Written by: Arnold Furious
Coming up to this show TNA had done a good job of building up a match between Sting and Mick Foley. It’s not a re-match most people were clamouring for from 1992 or anything but TNA figured that using two of their biggest names to headline an event might get more buys. It didn’t matter that Sting was injured and really needed to drop the belt. It didn’t matter that Foley hadn’t wrestled regularly in 10 years. It’d be a chance for Foley to get, yet another, final hurrah and Sting could take it easy for once getting pops off recognised offence and brawling. No one really expected Foley to win the title. Only people who figured TNA were stupid enough to book that. Let’s face it; Mick isn’t a loveable winner he’s a loveable loser. Many of his best matches have seen him come up short. Against Triple H (twice), Vader (twice), Sting, Undertaker, The Rock (almost all the big PPV matches he lost) and even in Japan and ECW. People love Mick because of his willingness to make wrestling mean something and his personal sacrifices. They don’t love him because he wins titles. That’s Goldberg. Or Triple H. Or John Cena. Or Hulk Hogan.
As I said no one really expected Foley to walk out of Lockdown with the title because it really made no sense in TNA’s long term booking plans. Samoa Joe was on this campaign of violence that was heading towards Nash, Angle and Sting. And the title. AJ Styles was on the same sort of path. He felt he needed to win the title to get to the next level. Both guys are relatively home grown and neither has a WWE career in their history. This seemed to be TNA’s long term plan going back over a year. One of those guys winning the title was going to be a huge show for TNA. Huge. Like WCW spending a year building to Sting-Hogan and Sting winning the title (only they blew it). Imagine that buyrate for Starrcade if Hogan had lost the title belt to Bob Backlund instead. A loveable comedy character whose best years were behind him. That’s essentially what TNA is about to do. Put the title on a guy who retired 10 years ago. SWERVE!
April 19th 2009.
We’re in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hosts are Mike Tenay & Don West.
BACKSTAGE AJ arrives with Chris Daniels. Its implied that Team Jarrett is divided. Later Main Event Mafia arrive together. Like that means anything. Also earlier the Dudley’s talk about Philly and how insane the fans are. Bubba says they’re walking out with all the belts. We cut to a great promo video with Billy Corgan speaking “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” intercut with shots of the main event guys on this show. Foley’s following promo work shows he’s still got it…on the microphone.
X title – Suicide (c) v Jay Lethal v Consequences Creed v Kiyoshi v Sheik Abdul Bashir
You have to escape to win. This is something they’ve not told Creed who goes for a pin at the start or the referee who counts it. Then I remember this is another stupid fucking TNA match where you actually have to explain the rules to people before watching it. Why not just have the winner escape? How hard is that? No. In this match the first three people are eliminated by pinfall then the last two have a regular cage match where the only way to win is to escape. Seriously TNA. Stop it. The “Xcape match” is a stupid fucking idea. Just because you’ve invented a match doesn’t mean its good. Hey, why not bring back the Dupp Cup while you’re at it? Lethal Consequences decide to team up and eliminate the rest of these guys, which works fine as Kiyoshi is dumped. Couldn’t they have gotten rid of Bashir instead? Meanwhile crazy Suicide, who’s always looking to be insane and dominate, has just gotten beat up here. The lustre is coming off the character already. Which is down to TNA not wanting to book anyone like Goldberg. If someone gets crazy over then just fucking push them. There’s no one in this match beyond Lethal who needs to get any protection. Just run Suicide over everyone and push that character. Creed is next to go; dumped by Bashir’s short DDT. He’s nicknamed that the WMDDT. I bet George W. Bush can’t find it! Philly sure don’t care about this match. It doesn’t help that nobody great is in it. Kaz seems less motivated under the hood for whatever reason. Lethal’s selling helps. Also his willingness to try different things. That’s ruined by Suicide hitting his finisher and Bashir pointlessly stealing the pin. He’ll be eliminated anyway, asshole. You’re wasting your own energy! At least we’re left with Suicide Vs heel to get the crowd behind the champion. But I don’t hate Bashir because he’s a heel. I hate him because he’s a shitty wrestler. And this is the X division and we gave up an Alex Shelley title run to book this bullshit. To give the match a respectably entertaining finish they brawl on top of the cage. Bashir falls off (inside) and Kiyoshi runs out to try and stop Suicide only for security to come out here. Suicide then dives onto security to win it. **. Good finish to yet another worthless multiple person clusterfuck X division match from TNA. Do something with this belt, please.
BACKSTAGE Interview Girl recaps for AJ & Daniels. AJ says he’s here to show that Frontline belongs in the main events. Daniels says he’s reborn but neither mentions Joe. Or Jarrett.
Queen of the Cage: Madison Rayne v Sojourner Bolt v Daffney v ODB w/Cody Deaner
They’ve cut the Governor loose and Daffney is back to her WCW persona. ODB & Daffney get reactions. Bolt & Rayne do not. Its called character. Just because you are a character does not mean you have character. Bolt & Rayne both seem like the same bitch. All hair pulls, shoving and slapping. And sadly they’re the heels so they have to control the pacing. Which means the pacing sucks. Daffney’s screaming is over. ODB’s everything is over. Deaner pours some sweet liquor down her throat to give her a boost. She dominates after that. More liquor finds its way into Sojo’s eyes and the Oklahoma Stampede finishes. ½*. At least it was quick-ish. ODB is over and so is Daffney. The others need work. I know TNA has pushed Madison hard since this point but its hard to see why.
BACKSTAGE Jeff Jarrett arrives. Isn’t he a bit late? Most folks turn up before the show or they get fined. What’s next Jeff? Lying down for 5 solid minutes to sell a clothesline because booking dictates it? Oh, that already happened.
And yes I am still angry about that.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag titles – Motor City Machineguns (c) v LAX v No Limit
No Limit are Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro Takahashi from New Japan. Hence this being for the IWGP belts. The belts have been jobbed onto TNA talent as part of the working agreement with New Japan. MCMG beat No Limit to win them. Naito has clearly heard about the loud American audiences and goes to get himself some pops…and gets nothing. Those Philly fans are fucking harsh, man. Homicide’s horrible timing with Yujiro kills anything the Japanese wrestler had going. Hernandez shrugging off Sabin while Sabin is desperate to get something going is better. LAX boss the match based on Hernandez being so badass and unstoppable. The Guns then use their speed and inventiveness to take over. Shelley then gets clotheslined and splashed by everyone else in the match repeatedly in a nice comedy spot. Sabin tries for another run at Hernandez and does better until Hernandez release suplexes him into the cage/ropes. He lands on his head and the crowd chant “TNA”. Everyone likes dangerous moves! Its No Limit who finally figure out they need to double team Hernandez to get anywhere. And with Hernandez levelled by the Japanese it opens it up for the Guns. Which doesn’t last long and Hernandez throws Shelley across the ring as well. Unfortunately every time someone gets ahead someone else hits something. It’s a bit of a mess. Not as bad as the opener but it needs more structure. The Guns take over, as they always do eventually, by increasing the speed of everything. Wow. ASCS Rush on Homicide & Hernandez. Naito is the only dude left standing and he gets levelled with Made In Detroit for the loss. The Guns needed to up their game at the end to retain the titles. I dig that. ***. The stuff with Sabin being the failed giant killer until Shelley helped him was awesome. I also liked No Limit having no trouble double teaming Hernandez. I think it shows that Hernandez is a great big man but he doesn’t do homework and facing someone new will cause him a problem based on that. Ultimately the Guns were the best team and won because of it. LAX used to be the best team in this company but having a weak link pushed them down the order.
BACKSTAGE Interview Girl is concerned that Chris Abyss is going to get hurt by Matt Morgan. Abyss says he gave Dr Stevie his word that he wouldn’t use weapons tonight.
Oh yeah; Dr Stevie. That’d be Stevie Richards. Although he’d not been shown on camera as yet.
Doomsday Chamber of Blood: Matt Morgan v Abyss
In order to secure a pinfall or submission you need to bust your opponent open. Which is stupid. Why not just have both guys blade anyway? Why does it need to figure into the rules so, again, they have to explain how the match works before we get underway? This feud has been pretty mediocre so this is a chance to do something entertaining for once. Crowd supportively chants “we want blood”. Abyss’ storyline with avoiding the weapons allows Morgan to kick the chair into his face. Then Morgan wastes a bunch of time while Abyss blades. Morgan does something after that. He throws the chair out of the ring. So Abyss can’t use it against him. Which would be fine…if they weren’t surrounded with steel. What Morgan could have done was repeatedly bash Abyss in the head until he stopped twitching and then secured the pinfall victory. Just saying. Just to further show what a complete fucking moron Morgan is he then opens up a bag of broken glass and empties it into the ring. Abyss is bleeding a gusher to get the match over but Morgan isn’t helping. He even sells the gimmick of the match by chokeslamming Matt Moron and the ref can’t count the pin. Then they set up a really obvious ref bump. Why are you standing behind Abyss ref? Why? You have no reason to be there. Unless there’s a ref bump booked by the idiots in the back. Abyss grabs a shard of glass and stabs Matt Moron in the head. Hey Matt, if only you thrown the glass out of the ring too that couldn’t have happened. He’s bleeding. Black Hole Slam. It should be over but by the time Slick Johnson runs out here Morgan has recovered enough to kick out. Abyss bails for the chair but Stevie Richards runs out here, back in Philly, to grab the chair. Carbon Footprint…for 2. Perfectly good finish there guys. Abyss begs for the chair but Stevie says “no more violence”. It’s a bit late for that. Firstly it was MORGAN who hit Abyss with the chair. This is a receipt that he’s earned. Secondly; broken glass! It’s a bit late to say “no more violence”. Especially when Morgan is using violence and we already have a violent match. Abyss gets laid out into tacks with Stevie preventing him from doing anything. Morgan gets the win. **1/4. While I thought both guys looked like complete idiots for the decisions they made during the match at least they tried hard and bled to win the crowd over. It doesn’t make it a good match but effort should be rewarded and besides everything that’s wrong in this match is the fault of the booking.
BACKSTAGE Borash has Jeff Jarrett. He implies that Jarrett may turn tonight. Which would make sense. He claims he’s going to do “what I always do”. Which I presume means turning heel but Jarrett says he’s going to “do the right thing”. Samoa Joe turns up to stare him out.
Knockout title – Awesome Kong (c) v Angelina Love w/Velvet v Taylor Wilde
This match has nothing to do with Taylor Wilde but seeing as she’s the only babyface in it they kinda have to have her. The Beautiful People have pissed off Kong and TNA have lost faith in Kong. Much like WWE they want to have pretty wrestlers in the spotlight. The only way to do that…hot heel champion. Kong doesn’t want to make friends with Taylor. She just wants to fuck Angelina up. Love, to her credit, has scouted Kong’s spots and reverses them. This is a test, really. Is she good enough to be the champion? TNA obviously think so. And they feel they have to get that title off Kong. Mainly because no one in this company is in Kong’s league. Kong goes out of her way to pop the crowd but misses a somersault off the top. A SOMERSAULT! The Beautiful People then tie Kong’s braids to the cage, which is a cunning move. Except Kong has a second in Raisha Saeed…who does…nothing. Erm. What is it you do? Angelina manages to get knocked retarded so they improvise a finish where Kong boots Taylor into a pin. **. Flying Kong was cool and I feel they had to get the belt on Angelina Love eventually because they want pretty girl wrestling like the WWE has. Angelina’s head injury fucked the finish up but it was on course to be decent before that. Angelina put the real hard work in at the start of the match by countering Kong’s big moves. That shows she’s capable enough. But now she has to really step it up.
Incidentally this is exactly, to a tee, how TNA should have segued the title from Sting to Angle. And they even booked a match it could happen in. But then we wouldn’t have this bizarre plan involving a Foley title reign that he can’t have asked for and an eventual Joe heel turn that makes no sense. I’d hate for everyone to miss out on that.
BACKSTAGE Team 3D enjoy a few tasty beverages with the locals. Bubba channels Guns N’ Roses “you’re in the jungle, baby” before saying this is their house and refers to Philly as “Hardcore Heaven”.
Philly Street Fight/IWGP tag titles/TNA tag titles – Team 3D (c) v Beer Money (c)
Home court advantage for 3D. They even enter through the audience to show they’re the fan’s favourites. 3D start fast, as you’d expect, and the crowd have gone INSANE. They’re doing next to nothing out there for the biggest pops of the night. Being a street fight they head out into the crowd, which is perhaps better than staying in the cage where every other match has been forced to stick to. It gives this match a different vibe. ECW-esque in fact. Which is obviously what they’re aiming for. Beer Money do their part; take a beating. Storm gets a comeback with the beer spit. I would say it’s a waste of beer but its only Budweiser. With D-Von blinded Beer Money get a 2 on 1. They decide to make the 2 on 1 permanent by suplexing D-Von through a table. Meanwhile Bubba is busted from the steel cage. Bubba gets it back even with a super Bubba-bomb on Roode. D-Von recovers to get the 3D-B for 2. While the crowd are still popping everything there’s a feeling we can go up a gear here. Waasuup connects and the crowd know what’s next. Is it tables, Reggie Ray? It sure is Randy. It sure is. Crowd now wants “fire”. There’s no satisfying some people. Storm goes down with a knee problem and Roode has to go it alone. Which results in Storm slamming the door on Roode’s head by mistake and Roode takes the 3D through the table for the loss! ***1/4. Some nice spots in this one and it had a strangely ECW-esque feel about it. Something that’s not easy to recreate. While I do like the finish I feel the match was lacking the truly big finish they seemed to be building towards. I don’t think the fans are too worried about it and I’m glad the Dudley’s are smart enough to work within themselves. Kudos to them for being able to still put on a show. Match of the night.
BACKSTAGE Main Event Mafia seem confident. Angle says that Steiner’s conversations with Jeff Jarrett were about an unrelated matter. Angle seems to switch from panic to confidence from one minute to the next. I guess his memory isn’t so good. Or he’s a total nutjob. Or the writing just sucks.
Lethal Lockdown: Main Event Mafia v TNA Frontline
They decide to call this “Team Angle” Vs “Team Jarrett” just so we know who the angle is really about. Its not TNA Vs Evil Main Eventers. Its Angle and Jarrett comparing dick sizes. Meanwhile the whole build to this has been implying a forthcoming Jarrett heel turn. We open with Angle and Daniels. Its an unwritten rule that the captains start but Jarrett pussied out of it. Seeing as nothing can happen until everyone is out here these guys put it in the cooler. Daniels must have had a bet with AJ that he could apply a headlock for the entire first five minutes. I don’t know who he had a bet with about the moustache. Merv Hughes maybe? That guy out of the Village People? Chopper? Anyway, Daniels finally does something different and goes to the Koji Clutch but Booker T comes out here to make it 2 on 1. Angle stays down and lets Booker do the legwork, which would be fine if he wasn’t useless so Angle has to get back in there. AJ Styles is out here to even it up, which makes sense because he’s teamed with Daniels before and he has an issue with Booker. High & Low on Booker! If there’s one person who can make random pointless offence entertaining its AJ Styles. I don’t understand this match at all. Why does no one ever go out to injure someone and give their team an advantage? While AJ & Daniels have better teamwork that doesn’t alter the 3 on 2 they’re about to face. Just lets them ‘win’ this segment. Scott Steiner is out next. He actually dominates by himself while Angle & Booker get a breather. FRANKENSTEINER ON AJ! Finally someone brings the A-game! Steiner even has time to pose before Samoa Joe comes out here. He stops off to get some last minute mystery advice, which eats up HALF his ring time. Joe destroys everyone although I find it odd that he’s not particularly violent given his angle. Who am I kidding? They’ve forgotten about that already. Kevin Nash comes out last for the MEM. Joe kicks the door in his face! Oh, its on bitches! Nash shrugs it off, posts Joe and lays out AJ & Daniels. Joe recovers and we’re back to square one. Or rather square seven. PELE KICK! BME! Last man in is Jeff Jarrett and we’re into the final pinfall or submission section of the match.
I like that Jarrett doesn’t have a guitar because its hanging off the Lockdown cage. The Mafia are too crippled to get weapons and Jarrett takes charge. We go to a dumb 6 camera shot, which allows the viewer to see absolutely nothing unless their TV is 72 inches wide. Angle climbs up onto the roof. AJ, as always, follows. This is his territory. They don’t go to the finish up there but instead Angle kicks AJ in the balls and climbs back inside to give them a 4 on 3 again. The MEM celebrate their little victory so AJ DIVES THROUGH THE TOP OF THE CAGE…AND BARELY HITS ANYONE! That must have sucked. Welcome to Ouchtown, Bro. Everyone lies around doing nothing until a finishers sequence, which opens up the ring for Booker to get his Spinneroonie in. God forbid we miss that off the PPV. Jarrett “accidentally” nails AJ with a chair, which he kicks out of. Hell, if he doesn’t even stay down when he dives off a cage he won’t stay down for a chair shot! Another finishers sequence kicks in. Don West calls Jarrett’s actions deliberate and says this is now 5 on 3. He briefly teases a turn but then nails Booker with the guitar for the pin. That was the finish? Fucking TNA. Only in TNA is someone not turning heel a swerve. **3/4. It got better when everyone was out there but Scott Steiner aside (yeah, really) no one seemed to care whether the earlier stages of the match achieved anything. While I like the format of the match TNA never run to the strengths of the format. Kudos to AJ for his ridiculous dive but the match around it was largely pointless.
POST MATCH Bobby Lashley comes out for his TNA debut. Angle laughs at him, which means he either thinks he sucks or he’s hired him for the MEM. I would guess the latter but with Kurt its hard to say. Its important to note that Lashley does NOTHING just so we’re left needing to watch Impact to find out who’s side he’s on.
BACKSTAGE Both main event participants get interviewed. Foley says that “Mick Foley is attending a corporate shindig”. In other words he’s here as Cactus Jack. He’s dressed like him. The build on this show has been tremendous. Foley is a great storyteller. Shame he can’t get his knees and spine from 1992 for this rematch. Same for Sting, really.
TNA title – Sting (c) v Mick Foley
To their credit this feels like a big match based on the build and the atmosphere. Crowd is pro-Foley seeing as this is one of Mick’s old stomping grounds rather than one of Sting’s. Cage door is locked at Foley’s request. The commentators mention Sting has now held the TNA title longer than anyone before him. Which is true. Foley punches himself into a gusher. Foley spends more time hurting himself and trying to leave the cage than anything else. One attempt to escape allowing Sting to tie Foley’s ankle up in the ropes leaving him injured. Foley then has to use his environment and runs Sting into the cage. The great thing about a leg injury is it gives Mick an excuse for his actual lack of mobility. Also from an actual storyline perspective Foley can’t climb out now (well, he can but he shouldn’t be able to). Sting on the other hand is spending most of the match lying around doing nothing. Foley changes his mind about the closed door and demands it opened. No dice so he dropkicks the cameraman through the camera-hole! Great idea but Foley has forgotten he’s a babyface. I guess they’ll put it down to Cactus being crazy. Foley reaches out of the hole to grab the barbwire bat. Foley misses a few weak bat shots and Sting is all “fuck this” and he goes to climb out only for Foley to bat shot his knee away (to level up the bad legs in this one, neither of which will amount to anything). This is enough to incite Sting into using the bat himself. Sting gets busted with the bat. Mr Socko is out WITH BARBWIRE! Foley starts doing trademark stuff with the wire. Foley has now forgotten about his bad leg. Which is just part of the frustration. It doesn’t help that the match is so slow. Anyway, Foley climbs out and wins. **. Hit & miss. Some nice psychology at times, which was then ignored later. And the main event shouldn’t be significantly slower than the rest of the card. Furthermore they must be insane to put the title on a guy that’s been retired for 10 years thus fucking up their own MEM Vs Frontline saga, which has been going strong for 189 days. Now there’s no pay off and there never will be. Nice work TNA!
• Fan Access. Interesting to note that the fans like Joe and AJ and the X division and the tag teams. All the things TNA pretend to push until they realise no one is watching and go in a more WWE orientated direction. But no one is watching ANYWAY.
• Dixie Carter gets an interview before the show.
• Eric Young Vs Danny Bonaduce from the pre-show. The worst part being Bonaduce “clocking” one of the plants, I mean fans, at ringside. EY wins then Bonaduce acts like a jackass so Rhino runs out and GOOOOOORRES him. While its about time they brought a match as an extra I’m not impressed with their choice.
• Team 3D interview where they talk about TNA keeping tagging alive.
• Nash interview where he hints at Lashley joining the MEM. He actually comes up with excuses for losing a worked match. He blames beer only tasting good after wrestling for his prolonged career. Somebody get this man a cooler, stat!
• Sting interview where he says he’s not going anywhere. He’s not done yet. He says he wanted to be remembered in a positive light. Blood, sweat and tears.
• JB goes to see Mick Foley who’s getting stitched up. Great details from Foley where he talks about how close the finish was and how his eyebrow got split open by Sting’s punches. He goes on to talk about his book “Crossing the Line”, which I actually want to read. The thing about Mick is he sells stuff on the details. The little things matter.
Final Thoughts: Neither bad nor good. True, a lot of the matches probably weren’t of PPV calibre and I suspect everyone involved in this company is just too close to the product to realise how badly everything is going. All they’re hearing is the TNA fanboys who’ll cheer for anything. Any time someone criticises the direction they’re going in its seen as negativity. One thing remains clear; TNA is a hugely frustrating viewing experience. Its like the episode of My Name is Earl where Earl tries to reunite a girl with her father. And the father is this raging drunkard who Earl can’t get anywhere without him causing chaos. That’s TNA’s booking. A raging drunkard that’s his own worst enemy and nobody seems to care about.