I’ve seen some “on the fly” booking in my day, but a company who usually crams eight and even sometimes nine matches into a pay-per-view is really going to have to come up with some magic to add to the five confirmed matches for Sunday’s TNA Wrestling No Surrender PPV.
Unfortunately, there’s just not a whole lot of steam heading into the show, and if there is, it’s for the wrong reasons. Many will want to see how Kurt Angle performs in his title match coming off his ugly DUI arrest, while others will speculate whether or not Jeff Hardy will be in attendance and if he’ll wrestle. I hope Hardy wrestles, but let’s start with the confirmed matches…
Kurt Angle (Champ) vs. Sting vs. Mr. Anderson – Heavyweight Title Match. I love TNA, but even the recent swerves are starting to mess with my head. Chew on this: since this time last year, all three of these guys have been both heels and faces, so who’s a guy to root for these days?
Mr. Anderson, a polarizing figure that’s hard to argue, has been written into the ground as the tweener that no one likes, and was just the emergency back-up quarterback to the revolving jobber door that is Immortal. For his sake, I hope Anderson gets a little more concise writing for the rest of the year, because I have such little faith in him that I’m not even considering him in the hunt of this match that was hastily thrown together.
[adinserter block=”2″]I mean, I could see if Anderson and Angle had Immortal history, but Anderson was jettisoned and concussed from the group before Angle made his new friends. When you throw Sting in the match, who is pretty much boxed into this “legendary” feud with Ric Flair, I can’t see anyone other than Kurt Angle walking out of there as champion. If Impact wants the elements of surprise back, they have to play their hands a little closer to their chests and avoid spoiling imminent Hulk Hogan face turns and matches that completely undermine current storylines (see: the entire BFG series).
Brian Kendrick (Champ) vs. Austin Aries – X Division Title Match. This is the match I’m most looking forward to, mainly because it’s just good ole fashioned lovable champion against the biggest jerk in the world. Seriously, watch Austin Aries do arms up victory laps around the outside of the ring and tell me you can’t get behind that guy as a wrestler? This story has also worked nicely, with rugged Kid Kash serving as Aries’ right hand man, as well as Kendrick’s newly adopted Wizard of Odd motif. Aries was a great signing for TNA, and much like Mickie James finally experienced, don’t be surprised if they put the belt on the highly entertaining challenger. Austin Aries wins with that gorgeous brainbuster.
Bully Ray vs. James Storm – Bound For Glory Series Semi. What?! I’m pretty sure this whole time the hype has been that the final four would compete in a one fatal four way match to decide the No. 1 Contender, so what’s this crap? Back when I was reviewing Impact episodes I gave my thoughts on the competitors chances in this tournament once it was announced, and I ranked James Storm slightly above a dead last Devon, probably because he’s in a little better shape. Injuries have really cleared out the top of the tourney, so obviously some sort of audible was called when Morgan went down with a legitimate pectoral tear and Crimson was taken out with his unbeaten streak still pending. My prediction on this match is reliant upon the other semifinal, but I can’t see BOTH Beer Money guys getting through, so I’ll take Bully Ray in this one.
Gunner vs. Bobby Roode – Bound For Glory Series Semi. Ahhh, the two dark horses and potential future stars of the company come 2012. I don’t believe Gunner is quite there yet, as his Immortal counterpart Bully Ray has a lot more current selling potential in him. I could also see this going down as Bully Ray’s quest to completely invalidate Beer Money by running through them and proving they are pushovers whether as a team or on the singles path. Regardless, this should be a fine wrestling match as I think Gunner has improved his mechanics, but Roode will take this down and be one step closer to a title shot. In the meantime, let’s get Gunner some mic time!
Matt Morgan vs. Samoa Joe. Wow, Morgan recovered quickly. I can’t say I’m excited about this synthetic feeling showdown, but Joe really needs a win here. Just get him the win so he calms down, continues as the war machine that’s not quite a heel so he can stay away from being the 10th leader of Immortal. I want to see Joe chase the title, but as long as there is an Immortal faction, it’s going to be awfully hard to pencil him in to the title docket. It’s going to be interesting to see how Morgan fairs in the ring coming back from injury, but a win here could also boost him closer to the big prize. I’d like to think of this as a pseudo Heavyweight contender’s match, but that’s probably being unreasonably optimistic. Samoa Joe will continue his reign of terror and move on to Crimson.
And, yeah, that’s what’s been announced as of Thursday. However, we can fill in the blanks and assume a few others…
Let’s face it. AJ Styles needs to be at every PPV and his continuing bragging rights rivalry with Christopher Daniels has been pretty good overall. I also loved the in-Fortune bickering between Styles and Kazarian early this year, so Styles must be pretty good at toeing those same side rivalries. I expect this match to go down after Daniels finally got the upper hand on AJ and didn’t shake his hand at last week’s Impact taping. However, if this is just leading to Daniels turning on AJ and going full blown heel on him, I’ll be extremely disappointed. Wrestling fans have told me that Daniels is notorious for his constant turns and this won’t do anything to move the needle if it happens.
While this could be another lengthy, yet stellar AJ Styles PPV match, the story with Daniels could use a little more meat to it. A potential jockeying for leadership of Fortune perhaps? Let’s try and focus on what they can do instead of their revolving friendship from years past. Daniels got the win last time out, so expect AJ to win clean here.
The impending showdown I’m not looking forward to is Rob Van Dam and his bosom buddy Jerry Lynn stinking up the Impact Zone. I don’t know what it is about Lynn, but something about him rubs me the wrong way. It could be that he just looks like someone I wouldn’t let around my kids, or it could be the ten straight times he’s waltzed out to ringside to check in on Van Dam, ultimately costing Van Dam his match. Every time. This story is beyond lame and I hope Van Dam monkey flips Lynn back to the Indy circuit or O’Reilly Auto Parts whence he came.
As far as the Knockouts division (Rest In Peace, my beloved Madison Rayne, wherever you are), you can probably count on Winter defending the belt against Mickie James in a rematch of their last title match and feud. The Winter/Angelina Love story confuses me a bit, as we’re still kind of unsure if they are vampires, lesbians, weirdos, or just weird, lesbian vampires who wrestle. As long as Mickey James hits at least one clean DDT and Lou Thesz Press, this match will be passable.
[adinserter block=”1″]And last but not least, let’s go with the off chance that Impact promotes a Jeff Hardy surprise match at No Surrender right after tonight’s Impact goes off the air. If they do, what kind of work would they have for him? I’ll probably hear some groans for this, but I’d stop watching the NFL Sunday Night game entirely if Hardy came out for a match. Even though it’s only been months, that’s a long time to wait with bated breath for a guy you’ve invested time and energy in as a wrestling fan.
I think the perfect opponent for Hardy would be Immortal’s Abyss. Like him or not, Abyss is a fantastic guy in the ring, as well as a team player who can put anyone who needs it over. His X Division angle could have been a calamity but because of his dedication he put in motion the revival of the division. A good to great match against a returning Hardy could give Impact one of their blue chippers back, just in time for guys like Bully Ray to flounder back to the bottom.
I know this PPV doesn’t have a whole lot of hype, but there are definitely some confirmed and pending matches that will stand out as must see. And, don’t kid yourself, folks—the Jets will be up 17 on the Cowboys Sunday night by halftime anyway.
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.