411's Instant PPV Analysis 08.10.08: TNA Hard Justice 2008
Posted by Chris Lansdell on 08.10.2008
Joe defends vs Booker T in a Six Sides of Steel Weapons match, LAX and Beer Money contest the tag titles, while Petey Williams tries to retain the X Division title against Consequences Creed! Plus, AJ and Kurt tear the house down in a match not quite as advertised. See how they all did, inside!
Greetings, humanity! Welcome to 411's Instant PPV Analysis with me, Chris Lansdell. TNA brought us a hardcore offering tonight with Hard Justice, and the card on paper is not doing much for my confidence in a good PPV. Aside from the tag title match and the AJ-Kurt match, nothing here makes me want to watch.
For the play-by-play recap, head on over to Csonkaville.
Random rappers are here, and we're under way!
Consequences Creed vs Petey Williams - X Division title
The crowd was really into this and popped for all the nice spots. There were plenty of those too. Sounded like most of the crowd was behind Petey, which is great because he's been fabulous since coming back from injury. The Sharpshooter made me mark, and then mark again when Petey grabbed Creed's arm to stop him momentarily from reaching the ropes. Then we had a Jig N Tonic (reverse tombstone) and the match was heading for well over three stars. Then...interference. OK, so you had to bring in the new guy, but why did he have to ruin a perfectly good match with a bullshit interference finish? The beatdown couldn't have waited? You couldn't have Creed win or lose cleanly and THEN let Daivari kill a bitch? Better yet, DO IT ON IMPACT! It's a huge pity because this match turned me into a Creed fan, and I was left feeling cheated by the ending. I'm likely not alone in that. Sure it will get us behind Creed in his Bashir feud, but we would have been anyway.
Rating: ***, and I'm being generous. The match itself was great, but the finish is a sure-fire deduction.
ODB, Gail Kim and Taylor Wilde vs The Beautiful People and Awesome Kong
The Beautiful People and ODB have new music. I would totally nail 6 of the 8 women involved in this match. The match itself was OK, but I can see too many disturbing parallels between Wilde's title reign and CM Punk's: barely escaping with rollup wins and avoiding the big guns. She hasn't really established a moveset or a finisher yet, and has only beaten Velvet Sky with any degree of authority. The whole thing was just sort of there, nothing great, nothing terrible. The result of this match kind of leads into another title shot for Love, but I really don't see her as champion. On the bright side, we might well see Kong-Kim again for a title shot, and I'm still waiting on the ODB turn.
Beer Money Inc. vs LAX - TNA Tag Team Titles
Wow. Heck of a tag match, and even the dirty finish doesn't bother me since it fit so well into the story the match was telling. Of course, Hernandez Border Tossing Homicide halfway to Manhattan onto Beer Money Inc. was an amazing spot. It seems like the LAX split is not going to be an argument but rather a Homicide injury angle. These two teams worked really well together and it's a shame we won't see a rematch soon. Some near falls, a couple of nice spots, constant action and a good pace to the match. They also got enough time and told a story of Hernandez trying to do it alone but ultimately Homicide's pride costing them the match. Should be good to see where this goes from here for BMI, I guess Cage and Rhyno are next.
Black Machismo Jay Lethal vs The Guru Sonjay Dutt - Black Tie Brawl and Chain Match
By no means was this a classic. It could have done without the tuxedo stip, especially with it not factoring in the result, but I thought it was fairly good. Normally I bitch about X Division guys not getting enough time, I think this one may have got a touch too long. The crowd was HARSH on it with the "Fire Russo" chants, which I would normally agree with. Lighten up guys, this wasn't that bad! That said, there wasn't really anything in this match to make me sit up and take notice. With Val walking out we will of course get one more match in this feud, and HOPEFULLY it ends there. It should have ended here...
Team 3D vs Christian Cage and Rhyno
There are 3 types of hardcore match: the comedy one, the uber-serious bloodfest, and the gore for gore's sake spotfest. This managed to take the best elements of all of them and make a very good hardcore match out of it. It started off slowly, as I hate the "drag-through-the-building" spots and it was nigh impossible to see what was going on. It did pick up nicely though, and the stop sign spot was hilarious, although it would have been better with the detour sign. The finish with Christian pulling a Jeff Hardy was also nice. The right team won, and they can now go on to a title match with Beer Money which they should lose. 3D showed once again that they can still turn on teh awesum in the hardcore environment. I'm giving this one a nice complement of snowflakes.
Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles - Last Man Standing Texas Death Match
So they announced the rules, and say it's pin then 10 count. That is NOT a Last Man Standing, it's Texas Death Match rules. I suppose I can give them a minor pass on not wanting to use the word Death, so then either rename it or make it a Last Man Standing. That sort of shit is easy to avoid and pisses me off when it's overlooked.
This match was incredible, as you would expect from these two. There were awesome spots, great psychology, the right result, and the door is open for the blowoff, hopefully an Iron Man. That said, I have a few minor gripes. First, there should never be a rest hold in a Texas Death or LMS match. If the guys need a breather, do a fall! It means nothing to the match and makes more sense than a blasted chinlock. Second, Kurt Angle is a fucking idiot. The somersault plancha off the stage was spectacular, and stupid. As was the finish. Kurt's neck is held together by goodwill, a paper clip and three pieces of Hubba Bubba, so for him to be doing that sort of thing is reckless and could end up in him being like Dynamite Kid. Nobody wants to see that. Finally, I don't understand why there had to be so many kick outs. Despite all that, I cannot help but rate this match highly. It had everything I normally look for in a match, the finish was clean and the result was always in question.
Samoa Joe vs Booker T - Weapons-filled Six Sides of Steel Match (of DOOM!) for the TNA World Heavyweight Title
Well that was anticlimactic. Now to be fair there was no way this match was going to top the previous one, which is why WWE normally puts a filler match before the title matches. This match certainly wasn't BAD, they did some good stuff and it came off pretty well, but it did feel a bit like they were wrestling in caramel for large chunks of the match. The finish...man, I don't know. We're obviously supposed to think Jarrett, maybe leading to Jarrett and Joe vs Sting and Booker. Knowing what Russo is like though, I would imagine there is some convoluted story to go through first. Sting mind games? Joe mind games? Nash master plan?
One minor inconsistency...a rope break in a cage match? Since when? And why would Booker let go? No DQ in a cage! Am I the only person that notices this stuff?
This wasn't a bad end to what was a surprisingly good PPV, but it suffers from what went before it.
Match of the Night: AJ vs Kurt. What else would I pick here? Great match despite the niggling points. Trash of the Night: 6-woman tag. Kinda harsh since it wasn't that bad, but it certainly did nothing for me. Final thoughts: This was a very strong PPV outing for TNA, and that surprises me since I had low expectations. They moved along the stories, worked with the gimmicks they had and delivered the in-ring action for which they are trying to be known. Minor quibbles and the finish to the first match aside, there was really nothing wrong with this PPV. Kudos, TNA. Let's hope you can keep it up.