TNA presents Bound For Glory, called by many as "their WrestleMania," this Sunday night from beautiful San Diego, California. In reality, TNA breaks "their WrestleMania" into two events, with Slammiversary being the celebration of the company and Bound For Glory being the culmination of 6-months' worth of storytelling.
Similarly, Sunday's card is really a tale of two PPVs. The one that will happen, and the one they built. On paper, this isn't a bad card at all. It features several matches that can deliver entertaining in-ring action worth the price of the broadcast. But the build has been atrocious. One match—the main event—was literally built dating back to Slammiversary, and the focus was finally shifted towards it two weeks ago. The company changed directions less than 6-weeks away from the event, really shortchanging the talent working hard to put on a good show.
Predictions: TNA Bound For Glory 2013
Mickie James was a phenomenal Knockouts champion, and had TNA kept her around, she actually could have built a feud with either Gail Kim or ODB. Due to her contract situation, TNA had to rush ODB's win over Mickie James, and we're left with a thrown together match on the PPV. In reality, the build really should have been Mickie James vs. Taryn Terrell, but the latter was really out of TNA's control. They don't pay their Knockouts enough to afford condoms.
Gail Kim is a great worker, and can have a good match with anyone. When Brooke was wrestling on a regular basis, she was more than capable of delivering a strong performance. Unfortunately, Brooke hasn't been in the ring on a consistent basis, and her most recent run is as Bully Ray's girlfriend. ODB is passable at best, leaving Gail Kim to carry this to the best match possible. I can't see a reason for ODB to lose here, other than the fact that Brooke is paired with Bully Ray. Unfortunately, that's all the reason that TNA needs, and Brooke wins her third (that's right, third) Knockouts Championship.
Pre-Show Gauntlet: Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) vs. The Bro-Mans (Robbie E & Jesse Godderz) vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr & Hernandez vs. Joseph Park & Eric Young
This match will be featured on the PPV pre-show, and the winner of this match will challenge James Storm and Gunner for the gold on the PPV proper. This match shows the disparity of talent in the division. One team is consistently great (Daniels/Kaz), one is just awful (Park/Young), one is holding back someone talented (E/Godderz), and one is anchored by a shameless tribute act (Chavo/Hernandez).
With all the promotion behind Young & Park, I can't help but be worried for the outcome of this match. Jesse & Robbie getting placement as the final team in the gauntlet also sticks out, and I am genuinely concerned for what we will get here. I want Bad Influence to win here, so much so that I picked them during my Greg DeMarco Show PPV predictions show. But the company has since stacked the deck against them, and I believe we're seeing The Bro-Mans winning their way onto the main card, and doing so over Park & Young in the end.
World Tag Team Championship: James Storm & Gunner (champions) vs. Gauntlet Winners
Storm and Gunner are a thrown together tag team that could actually be a good one. But TNA hasn't given them a reason to be great. Nor have they given us a reason to care. Bound For Glory represents the proverbial fork in the road for this team—either the experiment is over, or TNA finally gets serious about it. Well, I guess there's a third spoke on the fork: continuing to tread water.
Obviously, I think the challengers will be The Bro-Mans. As champions, they could actually build themselves up and possibly become something as a team. Robbie E is one of the most underrated guys on the entire roster, and I don't have faith in TNA to do anything special with the tag team championships in a way that would push him further.
In the end, I believe that third spoke on the fork—treading water—is the final result as James Storm and Gunner retain here. Maybe, just maybe, TNA can do something with this division throughout the remainder of 2013.
TNA has put together what could possibly be the most star-studded Ultimate X match in history, and in doing so could be hurting the X-Division.
Samoa Joe and Austin Aries are miscast in this match, despite being former division champions. Jeff Hardy actually belongs, and this should be sold on the fact that it's his first Ultimate X. Chris Sabin is going through a bit of a character malfunction right now, and this match won't help.
The X-Division is about TNA being different, and in the past it's made stars out of lesser known talents. What better way to push the division than to bring in some talent that could benefit. Instead, we have a trademark "get these guys on the card" move by TNA, complete with Austin Aries stating (both in and out of character) that he doesn't even like the match.
A victory over these four guys would be a big plus for Manik, but that victory won't come by actually defeating anyone for the 1-2-3. I think Hardy will take himself and someone else out with a stupid spot off of the structure, and Manik will retrieve the title for the win. This has potential, but can also end up as s spotfest that doesn't live up to the spotfests of years gone by.
Hall of Fame Inductee Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode
After becoming the second inductee into TNA's Hall of Fame on Saturday night, Kurt Angle will step into the ring against the man he defeated at the 2011 installment of Bound For Glory—Bobby Roode. At the time, this result was a tremendous letdown, given the manner in which Roode won the first ever Bound For Glory Series and the roll he was on. He'd go on to become the longest reigning champion in company history, and the man that made Austin Aries a star (although you could say that was done by Aries himself).
Kurt Angle follows Sting into the TNA Hall of Fame, which is looking more and more like the "Beat WWE To The Punch" Hall of Fame year-by-year. Conventional wisdom says that Angle should win, since he's being inducted. However, Sting followed up last year's induction with a loss to Aces & Eights.
That said, I can't see Angle losing this match. A win for Roode is the same as a loss—meaningless. This is purely Hall of Fame showcase match, and Kurt Angle will walk away with the submission victory.
Sting vs. Magnus
The build to this match has been thanks to a somewhat upset, somewhat jealous, somewhat jaded Magnus. And can you blame him? He was leading the Bound For Glory Series until the very end, not remembering TNA's rule that the leader never wins. Since losing to AJ Styles in the finals, he's been the fall guy for The Main Event Mafia, and now he wonders who will "make him."
Enter Sting, who brings up the fact that Ric Flair made him (not the only BFG match using Flair's name in the build, mind you), and Sting simply volunteers his services to do so? Is Sting promising to lay-down for Magnus? Is he admitting that he can't beat Magnus?
Magnus has to turn on Sting. Turning on Sting is pretty much wrestling tradition. So it's not a matter of if, but when. Does he turn heel during the match, because he has to cheat to beat the man twice his age? Does he lose, then turn out of frustration? Or doe win, then turn on Sting at a later date?
If Magnus loses, the TNA is truly copying the WWE in every aspect, including depushing its hottest young star (Dolph Ziggler) and draining all of his momentum. AJ Styles claims he has to win on Sunday, but it's actually Magnus who "must win." And as history has taught us, he must turn.
Magnus gets the "big win" over Sting, and the two embrace in the ring. It ends peacefully—for now. On Thursday's live Impact Wrestling, Magnus does like many have done before him. You see the road Sting has paved is paved in turns—heel turns—because the "Sting" character is one of the stupidest individuals we have ever seen.
No Disqualification Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Bully Ray (champion) vs. AJ Styles
At Turning Point 2012, AJ Styles was on the losing end of a three-way #1 Contender match with James Storm & Bobby Roode, and lost the right to challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship until…yup, Bound For Glory 2013. Now, you might not remember this since TNA CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO EVER MENTION IT.
Instead, AJ Styles lost his smile, became a man with no country, found himself, and is hated by the owner of the company. He's not an "every man," he's an "every face." He's basically every stereo typical face gimmick from the past 12 years, and he's about to embark on the biggest face move of the past decade. He's about to become the poor man's CM Punk, and redo the gimmick that Punk already redid (see: Summer of Punk 2005 and Summer of Punk 2011) in the Autumn of AJ.
Then you have Bully Ray. He's been painted into a corner, as he's built an "empire" in Aces & Eights that's left with two members in Knux and Garett Bischoff. Both have promised that Bully will be quite surprised the next time he needs help, and the No DQ main event is just the place, eh?
This can be a great match, but there are so many opportunities for it to go wrong. Just look at the "interested parties" that could get involved: Dixie Carter...Ethan Carter III...Kunx...Garett Bischoff...Eric Bischoff...Hulk Hogan...Mr. Anderson...Devon...Brooke (Tessmacher or Hogan)…Claire Lynch...
Okay I was kidding about that last one, but you gotta admit, that'd be some bad ass booking!
Simply put, AJ isn't getting the clean win here. The easiest out is the most likely, where Dixie Carter brings out Knux and Bischoff to interfere, and they decide to go rogue. This allows AJ to pick up the win, flaunting the belt in Dixie's face to close the show.
Because in reality, neither of two top feuds in TNA are named AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray. And that's the inherent problem with Bound For Glory. Ray's main issue is the coming implosion of Aces & Eights, and AJ's feuding with Dixie Carter herself, not the champ. And that will ultimately cause a good PPV to fall flat in the end. And the end is what we remember the most.
Alternate Reality: TNA Bound For Glory 2013
One item I want to bring on to my pay-per-view previews on a regular basis is the "Alternate Reality." Here, I'll present to you my card. The card must exist within the current framework of the company, with no major changes or signings. I started it with my WWE Battleground alternative (King of the Ring), and it continues here.
Bound For Glory 2013: Alternate Reality
- World Championship: Bully Ray (champion) vs. AJ Styles
- No Disqualification Six-Man Tag Team Match: The Main Event Mafia (Sting, Samoa Joe & Magnus) vs. Ego (Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels & Kazarian)
- X-Division Championship: Manik (champion) vs. Jeff Hardy
- Kurt Angle vs. Chris Sabin
- World Tag Team Championship: James Storm & Gunner (champions) vs. Austin Aries & Kenny King
- Knockouts Championship: Mickie James (champion) vs. ODB
- #1 Contender Ultimate X: Zema Ion vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Greg Marasciulo vs. Ethan Carter III
- Pre-Show: Joseph Park & Eric Young vs. The Bro-Mans (Robbie E & Jesse Godderz)
- Pre-Show: Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky
- Pre-show: Knux & Garett Bischoff vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr & Hernandez
I still have seven matches on the main card, and a pre-show that can easily fill an hour. While I'd prefer to put Aries with Angle, Aries and King have a history that can easily be worked into this match, considering Aries praised King on his way in. It might seem like I broke my own rule by signing Mickie James, but in this case I'm just keeping a departed star around. TNA was already setting up my six-man tag match, and the X-Division gets showcased twice.
I can't imagine TNA doing a big buy-rate for this event, as the build has been suspect despite a good card on-paper. I will be watching as I always do, and will be hosting a post-PPV Greg DeMarco Show at 11 pm eastern Sunday night. Feel free to join in (listen, call, chat) by clicking here and setting a reminder!
Watch out for news about The Greg DeMarco Show, soon to be presented exclusively at WrestlingInc.com. If you'd like to familiarize yourself with the show, myself, cohost Patrick O'Dowd, former WWE/NXT Diva (and current Shine Wrestling star) Su Yung and Florida based independent manager/announcer Heather Lynn, check out our exclusive interview with Former WWE NXT talent, best-selling author (and Dolph Ziggler's brother) Briley Pierce. Click here to listen. Briley didn't hold back, talking about his relationship with Dolph, his career aspirations outside of wrestling, how he found out about his WWE release and more!