TNA is about to embark on their biggest weeks of the year, which are the Impact shows followed up by Bound For Glory. This is their equivalent to WrestleMania, their largest pay per view of the year. The ratings and financial insecurity has put TNA on high alert of aiming to deliver the best show they possibly can. This is a good opportunity for TNA to survive this predicament, to become a stronger force in the world of professional wrestling.
It’s like a similar predicament WWE had encountered by 2005. Their stars were aging, being part of the illustrious previous era, whose golden figures had either left or had a limited schedule. They needed to be reformed and decided to push new stars for the future in Batista, John Cena and Randy Orton. It was a bold move from headlining main events to alternative matches seeking an investment on a potential reward. The established stars would be overthrown by the new generation with JBL losing to John Cena for the WWE Championship and in the main event with HHH losing to a hungry Batista. Yes, the order of significance of the titles was different! Remember Batista beating John Cena at the Royal Rumble after a similar predicament was encountered between Lex Luger and Bret Hart? That was a time when a new star was being developed too. WWE had the luxury that they had no serious rival so they could undergo the transition. Now look at TNA, they are no way close to the global power of WWE, yet are clearly their closest competitor compared to the rest. So TNA is in a position where they can alter their direction themselves.
As I said in a previous article reviewing Bully Ray, despite an honourable career being worthy of being a world champion, the investment of the storyline is in need of a younger guy. Nevertheless, he needs to sustain his position beyond his destined defeat to the Phenomenal One. The Aces & Eights storyline must remain, but be used carefully. Bully Ray has won many plaudits as the genuine heel in the world of wrestling. His battle with AJ Styles can be the best metaphor for TNA against its biggest threat in the Impact Zone, Aces & Eights. TNA management will need to utilize this carefully. As AJ Styles said in his supposed shoot, he likes to be ‘the go to guy’ for TNA and with the Impact Zone under siege by Bully Ray, who better to defend TNA than AJ Styles? He is the guy that was TNA’s best original wrestler, who has been with the company from the beginning. Austin Aries rightly referred to AJ Styles as the man that carried the company on his back throughout the last decade. Not only that, AJ Styles has history with Aces & Eights. He rejected the group’s lure even during his induction ceremony, whilst he is responsible for getting rid of Bully Ray’s brother, Devon. This has to be an integral factor and hopefully TNA management will allow Bully Ray to utilize it. This has the potential of being a good main event. AJ Styles currently seems set to stay with TNA, but what a way to bow out if he loses to Bully Ray. It would cement Bully Ray as perhaps the greatest heel to be in TNA. It would cause shockwaves throughout the wrestling world because everyone is expecting AJ Styles to win. It was obvious he would win the Bound for Glory Series, which I did a picture of it in a previous article. Now creative management need to play with our emotions, which Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff can do. This can be a great main event, no doubt!
Reviewing the wrestlers of the past, they had to build their reputations by disputing in the midcard division. To help establish the elite amongst this division, there needs to be a title like WWE’s current Intercontinental and US Championships. TNA has this in the form of the Television Championship, which has been supposedly written off with Abyss as the holder. For an event as big as Bound For Glory, you need the best match card possible. Anyone who has a love for wrestling will be able to note that the Abyss character is better than the irritating Joseph Park. TNA wants to bring an alternative. Having had Abyss for a long time, wanting to also add humour which is implemented in wrestling nowadays, i.e. Santino Marella and Colt Cabana. So this gives a good opportunity to use Abyss sparingly again and bring another title match. Since Abyss isn’t going to be used for the longterm, and he is a title holder, it would help if he was to drop the belt. Abyss is a dominant wrestler who, at one point, was unstoppable with the build up of the Immortal storyline and 10.10.10. Anyone who is able to defeat him will be able to vindicate their position as a serious player. The debate has been: where are TNA’s future generation? Well, they have some. My advice would be to bring a match with Wes Brisco and Abyss. The Aces & Eights have a long history with Joseph Park and with Abyss being his brother in the storyline, the monster could return to protect him.
This will help build the platform of a good match. It will help to propel the status of a second generation wrestler which is the theme in modern wrestling. For Wes Brisco to win, it has to be done by himself and not with any outside interference like his victory over Kurt Angle. Although that was more realistic at the time for the rookie who just won Gut Check. It’s a shame TNA never really capitalized on the victory, as he wasn’t really pushed afterwards. This will help him and also keep Aces & Eights as a serious player in the Impact Zone. Also, a title reign will vindicate Wes Brisco as a serious player in wrestling who can continue to develop. At the same time, the group of wrestlers not used well can suddenly be in the picture of another title, helping to improve the match cards of TNA. A match like Hernandez vs Brisco in the future could be intriguing.
Throughout the Bound For Glory series, there was one individual that was heavily pushed, even dubbed as the future of TNA. The wrestler who virtually ensured his participation in the Bound For Glory stage straight away, the wrestler reviewed in a previous article, the Great Britain’s representative, Magnus. Mind you, he did inform the TNANews team he was not too impressed with that article reviewing him… There can be many ways to describe him, but none beats what was just done in No Surrender 2013 in his backstage segment with Sting. Magnus being the only wrestler ever to bypass the usual regulation of the Main Event Mafia of having won a World Championship before, to be part of the group. A wrestler who has been seen as the future of TNA, which Magnus fully intended to grasp that potential at No Surrender 2013. He unfortunately fell short, with AJ Styles ultimately winning the Bound For Glory series. Yet there’s no doubt that he has propelled himself as a serious player in TNA. During this period, along with his rivalry against Aces & Eights, he has shocked the Impact Zone by outdoing the It Factor of Professional Wrestling in numerous occasions. Their match at No Surrender 2013 was overshadowed in the
build up by the dream match, but not on the night itself. Both provided a decent brawl, that has enhanced their feud. With the IT Factor, being the first success story of the Bound for Glory series, he has cemented himself as one of the top talents in the Impact Zone with a huge following. I’m a big fan of his and I feel how he won the championship could be justified since the Cowboy James Storm, who never won the series, capitalized on his momentum and a weakened Kurt Angle after being agonizingly close. The build up to that Championship match witnessed him displaying pure heart. The It Factor is World Championship material and knowing this, he could fault the hungry Magnus for effecting his progression. Although a tag team match against Cowboy James Storm could be done, it would be beneficial if Bobby Roode’s credentials in singles wrestling is focused on. Magnus is a wrestler hungry to prove himself, and having enjoyed an already enticing rivalry with Bobby Roode, this can be continued with both men fighting for pride and trying to prove their worth. Arguably, Bobby Roode’s involvement in the Bound For Glory final hampered Magnus’ chances. Due to their participation in the Bound For Glory Series, this could be for the number 1 contender for whoever wins the championship. So another man, who I haven’t even mentioned yet, could be involved in a triple threat: Austin Aries. I can go on and on about this superb talent. Austin Aries never disappoints and he was brilliant in his storyline of impersonating Suicide, now known as Manik. He has won the championship and was his usual impressive self in the Bound for Glory Series, including defeating Bobby Roode. It’s the logical number one contender match.
Kurt Angle, by many in the wrestling world including some of my colleagues, is the greatest wrestler. With this tag, he has to be used to rumours that he could be available after his unfortunate circumstances resulting in him going to rehab. Keeping this in mind, he can’t be expected to perform to his utmost ability but carries the
reputation of being superb. So he could be utilized in matches when he doesn’t need to exert much energy. Although this is the same role model that fought with a broken neck to win the gold medal in 1996 and in an epic clash with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 19. But for the safe side, I’m not going to demand this as its extraordinary he achieved it once, let alone twice. Knowing this, he could be used to help Spike TV, TNA and Bellator MMA. To follow up on what Kurt Angle said to Tito Ortiz when he had his first interview on the August 8th, 2013 Impact taping, a match could happen between Kurt Angle and Tito Ortiz. Tito needs to be physically ready for his bout with Rampage for Bellator on November 2nd, 2013, so both could produce a fight like Brock Lesnar vs Triple H at WrestleMania 29. I was there at WrestleMania and both athletes combined MMA and wrestling well. Brock Lesnar perfecting the body to body suplex, utilizing strength and speed. Tito doesn’t have the aura of Brock, just like the majority of athletes, but he shares that physical dominance which can play a part. Rampage could be in the corner of Kurt Angle to help build the significance of the brawl. Mr. Anderson, who has reportedly signed a new contract, could be written to try to earn his place back in the Aces & Eights, such as supporting Tito Ortiz in his corner. It won’t be a pure wrestling match, but it will produce ratings and this is what TNA needs.
In reference to the merchandise records, there is no active superstar that draws more sales than Jeff Hardy. He is the unprecedented star with no equal. So important that TNA even killed the buzz of Austin Aries for Jeff Hardy as noted in a previous article. Ever since he lost his World Heavyweight Championship to Bully Ray and the rematch due to the Aces & Eights involvement, he has suffered a decline in his in ring success. But he still carries such an importance. It’s as if he is reminiscing John Cena’s 2012 by co-incidentally being TNA’s John Cena, although much more talented. Jeff Hardy needs redemption against Aces & Eights, which he did began to take when he made his return at Slammiversary XI. He can gain an opportunity by fighting Mr. Anderson who was part of Aces & Eights at the time. Whether he’s part of the group now with the contract being resolved, he could try to earn his place back into the Aces & Eights as he will be in dangerous territory if he returns to TNA as a non Aces & Eights individual. But he was still responsible and gave a good match in the Last Man Standing match. A match between Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson will be an A grade match. These two have main evented Bound for Glory in 2010. This would be really good no doubt. I have to note that, it wasn’t wise for the Aces & Eights to emulate the Shield’s trademark triple powerbomb.
At the same time this can lead to a match between Aces & Eights and Main Event Mafia with the remaining members dueling each other. Sting and Samoa Joe vs Garret Bischoff and Knux. TNA needs to continue in a quest of helping the next generation. Garret Bischoff needs to be utilized carefully. He has potential, no doubt, but needs to
be used carefully or he will continue to be outclassed like the members of Nexus were as noted in a previous article. Being the son of a renowned wrestling promoter, Garret Bischoff has shown he can talk well on the mic. An example is when he was showing how shocked he was about Bully Ray not caring about Devon leaving TNA. This is something that TNA has to utilize. As noted in a previous article, TNA needs to advertise the strengths of their talent like how WWE does it. Garrett Bischoff has the potential for a long future and this needs to be done well. Being part of the match with the Main Event Mafia that saw Devon leave the company, he could use the emotional bond he has with Devon being a mentor during his early days in TNA, which was a luring factor in joining Aces & Eights. Also, as these group of bandits share a close bond, this is another factor that should be used. Garret Bischoff could help instigate a tag team battle with Sting and Samoa Joe which the rivalry between the two factions alone is enough for a match. Knux needs to be given the chance to display his wrestling ability, which he was allowed to do so before, being a humongous athlete. Sting, who was voted as the best US champion ever during WWE’s Night of Champions, can continue to attract the crowd being The Icon. Samoa Joe, who is in a similar predicament to AJ Styles in not being used well, can have a chance to underline his wrestling ability. This all helps everyone and thus the show.
When you think about TNA wrestling, you automatically think about the X Division. The wrestling that always delivers high octane wrestling. It was the basis of building the foundations of TNA in its early days as stated in a previous article. It has recently been focused upon, trying to rekindle the magic it once possessed. This has lead to the return of many previous stars like Homicide, the sublime Petey Williams and Sonjay Dutt. In addition, it has laid the platform for rising stars in the business such as Rockstar Spud, the current champion Manik and of course the wrestler I highly regard Kenny King. When speaking about TNA needing to find ‘the next generation’, like WWE have done, Kenny King is the answer. I have reviewed him in a previous article and he has appreciated the analysis of his bright career. He’s still young and has many years to offer. This is a guy that performed as good as the world renowned RVD to capture the X Division championship, which alone speaks volumes of his talents. His mic skills are impressive, being confident which will help him stand out in TNA, never mind just the X Division. Kenny King speaks with great confidence combined with facial expressions to match the mood. This isn’t common in wrestling. It is a rare trait to have the combination of wrestling and mic skills. With his experience at his age, and potential, plus being recognized by Austin Aries as a top wrestler, he can achieve anything. He has an aura that is similar to that of one of the biggest stars of all time, The Rock, who seems so natural on the mic whenever he has conducted interviews. The confidence of speaking his mind and having the ability of backing it up. The Rock went on to great things, and this is another possibility. To continue the recent spotlight the X Division has endured over the last few months, Kenny King can be used to help continue this. The Aces & Eights are low in numbers with the loss of stars like Devon, DOC and D’lo Brown. Kenny King would be a great asset to the Aces & Eights, giving them an X Division representative. This would automatically put him on the spotlight with a wrestler that has been innovative in TNA, the most recent ex World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Sabin. Chris Sabin defied the odds when cashing in his X Division Championship to defeat Bully Ray. The momentum of Chris Sabin needs to be sustained and with him out of the title picture, he needs an important match. His fan base has exponentially increased and like Jeff Hardy, his title reign came to a halt by Aces & Eights. Automatically there can be a rivalry between Kenny King and Chris Sabin. This could help both stars. But then, there’s so much more that can be done. The X Division championship can be put on the line with the champion Manik and a host of the X Division wrestlers having history, including Kenny King and Chris Sabin. This could come about through a series of qualifying matches that could include the wrestlers that had returned before like Homicide, Petey Williams, Zema Ion, etc. This could possibly include a four way match with Sonjay Dutt, who seems to be a regular in TNA. This can be contested in an Ultimate X Cup match. A good match surely?
The tag team division…. After being given the spotlight for a long periodwith AJ Styles & Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode & Austin Aries amongst the tag teams to hold the championship, the division has shriveled up into hibernation. It has already undergone temporary resuscitation, with the tag team champions facing Bobby Roode and Frankie Kazarian in an impromptu matchup. Now it can gain the serious consideration that it requires. During No Surrender 2013, the tag team champions were confronted by Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero Jr. This lead to an intriguing confrontation with the tag teams set to wrestle in the upcoming Impact. Taking advantage of a stipulation from a previous tag team match months ago, Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero Jr. can still compete together. Due to the Bound For Glory Series qualifier with the two competing, they went their separate ways but always remained close. Due to budget cuts, Chavo’s involvement with TNA has been taken away but for Bound For Glory, it’s something they should utilize. Hernandez is an incredible wrestler who doesn’t get the spotlight he deserves in the singles division as mentioned in a previous article. Not only that, but the talented duo of Bad Influence are automatic contenders. Both can compete so well and are great on the mic. Especially with the impromptu matchup on TNA Impact recently, and the long history shared with the Cowboy James Storm. Another tag team could be used too, but there aren’t many others available. Perhaps to try to make a name for himself, the relatively young rookie Jay Bradley, who has the physical attributes, could team up with another wrestler to help make a name for themselves. Maybe with Rockstar Spud combining strength with athleticism, like Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero. Jay Bradley seems destined to be working out of TNA since he is taking bookings out of the Impact Zone. Yet after having the appeal to earn a spot in the Bound For Glory Series, TNA should try to build him properly rather than letting him be outclassed by the more established competitors.
This is just an example of a possible match card that TNA can use. With the current roster not being used to their utmost capability, they need to try to concentrate for the future. Instead of playing the blame game, like what is currently happening with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, they all need to take responsibility and help the company to remain. TNA does deliver enticing matches, but just needs the recognition with an increase of ratings whilst successfully dealing with their financial predicament. Throughout the match of Austin Aries vs AJ Styles, I kept on wondering that this match could of happened in a more important setting. Taz nearly caught himself in a muddle when he stated the history of both competitors in big matches, but then reassuring the audience that this was another vital brawl. I just can’t help to wonder if Austin Aries was allowed to cash in his X Division Championship after impersonating Manik, and enduring a good storyline with Bully Ray and Aces & Eights, there could of been two main event matches for Bound For Glory 2013. Bully Ray has been built so well, that he doesn’t need the championship to create controversy. He could fight a major player like Sting instead of the two fighting on a regular Impact broadcast. The significance could of been enhanced as it was the first time they have fought since Slammiversary XI. Although he played a possible rumor that he will fight, I don’t mention Hulk Hogan as he is not in the right condition to do so. Could Main Event Mafia vs Aces & Eights – The Final Chapter happen? Then of course, AJ Styles vs Austin Aries for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Maybe then CM Punk wouldn’t of attacked the duo, when he discriminated the phrase “I Promise”. CM Punk in one of his final promos regarding his impending match at the time, at Night Of Champions 2013, stated that “The words I Promise is an overused term nowadays”. This was stated after the most recent TNA Impact at the time, when AJ Styles and Austin Aries ‘Promised’ each other an exhilarating match for No Surrender 2013. This is significant since CM Punk has never referenced a TNA figure, with perhaps the history between AJ Styles and CM Punk provoking him upon AJ Styles’ supposed shoot, as discussed in a previous article.It goes to show you that CM Punk who characteristically says he watches TNA on fast forward must of watched these moments of TNA in real time. Austin Aries vs AJ Styles is a dream match clearly, and the pressure on the duo would of been so much more in a World Heavyweight Championship setting. Also, the match wouldn’t need to happen as a makeweight for a two hour programming packed with AJ Styles set to compete twice. The Main Event for a Title would of had a longer period. Nevertheless, the match card suggested is also exciting.
By Sean Prem