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TNA Hardcore Justice Preview & Predictions — @MikeKillam
This is one of those “don't count anybody or anything out” PPV's. Two months before Bound for Glory, this is likely TNA's last chance to make any big moves before they start the go-home build. There's always No Surrender in September, but with the marquee reveal of the Bound for Glory Series finale, they're going to want to have their World Champion in place and most of the big angles already set up.
Tonight we should see some sort of payoff for Aces & Eights. We should get a feel for all the Champions going into Bound for Glory. We should start to see the cream rising to the top of the BFG Series. Will we see any of that? TNA has made me far less critical (not to mention cynical) of their product in 2012, but I still fear for their nasty habit of playing off big angles on Impact. I understand wanting to draw traffic from paid events to your televised product, but it should really be the other way around; backwards booking tends to happen when you can't draw money on Sunday nights.
So who's behind the notorious Aces & Eights stable we've seen run roughshod through the Impact roster? The smart money is on Jeff Jarrett, who has been off TNA television for long enough. Don't rule out Bully Ray, and certainly not the former World Champion Bobby Roode. And as much as it pains me to say, TNA's past creative decisions leave me no choice but to keep the option of yet another Immortal reunion on the table. Maybe they'll change their name and slap on a Nexus-esk gimmick the marks will say is “fresh” (wasn't even original when the Nexus did it…), but it's still the same group at heart. The only difference is somebody in creative has seen the Dark Knight Rises.
Zema Ion vs. Kenny King
I like Zema Ion. He's a classic heel – arrogant, brash and unafraid to tell the whole world just how in love with himself he truly is. He reminds me of the Miz, pre-WWE Championship era. Remember that awkward phase in Miz's career where you knew the kid has something, because of how damn good he was at drawing heat, but nobody wanted to admit it out loud? Zema Ion isn't going to be TNA World Heavyweight Champion in the near future (knock on wood), but he's the best chance the X-Division has at keeping itself relevant without Austin Aries.
I also like Kenny King. I was wearing my A|N|X tee the other day, and some guy came up to in Starbucks and asked if I was going to miss him in Ring of Honor. No, really. My honest answer was “No. I loved the All Night Express, but ROH simply doesn't mean as much to me as TNA right now. They probably never will.” King actually has a shot at something decent in TNA; it's where he belongs. I worry that Dixie Carter will feel they owe it to Kenny King to hand him the X-Division Championship tonight. He should be happy with the exposure he's already been granted; the Title needs to stay with Zema Ion tonight. King hasn't proven anything in TNA yet; all the work he did to get here means a hill of beans now. It's time to start fresh; let him earn the fans respect the hard way, or his eventual Championship reign – and it will happen with time – won't mean anything either.
Prediction: Zema Ion retains