It’s that time of the month again!
Last month, TNA featured its “biggest Pay-Per-View of the summer” (even though it took place 8 days before the season started, but hey who’s counting) and it delivered. It delivered in-ring action and it showed that when the company focuses on simplicity, it results in a better product.
The only downfall about last month’s spectacular is that it didn’t feel any different than most TNA events, which should not be the case when it comes to one of the company’s “Big Three” (Lockdown and Bound For Glory filling out the voids).
In any event, this Sunday is the sixth event in the Victory Road chronology (even though TNA doesn’t number it as such, unlike last month’s “Slammiversary VIII”) and, on paper, this seems to be the strongest PPV line-up since Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff took over TNA back in January.
Without any further ado, let’s run down the card.
Since TNA officially added this contest to the PPV line-up this past Thursday night, the company website did not provide a flashy graphic hyping the match.
Instead, all of you Bleacher Report readers get to stare at the rarely-used yet still-gorgeous Miss Tessmacher.
As it relates to the contest, it appears that the opponents for Styles and Kazarian are going to be two new stars who have signed with the company.
And if that’s the case, who better than Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin?
I think Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas can truly bolster the TNA Tag Team division and have fantastic matches against the likes of Beer Money, Inc. and the Motor City Machine Guns. Both Haas and Benjamin deserve to be given opportunities to show off their talents to the world, whether as singles competitors or as tag team specialists.
Since most TNA fans are familiar with the duo as such, it would make most sense for them to debut in TNA together, win their debut match and soon after, join back with their former leader Kurt Angle to reform “Team Angle.”
If that comes true, then AJ Styles and Kazarian must lose this contest to give Haas and Benjamin a strong debut. Plus, even If they lose, I highly doubt Kazarian or AJ Styles won’t end up in the new “Fortune” group.
OR, if Haas and Benjamin are not the mystery opponents, my prediction would be the team of Samoa Joe and the returning Christopher Daniels.
Tell me a bonus match of AJ Styles & Kazarian vs. Samoa Joe & Daniels is not a damn good bonus?
But, I’m going to stick with my former decision and the reuniting Haas & Benjamin pick up their first victory in TNA Wrestling.
WINNERS: Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
As I predicted in my Slammiversary predictions last month, the feud between Brother Ray and Jesse Neal would continue.
What I did not expect was that Brother Devon’s allegiance would be split between the foes.
For some reason I have this feeling that Brother Devon and Brother Ray have planned this all along and are going to turn this Triple Threat into a Handicap Match and totally annihilate Jesse Neal.
However, I could see Devon and Neal siding together. But, I would not want Team 3D to be broken up permanently since neither Brother Ray nor Devon have been able to succeed as a singles competitor.
Both men belong “married” together as a tag team and that is why I believe Jesse Neal is in store for an old-fashioned beat down by the mayors of Dudleyville.
WINNER: Brother Ray or Brother Devon
Last Month, Matt Morgan was able to avoid the comeuppance he deserved by “Super Mex.”
This Sunday at Victory Road, the “Blue Print” will have his fate sealed as I do not see how Morgan escapes this cage match with a victory.
There were rumors when Hernandez took a three month absence that he would rejoin with his former tag partner Homicide to reform the Latin American Xchange. With Morgan taking out Homicide the exact same way he did Hernandez, I could definitely see them reuniting.
But until that time, Matt Morgan gets exactly what he deserves – being handed on a silver platter by Hernandez and “Super Mex” gets what he deserves – Revenge.
One month ago, Eric Bischoff decided to strip The Band of the TNA World Tag Team Championships when Scott Hall got himself in some legal trouble.
So, a four-team tournament was created to determine who would face The Motor City Machine Guns, the number-one contenders, at Victory Road for the gold.
After defeating Team 3D, Beer Money was able to take advantage of the ongoing feud between 3D and Ink Inc. which allowed the lovers of both Beer and Money to gain the victory and a spot against the Guns in the July classic.
It is only fitting that the two best tag teams in TNA today are in the finals of the Tag Team Championship tournament vying for the most prestigious Tag Titles in professional wrestling today.
Honestly, this is a tough prediction to make when considering the possibility that Beer Money may be joining the ranks of Fortune. And if that’s the case, winning the Tag team Championships would assuredly lock them the two spots in the elite group.
However, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin deserve a reign as Tag Team Champions because, quite frankly, they deserve it.
Not to mention the fact that the Detroit natives have never been TNA Tag Team Champions also solidifies my assumption that first-time-ever Tag Champions will be crowned this Sunday night.
WINNERS: The Motor City Machine Guns
Didn’t I say in my Slammiversary predictions that despite losing last month, Brian Kendrick would somehow get a rematch at the Victory Road PPV?
I think TNA Wrestling needs to add me to their creative team.
All joking aside, Brian Kendrick has proven that he has earned another X Division Championship Match. When I look at Kendrick, I don’t think of him as THE guy who had Ezekiel Jackson as backup two years ago or as “Spanky” with Paul London some years back.
Instead, I see Brian Kendrick as Raven-esque in the similarity of their wordy and often demented promos. Nevertheless, Brian Kendrick has shown that he can make Douglas Williams submit, something that the current X Division Champion prides himself in since he is the “mat-based technician of the X Division.”
Also, the fact that Douglas Williams is afraid of heights, proven by his surprising loss to Jeremy Buck in a Ladder Match last Thursday proves that Brian Kendrick has the clear advantage heading into this Ultimate X Submission Match for the title on Sunday.
For Kendrick to win, he must make Williams submit which is something he’s already done.
For Williams to win, he must climb the cables of the Ultimate X and overcome his fear of heights, something he’s yet to prove.
If it were a traditional singles contest, Douglas Williams retains hands down. However, given the unique nature of this Championship contest, I’m going with Brian Kendrick walking out of Orlando as the new X-Division Champion.
WINNER: The Brian Kendrick
At Slammiversary VIII just four weeks ago, Madison Rayne defeated Roxxi to retain her Knockouts Championship and in the process, ridding the TNA Knockouts roster of Roxxi.
This month, Angelina Love, who in the last three weeks has completely destroyed Lacey Von Erich and Velvet Sky, finds herself in a similar situation.
If Angelina Love loses at Victory Road, her career is over. If Madison Rayne loses, she loses her Knockouts Championship.
Seems fair, right? Wrong.
I don’t understand why any of the Knockouts would agree to put their career on the line against Madison Rayne when they already have the Title shot before Rayne provokes them into adding this stipulation. I understand Rayne trying to eliminate her competition but her opponents shouldn’t be gullible to accept these terms.
This will be the third straight ‘Title vs. Career’ Knockouts Title Match on PPV. But for Madison Rayne, the third time is not a charm and Angelina Love will become the TNA Knockouts Champion for the fourth time in her career.
WINNER: Angelina Love
This has ‘Classic’ written all over it.
In my opinion, Kurt Angle vs. Kazarian at Slammiversary VIII last month was the ‘Match of the Night’.
And at Victory Road, Angle has the opportunity to duplicate his efforts with another potential ‘Match of the Night’ candidate when he takes on “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero.
A few weeks ago, Dinero returned to TNA Wrestling after a two month hiatus as he recovered from a torn rotator cuff suffered at the hands of Mr. Anderson. Dinero acknowledged that he was not done with Anderson but noted his main focus was to prove himself to be a top contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship again.
Enter Kurt Angle.
Ever since the TNA Rankings were instituted, Kurt Angle has vowed to defeat everybody in the Top 10, proving to himself and the rest of the world that he truly is “The Best.”
The only thing that hampers this dream match between two of TNA’s top stars is the stipulation Angle placed on himself that the next match he loses will be his final match ever. With that looming over the head of every Angle contest; it predetermines the outcome before the match actually takes place.
Even so, Kurt Angle and The Pope should put on a show that the fans in attendance at the iMPACT zone and those watching at home on PPV will all enjoy.
WINNER: Kurt Angle
Jay Lethal’s biggest dream is about to come true.
Besides fighting for and winning a World Heavyweight Championship, I’m certain that this match with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair will be the highlight of Jay Lethal’s career.
For the past several months, Ric Flair has been annoyed by Jay Lethal’s antics. From impersonating him perfectly or even using Flair’s own Figure Four Leg Lock against him, Jay Lethal has succeed in irritating and aggravating the 16-time World Champion.
But, last Thursday on iMPACT, Flair wasn’t intimidated by the young superstar and has promised Lethal that he has “three days to live.”
It is predictable that Jay Lethal will be beating Ric Flair on Sunday but regardless, it is going to be a fun and entertaining match which will show, that despite Flair’s age, he can still go when called upon.
WINNER: Jay Lethal
After Slammiversary, the TNA Rankings placement had Abyss, Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson tied for the top spot in determining who would face Rob Van Dam at Victory Road.
A Triple Threat Match was supposed to determine the #1 contender but instead, provided more confusion than clarity. Abyss transformed back into the Monster-mode that made him what he used to be and both Hardy and Anderson were left questioning loyalty to one another. So, TNA Management decided to give all three men a Championship match following the triple count out.
Since then, Abyss has continued his onslaught. He has attacked both Anderson and Hardy, chokeslamming both men off the iMPACT stage and even giving Hulk Hogan the ‘point of doom’ on two occasions.
It appears Anderson and Hardy are back to trusting one another for the time being, and at the conclusion of iMPACT last Thursday, it seems Rob Van Dam has ‘teamed’ with Anderson and Hardy to battle against Abyss.
It would be intelligent of RVD, Hardy and Anderson to work together, take Abyss out of the equation and fight one another to determine who will win the TNA World Title. It remains easier said than done given how unstable the Monster has been in since tossing Chelsea to the curb one month ago.
As I said on last month’s prediction when RVD faced Sting at Slammiversary, for RVD to be considered a serious World Champion, he must have a lengthy reign with the Championship.
So, Rob Van Dam will retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and will most likely battle “The Monster” Abyss in some sort of gimmick match at Hard Justice next month.
WINNER: Rob Van Dam
Top to bottom, this is a very strong card on paper. Similar to Slammiversary, there is only one gimmick match on the show and that, surprisingly, was given to the X-Division this month.
Matches that have the capability of stealing the show are the World Tag Team Championship match involving the 'Guns and Beer Money, and the Rankings match between “The Pope” and Kurt Angle.
I’ve said it before so I’ll mention it again: If the TNA Creative Team continues to simplify things and doesn’t revert back to over-complicated storylines and angles, Victory Road should be a highly successful PPV and should compete October’s Bound For Glory for the best PPV of the year.
In closing, we leave you with the poster from last year's Victory Road PPV when it was much happier times for Angelina Love and the rest of the Beautiful People.
My, how things have changed in a year.....