TNA Hardcore Justice – May 1st, 2015
Grudges, gripes and grievances to be settled on Friday Night Impact Wrestling as Hardcore Justice reigns supreme!
After the brutal attack last week, Kurt Angle goes head to head with number one contender Eric Young in a non-title Stretcher Match. The X-Division Championship is up for grabs in a Four-Way Ladder Match. Also, the KnockOuts Champion Taryn Terrell defends against number one contender Brooke Adams. All this, and Al Snow too.
- Six-man Street Fight – The Revolution vs Davey Richards & The Hardys: Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb on Abyss gets the victory. Ultimatum from James Storm to Abyss.
- Mr Anderson addresses crowd from podium. Ethan Carter III interrupts. Anderson challenges Carter to a match, and fans will vote to decide the stipulation.
- Four-Way X-Division Championship Ladder Match – Mandrews vs Tigre Uno vs Kenny King vs Rockstar Spud (c): Homicide pulls Spud from the ladder, helps King climb to grab the belt. Kenny King is the new X-Division Champion.
- Eric Young cuts promo with stretcher. Main event match with Kurt Angle is non-title. Young vows to end Angle’s career.
- backstage: BDC brags about King’s X-Division win, Low Ki sets sight on steel pipe match with Drew Galloway.
- backstage: Rockstar Spud vows to get the belt back.
- Dollhouse promo, featuring Taryn Terrell.
- KnockOuts Championship Match – Brooke Adams vs Taryn Terrell (c): Jade distracts ref while Marti Bell pushes Brooke from the top rope. Terrell hits Cutter for the pin. Dollhouse makes a statement. Gail Kim comes out, introduces Awesome Kong as her new ally.
- Steel Pipe on a Pole Match – Low Ki vs Drew Galloway: Galloway hits Future Shock DDT on a chair, gets the pin. BDC attacks, Rising comes to help, brawl ensues.
- Magnus and James Storm confront each other over Mickie James and stalker footage at the grocery store.
- backstage: Kurt Angle cuts promo on match with Eric Young.
- Stretcher Match – Eric Young vs Kurt Angle (c): Angle goes headfirst into exposed turnbuckle, Young hits two piledrivers and straps Angle to stretcher to win.
- The six-man street fight was in progress as Impact went to air. Perhaps they thought this would sell the extreme energy of Hardcore Justice, but taking away any introduction at all was jarring and detracted from the program. You need at least a little build at the beginning. The match was a brawl from beginning to end, with Manik and Richards hitting a couple of high spots, and the Hardys pulling off Poetry in Motion twice (once with a chair). Abyss took centre stage for the last portion, showing his strength with a choke-slam but getting a chair to the crotch before the Hardys finished him off. This feud didn’t seem to have an awful lot of build-up for how intensely these teams were going at it, and nothing was really on the line. All in all, I was wondering why I should care. The match itself was chaotic, and set the sloppy tone that would continue throughout the night.
- Josh Matthews has a new partner for the night: Hardcore legend Al Snow, wearing a maroon paisley suit. More on Al’s award-winning commentary at the end.
- Mr Anderson and Ethan Carter are perfect for each other. They are polar opposites and they both command the mic in their own idiom. The concept of putting a vote to the fans on a stipulation is great, but I feel their execution fell flat. It wasn’t even revealed what options people could vote for during the segment – that information was given by Josh Matthews later on in the show. They should have just gone full campaign style, each making their case live in a formal debate as to why the fans should vote for their preferred stipulation. Such a segment would allow for full crowd involvement and make it at least appear as though the vote matters. It also gives these two something more to do in a talking segment. This felt like filler, when it didn’t have to be so.
- The ladder match was the most entertaining point of the night, boasting some nice high risk spots from Mandrews and Tigre Uno. Kenny King was being touted as a consummate athlete by Al Snow who had a hand in his training, but failed to show it off in the match, spending most of his ring time bullying Rockstar Spud, who was sporting a bandage on his kidney for some reason. How did this match come about, anyway? Were there qualifying matches that I missed? How did Mandrews earn a spot contending for the championship? In any case, the real story was King and Spud. Spud gave an impassioned speech backstage after the match, expressing how much the belt meant to him and how hard he fought to get it.
- Brooke Adams stood tall last week, earning her spot as number one contender to the championship, only to be fed to the Dollhouse. A shame. Brooke brought her characteristic enthusiasm and had the crowd behind her, but the matched lacked any real drama. Perhaps if Terrell didn’t come to the ring flanked by her new gang, perhaps if they didn’t make their way down until after the match was underway, there would be a chance to create tension. As it was, it seemed inevitable how the match would end and it was only a matter of time before Marti or Jade interfered. The surprise of Gail Kim allying with Awesome Kong was an awesome swerve, and one can hazard a guess that Brooke will join the mix for a three on three dance soon.
- The steel pipe on a pole match, so it was billed to be, was a bit of a botch. The idea of a weapon on a pole match is meaningless anyway if the combatants are allowed to use any other weapon lying around as well. I mean, the question never comes up: in a tables match, why aren’t you disqualified for using a chair? It’s not a chair match, only tables are allowed. The fact that the contest essentially becomes “no holds barred” defeats the purpose of having a special weapon – on a pole or otherwise. One man gets the pipe – so what? Hit him with a chair! That’s exactly what happened here. A folding chair was thrown into the mix early on and became a pivotal factor, while the steel pipe swung away, idly. That is, until, it dropped. Oops. Galloway got down off the top rope, grabbed the pipe and climbed back up to the top rope for his planned spot – which was blocked by a shot to the gut by Low Ki, anyway. The villain then grabbed the pipe and looked to smash Galloway with it, but got caught with a DDT to the folding chair and was pinned. So, the steel pipe on a pole match ended without either men actually using the pipe once, successfully. One is inclined to wonder not where they botched, but how many times.
- The Magnus/James Storm jealousy angle is being played realistically, which I appreciate. Nothing in anyone’s performance is coming off as melodramatic or inconceivable. This is actually playing like a complex human drama. The X-factor of Storm’s true intentions gives a curious and potentially dark undertone, but it’s good that if any ulterior motive exists, he is playing it close to the chest. This has the potential to be a great story.
- The main event dragged in pacing after the frenetic and gimmick-filled pacing of the entire night up to then. The stretcher match as a concept amounts to a bit of an anti-climactic finish. It lacks the drama and crowd involvement of a last man standing match, and doesn’t quite carry the dramatic weight of a casket match. I feel like an “I Quit” match would be more suitable for these two’s feud, but we all know neither one would ever say those words. Angle’s too proud and Young’s too nuts. As a result, the crowd reached its emotional height about a minute and a half before the winner was declared, and watched in awkward silence as Angle helped place himself on the gurney and lay prone while Young strapped him in for the victory. I feel like the heat between the wrestlers was there, but without a stipulation which greatly altered the action of the match, the “blood feud” element got watered down. So, Eric Young wins, and as Al Snow succinctly put it: “The number one contender literally just beat the champion in a non-title match!”… As opposed to only figuratively beating him, right?
- So, yeah, what can you say about Al Snow on commentary? He’s great, I like him. But some of his ad libs… At one point he called the elbow “one of the hardest bones in your body.” Tell me, Al: where on your body do you find the soft bones? The best segment had to be during Terrell and Brooke’s match, when Snow described the mat as “like sandpaper,” which was followed immediately by Matthews completely sand-bagging him for the next two minutes until Snow admitted he was full of shit. Painful stuff, but hilarious.
Photos courtesy of IMPACTWRESTLING.COM