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TNA Hard Justice
May 16, 2005

by Jason Longshore
OnlineOnslaught.com's TNA Pinch Hitter


It’s been since June 2, 2004.  It’s been almost an entire year.  It’s been that long since Jeff Jarrett was without the NWA World Title.  TNA’s latest PPV, Hard Justice, wasn’t about cage matches.  It wasn’t about Ultimate X matches.  It wasn’t about gimmicks.  It was simply about crowning a new champion.  (Well, it’s not like he hasn’t

been champ before, but forget about that.)  You could tell from the beginning of the show, the crowd was there for one thing.  That was to see AJ Styles become the new NWA World Champion.  DDP couldn’t do it, Kevin Nash couldn’t do it, Monty Brown couldn’t do it, Jeff Hardy couldn’t do it, Ron Killings couldn’t do it.  Tonight, will AJ Styles become a three time NWA World Champion?

On the Pre-Show: Shark Boy met David Young with a spot in the Gauntlet for the Gold match on the line.  Young showed off his power moves early, but wasn’t able to fight off the Dead Sea Drop.  Shark Boy was your winner.  I know I say this every month, but they need to put David Young to better use.  Another bit of news came out during the pre-show, it was announced that Sean Waltman would be taking Jeff Hardy’s place tonight against Raven.  Hot Topic is furious about their lack of product placement this month. 

The PPV proper began with a simple, yet classy, tribute to Chris Candido.  There was a ten bell salute in a darkened arena.  A chair was set up in the ring with an NWA World Tag Team title belt, a picture of Candido, and his trademark towel.  Very nice.


This was your textbook power v. speed match-up.  Siaki and Apollo teamed up for a double back body drop that sent Young flying.  The Canadians turned the tide with, you guessed it, interference from Coach D’Amore.  Right when I was saying, “Wow, Apollo is doing alright tonight,” he hit the crappiest spear on record.  I’ve seen harder hits on When Ravers Attack.  Siaki reversed the Canadian Destroyer into his Siakalypse (Roll of the Dice by WCW’s Reno).  D’Amore distracted the referee long enough for A-1 to hit a suplex.  Petey then pinned Siaki.  The guys in Team Canada are too good to ALWAYS win with interference.  If a Canadian can win the NBA MVP, can’t Team Canada win a match cleanly?

Between matches, we cut to pre-taped videos of Tito Ortiz, AJ Styles, and Jeff Jarrett arriving at the arena.  They’re going a great job of making this match important. 


Traci’s fuzzy boots were probably making Paul London jealous.  Sabin started the match with a flurry of offense on Shane.  The intensity of the men and women was excellent.  The crowd was firmly behind Sabin and Traci.  Props to Sabin for still selling the multiple super kicks Shane gave him on Impact a couple of weeks ago.  The action spilled the outside after Traci was knocked off the top rope.  Roughly 98% of the men in the crowd offered to help her up.  Trinity finally got Traci back into the ring.  Sabin saved Traci from a Trinity top rope hurricanrana.  This resulted in the chant of the night, “Better Than Lita, Better Than Lita.”  Sabin faced off with Trinity, but Traci double crossed him with a dastardly low blow.  Shane super kicked both Trinity and Sabin and scored the pin.  Damn them, it was a double cross all along.  Don West was dismayed, while Mike Tenay was merely confused.  We’ll see about the follow up before I get too bitchy. 

Terry Taylor interviewed Team Canada.  They talked about how their going to use teamwork in the upcoming Gauntlet.  Bobby Roode complained that such a “good hearted Canadian” had to start the match. 

Dusty Rhodes explained to Tito Ortiz that he expected him to call the main event right down the middle.  Tito said that if Jarrett gets out of line, Dusty will need to call an ambulance. 

Raven then put all other interviews to shame as he talked about his upcoming match.  Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:  Jeff Hardy has no cojones, he kept saying X-Pac, said he’s the biggest star, said he didn’t need a hunting pack like the Canadians, threated to rip out eyeballs and eat them, said he’d spit down some brains, said X-Pac would need a stretcher for the stretcher carrying him, threatened to blow up X-Pac’s ambulance, and claimed he’s a human cancer.  After all that, I started double fisting the beers. 


If Raven can call him X-Pac, I can call it the Clockwork Orange House of Fun match.  They went with the original House of Fun set up; chains holding up weapons on one side of the ring, fencing on the other, with falls counting anywhere.  Waltman must’ve been upset by being called X-Pac in the pre-match interview; he came out all guns blazing.  Potential lawsuits motivate Sean Waltman.  Raven was bleeding approximately 1.5 minutes into the match.  Raven obviously wasn’t kidding about eating eyes, he kept clawing at Waltman’s on the outside.  It took Waltman about 3.5 minutes to bleed, what a sissy.  He wasn’t sissy enough to tap out to Raven’s ankle lock though.  One day soon, we’ll all talk about Raven’s exemplary submission skills.  Okay, probably not.  Waltman hates submission holds, so he starts kicking Raven from all angles.  He even hits a Bronco Buster, and follows that up with an X-Factor.  No pin though, there must be more carnage on the outside.  He set Raven up on a table and hit a flipping, spinning senton from the top rope though the table.  Raven kicked out of the pin attempt.  A fluke Evenflow DDT wasn’t enough to finish the match either.  Raven was infuriated and decided to throw Waltman off the ramp through a table.  That didn’t end the match either.  Raven found some handcuffs and cuffed Waltman to the ring post.  He then grabbed a mic and started trash talking him.  After a few kendo stick shots, Raven asked him if he quit.  Waltman said, “Is that all you’ve got, pussy?”  Dusty Rhodes came out, probably afraid of what else might be said, and unlocked the handcuffs.  I guess Dusty keeps a universal handcuff key around in case of these situations.  Waltman made his big comeback, punctuated by some staple gun shots to the top of Raven’s head.  He took a running start at Raven, but got back dropped through the fencing for his troubles.  That was finally enough for the pin.  Waltman looked good and up for it, and Raven is in fine form for the ECW reunion shows. 

Backstage, we see Tito giving AJ his pre-match instructions.  Terry Taylor then interviews DDP.  Page is pissed because B.G. James is having travel problems.  Is B.G. with the missing Jeff Hardy?  He then said it’s all “bullshit.”  Wow, TNA really is getting ready for the prime time with the language tonight.  Ron Killings was there to make everything okay, he said he would team with DDP against Monty Brown and the Outlaw. 


DDP and Brown traded moves and taunts to kick things off.  The crowd was starting to wake up for this one, they had a nice “Truth” chant going when he tagged in.  Brown and Outlaw took turn working over Killings’ back.  He eventually got the hot tag to DDP, and that’s where things got screwy.  Phi Delta Slam, the giant tag team that we had all hoped was lost at a Stuckey’s somewhere in Mississippi, made their great return to attack DDP.  They must have been winded from all of the pecan logs though, as DDP delivered Diamond Cutters to both of them.  The distraction was enough for Monty to hit the Pounce though, and he pinned DDP.  I only have one question about all of that.  Huh?

They played a pre-taped interview with The Naturals.  They both talked about how much they learned from Chris Candido, and how everyone has been great in dealing with them since everything happened.  This included a legend that they wouldn’t name.  I wasn’t sure if they’d immediately get back to storyline stuff after Candido’s death, but I didn’t think it was done in a distasteful manner.  My guess is that it will make sense when it’s revealed that Shane Douglas, one of Candido’s best friends in the business, turns out to be the new mentor of The Naturals. 


The Naturals brought a towel out with them, one of Candido’s trademarks.  They set up a chair at ringside and placed the towel over it.  The crowd chanted Candido’s name for a good deal of the introductions.  In a nice touch, Chase Stevens and James Storm waited to lock up so they could be sure the chant got on the PPV.  Early on, both teams traded moves and the momentum.  The action eventually spilled to the outside, as in typical AMW/Naturals style.  These teams might be the masters of the ringside brawl.  As things spread all over the arena, the crowd starting chanting, “Let’s Go Naturals.”  Once back in the ring, Storm hit his Eye of the Storm move that he blatantly stole from Slash of the Disciples of the New Church.  Slash will be back to reclaim the Whirlybird, you just wait.  The teams combined for the obligatory TNA special “Tower of Doom” spot.  As long as it’s not on every show, it doesn’t bother me so much.  AMW gained control after a couple of near falls for both sides.  The crowd booed their usual favorites as they set up for the Death Sentence.  Douglas knocked Harris off the top rope and Stevens pinned Storm with his feet on the ropes.  Chris would’ve been proud of his boys.  Good match, although the lack of clear cut faces and heels made it a little strange. 

They gave in to my wishes, David Young is on the PPV.  Oh wait a minute, he’s just there so Tito Ortiz can choke him.  Damn…


Tenay put over the fact that Shocker skipped Mexico’s huge TripleMania event for Hard Justice tonight.  Shocker gained control in the early going with a hurricanrana on the ring apron.  He then hit the tope suicida (suicide dive) on Daniels.  Once back in the ring, Daniels took the advantage by working on Shocker’s neck.  He stole some moves from my chiropractor, and they looked just as painful.  Poor Shocker.  He pooped on Daniels’ party with a powerbomb though.  A mean looking frog splash was only able to get two as Daniels kicked out.  The momentum was back and forth, until Shocker hit a front suplex from the second rope.  That type of move will send you to the chiropractor.  Shocker locked in the STF, but Daniels literally bit his way out of it.  He got out of the Camel Clutch in the same way.  He decided to try to save his fingers and set Daniels up on the turnbuckle.  The Fallen Angel blocked Shocker, crotched him on the top rope, and hit the Angel’s Wings from the middle rope to end the match.  Some people will like it, some won’t.  I thought it was solid, albeit different type of X Division match. 


The “good hearted” Canadian Bobby Roode was out first, followed by TNA’s surprise of the evening.  Zach Gowen made his return to TNA, and return to wrestling after Brock Lesnar threw him down some stairs on Smackdown forever ago.  If you remember, Gowen actually made his national debut in TNA as Tenacious Z before he went to WWE.  Roode tried to hit him with the prosthetic leg, but Gowen avoided it and nailed him with a dropkick.  Eric Young was next, and the Canadian game plan was on.  He was followed by Cassidy Reilly, Elix Skipper, and Shark Boy before the first elimination.  Gowen made the mistake of going after Shark Boy.  One ass bite later, and Zach was history.  I guess that would make you lose your balance.  Canada’s hoss, A-1, was next and he eliminated Sharky rather quickly.  Chris Sabin came out all riled up after the double turn at the hands of Traci and Michael Shane.  He hit one of my favorite moves, the springboard tornado DDT after kicking at least five guys during the spin.  Young eliminates Reilly after they both skinned the cat.  Petey Williams entered to complete Team Canada.  They start their attempted domination by eliminating Skipper. 

Sonny Siaki was out next, but no one cared once Lance Hoyt’s music hit.  That guy is the hero of Orlando.  Parents point to him and tell their kids, “There is your new role model.”  I still just don’t get it.  He scores some extra points with his hatred of Canadians as he tosses Young out.  Michael Shane is next, and he and Sabin immediately eliminate themselves as they continue the fight from earlier.  They could still be brawling as you read this.  Roode and Williams team up to eliminate Siaki.  Jerrelle Clark and Mikey Batts are the next two, but they don’t last long.  Petey teams up with his fellow Canadians for a Super Tandem Canadian Destroyer to bounce Clark out off his head.  It was only slightly as silly as that sounds.  The Outlaw is out next, and he decides to pick up where he left off on Impact with Batts.  A single One & Only wasn’t enough for the crowd as they chanted “One More Time.”  Damn, they don’t like Batts either.  The second one ends it for Mikey, and Outlaw just drops him over the top rope like a sack of dirty laundry.  Trytan was next to the ring.  That guy really needs some pants, his legs look all disproportionate to the rest of this body.  Can we get him some localized steroids or something?  Anyway, the Canadians dispose of him rather quickly.  Ron Killings and Apollo are the next two contestants.  From his work here, I’ve figured out that Apollo is Puerto Rican for choreographed.  It almost looks like he’s counting the steps in his head.  Outlaw made him lose count, and threw him out rather quickly.  Our #19 contestant was another surprise.  B.G. James finally ditched Jeff Hardy at the local goth hangout and made it to the arena.  Lance Hoyt continued making friends by throwing Bobby Roode out.  Williams and A-1 didn’t take too kindly to that though, as they teamed up with Roode to get Hoyt over the top rope.  You could hear all of Orlando weep.  Outlaw and James eliminated the two remaining Canadians.  Before they could look deeply into each others’ eyes and determine what their latest reunion meant, Abyss’ music hit and he immediately knocked them both over the top rope. 

That left Abyss and Ron Killings.  In TNA Gauntlet matches, once it’s down to the final two, it becomes a standard match with pinfalls and submissions.  Abyss wanted to use some weapons, but referee Rudy Charles kept stopping him.  This drew a “Rudy Sucks” chant.  It also drew cheers when Abyss murdered him in the corner as Killings avoided the contact.  Killings hit an axe kick from the top rope, driving Abyss’ head into a chair, but there was no ref to count.  Abyss recovered to give Killings a choke slam onto the chair, but the count was slow enough to give him time to kick out.  Killings went to the top rope, but Abyss countered his cross body block into the Black Hole Slam for the win.  Overall, the Gauntlet was solid, but kind of rushed.  The final match between Abyss and Killings was okay.


This is what the crowd was waiting for all night.  TNA did a great job at making this match into a big deal.  I love the ring announcer bit for World Title matches.  Jeremy Borash is no Michael Buffer, but he’s better than Buffer’s B-grade brother who kept messing up Stephan’s name on the Ultimate Fighter finale.  From the beginning, the crowd was chanting for AJ.  Tito made sure that everyone knows he’s in charge.  AJ took control after some exchanges, but Jarrett bailed to avoid AJ’s patented dropkick.  Tito started the count, and Tenay reminded us that you can lose the title on DQ here in TNA.  After he got back in there, Jarrett finally did eat the dropkick.  AJ was on a roll, until a patented thumb to the eyes by Jarrett.  That could almost be a finisher for him by this point.  Jarrett’s strategy was made apparent rather quickly, as he started working AJ’s legs.  After a blocked kick, Jarrett locked on the Figure 4 in a nice spot.  AJ was in there for a long time, got pulled back to the center of the ring, but he was finally able to reverse it.  Jarrett though, was able to get to the ropes.  He knocked AJ outside, and then kept kicking him to keep him from getting back in the ring.  After some warnings, Tito had to back Jarrett into a corner to make him stop.  AJ took advantage and pulled Jarrett to the outside.  However, he was step slow with his offense due to the leg.  While AJ was down, Jarrett went for his trusty gee-tar.  Ortiz got in there immediately to put a stop to that.  AJ got the guitar in the confusion, but Tito stopped him too.  AJ smashed the guitar on the ring post instead, much to the crowd’s delight.  They got back in the ring, with AJ on the attack.  He hit his sweet springboard forearm, a spin kick, and then the reverse DDT, but only got a two count.  The Styles Clash was blocked, and they traded near falls.  After another attempted roll up, Jarrett rolled through and used the Styles Clash on AJ.  Of course, that never works so it only got a two count.  AJ didn’t get the memo, and used the Stroke on Jarrett, also for two.  In the confusion, Monty Brown came running out as AJ was setting up another Clash attempt.  AJ moved, and Brown Pounced Jarrett.  AJ went for the pin, but Tito was busy on the outside throwing Brown out of the building.  Another ref slid in for the count, but Tito pulled him out.  All the fans started having nightmares about Tito helping Jarrett retain.  While AJ and Tito are arguing, Jarrett snuck in for a low blow.  A shocking move for Jeff, I must say.  He put AJ on the top turnbuckle and shoved Ortiz out of the way.  Tito doesn’t take shoving lightly though, and knocked Jarrett out cold with a left hand.  AJ hit the Spiral Tap, a move he hasn’t used in two years, to get the pin and the NWA World Title.  Sure, I would’ve liked it more if AJ had won without the help.  Honestly though, I would’ve been happy if it ended with an AJ roll up in thirty seconds.  The match was okay, they’ve had better in the past (like their cage match where AJ won his second World Title), but the match was all about the ending with AJ holding the title.  The pop on the three count was one of the loudest in TNA history, especially since the move to Orlando. 

All in all, I’d have to give the show a C.  There wasn’t anything really bad on the show, but nothing was mind blowing either.  Waltman/Raven shocked the hell out of me, it was probably the most entertaining match of the night.  Shocker/Daniels was good, but those who are looking for the high flying moves of the X Division were probably disappointed.  The tag title match was weird, I don’t know what else they could have done to make it come across better.  The undercard was fine, everything built to the main event and nothing took away from it.  I know I’m glad Abyss won the Gauntlet and we should have another AJ/Abyss match soon, this time for the title.  TNA, just go with this for your main event at Slammiversary, don’t get cold feet.  Give them thirty plus minutes and you’re set. 

Ding dong, ding dong, the witch is dead.  Now, how long will it be until the witch gets his gold back?  


Jason Longshore has not yet filed one of these mini-bios.

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