X Division #1 Contender Match
Kenny King vs Christian York
For the past two weeks, TNA have held what can loosely be called a tournament to decide the new number one contender to Rob Van Dam's X Division Championship. Christian York advanced first by defeating Kid Kash two weeks ago on Impact. I wasn't at all impressed by York's performance, which was blighted by a series of noticeable botches. For the most part, it seemed as though Kid Kash was leading him through the match, even when he wasn't on the offense. But, being the latest Gut Check winner, with a series of matches against high profile opponents no less, York was clearly building momentum. In the other tournament bracket, Kenny King decisively defeated former Champion, Zema Ion, in an impressive bout on this past week's Impact. The Ring of Honor import has been turning alot of heads in recent weeks and with a heel turn on the X Division Champion himself, looks to be the surer bet for the title shot later in the night.
Prediction - Kenny King defeats Christian York via pinfall to become the X Division #1 Contender.
TNA Tag Team Championships
Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan vs Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez (c)
In a rematch from Final Resolution last month, Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan take another run at TNA's Tag Team Champions, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. Nothing much has changed since their last encounter, with the challengers far more concerned with sticking it to Impact General Manager, Hulk Hogan, than seriously competing for the belts. As a slight improvement, the two teams have had an increased level of interaction in recent weeks, as opposed to last month, where they barely saw each other at all. I'm still not impressed with the partnership of Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez, as it's always struck me as lazy booking "Hey, I know, let's put the two Mexican guys together!". It's not that they don't click together, as they've had some satisfactory displays against multiple tag teams. It's that they're another incarnation of Mexican America, who were a copy of the Latin American Xchange. Frankly, Hernandez must be sick of being teamed with a random Mexican and playing up racial stereotypes over and over again. So far, as Tag Team Champions, we've watched Chavo and Hernandez defeat the likes of AJ Styles & Kurt Angle, Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian and the current challengers, Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan. While these are impressive victories on paper, our enjoyment of the team has been paper thin. They've had the belts for months upon months and it's not as though the division is catching fire as a result. Maybe it's time for a change.
Prediction - Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan defeat Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez to become the NEW TNA Tag Team Champions.
Knockouts Gauntlet #1 Contender Match
Gail Kim vs ODB vs Miss Tessmacher vs Mickie James vs Velvet Sky
In a rare exception, the Knockouts Champion, Tara, appears to have been given the night off. Instead of a title defense, five of the biggest names in women's wrestling battle it out for the opportunity to become number one contender. All involved have held the title at one time or another and have frequently jockeyed for fresh opportunities. Unfortunately, none of them stand out from the pack at the moment, with poor booking have sunk their previous assaults. It's quite literally a toss up as to who will win the next title shot. Mickie James and Velvet Sky have the most momentum, having come off simultaneous returns. As Mickie took the spotlight for the past couple of months, I say it's Velvet's turn at bat. She's the hottest act in the division (both metaphorically and literally) and it's about time she rose to the prominence she deserves.
Prediction - Velvet Sky wins the Gauntlet to become the new Knockouts Championship #1 Contender.
Joseph Park vs Devon
While this match could literally have been made with any member of Aces & Eights in mind, Joseph Park's journey towards becoming a professional wrestler has been months in the making. Beginning in the run up to Bound for Glory, Joseph Park claimed to have vital information about the biker group, necessitating his immediate capture and month long imprisonment. Since his release, Joseph has been petitioning Impact General Manager, Hulk Hogan, for matches at every opportunity. Wishing to put his "legal career" to one side, he has business to take care of in the Impact Zone and he's not leaving until it's done. To this end, he's been training at TNA's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, eventually coming to impress head trainer Danny Davis. The one wildcard in the match will be Joseph's tendency of going wild at the sight of his own blood. Should Devon push things one step too far and bust the giant open, he may as well be jumping into the nearest Abyss! With several Aces & Eights matches on the card tonight, I see one victory and one loss, to keep the scales even and the faces chasing the heels. Both Sting and Joseph Park are freshly returned to the Impact Wrestling roster, but where Sting can take the loss, we're still teasing the evolution of Park. It'd be far more entertaining to see the lawyer snap once again and defeat Devon whilst "blacked out".
Prediction - Joseph Park defeats Devon via pinfall.
"The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs "The Cowboy" James Storm
Both of these men are in the prime of their careers and well within their rights to be focused upon the World Heavyweight Championship. But due to an inflated roster of main event stars, the Cowboy and the Fallen Angel have been mired in somewhat of a holding pattern of late. They're giving 100% and having the best matches of their lives, yet because it's off in mid-card obscurity, it's almost as if it's not happening at all. Since losing his last title shot to Bobby Roode in an unfortunate gamble several months ago, James Storm has stepped into AJ Styles' shoes somewhat and picked up where he left off with Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian's Bad Influence. Taking exception to the former World Tag Team Champions of the World (not redundant) and their flagrant disrespect, Storm has spent the best part of a month whupping their asses at every opportunity, all the while producing top notch matches that happen to fall just below the Impact Wrestling radar. Both are primed and ready for the main event, but with Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and no end of legends ready to step into that slot, time is running out. This will undoubtedly be the stealth match of the night, pleasantly surprising everyone, yet nobody will remember it in the morning. I hold these men in the highest regard and it's time TNA pulled the trigger. As for who will win this particular match, I see James Storm getting the feel good win. He has star power, time to shine it up.
Prediction - James Storm defeats Christopher Daniels via pinfall.
Director of Chaos vs Sting
Having been the recipient of beatings from Aces & Eights countless times, even putting him on the shelf twice, Sting is more than due a little dose of revenge. The Director of Chaos was directly responsible for the last injury the Icon sustained, using his hammer to put the Stinger out for a couple of months, minimum. Hints of his return began in late 2012, when a promo video began to run teasing the downfall of an unknown party. These videos were a lovely bit of intrigue, which kept the wrestling community on the edge of it's seat. However, by the time the reveal came, there was a distinct feeling of "oh...it's JUST Sting", TNA having run angles centering around his return once too often. Even the return itself turned out to be somewhat of a damp squib. After all the hints and teases, it was literally just a matter of Sting stomping down to the cage in the centre of the Impact Zone and taking out the entire biker gang single-handed. Being able to take down so many of Aces & Eights in one go, it's no surprise that this past week on Impact, the Icon thoroughly embarrassed the newly unmasked Mike Knox and sent him running for the safety of the pack. While I don't personally view D.O.C. as much of a threat, the group itself is majorly in need of credibility. Having been about as effective as the three stooges, they could do with getting a victory, no matter how tainted, over a legend such as Sting. I suspect much underhanded behaviour and for Sting to be floored by a foreign object when the referee's back is turned. This conflict is far from over, so it doesn't pay to see the hero triumph just yet. Maybe at Lockdown in March.
Prediction - D.O.C. defeats Sting via pinfall.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Austin Aries vs Jeff Hardy (c) vs Bobby Roode
What to do with an enigma like Jeff Hardy? That's the question I'm sure the bookers of Impact Wrestling have asked for the past several months, ever since he won the World Heavyweight Championship at Bound for Glory. He can't cut promos worth a damn, he's so beaten up his ring style is suffering, just how do they convincingly sell a Jeff Hardy World Title reign? The answers are Austin Aries and Bobby Roode. Wherever the Charisma Enigma lacks, Aries and Roode excel. Take the past few weeks for instance. First came the presentation of the Impact Wrestler of the Year, which because of being a fan vote, you could automatically assume Jeff Hardy was going to win. Aries and Roode, being the savvy gameplayers that they are, saw this coming a mile away and knew the real meat of the segment wasn't in Jeff accepting the award, but in the pair of them bickering over who deserved it more (because let's face, they both deserved it more). Similarly, this week on Impact, the pair cut an absolutely hilarious backstage skit whilst walking to the ring, about whether they should wear their new t-shirts or not. This went on for a fair few minutes and the bickering was pure gold, even continuing during their tag team contest against Hardy and James Storm. They may not be the Champion (yet), but they have cleverly drawn the focus away and back onto themselves. Unfortunately, this strategy has only been somewhat successful, as there isn't a single doubt in my mind as to who will walk out of Genesis as the World Heavyweight Champion and that man is Jeff Hardy. The walking personality vacuum is just too popular. No matter his obvious flaws, the crowd loves him. He's the TNA Champion for a reason. That was why he won the belt at Bound for Glory. That was why he retained it at Turning Point. That was why he retained it at Final Resolution. Genesis is no different.
Prediction - Jeff Hardy defeats Austin Aries and Bobby Roode to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.