TNA's Lockdown pay per view event is Sunday, and we here at Spike.com decided to take an opportunity to look at the card and share our thoughts on how we think the night will go. Unfortunately, one of our writers has a clause in his contract that insists that we refer to him by a rather grandiose nickname. We apologize in advance for his skewed take on Sunday's action.
Breaking down the card for your pleasure are Spike.com editorial heavyweights:
Brian Dermody, Producer and Senior Writer.
Fred Richani, Coordinating Producer.
Making his winter residence in New York, New York, and weighing in at a flawless 163 pounds, 4 ounces, the (sigh) self-proclaimed "Undisputed Predictor of Champions and Victors", Kevin "The Deputy" Marshall.
With that out of the way, let's get down to business.
STEEL CAGE TNA TITLE MATCH
Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray
Fred: Bully Ray has gone from lifetime tag team specialist to one of the most unlikely breakout stars in recent pro wrestling history. It's hard to believe a man over 40 can actually be improving. Jeff Hardy has been to the mountain top, fallen off from great heights, and overcome demons to get back there again. It's only fitting these two anchors of legendary tag teams meet again, this time for the prestigious World Heavyweight Championship. The partially torn quad will hamper Ray for sure, but if he was going to quit, he would've pulled out of this match weeks ago. Ray will tough it out, take everything Hardy gives him, and give just a little more right back. Ray will be new the TNA World Heavyweight when Lockdown is over. His father-in-law will be proud, brother.
Brian: Maybe Bully didn't earn it during Hulk Hogan's recent eight-man showcase, but fans can agree that he's really stepped his game up over the past couple years, and looks as good in there as he ever has. Hardy is still coming back from his injury at the hands of Aces and 8s that kept him off the trip to the UK. Throw in the cage and now we're talking about the potential of serious injury for both competitors. Finally there's Aces and 8s. It's possible that they try to get involved as well, since whatever their agenda is, it's put both Hardy and Bully in their cross hairs on more than one occasion. Add it all up and it's a hell of a match. I think Jeff Hardy retains the title. I can only hope that Lethal Lockdown is enough to keep that "club" far away and let these massively talented guys do their thing.
Kevin: I think neither of these men deserves to be champion. If it were up to me, Robbie E would be getting this opportunity! Unfortunately, we have to play the hand we're dealt in life. Bully Ray is working on a torn quad and his heart and mind is probably not 100% into this match, as he's become obsessed with his new wife and impressing his father-in-law. Jeff Hardy is an idiot rock star, but he has been a dominant champion. That said, I'm predicting Bully Ray to win the title with the help of that no good father-in-law of his, Hulk Hogan, who will no doubt use his power to bring the championship back to his family. And you people think Aces & 8s are the bad guys? WAKE UP!
LETHAL LOCKDOWN CAGE MATCH
Aces and 8s (Devon, Anderson, D.O.C., Garett, and Knox) vs. Team Sting (Sting, Joe, Storm, Magnus, and Eric Young
Brian: Sting is a bonafide legend. Samoa Joe and James Storm are TNA mainstays. Magnus is a rising young talent and EY is the wild card that can flip a hand to beat a full house. Poker metaphors aside, this is where Aces and 8s can really make their stand. They've been a cohesive unit under those masks for some time, with the exception of the relative newcomer Anderson. But Anderson has something to prove in there after being written off by management as an underachiever. Expect some blood, lots of sweat and probably some tears, at least on the TNA side. And if there's a way to cheat in a Lethal Lockdown match, you're going to see that too. I think Aces and 8s pulls it off, and makes a serious statement in the process.
Fred: It's about damn time Team Sting stops this crew of badasses in the most violent match of the year. This will be fun to watch, but there's nothing pretty about Aces and 8s, who look to make this an ugly brawl. Team TNA can play at that game. The x factor will be the returning Eric Young, a man known more for his comedic prowess than intimidation. But ask any one of EY's opponents and they'll tell you there's more than meets the eye. If Aces and 8s underestimates him, that's overlooking one Team Sting member too many. Sting leads his crew to victory and sends Aces and 8s into a tailspin.
Kevin: Aces and 8s is getting screwed here. There's a conspiracy against them, and I'm the only one in this office with the courage to address it! Why does Team Sting get to know and scout the members of their opposition ahead of time, but the Aces & 8s only get two weeks to see the members of their team in action? Aces & 8s did not plan for Magnus's return. How could they? And they thought Eric Young would be filming his hit new reality show! This is a borderline criminal act and the Icon Sting should be ashamed of himself for the way he has presented himself and his team. Lucky for the Aces & 8s, they are all very tough and strong men who can overcome any obstacle the offices at IMPACT throw at them. Aces & 8s will dominate.
STEEL CAGE MATCH
Kurt Angle vs. Wes Brisco
Kevin: You heard it here first: Wes Brisco is the new Kurt Angle! That's right, I said it. Kurt Angle, it's time for you to pass the torch. You brought this man into IMPACT and encouraged him to do what it took to get forward, from the Gut Check challenge to his subsequent appearances on television. Then you chastise him for joining the most dominant stable in professional wrestling? You naïve, selfish hypocrite! Like the other Aces & 8s, Wes Brisco is a real man and is going to finish Angle. And he'll do it with his own ankle lock.
Brian: Kurt Angle has years of high-level experience, talent to burn, and a high level of intensity that only gets turned up on the pay-per-view stage. On top of that, he was instrumental in bringing Wes Brisco into TNA to begin with, mentoring him along the way. He can neutralize his opponent's strengths and exploit his weaknesses. Except for Brisco's numbers game. Angle has to hope that Aces and 8s are more preoccupied with Lethal Lockdown, and that other interlopers like Taz and D'Lo Brown stay out of the picture. I think Kurt Angle makes an example out of Brisco here.
Fred: Wait...You're asking me to really pick against Kurt Angle? Wes Brisco has shown improvement, but he'll be no match for the pissed off Olympic Gold Medalist. Angle takes this one in short order.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
Velvet Sky vs. Gail Kim
Fred: It's been a while since Gail Kim has had a one-on-one TNA Knockouts Championship match -- and it could be quite a while more if she loses. Barring Taryn Terrell's questionable yet aesthetically pleasing officiating, Mrs. Robert Irvine defeats Velvet Sky and regains the title.
Brian: These two have tied up many times, and know each other really well. What I'm concerned with is Taryn Terrell. I've been watching her very closely, and found that she's frequently out of position or distracted by what's going on outside the ring when there's a wrestling match in it. It's enough to make you wonder if she was hired for some reason other than her officiating abilities. If it becomes a game of taking advantage of a referee whose head isn't in it, it's Gail's to lose. I've been a fan of Gail's for a long time, which is why I offer her this advice: she should bring something along to distract Taryn, like a handsome man in her corner (I'm available). Alternately an air horn or a particularly shiny rock should do it.
Kevin: I'm going to say Gail Kim here, but I also have to bring up my concerns over IMPACT Knockouts referee Taryn Terrell doing the officiating in this match. She has consistently shown an unwillingness to be impartial, and I have a feeling that Gail Kim is going to face an uphill battle. I consider Taryn Terrell the Steve Mazzagatti of pro wrestling officials. Still, I'm picking Gail, because she is a great, tough talent, and also a true lady.
Robbie T vs. Robbie E
Brian: Rob Terry, as I expect him to refer to himself now, has finally had enough of holding the clipboard, pulling back the velvet rope, and spending three hours in the morning on his hair. If I were Spike.com blogger Robbie E, I would stall as much as possible, the way Larry Zbyszko used to. He's got more experience than the much larger Terry, and if he can make this psychological warfare, then he can show everyone why he's a former Television and X Division champion. But I think Rob Terry steamrolls him. Sorry, bro.
Kevin: Talk about ungrateful! As if showing him up in bro-offs wasn't enough, now Robbie T has made the clean split from the man who made him who he is today. Watching this play out has been like watching a son betray the love and trust of his father. Robbie E nurtured him from IMPACT infancy to make him into a man. Unfortunately for Robbie E, he failed. It's not his fault. You can't make a selfish brute like Robbie T into a gentleman. It's impossible. That said, I think Robbie E takes this, because he is a good dancer, a gifted athlete, a criminally underrated professional wrestler, and a wordsmith. Have you read his BroBlog here on Spike.com? Masterpieces.
Fred: Contrary to popular belief, there's actually some brain to go along with Robbie T's enormous brawn. Don't forget, it was Robbie T who dominated the TNA Television Championship scene just a couple years ago before hooking up with the King of Bros. My heart is with fellow Jersey boy Robbie E, but common sense tells me he's in for a long -- or very short – night, and not one that's ending in his favor. Big Rob gets his revenge and fist pumps all night long.