Last night TNA held their equivalent of WrestleMania with Bound For Glory from the Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois. While it was a solid effort from the company, I could not help but be reminded at the fact of how far behind TNA is from WWE. Based on the way that we cover WWE and TNA on the Internet, one might think that they were equal competitors or close to being competitors. After all, we extensively cover the news, house shows, pay-per-views, and TV tapings for both companies. Obviously TNA is not even close to WWE in terms of ratings although I think that many Internet fans like to think that TNA is only one step away from putting heat on Vince McMahon. Last night’s show was a humbling reminder of just how minor league that TNA remains. After six years of existence, very credible signings, a national TV deal, and a very large budget, TNA could still not sellout their flagship pay-per-view. Don’t get me wrong, I think that TNA has made some very big strides in growing their business although it feels like they are taking baby steps that are going to take an eternity to even come close to challenging WWE. Let’s take a look at last night’s pay-per-view.
TNA opened Bound For Glory with the Steel Asylum X Division match with the winner earning the number one contendership to the X Division title. The bout was basically a spot fest that got the hot crowd going early. We saw tag teams and stables team up with Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt finishing the match with an exciting go-home sequence that saw Lethal eek out the win. I thought the match was an excellent way to get everyone that deserved a bonus for the pay-per-view on the card while at the same time getting the crowd into the event. That is the goal in any opener that the crowd gets going and I feel that it was more than accomplished last night.
After the match we saw Mick Foley arriving in Jim Cornette’s office backstage where Jeremy Borash was there getting the scoop. After Cornette put Foley over, he left, only for Angelina Love and Velvet Sky to come in and fuss at Foley about the color of their M&Ms. Talk about juvenile that was about as corny as it gets even if TNA wants to try and entertain the younger audience. The Mick Foley segments throughout the night were a good way to get him more exposure, even if he did make a reference to WWE and The Rock during one of them with Raisha Saeed that made TNA come off minor league. The best segment all night was when Team 3D burst in and Brother Ray called Foley cactus. The Dudleys are very good at promos and their backstage segment with Foley last night had a nostalgic feeling that I really enjoyed.
The Knockout Bimbo Brawl was pretty bad from a work perspective. No one got in a rhythm and I was more interested in starring at Angelina Love and Velvet Sky than I was watching Rhaka Khan trying to go at it with Cute Kip. I have a problem with males striking females in professional wrestling. It sends the wrong message and should not be booked. It’s one thing if it’s done for comedy with Santino Marella getting pinned by a woman, but I do not like it when workers grab females by the throat and initiate violence. Rhino hit Gore on Kip in a predictable go-home sequence to gain the win and seek revenge on The Beautiful People.
The next match was Sheik Abdul Bashir retaining the X Division Championship against Consequences Creed. Bashir is really over as a heel in TNA and I’m glad that the company decided to keep the title on him. The match was very good, with the crowd 100% behind Creed. Bashir won dirty by holding the ropes to gain leverage although I have no problem with a heel as over as him winning in that fashion.
The match for the TNA Knockout Women’s Championship with Taylor Wilde defending against Awesome Kong and Roxxi was depressing at best. The women’s division used to be one of the most attractive things in TNA and as much as I want to root for her, Taylor Wilde is no Gail Kim. Her work is decent but she’s not as good as Awesome Kong and Kong is obviously limited because of her tremendous size. I’m not trying to knock Roxxi either; there was just nothing that was very entertaining in the match. I can remember a couple of months ago when a Knockout title match was a big deal, now it seems to be similar to the Women’s Championship in WWE. Taylor Wilde retained after Kong was taken out of the match and she hit her bridging suplex. There was nothing to write home about which probably makes TNA officials even sicker at the fact that Gail Kim slipped away.
The Monster’s Ball match for the TNA Tag Team Championship was a fun match. Everyone knows that I am not high up on gimmick matches, however, the crowd was in to this and I was as well. Abyss and Devon added color, which is essential for Monster’s Ball and Abyss is absolutely insane for allowing Team 3D and Johnny Devine to put him through a burning table. As Ryan reported earlier, Abyss suffered real-life burns from the match which was obvious after the fire did not go out immediately. Steve “Mongo” McMichael has let himself go to hell. He is fat, out of shape, and looked like your stereotypical beer drinking redneck. Adding him to the bout was a questionable call on the part of TNA as his counts were off and made near falls impossible to sell. They did a very awkward spot involving Beer Money and Mongo where he got down in his 3 point football stance and squared off with Roode and James Storm (who was wearing a beer drinking helmet). I would have preferred LAX getting the nod with the straps because they outworked everyone, even Team 3D, but Roode & Storm stole another one to retain. Matt Morgan really needs to stop using Undertaker’s rope walk as that gets him heat and it’s insulting to try and replicate.
AJ Styles vs. Booker T vs. Christian Cage was a good match but not the classic that it could have been. AJ Styles is one of the best wrestlers in the world and further proved that last night, outworking both Booker and Christian. There is nothing that neither could do to outshine Styles’ tremendous leaping ability, agility, and breath taking-high flying spots. Booker stole the win with an axe kick on Christian Cage which enabled him to get the three count. I expected Booker to win although Styles clearly proved that he is ahead of both of the veterans with his in-ring work.
Prior to his match, Kurt Angle had a very good and effective promo with Lauren. He seemed legitimately insane and it made for a good build to the co-main event. Jeff Jarrett was in tears with Jeremy Borash which I also thought was a nice touch. Angle and Jarrett had the usual very good Kurt Angle bout with Jarrett not displaying any ring rust. It really does say something about Jarrett that he was able to work so well after not working for so long. TNA forced Mick Foley with too much involvement in this match as he started as a special enforcer, became a referee, then became Jeff Jarrett’s saving grace. The finish was tremendously overbooked with Angle taking out Foley with a chair, Foley pulling out the referee, giving Kurt the Mandible claw, only for Jeff Jarrett to hit a guitar shot on Angle which allowed him to get the three count made by Foley. Minus the overbooked finish and the overly involved Foley, Jarrett vs. Angle was a good wrestling match.
Samoa Joe and Sting started out as a no disqualification match on the fly as both took the action to the crowd. I did not have a problem with the action spilling out to the fans as it helped sell the storyline. Sting and Joe worked well together with Joe looking the best that he has looked since winning the title back in April. Kevin Nash ended up coming out and hit Joe with Sting’s baseball bat which allowed Sting to hit a Scorpion Death Drop and get the win and the title from Joe. I am 100% against taking the title off Samoa Joe, especially in a match against Sting at Bound For Glory. Sting went over Kurt Angle to win the title at Bound For Glory last year and went over Jarrett to win the title back in 2006. Why the same boring predicable outcome three years in a row? Sting is 49 years old and is not going to hold the title for any length of time so why does the company feel compelled to consistently put him over? Last night should have been the night where the ball was passed to Samoa Joe and his title reign was legitimized. I understand the argument that the younger workers should be chasing but I felt that TNA gave Joe a very lackluster title reign that they spent two years developing. Kevin Nash and Sting are two old WCW guys that are way past the primes of their careers. It’s mind boggling to me why they end the show as the focal point. The finish made TNA look even more minor league and to me was a couple of steps backwards from where they need to be going.
In conclusion Bound For Glory was a solid pay-per-view. I would not say that it was the best TNA pay-per-view of the year nor do I feel that it was worth the five dollars extra. The pay-per-view had a lot of good things with very little bad but it still did not have the “biggest show of the year” feel. The crowd was ultra hot so props to everyone that attended but there were some questionable booking calls. TNA made a mistake by taking the strap off of Joe and they could have had at least one title change in the undercard. TNA has arguably the most talented roster in the world yet they continue to put guys like Sting and Kevin Nash in front of people like AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. It doesn’t make sense to me, especially if TNA wants to be around for another six years.
Richard can be contacted at richard [at] grayinternet.com
Richard Gray is a professional wrestling journalist and frequent contributor to Rajah.com. He has been covering the world of professional wrestling since 1999 and has had the opportunity to cover ground breaking stories such as the demise of ECW, the WCW buyout, the Benoit tragedy, Bobby Lashley leaving WWE, and more. For more on Richard check out his web site, Wrestling News World.
– “Richard Reacts” Archive By WrestlingNewsWorld.com’s Richard Gray