In a moment some thought possible, but nobody saw coming soon after leaving WWE Christian Cage he would appear in TNA Wrestling as one of the first major signings from WWE at the time. Early on from what I remember at this time TNA had focused on mostly developing their own stars and not grabbing anyone from WWE. If memory serves at this point TNA only had signed the Dudley Boys and Rhyno from WWE before they signed Christian.
It has been a while since I found an event worth talking about mostly, because it is easier to go for a birthday then expect to find an event worth remembering. Looking at this card we see the evidence of how deep the roster at the height of TNA. I remember these days with depth in Impact and fresh feuds still at the forefront of the programming. Like is often the case though looking at the show and remembering the faces that were once in TNA takes us back in the wrestling time machine, to think where some of these talent ended up or where they still are now is crazy. The focal of this show though is the fact that TNA trusted Christian enough to give him a chance to lead, partially due to them needing someone new on top and the other side of it was giving the fans a break from Jeff Jarrett. Either way though Christian got his first chance to be the face of the franchise in TNA on this day 14 years ago.
Against All Odds 2006
Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens Def. (Pin) Austin Aries & Roderick Strong
Jay Lethal Def. (Pin) Alex Shelley, Matt Bentley, Petey Williams Fatal 4-Way
B. G. James & Kip James Def. (Pin) Homicide & Machete
Chris Harris & James Storm Def. (Pin) Chris Sabin & Sonjay Dutt NWA Tag Team Titles
Rhino Def. (Pin) Abyss Falls Count Anywhere
Samoa Joe Def. (Pin) A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels Triple-Threat NWA X-Division Title
Brother Devon & Brother Ray Def. (Pin) Bobby Roode & Eric Young
Christian Cage Def. (Pin) Jeff Jarrett (C) NWA World Heavyweight Title
It has been a while since I've done this series, but after looking for an article for the day I decided to go with Impact as there stuff worth writing about. I have to praise Impact for clearly having a long term plan again as this episode focused a lot of attention on the further development of Ace Austin. Even though it is possible that Tessa will be fighting Sami in a rematch, but I believe that giving us a taste of Ace in the main event would be a step in the right direction. In my opinion, Josh said it best that his match with Dreamer showed us a side of Austin that we have never seen before and that he can get serious. I think the future will be bright for Ace Austin in Impact Wrestling.
Seeing the next step of the build between Rosemary, Susie, and Havok remained me of the reasons that I didn't like the feud at the beginning as I thought they took it to far. However, seeing things almost come full circle also peaked my interest from the long term story telling side of things. In a way I guess you can say that I'm torn between hating and liking this feud, but I will be paying attention to see where things go from here. Impact still is the category of a show I would recommend at least giving a shot to and passing on just based on their past.
As I mentioned in the first part of this article I will elaborate on some of my decision making after explaining the changes I would've made to the Hardcore Justice 2010 event. In my opinion, at the time of Hardcore Justice 2010 the last thing we really needed was another full bore nod to Extreme Championship Wrestling. At that time the amount of "reunion shows" we had seen in the nine years since ECW had gone out of business was way high then it really needed to be and what was really needed was a unique spin on an overdone idea. It is for that reason I chose to put said spin on the event by including ECW alumni on the show, but in some cases putting them up against top TNA stars. Click here for Part 1!
The first change I wanted to address was having CW Anderson win a battle royal featuring ECW alumni where the winner would earn a contract that couldn't be terminated for one year. The reason I selected CW Anderson is the fact that even to this day Anderson can still go in the ring he has a safe believable style that would elevate talent in ways that not everyone can. One thing that I feel like is missing in some cases from wrestling today is wrestlers who aren't afraid to be a little stiff like Bob Holly, Bradshaw, Anderson, Regal, etc where back in the day. Another reason for Anderson's selection is that would make a perfect bodyguard for a cocky heel needing some protection.
The next change I would make sure that Rob would have his title on the line against Sabu, because unless there is a good reason the World Title should always be on the line. I would then set up an in-ring segment on Impact with Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and Bill Alfonso to say goodbye to that chapter of his career. As far as Jay Lethal is concerned after ending his feud with Ric Flair he'd be interrupted by the Blue World Order including Hollywood Nova, Blue Meanie, and Stevie Richards. The reason for this feud would be to drop the comedic side of Jay Lethal's character and move him to a more serious character much like the character he would develop in Ring of Honor. For the most part during his career in TNA he was comedic relief and never got serious until he left for ROH.
Looking at the Dudley Boys vs Motor City Machine Guns match it would be the feud to end the Dudley Boys as an attempt to establish Motor City Machine Guns as the top top in TNA and the future of the division. In my opinion, TNA always struggled to give the stars they established the chance to run with the ball and that is the reason I made the booking decisions I've made with Hardcore Justice. Looking ahead this would change the booking for the remainder of 2010 as it is unneeded for RVD to be taken and Immortal to be formed. I would move Rob into a feud with Mr. Anderson to give him a fresh challenger and Jay Lethal into a feud with Kurt Angle to further attempt to establish Jay as possible threat to RVD and the World Title.
The remaining events of 2010 top matches would be as followed:
#1 Contender Match to fight Rob Van Dam
Mr. Anderson vs Kurt Angle vs Jeff Hardy vs Jay Lethal
(c) Motor City Machine Guns & Dudley Boys vs Fortune
Bound For Glory:
TNA World Championship Match:
(c) Rob Van Dam vs Mr. Anderson
Fortune (Kazarian & Daniels) Vs (c) Motor City Machine Guns
TNA Television Championship Match:
(c) AJ Styles vs Brother Ray
Kurt Angle vs Jay Lethal (Draw)
Loser Leaves Town Triple Threat for TNA World Championship:
(c) Rob Van Dam vs Tommy Dreamer vs Jeff Hardy (Dreamer is gone)
2 out of 3 Falls Match:
Jay Lethal vs Kurt Angle
One More Match: TNA World Tag Team Championship
(c) Motor City Machine Guns vs Team 3D (If Team 3D loses they will never team together again *Brother Ray turns into Bully after this event)
AJ Styles vs Douglas Williams
TNA World Championship Match:
(c) Rob Van Dam vs Jay Lethal
Lethal celebrates with other faces from TNA Locker Room ending the year in tears as champion
AJ Styles & Motor City Machine Guns vs Beer Money & Douglas Williams
Kurt Angle vs Christopher Daniels
(Post Match handshake with Daniels & Angle raises questions of who Daniels is with in Fortune fractured)
TNA Television Championship Match:
(c) Bully Ray vs Brother Runt (Devon runs into save Runt after Bully tries to beat him down post match)
Note: I'd go the long way for a pay-off with Devon vs Bully Ray, because they had been a team for almost twenty years at that point and it shouldn't just immediately develop into a blood feud. At first there should be resist on Devon's side to want to fight Bully until he has all he can take and they finally come to blows which would likely happen in April just before Lockdown letting them have their first meeting inside a Cage. Fortune Fractured would give the members of Fortune some substance to what was actually a disappointing break-up to team that had a ton of talent in it's ranks. As for the World Champion seeing Jay Lethal on top of TNA would make TNA unique again and erase some of the bad taste they had left fans mouths earlier in the year, because it would make TNA seem like an alternative again. Remember in 2010 someone like Jay Lethal many thought could never have been champion in WWE little did we know.
Since the end of Extreme Championship Wrestling a number of both wrestlers and promotions have attempted to sell tickets using ECW's legacy. In my opinion, one or two shows would've been enough by the end of the tribute show craze fans were burned out. One of the last ECW tribute were from Impact Wrestling called Hardcore Justice in August 2010. The card for the event is featured below:
Hardcore Justice 2010
The FBI (Tracy Smothers, Little Guido, & Tony Luke) (w/ Sal E. Graziano) defeated Kid Kash, Simon Diamond, & Johnny Swinger (10:43)
2 Cold Scorpio defeated CW Anderson (6:46)
Stevie Richards (w/ The Blue Guy & Hollywood Nova) defeated P.J. Polaco (6:31)
Rhino defeated Al Snow & Brother Runt in a Three Way Dance Match (5:49)
Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) (w/ Joel Gertner) defeated Axl Rotten & Kahoneys in a tag team Street Fight (11:55)
Raven defeated Tommy Dreamer (16:59)
Rob Van Dam (w/ Bill Alphonso) defeated Sabu (w/ Bill Alphonso) (17:12)
This event is one of the embodiment's of why 2010 is one of the worst years in the history of pro-wrestling and it wasn't just in TNA as 2010 in WWE was just as bad in TNA or in some cases even worse. At the time of this event Rob Van Dam was TNA World Champion and defending the World Title against Sabu in the main event could've added an extra wrinkle to the event. The month before at Victory Road we saw Jay Lethal gain the biggest victory of his career against Ric Flair, but his momentum halted for this show. Seeing Jay Lethal go head to head with either Rhino or Stevie Richards would've been a nice use of his talents to get him on this show and keep building forward momentum.
The last change I would've made is moving some ECW Originals into a battle royal where the winner would receive a contract with TNA that could not be terminated for one year. I'd let CW Anderson take the win as having a veteran presence on the roster is never a bad thing and it would've helped having fresh veteran on programming who in my book still seems like a bad ass. I would've kept Raven vs Tommy Dreamer, because this was the last time these two fought and it was a good match to end a legendary feud on. The other match I would've kept is Rob Van Dam vs Sabu, but I would've put the World Title on the line instead of making it non title. Overall if I had the chance to redo this event I would've mixed in a lot of the current stars of TNA Wrestling at the time to give the "reunion show" a different and unique feel instead of making it similar to One Night Stand or the other reunions that had happened. Also no offense to Tazz and Mike Tenay, but I would've also tried to have Don Callis making at least a guest appearance during the show even if it was to manage Rhino. Below is the card I would've had for this event:
Hard Justice 2010:
ECW Originals Battle Royal: Winner Recieves a Contract with TNA that can't be terminated for one year
Winner CW Anderson
Jay Lethal vs Stevie Richards w/ Hollywood Nova & Blue Meanie
X-Division Championship Four Corners Match:
2 Cold Scorpio vs (c) Doug Williams vs Little Gudio vs Kid Kash
TNA Tag Team Championship Match: Street Fight
(c) Motor City Machine Guns vs Team 3D (Brother Ray & Devon) with Joel Gertner
Rhino vs Al Snow
One Final Match:
Raven vs Tommy Dreamer
Mick Foley as Special Guest Referee
TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match:
(c) Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso vs Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso
Note: Stay tuned for Part 2 as I attempt to explain where I'd go from there and why I made the choices I did with the talent. For the most part I will be going through the show to explain the background behind the matches I made and how this would be different from the "Reunion show" we got, but still be able to be considered a "reunion show."
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