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COMMENT





Styles, Hogan lock down victories inside the cage
By DAVE HILLHOUSE - SLAM! Wrestling




Pop quiz, hot shot: what’s 6 sides of steel minus 2? That would be TNA Lockdown, the 2010, four-sided ring version of course. This year the show is emanating from St. Louis and presents its annual card of matches fought exclusively in the confines of a steel cage.

Taz and Mike Tenay make an announcement to open the broadcast that X-Division champion Doug Williams is grounded in the U.K. due to the Icelandic volcanic ash that has suspended air service over most of Europe, and as a result he is stripped of the title and a new champ will be crowned tonight. That seems unfair, and Taz agrees. Minor mentions are made of Syxx-Pac also not being present for the show tonight, as well as Eric Bischoff’s whereabouts being unaccounted for.

The main event is the Lethal Lockdown contest, featuring Team Hogan (Abyss, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and Jeff Jarrett) versus Team Flair (Sting, Robert Roode, James Storm, and Desmond Wolfe). The rules of the match feature two competitors from each team starting off for five minutes alone, to be joined by alternating team members every two minutes thereafter. Once all wrestlers are in the ring, the match can be won by pinfall or submission. Earlier in the evening, Rob Van Dam won his opening match against James Storm, which gave Team Hogan the advantage of having the first team member enter after the initial five minutes.

Abyss, captain of Team Hogan (not of Team Flair as the graphics team mistakenly labels him) enters the ring first to face off against Robert Roode. Taz questions the strategy of having Abyss start off, especially after he reminds viewers that Abyss suffered a hairline fracture in his leg from being nicked by a car on Impact! Roode subsequently and smartly starts working the leg. Roode lands some shots, but Abyss manages to toss him around and lands a heavy chop across his chest. Abyss hits a big back drop on Roode and then runs him into the cage. Roode stops an Abyss charge into the corner and then lands a diving neckbreaker off the top rope. Abyss is then driven into the cage and we’re one minute away from another team Hogan member. Roode has Abyss down in the corner and RVD comes out for his second appearance of the evening.

Roode charges RVD, who ducks and hits a few spinning kicks before tossing Roode into the opposite corner and hitting a big monkey flip. He follows with Rolling Thunder, then lines Roode up and tosses him into the steel - and somehow RVD is bleeding (from the wound suffered earlier in the evening) without being hit! Chelsea then accompanies Wolfe to the ring and Abyss is up again, waiting for the new entry. Before Wolfe arrives, Roode lands a low blow on Abyss and all of a sudden Team Flair is on top. They continue to double team both RVD and Abyss for the duration of the two minutes before Jarrett emerges to give the man advantage back to Team Hogan. Jarrett works both Roode and Wolfe, running them both into the cage at the same time. Roode, though, grabs Jarrett in midair and lands a powerbomb. Storm emerges next to even the odds, sporting another beer. Abyss again moves to welcome the newcomer, but gets a face full of beer. Storm takes Jarrett down with several hard punches and then turns to the now very bloody RVD, sending his face into the steel. Jarrett drops Roode with a kick to the head, but that’s not as interesting to the camera crew as watching Storm biting RVD’s head to get the blood flowing even more. While Wolfe works to get Hogan’s hall of fame ring off Abyss (is he stealing it for money, or is it like Hercules’ ring from the old cartoon, containing all of Abyss’ power?), Jarrett lands a nice sustained suplex on Roode. Jeff Hardy’s music hits, but there’s no Jeff Hardy. Backstage we see Hardy face down on the concrete as Sting stands over him with the baseball bat. Team Flair is standing tall right now, but RVD, Abyss and Jarrett start fighting back as we’re nearing Sting’s arrival. Sting enters with the bat and quickly uses it to take out all members of Team Hogan. With Team Flair again standing tall, the roof of the cage, strewn with weapons, drops slowly downwards.

The Team Flair members climb up for weapons. First Abyss, then Jarrett get head shots with garbage cans and trays. Wolfe DDTs RVD on a tray. Abyss gets another can to the head and gut. Wolfe is choking Jarrett out with an axe handle and Storm follows with a steel pipe to his stomach. Jarrett finally gets his hands on a weapon and takes out all members of Team Flair with a garbage can, until Sting joins the fray with his bat and knocks down Jarrett and RVD again. As Jarrett hangs on the cage by the door, Beer Money runs into him and knocks Jarrett right out to the floor. Abyss empties a bag of tacks on the mat and finally convinces Sting to stay a while by taking his leather jacket off. Abyss tries to chokeslam Sting onto the tacks, but Wolfe low blows The Monster and Storm smashes his beer bottle on Abyss’ head. Team Flair raise their hands in victory – and you know that’s just asking for it. Hardy’s music hits and he arrives with a kendo stick, taking out Beer Money outside the ring. Jarrett gets his guitar off the top of the cage and smashes Wolfe. Sting is landing clotheslines on Abyss, but is caught and chokeslammed onto the tacks. Hardy climbs the cage from the outside to the roof. He asks Beer Money to come up, and Storm and Roode comply. Hardy smacks them both with a garbage can lid as they arrive, but they double team him and set up a table. Hardy fights back and drops a Twist of Fate on Roode, then lays Storm on the table and sets up a ladder on top of the cage. He perches on the top step and lands a splash on Storm through the table.

All this time, everyone in the ring has been taking a breather. Flair’s music hits and he enters the cage. He stomps Abyss in the corner and keeps trying for the ring (it must have Abyss’ power – Flair doesn’t need to steal a ring). Hogan’s music announces the last unofficial competitor and Hulk enters the rings to attack Flair, but Bischoff enters to try and keep the peace between them. Eric gets a bat away from Hogan and hands a set of brass knuckles to him instead. Hogan nails Flair whose forehead opens up. Flair takes another head shot and staggers around the ring, dropping on his back onto the tacks. Abyss rises and hits the Black Hole Slam on Wolfe for the sudden win.

Match One: Rob Van Dam (representing Team Hogan) versus Cowboy James Storm (representing Team Flair).


The winner of the opening match gains the man advantage for the Lethal Lockdown match later on. If there was a way I could have avoided spoiling this match’s outcome, I would have done it.

Storm is slow getting in and Van Dam kicks open the door into Storm’s face. They brawl outside of the cage, and it’s RVD with the advantage. With Storm draped over the railing, RVD climbs the cage and drops a leg over the back of Storm’s head. Storm finally reverses the momentum and slams RVD into steel steps (opening RVD’s forehead) and spits beer on him. RVD tosses Storm into the ring, where RVD continues his dominance. He crotches Storm over the top rope, then climbs the ropes himself and leaps off with a kick to Storm’s head. He goes for the cover and gets two. RVD misses landing on Storm in the corner, then gets dropped hard on the back of his head. Storm moves into a chinlock as RVD gushes out more blood. RVD fights out quickly, but is clotheslined over the top rope and into the steel. Storm gets a two-count, then delivers a big boot off the ropes before applying another chinlock. RVD gets out just as quickly and lands a spinning kick leaving both down to recoup. After an exchange of punches, RVD sets up and lands a moonsault but only gets two for it. Storm lands a jawbreaker then douses himself in beer, spits it in RVD's face and lands a DDT - but RVD kicks out. Storm is setting up the Last Call Superkick, but RVD lands a spinning kick of his own before launching into the 5-Star Frog Splash for the victory.

Winner via pinfall: Rob Van Dam
Match Rating: 7/10

Backstage, Christy Hemme interviews Hogan, who seems to be a little whiny about how rough things have been getting on Team Hogan. He says he’ll pack his bags and leave TNA if Flair wins tonight.

Match Two: X-Division Xscape Qualification match featuring Homicide, Brian Kendrick, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley (the winner to join Shannon Moore and Kazarian in a 3-way match to determine the new X-Division Champion)

Homicide tries to leave right away, but the Motor City Machine Guns pull him down. Kendrick wants the door open, but the Guns bring him down, too. Kendrick knocks down Sabin as Homicide works on Shelley. Kendrick is opened up and he arranges a partnership with Homicide, who holds Sabin in a Camel Clutch while Kendrick runs the ropes 3-4 times and delivers ... a momentum-charged slap to the face. Mike Tenay interrupts this match to announce that Hogan has informed Scott Hall to get a partner against Team 3D or face them alone, as Syxx-Pac is not here. The Guns get control and double-team Homicide; Sabin drops a leaping, tornado DDT on Kendrick, but then Homicide drops him with a neckbreaker. Shelley goes for the escape again but Kendrick stops him while Sabin takes a big kick and is caught in the Gringo Killer by Homicide. Homicide tells Kendrick that they’ll work together against Shelley, but then Homicide splits over the top for the win.

Winner via Xscape: Homicide
Match Rating: 7/10

Match Three: Kevin Nash versus Eric Young.

Young enters first, and Nash comes in throwing a punch but Young is too quick. He knocks Nash down but doesn’t follow up. Nash feigns a lock-up but drives a knee into Young and lands some big blows. Young quickly climbs the ropes and lands a missile dropkick, then another kick to Nash who is caught between the ropes and the cage. Young roughly moves the ref out of the way to follow up, but Nash lands a low-blow with the ref reeling. Nash drives his knee into Young in the corner – Young tries to escape but Nash brings him back in. Still, Young gets out with a couple of punches and keeps calling Nash on, even while staggering to his knees. Young starts landing some punches, but is brought down again. Young gets a little momentum but is hit with a chokeslam. Young keeps calling Nash on, but is again cut down with a big boot. Young is launched into the cage head first, twice. Nash drops the shoulder-straps and panders, calling for the powerbomb. Young is down and is pinned handily. As the refs help Young out of the ring, Nash grabs a mic and announces that he’s Hall’s partner. He tells team 3-D that “your ass is ours,” and it’s unclear if he forgot the pluralizing of “ass” or if he was referring to their collective ass.

Winner via Pinfall: Kevin Nash
Match Rating: 4/10

Match Four: TNA Knockout Singles and Tag Team Championships – Tara and Angelina Love (Singles Champion) versus Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky w/ Lacey Von Erich (Tag Champions)

The rules of the match state that if Tara or Love score a pin or submission, they both become tag champions, while if Sky or Rayne pin or submit either Tara or Love the winner will become the singles champion. Love takes down Sky, so Sky quickly tags in Rayne. Rayne drops a jawbreaker on Love, so Tara is tagged in. Sky re-enters and Tara locks in a reverse chin-lock bridge. Tara lands a suplex, then chops, before Sky reverses Tara into the ropes with Rayne knocking her down from the outside. Sky gets a two-count, then another. Rayne is tagged in and the Beautiful People double-team Tara. After a couple of near-falls, Tara fights back. Tara slams Sky and climbs the ropes, but misses a moonsault. Tara inches closer to Love for a tag, Rayne tags in first, but then Love enters and knocks both Beautiful People down. Love has Rayne set up, but Tara tags herself in and drops a Widow’s Peak on Rayne, but Sky stops the pin. Von Erich sneaks in and knocks Tara out with the belt, and Rayne pins Tara while Angelina is outside the ring to become the new singles champion. After the champs vacate the ring, Tara looks for a truce, and Love helps her up and motions to leave. Tara attacks her from behind, throwing her solidly into the cage.

Winner via pinfall and NEW Knockouts Singles Champion: Madison Rayne
Match Rating: 5/10

Match Five: X-Division Championship – Homicide versus Kazarian versus Shannon Moore

Kazarian and Moore begin by double teaming Homicide. Moore lands a leg drop, and Kazarian nails a nice leaping leg drop off the ropes. Kazarian and Moore trade punches on Homicide, knocking him into the cage, then Kazarian finishes the assault with a drop kick. Kazarian tries a pin, but Moore pulls him off, then Moore lands a cross body block and Kazarian pulls Moore off Homicide during his pin attempt. They trade two-counts on each other then Homicide lands a dropkick that actually takes both of them down. Homicide hits Moore with an elbow and drops a quick suplex on Kazarian, then gouges Kazarian’s eyes. Homicide drops a nice T-bone suplex on Moore, but it’s Kazarian who gets a near-fall on Moore as a result. Moore gets Homicide up on the top rope, then Kazarian and Moore set up a double super-plex, but instead Homicide hits a double-bulldog on them from the top and get a very near-fall first on Moore, then on Kazarian. Kazarian lands a Northern Lights suplex on Moore, but only gets a two-count. Homicide gets Kazarian with a jawbreaker and rams Moore into the turnbuckle with a handful of Moore’s Mohawk. Homicide gets Moore up on the top rope, but is knocked down and out of the picture momentarily. Kazarian and Moore walk along the ropes and meet in the middle with punches and kicks, then Moore moonsaults onto Homicide but Kazarian breaks up the count. Kazarian runs Moore face-first and then back-first into the cage. Kazarian and Homicide then find themselves standing on the top buckle, from which Homicide hip-tosses Kazarian off the top. Moore misses a dive off the top and Homicide goes at Kazarian for the Gringo Killer, but Kazarian instead lands a sort of reverse piledriver and he wins with a move without a name!


Winner via pinfall and NEW X-Division Champion: Kazarian
Match rating: 7/10

Hemme is backstage with The Pope, D’Angelo Dinero. The Pope claims that AJ Styles has no style. Dinero, though, clearly has style as he has a flunkie hand him water from off-screen to take a sip mid-promo.

Match Six: Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) versus Kevin Nash and Scott Hall

Brother Ray announces that the match is a St. Louis Street fight with falls counting anywhere in the building (can he do that?). Team 3D runs up the ramp to jump The Band as they make their entrance. Ray backdrops Hall onto the ramp while Devon knocks down Nash, and then 3D chase Hall and Nash into the crowd. Ray lands a beer cup shot to Hall’s head, before jumping off the barricade with a double-axe handle to Hall, who awkwardly stumbles a few steps before falling down. 3D work The Band back to the ring before Hall and Nash start fighting back. Hall tosses Devon in the ring with Ray stuck outside. Nash closes the door and he and Hall take turns holding the door shut and working Devon. But Ray gets inside through sheer persistence and Nash is tossed into the corner and Hall right behind him. 3D hits the “Whassup”, after which Ray has a request for Devon, though he lets the crowd actually ask Devon for him. Hall is put down by the 3D through a table and Ray and Devon come out of this looking solid. For a falls-count anywhere match, though, it sure had a lot of in-ring action.

Winners via pinfall: Team 3D
Match Rating: 4/10

Match Seven: Kurt Angle versus Mr. Anderson

The winner shall be the first man to walk out of the cage door. Anderson, of course, has the key to the door which he won on Impact! Anderson is apparently going to wrestle with the key around his neck. With all the choking business with the medal, is that really a good idea? Anderson teases a test of strength but instead lands a couple of blows to knock Angle down. Anderson tries to escape right away but is stopped by Angle. Then Anderson wraps the key around his fist and lands punch after punch on Angle’s forehead. He tries again to leave, but Angle gets him from behind and lands a suplex. The key is left in the padlock, nullifying Anderson’s hard-earned advantage. Angle sees the key is in the padlock, but goes back to Anderson for a snap suplex. Angle runs at Anderson who lifts him shoulder-first into the cage – which opens Angle up. Anderson wraps Angle through the ropes and stretches him before driving him head first repeatedly into the cage. He wipes Angle’s blood across his chest, then rises up the ropes and leaps. Angle lifts his leg to counter, but Anderson dodges it and lands a leg drop on Angle. He then returns to the door, but Angle runs him from behind, knocking Anderson’s head into the cage (opening Anderson). Anderson sets Angle up for a piledrver, but Angle counters into a backdrop. Angle tries to follow up, but Anderson launches into him and drags Angle to the middle of the ring and stands on the top rope. Angle races up after him and tosses him off the top with a big belly-to-belly. As both men recover, Anderson unwraps the tape from his wrist and starts choking Angle out. Angle spits out his mouthguard and the ref is trying to break the hold. Angle gets to his knees and delivers elbows and a suplex to Anderson but can’t follow up, falling and clutching at his throat.

Both wrestlers are on their knees trading blows. They get to their feet and continue landing hard punches. Angle gets the momentum and lands a clothesline, then a back body drop. Angle stalks Anderson and throws him into the corner, but he’s too slow following him in and gets a kick to the head. Still, Angle lands a quick belly-to-belly, but Anderson counters the Angle Slam – but then Angle blocks the Mic Check and hits six German suplexes. Angle walks to the door and probably could have left, but he turns back to Anderson and drops the straps. He cinches in the ankle lock, but Anderson escapes and hits the Mic Check after all. Anderson opens the door, but Angle lands an Angle Slam and shuts the door – locking it again. He shows Anderson the key and throws it out of the cage. Anderson tries to escape, Angle lands a German suplex off the ropes. Anderson lands really hard on his side. Angle isn’t done and sets Anderson up for a moonsault. He sets to do it off the third rope but decides to do it off the top of the cage. He leaps off at an awkward angle and lands the moonsault on Anderson’s head – almost more like an elbow off the top. Angle pulls out another key (did he cheat?) and goes to exit the cage. But Anderson hold up two middle fingers and lures Angle back into the ring. He hits the Mic Check again and crawls towards the exit. As Angle slowly comes to life, Anderson is almost out but Angle grabs his leg to stop him, pulling Anderson back into the ring for an ankle lock. Anderson taps but Angle does not release the hold. Anderson, though, rolls out of the ankle lock and tosses Angle into the cage. Anderson is almost out again but Angle pulls that troublesome medal out of his trunks (is carrying it in your shorts really honouring the military?) and chokes out Anderson. He spits on Anderson’s prone body, lands a low blow for good measure, and walks out for the win.

Winner via exiting the cage: Kurt Angle
Match Rating:8/10

On the way out, Angle grabs a mic and gets a cheap pop thanking the St. Louis fans. He says he’s going to take some time off, and when he comes back he’ll be after the Heavyweight Championship.

Match Eight: TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match – “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles w Ric Flair (C) versus “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero

As the champ makes his entrance, Earl Hebner won’t let Flair come to the ring and they start shoving each other. Some of the crowd chants “We want Flair”. Styles starts fast with a throwdown of The Pope. Dinero brings Styles down but the champ reverses Dinero’s grip into an arm wringer. Styles spins out and tosses Dinero to the ground again, then lays the bad mouth on him. Dinero hits an arm-drag, drop-toe hold combo and again moves into an arm wringer. Styles again spins out but is met by an arm toss, body slam, and a series of arm drags. Styles lands some (whoo!) chops, but Dinero reverses and tosses Syles into the ropes and follows with elbows to the champ’s noggin. Dinero charges Styles, but the champ dodges and throws The Pope into the cage. Styles stomps Dinero’s head, then dodges as Dinero runs off the ropes and instead lands a humongous dropkick. Styles lifts The Pope up awkwardly onto his shoulder and drops him hard on his side. Styles continues to work Dinero’s legs with kicks from behind, but the challenger eventually dodges a kick and lands some pinches, only to be stopped by a thumb to the eye. Styles goes for a moonsault of sorts off the ropes, but Dinero sidesteps it and runs the champ into the cage, following with a DDT. Both are slow to get up, but Dinero makes the first move by hitting a number of double axe-handles to Styles’ chest. The champ is soon up and goes for a cross-body-block, but Dinero grabs him in midair and turns it into a powerslam. He gets a two-count. Styles hits another thumb to the eye and hits a flying forearm off the top rope, netting a two-count for himself. Styles sets up Dinero on the top rope, but The Pope knocks Styles down and lands a falling headbutt for another two-count. Taz notes that Dinero keeps grabbing at his shoulder, likely after that awkward drop from Styles earlier on. Dinero goes for a suplex slam of sorts, but Styles comes back with a bicycle kick. He slams Dinero in the middle of the ring and climbs the ropes. He hits a 450° splash and gets a two-count. He sets Dinero up again and tries to hit a cross-body-block of the top of the cage but Dinero dodges. The challenger follows with a lunging neckbreaker but still only gets a near-fall. Styles grabs a pen from the cameraman outside the ring and spears The Pope in the eye. He follows it up with a hard clothesline, then The Styles Clash for the ultimately easy pin.

Winner via pinfall and STILL TNA World Heavyweight Champion: AJ Styles.
Match Rating: 6/10


Match Nine: Team Hogan (Abyss, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and Jeff Jarrett) versus Team Flair (Sting, Robert Roode, James Storm, and Desmond Wolfe)

Winner via pinfall: Abyss (representing Team Hogan)

Match Rating: 6/10

Event Rating: 7/10

The next TNA Pay-Per-View is Sacrifice, on May 16th 2010.