I've seen Lockdown! But how did it fare?
The non-wrestling segments varied. The video packages, Kenny King promo and Joe and Magnus interviews were spectacular, but the Lockdown teams talking pieces were pointless. And while the segments with Dixie Carter were interesting, the mid-show flashback to her Jeff Hardy announcement were useless and should have been cut.
As for the matches, the opening was energetic and awesome. The Japanese trio got over despite fighting Americans in America, and Chris Sabin and Bad Influence were great. However, I'm annoyed that for the second time in a month, a championship changed hands off television, and it would be nice to see Bad Influence actually win once in a while.
Samuel Shaw versus Ken Anderson began well but ended badly. Shaw's escalating creepiness is terrifying and Anderson is fast becoming a true hero, but why has nobody at least given Christy Hemme pepper spray or a taser to defend herself? And while Shaw winning worked for the story, the ref bump conclusion was weak and frustrating. A mixed bag.
I'm reserving judgement on EC3's open challenge until I see where they go with Bobby Lashley, but I can't help but feel sorry for Ethan. Nothing ever goes right for him.
Then there was the best match of the evening, Manik versus Tigre Uno. No complex plot: just two acrobatic athletes beating the heck out of each other, and that's all it needed to be. Absolutely sublime from start to finish.
Conversely, Gunner versus James Storm disappointed. The match was good, but I don't think Gunner winning progresses the plot well, and it made Storm look weak and ineffectual. I'm not sure.
On the other hand, I expected Madison Rayne versus Gail Kim to bore me due to a lack of prior emotional investment. However, the two Knockouts drew me in to their story through wrestling alone and I really enjoyed it. A pleasant surprise.
An unpleasant surprise was Magnus versus Joe, my low point of the evening. Abyss interfering? Fine. Abyss rising up like one of the mole people? Silly. Abyss re-enacting the end of "Drag Me to Hell" on Joe? No. Just no.
And finally, Lethal Lockdown.
I was happy that Davey Richards's shoulder was still strapped up, that Team MVP kept him out of the match for as long as possible, and that Team Roode made targeting his injury a priority. It made everybody look smart, and it meant that Davey got to fight through like a badass instead of looking like a dumbass.
That nobody on Earth is even pretending to believe that Willow isn't Jeff Hardy is funny, but I worry that Willow won't be able to stand out as a character on his own because of it.
And Bully Ray being the special ref and making a heel-face turn was genuinely unexpected and shocking, and I liked it.
Overall, Lockdown balanced setbacks with successes and surpassed Genesis. If Sacrifice is this good, I'll be happy.
See you Monday.
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