You can keep your "special events" - TNA still offers their Sunday cards on pay-per-view (PPV)! And they have a loaded card set up for their latest, Sacrifice, coming at you April 27, 2014 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida at 8PM (TNA PPVs are available Dish Network, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox Communications, Cablevision, Bright House, Suddenlink and more - check your programming guide for availability and pricing).
While it remains to be seen how many fans they can get into the Impact Zone (never mind asking if they can top 10,000 buys), TNA is throwing everything they've got at the show, with every active championship on the line and a mix of their top guys like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy mixed in with recent independent signings like The Wolves and International talent like Sanada and Tigre Uno.
Will it make for a good show? We won't know until Magnus and Eric Young have left it all in the ring, but that won't stop us from previewing the matches and throwing our smart-@$$ opinions about them at you.
Tag Team Championship: The Wolves vs. The BroMans (c)
Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards were the first signings of Montel Vontavious Porter when he was "the secret investor", and helped Team MVP defeat Team Dixie at Lockdown. Jessie Godderz and Robbie E were on the squad of ousted authority figure Dixe Carter. Of course, Carter is back as President of the company while Porter is running around as a part-time talent and "Head of Wrestling Operations", so...good job, everybody?
As tag team competitors, the pairs have been feuding for months - probably because the TNA tag roster makes WWE's look deep. The Wolves defeated BroMans for the belts at a house show, but they lost them back in Japan when the promotion was touring there and putting on shows with Wrestle1 before a new episode of Impact even made it back on the air with a fresh set of tapings.
Over the past few shows, Jessie and Robbie (with assistance from their personal DJ, Zema Ion) have kept the titles by losing via disqualification. So the logical payoff here is for Eddie and Davey to finally get their big moment. It's been a perfectly logical pro wrestling build, if anyone's been paying attention, and should be a pretty good match, too.
Committed Match: Mr. Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw
I have no idea what a 'committed match' is, and I'm guessing that no one else (outside of maybe TNA Creative) does either. Let's go with ReverendKain's probably way too logical assumption that it's an ambulance match.
Shaw went on a date with Christy Hemme, who later discovered that he was a bit of a creep what with his stealing of her hair for his shrine and all. She broke it off, but Samuel (don't call him Sam) started assaulting every male who talked to her backstage. This eventually lead to Mr. Anderson, who showing Christy some iPhone pics of his new twins, who thankfully weren't raped by the now-babyface Bully Ray.
One gimmick match after another has followed, usually starting with Anderson making fun of Shaw for being mentally ill and ending with Samuel slithering away to stalk another day. This past week, we learned that his fixation on redheads named Christy goes all the back to the womb. Oh, and Anderson may be dead in his basement.
If The Asshole did survive, expect a cowardly cameraman to get his ass handed to him by The Asshole, and then this match. Shaw's the future star while Ken is the guy who's here because WWE wouldn't take him back, so while it makes sense that the younger guy would win - this is also a good chance to let the good guy win while the psycho character gets sent off for a slight gimmick modification.
Third of three for the X-Division Championship: Sanada (c) vs. Tigre Uno
All even at one match a piece, their styles seem to mesh fairly well and they've put on a couple of entertaining five minute matches on Impact. That's pretty much all I've got. Hopefully they can get the crowd fired up with an exciting contest. And I expect the luchador to win, because that way they'll be able to claim both guys having held the belt in future programs.
Knockouts Championship: Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne (c)
Ms. Love rolled back into our lives, and upset the whole Knockouts apple cart. Velvet Sky is a heel again, reforming the Beautiful People and targeting the champ for bullying as much as for her belt. Gail Kim, the previous queen of the division and veteran of several street fights with Rayne, is now her ally, and the two of them now get to bully the new girl on the block, Brittany.
How does that factor into this match? I'm not sure - still busy trying to figure out why they crafted this as a deeply personal feud and then had it be a series of street fights to lead up to a PPV title match with no stipulation. Rayne's a good worker, and Angelina is the better of the two BPs in the ring, so there's that. Interference will almost certainly play a role, and a turn or two wouldn't shock me either.
Since they bothered to bring Love back and have made the Beautiful People the main Knockouts story since, a sixth title reign for her is probably a safe bet.
I Quit Match: James Storm vs. Gunner
If a lot of the matches on the show look familiar, it's because they are. You might have thought this feud was over when Gunner defeated Storm in a steel cage Last Man Standing match at Lockdown. Or last month when a no disqualification, no countout match ended with the same outcome. I know I did. We were wrong.
For the newcomer - some history. After teaming together throughout 2013, including a run with the titles, the Cowboy and the Marine have been feuding most of this year. Gunner won a Feast or Fired briefcase containing a shot at the World Championship, and Storm superkicked him into a loss when he used that contract against Magnus in February.
Since then, things have gotten more personal - the Impact no DQ match was brought on by Storm smashing a beer bottle over Gunner's father's head - but there's really no reason for the feud to be continuing other than that there's nothing else for either man to do right now. They've had a good run with this program and it's helped define both men, but it's time to move on. The young babyface really has to win given the stipulation, but it's TNA, so you never know.
Tables Match: Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode
Ray has amazingly sold a face turn that involves him continuing to be a misogynstic jerk simply by changing his opponents. Oh, and by stopping threatening to rape his rivals' wives. Roode continues to kick all kinds of ass when he could simply phone it in and still be the best thing about Impact by a country mile. So this feud has that going for it. Which is nice.
In Kayfabe land, Bully's betrayal of Dixie Carter and Team Dixie at Lockdown cost The It Factor his chance at a ten percent stake in the company and the opportunity to set himself up for another run at the top of said company. So he's gonna destroy the hardcore legend, including his claim to his being the master of the tables match. As a result, they've both been involved in a lot of tables matches lately. Here's another one.
Probably a match of the night candidate just based on the pro wrestling acumen of the men involved, the outcome should tell us whether or not the feud continues (with a Ray win) or if TNA is going to put the best performer they have back in the hunt for their biggest prize (a Roode win).
Tag Match: Kurt Angle & Willow vs. Rockstar Spud & Ethan Carter III
Half the guys in this match are much more entertaining outside the ring than in it. One of them shouldn't really be wrestling. The other used to be Derek Bateman.
EC3 had his feud with Angle put on hold when The Olympic Gold Medalist had knee surgery before Lockdown. He was shifted over to working with the other former WWE star on the roster in Jeff Hardy. Er, I mean Willow. The character itself is firmly in "so bad it's great" territory, but then he works exactly the same as he would without the mask in the ring and kind of ruins it. It's so obvious that the announcers never bothered to refer to Willow as anything other than "Jeff Hardy's alter ego".
Since the feud with Willow has mostly involved Spud getting beaten up with plastic skeletons and fake plants, and since Angle is back much sooner than a 45 year old man who isn't supposed to be taking any prescription-strength pain killers should be, the powers-that-be have decided to roll both programs into one with the match.
Expect it to be overbooked en route to a singles match down the line between Kurt and Carter, where Angle will put over the young gun on his way out of TNA.
World Championship Match: Eric Young (c) vs. Magnus
EY shocked the world (including the TNA locker room, if rumors are to be believed) when he won a battle royal to become the #1 contender to the main belt on the last live Impact AND challenged Magnus for the title on the same show AND won it all in the same night.
The Brit's nearly four month reign established him as a top heel, if not a very strong champion. Going all the way back to the "Dixieland" match where he won the title, he has liberally employing what he called "Magnus Rules" throughout his run - meaning crazy stipulations weighting things in his favor, multiple referees, lots of interference and so on. Young's victory finally came when MVP promised to fire anyone who ran in during their main event showdown.
Porter's threat was mostly aimed at Abyss, who had been hired by Magnus to act as insurance for his belt ever since Young helped him regain his monster persona. The masked man had been growing weary of his boss' cowardly ways prior to the title change, and that all came to a head last week when they layed bare their animosity toward one another, leading to MVP putting them in a match. A contract with the company was on the line (his previous contract had been with Magnus himself), and then things got even more confusing when it ended in a DQ due to a low blow from the deposed champ.
All of which is to say, expect The Monster to get involved in this one. They seem to be invested in Young as champ (for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with aping WWE's product, they assure you) and he does have a show starting on another national television network soon, so I'd expect his feel good run to last until at least their next live show.
There you have it, Cagesiders? Anybody buying the show? Excited to find out what happens? Have a different take on the build or prediction about the outcomes?
Let's hear it!