A lot of us here at the CCB never thought we’d see it, but it’s coming–Hulk Hogan is lacing up for one more match against his arch nemesis Sting for “control of Impact Wrestling.” While not even the most earnest Impact fan could tell you what that stipulation actually entails, the fact that Hogan is wrestling a real match should turn some heads, and at the same time, fluff up those buy rates.
Hogan did a pretty great job promoting the show and his brand across ESPN on Wednesday, so hopefully this gets new fans in to check out the show for the old guard and realize it’s guys like Bobby Roode who will steal the show. The one thing that did make me chuckle about the main stream promotion was Hogan calling it the “Superbowl” of their sport. Wasn’t that Slammiversary?
Ehh, let’s not nitpick. Who’s wrestling this weekend?
Kurt Angle (Champ) vs. Bobby Roode, TNA World Title
There hasn’t been a fresher name in the title chase than Bobby Roode in at least the last year so I’m more than pumped up for this showdown. I loved how Roode found a smart and decisive way to overcome the handicap match against Jeff Jarrett and Gunner last night, but this also puts the idea in my head that Angle’s drunken reign of terror will continue. Angle’s out of the ring problems have been well documented and it makes all the sense in the world to get the strap off of him.
Hulk Hogan vs. Sting
I’ll be watching the show this year, but last year I was there live for Bound For Glory in Daytona, which will forever be remembered as the birth of Immortal and a not so subtle homage and tribute to the birth of the nWo, replete with the shocking Hogan turn and everything. That night was all about the bad guys, so I could totally see this as the night that starts the crumble of the faction, starting with a wild-eyed Sting regaining control of the company.
If you’re expecting anything of a traditional wrestling match, temper that immediately. Hogan already admitted it’s going to be a glorified, taped fist brawl, but for a guy like Hogan to actually wrestle a match for the first time in over a year is all we’ll need to validate this as the one Impact PPV to buy this year. Even though it looks like Hogan has signed for another year and wouldn’t have much to do if he was ousted from his GM position or whatever they call him, I still have to hope that Sting gets the final victory here. I mean, Immortal can’t possibly interfere in both main events? Right, guys?
Austin Aries (Champ) vs. Brian Kendrick, X Division Title
While I gag almost every time I lay eyes on Aries’ fluffy pink ring attire, the guy is darn entertaining and is deserved of this title run. Kendrick, in his own right, has adapted nicely to his Wizard of Odd gimmick, even if it’s just him putting on a weird hat and white boy dancing. I’d love to see this match kick off the show as X Division action is notorious for getting live crowds pumped up. I’m taking A Double in this one–the guy is just way too hot right now.
Mexican America (Champs) vs. Ink Inc., TNA Tag Titles
Man, the tag division in Impact has shrunken considerably, huh? I found Ink Inc. to be kind of an afterthought when they returned last month to take Beer Money’s spot as the requisite face tag team, but the addition of Christina Von Eerie has really freshened things up. That said, Mexican America’s familia gimmick is great and I could watch them defend the titles while their “old ladies” beat up their opponents behind the ref’s back for months. I think MA retains here, but where does the tag division go from here? Impact, are you taking my request for an AJ Styles and Kazarian run for the titles?
Winter (Champ) vs. Velvet Sky vs. Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James, Knockouts Title
Honestly, I kind of forgot that Winter was champion with Karen Jarrett more or less hijacking the program as “VP of Knockouts Division.” What?! Who’s the president then? D-Lo Brown? For Winter’s forgettable reign as champ, the title will no doubt change, but who gets it? Madison has been buried as of late and it would be weird if she suddenly emerged as champ. That leaves Velvet and Mickie, and you really can’t go wrong with either. James is your cash cow, while Impact couldn’t pass up the story of Sky winning her first Knockouts title at this marquee event. I’m taking Velvet for these reasons.
Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray, Falls Count Anywhere Philly Street Fight
If they don’t end up in the north end zone of Lincoln Financial Field while Asante Samuel blind side tackles Bully Ray I’ll be pretty disappointed. Either way this brawl goes down, they better end up on the streets as advertised. Worst case scenario? They just both wear jeans and punch each other real hard. I’m not expecting much from this one, but Anderson needs some decisive wins to stay relevant. Anderson gets the nod here, with full expectations that Abyss rears his ugly head to get revenge against Ray.
AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels, I Quit Match
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an I Quit Match in TNA before, so this a bit of a refreshment for me. Also, screw Chris Daniels. That tool has been dragging down Fortune to the point of mediocrity for months. It’s not Fivetune, Chris. AJ’s kind of spinning in circles at this point, so I’d give Daniels the nod to continue the feud. Even though it won’t be a typical format, this will be one of the better matches on the card. But with Styles involved, could you expect anything less?
Why is this a triple threat match? Crimson and Morgan have no beef. I’d rather have seen a tag match here, but I’ll take it. Now, the question remains–will Crimson’s undefeated streak continue if he’s the one who neither scores the win nor is pinned or submitted? I doubt it. Joe has been on a roll here, while Morgan doesn’t have any sort of program right now. Go with Crimson pinning Morgan as Joe looks on in Samoan defeat.
Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn
I hate to be so Dustin Nichols cynical here, but I’d rather watch anything on TLC rather than this mess. Even those exploitation shows about the little people. I’ll consider it a win if I see one monkey flip, one rolling thunder, and one never having to see Jerry Lynn ever again. You can Amazing Red and Jay Lethal and this guy gets paid?
So, what do you guys think? Will you be watching at all? Going head to head against the NFL and the MLB playoffs is tough, but I still think this is the biggest buyrate of the year for Impact. If they can’t sell this show, 2012 is looking awfully gloomy.
Joe Leininger lives in Jacksonville, FL via the greater Philadelphia area. He dabbles in all things sports, pro wrestling, and television, and more of his work can be found at The Playing Field Blog and DestiGeddon.