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(6) Knockouts Gauntlet Match
In my preview for Genesis, I mentioned TNA's current "flavor of the month" method of choosing new Knockout contenders. December saw the return of Mickie James. The month prior was ODB's brief time in the spotlight. Tessmacher and Gail Kim fought before Tara won the belt, so the only logical choice was Velvet Sky. The result was beyond obvious, to the poitn of actual frustration.
Let's get something straight: Gail Kim defeated Tessmacher, Mickie James and ODB. Being a veteran heel, she did everything necessary to get herself in position for another title shot. Velvet simply showed up to party late, got the crap beaten out of her before she could even hit the ring, and managed to use her finisher for the win. Decent little story, but it exposed the fatal flaw in the very concept of a gauntlet: it's not fair. It's like being the first entrant in the Royal Rumble match; why should random happenstance determine the course of anybody's career?
I have nothing against Velvet Sky, but TNA hasn't done anything to get me interested in her going after Tara's belt. They ruined Mickie's return with Velvet's, and she barely did anything in tonight's match to deserve the victory. This after she left the company looking for greener pastures, and returned a few months later empty-handed.
(7) #1 Contender's Match
This match had all the makings of an AJ Styles return. With Christopher Daniels effectively breaking the man we've all come to know and love, and James Storm being directly responsible for AJ's inability to challenge for the World Title, TNA could have pretty much had their way with this match. My money was on AJ coming back heel, attacking Storm after the referee ejected Kazarian, and getting a bit of retribution by costing Storm his title opportunity. You know what they say about turnabout and fair play...
None of that happened. Instead, it was a straight-forward match with your typical Kazarian interference that lead to Daniels getting what has to be considered a slight upset. A fun contest, to be sure, but with as random as the match was, it could have used a shot in the arm like AJ Styles to make it memorable. As it is, all they managed to do was set up Daniels with his first World title match in as long as I can remember. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely excited for the Hardy/Daniels match to follow on Impact, but it just seemed like the birds-to-stone ratio was a little weak tonight.