TNA's long round of Group Play their World Title Series, a World Cup style tournament to crown a new TNA champion, finished this Wednesday. That leaves a 16-person single elimination tournament with some very intriguing match ups, including two intergender matches. While the Group Play dragged on too long, this portion of the tournament could prove to be rather exciting.
There are some interesting match ups and potential match ups. Here are a few things that stick out:
I don't think there's anything wrong with intergender matches but they need to be handled with care. It is not going to be entertaining if you have a man brutalizing a female competitor in the ring. Instead that's going to make people really uncomfortable and likely not in the way a promotion wants. Plus, TNA doesn't need to garner any ill will so I expect them to take no chances with these matches.
That's why I don't think Gail Kim is going to beat Tigre Uno. I think it will be a good match, but I don't think they want her going up against Eric Young in the second round. Eric Young is currently a heel who will fight really aggressive in the ring and he will make it look like he's really trying to hurt the person he's facing. Having Gail lose to an undersized but talented X Division athlete instead is a much safer play than having Eric Young try to pile drive her on the floor.
Awesome Kong is a lock to make it to the second round. Jessie Godderz can be an impressive win given his size. However, he's not that far removed from the days where he and Robbie E were the BroMans, a jobber comedy tag team. In fact, Brooke defeated both BroMans in a 2 on 1 intergender match so Kong defeating Jessie isn't going to feel as impressive as it is expected. Unfortunately, in the second round she is going to face either Matt Hardy (my pick to win it all) or Bobby Roode. Either man is likely winning that block.
Tough Early Round matches
There are two early round matches that remove a possible winner from advancing. I would have picked both Matt Hardy and Bobby Roode as final four possibilities. Instead they match up first round. Given the fact that Matt Hardy relinquished the title for this to all start, I think he's going to at least face EC3 in the semis. (I think he's going to win it all.) That leaves TNA Original Bobby Roode with a first round eliminations, which is a waste of Bobby Roode.
Drew Galloway and Bobby Lashley is also a difficult first round match up with both guys having the ability to go the the finals. I think it's going to be Drew because he was the forgotten man in the Bound for Glory main event and the man who was pinned by Matt Hardy when Matt won the title. However Lashley is pretty much solely a TNA guy as Drew works many promotions in the indies so maybe wants to go with a guy who wrestles for TNA and also can represent them in Bellator.
Other Interesting Notes
There are few other things that are intriguing for those who follow TNA. Will Eli Drake, who is become a really fun heel that fans are getting behind, be able to get past Mahabali Shera, who is less of a fan favorite but someone TNA seems really high on? Or will we get to see Bram vs. EC3, which could be a really good heel vs. heel match up between two big guys? Did they know Kenny King wouldn't be working there when they taped these matches and if they did not, does he have a deep run in front of him despite working Ring of Honor as well?
Now here are my predictions:
Block A: EC3 defeats DJ Z. Bram defeats Davey Richards. EC3 defeats Bram
Block B: Drew Galloway defeats Lashley. Shera defeats Eli Drake. Drew defeats Shera.
Block C: Tigre Uno defeats Gail Kim. Eric Young defeats Kenny King. Young defeats Uno.
Block D: Awesome Kong defeats Jessie Godderz. Matt Hardy defeats Bobby Roode. Hardy defeats Kong.
Final Four: EC3 defeats Drew. Matt Hardy defeats Eric Young. Matt Hardy defeats EC3
As I said above, I think Hardy goes over to reward him for his one day title reign. Now there is speculation the ending has already been taped. If that is true, I don't know the results of that. However, TNA had announced that they would be taping the semi-finals in India, which opened speculation that the winner wasn't written in stone. However, then they postponed their India tour until some time in 2016, removing that as a possibility. I don't think they can stretch this more than a month to make it to their live show on PopTV in January.
It'd be really surprising if Ethan Carter and Matt Hardy don't meet in the finals because that's really the only story that they've been trying to tell the last two months. Eric Young has been a stalwart for TNA and they've leaned on him heavily the last year. Because of that, I bet he makes it to the final four as well. Some of the fans in the live thread of the Impact shows, including myself, have become huge fans of Eli Drake. However, he's likely going to be sacrificed to Mahabali Shera since they want to build up their young Indian wrestler since India is a big market for them.
If you have your predictions, you can leave them in the comments. You can also join TNA's Bracket Brawl contest where you can submit you picks for a chance to win tickets to see Impact. Originally that bracket was incorrect, but now it looks to be correct for those who have not done it yet. The contest is open until next Wednesday, when they will have all their first round match ups on Impact.
Who is your pick to win it all? How do you think they will handle the intergender matches? Leave it all in the comments below but if you have read spoilers, please use the spoiler tag.