TNA Television Championship
Joseph Park vs Devon (c)
I don't know what kind of dirt Devon has on Dixie Carter, but his stranglehold on the Television Title continues! Having defended his Championship only a couple of times since winning it back in December, this is a rare reappearance for the formerly weekly title. His latest contender is none other than Abyss' "brother", Joseph Park. He has been circling Aces & Eights for several months. Initially wanting revenge for his captivity leading into last year's Bound for Glory, before stepping in to defend Brooke Hogan's honor by attempting to annul her marriage to Bully Ray. That naturally got the group's attention and who better to enforce Bully's will, than his brother Devon. I don't expect much out of this confrontation, as Devon has never had the most entertaining move set and Park is still playing the role of freshly-trained rookie. As with most of Park's matches, I'm predicting a prolonged beatdown by the heel Champion, followed by an accidental spillage of blood and the friendly giant sees red, putting Devon down with an impromptu Black Hole Slam.
Prediction - Joseph Park defeats Devon via pinfall to win the TNA Television Championship.
Six Man Tag Match
Wes Brisco, Garret Bischoff & Mr Anderson vs Magnus, Samoa Joe & Jeff Hardy
What do you do when you have six notable talents without a match on pay-per-view? Throw them all together in a tag match of course! Since their debut, Aces & Eights have randomly attacked members of the TNA roster. The victims have spent months at a time on the injury list, reduced to watching their attackers ruling the proverbial roost. At last comes their revenge, as each of them have worked their way back to health and their first opponents couldn't be clearer. The biggest of these names is none other than the Charismatic Enigma, Jeff Hardy. Having been forced to the sidelines after a nasty blow to the head during his World Title rematch with Bully Ray, Hardy's return has been highly anticipated. However, with him not actually appearing on Impact to set up this match, it feels largely like TNA had a big name who needed to be on the show and this was a convenient place to put him with minimal build. His return will no doubt overshadow all others in the match, so I'm expecting a few minutes back and forth before the Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combo for the win.
Prediction - Magnus, Samoa Joe & Jeff Hardy defeat Wes Brisco, Garret Bischoff & Mr Anderson via pinfall.
TNA X Division Championship
Ultimate X Match
Suicide vs Kenny King (c) vs Chris Sabin
Continuing the current trend of triple threat X Division matches, Kenny King once again defends his Title against two high-flying challengers. This time out he faces the renewed efforts of Chris Sabin and the returning Suicide. I was hugely impressed by the verbal confrontation King and Sabin had several weeks ago on Impact in a rare X Division promo and would love for the pair to continue playing off one another in the coming months. The real question is whether TNA are looking for a shock title change to Sabin or sticking with the still-finding-his-feet King. As undeniably talented as King is, he hasn't set the division on fire as expected. Instead, he's having a reign more akin to Zema Ion's. Sure he's there and he's defending his Title, but he's not owning it yet. Austin Aries set an impossible standard with his epic reign last year and all subsequent Champions have paled in comparison. With Sabin's momentum at an all-time high, it's literally now or never for the guy. Either he takes the ball and runs with it or he slinks back into obscurity. As for the second challenger, Suicide, I don't think anyone ever truly got behind the gimmick, knowing for a fact that the man behind the mask changes on a nightly basis. However, his resurgence has provided a nice series of paychecks for much vaunted ROH alum, TJ Perkins. His time will come eventually, but for now it's all about the inspirational story of Chris Sabin coming back from multiple ACL tears. If they're smart, they'll have Sabin get the pin on Suicide, giving Kenny King the perfect excuse to drop the belt and yet stay in contention.
Prediction - Chris Sabin defeats Kenny King and Suicide to win the TNA X Division Championship.
TNA Tag Team Championships
Four Team Elimination Match
Daniels & Kazarian vs Storm & Gunner vs Hernandez & Guerrero (c) vs Aries & Roode
When eight of Impact Wrestling's best come together, will too many cooks spoil the broth? I like Bad Influence, I like the Dirty Heels, I tolerate TexMex and I'm even a little curious about Storm & Gunner's new team, but all together in one ring? I can't help but think it's too much of a good thing. Three teams competing for the Tag Team Titles was already insanely busy, adding a fourth is just asking for trouble. With eight different talents vying for the spotlight, it's not a spotlight at all. If this week's Impact was anything to go by, Austin Aries' heel tactics and double-teams with partner Bobby Roode will prove to be the most entertaining. Ultimately, the random pairing of Storm and Gunner will be the main focus and probably even get them the win. I mean, when was the last time you saw a man team with a mystery partner and lose? Frankly, there are so many talented singles stars in this match, I'm left to wonder why the main event scene has been left to a brawler and a broken down old man.
Prediction - Storm & Gunner defeat Daniels & Kazarian, Hernandez & Guerrero and Aries & Roode via pinfall to win the TNA Tag Team Championships.
Gail Kim vs Taryn Terrell
The curious case of the women's pay-per-view match that ISN'T for the Knockouts Title. Despite all the attention of the division falling on Velvet Sky's ailing knee and Mickie James' teased heel turn, we're asked to revisit this feud from last month which I assumed was already over. Ironically, it was the focus on Taryn Terrell's in-ring debut that tanked Velvet Sky's latest run as Knockouts Champion. This feud was reignited several weeks ago when Gail Kim attempted to cripple her opponent through wrapping her leg around the ring post. She's done this routine several times since and Taryn gets the honor of being the one to seek revenge. I suspect the pattern of Gail's recent matches to hold true and she attempts to injure Taryn, bringing about an instant disqualification. A technical victory for the 'Hot Mess' Terrell, but one that may leave her back on the shelf for a few more weeks.
Prediction - Taryn Terrell defeats Gail Kim via disqualification.
AJ Styles vs Kurt Angle
It may be booked as the semi-main event, but any true wrestling fan will know this will be our bread and butter for the evening. While storylines point towards the World Title and Aces & Eights, the real meat of the show will be in the masterclass of Styles vs Angle, especially with Styles aggressive new move set. The feud itself has been a bit hit and miss, with Angle coming off as annoyingly pretentious, while supposedly playing the hero. His entire reason for wanting a match with Styles is because AJ didn't want to play with him. Playground logic almost. But I'll be damned if Styles' new persona hasn't grabbed all our attentions. The Impact-closing segment whereby he seemingly sided with Aces & Eights, taking out his opponent Angle, whilst still remaining a man unto himself, was utter genius. As for the match itself, we've seen hundreds of variations of this bout, yet they've still managed to find a new spin on it. When Angle faced a heel AJ Styles before, he was much more of a cowardly villain, cheating with a snide grin. But this new tweener Styles, who is no one thing, is tough to judge. He's beating on the villains just as much as the heroes. Styles is well and truly out for himself and his character has never seen such innovation. Meanwhile, the Olympic Gold Medalist appears to be in the twilight of his career and if recent months spent jobbing to the likes of Wes Brisco and Garret Bischoff prove anything, it's that Kurt is trying desperately to get the younger talents over. I believe this attitude will hold true for his bout with Styles, giving AJ's new persona the much needed seal of approval.
Prediction - AJ Styles defeats Kurt Angle via submission.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
No Holds Barred Match
Sting vs Bully Ray (c)
Aces & Eights have run roughshod over TNA in recent months, ever since the reveal of Bully Ray as their President back at Lockdown in March. The person who's taken most flack for this is the Icon, Sting. The Hall of Famer had taken Bully under his wing and given him his stamp of approval to General Manager Hulk Hogan. While Bully continues to feud with Hogan and his "wife" Brooke for the most part, the true soldier of the piece has been Sting, facing down the threat of Aces & Eights at every turn. Despite several fantastic promos from the pair and a wonderful backstory leading into the match, I don't expect anything approaching technical wrestling from either man. Bully is a renowned brawler and rarely plies his craft, meanwhile Sting, formerly a master technician, has found his age catching up with him and adjusted his in-ring style accordingly. As such, you can call most of Sting's big spots in a match from a mile away. Brawl around the outside for a few minutes, take the majority of the beating in the ring, followed by a Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Deathlock/drop. The man has a routine and it wore out it's welcome about two title reigns ago. Regardless, Sting has a phenomenal record for winning Championships on TNA's biggest shows. No matter his opponent, he usually walks out with a new belt over his shoulder. Which is why I'm intentionally bucking the trend and advocating another few months of Bully Ray as our World Heavyweight Champion. His run with the Title has only just gotten started and he's truly becoming a legit main event player. If Ray can hold it until Bound for Glory in October, his spot in history is guaranteed as a singles star. With every passing day, his time as a Tag Team wrestler fades from memory and is replaced with something far more grandiose. Let's see what the Bully has in store for us over the summer.
Prediction - Bully Ray defeats Sting via pinfall to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.