TNA Lockdown 2014

Total Nonstop Action Proudly Presents…
TNA Lockdown 2014

Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the the reviews that draw better than TNA does, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as, after a 6 month absence, TNA makes it’s grand return to the Cewsh Reviews stage with TNA Lockdown 2014. Now, you might be aware that Lockdown and Bound For Glory are really the only conventional pay per views left standing on TNA’s schedule, and so we will always make it our priority to check in with them for these two shows just to see what is going on. But this time is a little bit different. This time the winds of change are rising in TNA, and the entire promotion may be all but unrecognizable to the casual observer. After all, top stars have left the company, a new champion reigns over all, and the major storyline coming in is an ownership conflict between Dixie Carter and…MVP? Oh yes, and there’s more. Which TNA star has adopted an alter ego that I referred to as “one of the top 5 most embarrassing things in TNA’s history”? What major Japanese wrestler has shown up to add a little class to these proceedings? And what former TNA star makes his dramatic comeback here tonight, (you’ll know when we get there because everything will be in caps)? Well there’s only one way to find out.

So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!

Segment 1 – INTRODUCTION!

Cewsh: Welcome to Lockdown, where’s the wrestlers are cagey, and the cages are…well, they’re probably pretty cagey also. As TNA’s second biggest show of the year, you can be sure they pulled out all the stops for this one and put all of their effort, know how and resources into making this a great show for the massive paying audience of *checks the attendance numbers* hundreds! Now, while I don’t always get the chance to watch the television shows that lead up to all of the shows we review, (though I do try to, since context is hugely important,) I have actually watched each and every episode of Impact leading up to this show since the beginning of February. And from that experience as a critical observer, here are the matches that I am sure are on this card:

Joe vs. Magnus
Lethal Lockdown
Storm vs. Gunner
Uh…
Young vs. Abyss? No?
Sabin vs. Sky? Not that either?
Ray vs. Anderson? Oh wait, they already did that.

It appears that they have actually constructed a number of feuds, set them on a path that would perfectly crest at the next PPV, and then blown half of them off on television before the show. Now, I know that TNA is mostly a tv first company now, but if you have a PPV, why would you blow off a feud two weeks before it, when you have nothing to replace it with? So with all of my watching of the shows, I genuinely have no idea who I am about to watch perform. But hey, that can be exciting, right? Let’s see who we get first.

Segment 2 – Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Chris Sabin vs. The Great Muta, Sanada and Yasu

Cewsh: Uh, yeah actually. That’ll do. That’ll do just fine, TNA.

Now for those who don’t know, Keiji Mutoh recently stepped down as the President of All Japan Pro Wrestling after some Titanic level disagreements with the new owner, (who is batshit insane.) He has since founded a new company by the name of Wrestle-1, and one of the first major moves Mutoh made after doing so was to sign a working agreement with TNA so that they could share talent between their companies. This agreement is a big win for TNA, as they will get great talent on the cheap to work their shows while raising their brand awareness in a country that may be on the cusp of another wrestling boom. For Wrestle-1, though, it’s a bit puzzling, as they are partnering with a company that has very little name recognition in Japan and who made such a mockery of the system when they had a similar agreement with New Japan that it’s still talked about in disbelief to this day. Everything from jobbing out New Japan’s brightest young stars, (including both Okada and Tanahashi,) to having New Japan’s titles change hands on TNA shows WITHOUT ASKING NEW JAPAN FIRST. This is what Mutoh has gotten himself into.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The fruit of this union on TNA’s side is that they get Mutoh for this high profile match, and they also get Seiya Sanada, one of the brightest stars of Wrestle-1, as their X Division champion full time in America. This is Sanada’s introduction into TNA, (he won the X Division title at the combined Outbreak show in Japan,) and he’s teamed up with the young Yasu who looks and wrestles so much like a young Satoshi Kojima that they could play time traveler pranks on people.
 
But despite all of that, the story here is the Great Muta. I think that all wrestling fans, even the most cynical and disaffected ones, have one wrestler who they will always be a mark for deep down. No matter how often you see them or how badly they age, they’ll always may you freak out a little when their music hits, and for me that wrestler will always be the Great Muta.

The man is in his 50s, his knees are held together by rubber cement and packing peanuts, and he walks like he’s trying to carry the One Ring into Mordor, but i’ll be damned if there isn’t still something electric about the man.

This match gets a solid 10 minutes, and it spends all of it letting Mutoh be cool, and highlighting how exciting Sanda can be. It was fantastically successful as a highlight reel for the debuting Sanada, and the crowd was hot for Muta, even though he had never appeared in a TNA ring before. All in all, you couldn’t ask much more from this. Terrific opener, and hopefully a trustworthy sign of things to come for Sanada in TNA.

70 out of 100

Team Muta Over Team TNA Following A Moonsault From Sanada To Daniels. 

Segment 3 – Dark Premonitions.

Cewsh: A lot has changed since we last visited TNA in October, some of it bad and some of it good. One of most positive things that has come about since then is the presence of Rockstar Spud. The pintsized winner of the British reality show that TNA ran to find a great British talent has become the most entertaining part of every show he’s on as the ass kissing Chief of Staff for Dixie Carter. He has a level of commitment to his character that would put many Hollywood actors to shame, and every time I see his wacky hairdo come strutting down the ramp, I find myself liking TNA a little more.

That Coat Is Worth A Few Buys By Itself.

Spud is here to introduce Dixie Carter, who is super upset that Jeff Hardy got added to MVP’s team in the main event. She claims that Jeff violated his contract and that she now has the ability to bar Jeff from wrestling tonight. This puts MVP’s team in the awkward position of having to find a mystery partner on the TNA roster to join their team at the last minute. I mean, Kip James works for WWE now, so he’s out. Who else is even an option?

If the words “TNA” and “mystery partner” sent a cold shiver of dread down your spine right there, then congratulations. You may be a psychic. But we’ll get to that in a bit. Oh will we ever.

Segment 4 – Cage Match – Sam Shaw vs. Mr. Anderson

Cewsh: In the long and storied history of professional wrestling, there have been many great characters. From kid friendly superheroes like Hulk Hogan to brash trash talkers like the Rock, to the myriad of weirdos in between. So when a new character debuts, it is only natural to compare them to similar gimmicks that have come before, such as Chris Jericho/Shawn Michaels, Jack Swagger/Kurt Angle, and Rhino/Bastion Booger. And that brings me to Sam Shaw. Shaw, who you may or may not remember as being a former TNA Gutcheck winner, recently debuted a new gimmick. And in the spirit of wrestling history, I would have to compare it to this man:

That’s right, not the good DDP that we know and love. I’m talking about creepy, lecherous, obsessive stalker DDP. But while Page was just doing all of the stalker stuff to get in the Undertaker’s head, Sam Shaw is presented as being exactly the kind of fucked up weirdo that Page was pretending to be. Let’s watch, shall we?

So yeah. Wrestling has it’s very first serial killer. I have no idea what we, as the audience, are supposed to do with this, but at least we have that model of heroism KEN ANDERSON here to save the day. Hooray!

It must be said that Shaw is working his ass off to make this gimmick work. He has the creepy serial killer vibe down pat, and he’s doing some pretty decent acting for a pro wrestler.

And it was as I typed those words that he climbed to the top of the cage and declared that he was going to commit suicide by jumping if Christy Hemme didn’t come out to see him. That’s pretty distasteful to say the least, but disaster is averted when Mr. Anderson comes out and, in the face of a potential suicide occurring in front of him, proceeds to do his full introduction before trying to convince Sam to kill himself while the crowd chants, “JUMP JUMP JUMP.”

After this charming interlude, we get ourselves a match. And it is not a good one. For all the credit I must give Shaw for his commitment to gimmick, he still comes across as an incredibly green wrestler who is out of his league on major shows like this. Nothing he does in this entire match is worthy of note, except for the nasty looking bump he takes on a top rope back suplex.

Yeah, I Think That’s Probably How That Was Supposed To Go.

And when you have an inexperience guy who lacks excitement in his matches, the worst thing you can do is pair him with someone like Anderson, who wrestles like he’s stuck in Jello and may be the least sympathetic babyface in wrestling history. Both guys do their best here, and the crowd seems game to chant for pretty much anything that happens, no matter who does it, but it just doesn’t quite go anywhere until finally we come to the climax. After delivering two Mic Checks, Anderson goes to climb over the top of the ring. But in her celebration of this, Christy Hemme steps a little too close to the cage, and Shaw reaches through the hole that the cameras shoot through and grabs her. Anderson manages to escape, but before he can react, Shaw drags Hemme into the cage with him, and begins to stalk her like…a snake?

Ladies Love It Snakey Style.

Shaw backs Hemme into the corner and just kind of stares at her until Anderson grabs the key and runs inside to save her. Hemme makes a run for it, and Anderson tries to follow, but Shaw sneaks up and gives him a mighty groin uppercut, before locking him up and choking him into unconsciousness. With that, Shaw gets up and walks out of the cage, which, much to my surprise, results in him being awarded the win. “But wait,” you might be saying, “I thought Anderson was on the floor for like 5 minutes there while Shaw was being snakey.” Well, you’re absolutely right. See, Earl Hebner had been knocked to the ground about 10 minutes earlier, and so he didn’t see any of that, and nobody felt the need to question this until after Shaw had already won the match. Because TNA.

60 out of 100

Sam Shaw Over Mr. Anderson Following His Escape From The Cage.

Cewsh: So the serial killer wins, Mr. Anderson lies bloated and purple in the ring, and Christy Hemme is actively fleeing the arena for her life. This is some pretty serious shit. We’d better stay on this and make sure Hemme is oka…

Segment 5 – Robbie E’s Dick.

Cewsh: BOOM. Priorities, people.

Segment 6 – Ethan Carter III vs. ?????

Cewsh: Before we get to the match, I just want to draw your attention to the fact that Ethan Carter is ridiculously ripped. I don’t know what the hell he’s been doing since his NXT days, but the man went from dork to beefcake with no stops in between.

Ahem, anyway, EC3 comes to the ring in his usual grandiose fashion, to tell us all about his dream of facing the best competition that wrestling has to offer. He accuses Kurt Angle of getting knee surgery prior to Lockdown in order to avoid having to face him, and says that he is the new face of American wrestling due to this blatant forfeit. He goes on to state that he is issuing an open challenge to anyone who wants to face him and claim that title for their own. This of course immediately reminded me of EC3’s debut at Bound For Glory, where his mystery opponent match turned out like this:

This Gif Really Never Gets Old.

So, I wasn’t exactly expecting much from this. Maybe Eric Young? SHARK BOY? I don’t know, who else could it really be?

Screaming Begins In 3…2…1…

AHHHHHHHHHHH ITS BOBBY LASHLEY HOLY SHIT WHAT IS GOING ON?! AHHHHHHHH!

For those of you who aren’t being forced to breathe into a paper bag right now to prevent hyperventilation, Bobby Lashley is a former WWE star who had a run with TNA a few years ago that didn’t really work out because he was training as an MMA fighter at the same time. He also happens to be my favorite wrestler of all time, and perhaps only MY favorite wrestler of all time. Honestly, I have no idea why, in 2014, TNA would bring back Bobby Lashley completely out of the blue, but if the entire point of this was just to win over me specifically, then this has been mammothly successful already.

As Lashley made his way to the ring, the crowd goes nuts for him, chanting “BOBBY BOBBY” to give thanks and recognition for the presence of a true wrestling hero. Lashley, fpr his part, grinned and flexed for the crowd, looking not a year older than he did when he first debuted in WWE almost exactly 10 years before. As Ethan Carter spluttered protests about how Lashley isn’t even on the roster, Lashley backed him up against the ropes, and when Carter threw a wild punch, Lashley went to work.

POW!

KABLAMO!

After just two mighty blows that reverberated from Miami all the way to Parts Unknown, EC3 was down and out, and the mighty Lashley stood tall over his first victim of his new TNA run. As Lashley celebrated with the jubilant fans at ringside, the announcers were left speculating wildly about the status of Lashley in TNA. But for the king and his subjects, these are questions for another day. For all was at last right with the world again.

Our Hero Has Returned!

Now, this wasn’t actually a match, and nobody actually won so I can’t give this the perfect 100 out of 100 hundred graade that it deserves, but I will leave you with this: TNA is the best company ever, you guys. Anything I’ve ever said to the contrary was premature and regrettable and stupid and wrong. GO TNA WOOO!

Segment 7 – Cage Match – Manik vs. Tigre Uno

Cewsh: Tigre Uno, who you may know as Extreme Tiger from AAA in Mexico, is one of the handful of new signings for TNA that are so good and so well thought out that it’s hard to believe that the same management that we have watched get this wrong time and time again are still making the decisions. Along with Sanada, Tigre Uno represents a welcome breath of fresh air into what had increasingly become a worn out and depleted X Division over the past few years, since that division’s crowning moment at Destination X 2011. Aside from the obvious lucha libre flavor that Tigre brings to the table, he also has one of the best styles of anyone in AAA to meld with the American crusierweight style. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that this debut makes for fun watching.

 Look At That Handsome Bastard With His Little Teeth. Adorable.

These guys get some time and free reign to do whatever they want, and they use it to go full speed for a solid 10 minutes, in a match reminiscent of those fun X division exhibitions we used to get on every PPV in better days. They do a bunch of great stuff, and Tigre gets to show just how crazy of a bastard he is.

This Was So Smooth, It Ended With Him ALREADY HOOKING THE LEG.

This is the third debut exhibition match of the show, and while that may seem like overkill on paper, both matches feel like such breaths of fresh air for TNA that I almost wish every match was a new debut. The feeling of this show is one of renewal and potential, and while I know that investing in that will come back to burn in a big way like it always does, through the first half of this show, there is a ton to like thus far, and the crowd reaction makes it clear that they’re feeling it too. They’ve been eager and excited to greet every new star thus far and have been the most enthusiastic American TNA crowd I can remember. Just keep that in mind for later.

74 out of 100

Tigre Uno Over Manik Following The Sabertooth Splash.

Segment 8 – Last Man Standing Cage Match – James Storm vs. Gunner

Cewsh: Poor James Storm. Every time he forms a tag team, it falls apart quicker than the last one. From four years spent with Chris Harris in America’s Most Wanted, to two years spent with Bobby Roode in Beer Money, to less than one year with Gunner in whatever the hell they called their team, every time James Storm teams up with someone, they are guaranteed to win the tag team titles, and then explode into a messy feud that culminates at Lockdown. It’s like clockwork.

The difference with this feud is that his partner/opponent is Gunner, who is possibly the least interesting member of this or any other roster. His gimmick is essentially that he is a former Marine who has occasion bouts of post traumatic stress disorder where he guilts everyone else because they weren’t also Marines. The fact that he brought this up multiple times while they were in ENGLAND should illustrate to you to kind of guy that we’re talking about. And yet James Storm is the heel here, as he cost Gunner the TNA World Heavyweight Championship out of jealousy for Gunner recent run of success. Since Storm makes a good heel, we’ll just go with it.

Anyway, in the match, Gunner does this:

The reason i’m focusing on that is because these two do some things that SOUND cool, but that, in practice don’t amount to anything, because we aren’t given any reason to care about Gunner, the result, or James Storm’s motivations. A last man standing match without a hot storyline driving it is just a lengthy game of, “What’s the most creative item I can hit this guy with?” So I COULD tell you more about that, but that would get in the way of me posting this gif again.

Gunner, what do you think of my review of this match?

 

Gunner, there’s a spider on your face.

 

Gunner, that turnbuckle had sex with your sister.

I take it back. Gunner is the gift that keeps on giving.

62 out of 100

Gunner Over James Storm Following A Superplex Off Of The Cage.

Segment 9 – TNA Knockouts Championship – Cage Match – Madison Rayne (c) vs. Gail Kim

Cewsh: Speaking of people that you should never team up with, Gail Kim is here to attempt to recapture the Knockouts championship, which was taken from her by her former partner and friend, Madison Rayne. Now, as TNA is eager to point out, these are the two longest reigning Knockouts champions of all time. That essentially means that this is an epic, legendary match on paper, which is good, because they’ve dedicated about 30 seconds to it on television leading up to this show.

If you’re a long time Cewsh Reviews reader, you’ll already know that I’m a huge fan of both of these two, so I had high hopes for this one. And luckily, those expectations were very much lived up to. This isn’t the best Knockouts match in TNA history or anything like that, but what it is, is a great PPV title defense, where these two made more use of the cage environment than any other match thus far. It came majorly into play twice, first when Gail Kim lays Madison out with a wicked top rope hangman neckbreaker:

Splat.

…and then again at the finish, which sees both women jockeying for position on the top rope again. Gail Kim, trying to repeat the success of the neckbreaker from earlier, actually tries for a top rope Eat Defeat, leaving her precariously balanced on one foot. Madison manages to knock her off, dispose of a cage climbing Lei D’Tapa, and then fling herself off the top rope with a fantastic spear to pick up the victory.

This match wasn’t overly long, overly complex, or overly booked, and nor was it short, simple, or dull. It was juuuuuuuuust right. And since it looks like the Knockouts division is beginning to overhaul itself to fix year of damage and neglect, that’s exactly the kind of foundation you can build something on.

77 out of 100

Madison Rayne Over Gail Kim Following A Top Rope Spear.

Segment 10 – TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Knockout Or Submission Match – Magnus (c) vs. Samoa Joe

Cewsh: I haven’t talked much about the World Heavyweight Championship match thus far, but it’s actually an interesting one. Some time ago, there was a tournament that forced random partners to team up together, which led to Samoa Joe and Magnus making for an unlikely and powerful tag team combination. They soon captured the TNA World Tag Team Championships, and were really impressive together, despite their totally different personas and lack of experience together. Unfortuntaely they were broken up out of the blue and given nothing much to do until Sting decided to reform the Main Event Mafia in order to fight the scourge of Aces and Eights. Joe recommended Magnus for the group and they were teammates again for a little while until that all went to hell too. Fast forward to the present and Magnus is now the corporate sell out champion for Dixie Carter, and is the very face of the movement that has removed everything that Samoa Joe loved about TNA. But now, after trying every way possible to duck him, Magnus is going to have to face his very dangerous former partner for the title at Lockdown, where Joe is 5-0 in his career. And he is not happy about it one bit.

But Magnus is not a stupid champion, oh no. In the past few months he has blossomed into something very similar to 2000 era Triple H. Always thinking, always planning, always with a trick up his sleeve, Magnus has managed to not only retire greats like Sting and AJ Styles, but also to put down every other challenge that has come his way. And now he has stated his plan openly for everyone to hear. He is going to make Samoa Joe angry, and then let him make a mistake that costs him the match. If there is one weakness in Joe’s game, it’s his tendency to lose control of his anger and get picked apart by clever opponents. Magnus is clever, but he’s going to have to be way more than that. Because this match can only be won by knockout or submission, and that means Joe’s rules in the environment where Joe has never lost. And that’s bad, bad news for anyone.

Thus far, I honestly haven’t had very many bad things to say about this show. New talent, exciting matches, and the level of overbooking thus far has been so low that I had to go back to see if there had even been any. In a possibly related note, this crowd has been hot for just about everything thus far, and is white hot for Samoa Joe. Considering there are only like 1,000 people here, the noise level for Joe is all the more impressive as we go into this match.

In the early going, Magnus tries to test Joe here and there to get a feel for him. This involves a great many headlocks and a great deal of Magnus getting his British ass chucked halfway across the ring. It must be said that Joe seems to be moving more sluggishly in this match than even other recent matches I’ve seen of his, but the crowd absolutely does not care, and they get more and more behind Joe as his beating of Magnus continues. And it is a beating. Let’s just say that it doesn’t take long for Magnus to start having a really bad day.

Magnus manages to fight back into the match and turn it into a stalemate, with both men busted open and throwing their best shots at each other. Magnus empties his entire arsenal on Joe, even hitting him with his proven deadly top rope elbow drop, but Joe just keeps coming, and coming, and coming. And after a few misplaced punches, an enraged Joe unleashes an onslaught of open handed slaps on Magnus that send him reeling across the ring. Magnus tries to climb the cage to escape, but Joe grabs his foot and drags him back down into position for a crushing Muscle Buster.

With the win clearly in front of him, Joe locks on the Coquina Clutch and waits for Magnus to tap out to the inevitable. And just when Samoa Joe has his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship in 6 years within his grasp, everything goes sideways for him.

A hand comes out of the ring and drags Samoa Joe underneath to send him back to the start of the dungeon, leaving a stunned Magnus looking on, and a crowd full of absolutely irate people chanting, “BULLSHIT.” After a few seconds, Magnus crawls towards the hole to see what happened, and recoils in horror as a bloody Samoa Joe rises out of the hole like some nightmare apparition from his darkest nightmares.

Joe kicks whatever is below the ring away and rises to his feet to continue the fight, but before he can do anything, Joseph Parks appears behind him in Abyss’ clothing and slams his favorite board covered in nails directly into Joe’s stomach.
 

One Black Hole Slam later and Joe is completely out. The Parks turns to Magnus, and the two shake hands, showing that Magnus had the whole thing planned from the start. And then, to add insult to injury, Magnus locks in the Coquina Clutch on an unconscious Joe, getting himself a submission victory, and retaining his title.

Here’s the problem with overbooking. You have to earn it. Some of the greatest moments in wrestling history have come from a ton of chaos breaking out during an important match that people were invested in. This may ring some bells, for example:

That may seem like just a great moment from the Attitude Era, but think about everything that went into constructing it. You have to have a villain that people truly hate in Vince, an army under him that people view as a real threat, a babyface sympathetic enough that people are desperate to see him win against the odds, another hugely popular stable who comes to his defense to even things up, and then an even bigger star to show up at exactly the right moment, who fits perfectly into feuds and partnerships with everyone else while still not being so obvious that everyone knows that he’s coming. That’s years of careful booking, good luck, and great timing just to create that one moment, that people will remember forever. Great booking is invisible.

And that’s what TNA has never seemed to understand. You can’t just have an overbooked finish to EVERY SINGLE WORLD TITLE MATCH. If you do that, then you are cheapening the impact of that for when you really need it. So when a match like this comes along and it actually might make sense to do this, most anyone watching will just say, “oh, another screwy finish” and write you off without giving it another thought. You. Have. To. Earn. It. And here they didn’t, and not only did it hurt the match, but it killed the previously white hot crowd. Just like it always does.

The sad thing is that this match was really something. The fans were SO behind Joe, and Joe and Magnus clicked so well that even with the overbooking, this was a really good match. Joseph Parks is the weak link here, and his inclusion into any main event storyline has been the kiss of death for it for about 10 years now. But with a song in my heart from the first half of this show, I’m still going to walk away from this match with a positive impression of it. Of all the overbooked nonsense TNA has pulled out over the years, this one doesn’t even come close to the worst. And that’s what they call damning with faint praise.

82 out of 100

 Cewsh’s Seal of Approval



Magnus Over Samoa Joe Following The Coquina Clutch.



Segment 11 – Control Of TNA – Lethal Lockdown Match – Team Dixie (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and the Bromans) vs. Team MVP (MVP, The American Wolves and ?????)



Cewsh: There has never been a good Lethal Lockdown match. Go ahead, try and find me one. The entire concept is flawed. The cage is so hard to see into, and there are so many people involved, that it becomes incredibly difficult to tell what in the fuck is going on in there. Most of these matches just wind up being 30 minutes of the kind of lazy brawling that you tend to get in between entrants in the Royal Rumble, punctuated by one or two ridiculous stunts that the fans don’t pop for because they can’t see what is happening. This is literally the marquee gimmick match of this entire company, and they have not altered it despite all of these problems. So, just so you’re aware, this match sucks, and you need not have any reason to suspect otherwise in the future. It isn’t the performer’s fault, they try their best, but it is what it is.

But enough about what this match has stacked against it. What does it have going for it? Well, for one thing, there are actual stakes at stake here, (not steaks, though that would be good too.) It was only a few weeks ago that MVP made his grand return to American wrestling by debuting in TNA as the mysterious investor who had bought half of TNA right out from under Dixie’s nose. Let’s ignore the real life impossibility of this for a minute and instead focus on the fact that this has actually helped to revitalize the shows a little bit, and has served as the catalyst for some new talent to debut, (like the American Wolves,) and for some others to get a well deserved turn back in the spotlight, (like Bobby Roode.) TNA didn’t waste any time putting this match together either, making the stipulation that if either Dixie or MVP’s teams win then that person will obtain full ownership over TNA from this point on.

So the match kicks off, and it’s about the scenario that I laid out earlier. Lots of unmotivated brawling in front of a crowd that has gone from white hot to sitting on their hands in 15 minutes. But then, oh but then boys and girls then something magical happens. The kind of thing that a reviewer tosses and turns at night, having fitful, impossible, wonderful dreams about. You see, after everyone else has entered the match, the countdown begins for MVP’s mystery partner, who, just to reiterate, cannot be Jeff Hardy due to legal reasons. So the countdown ends, the lights go out, and for the first time we are introduced to the individual known as Willow.

At Least He Dressed Up For The Occasion.

But you know, just showing you this apparition isn’t really enough is it? So before we go further, please take a moment to enjoy one of the many hype videos that they were running for Willow in the weeks leading up to this event.

You can go ahead and watch that as many times as you need to in order to come to terms with the fact that that is a real thing that a national wrestling company is promoting with total seriousness. Jeff Hardy in a cheap mask with braids in his hair, shrieking things in the woods, with the cheapest of cheap production values.

I think that we’re finally getting to see the very essence of Jeff Hardy. All of that cool stuff that people liked and were drawn to was just the icing on top of the crazy cake that is the rest of the man, and here it is out in full force. And if you thought that crazy apocalyptic ramblings that sound more like a low rent Final Fantasy boss than Bray Wyatt was the end of the hilarity here, then you obviously have not heard Mike Tenay use his “serious announcer” voice to describe how Willow is Jeff Hardy’s alter ego whose crazy antics just GO TOO FAR. These antics include jumping off of cages, jumping off of ladders, and generally doing the things that Jeff Hardy is most famous for doing, except that now, after he does them, he gets, like, really uncomfortably close to the camera to illustrate how crazy he is.

Picture Taken Moments Before Willow Crawled Through Cewsh’s Computer Screen And Murdered Him.

Now, look. I’ve lived through a whole bunch of shit in my days of covering TNA. Samoa Joe murdering Scott Steiner live on PPV, whatever that whole Cody Deaner thing was, and even Rhino matches. But I have never in all that time been so thoroughly dumbfounded to see something on my screen. Did nobody look at this at any point in the process and say, “Um, Jeff, there’s no easy way to say this, but if a ringwraith fucked a hippie, you would be the result”? Honestly, i’m flabbergasted. But despite this whole big fucking mess being plopped right into the middle of this already dire match, there is one ray of hope to be had. It’s not a particularly NICE ray. In fact you might even call it a…bully ray.

It’s Bully Ray. Don’t Be Ashamed If You Didn’t Get It.

Yes, and here lies the final part of Dixie Carter’s master plan. She has now elected to insert Bully Ray into the match as the special guest referee, with the sole purpose of having him ruin everything for the babyfaces. And yes, that does mean that they inserted a special referee into a match halfway through it, after the cage roof had been lowered to keep everyone inside, after a major debut had taken place just seconds earlier, during the already overbooked main event they were having. Everybody got all that? Alright. Now, if there’s one person who can be relied upon to be a heel and do heel things, it has to be Bully Ray. So obviously, you can imagine that this match ends with Bully Ray…

SWERVE

…slamming the shit out of Bobby Roode, allowing MVP to win, and costing Dixie Carter her stake in the company? Awhaaaaaaa? The show goes off the air with a distraught Rockstar Spud bawling in a heap on the ground as the empire of Dixie Carter has crumbled to dust before him. And just like that, the evil reign of the Wicked Witch of the South has come to an end. I think i’ve probably given you a pretty clear idea of how good of a match this was. Specifically that it wasn’t. But that was a foregone conclusion. This incarnation of Lethal Lockdown was more of a booking mess than a performance one, and while that doesn’t make it any easier to have lost 30 minutes of my life to it, at least that means that everyone who took part in it will come out unscathed. Except for Willow. Flapping dickhammers that was awful.

41 out of 100



Team MVP Over Team Dixie Following The Drive By Kick From MVP To Bobby Roode.




——————————————

Cewsh’s Conclusion:



Cewsh: Wait a second, did I like this show? After watching and reviewing the entire thing, I’m honestly not sure where I stand on it. Certainly there were some bright points here, and a few things that inspire real confidence in TNA’s current direction. But on the other hand, there was Willow. There were some fun matches that highlighted some very deserving people. But on the other hand, there was Willow. The show came to me with a complimentary briefcase full of money. But on the other hand, WILLOW. Ultimately, I think i’m coming down on the side of cautious optimism. Because that’s how TNA works. If you go back and read old reviews, you will see a clearly painted picture where at some point during their year, TNA will give me hope and get me interested, only for it all to turn to ashes in my mouth when Bound For Glory rolls around. I don’t really have any reason to expect any different this time around either, but what the hell. Let’s see how they surprise us this time. For now all I know is that i’ll be tuning in to see what happens next. But my guess is that this person will not be:

TURN BACK, MADAM. THE ROAD YOU WALK IS FRAUGHT WITH PERIL.

Cewsh’s Final Score: 66.56 out of 100

Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our biannual sojourn to Florida, and all of the absolute madness that ensued. It’s going to take me some time to recover, and I feel that a palate cleanser is needed. This is good news for you, because it means that we’re going to review a promotion for the very first time next week. Who will it be? What has prompted this sudden attention? Will the answer be a huge and disappointing cop out? Probably! But until then, as always, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.

Written by Cewsh

I am the owner and operator of Cewsh Reviews. We review pro wrestling shows in a way that is funny and educational. Probably. Usually at least one or the other.

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