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TNA Lockdown 2011 Preview & TNA iMPACT! Report

TNA Lockdown 2011 preview and predictionsTNA LOCKDOWN 2011 PREDICTIONS

The seventh installment of TNA Lockdown goes down this Sunday night in Cincinnati. The fourth TNA Wrestling pay per view of 2011 will feature eight steel cage matches. Can Sting survive the challenge of RVD and Mr. Anderson? Will Kurt Angle get revenge on the Jarretts?

Ink Inc. vs. Scott Steiner and Crimson vs. Douglas Williams and Magnus vs. Orlando Jordan and Eric Young. The announcers hinted that one of these teams would be a step closer in the tag title chase, currently held by Beer Money. I think TNA will continue the Steiner and Moore angle, and the Brits are way too easy targets for fan disapproval. Williams and Magnus win, leading to a Beer Money feud.

The X Division Xscape Match. Someone did a terrible job in promoting this, because this was initially a 9-person affair, but the company website is only promoting eight guys. I can’t imagine how entertaining all those bodies in a steel cage will be, but between Amazing Red, Max Buck, Jeremy Buck, Robbie E, Suicide, Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal, and Brian Kendrick, your guess is as good as mine. Sticking with a guy that’s gotten over recently, I’ll take villainous Max Buck for the win.

The Pope vs. Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe wins on principle for The Pope being such a terrible character. I hope this match lasts four minutes tops.

Hernandez vs. Matt Morgan. Morgan had his chance in the sun and I really think TNA wants to push Mexican America, who no doubt will find a way to interfere. Hernandez wins.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle. Does management punish Angle for his legal transgressions in this Ultra-male Rules match? First fall is a pin, second is a submission, and if it’s all tied up, someone has to escape. Angle’s kind of been getting worked in this feud, with his only “victory” coming via his wedding crash. Angle wins to appease the Cincy crowd.

Knockouts Title Match – Madison Rayne (Champ) vs. Mickie James in a Hair vs. Title match. Does Madison Rayne lose in her home state to a gimpy James or will James get her head shaved? The latter is way too gross, and I know TNA isn’t paying Mickie to play second string on that fat contract. If she doesn’t get the title now (which Madison’s held surprisingly since October), just fire Mickie and bring up an Indy girl for a much cheaper rate. Mickie wins.

Lethal Lockdown – Immortal (Ric Flair, Bully Ray, Abyss and Matt Hardy) vs. Fortune (Kazarian, Beer Money, and Christopher Daniels). Expect AJ Styles to come back, knock Flair around a bit, and hopefully help Fortune to a win. Which they will need because of the main event…

TNA World Title – Sting (Champ) vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Rob Van Dam. A couple of weeks ago I could have guaranteed that the strap was coming off Sting, who was place holding for someone. Now, with my conspiracy theory of Sting turning heel and joining Immortal, I think Sting retains but in a controversial finish that will undoubtedly lead to more whining from Anderson or RVD. Sting wins, but I think it’s RVD’s turn to step up to the main event, leading to a Sting vs. RVD match at the next PPV.

What does everyone think about the card? This is my first TNA Lockdown experience, so I have high hopes for at least four of these matches carrying the show.

TNA Impact April 14

I don’t know why it’s taken this long, but TNA Wrestling’s lack of a top heel since losing Jeff Hardy has become annoyingly apparent. In the main event, Mr. Anderson rolled through the core of Immortal, who either need one of the top faces to turn or will be stuck with Bully Ray leading the charge throughout the rest of spring.

As a result of Anderson turning down Hulk Hogan‘s offer to join Immortal, Hogan responded by putting Anderson through a four man gauntlet, featuring Bully Ray, Rob Terry, Television Champion Gunner, and Murphy. The game plan was simple-the Immortal goons would work over the leg and knee of Anderson to not only humiliate the former champ, but also…help out Sting and Rob Van Dam in the process?

There wasn’t much to see in the actual match other than the leg angle, followed by Anderson completely no selling the injury every time, setting up a Mic Check and finishing off each foot solider. Bully Ray was last out, but ended up taking Anderson to the top of the stage for a Bubba Bomb before Sting could make the save, baseball bat a few people, and hover over Anderson’s corpse in arguably the best shot of the night.

]It wasn’t so much this match as it was the opening and preceding Immortal segments that ate away at my inner voice that was yearning for some legitimate powerful heel to take the reins and kick some ass. Immortal opened up the show by trucking out every member of their faction, something they had cleverly avoided for a couple of months now. You were finally able to see Immortal for what they truly were: aging, corporate figures and hired muscle with no personality. Say what you will about Jeff Hardy, but his Antichrist character held the main story line of TNA together. Pound for pound, TNA probably losing Hardy is much more devastating than WWE losing Edge.

When you consider Jeff Jarrett has run off with his own program, Immortal is essentially a team without a quarterback, which explains their involvement in the upper mid-card Lethal Lockdown match against Fortune. What you have left is a triple threat match for the World title featuring three faces-Sting, RVD, and Mr. Anderson-that is begging for a massive heel turn at Lockdown on Sunday.

Throughout the show, it became more and more apparent that this is probably Sting. For starters, Sting has only been back for a couple of months now, while Anderson and RVD are still huge crowd favorites that always get over on the TNA Impact faithful. When Jeff Hardy turned back in October at Bound For Glory, it was more out of necessity; Sting can still carry promos while putting on decent matches with younger wrestlers. Also, with this logjam of good guys at the top, where will Sting fit in down the road? He certainly won’t be going back to those mid-card stalking angles with Kevin Nash last year. You know, the story he was doing right before he didn’t resign with TNA.

There are also the red herrings in the past couple of weeks that have teased both RVD and Mr. Anderson joining up with Immortal, compacted with Sting giving Eric Bischoff a Scorpion Death Drop and threatening to oust both Bischoff and a lame Hulk Hogan. Perhaps the long term plan is for Sting to take Immortal over, phasing out both Bischoff and Hogan.

In a related angle, Bischoff has also voiced concerned about a “rat” in the locker room who is feeding the network secrets to booking their matches. There’s a possibility this could also be the guy planning on jumping ship and joining Immortal. Whichever way you slice it, the current lineup is doing no one any favors, and the first step in the renovation comes on Sunday.

THE OTHER STUFF

Speaking of Immortal, they gained the man advantage in Lethal Lockdown over Fortune by winning a best-of-3 series 2-0 on Impact. In what I expected to be a corny, drawn out, Dusty finish that went three matches, this actually surprised me when Matt Hardy beat Kazarian, followed by Abyss cleanly beating James Storm.

The Hardy-Kaz match was the de facto best match of the night. I’ve expressed my appreciation for Matt’s improvement on here before, but the guy is going in the complete opposite direction as his younger brother. When Matt Hardy first debuted in TNA, he was out of shape and without direction. But that’s all changed because he has quickly gotten back to his old self and become a staple in the top heel faction. He’s also adapted his move set accordingly to his age; gone are a lot of his flashy dives, which have been replaced with devastating DDTs and a nifty little submission finisher called The Icepick (a weird belly to belly double underhook body scissors combo).

In match two of the series, Abyss waddled around until James Storm made one too many mistakes, like attempting a Last Call Superkick that was turned into a Black Hole Slam. I don’t know what Abyss was doing those two months while he was off, but it has made him even more sluggish and awkward than before.

Teasing the four way tag team match at TNA Lockdown 2011, the opening bout of the evening saw Orlando Jordan defeat Jesse Neal, Douglas Williams, and Crimson, while all their respective tag team partners lined the ring. This match quickly broke down when Scott Steiner and Shannon Moore fought outside, but the best part saw Abyss interfere and brutally chokeslam Crimson on the guardrail, a callback to when Crimson initially laid up Abyss for those two months. Jordan nailed Williams with The Gender Bender (a swinging neckbreaker) for the win.

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In matches I can hardly stand, TNA took their three stalest rivalries and combined them into a 3-on-3 match, pitting Jeff Jarrett, Hernandez, and The Pope against Kurt Angle, Matt Morgan, and Samoa Joe. Nothing really happened, especially when you consider that none of the inner rivalries saw action until the match broke down, Jarrett and Angle scampered backstage, and Pope brass knuckled Joe for the win.

The Hernandez-Morgan feud still has legs, but the other two probably need a curtain call at this pay-per-view for two totally different reasons. The Pope was unnaturally forced to be a heel, leading to the preceding angle with Joe to be obnoxious and laughably bad. While the Angle and Jarrett situation still has the potential to be intriguing, the writers have run out of ideas on this rivalry that has dragged their children and families down with them.

The Knockouts portion of the show confirmed that Mickie James will be fighting for the title against Madison Rayne despite her arm injury suffered at a house show. The tension between Rayne and Tara almost boiled over in a spot you could see from a mile away. I guess that’s what happens when you write Tara in as what simply reduced down to a slave role for The Queen Bee. Later, Velvet Sky called out her Beautiful People bud, Angelina Love, who came out looking like a zombie and no sold every attack from Velvet (take notes, Ken Anderson). If you haven’t seen this stuff with Angelina Love, check it out. It’s creepy, visceral, and relatively fresh, reminding me a lot of the stuff Cody Rhodes is doing over in WWE, sans the microphone work.

VERDICT. A decent go home show with tons of gimmicky matches that at times weren’t always executed properly. The potential for Immortal shake up, combined with a great Kaz-Hardy match and watchable Knockout material? I’ll take it when I can get it, thank you very much. 7/10.

TNA Impact April 14 Results
Orlando Jordan def. Jesse Neal, Crimson, and Douglas Williams in a 4-way, pinfall
Matt Hardy def. Kazarian, submission
The Pope, Jeff Jarrett, and Hernandez def. Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, and Matt Morgan, pinfall
Abyss def. James Storm, pinfall
Mr. Anderson fought Immortal in a gauntlet match to a no contest

Joe Leininger lives in Gainesville, FL and writes for The Playing Field and Destigeddon.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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