The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of WrestlingINC.com or its staff.
Rapidly approaching is TNA's largest event of the year; "Bound for Glory", as TNA looks to find some success with their current product. The build-up to the show has been somewhat criticized for lacking a lot of emotion, but on paper, some of the matches look pretty good. TNA, for better or for worse, is pretty aggressive when it comes to booking storylines, so it is much more difficult to predict what is going to happen, since you never know what direction they might go in.
The main event of the show is the much-hyped World Heavyweight Championship match between the champ, Bully Ray, and the challenger, AJ Styles. With Aces & 8s crumbling, it is likely that this is going to be a title change. After maligning his fellow members, and cutting the group down to just three men, Bully's reign as the leader of the most dominant faction in the company is almost guaranteed to end. AJ has been represented as the face of the company and he will finally come through, vanquishing Aces once and for all at the biggest event of the year.
The way I see it, the match will start with Dixie Carter at ringside, in Bully's corner of course. Towards the end of the match, Garrett Bischoff and Knux will head down to ringside and try and interfere. Hulk Hogan's music will then hit, and Hogan will make a surprising return to Impact and take out Bischoff and Knux. While Bully is distracted, AJ will hit the Styles Clash and win the world title, as the show goes off the air with Hogan and AJ celebrating in the ring.
The build-up towards the match has been okay, some pretty conservative storytelling with the face chasing the heel champion for the world title. The only issue I have with it is the involvement of Dixie Carter. Dixie as a heel is almost jokingly bad. Dixie just does not have the acting chops to make her character work, and all it does is open her up to more criticism from fans who do not believe she does a capable job running the company. She lacks the overall camera presence and the feminine nastiness that her WWE counterpart, Stephanie McMahon, utilizes so well. Her alignment with Bully Ray has kind of soured the title feud, an unnecessary addition to a storyline that was pretty easy and straightforward to construct.
Bound for Glory's biggest problem is that it lacks a really solid B match. The main event is fine, it has been a long standing feud that will culminate in a match for the world title. But what is the second biggest match on the card? Sting vs Magnus? That match and that rivalry was only created a few weeks ago. Ditto for Kurt Angle vs Bobby Roode. The other top talent is all thrown into some strange mish-mosh of an Ultimate X match. TNA failed to build up a second long-term feud to conclude at Bound for Glory, which was probably their biggest mistake.
The X Division Championship will be on the line in an Ultimate X match with a lot of star-power. The current champion, Manik, is sure to be overshadowed by his challengers, Chris Sabin, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe and Austin Aries. If they give the match enough time, it could easily be the match of the night. Sabin, Joe and Aries are always good no matter what they are doing, and Hardy is a spot-specialist which is perfect for Ultimate X. I have not seen much of Manik, but as TJ Perkins/PUMA, he has shown that he can be as good as any of the other guys in the match.
The match is pretty wide-open, and the only thing I can say with confidence is that Manik will not come out as champion. Since TNA does not have much planned for Sabin, Hardy, Aries or Joe (otherwise they would be in a bigger match) it makes sense to move the X Division Championship into one of the more established star's hands.
The Knockouts title is also up for grabs. ODB is the recently crowned champion, but Brooke Tessmacher and Gail Kim could easily take it away from her. No one seems to be Knockouts Champion for a very long time, so it would not be surprising if ODB dropped the title. Personally, I think that ODB has the greatest potential as champion, so I will guess that she retains her title, but realistically, anything could happen.
Sting will suit up at BFG one more time to take on Magnus, in a matchup between TNA's oldest in-ring competitor and one of its youngest. Magnus and Sting have a very friendly relationship, as TNA seems pretty dedicated to keeping both men faces leading up to their match. Magnus is always being spoken about in interviews with TNA talent about being the next top guy for the company, but he has really not accomplished a lot during his time in TNA. A big win over Sting at BFG would do a lot for Magnus and his reputation.
I think Sting will win at BFG, mainly because I think that TNA feels that Sting is still one of the most over guys in the company, and fans will want to pop big for him if he is victorious. I think it will be one of those things where the young guy loses, but by pushing the older guy to his limit, everyone has a new respect for the younger guy. I would have Magnus win, but doing that is not a bad way to go. Magnus could build more momentum with a victory, but as long as it is a close competitive match, it will help get the ball rolling for Magnus.
Kurt Angle vs Bobby Roode is a quickly thrown together match, probably because TNA was unsure of Angle's situation and they did not know whether he would be able to wrestle or not. Roode as a part of EGO has been my favorite thing going on in TNA, all three men are flat out entertaining and deserve to get bigger pushes. Roode and Angle are both elite ring generals, so if they give this match enough time, it should be the best wrestled match of the evening.
Angle has not been in the ring in a while, and if it was anybody else, their conditioning and ring-rust would be questioned. Not Angle though, the man is noted for his incredible endurance and physical conditioning. Angle is also such a natural in the ring that rustiness is not really a factor at any time. Even if he is in bad shape, Roode is a savvy enough worker to get a dynamite match out of him anyways.
Angle will most likely win the match, simply because the night is too important for Angle to have him lose. TNA wants to make his induction into the Hall of Fame really important, so having him lose a match on the same night might jeopardize the moment. They also probably want to get Angle back on track competitively, and a win over a former world champion is a good place to start.
Lastly, there will be a two-part match concerning the TNA World Tag Team Championships. The pre-show for BFG will have Eric Young and Joseph Park taking on Bad Influence, the BroMans and Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in a four way gauntlet match for a title shot later in the evening. I think that Bad Influence has to win that gauntlet match, the other teams are mostly jokes and Bad Influence and EGO are one of the most popular acts TNA has.
I also think that Bad Influence will win the titles on the main show. Gunner and Storm have basically been a thrown together tag team that have not been really relevant since they won the championships. Bad Influence could just do a lot more for the tag division if they were the champions, so I think TNA will go ahead and do the title change.
Bound for Glory could go a lot of different ways. The simplest and easy ways to book the matches would probably be the best way to go, but like I said earlier, TNA is hard to predict because they really like to go in a lot of different aggressive directions.