Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling presented its latest pay-per-view (PPV) offering last night (Sun., Aug. 12, 2012) with Hardcore Justice, which aired lived from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida.
In the main event, Austin Aries retained his title after a bit of controversy in a barnburner of a match against Bobby Roode. This match had a little bit of it all and Aries came away with the belt in the end, while Roode lost any rematches against Aries in this reign as champion.
Elsewhere, three important Bound for Glory (BFG) Series matches went down. The co-main featured Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, and Kurt Angle in a ladder match that had spots for days. In a brutal match, Styles came away with twenty points after springboarding onto a ladder and grabbing the contract that dangled above the ring.
Speaking of painful, Robbie E, James Storm, Bully Ray, and Jeff Hardy went at it in a tables match that, despite a huge botch, had Bully Ray come away with a victory. Finally, RVD got a victory over Mr. Anderson and Magnus in a Falls Count Anywhere match. D'Angelo Dinero was attacked by Aces and Eights and was left unable to compete.
Let's forget about results, which can be seen right here in last night's live blog. After the jump, we'll get into the reactions from the event.
- Austin Aries and Bobby Roode have such amazing chemistry and they are obviously two of the best things going in professional wrestling today. Their match had a little bit of everything. Roode used early psychology by rolling out of the ring to avoid a surging Aries, only for Aries to overcome the injury to mount a comeback. The epic double pinfall and double ref bumps made you think TNA was up to their classic booking tricks, only for the match to restart and Aries come back in the end. It had me on the edge of my seat and wanting a third match to complete this epic trilogy. Kudos to TNA for booking this thing absurdly well.
- The only question I have is where we go from here with both men. I'm almost certain that there will be some shenanigans by Bobby Roode to get his third title shot, but if not, I wonder what will be done. These two have one of the best feuds of the year and to move into an Aries vs. Bully Ray feud or Roode vs. Storm will not compare to what these men have given us the past few months.
- In the other excellent match of the night, AJ Styles won a grueling BFG series ladder match. This match featured a lot of cool spots and lot of Christopher Daniels getting the hell beat out of him. The plays in the rivalries between Daniels-Styles and Angle-Joe, along with everyone teaming up on Daniels was very entertaining.
- Looking at that first rivalry, it is clear that the "Crackhead" Claire Lynch story isn't over and Daniels and Kazarian still have more in store for AJ Styles. And honestly, I'm fine with that. Every company has its campy storylines and this one has turned that corner. Add that to the fact that Daniels and Styles have great matches and I'm actually looking forward to Claire Lynch on Thursday nights.
- Adding Angle and Joe to this match was a fine addition, but these guys need something to do, especially Samoa Joe, who is playing the Kofi Kingston of TNA with no notable feuds in such a long time. Angle seems to be alright in the Team TNA/Aces and Eights dilemma, so that'll do for him. Get both of these men on my TV in a more marquee role, please.
- I enjoyed the Zema Ion vs. Kenny King X Division Title match. Ion can be spotty in-ring, but he brings a bit of attitude and flair to the smaller guys. Kenny King is proving to be fun to watch work as well. All in all, this is a solid sampler of what to expect from the X Division. Fun little match and I look forward to seeing more Zema Ion promos in the future.
- Bully Ray won a rather lackluster tables match in the BFG series. The match almost got blown to pieces when Bully was double suplexed by James Storm and Jeff Hardy/ Robbie E was late on moving the table in-ring, causing Bully to shatter his elbow on the edge of the table, which broke off and almost threw a wrench into this match. The work in-ring here was nothing offensive, but nothing to shake a stick at either. Worth a passing glance.
- The main part of this match was the interference of Aces and Eights, who did everything to James Storm's advantage. Distracting Hardy when he was one-on-one with Storm, then giving him the "thumbs up" when he nailed Hardy with a superkick. Although the payoff could be a letdown, TNA is keeping me interested in Aces and Eights.
- Madison Rayne beat Miss Tessmacher in your average Knockouts Title match. Yep. The Earl Hebner thing is kind of bad. So, there's your blurb on that.
- Devon defeated Kazarian in a TV Title match. Not awful, but nothing great. Glad to see both men have a role on TNA television that they are content with. Not bad filler.
- RVD won a Falls Count Anywhere BFG series match over Mr. "Don't call me Kennedy" Anderson and Magnus. D'Angelo Dinero was taken out by the dastardly Aces and Eights pre-match, which piqued my interest about what the group was going to do later. Not much to say here. Good little match because Magnus is a rising prospect, RVD can work a bit, and Mr. Anderson wasn't doing much but brawling. Not much for these guys to do but wrestle random BFG matches each week, but I won't complain too much.
- Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez defeated Gunner and Kid Kash. I guess this was okay. I'm a Kid Kash fan, but the rest of these guys do nothing for me. Guess we'll see more of this feud, but who cares really?
- In all, solid little showing from TNA. I'd give it a B-. Nothing really terrible as far as I saw, but the main event and the co-main were juices that were worth the squeeze.
- To close this up, fellow Cagesider IRodC pointed out to me how awesome TNA is without Hogan, Bischoff, and Sting. Although Sting doesn't bother me too much, I have to agree. And PPVs like these show why TNA is inching past WWE in presenting a better product.
With all of these Hardcore Justice shenanigans out of the way, where do you think TNA is going this week on Impact? What do you see in your TNA crystal ball, Cagesiders?