TNA Hardcore Justice gave me a tremendous sense of closure in the sense that I no longer desire to see any more ECW nostalgia shows. As I expected, the two main events delivered huge and the rest of the show had many enjoyable moments. The show was very fun to watch and brought back so many memories of how much I enjoyed wrestling as a kid. I would stay up to midnight on Saturdays and absolutely soak up every minute of ECW’s syndicated show that aired on a local channel in La Crosse, WI.
When I first heard that Jerry Lynn pulled out of his match with Rob Van Dam, I was initially disappointed as I loved the epic matches the two had back in the day. However I feel that Lynn’s apparent back injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise as RVD and Sabu absolutely tore the house down. While I did love Lynn’s matches with RVD I was never really invested into him as a wrestler as I was with RVD and Sabu. It was fantastic to see both men could still put on a classic match in 2010. While there are many extremely athletic and talented wrestlers these days, both RVD and Sabu have unique styles that have always made them stand out from their unique looks, moves, gestures, etc. It was exciting to see Fonzie right in the middle of the action again as well. I always thought he made a tremendous mouthpiece for both men and added so much to the tension they would try to build when they were a tag team. For one more night, Fonzie was calling it right down the middle.
The Tommy Dreamer and Raven match was also fantastic. Both men worked super hard and the match was dramatic and very fitting to do justice to the epic feud the men had in the original ECW. As always, Tommy Dreamer brought his heart and soul for this match. The passion he shows epitomizes the good things about the wrestling business. I loved the touch of Beulah and Tommy’s twin girls being at ringside and the involvement of Beulah at the end was great for people that loved the feud in the original ECW.
I always love seeing Tracy Smothers. His antics are absolutely hysterical and despite being old, he can still work. Initially when I seen the FBI comes out I thought they were going to face the Blue World Order. It would have been great to see another dance-off between Tracy Smothers and the Blue Meanie however the one they did have was still fun to watch.
The “Where are they now” and “I remember” segments added a lot to the show to show what the promotion meant and involve more people that ECW fans would still remember and care about.
As much as I would have liked to hear Joey Styles call this show I did not have any problem with Mike Tenay calling the show alongside Taz. Tenay is a true fan of the business and when he says he watched the original ECW every week, I have no doubt he did. They also did Joey Styles justice by featuring him in a segment as well as Tenay saying that he would gladly step aside for Styles if Styles wasn’t under a WWE contract. I feel as though Joey Styles should be up on a pedestal with Gordon Solie and Jim Ross as far as legendary wrestling announcers but sadly he may be the most underrated ever due to ECW’s demise and the WWE’s strict guidelines. But talking about underrated wrestling announcers I feel like Mike Tenay never gets his due. The man has an amazing knowledge of the business and was well ahead of his time in the mid-90s calling matches for WCW. His personality sure doesn’t fit the ECW style but his taste for the wrestling business at the time sure did.
I have never been a huge Stevie Richards fan but he did look in tremendous shape which brings up the point that there were many people on this card that could and should be a part of TNA. It is also kind of disappointing that the “monopoly” of sorts in the wrestling business with Vince owning many of the trademarks had to result in certain wrestler’s names having to be adjusted such as Justin Credible going by PJ Polaco, Balls Mahoney as Kahoneys, Tony Mamaluke as Tony Luke, etc. It isn’t really that big of a deal because the true fans know who they are and can look past the fact but in a way it was annoying. It would be one thing if Vince developed the gimmick and name but that was not the case for any of these guys.
There are certainly portions of this show I am going to have to go back and rewatch because they were just that good and certain parts I am going to rewatch because at the time I felt uninterested and didn’t pay as much attention to as I should have.
There have been very mixed reactions over this show from the moment it was conceptualized. Certain people just called Dixie Carter a dumb mark and others appreciated her for giving the show life. Some people thought that the show was very outdated in 2010 and while I admit certain parts of it was that was sort of the point of the show for the fans who wanted to be able to go back to the memories. However, especially shown in the RVD/Sabu match there are aspects of the original promotion that are still great in 2010 and hopefully the show opened some eyes.
In 2005 and 2006 I still had a longing for the promotion I loved so much and feel like it still would have been something great if it was still up and running. But now I feel content to see the performers I loved from ECW just wrestling in TNA. There is no need to have whole shows themed around ECW. It is true some of the performers are getting quite old but some still deserve to be furthering their careers in TNA or wherever they may be. The storylines and history of the wrestlers don’t need to be forgotten but the promotion is dead and so much time has passed.
However, I had one realization I should have had during the second One Night Stand. Especially in 2010, there is no recreating the magic the original ECW provided. You either had to be there in that time and live it or you will never understand. Whatever is the case, as much as I feel there are so many things wrong with the business there are always those special moments that make it so great and are the reason I still watch. When it comes to professional wrestling, there may be plenty I hate but I know I will always be a fan for life.