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Hard Justice (2008) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), which took place on August 10, 2008 at the Sovereign Bank Arenamarker in Trenton, New Jerseymarker. It was the fourth annual event under the Hard Justice chronology. Seven professional wrestling matches were featured on the event's card.

The main event saw Samoa Joe defeat Booker T, who was accompanied by Sharmell, in a steel structure with six sides that was filled with weapons—a match titled a Six Sides of Steel Weapons match—to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. A.J. Styles defeated Kurt Angle in the second main match on the card in which the wrestler who was unable to respond to a ten count by the referee would lose. Two tag team matches were featured bouts scheduled on the undercard. In the first, Christian Cage and Rhino defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) in a New Jerseymarker Street Fight in which no one could be disqualified. The second was for the TNA World Tag Team Championship, in which Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm) defeated the champions, The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez), to win the championship.

The event marked the beginning of a return angle for Jeff Jarrett, who had not been active in the company since May 2007, when Samoa Joe used the signature weapon of Jarrett's (an acoustic guitar) in his match with Booker T. When the event was released on DVD, it reached a peak position of number five on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart. Wrestling Observer.com and 411Mania.com writer Larry Csonka rated the entire event a 7.6 out of 10 stars, higher than the 2007 event's rating of 4.

Background

The event featured seven professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines. Wrestlers were portrayed as either villains or heroes in the scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.

Booker T, who fought Samoa Joe for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Hard Justice
The main event at Hard Justice was a Six Sides of Steel Weapons match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship between the champion, Samoa Joe, and the challenger, Booker T, who was accompanied by Sharmell. At TNA's July PPV event, Victory Road, Joe retained the championship by default in a match with Booker T. It ended in a no contest as a result of Joe assaulting security, referees, and Booker T, which caused Sting to enter the arena to try and calm Joe down. Joe ignored Sting's request and continue his attack on Booker T, which provoked Sting to attack him with a baseball bat. Booker T then covered Joe and Sharmell counted the pinfall victory, since the referee had earlier in the match been scripted to seem unconscious. Booker T and Sharmell then left the arena with the World Heavyweight Championship. On the July 17 episode of TNA's primary television program, TNA Impact!, authority figure Jim Cornette demanded that Booker T give the championship back to Joe, which Booker T refused, so Cornette set up a rematch between Joe and Booker T for Hard Justice to determine the true champion. Joe then entered the arena and declined Cornette's offer for Booker T to give him the championship back; because he did not feel that he deserved it since he was pinned by Booker T at Victory Road, though Joe was still recognized as the official champion. On the July 24 episode of Impact!, Joe challenged Booker T to contest their championship match inside a 16 foot (4.9 m) high steel structure with six sides known as Six Sides of Steel, which Booker T accepted and added the stipulation that weapons would be allowed in the match. On the July 31 episode of Impact!, while Joe and Booker T were fighting in a ring surrounded by the Six Sides of Steel, a baseball bat; similar to the one that Sting used at Victory Road; was dropped from the ceiling by a rope to Booker T, which he used to knockout Joe.

Kurt Angle versus A.J. Styles in a Last Man Standing match was second main match on the card. Before TNA's June PPV event, Slammiversary, Angle and Styles had a scripted physical altercation during an episode of Impact!, which was later revealed to have been motivated by Angle believing that Styles was romantically involved with his real-life wife, Karen Angle. Angle and Styles fought at Slammiversary in a standard wrestling match and at Victory Road in a Six Man Tag Team Full Metal Mayhem match, with Angle partnering with Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon), and Styles with Christian Cage and Rhino. In a Full Metal Mayhem match, two or more competitors fight to either gain a pinfall, submission, or climb a ladder to retrieve an envelope or a championship belt in no disqualification rules. On the July 31 episode of Impact!, Styles came to the ring and demanded that Sting come out an explain his actions at Victory Road and if he was involved in helping Booker T attack Joe, which had just taken place. The lights went out in the arena and when they came back on, Styles was standing in the Six Sides of Steel with Angle standing behind him. Angle then grabbed Styles and lifted him up and slammed him down to the mat in a move that Angle dubbed the Olympic slam, which he performed three times in succession. Afterward during an interview, Styles challenged Angle to a match to end their rivalry at Hard Justice, which was later announced to be contested under Last Man Standing rules. In a Last Man Standing match, two competitors fight until one is unable to reach to his feet before a referee counts to ten.

Team 3D's (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) and Christian Cage and Rhino's rivalry began at TNA's May PPV event, Sacrifice, when Cage and Rhino lost to Team 3D in the semi-finals of The Deuces Wild Tag Team Tournament for the vacant TNA World Tag Team Championship. Their rivalry continued with Cage and Rhino helping to protect The Latin American Xchange's (Homicide and Hernandez) (LAX) manager, Hector Guerrero; whom Team 3D were having a storyline rivalry with at the time over the World Tag Team Championship; from attacks by Team 3D. Before and after Victory Road, multiple altercations took place on Impact! between Team 3D and Cage and Rhino. In one instance, Brother Ray lifted Cage up onto his shoulders and threw him down from the top of one of the six padded turnbuckles through a glass table in a moved called a powerbomb on June 26. On July 31, Team 3D cost Cage and Rhino a match against Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm) to be number one contenders to the World Tag Team Championship. After the match, Cage challenged Team 3D to a match contested under no disqualification rules, which Cage dubbed a New Jerseymarker Street Fight, at Hard Justice; Team 3D accepted.

In the tag team division, LAX and Beer Money, Inc. were having an on-screen rivalry over the TNA World Tag Team Championship. At Victory Road, LAX successfully defended the World Tag Team Championship against Beer Money, Inc in a match where real-life fans where placed around the ring with a leather straps to whip anyone who came outside the ring in a match TNA called a "Fan's Revenge" Lumberjack Strap match. In the following weeks, Beer Money, Inc. assaulted both a planted fan, an actor posing as a fan, as well as LAX's manager. On the July 31 episode of Impact!, Beer Money, Inc defeated Cage and Rhino to gain a chance to fight LAX at Hard Justice for the World Tag Team Championship. On the August 7 episode of Impact! after a match pitting the team of LAX, Cage, and Rhino against the team of Team 3D and Beer Money, Inc, Team 3D introduced a glass table into the ring, however, Beer Money grabbed Homicide and powerbombed him through it, while in the process injuring his right eye, according to the plot.

Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt were involved in a rivalry over SoCal Val's heart, according to the narrative. At Slammiversary, Dutt ruined Lethal's and Val's wedding reception by confessing he was in love with Val. After Lethal turned to check on Val, Dutt struck him with a tower that was part of the set. As a result of the confrontation, Lethal and Dutt fought in a match at Victory Road, which Dutt won. After a series of events between Dutt and Lethal, TNA began to promote a Black Tie Brawl and Chain match between the two at Hard Justice. A Black Tie Brawl and Chain match is a match where both of the participants wear tuxedos and are attached by a steel chain; the winner of the match is the first to remove his opponent's tuxedo or score a pinfall.

Event

Before Hard Justice aired live on PPV, a predetermined segment took place outside of the arena between Lauren Thompson (Lauren Brooke) and Sting, who had just made his unknown and unscheduled scripted arrival. Thompson repeatedly asked him about his actions at Victory Road and possibly helping Angle and Booker T on Impact! in the weeks leading to the event. Sting, however, remained silent while entering the arena.

The event officially began with a live performance of the official theme song for the event, "AyAyAya", by Filthee along with Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel. The show was advertised to also feature an appearance by rapper Ice-T, but he was absent with no reason given and was seemingly replaced with Mel. It was later revealed that Ice-T was unable to attend as a result of "travel problems".

Preliminary matches

Petey Williams defended the TNA X Division Championship against Consequences Creed at Hard Justice.
The first match at Hard Justice was for the TNA X Division Championship, between the champion, Petey Williams—accompanied by Rhaka Khan—and Consequences Creed. Towards the end of the match, Creed lifted up Khan and spun her 90° in the air and then fell to his back, forcing Khan's face into the mat to perform a move called a TKO. While the referee was attending to Khan, Sheik Abdul Bashir entered the arena and grabbed a steel chair. In the ring, Creed set Williams up for a running clothesline. When he bounced off the ropes, Bashir hit Creed in the back with the chair, which allowed Williams to grab Creed, jump over Creed's back, while at the same time pulling Creed's head backwards, causing him to perform a backflip, and slam Creed's head into the mat with a move Williams dubbed the Canadian Destroyer to gain the pinfall victory and retain the X Division Championship.

The next encounter was a Six Woman Tag Team match with Traci Brooks as Special Guest Referee for the bout pitting the team of The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky) and Awesome Kong, who were accompanied by Raisha Saeed, against the team of Gail Kim, O.D.B., and Taylor Wilde. After both teams fought back and forth with neither gaining much advantage for a while, Wilde pinned Love by sitting on her chest and holding her shoulders down for the three count in a pinning maneuver called a straddle.

The TNA World Tag Team Championship match was next pitting the champions, The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez), who were accompanied by Salinas and Hector Guerrero, against Beer Money, Inc (Robert Roode and James Storm), who were accompanied by Jacqueline. While LAX were making their way to the ring, Filthee performed their entrance music and accompanied them. Throughout the match, Storm and Roode attacked Homicide's right eye since it had been injured on Impact!. Beer Money, Inc claimed victory in the match when Homicide was setting Storm up for his finishing maneuver Da Gringo Killa. Roode then entered the ring and crashed a beer bottle over Homicide's right eye while the referee was not looking, followed by Storm pinning Homicide to win the World Tag Team Championship.

Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt fought in a Black Tie Brawl and Chain match next. Most of the match was dominated by Lethal as he used the chain to his advantage and repeatedly pulled Dutt into different types of moves. The finish saw Lethal perform a elbow drop from the top rope to gain the pinfall victory.

Main Event matches

The fifth match was the encounter of Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) and Christian Cage and Rhino in a New Jersey Street Fight. The encounter started off as an all out brawl between the four men. Team 3D gain the advantage early, by attacking Cage and Rhino while they had their backs turned to them. The conclusion to the match saw Rhino performing a running shoulder block to Ray aimed at a table. When Rhino and Ray hit the table it did not break, causing the fans at the Sovereign Bank Arenamarker to "boo" at what professional wrestling fans like to call a botch: an unplanned failing of a spot or move. After the botch, Rhino pinned Ray to claim victory in the match for Cage and himself. Following the match, an ally of Team 3D's, Johnny Devine, entered the arena with a kendo stick, which they used to attack Cage and Rhino. Abyss came to their aid, by dismantling Team 3D and Devine with his size and strength advantage. While Ray and Devon were making their escape, Abyss grabbed Devine and spun 360° before slamming Devine into the mat back first to perform a move Abyss calls the "Black Hole Slam".

A.J.
Styles defeated Kurt Angle in a Last Man Standing match at Hard Justice.
A Last Man Standing match between A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle was next. Though the match was advertised to be a Last Man Standing match, at Hard Justice the match was contested under Texas Death match rules. Under the new rules, the only way to win the contest was for a wrestler to pin his opponent, and then the opponent had until the count of ten to get up and stand on two feet or he would lose the match. The conclusion of the match scripted Angle and Styles standing on the top of one of the six padded turnbuckles. Styles grabbed Angle's head and fell backwards to slam Angle's head and neck into the mat by performing a DDT. Styles pinned Angle to start the count, and Angle did not reach to his feet before the count of ten which meant Styles was declared the winner. After the match, while EMTs were attending to Angle, Styles entered the ring and lifted up Angle and dropped him right on on the back on his head and neck again to performed a modified fisherman suplex. Styles left the ring and walked up the ramp while leaving a motionless Angle in the ring with the EMTs. When Styles approached the top of the ramp, the lights in the arena went off, and when they came back on, Sting appeared holding Styles under his arm. Sting then performed a reverse DDT on Styles, followed by Sting walking to the backstage area while Kevin Nash looked on disapprovingly.

In the main event, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was contested inside a Six Sides of Steel Weapons match, in which the champion, Samoa Joe, defended it against Booker T, who was holding the championship around his waist and accompanied by Sharmell. From the start, Joe and Booker T tried to use the weapons that were inside the cage. In one instance, Joe placed two chairs in the middle of the ring and stacked them, he then lifted Booker T up to slam him on them in a move called a Muscle Buster, however, he counter the move when they got to the chairs and lifted Joe up and slammed him down onto the chairs in a move Booker T dubbed the "Book End". In the final minutes, Booker T set Joe up for a kick to the back of the head called a scissors kick, however, when he came close the lights went off. When the lights came back on, Joe was standing behind Booker T with a guitar in his hand. After Booker T turned around, Joe slammed the guitar over his head and pinned him to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

Aftermath

Other on-screen talent
Commentator Mike Tenay
Don West
Hector Guerrero
Willie Urbina
Ring announcer Jeremy Borash
David Penzer
Referee Earl Hebner
Rudy Charles
Mark "Slick" Johnson
Andrew Thomas
Interviewers Jeremy Borash
Lauren Thompson
On the episode of Impact after Hard Justice, Jim Cornette announced that at TNA's next PPV event, No Surrender, Samoa Joe would defend the championship against three competitors in a match entitled Four Ways to Glory. Christian Cage, Kurt Angle, and Booker T all won entrance into the match. At No Surrender, Joe retained the championship after Jeff Jarrett entered the ring while the referee was unconscious and stuck Angle over the head with a guitar, which allowed Joe to gain the pinfall victory. As a result of Hurricane Ike causing all flights out of Houston, Texasmarker to become grounded, Booker T, who resides in Houston, could not make it to the event, which took place in Canadamarker.

Styles went on to have a short rivalry with Frank Trigg, which began after Trigg assaulted Styles on the September 4 episode of Impact!. The two had an encounter in a Mixed Martial Arts match at No Surrender, which ended in a no contest.

Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt continued their rivalry at No Surrender in a Ladder of Love match, where a wrestler must climb a ladder to retrieve a ring that was hanging by a wire. The winner would get to marry SoCal Val. Dutt defeated Lethal in the match with help from Val. Meanwhile, The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez) got their rematch with Beer Money, Inc (Robert Roode and James Storm) for the TNA World Tag Team Championship at No Surrender, in a losing effort as Beer Money, Inc retained the championship. Moreover, Petey Williams later lost the TNA X Division Championship to Sheik Abdul Bashir in a match involving three competitors called a 3-Way Dance at No Surrender, which also involved Consequences Creed.

Reception

411Mania.com and Wrestling Observer.com writer Larry Csonka rated the entire event a 7.6 out of 10 stars, which was higher than the 2007 event's rating of 4 out of 10 stars. The Last Man Standing match was rated a 4 out of 5 stars, while the main event for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was rated a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Phil Allely, a journalist for United Kingdommarker newspaper The Sun, stated in his review of Hard Justice that the Last Man Standing match "was the match of the night" and that "Kurt Angle and AJ Styles tore the house down." When referring to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship match, he claimed he felt it was a "decent main event". The event was released on DVD on November 11, 2008 by TNA Home Video in a box set titled the "Cross The Line 3-Pack"; also included were the 2008 Victory Road and No Surrender DVDs. The boxset reached a peak position of number five on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart for recreational sports during the week of December 6, 2008. During the week of December 13, it fell from position number five to position number sixteen, though remaining on the chart for the second week in a row.

Results

# Matches Stipulations Times
1 Petey Williams (with Rhaka Khan) (c) defeated Consequences Creed Standard wrestling match for the TNA X Division Championship 12:30
2 Gail Kim, Taylor Wilde and O.D.B. defeated Awesome Kong (with Raisha Saeed) and The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky and Angelina Love) Six Woman Tag Team match 11:27
3 Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm) (with Jacqueline) defeated The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez) (with Hector Guerrero and Salinas) (c) Tag Team match for the TNA World Tag Team Championship 14:15
4 Jay Lethal defeated Sonjay Dutt Black Tie Brawl and Chain match 11:14
5 Christian Cage and Rhino defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) New Jerseymarker Street Fight 15:22
6 A.J. Styles defeated Kurt Angle Last Man Standing match 24:50
7 Samoa Joe (c) defeated Booker T (with Sharmell) Six Sides of Steel Weapons match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship 12:44


See also



References

External links




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