WWE Superstar and former member of the Shield
The Katz Files
Victory Road Preview & Predictions
The Kingfish Arnie Katz gets you ready for TNA’s “biggest pay per views of the summer.” He’s working the crystal ball and offers some telling insights as to what’s in store for fans on 7/11.
Victory Road, hyped with one of the best pre-PPV episodes of iMPACT in TNA history, shapes up as a card studded with major attractions.
The main event, a fourway dance, may not be to every fan’s taste, but it ought to be pretty strong, given the participants. The tag team title showdown between Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns, Hernandez-Morgan in a cage, Love-Rayne for the Knockout Championship and Angle-Pope all look appealing, at least on paper.
Let’s look at the matches:
Brother Ray vs. Jesse Neal vs. Brother Devon
Background: Jesse Neal arrived in TNA after studying with Team 3D. For reasons unknown, Brother Ray soured on the rookie and has assailed him in various ways. Brother Devon has emerged as the former student’s main defender. That conflict paved the way for this three-way showdown.
Prediction: The booking that makes the most sense is to have the brothers clash just enough that Jesse Neal somehow comes up with a victory. Ray and Devon would then move toward an “air clearing” match in which they would settle their dispute.
Predicted Grade: B-
AJ Styles & Kazarian vs. TBA
Background: This is an offshoot of the storyline that has Rio Flair creating a new group called Fortune. Both Styles and Kazarian wants the approval of the Nature Boy and, of course, to be included in the team. They’ve developed quite a nasty little feud.
Prediction: I don’t think the “mystery team” will blow the doors off this pay per view. This match is about the relationship between Styles and Kazarian, not winning or losing to whomever TNA puts in the ring with them. I’d look for Styles and Kazarian to undercut each other in the match, causing the team to lose to the TBA duo. It’s time to start Styles’ babyface turn and a match against Kazarian at the next PPV would be a good way to accomplish the transformation.
Predicted Grade: B
Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez
Steel Cage Match
Background: The former partners had a violent split that left Super Mex on the sidelines. He’s back and looking for revenge against he Blueprint. Morgan has shown a tendency to flee confrontations with his erstwhile buddy, so the cage will keep the action focused and hot.
Prediction: Both men appear to have important future roles in TNA, which makes this a hard contest to predict. Hernandez is the likely winner, because his “return to TNA” push has only just begun, but Morgan must look good. Perhaps Homicide will redeem himself and help his former tag team partner as a step toward reuniting LAX.
Predicted Grade: B
Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne
Special Stip: Career vs. Belt
Background: Angelina Love, her visa troubles eliminated, has returned to TNA with a vengeance. She demolished Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne in matches on iMPACT and now wants to reclaim the Knockout Championship.
Prediction: Angelina Love pretty much has to win, because it’s hard to imagine that TNA would want her to exit. The screwy stipulation may mean that Velvet Sky will interfere to throw the match to Angelina Love. That would set up matches between the original Beautiful People against Rayne and Von Erich.
Predicted Grade: C
Kurt Angle vs. D’Angelo Dinero
Background: This one is more about pride than personal animosity. Kurt wants to climb the rankings and The Pope just happens to be a rung.
Prediction: Both men are somewhat injured, but they will play through the pain if TNA goes ahead with the match. Since the card doesn’t need the match, they might want to consider postponing it. Kurt Angle can’t afford to lose and they’ve harped on Pope’s injury as an alibi for the loss. That’s what I think will happen, though it’s always possible that it’ll be a Double Count Out or No Contest (due to an attack on both men by outsiders).
Predicted Grade: B+
Beer Money vs. Motor City Machine Guns
TNA World Tag Team Championship
Background: When TNA vacated the World Tag Team Championship; it designated the Machine Guns as the Number-One Contender and set up a tournament to pick their opponent. Beer Money breezed through the brackets and now heads into Victory Road full of confidence. Shelley and Sabin hope to prove that such confidence is misplaced.
Prediction: If Beer Money is going to become part of Flair’s new group, they need to win the match and take home the gold. I’d like to see the Guns win and join Flair while Beer Money goes tweener, but it’s more likely that Storm and Rood will win the belts.
Predicted Grade: A-
Douglas Williams vs. Brian Kendrick
X Division Championship
Ultimate X/Submission Match
Background: The rationale for this one is pretty murky. Williams must defend against someone, I guess/
Prediction: There’s no reason to think putting the title on Kendrick would improve the X Division, so Williams will retain in what should be a fairly decent match. Kendrick’s character needs clarification before fans will see him as a legit contender.
Predicted Grade: B
Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal
Background: Flair wasn’t flattered by Lethal’s fabulous imitation. His henchmen haven’t been able to make Jay pay for the insult, so the Nature Boy will enter the ring and try to do it himself.
Prediction: These two have done some great mic work to support the match. Sadly, Ric Flair is no longer about to satisfy the anticipation he creates with his rants. Jay Lethal should win, though a post-match beat-down wouldn’t be a shock. The quality of the match will depend on how much Lethal is in the spotlight and how much Flair gets to do his “greatest hits.” Right now, today, Lethal is, right now, much the better performer in the ring.
Predicted Grade: C+
Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Abyss
TNA World Championship
Fatal Four Way
Background: WWE ran Fatal Fourway last month, so here it comes again from TNA.
Prediction: The match has many variables, which increases the uncertainty about making a prediction. Nonetheless, since they pay me the Big Money, I will go out on a limb and pick RVD to stay TNA World Champion. The funny thing is that what happens in his match probably depends most on someone who won’t be in the ring: Paul Heyman. If he and TNA come to terms and he is at Victory Road, RVD and Taz may turn out to be part of this new faction, along with Dreamer, Rhino, Stevie Richards and Raven. It would be nice if this faction turned out to be Abyss’ “They” and the Monster helped RVD by eliminating Anderson and Hardy.
Predicted Grade: A-
That’s all for this installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I’ll be back on Monday with my analysis of Victory Road. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.
\– Arnie Katz