TNA Hard Justice 2008 8/10/2008
-A video package aired on Hard Justice that began with a take-off on the opening of “Law & Order.”
-A clip aired from “15 minutes earlier” of Lauren chasing down Sting as he arrived at the arena. He was completely out of character and acted like a total ass, ignoring Lauren’s questions and asking him to explain his apparent actions (or, better put, the ridiculous jumps to conclusions people like Mike Tenay, Samoa Joe, and A.J. Styles made regarding potential red herrings meant to incriminate him). He said nothing and just walked past her. They presented him that way to indicate he was an ass to further cement the notion that he did turn heel rather than what I expect, which is he’s pissed at everyone for doubting him while he lived in a cave the last month cut off from civilization.
-A rap group came out and performed. The crowd looked at them they mistakenly entered the wrong building. Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show, then pryo blasted in the arena. Unfortunately, due to the angle they used, the pyro lit up the otherwise darkened empty half of the arena behind the entrance stage.
-They went to Tenay and West at ringside introducing their PPV debut in the Garden State. Tenay wanted to know how Sting would impact the event. Tenay’s voice cracked like a 13 year old as he hyped the TNA Knockouts match. They hyped the entire line-up, a nice stage-setter. Tenay presented some “X Factors” for the X Title match, such as how has Scott Steiner’s absence affected Petey Williams.
1 — PETEY WILLIAMS (w/Rhaka Khan) vs. CONSEQUENCE CREED — X Title Match
At 2:00 Creed tossed Petey into the air and then dropped down and let Petey land on his knees. Then he flipped over the top rope onto Petey on the floor. The back of his head caught the edge of the ring apron as he landed. Ouch. He popped back up and seemed fine. He lifted Petey for a powerbomb, but Petey made a comeback. A minute later, as Creed began to foolishly dance and telegraph a move, Petey recovered and dropkicked him. The fans were vocally behind Petey, and moves like that from Creed are part of the reason why. Not to mention his red, white, and blue outfit. Petey gave Creed a diving headscissors on Creed at ringside after slingshotting himself over the top rope. Back in the ring Petey hit a hesitation dropkick at 5:00. Creed surprised Petey with a superkick out of nowhere. Both were slow to get up. After some fast-paced action, Creed hit the splits and popped up and went on a flurry of offense. The crowd chanted, “Let’s go Petey.” He hit a Russian leg sweep for a pop, then set up the Canadian Destroyer. Creed escaped. Petey gave Creed a chinbreaker. Creed popped up and gave him a somersault clothesline. When Creed charged at Petey, Petey shoulder blocked him. When Petey springboarded at Creed, Creed caught him. Petey, though, leveraged himself backwards into a crucifix pin attempt. They went into more pin attempts and back and forth action. Creed pressed Petey in the air, but when he dropped Petey, Petey landed on his feet and applied a sharpshooter center ring out of nowhere. Creed crawled to the bottom rope, but Petey blocked his arm from grabbing it at first. Creed powered his hand to the rope to force a break at 8:00. Petey slapped Creed, then chopped his chest. Creed made a Hogan-like Superman comeback, telling him to bring it on. He then gave Petey a released suplex, then jogged in place, hit a corner clothesline, and the gave Petey the CreeDT. He went to the top rope and came off with a top rope legdrop for a near fall. A very good match then turned into a typical overbooked TNA PPV match at this point when Khan entered the ring. She argued with Creed and tried to slap him. He lifted her and dropped her on her face. Petey snuck back in the ring and went for the Canadian Destroyer. Creed blocked it and sat down hard, crunching Petey’s head into the mat leading to a leveraged near fall. Sheik Abdul Rasheer then walked to ringside and hit Creed with a chair. Petey then hit Creed with his Canadian Destroyer for the win.
WINNER: Petey in 11:00.
STAR RATING (***): Very good match. If that’s the only outside interference of the night, the finish wasn’t a bad one. Creed survived Khan’s interference, but not Rasheer, who by his actions set up a feud with Creed. The problem with TNA is they define down as virtually meaningless the content of matches because the majority of them end not due to the efforts of the wrestlers for the body of the match, but purely due to overbooked interference.
-Afterward, Rasheer did some mic work and told Creed he was just destroyed by “the Middle-Eastern Nightmare.” He’s carrying himself like a series heel with a chip on his shoulder. He has that “don’t cross me” look in his eyes without overselling things and being cartoonish.
-Jeremy Borash interviewed Samoa Joe backstage. He asked Joe if he’s distracted. Joe said he’s focused. He said he’s tired of the hocus pocus. He’s tired of the showtime. He said Sting’s biggest issue is him. Kevin Nash, who was sitting in the background shirtless, stood up and told Joe he needs to be focused on Booker. He said if he trusts him, he will take care of Sting and guarantee he won’t be at ringside tonight. Nash walked away. Joe said Nash is right, tonight is about Booker. He said, “wanna-be indy workers is going to stomp your ass all over New Jersey and take his belt back.” He yelled that “Tonight, you will learn that, by god, I am pro wrestling.” Still a little too much yelling by Joe (which is so annoying and jarring it takes away from his message), but overall a good segment.
-A video package aired on the Knockouts six-woman match.
2 — THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (Angelina Love & Velvet Sky) & AWESOME KONG vs. TAYLOR WILDE & GAIL KIM & ODB
Love sprayed perfume around the ring, complaining about the smell of the ring. ODB grabbed the bottle and smiled, then spritzed her crotch. After a few battles between different pair of women, Kong tagged in and tossed Kim into her corner. ODB tagged in and battled Kong with a battle of chest chops. Kim and Taylor came in and double-teamed Kong with a high-low. When Kong charged at them in retaliation, they ducked and pulled the top rope down, so Kong took a spill to ringside. Ryesha Saeed came to ringside. Traci ordered her to the back. Saeed’s body language was was over the top. At 7:00 Love and Kim each tagged in. Love didn’t like Traci’s refereeing and poked her in the chest. Luckily her fingernails were trimmed or something could have popped. Traci finally had enough and shoved Love to the mat. Kim then hot-tagged Taylor who hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two count. At 10:00 a six-way brawl broke out. Kong whipped Kim into the ringside barrier. Love gave Taylor a kick to the face mid-ring. Taylor came right back and surprised Love with a roll-up for the win.
WINNERS: Taylor & Kim & ODB in 11:00.
STAR RATING: **1/4
-Lauren followed Team 3D into the rafters. Lauren told Devon to get his hand off of her ass. Ray was scared to be up high. Lauren made fun of him being afraid of heights. Ray shouted to Sting if he was able to hear them. He said they’re there for him. Devon said they’re behind Sting 110 percent in whatever he wants to do. Ray accused Devon of being afraid of the dark. They argued. Lauren laughed some more.
-A video package aired on Beer Money.
3 — BEER MONEY INC. (James Storm & Robert Roode w/Jacqueline) vs. LAX (Homicide & Hernandez w/Hector Guerrero, Selinas)
The rappers did a live performance of LAX’s intro song on their way to the ring. Tenay and West wondered if Homicide suffered any vision issues after being slammed through a glass table on Impact last week. A four-way brawl broke out at ringside before the bell. After a minute Homicide and Roode entered the ring for the official start. Homicide went for a slidekick at Beer Money at ringside, but they side-stepped him and jumped him. Hernandez then did a running dive over the top rope onto both. Tenay’s voice cracked as he shouted, “That’s amazing!” The heels got a sustained beatdown on Homicide for over five minutes. At 8:00 Hernandez got a hot-tag and went on a flurry of offense. The heels made a comeback. Homicide tagged in at 10:00, fended off attempted interference from Jacqueline, and hit a top rope splash for a near fall of 2.99 according to West. Hernandez entered and gave Roode a fallaway slam. Storm came up behind and gave him a back cracker. Homicide surprised Storm with a Gringos Cutter. With both heels knocked out at ringside, Hernandez lifted Homicide into the air and then Border Tossed him at the heels at ringside, knocking both to the floor. “Un-freakin’-believable!” shouted West. “That’s gotta be a World Record Border Toss right there.” Tenay called for the measuring tape. When Hernandez charged at Roode in the ring, Roode ducked and Hernandez fell to the floor. Hernandez took over at ringside, but Jackie gave him a low blow. Selinas got into it with Jackie. Storm went for the Last Call on Homicide in the ring. Homicide ducked and went for the Gringos Cutter. Roode hit Homicide over the face with a beer bottle, which shattered, and Storm scored the pin. Homicide sold the shot for a couple minutes after the match before they cut to the back.
WINNERS: Beer Money Inc. in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **
-Nash approached Sting backstage. Nash said he knows him well and has a pretty good idea what’s going on in his head. Sting said, “Oh, Kevin, I know. I promise you, they know.” Nash said there must be another way to go about things other than his plans. Sting said there’s no other way. He walked away. That was Sting’s first public comment in weeks?
4 — “THE GURU” SONJAY DUTT vs. “BLACK MACHISMO” JAY LETHAL – Tuxedo Strip Match
Tenay called Dutt creepy. He also commented on Sting saying that there is no other way to go about things. Lethal was introduced as being from New Jersey. It still didn’t seem to help him get a big pop. They showed some Lethal’s family members at ringside cheering for him. So Cal Val was at ringside wearing her engagement ring. Dutt put up a fuss about being attached to Lethal via a chain. Dutt got the early advantage with a yank of a chair from behind between Lethal’s legs. Lethal came back a minute later and began tearing apart Dutt’s tuxedo. Lethal tossed Dutt around ringside. Dutt reversed momentum at 3:00 by yanking Lethal into the ringpost. Val thought Lethal was going too far when he hung Dutt by his neck over the top rope. She got so disgusted she left ringside. She couldn’t watch anymore. Dutt came back again by yanking Lethal into the ringpost after Lethal turned his attention to Val leaving the ringside area. Dutt went on sustained offense against Lethal, including taunting his family at ringside while scratching and clawing at Lethal’s face. At 7:00 a loud “boring” chant rang out from a section of the crowd. A louder chant of “Fire Russo” rang out as the Dutt beating continued for several minutes. Lethal made his comeback at 10:00. When Lethal walked toward the top rope, Dutt yanked on the chain. Lethal punched him and yelled that he ruined his life. He climbed to the top rope and came off with a top rope elbow for a three count.
WINNER: Lethal in 11:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 — The match was okay, but nothing more. The tuxedos and chain served as more of a circus-like distraction than a valuable prop for the match.
-Borash interviewed Booker T and Sharmell backstage. He asked what he thinks Sting’s purpose is. Booker told him to look around. He asked him what he sees. Booker said he sees nothing but crap because TNA put him in a low-rent locker room again. He said that would be addressed later. He said he and Sting are like two of wrestling’s crown jewels. He said he thinks Sting has issues, such as Samoa Joe. Booker said Joe is nothing more than “a backyard trailer park wanna be independent worker.” What a stupid, stupid angle this is to now start “demeaning” Joe in a way that just won’t resonate or register with the vast majority of viewers who have no emotions attached to the word “independent worker” nor the notion that Joe is some sort of “backyard wrestler.” What in Joe’s history would make that a dig that fits anything about his character or background? Might as well call him racist or a drug abuser or a jailbird or a conman or video game junkie or a lawn mower salesman as far as viewers are concerned because they all are equally inapplicable to anything related to how Joe has been presented by TNA for years.
-A video package aired on the Jersey Street Fight.
5 — TEAM 3D vs. RHINO & CHRISTIAN CAGE — Jersey Street Fight
By 3:00 all four brawled into the crowd. At 6:00 Christian returned to the ring with a sign from the crowd that said, “Christian, Use My Sign.” He hit Ray over the head with it, revealing that it was a giant metal Do Not Enter sign. A four-way brawl broke out inside the ring. A minute later Ray hit both Christian and Rhino with the sign. Next, Ray set Christian on the steps in the ring. Christian met Ray on the second rope and threw Ray head-first into the steps. Christian climbed the steps and swung it toward Ray’s head with the sign. Ray pulled back and then gave Christian a full-nelson bomb off the steps onto the canvas. The fans called for tables, but Team 3D didn’t deliver. At 11:00 Rhino gave Devon a Gore for a near fall. Christian went for an Unprettier on Ray, but Ray lifted him and fell back. When Ray climbed to the second rope, Rhino jumped into the mix and rammed Rhino’s head repeatedly into the crotch of Ray ten times. Then he schoolboyed Devon for a two count. Ray came back with a powerbomb after the effects being bashed in the balls ten times wore off after a minute. he bashed Rhino in the back with a sign as the fans again chanted for tables. Rhino fended off Team 3D’s attempt to whip into into a table in the corner. Christian brought a table into the ring. Rhino sent Christian to the top of the cage as Rhino held onto the ladder. Christian then caught his balance and frog splashed Ray. Rhino followed with a Gore into the table. The table didn’t break, causing a bit of a flat finish as some fans booed. It did lead to the pin.
WINNERS: Rhino & Christian in 15:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — It was pretty clunky late and early on the crowd brawling got a little repetitive. Once again, if this type of stipulation felt special, it might have worked, but in the context of TNA, which presented various weapons matches on Impact last week including and eight man tag involving these four, it just feels like yet another weapons match.
-After the match, Johnny Devine ran out and helped the heels with a post-match attack. Abyss made the save. Abyss knocked the heels down, then picked up a kendo stick. He looked at it, then dropped it. Tenay said that’s part of Abyss’s past. After a match full of weapons shots, Abyss not using a weapon when given the chance is supposed to make him a popular babyface with fans? I get that they want to transition him away from using weapons, but it could backfire.
-Lauren interviewed A.J. Styles. Styles said he talked briefly with Sting and Sting told him everything happens for a reason. He said that’s good enough for him. He said Sting told him they could talk at length after the show. Styles then cut an intense promo guaranteeing over and over again that Angle would go down and not get up.
6 — A.J. STYLES vs. KURT ANGLE — Last Man Standing Match
West said Styles is tired of being everyone’s whipping boy. He said Angle knows how fired up Styles is. Angle bailed out of the ring a couple of times in the opening minutes to stall before Styles could get his hands on him. West said it’s a strategy to throw Styles off of his game and frustrate him. From ringside, Angle spit at Styles. Styles chased Angle around ringside. In the oldest trick in the book, Angle slid into the ring. When Styles followed, Angle jumped him to get the initial advantage in the match. At 4:00 Styles leapfrogged Angle and then scored with a high dropkick. He followed by clotheslining Angle over the top rope to the floor. Angle stood up, only to be met by a flip dive by Styles over the top rope to the floor. He scored a near fall at ringside. Angle eventually came back and beat on Styles at ringside. They worked their way onto the stage. Angle back suplexed Styles off the stage and he flipped the floor, prompting a “Holy sh–!” chant. Then Angle flip dove onto Styles on the floor. He gave the crowd the “up yours” hand gesture afterward. From 10:00 to 14:00 Angle held onto a couple of relatively long chinlocks with some moves in between. Styles came back at 15:00 and scored some near falls. At 18:00 Angle went for a Styles Clash. Styles countered and applied an Anklelock. Angle winced and cried out in pain. He crawled to the bottom rope, but Styles yanked him back to center ring. Angle tapped out at 18:00. That’s step no. 1 in this match, as Styles is now eligible to win by causing Angle to be down for a ten count. Tenay and West said it might be a good strategy for Angle to get out of that Anklelock before it got too bad. Angle milked the ten count, but got up just before ten, heavily favoring his ankle. Angle came back with a low blow and got in sustained offense. At 22:00 Styles came back and climbed to the top rope. Angle suplexed Styles off the top rope for a three count. That led to a count on Styles. When Styles got up, Angle immediately gave him an Olympic slam for another three count. When Styles got up before ten, Angle again set up an Olympic slam, but Styles turned it into a Styles Clash for a pin himself at 24:00. Nice sequence. Angle was able to stand up. The crowd chanted “This is awesome!” as Styles and Angle fought on the top rope. Angle tried to suplex Styles. Styles turned it into a DDT off the top rope. Tenay gasped, “He just dropped him onto his neck.” The crowd seemed to be worried as Angle displayed convulsions mid-ring. Styles scored the pin. Angle did not answer the ten count.
WINNER: Styles in 25:00.
STAR RATING: **** — Superb match. Definitely a scaring finish. Even if everything was planned, the potential for something going wrong given Angle’s legit neck problems was substantial.
-After the match, the ref called for EMTs to rush to the ring to secure Angle’s neck and stretcher him to the back. Styles celebrated his win and returned to the stage. He looked back and saw Angle’s condition. West and Tenay said Styles must feel bad. Styles returned to the ring, apparently to check on Angle. Instead, he picked Angle up and gave him a brainbuster suplex, then trash-talked him. West said Styles has snapped. As Styles walked up the rampway, the lights went out. When they came back on, Sting gave Styles a Death Drop on the ramp. Sting’s music played. Tenay and West asked what the deal was. Kevin Nash walked out onto the stage and demanded Sting explain his actions. Sting said nothing and walked to the back.
-Tenay and West were shown on camera. Tenay said Sting is trying to send a message, but what is that message. They threw to a video package on the Joe-Booker-Sting saga.
7 — SAMOA JOE vs. BOOKER T (w/Sharmell) — TNA World Title match in a cage with weapons
This began with just 19 minute left in the third hour. That’s just enough time for a suitable main event, but doesn’t leave much flex time for things to run past the bare minimum for a PPV main event title match in a cage much less do whatever they’re going to do with Sting and Nash. Joe used a trash can early, setting it in Booker’s lap, kicking it, and then leaping onto the can, crushing it over Booker in the process. The crowd chanted “Joe’s gonna kill you.” Joe hit Booker with a kendo stick. A couple times Booker showed signs of life, but Joe dominated until 4:00 when Booker kicked a chair into Joe’s face. Booker bashed Joe flush in the skull with a chair. Joe didn’t protect himself. Management needs to step in and literally fine wrestlers for taking unprotected chairshots to the skull. It’s just not worth the long-term cumulative risks associated with blunt trauma to the skull over years of wrestling. Wrestlers are going to be too macho or in denial when it comes to the risks and get wrapped up in wanting their matches to look realistic and get crowd pops, so it’s up to the cooler heads of management to show some wisdom and take action. As Joe tried to climb the cage at 7:00, Booker back suplexed him to the mat. When Joe picked up a trash can lid, Booker kicked it into his face for a near fall. At 9:00 they both climbed to the top rope. Joe spingboarded from the top rope with a kick to Booker, then bumped to the mat. Booker straddled the top rope afterward. Joe then gave Booker a snap powerslam for a two count. Joe applied an STF mid-ring. Booker crawled over and put his toe on the bottom rope to force a break. Joe stacked two chairs mid-ring. Booker blocked Muscle Buster and then gave Joe a Bookend on the chairs for a near fall. Booker did a Spinarooni followed by an Axe Kick. The lights went out. When the lights came back on, Joe had a guitar in hand. He bashed Booker over the head and scored the pin. Joe left the cage and grab his belt. West said, “Could this be what I think it means? Does this mean that he’s back!!!” The show ended with Booker coming to and getting bug-eyed at the sight of the guitar.
WINNER: Joe in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4