Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Scorekeeping: Lockdown

Welcome to what I hope to have as a monthly feature here on PWP, entitled Scorekeeping. What Scorekeeping will be is a review of TNA's monthly pay-per-view on a match by match basis. If in the event I happen to see a WWE PPV during that month, Scorekeeping will be head-to-head between TNA and WWE. This month, the inaugural edition of Scorekeeping happens to be one of those special months as April hosted the Granddaddy of Them All Wrestlemania.

WWE's Wrestlemania 23 took place on April 1st and immediately after seeing it I thought it was a poor April Fool's Joke that had cost me $50. It just didn't feel like Wrestlemania to me. TNA's Lockdown took place this past Sunday night, April 15th and was a giant opportunity to out-perform WWE, not in terms of sales but at least in terms of actual quality considering how un-Wrestlemania like Wrestlemania actually was.

So let's get to it. Please not that the matches are not presented in the exact order (although they are pretty close) they appeared on the PPV.

Openers: Money in the Bank vs. X-Division Escape

Money in the Bank is almost always a good time and with performs such as Edge and the Hardy Boyz involved this was the perfect way to start Wrestlemania. The finish was a little off for me but overall it did its job and got everyone into the show. B+

The X-Division is TNA's backbone. They have built a federation using the insane stunts and high powered performances of the X-Division wrestlers. So what isn't to like when you stick five guys in a steel cage and tell them to go at it with the winner gaining or retaining the X-Division Title? It was missing a few things that could have made it better but just like the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania, it did its job and got everyone into the show. B

Mid-Card: The Great Khali / Kane vs. Senshi / Austin Starr

Khali and Kane. Two monster behemoths with whom no one wants to play. Despite their size the two put on a decent match, just not Wrestlemania quality. C+

As with all the Lockdown matches, Senshi vs. Austin Starr was in the Six Sides of Steel. I have not been a big fan of Austin Starr but he put on a great performance for this match putting over Senshi. B

Mid-Card: Chris Benoit / MVP vs. Robert Roode / Petey Williams

Benoit is one of the best technical wrestlers still wrestling today, unfortunately he has terrible mic skills and no one has ever really been able to use him well, except maybe when he was part of the Horsemen. MVP looks like a deranged Power Ranger, so I fully expected Benoit to rip him apart. Good match but nothing I will remember. B

Robert Roode's new Million Dollar Man type gimmick is tiring and I have never really liked him in the ring but I really like Petey Williams as an in-ring performer. Surprisingly Roode put on a very good performance and got the win, nothing special but entertaining. B

Mid-Card: Undertaker / Batista vs. Christopher Daniels / Jerry Lynn

The Undertaker has never lost at Wrestlemania so the outcome here was not in question. What was in question was if Batista and Undertaker could put on an entertaining match to get to the ending everyone knew was coming. The answer was yes. B

Christopher Daniels vanished for a couple months before emerging with a new tattoo. While he was gone Jerry Lynn made a case for geriatrics wrestling. Upon his return Daniels singled out Lynn as his first target for cleansing. The storyline going in was trash but with these two performers you were not going to get a stinker. B

Mid-Card: ECW Originals / New Breed vs. Team 3D / LAX

Taking the original stars of the ECW and pitting them against the new "stars", and I use the term loosely, of the ECW seemed like too much roster, not enough space for everyone. It turned out RVD is out of the doghouse though (afraid he might jump ship Vince?) as he gets the win in a short yet entertaining match. B

The Dudley's Legacy against LAX's tag titles. In the culmination of a almost four months of feuding Team 3D met LAX in the "electrified" steel cage. I guess dimming the lights blue and having an annoying hum radiate throughout the arena makes the cage electrified. Whatever. Take out the "electrification" of the match and it actually is pretty good, with some great action in the cage, but the terrible handling of the gimmick brings this down a notch. C+

Super Gimmick: McMahon / Trump vs. The Blindfold Match

When I heard the big gimmick match for Wrestlemania was going to be a hair match involving Vince and the Donald I cringed. On paper it was a disaster. In practice Vince put on the second best performance of the show, even with Trump's terrible punches. Shane hitting the dropkick from the other side of the ring was just icing on the cake. B+

James Storm hits Chris Harris in the face with a beer bottle, supposedly blinding him in one eye. Harris wants revenge and months after America's Most Wanted had broken up the two come face-to-face in a grudge match. To make it even both combatants must wear an execution bag over their head (Hey I thought this was a blindfold match), that hardly ever stays on. Regardless it is the worst match I've seen since returning to wrestling, the crowd hated it, I hated it and I think even Storm and Harris hated it. F

Girls, Girls, Girls: Melina / Ashley vs. Gail Kim / Jackie Moore

The WWE has the women to do it but for some reason cannot put together a decent women's match for Wrestlemania. Instead we get a Lumber Jill match involving Ashley and Melina and the rest of the WWE tramp patrol. At least it was short. D+

TNA does not have the women to have a decent division but they do have two that can put on a hell of a match when given the opportunity. Gail Kim flying off the top of the cage just proves that these ladies are more than able to get the job done. Before they go full steam ahead into women's wrestling though they need to expand to two hours of television time. B

Main Event: John Cena / The Heart Break Kid vs. Lethal Lockdown

I've never liked John Cena. To me he signifies everything that is wrong with Vince's approach to his stars. HBK on the other hand has been a favorite of mine since he was part of The Rockers. I so thought HBK was going to get the win and maybe a nice farewell tour before he retired but instead Cena got the win. Surprisingly though this was actually a very good match, not great but very good. Cena failed to sell his leg injury (did he get a cortisone shot mid match?) but overall he worked real well with Michaels. B

The Lethal Lockdown. Two teams, 10 men, one cage. The build-up to this match was done very well and despite my distaste for Jeff Jarrett this (see Two Words, One Man) match still held my attention. All night, all eyes were on Jarrett to see if he could be trusted and it turns out he can be. Lethal Lockdown is exactly why I like TNA. The top ten stars for the company in an extreme cage match. I wasn't thrilled with the ending, despite being a huge Sting fan, but overall Lethal Lockdown shined as the match of the night. B+

Totals: Using a 4.0 Grade Point Average scale, the WWE's Wrestlemania comes in with a 2.88 GPA while TNA's Lockdown nabs a 2.63 GPA. Considering Wrestlemania is the WWE's flagship PPV, TNA should be proud that they put on an entertaining show that only cost their fans $30 (as compared to Wrestlemania's $50 price tag). TNA still has a good amount to improve on but they are steadily improving and Vince might want to keep watch a little bit more, improving his product along the way.

Check back next month when I will score TNA's Sacrifice PPV and feel free to send your comments and questions to me at pwp.chris@gmail.com


bradyhicks said...

Should have said something sooner Chris, but great job. I would have had a few of the WrestleMania matches a littler higher, but I really liked how thorough it was.

Tim Haught said...

Yeah, I should have been more on the ball as well. Chris' perspectives on TNA are incredible. I just haven't had a lot of time recently to really get to comment on the content, but the idea of comparing WWE and TNA PPV's seems so elementary, but I can't think of any site that's really doing it. We know Chris will always have a bit of a TNA bias, but who cares. This site is about opinions. That's what leads to discussion.