By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Ethan Carter III def. Tommy Dreamer in a Tables Match
Carter's pre-match promo was effective in getting heat on him and making the crowd get behind Dreamer that much more. EC3's television matches as of late have been too short to really give fans a glimpse of what he is actually capable of in the ring, but this match was given good time and was by far EC3's best bout to date. It started out slow, but all the tables spots were well done and EC3 went over strong with a clean win for a change. Kudos to Dreamer for putting the kid over, but more should have been done to hype his upcoming match against Bully Ray at the next One Night Only event.
Austin Aries def. Chris Sabin in an X-Division Xscape Match
I said back in July that a feud between these two had the potential to be great, and while that has yet to transcend on television, they definitely proved that here. The biggest problem with their latest series of TV matches has been that they haven't been given enough time to shine. They righted that wrong here and put on an excellent matchup that told a solid story. Sabin was clever in tying Aries to the bottom rope and resorting to dirty tactics, in what the commentators fittingly called "desperate measures". Isn't it funny that the best match between these two to date wasn't even for the X-Division Championship?
The Bro-Mans Attacked Dewey Barnes
Although I am a fan of Robbie E (more so him as a wrestler than his character), I absolutely despise The Bro-Mans. Maybe that is a good thing since they are heels, but I don't think they garner the right kind of heat. They have an insanely stupid gimmick and have an annoying act, yet are the current reigning tag team champions. At least Zema Ion wasn't with them in this segment. Barnes came off as a likable to the crowd, but it was a pretty pointless segment aside from building suspense to who the fourth member of Team Angle could be.
Bobby Roode def. Samoa Joe by Disqualification in a Lethal Lockdown Advantage Match
I, like anyone else, love a straightforward wrestling match, but it felt out of place on a show centered around hardcore. I realize Roode addressed in his pre-match interview that he didn't want the bout to be hardcore (which would play a factor in the finish), but still. It was a very good match and the live crowd was into the action. Roode pulling an "Eddie Guerrero" by pretending to be struck by the garbage can at the hands of Joe was smart, and it also protected Joe from taking a loss. Do the heels ever not get the advantage in a Lethal Lockdown match?
Lei'D Tapa def. Velvet Sky in a Street Fight
Considering Sky isn't the greatest wrestler and Tapa is still quite green in the ring, this was a pretty good Knockouts match. The Street Fight stipulation worked to their advantage, as it hid their weakness and they were able to brawl as opposed to just wrestle. Tapa dominated Sky for most of the match and ultimately picked up the victory, which was the right move. Surprisingly enough, the live crowd wasn't completely quiet for this match and was sympathetic toward Sky for the beating she took, so I found it to be an above-average Knockouts match.
Eric Young and Joseph Park def. Bad Influence in a Full Metal Mayhem Match
Young and Park are more of a comedy act than they are an actual tag team, but they worked well together with Bad Influence here. The competitors made good use of the extreme environment and provided enjoyable action. The diving elbow from Young off the top of the ladder was a crazy cool spot, but it overshadowed everything else that came before it. This wasn't on par with previous Full Metal Mayhem matches, but it was still the best match Young and Park have had as a team thus far. In other news, Bad Influence continue to be underutilized.
Bully Ray def. Mr. Anderson in a Last Man Standing Match
These two have always had excellent chemistry together in hardcore matches and this match was no exception. I was a bit disappointed it was changed from a Stretcher match to a Last Man Standing match, if only because I can't even remember the last time a Stretch match was held and Ray and Anderson fought in a Last Man Standing match back in September. Even still, it was an entertaining contest with the momentum shifting between both competitors throughout the bout. Ray generated great heat and I was glad to see him no resort to a stupid lighter to win. Anderson knocks Ray out for a solid minute and doesn't win, yet Ray low blows Anderson, shoves him into the steel steps and picks up the victory? It was a weak finish to an otherwise awesome match.
Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, James Storm and Abyss) def. Team Roode (Bobby Roode, Magnus and The Bro-Mans) in a Lethal Lockdown Match
I read a report recently that claimed The Bro-Mans were over as heels. In what way are they over? The live crowd was dead silent when they were on offense against James Storm in the first few minutes. Thankfully, the crowd came alive for Samoa Joe when he entered and were into the action from that point forward. I did not at all expect Abyss to be the fourth member of Team Angle (I had my money on Sting or even Gunner) and it made sense after Park made the transformation earlier in the evening. Unfortunately, though, the match was a whole was underwhelming. It seems the Lethal Lockdown match gets less and less exciting every year, but at least the finishing sequence was well done.
Although the main event was a bit of a disappointment, it wasn't enough to bring down the whole show. This was by far the best One Night Only event that TNA has produced to date. It was filmed in late December (not even a month ago as of this writing), so I am very glad that TNA didn't wait six months to air it like they have done with other events. The fact they weren't in the Impact Zone and that Jeremy Borash replaced Taz on commentary for the night were both major improvements. I look forward to the Old School One Night Only event coming up, but I hope it isn't the same as this show having all matches with extreme stipulations.