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CALDWELL'S TNA HARD JUSTICE PPV REPORT 8/10: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV

Aug 10, 2008 - 9:58:38 PM

By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

TNA Hard Justice PPV Report
August 10, 2008
Trenton, N.J.
By James Caldwell, Torch columnist

Opening video package: They focused on certain TNA wrestlers being criminal offenders and others seeking hard justice. Cue up the Angle vs. Styles personal feud video package, then more video on Sting's involvement in the Joe vs. Booker feud.

Parking lot: They showed Lauren finding Steve Borden in the parking lot with full gut on display. Borden walked out of his car while Lauren asked for answers. Borden ignored her line of questioning, then walked into the press/talent entrance. I question any humanizing of Sting, but we'll see where this leads to.

Impact Zone: Filthee and Grand Master Caz started off the PPV rapping about TNA. This went on far too long. The one dude in the white pants really didn't contribute anything here.

Announcers: Mike Tenay and Don West broke down the gimmick match PPV line-up. Apparently they're going to keep playing that Filthee song in the background the entire night.

1 -- X Division champion PETEY WILLIAMS (w/Rhaka Khan) vs. CONSEQUENCES CREED -- X Division Title match

Crowd was hot for this early on as both men exchanged control to start things off. Rhaka became involved early and often, setting up Petey for offensive control at 5:00. Creed nailed a sick superkick out of nowhere when he appeared to be stunned by an eye-rake, drawing an "ooh" from the crowd. The vocal portion of the crowd then turned on Creed and cheered for Petey's offense. Crowd popped each time Petey teased the Destroyer, then Petey slapped on the Sharpshooter in center ring. Crowd wanted Creed to tap, but he fought to the bottom rope for a break. Crowd with a loud "Let's go Petey" chant. Petey fed into that by heeling on Creed, who told him to keep bringing on the chops. Creed then no-sold a big clothesline and nailed a German suplex into a knee lift in the corner. Creed nailed the CreeDDT, then went up top for a giant guillotine leg drop from the top. Creed made a cover, but Petey kicked out just in time.

Khan then entered the ring to give Petey some breathing room. Creed then finished her off with a modified F-5. Crowd dilemma: Pop for the man-on-woman violence delivered by the guy they want to boo? Petey snuck into the ring and went for a Destroyer, but Creed escaped and nailed a neck crunch for an apparent three count, but Petey kicked out just in time. Daivari then came to ringside to make sure fifteen instances of outside interference is included on the show. He smacked Creed from behind with a chair, setting up Petey for the Canadian Destroyer for the win. Post-match: Daivari dragged the cameraman over to Creed's fallen body to focus on him being laid out and representing USA in a defeated fashion.

WINNER: Petey in 12:00. I'm just laughing because TNA's over-booking blew up in their faces with the crowd not caring about Daivari's outside interference because all they wanted to see was Petey's Canadian Destroyer. Daivari's character is out-of-date and the fans just don't care. Match was so great if they took away the "it's-happening-already" stream of outside interference. (***)

Backstage: Jeremy Borash brought in Samoa Joe for an interview while Kevin Nash sat down shirtless on a bench. Joe said he knows two things: Sting is here and it's time to finish the issue. Nash then stood up and told Joe to make sure his focus is on Booker tonight and he'll take care of Sting. Nash volunteered to go take care of it for Joe. Nash walked away, then Joe said he's right. Joe turned his attention to Booker and cut a promo about taking his TNA Title belt back.

In-ring: Traci Brooks came out as the special referee for the six-woman tag match. Beautiful People then came to the ring. They certainly delivered on the T&A Hard Justice PPV name with a tight zoom on Velvet Sky's crotch rubbing on the middle rope. There wasn't much cloth between her and the ropes. Kong came out as their partner. ODB then led out Gail and Taylor Wilde.

2 -- ANGELINA LOVE & VELVET SKY & AWESOME KONG (w/Raisha Saeed) vs. Women's champion TAYLOR WILDE & ODB & GAIL KIM -- Traci Brooks special referee

They started off with some comedy involving a bottle of hairspray, then things became serious when Kong tagged in and started knocking around the babyfaces. They finally tricked her into flying over the top rope to the floor. Kong recovered, then Raisha was given the boot when she tried to interfere. ODB tried to spew alcohol into Kong's face, but Kong no-sold and smashed ODB in the corner with a giant splash. Angelina then worked over Gail as Traci effectively asserted herself as the special ref here. This led to a shoving match allowing Taylor to take a hot tag from Gail. At 10:00, Kong broke up a pin attempt, then she tried to give Taylor a Bomb, but Gail kicked her in the face. The action completely broke down until it was Angelina and Taylor in the ring, Angelina tried to finish off Taylor, but Taylor rolled her up with a roll-through pin for the win.

WINNERS: Team Taylor in 12:00. Fine. It keeps Kong on the chase for her title belt, while giving Taylor another opportunity to have her hand raised. Some spots were a little off, but it was still a good showing from the knockouts division. (**)

Backstage: Lauren tried to interview Team 3D while they groped her. Ray led Devon and Lauren up some steps looking for Sting. They revealed that Ray is afraid of heights, which Lauren got a good laugh out of. Ray playfully called out looking for Sting while trying to mask his current fear. Devon said they're behind Sting 110 percent and they'll do whatever he wants them to do. Ray and Devon argued about fear of heights and the dark, then Lauren scared them down the steps. I guess that's Team 3D comeuppance for reducing Lauren to an object on TV?

Announcers: Tenay broke down the bullet points on the LAX vs. Beer Money feud leading to tonight's tag title match. Good follow-up on Homicide being sent to the hospital on Thursday night by posing the question of whether he'll be physically able to wrestle tonight. ... In-ring: Beer Money came out, then Filthee led out LAX while performing the LAX theme music. Good intro to get the crowd hyped.

3 -- TNA tag champions LAX (HOMICIDE & HERNANDEZ w/Salinas and Hector Guerrero) vs. BEER MONEY, INC. (ROBERT ROODE & JAMES STORM w/Jacqueline) -- TNA Tag Title match

Homicide quickly went after Roode on the floor, seeking revenge for the table attack on Thursday. The action spilled to the outside setting off a brawl ringside. Homicide eventually took Roode into the ring to officially start the match. Hernandez quickly showed off his strength with a vertical suplex on Storm that he maintained in mid-air for a good 10-15 seconds. Hernandez then showed off his agility with a sick over-the-top-rope dive onto Beer Money when he was about two inches away from breaking his neck if his foot grazed any more of the top rope. First "that was awesome" chant of the night, which was actually apropos for once. Jacqueline then spewed beer into Homicide's eyes to begin BMI's attack on Homicide to work over the injuries from Thursday. Crowd remained pretty hot while Homicide continued to take a beating.

Homicide avoided a top rope splash from Roode, then he finally made the hot tag to Hernandez at 10:00. Hernandez cleaned house, using the flag as a means to toss Roode across the ring. Homicide recovered and asked for a tag, leading to a double dropkick on BMI from the top rope. Homicide nailed a suplex, then he went up top and nailed a splash for a nearfall. Action broke down at 12:00 with everyone hitting finishers. BMI found themselves on the floor, then Homicide asked to be used as a weapon. Hernandez put Homicide in position for the Border Toss and launched him onto BMI on the floor. Sick. On the other side of the floor, Jacqueline and Salinas became involved with Hector trying to separate the women. Back in the ring, Homicide wanted the Gringo Killer on Storm, but Roode smashed him in the face with a beer bottle while the ref was predictably distracted. Storm then rolled on top of Homicide for the pin to capture the tag titles.

WINNERS: Storm & Roode in 14:00 to capture the TNA Tag Titles. Good heat on this match over-rode the stream of outside interference, referee incompetence, and overall over-booking to get us to a tag title switch. It was refreshing to see TNA use an injury angle from TV to set-up the finish of an important PPV match. (***)

Rafters: A camera caught up to Nash talking to Sting. He said he knows Sting from back in the day when he saw him like this. Sting said there's no other way to do what he has to do. He walked off, then Nash asked for a minute to take care of business before Sting does whatever it is he has to do.

Video package: They focused on the Lethal vs. Dutt feud with Val in the middle. ... Ring entrances: Dutt came to the ring first, then Lethal and Val walked out. They showed Lethal's family ringside, which, if wrestling history holds true, means Lethal is getting embarrassed at home in front of his family.

4 -- JAY LETHAL (w/So Cal Val) vs. SONJAY DUTT -- Brawl and Chain tuxedo match

Dutt refused to be chained up to Lethal for the dog collar-style set-up, then Lethal slipped one over Dutt by chaining Dutt to the top rope. Lethal then punched out Dutt while ref Slick Johnson tried to restore order on the link-up. Once they were linked up, Dutt used the ref as a distraction to place Lethal in position to take a crotch shot using the chain, officially starting the match. Lethal made a comeback, then he started ripping off parts of Dutt's tuxedo. The action spilled to the outside with Val starting to well up watching her fiancé and bff battle it out. Lethal then hung Dutt over the top rope, trying to choke out Dutt while Val pleaded with Lethal to stop. Val had enough and left the ringside area.

Lethal watched her leave, then Dutt recovered and yanked Lethal hard into the ringpost twice. Back in the ring, Dutt hung Lethal upside down in the corner and started to tear apart the tuxedo. Dutt then took Lethal to the ringside area and taunted Lethal's family by choking him out in front of them. Fans became restless as this continued. They even busted out a "Fire Russo" chant. The match isn't bad; it's just awkward seeing two men trying to have a match in tuxedos with chains connecting them. Lethal nailed the Lethal Combination at 11:00, then he went up top for the flying elbow and connected. Lethal made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Lethal in 12:00. Well, it wasn't really bad; it just went on too long with both men in an awkward position. There are only so many things you can do with a chain and tuxedos. (*1/2)

Locker room: Borash sat down with Booker T and Sharmell to discuss Sting's purpose and agenda tonight. Booker, with the TNA Title belt on his lap, said he looks around to find himself in a crappy locker room situation yet again. Booker said he believes Sting has issues that he has vowed to take care of personally. Issues like Samoa Joe. Booker said he does not respect Joe, nor does Sting. He said they have paved the road that Joe walks on today, and what does he do? Dump a bunch of crap on the road that they have to clean up. He called him a backyard, trailer-park, wannabee independent worker. Booker said he'll win tonight and keep the title belt where it rightfully belongs. Sharmell poured him a glass of the bubbly and Booker nearly freaked out after taking a sip.

Video package: They focused on the Team 3D vs. Cage & Rhino feud leading to tonight's Jersey street fight.

5 -- TEAM 3D (BROTHER RAY & BROTHER DEVON) vs. CHRISTIAN CAGE & RHINO -- Jersey Street Fight weapons match

This broke down into a brawl going around the ringside area into the stands. They did a split-screen of the action moving across the arena with Christian and Ray taking it up to the top of the grandstands. They eventually brought it back into the ring where Christian used a gimmicked sign that contained a Do No Enter street sign to smash Ray in the face. Ray then recovered and used the sign to smash Christian and Rhino in the face. Ring steps entered the equation and Ray hit a leaping Bubba bomb off the top of the steps for a nearfall. A construction roadblock cone entered the ring next and Christian put up the stop sign on Devon, who comically obliged and then took a Gore from Rhino. Christian sold a knee injury as he tried the Unprettier on Ray, but Ray blocked and hit the electric chair. Rhino then rammed Devon's head into Ray's crotch ten times in the corner before rolling up Devon for a nearfall.

Fans called for tables, then 3D met the request. Rhino cut them off, though, then Christian climbed up to the tip-top of a ladder and gave Ray a frog splash. Rhino followed with a Gore through the table, the Rhino covered Ray for the win, which drew boos from the crowd. After the match, Johnny Devine made his predictable post-match run-in to deliver kendo stick shots on the winning tag team. Ray then held up a kendo stick in center ring with a Sandman-style grip and posture. Abyss's music hit, then Abyss stormed the ring to make the save for Christian and Rhino. Devine was cornered and he walked into the Black Hole Slam. Abyss then picked up a kendo stick, but he threw it down. That's in the past, apparently.

WINNERS: Christian & Rhino in 15:00. Fun brawl for the audience that enjoys a TNA brawl. It didn't seem like much was resolved, and we'll probably see more from this feud on TV going forward. (**1/2)

Backstage: Lauren brought in A.J. Styles prior to his match against Kurt Angle. Styles said he talked to Sting and cleared things up with him. Water under the bridge. Lauren addressed the Angle match, with pride, honor, and dignity on the line alongside a match victory. Styles said it's personal. Everything can't be personal. Styles said he's leaving it all out in the ring, and Angle will never be the better man than him. He guaranteed he would be the last man standing tonight.

Ring entrances: Kurt Angle came out first while Dave Penzer tried to explain the rules of TNA's version of a last man standing match. Something about a pin, then the guy has to answer a ten count?

6 -- A.J. STYLES vs. KURT ANGLE -- Last Man Standing match

Angle stalled early on to frustrate Styles and set up his attack. Styles came back with an attack in the corner to knock Angle to the floor. He then flew over the top rope with a flip dive onto Angle on the floor. Apparently pins can be scored on the floor, as Styles scored a nearfall here. They battled up the entrance ramp to the top of the stage where Angle suplexed Styles off the stage to the floor below. Angle then came flying off the stage with a flip dive onto Styles and played to the crowd after surprising everyone with that highspot. Back in the ring, Styles landed a knife-edge chop, but Angle back-dropped him to the mat. Sticking to tonight's theme, the fans booed Styles when he was on offense and cheered Angle's comebacks.

They had a mid-ring collision at 14:00 and the ref applied a ten count on both men, which they answered. Things got real hot when Angle tried the Clash on Styles, but Styles countered into an Anklelock on Angle. Nicely done. Styles then dropped down and grape-vined the leg, leading to Angle tapping out. Ref then started a ten count as the fans chanted, "You tapped out" at Angle. Styles came to his feet as Angle clutched his ankle in pain. Angle hobbled to one foot at nine, then he avoided the back flip reverse DDT and punched Styles in the groin. Apparently that's legal. Angle followed with a series of German suplexes, but Styles kicked out. Angle wanted the Olympic Slam, but Styles nailed a sweet Pele kick. Fans liked that from Styles.

At 20:00, both men recovered on the mat, then they took the fight to the top turnbuckle. Styles knocked Angle off the top turnbuckle, but Styles took too long to measure Angle for a move, allowing Angle to suplex him off the top turnbuckle to the mat. Angle scored a pin, setting up the ten count on Styles. Styles got up, so Angle gave him the Olympic Slam for a three count. Angle tried another Olympic Slam after Styles got up, but Styles countered into the Clash for another pin. Angle reached his feet just before ten, setting up another round of action. They battled to the top turnbuckle with both men jockeying for position. Apparently Angle took the worst of it, with Styles switching to a DDT in mid-air. Styles made the cover for another pin as Angle sold a neck injury. Here we go with the neck injury angle. Styles reached his feet at nine and Angle remained out cold, giving Styles the win at a ten-count.

Post-match: Ref Rudy Charles called for medics to come help Angle, who did the mannerisms of someone with a serious neck injury. They started to strap Angle to a backboard, but Styles came back to the ring and grabbed Styles. He gave him a brainbuster suplex, then taunted Angle. He left the ring, then the lights went down and back on. Sting had Styles in position for a reverse DDT, then he dropped Styles on the ramp. I get it now! Sting won't stand for post-match activity taking precedence over in-ring action! Kevin Nash then walked out on stage and asked Sting what the heck that was all about. Refs then went over to Styles and checked on him while medics looked at Angle. Tenay and West tried to figure out Sting's point.

WINNER: Styles in 25:00. That was an epic match (despite the silly pin-and-count-'em stipulation) with the all-too-real neck injury angle, followed by some post-match activity that took away from Styles's win. Styles looked like a star when he won, then he came across like a punk attacking Angle, then a fool being in position for Sting to take him out. He had the memorable, star-making victory over Angle, but TNA had to keep going with the over-booking. Styles being used a means to the end of explaining Sting's purpose-driven TNA life wasn't necessary. (****)

Video package: They focused on the Joe vs. Booker feud. ... Backstage: They showed Booker T walking with Sharmell. Booker was sporting the TNA Title belt that Tenay pointed out is still in Joe's possession. Booker came to the ring, then Joe was shown walking backstage before coming to the ring. It's worth pointing out there isn't much PPV time left right now. Borash then handled the formal ring intros as they approached 20 minutes to the top of the hour.

7 -- TNA World Hvt. champion SAMOA JOE vs. BOOKER -- TNA World Title match -- Six Sides of Steel cage Weapons match

Joe dominated this to start off with, then Booker came back with a trashcan shot to the head. Booker attempted a hockey stick shot to the head, but Joe ducked and hit an enziguiri kick. Joe tried a chair shot to the head, but Booker ducked and spin-kicked the chair into Joe's face. Crowd is officially worn out of weapons and brawling and non-wrestling. Booker then nailed Joe clean in the head with an unprotected chair shot. Of course. Joe came up bleeding, then Booker choked him in the cage wall. Booker tried to choke out Joe while the audience was more concerned about chanting "You screwed Bret" at ref Earl Hebner.

At 10:00, Joe put Booker in an STF. He transitioned into a crossface as Booker desperately looked for a rope break, but Joe ended up releasing the hold anyways. Joe stacked two chairs in the middle of the ring and tried a Muscle buster, but Booker slipped out and nailed the book-end on the chairs. Booker made a cover, but no one bought the nearfall. Booker did a spinarooni to take it home. Suddenly, the lights went off when Booker hit the axe kick. The lights came back on and Joe had a guitar in hand. He then smashed it over Booker's head to score the pin for the win. Oh, J-E-Double F. Announcers teased they knew what we were thinking. Joe claimed his title belt to close the show.

WINNER: Joe in 13:00 to re-claim the TNA Title. Well, that was underwhelming mainly due to the audience having sat through every possible gimmick match combination prior to another Joe-Booker bout that everyone knew was going to end with some sort of gimmicky finish. Not memorable, but it will generate talk about Jarrett. (**)

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "TNA PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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