The pick here seems pretty obvious considering who the company is advertising as their special guest of the night. Apparently part of the deal that TNA struck with WWE to allow them to have Ric Flair for their Hall of Fame night was to have Christian appear at Slammiversary. Christian had a great run in TNA before returning to WWE, and he was the first huge name to jump ship. As a mega-acquisition for TNA, and considering they went to all the trouble to fly Christian in for the PPV, it really seems as though this is the only logical pick for their first inductee.
I doubt he'll be appearing on any future TNA programming, unless he re-signs with the company at some point, so this will more than likely be a one-time thing. Christian did a lot for the company during his run there, and he really deserves this. Whether or not you agree with TNA having a Hall of Fame (I don't, but that's a topic for a different column), if TNA is going to do this, they need to do it right. There aren't many more logical picks for the first inductee than the former Christian Cage, so that is the pick I'm going with.
I have no idea what this match is doing on the card. Neither man has done anything of note on iMPACT for some time now, and frankly it's a surprise either of them are still employed right now. The one thing this match has going for it is that it promises to be hard-hitting and violent since both men work quite a rough style. Of course there's a significant size difference between Kash and Hernandez, but I'm sure Kash's speed will make up for that.
Because there hasn't really been much buildup to this encounter, there's no real storyline reason for either man to take the win, and there's also no reason that a loss would hurt either of them. I still don't think Hernandez will remain employed with TNA much longer, and that is the only thing that makes this pick slightly easier for me. Kash may not be doing much right now, but at least he's shown that he can still deliver in the ring when he is called upon.
Prediction: Kid Kash wins
Yup, Garett Bischoff is wrestling on another PPV. Apparently my wishes of serious bodily harm to come to that guy haven't done any good. Even worse, he's teaming with the current TNA Television Champion, which to me says that their relationship is going to end up with Garett getting a shot at the belt. Garett doesn't belong in a wrestling ring, much less anywhere close to a wrestling championship.
As for this match, I don't see any way that Devon and Garett lose. Team Robbie might have some entertainment value, but it's pretty clear that TNA isn't going to do anything serious with them. They seem to think Devon is capable of giving the TV Championship some credibility, and then of course there's Garett "The Second Coming of Christ" Bischoff, who they seem insistent on pushing to the moon. This match isn't going to be a technical masterpiece. It's not likely it's even going to be that entertaining. It's barely a step above a filler match. The winner is obvious, and I can only hope this match goes on early in the night.
Prediction: Devon and Garett Bischoff win
Before tonight, I figured there was only one logical pick for Crimson's open challenge. Now I figure there are at least 3, though I still figure my original pick makes the most sense.
Joey Ryan might be a bit of a long shot pick, especially since as far as I know he has still yet to sign with TNA officially, but if the reports are true, they want him. In what little I've seen of him so far, he appears to be a very talented wrestler that could definitely add something to the product overall. Being that his character is based on cockiness and overconfidence, debuting against the undefeated Crimson would seem to be something he would do, saying that he's capable of doing what no one else could do. Again, Ryan might be a long shot pick, but I wouldn't mind seeing it happen.
Pick #2 is Chris Masters. Masters recently wrestled a dark match for TNA, and I for one am surprised it took him this long to do that. Granted he is a member of the Ring Ka King roster, which at least has him associated with TNA, but I thought they would have brought him to iMPACT ages ago. Masters' latest run with WWE saw him improve greatly, though that unfortunately did not translate into any kind of real push for the guy. At this point, WWE's loss could very well be TNA's gain as Masters is a superstar in waiting. If TNA is looking for a new and fresh challenger for Crimson, Masters is a great pick. Have him answer the challenge, dominate the match, only to have Crimson cheat to win. Crimson needs something fresh, and Masters could be the answer.
But my final pick, and the one I think is most likely to actually happen, is Matt Morgan. His feud with Crimson is well-documented, and considering Morgan has conspicuously been left off such a monumental event, this pick seems to make sense. He's been announced on TNA live event cards for June 14 and 16 where he will face Crimson at both events. So with rumours that Morgan may be returning to WWE after his contract with TNA comes up, and with TNA's continued insistence on pushing the useless ginger, Morgan seems to be the most logical pick to answer the open challenge. If it turns out to be anyone other than him, I will be very surprised.
Regardless of who answers the open challenge, I don't see the streak ending just yet. MAYBE if Morgan answers the challenge and has renewed his contract, but even then there's a very slim chance. When Crimson's streak does finally come to an end, it should be as the payoff of a feud that's been given time to build. Regardless of your feelings on Crimson, TNA has put a lot of time and money into building his streak to where it is now, and that can't just be thrown away.
Prediction: Crimson wins
Miss Tessmacher seems to have strange luck when it comes to her booking. She seems to get pushed towards the top quickly, but just as quickly she is taken off TV for weeks at a time. When her and Tara were teaming together, it looked like the two of them were destined to feud at the top of the Knockouts Division, but that just seemed to go away.
Gail Kim on the other hand has been booked like a champ since she returned to the company. A lot of people seem to hate on her, but I for one am pleased with what she's done so far. She's a serious champion and has had a solid run with the belt so far, and when someone does finally beat her for it they're going to look good doing it.
That's not going to happen tonight though. As much as I like Tessmacher, she's basically a pawn in this match so Kim can establish a feud with Brooke Hogan. With Brooke being brought in to lead the Knockouts Division, she needs a villain to feud with, not the squeaky-clean Miss Tessmacher. Gail Kim isn't going to lose the belt until at least the next PPV. I imagine some kind of shenanigans will go down in this match, likely involving another Knockout or Brooke Hogan herself, but the result will be the same.
Prediction: Gail Kim retains
The one thing this match is going to accomplish is the official return of Abyss to TNA TV. The Joseph Park character has peaked, and there's really nothing else for him to do on iMPACT. As much as I dislike Abyss, at this point he's better for TV than his "brother". Bully Ray has been his usual great heel self during this feud, but without a new development (the "return" of Abyss), this feud is dead in the water.
I figure it will go down like this. Bully Ray is going to dominate the match, beating the holy hell out of Joseph Park. He's going to get cocky, play to the fans, and Park is going to pull the Abyss mask out of his suit. He'll put it on, Bully Ray will turn around, and Abyss will nail the Black Hole Slam for the win. The crowd pops, Abyss celebrates in the ring, and Bully Ray backs up the ramp looking like he's seen a ghost. The feud can then carry on to the next PPV where they'll likely have a match with some kind of hardcore stipulation.
That's just about the only way I can see this match being logical. It's even more obvious now that Joseph Park is actually Abyss, and he's starting to get stale. This is the payoff match to the Park/Ray feud, and the beginning of a renewed Ray/Abyss feud. I'm not a fan of Abyss, but at least his violent style will complement Bully Ray's. It's time for "The Monster" to return to TV, and this is the best way for it to happen.
Prediction: Joseph Park wins
This match is my advance pick for "Match of the Night". To think it all started with Aries accidentally spraying Joe with water…
Joe is a 4-time X-Division Champion, and it's no secret that he can deliver in a big way in the ring, especially against an opponent as talented as Aries. I'm hoping this feud goes beyond tonight, because it really has the potential to be the kind of feud that the X-Division has been missing. Two guys at the top of their game, fighting over a belt that used to actually mean something.
Aries is the longest reigning champion in the belt's history, and as good as he's been during his reign, he needs a real challenger that he can build a long feud with. Right now, Joe seems to be the best pick for that spot. Not only can he go toe-to-toe with Aries in the ring, he's a veteran name that can help build interest in the division again. Both men are great at what they do, and while this match may not be for the title, it's certainly setting the stage for that encounter down the road.
As for who's going to win tonight, that's a little trickier to say. I figure it depends on whether or not TNA plans to continue this feud further than one night. If not, then Aries is definitely taking the win. He's a champion, and he could use a win over a guy like Joe. However, if they DO plan on having these two guys feud past tonight, I figure it could go either way. Either Aries wins and Joe gets pissy and demands a rematch, or Joe wins and Aries wants a rematch, but Joe pushes for the title to be on the line.
Looking at my predicted outcomes, I've got to play the odds here, and that means picking A-Double for the win. That being said, this feud should not be ending tonight. There's money there, and TNA needs to recognize that.
Prediction: Austin Aries wins
The titles being on the line here is a bit perplexing to me. AJ and Angle aren't an established tag team, and while it might make sense for them to team against Kazarian and Daniels in a non-title environment, the belts being up for grabs just make this pick too easy for me.
Kaz and Daniels are, at this point, an established tag team. While they wouldn't be my first pick to hold the belts, they're a better pick than a random teaming of superstars. As good as Styles and Angle are, they're not winning the belts tonight. This feud is all about Styles, and it still has some life left in the tank. Styles can't get a big win just yet.
Keeping this short and sweet, the champs are retaining tonight. The feud will continue, and AJ Styles will get his win down the road, tonight's just not his night.
Prediction: Kazarian and Daniels retain
This match is probably the hardest one of the night to call. I figure there's an argument to be made for each guy to become the new #1 Contender to Roode's title, so why not organize this section like that?
Mr. Anderson… What can I say about the King of the Assholes? Like I said in a recent column, Anderson is only ever at his best when he is pursuing the World Championship. When he's not chasing it, or when he already has it, Anderson has demonstrated that he just gets complacent and boring. I've tried to stick up for Anderson in the past because I saw a lot of potential. Through all of his subpar wrestling, I tried to say he just needed the right push. Now, I'm off that wagon. Anderson is never going to be a staple of the main event scene. His time has passed. He could be a great upper-midcard talent for TNA, but a World Champion he is not. That being said, now that he's flip-flopped back to being a more face-like character that's somewhat over with the crowds, he would be a solid challenger for Roode. At least he'd be a placeholder until James Storm returns to feud with Roode again.
RVD has a pretty sweet deal with TNA right now. He makes good money, and barely has to appear on TNA programming to earn the cheque. On top of that, TNA usually puts him over his opponents to keep him happy. I figure RVD has a great chance of taking the win here, and while I doubt he would end up taking the belt from Roode, his veteran status provides Roode with quite the rub. However, much like I said for Anderson, I figure if RVD wins he'll just be a placeholder for James Storm.
Last but not least, and my prediction for who will win this match, we have Jeff Hardy. Love him or hate him, Hardy is CRAZY over with the crowd and is one of the biggest names TNA has on their roster. Since returning from his well-documented drug and legal issues, TNA has seemed hesitant to push Hardy back to the top. They've flirted with the idea, but never quite pulled the trigger. Tonight, on TNA's 10th anniversary, I figure the time is right to reward Hardy with a big win. I still think he'll just be a placeholder for Storm, but Hardy would provide the most entertaining feud with Roode out of the three men in this match. Hardy is crazy over with the fans, and Roode has mega heat. Their feud could be great, and it all starts tonight.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy wins
Get ready folks, this is going to be a short one.
There is no chance in hell that Sting is taking the belt tonight. Roode is on far too much of a hot streak right now, and if they take the belt off of him and give it to Sting, I vow to take a break from TNA programming. It would be a stupid decision, and as good as Sting still is, Roode deserves the win. I'd rather see him get it clean, but if he has to cheat to retain, at least he'll get some heat doing it.
Prediction: Roode retains
So there you have it, my predictions for tonight's PPV. I'm feeling pretty confident about my picks, but of course I love debating wrestling with other people. So feel free to send me your thoughts/opinions through one of the options below. I'll likely be on Skype later watching the PPV, so feel free to pop on and join the discussion.
The "Fixing TNA For Dummies" series will resume in a few days, so keep your eyes peeled for that. But until next time, thanks for stopping by.