It's no secret that I've been enjoying TNA's weekly product in recent months. Their PPV's have been a little disappointing, but overall I currently find more entertainment in the feuds on Impact than in the drama on Raw or Smackdown. I feel that TNA has done an excellent job of building up new stars in a period of regrowth for many of their divisions. It's not a perfect example of pro wrestling (far from it), but they have taken many steps in the right direction. That includes the Wild Card tournament designed to bring about a new tag team to face Crimson & Morgan for the belts. Not only did they succeed in accomplishing that goal, but out of a single tournament sparked a rivalry between AJ Styles and Kazarian, an unlikely relationship for Eric Young & ODB, and tonight's brutal Monster's Ball match! Not a bad way to bring about what would likely have been a handful of very standard, lackluster build-ups. And speaking of lackluster build-ups…
Gunner vs. Rob Van Dam
Was this match even announced on Impact? I'm not a huge fan of Gunner's, but I do like Ric Flair's managerial skills, and that has made the up-and-comer seem far more talented than he likely is. If you're wondering, that IS a good thing. Flair's been doing it for a LONG time… I'm almost positive this is an avenue for Garett Bischoff's return, so don't be surprised if you see a DQ ending, or a post-match beatdown designed for Garett to make the save. I'm also not a huge fan of RVD picking up victories he doesn't need, and he's been doing it a lot in recent months. Prediction: RVD wins, Flair gets involved, Gunner sets up for the piledriver, and Bischoff interferes.
Knockout's Championship – Gail Kim vs. Mickie James
I feel like we've seen this before… But since they're likely the two best female wrestler's currently on the TNA roster, I won't complain too much. Without the enormous heat of Karen Jarrett to guide the Knockout's division, I wonder if it's time to start switching things back to the faces. This was made even more evident to me this week on Impact, when Sting made it clear that Madison Rayne had no actual managerial power. They may keep the title on Kim for awhile longer, and I wouldn't actually mind if they did, but there might be more excitement in her chasing the title going into the Lockdown season…if there is such a thing. Prediction: Mickie James wins. New Champion.
"The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs. D-Von
It seems like this feud has been brewing since this time last year. I don't remember exactly when these two started teaming together, or when D-Von's kids got involved, but I know it was long enough that people had forgotten about the whole thing, and were very confused to see it come back. I'm glad they're doing something with Pope, and utilizing a veteran's family against him is going to draw some much needed heel heat, but I really hope Dinero is headed for higher pastures after this feud is over. This is not a match I want to see at the next three PPV's, and if Bully Ray makes a face turn to resolve this whole feud, I will be very upset. Prediction: Pope wins, continues the heat. This one's not over yet…
Monster's Ball – Abyss vs. Bully Ray
I can't remember the last time, if ever, that I was excited for an Abyss match. Bully Ray has become a phenomenal heel, and because of that Abyss has also come off looking like a real monster. I actually enjoyed what little promo work he did on Impact this week, and the way the heels ended the show was absolutely perfect. In fact, my current desktop background is Bully Ray choking out Abyss while Angle and Roode have Storm and Hardy locked in submission holds. It really was a cool moment… I'm also excited because this has the potential to be an absolutely brutal contest, and it's been too long since I've seen a true hardcore wrestling match. Let's hope neither of these two pull any punches tonight… Prediction: Abyss picks up the win.