January 8, 2012
Countdown to TNA Genesis
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Genesis hits tonight as TNA begins its PPV year; and the outlook for tonight is very mixed. On one hand, you have the continued and well sustained pushes, individually of Robert Roode and James Storm; on the other hand though, you have their two opponents who are back in their usual headlining spots surrounded by controversy.
First up is Roode's title defence against one Jeff Hardy. The run thus far for Roode as a heel title holder has been great, and the logical step would be for the Canuck to keep the belt as the build continues to the inevitable showdown with former partner Storm; but TNA, despite all that Jeff Hardy has done to make himself unwelcome in the company with legal troubles and drug issues, continues to back him.
It's extremely possible (and hopefully the case) that Hardy has completely cleaned up and his demons are well in the past, but TNA is still taking a risk with him. I don't think they're hedging their bets on him in so much as to go to the ultimate step of putting the belt on him, but I wouldn't be shocked either.
In another case of controversy you have Kurt Angle facing off against the aforementioned Storm. Aside from his various legal troubles, Angle has been talking to mainstream media about his pursuit of being on the 2012 Olympic team. The controversy here is not that Angle's journey is as farfetched as we once thought (he could very well make the squad, even as an alternate), but that he'd risk injury by getting into the squared circle amidst his training. The USOC should really be concerned about Angle's participation in pro wrestling, especially since he is prone to injury.
This will be a light bout by Angle, which is still head-and-shoulders above most combatants; I expect Angle to take the win also, extending the feud to one more PPV where the official #1 contender status will be on the line.
Next up, we've got the winners of the recent Wild Card tag team tourney - Samoa Joe and Magnus - taking on champions Crimson and Matt Morgan. At some point, the champs will have to lose, handing Crimson his first official loss. I expect Morgan to take the fall so that TNA can maintain the (not over) gimmick in that form, and start to turn Crimson heel. Will that start tonight? Might as well - Joe and Magnus have been surprisingly strong together.
Next are the Knockouts with what already seems like the 100th battle between Gail Kim and Mickie James. I'm still failing to understand why Velvet Sky was de-pushed. The fans were really behind her, much more so than Mickie. I get that James is one of the biggest names in women's wrestling right now, but she doesn't need the belt. If I were booking, Gail would win and put Mickie on the shelf for a bit. I'm not, so Mickie's going over.
Next is the 4-way for the X Division title, and while Zema Ion has shown a lot of personality and moxie over the last couple weeks, he's not ready to hold the title. This one's still Austin Aries' until a WWE ex-pat comes in to challenge.
Elsewhere, look for Gunner to dismantle Rob Van Dam, The Pope to hand Devon a loss with his sons' help and Bully Ray to finagle a win over Abyss with nefarious means.
Enjoy Genesis and be sure to check back with SLAM! Wrestling for full recap and analysis.