Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - The EGO Hall of Fame leads to Kurt Angle's return, A.J. Styles has to face Knux and Bischoff, Magnus and Sting fight for their right to fight, and more!
By Will Pruett
With less than ten days until Bound for Glory, the card is coming together and TNA seems to be focusing on it nicely. There are three viable major matches to create the three major semi-main/main events of the show. What is now lacking is the "big show feel" for this event.
TNA has built this up with Bound for Glory before. In years past, they have emphasized how important it is, but this year, aside from one Sting promo, they aren't doing so. It doesn't help that the main event feels slightly weaker than TNA's standard BFG main event. It also doesn't help that TNA's current storytelling is more focused on Dixie Carter than wrestles.
Even on this show, there were missed opportunities to create this feeling. There was a rematch of the main event from last year's Bound for Glory, but it was never mentioned as such. Mike Tenay and Taz couldn't be bothered to make it feel like a big deal and the graphics team couldn't slap a "Bound for Glory rewind" graphic on it. It's a little touch, but it would have brought up the history of BFG. History is a big part of the big show feel. It's missing here.
With one episode of Impact to go (and already taped), the illusive big show feel is still attainable. TNA has a catalog of footage to show from Bound for Glory. They also have plenty of interview moments with each wrestler emphasizing how important BFG is. Don't wait until the pay-per-view's opening package to make the show feel important. Make me feel like a big event is coming.
The track record of Bound for Glory is spotty at best, but TNA has a strong card assembling. They can make it feel important. I sincerely hope it isn't too late to do so.
Picking up the pieces:
- Dixie Carter had mega-heat for her opening promo, which has to be viewed as a success. Her promo, however, was not exactly successful. She tried deliver quite a bit of content, without pausing or having a real direction. The heat was good, but the promo was not.
- Seeing a major story start before Bound for Glory is interesting. Normally TNA waits until after BFG to introduce major elements, but the Dixie turn is happening now. Will she remain in control after the big show or will she fade away? Is her major feud going to be with Sting or Styles?
- It's been a while since we have seen a good Jeff Hardy match on Impact and Hardy vs. Aries was quite good. This was an entertaining match. It built up Ultimate X well, but also emphasized one of the issues with Ultimate X: I would rather see most of these guys in singles matches.
- The finishing Brainbuster in Hardy vs. Aries looked quite impactful (no pun intended). Hopefully both guys were safe while delivering/taking the move.
- Samoa Joe added himself to the Ultimate X match after Dixie Carter got upset about wrestlers making their own matches. Was this done to illustrate the "chaos" overtaking TNA with Hulk Hogan or was it simply a lack of creative oversight? I wouldn't say the "chaos" card was played enough to be obvious. Is Joe going to be in hot water with Dixie now?
- The Road Trip to Bound for Glory will likely produce some fun videos that I will not watch.
- Jesse vs. ODB was decent, but not super exciting. It was there to fill time for Lei'D Tapa, who I expect to interrupt the Knockouts Championship match at Bound for Glory. Lei'D Tapa looked much better this week than she did last week.
- I really enjoyed the segment with Bully Ray and his remaining Aces and Eights members. Bully is such a good promo and the logic behind this one was just twisted enough to be heel. This was nice work from all three men.
- The EGO Hall of Fame ceremony was great silly comedy. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian shined in their segments this and the video tribute was hilarious.
- Kurt Angle's return brought the serious to this segment and it made for a nice TV moment. I liked the quick build to Angle vs. Bobby Roode in a rematch of the 2011 Bound for Glory main event.
- Angle looked to be in really good shape. Hopefully he is mentally as well. I want to see Kurt Angle succeed after rehab and have an amazing end to his career. We're all pulling for you, Kurt!
- Why didn't Lei'D Tapa interrupt the rematch of the match she interrupted last week?
- I got a kick out of Chris Sabin doing the old Jeff Jarrett bit of covering up his attractive valet/girlfriend.
- I'm fine with an on-air break up of Velvet Sky and Sabin eventually, but I would like to see them together for a little while longer.
- Did I miss the part where Gail Kim was already in the Knockouts Championship match? Mike Tenay delivered that news like I should have already known it, but I didn't.
- I know Ethan (the former Derrick Bateman) is capable of being kind of funny. Hopefully he is much funnier in TNA than he was in WWE. His character seems to be another play on the comedy stylings of Andy Samberg (who's new show on Fox is quite entertaining), which will create some big shoes to fill.
- Magnus and Sting working as a team to earn the right to fight each other in a match they want to have because they're friend trying to help each other is kind of odd. The story is slightly convoluted, even though I think it will be good for both men.
- Bad Influence is the closest thing to a main event tag team TNA has, even though they rarely win. Their segments are memorable and they are over with fans. I can't help but imagine what a long run with the TNA Tag Titles could do to elevate the tag scene in TNA and both men.
- The main event and the end of the show built nicely to Bound for Glory. Styles is capable of beating two men. He is also playing the underdog because Bully Ray is bigger and will use underhanded tactics. It works.
This show was good, but not great. TNA has improved the status of Bound for Glory from afterthought to thought, but now is the time to make it feel important. They have a shot next week and I hope they are able to make it happen.
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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