2/23/16 – Andrew Berg – @WrestleRosters
Matt Hardy def. EC3 in a Lockdown Match to Remain TNA World Champion
TNA knew that EC3 was the company’s meal ticket and correctly identified him as the top babyface in the promotion. Of course, after years as a cruel, arrogant heel, EC3 could not become a sympathetic character overnight. TNA has wisely taken several weeks to build emotional investment in EC3, and his cage match with Matt Hardy at Lockdown was another strong step in that direction.
Near the end of a physical, bloody match, Reby hardy ran to the ring with a hammer to stop EC3 from escaping the cage. Rockstar Spud cut her off at the pass, but when it looked like he was going to let EC3 escape the cage, he slammed the door on EC3 instead. It was a scene that evoked the classic ending to the Ric Flair-Kerry Von Erich match that initiated the Von Erichs vs. Freebirds feud in WCCW. Hardy crawled out of the cage instead and Spud smashed EC3’s head between the ring steps and a chair. While I’m not a fan of Spud as a regular wrestler, he did good work as a heel hype man for EC3 and could serve a similar purpose for the more and more heelish Hardy. EC3, on the other hand, has earned more sympathy than ever before and actually seems like an underdog for the first time. It has been a rare bit of long-term planning by TNA that has had enough time to show its results.
-Maria criticized Maria for talking the talk without getting in the ring and Maria joined her team in place of the injured Madison Rayne against the Dollhouse. When it came time for Maria to enter, she walked out on Gail and left her at a disadvantage. The Dollhouse got the win, which seemingly sets the stage for more between Gail and Maria.
-Tigre Uno and Trevor Lee had one of the better cage matches of the night. The highlight was a cross body by Tigre off the top of the cage. Nonetheless, Lee kicked out and won the match with a fisherman’s buster. It was a solid match, though the X Division needs more than two wrestlers to remain viable.
-I’m enjoying the rivalry between Mike Bennett and Drew Galloway because Bennett has done the simple things to make himself a jealous heel. His attacks in past weeks were a good start and his arrogant promo this week continued it.
-Beer Money got a clean win over Bram and Eric Young. It seems that it’s just a matter of time before Beer Money gets back to the top of the Tag Team Division.
-Lashley and Kurt Angle continued to tease their matchup in two weeks that will be Angle’s last match. I’m glad they have taken the time to give Angle’s last match the attention it deserves.
-Decay ambushed Jimmy Havoc backstage after he challenged their relationship with Rosemary. The rivalry doesn’t make much sense, but Decay will get more heel heat with actual heelish tactics like this attack.
-For some reason, Odarg the Great (Grado in a mask) got a cage match against Eli Drake. Odarg won, but Drake ripped off his mask in the process. It was a stupid match and a stupid gimmick. Odarg/Grado should never be on TV.