On a night that was touted by at least one person as "an event that would change the pro wrestling landscape forever," not much really happened.
I have to admit, the main reason I ordered the TNA Hardcore Justice pay-per-view was not to see some of my favorite wrestlers of a previous era come back for "one last show." Sadly, I found myself pushing the order button only to see the train wreck that I knew would be coming.
After all the blood, tables, and tears were cleared away, I have to admit that I was proved wrong.
In a sense, the only one who really won on Sunday night (not counting the winners of the matches, of course) was TNA. Surely, the PPV buy rate won't equal that of say a WrestleMania, but it certainly will be better than what some of the company’s most recent pay-per-views have done. Whether people were buying the show to see some heroes of an era long past or, like me, wanting to see some epic implosion that would lead to much criticism for weeks to come, people were still BUYING the show. And for that, TNA has to be applauded.
However, where it can draw some criticism is from the amount of hype that was forced upon us leading up to the PPV. This show was supposed to bring closure to many old angles still left up in the air from the original ECW days, but I walked away with many more questions than answers:
Why couldn't Francine find a babysitter for just one night?
Is The Blue Meanie really so busy that he can no-show TNA?
Honestly, who was the kid who kept picking his nose?
How can you have an ECW "reunion" or final show WITHOUT Shane Douglas?
But my biggest question of the night: Why did the Dudley Bo ... excuse me ... Team 3-D have to hug it out with New Jack and Mustafa after being beaten down?
Look, I get that they all experienced something very special in this business, something that might never be seen again. They helped usher in a whole new era of wrestling and have been reminding people of it for the past 10 years. But, seriously, wait until the end of the show to throw your arms around the guy who just beat you with everything including, quite literally, the kitchen sink.
Yet there were still some moments that stood out for me. The final match between RVD and Sabu was good, not great. The two ex-partners were clearly in the best shape of anyone who performed, and compared to the rest of the card, they nailed it. Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven was okay. It gave the fans the blood they had been chanting for all night, but it didn't give me the closure to the storied feud I felt I was promised.
In between, the matches were a few segments that really worked well. A special "thank you" to Joey Styles was top notch. To hear from all of the people Styles represented with his voice for so many years showed a level of class we’ll most likely never see again.
The thank you to Paul Heyman was also very good, but for me it will be more memorable for who DIDN'T express gratitude. Big names like Rob Van Dam and Team 3-D were noticeably silent in paying homage to the man behind the original ECW.
Lastly, my favorite moment of the night was the return of Joel Gertner. Still sporting a pink neck brace, Gertner laid down a limerick as though he were still working weekly in the old ECW Arena. Absolutely brilliant.
In all, I'm left in an odd state. There wasn't anything great about the show, but there was nothing terrible about it, either. It was just another show, not the landscape-altering event the company president said it would be.
What did you guys think?
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