Heading into 2013, TNA has come up with this impressive-on-paper card for their final show, and Mike Lightning is here with me to share our thoughts! For our predictions for the year, Lightning is ahead of me 143 to 127 with two shows to go. It’s time to step up my game to see if I can pull off a miracle! Let’s get to it:
Mickie James vs. Tara
ML: The way that Mickie James has been pushed since her return is something that isn’t really fresh or new, it’s the same push most returning superstars get. Velvet Sky’s appearance on Impact this past Thursday was an excellent way to hype her return but was counter-productive to Mickie James’ hype and build over the past few weeks. Tara’s run as the Knockouts Champion seems to have been booked by a National Enquirer writer(the same writer doing the Brooke Hogan/Bully Ray storyline) and has been relatively lackluster. Look for Jesse to somehow get involved and possibly Velvet Sky to run interference on James’ behalf.
Prediction: Mickie James to become the New Knockouts Champion
Confidence Points: 2
QuickNote: Even if Velvet Sky does somehow help Mickie win, look for Sky to turn on James after she wins. There was something about Sky’s body language and attitude in her return to Impact that makes me suspect something.
JT: The Knockouts(as far as WRESTLING goes) haven’t been treated as overly important lately, and I hope TNA changes that and goes back to having longer matches on Impact that don’t involve ODB and her awful gimmick. Tara’s run has been the focus of the Knockouts division, and a returning Mickie won’t change that right now. Tara retains. Confidence Points: 5
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE
Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez
ML: At least TNA officials were capable of seeing that Joey Ryan was ready to be featured on the main roster. Pairing him with the returning Matt Morgan was actually a fresh surprise and nice to see, considering TNA hasn’t done a lot with making storylines feel fresh lately. Matt Morgan has been an unstoppable beast since his return and by doing that, it’s made Morgan and Ryan a force amongst the tag team division. Chavo’s signing in TNA has to go down as one of the most over-hyped and overrated debut ever for a wrestler signing with a company. His ENTIRE time in TNA has been nothing but a lackluster disappointment and this teaming with Hernandez didn’t do anything to enhance that debut. I actually feel the teaming with him hurt Chavo’s TNA debut more than helped. And honestly, I haven’t been able to remember one memorable match they have had as tag team champions.
Prediction: Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan to become the NEW TNA World Tag Team Champions
Confidence Points: 3
JT: This match doesn’t have a ton of build to it, but it does have the potential to be very entertaining. Ryan is proving that he is a talented veteran, and the other three have all proven themselves capable of having solid matches on a pay per view. Hernandez and Morgan also have some history for those who don’t follow TNA too closely, but I doubt it will be mentioned here. I’d consider it typical for TNA to keep the belts on the Mexicans, but I think the build that Morgan is getting continues here. New tag team champions, Morgan and Ryan. Confidence Points: 1
Rob Van Dam vs. Kenny King
ML: I must say it was a treat to see the X-Division featured on Impact two weeks in a row. And if Hogan knew what the hell he was really doing, he would realize that the X-Division is TNA’s bread and butter, not the ex-WWE star of yesteryear. I understand the strategy of trying to make Explosion a solid show, but Explosion isn’t shown worldwide and not everyone can stomach two TNA shows in a week. That triple threat match with Kenny King, Zema Ion and Kid Kash was a really good match but only showcased a little of the X-Division is about. Kenny King is a talented and athletic wrestler with absolutely zero limitations on his ceiling. Rob Van Dam is wily veteran who can still move well in the ring, hopefully, these two are capable of putting on show-stealer.
Prediction: Rob Van Dam to retain the X-Division Championship
Confidence Points: 3
QuickNote: Rob Van Dam’s time as X-Division Champion is dwindling and in the very brief future, that title will make it’s way to another competitor.
JT: If RVD doesn’t just go through the motions and bring his lazy game, this could easily be the second best match of the night(see the match below for why it CAN’T be the best). Kenny King has worked hard to get to this point, but I don’t see him pulling off the upset right now to hold the gold. RVD retains. Confidence Points: 3
ONE FINAL TIME
Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles
ML: Every PPV I’ve done predictions for, for TNA, this year seem to have some sort of combination of these two facing each other. I’ve written about their chemistry and the fact that these two are pure gold whenever they face each other, I swear, what seems like 100 times this year. With all that being said, this very possibly could be the best match Styles and Daniels have ever done, and I’m hoping so. Mainly because anything less than a 4-and-half star match would feel like a HUGE disappointment. I hope they book it so Kazarian doesn’t get involved in this match AT ALL because that would take away from the potential this two have together in producing not only what could be the Match of the Night, but also, in producing a Match of the Year candidate. Yes, I said it. Match of the Year candidate, if this match is done correctly.
Prediction: AJ Styles
Confidence Points: 3
QuickNote: The current “distracted” and losing AJ Styles will go out with a 2012 PPV win.
JT: I hope this isn’t like a Mick Foley retirement match. Daniels and Styles will always have great matches together, but it’s past time for these guys to move on to something new with the storylines. I’m sick to death of the same old feud. Why not turn Daniels face and have him carry the World Title or at least rival with Bobby Roode or Austin Aries? As for AJ, the guy can have a good match with anybody and I for one would like to see him have a series of matches with Austin Aries down the road. This one will probably be one of their best and most talked about, and I predict AJ Styles to come out on top. Confidence Points: 5
Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray
ML: Their first match was actually a really good match with Aries getting the upper hand and the victory. TNA’s booking of Aries has been believing that even without the World Title, they feel he’s the number one guy in the company. I can’t really disagree considering the high quality matches and entertainment value Aries puts on each week. Bully Ray’s makeover, the one where he got into really good shape, has been the best thing he’s ever done. His singles matches have only got better with time and he doesn’t need gimmick matches to put on solid and good matches anymore. Does that mean Bully Ray is a great wrestler? Not by any means. But he is good enough to be able to hang with a guy like Aries. This match hopefully will be a really entertaining match and a strong outing for both guys. I sense that TNA has big things planned for Bully Ray over the next year or so.
Prediction: Austin Aries
Confidence Points: 2
QuickNote: I purposely didn’t talk about the Brooke Hogan drama, because this whole storyline has been awful. And unfortunately, I feel that TNA is going to book this in Aries’ favor to continue that horrendous storyline and Aries will use his leverage to further the rift between Hulk and Bully Ray. I just wish it would be over, already.
JT: Aries and Ray will wrestle a very personal match. I honestly thought this should have been the BFG main event for the World Title. The problem with any push for Bully Ray is the fact that nobody believes he can beat the best wrestlers on the roster. I find it laughable after watching him lose in seven seconds to James Storm earlier in the year to think that he might actually carry the World Title. For this match, I would expect some Brooke Hogan involvement(possibly even to the ridiculous extent of a swerve where she aligns with Aries) and for Aries to pick up the win. Confidence Points: 5
EIGHT MAN TAG:
Kurt Angles, Samoa Joe, Wes Brisco, and Garrett Bischoff vs Aces and Eights
ML: Well, we know two of those members will be Devon and DoC(Luke Gallows), I’m sure that the other two will be “VP”(Mike Knox, I’m assuming from his size) and the other big man they have parading around under a mask. I’m expecting another member of the group to be revealed here. We also know that Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff have been under the masks before helping Aces & Eights, and I suspect that there’s a possibility of a double-cross here on Joe and Angle. Will it happen this soon? Probably not. But it would be good timing considering D’Lo filled in for the mysteriously “missing” Al Snow that allowed Brisco to get his TNA contract. Not to mention, Angle and Brisco have had several television segments prior to his Gut Check Match. And if you think D’Lo isn’t the TNA official helping the Aces & Eights, you must be blind.
Prediction: Aces & Eights
Confidence Points: 3
JT: For weeks, it’s been set up that Wes and Garrett will turn on Angle and reveal their loyalty to the Aces and Eights. Unless TNA is giving us a tease with no swerve, I believe it’s going to happen here. D-Lo will eventually be revealed as the guy who helped Wes win gutcheck, and his tie in will explain how they had access at certain times when they weren’t supposed to. I predict Aces and Eights to win this match. Confidence Points: 5
MAIN EVENT: WORLD TITLE
Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy
ML: I’m not going to sit here and write how upset I’ve been with Jeff Hardy’s title reign because it’s a moot point at this time. Instead, I’m going to write about what I hope happens in this match. James Storm’s victory in that triple threat match to become Number One Contender seems to be the most useless win on any PPV this year. Especially considering, the very next Impact Bobby Roode beat Storm to win that Number One Contender title. Storm has been held back and it seems like everytime he takes one step forward, he ends up taking two steps back. He’s conspicously missing from this card, which is a surprise considering how heavily featured he’s been on Impact the last few weeks. Bobby Roode’s title reign was one of the best things TNA had going for them all year long and his development and growth into becoming the company’s top heel has been awesome to watch. Jeff Hardy still hasn’t done anything to win me over and may never be able to do that but I will give him his credit at being able to sell merchandise and create enough of a following that TNA can justify booking him as World Champion. I’m hoping that Roode is able to pull the best out of Hardy in this match to end the year, but if Austin Aries was unable in a Ladder Match with him, I’m not going to hold my breath that Bobby Roode can in Hardy’s weakest match; a singles match.
Prediction: Bobby Roode to become the NEW TNA World Champion
Confidence Points: 3
QuickNote: With the negative feedback that TNA received for the Bound For Glory between Roode and Storm not being for the World Title combined with Jeff Hardy’s looming departure from the company in March, TNA should capitalize on this take the title of Jeff Hardy now. If he hasn’t re-signed yet, chances are he may not at all, especially where he wants to lessen in his workload. And there’s no better way to start the new year than FINALLY having Storm and Roode feud of the TNA World Title.
JT: Bobby Roode never should have lost the title in the first place. Jeff Hardy should not be the World Champion. What more can I say about this garbage? I don’t think this match will be all that bad, but I don’t think it will be the best match on the card in any capacity. I predict that TNA will continue this push for Jeff Hardy and keep the belt around his waist. Confidence Points: 5
JT: To start with, James Storm isn’t even on this card. Unless he’s booked in an impromptu match with Kazarian or someone else, then I fully expect Storm to be involved in the main event and possibly even cost Bobby Roode the match. TNA has the potential to close out the year with a very strong card. I truly hope Aces and Eights doesn’t overshadow any part of the show, and the same goes for Hogan. If you keep the simple formula of letting the wrestlers give the best show possible, then this card will shine brightly as TNA heads into 2013.
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