TNA made the shocking announcement this week that Genesis will be one of only four Sunday PPVs offered by the company in 2013. Of course there's the other seven prerecorded events, but they're largely unconnected from the weekly episodic product, and not relevant to this piece. That means Genesis, which will be the only TNA PPV produced in the Impact Zone this year, is more important than ever before. Unfortunately, with relatively little build to a lot of the more random matches on the card, and the minimizing of the schedule having just been announced, I'm not predicting great numbers for tonight's event. That being said, the number of PPV buys has little to no effect on us, the fans, and if 2012 is any indication tonight's show may have its fair share of gems.
There Can Only Be One!
2012 was a fantastic year for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Bobby Roode took the title into the new year after a career-changing heel turn, cut all his hair off and personified the words "World Champion" better than any man before him. Austin Aries ended Roode's record-breaking title reign after "cashing in" the X-Division Championship to make his dreams come true. Jeff Hardy would win the Bound for Glory series in an impossible upset at No Surrender, and his road to redemption became complete with a World Title win on the biggest stage of the year.
Three World Champions in 2012, and now all of them will step into the ring on the first PPV of 2013 to determine which one of them reigns supreme. There can only be one! The match will be contested under elimination rules, and according to Impact general manager Hulk Hogan, the stipulation is meant to clear up any possibility of shenanigans. It's quite nice to see TNA not only realizing who carried the ball last year, but giving them all their due in a way that also benefits the fans. The dynamic between Austin Aries and Bobby Roode is hilarious, as both are currently bad guys with a whole lot of personal history between them. If the tag match main event from this week's Impact is any indication, we should be in for one hell of a treat tonight at Genesis.
As for who's going to walk out World Heavyweight Champion when the dust settles, I'm not actually as certain as the rest of you seem to be that Hardy will retain. Many speculate that with his contract reportedly reaching its end, TNA may not want to pick right this very moment to take the gold away from him. However, recent interviews have all but guaranteed that Hardy will sign a new contract with TNA. That being said, every interview I've listened to has been incredibly cryptic, and most have hinted at him taking some time off regardless of the decision, to pursue his musical and artistic side projects. We're also talking about the guy who left WWE at the peak of his main event run; would it be so ridiculous to assume he'll do it again?
The bottom line is this: whoever walks out of Genesis as the World Heavyweight Champion will have unquestionably earned the honor. I want to see Bobby Roode back in control of Impact each and every week, and I think he has the best shot of carrying TNA all the way to Lockdown. But I won't count out Aries, and Hardy is certainly an overwhelming favorite to retain.
Prediction: ...Jeff Hardy to retain.
It's Showtime, Aces & Eights!
The Aces & Eights are in action twice tonight, with both Sting and Joseph Park returning for a little bit of revenge. Sting will face D.O.C., the big man who put him out of action with some nasty looking hammer shots. This isn't going to be a technical masterpiece, nor is it expected to be, but after the intensity Sting brought out on Impact this week, don't count them out just yet.
After a month of "training" in OVW, Joseph Park is back to take on Devon, after Hulk Hogan finally got so annoyed with the requests that he let the match happen. I'd bring up that tonight might be a good time to bring back the Abyss character, but it's been teased so many times I feel it's not even worth mentioning at this point. That's not a bad thing either, because Park has reinvented himself so well, I'm sure there's a big section of TNA's fans that aren't ready for the Chicago lawyer to fade away just yet. I know I wouldn't mind a few more months of Park. Who's to say TNA couldn't just permanently repackage him? You know, now that he's a "real wrestler" and all.
If you're watching Genesis, hoping for a big Aces & Eights reveal, you might be disappointed. These matches, while all serving a story that has been brewing for quite some time, don't feel terribly important. There are no game changing stipulations, nor is anybody's mask or contract on the line. The build hasn't been stellar, and although I really enjoyed the last episode of Impact, I don't get the feeling that tonight is the big night we've all been waiting for. I'd settle with some good storytelling, and if TNA wants to surprise us with another mid-level grunt unmasking, I won't complain. I seem to be in the minority of fans who was content with the Mike Knox reveal.
Predictions: Sting wins. Park loses. Blood brings out the Monster inside Park, and there's a big brawl with everybody from both sides.
Shortest. Tournament. Ever.
The X-Division has played host to an extremely short tournament, which will culminate in a #1 contender being crowned tonight at Genesis. That man will also get an immediate shot at Rob Van Dam and the title, live on PPV. This "tournament" was literally two matches on two episodes of Impact, with Kenny King and Christian York advances to the "finals". You would think with enough talent to put on a X-Division "One Night Only" PPV, they could have come up with a couple more guys to make things more interesting.
With the way they've been building towards Genesis, I have to think Kenny King will pick up the win over York. King has been playing the role of heel more and more lately, and has actually been the foil in a few of RVD's matches. York has won a few matches since the original Gut Check segment, but I'm still not sure why TNA is trying so hard to involve him in the X-Division. He's not a huge guy, but he's also not particularly agile or quick in the ring. At least he's doing something, which is more than the other Gut Check winners can say.
Predictions: Kenny King wins over York, but RVD wins the title match to retain.
A few more matches I forgot to mention. James Storm is facing Christopher Daniels! Nobody knows why, but it's happening. I guess it has something to do with Storm fighting for AJ Styles' honor, or being sick of Daniels running his mouth about people who aren't around to defend themselves. Some bullshit about justice, or something. Should be a great match, but I really wish TNA was better utilizing one of the best tag teams in the world.
The TNA World Tag Team Championships are on the line, as Los Mexican LAX 2.0 defends their belts against Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan...again. I have nothing against any of these guys, but I still have no clue as to why Morgan and Ryan are anywhere near each other. Morgan has literally nothing to gain from the partnership; the man is a giant feuding with Hulk Hogan (isn't everybody?) whose current motivations have nothing to do with a failed Gut Check star's quest to bring sleazy back. A lot of people are hoping there's a title change, but that yields two negatives for me: 1) a rematch is inevitable, and 2) more Ryan/Morgan action.
And last but certainly not least, the TNA Knockouts are in action, with five of the best female wrestlers in the world fighting for the #1 contender's spot to Tara's belt. Gail Kim, ODB, Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher and Velvet Sky will compete in a Gauntlet Match, however yesterday's "One Night Only" festivities have shed some light on what that actually means. When WWE says "gauntlet" it usually means one guy/gal starting in the ring, having to make it as far as he/she can through a series of competitors. You get pinned, you're eliminated and the next person makes his/her way out. In TNA, it appears as if it's a fancy battle royal where the challengers come out one at a time; a mini-Rumble, if you will.
QUESTION: Why isn't Taeler Hendrix involved in this match? She won her Gut Check, and was shipped back to OVW immediately. She came back for a one-off with Tara in November, and hasn't been seen. Cute girl and a good talent too. You look at everyone involved in this gauntlet, and while they're all fantastic and worthy of a title shot, we've seen them each several dozen times at this point. It's Tara up against the "flavor of the month" at this point. Mickie James was December, ODB was November and I kind of lose consciousness after that. I'm guessing that means Velvet is January. Where the hell is Madison Rayne in this match?
Predictions: Storm wins. Champs retain. Velvet becomes the new #1 contender.
Join us for complete coverage of tonight's TNA Genesis PPV, starting at 8/7c on Wrestlezone.com!