A2Z Analysiz: TNA Hard Justice 2009 (Kurt Angle, Matt Morgan, Sting)

Hard Justice 2009

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Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida – August 16, 2009

MATCH #1: Steel Asylum Match – Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley vs. Amazing Red vs. Daniels vs. Jay Lethal vs. Consequences Creed vs. Suicide vs. D’Angelo Dinero

This is a cage with a dome roof, with a hole in the dome. The winner of the match is the first person to climb through that hole, and that person gets a shot at the TNA X-Division Championship next month at No Surrender. Lethal is a former winner of this match, so he has a mental edge (Kaz won the only other one to date). Dinero is making his TNA debut here. I don’t really understand what it is about him that makes him a Pope. Apparently he’s a “Street Preacher.” So why isn’t he “The Street Preacher D’Angelo Dinero?” Sometimes I really don’t like TNA. Dinero, Amazing Red, Daniels, and Suicide (sort of) are making their Steel Asylum debuts tonight. As usual with these multi-man spot-fest types of matches, I don’t expect to do a lot of play-by-play. The Machineguns work effectively as a team, and Lethal makes the first attempt at escape. Creed and Lethal work together against Red. Meanwhile the Guns work Daniels over in another corner of the ring. Sabin and Shelley look dominant, using their double-teaming maneuvers to wear everybody down. TNA’s crack camera crew misses Creed taking a big bump, preferring to show nothing happen instead. Dinero is wrestling like he wants to get over, and it seems to be working. Suicide, Dinero, Daniels, and Red work in a Tower of Doom spot. The next big spot is the parade of finishers, and that’s always fun. Everyone battles in the corner and up the turnbuckles, and bodies quickly start flying. Red and Daniels recover first and start climbing towards the ceiling. Daniels knocks Red down, but is able to hang on by his leg. Suicide climbs up as well, and Dinero goes up top stop him. Dinero knocks Suicide down, and Daniels hangs out a little bit longer. Eventually Daniels crawls through the top of the ceiling to get the anticlimactic win at 15:34. That was the usual opening spot-fest, and I have to wonder if they’re ever really going to do anything with some of these guys. Also, why is it that both Don West and Taz have trouble pronouncing D’Angelo Dinero’s last name properly? It shouldn’t be that hard, especially when it’s your job.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: $50,000 Bounty – Jethro Holliday vs. Abyss

The bounty was put on by Dr. Stevie, of course. I believe this is the only pay-per-view Holliday appeared on in his short TNA run. They waste no time in slugging away at each other. Abyss gets the first knockdown, but he misses a charge in the corner and Holliday hits a series of shoulderblocks. Holliday tries a series of chops but Abyss shrugs them off and drops Holliday once again. Abyss clotheslines Holliday to the floor and follows him out. He goes for a punch, but Holliday moves out of the way and Abyss punches the ring post instead. Holliday takes control and throws Abyss back in the ring. He goes for an elbow drop off the second rope but Abyss moves out of the way. Abyss regains control and goes outside to grab a steel chair. Meanwhile, Dr. Stevie throws a baton into the ring, and Holliday wears Abyss out with it. Holliday knocks Abyss off the apron, and he goes crashing into the barricade. He goes outside and brings Abyss right back in, knowing that he can’t collect the bounty on the floor. Back in the ring Holliday gets a two-count. Holliday picks up the chair but Abyss grabs him by the throat, and then hits a big boot and a back body drop. Abyss hits a side slam for two. He sets the chair on top of Holliday and goes for an Earthquake Splash, but Holliday thrusts the chair up into Abyss’s groin. Holliday hits Abyss with the baton again and gets a two-count. He then sets a chair between the top and middle turnbuckle, and winds up getting his own face tossed into it. Abyss hits a Chokeslam but Holliday kicks out at two. The crowd bought that one. Dr. Stevie distracts Abyss, allowing Holliday to hit a bulldog. He then tosses Holliday some brass knuckles, but before Holliday can connect with them, Abyss grabs him in the Black Hole Slam and gets the pin at 8:49. That was decent, but it’s not like they ever ended up doing anything with Jethro Holliday anyway, so the whole thing was pretty pointless.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Briefcase Match – Rob Terry vs. Hernandez

Big Rob is accompanied by fellow British Invasion members Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams. He’s also in possession of the briefcase containing a contract for a shot at the TNA World Title that rightfully belongs to Hernandez. Before the match can begin, Hernandez gets on the microphone to talk some babyface talk. All three Brits jump Hernandez before the bell, but no matter – Hernandez drills Big Rob with a shoulderblock and gets the pin at 0:10. I guess they really wanted Hernandez on the pay-per-view, but this segment would have been just fine on Impact.
Rating: DUD

MATCH #4: IWGP Tag Team Championship Match – The British Invasion vs. Beer Money, Inc.

Magnus and Williams have been the IWGP Tag Team Champions since 7.30.09, and this is their first defense. Eric Young joins the commentary team, and if there’s anyone whose voice I don’t want to hear for an extended period of time, it’s Eric Young. Storm and Magnus start the match, and Storm quickly gains an advantage. He’s able to thwart both of the champions, sending them to the floor. Roode comes in and backdrops Storm over the ropes and onto both Magnus and Williams. He’s just as dominant as Storm was before him. He goes for a back body drop but Magnus kicks him in the chest and makes the tag to Williams. Their control doesn’t last too long before Roode comes back and makes the tag to Storm. The champions have gotten almost no offense in these opening minutes. They’re finally able to isolate Storm in their corner for a bit. After several minutes of abuse Storm fires out of the corner with a superkick on Magnus and he makes the hot tag. Roode is a house afire, and Storm rejoins the fray, turning the match into a pier-six brawl. Storm clotheslines Magnus to the floor, and they go for the DWI. Young leaves the table and throws a belt into the ring to distract the referee. It also distracts Storm. Meanwhile, Magnus sneaks back in the ring and hits Roode with a low blow, and Williams gets a small package for the pin to retain the titles at 8:47. Of course Beer Money has to get their heat back by beating up all three men after the bell. The match was fine, and Beer Money is all well and good, but they’re getting into a territory where they’re so protected by the booking that it’s just too much.
Rating: **½

MATCH #5: TNA Women’s Knockout Championship Match – ODB & Cody Deaner vs. Angelina Love & Velvet Sky

Love has been the champion since 7.19.09, and this is her first defense. What is it with TNA and putting titles on the line in tag team matches? I look at this match on paper, and I watch the promo before the match, and I continue to wonder how anyone can defend the Women’s Knockout Division as being any kind of good. Sky and Love are accompanied by fellow Beautiful Person Madison Rayne. Love and ODB start for their respective teams. ODB controls the early moments by using her superior power. Love avoids a charge in the corner and hits a modified bulldog for two. She goes to the corner and tags Sky into the match. They isolate ODB in their half of the ring, trying to keep Deaner out of the match. That works for a little while, but soon Deaner is able to tag in to the match, and unleashes his spanking-based offense on poor Velvet Sky. After that thrilling piece of business, Love and ODB get tagged back in, and the Beautiful People once again isolate ODB. Eventually ODB is able to make the tag, and Deaner has another shot at Sky. This time he unleashes his kiss-based offense, and even lets Love have a taste. Rayne jumps up on the apron and Deaner gives her some tongue as well. The Beautiful People have had enough, and deliver a low blow and a kick to Deaner’s face. Love and ODB brawl in one half of the ring, which distracts the referee. Meanwhile Sky holds Deaner in place for Rayne to spray hairspray into his eyes, but Deaner moves out of the way and rolls Sky up to get the pin and wins the women’s title for his girlfriend ODB at 7:28. You know, Deaner and ODB are exactly like Jamie Noble and Nidia. TNA has no original ideas. The match was not very good, and the angle coming out of it was that Deaner tried to put a claim on the belt because he was the one who actually scored the pin, which led to a singles match between ODB and Cody Deaner to decide the true Women’s Knockout Champion. I really can’t make this stuff up. After ODB chases Deaner to the back, Love blames Sky for the loss, and Sky tries to pass the buck to Rayne. That strategy works pretty well.
Rating: *

MATCH #6: TNA X-Division Championship – Homicide vs. Samoa Joe

Homicide has been the champion since 7.16.09, and this is his second defense. Joe is a former three-time X-Division Champion. These two had several high-profile matches in Ring of Honor many years ago. They trade maneuvers back and forth, and Homicide hits a leg lariat, sending Joe to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring Joe takes control and starts working Homicide over. Homicide battles back but Joe avoids a leapfrog and hits a nice belly-to-belly suplex to send Homicide to the floor. Joe follows him out with an elbow suicida. Once again back in the ring Joe is completely dominant. Joe hits a snap powerslam for two. He continues the abuse, landing a powerbomb, and then turning it over into an STF. If Michael Cole were on commentary, he would call it Vintage Samoa Joe. No joke – as soon as I finished typing that, Mike Tenay called it Vintage Samoa Joe. Homicide comes back by going after Joe’s leg, trying to cut him down to size. I see the years in TNA have done nothing for Homicide’s selling. The champion follows Joe out with a Tope Con Hilo, and Taz distracts him, which leads nowhere. Back in the ring Homicide hits a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. Homicide hits an Ace Crusher for another two-count. He goes for the Gringo Killer but Joe avoids it. Seconds later Joe locks on the Choke and Homicide taps away the X-Division Title to the Main Event Mafia at 8:57. You know what the problem is with most TNA pay-per-views? They don’t feel any different than an episode of Impact.
Rating: **½

MATCH #7: Falls Count Anywhere Match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship – Booker T & Scott Steiner vs. Team 3D

Booker & Steiner have been the champions since 7.19.09, and this is their second defense. If I had to get rid of five guys in TNA, these two teams would contribute at least three people to that list. The match starts as a big brawl, naturally. Team 3D controls the action early on, sending both champions to the floor. The champions appear to be bailing, but Ray and Devon will have none of that. We go to a split screen to follow the action throughout the arena. They brawl all over, with both teams going for pinfalls. The crowd chants “this is awesome,” proving they are easy to please. I just don’t know what people see in Team 3D. A table gets brought into the ring. Team 3D hits the Doomsday Device on Steiner, and then Ray hits a side slam on Booker for two. Booker comes back with the Bookend through a table on Ray. Everybody gets up, no one sells, everyone hits moves on someone else. Eventually Devon gets a cover on Booker while Steiner rolls up Ray, and both get pins at 13:09. The referees decide to review the decision via instant replay. The replay shows me that Earl Hebner is an idiot. The referees decide that Steiner and Booker will remain champions. The match was the usual boring nonsense trying to hide all four men’s massive weaknesses, and the finish was quite stupid.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #8: TNA Legends Championship Match – Mick Foley vs. Kevin Nash

Foley has been the champion since 7.30.09, and this is his first defense; it’s also Nash’s rematch, even though he lost it to Foley in a tag team match. Quick question – has Foley gotten anyone more over since he’s been in TNA? Nash takes first control, working Foley over with his usual offense. Foley comes back with similarly themed offense. He knocks the big man down with a kneelift. He goes for the Double-Arm DDT, but Nash pushes him through the ropes and to the floor. Nash then kicks Foley back into the guardrail. It’s all Nash now, throwing Foley around ringside, using the guardrail as a weapon. Nash tries using a chair, but Foley avoids it and takes it from him. The referee decides not to disqualify anyone because apparently these two can’t put together a match without using weapons. Foley goes for the elbow off the apron and Nash blocks it with the chair, and Foley is busted open. Nash drops an F-bomb as he throws Foley back in the ring. He’s relentless, attacking Foley’s injured eye. One punch lands so hard that a drop of Foley’s blood splatters on the camera. That’s kind of a neat visual. Foley makes a comeback and knocks Nash down, and takes the fight back to the floor. He rams Nash’s head into the steel steps, and Nash is busted open now too. The referee takes a bump, really enforcing how much help these two need to make an “entertaining” match. Foley goes outside the ring to find a barbed wire baseball bat, which brings out Traci Brooks. She distracts Foley, allowing Nash to hit a boot to the face (which knocks Traci to the floor) and he gets the pin at 10:39. Nash continues to attack Foley with the bat after the bell, and Abyss comes out to make the save. The match was dull, plodding, and needed all kinds of bells and whistles to try and make people care.
Rating: **

MATCH #9: TNA World Championship Match – Kurt Angle vs. Matt Morgan vs. Sting

Angle has been the champion since 6.21.09, and this is his fourth defense. Sting is immediately at a disadvantage, as Angle and Morgan double-team him from the get-go. Angle charges into the corner but Sting moves, and Angle crashes to the floor. Sting then throws Morgan to the floor as well, and he follows them out. Morgan’s wife is watching the action from a ringside seat. Sting has control briefly, but then Morgan and Angle recover and once again double-team the Icon. That doesn’t last too long before Sting decides to stop selling and tosses Angle to the floor. Angle gets back in the ring but Sting maintains control, dishing out Stinger Splashes aplenty. Sting then clotheslines Morgan to the floor and turns his attention to Angle. I believe Tenay just called that clothesline a “rabbit clothesline” but it looked like any other clothesline to me. Angle Irish whips Sting towards the ropes, and Sting goes through them to the floor instead of bouncing off them like every other Irish whip does. Tenay and West say that this is the first pay-per-view AJ Styles has not been on, and that sounds about right but I’d have to do some research to know for sure. In the meantime Morgan gets taken out on the floor, and back in the ring Sting locks Angle in the Scorpion Deathlock. Why Tenay has an aversion to the word Deathlock I have no idea. Angle comes back with an Angle Slam for a two-count. I love how in TNA when guys hit finishers the crowd doesn’t pop at all. Angle goes for the Ankle Lock but Sting rolls through and sends Angle to the floor. Morgan gets back in the ring and goes after Sting now. He dominates the Icon, using his superior power to get a near-fall. He hits a fallaway slam for another two. Angle tries getting back in the ring and pulls the top rope down, causing Morgan to crash to the floor. Morgan has had enough of Angle, and hits the Carbon Footprint! Angle calls for help, and referee Earl Hebner is distracted, and doesn’t see Morgan going for a cover. Sting recovers and hits the Scorpion Death Drop for a two-count. Hebner should be with the action in the ring; others can take care of Angle. Sting yells at the referee now and Morgan hits the Carbon Footprint but Angle pulls Hebner to the floor. Angle brings in a chair and goes to hit Sting but hits Morgan instead. Hebner gets back in the ring to make the count and Angle pins Morgan at 11:24. The action and story was decent, but the last few minutes was the usual overbooked nonsense.
Rating: **¾

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