It’s gimmick match overload time once again as we take a look at the latest instalment of TNA’s One Night Only series, Hardcore Justice 2, shown this past Wednesday night on Challenge here in Britain.
The show began with tag team action as the New Church, Slash and Sinn, went up against the Latin American Xchange, Hernandez and Homicide, in a street fight.
Well, this wasn’t too bad, although there wasn’t much of a street fighting element. It began as a normal tag match with both teams pulling off some good moves, but it wasn’t long before they began brawling at ringside as a few toys came into play.
That portion of the contest only lasted for a few moments though before they returned to the ring and went back to regular action, with Homicide taking Sinn down with an Ace Crusher before Hernandez sealed the deal with a top rope splash.
The Knockouts were up next as Jackie Moore faced ODB in a hardcore match.
If you were expecting these girls to hit each other with chairs and kendo sticks you were probably very disappointed, because while this was a hardcore match it was unlike any hardcore match I’ve ever seen.
The brawling part was okay as they tried to beat the proverbial out of each other before they introduced the weapons into the equation. These items included a broom, a set of hair straighteners, some hairspray cans and some lipstick. I bet good old Abdullah never used those as weapons, did he?
Now the action here was okay, but it just seemed to drag on and on, so what really should have been a five or six minute throwaway turned out to be a match that was lost and looking for it’s final destination.
Eventually ODB took the win when she took Jackie down with a somewhat sloppy looking Samoan Drop.
Then it was back to tag action as Max and Jeremy Buck, known here as Generation Me, took on Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels of Bad Influence in a ladder match.
Now this was more like it. After two encounters that didn’t really live up to the show’s mantra we finally got a match that delivered, and then some. Both teams put on great performances as they fought it out for the 20K in prize money. As expected the bodies flew all over the place as they pulled out all the stops, with the Bucks showing that perhaps the powers that be made a mistake in letting them go.
There were a few big bumps in this one, but the holy you know what award goes to Jeremy Buck. As he stood atop the ladder trying to grab the prize Daniels pushed the ladder over, but instead of going flying young Jeremy landed feet first on the top rope before somersaulting off to take out Kazarian at ringside.
But despite this great effort the Bucks came up short. Just as Max was about to grab the prize Daniels threw his pre-match cocktail into his face, and after Buck crashed and burned Kazarian reached up and grabbed the cash and the win.
Then it was on to the Hardcore Gauntlet Battle Royal featuring Devon Storm, Little Guido, Crimson, Sam Shaw, Johnny Swinger, Funaki, Gunnar, 2 Cold Scorpio and Shark Boy.
Basically this was a hardcore Royal Rumble, with each entrant bringing a weapon into the match with them. This was another match that fitted into the “not too bad” category, and it was nice to see some of the guys we haven’t seen in a while, particularly Scorpio, who despite being firmly entrenched in the veteran stage of his career showed that he could still fly with the best of them.
Our masked friend Shark Boy emerged victorious in this one when he used his weapon of choice, a dead shark to eliminate Gunnar and Crimson. And no, you didn’t read that wrong. Shark Boy brought a dead shark to the ring as his weapon.
Six man action followed as Aces & Eights’ Wes Brisco, Doc and Knox took on Magnus, James Storm and Hardcore Holly. Moving on…..
Then it was on to the Monster’s Ball match as James Mitchell’s Judas Messias faced Joseph Park.
It’s time to be honest again. I think I’ve probably seen every other Monster’s Ball match, and this one wasn’t a patch on any of them. Although the performances of our protagonists can’t be faulted the intensity factor just wasn’t there. Mitchell and Messias were meant to be there settling old scores, but they acted more like they were settling their bar bill.
The toys were introduced quite early in this match, and although Messias was more than happy to use them Park seemed somewhat reluctant until he got into the swing of things.
The real turning point came when Park was slumped in a corner. Messias placed a rubbish bin in front of him and whacked it with an ice hockey stick. When Park saw the blood trickling out of his mouth the tiny voices took over again. It wasn’t long before he was taking his man down with a choke slam and a Black Hole Slam for the winning pin.
Afterwards Mitchell got into the ring and clobbered the big lawyer from behind. But just as he was about to clothesline the former Sinister Minister he snapped out of his rage and let Mitchell go.
The main even saw Aces & Eights members and the reunited Team 3D, Bully Ray and Devon, taking on Brother Runt and Jeff Hardy in a tables match.
There was a hell of a lot of jaw jacking in this one, mainly from Bully Ray as he proclaimed how great Team 3D were. It got to the point when I felt like invoking the wise words of Fred Durst by screaming STFU.
When the action began like the previous match it was okay, but once again we had an encounter that lacked that certain spark. Like the opener it started off in the normal way for some reason as Runt took the brunt of the punishment from his brothers, but when he managed to tag Hardy in the rules went out of the window as the brawling began.
Runt came close to getting put through a table with a suplex at one point until Hardy moved the furniture out of the way. A few minutes later the babyfaces managed to get the job done after Hardy put Devon through some wood with a top rope splash.
In conclusion - for me Hardcore Justice 2 had it’s good and bad points.
While the majority of the matches were okay and the performances were acceptable most of this show just seemed to lack that certain something, that certain spark that makes an okay match into a great match. Most of the time it just seemed as if some of the guys were there just to pick up a pay packet.
Despite all this there was a diamond on the rough, and that was the ladder match between Generation Me and Bad Influence. These two had no real storyline gripe with each other, but they still put on a hell of a match, which is why it’s getting the no-prize this time around.
As for the commentary, I have to say a big thank you to TNA for replacing the annoying Taz with Jeremy Borash. I don’t think I could have put up with him after his poor performances on the other two One Night Only shows.
So with all of that out of the way, and despite this being the weakest of the series so far I’m going to be generous and give this the thumbs up, mainly because of the aforementioned ladder match.