Written by: Jake Ziegler
BankUnited Center – Coral Gables, FL – Sunday, March 9, 2014
Mike Tenay and Taz are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Steel Cage Match – Bad Influence & Chris Sabin vs. Yasu, Sanada & The Great Muta
Sanada is the new TNA X Division Champion, having defeated Austin Aries for the title at a WRESTLE-1 event in Japan last week. He starts the match with Sabin, himself a former X Division Champion. They go back and forth at a rapid pace and Sanada gains the early advantage. Tags are made and Yasu keeps up that advantage on Kazarian. Muta gets the tag and the crowd loves it as he goes to work on both members of Bad Influence. He sprays the green mist to further pop the crowd. Yasu comes back in and the TNA trio is able to come back and isolate him in their half of the cage. After several minutes of abuse Yasu is able to avoid a Kazarian guillotine legdrop, and tags are made. Sanada comes in a house afire, taking care of all three of his opponents. The referee loses control and all six men get in the cage at the same time. Muta finds some more green mist and sprays it in Kazarian’s eyes! Sanada hits Kazarian with a Stunner and Yasu takes Sabin out with a clothesline. Muta hits Daniels with the Shining Wizard and Sanada follows with a moonsault to get the pin at 9:25. That was the right choice to open the show, as the action was fast and furious and got the crowd warmed up nicely. Old Man Muta’s involvement was kept to a minimum, just doing his big spots, and the spotlight was correctly put on Sanada, so this was an effective showcase.
MATCH #2: Escape the Cage Match – Samuel Shaw vs. Mr. Anderson
Anderson strikes first with a clothesline, and then hits another one. Christy Hemme, who Shaw has been stalking lately, comes down to ringside to watch the match. Anderson tries the Mic Check but Shaw fights it off. Instead Anderson hits a gut wrench suplex. Shaw goes to the eyes and then slugs Anderson down to the mat. He tries to escape but Anderson joins him and they fight up on the top rope. Anderson brings Shaw down with an awkward belly-to-back suplex. Both men reach their knees and Shaw pulls Anderson forward into the cage. Shaw wants the door opened so he can escape, but for some reason they have it locked so the idiot referee has to fiddle with the key and try to unlock it. Anderson attacks Shaw from behind, sending him flying into the cage door, which sends referee Earl Hebner crashing to the floor. He follows with the Mic Check, and then picks Shaw up for another one, this time sending him directly into the turnbuckles. Anderson climbs up and over but there’s no referee. Hemme foolishly gets too close to the camera hole and Shaw pulls her into the cage! Anderson is able to make his way back in to rescue Hemme, and as soon as he turns his back to help her Shaw hits him with a low blow. Shaw locks on his Chokehold and Anderson passes out. That leaves the path free and clear for Shaw to walk out the cage door and get the win at 10:09. That was passable, though neither guy is particularly exciting. I think the finish worked well enough because the feud is based entirely around Shaw’s obsession with Christy, so why not involve her?
MATCH #3: Steel Cage Match – Manik vs. Tigre Uno
This is Uno’s TNA debut. They start off with some fast paced chain wrestling and end up at a standoff to show how evenly matched they are. Both men fly around the ring and it’s Uno looking like the stronger of the two in the early going. Manik baits Uno into charging at him in the ropes and Manik moves at the last second, causing Uno to crash into the cage. That gives Manik control and he starts wearing Uno down. Uno comes back with a creative rana and a leg lariat, and follows that up with a swank DDT. He goes up top and Manik joins him. Manik is able to send Uno down to the mat and follows him down with a missile dropkick to the back. He hits Uno with a sitout powerbomb but only gets two. A series of reversals ends with Uno hitting a devastating capture suplex that lands Manik right on his head. Ouch. Unto goes up top and hits a Sabretooth Splash to get the pin at 7:42. That was a lot of fun and a great way to add variety to the card. It wasn’t long but both guys went non-stop and kept the crowd into it, and Uno got to look strong in his debut.
MATCH #4: Last Man Standing Match – “The Cowboy” James Storm vs. Gunner
The fight starts in the aisle between these two former Tag Team Championship partners. They brawl around ringside and Gunner is the more aggressive of the two. Gunner hits a suplex right on the outside and Storm is already looking worse for wear. More still gets involved as Gunner whips Storm into the steps and then throws some chairs into the ring. Storm fights back and slams Gunner’s face off the ring steps. They finally make their way into the cage and the bell rings to officially start the match. Storm is in control, using a steel chair to abuse his former partner. Gunner tries to fight back but Storm cuts him off with a leaping DDT from the second rope. Storm uses the tag ropes to choke Gunner and keep him on the mat. After several minutes of abuse Gunner makes the big comeback and waffles Storm in the face with a piece of the steel steps! Ouch. Storm responds with a Codebreaker, and then he throws Gunner face-first into a chair wedged in the turnbuckles. Somehow Gunner makes it back to his feet. Storm makes him pay for it with a wicked chair shot. Gunner fights back with a Spear and an F-5 onto a chair. He picks Storm up and hits a uranage slam. Gunner goes up top for a diving headbutt and Storm throws it into his face on the way down. Storm hits Gunner across the back with the chair, and then sets up two chairs. He goes for a powerbomb but Gunner fights him off and goes to the second rope. Storm thwarts Gunner but the determined Gunner attacks with strikes and headbutts. Gunner is able to bring Storm down with a superplex through the two chairs! The referee starts the count and Gunner is barely able to make it back up and Storm is not, giving Gunner the win at 11:51. These two match up well together and this was a very good hardcore brawl. They built up to the finish really well and used the weapons in a way that led me to believe they wanted to hurt each other, not that they wanted to put on a “great match.”
MATCH #5: TNA Knockouts Title Match – Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne
Rayne has been the Champion since 1.16.14, and this is her first defense. Kim has Lei’D Tapa in her corner. She tries to escape right away but Rayne pulls her back to the ring. They trade some strikes back and forth but Kim lands a knee lift that gives her control. Rayne catches a charging Kim with a back elbow and then rolls her up in a victory roll for two. Kim continues trying to escape and they fight up near the top of the cage. Rayne executes a Skull F*cker against the cage, which is pretty cool. She tries to hit a cross body block from the top rope but Kim ducks it and regains control. Kim beats on the Champion with a variety of offense, and she looks pretty confident about regaining her title. She tries a charge in the corner but misses and crashes hard into the cage. Rayne powers up and unleashes a flurry on the challenger. She hits an enziguiri and a basement dropkick. Rayne misses a running kick and hits the cage, and Kim tries to escape. They fight on the top rope and Kim slams Rayne’s face into the cage, and then brings her down with a super neckbreaker! That only gets two. Kim tries to escape out the door but can’t make it out. She instead uses her momentum to send Rayne crashing into the cage for two. Kim climbs up and Rayne joins her. Rayne drops Kim onto the top rope, and then even kicks Tapa off the side of the cage. She goes over to the top rope and comes down with a spear to get the pin at 8:55. These two have wrestled in TNA at least 3.5 million times, and they’re all about the same. At least they worked hard, and the finish was a pretty cool maneuver.
MATCH #6: TNA World Title Match – Samoa Joe vs. Magnus
Magnus has been the Champion since 12.19.13, and this is his sixth defense. The only ways to win this match are tap out, knockout, or submission. Joe is wrestling with a shirt on for some reason. They start off slowly, and Magnus tries to keep Joe grounded and Joe attacks Magnus’ arm. Joe starts building momentum and goes for the Big Joe Combo but Magnus moves out of the way of the senton portion. Magnus gets a small amount of offense in and then Joe comes back and whips him into the cage repeatedly. That busts Magnus open, and Joe goes to work on the cut, trying to bust him open further. Magnus avoids a charge in the corner and catches Joe with a running knee to the back, sending Joe into the cage wall. Now Magnus tries to return the favor by busting Joe open, and he succeeds. Magnus puts on the Figure-Four Leglock and Joe turns it over. The champ escapes that and traps Joe in a Camel Clutch. Joe powers out and Magnus tries a Sleeper and Joe fights out of that with a Saito Suplex. Both men get back to their feet and start throwing strikes. Joe wins that battle and this time lands all parts of the Big Joe Combo. He hits the snap powerslam and then locks on the Cross Armbreaker. Magnus luckily reaches the ropes. Joe puts Magnus on the top rope but that backfires when rakes Joe’s eyes and then kicks him down to the mat. Magnus comes down with the flying elbow drop. The champ hopes for a knockout here but Joe fires up and attacks the Champion. Joe puts Magnus back on the top rope and brings him down with the Muscle Buster. He locks on the Rear Naked Choke and the crowd gets pumped! Unfortunately, an arm pops up from underneath the ring and drags Joe down with him. Now the crowd (rightfully) chants “bullshit.” Joe comes back from under the ring and looks super pissed, and the crowd sounds super indifferent. He puts Magnus back in the corner and chokes him, but then we find out that it was Abyss under the ring. Abyss hits Joe with Janice and then a Black Hole Slam. Magnus puts on Joe’s choke and gets the win at 19:24. Joe and Magnus had great chemistry as partners, had really good matches for the TV Title, and were having a really good match here. TNA was receiving legitimate complaints about Magnus being a “paper champion” for how they booked him, and they had a chance to undo that here. So they have that chance, and have Magnus with the perfect opponent to do it with, and they choose THAT for the finish? Hey TNA, “off” is the general direction in which I’d like you to fuck right now. I’m tempted to give the match a DUD for the finish, but everything leading up to the last few minutes was really good, which makes it all the more frustrating.
MATCH #7: Lethal Lockdown Match – Team Dixie (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries & The BroMans) vs. Team MVP (MVP, The Wolves & Jeff Hardy)
Dixie has been promising an “insurance policy” from New York. I wonder who that could be. She has also banned Jeff Hardy from the building, so she thinks Team MVP will be at a one-man disadvantage. For a refresher, the first two men will battle for five minutes, and then every two minutes thereafter a new man will enter. Pinfalls and submissions cannot occur until all eight men have entered the ring. Austin Aries is up first for Team Dixie and MVP is first up for his team. MVP and Aries start off hot, but MVP misses a Drive-By and Aries takes him right down into the Last Chancery. Aries goes up top and tries a missile dropkick but MVP swats him away and hits an exploder suplex. MVP goes for the Ballin’ Elbow but Aries cuts him off with a roaring forearm. Aries goes for the IED but MVP gets a boot up. This time MVP hits the Drive-By. MVP tries to keep Aries on the mat, but when he uses a headscissors, well, anyone who’s been following either my reviews or Aries’ career knows how that turns out. Next up is one half of the TNA World Tag Team Champions Robbie E, introduced by DJ Z.
MVP goes right after E, knowing that he’s at a one-man disadvantage. The numbers game takes hold, and Team Dixie double-teams poor MVP. Eddie Edwards of the Wolves is out next to even the odds, and he goes right after E. MVP tries to recover while Edwards handles both E and Aries. DJ Z tries to climb the cage for some reason, so Edwards throws E into the cage to knock Z down to the floor. The other Tag Team Champion and BroMan, Jessie Godderz is the next man out and it’s 3-2 in favor of Team Dixie, and they use that to keep Edwards and MVP on defense. Next up is Davey Richards to even the score, and his presence helps fire up his fellow Wolf Edwards. The brawling continues as we wait the presence of Team Dixie’s captain Bobby Roode. When Roode comes out he immediately goes nose-to-nose with his opposing captain MVP and he takes him down with a spinebuster. Roode delivers spinebusters to Edwards and Richards as well, as Team Dixie looks pretty strong right now. It’s supposed to be a handicap match, but the countdown clock reappears, and apparently Willow is joining team MVP instead of Jeff Hardy. Yeah, I can’t make this stuff up folks. The cage with the weapons attached lowers and Lethal Lockdown officially begins.
Dixie Carter comes out to introduce the referee for the match, and her “insurance policy,” and it’s former TNA World Champion Bully Ray. The mere presence of Ray gives Team Dixie the advantage, and they attack team MVP with weapons. Ray brings a table into the cage and just watches the action unfold. Team Dixie pretty much dominates, but MVP’s team gets the occasional offense in. The Wolves fight back on the BroMans, but Aries stops Edwards in his tracks with a Brainbuster on a sitting steel chair. Ouch. Aries sets Willow on a trash can and tries a 450 Splash but Willow avoids it. Willow then hits the Twist of Fate and the Swanton Bomb for a near-fall. Roode sets up the table that Ray brought in and set up to put MVP through it. For some reason Ray gets in his way and prevents it. Roode gets mad and takes a swing, but Ray ducks and hits a Rock Bottom. MVP hits an anti-climactic kick to the face and pins Roode at 26:52. This was a meandering brawl with few if any memorable spots, the silliness of Willow, and the unnecessary involvement of Bully Ray. I think the stipulations held for a couple of weeks, maybe a month. What a waste of time, effort, etc. The usual for TNA.