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Wrestling’s 4R’s PPV Edition 8.12.08: TNA HARD JUSTICE (2008)

August 12, 2008 | Posted by Larry Csonka

How the 4R’s of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. I will take the 4 main shows (5 if I go RetRo) of the week: TNA Impact, WWE Raw, ECW on Sci-Fi and WWE Smackdown. If we have a PPV, that show will get a special PPV edition of the R’s all to its own. I then group my feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and need discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles, Diva searches and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come, unless you are TNA. They have a special R all of their own, the 6th R; the Russo-FN-Riffic~! This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, my goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. I will not apologize for my opinions, they are as they are, whether very positive or negative.


~TNA HARD JUSTICE 2008~

The Matches:

  • TNA X-DIVISION TITLE MATCH: Petey Williams defeated Consequences Creed @ 12:10 via pin to retain the X-Division Title ***

  • Taylor Wilde, ODB and Gail Kim defeated The Beautiful People and Awesome Kong @ 12:30 via pin **½
  • TNA WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: BEER MONEY defeated LAX @ 14:35 via pin to become the NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS ***½
  • BLACK TIE BRAWL AND CHAIN MATCH: Jay Lethal defeated Sonjay Dutt @ 13:00 via pin TRASH of the night!
  • NEW JERSEY STREET FIGHT: Rhino and Cage defeated Team 3D @ 15:05 via pin **¾
  • LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: AJ Styles defeated Kurt Angle @ 25:10 **** MATCH of the night!
  • TNA WORLD TITLE SIX SIDES OF STEEL WEAPONS THAT WILL HURT A MAN REAL BAD MATCH: Samoa Joe defeated Booker T @ 13:00 via pin to retain the TNA World Title **½

  • THE RIGHT:

    TNA X-DIVISION TITLE MATCH: To me the opening match on a PPV is one of the most important parts of the show. It has to set a tempo for the show, and it has to be something that can hooks the crowd. When Creed and Williams faced on TV in a short match, I thought they showed enough chemistry to put on a good PPV match, and they did that to open Hard Justice. They had a strong match, they got time and they kept the crowd the entire time. It was a tremendously fun match with tons of counters and it was what you want from the X-Division title match. Creed lost due to Sheik Bashir making his presence felt, and came off strong in defeat. Bashir’s promo was an 80′s style promo, he is the Middle Eastern Nightmare that just ended the American Dream and so forth. I would have preferred that the stuff with Sheik Bashir happen all after the match, because all too often TNA uses these finishes and on PPV to boot. It does add Bashir to the mix, and the old school “Middle East vs. USA” theme can work. But in my opinion it took away a bit from the overall package. Some strong wrestling to kick off the show.

    THE KNOCKOUTS TAG: We had a Knockouts tag match on the PPV, and overall it was a solid match. The addition of Traci Brooks as some sort of peacekeeping referee is a nice way to keep her on TV. She claims that she wants to help keep order, personally I look for her to turn heel which she has done well at. I thought all the ladies worked hard, when Kong and Kim were in they were great and I really want them to revisit that feud once again after some more time passes. Brooks tossing Saeed worked and got the match under control, Brook asserted her self as the ref but never overshadowed the match. After the silliness early on they really settled in and delivered a fine match that I really have no complaints about. Taylor Wilde keeps her streak of winning going, while Kong looked dominant and was protected in the match. I figure that we’ll get the Kong vs. Wilde rematch soon, likely with Brooks turning heel as the ref. Kong was pissed when Saeed was taken out of the match, maybe she’ll drop her and that will allow Cheerleader Melissa, actually it will be Cheerleader Melinda so TNA can own the name. Well those are my thoughts anyway.

    NEW JERSEY STREET FIGHT: After feuding through full metal mayhem, elimination table matches; after trying to break Rhino’s neck and putting Cage through a glass table, Team 3D would do battle with Christian Cage and Rhino in the dreaded New Jersey Street Fight. Thankfully there were no fish, no barber poles, no tables and no Italian food to be seen. There were just the normal weapons, road signs and the like. While not as good as the tag title match, this was a fun tag bout overall. It could have been a lot better I feel if they wouldn’t have had the long crowd brawling segment. It felt like it lasted forever. Cage was the workhorse here, don’t get me wrong they all worked hard, but he just stood out above the rest. I think your enjoyment of the match depends on how much you like the style of match. I love it when done right, I think brawls can be very effective. This crowd LOVED this match, they were digging it. They did the old “USE MY SIGN” gimmick, tables and in the funniest part of the night they had one of those giant Orange and White Road Barrels with the stop sign attached. Devon charged at Cage, he pulled it in front of him, Devon stopped and then ate a GORE from Rhino. A cute spot that got a laugh from me and the wife. The finish seemed as if they would be ending the feud as Cage and Rhino won clean with a gore through the table and a frog splash. Afterwards Devine ran out, the heels did some beat down and Abyss made the save. This makes me think that they still have some stuff to settle, possibly a 6-man next month with Abyss and Devine involved so we’ll see how that works out.

    TNA WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Another match I was looking forward to was the tag title match. LAX are great and Beer Money is a really fun heel team, so I had high hopes, especially since they didn’t have the handicap of the strap gimmick this time around. The teams have developed a great chemistry, Beer Money are great heels and they do what heels should do. Be chicken shits, get their ass beat and then cheat to get the advantage. It is as old as time and more importantly simple. They got the heat on Homicide, Roode was a tremendous asshole as he used the three amigos and mocked Homicide afterwards. Hernandez is so great off of the hot tag, and the selling by Beer Money made it even better. The comeback by LAX, which saw Hernandez Border Toss Homicide from the ring to the floor onto Beer Money was SO sweet, as well as crazy. The finish was Beer Money cheating, with Jackie low blowing Hernandez on the floor, the chicks fighting and Storm using the beer bottle on the “bad eye” of Homicide for the win. In the end they played the injury from TV well enough to make it matter, and everyone turned in a strong performance. It will be a shame if LAX splits soon as they are saying, because I feel that there is more to get out them with Beer Money and The Guns as the focal points of the division.

    LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: And this was our match of the night. I have to say that I was looking forward to this match more than any other. I have been a huge fan of AJ Styles for years and I always wanted a series of AJ vs. Angle matches. AJ styles has developed over the last 6-years into a great performer. Kurt Angle may be held together by superglue and duct tape, and I think we can all agree that sanity left him a long while ago; but the fact is that the guy can still go and he always busts his ass in the ring. In my opinion that makes a lot to look forward too. They opted for the “Texas Death Match” rules here, pin or submission and then answer the 10-count. I prefer this format to the count when the man is down, as I think it allows for more drama. They worked a long match here, with the story that Angle didn’t want the brawl to begin with and wanted to rely on his wrestling. AJ wanted to kill him, plain and simple. They worked a good pace for the opening segment, which went around 17:00. We got dives, brawling, hell Angle busted out a senton dive off of the stage; he seriously just doesn’t care. Styles took the first fall as he countered Angle going for a Styles Clash but AJ countered with the ankle lock and grapevine, and Angle tapped. Angle would respond with some quick pins and looked to dominate the match as the climax was them fighting to the top rope, and AJ getting a SICK DDT from the top. He pinned Angle and as the ref counted commentary did a good job of playing up Angle’s neck issues, and he could not answer the count. Styles got a decisive victory here with no help, there were no run ins, no Karen and it was exactly what it should have been. Simple. After the match they went to stretcher Angle out, but AJ returned to the ring and gave him a brain buster for good measure. As AJ left, Sting appeared and gave him the scorpion death drop on the ramp. Nash would confront him and that was our end. In a way I felt that this took away from AJ’s moment, but it also begins the Sting vs. AJ angle. The match delivered though, and that is the important thing.

  • puRgatoRy:

    TNA WORLD TITLE SIX SIDES OF STEEL WEAPONS THAT WILL HURT A MAN REAL BAD MATCH: To sum up the main event in one word I would say “disappointment.” Hey had the set up, they had the history going in and early on they had the crowd. Unfortunately they were tired out from the gimmicks earlier in the evening and Joe and Booker gave them nothing to make them care. There was no real drama, no threat of the title change. They walked through it and it showed. It would have been a fun TV main event, but as far as PPV goes I cannot say it delivered as it should have. Booker was great at the end when he saw the guitar, acting as if he saw a ghost, but while I liked the twist to a point, it makes me feel like we’re headed towards WCW 2000 again with those two men. Again I have to stress that I was completely under whelmed by the match. It wasn’t BAD at all, but the crowd died a few minutes in and the performances were autopilot. Joe is much better than this, Booker T is much better than this, but they just didn’t deliver a main event match when they had the ability to do so. While the tease of Jarrett is interesting, the fact that Joe needed help in a cage match was poor booking I thought. Also I strongly disagree with using the cage on a PPV that is not Lockdown. Quite simply it could have been MUCH better. And one last thing, rope breaks in the cage? Really? What is the purpose of breaking, they can’t DQ you.

    GIMMICKS: Since they did brand this as “the most hardcore PPV of the summer” I will be short and lenient. It is fine to gimmick a PPV, I have no problem with PPV branding. But when you constantly run gimmick matches of every PPV, and when you saturate the TV with gimmick matches, there is only so much people can take, and only so many different ways the guy can perform the matches. By the end of the night the crowd was wasted, they had seen it all and they would likely have shit on the main event, except they were too tired to do so. Stop burning the crowds out, tone down the gimmicks please.

  • The wRong:

    BLACK TIE BRAWL AND CHAIN MATCH: Easily the worst thing on the PPV was this convoluted match between Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. A tuxedo match meets the chain match, wow. I will say that it was better than expected, but considering that I didn’t expect much at all, that really isn’t saying too much now is it? The first half was pretty bad as they focused on Val too much once again, missed the action and then did the walk out. But after she was gone things did get better. The action picked up, Dutt was a great dick heel as he beat on Jay in front of his parents and the finish of the match was good. Unfortunately it couldn’t erase the beginning portion of the match, which was slow and uninspired. The stipulation really killed this, it should have been a simple chain match. The tuxedo deal added nothing to the match and was extremely lame. Don’t make shit more difficult than it needs to be. Simple is better most times. This whole feud has been a failure, it makes me not want to watch, which is a shame because the guys deserve better booking than this.

    SO LONE STAR, NOW YOU SEE THAT EVIL WILL ALWAYS TRIUMPH BECAUSE GOOD IS DUMB…: One thing that was a recurring theme Sunday night was the fact that just about ALL of the heels were over big time with the crowd. This wasn’t a smart crowd or a heel crowd, these people didn’t care about the faces at all and loved the heels. At first this was confusing, but when you think about it, it makes COMPLETE sense. It hasn’t always been this way, but for a lot of this year the faces in TNA have either been booked as STUPID or as whiney bitches, like Joe. Think about it, in TNA who are the coolest guys? The heels. Take the opener, Petey was completely over with the crowd and they hated Creed. Why? Petey does cool moves. Petey constantly countered Creed. Petey poses for the crowd and has a chick with him. The crowd loved Beer Money. They have Beer, they have Money, they have a chick that kicks ass and they are bad asses that put people through glass tables. Sonjay Dutt was over as a heel IN LETHAL’S HOMETOWN! Why? Because he constantly outdoes Lethal, hell Val left because she was mad at Lethal. During the Knockouts match they LOVED the heels. WHY? Kong killed the faces on eat a time, and then all together. She’s a cool monster, and they loved her. They loved Booker because he came off like a star and Joe even called himself a “wanna be Indy worker.” Bottom line, I feel that they need to sit down between this show and the next tapings and really re-evaluate their booking of the faces. There is one thing to letting the heels get one up on the faces so that we can get excited for the comeuppance, but it is another to make them goofs and crybabies.

  • The Ridiculous:

    NOTHING

  • Closing Thoughts:
    Overall I will go with a 7.6 out of 10 for the event. It wasn’t a blow away show, but there were a lot of good matches, a very good match for the tag titles and an excellent AJ vs. Angle match. The only bad was the tuxedo bullshit, and even that was way better than I expected. The main event was a disappointment, but overall the show was very enjoyable. I hope that they go back to simple next month, for both TV and PPV because the gimmick overuse is going to hurt them live. They seriously need to realize that wear the crowd out and it will continue to wear out crowds if they don’t tone them down and make them mean something. A fun show and an overall recommendation from me to see it for some really fun wrestling; just turn your brain off.

  • 2008 PPV Rankings:
    -ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II {8.8}
    -WWE WRESTLEMANIA {8.7}
    -ROH RISING ABOVE {8.6}
    -ROH UNDENIABLE {8.5}
    -ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS {8.3}
    -TNA LOCKDOWN {8.2}
    -WWE NO WAY OUT {8.1}
    -WWE ROYAL RUMBLE {8.0}

    -TNA VICTORY ROAD {7.9}
    -TNA SLAMMIVERSARY {7.7}
    -TNA HARD JUSTICE {7.6}
    -TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS {7.5}
    -TNA DESTINATION X {7.25}
    -WWE BACKLASH {7.0}

    -WWE ONE NIGHT STAND IV {6.8}
    -TNA FINAL RESOLUTION {6.75}
    -WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS {6.7}
    -WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH {6.1}
    -WWE JUDGMENT DAY {6.0}
    -TNA SACRIFICE {6.0}

  • 2008 TOP PPV Match Rankings:
    -(WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) CAREER THREATENING MATCH: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels *****

    -(WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) WORLD TITLE MATCH: Edge © vs. The Undertaker ****½
    -(ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Tyler Black ****½
    -(ROH RISING ABOVE) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Austin Aries ****½
    -(ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II) ROH TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Age of the Fall (Jacobs and Black) © vs. Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries ****½
    -(TNA LOCKDOWN) TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle © vs. Samoa Joe ****½
    -(TNA VICTORY ROAD) (World X Cup Semifinal Elimination Tag Match) Curry Man, Alex Shelly and Chris Sabin vs. Puma, Yoshino and Milano Collection AT vs. Rey Bucanero, Averno and Ultimo Guerrero vs. Williams, Dux and Kozlov ****½

    -(ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS) Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries ****¼
    -(ROH UNDENIABLE) GRUDGE MATCH: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong ****¼
    -(WWE NO WAY OUT) RAW ELIMINATION CHAMBER ****¼

    -(TNA HARD JUSTICE) LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles ****
    -(TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS) TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle © vs. Christian Cage ****
    -(TNA FINAL RESOLUTION) TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle © vs. Christian Cage ****
    -(WWE ROYAL RUMBLE) The Royal Rumble Match ****
    -(WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS) WWE TITLE MATCH: HHH © vs. John Cena ****
    -(WWE ONE NIGHT STAND) TLC: The Undertaker vs. Edge ****
    -(WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH) Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels ****
    -(ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II) FIGHT WITHOUT HONOR: Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong ****

    -(TNA VICTORY ROAD) (Full Metal Mayhem – Six-Man War Match) AJ Styles, Christian Cage & Rhino vs. Kurt Angle & Team 3D ***¾
    -(TNA SLAMMIVERSARY) TNA X-DIVISION TITLE MATCH: Petey Williams © vs. Kaz ***¾
    -(TNA FINAL RESOLUTION) TNA NO-DQ WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Gail Kim ©vs. Awesome Kong ***¾
    -(TNA LOCKDOWN) LETHAL LOCKDOWN: Team Cage vs. Team Tomko ***¾
    -(TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS) HARDCORE STREET FIGHT: Team 3D and Brother Devine vs. Black Machismo and the Motor City Machineguns ***¾
    -(ROH UNDENIABLE) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Jay & Mark Briscoe © vs. The No Remorse Corps ***¾
    -(ROH RISING ABOVE) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH – 2 of 3 Falls: Jay & Mark Briscoe © vs. The No Remorse Corps ***¾
    -(ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Go Shiozaki ***¾
    -(WWE NO WAY OUT) SMACKDOWN ELIMINATION CHAMBER ***¾
    -(WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) WWE TITLE MATCH: Randy Orton © vs. John Cena vs. HHH ***¾
    -(WWE BACKLASH) WORLD TITLE MATCH: The Undertaker © vs. Edge ***¾
    -(WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH: Chris Jericho vs. MVP vs. John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. CM Punk vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin ***¾
    -(WWE JUDGMENT DAY) HBK vs. Chris Jericho ***¾

  • 2008 PPV MVP AWARDS:
    This is a little added deal I started last year, as I feel that there are some other things that should be mentioned from the PPV’s. Not every PPV will have one, it just depends on who I think steps up and deserves some extra recognition.

    -ROH RISING ABOVE: Nigel vs. Aries (Stealing the Show)
    -TNA FINAL RESOLUTION: Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong (Making us Care about Women’s Wrestling on the National Stage)
    -ROH UNDENIABLE: Strong vs. Aries (The Grudge is Settled)
    -WWE ROYAL RUMBLE: John Cena Shocks the World (No One Saw it Coming)
    -TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS: Black Machismo Saves the X-Division (He is a Superman)
    -WWE NO WAY OUT: Taker Eliminates the Competition (Elimination Chamber MVP)
    -TNA DESTINATION X: Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong © vs. ODB (Stepping up Again)
    -WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIV: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels (Thank You Flair)
    -TNA LOCKDOWN: Angle vs. Joe (Great Build, Great Delivery)
    -TNA SACRIFICE: Roxxi gets a Haircut (And makes the ultimate sacrifice…)
    -ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS: Tyler Black (Becoming a Star at 21)
    -WWE ONE NIGHT STAND: The Undertaker (You Crazy Fuck)
    -TNA SLAMMIVERSARY: Kaz vs. Petey (Stealing the Show)
    -WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS: HHH (Silencing the Critics)
    -TNA VICTORY ROAD: Alex Shelley and Yoshino (Stealing the Show)
    -WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (The Art of the Story)
    -ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II: Tyler Black (Stealing the Spotlight …Again)
    -TNA HARD JUSTICE: AJ Styles and Kurt Angle (Last Man Standing)


    And I’m out of here!


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    Larry Csonka

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