Bound For Blame? By Dustin T Hull

Last year around this time, I wrote a blog about Bound for Glory 2013 going down infamously into the chronicles of TNA’s history. After 4 years of the Hogan Era, rumors about home grown talent leaving, and overwhelming negativity on social media, TNA was at a point where fans needed something to believe in. In my piece, I covered the fact that BFG needed to be that turning point in which the company moves back into what TNA Loyalist viewed to be their wrestling alternative. Personally, I feel they have done just that, but it has flown mostly under the radar of wrestling fans. Let me explain why I feel TNA earned my money, in spite of what many consider a lackluster build to this year’s BFG.

Bound for Glory 2013 was an event in which we watched all four championships change hands. The most important (for me at least) was the BroMans title win over Gunner & Storm. With Bad Influence the favorites on the interwebs, TNA took a brash chance on a less established team; and it worked for me. TNA seemed to be on a kick of pushing younger guys to give them a chance to shine. Sanada had a solid run with the X Title. A brand new mommy, Madison Rayne looked great in a face capacity as the Queen of the KO Division. The BroMans and Wolves traded the belts. All the while, Magnus took claim to the top title in TNA before losing it to the TNA Original; Eric Young had his first run with the belt. While we can all argue the effectiveness of how they were booked, the fact is that TNA turned back towards getting the belts on fresh faces and (mostly) homegrown talent.

In cleaver fashion, TNA strategically inserted new names & characters into the show. EC3 became a focal point. Rockstar Spud turned lovable & sympathetic underdog. Bram evolved into Impact’s premier Brawler. The Wolves proved dedication to making their national mark. Havok added an element of violence the KO Division needed. Lashley established himself a Destroyer, putting on excellent matches. Arguably the biggest free agent at the time, MVP came in like a whirlwind. Crazzy Steve has won over fans while Samuel Shaw creeped them out… After the massive reducing of the roster, it feels great to see TNA bring in new talent, AND incorporate them into storylines; groundbreaking or not.

I believe most negativity I read surrounding this year’s BFG comes from the lack of buildup on Impact television. Roode vs. Lashley or the Finals of the Tag Series payoffs not on the BFG card has many fans up in arms. I am not going to argue as I personally would have rather seen them there… But I understand the business side. TNA is trying to get the best television deal possible; it’s logical they host the best matches possible on Impact. There is also the rumor of Wrestle-1 carrying a large portion of the cost. If we are to believe these websites, then the conclusion would be W-1 booking the show; evidence being the late addition of a KO match with Havok & Velvet. If true, we can understand why certain talents were excluded. Perhaps not valid justifications to a fan of the product, but these are a few conclusions I can draw from the rumored information presented.

We can all play arm-chair booker and live through hindsight. If we do so, we might miss out on the potential of what is before us. Many agree that TNA’s wrestling matches this year have been quality. I don’t feel that will change with a card featuring Samoa Joe vs. LowKi vs. Kaz Hayashi. Maybe I have an exclusively unique view, but I purchase a PPV to see potentially better & longer matches. I seldom expect to see earth shattering storyline advancement. Going off this notion, mixed with seeing TNA back on track to being that wrestling alternative I enjoy, I feel fully justified in my purchase. The potential is there.

The question I always try to look at is “where to from here?” With this year’s BFG card having a minimal build, I feel this should be the last time TNA refers to this as their “Biggest Event of the Year.” They have done everything possible to get away from the Hogan stigma – including bringing back the 6-sided ring. That being the case, Slammiversary should return as TNA’s biggest event. The anniversary show makes sense as the start/end point for storylines; which it was prior to the Hogan Regime.

The reality of this year in TNA, I feel it crucial that this PPV comes across as a show with the highest match quality possible. Personally, it’s the best that TNA can offer for BFG 2014, and I think they know that. It seems to this fan that TNA is positioning Impact in a way to change the feel of the product moving into 2015. It’s as if this year was the first stage of a revamped video game; we’ve been working to get the controller design changes down. Now that we made it through this level in clunky fashion, we see how things mesh. From here, it’s up to the story being told to garner replay value. This should be the focus of the company heading into the January’s tapings & UK tour. That doesn’t mean, however, I won’t have some good fun trying my hand at the Bonus Round that is Bound for Glory 2014.
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