This Thursday night on Impact Wrestling, Chris Sabin will receive his first-ever shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Bully Ray. He earned the right to challenge for the title by cashing in his X-Division Championship on last week’s show.

Since winning the strap back at March’s Lockdown event, Bully Ray has proven to be a fighting champion. With successful title defenses over the likes of Jeff Hardy and Sting, no one is more dominant in TNA at the moment than the leader of Aces and Eights.

However, why was Sting even in the title picture to begin with? Granted, he can no longer challenge for the strap per the Slammiversary stipulation, but there were plenty of other fresh faces that could have contended for the gold instead.

While most of the following individuals might be currently participating in the Bound For Glory Series, I hope to see him fighting for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship sooner rather than later.

AJ Styles

Styles

At last year’s Turning Point pay-per-view, AJ Styles lost a Triple Threat match to determine the No. 1 contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Since he was the one who was pinned in the bout, Styles is now unable to challenge for the strap until Bound For Glory this October per the stipulation.

Styles was last featured in the world title picture in early 2010, where his record-setting reign came to an end at the hands of Rob Van Dam that April. Over the last three years, The Phenomenal One has lost to the likes of Douglas Williams, Christopher Daniels, Bobby Roode and many others.

It surprises me that Styles hasn’t been treated with more respect in recent years, especially given the day he has been with the company since day one. Thankfully, he returned to television this past March with a “Lone Wolf” gimmick that has seen him walk alone and align with no one.

Since Styles is a current competitor in the Bound For Glory Series, he’s a favorite to win it and go on to face Bully Ray for the strap at their biggest show of the year. I certainly hope so, as Styles is definitely deserving of another run with the title.

Magnus

Magnus

After years of tag teaming with the likes of Douglas Williams, Desmond Wolfe and Samoa Joe, Magnus finally broke off into singles competition in mid-2012. He took part in the annual Bound For Glory Series that summer, but was unable to win the competition.

He later feuded with Joe over the Television Championship, where he was able to showcase his true potential as a singles star. Although he failed to win the strap, he and Joe had a series of great matches together that proved that Magnus had a bright future in TNA

Magnus turned face upon his return to television this past February, setting his sights on Aces and Eights. He has since been named a member of the newly reformed Main Event Mafia and is the current leader in the Bound For Glory Series with a whopping 49 points.

Magnus is one of the youngest stars in TNA at the moment, so it’s good to see the company aggressively pushing him towards the top of the card. His mic skills and in-ring skills continue to improve and it is only a matter of time before he is in contention for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

James Storm

Storm

Once their record-setting reign as World Tag Team Champions came to an in early August 2011, Bobby Roode and James Storm made the Bound For Glory Series their top priority. While Roode ultimately won the competition, Storm served as his supporter  going into Bound For Glory.

Kurt Angle successfully defended his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Roode at the event, but Storm was able to defeat Angle four nights later on Impact Wrestling to capture the gold for the first time in his career. His reign was short-lived, however, as Roode betrayed him two weeks to win back the strap.

That was the last time Storm held world title gold, as he unsuccessfully challenged The Leader of the Selfish Generation for the title at Lockdown last year and hasn’t contended for the championship since. Instead, he was randomly paired with Gunner last month and is one half of the current tag team champions.

That’s fine and all, but Storm shouldn’t be back in the tag team division. He came close to winning the BFG Series last year, and now isn’t even featured in the tournament a year later.

The Cowboy continues to garner strong reactions from live audiences and is great on the mic, so I don’t understand why he’s being underutilized right now. He said last year that it is his mission to one day regain the world title, so I hope to see that happen before it’s too late.

Christopher Daniels

Daniels

Despite being in TNA for a number of years, Christopher Daniels has received minimal shots at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He last contended for the prestigious prize on the January 24 edition of Impact Wrestling, coming up short to then-champion Jeff Hardy.

Since turning heel in late 2011, Daniels has rejuvenated his character and career with his entertaining antics. His partnership with Kazarian has easily been one of the best tag teams in all of professional wrestling in last year and a half.

As enjoyable as his pairing with Kaz has been, it’s time for Daniels to join the ranks of singles competition and chase the world title. After all he’s done for the company in the last decade, he deserves at least one run with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

Samoa Joe

Joe

Upon his arrival in TNA in 2005, Samoa Joe embarked on an undefeated streak that saw him unbeaten for 18 consecutive months. Once he finally suffered his first defeat in singles competition at the hands of Kurt Angle at 2006’s Genesis event, Joe was no longer seen as a ruthless monster in TNA.

He was involved in a number of mediocre feuds and story-lines in the years that followed, which included him getting kidnapped by masked men and thrown into the back of a van in mid-2010. He’s had his flashes of greatness in recent years (see: Bound For Glory Series 2012), but TNA’s inability to utilize his tremendous talents correctly have hurt his credibility significantly.

He hasn’t been involved in the TNA title picture in a number of years, so why not start now? He’s at the top of the leader board in this year’s Bound For Glory Series, so there’s always a chance that he might ultimately win the competition and go on to challenge Bully Ray for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at their biggest show of the year.

To my knowledge, Joe and Ray have never had a full-fledged feud as singles competitors, so a rivalry between the two over the strap would certainly feel fresh. The live crowds absolutely adore Joe, so TNA should put his amazing abilities to good use.

Austin Aries

Aries 2

At 2011’s Destination X pay-per-view, Austin Aries became an official member of the TNA roster after winning a Fatal 4-Way match. Almost exactly a year later, Aries found himself contending for the TNA World Heavyweight Champion after reigning as X-Division Champion for a record-setting nine months.

He received his shot at the TNA title against Bobby Roode at the Destination X event, where he emerged victorious to capture the prestigious prize for the first time in his career. That night, a star was born.

Aries reigned as TNA World Champion for a solid three months before dropping the strap to Jeff Hardy in the main event of Bound For Glory. Although he turned heel shortly thereafter, he wasn’t able to reclaim the gold from Hardy and later formed a partnership with familiar foe Bobby Roode.

Aries recently won the X-Division Championship for a second time and almost had the opportunity to contend for the TNA title once again, but he lost the belt back to Chris Sabin the following week. Aries is a participant in this year’s Bound For Glory Series, but the chances of him emerging victorious to face Bully Ray at their biggest show of the year are slim.

Aries dominated 2012 with an iron fist, so it’s a shame that TNA has nothing for him at the moment. He’s one of the most over acts in the company today yet he’s still being relegated to the tag team division.

Bobby Roode

Roode

After turning heel and winning his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship in November 2011, Bobby Roode received the biggest push of his career to date. During his reign as champion, he scored victories over notable names including AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, James Storm, Sting and others.

Once he dropped the title to Austin Aries at last July’s Destination X event, Roode was left with very little direction. He was unable to win back the belt the following month at Hardcore Justice and subsequently disappeared from television.

He returned one month later to rekindle his rivalry with Storm, who he lost to at Bound For Glory in October. Roode has since rejoined the ranks as a tag team competitor and currently has zero points in the BFG Series.

Roode is one of the few true heels TNA has left, so it’s mind boggling to me that they have nothing for him at the moment. He is a fantastic villain yet hasn’t been featured in the title picture for nearly a year, so I think it’s about time he ditches Austin Aries as his tag team partner and chases the TNA title once again.

Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling and listen to my wrestling radio talk show SAVE US GSM every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET.

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