Monday, August 9, 2010

TNA Hardcore Justice

That's right, I watched a TNA PPV, the first TNA PPV I've spent money on since No Surrender 2006. Sorry, I'm a sucker for all things ECW, there was no way I wasn't going to watch this. So how well did TNA do at paying tribute to ECW "The Original Organization?" Let's find out.

Taz opened the show with a heartfelt speech, and he got a smarky wrestling crowd to shut up and listen, which has to be a first. Taz mentioned that "the haters" have been kinda trashing ECW in recent years, and I don't really know anyone who looks at it like that, but there is definitely a pocket of fans who look back on "The Original Organization" with rose-tinted glasses. I loved the original ECW, but I was there, and it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops, there was a lot of crap in those days too. Which is fine, every promotion has its share of it, and ECW certainly wasn't immune. He definitely hit the nail on the head with that it wasn't just about hardcore though, which always pisses me off when people think that.

Our opening contest (brought to us by ring announcer Stepehn DeAngelis!) was a six-man tag featuring The FBI: Little Guido, Tony Mamaluke & mother f'n TRACY SMOTHERS!! (w/ Big Sal!) vs. Kid Kash, Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger I believe Johnny Swinger was announced as just "Swinger," but I think that's because Simon Diamond ate Johnny. I know, that was harsh, but wow, Simon has definitely been enjoying retirement. Ridiculous match, but the fact that they found Tracy Smothers and Big Sal, did a freaking dance-off, and Kid Kash busted out the Money Maker made this a pretty fun opener. Kid Kash needs to be hired back now, and put him in a match with Rob Van Dam.

Next up was CW Anderson vs. 2 Cold Scorpio and this may just be my pick for Match of the Night, and it might even wind up being August's Match of the Month. Scorpio is absolutely freaking awesome, and even if this wasn't the best match of the show, Scorpio is undoubtedly the MVP of the night. Someone give this guy a contract right now, I don't care if it's TNA, WWE or ROH, but I want this man on my television every week. Anderson's no slouch either, has even dropped some pounds in recent years, but this match was all about Scorpio for me. The Moonsault Leg Drop had my jaw on the floor, I can't believe this guy can still go like this at damn near 45 years old, but he sure as hell can. I don't know if Scorpio has any desire to be in a major promotion, but he would be an excellent addition to any locker room, if for no other reason than to work with the next generation of Superstars.

I don't know why Stevie Richards vs. PJ Polaco (aka Justin Credible) was on this card, but it really stalled things out for me. I have nothing against Stevie Richards, and I'm a closeted Justin Credible mark, but I just don't get the point of this match. With The Sandman caning Credible after Stevie got the win, why not just give us Sandman vs. Credible? Sure, Sandman didn't exactly look in the best of shape, but at least they have a history. Credible is such an ass "Just an Asshole!" in fact, plays the role so well, and looked like he was wrestling for a roster spot, but this match didn't do either guy any favors. For the first time in the show, I didn't feel like I was watching ECW.

Speaking of matches that made no sense, Rhino vs. Al Snow vs. Brother Runt (aka Spike Dudley) in a Three-Way Dance was next. I love an old school, ECW, elimination-style Three-Way Dance, but these guys had very little to do with each other in "The Original Organization." Al Snow's been criminally underrated in every promotion he's ever worked for, and deserved something a little more than losing to Spike Dudley, hell, I wanted him to take on RVD in the main event! That said, the Eddie Guerrero-inspired chair spot with Spike trying the fake out, then Snow flipping him off and doing it too was hilarious. This all seemed like an excuse for Spike Dudley to take a GORE, but I don't see why they couldn't have just done Rhino vs. Spike one-on-one. It would've made sense, that was Spike's role in ECW, get fed to the monster of the week and bump like a crazy person, so I don't see why Snow was added to the mix here. Why not Snow vs. Foley? Probably would've been a train wreck, but at least it would've been funny. And can TNA please do something with Rhino already?!

Axl Rotten & "Kahoneys" Balls Mahoney vs. The Dudley Boyz w/ Joel Gertner in a South Philly Street Fight was as crazy and ridiculous as it should've been. But before I get into the match, as clever as it is, "Kahoneys?" Really? He can't be Balls Mahoney anymore? C'mon WWE, I get Team 3D, I even get holding on to Justin Credible, but you can't let Balls Mahoney keep his name?! As for the match, no one wants to see these guys wrestle, so it was a ridiculous ECW hardcore brawl. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect anytime Balls & [insert partner here] fought The Dudleyz back in the old days of "The Original Organization." The lightsaber duel was silly fun and we got a flaming table, so what's there to complain about? The Gangstas attacking the Dudleyz after the match (complete with a "Natural Born Killas" rip off playing on loop) was a nice touch, I don't know where the hell they found Mustafa at, but if you're going for authenticity, it wouldn't be an ECW Dudleyz match if New Jack didn't beat the shit out of them after they won. I didn't get the hug though, I know it's a tribute show, but it's kinda silly for dudes to hug after one just used a staple gun on the other. I don't care how close we are, if you use a staple gun on me, I'm going to be pissed at you for at least 20 minutes.

Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer in the FINAL SHOWDOWN (for real this time, we totally swear, we're super cereal) with Mick Foley as the special guest referee was beyond bowling shoe ugly. Raven, I love ya, but it's time to let it go. No one's buying a dude in his mid-40s who's holding onto issues from summer camp when he was 12. It was nice to see TNA do the one match that WWE couldn't do at the One Night Stand PPVs, and this feud is such an integral part of ECW's history, but wow... I really don't need to see Tommy Dreamer gush like a stuck pig in front of his daughters. I don't need to see Tommy Dreamer take unprotected chair shots to the head while handcuffed either. And I don't need to see Raven getting barbed wire jammed in his FREAKING EYE! Yeah, it was hardcore, but that doesn't make it good. I appreciate these guys still wanting to give it all, but with the FINAL SHOWDOWN (cereals guys) behind them, maybe it's time to let these characters evolve?

And seriously, a Lupus cameo? There's an answer to a trivia question that nobody asked.

And New Jack making Jeremy Borash his bitch? Wow, I haven't felt that uncomfortable watching wrestling since Heidenreich read poetry to Michael Cole. COLE'S GOT MALE!

Main Event Time! Rob Van Dam w/ Fonzie vs. Sabu w/ Fonzie (but w/o hair) was a damn good match. If Scorpio vs. Anderson wasn't Match of the Night, then this match definitely was. I know Sabu is the notorious for the "botch," but I've always said that the guy can still hang with the best of them when he is motivated, and he certainly looked motivated tonight. I hate to even talk about "blown spots" or any of that kind of smark talk, but these guys were on point tonight, hitting everything with precision and giving the fans a hell of a main event. Sabu busting open the back of his head was gross, but not as gross as Fonzie, daddy! Match was a little on the short side for my taste, but hell, why not give Sabu a job and give us a longer rematch? Yeah daddy!

Okay, I bought this PPV strictly for the train wreck factor, I was expecting the night to be me and my friends doing our best MST3K impressions, but it actually turned out to be a pretty decent show. A bit underwhelming since it was nowhere near the quality of either One Night Stand and nowhere near as bad as I was bracing myself for, but it wasn't a terrible show at all. Considering how limited they were - no video footage, a lot of name changes, and the fact that they had to keep referring to "The Original Organization" - they really made something out of nothing here. I could've done without Fake Blue Meanie (seriously, that was awful), all the testimonials from TNA guys and the constant Paul Heyman bait (yes guys, he knows you want him to work there), but really, these are minor gripes. It wasn't spectacular, but for an ECW tribute show in a company booked by Vince Russo, produced by Eric Bischoff, and put on in a sound studio in Orlando Florida, it wasn't a bad way to spend a Sunday night.

The Rise and Fall of ECWBloodsport : ECW's Most Violent MatchesECW - One Night StandForever Hardcore: Director's Cut

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