Will Sabin get his big win over Nash? Oh, never mind...
TNA – Hard Justice – Impact Zone – Orlando, Florida – August 13, 2006
The show opens with a pretty goofy video package for Sting, who will challenge Jeff Jarrett for the NWA Title in tonight’s main event. It does show some other people from tonight’s main show as well, which is one thing I like about TNA video packages. They try to highlight lots of people instead of just the one main event match. But make no mistake – TNA was putting all of their eggs in the Sting basket at this point.
Mike Tenay and Don West welcome us to the show and So Cal Val is there looking hot too. They hype the main event and some fireworks signal the start of the show.
MATCH #1: Eric Young vs. Johnny Devine
They show a clip of Jim Cornette awarding Young with a match at the pay-per-view against Devine, since Paparazzi Productions are irritating him. Young comes out with a bunch of fans to continue his fan-pandering gimmick. Johnny Devine gets on the mic and wonders why Young is sucking up to the fans. These two are former Team Canada members. Devine cheats for an early advantage, but Young returns the fire and then hugs Devine. I really don’t get how Young got over. Devine wearing the KEV armband for Kevin Nash is pretty funny. Young gets a crucifix for a near fall. Back to their feet Devine controls the match, and the roof literally catches on fire, as smoke and fire extinguisher haze come down on the ring, and they just continue the match! The crowd cleverly chants “the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.” The smoke clears a bit and Young hits an elbow off the top rope for a near fall. I hate how they call Young “EY.” It’s just an irritating combination of letters. Devine tries the Flair pin but it only gets two. Young finally gets a wheelbarrow suplex into a neckbreaker to get the pin at 5:46. Kudos to the guys for continuing the match and all, but the fire is the only thing memorable about it.
Earl Hebner comes out looking like a bum and attacks Mark Johnson. Officials break up the fracas, including Larry Zbyszko. Hebner says some stuff about not taking the fall alone and that others will go down too. I barely remember this storyline and I don’t recall it ever really being paid off.
Tenay and West hype the rest of the card, including two different three-way matches. Yes, TNA is the company that books multiple three-ways on the same show. The NWA Tag Team Titles are on the line as well. Plus of course, there’s Jarrett vs. Sting.
Jarrett vs. Sting is so big, that while they wouldn’t grant interviews, we do get to see footage of them arriving at the building! Sting will talk to Christian Cage and Jarrett will talk to Scott Steiner, but not to anyone else.
They’re still cleaning up after the fire, including replacing the mat. Tenay brings up the upcoming four-way match between The James Gang, Kazarian & Maverick Matt, The Naturals, and America’s Most Wanted. The winner gets a World Tag Team Title shot. Instead of that match though, we get another video package of Sting. Did they have to include all the time filler in the DVD? Sting’s constant references to surgery and cancer and removing Jarrett are pretty annoying.
We’re back from that video package with Tenay and Jeremy Borash outside the arena. Seriously, did all this have to make the DVD? The building has been evacuated and they’re waiting to go back in. Eric Young stops by to make sure Jim Cornette knows that he had nothing to do with the fire. Why does Tenay call him the Pied Piper? He is neither of those things. Monty Brown stops by next and cuts his usual fun promo. Shane Douglas is next, and he has the Naturals in tow. He finds a way to put over George Bush, which is absurd in so many ways. He also says he was the Franchise of every company he worked for. Stop, Shane, you’re killing me. The Naturals are about as charismatic as this coaster sitting on my desk.
We got back to the building, where Borash is backstage with Alex Shelley. They announce that Nash will not be able to fight Chris Sabin tonight. Shelley cuts a funny promo about how sad Nash’s injury is. Nash is in a wheelchair with a neck brace on. Nash proclaims it to be the darkest day of his life. Nash gives Shelley his army dog tags, and tells him to go to war tonight. It never really puts anybody over, but Nash and Shelley together are great.
MATCH #2: Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley
This was supposed to be Sabin’s big win over Nash, but I assume Nash got a case of not wanting to job to Sabin in his knee and pulled out at the last minute. At least Shelley is sweet, so it should be a good match. They start off with some X-style mat wrestling. Both get a chance to show their athleticism. Shelley begs off but soon gains control, only to get kicked in the face. They continue this back and froth action, with Sabin nailing a springboard dropkick. Shelley soon comes back and lands a bulldog and a Lionsault for two. The winner of this match will get an X-Division Title match at the next PPV against the winner of the Senshi vs. Petey Williams vs. Jay Lethal match tonight. In the meantime, Shelley is able to lock in the Border City Stretch. Sabin reaches the ropes. He recovers and hits the hesitation dropkick in the corner. He follows that with a Hurricane DDT for two. Shelley uses an unnecessary somersault before hitting a Lung Blower. Devine accidentally distracts the referee at an inopportune time. Devine distracts again and Nash slips Shelley a chair. It of course backfires and Sabin hits the Cradle Shock to get the pin at 8:21. Of course that wasn’t long enough but they packed quite a bit in. It’s too bad the match wasn’t against Nash, because while this was probably a better match, TNA has never made Alex Shelley seem worth beating, so it’s not really a big deal that Sabin pinned him.
Borash is backstage with Abyss and James Mitchell, his manager. Mitchell is on the list of people I would prefer to not see anymore. He can be entertaining, but he cuts the same promo every single time, and the “Click, Doomsday” thing is exceedingly lame.
MATCH #3: Abyss vs. Brother Runt
Runt is debuting a new, somehow even stupider look than before. I seriously wonder why anyone anywhere would find this guy worth paying money to. Abyss tosses Runt into the crowd about a minute in. Back in the ring a steel chair gets involved, and not surprisingly it’s Abyss delivering the punishment. Raven is watching on from the crowd for some reason that I’m sure once I find out what it is I won’t care. Referee Johnson takes a big bump from Abyss and thumbtacks get involved. Runt gets fired up and throws everything he has at the Monster. He ends up taking a front bump onto the tack pile. He then hits the Black Hole Slam onto the tacks and Johnson counts Runt down despite the giant pile of foreign objects in the ring. That was amusing for a minute or two, but I don’t like Runt and I don’t see the point.
Rhino cuts his usual lame promo, including promising to rape Monty Brown’s face. That’s just wrong, dude. The video package for this reminds me that it was during the time Rhino was all “I turned down WWE and that makes me cool” phase, which was just as irritating as it sounds. Many were saying these were good promos, but they just came off as bitter, petulant crap.
MATCH #4: Falls Count Anywhere Match – Samoa Joe vs. Rhino vs. The Alpha Male
Not surprisingly this one starts off as a big brawl. I continue to think that TNA completely wasted Monty Brown, as they would waste Samoa Joe in the not too distant future. Rhino was already washed up if you ask me. The fight spills to the floor and Joe hits a big dive. Joe hits the Ole Kick on Monty, but Rhino comes back into the picture and tosses Joe over the railing. They continue to fight outside the ring, with Brown and Rhino going way up into the crowd. Rhino tries to Gore Joe up by the entrance, but Joe blocks it. Brown catches Rhino with a double underhook suplex on the ramp. He then hits an impressive dropkick on Joe. They make their way back to the ring and its Rhino and Joe fighting it out. Rhino sets Joe on the top rope but he winds up getting powerbombed by Joe. Brown finally reappears in the match, going to work on Joe outside the ring. They fight up the ramp and Brown hits a swinging neckbreaker. Rhino runs up with a trash can lid and levels both of them. Rhino tries a Gore but misses and takes a big bump through two tables. Brown runs right into Joe, who delivers an STO off the ramp through a table to get the pin at 13:36. That had some fun brawling in it, but is ultimately meaningless because TNA refuses to do anything with two homegrown (at least as far as TV is concerned) talents, Samoa Joe and Monty Brown. Joe gets on the microphone to further assert his dominance.
Borash is backstage with Larry Z, asking questions about Earl Hebner’s weirdness earlier on. Borash brings up the ridiculous King of the Mountain match, and Larry denies all accusations. Mark Johnson also wants to know what’s going on. He thinks he knows what it is, and Larry storms off in a huff.
MATCH #5: Gail Kim vs. Sirelda
I’ve actually refereed for Sirelda before. My poor friend had to team with her against Joe E. Legend in a handicap match. Gail uses her superior agility and hotness to control the early parts of the match. Tenay makes the shocking announcement that the scheduled four-way tag team match will now take place on Impact. The two “girls” continue to “wrestle” in the ring. Gail puts on a Tarantula and continues the abuse. Sirelda comes back by using her power. A powerslam gets two. Gail rakes the eyes but Sirelda catches her and prepares for another slam. Gail puts on a sleeper but Sirelda breaks it up. Gail finishes with a blockbuster at 4:03. Sirelda got almost no offense in, which is fine by me. But why not cancel this match instead of the four-way tag? This was pretty bad.
Borash is backstage with “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner. He assures everyone that Jeff Jarrett will retain the title tonight and also badmouths Christian Cage. Meh.
MATCH #6: X Division Championship Match – Senshi vs. Petey Williams vs. Jay Lethal
The video package for this match doesn’t really have anything to entice me to be excited for what I’m about to see. Petey Williams earned this match by winning a #1 Contender’s match, and I have no idea what Lethal did to earn his shot. Noticing a pattern here? Senshi has been champion since 6.22.06, and this is his second defense. The high spots are brought on early on. Williams has a legdrop that’s almost as contrived as Jerry Lynn’s. This is a typical “one guy lays down while the other two fight” kind of three-way. I’m just not getting into this at all. Don West appears to have finally found a replacement guy (after Amazing Red) to crush on in Jay Lethal. Williams tries a sharpshooter and Senshi hits Black Magic to break it up. Lethal recovers and hits the Lethal Injection for a near fall. Williams avoids the diving headbutt from Lethal and hits the Canadian Destroyer, allowing Senshi to dropkick Williams out of the way and pin Lethal himself to retain the title at 10:34. That was a pretty dull three-way with little heat and no flow.
Borash is backstage with Konnan, Homicide, and Hernandez. Konnan of course does most of the talking, and this was clearly his best role ever. He says Styles and Daniels were handpicked by the company for titles, but tonight the LAX will right past wrongs.
MATCH #7: NWA World Tag Team Title Match – AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX
The video package shows just how well LAX were booked in the early going and how over they got as a result. That’s what’s so frustrating about TNA – they have the capability to do well but usually blow it. Daniels’s blatant misuse of the word “pantalones” gets me to spit up whatever it is I’m drinking every time I hear it. Styles and Daniels have been champions since 6.18.06, and this is their third defense. Hernandez dominates Daniels with power in the early going, so Daniels comes back by speeding up his attack and going to the air. Styles and Homicide get tagged in, and it’s a dick-measuring contest right away. The challengers soon take over on Styles and go to work on his neck. Styles tries to make a comeback but gets dumped to the floor and Homicide hits the Tope Con Hilo. AJ takes a beating for another little while before making the hot tag to Daniels. He works over both challengers. Hernandez comes back with a big dive to the floor on Daniels and his own partner. AJ follows him with a springboard shooting star press onto everybody. Back in the ring the champions work on Homicide and get a near fall. Hernandez interjects himself and LAX gets a Doomsday Bulldog on Daniels. The referee loses all semblance of control as everyone is coming in and out as they please. Homicide and Daniels have a nice exchange and AJ goes to the top rope but Konnan shoves him off. Hernandez sets up Daniels for the Border Toss while Homicide sets AJ up for the Gringo Killer. They’re able to escape and hit a Hi-Lo on Hernandez to retain the titles at 14:38. These two teams have good chemistry.
Tenay hypes up next month’s No Surrender pay-per-view, followed by a video package with the same goal.
Borash is backstage with Christian Cage, who accuses Jarrett of starting the fire earlier in the evening, to try and get out of his title match tonight. He says Jarrett will lose the title, and he doesn’t sweat either Steiner or Jarrett. Cage yells a lot, which I don’t think is necessary for how good he can be at promos.
MATCH #8: NWA World Heavyweight Title Match – Jeff Jarrett w/ Scott Steiner vs. Sting w/ Christian Cage
We have to see more video package footage, as if we didn’t see enough during the fire. Sting warns that it’s going to be ugly. I had that same feeling there too, Steve. Jarrett has been champion (officially) since 6.29.06, and this is his second defense. I love how TNA pretends they have no glass ceiling and their main event competitors have a total of 41 years of experience between them. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathlock early on, but Jarrett avoids it. The champion rolls to the floor but Sting follows him and uses some foreign objects on Jarrett. I guess rules are optional here. They fight off into the crowd. They go back to the ring and Jarrett works on the leg. The crowd doesn’t seem to be getting much out of this. Sting comes back and goes for a pin, and Steiner pulls the referee outside the ring. Cage and Steiner are fighting now, and the crowd just doesn’t care. Steiner is distracting the referee, allowing Cage to hit Jarrett in the face with a chair. Referee Rudy Charles ejects Cage, though for what reason we don’t know since he didn’t see Cage use the chair. This is all so obvious. Charles does one thing right though, as he sends Steiner to the back too. Jarrett uses Sting’s own submission move, and annoyingly calls it just “The Scorpion.” Say Scorpion Deathlock you fucking tool. Sting gets his own version of the move. The referee goes down and Steiner comes back and hands Jarrett the guitar. Cage comes back also and gets rid of Steiner. Cage has the guitar now and I have no idea what’s going to happen here. Cage hits Sting with the guitar instead and Don West absolutely can’t believe it. That’s enough for Jarrett to get the pin at 15:09. That was an awful match with a totally obvious turn. Nothing about this match was remotely interesting, and this whole thing sums up a lot about what’s wrong with TNA.
The 411: Only one match ventured into the three-star territory, and only two other matches topped two-stars. Jarrett and Sting’s sham of a main event certainly ended the event on a sour note, and not just because Jarrett retained for the millionth time. The undercard was the usual mishmash of stuff that nobody could possibly care about because no one is ever given a reason to care. Sabin getting a big win over Nash would have been a nice addition to the card, but that didn’t happen for who knows what reason. The tag title match was good, but the teams would do better later on, so feel free to take a pass on this one.