Pruett’s TNA Hardcore Justice 2012 Preview and Predictions: Austin Aries defends the World Championship against Bobby Roode, a trio of four-way matches for Bound for Glory Series points, and more!
By Will Pruett
TNA seems to be limping into this year's display of hardcore violence on par with every other display of hardcore violence in mainstream wrestling (and nowhere near as offensive or pointless as death-matches, which are an embarrassment to the art form). The TV show hasn't been bad of late, but this show just isn't capturing my imagination. Alas, even with my imagination running free, I'll predict this for you.
The following predictions are made from a place of complete ignorance to the finishes. They are merely predictions of what I would find entertaining or interesting. One really has no idea what happens in the mysterious space occupied by TNA creative. I wouldn't suggest gambling on it, but if you do, I want a cut.
Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode for the TNA World Championship: At Destination X, TNA created a major moment and a big star with Austin Aries winning the TNA World Championship. His talent, combined with the crowd getting behind him, made it a great choice for that moment. I stand by that and will continue to.
That said, there is no way I see him leaving this show with the title. TNA is still building up Roode vs. James Storm and that feud will be the centerpiece of the build to Bound for Glory. Aries doesn't fit into the very top of the card with anyone obvious until January, at the soonest. That isn't a bad thing, as Aries has gained credibility, established himself in the top portion if the card, and can now move onto a side story.
I also believe that this is where Aces and Eights will make their biggest mark on this show. I see them running in and destroying both men, only for Roode to roll over onto Aries to get the pin (think of Shawn Michaels winning the original Hell in a Cell). Aries loses nothing. Roode is at least in the same place he was a month ago, if not more enhanced. The boomerang title switch will have had its desired effect.
Prediction: Bobby Roode pins Austin Aries after a long attack from Aces and Eights on both men, thus giving Roode the title back and Aries a new direction.
Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels in a Bound for Glory Series Ladder Match for 20 points: This match could steal the show and quite possibly the year for TNA. The mix of athleticism, power, strength, and flying ability here is amazing. It would actually be disappointing not to see this match turn it great.
Going into it, Styles and Daniels are embroiled in a feud over whether or not Styles sired a crack baby. Joe and Angle are focussed on winning the Bound for Glory Series. This is of two of the greatest feuds in TNA history colliding in one match, with ladders!
As far as the series goes, Angle and Joe are firmly towards the top of the standings and can get to the final four without the help of these points. Daniels is an afterthought as a part of the series, and most likely wouldn't be in the final four anyways. That leaves us with one choice for the winner. A.J. coming close to either the final four or winning itself is a logical call on TNA's part.
Prediction: A.J. Styles wins this match to stay competitive in the Bound for Glory Series.
James Storm vs. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Robbie E. in a Bound for Glory Series Tables Match for 20 points: This is another four way match. The issue with these matches is that there were no personal issues to build to on Impact. They are just happening because they are part of the series. While I like them as a part of the series, I wish there was a little more story put into them.
These matches also serve to set up the end of the series. They are a nice last minute safe guard to make sure all of the stories TNA plans to tell through the series are told.
I also hope that this match is an elimination style contest. Just seeing Robbie E. go through a table will probably be boring, but a match contested down to the very end will have a certain level of excitement.
This should be a fun match. Bully Ray is on fire as a heel, but after finishing second in the Bound for Glory Series last year, I couldn't imagine him getting that close this year. I do see Bully Ray being the last wrestler eliminated from this match. Who will be the first? Well, that would be Robbie E.
Finally, James Storm will have to be eliminated, simply because short of being disqualified twice, I'm pretty sure he has already made the final four. This leaves one winner, who much like A.J. Styles, can use the boost from seeming like he is staying in the series to win it.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy wins what is hopefully an elimination tables match to gain 20 points in the Bound for Glory Series.
Rob Van Dam vs. Mr. Anderson vs. D'Angelo Dinero vs. Magnus in a Bound for Glory Series Falls Count Anywhere Match for 20 points: This is the leftover match. With seven main event-ish stars and Robbie E. occupying the other four-ways, this seems to be the weakest of the set.
Dinero and Magnus have hardly had any TV time in the series, which is a disappointment, considering that both could be built into legitimate singles wrestlers through it. Van Dam and Anderson are occupying the "former WWE upper card" slots that TNA always seems to reserve on their roster. They are good enough to get on TV, but they don't make a huge difference.
I wouldn't mind seeing this turn into an elimination match either, but if I had to pick, I'd give that stipulation to the tables match. I don't even know how to predict this match, since none of these men will be in the final four. I'd love to see Magnus prove me wrong and make the final four, but I don't think TNA shares that passion with me.
Prediction: Mr. Anderson pins Dinero at ringside to gain 20 points in the Bound for Glory Series.
Miss Tessmacher vs. Madison Rayne for the TNA Knockouts Championship: This match is all about Earl Hebner. Someone in TNA dug out their old Al Wilson book of ideas from Smackdown creative and asked "Who's old enough to play out these fantasies?" Hebner looks like a hostage in the situation and it really is an embarrassing angle for TNA, especially considering the creative role they've been on.
Miss Tessmacher has been a very enjoyable champion. Since winning the title at Slammiversary, she hasn't had a bad match. The focus hasn't always been on her, but she has come through when it was. Sadly, I see that reign ending because that would allow Earl Hebner to make out with Madison Rayne more.
Prediction: Madison Rayne pins Brooke Tessmacher in a controversial way with Earl Hebner counting the pin to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.
Zema Ion vs. Kenny King for the X Division Championship: Zema Ion was off TV for three months, then suddenly returned to win the X Division Championship after Austin Aries vacated it. He could probably use some time to establish a character. Kenny King debuted about a month ago. He could probably use some time to establish a character. This will be a good match, until the finish.
Prediction: Zema Ion pins Kenny King after using hairspray on his eye parts to retain the X Division Championship.
Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez vs. Gunner and Kid Kash: The big question on my mind going into this match: Was Anarquia released because they new they were bringing in real Chavo, rendering almost-Chavo unnecessary?
This match has a chance at being a decent tag team encounter. Chavo will try and get the crowd to chant "Eddie" at least once. Hernandez will dive over the top rope. Gunner and Kash will have matching tattoos. Did I cover everything?
Prediction: Chavo Guerrero pins Kid Kash to put an end to their "legendary" rivalry.
This show isn't a must-buy for me. It should have some decent action with the X Division Championship match, the World Championship match, and two out of three of the four-ways. It also won't be a super important show. It seems like one that you watch and forget about within a week, making it hard to recommend a purchase.
Make sure to check back here on Sunday night. Jason Powell will be covering the show live and will have an audio update for Dot Net Members shortly after the show!
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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