TNA One Night Only: Hardcore Justice Review
by Julian Radbourne
It’s time to step into the Impact Zone…..oh wait, I can’t use that line now. Anyway, we’re heading into TNA territory as we take a look at the latest of their One Night Only shows, Hardcore Justice, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.
The show began with Ethan Carter III taking on Tommy Dreamer in a tables match.
As far as show openers go this wasn’t too bad. There was the obligatory chain wrestling at the beginning before the action momentarily spilled out to the floor. This began the yo-yoing between ring and floor which saw both men attempting to put each other through a table.
They soon returned to the ring for a rather nice spot where Dreamer dropkicked a chair into Carter’s face while he was in the tree of woe position. Some quick exchanges followed until Carter put Dreamer through the table with a spinebuster for the win.
The X Division Xscape match followed as Chris Sabin went up against Austin Aries. The rules for this one, well, it’s basically a steel cage match, without pins or submissions.
There was plenty of solid action in this one as two guys who are well suited to each other put on a rather enjoyable contest – to a point. It began with Aries dominating the early going before Sabin’s somewhat sadistic side came to the fore, especially when he used his belt to choke out A-double.
But as the match progressed and both men made their various escape attempts I couldn’t help but feel that the action was dragging on a little. There were points where it felt like they were just going round in circles, and to be honest with you I’m a little surprised that I’ve found something disappointing in a match involving these two.
So after much to-ing and fro-ing, and after Sabin tried to stop Aries’ progress by tying his feet to the bottom rope with the aforementioned belt Aries released himself, stopped Sabin from making an escape, and then made the escape himself for the win.
After a long and rather boring in-ring segment with Robbie E and Jesse Godderz it was on to the match to determine who would get the one-man advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match, with Bobby Roode going up against Samoa Joe.
This one was quite entertaining. It began with Joe taking it to his man early on until Roode came back and took control. The former champion, as always, looked pretty decent as he controlled the match and came close to getting the pin a few times.
Joe soon made his way back though with his trademark moves, but when he tried to put Roode away with the rear naked choke Roode countered with a chin buster, and Joe’s momentum meant that he accidentally clobbered the referee.
With the official out of commission Roode went under the ring and grabbed a rubbish bin, but when he went back in he found the now-recovered Samoan submission machine standing before him. Roode quickly adjusted his tactics, banging the bin on the mat before throwing it to Joe and dropping down like he’d been shot.
When the official turned around the first thing he saw was Roode lying on his back and Joe holding onto the bin, and despite Joe’s protests the referee called for the bell and gave Roode the disqualification win, giving his team the advantage in the Lethal Lockdown main event.
The Knockouts were up next as Lei’D Tapa faced Velvet Sky in a street fight.
The proverbial Davina versus Goliathina battle wasn’t too bad, although it didn’t exactly set the pulses racing. Sky tried some hit and run tactics early on, but it wasn’t long before Tapa took control of the match with her power, and after an assault outside the ring she went backstage and returned with a steel chair in hand.
Even though she failed in her early attempts to use the chair it wasn’t long before Tapa was placing it in the ropes and whipping Sky into it. The third time wasn’t a charm in this case though, and after Tapa went head first into the steel Sky took the chair in hand so she could deliver her own brand of punishment.
But this little advantage didn’t last that long as Tapa quickly regained control and took Sky down with a TKO for the winning pin.
Tag team action followed as Joseph Park and Eric Young faced Bad Influence’s Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian in a Full Metal Mayhem match.
We had quite a bit of jaw jacking at the beginning of this one as Young tried to bring the monster out of his partner, but just when he was about to clobber him Daniels and Kazarian stormed the ring.
Something strange happened to me in this match, because I found myself actually enjoying Eric Young’s performance. But then again, that may be because I pretty much enjoyed this entire match.
Once again Daniels and Kazarian showed what a polished team they are as they took it to Park to good effect, while also keep Young out of the going early on. But as the match went on Young kept coming back, pulling off some nice high-flying moves in the process.
A couple of moments of mis-communication between the Bad Influence boys saw Young take command, and after he foiled Daniels’ ladder-assisted BME attempt by power bombing him into the wood he then sent Kazarian crashing to the mat when he went for a flux capacitor from the top of the self-same ladder, before coming down with a flying elbow drop from the top of the ladder onto Kazarian to take the winning pin.
After the match Young showed Park that he was bleeding from the mouth, and the look on the lawyer’s face changed immediately.
The penultimate match saw Bully Ray taking on Mr. Anderson in a stretcher match.
Well, that was the plan anyway. Before the match began Anderson grabbed the microphone and revealed that he’d been in touch with the powers that be, and that the stretcher match had been cancelled and replaced by a last man standing match.
The Bully’s performance in this one was certainly a lot better than it was in the other recent One Night Only shows, and although this really wasn’t the most heated last man standing match I’ve ever seen the action was okay.
Anderson was the one to take control early on, but when Ray slammed his head into the ring steps the crimson mask was soon upon him. From there these two brawled all around the ring using the aforementioned ring steps, a piece of guard rail, and the Bully’s trusty old chain.
After all of this they still couldn’t put each other away, that was until Anderson connected with the microphone check on the guard rail. The only problem was that the referee had taken an accidental pasting and was in no position to make the count.
As the official began to slowly make his recovery Ray countered Anderson’s latest use of the guard rail with a foot south of the border. He then used his feet to push his man head first into the ring steps, and as the referee sat on his backside, leaning against the ropes he began to count both men, and with Bully beating and Anderson failing to beat the count the former Dudley was declared the winner.
The main event was the Lethal Lockdown match, pitting Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, James Storm and their mystery partner Abyss against Bobby Roode, Magnus, Jesse Godderz and Robbie E.
Moving swiftly on…..
In conclusion – I’ve kind of got mixed feelings about this show.
I can’t really fault the majority of the action I saw. For the most part it was well executed, and those in attendance seemed to enjoy what they were seeing.
But as with some of the other One Night Only shows I was left with a sort of empty feeling. It felt as if what I saw didn’t really matter, and that the majority of what went on here will probably be forgotten about by most of the people who saw this.
Mind you, the commentary wasn’t that bad this time around. At least with Jeremy Borash joining Mike Tenay at the commentary desk I didn’t have to put up with Taz’s non-sensical ramblings.
As for my match of the night no-prize I’m going to surprise myself once more by giving it to the full metal mayhem encounter between Bad Influence and Eric Young/Joseph Park. Yep, you read that right, I’ve given Eric Young a match of the night award.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give Hardcore Justice the thumbs up. If you want a well-executed show that in the long term is quite meaningless and will have no long-term effect on the company’s storylines then this is the show for you.