Thoughts on TNA Lockdown and WWE Extreme Rules

TNA Lockdown, WWE Extreme Rules

by Mike Killam

I’ve been racking my brain all week long, trying to come up with something that could do Edge’s thirteen year career some justice. I’ve got nothing. Kevin Kelly wrote a beautiful article on the perseverance and drive of one of the best in the business, and I would highly recommend it not only to “Edge heads” but to any fan of the wrestling industry. Edge was quite possibly the most consistent superstar the WWE has ever had. He was the guy who was always there when you needed him, and you never had to worry about his loyalty. I can’t recall a single incident of backstage turmoil or any egocentric power displays. Anyone who has ever entered a wrestling ring with Edge was somehow elevated to a new level, regardless of how long they’d spent building their own career. He made John Cena, elevated Randy Orton, and planted the seeds for Alberto del Rio. He’s Rated-R, a vampire, and an opportunist. He has cheated the Chamber, robbed the Rumble, and stolen the show more times than most in his generation of WWE Superstars. He’s bled in the ring, had sex in the ring, and cried in the ring. Him and Jericho could literally write the book on being the best villains in entertainment. His retirement is a loss to everyone connected to the professional wrestling industry, and it’s not easy to see him go. There are very few guys left in the WWE that break the mold and do their own thing. He’s one of the last guys that trained outside of the WWE machine, and he was truly set apart from the rest of the cookie-cutter stars. There’s a level of individuality and creativity that dies with the loss of Edge in a wrestling ring. But when all is said and done, no matter how sad the fans are that he’s gone, we can all rejoice that one of the all-time greats will live the rest of his life on his own two feet. He won’t have to undergo constant surgeries to help him regain mobility or wind up an old, bitter man working festivals for drug money. Edge is going out as the World Champion, with his last match a successful title defense at WrestleMania. We all wish our careers could end in as spectacular a fashion. Thank you Edge, not only for your amazing career, but for being smart enough to know when to pull the plug…

TNA Lockdown

I’ll be honest with you, for the last year I’ve completely lost interest in TNA Wrestling. But every once in awhile I’ll find some spare time and catch up on what Hogan and the boys have been up to. Lockdown has always been a fan-favorite PPV that I’ve never really understood. It is the king of gimmicks, as every single match is held inside a steel cage, so I can definitely see the appeal. Personally, I find the eight steel cage matches to be a little exhausting, and by the half-way point of the show I just get tired of trying to make sense of the terrible camera angles. But every once in awhile the lower-mid card guys put on fantastic cage battles that you can only see in TNA, and that is why I decided to catch up on the recent goings-on with professional wrestling’s red-headed step child. After checking out the card and watching the last few weeks worth of shows, do you know what I’ve discovered? Nothing. Nothing has changed in TNA since the start of 2011, and only VERY slight changes have been made since Bound for Glory “changed the landscape of professional wrestling forever”. The Pope and Samoa Joe are still fighting over some false sense of morality. Mickie James is still trying to defeat Madison Rayne, only now there’s magic and hair involved! Hernandez and Matt Morgan are still trying to prove who’s wasting more talent, RVD is still high as a kite, and Ken Anderson is still an a**hole. Kurt Angle is still not retired, and he’s still involved with Jeff Jarrett. Immortal and Fortune are still involved, only Ric Flair has gone from managing the best team in wrestling, to managing a group of over-rated fat guys. And the most important thing of all… Hulk Hogan is still somehow in control of TNA, and he’s still cutting terrible promos.

Despite all of my rantings and ravings about how terribly stale the TNA product is, I’ll still continue to check up on them from time to time. Fortune is still my favorite faction in all of pro wrestling, and TNA is doing a wonderful job of pushing four of the brightest guys in the business. Ric Flair may be on the wrong side of a dying feud, but he’s still one of the most entertaining guys on television. And no matter how annoying Robbie E can be, the X-Division is always worth watching. The Fallen Angel is also a good reason to watch, no matter which promotion he’s wrestling for.

I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised by all of this. Hulk Hogan only knows how to put together one program: he takes a group of high profile guys, puts them in control of the show, and then…something…I’m sure there’s something… Oh yeah, random people join the group, leave the group, and change sides until nobody cares any more. There’s no actual plot or deserved tension to any of the madness; just a bunch of guys who want to be at the cool kids table.