For good or for bad reasons, more eyes are on TNA than have been in a long time. The good nearly all comes from the deranged minds of Matt and Jeff Hardy while the bad comes from the news that a certain McMahon is after the company. Whatever the circumstances, it meant Sunday’s Bound For Glory was the biggest PPV they had held in a long time.
Which also made it incredibly frustrating to watch. TNA has some great wrestlers. On this card alone you had Mike Bennett, Trevor Lee, Eddie Edwards, Aron Rex, Bobby Lashley, ECIII, Gail Kim, The Hardys and more. There isn’t a wrestling company in the world that wouldn’t be improved by that lot, so why do they feel so normal?
You can throw a lot of faults at WWE but when WrestleMania comes around it always feels special. It presents itself as the biggest event of the year and even the parts of it I don’t like, still seem important. This year’s Bound For Glory didn’t have that.
Take Mike Bennett vs. Moose. Two wrestlers that I like quite a lot. The match was built around Moose turning babyface on Bennett after Bennett had taken him into the company. Yet, when it started did it feel a hot feud? Did it feel like two talents doing everything in their power to get the win? No. It was a weekly television segment. There was nothing that suggested this was two stars fighting on the biggest stage of them all.
It’s not all down to the talent either. Whoever decided to mimic the Bushwacker Luke spot in the Battle Royale should be apologising right now. Not only is it a waste of Grado – who as anyone who watches ICW will be able to tell you has the potential to be so much more than he is in TNA – but it makes you look minor league. Don’t copy spots from the competition, particularly if you’re not going to do them better.
Then there are the little touches. I can’t pretend I’m a fan of the Grand Championship format. I don’t think the matches are structured particularly well and it feels like the latest in a long line of attempts by TNA to jump on the MMA bandwagon. However, even taking that out of the equation, could you not have got the judge a table? He’s sitting on a rickety chair ringside with his clipboard, and it looks atrocious.
It says a lot about the state of TNA that I haven’t even mentioned the fact that there was a point where the lights went out during the middle of a match. That’s fine if someone is going to pop out from under the ring, not if it is a mistake. Also, Pope and Matthews are awful.
So far so harsh and the truth is I don’t hate everything TNA does. The opening match was entertaining even if it did appear to lack a story. While the action in the Edwards Rex match was good, when they were getting on with the wrestling malarky, although I do prefer it when my wrestling matches have a finish.
I also have a lot of time for Gail Kim’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Doing it during the show does feel a bit like filling for time, but she deserves the credit. Kim was wasted in WWE and TNA allowed her to demonstrate that she was one of the best woman wrestlers, nay just wrestlers, in the world. Her feud with Kong was brilliant and put woman’s wrestling on the map long before NXT.
Then there was, of course, TNA’s secret weapon. I was curious as to how the Hardy’s shtick would fly when presented in a live environment without editing. Thankfully, TNA got over that by having them head backstage and cutting in footage filmed earlier in the day which was a brave but great move. It was brave because it could have lost the live crowd, great because it meant we got some of that Deletion goodness. It was brilliant. Everyone knows the score by now if you loved it before you still will if you hated it this won’t change your mind.
In a way, though, it was almost too memorable. Everything that came after The Great War was destined to pale in comparison and I genuinely think it took away from the Knockout’s Match, Cody Rhodes and Brandi’s debut and the main event. Despite that, all of those were fine, but it’s hard to put them as anything more than that. The Knockout’s match was nicely put together to hide Maria’s weaknesses and while I don’t think mixed tag matches are the best use of Rhodes it is too early to judge.
Finally, the main event. It sounds like damning with faint praise, but my favourite thing about this was the end. For years TNA has hidden behind dodgy finishes and ref bumps in big matches, and this had none of that. The heel pinned the babyface in the centre of the ring, and TNA kept the belt on their most dominant star. Was it an incredible match? No, but it did the job it needed to do.
Bound For Glory wasn’t a disaster. I dip in and out of TNA, and this is the best thing I’ve seen them do in a long time. However, a lot of the problems are still there. Billy Corgan seems passionate about the product and about getting it on the right track. However, Bound For Glory shows that if he gets the opportunity to do that, he still has a long way to go yet.