After Rob Van Dam was placed on the disabled list at the hands of Abyss and his Pinhead-imposter weapon, Janice, an eight-man single-elimination tournament was put together by Dixie Carter, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.
The tournament features the top eight superstars in TNA to determine who the next TNA World Heavyweight Champion would be.
The tournament, which will culminate at Bound For Glory in October, began last Thursday with the four quarterfinal matches.
In the opening round matches, Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero advanced when they defeated Douglas Williams, Rob Terry, Jay Lethal, and Matt Morgan, respectively.
Now, at TNA’s No Surrender PPV on Sept. 5, four of the biggest names in TNA History will be battling against each other in the semi-final round to determine who will lock horns for the biggest prize in TNA at the biggest pay-per-view of the company’s calendar year.
It would appear that all four men are evenly matched.
In the first semi-finals match between Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy, Angle will rely on his amateur wrestling background to ground Hardy and apply a mat-based strategy. In terms of Jeff Hardy, he’s the complete opposite.
“The Charismatic Enigma” prefers his aerial assault to counter Angle’s ground game and will look to avoid getting caught in the ankle lock. For Hardy to defeat Angle, he must use what “brought him to the dance” which is his high-flying maneuvers. For Angle to overcome Hardy, not only must Angle prevent Hardy from leaving his feet, he also has to take Hardy’s speed away from him.
Angle is more than capable of defeating Hardy but it’s likewise that Hardy can derail the only Olympic Gold Medalist in professional wrestling history.
But Angle has more to lose in this match than Hardy.
If the rainbow-haired warrior comes out of this contest with an “L” in the record book, he’ll walk away knowing he can live to fight another day.
In Angle’s case, there is no tomorrow for him. Angle has stated on numerous occasions that the next match he loses, he will retire from professional wrestling. Angle wants nothing more than to become World Champion one more time in his career and is literally putting his career on the line in every match to make sure his goal is achieved.
Given how important each match is to Angle, perhaps now more than ever, there is no doubt that Angle will walk out of his match at No Surrender against Hardy victorious and just one more win away from having his dream become a reality once again.
In the second semi-finals match, Mr. Anderson and “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero will square off in a highly anticipated match-up.
Back in February, these men collided in the finals of the “Eight Card Stud” tournament to determine who would win a World Title shot against the then-champion AJ Styles at Lockdown. On that fateful Valentine’s night, Dinero pulled out the upset and defeated Anderson to win the spot against Styles.
Unfortunately for Dinero, his journey to the top was halted as he was unsuccessful at claiming his first World Heavyweight Championship. Then, to add insult to injury, Anderson, who apparently was still bitter from losing to Dinero, attacked “The Pope” the following night on iMPACT, putting Pope on the shelf for over two months.
But the Anderson who took Dinero out of action for several months was a changed man by the time Pope returned to action. Anderson, who also had personal vendettas with Angle and Hardy, showed admiration for both men, including becoming the latter’s tag team partner and best friend.
Even when Dinero was ambushed by Matt Morgan, Anderson was quick to lend a helping hand in an attempt to make amends with Dinero.
However, it remains to be seen which Anderson will show up at No Surrender.
With the chance at headlining the TNA’s biggest PPV of the year, I believe Anderson will pull any trick out of his playbook to overcome “The Pope” and walk out the winner.
But, you can never underestimate Dinero. The artist formerly known as Elijah Burke has taken Total Nonstop Action Wrestling by storm and has defeated many top superstars, including Anderson, to prove his worth at the top of the heap in the World Title picture.
Many might consider Dinero to be a flashy and flamboyant superstar but do not let the extracurricular activities of his persona mask the fact that he is a highly talented and athletic competitor who’s itching to get another crack at the World Championship.
Plus, who knows if Dinero still has animosity toward Anderson for taking him out of action a few months ago. If Dinero is still looking for revenge on Anderson, there is the possibility that his anger will overshadow his focus to become a World Champion and could backfire against “The Pope”.
Maybe this is Mr. Anderson’s plan?
Perhaps Anderson hoped a situation would present itself where Pope would be too focused on getting revenge that his mental stability would be questioned and Anderson could take advantage of that one mistake which, in this case, would give Anderson a one-way ticket to the World Title Match at Bound For Glory.
Everyone knows that unlike Angle and Hardy, who use their physical ability as their strength, Anderson prefers to use mind games to get one over on his opponents.
Needless to say, these two matches are the focal point for the upcoming TNA Pay-Per-View and if given ample amount of time, these matches are definitely Match of the Year candidates.
No Surrender is LIVE on Sept. 5 and the outcome of these two main event matches will determine the main event for the biggest PPV of the year.
In my opinion, at Bound For Glory, we will see the rematch from their epic Lockdown confrontation as Angle and Anderson lock horns for the World Title with Angle walking out of Daytona Beach, Fl., the TNA World Heavyweight Champion for the fourth time in his career.
Let the speculation begin!