After seven years since the last Hardcore Justice event, Impact Wrestling is bringing back Hardcore Justice on April 10th as an Impact Plus Special and the things look to be shaping up pretty nicely in the lead up to Rebellion.
So to honor this occasion, I'll be counting down some of the best moments from the original pay per view from which Hardcore Justice was created from 'Hard Justice'. Plus, after doing some research there tended to be more interesting moments to come out of Hard Justice then it's Hardcore equivalent, but with that all said let's get into it.
5. AJ Styles Wins The NWA World Title (Hard Justice 2005)
After defeating "The Monster" Abyss in a number one contender's match at Lockdown 2005, "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles was set to take on TNA Founder and NWA World Heavyweight champion, Jeff Jarrett in the main event of the very first Hard Justice pay per view but with the added addition of UFC star, Tito Ortiz being the special guest referee.
Ortiz, also known as "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" was at the time one of the biggest and rising stars in the UFC, plus the fact that Impact Wrestling and the UFC were on the same channel (SPIKE TV) helped to make the crossover even more likely to happen.
Thanks to their previous experiences working with each other during the early days of the company's history, AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett were able to put on a tremendous match with a few moments that allowed the special guest referee to shine.
In the end, it was Jarrett's desire to mess with special guest ref, Tito Ortiz that ultimately costed him in this match and allowed AJ Styles to become a three time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
4. Christian Cage Turns Heel (Hard Justice 2006)
I've most recently talked about this moment in my Top 10 Heel Turns in TNA/Impact Wrestling article (go check it out after finishing this one) but the short story goes as follows.
At Hard Justice 2006 Sting challenged Jeff Jarrett in the main event for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship but due to Scott Steiner being in Double J's corner, Christian Cage decides to join Sting at ringside in order to neutralize Big Poppa Pump from interfering in the bout.
Towards the end, Cage grabs Jarrett's signature guitar but tells Sting to head to the top rope in order to finish Double J off, but instead 'The Instant Classic' swerves 'The Icon' by bashing him over the head with the guitar which then leads to Jarrett once again escaping with the NWA World Title in his grasps.
Christian would go on to explain his actions in a sit-down interview where he basically claims that he did what he did because he felt Sting just didn't have the passion anyone when it came to being champion among other things.
3. Chris Candido Tribute (Hard Justice 2005)
We head back to Hard Justice 2005 for this somber and tear jerking moment from the early days of TNA's history.
Chris Candido, a former WWF Tag Team Champion wrestled in numerous promotions like the aforementioned WWF but also the NWA, ECW and WCW before appearing for TNA Wrestling back in early 2005.
During Candido's short time in Impact he wrestled names like AJ Styles, Dustin Rhodes, Sonny Siaki, DDP, Shark Boy and Elix Skipper before aligning himself with Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas of 'The Naturals'. Candido would be responsible in helping The Naturals become two time NWA Tag Team Champions but sadly his career would could to an unfortunate end soon afterwards.
At the very first Lockdown pay per view in company history, Chris would suffer a horrible injury during a tag team match where he would dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia and fibula; Unsurprisingly he would need surgery to fix it, but tragically complications from the surgery and a pneumonia diagnosis would ultimately end his life at just the young age of 33.
As a tribute to fallen star, TNA would open the first ever Hard Justice pay per view with a video package honoring Candido and even held The Chris Candido Memorial Tag Team Tournament later that same year.
A link to a tribute video similar to the one that aired at Hard Justice 2005 is posted below if you'd like to see it.
2. Beer Money Wins Their First Tag Team Titles (Hard Justice 2008)
One of the greatest tag teams in company history, the team of James Storm and Bobby/Robert Roode also known as Beer Money Inc. were multi time TNA and Impact World Tag Team Champions but it's their first tag title win that is the subject of this entry.
After becoming a tag team in mid 2008, Roode and Storm began a feud with Homicide and Hernandez of the Latin American Xchange and following an upset victory on an episode of Impact and parking lot brawl between Homicide and Roode, Beer Money were set to take on LAX for the titles at Victory Road the previous month but lost.
Beer Money would go on to attack various wrestlers not to mention LAX's manager, Hector Guerrero before winning a number one contender's match on Impact to get another shot at the tag team titles.
Towards the end of the match, both valets from LAX and Beer Money would get involved outside of the ring which provided enough time for Robert Roode to take his partner's trademark beer bottle and smashed it right into the face of Homicide which gave Beer Money Inc. not only the win but the first of many World Tag Team Titles under their belts.
1. Kurt Angle Wins All The Gold (Hard Justice 2007)
There's a good chance that you've seen this picture of Kurt Angle with all of the TNA Wrestling championships around his shoulders make the rounds on the internet but it's also a safe bet that many of you might not know the story as how this all happened.
Following Samoa Joe's pinfall victory over Team 3D at Victory Road 2007, The Samoan Submission Machine became the holder of the TNA World Tag Team and X Division Titles.
Kurt Angle meanwhile was the reigning TNA World Champion but also the IWGP New Japan Heavyweight Champion (the first time something like this happened) and following the events of that year's Slammiversary and Victory Road, Angle continued his feud with Samoa Joe at Hard Justice with all of the titles at stake.
Things however began to get "Interesting" when Kurt's real life wife, Karen was brought into the mix and while she's a recognizable name in TNA/Impact history today, back in the summer of 2007 not so much.
Karen who come out on an episode of Impact and pour her heart to the world claiming that Kurt was abusive emotionally towards the children and herself and as a result she wanted a divorce...This is particularly awkward with the ability of hindsight considering what will happen between the two of them just a few years later.
While Kurt's martial woes become public for the wrestling world to see, Samoa Joe was enjoying every minute of it as he knows this will throw Kurt right off his game in the lead up to Hard Justice.
So when the time cam for the match, Samoa Joe looked to have things in the bag until the referee was taken out at which point Karen emerged from the crowd and is looking to help Joe, but surprise surprise Karen turns on Joe which allows Kurt to steal the victory and become the first wrestler in TNA/Impact history to hold all of the championship titles all at once.
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