TNAnalysis – April 17th, 2008

-Tonight, I make my long-awaited (?) return, just in time for Samoa Joe to win his first TNA World Championship. Well, in tonight’s episode, “The Revenge of Lockdown,” we see the fallout from said title victory, as well as the other matches that just so happened to be on the same card.

-In a nice touch, Samoa Joe starts out the show, all suited up with the world title on his shoulder. He comes down to the ring and talks about how the title belongs to everyone, saying, “We are the champions.” Joe now allows himself to fall into the typical style of a generic fan favorite world champion, thanking the fans for giving him the will to fight on Sunday, and even goes so far as to dedicate his first title run to them as well. That’s very sweet of him, but it’s kind of boring. However, he has a neat little line when he says the title will be defended, “by the sweat of [his] brow, and the blood on [his] fist.” Nice.

This brings out Big Poppa Pump, Scott Steiner, with lil’ Petey Pump and Rhaka Khan. The announcers bring up the fact that Steiner is cashing in his world title shot at Sacrifice on May 11th. He proceeds to give Petey the X Division shot, which excites the hell out of him, even though he only wanted the world title a few months ago. Steiner then cuts a promo pointing out that Joe is, indeed, fat, and how disgusted he is with the tub of fun that is the current world champion. Well, there are worse motivations out there, but there’s one major problem here: no one in the audience believes for a second that Steiner can possibly beat Joe, so trying to push this feud is really kind of pointless to begin with. In fact, I have no idea why they bothered to give the title shot to him in the first place. Is he a name? Well, yes, but no one buys him as a world champion, and, for the most part, no one ever has. Giving it to Petey Wlliams would have been equally implausible, but at least it would have been a change of pace, and people might have thought, for just a second, that Petey had a chance at an upset, Jeff Hardy style. The problem with Steiner is that he’s too established, but he’s established as a not-quite-main eventer, and that’s where he’ll stay.

And now, Kurt Angle comes out, and immediately becomes my hero by pointing out that Steiner’s last big win was against the Road Warriors in 1975 with his idiot brother. Thank you for pointing out the pathetic nature of Steiner’s singles career, even though Scotty definitely didn’t show up until the 80s. He also tells Joe that, even though he lost fair and square, he never makes the same mistake twice, and he’s going to cash in his rematch clause next week. Works for me. Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle is like pizza or sex: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. I know I didn’t coin that phrase, but I still like it.

-Backstage interview, with Christian Cage and Rhino with new backstage eye candy Lauren. Christian talks about their history, only to be interrupted by Team 3D. Say what you will about the former Dudleys, but they can still put together a fairly intense promo. In a nice touch, Ray calls Rhino “Terry,” and calls him a shell of his former self. Then, Kip James, Robert Roode, and James Storm show up as backup and kick the faces’ butts. Okay. This is what it is, and was what it was.

(Commercial)

Jay Lethal is outside the woman’s room, waiting for SoCal Val…but she’s in there with Sonjay Dutt? Whahawha? Jeremy Borash essentially points out that there’s no way that this could be perceived as innocent, in ANY sense, and asks him, more or less, what’s up. Sonjay seems confused about the whole thing, asking, “What, with the tambourine?” and then leaving. Borash’s reply? “Yeah, right, the tambourine. Whatever the kids are calling it these days.” Heh.

-Oh, and Bernie Sadler’s at ringside. He will proceed to make stupid comments over the course of the entire match. If you catch a replay, please try to ignore him.

Match 1: X Division Championship
Johnny Devine vs. Jay Lethal (c)

See, there’s a problem with Devine: he’s not that good, and he hasn’t yet proven that he deserves any of this push that he’s been inexplicably given. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about fresh faces in new places, but why Devine? What has he done to make him stand out? If you look at the former Seratonin guys, Kaz was the most talented and was pushed, and Bentley was inexplicably canned for, I imagine, not being terribly interesting. So why Devine? What does he have to offer here?

And another thing; is it really a good idea to go for such a strong Ms. Elizabeth vibe with Val when the real Ms. Elizabeth didn’t really meet the most glorious of ends? It’s a very, very slippery slope.

So, Devine has ditched the typical spandex wrestling gear and is going for a bit more of a brawler style, which helps to take him slightly more seriously, but he’s still unspectacular, at least by X Division standards. However, he spends a huge chunk of the match just beating the hell out of Lethal, hitting him with a few innovative moves, as well as a fairly long distance moonsault, but Lethal kicks out of it. Devine tries for Devine Intervention (pedigree variation, I assume), but Lethal blocks it, hits a flurry of offense, then Lethal Combination, Big Elbow, goodnight. Well, it’s a good thing that Devine was made to seem that all of his offense is, more or less, useless.
Winner and STILL Champion: Jay Lethal

Well, that was a big heaping bowl of whatever. Seriously, I don’t know why…hey, it’s Petey Williams! And he just whacked Jay Lethal with the big old metal briefcase! And we’re fading to black!

(Commercial)

Ooh…Petey hits a tornado DDT on the briefcase, and then smushed his head in between it. Oucharoo. Of course, then Petey resorts to his worst quality, talking, and goes on some ranting poem about how he gets an X Division Title Match whenever he wants, and so of course takes it now. So…really, the whole “Feast or Fired” thing was just Money-in-the-Bank for multiple belts. Okay then.

Match 2: X Division Championship
Petey Williams vs. Jay Lethal (c)

Canadian Destroyer, goodbye.
Winner and NEW Champion: Petey Williams

You know, I just realized that TNA really had an opportunity to make things interesting, what with Petey having a world title shot and Steiner having one for the X Division, but has used this opportunity to come up with the most boring, banal, and simple outcomes possible. The tag team guy (BG James) gets the tag team shot, the cruiserweight (Petey) gets the X Division shot, which is CERTAINLY about weight classes now, and the heavyweight (Steiner) has the world title shot. As is their modus operandi, TNA had a myriad of outcomes, and took the road most taken.

-Backstage, LAX gives an interview, and Homicide stumbles over his words. Hernandez HAS to shave that disgusting goatee off, as he looks ridiculous. They have a tag title match, and I don’t really care about these guys anymore. Selinas acts ghetto, and I remember how she was at least remotely interesting as Ariel. Well, Shelly, that’s what you get for having the audacity to not sleep with Batista (allegedly). That’ll show her!

-In the front, Matt Morgan comes out in wrestling gear with a microphone, and Pulse Glazer throws a small parade with both cake and hats. He (Morgan, not Glazer) cuts a decent promo about how he’s going to set the bar for giants, and how much he sacrificed, and yadda yadda yadda, and let me see him wrestle on free television already. I believe he’ll be better than Test, but who isn’t these days, right?

(Commercial)

Samoa Joe is backstage interviewing away, talking about honor and skill, etc., with Kevin Nash standing over his shoulder. You know, as much as I like Joe…something about me isn’t buying him as world champ. I hate that I’m saying that, but maybe he’s just been too damaged by poor booking in the past. People should be TERRIFIED by the prospect of him being world champ, but he simply doesn’t come off as the threat that he used to be. Of course, TNA will make the same amount of money regardless of who the champ is, I imagine, so they might as well let him carry it for awhile.

Match 3: TNA Tag Team Championship
LAX vs. Kaz and Eric Young vs. Tomko and AJ Styles(c)

Is Eric Young still doing that absurd superhero gimmick? Listen, I LOVE comic books, but if you’re going to do a bit like that, at least have the common intelligence to give him a name that doesn’t immediately reveal his “secret identity.” It makes something silly even sillier. Is he a superhero, or is he the equivalent of “Super Grover?” Do you follow me?

Moderate action, and Eric runs away. Oh boy!

(Commercial)

Apparently, Eric hasn’t come back yet, and Kaz is getting the stuffing beaten out of him. He eats a Homicide Cutter and the double team spin slam from Tomko and AJ. Pinfall is broken up by LAX, and Homicide takes Tomko to the outside, while Hernandez follows up with the hands free tope’. Styles is on the top, but he gets a Flux Capacitor from Kaz…for two?! Why would you just kill a move that seems completely insane, and should kill anyone. And the worst thing? The end comes when goddamn Super Eric comes out, hits a Northern Lights Suplex, and gets a pin for the belt.
Winners and NEW Champions: Kaz and Eric Young

(Commercial)

But wait, this nonsense isn’t over. Styles and Tomko try to argue that Super Eric counts as outside interference, even though Cornette points out that a person can’t interfere in a match they’re already in. However, the bad guys make an interesting point: ask Eric if he and Super Eric are two different people, and if he says that they are (which you KNOW he will, to keep his identity secret), then they get the titles back. Cornette agrees to this, and we already know how it’s going to end.

Match 4: Tag Team Grudge Match
Team 3D vs. Rhino and Christian Cage

Rhino and Cage get separate entrances…subtlety? I doubt it.

You know, watching this match makes me think how incredibly far Christian has come over the last several years. He starts out as a member of the Light Heavyweight Division in WWE, and is now a legitimate main eventer, and would be in any company he joins. Kudos to him, while I’m on this train of thought. He fares alright against both members of Team 3D, and then tags in Rhino. And you know what? Rhino actually has lost a step. He does seem to be missing the intensity that used to drive him through matches. Remember when Rhino seemed like a wrecking ball with legs? Now, he just seems like a generically stocky guy with a sometimes nasty spear.

Cage jumps off the top to the outside on top of Team 3D to take us out. High risk indeed.

(Commercial)

During the break, Team 3D cheated and took control, as heels tend to do. Devon holds a pretty long vertical suplex, and then goes to the most devastating of holds, the chinlock. Should Randy Orton sue for gimmick infringement (ba-zing!)? Ray is tagged in, and he gives Cage an INSANE back body drop, with Cage flipping at the last minute, and making it look awesome. Ray hits Rhino on the apron, and this is the most formulaic of tag matches. There’s essentially nothing special about it, and even when Rhino gets hot tagged in, it still doesn’t feel that hot. There’s a bit of miscommunication, as Rhino accidentally gores Cage (although not a terribly impressive gore), and Devon accidentally clotheslines Ray, leading to Rhino rolling up Devon for the pin.
Winners: Rhino and Christian Cage

Post-match, a Team 3D breakup is teased! Which is (say it with me now) stupid!

-Backstage, Eric Young denies being Super Eric (“I missed him AGAIN?!”), and Cornette goes ballistic on the Knockouts, who seem upset about sharing a locker room (which is fair…if nothing else, you’d figure the faces would have one and the heels would have one), but then calls them spoiled brats and bitches. As is the theme tonight, he brings up sacrifice, and says it starts here. Umm…okay.

Hey, random thought: what are all of those girls getting ready for when the vast majority of them aren’t even on the show tonight?

(Commercial)

-Cornette is in the ring with Tomko and AJ,Styles and he tries to call out Eric Young…but only Kaz comes out. Cornette gives Eric to the count of three to come out, but that only brings out Super Eric. Super Eric denies being Eric Young, despite the pleas of Kaz, and rambles about the faraway planet he comes from, and other bizarre jargon. Cornette strips everyone of the titles, and I feel like putting my boot through the television.

-Backstage, Kip James, James Storm, and Robert Roode give an interview, and James Storm immediately gets on my good side by making fun of Kip when he does a crotch chop. “Hey, you’re just mad that your cowboy gimmick didn’t get over back in the 80s!” He also gives the best interview out of the three, making fun of Sting, pointing out that beating that star will make him a much bigger star, which is nothing new, but he says it in a way that is far more entertaining than the gobbledy gook that escapes the maw of James. Roode says something, but it’s inane heel chatter.

Match 5: Knockout Title Match
Roxxi Levaux vs. Awesome Kong (c)

Why is the woman’s belt white? I mean, it stands out, but in a good way? Oh, look…commercial.

(Commercial)

Opening bell! I guess they just waited the two minutes? Way to show yourself as a taped show, guys.

It’s not terribly entertaining watching Kong beat Roxxi around the ring, but it’s accurate and realistic, if nothing else. Actually, I’m noticing that Roxxi’s wearing less makeup, and Raisha Saeed is wearing more. Coincidence?

Kong slows the match down even more with a freaking camel clutch, but Roxxi finally starts to come back, but only briefly, as a running charge hurts her more than Kong, who actually just charges with a belly bump of sorts and knocks her ass over teakettle. More offense from Kong, but Kong misses a splash. She hits a stiff running boot, ducks the backfist, and hits a spinning neckbreaker and a senton for two. Of course, like an idiot, she tries to pick Kong up for the Voodoo Drop, but Kong is obviously too heavy, so the champ kills her dead with some chops, the backfist, and an awesome bomb. Well, that was anti-climactic.
Winner and STILL Champion: Awesome Kong

-Backstage, Kurt Angle can’t get over not being champ anymore, and the fact that he doesn’t have a dressing room. Aww.

(Commercial)

Match 6: Six Man Tag Team Grudge Match
Kip James, James Storm, and Robert Roode vs. BG James, Sting, and Booker T

Something seems off here…oh yeah! Two of these six guys are useless and godawful, while the rest aren’t half bad! I’ll give you a hint: their names rhyme with “Blue Rage Snoutlaws.”

Man, Booker is wasted in this company. TNA seems like such a step down for him after being a part of WWE. Admittedly, he wasn’t always in the main event, but what’s he doing here? Oddly enough, Sting seems to fit in just fine, maybe because he never appeared in WWE in the first place. In fact, while I’m on the subject of Sting, it’s pretty impressive that he still has as much in the tank as he does.

Oddly funny line from Tenay, when Storm hits a lungblower on BG James: “Oh, and he just stabs him in the back!” Really? Really? Did he have to put it in the way that immediately echoes the move of the same name in WWE? Silly move on Tenay’s part, really.

(Commercial)

At the return, Roode is in control of BG (did you really think anyone else would be the face-in-peril for this one?), while the crowd calls for Booker T. Well, at least they have some taste, and they’re not calling for BG and his funky punch-based offense. Oh, also a “We Want Sting” chant, which is nice. Booker is tagged in, and cleans house on everyone, finally spinebustering Storm, then setting up for the spinarooni…which is broken up by Roode. That’ll get you heel heat.

Booker gets kicked in the head by Storm, and Storm goes for a bottle shot…but Matt Morgan runs out and nails Storm with a bicycle kick, then zips out of the ring. One scissor kick later, and this one is all over.
Winners: BG James, Sting, and Booker T

Well, it would seem all is not right with the world, as Booker has issues with being helped. Sting tries to play peacemaker between Booker and Morgan, and Booker pushes Sting! Ooooh! Booker ends with challenging Sting to a match next week for no discernable reason.

And thus, the show ends.

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