Hardcore Justice Review: Hardcore for the Hell of it
When Tommy Dreamer led the aging ECW veterans against the TNA locker room a few years ago, Hard Justice was hijacked & turned into a bloody spectacle of nostalgia. Once ECDub said their goodbyes, the Hardcore name stuck with the PPV.
Obviously not knowing what to do with it, the “extreme” elements have been added to Bound for Glory Series 4-Way matches. TNA threw a lot of things at the wall last nightand this is what stuck.
Kash and Gunner vs. Guerrero and Hernandez: As long as Hernandez is in the company, he needs to be in a tag team. As long as Chavo is not in the X Division, he needs to be in a tag team. Gunner finally finds his spot as a tag team “big man” and Kid Kash continues to have a great second half of his career. Kash & Guerrero showed their textbook technical skills, Chavo got double teamed for most of the match. Hernandez got the hot tag, cleared house and allowed his smaller partner to pick up the pin.
Bound For Glory Series: Falls Count Anywhere match: Rob Van Dam vs. The Pope vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Magnus: Before the match, Aces and 8s attacked the Pope. This was a great decision, as the participants in this match really pose no threat to the Bound for Glory leaders…nor does the concept of a 4-man FCA match really make sense, & it assures the audience that Aces and 8s will be a part of the night. The newly made 3-Way was a well orchestrated brawl, with each comps tarot getting in some great spots and fighting up to the entrance ramp. After a Vandaminator on the stage, RVD would cover Magnus for the pin.
TNA TV Champion Devon vs. Kazarian: Well, the TV Belt is finally being defended on PPV. The irony was not lost on the booker, however, as an out-of-the-blue match comes with an equally surprising opponent. Does Devon have a finisher? Video games list it as the hanging Neckbreaker, but he managed to hit that, a spear, an attempted Uranage and finally win with a spinebuster. Kurt Angle must be jealous, as only uses umpteen finishers in one match. Despite his impending contract completion, Devon retains.
TNA Knockouts’ Champion Tessmacher vs. Madison Rayne: Madison managed to use her influence over Earl Hebner to screw Tessmacher out of the belt- what else is there to say? Tessmacher has hit a wall as champ, and Rayne is one of the only vets left after the departures of Sky & Love. If TNA is looking to build up new Knockouts, it’s better if they’re chasing Madison.
Bound For Glory Series: Tables match: Robbie E vs. Hardy vs. Storm vs. Bully Ray: Robbie E needs to buy dinner for whoever booked this match, because he has never gotten this kind of exposure. He was the butt of a few comedy spots, but managed to get the entire crowd’s gear by botching a spot and causing Ray to take a glancing blow of the table. He would then send himself through a table on the outside. Aces and 8s ultimately showed, allowing Hardy to take advantage of a confused Storm (Ray had left the ring). After more confusion, Ray rolled back in, putting Hardy through the table.
X-Division Champion Zema Ion vs. Kenny King: Wrestling’s hottest free agent gets a title shot-insert exclamation point here. (Sorry, Mike Tenay, but you make it look so easy). Even with a classic heel like Ion involved, this was the first match of the night with no shenanigans. King came with an equal amount of highflying and technical offense, & Ion was more than willing to role with the punches- even getting a busted lip for his efforts. A match full of spectacle backfired on King as one-too-many flippy moves got countered and lead to the pinfall.
Bound For Glory Series: Ladder Match-Styles vs. Angle vs. Joe vs. Daniels: Kurt Angle did not need to be in this match. He is still one of the best in the industry, but his three opponents have participated in some of the company’s most defining matches. AJ, Daniels and Joe built TNA on the backs of a handful of independent wrestlers who could perform like no other federation’s guys. The pacing of the match just slowed down when Angle was in the mix. While the other three could go at the same pace, Angle needed a strict one on one match up. Yes, the duplex face off with Joe was great, but AJ, Daniels, & Joe can do no wrong in a TNA ring. Angle was just there for the ride.
TNA World Champion Austin Aries vs. Robert Roode: When does a face, let alone a face champ, initiate a ref bump? Throughout the match, Aries & Roode traded power move for power move & submission for submission. After crashing & burning after an attempted 450 Splash, Aries ducked a spear, causing the ref to be taken out. After a few minutes, the replacement ref was also taken out. With no refs, the battle continues until both refs regained consciousness. After a roll up, both counted the pin fall, but with each ref declaring a different victor. While the referees argue, Roode tries to leave with the belt. Senior Official Earl Hebner comes down & orders a restart. After a flurry of action, Aries scores a quick roll up.
Michael W. Torbik
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