Last year going into the annual Lockdown PPV event, the show was a make-or-break event for the company’s number-one stable in Aces & Eights. While Bully Ray winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in the main-event and declaring himself the president of the club was exactly what the group needed, the Lethal Lockdown match involving the Aces left their foundation discredited. It was a tough choice to give Team Sting the victory over allowing the biker gang a much-needed win, but that booking decision wasn’t anywhere near as difficult to make than this upcoming one.
This year’s edition of the same match-type isn’t necessarily about faction warfare but about the never-ending struggle for power within TNA. On one side there is the arrogant, purposely ignorant and all around hated Dixie Carter who is struggling to maintain her control as she’s opposed by the company’s newest investor in MVP. In an attempt to gain majority rule of management, MVP propositioned this match to determine whom is the supreme administrator of Impact Wrestling.
Unafraid of fighting for himself, MVP leads his team into his hometown of Miami with one motive behind his back: he must win to better TNA and allow the professional wrestling industry to continue to prosper. At his side, he has the duo that’s been there for him since his rise as an investor in The Wolves.
Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, having already gained the TNA Tag Team Championships once, have bitten into the tag team division and will not let their grip go until they dominant all of it. This was only made possible thanks to MVP granting them immediate contracts rather than putting them through a tryout process like Dixie Carter mandated. For that, The Wolves will remain loyal to their leader and will fight beside him inside the steel cage.
Only one week remains until Lockdown commences and MVP is short one man after unsuccessfully recruiting the sought-after Austin Aries. It has been heavily rumored that Jeff Hardy, a man vanquished away by Dixie Carter’s actions, will return as a hero to dethrone the current regime and “shine light on this kingdom”. However, this possibility seems bleaker than it originally did as Hardy still hasn’t made an announcement of his allegiance nor has he appeared – appeared in his own skin that is.
The mysterious character named Willow The Wisp has arrived in his stead and his debut approaches but will it happen at Lockdown? Is this new, disturbing and deformed version of Jeff Hardy on MVP’s side at all? We’ll have to wait and see but this team only has one more week to add a fourth man to their cause or they’ll be going into the biggest match of their TNA careers shorthanded.
Obviously not able to compete in a wrestling match, let alone one wrapped in steel, Dixie Carter has bestowed Bobby Roode as her team’s captain – but at a price. Unwilling to work with her in any capacity, Carter pleaded with Roode to lead her team until she eventually gave him an offer he simply could not pass up on:
Bobby Roode – TNA Co-Owner.
When the words “10 percent” were uttered to him, Roode stopped in awe of the proposition. Being so frustrated he was set on retiring from wrestling altogether, Roode changed his mind in moments knowing the change it would bring his life and the future he so wishes he can make better. He’s been The Leader Of The Selfish Generation and The It Factor Of Professional Wrestling, but he’s never had a more golden opportunity than now.
This is no longer about championship gold but rather, this is a chance for him to right the wrongs he believes he’s committed and shape the company the way he envisions it. He doesn’t care for Dixieland’s theatrics or arrogance; what he desires is so much more important and it could change everything for him. It’s no longer about being selfish and getting what’s his. This is about redemption for Bobby Roode.
At his side, he has his former tag team partner and often times arch-rival in Austin Aries. The duo formerly known as Dirty Heels reunited this past episode of Impact Wrestling when Aries, via a vicious discus elbow strike to MVP’s temple, declared his allegiance to Roode’s cause. But just as it cost Dixie to gain Roode’s services, the addition of Aries will come at a price as well.
Either Aries will demand half of his teammate’s potential ownership percentage or he’ll make demands that must be met for his loyalty; no matter the asking price, it will most likely be met since he’s such a effective and talented member to have on your team.
Bringing up the rear, unfortunately, are The Bro Mans. Nothing against both Robbie E and Jessie Godderz, as they are two underrated members of the roster, but they are an anchor for the team rather than a difference maker as Aries would say. After picking up a win on Impact Wrestling and even regaining the TNA Tag Team Championships at Wrestle-1’s Outbreak One Night Only Special event, these two might not be such a bad additional after all but they still are very flaky.
With this being the biggest match either of The Bro Mans have competed in, it’s hard to say if they really fit the mold Roode was calling for but it remains to be seen if they’ll indeed hold their own weight. Roode may regret creating that stipulation that forced their addition to his team but perhaps he’s destined to fail regardless of his partners. That brings us to why this match’s outcome, possibly out of the twelve years the organization has been in existence, will be the toughest booking decision in its history.
The Consequences And The Rewards
The rewards for either team winning is boundless as both outcomes can prosper wondrous stories. If MVP is victorious, it’ll change everything we’ve known about TNA since Dixie showed her true colors upon AJ Styles‘ exit. If Roode’s team prevails, we will see a unique storyline that either has never been done before or hasn’t been done in quite some time – a wrestler, with kayfabe ownership stake in the company, competing against others and mandating his own rules and regulations as he goes.
As long as there is a clear and decisive winner at the end of this cage match, a positive storyline will be created that will continue to intrigue fans. It’s a true win-win situation and TNA should be applauded for creating a match that allows for a great outcome either way it’s booked. Unfortunately, it’s been so well crafted that now deciding between which story direction to take is certainly a daunting task.
If Team Roode wins, then Dixie remains in charge – which she is arguably great at since she’s a heat magnet – but that removes MVP as an authority figure and it’ll force him to just be another plain wrestler. In that scenario though, Roode’s character would be even more enthralling than it already is as will Aries’ if he indeed does ask for his own share of ownership. The Dirty Heels being together again, this time with a stake in the company, would be a great story to tell.
However, that result only benefits possibly two men and will keep things the way they are. Nowadays, refreshing your storylines after six or so months would be very welcomed and having Dixie removed from power would differentiate this time in TNA Wrestling from every other period before it. Having MVP in-charge would be a breath of fresh air that will separate the company’s direction away from what it was previously with the likes of Hogan, Sting, and Eric Bischoff being in control. With those men gone and a new revolution occurring within the organization, losing MVP at this stage will just be more of the same and that certainly isn’t what TNA needs right now.
Again, there is unfortunate consequences for the above result as well; that being, Dixie’s removal from power. Most would assume that MVP winning would decimate Dixieland and it’ll certainly be a big blow to them. However, it is one that they can afford at this stage and there’s always the possibility of re-engineering all of the member’s characters to make up for the loss. While she has her often unfair critics, Dixie can remain as a television personality by staying at Magnus‘ side and remaining as his valet/adviser per-say. Rockstar Spud can continue to follow the duo around and be their comical assistant until he gets his own story to take from there.
As teased already, Ethan Carter can branch away from his Aunt D thanks in-part to his conflicts with Magnus. His feud with Angle will take him places and honestly, being tied down to do his Aunt’s bidding will arguably only hamper his continuously increasing momentum. A feud with someone like Anderson would continue to solidify ECIII as a high-level star for the promotion.
The only real victim, and the most unfortunate one, if Team MVP wins is oddly enough Samoa Joe. The creative staff might not be so keen on giving the Miami crowd and the audience at home what they paid to see as they have failed to do for years now when these decisions need to be made. We could see the feel-good moment of MVP gaining ultimate control but we might also see Joe getting screwed out of his rightful world championship just to keep the (apparently, on purpose) incredibly weak Magnus going as champion.
Quite frankly, Magnus could use the loss just to rebuild him character and his stature as a credible competitor as he’s practically a joke – which is obviously a ploy for the audience to hate him more. He could easily win it back at a later date in the year and given his youth, he’ll end up being a multiple TNA World Heavyweight Champion by the time his career ends. Joe, with all the momentum at his back and after all his struggles to climb back to where he is now, needs this victory possibly more than any other wrestler has in a long while. The fans, whom have been clamoring for Joe to become what his potential so clearly shows, desperately need to have him win as well.
If Team MVP wins, though, Joe will be cheated out of the main-event and we’ll get a somber ending to the show. Thankfully, there’s always time for him to win it if he continues to look so strong in his journey to dethroning Magnus. Just don’t expect to see both wonderful occurrences happen, the company has always had the reputation for never giving the fans everything they want when the moment is right.
Despite all of that, when the Lethal Lockdown match commences, you will see an entertaining clash between eight very talented performers who will be fighting for unique causes that the fans can get behind. Also, when the bell rings and it’s all over, we’ll get to see the company take a positive direction with their overall story-arc no matter whom is victorious.
It’s going to be the toughest decision TNA’s creative staff has ever made before and it could impact TNA Wrestling for years to come when it’s all said and done, inside the steel cage at Lockdown.
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