Jeff Hardy has filled the eighth and final vacant slot in the Lethal Lockdown match that will take place in Miami between Team MVP and Team Roode.
The match, which will determine who will take control of wrestling operations within TNA, will pit MVP, Hardy, and the Wolves, against Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and the Bro Mans – who will be representing company president Dixie Carter.
Last weekend, on the final edition of IMPACT to be aired from Wembley as part of TNA’s UK Tour, the heel quartet claimed victory in a three-on-three tag team match, with Roode making the match winning pin on Davey Richards.
The result means Team Roode gain the advantage in the steel cage match. The contest, which starts one-on-one, allows for an additional wrestler to enter the cage every two minutes. Team Roode will now be allowed to add a competitor before Team MVP, meaning that on three separate occasions they will hold a man advantage in the contest.
And it was this afore mentioned tag team match that kicked off the evening’s card. With Hardy not in attendance, the match was reduced to a three-on-three elimination contest, with MVP, Richards and Eddie Edwards taking on Roode, Aries and Robbie E.
Robbie, who along with partner Jessie won back the TNA Tag Team titles in Tokyo last week, was the first to be eliminated – MVP landing the pin after a blow to the head left the Bro Man’ out cold. Aries responded by removing Edwards from the contest, landing his iconic missile drop kick / brain-buster combo prior to a simple pin.
MVP, for the second week in a row, was then denied a pin on Roode. With the It Factor seemingly down and out, Aries dived on the grappling pair and released his teammate. Now free, Roode rolled up MVP and, using the ropes for leverage, held him for the three-count.
This left Richards to battle alone, something he did bravely against two former World Champions, surviving multiple pin attempts. Clearly frustrated by his team’s inability to finish the match, Aries took things into his own hands – attacking Richards savagely with a steel chair, targeting his left shoulder.
While Aries was disqualified from the match for his actions, it left Richards in intense pain and unable to continue. Due to the important nature of the match, the officials decided to suspend proceedings for one hour, in an attempt to allow Richards time to recover. If the sole remaining Wolf did not return to face Roode, he and his team would forfeit the bout.
With heavy strapping on his shoulder, Richards did return at the end of the night – and came close to pulling off a stunning upset victory – pinning Roode twice for a count of two, while his single leg submission attempt also looked to have the It Factor in trouble. Inevitably however, Roode was able to turn the match around, and took victory when he followed up his ‘Roode Bomb’ move with a cross-face submission that almost instantly made his opponent tap out.
Despite the victory, there was dissent in the ranks of Team Roode, with Aries and the Bro Mans both demanding a share of Roode’s 10% ownership cut, which he was promised by Dixie Carter if he was successfully able to defeat MVP and remove him from the company. Their debate was eventually broken up by the new investor’s announcement that Jeff Hardy would be returning at Lockdown.
Elsewhere, Ethan Carter III and Kurt Angle clashed once again, with the latter showing off his new ‘leg lock’ submission. Angle, who was already struggling with a storyline injury, was savagely attacked for the second time in four weeks. The pair’s match, which was due to take place at Lockdown, has now had to be cancelled due to a genuine injury for the Olympic Gold Medallist.
There is still plenty to look forward to though. The new rivalry between Samuel Shaw and Mr Anderson is intriguing. Shaw blew off his scheduled match with Eric Young to attack the ringside Anderson. However, it was Anderson who had the last laugh – as he tricked Shaw backstage and attacked him relentlessly.
Gunner and James Storm clashed for the umpteenth time ahead of their Lockdown meeting. Storm responded to Gunner’s jibe that ‘he was the better man’ with an iconic Last Call Super Kick, that left his former tag team partner out cold.
Knockout Title challenger Gail Kim and defending champion Madison Rayne clashed in a six woman tag match, which also featured Lei’d Tapa, The Alpha Female, Velvet Sky and ODB. Rayne’s team won the match when Velvet pinned Alpha. It was an impressive performance from Sky, who was also able to get one over former boyfriend Chris Sabin, who was watching from ringside.
But the last word of the night went to the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship – Samoa Joe. The Samoan Submission Machine met with defending champion Magnus in the ring for some pre-match trash talk, and it was undoubtedly the former who came out of the meeting with the psychological edge – informing the Brit that not only would he not be walking out of Lockdown as champion, but that he wouldn’t be walking out at all.
Magnus head-butted Joe, but the Samoan responded by manoeuvring his opponent into his rear choke hold. The champion tried to tap out, but with no officials there was nothing he could do.
Lockdown will air tomorrow (Wednesday) night for UK audiences, at 10pm on Challenge TV.
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