Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Enigma: The Best of Jeff Hardy Volume 2 - DVD Review

Once again the powers that be at Total Non-Stop Action have asked me to review their most recent DVD release, a release that documents the second coming of one of the most talented wrestlers I’ve ever seen, and one of the most controversial. The DVD in question is the two disc Enigma: The Best of Jeff Hardy Volume 2.


Normally with TNA releases of this kind the matches are interspersed with talking head segments from the subject’s peers within the company. This one, however, is a little different.

The first segment contains a documentary on Hardy’s life and his return to TNA in January 2010. It’s quite an entertaining piece as we hear about how he began his career and what inspires him in life, before Hardy discusses his passions such as music and art, showing us a collection of his paintings. (In truth I know next to nothing about art, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on his work here.)

Although this part of the collection is extremely well made it suffers from the problem that dogs other TNA releases of this kind. While some, most notably Abyss and Matt Morgan, try and keep Kayfabe alive in their segments others don’t, and it’s this lack of consistency that lets this thing down a little.

It’s not all about Hardy’s life outside the ring though, there’s the little matter of his in-ring performances. It’s from here that this release adopts the usual TNA formula, with Hardy and those he competes against giving their views in between the matches, which are:

Impact, March 15th, 2010: Hardy takes on TNA World Champion A.J. Styles, accompanied here by Ric Flair, with Abyss as the special enforcer.

It’s a short but entertaining TV main event from back when Styles was doing his Nature Boy-lite routine. Both guys pulled out their usual array of high flying moves, with Styles mixing in a few Flair-type moves into his arsenal.

The referee took a snooze towards the end when Styles inadvertently took him out with a cross body block off the top rope. The champion then grabbed a steel chair, only to find himself blocked from using it by Abyss.

Seconds later Hardy took Styles out with the twist of fate, putting the ice on the cake with a swanton off the top rope, Abyss making the final count.

Sacrifice 2010: The Charismatic Enigma goes up against Mr. Anderson.

Anderson came into this one with his ribs taped up, looking to gain a measure of revenge here, having been put through a table by Hardy’s swanton on the previous edition of Impact.

It’s a pretty decent match, not the best I’ve seen from these two but quite entertaining. Hardy looked in good shape as he pulled out his big moves, while Anderson put in a solid performance.

Our Ken became frustrated towards the end when Hardy kicked out of the pin after the mike check - twice, and for a short time it looked like Anderson would go on to frustrate Hardy by stopping his final top rope attacks, until Hardy came back and took Anderson down with the swanton for the winning pin.

Slammiversary 2010: Hardy teams with Mr. Anderson to take on Beer Money, James Storm and Bobby Roode.

This is another of those matches that fits into the quite entertaining bracket. Hardy and Anderson looked good as a team, but their double team work was nothing compared to that of their opponents.

Hardy looked like he was going to get the win early on after taking Roode out with a top rope swanton, only for Storm to pull the referee out while he was making the count. Storm then lay on the floor at ringside, claiming that it was Anderson who did the deed.

Roode and Storm then used Hardy as their personal punching bag until we got the inevitable mass brawl, leading to Anderson taking Roode out with the mike check for the winning pin.

The Whole F‘N Show, August 12th, 2010: Hardy issues an open challenge, and it’s answered by his old buddy Shannon Moore.

The chemistry between these two is great, but this is a television match and they’re given less than ten minutes ring time.

There’s some great sequences here, particularly the one where they go around the corners before Hardy misses a shoulder barge and crashes and burns out of the ring.

Moore went on to dominate most of the match, before Hardy countered his top rope superplex attempt and sealing the deal with his patented swanton.

No Surrender 2010: Hardy takes on Kurt Angle in the semi-final of the TNA World title tournament.

Yes, it’s that match, one of the best of 2010. For twenty minutes these two beat the hell out of each other. They pulled out all of their big moves, swantons, twists of fate, moonsault, Olympic slams, the lot, and they still kicked out of the ensuing pins.

Then Angle applied the ankle lock for what seemed like an age, only for the time limit to expire. This brought Eric Bischoff out from the back, and after conferring with Dixie Carter at ringside another five minutes were added.

They still couldn’t put each other away, even after Angle took Hardy down with an Olympic slam from the top rope, with both men lying in the ring after a double clothesline when the time limit expired again.

So Bischoff ordered another five minutes, and they continued where they’d left off, with Angle getting busted open after Hardy rammed his head into the steel ring steps three times.

Hardy then applied a Boston crab, which Angle eventually countered with a grape-vined ankle lock, but once again the time limit expired, and the match was declared a draw.

Impact, September 16th, 2010: It’s the re-match between Hardy and Angle, with Dixie Carter having ruled that there would be no time limit for this one.

Basically they took up where they’d left off a few days before, with a slight difference as Hardy centred his attack on Angle’s injured ribs, before they move into top gear, pulling out all the big moves and still kicking out of the pin attempts that followed.

The main drama came when the first referee was knocked out after Hardy accidentally hit him with the whisper in the wind. A second referee came down, but the first one recovered and got back into the ring just as both men applied knee bars to each other, and with both men’s shoulders on the mat both referees counted pins, both believing that their pin was right.

As confusion ensued Eric Bischoff came down to the ring and announced that both men would be facing Mr. Anderson in the World title tournament final at Bound for Glory.

Bound for Glory 2010: It’s the aforementioned World title tournament final between Hardy, Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson.

This was certainly an action packed match filled with great action and nice three-way spots. All three men gave a good account of themselves as they attempted to win the vacant gold, but even though they pulled out all of their big moves they still couldn’t get the job done.

After all that we saw the referee taking an accidental shot and Eric Bischoff and a barely mobile Hulk Hogan appearing before Hardy cemented his heel turn by clobbering both of his opponents with Hogan’s crutches, taking Anderson out with the twist of fate to win the vacant title.

Turning Point 2010: Hardy defends the World title for the first time against Matt Morgan.

This Hardy is an altogether different kind of animal. The champion went for the slow, methodical approach after playing a game of cat and mouse with the challenger, working over Morgan’s leg with a series of holds.

Morgan soon worked his way back into the match, kicking out of the pin after the twist of hate and being screwed over by the referee after he took Hardy down with the carbon footprint, the referee failing to count three even though Hardy’s shoulders were down.

Hardy recovered enough to take Morgan down with the whisper in the wind, getting the pin after taking him down with a third twist of hate, ending a match that was just a tad too short.

Final Resolution 2010: Having been screwed out of the title the previous month Morgan gets a second shot at Hardy’s World title in a no disqualification match, this time with Mr. Anderson as the special referee.
It’s a different kind of match from their previous encounter, but like that one it just seems way too short for a main event.

Anderson, in his role as special referee, clearly favoured Morgan, and once again Hardy became frustrated at his inability to put his challenger away, leaving the ring at one point, hoping for a count out win.

Anderson was having none of it, pushing the champion back into the ring after getting pie faced by Hardy before favouring the challenger even more.

Like many before him Anderson got accidentally clobbered before Morgan took Hardy down and pinned him with what would have been a 15 count. It was then that Eric Bischoff came down to the ring with another referee, ramming Anderson into the ring post before pushing the hapless official into the ring.

Moments later it was all over, with Hardy taking Morgan down with a twist of hate on a steel chair for the winning pin.

Impact, January 13th, 2011: Jeff reunites with his brother Matt as they take on World Champion Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam.

No clapping and smiling from the Hardy boys in this one. Their previous chemistry isn’t on display here as Jeff spends most of his time avoiding RVD.

Later on Anderson accidentally collides with the referee, sending him through the ropes. This brings Beer Money out to attack Anderson and RVD, and when the ref comes to he sees Matt taking Anderson out with the twist of hate and Jeff delivering the final touches with the swanton for the winning pin. An okay match, but definitely not the best performances the brothers have given as a unit.

Impact, February 20th, 2011: Hardy teams with Jeff Jarrett, accompanied by his missus, against Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles.

This was a far more intense affair than the previous match, mainly due to the rivalry between Angle and Jarrett.

All four men had good outings in this one, especially Jarrett, who played the part of the coward extremely well, and in the end the victory went to Angle and Styles, with the Phenomenal one taking Jarrett out with a flying forearm from the top rope after some distractive help from Angle.

Against All Odds 2011: Hardy challenges Mr. Anderson for the World title in a ladder match.

It’s a solid enough affair, but certainly not the best ladder match Hardy has been involved in, although the ladders were used to good effect, especially with the hard bumps that both men took on them and off them.

The beginning of the end saw Anderson trying to take Hardy down with the mike check from the top of the ladder. Hardy countered by holding onto the title belt, sending Anderson crashing to the mat, with Hardy himself falling seconds later.

Hardy was the first one to get to his feet, and after repositioning one of the ladders he climbed to the top and reclaimed the title belt as his own.

Impact, March 3rd, 2011: The final match of the collection sees Hardy defending his World title against a mystery opponent, who turns out to be none other than the returning Sting.

Well, this was certainly a lot better than their rematch a few weeks later. It only lasted about five minutes but they managed to pack a lot of action into it.

Hardy looked good, playing the past of the unprepared champion, unable to get in any of his signature moves as the fired up challenger took it to him in a big way.

In the end Sting came out top, first countering Hardy’s whisper in the win by crotching him on the top rope, compounding his agony by taking him down with a death drop while he was sitting on the turnbuckle, and sealing the deal with a second death drop in the middle of the ring.

Then it’s back to the documentary segment, in which Hardy and his peers discuss what’s next for the Charismatic Enigma in his personal life and his wrestling career.

In conclusion - this is quite an entertaining release from the bods at TNA, and although this doesn’t have the scope of the compilation WWE released a while back it certainly compares favourably.

The matches range from okay to very good, although when you watch them all together it’s obvious that Hardy is a far better performer as a baby face. Being a heel doesn’t suit him, and for me his matches suffered a great deal during this time.

So in all this collection gets the thumbs up from this particular writer. It has it’s bad points but overall I’d recommend buying this as a Christmas present for the wrestling fan in your life.

With thanks to the powers that be at TNA for supplying a copy of this release. Enigma: The Best of Jeff Hardy Volume 2 can be purchased online at www.shoptna.com.