Powell's TNA Impact Wrestling Hit List: Final hype for Bound For Glory with Bully Ray and A.J. Styles, Ethan Carter III, Samoa Joe vs. Chris Sabin, Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode, Sting and Magnus, Gunner vs. Knux
By Jason Powell
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TNA Impact Wrestling Hits
Bully Ray and A.J. Styles contract signing: Bully's promo was fantastic. Everything from the hard times talk right through to the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker line. Styles took the mic and lost me when he said he and Ray are not Ric Flair or Dusty Rhodes. He drew me back in with his intensity, and the live crowd was also very good with so many of the fans standing (minus the lazy asses in the first couple rows). Ray was certainly the better of the two, which is no surprise, but Styles held his own and maintained his intensity for the "off-mic" exchange that closed the show.
A.J. Styles calls out bounty hunters: Styles looked like a fighter for simply calling out anyone who was attempting to cash in on the bounty that Dixie placed on his head. I didn't care for the way Styles had to be bailed out, though. He should be on a roll heading into the show, and thus he should have been able to dispose of Knux and Garett Bischoff on his own.
Samoa Joe vs. Chris Sabin: A minor Hit. My guess is that Sabin lost here because he's winning the X Division Title on Sunday. TNA has to know that Manik isn't clicking and it has nothing to do with the performance of T.J. Perkins. Create another masked character because this one is dead. Let Perkins work minus the gimmick. Anyway, Sabin still has a lot to prove as a heel. There's nothing particularly special about his act right now. He just feels like a generic pro wrestling heel, but it's early enough in his run that I am holding out hope that he will grow into the role.
Christopher Daniels vs. Robbie E vs. Hernandez vs. Eric Young: A minor Hit for the match simply because it was given meaning by the stipulation that the winning wrestler would earn his team the final entry in the gauntlet match on Sunday.
Ethan Carter III: I dig the repackaged Derrick Bateman. I was never a fan of the bad comedy skits he did on NXT, but this character has real potential. He has played the entitled elitist well thus far, and the new revelation that he is Dixie Carter's storyline nephew means he should get every opportunity to be a real player in the company. I'm not a fan of the Dixie heel turn, but Ethan could be a lot of fun.
TNA Impact Wrestling Misses
Opening segment: Too much Dixie Carter silliness and no meaningful hype for the Bound For Glory pay-per-view. It seemed like the focus was on setting up the bounty angle and the Bully Ray vs. Magnus match for the television show rather than promoting the pay-per-view right out of the gate. Dixie's heel character generated heat from the Tulsa crowd. The question is how much is true heat and how much is go-away heat. On the plus side, Dixie seemed much more relaxed in this segment than she did on last week's live show. She slowed down while delivering her lines, whereas she was talking a mile a minute during the segment that aired last week.
Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode: Roode venting about Kurt ruining his induction into the TNA Hall of Fame seemed ridiculous. Only it wasn't Roode complaining in an over the top manner. His character was actually bothered by having his induction into a comedy Hall of Fame ruined by Angle. Sadly, it didn't ring true either when Roode spoke about being the be all and end all in pro wrestling. He's a hell of a wrestler, but he's been booked in a way that doesn't even make him the be all and end all in TNA. The Angle vs. Roode match has a chance to be a show stealer on Sunday, but the hype for the buildup for the match has been lackluster.
Sting and Mangus: This becomes a minor Hit if they are planning to turn Magnus heel on Sunday. He came across so whiney and unlikable during the backstage skit that it was hard to feel pity for him. After all, Sting was trying to do the right thing when he took the chain from Bully Ray, yet Magnus did nothing but whine about it in a manner that I don't think the average viewer is going to relate to. I really question the use of Sting at Bound For Glory. Magnus does need a star making performance, but I think everyone questions whether Sting can give it to him at this point in his career. I hope they have something good planned because it feels like Sting would be better off working with a big heel and delivering a typical Sting match with a crowd pleasing finish.
Gunner vs. Knux: A showcase match for Gunner that wouldn't be so bad most weeks, but it felt out of place on the go-home show. Why not give the tag champs a warmup match together heading into the pay-per-view against the Aces & 8's duo. I was totally confused by Garett Bischoff calling for Bully Ray after the simultaneous clothesline spot. He looked like a bumbling fool when he continued to call for Bully right in front of Storm, who then spat beer in his face. I realize they wanted to set up the idea that Knux and Garett wouldn't be there for Bully, but this was a lazy and awkward way to get there.
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