode says the priority is winning, and Aries says he's a game changer.
That's getting into too much math for me - especially after doing math all day in my day job.
MVP and the Wolves come out and he's about to reveal his fourth man when Dixie interrupts. She tells MVP his decision won't matter because she spent last week securing victory for Team Roode. Dixie tells MVP that he doesn't know her well, but if he talked to someone who did, he would find out that the company means more than anything to her and she would do anything to keep it.
Dixie says that unless the fourth man could part the Red Sea, she couldn't care less. MVP built him up as a former world champion and friend and named Jeff Hardy. Dixie is upset and says she suspended Jeff when "he walked out on me." MVP disagreed and says Hardy will be with him, but Dixie tells him "over my dead body." Roode steps up and tells MVP it doesn't matter because after Lockdown he will be a ten percent owner. A brawl breaks out and they go to break.
We talked about this a little in audio, but this feels flat. With time to watch and think, here's why: It's a makeshift heel team going against a new tag team, a returning face and a new face. And the whole battle is about who owns what percent of the company. It's not like the classic War Games matches that had teams that have major heat over a long time. The Hardy announcement fell a bit flat, and I'm guessing Dixie plays a card to get it blocked so that Hardy comes back as Willow.
Match #1 - MVP and The Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) vs. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and Robbie E; Winning Team gets Lockdown Advantage
Bell rings right out of the break and we're on. Tenay reminds us of the rules and that the winning team gets the man advantage in Lethal Lockdown. MVP eliminates Robbie E quickly with a Yakuza Kick and the crowd doesn't respond to that.
The Wolves work double team on Roode. Aries tags in and hits a nice drop kick then hits Edwards with the Brainbuster to send him out. Aries gets chants as he goes with Richards in a nice offensive sequence between them. MVP gets in and gets rolled up by Roode, who puts his feet on the ropes and Aries also holds on so MVP is eliminated.
Roode throws Richards to ringside a bit later and distracts the official so Aries can hit a double axe handle off the ropes. Back in, Aries and Roode take turns working on Richards. Richards hits a drop kick on Roode, who has Aries by the neck so Aries takes a DDT. Richards puts a half crab on Roode, but Aries attacks him with a chair. That's a DQ for Aries.
Aries works over Richards, and MVP and Edwards return to check on him.
Not a fan of the early Edwards elimination because he's still trying to get established in TNA. Didn't matter so much with Robbie E, and MVP was protected by the cheating. The action was good, but the live crowd isn't buying in. Seems like they were apathetic by this point, partly because of the volume of taping they had been through.
Richards is being tended to backstage and Earl Hebner tells him he an only give him an hour or he forfeits. The trainer says it won't happen.
We get a hype for Sam Shaw vs. Mr. Anderson and a video package highlighting Shaw's recent antics.
Shaw comes out, then Anderson. He says Christy Hemme won't be anywhere near this match because of Shaw. He says he will play the part of Hemme and does his introduction schtick. Anderson calls Shaw "Creepy Bastard" and says Eric Young is "the guy who is gonna whip that ass."
Now the live crowd popped for Anderson there...
Match #2 - Sam Shaw vs. Eric Young
Young gets a fast start and lands punches on Shaw, who holds his jaw and smiles. The fans chant for EY and "Creepy Bastard" chants start. Shaw goes on offense and Anderson mocks him. EY does a corner flip and a strut a'la Ric Flair.
Young hits a belly to belly and covers, but Shaw quickly kicks out. The fight spills to ringside and Shaw runs Young into Anderson, and Shaw locks a submission hold on Anderson. Taz calls it as an effective judo hold. Apparently this ended by count-out. Shaw stands over Anderson and says he will go reclaim what's his. Christy Hemme is shown looking nervous.
Shaw and Anderson are clicking. Not to the point they need a steel cage, but they're clicking. Shaw is playing his character well though the creative has been horrible overall. And less is more with him talking.
Backstage, the trainer is tending to Richards, and MVP tells the trainer to take care of him and he'll be back. Richards says he needs to go to a hospital. MVP says he signed the Wolves because of their toughness.
MVP goes after Aries but agents hold him back. MVP tells Aries he has no character for doing what he did to Richards.
We get a video package hyping EC3 and Kurt Angle. EC3 tells Dixie that Angle is not 100% because he took his knee out. Dixie tells him to focus on that, and EC3 asks if they're okay given the MVP power play. Dixie says MVP has no idea what's coming at him.
Backstage, Sam Shaw is looking for Christy Hemme. After commercial he's still looking and goes into the Knockouts dressing room, even looking in the bathroom. He catches Velvet Sky and she's in a bra. She covers up and asks why he's there and he says he's looking for Christy Hemme. She is creeped out and tells him to look in the makeup room.
Ethan Carter III comes out for a promo. He talks about locking a submission on Kurt Angle and screwing his knee up. He boasts of beating Sting and becoming a new icon and American Icon. Kurt Angle's music hits and he comes out. Angle calls EC3 an American asshole and EC3 runs when Angle gets in the ring. The announcers say Angle isn't 100% right now. EC3 heads to the back and Angle plays to the fans.
Angle heads to the back and EC3 attacks him from behind. He clips the bad leg and throws Angle back in the ring, hits a drop kick and lands some elbows on his knee. EC3 grabs a submission hold on his leg and Angle sells. Officials come out and break it up and Taz says he's not sure Angle will make it to Lockdown.
Fine angle, but Taz saying he'd be surprised Angle makes it to Lockdown is counter-productive unless Angle proclaims later that he will be there.
Backstage, MVP tells Richards he believes in him and he needs to show that strong spirit and believe in himself. Richards says he remembers asking MVP for advice in Japan and MVP said you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything. "My arm's hurt but I'm breathing."
Rough production cut to Velvet Sky, ODB and Madison Rayne walking to the ring.
Tenay and Taz hype upcoming live events an the "Fist Pumping Pre Show Party for Lockdown, which is being hosted by Rockstar Spud and Zema Ion. They also run a King of the Night video on Kenny King.
How stupid is having a heel-hosted pre-show? Kenny King has some character now that I might like. He needed to dress the part and it seems he is now.
Match #3 - Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne and ODB vs. Gail Kim, Lei'D Tapa, and Alpha Female (w/Chris Sabin)
Fast start from Madison, but Tapa grabs her from the ring apron. Kim catches her with a drop kick and ODB checks in, but get put down by Tapa quickly.
Velvet and Alpha tag in, and Velvet hits a neckbreaker and tries to cover. Kim breaks it up and a brawl ensues. Sabin gets in the ring and pokes Velvet in the chest. The referee is an idiot for letting that one happen. Velvet slaps Sabin, and Sabin charges. She holds the ropes down so he crashes and burns. Alpha tries to sneak up on Velvet, but she catches her with a kick then hits her Butterfly Facebuster to get the win.
Um, the hype behind this was Rayne vs. Kim on the pay per view. Yes, really.
Backstage, Sam Shaw is looking for the makeup room. Simon Rothstein (a UK media guy) points him in the right direction.
A graphic thanks UK fans for their energy during the tour.
A video package airs for Willow. "It's almost over and there's nothing left to say. God did a lot in seven days, now let's see what I can do."
Shaw makes his way to the makeup room and spots Hemme, or so he thinks. It's Anderson in a bad wig and he smears Shaw with lipstick. He tells Shaw to let Hemme alone or he'd be in a bad way. Anderson leaves, and Shaw laughs and says "I'll see you Sunday...I'll see you both Sunday"
Creepy character. That's all I can say.
Recap video for the James Storm and Gunner story. Gunner comes out and talks about taking each day as it comes and making the best of every situation and working for everything he has. James Storm's music cuts him off.
A bit too cliche for my liking, but I do like where they're heading with Gunner.
Storm says Gunner is making excuses and will tell people when he's old that he could have been champion if it weren't for Storm. Storm tells Gunner that in three days he should pack a lunch "because this is gonna be an all day ass whipping." Storm takes exception to something Gunner says and accuses him of questioning his manhood. Storm knees Gunner and the announcers call it a cheap shot.
I like that Storm is an aggressive heel and not a pussy. He just needs to mix his stuff up though. Is he trying to be heel, or cool? Gunner went down too easy even if the idea was it was a shot to the balls, not the gut. That didn't excite me about their match on Sunday.
The video packages they're running are doing a good job of hyping the pay per view matches for Sunday at least.
Bobby Roode is in the ring. He says it's been an hour and Richards is obviously too injured to continue. He tells the official to count and raise his hand. The official starts the count but stops when Richards' music plays.
Match #4 - Davey Richards vs. Bobby Roode; Match Continuation of the opening six man elimination match
Richards sells the arm injury and Roode goes right at it. He wrenches it around the ring post and keeps working on it. Richards punches back, but Roode wrenches the arm again.
Odd audio cut in for Tenay to acknowledge the passing of Billy Robinson and plug some Bellator MMA action. Richards comes back with a move to get a two count.
Richards kicks Roode and locks on a half crab. Roode kicks at Davey's bad arm, then Richards charges. Roode moves and shoves him to the ring post. Roode hits the Roode Bomb then locks on a crossface. Richards taps, but Roode keeps going after the arm until MVP and Edwards make the save.
Automatic and logical to have the heels get the advantage.
We get a Tigre Uno video package.
Backstage, Magnus approaches Dixie Carter. He says he heard she has the Lethal Lockdown match sewn up. She says she does. He asks about the bigger picture, meaning the title match. She scoffs. He asks what the strategy is for Sunday, and she tells him to go out, back up his mouth, and beat Samoa Joe on Sunday. "Go out there and win by myself again? You're serious." She tells him "as a heart attack." Magnus storms off.
Magnus will get no favors from Dixie on Sunday. So like the Authority and Randy Orton, he will. And the booking continues to be bad around Magnus - sometimes he wants to be a respected champion, then he looks for help like this. Which will it be?
The announcers run down the card for Lockdown. Storm vs. Gunner is noted as a Last Man Standing cage match.
We'll have live results and reaction on Sunday night starting at 8PM EST.
Samoa Joe comes out and we see footage of him winning several matches. Joe calls Magnus out to face him and his countrymen to hear what he has to say. Magnus comes out and vents about Joe stealing his thunder. Joe's rage has made him vulnerable and weak. Magnus says he will take advantage of that on Sunday and leave with the title.
Joe confirms the rage and says there are times he wants to drink the pain and shed blood of his opponents. He says there are times he gets crazy. He says the rules of pro wrestling aren't conducive to his brand of violence. He says it's Joe's Rules at Lockdown and either you get knocked out or tapped out. Joe sas when the door closes on the cage, Magnus should know Joe will drink his pain, shed his blood, and won't walk out as champion, let alone walk out at all.
Magnus headbutts Joe and attacks him in the corner. Joe spins him around and throws punches, then locks on the Kokina clutch. Magnus taps repeatedly as Tenay shills that there will be a new champion in Miami.
Joe looked dominant here, but this match should have gotten some more attention throughout the night. All in all the closing segment did a good job of hyping up the title match though.
All in all, this was a focused go-home show that put a spotlight on the matches on the card (with the exception of the Knockouts). Even if you're like me and don't care for the all-cage format, TNA really did try to sell the matches well. I also think they could have gone farther with the Jeff Hardy return hype to make that feel like a bigger deal than they did.
Join us Sunday night for live Lockdown coverage here on the site, and next Thursday for all the fallout right here on Ring-Rap.com.