Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the fuzziest and wuzziest reviews in the known universe, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as the time has finally come for the first shot from TNA post Wrestlemania, as we review TNA Lockdown 2011! See, every year TNA tries to make it seem like Bound for Glory is their biggest show, but inevitably it is Lockdown that contains the biggest moments, the best matches, and the most interesting storylines, so here at Cewsh Reviews we’ve just started accepting it as the biggest TNA show of the year. This year is no exception either, as a great many feuds are looking to be blown off here once and for all. Joe/Dinero, Angle/Jarrett, James/Rayne, and Immortal/Fortune are all going to get inside the six…err…four sides of steel and have themselves a war to settle the score. Will Immortal regain power in TNA? Will our champion be a senior citizen, a drug addict or an asshole? And just why in the hell is one of these matches only 30 seconds long? Only one way to find out.
Cewsh: Ah, the opening video. The bastion of ordered creativity in a maddened, saddened, and Darren McFaddened world. TNA, who I have charitably referred to at various points in regards to these as both “genius and the greatest in the world” and “a bunch of tripe merchants”, have a somewhat odd history of going crazily over the top with symbolism and significant imagery in their opening videos. They also have a history of having the sprite from Ghost Writer narrate Christmas specials to happy music, so general erratic behavior is what i’m trying to get across to you here.
But ultimately, when the chips are down, the production staff for TNA steps up and they did so here, using the imagine of a single blood drop to serve as a preamble to the blood and carnage to follow. They do a wonderful job getting over Lockdown as this crazy and barbaric concept that has taken the years off of men and women’s lives in the past. As usual, the test of the opening video is whether or not i’m more excited for the show after having seen it. By that criteria, this one gets a big thumbs up.
Vice: I’d just like to start all of this off by ranting about the steel cage they use. Each side is segmented into three pieces, with thick dividing bars. What this does is give the cage practically zero give at all. When TNA goes on and on about how dangerous this structure is, there really isn’t much hyperbole going on. The thing is legitimately brutal, because if you get thrown into it, you’re getting thrown into very stiff fencing. And that shit hurts. To me this is a gigantic problem, because for years and years, steel cage matches contested in normal steel cages have been shown to be brutal through theatrics and showmanship, and, ironically, lots and lots of care.
If you effectively sell it likes it’s dangerous, people will believe that it is dangerous. That’s why this is so unnecessary, as they are imposing actual danger when theatrical danger is just as effective, if not even more effective. Why put your wrestlers at risk like this?
Cewsh: Okay, first match to kick off the show. This one is for the number one contendership to the X Division title and the idea behind it is thus. 8 guys are in here, but only two men are legal at any given time. The rest have to wait in the narrow space between the ropes and the cage until tagged in. The match is elimination style, wins pinfalls and submissions counting until the final two men are left, at which point the winner will be the first one who escapes. Xcapes. Xcavates. You get the idea.
These guys have themselves their usual X Divisony type of match, and its really fun to watch as always. These guys have set the bar on consistent opening matches for any promotion that follows after to copy, and Sabin especially, divested of his partner and hetero life mate Alex Shelley due to injury, steals the show here, just flying around and reminding everyone why TNA spent about half a decade presenting him as the very best the X Division had to offer.
By the time Max Buck steals a win at the very end, this match has been just as satisfying as you would want it to be, and the growth of Max Buck as a wrestler and a personality is definitely something to continue to keep an eye on. Be told.
70 out of 100.
Vice: These are usually a good way to open up such a show. You’ve got 8 crazy guys in a cage, battling out in a fast-paced showcase of insanity. This was one of the more tame, disjointed matches of this kind, which kind of says a lot considering it’s basically a giant spotfest. Something about it just felt very off, and didn’t live up to the potential level of FUN it could have. There weren’t a ton of multi-man spots or anything too wild in general. Two guys would go at it, one would go out in a kind of underwhelming “well these guys have to be eliminated somehow..” sort of way.
The highlight of this was definitely Sabin’s ultra lariat from the darkest corner of the underworld, which was just a thing of vicious beauty.
At first I was very irritated that someone had the balls to just stand up 4 seconds after taking Sabin’s cradleshock, one of his most devastating moves he’s used since he began in TNA, but when he lopped a head off with the lariat immediately after.. well.. all was forgiven.
Max Buck winning is an interesting dynamic. I’m curious to see where this goes.
Cewsh: Out comes Eric Bischoff at the juncture in the show, to don the mask and officially debut himself as a brand new character: THE SPOILER!
Now completely in character he informs all of us that someone will be joining Immortal later tonight in the World title match. He makes it seems as though Hulk Hogan and he have an absolutely foolproof plan and like this IS absolutely going to happen.
On a side note, Eric is actually looking like he’s in great shape these days compared to when he first showed up in TNA. This isn’t really relevant in any way, I just thought I’d give the man some dap for keeping it tight.
What’s that, he’s still talking? Fuck, play me off Keyboard Cat, you wonderful dated reference you.
Cewsh: We flash to the back, where Scott Steiner has some helpful information for us on the subject of who, exactly, should responsible for doing evaluations, while his tag team partner Crimson stands by, ingesting the wisdom of this crazy old man he is stuck with tonight.
I love you Steiner. Don’t ever change.
Vice: This was a massively forgettable match. Normally when I review this stuff, I’ll hop on the ol’ Wikipedia for the match listings to keep me on the right track. When I saw this match on Wiki, I thought “..eh? I don’t recall seeing this” despite having not only watched it live, but later with Cewsh too. That’s mainly because nothing really happened in this match, and it was basically all about Eric Young being crazy. It’s stupidity when a gimmick like his is the focus of everything, and you have 7 other men that suffer and get lost in the shuffle because of it.
Young’s comedy has worn out its welcome beyond belief and he absolutely flopped as a serious character. So what’s left for him? I know he’s going to be one of those guys that sticks around forever since management and his peers seem to love him, he’s willing to do anything and everything he’s asked to do, and is actually a fairly well rounded talent. They’ve just managed to fling him at the wall 17 times and he’s never once actually stuck– he just kind of slides down at varying speeds. And it’s always kind of sad to watch.
And so I don’t leave this on such a depressing note, here is Scott Steiner on a pogo stick:
Cewsh: This match succeeds because it knows exactly what it is and what it has the potential to be, and doesn’t aspire to be more. See, these four teams are competing (unofficially) for the number one contendership for the Tag Team titles. But moreso, they’re really just here to provide some light amusement in the middle of the card. So everyone in the match focuses on providing what they do best to make it work. The British Invasion do all the heel work and keep the match sound, Ink Inc keep things exciting by running all around trying to fire people up, Scott Steiner gets the crowd interested in a big way and does all the spots the crowd wants to see while Crimson sticks to him and doesn’t mess anything up, and Eric Young and Orlando Jordan bring the comedic relief, with Eric being very amusing at various points, and for once not overwhelming the whole match with his antics.
This was the right balance of all the elements involved and was so simple and efficient that it couldn’t have been any better.
This may actually wind up being the match of the night.
74 out of 100.
Cewsh: The important thing though, is that Tara and Madison Rayne like totally aren’t friends anymore. See, Madison was cutting a promo on Mickie, and Tara jumped in to help her trash talk Mickie, and Madison responded with the real life equivalent of unfriending someone on Facebook. This seems pretty out of left field to me, but it doesn’t come as some kind of wild shock since their team never really made any goddamn sense to begin with.
Still, though, Madison needs to be careful. Now that she’s gotten rid of her best friend she needs to make sure she doesn’t lose anything else of value to her…
Segment 7 – TNA Knockouts Championship – Title vs. Hair – Madison Rayne © vs. Mickie James.
Cewsh: This match lasts 39 seconds.
For reference, this feud has been going on since Mickie James first showed up to TNA on October 7th of last year. That’s about 27 weeks if my math is even remotely correct. That means that this match just barely cleared going a second for every week of hype that went into it. Let that sink into your mind for a second. And then contemplate the reason why it was done this way. See, Mickie James has a minor shoulder separation, but nonetheless can’t use one of her arms very well and is in a great deal of pain. So instead of postponing the match to when she is, you know, actually healthy, they take the sling off of her arm backstage, have her go down to the ruing still holding it protectively, and mercilessly squash the woman who has been single handedly keeping their Knockouts Division afloat for over a year now. Not one move of offense from Madison. Just into the cage, into the cage, DDT, over.
Now I could wax poetic for hours about how this completely buries Madison Rayne, and how it is borderline psychotic to put a title belt on someone who is actively injured, or about how they were risking Mickie hurting herself far worse than she already was by sending her out there. Believe me, I could. But honestly, what would it prove.
TNA took one of their most hyped up PPV matches of the year, and gave us bullshit. I’m growing accustomed to the taste.
28 out of 100.
Vice: If you break this down and nitpick, it’s excessively awful how badly all of this was executed. However, when I think about it from the perspective of someone who doesn’t want to use nail clippers on his retina out of depression, I’m kind of glad this only lasted 36 seconds. If they wrestled longer, they’d have less non-broken bones and we’d have more…
Bully Ray, react to this for me.
Cewsh: Oh Samoa Joe. How the mighty do fall.
I suppose you can trace the state of Samoa Joe back to December of 2008. That was when, due to Samoa Joe needing time off because his wife was having their first child, they had the Main Event Mafia injure Joe and put him on the shelf. The following month, Joe came back sporting a weird tribal thing that looked like a clan chief’s dick on his face and wearing pajamas. He then tried to torture foreigners and slit Scott Steiner’s throat on live PPV. This didn’t go over great. This was all leading to Tazz being brought in to manage him, to maybe give Joe a new, more badass direction. This lasted roughly one match, where Tazz showed up and the match ended in one of the most awfully botched finishes in modern times. Tazz became a color commentator and Joe was in limbo again.
Then Joe floated around doing absolutely nothing, turned face, and that was pretty much it for about a year and a half. Now he’s out of shape, is mailing it in, and has a sidekick even more underutilized than he is. This is not a great state of affairs for the guy they built their company around only 5 years ago.
As you might expect, this is part of me winding up to telling you that this is not a good match. Joe does his spiel almost haphazardly, and Dinero seems to be trying to toe the line between batshit insane comic book villain, and bad ass tweener, which makes no sense. Add that to the fact that these two don’t really gel well in the ring (for a smaller guy, Dinero isn’t great at selling) and what you get is a sack full of meh.
51 out of 100.
Vice: Joe is a master of killing people. His ultimate foe that he simply cannot defeat? TNA’s booking. Pope had so much promise but one year ago. Now he’s just another guy, and I’m very bored with him. Joe of 2005/2006 against Pope of 2009/2010? Holy crap that could have been amazing to witness. This.. not at all.
GROAN, I SAY.
Cewsh: “Ouch” they say, collectively.
Cewsh: We interrupt your regularly scheduled review for a special news bulletin from Past Cewsh. Past Cewsh, what do you have for us?
Past Cewsh: Well Future Cewsh I’m afraid its bad news back here in the year 2010. Matt Morgan and Hernandez have just gotten done with a series of matches that can only be described as heinously offensive to all humans on Earth. They were sort of a tag team for awhile, and then Morgan turned heel and they’ve just sort of been fighting for months now and despite high fondness for both men, people just could not possibly care less, C-Fut. Can I call you C-Fut?
Past Cewsh: The one note of optimism is that apparently Hernandez will be randomly going to Mexico soon, so the likelihood of us seeing these two wrestle again in another one of their dull, plodding, eye rolling matches in the remote future is slim at best. So that’s good news for you guys in the future right? Right?
Past Cewsh: Oh, you mean…oh dear god.
Cewsh: Sorry man. You have it all ahead of you.
Past Cewsh: Bummer. By the way, do we have jetpacks yet?
Cewsh: If anything, we have LESS jetpacks now.
Past Cewsh: This blows.
52 out of 100.
Vice: Matt Morgan a year ago was showing so much promise as a main event talent. Now I find him boring and terrible. Hernandez is in the same category for the most part. Not only did they somehow both just suddenly lose all of their talent and ability to entertain, but these two have zero chemistry. They’ve never had chemistry. They never will have chemistry. And yet, all these two seem to do is feud with one another.
This match was horrible. Avoid it like the plague. Actually, if you have a choice between the two, I’d probably recommend the plague to be honest. Something tells me that time would pass quicker, and you’d never have to worry about having to see a match like this in the future.
Cewsh: At least, that’s what Sarita and Rosita would have you believe, as they launch into a bitter tirade against TNA for holding them back, including somehow suggesting that the result of the one on one fair cage match that just happened had something to do with the racist TNA management.
Then Velvet Sky, debuting her new gimmick of Velberg, runs out to the ring and beats the shit out of both of them single handedly. The fans look on and wonder how long the line to get a pretzel is now.
Cewsh: Karen Jarrett is backstage and she is asked whether or not she is nervous that her husband will be locked in a cage with Kurt Angle in a minute. She assures everyone that she has absolute confidence in her man and that he is going to beat up Kurt Angle very much the badly. I would say something snarky here, but after the train wreck of this storyline thus far its actually nice to see a simple segment where Karen is backing up Jeff and there are no axes or small children. Or axes AND small children, which hasn’t been explored yet, but can’t be all that far off.
Watch for the Bound For Glory blow off match under King Solomon’s Rules.
Cewsh: Ultra Male Rules is the same still as a Three Stages of Hell Match. Three different types of match, with the winner being the person who is the first to get two wins. Here it’s a regular match, a submission match and, naturally, a cage match.
Vice: Before I get into the gooey details of the match, this brought out the best and the worst in Kurt Angle. What I love about Angle is that even if he’s at 10%, he will give it everything he possibly has to put on a show for the fans. However, the problem is that if he doesn’t stop giving it everything he has, we’re going to get the news of his paralysis, or even death, and maybe even see it live on PPV. His passion is unmatched and his heart is colossal, but he does so many things he just doesn’t need to do, and it can be very terrifying watching him wrestle. I see him go for a high spot and my heart just comes to a complete stop and I sit there terrified until it’s over. And sometimes I just sit there worrying for a good 30-45 seconds waiting for his ass to start moving or the ref to throw up the big X.
There was a botched hurricanrana/powerbomb/something spot in this match that involved Angle landing right on his head from off the top rope, and it was just horrifying to watch. Mike Tenay generally isn’t one to show much emotion and when he does, it sounds so phony and forced that it just cannot be taken seriously. But when Angle does this shit, and stuff like moonsaults off the top of the cage, you will never hear more legitimate emotion out of Tenay. The dude is justifiably concerned for Kurt Angle’s well being. He’s aging, he’s never completely healthy, and doing unnecessary crazy things will only put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life if he’s lucky. And I wouldn’t be shocked that if paralyzed from the waist down, he will get his legs amputated and try to continue wrestling as just a torso. I really do worry about him, and I think TNA should reel him in a bit. Also, since he’s a great wrestler, they should let him actually wrestle. By putting him neck high in bullshit constantly and never letting him shine, he is going to go 150% whenever he gets the chance to send everyone a message. Not good.
The match itself was pretty good, but was weighed down a lot by general confusion, somewhat messy rules, interference, and some rehashing of spots/story from Angle/Anderson. Also that Jarrett won, and that probably means this feud is going to continue still. Angle should have walked out of the cage when he did, won the match, smiled, and then gone and locked himself in the cage with Jarrett for a hell of an ass kicking. Blow it off, end this fucking feud, make the fans happy, give us a normal Kurt Angle wrestling in non-ridiculous programs, and make the fans happy.
Cewsh: Can I level with you for a second dear reader? Just between you and me?
I’m starting to find Kurt Angle matches a little hard to watch.
Its not because of the quality. Here Kurt turns in the kind of performance he always brings to the table. He brings technical soundness, competence and credibility to any match with anyone at any time. But as his career has transitioned into the stage where he should maybe be winding down a tad, he has begun to take progressively greater and greater risks in the ring. We’re talking about a guy who has a broken neck, questionable mental health, a personal life more or less in tatters, and who is pushing retirement age who is doing crazy shit and i’m not sure why he’s even doing it. The moonsault off the top of the cage is great, Kurt, but for fuck’s sake, it didn’t even fit the tone of this match, and watching you hit the ground only makes me wonder when the day will come that we’ll watch you go out the way we lost Misawa.
Anyway, despite how the feud has gone as a whole, Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle actually have some great chemistry in the ring, and haven’t turned out a bad match yet (we aren’t counting that MMA thing). Here they bring the hate convincingly, and only the moonsault and the nasty botch off of the attempted top rope hurracanrana that almost landed Kurt square on his neck really detracted from what was overall a pretty damn good match. There was a lot hanging over this match that could have dragged it down, but these guys are masters at this, and don’t let it touch them too much. Hopefully, years from now when we look back on this feud, we remember these matches and not, you know, the rest.
78 out of 100.
Segment 14 – TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Sting © vs. Ken Anderson vs. Sting.
Vice: I wish I cared. I really do.
Cewsh: Look, I get what they were going for with this match. I do.
The idea here is to have a three way match with the top 3 faces in the company and have the idea that one of them is going to join Immortal hanging over the match the whole time. They even had Bisch come out and TELL US somebody was joining Immortal earlier in the show. But as the match got going, I totally forgot about that whole scenario. Because not only did it seem ridiculously unlikely that any of these three characters would align with that group, but Immortal has been made to look so unimportant, I can’t actually think of why anyone would WANT to join it.
So these three get on with having a perfectly fine match together, when suddenly Hulk Hogan lumbers down to ringside with a pipe.
He slides it in to RVD, who picks it up and promptly hurls it back at Hulk, telling him that he doesn’t want to win that way. Ken Anderson then scoops it up, bashes Van Dam’s brains in, and as Hulk celebrates, yells to him “That was for me, not for you.” He then congratulates himself for half a second, allowing Sting to hit the Scorpion Death Drop and win the match.
I don’t really know whether this match wasn’t better simply because the crowd wasn’t overly interested and the performers don’t click together, or whether it because there was no heel for anyone to work off of, or whether it was just because the stink of Immortal hung over the whole thing. Whatever the cause may be, these three struggled mightily against and, and managed to put together an entirely inoffensive match with potentially offensive ingredients. I can definitely appreciate that.
68 out of 100.
Cewsh: Alright, here we are in the main event with the Lethal Lockdown match, pitting Team Fortune again Team Immortal to see which team is superior. What is a Lethal Lockdown match, you ask? Well let’s let them explain it.
So essentially it’s like the classic Wargames match from WCW, only there’s just one ring, and there are going to be weapons once everyone has entered. Make sense? Sort of? Maybe? Let’s proceed anyway.
See that up there? That’s the order that people entered this match. Want to know why there aren’t any words in between those entrances? That would be because there was not one single noteworthy thing of any sort that happened before they were all in the match and the ceiling came down. Now generally in these sorts of matches this part of the match is slower than the end, simply because you’re building to the crescendo later, but this match was truly impressive in the performer’s desire to just kill time until the end. At some point Ric Flair went ahead and stuck a blade halfway through his skull and starts spouting blood to such an extent that soon he, Daniels, and just about everyone are totally covered in his blood.
Then while THIS is going on, his pants get pulled down so we can enjoy some bloody old man ass, with the added bonus prize of a quick unexpected view of shriveled old man genitals. It’s a charmed life we lead, boys and girls. A charmed, charmed life.
In the end, AJ Styles comes back after Bully Ray had put him on the shelf and he attacks, helping Team Fortune win and stuff, which is good and stuff. That’s fine, but let me make an appeal to the logic of you, our dear readers. The interference in this match meant that the final three matches of this show ALL had interference in them. So what, I ask you, is the point of contesting these matches inside of a steel cage construct, especially one with a roof on it, if ANYBODY CAN JUST SHOW UP AND INTERFERE?! Why not hold the match in a fucking Bouncy Castle? Why not the ball pit at Chucky Cheese? Why not the prison in Hogan’s Heroes? Who cares? All of these places are apparently a cakewalk to just get in and out of. For fuck’s sake. If its just to have cage matches for the sake of cage matches, then fine. Do what makes you happy, TNA. But next month, can we have a show where the gimmick is matches ending with clean finishes? I think that would be the greatest swerve of all.
58 out of 100.
Vice: I completely forgot about this match. When I saw that the world title match was going on so early, I thought holy shit this match is going to be long (maybe Sting getting a giant block of time to make up for his 8 seconds vs. Hardy?), and it’s either going to be absolutely dreadful or surprisingly brilliant. But yeah, then this comes on and I find myself feeling very apathetic. It wasn’t a “fuck yeah! I forgot all about this! YES!” or a “uuuuuughhhhhh kill me”– just something perfectly in between.
This is a match type I love. On paper, anyway. Or in other companies. It’s a great concept and you can do a ton with it, and other promotions have done fantastic matches in this style, specifically ROH’s Steel Cage Warfare with Generation Next taking on the Embassy. But in TNA, it just never works. I don’t know what it is. It all just seems so fucking cluttered at all times, especially when all 8 men are in there. ROH has done it with 8 men as well, in an even smaller ring, and it doesn’t feel nearly as cramped. So.. I dunno. They’ve just never been good in TNA, no matter how much talent they have in there. They’re just messes of a “match” that are a clusterfuck until everyone is in the cage, and then you have two idiots randomly climb the top of the cage once the roof comes down just so they can do an absurdly dangerous, unnecessary high spot to get a “this is awesome!” chant.
So as you can tell, I didn’t really have a lot of fun with this. In comparison to some of the other lethal lockdown matches, this one wasn’t nearly as harmful, but that also isn’t exactly saying a lot. Ric Flair did an amazingly sick (as in disgusting, not “cool”) gusher of a blade job, AJ Styles returned in a moment of awesomeness, Daniels needs a run with the TNA title, and Bully Ray is the best heel in the universe. That is all you need to know.
That and Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy. It’s a good ice breaker.
Cewsh: You know, when I was watching the show with Vice and he and I were talking about it, there were a lot of phrases going back and forth like “Well it isn’t as bad as…” and “ugh, whatever, it could be worse” and the like. That didn’t seem weird at the time, but as I started writing the review, it started bothering me more and more. TNA has a lot of good talent and good qualities. They pushed unfamiliar guys into the main event here, and the established veterans were used to put over the younger guys for the most part. I should be happy about this. But more than anything I’m just mad. Mad that we keep dumbing down our expectations of TNA (and WWE often as well) in order to get through it, and mad that they don’t seem to fucking care about what makes their product so infuriating to watch.
TNA could be great, and they should be great. Anything less, and this show was much, much less, is just a huge fucking waste.
Wait, I can simply this further. Ric Flair, was this a good show?
Vice: What TNA has done with Daffers is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in their butchering and misuse were they close to anything that could be considered humane. Everyone on the internet is now dumber for even acknowledging TNA’s existence. I give them no awards, and may god have mercy on their souls.
Cewsh Note: After typing this, Vice became very sad. To cheer him up, I will be playing him off with the music from the Incredible Hulk tv show.
Sic Semper Vicia.
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. Join us next week as we go EXTREME or some such thing with WWE’s Extreme Rulez (the z is for ZAZZ) 2011. We shall see what exactly the new direction for WWE is going to be following the monumental shake ups from the draft, and what, if any, surprises lay in store for us in the summer. So until then, remember to keep reading, and god dammit, be good to one another!