Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice 2021: Call It A Wrestlemania Surprise
Hardcore Justice 2021
Date: April 10, 2021
Location: Skyway Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: D’Lo Brown, Matt Striker
It’s the Impact Wrestling Wrestlemania weekend offering with the hardcore themed show, as operated by Tommy Dreamer. Now for once this actually makes sense, though somehow Dreamer is likely to be main eventing the show as well. The card looks decent and has been built up on Impact as of late, so it feels like an actually pay per view. Let’s get to it.
The opening video features Eric Young talking about how he has a sickness and violence is the only cure. Tommy Dreamer has that same sickness and tonight, Young is willing to provide the cure for him.
Ace Austin/Madman Fulton vs. TJP/Fallah Bahh vs. Josh Alexander/Petey Williams
Austin, TJP and Alexander are feuding over the X-Division Title and got to pick their own partners. Alexander gets run over by the huge Bahh to start, including getting knocked to the floor. Back in and Bahh strikes away but Alexander takes him down by the leg. Williams comes in but gets knocked into the corner by TJP. A drop toehold lets Williams hit a dropkick to the back, only to get pulled into TJP’s Octopus variation. It’s off to Austin, who is taken down for a nasty arm crank from TJP.
Bahh comes back in and gets caught in the corner for some shoulders from Fulton. Some double teaming sets up a running crossbody to Bahh’s kneeling back for two but Bahh backdrops his way to freedom. Williams tags himself in to take over on Austin and it’s back to Alexander for a quick German suplex. A blind tag brings Fulton back in to side slam Alexander for two and a big boot lets Austin come back in.
Austin’s spinning legdrop gets two but Alexander pops back up with a powerslam. Austin kicks him into the corner for the hot tag to TJP and the pace picks up. There’s a tornado DDT to Austin and everything breaks down. Bahh crossbodies Fulton down and the Mamba Splash hits Austin but Alexander tags himself in to steal the near fall. Williams Sharpshooters Austin and Alexander ankle locks Fulton but TJP grabs a choke on Williams at the same time.
Bahh breaks the whole thing up and it’s Fulton having to save Austin from the Canadian Destroyer. Everything breaks down again and Fulton cleans house with everyone going down. TJP knocks Alexander into the corner for a facewash and the Canadian Destroyer hits TJP. Williams stomps on Bahh’s ankle and Alexander ankle locks him for the tap at 13:41.
Rating: B-. This was exactly what it should have been with a hot opener featuring some talented people. The Canadian Destroyer may have become one of the biggest jokes in wrestling but there is still a little something special about Williams using it. This was all about the main trio though and they could tear the house down at Rebellion. Good stuff here and they’re off to a solid start.
Here’s what’s coming today.
Hernandez vs. Shera
This is a chairs match dubbed Chairly Legal. Dang it why do I have to love puns? The exchange of shoulders goes to Shera and he hammers away in the corner. Hernandez gets in a shot of his own though and the first chair shot goes over Shera’s back. Some chairs are set up at ringside but Hernandez spends too much time on the building, allowing Shera to chair him down. Back in and Hernandez gets in a chair shot of his own and wedges some chairs in the corner.
Shera goes face first into a chair in the middle of the ring for two and the big ax handles keep him down. A quick spinebuster gives Shera two and they head outside with Hernandez taking over again. Some chairs are thrown in and Shera manages to superplex him onto the pile for two. Hernandez is right back up with chair shots of his own but here is Rohit Raju to blast Hernandez with a chair. A confused Shera gets the pin at 9:01.
Rating: C. Another not too bad match here with Shera getting a lot better, mainly due to not having everything focused on some stupid dance. The chairs were the focal point here and they didn’t go outside of that, which made enough sense for a one off match like this. Hernandez is fine in this role and that is all he needs to be. Not a great match but it fit in well on a show like this one.
We go to Swinger’s Palace where Chris Sabin and James Storm aren’t happy with being told to take the night off. XXXL comes in and can’t get a seat so a match is set up for…well actually one isn’t because XXXL gets to sit down. Matt Cardona comes in to ask what the deal is around here. He says Swinger has been in wrestling for 150 years so here is Dreamer to it’s MATCH TIME. This isn’t Wrestle House….but Dreamer is in charge so we’re having Cardona vs. Swinger in a Crate American Bash.
Doc Gallows vs. Black Taurus
Karl Anderson and Crazzy Steve are here too. Taurus hammers away to start but misses a crossbody, allowing Gallows to hit a clothesline to take over. Gallows knocks him down again and hammers away, including an uppercut to cut off a comeback attempt. A suplex sets up a chinlock for a bit before a trip to the floor.
Taurus is sent over the barricade and we head back inside for another chinlock. With that broken up, Gallows hits a bit boot but Taurus fights up with a shot to the ace. A top rope clothesline sets up a 619 into a missile dropkick for two on Gallows. Anderson offers a distraction though and it’s a superkick into a chokebomb to finish Taurus at 9:01.
Rating: D+. This was mostly a squash until Taurus had a nice comeback. I like Taurus a good bit but there is no way he should be beating Gallows here. That being said, there is only so much that can be done when Gallows isn’t exactly giving him much throughout the match. The Brothers are not exactly my favorite people in Impact and this didn’t do much to change that idea.
Violent By Design is ready to cure Tommy Dreamer and company.
Matt Cardona vs. Johnny Swinger
Crate American Bash, meaning there is a crate at every corner with something inside to use. Swinger, with the Swingerellas, gets rolled up to start and lies about the tights being pulled. Back up and Swinger hits a strut but needs to hide in the ropes, allowing Cardona to do his own strut, which will always work. Some forearms to the back set up a Paul Orndorff elbow on Cardona and it’s time to grab the first crate. Inside….is a framed photo of Scott Hall, which is a call back to the WCW version of this match because reasons.
Swinger knocks him off the apron and into the barricade for a breather. Back in and Swinger goes for the second crate but Cardona takes him down with a jawbreaker. Swinger pulls him off the ropes though and opens the second crate to find…a rat trap. Ok that was funny. Cardona gets his knees up in the corner and adds the middle rope dropkick.
Back up and a collision gives us another double knockdown but Cardona is up first. The third crate has….something Cardona likes but he doesn’t pull it out. Swinger gets the other crate and finds some brass knuckles for a big smile. That’s about it for the smiling though as he charges into Radio Silence for the pin at 7:53.
Rating: C-. Total comedy match here and there is nothing wrong with that. Swinger is someone who has gone from a complete groan to one of the more entertaining things about Impact Wrestling, which has been a great surprise. I’m guessing the third crate has some kind of toy or action figure inside, which would be appropriate for the match, though it does make me wonder why Dreamer had these things sitting around. Anyway, this was fine.
Cardona takes the third crate with him.
Flashback Moment of the Week: Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu at Hardcore Justice 2010. You need this on a taped pay per view? This eats up nearly ten minutes.
XXXL is having trouble keeping up with James Storm and Chris Sabin’s drinking.
Here is Sami Callihan to say he tries to help people, including Trey Miguel. It worked last week and under his mentoring, Miguel could reach the next level. Passion is about taking what you want and since Sami wants to be on Hardcore Justice, he is going to be on Hardcore Justice. The open challenge is on.
Sami Callihan vs. Sam Beale
Beale is Miguel’s student and Sami runs him over to start. Sami offers him a free shot and then knocks Beale down again. Beale’s face is rubbed into the mat and Sami bites him a bit before taking it outside. Some right hands have little effect on Sami, who snaps off a t-bone suplex to drop Beale again. Back in and Beale rolls him up for two so Sami nails a hard clothesline. The package piledriver finishes Beale at 4:05.
Rating: D+. This was a storyline advancement rather than a match and while I’m not a fan of the angle, it’s not like they spent a lot of time on it. Sami messing with Trey is either going to result in a big match at Rebellion or them being the Tag Team Champions. Neither is overly appealing but PLEASE DON’T MAKE THEM A REGULAR TEAM! Just let them fight and be done with it already.
We recap Brian Myers damaging Matt Cardona’s eye Jake Something’s eye. Therefore, it’s a hardcore blindfold match.
Brian Myers vs. Jake Something
Striker: “Look up the last time someone named Jake was in a blindfold match.” Good grief. They’re both blindfolded and there are weapons at ringside. Myers gets knocked outside early on and finds a trashcan lid to take Something down. In a smart move, Myers grabs him by the wrist and then finds another weapon to hit him in the head. They head back inside with Myers dropping him again and covering, albeit with Jake on his stomach.
Back up and Jake manages a sitout powerbomb, followed by some Scott Hall style shoulders while holding Myers’ wrist. Myers manages to find the referee and send him into Jake. The knockdown allows Myers to pull up the mask and hit a low superkick, which draws out Cardona with the third crate. Cardona slaps the mat for a distraction and slides Jake the crate. A shot to the head knocks Myers out and opens the crate, revealing a bunch of action figures. Jake hits a Boss Man Slam for the pin at 5:14.
Rating: D+. Another match that wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a fun idea that advanced a bigger story. In that regard it worked out well and it isn’t like this is going to be anything more than that. Cardona vs. Myers is slowly growing on me and as long as it doesn’t get treated as anything overly serious, it should work out well. Now give Jake a new last name and everything gets better.
Tommy Dreamer and his team (Rich Swann/Willie Mack/Eddie Edwards) are ready for Violent By Design.
Rosemary vs. Alisha vs. Havok vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Susan vs. Tenille Dashwood
Weapons match and the winner gets a Knockouts Title shot at Rebellion. Actually hold on as Su Yung comes out to attack Susan and we have a replacement. Yung is too much for Dashwood, who runs off rather than deal with her. Grace hammers on Alisha in the corner while Rosemary and Havok knock Young outside. That team lasts all of three seconds before they knock each other to the floor. Dashwood grabs Grace’s leg so the chase is on, meaning Kaleb With A K almost hits Dashwood with a frying pan by mistake.
It’s time for the staple gun and Kaleb With A K takes the shot to save Dashwood. That leaves Havok to legdrop Alisha for two with Grace making the save. The big staredown goes to Grace, who cuts off Alisha’s try with a trashcan. Grace plants Alisha for two with Yung making the save this time as you can see Susan being taken to the back (only took the referees the better part of ten minutes to help her). Yung beats on Grace until Havok comes in with a noose to take her down. Rosemary gets the Upside Down on Grace and it’s time for little red bag of thumbtacks.
Alisha hits something like a reverse DDT to drive Rosemary into them before whipping out a kendo stick (which is dubbed Kendra). Yung gives Alisha the Mandible Claw to cut that off and drag her away, which can’t end well. Havok and Grace slug it out with Havok knocking her down (allowing Striker to get in the always wrong “they’re all the same height on the mat”) and going up. Cue Nevaeh to throw powder in Havok’s eyes though and Kaleb With A K adds a superkick. Grace is back up with a Vader Bomb to Havok but Dashwood comes in and steals the pin at 9:43.
Rating: C-. This started to drag a bit in the middle but Dashwood winning actually surprised me. It is nice to see her FINALLY moving up as she has every tool imaginable but for some reason nothing has clicked yet. The weapons were a pretty minor part here but hopefully this leads to Yung returning full time. Susan isn’t working so give us what works better for a change. Not much of a match, but the right person won.
XXXL is very drunk but still want their match. James Storm says it’s time…..to play beer pong apparently. Chris Sabin throws the ball at the cup and knocks it off the table, so Larry D. offers to show him how it’s done. This misses completely, with Swinger dubbing him Knuckleball Schwartz. Storm throws a ball at Larry and the fight is on with Storm and Sabin standing tall, allowing Storm to drop a ball in the cup for the win. Swinger panics because he forgot to pay for his insurance.
Deonna Purrazzo talks about how important Jazz is but her time has passed. Tonight Purrazzo will prove that and it is title vs. career.
Knockouts Title: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Jazz
Jazz is challenging with her career on the line. An early spinwheel kick gives Jazz two and she starts in on the arm. That’s fine with Purrazzo, who catches her with an arm snap across the top rope. The armbar is on but Jazz gets in an elbow to the face, only to get pulled into a Downward Spiral for two. Purrazzo stays on the arm and ties Jazz’s limbs around the bottom rope for a change of pace. Some kicks put Jazz on the floor so she has to pull herself back in, allowing Purrazzo to stomp away some more.
They head outside with Purrazzo hammering away until Jazz runs her over. It’s time to throw in some weapons and they head inside again, with Jazz nailing the snap jabs. An X Factor gets two but Purrazzo goes after the arm again to take over. The title is brought in but Purrazzo pulls it away and chairs her down. A DDT onto the chair gives Jazz two and frustration is setting in. Jazz can’t get a double chickenwing so Purrazzo snaps off an exploder suplex. The Queen’s Gambit retains the title at 13:08.
Rating: C+. They were going for the big, emotional moment here and came pretty close to nailing it. Jazz might not be the biggest legend of all time but she has wrestled everywhere and done pretty well for a long time, so it is more than ok to give her something like this. Solid enough match too, making this feel like a good co-main event.
Post match Purrazzo leaves and Jazz gets the big sendoff, with Jordynne Grace coming in to thank her. This would be a lot better if Striker would shut up about Mama calling on the Louisiana wind and her children always waiting. Just….stop talking sometimes man.
Tommy Dreamer has been attacked so the main event will be 4-3.
Eddie Edwards/Willie Mack/Rich Swann vs. Violent By Design
This a Hardcore War, meaning WarGames (minus the cage) with two men starting for three minutes and the team who won a coin toss (Violent By Design) sending in another man after two minutes. Two minutes later, the other team evens things up. Once all eight are in, it is the first fall to win with No DQ of course. Eddie Edwards and Deaner start things off on the floor as Striker wants Dreamer to come out in the Willis Reed or Kirk Gibson moment.
They knock each other around on the floor before heading inside, where Eddie hits a belly to belly suplex. That sends them back outside…and then get back in, with Eddie hammering away to take over. The Backpack Stunner connects as time expires, with Striker, who read the rules earlier, not being sure who has the advantage. Rhino is in to make it 2-1 and the slow beating is on. Brown talks about how Rhino has changed, to the point where Rhino won’t even speak to him.
As I try to imagine Brown and Rhino as a team with Rhino doing the head shake, Willie Mack, with Kenny and a chain (which Striker thinks sounds like a country song) comes in to even things up. The good guys take over with various weapons shots, including a toaster (Brown: “I love French toast.”) until Joe Doering comes in to make it 3-2.
Edwards and Mack jump the monster but he knocks both of them down at once without much trouble. Deaner puts Mack’s hand in the toaster and bends it back until Rich Swann is in to even it up. Swann cleans house, including kicking Doering low, with a handicap parking sign. With Violent By Design down, Swann and Edwards set up a table at ringside as Eric Young comes in to complete the villains.
Young brings in a hockey stick to beat on people in various painful ways until the countdown is on and…..Trey Miguel evens things up with a golf club. Miguel gets in Doering’s face and gets crushed with a crossbody, which has Striker loudly thanking God for Doering. Deaner beats on Mack but gets caught with Swann’s handspring cutter. Rhino Gores Swann through a table in the corner for two, meaning it’s time to go to the corner.
The Tower of Doom plants everyone but Doering, who puts Eddie on a table outside. Miguel gets up with a top rope Meteora to drive Doering through Eddie through the table though, leaving Mack 3-1 inside. Rhino is sent outside and a pop up Downward Spiral gets two on Doering with Young making the save. Young is back up with the piledriver to finish Mack at 20:25.
Rating: C+. This was pretty good but felt a bit like the hold house show versions of WarGames in the NWA days. Yeah it’s a big, violent match but don’t expect anything taken to the next level. Miguel coming in to replace Dreamer was a surprise and Dreamer not getting the spotlight was nice. They did well enough for a main event here, but it’s no classic, at least partially due to Striker’s odd obsession with Doering.
Overall Rating: C. I’m not sure how much more you were expecting from a hardcore themed show over Wrestlemania weekend. It advanced some stories and gave us a few good moments with some talented wrestlers. For $10, that’s about all you can ask for and it worked out as well as could be expected. Nothing worth seeing on here, but if you throw it on, you won’t have the worst time.
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