Thanks to Richard Trionofo of PWInsider for sending this in:
I was in attendance at the Hard Justice pay per view in Orlando, Florida and in addition to being a hot show, literally with the fire and figuratively with a strong pay per view; and here are my thoughts on the show.
It is obvious that the regular plans for the pay per view were shot as soon as they had to evacuate the building due to the fire. While there were no announcements in the building to inform people that it would be a short delay, TNA did as much as possible during the break to keep the people from leaving. I saw Eric Young, Cassidy Riley, Traci Brooks, The Naturals, Lance Hoyt, So Cal Val, and Shark Boy outside before they let everyone back inside.
After the pay per view restarted, I did not know what to expect, but I think they did a great job of presenting the best pay per view possible. The wrestlers did not let the fire and the resultant situation in the Impact Zone affect their performance.
I had heard some rumblings while waiting to get inside that Nash would not be wrestling and it worked out well that Alex Shelley was not in a match so he could fill in for the injured Nash.
I was surprised to see that they did a second pre-show match. They did not announce either Jimmy Jacobs or El Diablo. There were a number of fans who were familiar with Jacobs but it would have been nice to hear who Cassidy Riley and Sonjay Dutt were wrestling.
I had heard from a friend who was going to be involved in the Eric Young entrance so I expected something to happen, but I never expected that many people to walk around the ring.
It was definitely weird to see the fire extinguishers from the rafters. At first, I thought it might have been part of the storyline to help Eric Young get an advantage to win the match. From where I was sitting at the top of the bleachers, it seemed like I could actually taste the fire in my mouth. After it appeared the fire was out, it looked like a small fire broke out in the rafters immediately in front of me.
The Universal Studios Staff was good in making the evacuation of the building gradual and smooth.
If there was a way to make the fire appear surreal, having Earl Hebner come through the crowd and attack Slick Johnson seemed appropriate.
When we were let back into the Impact Zone, people were pretty good about getting back into the same seat they were in before the evacuation.
Jeremy Borash got on the mic and he joked that Eric Young needed anti-depressants because he thought he caused the fire. That was not the only time the fire was referenced. Christian cut a promo before the main event where he suggested that Jarrett started the fire so he would keep his title.
There was one strange moment when Borash was letting everyone in the Impact Zone know what was going on, only to see him on the video screen interviewing Alex Shelley.
I was glad to see the Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin match instead of Kevin Nash/Chris Sabin. I thought we would have seen Kevin Nash get involved in the match from ringside. I did not realize that a bad neck required a wheelchair. I wonder if Chris Sabin was supposed to win the match if Kevin Nash was able to wrestle.
James Mitchell showed last night why he is one of the best men on the mic in the business. In addition to getting the Abyss/Brother Runt match over, he built up the potential for a Raven/Abyss match in the future or a tag match involving the team of Brother Runt and Raven.
Coming into the pay per view, I thought the Brother Runt/Abyss match had the chance to be the match of the night. I don t know if the delay due to the fire caused the match to be shortened, but it seemed like there was more to be done in the match. I had thought the ways for the thumbtacks to be used had been completely exhausted, but I was wrong. I liked how Abyss shoved Runt s face in the tacks and then how Runt got a second wind after he had the tacks in his face. I hope this is not the end of the feud because while they had a solid match, without certain distractions, they could have a classic big man/small man match.
I guess after last month s pay per view when Brother Runt was press slammed into the crowd during the six man match, they decided to have Abyss send Brother Runt into the other side of the Pit. I guess someone needs to instruct the fans that to pass a person around while crowd surfing; you do not pass him where there are no people.
I was really impressed by the Falls Count Anywhere match. Normally, I am not a fan of matches that have a lot of action outside of the ring, even when it is the stipulation. However, all three men were on top of their games and some of the spots that were done were either unique or had not been done in a while. I liked how they teased Brown attempting the pounce and Rhino attempting the gore many times only to be stopped. I was expecting to see at least one spot that had me amazed and the missed gore by Rhino did the job. All three men deserve a lot of credit for what they did to their bodies in the match because those ramps and the stages do not appear to have any give.
Speaking of the attempted gore by Rhino, I had a feeling that either there would be a gore or pounce that would involve that part of the Impact Zone because the ring crew was working on it before the show while the fans were entering the Impact Zone. That part of the wall had been removed and replaced with a mat inside the wall. Even though I knew something would be going on at that spot, it was an impressive spot to watch. I don t know if the people were let in earlier due to the weather in Orlando and the ring crew did not have a chance to get everything finished before the people are let in.
I liked that Joe got on the mic after the match. I was hoping that he would demand a title match against the winner of the main event, but it was still effective.
I don t know if the Larry Zbyszko/Jeremy Borash/Slick Johnson segment was pre-recorded or not, but it felt like it was supposed to air earlier in the show because it related to the Earl Hebner attack.
Because of the interruption, I expected to see a match or two removed from the show. I figured the number one contender tag match was going to be one of the casualties. I thought the women s match could have been cut as well. However, it did a good job to set up the crowd for the three title matches. It was interesting to see that Sirelda and Gail got the same reactions as their match from the last television tapings. While they are trying to get Sirelda over as a face, Gail Kim got the face reaction in that match as well as on the pay per view.
I hope someone has a full transcript of Scott Steiner s promo because I had trouble understanding what he was saying.
I thought the X Division title match was going to be good, but it was better than I thought. I thought Petey Williams did a great job to re-establish himself as a contender in the X Division and separate himself from Team Canada. I thought the finish to the match was good with Williams hitting the Canadian Destroyer only to be knocked out of action by Senshi; and then have Senshi make the cover. The only thing I did not like about the match was that it was a little less than eleven minutes.
Before the pay per view, the match that I expected to be match of the night was the World Tag Title match. I was not disappointed. While the match was slightly under fifteen minutes, it was one of the best tag team matches that I have seen in TNA. There were a number of false finishes that made me think that there would be a title change. I really hope that there is another match between these two teams because I think they can have a better match.
I think the part of the crowd immediately behind the Spanish Announce Table did a great job to get the fans into the match from the time of the introductions through to the time that the Latin American Exchange went to the back. They even had Moody Jack involved in the chants, and it was probably the loudest that part of the Impact Zone had ever been.
About one-third of the way through Christian s promo before the main event, I turned to a friend sitting near me and we both said Christian is going to turn . While it was a possibility that Christian would turn, that guaranteed the turn.
While I was on the edge of my seat due to the excitement of the tag title match due to the false finishes, when I watched the main event, it seemed like I was waiting for the inevitable turn by Christian. I did like the way that Steiner distracted the referee to keep him from getting back into the ring to make the count for Sting.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]