Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TNA Bound For Glory 2015

"Hey! Look, kids!
Marty Jannetty FINALLY won a World Title!"
- My buddy after last night's TNA PPV

Whatever you want to say about this year's Bound For Glory event, it is bound to be better than last year's edition of what was once TNA's flagship PPV.

For those who missed it, Bound For Glory 2014 was essentially a cross-promotional vehicle with Japanese promotion Wrestle-1, featuring a bunch of Japanese wrestlers that no one in their right mind would give two shits about unless they were extremely well-versed in Japanese wrestling or Wrestle-1 in particular. It was a telling sign of TNA's woes when their flagship PPV event - something that's supposed to be on par with a Wrestlemania or a Starrcade or other major event that's touted as the promotion's biggest show ever - is treated with about as much pomp and circumstance as an episode of Sunday Night Heat. It became something that you didn't need to see because it wouldn't affect the narrative taking place on the Impact Wrestling show.

So the good news is that a little more effort was put in making this year's edition a far stronger showing in that, hey, something is bound to happen here that will affect the promotion... at least in terms of the narrative and not necessarily in terms of the state of the company. For example, we actually have a World Title match, something last year's edition lacked completely and utterly. The bad news is that, in light of TNA's latest woes and impending cancellation from Destination America, Bound for Glory 2015 was treated as something of an afterthought with only two weeks worth of build.

Certainly doesn't paint a pretty picture when the main event had a last-minute change from a one-on-one World title match between champion Ethan Carter III and challenger Drew Galloway to a triple threat match also featuring Matt Hardy. And when I say last minute, I literally mean last minute as the stipulation was added in the closing minutes to the go-home edition of Impact Wrestling.

The show is being held in the Carolinas, where there was a storm brewing or something. Commentary is provided by Josh Matthews and The Pope. The entrance is fairly simplistic and unremarkable, but otherwise satisfactory. The arena is sparsely populated and somewhat darkened, but nothing too terrible looking, I suppose. Nowhere close to the cavernous baseball stadiums that only had fifty people or so... I guess.

X-Division champion Tigre Uno defeated Manik, DJZ, and Andrew Everett in an Ultimate X match to retain the title. The only thing I know about Tigre Uno was regarding some remark he made about Donald Trump... because sure, why not? Being that I do not religiously follow TNA, I once again fall into the trap of not caring about any of these individuals and thus find myself merely looking forward to a halfway decent Ultimate X match with no real emotional investment but lots of pretty high spots to fill that void... gotta say that I was not disappointed in this regard. The match was fine, the guys did their best, and a round of applause all throughout. This was okay.

And then Shane Helms shows up to congratulate Tigre... because sure, why not?

Brodus Clay wins the Gauntlet battle royal... yeah, he has another name, but it's fucking Brodus Clay. For those who don't know, a Gauntlet battle royal is essentially a mini Royal Rumble; two guys start off and then every few seconds, a new guy drops in. The twist here is that once only two guys remain (after clearing everyone out of the ring over the top rope), it becomes a standard wrestling match where you win via pinfall or submission. This is something that they first started all the way back in the very first NWA-TNA PPV in 2002, which is how I know what this match is.

Now as far as the Gauntlet match goes... it features a bunch of guys that I'm remotely familiar with, such as Mr. Anderson and Demon Kane... er, I mean THE MONSTER ABYSS, but otherwise these are all new faces that I'm not that familiar with and thus don't really care. There's a nice bit where Pope comes in, sees Abyss and fucking Brodus Clay in the ring, and promptly eliminates himself. I thought that was cute, but that's about it, really.

TNA Tag champs The Wolves (whose names I didn't catch and therefore, am truly sorry) defeated Brian Meyers and Trevor Lee to retain the titles in a pretty good and entertaining tag-team match. In retrospect, this was probably the only match that I genuinely enjoyed throughout the entire show.

King Of The Mountain champion... okay, is there anything more insipidly sounding than King of the Mountain champion? First off, and let me disclose my ignorance but, isn't that just the same fucking belt that they used to call the Legends title and then they called it the Global title and then they called it the Television title and now it's the King Of the Mountain title and...? For fuck's sake, that belt has gotten more title name changes than Ed Leslie has failed gimmicks. I mean... WOW.

Secondly, I thought the whole point of King of the Mountain championship was that it would be defended in King of the Mountain matches... but I guess it's just a regular title with another name. Seriously... WOW.

Anyway, TNA [insert title here] champion Bobby Roode defeated Bobby Lashley in the Battle of the Boobies to retain the title. Meh... this was fine, but that's about it. I wasn't really feeling it.

Knockouts Champion Gail Kim defeated Awesome Kong to retain the title... because sure, why not? I suppose I could say that I was intrigued because Awesome Kong is such a massive beast and Gail Kim is... well, Gail Kim... but I'm pretty sure they had matches in TNA years prior that's better than this and this is merely old hat.

Kurt Angle defeated Eric Young via submission... because of course, he does. Hell, the story behind it is reasonable. Young hurt Kurt, Kurt comes back and gains revenge in a match. That's fine. I can't complain all that much. At one point, Kurt is holding his neck and the medics stop the match... but Eric Young is an "evil bastard" who won't let Kurt walk out that easily, implying a dastardly villain at work here... and then he taps out at the end... it's a no-DQ match

Matt Hardy defeated TNA World champion Ethan Carter III and Drew Galloway when Hardy pinned Galloway to win the title... or as my buddy commented at one point, "Look, kids. Marty Janetty finally won a world title!" Hence the inspiration for the above banner (which ended up making the new champ look as unflattering as can possibly be, but whatever.)

I guess the idea here was to keep EC3 strong by not letting him get pinned, but then what would have worked better if he had retained. Besides, this was supposed to be the match where EC3 finally gets his comeupperance and he ends up coming out of it relatively unscathed but with less hardware... a bit lame.

Actually, this whole match feels lame and really, if anything, the whole scenario should make EC3 the biggest white meat babyface hero of them all. Here he is, in a triple threat match against two guys out to get him, with a special referee (Jeff Hardy) out to get him, booked by the owner who's out to get him... how the fuck is he the fucking villain here? In WWE, he'd be John Cena and those are odds to overcome - Dunn Duh Duh Duuuhhhhh. Is that the intent to try and make EC3 a sympathetic character for when he eventually faces off against fucking Brodus Clay?

Some folks might take issue with Hardy winning the title since it's yet another WWE cast-off winning TNA's top title (and also, Hardy's inclusion in the match was a literally last-minute decision brought on by the Impact before the event), but I'm generally ambivalent to the whole deal. To me, I would've preferred Galloway win it since TNA needs to start making their own big names and Galloway is young enough and fresh enough that he could be molded into the star TNA needs. Yeah, he was also WWE cast-off, but his stint there wasn't as pronounced. To me, Matt Hardy is a WWE guy. He had his successes in WWE. When most folks bring up Matt Hardy, it'll be for his WWE stuff rather than anything else... unless you want to bring up Fat Lardy or whatever they call him.

Matt Hardy winning the TNA Title? Eh, I've no real issues with it. It's not something I would've liked to have seen or cared enough to be excited about, but you know what? The guy finally has a World Title under his belt, even if it is the World title of a promotion that is always on the verge of going belly up in a matter of moments. And who knows? If Matt ever returns to WWE, they might give him a pity run with the WWE title just like they did Christian; just so they can call him a former World champion without referencing that hick promotion in Nashville, ya'll. That's about the only real positive I see with Matt being TNA champion, because it sure doesn't entice me to check out their product on a regular basis... assuming said product is still around by year's end.

All in all, the lowest of expectations I had with this Bound For Glory show was met; it was a far better show than last year's edition from Japan. Some of the major angles were touched on, we had actual title matches, and we have a new World champion, to the thrill of the fans, to the chagrin of the detractors, and to the general indifference of everyone else. Setting that piece of business aside, I'd have to say that Bound For Glory 2015 was a strictly middle-of-the-road affair, as despite there being more effort put into this show than last year's edition, this still feels like an afterthought; a PPV slot that TNA was forced to fill and just did so to get it out of the way while they focused on their ever-dwindling television presence.

There were some good moments on there like the tag-match, but the rest of it was a "take it or leave it" affair and in all honesty, none of the matches had that big-time feel that you'd expect from a major event. I want to say that this was TNA's equivalent to Wrestlemania 13, with only one or two big time matches among a lot of lesser ones, but I struggle to figure which of the matches genuinely feel like big time matches. All in all, Bound for Glory was merely okay, but hardly an impressive showing on TNA's part and a far cry from some of their past efforts.

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