Welcome this week’s edition of “Ringside Review.” While I know this is was conceived to be a column where we’d review books, games, films etc, I’ve been on a TNA kick lately and “Bound For Glory” provides the perfect excuse to allow me to continue discussing it.
I’m not going to sit and review every match, segment and everything in between, but there were a couple of things I’d like to discuss in depth. If you saw “Bound For Glory” live and followed @WrestlinRambles during the course of Sunday night, then you probably have a pretty good sense of where this article might be going.
The first topic up for discussion is the evolution of the Aces and Eights angle. We had the first reveal of an identity, and it turned out to be none other than Devon Dudley. At the time people were shocked, and not in a good way. The pay-off of the last 5 months of watching Impact isn’t a debut or a re-debut…it’s the return of a guy who’s only been off Impact for 2 months.
Yes and no. First of all, I don’t for a second believe that Devon is the leader. He was still on TV when the Aces and Eights debuted and appeared. I didn’t believe at the time either and it was quite amusing seeing people’s reactions believing that he was the brains of Aces and Eights I must tell you, especially for a guy who’d been up for nearly a solid 24 hours when it happened.
Having Devon revealed is actually quite clever. I don’t think anyone saw it coming and it provided progression to the story. It provides enough info to keep the audience guessing behind the leader and the motives that they have.
I was glad they didn’t go the obvious route and have Bully turn on Sting. While it may eventually be revealed that he’s involved, keeping that away from overbooking the angle at “Bound For Glory” was a good decision. One of two things will happen though in my opinion: Bully will be revealed as being part of Aces and Eights or he’ll turn face. You heard it here first!
I wouldn’t be surprised if another two men on the show ended up being members of the Aces and Eights. “Bound For Glory” also saw Joey Ryan beat Al Snow with more than a little help from a returning Matt Morgan. It would make sense for the two of those guys to join the stable, especially if it turns out to be a group of guys who feel as though they’ve been “screwed” by the company.
As for who will eventually lead the stable? Unless they can lure an insanely big name in, the only viable candidate that I can see is Jeff Jarrett. Eric Bischoff would be extremely underwhelming in my opinion. Given that he had to “retire forever” if he lost at Lethal Lockdown then return a mere half a year later would be WCW-esque, and I’m not talking about the good stuff that happened in WCW.
The second topic of discussion is one which left me with an extremely bitter taste my mouth. The main-event that induced a level of rage I’ve felt toward a pro-wrestling company in my life was raised (Jericho in the Royal Rumble is a distant second place) when Jeff Hardy (Yes, THAT Jeff Hardy), emerged victorious over Austin Aries.
To say that this was not a popular decision with the live crowd would be a huge understatement. In my opinion there was a valid argument to be had as to whether Hardy deserved to main event the biggest show of the year, never mind be crowned as champion on it. Never mind the event, there’s a legitimate debate to be had as to whether Hardy should even have a job at TNA after the debacle at Victory Road last year. Not to mention he had been publically criticising the company in the period of time just before that happened.
Rumors are rife that TNA put the belt on him in an attempt to convince him to stay with the company. So, let me get this straight. A guy who turned up to main event a PPV against one of the most respected, revered figures in the wrestling world stoned out his face; who owes his career to said company for not throwing him out without his feet touching the ground and who would have been perfectly entitled to do so for his gross lack of professionalism is now being pampered and coddled to stay? Hardy should be thankful he even has a job, let alone be applying pressure back stage to be made champion, and if he doesn’t, well, he’ll just take his ball elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Aries who’s gotten himself over and been one of the men responsible for TNA’s vast improvement over the past year, is shafted for the benefit of Hardy? Guys like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Kaz and the one guy who’s been with the company through thick and thin, AJ Styles, are pushed to one side so that Hardy can be THE guy in TNA? Quite frankly it’s obscene and to me it symbolises everything that is wrong with this business.
Rather than just saying what was wrong, I’m going to outlay what could have been done instead of Hardy going over in the premier event that TNA have to offer.
I’ve seen Hardy supporters say “Hardy had to go over to complete the redemption story though.” Fine, but that didn’t have to be for the title or in the main event. Have one of the heels call him out after his failure in the BFG series (won by AJ Styles in my own fantasy world) and call him out on what happened. Hardy replies that he’s absolutely right, but that was who he was, not who he is now and that he’s going to get his redemption by kicking the said heel’s ass at Bound For Glory. The story’s still complete and Jeff Hardy isn’t anywhere near the main event.
Meanwhile we can have a Pay-Per-View main event featuring one of the major stars of the past year on Impact and one of the major star’s in TNA’s history. One of the men involved in their first show, their first ever X-Division Champion and their first triple crown winner pick up the gold in the biggest event in the year of their tenth anniversary. How could you have a better feel good story than that for “Bound For Glory.”
Let it be clear. I’m not criticising Jeff Hardy as a person or saying that he’s nothing but a junkie. I do believe that he has gotten himself together, and I’m genuinely happy for him. I’m unhappy that TNA have completely collapsed to his whims and are bending over backwards to accommodate him. Regardless of where Hardy is at now, nothing can compensate for his previous actions, and for him to be given preference over guys who have done very little wrong and who do everything asked of them by the company leaves me feeling extremely uneasy.
Anyway, this rounds up another edition of “Ringside Review.” I know this was a little top heavy on the Jeff Hardy situation, but I had a lot I wanted to talk about and a medium to do so, and I couldn’t let the opportunity to pass me by! Overall though, Bound For Glory was a sensational event in my opinion, albeit soured by the ending of the world title match but it’s rare that you see and event with so many quality matches. Even Van Dam’s match was good, which at this moment in his career is definitely saying something!
Ta Ta For Now!
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