TNA HARDCORE JUSTICE
Bizarrely, this show is called Hardcore Justice, even though there have been at least two shows with the same name before, and the last one was numbered…TNA eh?
4 WAY LADDER MATCH – AUSTIN ARIES VS JEFF HARDY VS AJ STYLES VS KAZARIAN
Look at that line-up. Just look at it. I’ve said in the past that I’m not a huge fan of Hardy, but he’s in his element in this match. As this match is in the Bound For Glory Series, the winner will get 20 points. People still don’t know what to think of AJ, he’s supposed to be a heel but the crowds ignore it and cheer him anyway. Certain points of the match were pretty confusing, all four competitors throwing each other out of the ring so they could fight one-on-one (watch any three way match to see what I mean) but then the dudes on the outside would fight and you wouldn’t know where to look. This came into play when all the men were atop 2 ladders reaching for the piece of paper with 20 points printed on it (I know, I know), AA hit a sunset flip from the top on Hardy, but Kaz and AJ were still fighting. Two of them should have been knocked off first to give that spot the attention it deserved. The end came when Christopher Daniels and Bobby Roode came to the ring to help Kazarian, Roode distracting Hardy whilst Daniels handed Kaz an appletini, which was then thrown in Hardy’s face. I say thrown in Hardy’s face, it completely missed, you could see it go straight up and drop and both men paused and didn’t know what to do. In the end Kazarian just smacked Hardy and grabbed the prize. Good match, shitty but can’t be helped ending.
Main Event Mafia, minus Kurt Angle are in the ring with Dixie Carter. Dixie explains that Kurt got a DUI last week and has since entered rehab. I liked the way TNA handled this, completely honestly. Aces & Eights come to the ring and start dissing MEM and saying they’re going to end their careers like they did Kurt’s. This week Rampage is wearing a camouflage suit, finally playing along. After Magnus fires back, actually getting live mic time for once, Aces realise they outnumber MEM and attack them, and weirdly get the upper hand. I haven’t seen that for a long time, it’s about time they stopped looking like jobbers.
THREE WAY HARDCORE MATCH – MICKIE JAMES (C) VS ODB VS GAIL KIM
I read this week that after getting a pretty good push, Taryn Terrell hasn’t been on TV recently because she’s pregnant. Fortunately, this means they can use ODB to her full potential for once. She comes out last and receives chants straight away. Mickie James went for a chair within about a minute of the match starting, and teams up with Gail to take out ODB. Even though the title of this match should give it away, I had no idea this was a hardcore match, I suppose TNA have realised how popular the knockout matches have been recently and capitalised on it. After ODB used her bra to throw her opponents around the ring, she hit her TKO finisher onto a chair and got a three count on Gail. Not a title match though, don’t know why not.
Backstage Segment – MEM discuss what happened to them earlier, and saying they need to replace Kurt asap, and decide Sting decides to ask Austin Aries. The show goes to commercial, and then we are joining Sting asking away. AA considers it, but we don’t get an answer.
Backstage Segment – The cameraman who wanders around backstage bothering people every week asks Bobby Roode if his plan is working so far. He says if he wins his table match later on, he gets 20 points and will be in second place already.
Backstage Segment – Sting returns to the MEM and tells them AA said no. Rampage says he needs to go to the ring and call someone out. Rampage really impressed me in this segment, pretty much being the character he’s been playing in UFC/MMA for the last ten years.
Backstage Segment – Bully Ray is on the phone, chatting away, but ends with ‘I love you too, Brooke’.
Rampage comes to the ring with Samoa Joe, and grabs the mic. He starts his promo with ‘what’s up y’all, what’s up’ which I really liked, doesn’t sound forced. He tells the crowd that he loves being in TNA, and he needs to ask one of his old partners for a favour. He calls out Tito Ortiz, who stalls on his answer before Bully Ray comes to the ring and disses all three of them. He nicely gets the Bellator date in smoothly, nice publicity for them/Spike TV. He fires them up, and then quickly heads to the back.
BFG SERIES TABLES MATCH – SAMOA JOE VS MR. ANDERSON VS MAGNUS VS BOBBY ROODE
I’m interested to see how they avoid Joe and Magnus facing off, because if they team up, that’s heel behaviour isn’t it? At one point both men went for a powerbomb on either man, facing the same table…I don’t think you can share the win lads. Some fun hardcore action in this match, which the crowd definitely loved. I always feel they should break more tables in these matches, throw themselves through them, break them behind the referees back etc. After some dangerous looking dives by Joe, Kazarian and Daniels run to the ring and repeat the appletini trick (successfully this time) on Magnus, who subsequently gets powerbombed through a table by their mate Roode.
Backstage Segment – Sting wonders what Tito will do, and doesn’t know if he trusts him.
Backstage Segment – Anderson is hyping Bully up for his match, but end up arguing.
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE STEEL CAGE MATCH – CHRIS SABIN (C) VS BULLY RAY
The two men face off as the match begins, and surprisingly, a loud ‘Bully Ray’ chant breaks out. An added stimulation to this match is that if Bully loses, he cannot challenge for the title ever again. There was a cool spot where Bully held up Sabin in a gorilla press, and threw him into the cage several times, really showing the size advantage. As the match goes on, they’re really driving at Sabin being the underdog, as he fights back every so often, but gets destroyed again and again. After fighting back and hitting a great tornado DDT, Sabin impressively got Bully up for a massive Death Valley Driver and went on to whip bully with his leather vest. Bully fired back with a big boot that looked like it killed Sabin, and both men climbed to the top rope. Bully attempted a powerbomb, but Sabin held on, presumably to then sit up and do a hurricanrana, but we will never know, as the men botched it horribly and Bully nearly landed on his head. Bully, the pro that he is, started wildly selling his shoulder. As Sabin tried to make his way out of the cage door, Mr. Anderson ran out and slammed it over his head and shouted ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’ give this man a push, solely for that. Rampage and Ortiz run out, and throw Anderson to the side. However, Ortiz pulls out a hammer and hits Rampage across the back of the head. Bully takes advantage of the distraction and hits a stiff powerbomb for the three count, and the championship.
Notes: Genuinely a card of solid matches, not one let the side down. A few mistakes here and there, but I understand how easy that must be. Not sure if I’m happy for Sabin to drop the title, as he never looked strong enough to hold it in the first place. Also, NO HOGAN! Third week in a row he hasn’t been on the show, and over the weekend I wrote this, I learnt that Brooke Hogan had been released…to save money apparently.
As always you can contact me with any thoughts, or even if you just want to chat about wrestling at @jrholberry on twitter.