By John Moore
Drew Galloway vs. Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship: TNA has done an especially nice job building up this showdown match without giving a definitive winner throughout the past few months. Drew Galloway is a stellar babyface champion but the MVP of this feud has to be Lashley who is proving to the world that he can be the complete package as a pro wrestler. That came out due to this hidden promo ability that he has suddenly invoked in 2016. Lashley is one of my favorite acts to watch because he just destroys people in the ring and intimidates them on the mic. As for Drew, they’ve done a good job to keep him strong, perhaps too strong at times when he beat Decay and Lashley in a four-on-one situation, but he also takes his share of shots to the gut. Stone Cold must be extremely pleased since TNA has established Drew’s Future Shock DDT as a finisher that no one can kick out of. Drew has the claymore and Iron Maiden finishers to make those epic false finish situations. Drew has all of the tools; I just hope he doesn’t say he’s going to kill himself like last year. I can see this going either way but my call would be to have Lashley pick up the win by targeting the gut of Galloway throughout the match and causing him to pass out in a Lashley submission. Remember! This match must end in submission or knockout. Hmmmm… I’m being reminded of Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle for some reason and that’s a good thing in this case.
Prediction: Lashley defeats Drew Galloway via knockout to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion
Jeff Hardy vs. “Broken” Matt Hardy in Full Metal Mayhem: Full Metal Mayhem is TNA’s non-copyright-infringement version of a TLC match. Broken Matt Hardy’s character is starting to grow on me a bit and I agree with Jason Powell’s assessment that this is a slight con to convolute things for his “Brotha Nero”. I came to the same conclusion that Big Money Matt is still in the cockpit of the Matt character due to Reby seemingly being a role player in Matt’s scheme as well as him retaining his Big Money entrance music. The “cha-ching” sound effect is also probably a hit that Big Money Matt still exists. While the budget Lucha Underground esque vignettes have given this feud infamous PR, at least eyes are drawn to this match and hopefully Big Money and Brother Nero can cash in on the draw. I have a feeling this match is going to be really good based off the fact that we already got a stellar “I Quit” match between the two recently. The Hardy Boyz were one of the teams that made the TLC famous and I would assume they continue to keep that match famous here. Based on how Jeff won the “I quit” match I can feel safe in postulating that Matt Hardy would pick up the win here with Reby Sky possibly pulling out something from Baby Maxel’s dipper bag of tricks. Ultimately Big Money Matt returns too to show the new viewers how phenomenal that act was. I wonder if we get a Willow Shadow Clone cameo?
Prediction: “Broken” Matt Hardy defeats Jeff “Brother Nero” Hardy
Ethan Carter III vs. “The Miracle” Mike Bennett: Jason Powell’s analogy of this being the “TNA Six” is trice on display in this match succeeding the previously two assessed matches. If we were going to do Smackdown Six analogs I see Mike Bennett as an analog to Chavo Guerrero, just much better. He’s a pest heel with a big head. He’s also extremely intelligent in misdirection in diverting attention away from him trying to avoid confrontation with EC3. EC3 is a hit or miss week to week (I actually hope he starts integrating some of his Evolve character into his current TNA one), but I believe he’s starting to click as the chosen babyface that the company wants him to be. There’s nothing complicated here. EC3 is on the chase and Mike Bennett is twisting and turning to avoid being steamrolled. This match corners Bennett in actually a pretty good conclusion. This match could also go either way depending on what direction they want to go with either Mike Bennett or EC3. EC3 picks up the win if they want to direct him towards a world champ Lashley next. Mike Bennett wins if they want to strap a rocket to his back hand have him become a credible heel. I’ll go with EC3 winning here because it think Lashley will be in EC3’s trajectory come Bound for Glory but I can also see Mike Bennett getting a DQ victory by tricking EC3 to do something in front of the ref. I’ll stick with EC3 because it looks like TNA wants to prop him up and Mike Bennett has improved enough to not need a winning streak. I do see this as my least confident prediction as there are may creative possibilities that can come out of this match.
Prediction: Ethan Carter III defeats Mike Bennett via pinfall.
Decay vs. BroMans for the TNA Tag Team Championships: This was the feud we all feared once Bobby Roode and Eric Young left the tag team division while Davey Richards was sidelined due to injury. There’s a way to make BroMans work and they were doing it when they were singles wrestlers in the World Title Series. Robbie E was being presented as a veteran out there looking to gain respect by having great singles matches with Matt Hardy, Davey Richards, and Eddie Edwards. Jessie Godderz showed great heel characterization in his match against Awesome Kong while showing a cool mean streak by targeting the back of Matt Hardy. Now that the BroMans are back together it seems as if they regressed to nostalgia comedy. It kinda reminds me of the 2016 version of Beer Money Inc. except no one really liked BroMans to begin with. This should be an easy prediction here and I’ll go with Decay winning. They need the win. They just got beat by Drew Galloway by himself. I also hope Abyss somehow doesn’t get injured due to the curse on those titles that Austin Aries was spot-on about. Expect Rosemary to spit mist in Robbie E’s face.
Prediction: Decay defeats BroMans via pinfall to retain the TNA Tag Team Championships.
Trevor Lee vs. Andrew Everett vs. DJ Z vs. Eddie Edwards for the TNA X Division Championship: I called it in my Hit List this past week. Every time TNA take steps forward in the X Division, they end up regressing back into the pattern of weekly gimmick matches. This time it’s fatal four way. What’s funny is they burned through Ultimate X and a few other gimmick matches on regular Impact shows. Now were getting the standard match on the PPV. Another tough break is the marginalization of Trevor Lee. The guy is a great wrestler, but he’s buried in the non-push of TNA’s X Division. He also only wins through cheating, making Gregory Helms actually the only person in the X Division who has credibility because he’s not actually wrestling in these meaningless spotfest matches. If they were going to get anything right out of this match they have to do two things. First, they have to give Trevor Lee a dominant and clean win over Eddie Edwards. Second, they need to do some sort of post-match beatdown to show storyline focus as opposed to the X Division just being a filler segment. Sadly, I wouldn’t put it past TNA to just have this be filler and maybe even the match that they trim time off of in favor of the other matches on the card.
Prediction: Trevor Lee pins Eddie Edwards to retain the X Division Championship
Jade vs. Sienna for the TNA Knockouts Championship: This is a tough match to call because both women can use the win. Jade was just recently crowned the champion and has barely established a character outside of Dollhouse. Sienna is new on the scene and hasn’t established herself enough since Maria Kenellis has been the focal point of the act she’s a part of. This isn’t Sienna’s fault as the TNA Knockout’s division is very scarce in wrestlers these days with so many departures. Just imagine how different the division would be if Awesome Kong, Taryn Terrell, Brooke Tessmacher, Velvet Sky, and Angelina Love were still around? I just flipped a coin and it said that Jade retains. I’ll predict that they find a way for Sienna to gain heat with a beatdown afterward. Maybe Jade wins with a rollup.
Prediction: Jade defeats Sienna via rollup to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship.
Gail Kim vs. Maria Kenellis: Out of the Mike Bennett and Maria package, Maria hit the ground running as an extremely noticeable figure on Impact television. Mike and Maria are both playing the runaway game with their respective opponents, but Maria has done it in many more intelligent ways throughout her TNA run. Gail Kim’s improvement in 2016 actually came in her showing vulnerability. She beat EVERYONE in handicap situations for so long. She even beat Awesome Kong and Taryn Terrell in handicap situations. Her character gains sympathy in loss and now we actually care in what she does. We also hope that she finally gets her hands on Maria. Gail’s major flaw now is she is so “rah-rah Knockouts Division” when she was most effective as a silent ass kicker. Maria claimed that a doctor won’t let her wrestle due to her broken hand, but I wonder if her missing the match is storyline fodder. There will still be a segment I believe, but I actually hope that Maria continues to play cat and mouse with Gail Kim until Bound for Glory. Just don’t pay this off on Impact, TNA!
Prediction: Gail Kim vs. Maria does not happen but we will get some sort of in-ring segment between the two.
Eli Drake vs. Bram for the King of the Mountain Title: I still have no idea what the King of the Mountain title means but I’m going with being the leader of the earth and rock structures based on that Eli Drake vignette from Tuesday. Drake still hasn’t figured out his character yet and comes off as a derivative of the Miz or Ken Anderson. Bram has potential to break out into the upper six if they can also figure out how to sell his persona as well. I believe Drake grabs the tights of Bram here and pulls the cheap victory for the title that no one cares about (Abyss didn’t care about the title when he had the strap).
Prediction: Eli Drake defeats Bram via pinfall to retain the King of the Mountain Championship.
Grado and Mahabali Shera vs. The Tribunal: The best components of this match are Grado and Al Snow, especially Al Snow whose old man coach character is just plain fun to watch. Al is all in on this character as well. He’s reminding me of when Jeff Jarrett went all in as a comedy heel and put on some great television. The Tribunal of Dax and Baraca are the former NXT Legionnaires of Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis. They’ve never really clicked on television but let’s give them time. I’m not sure why being French is something that pro wrestling writers think draws heat? Sylvain Grenier and René Duprée, La Resistance, did it back in the day and that didn’t have staying power. Let’s see. Grado is developing well out of this feud and it’s interesting that they are essentially doing the same storyline that they introduced him with, just stretching it out to way more than just two weeks. I see the Tribunal picking up the win since Grado can eat losses as the sympathetic figure. I also expect Al Snow’s celebration to be glorious.
Prediction: The Tribunal defeat Grado and Mahabali Shera via pinfall