Powell's TNA Hardcore Justice Hitlist: Samoa Joe vs. A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels ladder match, Austin Aries beats Bobby Roode to retain the TNA Title, Madison Rayne wins the TNA Knockouts Title
By Jason Powell
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TNA Hardcore Justice Hits
Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels: My favorite match of the night. It had something for everyone with wild spots, big bumps, nonstop action, fun comedy, etc. The comedy with Joe and Angle trying to one-up one another by suplexing Daniels was great, and I got a big kick out of the way Joe wedged Daniels through the rungs of the ladder. The finish of the match was excellent with Styles coming out of nowhere and taking the clipboard down in "bang, bang" fashion. Daniels' life must have flashed through his eyes as Styles was springboarding his way onto the ladders, as Styles had to land on one foot to avoid putting the other foot on Daniels head as he was stuck between the rungs of the ladder. By the way, TNA and Joe really need to get together to come up with better shorts. The gladiator look strikes me as indy-riffic.
Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode: Another good match from Aries and Roode with a surprising and crowd pleasing finish. It surprised me because I assumed Roode dropping the title was just a bump in the road and that he would regain it at this show and go on to face James Storm at Bound For Glory. More on that in a moment. The finish of the match felt overbooked with the double pin. It felt like creative was teasing a bad finish from TNA Past to show us that things have changed. I would have felt even more positive about the booking had they just delivered a clean finish without the restart.
The no rematch factor is very interesting if they actually live up to the stipulation. They could do a couple of quick title changes and put the belt back on Roode by having someone else beat Aries, but that would feel clunky and Roode defending against Storm wouldn't feel as important as it should. Will we get Aries vs. Samoa Joe at Bound For Glory? Aries vs. Kurt Angle? Aries vs. A.J. Styles? Aries vs. Hardy? I like that I don't have a sense for where things are going, but I hope the payoff is as good as Roode as the long running champion vs. his longtime tag partner would have been had they never put the title on Aries.
Zema Ion vs. Kenny King: A solid X Division match. It was good to hear the fans get behind King even though he hasn't had much character development thus far. King had a good outing and Ion continues to be highly entertaining as a cocky heel champion. Bonus points for the clean finish.
James Storm vs. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Robbie E: I wouldn't want to have been in Robbie E's shoes when he had to go backstage and apologize to the injured Bully Ray for not clearing the table. Here's hoping Ray just smacked his funny bone really hard. That might be wishful thinking, but it would be a shame if the highly entertaining Ray is sidelined by something so flukey. This was a fun brawl. The Aces & 8s interference was expected, yet Ray going over rather than Storm was a nice twist.
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Kid Kash and Gunner: A solid opening match with a good finishing sequence. Am I the only one who wishes Chavo would stop using the Eddie tribute spots in all of his matches and save them for key moments? I don't want to always think of Chavo as Eddie's nephew, but he makes that impossible. I'm cool with the Frogsplash finisher, but I don't need to see Three Amigos and the shimmy in every match.
Overall show: A good outing for TNA, thanks in large part to the last two matches. The rest of the show felt ordinary, but the big two delivered and put the show over the top. Thus, TNA continues its streak of solid to very good pay-per-views. If you've been waiting for TNA to put together a series of quality shows before sampling the pay-per-view product again, it's safe to give them another shot. This wasn't the best show of the streak, yet it ended on a high note and was worth the purchase price. I just wish they could get out of the Impact Zone more often. The dull atmosphere really takes something away from the product.
TNA Hardcore Justice Misses
Mike Tenay and Taz: The announcing continues to be a sore spot for TNA. Tenay would be a fine B-show play-by-play voice, but he isn't the guy the company should have calling their pay-per-view matches. His calls for the opening, middle, and main event matches sound the same. He can't kick it into another gear, and I honestly can't think of a single great Mike Tenay main event call. Taz continues to sound like he's going through the motions, and I couldn't believe he called the Last Chancery submission hold in the main event as if it was a meaningless headlock. I had more compassion for the broadcast team when product was awful, but their calls haven't improved enough since then. In fact, the only time I've really enjoyed the work of the TNA broadcast team is when Jeremy Borash has filled in because he brings a spark and passion to the product that is missing from the Tenay and Taz combo.
Rob Van Dam vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Magnus: The Aces & 8's attack took Pope out of the match. They might as well have taken out Magnus too. I enjoy his work and I think he has a bright future, but this felt like a two horse race from the start. They tried hard and had a decent three-way match, but I continue to shake my head at RVD for coming across like the dumbest babyface character in pro wrestling. He constantly stops and points at himself only to be attacked by one of his opponents from behind. That's the kind of thing I expect from a heel, not a babyface.
Devon vs. Kazarian: The match didn't hold my interest. Hell, the TV Title doesn't have my interest. The effort was there, but I just didn't care about the outcome and the fans seemed to feel the same way during the match, though they did come to life for the actual finish.
Madison Rayne vs. Miss Tessmacher: The spot that set up the finish of this match didn't make any sense. Madison had her foot on the rope from the one count on and it was obvious that Tessmacher saw this, yet she stood up and complained about Earl Hebner stopping his count for the rope break. I don't think the fans are as excited about the Madison and Earl pairing as creative is. I don't mind a little silly comedy, but did it really need to result in Rayne taking the title?
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