July 15, 2005
Countdown to TNA No Surrender
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
TNA is gearing up for another PPV this Sunday, as No Surrender will invade television sets across North America.
Last month, TNA's future was in doubt after their deal to broadcast Impact on Fox Sports Net expired. This will be the true test of TNA' staying power, as they have had exposure in a very, very small amount of markets. You can get people logging into your website all you want, but that's not what pays the bills - strong PPV audiences do.
If the buyrate comes back very low, then we will be hearing more rumours about
TV contracts. TNA has to be applauded for putting together the single-best card
they've done in a long while, so if anything is going to keep their viewers
interested, it should be this event.
I like the buildup for this one, though I'm not sure the stipulation needed to be added to their first championship encounter. I like Raven as champion, and hope the company is committed to keeping it on him for a while longer.
Abyss would be a great champion, but Raven is a great champion himself; that's what makes this an interesting match. Of course, this wouldn't be TNA if a gimmick wasn't involved somehow. Raven will pick this one up thanks to Jeff Jarrett, leaving Abyss and Jarrett to start something up.
Raven is about as good a torch-bearer as you can have in the biz right now, and Abyss is going to be fodder. I'm actually surprised that Abyss is in the main event slot, and not someone like Sandman, who would've kept momentum going from Hardcore Homecoming. Nevertheless, this should be a bloodbath.
Carnage a'plenty in this one for sure. Raven needs to prove that his winning of the NWA title was not an anomaly. Enter the Abyss. This will be bloody and brutal as Abyss once again finds himself within grasp of championship gold. But this time, he has James Mitchell in his corner. Will the former Sinister Minister prove to be the deciding factor? Sadly, for Abyss, no. For Raven is the hardcore veteran and will prove his mettle by retaining.
The first announced Jarrett-free title match on pay per view. Both men are stellar brawlers and I expect this will be a violent, intense and psychologically thrilling encounter. Do I think Abyss is going to be NWA Champ at some point? Yes. Is it now? No. Raven's fresh and a good champion. I don't see him dropping the belt in his first PPV defense. Then again, I didn't see Styles doing so last month either. Winner: Raven
It gets repetitive to say for each TNA preview that the Christopher Daniels match will be a great one but it's matches like this that make it the truth. Petey is a great competitor, and the Canadian Destroyer is the best finisher in wrestling today bar none. With Team Canada's help, I think he'll pull out the upset victory.
Another great match on this card. Daniels is developing a real good persona as "Mr. TNA". He already has one of the greatest gimmicks in TNA as "The Fallen Angel", but the "Mr. TNA" deal adds just a little more to his heel character. He will continue to dominate, picking up a victory over "The Canadian Destroyer".
More fodder for Daniels, as he continues to work an RVD-esque reign atop the X-Division. Daniels needs to keep the belt here, especially against a recognized X'er.
Williams returns to singles competition, ready to take on the champ, Christopher Daniels. Williams has been in this kind of situation before, so no pressur... uh, actually, mega pressure. Williams has a chance to be a two-time X-Division Champion and he's taking on the best of the best, Daniels. He will no doubt have to take it to another level if he has any hope of stripping the title from Daniels. But this is the year of The Fallen Angel and even if Coach D'amore has a match winning play, you can bet that it will be Daniels taking the gold back to the locker room.
I expect this to be a stellar match. Both guys remain favorites of mine, and while Petey has been doing a lot of tag work lately, it is good to see him back in the X-division title hunt. The Fallen Angel will walk out of this particular encounter with the belt still in his grasp.
I've never been a big fan of Sean Waltman, but there is no denying his in-ring work is good. It's like TNA has given him a new focus. Styles, of course, is sheer brilliance in the ring, so this one should be a very good contest. I'm salivating over the thought of a Styles-Lynn feud. Oh, the five-star matches they could have! I think it may start with this match.
Waltman said he wasn't going to get hit with The Styles Clash, which obviously means he will. Lynn will get into something with Waltman in order to re-hash some old WWE Lightweight Title action, while Styles picks up the victory and moves on to bigger and better things.
This is where Rhyno comes into the picture. Rhyno and JL had solid work against each other in ECW, and a gang up by Lyynn and X-Pac on AJ will send the Man-beast headed to the ring. DQ fun here.
I was very disappointed in the short reign of Styles as NWA heavyweight champion. For Styles, this is a must win situation if he hopes to get back into the chase for that covetted title. But it's not like Waltman is ready to be set out to pasture, needing to prove that he can win over the new generation of high flying grapplers. The deciding factor in this one may very well come in the form of Jerry Lynn, or should I say, Jerry Lynn's agenda. What's that? Jerry Lynn doesn't have an agenda? Believe me, everyone in professional wrestling has an agenda.
Sean Waltman has had his working shoes on lately and it shows. His match against Raven and his performance in the King of the Mountain match made me remember why I liked him in the first place. It's not the first time these two have met up (they feuded over the X-Division Title in the early days of TNA) but AJ has come so far since then and Waltman seems so motivated. I expect this to surpass their stellar encounters. Look for Lynn to cost Styles the match - it's another rehash of a feud from the early days, but considering how good those matches were I can deal. Winner: Sean Waltman
Good talent, but I can't say I'm really interested in this match.
AMW will do their little "We don't like each other" thing again after they lose this match. TNA seems to like this angle for some reason. They don't think it's stale despite the fact they use it every six months with the same people.
Why should I care if TNA doesn't care about tag team wrestling?
The true test of one's ability to endure adversity is to overcome great lost and reclaim one's past glory. That is where AMW is in this contest. They lit the tag team wrestling division on fire and now find themselves in the position of getting fans excited about them being legit contenders. The team of Shane & Shelley still need to prove they belong in the tag team ranks. A victory over AMW would prove tremendous in doing just that, not to mention earning a title shot. This should be a good one, with AMW back on the winning path once again.
It is so great to see a Goldilocks free Alex Shelley. I expect this to be a decent match, but Shane and Shelley are going to just be fodder for the established team. I still miss Kazarian and Shane. Sigh.
Look for Joe to dominate, as his super-push continues. It seems Sabin is kind of directionless lately, and it's unfortunate that he'll have to do the job come on, TNA, put him back in the X- Division Title hunt!
Chris Sabin will put up a good fight, but it won't be enough, as TNA pushes Joe on as an unstoppable force, ultimately landing him in title contention.
Why must Sabin be the sacrifice here? He deserves a whole lot better than to be Samoa Joe's jobby boy. Get Sabin to Titan Towers, stat!
Another potential match of the night contender. Sabin never disappoints when he's in the ring, but he's not facing some X Division rival here. It's Samoa Joe, a man who is clearly focused on destroying anyone who gets in his way. Joe possesses both strength and a diverse armoury of offence. Sabin will need to stay mobile at all times if he has any hope of taking down the Samoan. Pick Samoa Joe to continue his string of victories in TNA.
Joe is on a roll, while I expect this to be more competitive then the match last month against Sonjay Dutt, The former ROH champ will be to much for Sabin.
-- compiled by Jon Waldman