When TNA Wrestling cut its pay-per-view schedule down to just four major shows a year, the decision instantly gave credibility to events like the 2013 edition of Lockdown.
Not only did the company save its biggest storyline of the past year (which many thought was impossible heading into Sunday) when they turned Bully Ray heel, TNA managed to get the wrestling world excited about the product.
That genuine excitement leading into Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling is undeniable, and Lockdown did its job to perfection. People are talking about TNA.
For winners, Twitter reactions and highlights, check the full results article here.
Former TNA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy’s night went from bad to worse in the main event of the Lockdown PPV after the star took a power bomb from Bully Ray off the top of the cage.
Hardy reportedly suffered a concussion and had to be legitimately helped to the back, according to The Wrestling Observer (via TNAWrestlingNews.com):
According to TNA sources, Jeff Hardy suffered a concussion at the TNA Lockdown pay-per-view. The concussion came during the big power bomb spot off the top rope late in the main event title match with Bully Ray. Many thought that Hardy was selling the beat down after the PPV went off the air, but he needed to be helped from the ring and was in a lot of pain.
IMPACT WRESTLING @IMPACTWRESTLING
Instant video from backstage: @JeffHardyBrand helped to the back http://t.co/QKMeyPRdCF2013-3-11 02:57:49
Not only did Hardy lose his championship, the fact that he suffered a concussion should have the company very worried. In addition to missing four weeks of programming last month, the possibility that Hardy could miss time now would kill his momentum.
A star that has a following like Hardy will always be able to come right back and be a top draw for TNA, but the recent issues with the former champion and his long-term impact on the company has to worry management.
The entire PPV set the stage for the epic heel turn of Bully Ray at the conclusion of the main event, and while the Aces and Eights angle had been horrible up to that point, allowing Bully Ray to win the title and return to being a full-fledged heel was the right move.
Add in the visual of the crowd in San Antonio pelting the ring with trash, and the ending of the Lockdown PPV was perfect. As genuine as the conclusion felt, there are reports that TNA planned the entire trash-throwing spot.
According to F4WOnline (via Wrestling Inc.), TNA wanted to ensure that the stage was set for the heel turn to close the show:
TNA had a few fans planted in the crowd at last night's Lockdown pay-per-view to begin throwing trash at Aces & 8s after the Bully Ray heel turn. The feeling was once their plants started throwing trash, the rest of the crowd would follow and they did.
There is a chance that this could be true—the wrestling business is all about creating moments and TNA knows how important this turn would be—but the genuine shock of watching face Bully Ray turn on Hardy and win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was enough to make the crowd’s reaction feel warranted.
This is a questionable call in terms of safety on TNA’s part if this is true, but the visual created to close Sunday’s show will be one that will live on in company history.
Bully Ray’s heel turn was well booked, even with planted trash-throwers.
It was clear that any contract issues had been worked out when former TNA world champion Bobby Roode made his appearance on the Lockdown PPV Sunday night, but the current tag team champion hadn’t been on television for two weeks prior to the event.
According to The Wrestling Observer (via TNAWrestlingNews.com), the lack of Roode on television was not on purpose, but instead, a contract oversight on the part of TNA Wrestling:
The talk in the TNA locker room is that talent relations head Bruce Prichard mistakenly allowed Bobby Roode’s contract to expire. A source stated that Roode actually had to bring his contract status to the company’s attention.
That's the TNA equivalent of letting the contract of a WWE star the magnitude of Sheamus or Randy Orton run out without re-signing the person. That is an error that goes beyond inexcusable.
Roode has an extremely bright future in TNA, and the company likely promised him the world, but this haphazard way of handling contracts is one of the reasons the company is in the shape it’s currently in.
If TNA had lost Roode to another company because of this oversight, the ripple effect it would have caused in the locker room would have killed morale.