Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) presents “Hardcore Justice” on Aug. 15 at Old Dominion University’s Ted Constant Convocation Center. This event will be broadcast that night on Spike TV and two matches are already announced. One headlining match will see the Main Event Mafia taking on members of Aces and Eights with the stipulation that whoever is defeated will have to leave Impact Wrestling for good. The main event of the evening is TNA World Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin defending his championship in a steel cage match against the leader of Aces and Eights, and former World Heavyweight Champion, Bully Ray. I spoke with Sabin briefly to get his thoughts on what’s brewing within Impact Wrestling.
Sabin knows that Norfolk, and the rest of the seven cities, has a large military presence and had this message to those service members who will be attending the event.
“Thank you to all of the military personnel for defending our freedom. I hope you guys have a really great time,” he said.
Sabin made his return to Impact Wrestling in May after rehabbing his second ACL injury.
“Wrestling has been my dream ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “To be able to go back, it was the greatest feeling in the world.”
Sabin and Bully Ray have had several encounters in the past, including tag-team matches with Sabin’s then Motor City Machine Guns partner Alex Shelley taking on Team 3D (Bully Ray and Devon).
Sabin is the first and only individual to have kicked out of the 3D finishing maneuver, something I thought may still weigh on Bully Ray’s mind.
“It definitely does,” he said. “He has actually mentioned it numerous times after it happened. That’s pretty good. That kind of gives me a psychological advantage over him.”
The cage match stipulation that will be in play on Aug. 15 prevents the competitors from escaping the ring easily, but also helps curtail outside interference.
“The Aces and Eights cannot interfere. It’s just going to be me against Bully, so I think I finally have the chance to prove that I can beat Bully, one-on-one, in a regular match,” he said. “I don’t necessarily need a hammer to do it. I can just beat him straight up.”
Now that Sabin has achieved the highest attainable accolade in Impact Wrestling, that being the World Heavyweight Championship, I questioned if Sabin had anything further to prove to the company and the wrestling audience.
“I think there is a lot more to prove. Winning the championship is one thing, but holding on to the championship is another,” the champ said. “You’re just a walking target for everyone. You have what everyone else is working their butts off to get. I think that I have to be a fighting champion, to not just win the belt, but to hold on to the belt and defend it over, and over, and over.”
TNA Wrestling has visited Norfolk several times in the past, presenting the 2008 Destination X pay-per-view and a handful of non-televised events. This is the first time that fans in the Hampton Roads area will be able to attend a television broadcast for the company. Previously, their television program had only been filmed in front of die-hard fans at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
“I think that going on the road and seeing fresh faces – I think the crowds are a lot more excited and a lot more in to the show,” he explained.
Sabin recently moved from the X-Division of the company, where all matches have three competitors, (a division of high-risk and fast-paced competitors) into the Heavyweight division.
“I think three-way matches make it more difficult for the wrestlers,” he said. “At the same time, that gives those wrestlers a chance to actually prove themselves more because they’re put in such a difficult position. If they’re able to shine in a three-way match, it shows something about who they are and what they can accomplish.”
Tickets for Impact Wrestling in Norfolk start at $15 and can be purchased at YnotTix.com. ImpactWrestling.com provides all of the latest information on the Superstars and Knockouts. Fans in attendance will not only be treated to the Hardcore Justice event, but will also witness the taping of the Aug. 22 episode as well – two shows for the price of one.
Jonathan McLarty is a contributing writer for The Flagship, as well as a local sports and event photographer. Connect with him on Twitter (@JonathanMcLarty).