Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - The BFGS takes three steps back, a new faction forms as a Fortune reunion, Chris Sabin pins Bully Ray, Hardcore Justice hype
By Will Pruett
I really like the Bound for Glory Series. In fact, I'd say I like it more than most fans of my ilk. I don't find it confusing, convoluted, or odd. It's a nice way for TNA to establish stars and create feuds within a set structure. Basically, I believe it is a very good idea.
The first year the series existed, it was very weak. It lacked the essential structure necessary to make matches matter. Everything was random. Extra point opportunities were given without any thought to fairness. Wrestlers four each other multiple times on house show loops and racked up points indiscriminately. It was weird. Eliminations from the tournament occurred via kayfabe injuries because wrestlers had too high of point totals. The "Final Four" had to come about by coincidence instead of an established concept. It was too convoluted.
Last year TNA fixed all of this. Extra point opportunities were given evenly. Everyone had the same number of matches. The series made sense. The ending point was previously established. TNA had fixed the most glaring errors without taking away the excitement and the possibilities inherent in the series. For a second shot, they really outdid themselves.
This year, the creative forces in TNA were looking to improve on last year's successes. I suggested the best place to do so would be in the middle of the series. Give us stories for the wrestlers finishing fifth through tenth. There are great storytelling possibilities in the series yet to be explored and this year seemed ripe with possibilities. Instead, thus far in the series, TNA has taken some major steps backwards, especially on the last two episodes of Impact Wrestling.
Last week, a match went over the fifteen minute time limit by almost three minutes. I know most casual fans aren't sitting at home with a stopwatch checking the time limits, but this is ridiculous. It had been previously established by Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles. Why not keep up the consistency? All it would have taken was the referee telling them to go home slightly earlier.
On this show, we saw two loopholes in the Bound for Glory Series exploited. Bobby Roode forced a disqualification in the Magnus vs. Ken Anderson match by hitting Anderson with a chair. This caused the front runner (Magnus) to lose ten points. Where is the babyface authority figure (either Hulk Hogan or Dixie Carter) to rectify this wrong? Why is interference allowed in BFGS matches? Couldn't something be done here?
The other loophole was Christopher Daniels and Kazarian intentionally getting themselves counted out. Why was this so bad? It was to form a faction set on somehow ruining the BFGS with Bobby Roode. I'm not a fan of the exploitation of the rules of the series, even if it is technically fair. TNA is trying to establish this as a big deal and showing how frail the rules are doesn't accomplish this.
There was also a four-way Ladder Match announced (with minimal hype) for next week. There are twenty BFGS points on the line. No other matches for the other eight competitors were announced. How does TNA justify this? Why are those four being given priority? This goes back to the essential problem of the first year of the series, match randomness.
I'm really worried about where the BFGS is going if these problems are not fixed. I like the series as a concept and I enjoy the idea of it, but I worry the execution is (somehow) too complicated for the creative forces in TNA to pull off. They did really well last year, but I'm losing hope.
Picking up the pieces:
- TNA showed us about 100 replays on this show? Did the taping go short for some reason? I feel like I watched Tito Ortiz's silent debut 20 times. Sadly, it never got better.
- The commentary drama continued on this show, but I didn't mind the team of Jeremy Borash and Taz. I feel like this is leading to a three-man booth, which is a solid call. I really like Borash on commentary and would be interested to see him grow into this role with regular work.
- Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan easily over-shadowed Chris Sabin, which has been one of the biggest errors in this story. Sabin is the fifth or sixth or seventh most important guy in the story where he won the TNA World Championship.
- I not a fan of the stipulation now placed on Bully vs. Sabin next week. It basically guarantees a Bully win, which will make the whole Chris Sabin story seem awkward and unnecessary. Of course, if I'm wrong and Sabin pulls out a victory, then we have to wonder what Bully is doing and what Sabin has lined up for Bound for Glory.
- Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy don't have the chemistry I would expect them to. This was a little disappointing for me as I watched them wrestle.
- Standing up apparently causes the Samoan Submission Machine to get distracted. I'm glad we have intelligent babyfaces in TNA.
- Magnus vs. Anderson didn't feel right the entire time. I'm surprised they picked this match for the Bobby Roode disqualification angle, as Magnus vs. Anderson could have been a major deal in the series.
- Robbie E. and Jesse are entertaining as a team. Mickie James is ridiculously entertaining right now. The combination of those two entities on this show did nothing for me.
- Tito Ortiz doesn't even have an idea why he is in TNA. Amazing. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
- Kurt Angle's confrontation with Tito seemed to be an attempt to recreate the good Angle and Rampage showdown, which was an attempt to recreate the great original Angle and Joe showdown. The law of diminishing returns is in effect.
- James Storm hit one of the stiffest Superkicks I have ever seen on Jesse. Wow.
- Another faction is probably not what TNA needs right now, even if it is a Fortune reunion of sorts. This feels like the World Elite happening all over again.
- The babyface team needed to sneak attack the heels for no real reason. Way to rock character consistency and logic, guys!
- The main event tag team match was basic, but it definitely showed the star power lacking in Chris Sabin. Again, I like him a lot, but he's being hurt by everyone else in this story. The end of the match telegraphed a Bully win next week and I worry about what the next step is for Sabin. Was he just a prop to break up title run monotony for Bully Ray?
I'd like to close this Pause by wishing Kurt Angle the very best as he enters rehab. We've all seen his problems and I couldn't be happier about him getting help. Kurt is in my prayers.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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