This Week in TNA: Special Edition - Hardcore Justice 2011
By Mike Johns Aug 8, 2011 - 3:15 PM
This is the point where I would normally go into the history of the
show, a bit.
Originally known as Hard
Justice, this show is likely best known for the 2005 version, where AJ Styles
defeated Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Title in a match that had Tito Ortiz as
special guest referee.
While the show
itself was rather bland, it holds a rather dubious distinction as the final PPV
of the Fox Sport Net era, as Impact's contract with FSN ran out the very next
week on Impact.
Years later, TNA flirted
with the idea of making Hard Justice an "all hardcore" PPV,
advertising it as a show with no rules, more or less.
The idea has sort of floated about ever
since, although it seems TNA has, once again, abandoned the concept for this
Last year, Hard Justice
became HardCORE Justice, and served as a TNA-Hosted ECW Tribute Show, featuring
the stars of ECW for one last dance, so to speak.
Sadly, this ECW Tribute Show headlined by the
final Dreamer/Raven fight, and RVD/Sabu, turned out to be perhaps the best PPV
TNA produced that year.
It was also one
of the most depressing.
But hey, you can
read my review of last year's show for yourself!
Right now, we have the 2011 edition of
Hardcore Justice to worry about!
Our opening video is surprisingly good.
You wouldn't think so to start, but it
actually gets really good as it goes along.
Once again, it's the "Movie Trailer" approach that Kevin
Sullivan (the TV producer, not the wrestler) usually takes, but done particularly
It's certainly more of a
Christopher Nolan movie trailer than a Michael Bay one.
The only real downside is, once again,
they're using the same Sting footage from the 2006 Bound For Glory
It really is, at this point,
the single most over-used footage in the TNA library.
Now, yes, it's good footage, certainly worth
the repeated use.
The problem is that it
is 5 years old, portraying a version of Sting that no longer exists, which has
appeared in virtually every Sting promo video since 2006.
I'm amazed more people don't notice this.
Our show is brought to us by Direct Auto Insurance.
We begin our show with the X-Division Title Match, Brian Kendrick
vs. Alex Shelley vs. Austin Aries.
Kendrick's new theme is terrible.
Aries spends most of the match playing out his strategy, which is to let
Shelley and Kendrick wrestle, then pick his spots and attack when it behooves
The crowd seems behind Shelley,
while Kendrick as a babyface is met with apathy.
Unfortunately, the Orlando crowd that was hot
from opening bell to closing credits last month is already sitting on their
hands in apathy less than five minutes into this month's show, despite starting
with an X match.
will not take this as the indictment against the current Impact Status Quo it
is, not realizing that it's never been the crowd that's been the problem.
Orlando is not "burnt out".
They just do not accept sh*t programming.
When you give them a good show, they're a
When your show sucks, they
sit there, bored.
And when your opening
match features a babyface the crowd is apathetic to, a heel that just debuted
last month, and half of a tag team that isn't nearly as hot on his own as he is
with his partner, you're not going to have a jumping crowd, no matter where you
It simply does not happen, no
matter how good the match is.
Because these people don't care about
Kendrick, don't know Aries, and really aren’t interested in seeing Shelley on
All the 5 Star Performances in
the Universe don't mean jack if fans aren't interested in the performers.
So, we go on with the match, which is pretty good.
Aries works his strategy as Shelly and
Kendrick work together to thwart Aries before going back to trying to beat each
Despite a few signs of life for
highspots, the crowd is mostly dead for the match.
What's worse is, just as they start to pick
up the pace of the match, the crowd starts hopping.
They then immediately bring the match back to
a halt, and the crowd goes silent again.
It's the exact opposite of last month's 4-Man Contract Battle that stole
Instead of all 3 men going all
out in order to try and beat one another, the match is slow, based more on the
story of Aries' strategy vs. Shelley/Kendrick's Spirit of Competition, which,
had this been the second or third match of the night, may have been fine.
In theory, you'd have had a hot crowd after a
strong opener, more willing to be patient in this match and allow the story to
Unfortunately, as the first match
of the night, the slower pace and the story aren't doing much for the Impact
As the match comes to a close, we see that Shelley begins
working the knee of Kendrick, injuring it with a leg whip into the middle
After a frog splash onto
Kendrick's legs, Shelley then goes for a spinning inverted figure four.
Aries breaks it up, tosses Kendrick out of
the ring, and locks Shelley in the Last Chancery, a move neither Taz or Tenay called
You'd think something like
"the names of people's signature moves" would be something covered in
a pre-match meeting.
Or, at the very least,
listed in the binder of notes Creative gives to both men concerning the things
they want Taz and Tenay to cover on commentary during each segment.
Anyway, back to Shelley being locked in the
Kendrick breaks it
Aries recovers and goes after
Kendrick nails his
running kick, which Aries kicks out of.
Already with the kicking out of finishers, TNA?
First match, and people are kicking out of
Are you kidding me?
Actually, if you think about it, Kendrick's
finishing kick is pretty weak.
SHOULD be kicking out of it, so I guess we can let this one slide.
Back to the match - Kendrick goes for some Sliced Bread, but
Aries hangs him up on the top rope.
Shelley breaks this up, then sets Aries up on his shoulders as he and
Kendrick attempt a Doomsday Sliced Bread #2.
Kendrick's knee gives out, slips off the top turnbuckle, and Aries slips
out of the Doomsday, nailing Shelley with the same knee-breaker/belly to back
throw he hit Kendrick with earlier.
follows up with a Brainbuster, but Kendrick breaks up the pin.
Kendrick hits Sliced Bread on Aries, dropping
Austin on top of Alex Shelley in the process, allowing Kendrick to get the pin
and retain his title.
Jeremy Borash is in the back with TaraMacher in a segment
where Miss Tessmacher actually does address some of the huge issues concerning
how she, a proposed babyface in TNA, is supposed to be cheered for despite
intentionally assaulting and disfiguring a fellow competitor, which, for those
of you lacking morals, is a heinous act of poor sportsmanship.
And it's sort of illegal.
First off, she retcons the fact that
TaraMacher jumped the 'Itas, which is smart.
You're addressing the issues I had with the segment two weeks ago by
hammering home this idea that, apparently, the 'Itas jumped you.
That's not what anyone said two weeks ago,
We'll let you have your
Tara wraps things up by saying
they'll be "freaking champions" at the end of the night.
Tara then calls Tess "Brooke" and
It's time for the
Knockouts Tag Title Match, as the 'Itas try to take their belts back from
The proposed babyfaces here
get an even weaker reaction than Brian Kendrick did, which, admittedly, comes
more from the apathy fans have for the teams in general than anything
The crowd falls asleep, it seems,
for a mediocre women's tag.
We manage to
get a Tessmacher chant, a mild "woo hoo" for Tara's hot tag, and an
actual chant worth noting for Tara.
only manages to attack Sarita's injured face unintentionally this time by
dropping Sara to the apron as Rosita tries to get a pin.
Meanwhile, Tara gets a hold of Rosi and nails
the Widow's Peak, allowing TaraMacher to continue their reign as champions.
Pope is in the back tweeting Devon as Jeremy Borash asks
Pope about his match tonight.
Devon to know he respects him, just as Devon's family respects Pope.
Also, this is in no way an evil plot on my
part to turn your family against you, or try to nail your wife or
Pope don't pimp that way,
Pope wants to be a positive
influence, and is only concerned about doing the right thing tonight.
Now let's take a look at the BFG Leader Board -
Yep, Samoa Joe is totally f*cked.
Keep in mind, Joe's not on the show
Likely because he's too busy being
completely f*cked by this company.
Our next match is part of the BFG Series, as Devon takes on
And look who's at ringside,
again - Devon's sons.
We also have Matt
Morgan on commentary, again, whining about how he's not going to have a shot at
the World Title, again.
match, Pope takes a mic and kisses Devon's ass a bit.
Pope is trying to be friends with you and
your family, daddy-o.
So Pope be pimping
tonight by laying down for Devon.
I'm going to beat your
So, we have a
Meanwhile, Matt Morgan whines
about not being able to compete in the BFG Series, yet Pope is just going to
lay down for Devon.
Devon goes for a
chokeslam, Pope reverses into a rollup pin, and gets the win, earning 7 points
After the match, Devon
refuses to shake Pope's hand, but then sees his boys, and realizes that if he
doesn't shake Pope's hand, he sets a bad example for his kids.
So, Devon shakes Pope's hand, and this angle
JB is in the back talking to RVD about his match with
Jerry Lynn then pops
in, yet again (popping in during RVD promos must be his new gimmick or
something), and says he's going to be in RVD's corner tonight.
RVD's cool with it, and they walk off.
Up next, Mickie James defends the KO Title against Winter,
accompanied by Angelina Love.
to be the story of the night so far, we have moderately good matches play out
as the crowd goes mild.
Compared to the
energy of last month's crowd, these people may as well be asleep.
Love Like Winter works the 2 on 1 advantage
on Mickie, allowing Winter to gain the advantage over Mick.
Despite the weak crowd, Winter has the best
match of her TNA run thus far, delivering a SHIMMER quality performance against
The crowd picks up as Mick
makes her comeback.
Winter feigns yet another
eye injury, distracting Earl Hebner, who, in TNA, may as well just be the go-to
referee whenever you want to end a match with a bad call these days.
Angelina Love then slides in, and FINALLY,
after nearly a year of Angelina Love using this Scorpion Backbreaker, FINALLY,
Taz and Tenay call a name for this move - the Break-A-Bitch.
Maybe this is because I'm used to competent announcers like Jim
Ross, Joey Styles, Dave Prazak, Kevin Kelly, Mike Quackenbush (who could easily
be a play by play man once his in-ring career ends), what Mike Tenay used to be
in the 1990s, or, god forbid, Todd Grisham and Matt Striker, whom WWE decided
to replace with the team of Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews, a.k.a.
"The Worst Commentary Team of All Time"... but, see, I'm used to
knowing what the hell moves are called in wrestling matches, because, see, GOOD
announcers actually tell you what the moves are called.
Its one of the things I hate about WWE's
entertainment mindset, where people don't call the moves, but rather prattle on
endlessly about whatever story is going on, oftentimes ignoring the action and
the characters in the ring altogether to talk about whatever bullsh*t John Cena
is involved in this week.
So why do Taz
and Tenay wait EIGHT MONTHS to finally call Angelina's move by an actual
Sure, I can understand not knowing
a name of a move the first few times you see it, but you've had Angie do this
move since the beginning of the year.
Austin Aries has been on roster for well over a month.
In the kayfabe world of wrestling, it never
occurs to Taz or Tenay to ask Austin what his wicked submission move is
No one asks Angelina what her
messed up backbreaker is called?
It's your job to know
what these moves are so you can inform me, the viewer, what the hell it
Anyway, back to the match.
Angie hits the Break-A-Bitch on Mickie James as Earl Hebner is trying to
get something out of Winter's eye, as the fake eye injury is now apparently a
regular spot in Winter matches.
credit, you certainly don't see too many people pulling that spot off
Winter goes for a cover, and,
BAM, yet another finisher, kicked out of!
Oh, and this one doesn't get an excuse, either, because Winter went for
the pin immediately after Angie hit the move.
It's a FINISH.
As in, THE END OF
THE F*CKING MATCH!!!
You don't kick out
of a finish unless you have damn good reason, like, say, it's a big match.
And, by the way, no, a monthly TNA PPV Main
Event is NOT, by definition, a "big match".
Not when you do this sh*t repeatedly every
So, here we are, just over an
hour into the show, and we've already seen two finishes kicked out of,
although, to be fair, Brian Kendrick's finish is a weak kick to the face people
ought to be kicking out of.
Back to the match - Mickie nails a tornado DDT on Winter,
who rolls to the outside.
is Earl Hebner, he does not stay in the ring to make a 10 count, but rather
rolls to the floor to check on Winter.
This allows Angelina Love to attempt another Break-A-Bitch, just to get
caught instead by a Mickie James neckbreaker.
Mickie then goes to the outside to roll Winter back into the ring.
Angie then distracts Hebner again, long
enough to allow Winter to spit mist into Mickie's eyes.
Winter gets the pin, and wins the KO
JB is in the back with Brian Kendrick, who talks about his
win tonight, which once again sees Brian speaking English, although, now, he's
just monotone, boring, and still looking stoned.
Austin Aries walks in, shushes Kendrick, then
says that Brian only pinned Alex Shelley.
He didn't beat A Double, which means Brian isn't really the champ he
says he is until he beats Aries.
all, if you're really about fairness, sportsmanship, and competition, you can't
call yourself a champ until you beat me one on one.
Our next match is a BFG Series match between RVD, with Jerry
Lynn in his corner, and Crimson.
turns out, RVD may not be the lock to win the BFG Series we all thought he was,
because it looks like we're now building to yet another Lynn/RVD match at Bound
Because, just as Crimson is about to pin RVD
with his Sky High Powerbomb, Jerry Lynn breaks up the pin, getting RVD
RVD loses 10 points
because of Jerry Lynn, who tries to apologize to RVD as he storms his way to
Mr. Anderson talks smack about Bully Ray in the back with
There's not enough room in Immortal
for two assholes, he says, and tonight, Anderson removes one of them from the
Up next is 6-Man Tag Action, as Immortal, represented by
Gunner, Abyss, and Scott Steiner take on Fortune, represented by AJ Styles,
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian.
what has been, easily, the match of the night so far, Fortune wins a
straight-up match with no shenanigans or BS as AJ wins with a springboard Pele
Kick on Abyss shortly after Gunner puts Daniels through a table on the
After the match, Fortune helps
Daniels to the back, as Immortal blames Abyss for their loss.
Bully Ray tells JB that he rights a wrong tonight, as he
personally removes Anderson from TNA, preferably permanently.
Anderson and Ray have what can only be described as a brawl.
6 people chant for Anderson as Ray lays into
Anderson in the ring.
Beyond that, we still
have a relatively dead crowd.
may recall, last month, you couldn't shut the Impact Zone up.
They were hopping for nearly every second of
that show, only really slowing down long enough to drink in the story of
Here, they don't give a crap,
apparently, about anything.
wonder if TNA is picking up any hints here, you know?
Ray eventually wins with a low blow on
Anderson to get the pin.
Hogan and Bischoff are in the back telling JB about how
they're disappointed in Immortal right now.
Gunner, Steiner and Abyss walk up, and Bisch bitches at Abyss for losing
so much, lately.
Ray then comes into the
scene, bragging about his win over the other bitch in Immortal, Mr.
Immortal walks off as Bisch
tells Abyss that he can't come home with them.
Here comes yet another pointless face turn!
Up next, Beer Money defends the Tag Team Titles against
Oh, and because TNA
hasn't tortured me enough today by letting Miss Tessmacher talk, guess who
grabs a mic?
It's Anarquia, still
running with the worst Eddie Guerrero impression ever, telling us how the
Mexican Flag will fly over every arena in the world once they win the tag
Earl Hebner forces the 'Itas to
the back, leaving Mexican America to lose here.
After a decent, yet unmemorable match, James Storm nails Anarquia with a
Last Call superkick to get the pin.
Main Event Time as Sting defends the World Title against
But first, we hear from Kurt
in the back with JB, who tells us that he will not lose tonight.
We have our typical TNA Main Event.
Signature moves are hit, everyone kicks out
of everyone else's finisher, and, of course, Hulk Hogan runs... well, more like
hobbles... in, trying to hit Sting with a chair.
Angle takes the chair from Hogan and chases
Then, Angle cracks Sting in the
back with the chair himself.
So much for
wanting the clean win over Sting... Kurt gets the pin and becomes the new TNA
For some reason, Hogan
and Angle stare angrily at one another as Kurt celebrates his victory over
The show is entirely missable.
point, I should just accept that finishes mean nothing to this company,
especially to its Main Eventers, who toss them about so willy nilly, it's
impossible to take them seriously.
Excuse me if I'm old school enough to believe that there ought to be at
least one move in your arsenal that you protect enough so that, if you hit it,
people know it's the end, such as Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver, Randy Orton's
Punt Kick, Cheerleader Melissa's Kudo Driver, or Manami Toyota's Ocean Cyclone
On the absolute rare occasion
someone actually does kick out of the move, such as Shawn Michaels kicking out
of the Tombstone at WrestleMania, it serves as a special, monumental moment in
the lives of fans and the careers of wrestlers.
Sure, you can have multiple finishers, low-level and high level ones
that you protect in different ways, and even a few that can be kicked out of,
but there should be one move in, for example, Kurt Angle's arsenal that should
spell THE END in a match.
and, in a lot of ways, it's why Kurt Angle isn't at a higher level of stardom
in this business, because his moves aren't protected, and there isn't something
you know that if the supposed Best Wrestler in the World hits, there's
virtually no chance someone's kicking out of.
And no, the Anklelock doesn't count because people have been stuck in
the hold for years and still not tapped out.
This may also be the missing element for a guy like Davey Richards, who
really doesn't have a set finish in his arsenal.
He has a lot of near-finishes, like the
Shooting Star Press, the Kimura, the DR Driver, and whatever the hell he calls
his Indian deathlock/anklelock, but not one of them is perceived by fans as
"The Move" in Davey's arsenal that all but assures him victory.
If anything, the lack of respect for finishers is one of the
many reasons TNA Main Events aren't perceived to be epic encounters, by any
stretch of the imagination.
In fact, we
as fans have come to expect a string of finishes, just to see all of them kicked
out of multiple times until, maybe, finally, the 8th Angle Slam will be enough
to keep Jeff Jarrett down.
only didn't work the first 7, let's try 8.
After a while, this treatment of finishes only waters the moves, and the
wrestlers that perform them, down, to the point where we no longer react the
same way we did initially to a move like the Angle Slam.
We don't gasp when someone kicks out of
If anything, we
It'd be one thing if
this was something that only happened on PPV.
It'd still be stupid, but it wouldn't be nearly as bad as when they do
this on every show, in every Main Event.
Impact - Main Event sees a sh*t-ton of finishers, all of which people
kick out of.
PPV - we see it, times
Hell, we don't even get out of the
very first match on PPV without someone kicking out of a finisher!
Beyond that, save your money, skip the replay, don't even bother
with an illegal stream, and watch something else.
It's not a bad show, as TNA's had worse, but
it's certainly not worth any time or money on your part to check out.
You've missed nothing here, other than Angle
winning the title, which... hey, you read this review, right?
So you already know about Angle's win.
Don't buy the show.
Don't stream the show.
Do something else.
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