Pruett’s TNA Bound for Glory Preview and Predictions: Austin Aries is apparently not a nice person and facing Jeff Hardy, James Storm and Bobby Roode clash with the addition of a guy in a crown, and more!
By Will Pruett
Up until this year, TNA has done a really nice job building Bound for Glory. This year, it feels like TNA built up the show for three months, then got bored during the fourth month. There was no big final push. We entered the Bound for Glory Series with a roar, but it has fizzed out late in the build. Everything seems to be leading to this, but the long-running stories have taken too long and the main event feels like it was rushed to get into place.
Timing is important in wrestling, in the ring and in the storytelling. The timing of this show feels off.
The following predictions are made from a place of complete ignorance to the finishes. They are merely predictions of what I would find entertaining or interesting. One really has no idea what happens in the mysterious space occupied by TNA creative. I wouldn't suggest gambling on it, but if you do, I want a cut. Besides, even if I did know, why would I tell you?
Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Championship: Since Destination X I have been defending the choice to put the TNA World Championship on Austin Aries. I can now officially say that I was wrong. The extremely weak build for this match is proof of the failure of this experiment. Aries was on fire a couple months ago, but after getting caught up in the Aces and Eights drama, then pseudo turning heel, that fire has been extinguished.
Jeff Hardy has been in the upper-card of TNA for the last year, but he has never seemed less main event-ish. In the Bound for Glory Series, he was the guy feuding with Robbie E. and main eventing house shows. There is nothing wrong with having him in this slot, but if Jeff Hardy is going to be in the main event of the biggest show of the year, it should feel far more important.
The actual build to this match was torn up by Austin Aries in a nonsensical "only in TNA" moment at the end of Thursday's Impact. If it wasn't exceptionally weak before then, it was after. Aries was attempting to have his C.M. Punk "pipe bomb" moment. The entire parallel between Aries' turn and Punk's is sad. TNA creative decided not to write their own story, but the copy someone else's, but do it in a poorer way.
It has occurred to me that this match would have actually been more compelling at the X Division Championship match on this show instead of the World Championship match. The story would have been easier to tell with Aries being out of challengers and Hardy vs. Aries would feel bigger than it currently does.
Aries is a sudden heel and Hardy is the babyface. I don't think TNA will want to go with a heel walking out of Bound for Glory with the TNA Championship for the third year in a row.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy defeats Austin Aries to become the TNA World Championship in a very entertaining match.
Bobby Roode vs. James Storm in a Street Fight with King Mo as special enforcer: This was the hottest feud in TNA at one point. This feud had the most well-defined characters at one point. This feud featured to best storytelling at one point. That point is not right now. This feud has taken a serious hit from both men temporarily disappearing (Can no one in this company keep their smile?) and, more importantly, the great build into Lockdown that lead to a letdown.
James Storm has seemed lost since that time. He had a temporary resurgence as the Bound for Glory Series seemed to be structured around him. Sadly, plans changed and Storm's character has suffered for it.
Bobby Roode has also seemed lost without the TNA World Championship. His character has been unmotivated. While I loved the work he did with Austin Aries, Roode's great year was ended by it.
This match feels like TNA is grasping at straws to reignite this program, not like they're blowing off a feud a year in the making. Could this tired pace be due to accelerated storytelling in the beginning. Roode turned on Storm quickly as the TNA Championship shuffled from Angle to Storm to Roode. All of this happened in the month that followed Bound for Glory last year. There wasn't much left.
TNA's creative team has also decided to add King Mo to the equation. I know Spike TV wants this crossover badly, but in this match, he looks and feels tacked on. The feud has built around him on TV, when it should have been built around the rich history of Roode and Storm.
At this point, I'm excited for this feud to end and for both characters to find the next program that they can sink their considerably talented teeth into.
Prediction: James Storm defeats Bobby Roode in a slightly King Mo inspired way to being a Roode vs. Mo rivalry.
Sting and Bully Ray vs. Aces and Eights with stipulations: The Aces and Eights originally attacked Sting 122 days ago. They were a rebel biker gang (that would have been much cooler as the Lucha-Nexus). They have somewhere between 5 and 134 members. They may or may not be locked out of the Impact Zone. They may or may not have a spy inside of it. They may or may not be lead by Bane, who went from Batman super villain to TNA villain-ish guy. The occasionally kidnap people and apparently the cops don't mind.
That is basically what we know about the Aces and Eights. All of that is fine, except for how long it has taken us to get to this point. I was ready for a reveal of this story at No Surrender and we have been through about five weeks of no payoff since then.
Sting is the logical guy to have in this match. After all, trusting villains has gotten him to where he is today. Who would Sting be if he didn't trust, then get pummeled by, everyone he met?
Bully Ray is also the logical choice, if the plan is for Bully Ray to be revealed as the leader of Aces and Eights. I love that idea and I love Bully Ray getting a chance to run in TNA as the dastardly top heel. He has earned that chance and it could be brilliant.
Prediction: Bully Ray turns on Sting, leading to him being destroyed and pinned by random Aces and Eights members.
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian vs. A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle vs. Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez for the TNA Tag Team Championships: Of every match on this show, this one has had my favorite build. It has simply been the wrestlers involved disliking each other and almost coming to blows. This also has a great chance to be the best match of the evening.
The title reign of Kazarian and Daniels has been really fun. They have finally figured out who they are as personalities and it has been fun to watch. If I had my druthers, they would walk of this match as champions, but that is not my actual pick.
This tag feud has been a God-send for A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle. Angle has been hurt lately, but because of this feud, he has managed to mask the injury well. He has also been a part of some amazing matches. Styles needed a change of pace and this offered it. It has given new life to his never-ending feud with Daniels, which was quite necessary.
Finally, the wildcard here is the team of Chavo and Hernandez. They are either the third version of LAX of the second version of Mexican America. Either way, I was a pessimist when I first saw them together. I have been pleasantly surprised. Chavo is a good enough worker to carry Hernandez and Hernandez is dynamic and exciting enough in small doses. My only complaint of this team is the over-reliance on Eddie Guerrero's legacy. Stop it, Chavo.
Prediction: Chavo and Hernandez capture the TNA World Tag Team Championships (of the World?).
Samoa Joe vs. Magnus for the TNA Television Championship: Samoa Joe and Magnus were pretty awesome as a tag team. I would have been fine with that team lasting through this show and possibly next year's Bound for Glory. Sadly, that was not the path TNA chose to walk down.
The chosen path, however, also is not a negative one. Joe and Magnus are both talented. They are both compelling characters. They both know how to tell stories. They were not given the time to tell stories in this process. They were separated as a tag team by the Bound for Glory Series. They were never put back together, but they never formally broke up.
Months later, they were feuding, but that was even inconsistent. I expect the match to be good, but the story has left me unimpressed.
Prediction: Samoa Joe defeats Magnus to retain the TNA TV Championship.
Miss Tessmacher vs. Tara for the TNA Knockouts Championship: This has been a fun little story. Tara as the evil teacher that has been turned into a snob by her boyfriend has been enjoyable. Miss Tessmacher as the student champion has been enjoyable as well. Both women can work and will hopefully have a nice little match. Tessmacher is better in chase mode, so this is a nice chance to make that transition.
Prediction: Tara defeats Miss Tessmacher when Scott Baio interferes on her behalf.
Zema Ion vs. Rob Van Dam for the X Division Championship: Isn't it fun when a match is thrown together? It's like TNA looked at the final card, then realized that the X Division and Rob Van Dam weren't on it. Now, there it is. Weren't their weight limits placed on the division? Weren't there more X Division wrestlers introduced at one point? Where's Rubix? I liked him.
Prediction: Zema Ion retains the X Division Title, then disappears from TV for another month or two.
Al Snow vs. Joey Ryan: This is another match that took a long time to build up to. Joey Ryan was on TV for the first time about four or five months ago. He has made infrequent appearances since then. The story stopped feeling like the shoot they wanted it to be around the third week. Ryan also stated on Impact that Phoenix is on the West Coast, which is not true. It's an eight hour drive away.
Prediction: Joey Ryan defeats Al Snow, earning a TNA contract, which means he won't be on TV for about seven months.
I'm probably more pessimistic about this show than I should be. I see the build to it as the first major failure from the creative regime that took over TNA about a year ago. Could the show be great? Definitely. Could the show disappoint? Definitely. I haven't felt this bad about a TNA pay-per-view since before Lockdown in April.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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