Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – April 24, 2005
MATCH #1: Chris Candido & Lance Hoyt vs. Sonny Siaki & Apolo
Siaki and Candido start the match. Candido tries a headlock but Siaki overpowers him and hits a shoulderblock. Siaki delivers an armdrag and a dropkick, and Candido lands awkwardly, breaking his leg. That looks nasty. Siaki covers for two, and then Hoyt and Apolo tag in. The two big guys light each other up as Candido is carried to the back. Apolo takes the advantage and tags Siaki in. Hoyt blasts Siaki with a big boot for two. He continues working Siaki over, much to Apolo’s frustration. Hoyt crushes Siaki up against the cage and then hits a bodyslam. He goes up top but Siaki pops up and hits a Super Release Overhead German Suplex. That’s a lot of words for a move. Apolo tags back in now and he’s all over Hoyt. He hits a superkick for two. They do some more awkward brawling. Apolo picks Hoyt up and hits a TKO as Tenay and West announce that Candido did break his leg. Now Apolo slams Hoyt down and Siaki follows with a Superfly Splash to get the pin at 6:57. That was a basic TV style match.
The Naturals come out to yell at Hoyt for losing on behalf of Candido. Hoyt tries to fight them off, but after just fighting a handicap match and then being at another two-on-one disadvantage means that he gets beaten up some more.
The unfortunately real story of this match is that Candido had broke his tibia and fibula, and dislocated his ankle, necessitating surgery to implant steel plates and screws into his leg. A few days later Candido died from a blood clot. A man died from taking a simple dropkick. Wrestling can be a cruel business.
MATCH #2: Two out of Three Falls Prince of Darkness Death Match – Dustin Rhodes vs. Bobby Roode
Roode is accompanied by Scott D’Amore and A1. Rhodes starts out hot, unleashing some flip flop and fly early on. Roode gets a schoolboy rollup and puts his feet on the ropes to win the first fall in less than a minute. Rhodes fights right back and hits Roode with the Shattered Dreams. He follows up with a superplex. He then catapults Roode face-first into the cage. A powerslam gets two. Rhodes takes forever to set up a bulldog so Roode throws him off. Now Roode takes over on offense. Roode hits a knee drop off the top rope for a two-count. He uses a chinlock and Rhodes escapes by powering up and hitting an Electric Chair Drop. Rhodes goes for the Curtain Call but Roode escapes and hits the Northern Lariat for a two-count. Roode sets Rhodes up top and goes for a German Suplex (which we saw in the opening match). Thankfully Rhodes blocks it and hits a Super Bulldog to even the score 1-1 at 11:03.
Now that we’re in the third fall both guys have to wear blindfolds, hence the name “Prince of Darkness.” Oy vey TNA comes up with some wacky ideas. So now that they can’t see, they roam around for a bit and do nothing. The referee gets knocked down and Scott D’Amore throws a chair into the cage. D’Amore then enters the cage, rendering the entire gimmick of the show pointless. Since Roode can’t see, he cracks D’Amore across the back with a chair. Then Rhodes delivers an unprotected chair shot to Roode’s head to end this cruel game at 15:18. This wasn’t particularly good to begin with and putting the hoods on made it even harder to watch. It’s funny that six years later Roode is still a guy in a tag team with tons of potential. Good job with that TNA.
MATCH #3: X Division Xscape – Shocker vs. Chris Sabin vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Matt Bentley
An Xscape match is elimination rules until you get down to the last two and then it’s escape the cage from there. Bentley is accompanied by Trinity. Dutt and Sabin start it off with some fast paced back and forth. They wrestle to a standoff, of course. Dutt hits a headscissors, Sabin hits a rana, and then tags are made. Shocker hits Bentley with a bulldog. Seconds later, he hits another bulldog. Who the hell is Shocker anyway? Dutt and Shocker then work together on Bentley. Sabin even gets in on the action. Bentley is severely outnumbered. He’s able to come back on Dutt throw, hurling him into the cage. He works Dutt over for a few minutes until Dutt comes back with a weak headscissors. Sabin tags in and Bentley rams him into the cage a couple of times for a two-count. He tries to keep Sabin grounded, but it doesn’t work and Sabin hits a tornado DDT. Shocker tags back in and hits a moonsault on Bentley for two. He gets a La Magistral cradle for two. They work in a four-way submission spot up against the cage. Sabin grabs Dutt and powerbombs him into the cage and follows up with a Liger Bomb. For some stupid reason Shocker breaks up the pin. I love that Don West points out that it wasn’t a good move for Shocker to break up the pin. Sabin hits Shocker with an enziguiri. Dutt goes up top and hits Shocker with a Hindu Press. Bentley breaks it up for some stupid reason. Shocker then eliminates Dutt with a twisting elbow drop (no, really) at 10:55. He goes up top and Sabin takes him down with a Super Northern Lights Suplex for a two-count. For some reason again Bentley breaks it up.
Bentley and Sabin fight up on the top rope now and Trinity climbs the cage to try and help her man. Traci Brooks comes out to try and thwart her but she falls and hurts her ankle. Well, she should have been wearing some kind of footwear. Meanwhile Trinity goes to the top of the cage and takes all three men out with a moonsault. Traci’s ankle has miraculously healed, as she gets in the ring to take Trinity out with a clothesline. Bentley harshly throws Traci to the floor. Sabin then grabs Bentley with the Cradle Shock to eliminate him at 14:04. Shocker and Sabin immediately try to escape the cage, and it’s kind of annoying to hear Tenay and West keep pronouncing it as Xscape and knowing that some people say it that way in real life without referring to an X-Division Steel Cage match. Sabin and Shocker trade hands on top of the cage and both drop down at about the same time but Shocker dropped just a little bit before so he wins the match at 15:36. That’s not a bad idea for a match but it was a bit of a mess, and why was everyone breaking up the pinfall attempts?
MATCH #4: Tables Match – Raven vs. Jeff Hardy
Hardy brings a couple of chairs into the cage and goes right after Raven with one of them. He hits Poetry in Motion off a chair, but when he tries another one Raven moves and Hardy crashes into the cage. Raven takes over on offense now, hitting the drop toehold onto a chair. He hits the Raven Effect and sets Hardy up on a table. When he charges, Hardy moves out of the way and Raven crashes through the table. Hardy takes control and hits a chair-assisted legdrop. He whips Raven into the cage several times and Raven is busted open. Raven comes back by reversing a vertical suplex, getting a little time to recover. They go up to the top rope and awkwardly crumble to the canvas. Hardy hits a Twist of Fate from out of nowhere. He sets up a table and puts Raven on it. Then he climbs to the top of the cage and misses a Swanton! Of course in a tables match you have to go through a table via an offensive maneuver so the match continues. Raven attacks him with a chair as some girl in the crowd may be about to cry. I love wrestling. Raven goes to the top rope and Hardy recovers in time to knock him down. A group of “cool guys” try to start a “Let’s Go Raven” chant. Hardy rakes Raven’s face into the cage. He follows up with a dropkick to the back. Raven responds with a low blow. Hardy comes back and gives Raven a taste of his own medicine with a drop toehold into the chair. Some other girl is too horrified to watch. Hardy climbs to the top of the cage seemingly for the sole purpose of getting in position to crotch himself on the cage door. He’s able to kick the door back in Raven’s face though. After a moment of recovery he climbs to the top of the cage and goes for a flying something but misses badly in an awkward spot. Raven sets up two tables side-by-side. He then stacks two more on top of those. The idiot referee actually HELPS Raven do this. Are you kidding me?! As a referee that personally offends me. They climb up the cage and Hardy is able to knock Raven back onto the table stack. Hardy then finishes the climb and hits a legdrop to drive Raven through the tables to get the win at 14:00. That was a decent hardcore brawl with some goofiness and botched spots knocking it down a peg or two.
MATCH #5: Strap Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championship – Team Canada vs. America’s Most Wanted
AMW have been the champions since 1.16.05, and this is their second defense. Eric Young and team captain Petey Williams are representing Team Canada tonight. They’re accompanied by A1. The champions go right after their opponents with the straps. They abuse Eric Young’s nuts on top of the cage. A1 interferes by hitting both Chris Harris and James Storm with one of the tag team titles belts to turn the tide towards the challengers. Team Canada then locks the cage with Storm inside and Harris outside, with A1 standing guard. A1 throws Harris into the barricade while Williams and Young abuse Storm inside the cage. They even use the American flag to choke Storm. Harris is able to throw A1 into the guardrail while Storm hits Young with a jawbreaker and Williams with an enziguiri. Now Harris tries to climb back into the cage but Young knocks him back down to the floor. Williams tries a rana but Storm counters with a powerbomb. Storm then hurls Williams into the cage. Young then engages in a strap battle and the Tennessee Cowboy wins that little battle. Williams cuts him off and hits the Tornado DDT. He gets two when the referee catches his feet on the ropes. Now Harris throws A1 into the steel steps and makes his way into the cage! Harris takes both Williams and Young out with a simultaneous lariat off the top rope. He hits Uncle Slam on Williams and then a spinebuster on Young. Then Harris hits a vertical suplex on Williams for two. AMW hits Young with the Hart Attack but he kicks out at two. Williams comes back with the Canadian Legsweep on Harris. Storm tries a superkick but Williams catches it and locks on the Sharpshooter! Young adds an elbow drop off the top rope but Storm kicks out at two! Williams goes for the Canadian Destroyer but Harris breaks it up with a Spear! Harris covers but only gets two. Storm hits Young with a Superkick and then AMW sets him up for the Death Sentence. Williams makes the save. A1 passes Williams the hockey stick and he hits Harris across the back with it. It only gets two! A1 then passes in some powder and Storm kicks it right back into his face. Young cuts Storm off but since Williams can’t see he kicks Young in the groin and then delivers the Canadian Destroyer to him. Storm then grabs the blinded Williams and Harris comes off with the legdrop for Williams’ Death Sentence at 15:10. That was fun and I like how they kept Harris out of the opening minutes. These two teams had good chemistry.
MATCH #6: TNA X-Division Title Match – “Primetime” Elix Skipper vs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels
Daniels has been the champion since 3.13.05 and this is his first defense. These two are former tag team partners with three NWA Tag Team Championship reigns between them (as well as Low Ki when they were all known as XXX). They counter each other early and often since they know each other so well. Daniels tries the Angel’s Wings and Skipper tries the Play of the Day but neither man can hit their finish. They continue to go back and forth without anyone taking a true advantage. Skipper shrugs off some chops and lands a couple of suplexes for a one-count. He hits a headstand into a legdrop for two. Daniels counters by picking Skipper up on his shoulders and ramming him into the cage shoulder-first. Now the champ goes to work on the injured body part. That’s why he’s the champ, folks. Every time Skipper tries to make a comeback Daniels cuts him right off. Finally Skipper uses his good arm to make the comeback and then lands a spin kick. A kick to the back gets a two-count. Skipper hits a belly-to-belly suplex and then lands a guillotine legdrop for two. He tries the Orton Backbreaker but his bad arm won’t let him complete the move, so Daniels hits a uranage. Daniels follows up with the Best Moonsault Ever but Skipper kicks out! Now the champ climbs to the top of the cage and Skipper jumps up there and crotches him. Skipper signals that he’s going to go for the tight rope hurricanrana again like he pulled off at Turning Point 2004. Daniels wisely climbs down, but Skipper leaps off the top of the cage and wipes out both Daniels and the referee. It looks like he landed pretty awkwardly on Daniels’s shoulder. Even so it gets a two-count. Daniels fights back with an enziguiri right to the shoulder. He goes for the Angel’s Wings but Skipper counters to the Sudden Death! The champ re-reverses back to the Angel’s Wings and this time he hits it to get the pin at 15:27. That was a good, focused match with a couple of high spots thrown in, and it worked. Daniels was on fire during this X-Division Title reign.
MATCH #7: Lethal Lockdown –
Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page & Sean Waltman vs. Jeff Jarrett, Kip James & Monty Brown
The first man out is Sean Waltman, who couldn’t be any more dressed like a woman. We’re not sure who’s replacing Kevin Nash yet. NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett is out first for his team. Waltman attacks Jarrett in the aisle and away we go. They’ll battle for five minutes, and then every two minutes thereafter a new competitor will enter the cage. Weapons are legal, and the match can’t be won until everyone has entered. The fight goes up into the crowd and the cameraman loses sight of them. They take the fight back up by the announce table. Waltman wipes Jarrett out with a dive off the table. He blasts Jarrett with a cowbell but misses a chair shot. They get into the cage after about three minutes of brawling around the arena. Waltman has pretty much dominated the entire five minutes. He goes for the Bronco Buster but Jarrett moves out of the way and Waltman crashes into the cage. Kip James is the next man out and Waltman fights off both opponents for a minute before the numbers game takes over. DDP comes out to even the odds and he brought a kendo stick. After another two minutes of brawling Monty Brown makes his way out to complete Team Jarrett. Brown, Kip and Jarrett dominate with their numbers advantage. BG James comes out as the final man and Kevin Nash’s replacement. He tears right after Jarrett with a trash can lid and a camera man bites it. BG even hits referee Rudy Charles with a cookie sheet for no good reason. Brown Pounces both Waltman and BG, and DDP has to break up the cover. I love that the referee has already recovered. What a sham. DDP hits Jarrett with the Diamond Cutter and Kip breaks up the cover. Brown then hits both BG and DDP with a Pounce at the same time. After some more meandering and brawling Waltman traps Brown in a victory roll to get the pin at 15:39. That was not exciting or interesting in any way.
MATCH #8: Number One Contender’s Match – AJ Styles vs. Abyss
Styles comes flying through the open cage door and wipes Abyss out on the floor! That’s how you start a main event. Abyss tries to whip Styles into the guardrail but Styles slides underneath it and jumps up to deliver a hurricanrana! This is when AJ Styles was still awesome. Styles slams Abyss into the announce table. Abyss tries to whip Styles into another barricade but this time Styles jumps on top of it and then leaps over to an oddly placed platform. Styles jumps off the platform and levels Abyss with a forearm. He charges at Abyss but the monster dunks and Styles goes crashing onto the concrete floor. Abyss takes control now and throws Styles all around the Impact Zone. Styles fights back at ringside and tries to get into the cage, but Abyss slams the door on his arm and then swings it right into his face! Styles bumps hard off that and it looked awesome. He’s busted open now. They finally make it into the cage, and Abyss brings a chair, a chain and a bag of thumbtacks in with him. Abyss wedges the chair between the top and middle turnbuckle. He then wraps the chain around Styles’ neck for a bit before changing his mind and wrapping it around one of the top turnbuckles. Styles almost comes back and charges at Abyss, but the Monster picks him up and heaves him high into the air and Styles lands face-first on the chain-wrapped turnbuckle. Abyss then hurls Styles directly into the cage twice for a two-count. He unwraps the chain from the turnbuckle and goes for a press slam but Styles reverses it to a DDT right onto the chain! Styles hits an enziguiri and a headscissors. He goes for the flipping Scorpion Death Drop but they botch it. Abyss charges and Styles ducks so Abyss crashes head-first into the chair! Styles then hits a German Suplex for two. He tries a Styles Clash but Abyss blocks it and goes for a chokeslam, so Styles counters that to a cradle for two. Styles charges and Abyss catches him with a Black Hole Slam and Styles kicks out at two! Now Abyss gets the tacks out and goes for another Black Hole Slam but Styles counters it. Tenay says that Styles made eye contact with the tacks. Worst commentator in the business. Styles is able to counter a powerbomb into a Styles Clash right on the tacks! Abyss kicks out at two! Styles climbs up to the top of the cage and Abyss throws the referee into the turnbuckle, crotching Styles on the cage. Abyss grabs the chain and climbs up as well. He wraps the chain around Styles’ neck and hangs him! He tries for a Chokeslam but Styles bites his finger. Styles then grabs Abyss in a sunset bomb off the top of the cage right onto the tacks! Tenay gives away the finish by saying “Count With Us!” and Styles does get the pin at 19:59. It’s so bittersweet to watch these old TNA main events that were this awesome because they just aren’t awesome anymore. This is one of the best TNA matches ever and one of my personal favorites.
BONUS MATCH #1: Chris Candido & The Naturals vs. Petey Williams, Elix Skipper & Mikey Batts, iMPACT!, 3.4.05
Andy Douglas and Skipper start the match. Skipper hits a back body drop and tries keeping Douglas down on the mat. Williams tags in and Candido interferes from the apron to give Douglas the advantage. Candido officially tags in and misses an elbow drop. He’s able to come right back with a powerslam though, and then a delayed vertical suplex. Candido follows up with a legdrop off the middle rope. Williams reverses a whip and Candido ends up in the Tree of Woe, which is perfect position for the Oh Canada. Candido no sells the move and hits a bodyslam. Chase Stevens tags in and Williams pokes him in the eye before making the tag to Batts. The match breaks down and the referee loses control. D’Amore has the referee distracted for some reason. Williams goes for the Canadian Destroyer on Stevens but Douglas awkwardly breaks it up and sends Williams to the floor. Batts sort of catches Stevens with a Stunner and then follows up with an enziguiri. He covers but Candido comes off the ropes with a diving headbutt and rolls Stevens on top to get the win at 3:37. I like the dynamic between Candido and the Naturals but the match was quite sloppy.
BONUS MATCH #2: NWA World Tag Team Championship Match – America’s Most Wanted vs. The Naturals (w/ Chris Candido)
AMW have been the champions since 1.16.05 and this is their third defense. Candido is out on crutches as a result of the broken leg he sustained at Lockdown. He cuts a brief promo before the match can begin about how he wouldn’t miss this day for anything in the world because his “boys” are going to win the NWA World Tag Team Titles.
James Storm and Chase Stevens start this 30-minute time-limit match. Storm hits the first big move with a Thesz Press, and he’s able to fight Andy Douglas off as well. Chris Harris comes in to even the odds and the champs clear the ring and take the fight to the floor. They brawl all around the arena and throughout the crowd. They take a commercial break and when we come back the Naturals have taken control in the ring. Storm fights back with a jawbreaker on Douglas and Harris gets the hot tag. Harris is a house afire. He hits a cross body off the top rope on Douglas for two. Storm and Stevens get knocked to the floor. Douglas nails Harris with a Harley Race knee. The challengers focus on Harris, wearing him down in their half of the ring. Stevens locks on a Camel Clutch. Harris tries to fight back but Stevens pokes him in the eye and tosses him to the floor. Douglas uses Candido’s crutch to fighter weaken Harris. Back in the ring Stevens gets a two-count. They take another commercial break.
Right as we come back Harris lands a knee to Douglas’s groin. Harris isn’t able to capitalize right away, but when he makes the tag Storm is the proverbial house afire. Storm hits Stevens with a powerslam and Douglas with a Tennessee Slam. Stevens ties to throw Storm to the floor but Storm skins the cat and takes Stevens down with a headscissors. Storm covers but only gets two when Douglas breaks it up. He hits Stevens with an enziguiri for two while Douglas grabs one of the tag team title belts. The referee stops him from using it, but while he’s distracted Stevens blasts Storm with a chair shot to the head! Harris levels Stevens with a Spear. While all four men are down Candido goes into the ring and rolls Douglas on top of Storm and he gets the pin at 12:38 (shown)! The Naturals are now two-time NWA World Tag Team Champions. The Naturals were never great, but they had really good chemistry with America’s Most Wanted and this match is probably one of their better ones. I would really like to see the match without commercial breaks, but I’ll take it.
The Pulse: The main event is outstanding and a sad reminder of how great both AJ Styles and Abyss used to be. A couple of matches on the undercard are fun and the cage didn’t wear out its welcome like some (myself included) thought it would. The bonus NWA World Tag Team Title match is also quite good. I don’t think they sell this one separately, only as part of the initial pay-per-view three-pack. The AJ versus Abyss match is available on no fewer than four other compilation DVD’s, and that’s the only match worth going out of your way to see.
Tags: Abyss, AJ Styles, impact wrestling, lockdown, TNA