This Sunday Night, "Bound For Glory" takes place LIVE in San Diego, California. On a much smaller scale, it's TNA's version of Wrestlemania. On paper, this show looks to be pretty in some spots and, ugly in others. With TNA scaling back on the number of Pay-Per Views per year they have, I thought this show would have had a much better build. While some things in the path to "Bound For Glory" have been very smooth, there has also been a lot of bumps in the road. But all-in-all, as a fan and student of the game, I will be watching with a, 'keen eye' so to speak. In this blog, I want to spotlight the competitors, the build to the matches, and what I'm looking for in the matches themselves.
First things first.. No, it's not the "Curtain Jerker!" It's the Main Event! The Big-Bad, World Heavyweight Champion, Bully Ray defends the gold against, the number 1 contender and "Face of TNA" AJ Styles! At least in one sentence, that's what it should be, and while yes that is the main event, and those are the basic one-line descriptions of each competitor. That is not how this story has been told in the past few weeks. AJ Styles since Day 1, has been "The Face" of TNA. After sinking into a slump in 2012, his persona took a turn. A turn to this, '1997 Sting-like persona' that showed AJ's darker and more depressed side. After months of barely talking, showing no allegiance to TNA, and a tease of joining Bully Ray's group "The Aces & Eights." AJ Styles finally showed the world he was back to fight against "The Aces & Eights" and, fight for the one thing that had eluded him since 2010, the World Title. But, since winning the "Bound For Glory Series" to finally get that shot, AJ's main adversary has been Dixie Carter. While Bully Ray's story, has been the dissension within his own group, "The Aces & Eights." It was like TNA had this story slowly simmering for the past year and, as soon as it started to finally boil, they put it in the fridge and cooled it off, as we were getting closer to the pay-off. I'm sure this will be a good-to-possibly great match, as Bully Ray is the best heel in the business and, AJ Styles is one of the best baby faces as well. But the story was such an easy story to tell, yet like I wrote about in my last blog ("TNA-Change is Coming" available in my archives) TNA decided to convolute the story, and didn't realize that "Less is More."
The Tag-Team Championships have 'fallen to the wayside.' There really has been no build or story for the Tag-Team Champions, James Storm & Gunner. They have no feud and, that is why TNA is doing an "Elimination Tag Match" during the pre-show, to determine a challenger during the main show. I hope this leads to "Bad Influence" getting the shot and championships, based on a couple reasons. They are a very good team, it will be the best match for Storm & Gunner, and they should be the "World Tag-Team Champions of the World" again anyway. It's not that I don't like Gunner & Storm, because I do. It's just that they have really done nothing with them, since winning the belts. I also think that, Storm should be more in the "Main-Event Mix" because, he worked so hard to get there. And Gunner should go back to being a heel, or a lone-some, ass-kicking baby face. And, while Kaz and Daniels are two "Extraordinary Gentlemen" on their own, they are so so so much better and entertaining together. Chris Daniels was always a guy, that was lost in the shuffle in my eyes. He is a good worker, solid talker, but had no presence or nothing to make you remember him, and the same went for Kaz. But when those 2 got together, it's like something clicked, and those 2 together are 1 of the most entertaining acts in wrestling today. And, that's why they need to be the "World Tag-Team Champions of the World" again, simple as that. Also, after "Bad Influence" wins the titles, TNA needs to start rebuilding what was once an awesome Tag-Team divison.
You can't have a "Bound For Glory" or, any TNA Pay-Per-View for that matter, without the multi-man X Division match. What I do like about this match is that they have actually loaded it up with some pretty key names, with the competitors being, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Chris Sabin, and the X Division Champion, Manik. If you look past the fact that, Jeff Hardy is along-side AJ Styles as the most 'over' baby face in the company, and honestly should be featured in a more prominent story and match. Also, that Manik is the Champion yet, looks like a "jobber" standing beside 3 of the other 4 competitors. This ought to be an exciting, action-filled match this Sunday. There's no real story here, and usually with these multi-man matches, there never is. I think the title will go to Jeff Hardy because, he's never won it, he'll be the most 'over' and, it's a way to keep him in the mix while giving him a different direction. But, I think this belt should go on Austin Aries, and turn Aries back to what he's the most natural at, and that's being a heel.
In every Pay-Per-View, I look for what I think will be the "Show Stealer." This year, I believe that spot will belong to Bobby Roode and Kurt Angle. I don't know if I have ever mentioned how great of a talent I think Bobby Roode is, so here we go. No one in wrestling today, fits the description of "IT Factor" like Bobby Roode does. There are some talents who have "IT" for sure. But, Bobby Roode in my opinion has "IT" times 10! He is honestly so great of a talent that, I think the guy should be in that "80s/early 90s Ric Flair" role, in that he's the guy who is always the heel champion, who makes the baby faces look great by losing the belt to them but, always finding a way to win it back. He is that great people, I'm sure some may think I'm over-rating him, but it's the little nuances and details he puts in his matches, promos, and his character that makes him so great in my book. Also, Kurt Angle is arguably one of the best wrestlers ever as well, who is being inducted into TNA's Hall of Fame, and making his return after a 3 month or so absence. Couple that with the fact that, these 2 had a much anticipated match that was cut short, and had a flat ending during the main event of "Bound For Glory" in 2011. These 2 awesome talents have all the ingredients needed to have a "Show Stealer!" Now, the build has been short because, I think Angle's return was a little unexpected by TNA Management, and they just wanted to get him on the card. But, they did a very entertaining skit to get to the match. I think if they can remind the fans about their 2011 match and, how Bobby Roode wants to avenge what should of been his 'finest hour.' And, point out that, Kurt wants to prove that he's still the man and has what it takes to stay at the top. Then the short build will at least turn into a solid build. This match should be awesome, I was so looking forward to their match in 2011, because it was "The Rise of Roode" to being the "Main-Eventer" I knew he was and has become, and was so let down by what happened, that it honestly makes this match mean even more in my eyes.
Speaking of rising to the "Main Event Mix." Does "Bound For Glory" 2013 become the show where we finally see Magnus become a true "Main-Eventer" and defeat Sting? Or does TNA decide to let Magnus, "fight the great fight" but, come up short against, "The Icon" Sting? Or even worse, after "fighting the great fight" does Magnus turn heel on Sting after losing? I hope we answer the first question, because it's the right answer to the right question. At this stage of the game, Magnus is a very good baby face and is truly getting 'over' with the crowd. If I were TNA, I would not screw this up! It's hard in this day & age to build a good baby face, and TNA is doing that with Magnus. The last thing TNA needs to do is try to do the 'unexpected swerve' and, turn Magnus heel. Remember, "Less is More!" I think Sting needs to put Magnus over clean, they need to embrace with a hug & handshake afterwards, and show that "The Icon" Sting endorses and respects "The Up & Coming" Magnus. It's just the right thing to do, and I hope TNA does the right thing in this scenario.
Any way we look at it, it's TNA's biggest show of the year. I hope you will be watching, as I will, to see what transpires. Even with a lackluster build and, a lot to be desired, there is still a lot to find yourself desiring for. I mean HELL! It has to be better than, WWE's "Night of Champions" or "Battleground" because those 2 shows were horrible. No, I'm not a "WWE Hater" and only a "TNA Supporter." I grew up on WWE, and support all wrestling, good or bad. But, those 2 Pay-Per-Views were a waste of fans time, money, and life in general, it is what it is. Anyways, I hope TNA delivers the goods, for the sake of the fans, the perfomers involved, and for TNA itself.
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