Written by: Bob Colling
United Wrestling Federation presents Hardcore War
From: Philadelphia, PA (First time TNA has been to the ECW Arena)
Jeremy Borash opens the show saying that he has waited for years to be able to say “Philadelphia, welcome to Total Non-Stop Wrestling.” The original hat guy from ECW is in attendance for the show. Christy Hemme comes down to the ring. She says that if they keep up the high energy she will have a “special present” for the fans later in the show.
Opening Contest: Shark Boy defeated Simon Diamond: Diamond gets a Welcome Back chant, even though he had been in the Arena a year prior for 3PW so it hadn’t been that long ago. Diamond cuts a promo on how ECW closed the doors on the fans and shut down something close to everyone. Boy gets the early advantage with a dropkick and an arm drag. Diamond avoids the Deep Sea Drop by tossing Boy off the middle rope. Diamond clotheslines Boy for a two count. Diamond connects with a series suplexs with the last one being a front suplex for a two count. Boy pokes Diamond in the eyes followed by a knee breaker and a neck breaker but only gets a near fall. Boy bites Diamond in the corner before delivering an atomic drop and bites Diamond on the butt. Boy leaps off the top to hit a missile dropkick for a near fall. Diamond crotches Boy on the top rope but Boy punches Diamond off the middle rope. Boy ends up hitting the Deep Sea Drop and wins the bout. (**. This wasn’t a bad opener since they put in some decent comedy spots and kept it short. It’s a perfectly fine, fun start to the show.)
Second Contest: Jay Lethal defeated Sonjay Dutt: Early on they counter wrist locks and headlocks. Lethal gets to the ropes to avoid a submission hold. Lethal comes off the ropes with a shoulder block but Dutt comes back with an arm drag. Lethal is sent to the floor and Dutt baseball slides Lethal over the railing into the crowd! Dutt leaps off the railing and hits Lethal with a cross body onto the front row fans! Dutt rolls Lethal back in and gets a two count. Dutt hits a rolling senton and a standing moonsault but Lethal kicks out at two on the cover. Dutt stops Lethal with a knee lift to the gut and taunts the fans. Dutt drops an elbow to Lethal’s shoulder blades for another near fall. Lethal nails Dutt with a running clothesline for a two count. Lethal continues with a back breaker but Dutt kicks out. Lethal delivers a nice dropkick to a seated Dutt to the back of his head for a near fall. Lethal counters a hip toss with a dropkick to Dutt’s chest for a near fall. Lethal misses a splash in the corner and Dutt hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Lethal big boots Dutt in the corner and leaps off the middle rope to hit a leg lariat but only gets a two count. Lethal heads to the top rope but Dutt gets up and uppercuts Lethal! Lethal punches Dutt on the top and shoves him off to hit a diving head butt for a two count as Dutt barely kicked out! Dutt hits a sunset flip power bomb but Lethal pops his shoulder up at two! Dutt super kicks Lethal followed by a moonsault off the middle rope but Lethal kicks out again! Dutt plants Letha with a spine buster but Lethal avoids a springboard moonsault and delivers a release dragon suplex to win the bout. (***. That was a good bout with two quality wrestlers. The crowd was into the whole match and it just came across very well.)
Third Contest: Abyss defeated Brother Runt: Runt hammers away on Abyss to start the bout. Runt is sent into the ropes and rolls to the floor but Abyss follows only for Runt to hammer away on him back in the ring. Abyss lifts Runt up for a press slam but Runt gets out. Abyss hits Runt with a big boot and slides a chair into the ring. Abyss whacks Runt over the back with a chair and puts the chair on top of Runt. Abyss looks for a sit down splash but Runt uses the chair to low blow Abyss! Abyss press slams Runt and tosses him about four rows into the crowd! The crowd begins to crowd surf Runt before he is dumped onto the floor. Abyss hits Runt with a fans beer cup and tosses Runt into the guard railing back first. Runt has been busted open as Abyss continues to send him into the guard railing. Abyss rams Runt head first into the ring steps and hammers away on Runt a few times. They make their way into the crowd where Abyss sends Runt into the wall. Runt punches Abyss several times as they walk through the bleachers. They get back to the ringside area where Abyss grabs a table from under the ring and sets it up on the floor. Abyss puts Runt on the table and goes to the apron but Runt hits Abyss with a chair a few times. Runt puts Abyss on the table and wraps a chain around Abyss’s body. Runt heads to the top rope and leaps off hitting a double stomp onto Abyss but the table doesn’t break! Runt covers Abyss back in the ring but doesn’t get a three count. Abyss grabs Runt by the throat but Runt low blows Abyss and hits the Acid Drop but only gets a two count! Runt goes for another one but Abyss counters with the Shock Treatment! Abyss covers but Runt gets his foot on the bottom rope! Abyss wedges a chair in the corner but Runt battles back with several punches. Abyss still manages to send Runt head first into the chair for a two count! Abyss grabs his thumbtacks from under the ring. He spreads them on the mat and shoves Runt’s face into the tacks! Runt gets a second wind with right hands but Abyss press slams Runt gut first onto the tacks! Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam on the tacks and wins the bout. (***. It was a fun hardcore match. I think if you have seen one of their matches you have seen pretty much all of them but they still put on fun brawls. This was another one that the fans really enjoyed.)
Fourth Contest: Tracy Brooks defeated Gail Kim: Brooks wins the bout with a roll up. Christy Hemme was the special referee for the match.
After the match, Hemme yanks Kim down to the mat after Kim attacked Brooks after the match. Kim is hit with a double clothesline and her top is ripped off.
Before the next match, Jeff Jarrett cuts a promo as he gets some incredible heat from the Philadelphia fans. Jarrett talks about the building that everyone is proud of and how they think it has character. He owns the company and will talk for as long as he wants to! He names several arenas that he was wrestled in that are better than the ECW Arena. Jarrett says that Vince McMahon is the only person who can resurrect ECW and they can’t do anything about that. He says he is going to beat Rhino tonight. Rhino comes out and says he didn’t come out here to talk but to rather kick Jarrett’s ass! Earl Hebner gets some heat from screwing Bret Hart and grabs a microphone telling the fans that they are dumb shits. Rhino talks about how McMahon wants to hire him back this year, but doesn’t go in-depth about it.
Fifth Contest: Rhino defeated Jeff Jarrett: Jarrett arm drags Rhino and struts across the ring. Jarrett drop toe holds Rhino and walks over his back. Rhino punches Jarrett when he turns around and shoulders blocks Jarrett before strutting. Rhino hip tosses Jarrett and looks for the Gore but Jarrett bails to the floor. Rhino follows Jarrett to the floor and they brawl towards the back of the crowd. Jarrett rams a chair into Rhino’s gut and sends him into the guard railing around the ringside area. Jarrett drops Rhino face first on the ring bell but Rhino sends Jarrett into the ring steps for some payback. Back into the ring, Rhino hammers away on Jarrett but gets distracted by Gail Kim on the apron. Jarrett knocks Rhino off the middle rope to the floor where Kim gets a few kicks in. Jarrett whacks Rhino over the back with a chair and sends him into the guard railing chest first. Jarrett sends Rhino into corner back first a few times. Jarrett jumps on Rhino’s back as he is hunched over the middle rope and slides to the floor to deliver a right hand. Jarrett leaps off the top to hit a cross body for a two count. Jarrett knee lifts Rhino as he comes off the ropes but Rhino comes back ramming Jarrett head first into the corner. Jarrett big boots Rhino but is stopped on the top rope. Rhino connects with a superplex and both men are down. Rhino clotheslines Jarrett and spears Jarrett into the corner before connecting with a belly to belly suplex for a two count. Rhino leaps off the middle rope but misses a diving head butt. Jarrett tries to get the win but Rhino kicks out at two. Jarrett shoves Hebner who shoves him back. Rhino hits a spine buster but isn’t able to hold Jarrett down. Jarrett manages to hit the Stroke but Rhino kicks out at two! Jarrett hammers away on Rhino who comes back with punches of his own. Rhino tries to toss Kim into the crowd but Hebner prevents that from happening. Rhino avoids the guitar shot from Jarrett and hits the GORE for the win. (**1/2. It was a decent match but the heat from the crowd made it seem better than it was, I would assume. By the way, it seemed to me that Rhino didn’t get the huge pop you would expect him to get. I’m inclined to think that Rhino with Team 3-D against Jarrett/AMW would’ve been better both match wise and heat wise for the baby faces.)
After the match, Rhino talks about being fired for tossing a lamp. Rhino says that Heyman and Dreamer are important people to him. Rhino doesn’t know what he should, whether or not he should go to ECW. Rhino ends up saying he is loyal to TNA and will be staying with the company.
Sixth Contest: Petey Williams defeated Jerry Lynn: Williams bails to the floor after Lynn ducks a right hand attempt. Lynn shoulder blocks Williams followed by an arm drag and tilt a whirl back breaker for a two count. Williams bails to the floor a second time. Lynn follows him to the floor but they quickly enter the ring again. Lynn stops Williams from leaving on the apron but Williams clotheslines Lynn. Lynn comes back with a guillotine leg drop across the middle rope and takes Williams out with a somersault dive off the apron on the floor. Lynn power bombs Williams on the apron! Williams sends Lynn through the middle rope to the floor and drops Lynn throat first across the guard railing. Back in the ring, Williams tries to cover Lynn but only gets a two count. Williams puts Lynn in the tree of woe but doesn’t do the Oh Canada spot. Lynn ends up doing it to Williams instead! Lynn looks for a sunset flip power bomb on the floor but Williams counters with a leg drop on the apron and gets a two count. Williams kicks Lynn across the middle rope and delivers a dropkick to his back for a two count. Williams connects with another dropkick to Lynn’s back for a near fall. Lynn nicely counters a running bulldog with a back breaker. Lynn backdrops Williams and dropkicks Williams chest first into the corner followed by a slingshot leg drop for a two count. Lynn plants Williams with a running sit down power bomb but Williams gets his shoulder up at two! Williams counters a tilt a whirl back breaker with a side Russian leg sweep and signals for the Canadian Destroyer. Lynn counters with a back drop and goes for the cradle pile driver but Williams gets out of it. Lynn rolls Williams up for a two count! Williams trips Lynn and puts the Sharpshooter on right in the middle of the ring! Lynn gets out of it and puts the Sharpshooter on Williams! Williams manages to crawl to the bottom rope to break the hold. Williams pokes Lynn in the eyes and hits the Canadian Destroyer to win the bout! (***1/4. It was a pretty good match with some nice counters throughout. They put together a good bout and both men looked very good in this outing. You have to love the Canadian Destroyer finisher, too!)
After the match, the fans chant for Lynn and ECW. Lynn gets on the microphone and thanks the fans.
Before the next match, Daniels tells Styles that they aren’t a tag team tonight and that they are both going for the same goal. May the best man win.
Seventh Contest: TNA X-Division Champion Samoa Joe defeated AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels to retain the title: Joe rolls to the floor to start the match. Styles rolls Daniels up from behind for a two count. Joe pulls Daniels to the floor and enters the ring to chop Styles but is met with a dropkick from Styles. Daniels gets a one count on Joe after sending Styles to the floor. Daniels hits a leg lariat on Joe but Joe hits a STO on Daniels after he ducked a clothesline from Styles. Styles kicks Joe in the leg and puts an Indian death lock on the champ. Joe kicks Styles in the chest but Daniels delivers a jaw breaker and slams Styles onto Joe with a STO/neck breaker combo! Daniels hits a moonsault on Joe for a two count. Styles clotheslines Daniels for a two count and works on Joe with a few right hands. Joe pushes Styles off the top rope as he tried for a springboard. Joe takes both Styles and Daniels out on the floor with a suicide dive! Joe rams Daniels shoulder first into the ring post before sitting Styles on a chair. Joe nails Styles with a running kick to the side of his head! Joe ends up delivering the running kick to both challengers! Joe works on Daniels in the ring with a running knee strike. Joe atomic drops Styles and hits a running yakuza kick followed by a senton splash. Joe face washes Styles a few times but is knocked to the floor by Daniels. Daniels looks for a suicide dive but Joe stops him with a right hand. Styles takes Joe out with an incredible twisting dive over the top on the floor! Styles takes Daniels out with a springboard forearm shot but only gets a two count. Styles back elbows Daniels and hits a spin kick for a two count. Styles plants both men with a reverse DDT/DDT combo but only gets near falls. Daniels crotches Styles on the top rope and they trade right hands. Joe gets on the middle rope and backdrops both men to the mat. Joe snap power slams Daniels for a near fall and Styles hits a springboard 450 splash on Joe! Styles covers but Daniels breaks up the pin attempt! Daniels plants Styles with a STO and connects with the BME for a two count! Daniels goes for Angels Wings but Styles gets out of it with a backdrop. Daniels is hit with a Pele kick from Styles and knocked down by Joe with a clothesline. Joe turns Styles inside out with a vicious clothesline. Daniels prevents Joe from hitting the Muscle Buster on Styles and kicks Joe in the head. Styles missile dropkicks Daniels and rolls Joe up but Joe puts the choke on Styles! Styles tried to roll over for the pin but Joe gets out of it and keeps the choke on to make Styles tap out! (***1/2. It shouldn’t come to a surprise that these three guys put on a really good match. What makes this match even better is that they didn’t kill there finishing moves with near falls. No one even hit their finishers and it was still a damn good match.)
After the match, America’s Most Wanted comes out and attack Styles and Daniels. They will be wrestling at Slammiversary for the tag titles. James Storm rips on the fans while Chris Harris says they have issued an open challenge for the past four weeks. Harris is sick and tired of all the talk about the ECW Arena. Harris doesn’t believe a team can measure up to them. The lights go out and the James Gang appears. The fans don’t seem receptive to that, which appears to be the point because the James Gang rips on the fans as well. Team 3-d appears on the big screen and wants the James Gang to shut up. Brother Ray asks if BG is made about losing his crack pipe! Ray rips on Kip’s choice of outfit. Team 3-D have showed up to the arena and arrive through the crowd. Ray and BG trade insults like fat jokes. Ray says that BG never sold out MSG but rather the main eventers did. The hat guy and the James Gang have a shouting war. Ray makes a few gay jokes towards AMW. They enter the ring and start the brawl…
Main Event: America’s Most Wanted fought Team 3-D and the James Gang to a no contest in a street fight: All six men brawl in the ring until Team 3-D send their opponents to the floor. AMW and James Gang return to the ring and work on Team 3-D to get the upper hand. On the floor, Team 3-D continues to be worked on with chair shots. Ray is beaten up in the crowd by Kip and Harris. Devon is worked on by BG and Storm. Ray fights back by back dropping Kip onto a table and suplexs Harris through the table. Storm super kicks Devon on the aisle way. This is really just a messy brawl. Devon fights back with chair and trash can shots on BG and Storm. Ray brawls with Kip James outside the arena! Eventually, Ray has everyone throw their chairs into the ring and that causes the no contest. The fans chant ECW after they get done tossing chairs into the ring.
Brother Ray gets a microphone and talks about this being their second time back home. A drunk fan appears to want to get in the ring, and Devon tells him that if he gets in the ring he will “butt fuck” him. The fan taunts Devon but doesn’t jump the railing. Oh god, Ray has renamed the building the TNA Arena. He calls out AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. Ray acknowledges Styles and Daniels as the future while they are the past. Ray really puts over both men as the greatest going today. Brother Runt comes out and talks about giving everything to ECW. Runt reveals a contract to work for One Night Stand. Runt wants to know what he should do with the contract. Runt ends up ripping up the contract to show his loyalty for TNA. Daniels ends up talking about how the ECW locker room was a family that caused a revolution in professional wrestling. Daniels says that’s how they feel about TNA. He is proud to be a part of the company. He thanks the fans for their support to close the show.
Final Thoughts: Well, I think this has to be considered the best UWF TNA show that I have reviewed so far. From top to bottom the matches either served its purpose with comedy or they put on a damn good match. The X-Division stuff was the highlight of the night along with how much heel heat Jeff Jarrett managed to get from the crowd. There was a lot of quality wrestling and anytime Joe/Daniels/Styles compete, it’s an entertaining bout. Overall, this show gets a thumbs up from me.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.