Another month, another TNA PPV I have mixed feelings about... For having five full weeks of television programming to set up this event, I feel like we've really only had about two solid shows of true build. As much as I loved having the live, energetic (not to mention MASSIVE) crowd at Wembley, both those episodes seemed like nothing but recycled content from the first few weeks following Genesis. How many times did we see Bully Ray and Bobby Roode kick off the show, only to be interrupted by Sting? Also, did anybody else remember that this week's episode was "Star Wars" themed after the opening video package? You have to know that the gimmick was demanded by Spike, not the idea of TNA management. If Spike could play re-runs of Attack of the Clones 22 hours of the day, I'm sure they would... WWE would have had their Divas in some sort of costume contest, inevitably ending in a sloppy brawl - at least we can be thankful for missing out on that.
TNA's one big saving grace this month is the main event World Title picture, which has been built up perfectly. But the rest of the card just seems hit-or-miss this time around - that may play into the company's favor though, as my unusually high expectations for their PPV's generally results in my inevitable frustration. Let's just get right into the individual matches so I can share my apprehension one by one.
#1 Contender's Match to the X-Division Championship
Here's a match that will suffer greatly because of TNA's decision to turn the Wembley events into television tapings (it was still the right decision, given the amount of tickets sold). Zema Ion was spotted once, three weeks ago in a losing attempt to Alex Shelley. The last time Jesse Sorensen was seen? The 4-way title match at Genesis, in which he lost to the current champion, Austin Aries. So without being able to see these guys, without any video packages or promos, and without anything to remind us in the slightest that this match is going to take place...who cares? I was excited to finally see a real contender's match on a wrestling PPV, but if this is how TNA plans to build up their title belt contenders, I'm not really looking forward to next month's Victory Road show. Prediction: Zema Ion wins
I am 100% behind the decision to step away from Mickie James for a month. Problem is, she still got more exposure than the current challenger, Tara. Gail Kim is an exceptional wrestler for TNA (no idea why she fails to "bring it" for WWE) and Tara has more experience than just about any woman currently in the industry. It should be an above-average Knockout's match... Prediction: Gail Kim retains
I would have liked to see a final confrontation between these two on Impact this past week, but the UK tour messed a lot of things up (see: Ion/Sorensen). Aries and Shelley got it all out in their surprisingly fantastic exchange after Genesis, and both have wrestled victoriously in preparation for this title bout. It's not the world's greatest build, but Shelly is certainly a bigger name in TNA than anybody that has recently challenged for the gold, immediately increasing the chance that we might see a new champion by night's end. I wouldn't count on it, as Aries is creeping up on that all-time division record... Prediction: Austin Aries retains
Tag Team Championship
I'm really impressed that they've kept the belts on Morgan and Crimson this long, and have given them a fair attempt at being a legitimate tag team. It's been good for the crippled division, and great for the current challengers. That promo Magnus cut in his home town (close to it...) was WAY better than I expected it to be, and probably caught me on to his work more than anything he's done with Douglas Williams in the past. One question: are Joe and Magnus the faces in this fight? Because in the States, the champions were more or less booked as the face team - in the UK the opposite was true. Playing to the home country might have been a good idea, but not at the risk of confusing an already confused group of viewers... Who am I supposed to be cheering for, because I honestly have no idea. Prediction: Matt Morgan & Crimson retain. It's also possible that with the recent ring return of Doug Williams that we could see some sort of "turn" take place at the expense of Samoa Joe.
Gunner (w/ Eric Bischoff) vs. Garrett Bischoff (w/ Hulk Hogan)
Ugh. You know... I really wanted to give these guys a chance. When everyone else was freaking out about how much undeserved attention G.B. was receiving, I decided to wait it out to see what would happen. After all, it's not like they were forcing a guy into the main event scene purely because of his last name... Right? It turns out Hulk Hogan is back, and he's leading a Bischoff into a match with a man that just so happens to be managed by the legendary Ric Flair. Sounds main event caliber to me, even if the title isn't on the line. Bottom line is this: Garrett hasn't paid any dues to the industry, and doesn't deserve this spot. He's not a great wrestler, he's a terrible mic worker, and there's no reason to be putting him over like THIS when there are more deserving guys waiting in the folds.
This is also TNA's biggest lose-lost situation. If they follow through and have Garrett win the match, it makes Gunner look weak. After ending a career and putting a few other guys in the hospital, you can't realistically expect him to get beaten by some punk kid who's been training to "Hulk Hogan's Main Event" for the XBox 360. No, that wasn't a cheap plug for advertising - the game got a 1/10 from Game Informer... (At least it's true to form! OH!) And if they have Gunner go over, it kills everything they built up recently. Won't happen - Hogan is involved. Something stupid will happen; a roll-up victory or Flair involvement to lead us into an all-important match at Victory Road and/or Lockdown. Wooooo.... Prediction: suck
AJ Styles vs. Kazarian (w/ Christopher Daniels)
What in the hell is going on here? I don't mean that in my normal, sarcastic and snarky tone one should be used to by now when dealing with overly convoluted TNA storylines... In fact, I'm actually quite intrigued as to what Christopher Daniels could possibly have over Kazarian at this point, to make him turn on Styles! Does he have Traci Brooks locked up in some hidden lab? Has Daniels found photographic proof that Kazarian will never actually be a main event player in TNA, and has threatened to expose said pics to TNA management if Kaz doesn't follow his every call!? For now I genuinely want to follow this to see what happens, and that is something TNA needs to be doing more of, but I hope we get some answers this week or the few who still do care are going to lose interest quickly. Prediction: Kazarian wins, using some evil, tricksy heel method thanks in-part to the Fallen Angel.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
This is the single best main event scene we've had in quite some time (within TNA). Incredibly simple booking saw a team of bag guys beat down on a team of good guys, that kept going until they just couldn't go anymore. All the sudden we see one of the bad guys, in this case Bully Ray, turn on the other for his own self-interest. It's still good against evil, but we've got a bit more drama added in to the mix. For the first time in months I think Bobby Roode's championship could be in serious jeopardy! My only issue with this feud was that Jeff Hardy had to stay off the UK tour, resulting in him missing half the build to this match. Instead we got Sting - a decent replacement, but as he's not actually wrestling for the title tonight, Sting just couldn't fill Hardy's shoes this time around. Regardless, I'm extremely excited to see this match take place, and even more excited to see where the main event scene heads going into Victory Road and Lockdown! Prediction: Bobby Roode retains
In conclusion, there are a few things to get excited for in terms of tonight's Against All Odds PPV. The main event is incredibly solid and should be a white hot ride from beginning to end. Kaz and Styles should put on one hell of a match, and I'm interested in where that heads. The tag team championship picture has been pretty decent, as has the X-Division. Some good booking abounds in TNA right now, but I'm not getting my hopes up. TNA has been amazing in their weekly television programming in the last 4-5 months, but all their PPV events just seem to fall flat and have way too many over-produced finishes. I'm hoping tonight we get some damn good wrestling, with some damn simple booking...
As always you can follow me on Twitter @MikeKillam for live tweeting during tonight's TNA Against All Odds PPV event, and be sure to tune back in tomorrow for my PPV Review as well!