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Bad booking mars Hard Justice
By CHRIS SOKOL - SLAM! Wrestling




With all the titles on the line in one mega match, TNA returned to PPV with Hard Justice. While the card looked strong on paper, it played out like a bad record. Several disappointing matches and questionable booking decisions took what could have been a solid PPV and turned it into a bad episode of Nitro. Complete with a celebrity appearance, of course.

The PPV started off like a ball of fire with the fast-paced X Division taking centerstage in a Three Way Tag, but things quickly made a turn for the worse, as several lacklustre matches followed.

In what was nothing short than embarassing, TNA set up a small card table and mini bar with crash test dummy bartender, passing it off as a Barroom Brawl element. For a company that runs inside Universal Studios, they could've done much better. Instead this turned out to be a No DQ match with mini kegs. Simply pathetic.

Other examples? Hector Guerrero stepping in to defend LAX, despite the the duo having beaten the crap out of him a few months ago; the tar and feathering of Ms. Brooks; Dustin Rhodes as Goldust-lite "Black Reign."

Then there was Pacman. In what has turned into an expensive attempt to get some mainstream publicity, Pacman Jones, the suspended Tennessee Titan, arrived in TNA, cutting a terrible promo and getting challenged by the returning Ron Killings. The police, yes the police, stepped in between them and broke up a potential fight, only to find Pacman laid out in the back. Well it looks like the Titans contract will prevent Pacman from getting too involved with TNA, at least for now. Oh well, that could be a blessing in disguise.

But no one bought the show because of Pacman. The two main events were intriguing enough.

In the double main event, TNA introduced a Doomsday Chamber of Blood match that turned out to be a huge disappointment. Sting and Cage barely got involved, while AJ Styles, Tomko and Abyss took a brunt of the beating, ending in Styles getting a Black Hole Slam onto a pile of broken glass. To top off the PPV, TNA put all the gold together in one big encounter, as arch-rivals Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle did battle. Karen Angle, who had been shown with a secret lover throughtout the PPV came to ringside with her new friend, attempting to "distract" Angle. In the end, Vince Russo's booking came into play as Karen Angle turned on Samoa Joe and revealed that it was a master plan all along, allowing her husband to win all the gold in TNA.

The next TNA pay per view is No Surrender on September 9, 2007.

TNA Hard Justice 2007 Results

The show began with plenty of the suspect Pacman Jones hype. Jones was shown pulling into the Impact Zone with his mini posse as Mike Tenay and Don West drooled over his arrival. ESPN was in the house to cover every move made by the controversial NFL star.

Match One - Three Way Dance - Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) vs. Triple X (Christopher Daniels and Senshi) w/ Elix Skipper

There was so much going on here it was unbelievable. The X Division brought innovation to a whole 'nother level. Logic was pretty much out the window, but that was expected from the get-go. After tons of near death moves, Lethal scored the win with a small package. Go figure. A Triple X, Lethal/Dutt feud was teased. So much for the Machine Guns, maybe they'll get a tag title opportunity when TNA realizes how they are destroying their tag belts.

Winners Via Pinfall - Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt

Match Rating - 7.5/10

In the back, Karen Angle was shown with her new mate. Jeremy Borash barged in on them and was quickly told to get lost.

Match Two - Raven w/ Havok and Martyr vs. Frankie Kazarian

Raven apparently thinks he's Triple H, as he entered on an actual throne. Prior to the match getting underway, Raven offered his forgiveness if Kazarian would apologize. Kazarian baited him in and then caned the crap out of them. As terrible as this feud has been, lets hope that Kazarian's clean win will be the end of it. However, this is TNA, even feuds that should obviously end wind up going longer than necessary.

Winner Via Pinfall - Frankie Kazarian

Match Rating - 5.5/10

JB was backstage stirring the pot, as he ran into Kurt Angle and discussed what he saw. Angle was a wreck and left to make reason of his current situation.

Match Three - Barroom Brawl - Rhino vs. James Storm w/ Jackie Moore

This was built up fairly well, but the Barroom environment was a big let down. It looked like it came straight out of Party City. It made this match look ridiculous. Regardless, Storm and Rhino provided some good back and forth action, with Rhino downing some beer and getting "possesed by the alcohol." A missed Gore into a table allowed Storm to pick up the win and keep his well-deserved push going.

Winner Via Pinfall - James Storm

Match Rating - 6/10

TNA's new interview chick, Krystal, was welcomed aboard by interviewing the returning Ron Killings, who called out Pacman Jones. Looks like Killings is going to have to lay down for Pacman to repay TNA for his abrupt departure.

Match Four - VKM (BG and Kip James) w/ Roxxi Laveaux vs. LAX (Homicide and Hernandez)

LAX came out with their new entrance music. Liked the old stuff better, but they are a new LAX without Konnan, so things change. LAX definitely needs a new mouthpiece though. Hector Guerrero looks like the obvious choice, as he came to their rescue when VKM tried to sneak away with a cheap victory. Guerrero pointed out the powder Roxxi had used on Hernandez, starting a rematch that LAX won. Guerrero should definately step into Konnan's old role and Kip James should definitely not wear the blue Torrie Wilson-esque gear he was sporting.

Winners Via Pinfall - LAX (Homicide and Hernandez)

Match Rating - 5/10

JB was backstage with Eric Young, trying to motivate Young into taking down Robert Roode. Kurt Angle walked in and asked JB and Young if they were having an affair with his wife. Angle, a distraught mess, then went out in search of Dr. Nash.

Match Five - Humiliation Match - Robert Roode w/ Ms. Brooks vs. Eric Young

This was pointless. Didn't this feud end five times already, why was this necessary? Roode won cheap, but Gail Kim came down and helped Young turn the tables on them, with Ms. Brooks getting the "Tar and Feather" treatment. Why was the stipulation in there if it was going to be totally ignored? Granted Young had the match won at one point, but the end result is the end result.

Winner Via Pinfall - Robert Roode

Match Rating - 5.5/10

Krystal was in the back with Chris Harris who said that he knew Dustin Rhodes well and he was going to bring the fight and take what was his.

Match Six - Chris Harris vs. "Black Reign" Dustin Rhodes

Rhodes came out in his new black and silver Goldust-like jumpsuit with the Black and Silver facepaint and a renewed sadistic attitude. He pretty much demolished Harris and busted him open, ultimately getting DQ'ed in the process. He then took a stake and stabbed Harris until Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt and Frankie Kazarian came to his rescue. Rhodes has some promise as "Black Reign." Maybe this is his stab back at the Seven character given to him towards the end of his WCW run.

Winner Via Disqualification - Chris Harris

Match Rating - 4/10

Krystal was in the back with The Steiners and one of the stars from IWGP. The Steiners pretty much guaranteed dominance over Team 3D. On the other side, JB interviewed Team 3D who spit on the legacy of The Steiner Brothers.

Match Seven - The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) vs. Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon)

This was a great match between the two. One of the better matches on the entire PPV. Hopefully TNA continues to run with this feud, becuase it would certainly be beneficial to their product. The Steiners and Team 3D were both crisp and really looked as though they were in their prime. The Steiners were able to pick up the win with the top rope bulldog, putting The Steiners up in this leg of the feud. On a side note, this was not the first ever meeting between these two teams, as Hermie Sadler's UWF promotion has hosted a few of their encounters; however, this was one of their best.

Winners Via Pinfall - The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner)

Match Rating - 7/10

In the back, JB was with Kurt Angle who tried getting some help from Dr. Nash. Nash gave it his best effort, but Angle was still a mess.

Back in the Impact Zone, Pacman Jones made his not-so-long-awaited debut to a mixed reaction from the Impact Zone. Jones attempted to use the mic, but to no avail. Ron Killings came out and laid down the gauntlet, Pacman was ready to fight, but the police stepped in and separated them. In the back, the Christian Coalition got prepared for war, as Pacman Jones was shown laid out in a pool of blood. It was suspected that Ron Killings had done the dirty deed. Well duh.

Match Eight - Doomsday Chamber of Blood Number One Contenders Match - Christian Cage, AJ Styles and Tomko vs. Andrew Martin, Sting and Abyss

This one started out on the outside of the cage and worked its way in. Styles, Tomko and Abyss were the bleeders in this one. Cage was able to escape and leave his teammates high and dry. The end came as Abyss hit a Black Hole Slam on Cage into the broken glass, earning number one contendership. That was a given, somehow Cage is going to weasel in and make it a three way.

Winners Via Pinfall - Andrew Martin, Sting and Abyss (Abyss pinned AJ Styles)

Match Rating - 6.5/10

Krystal caught up with Samoa Joe in the back who said that while Angle was a mess, he was focused and he was going to take it all.

Match Nine - Winner Takes All Match For The IWGP Championship, TNA Championship, TNA Tag Team Championship and TNA X Division Championship - Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle

This was much of the same from these two, with the added bonus of Karen Angle and her lover at ringside. Rudy Charles took the ref bump, Joe made Angle tap. Karen Angle came in and slid a chair to Kurt, proving that the Russo swerve is doing just fine. Angle then blasted Joe and got the three count, winning all the gold and making out with his wife in the center of the Impact Zone, as the "lover" turned out to be a decoy all along. Way to finish off such an important showdown. Thank you Russo!

Winner Via Pinfall and STILL IWGP and TNA Champion and the NEW TNA Tag Team and X Division Champion - Kurt Angle

Match Rating - 6.5/10

Overall Event Rating - 6/10

Chris Sokol is from Long Island, NY and thinks Pacman Jones needs a new posse.