Thursday, 11 August 2011

Thoughts on TNA Hardcore Justice 2011

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Now that the much-anticipated Kurt Angle-Sting match at TNA's Hardcore Justice pay-per-view is history, there are more questions than answers regarding Kurt Angle, but at least one thing is certain - On Sunday night, Kurt Angle became "the man" once again in TNA Wrestling.

Here's a match by match look at the show:

Kurt Angle defeated Sting to become World Heavyweight Champion
I doubt there were many that saw this ending coming. Sure, we all figured on Hogan's potential involvement in the bout given it's importance to his position of power, but boy we didn't bank on Angle using a chair to gain the title, especially after his insistence on beating Sting cleanly.

Given the staredown at the show's close, it certainly didn't appear that Kurt Angle has joined the ranks of Immortal. Was this simply Kurt's "win at all costs" mentality? Or are there ulterior motives at play? I guess we'll have to wait until this weeks edition of IMPACT Wrestling to find out.

Beer Money defeated Mexican America to retain the World Tag-Team Titles
Again, going into this one I was sure Mexican America were going to pick up the titles. The renegade group have been promising for months that they are taking over and given the vicious beat down handed out to Beer Money on IMPACT Wrestling, I thought for sure that they were setting up a title switch. Another great match from these two and the crowd, who had been somewhat subdued for most of the night leading to this one, certainly found their voice. Great match and a Great Finish.

Bully Ray defeated Mr. Anderson
This match was serviceable with decent back and forth from the two competitors. There were also enough stiff shots and slaps thrown around to make this one interesting. I hear the groans from fans asking why Bully Ray goes over Anderson, but this is a story folks and Bully Ray (arguably the most hated heel in the business right now.) has been constantly getting his ass handed to him only to sneakily get away with the win via a low blow and yes that might annoy some of you...but get this...that's the point! Mark my words, Anderson will eventually get his revenge and you'll enjoy it all the more.

Fortune (A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) defeated Immortal (Scott Steiner, Gunner and Abyss) in a Six Man Tag Match
It took a while for this one to get going, but when it did it featured some frantic action and was one of the most entertaining matches of the night. In the end it was Fortune taking the victory following a Springboard Pele onto Abyss. I liked the nod with the "Super" Pele implying that the guys have to go that little bit further to take down an unstoppable monster in Abyss. Two interesting storylines now branch out from this bout - Abyss is again the scapegoat for Immortal's failures and by all means looks like he could be ousted from the group and on the Fortune side, Christopher Daniels has been trying to convince A.J. Styles of something of late and the announcer's played up the fact that Daniels "took a bullet" for AJ in this bout by taking the spear through the table, some interesting developments are on the way it would seem.

Crimson defeated Rob Van Dam via Disqualification in a Bound For Glory Series Match.
Going into this one I was in two minds. Creative aren't going to want to end the Crimson undefeated streak this early, but at the same time - would they seriously have him cleanly defeat a top tier player in RVD in a mid-card match? In the end, it appears they went the middle road and a good bout ended with Crimson apparently having the pinfall only for Jerry Lynn to interfere on RVD's behalf causing the DQ. Of course this means RVD gets deducted points in the Bound For Glory series and drives a wedge between the two. If we get an RVD vs. Jerry Lynn re-match out of this then I'll be a happy man.

Winter (w/Angelina Love) defeated Mickie James to become the New Knockouts Champion
Props to both girls for a very physical and entertaining bout. Mickie's selling of the "red mist" was oscar worthy and you really got a sense of her being in danger, very believable and only added to the drama. I really  enjoy Winter's work and it's great to finally see her hard work recognised with a Title run. However I must admit I am hoping for Mickie James to eventually regain the strap in time for Bound For Glory. The potential of a Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky Knockouts title match on TNA's biggest stage is too good an opportunity to pass up.

"The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero defeated Devon in a Bound For Glory series match
Not much to say on this one to be honest. A decent match between these two that ended in Dinero scoring the win via a roll-up, despite offering to throw the match before the bell. To be honest there just isn't a clear picture of the issues between these two for the fans to really invest in or care.

Tara & Ms. Tessmacher defeated Rosita & Sarita to retain the Knockouts Tag-Team Titles
An ok match between these four, Tara continues to show just how good she is in the ring and she will be a real asset in helping build Ms. Tessmacher, who TNA seem to be positioning as the Number two female babyface on the roster behind Velvet Sky.

Brian Kendrick defeated Alex Shelley and Austin Aries in a Three-Way Match to retain the X-Division Championship
First off, I love Kendrick's new look and new theme tune and secondly this match was stellar. Kendrick continues to entertain as the deliberately akward babyface. Alex Shelley didn't get much of a chance to shine in this one but the match itself was all about Austin Aries. Aries has carried himself like a star since his return to TNA Wrestling and his post match rant at Kendrick calling into question their "code of ethics" and the fact that Kendrick beat Shelley and not him was just outstanding and lends itself to rule number one of Heel characters - the Heel should ALWAYS believe he's in the right. Hopefully this sets up a series of matches between these two, but ultimately it's only a matter of time before Aries is crowned champion and becomes the modern face of the X-Division.

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