Mt. Killamanjaro: 2012 TNA Victory Road Preview

Mike Killam

Kurt Angle vs Jeff Hardy

Jeff HardyTwo guys who made it to the mountaintop in WWE, have performed for millions of fans across the globe, won World titles in both major wrestling orginizations in America, and who are both on top of their current landscape go to war to determine once and for all…nothing. There COULD be so much put into this feud, but instead it feels like it's there just for the sake of filling an upper-card slot on a PPV card.

Kurt Angle returns to Impact after a brief hiatus, screws Jeff Hardy out of a World title match, and challenges him at Victory Road because…he doesn't like him? NO! Because he HATES him. In pro wrestling, there's really no difference; it doesn't matter. There's no substance behind this feud – we know it, they know it, and so there's little reason for me to build excitement. Any respect and admiration I had left for the Olympic gold medalist was stolen from me by whichever creative director thought Angle couldn't beat Garrett "Bitch-off" in under five minutes.

There is an opportunity to draw money with BOTH of these guys, but somehow Jeff Hardy vs Kurt Angle is going to be a mid-card, one-off match at a filler PPV going into TNA's "second biggest" event of the year. Great.

Prediction: A decent wrestling match at the half-way point that Jeff Hardy likely wins. 

AJ Styles & Mr. Anderson vs Kazarian & Christopher Daniels

Slowly but surely I was getting behind this Kazarian/Styles feud. My general apathy was turned into slight curiousity when it appeared Daniels was controlling Kaz with something behind the scenes. I found it interesting that we hadn't seen Traci Brooks in months. I wanted to know – I HAD to know – what was going on and how it would resolve… I'm convinced TNA creative hates me.

It now appears they're scrapping the original direction in favor of a full Kazarian heel turn and the inclusion of Mr. Anderson into the mix. It doesn't really surprise me, but I had high hopes this would be one of the few times a wrestling company followed through on a good angle instead of ditching it for something infinitely more simple. AJ can't rely on friends, because they all turn on him eventually, so he enlisted the help of the one man who has turned heel/face a dozen times since his TNA debut. I wonder where this is going…

Prediction: They'll either give AJ/Anderson the win and blow this whole thing off, get the betrayel out of the way early on and have Anderson play the bad guy AGAIN, or stretch this out until Lockdown and have no concrete direction at Victory Road. My money is on the later.

X-Division Championship — Austin Aries vs Zema Ion

Austin AriesA filler feud, but a good one nonetheless. Aries continues to impress, reminding me more than a little of a young AJ Styles (but with better mic skills). Honestly, Aries is really the only legitimate X-Division "star" right now, but a young kid making claim to that position is his opponent at Victory Road, Zema Ion. I never paid a lot of attention to Ion since his TNA debut last year, but he's impressed me recently. I hate to say that injuring a man and potentially ending his career helped Zema to slight relevance in my eyes…but it did. He's the kind of heel that can utilize the incident, however bleak it may be, to his advantage. 

It's been said a million times: heel vs heel doesn't work. I got that feeling on Impact this week when Aries responded to a face full of celebratory champaign by dumping his opponent out of the ring wearing half the bottle. It came off looking like Aries was the face, with Ion angrily retreating to the back, working his gimmick – which is of course, his hair. The champion stood tall in the ring; a proud moment for the face, putting his challenger in his place. Except Aries isn't a face, and he shouldn't be getting that kind of rub off another heel trying to work his way up. But seriously, what else are they going to do?

Prediction: Aries retains. Fans will say that JoMo will debut and start the build towards a match at Lockdown. It's been called for by the IWC since he left WWE, and in all honesty if TNA did work up a secret contract with the Shaman of Sexy, there is no better time, nor a better program to stick him with. Won't happen though. Somebody will step up to challenge for the title at Lockdown, but it won't be JoMo.  

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