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Hardcore Justice: Angle wins, TNA viewers don't
By BOB KAPUR -- SLAM! Wrestling


At last yearís Hardcore Justice, TNA Wrestling took a chance by inviting numerous ECW alumni to present a nostalgia show. The result was one of the company's most unique shows ever. This Sunday's event saw none of that, unfortunately. Though there were a couple of decent matches, for the most part they were pretty dull, with lame finishes in front of a tepid crowd, and the result was a pay-per-view that was simply "meh."

One exception to this was the main event, that saw Sting defend his World Heavyweight Championship against the number one contender, Kurt Angle. This one had been built up really well on TV in the past few weeks, with both men trying to win the belt for different reasons: Sting, to save the company from Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff; Angle, to simply prove that heís the best in the world. The two started off with a feeling out process, with moves and counters exchanged. But with Stingís new crazy attitude coming through, he was the first to start with more questionable tactics. Instead of a clean break in the corner, he hit Angle with a dirty elbow in the head, and then later smashed Angleís head into the ring steps when the match spilled outside. Back in the ring, both men turned up the heat, exchanging several power moves. Angle missed a moonsault off the top, and then Sting added insult to injury, locking Angle into his own signature move, the Ankle Lock. After he escaped, Angle played tit for tat, clamping on the Scorpion Death Lock. Angle furthered his advantage with a series of German suplexes, and then put on his own Ankle Lock, but Sting powered out. After that, Angle tried for an enziguri, but Sting ducked it and the ref got clocked instead. This brought out Hogan with a chair. He loaded up to hit Sting, but Angle grabbed the chair out of his hands. Surprisingly, Angle then plastered Sting with the chair, and woke up the referee to count the pin, giving him his 15th world title. After the match, Hogan looked upset with this turn of events as he headed back up the ramp to the back.

TNA's next pay-per-view will be No Surrender on September 11.

HARDCORE JUSTICE FULL RESULTS

Match 1: Alex Shelley vs Austin Aries vs Brian Kendrick -- X-Division Championship

Surprisingly, given the normal style for all three competitors, this one seemed pretty slow. Aries used some smart strategy, biding his time on the apron or the floor, and only coming in to strike when he had an opportunity for a sneak attack. The match seemed a bit disjointed as a result, since it never really gave anyone a chance to gain a lot of momentum. The end came when Kendrick hit Sliced Bread on Aries who landed on Shelley on the way down. Kendrick quickly covered Shelley to get the win and keep his belt.

Winner and still X-Division champion: Brian Kendrick

Match Rating: 7/10

Backstage, Tara and Miss Tessmacher told Jeremy Borash that they would beat Sarita and Rosita.

Match 2: Sarita and Rosita vs Tara and Miss Tessmacher -- Knockouts Tag Team Championship

Before the match started, referee Earl Hebner sent the male members of Mexican America, Hernandez and Anarquia, to the back. Tara used her strength and power advantage to good effect, and Sarita and Rosita were only able to get rolling when Miss Tessmacher got tagged in, and they were able to isolate her from Tara. They double-teamed her for a while, but eventually she was able to escape and tag in Tara. Shortly thereafter, Tara hit the Widowís Peak to get the win.

Winners and still Knockouts Tag Team champions: Tara and Miss Tessmacher

Match Rating: 6/10

Backstage, The Pope said heíd do the right thing in his match against Devon.

Match 3: "The Pope" DíAngelo Dinero vs Devon -- Bound For Glory series match

Matt Morgan, who had to bow out of the BFG series due to injury, joined Mike Tenay and Taz for commentary on this one. Before the match, Pope said he didnít want to jeopardize his relationship with Devonís wife and kids, so offered to lay down and let Devon take the easy win and get the points. Devon refused and told Pope he wanted to deliver some punishment and take the points by force. After Devon slapped him a few times and challenged him to fight, Pope finally obliged. Pope dictated things for much of the match, though Devon would fight back with arm drags and body slams. At one point, Pope was going to use a foreign object, but didnít at the request of Devonís sons, who were sitting in the front row. Pope also hesitated when going for the Dinero Express. In the end, Pope rolled up Devon for the pinfall out of nowhere. After the match, Pope extended his hand to Devon who initially refused, but then shook Popeís hand after his sons urged him to do so.

Winner: "The Pope" DíAngelo Dinero

Match Rating: 6/10

Backstage, Rob Van Dam was being interviewed, when he was surprised by Jerry Lynn who insisted on being in RVDís corner for his match against the inexplicably pushed Crimson.

Match 4: Winter vs Mickie James -- Knockouts Championship

Despite attempts by Angelina Love to distract her from the outside, Mickie was able to keep one step ahead of Winter. She hit Winter with a series of moves, including a faceplant bomb and a Thesz Press off the top rope. Angelina tried to interfere one too many times but Mickie finally took her down. As the ref was getting Angelina out of the ring, Winter spit the red Muta mist into the eyes of Mickie and pinned her to capture the gold.

Winner and new Knockouts champion: Winter

Match Rating: 6/10

Backstage, Austin Aries told Kendrick that he wasnít the real X-Division champion until he won a one-on-one match between the two.

Match 5: Crimson vs Rob Van Dam -- Bound for Glory Series match

In the first minute or so, RVD hit several of his signature moves, including Rolling Thunder, but Crimson wasnít fazed until he ate a huge boot off the top rope. An angry Crimson paid him back by pulling him forcefully to the floor, weakening RVD. Back in the ring, Crimson tried to put RVD away, but another big kick was enough to stun the big man. That proved to be only temporarily, though, as Crimson was strong enough to kick out after a 5-star Frog Splash. Crimson then hit a powerbomb type move, and for no reason, Jerry Lynn ran in and broke up the pin, resulting in a disqualification. This cost RVD the match as well as 10 points in the BFG series, knocking him out of second place. After the match, RVD apologized to Crimson and yelled at Jerry who said he was only trying to help.

Winner: Crimson

Match Rating: 7/10

Backstage, JB interviewed the newest member of Immortal, Mr. Anderson. Anderson cut a lame promo about a-holes, and how there was not enough room in Immortal for him and Bully Ray.

Match 6: Immortal (Scott Steiner, Abyss, Gunner) vs Fourtune (Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, Kazarian)

Fourtune started off hot, using their quickness to stymie the powerful Immortal members. That didnít last too long, though, and a huge slam by Abyss grounded Daniels, leaving him prone for some outside shenanigans by Steiner. Daniels floated over a chokeslam attempt and tagged in Kazarian who picked up the pace with a nice dive over the top rope onto Abyss. After some brawling on the floor, and a table being set up by Immortal who had some evil intentions, the ref got things back into the ring. Kazarian finally got out of trouble with a springboard DDT onto Abyss, and tagged in AJ who took control. The action picked up, including Gunner driving Daniels off the apron through the table on the floor, letting AJ isolate Abyss and hitting a springboard Pele kick to get the pin. After the match, Steiner and Gunner blamed Abyss for the loss and left without him.

Winners: Fourtune

Match Rating: 7/10

Backstage, Bully Ray said that he would put Mr. Anderson out of Immortal, and out of wrestling.

Match 7: Mr. Anderson vs Bully Ray

Before the match, Bully Ray walked up behind Mr. Anderson for a sneak attack during Andersonís introduction, but was caught. The two brawled down the ramp and around the ring for some time, with the ringside barrier and ring steps coming into play, before they finally got into the ring and the opening bell rang. From there, Bully Ray took over, using his power advantage to pound on Anderson. He kept yelling at Anderson to fight back, and eventually thatís what happened, and Anderson dropped Ray with a DDT. Power moves galore, and even some high flying with Anderson hitting a Swanton, and took to the air again, but Bubba caught him in a stunner-type move. Anderson was still fired up, though, and Ray tried to bring in a chain to even the odds. Anderson took control of the chain and was going to use it, but the ref caught him. As the ref was disposing of the chain, Ray hit Anderson with a low blow from behind and got the pin.

Winner: Bully Ray

Match Rating: 8/10

Backstage, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff berated Abyss for losing the match and letting down Immortal again. Bully Ray joined them, trumpeting his win, and the group left without Abyss.

Match 8: Mexican America (Hernandez and Anarquia) vs Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode) -- Tag Team Championship

Beer Money started off hot, using quick tags and some impressive double-teaming to shut down the challengers. Some cheating tactics got Mexican America into it, though, and the power of Hernandez helped them maintain the advantage. The Beer Money suplex and subsequent chant finally woke up the crowd, and a pair of Superfly splashes nearly knocked out Anarquia. In the end, Roode shoved Anarquia off the tope rope and when he landed he ate a giant superkick by Storm and got pinned.

Winners and still Tag Team champions: Beer Money

Match Rating: 7/10

Backstage, JB interviewed Kurt Angle who said that he wouldnít lose to Sting.

Match 9: Kurt Angle vs Sting -- World Heavyweight Championship

Winner and new World Heavyweight champion: Kurt Angle

Match Rating: 8/10

Overall show rating: 7/10

Bob Kapur dropped his laptop earlier today and is hoping that the multiple "blue screens of death" are just a coincidence. E-mail him any good computer deals at bobkapur@hotmail.com.