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November 11, 2012 / JP

Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy from TNA 2012

Jeff Hardy won the championship at Bound For Glory. Aries wanted his rematch at the following PPV. Hardy picked the stipulation for the match, despite AA’s wishes. This would be Hardy’s second title defense after a successful defense over Kurt Angle on an October Impact. Aries has been in a handful of Ladder Matches, but this was certainly his first major one away from two on the indies and one on an Impact while it was Hardy’s second ladder match since returning to TNA, first since vs. Ken Anderson at Against All Odds 2011. Jeff Hardy brought back his title belt from that period as well and both titles were hung above the ring.

TNA Turning Point 2012 (11/11/2012)
TNA World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match
Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy (C)

Recap:
Aries spat on a banner of Jeff Hardy during his introductions and threw it at Hardy. I forgot about the sponsors TNA had on their ring at this point in time.

Orlando crowd was into Hardy in this match unlike last month. Hardy got the fans riled up with a clap as Aries bailed to the outside. “We go on my time, I don’t do it because people clap,” said Aries. Knee to the gut and Aries dumped Hardy to the floor. Aries goes to grab a ladder immediately. Hardy runs over and grabs it. Aries goes into the ring, Hardy follows, and Aries takes over with stomps to the head. Knees to the gut. He goes for an elbow on Hardy while he is wedged in the turnbuckle but missed. He quickly followed up by throwing Hardy into the steps. Aries goes for that same ladder and puts it on the apron. Hardy recovered and slams Aries’s face into the ladder. Back in the ring and both trade strikes in the corner. Aries backs Hardy into the corner. Irish whip and Hardy pops up and takes Aries down to the floor. Dropkick through the ropes by Hardy and does a crossbody over the top rope hitting Aries and smacked the ladder on the floor in the process. Hardy tries to get the ladder in the ring but Aries stops him. They have a tug of war and Hardy lets go sending Aries tumbling over the steps. Hardy then uses the steps to hit Poetry In Motion on the guardrail, sending Aries crashing into the steps. Hardy then goes to the apron and leaps off with a clothesline to the floor on Aries.

Hardy brings the ladder into the ring while Aries is laid out. He starts the climb but Aries cuts him off and climbs up behind him, clubbing Hardy in the head. He then hits a Russian Leg Sweep off the ladder on Hardy~! Aries then sets up that ladder across the apron and the guardrail. Aries takes Hardy to the floor and slams Hardy onto the ladder out of a fireman’s carry position. Aries goes from into the ring with a forearm across Hardy on the ladder followed by a knee. Aries uses his boot to shove Hardy off the ladder face first into the steps. Aries starts the climb himself as Hardy comes back in the ring. He grabs Aries and pulls AA by his foot, sending him crashing face first. Hardy scores a kick sending AA to the floor. Hardy sets the ladder in an inverted position against the ropes. Hardy looks to score a gordbuster across the ladder. AA reverses into a suplex position. Back elbow by Hardy. Hardy comes off the middle rope but Aries side steps sending Hardy going rib first into the middle of the ladder~! That looked brutal. Aries goes over the top rope with a slingshot corkscrew splash on Hardy while he is still sandwiched in the ladder. Aries dumps Hardy to the floor.

Aries goes under the ring and grabs another ladder since the other ladder got too damaged. He puts that ladder in the corner. Heat Seeking Missile Dive sending Hardy into the guardrail. AA sandwiches Hardy in the broken ladder and puts the steel steps on top of Hardy, trapping him underneath the wreckage. Aries goes to climb but hesitates. He thought Earl Hebner was helping Hardy, but Hardy had just gone under the ring to the other side and started the climb. Aries immediately comes in and shoves the ladder, sending Hardy crashing on the side of his head and shoulder in the middle of the ladder. Hardy gets in pursuit of Aries on the ladder. Aries punches him off and climbs. That ladder is now also damaged from Hardy’s splat through it. Aries puts the ladder in the corner and shoves Hardy into it. Strikes to the midsection. Aries charges at Hardy and hits the IED in the corner. He sets Hardy up for the Brainbuster, but Hardy slips out into a Go Flasher variation essentially. Hardy at his feet goes for a Twist of Fate, Aries reverses. He charges at Hardy and hits a Japanese Arm Drag on Aries in the corner~! Hardy picks up Aries and hits the Overbomb~! Hardy then goes to the top rope and on top of the ladder in the corner and tilts the ladder, sending him crashing down in a splash on top of Aries~! Aries rolls to the floor.

Hardy attempts to set up the ladder but it is too busted. He sets the ladder up on the top rope in the corner and goes for a third ladder under the ring. He sets it up and attempts to jockey it into position as he climbs for the title. Aries is up and on the top rope. Missile Dropkick by Aries sends Hardy flying off the ladder. Aries backs Hardy into the ladder on the top rope. Aries shoves the ladder into Hardy’s chest. Aries then hits a second IED sending the ladder into Hardy’s chest. Aries gets Hardy to his feet for another Brainbuster attempt, this time scoring the Brainbuster. He shoves Hardy to the floor. Aries sets up that broken ladder on the opposite turnbuckle. He tries to climb the other ladder which is still wobbly. Hardy comes back in and they trade shots on the top. Hardy shoves Aries’s face into the top of the ladder and follows up with a Twist of Fate from the top of the ladder~! Swanton Bomb by Hardy for good measure.

Loud “Hardy” chant from the crowd. Hardy tries to climb once again. The belts are pulled up and Hardy is confused. The camera pans to Aries with the control for the ladder telling him “you’ll never grab those belts!” Hardy goes to the outside and Aries leaps off the table with the control panel, landing in an atomic drop to his dismay. Hardy sends Aries flying over the guardrail back first. Hardy now gets a fourth ladder, this one a much larger orange ladder~! Aries is back in and both trade shots at the top once again. The ladder tilts and they both go crashing on top of that ladder set up in the corner. They then fight on top of it. Hardy then scores a Twist of Fate on top of that ladder, sending Aries and the ladder crashing to the floor~! Hardy then goes for the large ladder once again and climbs up to pull down the title.

Thoughts:
This match was quite great. The two of them went above and beyond to make this a great match and it became a spectacle to watch. Many of the moments that happened in this match are things I have not seen in a ladder match previously or moments replicated since. There were even some neat callbacks to ladder matches that Hardy has had in the past. Being only one year removed from it, the match at times reminded me of Kevin Steen vs. El Generico from PWG’s Steen Wolf in terms of the chaos that took place and a “what could possibly happen next,” entrancement of the match. They even involved some great character work into the match with Hardy being the innovative wrestler that he is in these types of matches while Aries would try to outsmart him.

Hardy took some brutal punishment throughout the match and I would say this was his best match in TNA in his career while also one of the best singles matches I have seen in his career. Aries was having an incredible 2012, delivering very highly whenever given a platform to do so as seen with PPV matches with Alex Shelley, Zema Ion, Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Jeff Hardy the month before this match, and this match was no exception to that list of acclaim and is among the very best of his performances in TNA. It’s a testament to his ability to be able to go into an environment that he is not very accustomed to and put on this level of match when given the proper setting. While only one of them could win this match, both of them came off looking better for how great the match was and the performances that the two of them put into the match.

Highly recommend checking this match out if you haven’t seen it or revisiting it if it has been a while. One of the best matches of TNA (and all of wrestling) in 2012 and one of the very best the company has had the last few years.

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