As TNA’s biggest Pay-Per-View of the year, Bound For Glory serves the same purpose that WrestleMania does to WWE. As cliched as it may sound, its main job is to create memorable moments that last a lifetime. The show itself features the culminations of all major on-going feuds and storylines; therefore, there is also a lot of pressure on the build-up to spark the appropriate amount of anticipation. The next two months of Impact Wrestling are crucial for the most important aspect of TNA’s programming, the war between The Aces & Eights and The Main Event Mafia.
Fans may have been glad to see Chris Sabin get rewarded for his hard work and dedication at Destination X, yet his World Heavyweight Championship win was also surprising and somewhat illogical, as I argued in a recent article. In my opinion, if Bully Ray’s swerve at Lockdown, which marked the completion of the Aces & Eights’ rise to power, had been preceeded by a build-up as long and layered as it was, then the downfall of the stable deserves a preparation just as patient. Sabin’s big victory, on the other hand, was rather spontaneous.
Last night’s Hardcore Justice show saw Bully Ray regain the belt just one month after it last changed hands. The fact that TNA gave Sabin the title without treating him with the respect and confidence that a World Champion deserves is frustrating, and it supports my stance that Destination X was not the right time to strap him. Nevertheless, following a bad month for The Aces & Eights, Bully’s redemption has put the motorcycle club back on track, which is the only place it needs to be on the road to Bound For Glory.
As Harvey Dent states in The Dark Knight, the night is darkest just before the dawn. In order for the October PPV to achieve that grand feel of resolution when The Aces & Eights suffer their demise, and it seems that is the direction TNA is going in, it is necessary for Bully Ray to be World Champion heading into San Diego. Meanwhile, the rival babyfaces, under the name of The Main Event Mafia, have to be portrayed as underdogs so that the payoff is as emotional as it must be for a feud this long and significant.
It is precisely that difference in momentum that has to be emphasized as Bound For Glory draws near, and last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling was a step in the right direction due to smart creative decisions, as well as some unforeseen factors. Main Event Mafia member Kurt Angle was not on TV due to being admitted to rehab for alcohol use. Instead of attempting to fabricate some ridiculous explanation for Angle’s absence, it was used as a cause of concern within the face stable. It was not just the fact that a new member had to be found, it was the fact that the Mafia had every right to be mad at Angle that added intrigue to the story and made the situation look even more dire for the ‘good guys’.
Finally, the Aces & Eights storyline benefited from TNA’s successful efforts at turning a promotional stunt into compelling storytelling. The big shocker of the night was the addition of Bellator fighter Tito Ortiz into the ranks of the outlaws. Wrestling fans may not care much about the upcoming Tito-Rampage fight, but the fact that Ortiz joined the group on the same night that The Main Event Mafia lost Kurt Angle and Bully Ray regained the World Championship is bound to resonate with the crowd and produce massive heel heat.
The more powerful the heels, the bigger the triumph.