Tonight, live on Pay Per View is Total Nonstop Action’s biggest event of the year: Bound For Glory. I forgot it was on.
2015 actually looked promising for TNA when it entered its new network on Destination America. The cutbacks seemed to be a good thing. New talent was coming in. Talent from the WWE that still had piss and vinegar were arriving to actually compete and contribute. By placing Kurt Angle as the commissioner, there were less silly Dixie Carter storylines and more focus on pro wrestling angles. For the first part of the year, Impact was a great pro wrestling show to watch.
Then came word that Dixie Carter offended the folks at Discovery, who owned Destination America, by complaining that they were not considering the entire ratings spectrum for Impact. I can understand frustration, but this is a repeat of avoidable errors by Carter. A major reason Spike decided to part ways was Dixie Carter hiding the fact Vince Russo was on payroll. Now, not even a year into a TV deal, Dixie found herself blindsided by the announcement that Ring of Honor was now coming to Destination America. While ROH ratings never surpassed TNA’s, there was certainly damage to the boat.
Then the big news: Destination America was ending the deal early. While part of it was the lack of advertisers compared to the cost of the show, Dixie Carter did no favours for the company with her attitude. Bringing in Billy Corgan got a little mainstream attention but did nothing to change favour with a pro-WWE wrestling community in North America, who had been predicting the death of TNA for over a decade now and was finally tasting blood. While TNA has been reluctant to admit how bad things have been, it’s clear they’ve been devastating. It’s impossible to tell who is still in the company signed to a contract and who is not.
What stopped my TNA viewing dead in its tracks was the inclusion of Global Force Wrestling, which was a way to ensure Dixie Carter got Jeff Jarrett’s share of TNA back. In doing so, they promoted his company on their show (without Discovery’s knowledge) and put Jeff Jarrett in the TNA Hall of Fame (which is certainly the right thing to do). But the invasion was awful, with little done to help either company. I pretty much abandoned TNA viewing afterwards, tuning in once in a while to see what changed.
With the Global Force Wrestling invasion tapings finally over, TNA focused on building up to Bound For Glory, which could be their final pay per view unless the company can find a lot of luck, or at least a new owner. If this is truly the final Bound For Glory, TNA deserves credit for what looks to be a great wrestling card.
Kicking things off is Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley for the King of the Mountain championship. The King of the Mountain is a stupid match with a belt that has had more transformations than Tyrus. But look who is in the match. Lashley and Roode were at the top of TNA at the end of 2014, with Roode beating Lashley for the title on an episode of Impact, only for Lashley to get the title back at the start of 2015. The two men have had some excellent matches against each other that fell under the radar because for some reason Lashley doesn’t get credit as a great pro wrestler and Bobby Roode has been such a consistently strong wrestler, nobody knows what to say about him anymore. Hopefully the “King of the Mountain” concept doesn’t hurt what these two can accomplish. I’d prefer they just go at it in a singles match.
The “Bound For Gold” match is a gauntlet match (royal rumble rules) for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight championship. Featured is the TNA midcard with Abyss, Aiden O’Shea, Chris Melendez, Jessie Godderz, Robbie E, Tyrus, Ken Anderson, Eli Drake and Mahabali Shera for a chance at a title shot. I get the feeling based on who goes over in the main event, it’s a good chance that Tyrus takes this. That said, Eli Drake is still the guy I feel has the most untapped potential in any wrestling company in America right now and would love to see him be the guy who takes on the future champion (and it could still work depending on who might win).
In what could be not only his final TNA wrestling match but his final major PPV match, Kurt Angle faces Eric Young in a grudge match. Angle has said he wants to take a break from wrestling after his contract expires, and if that isn’t merely a bluff before heading to the WWE, you might as well savour these two technical wrestlers going at it for wrestling supremacy. Young’s heel turn has been serviceable, and certainly better than the company trying to turn him into TNA’s answer to Daniel Bryan. I’m just hoping Angle gets through it healthy.
As the remnants of the GFW vs. TNA feud, Brian Myers and Trevor Lee face The Wolves in a rematch for the TNA Tag Team championship. I’m honestly not a big fan of Myers or Lee but both are good enough wrestlers that it will be a pretty good match. Richards and Edwards seem healthy enough going into this and they are still the most exciting tag team out there (Calm down New Day fans, I didn’t say entertaining). I guess they hotshotted the titles back and forth, which is disappointing, but hopefully this settles everything.
In an Ultimate X match, Tigre Uno will defend against Andrew Everett, DJ Z and Manik. Hard to say how this will go. Some Ultimate X matches have been fantastic. Other times, they end up almost in full on a Botchamania episode. I don’t know how it’ll go with Andrew Everett, DJ Z and Manik but I think Tigre Uno still leaves X Division champion. I’ll just predict it won’t be Manik.
In what is my most anticipated match on the card sees Awesome Kong take on Gail Kim for the Knockouts championship. Before WWE tried to have a divas revolution, years and years before, TNA was turning heads with a legitimate women’s wrestling division that focused on Gail Kim as the babyface in peril against the incredible force of Awesome Kong. A decade later we have these two setting out to prove they are still the best wrestlers in America. There have been times where the Knockouts division stood tall against the Divas division simply because they had Gail Kim. I think Kong is one of the few that can rise to her occasion in a big match atmosphere and not have Kim forced to carry it to quality. For everything great we’re seeing in NXT, Kim and Kong are veterans at a different level. Be sure to catch this one.
Finally, the main event. It looked at first like TNA was once again going to try and push Jeff Hardy to a big comeback… and it seems like he isn’t healthy for it. Instead he will be the special guest referee and his brother Matt gets to slip into the match, despite losing to TNA World Heavyweight champion Ethan Carter III soundly in a ladder match. The other participant in the triple threat main event is Drew Galloway, who I expect to finally end EC3’s impressive title reign. This is why I feel either Tyrus wins the Bound for Gold match (causing a rift between himself and EC3) or Eli Drake (due to the history between him and Galloway). If Matt Hardy wins because his brother is the special guest referee, it might make some Hardy fans happy but not much else. It wouldn’t be a step in a good direction. The Hardy name is a strong name to have at the top of the card, but the wrestling world is already hoping the Hardy Boyz show up at Wrestlemania to face their old rivals the Dudley Boyz. Make this about the youth like Galloway and EC3. Oh, and one more thing to note: this will be the first TNA pay per view since Slammiversary XII on June 15, 2014 to feature a match for the TNA World Heavyweight championship. Yikes.
So despite everything that has gone on with TNA this year, will I be watching Bound For Glory 2015? Absolutely. Why? Because in the end, I don’t care where the company is going. I care about the quality of the product. And with exception to maybe the Bound For Gold match and the Ultimate X matches, this looks like it could be an excellent wrestling card. If only they can remind Josh Matthews why we used to like him and not how he has been, toss Pope into space and get a good colour commentator for the product.
Hopefully I can refer to this article at Bound For Glory 2016.