January 07, 2011

Previewing Genesis 2011

TNA, I have a request to make. Can we please have a decent main event this month? After the 1-2 punch of Turning Point and Final Resolution, I don't think that's asking for too much...


Brother 'Bully' Ray vs. Brother Devon

I don't care.

Who should win: I don't care.

Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne (c)
Is it just me or does it seem like it's taken a really long time to get to this match? Maybe it's my imagination. Maybe it's because Madison Rayne hasn't defended her title even once since Tara handed it to her 4 days after Bound For Glory. At any rate, it's finally here. I just wish I had even a sliver of confidence that the match was going to justify all the build up. But even if the writers don't overbook this match to death as they so often do with PPV title matches, even if they just let the wrestlers go out to the ring and do their jobs, I still don't think this is going to be better than average. Mickie's work has been great since she debuted, but Madison is still Madison. If they let Mickie carry the action, the match could be decent. If Madison carries the action, it will probably be about as underwhelming as... well, your typical Madison Rayne match.

The build up to this has been very strange. Mickie wants Madison's title, but she was completely focused on Tara for 2 months while the title was barely mentioned and Madison was rarely seen. The matches were quite good and I know the purpose of the feud was to put a roadblock between Mickie and the title, but we weren't often given the impression that the title was Mickie's ultimate goal so much as finishing her business with Tara which stemmed from an issue they had with each other years ago that had nothing to do with the title.

When Madison was seen, she wasn't focused on Mickie very much until Final Resolution, and before that she was busy losing multiple matches to Sarita (and Winter). If the goal in all this was to make Madison look like a paper champion who can't get her priorities in order, mission accomplished.

I assume all this means that either Sarita will be Mickie's first challenger after she wins the title, or she'll be added to this match at the last minute. I vote for both options. Sarita is the only other heel Knockout on the roster right now and Mickie's already feuded with the other 2, and her inclusion would only help this match as Mickie vs. Madison, one-on-one, is just not going to be very impressive no matter how you book it.

Who should win: Mickie James. Madison hasn't defended the title in 3 months -- for God's sake, get this woman out of the title picture.

Kazarian vs. Jay Lethal (c)
Kazarian is currently the only X-division guy in the company who is on TV every week and part of the top heel faction that are going after all the belts. Jay Lethal is the worst booked X-division champion of all time and has now had no less than 6 title reigns, none of which were worth a crap. I have no rational explanation for this, but every single time Lethal touches the X-division championship it turns to shit. It needs to be taken off him as soon as possible and he needs to be kept far, far away from it for the rest of his TNA career.

Who should win: Kazarian

Rob Van Dam vs. Immortal's Mystery Opponent
So if Van Dam goes over here and gets that shot at Jeff Hardy, what happens to the winner of Morgan vs. Anderson? I don't know. But one thing that's very clear is that the writers have been doing everything they can to keep Hardy & Van Dam away from each other, going so far as to have Van Dam waste his time feuding with other EV2 guys. Obviously, Hardy/Van Dam is the money match they're keeping in their pocket, and under ideal conditions, Lockdown would be the right place for that to happen, meaning it might be a good idea to have the mystery opponent go over here, forcing Van Dam to find a different path to Hardy.

Unfortunately, these aren't ideal conditions. With Hardy possibly having an impending date with a jail cell that could last an as yet undetermined amount of time, TNA's only option may be to hotshot a title change pretty soon, and this show sets them up with 3 potential candidates. Matt Morgan doesn't produce good matches with Hardy and Ken Anderson is a question mark unless Kurt Angle is in the match too. That leaves Van Dam.

I'm not saying it's a perfect solution and it definitely feels too soon for Van Dam to get his revenge, especially since he's been more focused on the EV2 melodrama than Jeff Hardy until recently, but if Hardy is going to prison then TNA's backs are against the wall here. Whatever the planned storyline was, they may have no choice but to change it.

Who should win: Rob Van Dam

Who should the mystery opponent be: ANYONE BUT ROB TERRY!

Jeff Jarret vs. Kurt Angle
This Double J Double M A garbage has been truly painful to endure. Aside from the iMPACT last week where someone in management finally came to their senses and decided to use this angle to put over someone BESIDES Jeff Jarret, resulting in a memorable debut for Tommy Mercer, absolutely nothing good has come out of it.

TNA wants MMA fans to watch their product; that much is obvious. The problem is that they clearly don't understand MMA, they don't know what makes it work, they don't know why people like it. Worst of all, they don't know that ridiculous angles like this are more likely to drive MMA fans away from their show than anything else.

Kurt Angle should always go over Jeff Jarret on general principles, but if Angle winning this "MMA exhibition" means that this stupid storyline will finally be finished, then I will forever question the sanity of any and all TNA officials if Angle doesn't completely embarrass Jarret here.

Who should win: Kurt Angle

Beer Money vs. Motor City Machine Guns (c)
When Sabin & Shelley first won the tag titles I said they were going to need a good, long championship reign to legitimize themselves and prove that the win wasn't a fluke. They've now held those belts for 6 months, so I think that's been accomplished. Hell, this has been the most well-booked title reign in this company, probably in the last several years. By now, the Guns have been elevated into that top echelon of teams just as Beer Money were a few years ago, so if management decides that the time has come for them to lose the tag titles, it wouldn't upset me that much.

There's just one issue that I have. With Immortal wanting all the belts, it makes sense for them to take the tag titles at some point, but Beer Money have been cutting promos on ReAction, saying that the Guns have been the champions all this time only because Storm & Roode were focusing on other things for a while. This bothers me. If Beer Money aren't acknowledging the Guns as their equals, that perception may carry over into the audience. But there is an easy way to remedy this: the Machine Guns need to win this match.

I don't have a problem with Beer Money ultimately winning the titles back in this feud, but if they're saying that Sabin & Shelley have been the tag team champions for the last 6 months only because Storm & Roode allowed it to happen, the Guns need to prove them wrong, which would be accomplished by them winning this match at Genesis. If they go over here and then lose the belts to Beer Money in the second match, I'd be okay with that. As long as the Guns go over first and prove to Beer Money that they can't be beaten if you're not taking them seriously, there won't be any damage done to what has been an outstanding title reign.

Who should win: MCMG

AJ Styles vs. Douglas Williams (c)
Let's just try to forget about how these men had an Ironman Rules match on iMPACT and now TNA is asking us to pay money to watch them have a regular match on PPV, shall we?

The only reason why this might not be the match of the night is because it's on the same card as the MCMG vs. Beer Money. It may not top what that match delivers, but I expect nothing less than excellence from this bout. It's a safe bet that if that's not what we get, the booking will have been the problem.

I'm not sure I can decide on who should go over here. Probably for the first time since Booker T pulled it out of a suitcase, this championship feels like it actually means something, simply because it has 2 great, credible wrestlers fighting over it, having strong matches, beating each other to a pulp because they both want it. By that virtue alone, I'd like to see Williams retain here because he hasn't had it very long and another hotshotted title switch would taint a championship reign that has actually imbued that belt with a little prestige for the first time in its existence.

On the other hand, AJ is under the gun with his spot in Fortune on the line if he loses. Bischoff has been putting the screws to him for not being able to beat Williams, which could be leading to a face turn for AJ. I'd like to see that happen, but at the same time I wouldn't. I think most fans are alike in that they'd rather cheer AJ Styles than boo him. But Williams and Matt Morgan just got ousted from Fortune recently; it's too early for this faction to lose another member because at this rate, the eventual Fortune break up angle will fall completely flat since the group didn't have an established status quo long enough for a break up to mean anything.

That's why I don't like this stipulation. I think what's best for the time being is for AJ to stay in Fortune, but for Williams to keep the title, and the stip makes that impossible.

Who should win: I'm not going to get everything I want here, so I'll have to pick the lesser of 2 evils. AJ Styles should win. A title switch so soon after the last one will make the championship less credible, but it's not like it had that much to begin with.

Matt Morgan vs. Mr. Anderson
This is the hardest one to decide on for me for several reasons. Morgan is coming off of 2 high profile losses to Jeff Hardy and really needs a big win (or several) if he's going to be even remotely credible as a main eventer... not that the writers ever bothered to build him up and make him credible before putting him in the main events in the first place, but that's not what we're here to talk about. Losing to Anderson here would really damage him.

Anderson is coming off several months of being on the shelf and jobbing him out in his first big match back from injury really wouldn't be the smartest thing you could do, although the injury could potentially be used as a way of protecting him, should he lose. That being said, Morgan arguably needs the win more.

The problem is that if Morgan wins he gets another world title shot, meaning we'd have to endure another Morgan/Hardy match. After their last 2 encounters, I highly doubt there are any fans clamoring to see these guys lock up a third time. They don't have good matches together, clearly. You could argue that the overbooking has done them no favors and you'd be absolutely right, but I really don't think you could say that they were having great chemistry in their first 2 matches before all that crap started.

Hardy just doesn't seem motivated when he faces Matt Morgan, but would he be any more motivated against Anderson without Kurt Angle in the ring? I don't know. TNA has really booked themselves into a tough spot here. Both men would be hurt by losing this match, either man winning would be inadvisable and some kind of copout finish like a double DQ or time limit draw would do nothing but piss the fans off. The one I really feel bad for is Matt Morgan -- he has more to lose by doing the job, but the resulting match with Hardy would probably be worse if he goes over. The whole thing is a mess with no easy way to fix it. I don't know how TNA managed to get into this situation, and frankly, I'm not sure how they can get out of it.

Who should win: I honestly don't know.

Final thoughts: Anyone hoping for a fresh start, booking-wise, for this company in 2011 is most likely crying bitter tears right now. Judging from this card, 2011 looks awfully similar to 2010. I suppose the silver lining is that there's only one superfluous gimmick match, instead of the 7 we got at Final Resolution, but it makes my soul hurt if that's the best we can realistically hope for at this point.

Just like pretty much every PPV card last year, this one is rather questionable. The tag title and TV title matches have me drooling in anticipation and the X-division title match should be very good as long as the overbooking doesn't take on a life of its own (somehow I doubt we'll be that lucky), but as far as I'm concerned, that's just about all this PPV has going for it.

I couldn't be less interested in the 3D match, all I care about with the "MMA exhibition" is that it's over and done as quickly as possible, the Knockouts title match will probably be mediocre at best unless Sarita gets added to it and I fully expect the main event to be more of the typical TNA booking, being so storyline-heavy and so overbooked that the in-ring action gets completely overshadowed, just like we saw in the main events of the last 2 PPVs.

And note to TNA: if Ken Anderson turns heel on this show, don't expect anyone to be surprised.

The tag and TV titles matches are enough to get me to watch this PPV, but in keeping with what has become my usual routine unfortunately, I won't be ordering it. I'll happily order PPVs if I think the company deserves my money, but if I don't, if the build up is lackluster, if the card is substandard, if I'm not confident it will be a good show, they don't get a dime.

Times have changed, TNA. The economy sucks and PPV business is down. Thanks to streaming video, if people don't want to pay money for a show, they don't have to. But the UFC has proven that fans will still shell out their hard earned money for a PPV if you give them a good reason. Here's a crazy thought, TNA -- start giving the fans more of a reason to order your PPVs and maybe they will. I'm just saying...


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