Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - The build to Bound for Glory kicks into a new gear, Styles and Bully remember each other exist, Sting vs. Magnus is made, and more!
By Will Pruett
TNA's show had some serious focus this week. Although the final image (and thus, usually the biggest story) was of the Hulk Hogan and Dixie Carter drama, I am left with a sense of optimism about the Bound for Glory pay-per-view. This show took TNA's biggest show of the year and got super serious about it, bolstering the main event and adding solid matches on the two and three slots.
A.J. Styles, instead of addressing Dixie Carter and his contract drama, actually addressed his opponent at Bound for Glory. The segment between Bully Ray and Styles was effective and it was about the TNA Championship, not all of the ancillary drama. This was some good, basic pro wrestling storytelling and it worked well.
Elsewhere on the Bound for Glory card, I earned some bragging rights by calling the Sting vs. Magnus match almost a month ago. Aside from my own happy dance, this segment worked for me. A hotter crowd would have made it more exciting, but as a number two or three match on TNA's biggest show, this match feels important. My hope is not to see either man turn, but to see a good babyface vs. babyface effort. Hopefully the end of the match sees Sting raising a victorious Magnus' hand.
The other match made for BFG was an Ultimate X Match for the X Division Championship. Manik Perkins will take on three former TNA World Champions in the "high wire spectacle" match. Jeff Hardy is a puzzling choice for this match, as I believe the most popular guy in the company would probably serve them better in a singles feud. Chris Sabin and Austin Aries also are getting some focus in this one. These four wrestlers will likely have a nice match together and use the Ultimate X structure safely, but dazzlingly.
Coming into this show, I believed Bound for Glory was going to be a weak pay-per-view with a weak top match. Now, while is don't believe in the strength of the top match, I see BFG as a more well-rounded show. There are two weeks left to make this show look impressive. TNA needs to keep this focus going. I'm encouraged by this episode, and hoping to see TNA continue to gain momentum.
Picking up the pieces:
- A.J. Styles "Emo A.J. Transforms" entrance is not working for me anymore. The crowd isn't popping for the "Get ready to fly" moment. Perhaps shortening the emo intro and not having Styles appear until his old music begins would be more effective.
- Styles and Bully did a nice job starting their feud with the opening promo. It's about time. For all of the drama around Styles, this is the first time we have heard him mention his year out of the title picture and wanting the championship back. Hopefully this continues.
- Bully Ray did some really nice work here alone. It might be time to just drop the Aces and Eights from his act and continue to let him be evil Bully.
- This crowd was pretty dead for this show. Given that is was the second one taped, I get it, but it was horribly silent. Even when A.J. tried to make people chant "Joe's gonna' kill you" they weren't into it. There's not much to do about a dead crowd in the second half of a taping, but this did hurt a solid Impact episode.
- Poor Kenny King was so close to the X Division Championship picture, but so far away. Was his blood (and a copious amount of it over two weeks) worth nothing? Probably.
- Chris Sabin's heel act is really paint by numbers, but he is doing a fine job of it. I still don't see him getting over as a heel long-term given the crowd pleasing nature of his offense.
- Jeff Hardy in Ultimate X will be quite the spectacle.
- How do we know TNA has authority figure issues? Sting and Hulk Hogan had a discussion backstage about the last few authority figures to run wild in TNA. This segment was oddly self-referential and a little hilarious. Is the story of wrestling over the past ten years that absolute power corrupts absolutely?
- Magnus vs. EGO demonstrated why I'm not a huge fan of gauntlet matches. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian probably shouldn't lose short matches on television, but the nature of the gauntlet lead them to.
- Bobby Roode defeating Magnus didn't do much for either character. Magnus is meant to be admired for walking into a lopsided fight, but throwing a fit after losing it doesn't help.
- If Magnus is going to turn heel, I feel TNA is making a huge mistake. He turned heel the last time he was really catching on and this time TNA should go with him as a lead babyface.
- Sting vs. Magnus has the potential to be very good.
- My word, Lei'D Tapa is almost comedic in the way she poses add roars as she walks down the aisle. I respect TNA for trying, especially with a very limited Knockouts roster, but I'm not seeing Tapa as an answer. I am willing to be proven wrong, but her outfit and mannerisms weren't good.
- "Ethan" in TNA could add some comedy to the show! but I don't see him doing much more. Does TNA need more comedy with Eric Young, Jesse, Joseph Park, Robbie E., and ODB already on the roster bringing the mild chuckles?
- I enjoyed the Gunner and James Storm video explaining their formation as a tag team. This could actually work to make their team mean something more than being a slightly more fit version of America's Most Wanted.
- I am still holding to my Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode prediction for Bound for Glory. I am okay with this as a comeback match for Kurt where he doesn't have to carry his opponent. Hopefully it would be better than their Bound for Glory 2011 main event.
- Bully Ray vs. Samoa Joe was decent for what it was. It didn't amaze me, but it worked. The Styles interference after the bell made sense.
- Why did security run out to stop Styles from attacking Bully Ray, but not to stop Bully from attack Samoa Joe after the bell?
- Hulk Hogan's farewell produced one of the more awkward moments in TNA history as I kind of think Dixie Carter offered Hogan some of the sex. I don't approve of this.
- Hogan quitting definitely could set him up to return in A.J. Styles' corner at Bound for Glory, but I hope he is just gone. TNA can tell stronger stories without Hogan.
- Dixie Carter's heel act was quite confusing at the close of this show. She begged Hogan to stay, then tried to save face. It was awkward at best.
This show, despite the odd close, was focused and actually really good. I'm happy to see TNA move on to Bound for Glory, since they only have two shows left until the biggest show of the year. If they are able to keep this up, the build to BFG could still be saved,
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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