TNA Lockdown 2012 Preview & Predictions

On Sunday April 15th, TNA Wrestling hold their annual all-cage-match PPV, Lockdown. In days gone by, such a gimmick running throughout the entire show might have been considered risky or too much, but since WWE started assigning gimmicks to almost every single event, it's actually quite run of the mill. However, this is one niche that TNA beat them to and it's become their second biggest show of the year behind Bound for Glory! Now let's see what they have in store for us...

TNA World Tag Team Championships
Magnus & Samoa Joe (c) vs The Motorcity Machine Guns

After the long awaited return of the Motorcity Machine Guns to Impact Wrestling last week, the Tag Team Champions have been put on notice! The Guns definitely have momentum on their side, being a fan favourite tag team, who've been sorely missed for the past year. However, Magnus and Joe are only just beginning to gel as a legitimate tag team, if they lose the titles straight after winning them, they may as well go back to singles competition, their reign will have meant nothing. If I were to venture a guess, I'd expect the Champions to retain their titles, setting up a rematch next month. There's so little going on in the Tag Team division, they pretty much HAVE to keep their feud going.

Prediction - Magnus & Samoa Joe defeat The Motorcity Machine Guns via pinfall to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championships

TNA Knockouts Championship
Gail Kim (c) vs Velvet Sky

Gail Kim has been decisively dominating the Knockouts division ever since returning to TNA in October of last year. There have been a few contenders who've come close to toppling her, whether it be "Hardcore Country" Mickie James or "Killer Queen" Madison Rayne. Either of those competitors would've made complete thematic sense. However, I'm sad to say that current candidate Velvet Sky makes least sense of all. While she was the one who initially lost the Knockouts Championship to Gail upon her return, Velvet has been a forgotten footnote ever since. This renewed pursuit of the title has literally come out of nowhere, with Velvet going from jobbing to pinning their biggest star (James) in a matter of weeks. Despite all of this, I do think TNA are feeling the need for a change and will once again use a big show to put the belt on Velvet, just as they did back at Bound for Glory. If she does manage to end Gail's reign, here's hoping Velvet's second attempt at being Champion is more dignified than her first.

Prediction - Velvet Sky defeats Gail Kim via pinfall to win the TNA Knockouts Championship

TNA Television Championship
Devon (c) vs Robbie E

The rematch no one asked for and no one wanted. After having dropped the belt to Devon at last month's Victory Road PPV, Robbie E fights to regain a championship that nobody else thought to challenge for. Unfortunately, the Television title is the clear runt of the TNA championships. Rarely mentioned and rarely defended. It doesn't have to be a complete loss though. If they got the right talent behind the division and thought about replacing that dog-eared red belt, there could be something of worth there. But Robbie E and Devon aren't the men to do it. The fact Devon is even holding a singles title is downright bizarre. Whatever happens, the Television Championship will be ignored for another month and rolled out for an invitational match on PPV.

Prediction - Robbie E defeats Devon via interference (from Rob Terry) to win the TNA Television Championship.

Crimson vs Matt Morgan

This is one of several feuds at Lockdown that began all the way back at Bound for Glory six months ago, with TNA showing remarkable forward-planning. Even if we weren't really happy with the pairing in the first place, they stuck to their guns and gave it to us anyway. Initially, the feud was conceived as a battle of the giants, a supposed "dream match". After a brief intermission with Samoa Joe, the pair were sucked into the ailing tag team division for Sting's wildcard tournament and the months that followed. No matter how the two behaved, you knew at some point the trigger would be pulled and they would turn on each other, it was just a question of how. In the end, Crimson's "undefeated streak" (except for all those tag matches he lost) went to his head and he screwed over his partner Morgan in a rematch for the Tag Team titles. The one positive going into this match at Lockdown is that Hulk Hogan promised during a promo that this would be the end of the conflict. Hopefully, the pair will pummel each other, hit a few choice power moves and we can all move on. Nothing to see here that we haven't a hundred times over already.

Prediction - Crimson defeats Matt Morgan via pinfall to maintain his "undefeated streak"

Jeff Hardy vs Kurt Angle

The majority of the groundwork for this feud was laid before Victory Road over a month ago. The crux of the matter is that Kurt Angle is jealous of Jeff Hardy because Kurt's son Cody idolises Jeff over his own father. I've always found this to be a slightly flimsy excuse to have your two most popular active wrestlers go at it, but whatever gets them in the ring, I guess. The last month has really been a case of keeping things ticking over until the inevitable rematch. I suppose we're meant to ignore the fact they just had a twenty minute match together on Impact Wrestling last week. As long as it ended in a cheap fashion, it may as well never have happened, right guys. At least this iteration of the pairing comes with the added bonus of the cage and Angle's patented moonsault off the top corner. He's done it two years in a row now against both Ken Anderson and Jeff Jarrett, one hitting, the other landing nowhere near. After it was recently revealed that Angle is suffering from a major injury that could possibly keep him out of the Olympics, this guaranteed leap off the top is even scarier than usual. Please dear god Kurt, don't kill yourself.

Prediction - Jeff Hardy defeats Kurt Angle via pinfall (Angle takes a few months off to heal nagging injuries)

Team Garret vs Team Eric
(featuring - whoever doesn't already have a match)

In the past, the Lethal Lockdown match has headlined the PPV over the World Heavyweight Title match. In this case, I'm praying that's not the case. While both feuds have essentially been running since Bound for Glory last October, I wish Bobby Roode and James Storm the best of luck. Whereas, the Bischoff name has been a blight on Impact Wrestling for far too long. Whether it's Eric's pompous promos that even the audience aren't listening to or Garret's botchfests they dare to call matches. Lethal Lockdown is to determine who gets the rights to the name and who remains on the Impact Wrestling roster. Ultimately, NEITHER of these men deserve to be on your television each and every week. It's blatant nepotism and makes me cringe every week. I'd rather see the competitors in this match fighting over who was going to pay the bar tab afterwards, rather than the Bischoff name. It'd be one thing if we didn't already know the conclusion, but after the monster push that Garret has received for simply being Eric's son and the supposed "future of wrestling", there's no way in hell that Garret is going away. Even worse, Eric will come straight back too. What's the point?

Prediction - Team Garret defeats Team Eric via pinfall (Garret himself getting the pin on Eric)

TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Bobby Roode vs "The Cowboy" James Storm

Ladies and gentlemen, our main event of the evening! Where all the other feuds that've carried over the past six months failed, this one has succeeded.

Bobby Roode went into TNA's biggest show Bound for Glory a clear fan favourite and lost his prized title shot through a last minute screwjob (perpetrated by Kurt Angle in the ring or Hulk Hogan outside of it?). Through some questionable hotshot booking, the World Championship soon found it's way to Roode's Beer Money partner, James Storm. Being an honourable "cowboy", Storm wanted to right the wrongs of BFG and gave first crack at the title to his best friend. After a hard-fought match, Roode's jealousy got the better of him and he used Storm's own beer bottle to steal the win and the World Heavyweight Championship. Since then, Roode has bloomed into a respected main event heel, proclaiming himself the leader of the "Selfish Generation". He's held the belt consistently for the entire six months, despite never once winning a match clean. He's become the quintessential villain for the 21st century.

In the opposing corner, we've watched an even more surprising rise to the top in the form of James Storm. Even as recently as a year ago, no one would have believed he could become a genuine World Championship contender or centrepiece of the company. But in a bizarre twist of fate, his "Cowboy" gimmick has led to a rebirth of sorts, with Storm evolving into a hard-drinking redneck hero the likes haven't been seen since Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Not to put unnecessary pressure on these two top class athletes, but this match could very well be the culmination of six months worth of television. For a company who's internal logic can fly out the window on a whim if it suits them, the fact they've held true and let these two young guys prove themselves in the spotlight is a miracle. The match itself will undoubtedly cover a number of styles, whether it be technical wrestling or outright brawling. I can't think of two people who deserve the attention more, now they just have to keep it. Considering this PPV is being held in Storm's home town and will function as an end to this feud, you have to put good money on the Cowboy coming out on top.

Prediction - James Storm defeats Bobby Roode via pinfall to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion!


Tweet This

Twitter is bigger in Pro Wrestling now than ever before with the social networking site being used by companies as kayfabe to enhance the feuds, to promote the product and sometimes just used by the wrestlers as Twitter was intended to by putting over their points.

Victory Road or is the #VICTORYROAD
(photo (c) TNA Impact Wrestling)
I have no issue with TNA using Twitter as it is the biggest free global advertising platform around currently and they don't want to fall behind WWE, the interaction can be fun and as with anything everybody wants to get closer to their 'heroes' but it would be nice to not be rammed with facts about trends and people's opinions during the shows, Twitter is there constantly where as we only get 2 hours of TV time a week. I don't want to rant on about how annoying it can be to be told who some random person thinks will win a match on a PPV, the only two people who's opinions matter are the two who are paid to be there to call a match whether it be Tenay, Taz, J.B or even Eric Bischoff.
Promotion is the way of getting TNA to move to the next level as it is unbelievable the amount of tweets I see to TNA wrestlers asking if they have retired as they are no longer in the WWE; but I draw the line of including a hash-tag in front of the name of the PPV actually during the event itself, as can be seen with Jeff Hardy posing in front of the #VICTORYROAD sign.

Aries tweeting mid match at Victory Road
(photo (c) TNA Impact Wrestling)
As mentioned before I think tweeting should be most utilised when TNA is not on air, the one time I have enjoyed a mention was during Austin Aries match with Zema Ion at Victory Road where A Double tweeted 'It's a #GREAT day to be #GREAT...and a #GREAT day to#LiveTweet! #TGMTEL > @ZemaTNA #VictoryRoad' but this fit with the rivalry and with Aries cocky character, even if it was just a tactic to get more people to flock to the Internet to see what was tweeted.

While most wrestlers use their twitter accounts to connect with the fans, usually answering questions, retweeting random requests or updating their followers on their daily activities, it is becoming more the use of  a worked shoot, especially following Scott Steiner's parting words with the company in which he accused creative of taking over or telling wrestlers what to write and when on their twitter pages. As much as it add's to the show to see trash talking from World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode to build up his Lockdown match with James Storm, the best put downs are those that go relatively unnoticed. Recently Eric Bischoff has been trashing his Xplosion co-host Jeremy Borash, I may be wrong in thinking this is a work but since the comment appeared the two have had more on screen run-ins, especially at Victory Road where Bischoff took over J.B's interview of Aries.

My current personal favourite use of Twitter at the minute is Joseph Park (@JOSEPHPARK_esq) who has taken to the site to further his search for his brother Chris 'Abyss'. I know they are the same person and the fact the story of Abyss being missing is slightly flawed as TNA would have been searching for him long before his brother turned up, along with the fact he wrestled in India for Ring Ka King, but there is a fun element to his page in the fact it is played so deadpan and in character. He has replied to many a message from people not playing along telling them he isn't Abyss, claiming to be looking for 'part's unknown' and claiming he doesn't know what a work is; these tweets are a bit of fun and are a throw back to times when fans did not know that 99% of things were worked and is completely opposite to those tweets previously mentioned which blur reality with kayfabe.

Whilst Twitter is being used in will be difficult to know what is real and what is worked but that is part of the fun in a industry that tends to thrive under controversy, after all it does tend to create cash! I would rather the references were cut down in show, especially during PPV's which distracts the commentators from calling the matches, if I want to see what people are saying I will log on and follow the trend myself, but for the most part there is no harm is using the site to boost your product for free.




Austin Aries: The Greatest?

Aries celebrating becoming the longest reigning X Division
Champion on Impact Wrestling 03/15 (photo Lee South)
On March 12, "A Double" Austin Aries became the longest reigning X Division champion ever. He broke the previous record set by Christopher Daniels, who held the strap for 182 days way back in 2005. But does this give the self proclaimed 'greatest man that ever lived' the title of the 'greatest X Division champion'?

The list of former X champions is impressive, with Styles, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle being the stand out names, all of which are among the greatest of this generation, so Aries is in good company when it comes to those who have held the title. 

Longest Reign Ever

Being the longest reigning champion is a sure sign of greatness. It can even be argued that this automatically makes Aries the best and currently no one is showing signs of ending his terrific run with the gold. Contently turning in top rate performances, A Dub is the current highlight of Impact Wrestling and is being rewarded with main event slots and in-ring time with the World Heavyweight Champion, Bobby Roode. Which in itself is elevating the X Division Champion and giving the belt more exposure than it has received in years.  

Aries' reign began by defeating Brian Kendrick at No Surrender, mere months after winning a contract at Destination X, and has gone on to defend the Championship against all the X Division has to offer, month after month, including Kid Kash and most recently Zema Ion. But having already defeated everyone, who is left for Aries to go through and who is capable of besting him for the gold?

Lack Of Competition? 
Aries teasing the crowd
(photo Jeremy Borash)
Despite going through the X division roster, it could be argued that the division is the weakest it's ever been. Zema Ion is still a relative newcomer, Kid Kash who is an experienced veteran and has held the title before, Tony Nesse has been on television  only a handful of times, Brian Kendrick has left the company and who I feel TNA were likely to push as the next champion, Jesse Sorenson, suffered his life threatening injury.

Not taking anything away from the current crop, but comparing them to the early competitors there were a lot of strong potentials in a time that saw the title change hands multiple times, as it was strongly competed for. 

With Aries being pushed into main event slots, the title being given airtime and the chance to become the person to wrestle the title from the champ this could become desirable for those who have left the division behind such as Daniels or Kazarian. 

Ultimate X 

Aries has defeated everybody who has stood in his way but he has yet to test himself in the signature match of the division, Ultimate X. A win in this match up is probably the one thing Aries is missing from his resume to declare himself the greatest and with his showmanship and in ring ability would cement him as one of the companies top stars. 

With the crowd reaction and push Aries is receiving as of late it is difficult to see anything but a push into the World Heavyweight picture although before then I would like to see him retain the X Division championship for just a little longer, enough to headline the Destination X pay per view and reach a full year as champion even going through to Bound for Glory.

Along that path I would love to see former champions such as Daniels and Styles try and best the current champion and put on some match of the year candidates, and Kurt Angle to even challenge Aries for the title of 'Greatest Man to Ever Live'. Matches against opponents of their calibre would raise A Dub's stock further and put him firmly as the current Greatest Wrestler in TNA.