8/10 TNA Hard Justice PPV: Samoa Joe vs. Booker T in a six sides of steel weapons match, Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles in a last man standing match, Christian and Rhino vs. Team 3D
Live from Trenton, N.J.
At Sovereign Bank Arena
The show opened with a video that recapped the top pay-per-view matches... "15 minutes ago" outside the building, Lauren ran up to Sting and begged him to comment on what he was doing at the building. He was wearing street clothes and no makeup. He walked into the building and ignored her repeated pleas for a comment...
The rap guys performed the song that just played at least 25 times on the TNA preview. Ice T was not among the rappers despite being advertised for the show...
Powell's POV: I'm more of a hard rock guy than a rap guy, but this was better than Megadeath on the Affliction show. Here's hoping this is the last we see of these guys even though Ice T was advertised.
Mike Tenay and Don West introduced the show. "Get ready for violence," West said. They discussed the Sting situation briefly and then ran through the pay-per-view lineup, which just played at least 25 times on the pay-per-view preview...
1. Petey Williams (w/Rhaka Khan) defeated Consequences Creed to retain the X Division Title in 12:30. Early in the match, Creed pressed Williams over his head and released him, then lied down on his back and let Williams fall onto his knees. Cool move. Petey came back with a springboard huracanrana at ringside a short time later. There were dueling chants for both wrestlers, but Williams got the louder pop.
Williams was in control of the offense when Creed hit a nice superkick out of nowhere. Later, Creed went for the press slam move again, but Petey blocked it and turned it into a Sharpshooter. Creed called toward the ropes, but Petey hooked his arm. Creed reached out and grabbed the ropes with his other arm.
Later, Creed hit the Creed-DT and followed up with a top rope leg drop, but Williams kicked out at the last moment. Khan entered the ring and tried to slap Creed. He blocked the slap and performed an F5 on her. Petey went for his finisher, but Creed blocked it and dropped him on his head for another nearfall.
Sheik Abdul Bashir walked to ringside. Creed tried to bounce off the ropes, but Bashir struck him with a chairshot. Moments later, Petey hit the Canadian Destroyer and scored the pin.
After the match, Bashir took the mic and forced a cameraman to enter the ring and get a close up shot of the fallen Creed. Bashir stood over Creed and refereed to himself as the Middle Eastern Nightmare. A shot aired of Petey and Khan watching Bashir's antics from ringside...
Powell's POV: Very good opening match with a silly TNA finish. Creed stepped up nicely and unveiled some flashy moves that I haven't seen before. He bombed on one move late. The pro-Petey crowd seemed to be getting behind Creed's offense when he whipped Williams into the corner, ran toward him, performed a big leap, and came down with a silly looking chop. That move and the finish aside, this was a good match.
Backstage, Jeremy Broash interviewed Samoa Joe. Kevin Nash entered the picture and offered to take care of Sting. "I promise you he will not be down at the ring tonight," Nash said. After Nash walked away, Joe said Nash was right. He said it really is about him and Booker tonight...
A video focused on Angelina Love and Velvet Sky...
2. Gail Kim and ODB and Taylor Wilde defeated Awesome Kong (w/Raisha Saeed) and Velvet Sky and Angelina Love at 11:15 Traci Brooks is the special referee. Love and Sky stalled before the match by acting like they didn't want to work with ODB. Sky even sprayed perfume toward ODB. Moments later, ODB picked up the bottle, lifted up her skirt, and sprayed her own crotch. No, really.
Wilde tagged into the match and then Kong tagged in for the first time at 3:30 for a nice pop. At 5:00, Kim and Wilde teamed up with a high-low move to knock Kong off her feet. Kong stood up and charged her opponents, but ended up tumbling over the top rope to ringside. Moments later, Saeed reached in and tripped ODB from ringside. Brooks sent Saeed to the back. After some mediocre action, Wilde rolled up Love for the pin.
Powell's POV: Disappointing match. Nothing horrible, but I expected more given the talent of most of the women in the match.
Backstage, Team 3D led Lauren into the rafters. Lauren mocked Brother Ray for being afraid of heights. Ray and Devon yelled to Sting that they had his back. "Feel free to swoop down and take out that big, black bat of yours," Brother Ray said. "Not you, Devon." Funny. Lauren mocked Devon for being afraid of the dark. She yelled, "Boo," and he ran...
A video previewed the LAX vs. Beer Money match...
3. Robert Roode and James Storm (w/Jacqueline) defeated LAX (w/Hector Guerrero, Salinas) to win the TNA Tag Titles in 15:00. Filthee performed the LAX theme song live as they made their entrance. Homicide sold his glass tables injury with some tape on both shoulders and a bandage near his left eye. Hernandez performed his big dive over the top onto both opponents at ringside and the announcers did a nice job of selling the way he landed on his feet.
At 4:30, the heels pulled up Homicide's shirt and raked his make believe glass table injuries as the camera did a closeup and revealed that there was no damage under the tape that was coming off. Homicide started selling an eye injury even though the bandage next to his eye fell off and revealed there was no damage.
To Homidice's credit, he kept trying to sell the injury by pointing to it. If nothing else, he helped explain what the storyline was. At 7:00, Storm yelled, "Beer," and then Roode yelled, "Money." Lame.
At 13:30, Hernandez picked up his own partner and Border Tossed him over the top rope onto their opponents. Big pop, great move. A short time later, Homicide set up Storm for his finisher, but Roode entered the ring and smashed a beer bottle over Homicide's previously injured eye. Storm pinned Homicide to win the match for his team...
Powell's POV: Very good tag match. Both teams worked very hard and there were some crowd pleasing spots. Homicide seemed especially motivated while working in front of the East Coast crowd.
Backstage, Kevin Nash spoke with Sting. "Steve, man, we go back a long way," Nash said. He said he has a good idea of what's going through his head. "These guys, they don't know, they don't understand," he continued. Sting said they know and that there was no other way. "Can you give me a minute?" Nash asked as Sting walked away...
A video recapped the Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal feud...
4. Jay Lethal (w/SoCal Val) pinned Sonjay Dutt in a Black Tie Brawl and Chain match in 12:15. Sonjay wore a black tux, and Lethal came out wearing a white tux with Val by his side. Tenay and West pointed out members of Lethal's family cheering him at ringside. It really is a chain and tuxedo match all in one. Lethal tied his end of the chain to the top rope and then attacked Sonjay once he attached the other end of the chain to his wrist.
At 6:30, Lethal hung Sonjay with the chain. Val entered the ring and pleaded with him to stop. Damn, dude, leave her backstage. She headed there on her own. Sonjay took control of the match and then mocked Lethal's family at ringside. They played into it by yelling back at him. There was a noticeable "boring" chant.
Sonjay went to the top rope for a springboard move and Lethal yanked the chain and forced him to flip violently onto the mat. That shut up the "boring" guys. In the end, Lethal hit the top rope Macho Man elbow drop and scored the pin.
Powell's POV: I didn't think the boring chants were justified. Lethal and Dutt worked really hard. The tuxedos added nothing to the match aside from perhaps giving the closet S&M fan on the creative staff the thrill of seeing two men wearing tuxedos chained together.
Backstage, Jeremy Borash interviewed Booker T, while Sharmell sat by. Booker acted like Sting was on his side and said the championship would stay where it belongs. Sharmell didn't get any mic time...
A video recapped the Team 3D vs. Christian Cage and Rhino feud...
5. Christian Cage and Rhino defeated Team 3D in a Jersey Street Fight in 15:15. This was an all out brawl that featured both teams fighting into the crowd quickly. The live crowd nuts for the brawl, but the camera crew and production staff had a hard time keeping up with the action. Christian dove off a railing, but the camera shot was horrible and it was impossible to see whether he fell a few feet for a big distance.
Back inside the ring, Christian struck Brother Ray with a street sign that a "fan" brought with him. The fans chanted "ECW" at one point. Then a big "We want tables" chant broke out. Later, Rhino slammed Devon's head into Ray's crotch ten times. Devon yelled, "Roll me up," and Rhino obliged for a nearfall. At this point, the ring steps, two signs, and several signs were in the ring.
The crowd chanted for tables again. Team 3D obliged by sliding a table into the ring for a big pop. Rhino avoided the table spot and they brought a ladder inside the ring. Christian climbed the ladder, which was a great visual that showed off the packed lower bowl of the arena. Christian performed a frogsplash onto Devon. Rhino tried to gore Ray through a table, but the table didn't break. The crowd booed the failed table spot as Rhino scored the pin.
After the match, Johnny Devine ran out with the kendo stick like he does every month. Abyss came out and attacked the heels. He picked up the kendo stick and thought about using it, but he dropped it and the live crowd booed. Tenay said that was in Abyss's past...
Powell's POV: The poor live crowd deserved a table spot and the wrestlers did a nice job of building up to it, but the damn table didn't cooperate. A good Team 3D style brawl.
Backstage, Lauren interviewed A.J. Styles about his match with Kurt Angle. Styles yelled about Angle wanting to hurt him, and his own desire to hurt Angle. He said Kurt may be the better wrestler, but he'll never be the better man. Styles guaranteed that he would be the last man standing...
A video recapped the Styles and Angle feud...
6. A.J. Styles defeated Kurt Angle in a last man standing match in 25:30. Styles dominated the first five minutes of the match, but Angle flipped him to ringside and worked him over. They fought their way onto the stage, where Angle hit a release suplex that flipped A.J. over onto his feet on the floor. Kurt followed up by summersaulting off the stage onto Styles on the floor in an unexpected spot.
Back in the ring, Angle hit another awesome release suplex and then smirked at the live crowd. Later, Styles went to the top rope. Angle ran up to meet him, but Styles punched him. Styles dove at Kurt, who turned it into a powerbomb. Kurt went for the Styles Clash, but A.J. reversed it and applied the ankle lock. Kurt tapped out and the referee counted to nine before angle got back on one foot to keep the match alive.
Angle hit a big move off the top and scored a pinfall that seemed to confuse everyone from the announcers to the referee. The announcers called it a pin, but it appeared the ref waved it off. He started counting Styles out, so the pin counted. As Styles stood up, Angle hit the Olympic Slam for another pinfall. Styles beat the count and hit the Styles Clash on Kurt, who remained motionless until the ref reached the eight count and then scrambled to his feet to beat the count.
The crowd chanted, "This is awesome," as Styles and Angle fought on the top rope. They jockeyed for position and Styles ended up DDT'ing Angle off the top rope. Insane. With both men down, the ref started counting them out. Styles barely got to his feet and Angle didn't move.
Styles headed up the ramp to celebrate his win. Meanwhile, Angle said something to the referee, who then called for help from the back. The EMTs entered the ring and started to place Angle on a stretcher. Styles headed back to the ring and suplexed Angle.
Styles left the ring again and stood on the ramp with his face toward the ring. The lights went out. When they came back on, Sting was on the stage and he hit the Scorpion Death Drop on Styles. Nash came out and asked Sting what he was doing. The announcers said Sting was trying to deliver a message, but they didn't know what the message was...
Powell's POV: Excellent match. It really is sad to see Angle take these chances. He took the move right and it didn't look like he landed on his head, but it's one of those moves that would make me cringe even if Angle didn't have a long history of neck problems. Nevertheless, that was one hell of a match and it was nice to see the creative team let them do their thing and didn't overbook the match with outside interference.
At ringside, the announcers recapped the match and the angle with Sting... A video recapped the Samoa Joe vs. Booker T feud... A shot aired of Booker T and Sharmell walking backstage. A video showcased Booker... Booker and Sharmell made their entrances... A shot aired of Joe walking backstage. A Joe video aired and then he made his entrance...
7. Samoa Joe pinned Booker T (w/Sharmell) in a six sides of steel weapons match to retain the TNA Title in 12:45. Borash handled the in-ring introductions. There was a trash can lid, a kendo stick, a chair, and an assortment of weapons hanging from the cage. The wrestlers took turns using a trash can as a weapon early on. Joe grabbed a pair of trash can lids and delivered a few rapid fire shots at Booker.
Joe grabbed the chair, but Booker dodged it and kicked it into the champion's face. Joe stood up and Booker creamed him with the chairshot to the head. Joe bladed. Booker tried to escape the cage, but Joe caught him and delivered a Diamond Cutter off the second rope.
Later, Joe tried to escape the cage, but Booker caught him and locked him in a guillotine choke a few seconds later. Joe got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. At 9:30, both men were standing on the top rope when Joe jumped up and nailed him with a kick to the back of the head. Cool spot.
At 11;45, Joe went for the Musclebuster on two chairs that were lying flat in the ring, but Booker fought out of it and hit the Bookend for a nearfall. Booker performed the Spinaroonie and then hit the axe kick. The lights went out and the crowd groaned. "Could it be Sting?" West asked. "What's going on?" Horrible call.
The lights came back on and Joe was holding a guitar in his hand. He struck Booker with the guitar and scored the pin. The camera cut to Lethal's family at ringside and what appeared to be Lethal's father or uncle was shaking his head just like everyone watching at home.
The announcers went apeshit while saying the guitar could mean only one thing. In the ring, Booker stared at the broken guitar. "Does this mean that he's back?" West asked to close the show without ever mentioning Jeff Jarrett by name...
Powell's POV: Wow. That was a bad finish. The live crowd was flat following the Angle vs. Styles match. They got behind Joe early on, but I think they were burned out on all the hardcore gimmicks. I think Jarrett could add to the mix, but I don't think it was a good idea to use the finish of the pay-per-view main event to tease his return. I'll have a lot more to say about this show in my post-show audio review as well as in the TNA Hitlist on Monday.
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