Following the release of the Taeler Hendrix and the body shaming that came with it, along with news of maltreatment of Jesse Sorensen and many other things, I gave up on TNA Impact Wrestling. Their roster is choc full of some of my favourite wrestlers in the world today, wrestlers like Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Gail Kim and, in particular, Bad Influence. However, as I grow older and realise that merely talking about ethics is an entirely futile thing, I made the decision to boycott the product.
However, this is professional wrestling. We all know that when someone gives up on something, it basically means they'll be back in a while. So, like the schmuck I am, I made the decision to watch TNA's Bound for Glory pay-per-view. Bound for Glory is TNA's WrestleMania, their biggest show of the year, and it just so happened to be on UK TV this past Wednesday, for free!
I watched the show, and it is clear that TNA is still drowning in its own problems, and is just as frustrating a product to watch as it has ever been. Indeed, much of this show felt like some of the shows they were putting on during the weekly PPV era, and this is not a good thing. There were some positives though, and as usual I'll try to focus on them.
The pre-show tag team gauntlet was fun. One thing that TNA have going for them is that they possess one of the best tag teams in the entire world in Bad Influence. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian are so in tune with their characters right now, they are the definition of entertaining pro wrestling. They should have won here, but for some reason I have no problem with the BroMans winning this. I remember Robbie E and Jesse Godderz being all manner of awful, but holy hell they are entertaining here. What is up with that music? Why is Mr Olympia with them? Eric Young is hugely wasted as well.
The BroMans music really is either the best or worst thing I've ever heard.
The hype video for Bully Ray/AJ Styles was quite good, and I'm glad AJ won the Bound for Glory series and seemingly shed himself of his middle of the road sad man gimmick. Although Dixie probably should have used that $50,000 to pay her talent. Dixie is dog turd on the microphone as well, so I'm not entirely sure how this heel run will work out. The heel authority storyline is without doubt the most tired in all of wrestling now. It had it's apex in 1998 for gods sake. Six year old me will despair at this idea, but I really miss a Jack Tunney type figure. An authority who only turns up when something genuinely awful has gone down, oh I don't know, like a SNAKE BITING A MAN.
Ultimate X opens up the show proper, and by my count this must be the 736rd Ultimate X match in history, and Chris Sabin has been in all of them bar some of them. This is a really stacked line up, but it is the beginning of what would become a theme throughout the night. This feels completely thrown together. Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries were the main event last year, now they are in the opening match. One positive is that Samoa Joe got a good response, showing TNA haven't totally destroyed his fan base. Mike Tenay confirms that this is the 32nd Ultimate X match in TNA history. He also uses the word 'just' before that number, but I assume that is a mistake.
The match ends with an awful finish, as Velvet Sky distracts Jeff Hardy allowing Sabin to grab the title. I'm in favour of Sabin winning the title, and turn Velvet fully in the process. Having these two as a full on heel X-Division power couple could have some legs.
Bad Influence come out, and I'm pretty sure this will be the best part of the entire show. Did I mention that I love these guys? Kazarian remarks that the the fact they aren't wrestling for the tag team titles is an embarrassment. I agree, Frankie, I whole heartedly agree. He goes on to refer to the crowd as 'turds', and he gains a bit more space in my heart. Daniels takes back this space however, calling Joseph Park and Eric Young a 'lawyer and a fisherman at best.' Christopher Daniels, you are my favourite. No one makes playing a wrestling heel look more fun than Chris Daniels. Eric Young interrupts to a good reaction, and informs the Influence that a monster is afoot. Abyss then 'returns' for what I assume is the 13th time this year. How is that storyline still dragging on? Is Abyss still the Television champion?
Holy hell, Jeremy Borash's hair? What happened?
James Storm and Gunner look like a decent tag team if you have no idea about James Storm and his position in the company. 18 months ago, he was on his way to becoming the biggest babyface in the company. He had a natural storyline that would end at this very show with a win over the man who screwed him out of the TNA title, Bobby Roode, for that very same title. Now, the win came, but it was in a middle of the card bloodbath, and this year he has been treading water at best. I enjoy James Storm, he seems popular and is very good in the ring especially with the right person. I had no idea Gunner was still employed though. What happened to Murphy?
I have decided. The BroMans music is actually fantastic. I am in shock. I think Robbie E used to be my least favourite part of TNA, and now I'm rooting for him in a title match against James Storm. Times they are a changing. BroMans win after a Heart Attack clothesline, they have wonderful facial expressions for their first tag title reign, and THAT MUSIC. Mr Olympia is still hanging around, and everything about this is wonderful. All of this without mentioning Robbie E's hair.
The fact that TNA has a Hall of Fame makes me laugh uncontrollably.
The Knockouts Title is to be defended by ODB in a triple threat match against Gail Kim and Brooke Tessmacher, and I immediately find myself querying why Gail Kim isn't KO champion forever? Brooke has come a long way since being Eric Bischoff's crazy attractive secretary, and that is entirely to her credit. She's put the work in, so much so that whether she's a heel or a face, I completely forget that she was in Extreme Expose. Within 3 minutes of the match beginning there is a butt bump, a boob bump and a crotch bump. TNA is still mired in misogynistic hell. Kim wins after the worker with the worst name in the company, Lei'D Tapa (pronounced Lady Tapper), interferes on her behalf. A new Knockout Champion is crowned, and let's never have a title change. My heart continues to grow as BroMans and Mr Olympia celebrate back stage with protein shakes and goggles. These guys, I swear.
Bobby Roode and Kurt Angle are up next, and I ask myself if anything in the match between these two immensely talented men can top the suits worn by Bad Influence at the EGO Hall of Fame. This is another match that just feels completely thrown together. I refuse to believe that six months ago, the plan was to have Kurt Angle face Bobby Roode at Bound for Glory. You can guarantee that WWE has a real plan with regards to their top stars already for WrestleMania XXX. TNA has a great roster, consistent TV time and enough foresight to know what their big shows are. There is no excuse for not planning ahead for your biggest stars. Anyway, a good match ends with Roode as the victor, Angle laying motionless after performing a top rope suplex, playing on his history of neck problems.
Good to see Derrick Bateman back, as Ethan Carter III. He's a talented guy, both in ring and in terms of personality, he really can go far. Anyway, he beats a hilarious jobber called Norv Fernum, and pulls some excellent facial expressions in the process. Magnus cuts as vanilla a promo as you could possibly wish to hear. He's up against Sting next.
Now, I'm torn about this. Here is a match that does indeed seem like it's been planned in advance, as though this is the culmination of a long term plan. Magnus has been building for the last 6 months it seems, he joined the Main Event Mafia, and the video package shows me that this is the classic Veteran/Apprentice type match. It's a good story to tell, and it's the right story to tell. But good lord, this match was awful. Has anyone actually explained why Sting wrestles in a t-shirt? It just looks embarrassing. He can barely move nowadays as well, which makes for terrible wrestling matches. Hang it up Sting. I mean, just look at that Scorpion Deathlock. Disgraceful. Anyway, Magnus wins with a Cloverleaf, and thank god for that.
Main event time, and there is a strange similarity between both of competitors entrance music. This is exactly what the main event of this show should have been, and the fact that it was predictable for months isn't a problem. AJ Styles IS TNA, and after years of being stuck in horrific feuds punctuated with fantastic matches, hopefully he'll get a decent run at the top. Hopefully it won't just be a struggle against The Authority. Either way, the match itself was well told, all be it with way too much in the way of interference. The interference of Garrett Bischoff, Knux and Dixie Carter led to the match itself feeling very disjointed, and it didn't feel as coherent as maybe it should have.
AJ took an absolutely sick bump on a springboard 450 through the table on the outside, and the entire match was built to get him across as a guy who just doesn't give up. It was successfully done, and after 3 years AJ Styles is back on the top of TNA. He should stay there for a while, as he is one of the few genuine main event TNA bred performers. Bully Ray should stay near the top as well, no one has reinvented themselves as well as the former Bubba Ray Dudley. Formerly one of the load of former WWE guys in TNA, he is now free of that albatross. He's doing the best work of his career.
Bound for Glory showed both sides of TNA, but unfortunately it gave the impression of a pay-per-view by a company on the way out. Reports suggest the crowd numbered no more than 3,000, and they didn't make too much in the way of noise all evening. The stories are all over the place, matches are being thrown together, and there seems to be a total lack of coherence in Impact Wrestling. Needless to say, this show was not enough to bring me back to Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling.
That'll do for now. Did you watch Bound for Glory? What did you think? How good is BroMans music? Leave a comment in the lonely comment box below, we'll duke it out. Failing that, twitter (@pingvinorkestra) or email (email@example.com). I'm off to Birmingham to see Stewart Lee. Adios.