Shannon: My Hard Justice Predictions!

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

Hard Justice Predictions!

Jay Shannon breaks out his crystal ball and tea leaves to try and predict the winners in this Sunday’s Hard Justice

Taylor Wilde, Gail Kim & ODB v The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky and Angelina Love) & Awesome Kong
Six-Women Knockout Tag Match

This is definitely the Bathroom Break match of the night. The Knockout Division has gotten seriously stale over the last few weeks. Taylor Wilde walked into TNA and basically took down the most dominant female wrestler since The Fabulous Moolah with one of the most basic of wrestling moves. The Knockout Division lost a lot of credibility when that was booked. Taylor’s battles with The Beautiful People have been yawn-fests that have basically been used as filler.

In a perfect world, Kong would destroy Kim, Wilde and ODB and then turn to put the hurt on Love and Sky. With Wilde’s current push, she will probably take the win with another boring Roll-up on Kong. Kong will probably snap and Awesome Bomb the daylights out of Wilde, after the fact.

Predicted Winners: Gail Kim, Taylor Wilde and ODB
Predicted Grade: C

“Maple Leaf Muscle” Petey Williams v Consequences Creed
X-Division Title Match

Creed is in the middle of a mega-push, right now. His confrontation with Alex Shelley on Impact could signal a new feud in the works. That feud would be more important if Creed held the X-Division title.

Petey has been on a limited schedule since the damage to his eye. Taking the title from him could help Petey by giving him a well-deserved break. Petey could return in a few weeks and make another run for X-title or wait for Scott Steiner’s return to make a run at the tag straps.

All that being said, I think Petey will still hold onto the title. TNA seemed to be creating a new team with Lethal and Creed. The tag team division could use some fresh talent. Creed and Lethal could be better used in the tag division, right now, than in the X-Division.

Predicted Winner: Petey Williams
Predicted Grade: A-

The Latin American Xchange vs. Beer Money
TNA World Tag Team Title Match

Homicide was sent through a glass table on Impact. Even though it was taped on an earlier date, TNA is going to push that Homicide was injured only three days before Hard Justice. I see three possibilitiess for this match:

1. Homicide is replaced by Hector Guerrero
2. Hernandez tries to battle in a 2-on-1 match
3. Rey Bucanero (or another CMLL star) is brought in to sub for Homicide.

The third option is the only way I see the straps staying with LAX. I’m more inclined to think Hernandez will try to go it alone. Beer Money has been getting a lot of attention, lately. James Storm was one half of America’s Most Wanted. Robert Roode was a central member of Team Canada. It’s time for them to get their due. I think Beer Money will finish off Hernandez with their new finisher, the DUI. Team 3D might also get involved to help their new buddies take the straps.

Predicted Winners: Beer Money
Predicted Grade: B

“Black Machismo” Jay Lethal v “The Guru” Sonjay Dutt
Black Tie Brawl N’ Chain Match

This match is a little confusing. The winner has three ways to win: Pin, Submission or Stripping your opponent. This should be the end of their feud, but I have a feeling that things are just getting started between the two. This is just going to be another cheesy Gimmick match.

This match will come down to SoCalVal. She is the focal point of this match and she will be the key to victory. With Dutt’s ability to manipulate Val, I see Dutt pulling some kind of stunt where Val accidently costs Jay the match. I could see Val try to grab Jay’s clothing to hold him back from destroying Dutt and strip him down. Jay would be angry at the loss and walk away from Val and refocus on his team with Consequences Creed. Val would eventually realize what a mistake she made, but she would have lost Jay.

Predicted Winner: Sonjay Dutt
Predicted Grade: B

“The Instant Classic” Christian Cage & “The War Machine” Rhino v Team 3D
Jersey Street Fight

This match is going to be just ugly. Assuming that Beer Money wins the tag belts, they are going to need someone to fight. If Cage and Rhino were to dominate Team 3D, they would be elevated to number one contenders by the time Bound for Glory rolls around. Team 3D winning the bout wouldn’t help any of the storylines.

Team 3D will try to take out Rhino. With his weakened neck, Rhino might be a good target. Cage will try, repeatedly, to end things with the lamest finisher in the industry, The Unprettier. Team 3D will counter the move with ease. The toys will come into play several times during the match. The glass table will likely show up, after the match. Rhino will come back from a brutal beatdown to Gore! Ray through a table to take the win. After the battle, Ray, Devon and Johnny Devine will unite to send Rhino through the glass table.

Predicted Winner: Christian Cage & Rhino
Predicted Grade: C+

“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles v Kurt Angle
Last Man Standing Match

This match is being promoted as the End of this brutal feud. It’s time for Karen Angle to pull her turn on Styles. Both Kurt and A.J. have been held back by this useless feud. With Tomko gone, Styles has the chance to head in a new direction, if he can end this silly feud.

Styles will have to face Kurt, Frank Trigg and, most likely, Karen Angle. If Karen sides with Kurt, Styles doesn’t stand a chance. I expect Trigg and Styles to run a brief program to help introduce the former MMA star to TNA. The best way to have Trigg get a kickstart to his career would be for him to help Angle. With the fact that Trigg and Angle have been confused for each other in the past, I could see the ref getting bumped and Trigg taking the place of a near-unconcious Angle. Trigg would be able to use his MMA skills to take out Styles, while the dazed ref counts down Styles. After the match, Karen could taunt and humiliate Styles.

Predicted Winner: Frank Trigg (pretending to be Kurt)
Predicted Grade: A

“The Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe vs. Booker T
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Six Sides of Steel plus Weapons Match

Samoa Joe is the TNA World Champion, but Booker T has possession of the actual belt. Sting may (or may not) be lusting after Joe’s title. Kevin Nash wants a run at TNA World Champ, but he’s trying to buddy up to Joe, for the moment. Are you confused? A lot of fans are.

Add to all this confusion the stipulations of this championship match and things get really weird. Joe and Booker will be locked inside the Six Sides of Steel. Attached to the walls of the cage will be shovels, rakes and implements of destruction (nod to Arlo). The winner will have to use the toys to beat the stuffing out his opponent and take the win. Booker deserves to wear the belt. He is a former WCW and WWE title holder. He should add the TNA title to his resume. Booker will not win the title at Hard Justice. Kevin Nash and/or Sting will help Joe to reclaim the belt and hold onto his championship. Sting might try to help Booker but it will backfire. Sting’s bat will be the weapon that takes out Booker.

I could see the real owner of the baseball bat being revealed later on…as Ric Flair. Flair is likely under a No Compete clause, currently. TNA could do another Black Scorpion-like mystery with Joe’s attacker being Flair. Flair connections with Booker T, Kevin Nash and other former WCW stars could be pushed in an Reunion angle. With all the releases from WWE, Flair could also bring in a lot of the stars, including Nick Patrick, for an attack on Joe. Booker would be the sacrificial lamb, initially, to help push the new Flair group.

Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
Predicted Grade: B+

Final Grade: B
Final Thoughts: TNA should be giving it their all to compete against Summerslam. The truth is that TNA will probably play it safe and wait to do a lot of surprise until Bound for Glory. Knowing that most fans won’t pony up the money for both Hard Justice and Summerslam. TNA will give the fans a decent show, but it will be just a half-step above a good Impact episode. The men and women involved will give it their all, but the show will likely not be a top-notch Pay-Per-View.

— Jay Shannon
[email protected]
(8/8/08)