During Dusty Rhodes’ run as booker, TNA debuted a PPV that would become a staple for the company. In April 2005 TNA held their first ever Lockdown PPV, where every match was held inside a steel cage. The first Lockdown was headlined by AJ Styles vs. Abyss.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: Lockdown started as a joke. I just think it’s overdone, because cage matches don’t mean anything, or does anything mean anything unless it’s built up right. So when you have Lockdown every match is in a cage so what’s special when everything’s in a cage. The way it started was they were having a meeting when Dusty was running it for his six months and someone said something about why don’t we put this in a cage too and it was just a stupid idea that Dusty made a joke saying well hell let’s just put every match in a cage. And Dixie jumped up and said great idea I love that idea. She didn’t even know it was a joke. That’s how Lockdown came about where every match is in a cage because Dusty made a joke about it. It was a joke and now that’s their big PPV and everything’s in a cage. But you know when you break down the reality of it, why is everything in a cage?
BILL BEHRENS: We thought Lockdown was a joke when it was announced, but it never was. A lot of us said this is the stupidest idea we’ve ever heard and to this day I think it’s a dumb idea.
SONJAY DUTT: I hated it and I honestly thought that it was just going to be that one time. Then when it happened the next year and it happened over and over I was like okay well they’re just going with this to the fullest they’re not going to give up on this idea I didn’t like it.
CASSIDY RILEY: You know it’s one of those things when you first hear about it you just go like [sigh] oh my god. But then you make the best of it and I think it actually came out to be something different and something unique. That’s how creative sh*t is born, just accidentally. I think it ended up being a pretty good philosophy and it gives them a hellacious PPV every year.
DAVID YOUNG: We thought it was stupid going into it but the first night was so good. The AJ vs. Abyss match kind of set the standard for Lockdown.
PETEY WILLIAMS: Honestly I thought Lockdown was a little bit over the top. Doing a whole PPV with all cage matches and then like every cage match had a stipulation. I’m like man it lost a lot of its luster. The cage match was the big thing on the show. Now we’re doing every match as a cage match, I remember Dusty Rhodes had the book and me and Eric Young teamed up, and Dusty was like maybe one of you two guys bleed. And I’m thinking, everybody is going to be bleeding so if I bleed it’s not going to mean anything whatsoever because everybody is going to be cutting themselves in the cage and stuff like that. I thought the cage was a little bit overdone, I really did.
SONJAY DUTT: I tell you the cage was literally touching the ring ropes, so I didn’t know this. You get in the ring, every time you would run the ropes your elbows would just be shredded from the cage and I just hated it.
AUSTIN CREED: I like when in southern wrestling the cage matches they’re the end all be all, finally got you there’s nowhere to run. It was hard to do stuff when every match is in a cage because you couldn’t do certain things because that would ruin the show for everyone else.
In May 2005, TNA finally had enough of old Dusty Rhodes, and he was removed as head booker after only six months on the job. Dusty had not delivered the big numbers he had promised.
MARCUS CYGY: The general feeling was that they were just putting up with him it was kind of like a joking matter, nothing was really serious until he was out.
BILL BEHRENS: Initially they didn’t want to displace Dusty, they wanted to find a way to basically mildly move him out of the way and Dusty just said screw that. But then after that Dusty ended up doing exactly what he said he’d never do, he ended up going to WWE and being part of a booking committee and even better he had to start using a computer there because Dusty never used computers when he booked he’d write everything down on legal pads which he’d done his whole career because when Dusty does TV he goes I’m making movies baby, and he would make movies. He’d write everything out and somebody would have to transcribe it to the script, he’d never work off the printed script he’d always work off of his notes.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: So Dusty’s idea of being successful of course was doing a bunch of skits starring Dusty and bringing in Dustin Rhodes, of course. Needless to say six months later Dusty bombed and Bob Carter got rid of him. Then when they got rid of Dusty then that’s when they brought me back to be the head of the championship committee. It was just funny how things worked, Dusty basically conned Bob Carter into saying he’s going to make it great, six months later Bob gave him the boot.
BILL BEHRENS: Dusty didn’t want to be on the booking committee but they knew that, Dusty enjoys booking very much and can do a very good job he’s got an interesting style of booking. Dusty has wonderful ideas and tremendous destination.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: TNA went through a lot of... (Continues on next page)