Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. Presenting to you, TNA Wrestling's biggest show of the year, Bound for Glory! It'll be a hard-fought evening as feuds months in the making come to a head. Matches of note include the World Tag Team Champions of the World facing opposition from either side (leaving nowhere to run!), the 'Cowboy' James Storm finally gets his hands on the self-proclaimed 'IT Factor' Bobby Roode, Stings fights off invaders Aces & Eights, not to mention the 'Charismatic Enigma' and winner of the Bound for Glory series, Jeff Hardy, challenging 'The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived' Austin Aries for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship! Canned Heat have our picks made for the big show, so scroll down the page and see if you agree...
TNA X Division Championship
Rob Van Dam vs Zema Ion (c)
MC: In this late addition to the card, TNA remembered that they hadn't booked one of their top guys in a match on the biggest show of the year - enter RVD's sudden quest for the X Division Title. It all began on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, as Zema Ion came out to the ring to cut a promo boasting about all the injuries he's caused and the careers he's potentially ended (not really something to be proud of, guy). As is often the way, the heel is then interrupted by the fan favourite looking to put him in his place. In this instance, Mr Thursday Night himself, Rob Van Dam, has been given his pick of opponents for the big show on Sunday and who better to challenge than a Champion. This will be RVD's third Bound for Glory and he's entering with a score of two wins, no defeats, against two of the biggest names in wrestling - Abyss and Jerry Lynn. With future legends like that under RVD's belt, Zema Ion must be positively quaking in his boots. As random and thrown together as this match is, I think this combination is the best TNA could offer under the circumstances. Despite the lack of build, I'm actually looking forward to it. As for who will walk away the victor, Rob Van Dam is the perfect guy to lead the X Division into the coming year. No offense to Ion, but he's been little more than a placeholder Champion since winning the Title back at Destination X. He's faced a number of challengers since, but no actual feuds have emerged, with the X Division becoming a blatant after-thought. There were entire months worth of Impact Wrestling where the X Division Champion didn't so much as appear. Bearing that in mind, it's time for the Title to be on a talent that can't be ignored and will be featured on a weekly basis. Rob Van Dam's high profile may be just the kick the division needs.
Robbie G: The X Division has been an afterthought since Austin Aries handed over his title going into Destination X and yet again heading into Bound For Glory a title defence is added on the 'go home' show. I'm surprised a one on one match was added as usually multiple talent is involved for a spot-fest but this match should elevate the X Division with the addition of star power in the form of RVD and also it's champion Zema Ion as this is one of the most high profile members of the roster he will be going against.
RVD had a good showing in the BFG series, was defeated in his challenge for the Television Title and now has his sights set on Ion's X Division Championship mainly as he wasn't booked for the show. Van Dam is one of the more recognisable names for neutrals to cheer which TNA management would be thinking of with BFG taking part outside of their comfort zone in an untested area.
This match up brings the X Division to a cross roads, Zema Ion has been a solid champion but nothing has stood out about his reign so far, yet a win over RVD on this stage would boost his stock significantly whilst the Division has lacked star power since Austin Aries became Heavyweight Champion and RVD can be a short term fix for that, bringing fresh matches against members of the division and giving some of the younger members of the roster the rub. For the division as a whole RVD needs to win this match but Ion needs to put on a show and make a name for himself.
Prediction - Rob Van Dam defeats Zema Ion via pinfall to win the TNA X Division Championship.
Joey Ryan vs Al Snow
MC: Months in the making, Joey Ryan finally gets his second chance at an Impact Wrestling contract! Don't you just love the irony of the first Gut Check contestant to be told no, getting more TV time than every other contestant who was told yes, combined. While the likes of Alex Silva and Taelor Hendrix have disappeared into the developmental system, never to return, Joey Ryan has been a frequent presence on Impact Wrestling, showing up every few weeks to remind the deluded judges of their obvious mistake. While the initial target of Ryan's scorn was the Human Suplex Machine, Taz, the former ECW Champion has long since retired from the ring and any such feud would lead absolutely nowhere. Unless we were about to get a terrifying gimmick match with Bruce Pritchard's Brother Love, veteran Al Snow was the obvious choice to step up to the plate to face Joey Ryan. The pair have had a couple of fun interactions leading into BFG, usually with Ryan coming away looking the weak heel. I particularly enjoyed seeing the contract signing...on Al Snow's back! As entertaining as the pairing has been, Al Snow is little more than a stepping stone for Joey Ryan. A decisive victory should lead to a full-time contract on Ryan's part and springboard to bigger and better things. Al Snow meanwhile, can return to his Gut Check duties and woefully misjudge the next generation of professional wrestlers once again.
Robbie G: Gut Check's most impressive contestant has had a long road to get his contract, but that road has been worth it creating a following of 87%er's and doing enough to make the rest of the crowd hate him more whilst being entertaining along the way. It's a surprise that Al Snow is stepping back into the ring to face against Ryan to make this a battle of the mustaches, especially as the judge's could have picked from any guy not on the card, but as long as he leaves 'Head' backstage this should be an entertaining 'match' which should see Joey Ryan as the newest member of the TNA roster and hopefully future X Division Champion.
Prediction - Joey Ryan defeats Al Snow via pinfall to win an Impact Wrestling contract.
TNA Television Championship
Magnus vs Samoa Joe (c)
MC: The long-missing Television Title returns and my what a Champion it's found it's way to! There was a brief moment recently where TNA actually considered quietly retiring the TV Title. The belt hadn't been defended in months, the weekly defence rule had fallen by the wayside and disastrously, contract negotiations with the then-Champion, Devon, failed miserably. Thankfully, with the close of the Bound for Glory series, TNA once again find themselves with airtime to fill and what better way than a weekly title defence After a hard fought match against Mr Anderson, Samoa Joe found himself the new Television Champion! His one defense so far was against Rob Van Dam, with another contender sure to fall by the wayside this coming Thursday, taking him neatly to Bound for Glory. Quite conveniently, Joe has long-standing issues with his former tag partner, Magnus, who took exception to losing to Joe in the latter stages of the BFG Series. A number of chair shots and scuffles later and here we are. Unfortunately for Magnus, the Television Title is in a wildly precarious position and is in need of a substantial period of rebuilding, a feat Samoa Joe is more than capable of. Putting the TV Title on the young Brit, while bolstering his career, would do no favours for the Championship itself and send it careening back to the likes of Robbie E and Garett Bischoff. If TNA have any common sense, the belt needs to remain on Joe for the foreseeable future.
Robbie G: A few months ago I wouldn't have been excited about a match for the Television Title, seeing Robbie E, Garett Bischoff and Devon fight over the belt month in month out became old quickly and left nobody caring about TNA's second strap, but fast forward a few months with Devon failing to negotiate a new contract and the vacant title being won by Joe the image of TNA's second strap has been boosted considerably.
The match itself would have likely taken place with or without the belt on the line but adds just a little bit extra to the match and to the credibility of the title as the ex tag team champions take on one another after Magnus turned heel and took his frustrations out on Joe. The two should put on a solid match which could be an outside bet on match of the night, Magnus' stock is rising and at a later date I wouldn't be surprised to see the belt around his waist but just not yet.
Prediction - Samoa Joe defeats Magnus via submission to retain the TNA Television Championship.
TNA Knockouts Championship
Tara vs Miss Tessmacher (c)
MC: What was initially a rather interesting feud between student and teacher, has devolved into what can only be described as a cat fight. Back leading into the previous pay-per-view, No Surrender, there was no true heel in this pairing, merely one wishing to see if they could earn the respect of the other. That was genuinely captivating and I feel they lost something fundamental about the story once Tara turned full-fledged heel and denounced her student. They've since sullied these hardworking women even more with the notion that Tara is only doing all of this at the behest of an unknown Hollywood boyfriend. So where once there was competition, honour and respect, we now have a girl trying to impress a boy. Entering her forties and the latter stages of her wrestling career, I would've hoped Tara would be beyond stories like this. However, even with this ridiculous handicap, it's clear Tara's character has captivated TNA's booking committee (at least narratively speaking), whereas Miss Tessmacher has proven somewhat of a blank slate. As such, I fully expect Tara to sink to underhanded levels to get the big win at BFG and walk away our new Knockouts Champion.
Robbie G: Another match which sees former Tag Team Champions go against one another, but unlike Magnus and Joe I couldn't actually care about this match. The former TNT pairing have locked up multiple times in the past few weeks leaves not a lot to imagination of what we will see at Bound For Glory. A year ago the Knockouts Division was brimming with talent all fighting it out for a shot at the belt but now a depleted roster seems to just be handing the championship from one to another every other month and if Tara dominates Tessmacher like she did at No Surrender I see that cycle continuing.
Prediction - Tara defeats Miss Tessmacher via pinfall to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.
TNA World Tag Team Championships
Styles & Angle vs Daniels & Kazarian (c) vs Guerrero & Hernandez
MC: In what will clearly be the most entertaining wrestling match of the evening, this dark horse of a tag division will collide in an epic three way dance! Ironically, none of the three teams are what would traditionally be thought of as tag teams, but who am I to nitpick such obvious talent. Styles & Angle have been trading the titles back and forth with Daniels & Kazarian for quite a while now, stretching all the way back to Slammiversary. Guerrero and Hernandez are a new wrinkle, not necessarily needed, but I can't believe a Guerrero would be anything other than a benefit to a match, even being Chavo. I've really been enjoying the three teams competing over the last few weeks and will be sad to see the feud end, but something tells me that ending will be more than worthwhile. I'd talk about the story leading into the match, but I'm not sure there is one. This contest is coming down almost exclusively to athleticism. I know Daniels still has heat with Styles from the Clare Lynch debacle, but when doesn't he at this point. This is as close to pure wrestling as we're likely to see and I couldn't be happier.
Robbie G: The tag team division seems to have taken a page from the Ring Of Honor playbook by having successful singles competitors form teams to go for the gold and looking at this match I am not complaining one bit. Daniels and Kazarian have been stealing the show for a while on Impact with excellent promos, skits and matches but some of that credit has to go to the other teams who have been the foil for most of their exploits. The addition of LAX, Mexican America, Chavo and Hernandez has freshened this feud and added an even more unpredictability to this match even if it does remind me a little of Los Guerrero's facing off against Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit and Edge & Rey Mysterio 10 years ago in WWE.
The talent in this match should make it a BFG classic providing Daniels leaves his toolbox at home this year, with all likely to put 110% in and have their chance to shine, picking a winner is more difficult but sadly I can't see Daniels and Kazarian having a celebratory appletini after the match, a win would benefit Guerrero & Hernandez more but Styles & Angle could close the epic feud the former has had with his former Fortune stablemates, although not having the champs pinned for the belt's would allow for a rematch or two before some of Aces and Eights decide they want a bit of TNA gold.
Prediction - Guerrero & Hernandez defeat Styles & Angle and Daniels & Kazarian via pinfall to win the TNA World Tag Team Championships.
Bobby Roode vs James Storm
(w/King Mo as Special Enforcer)
MC: In a rare display of long-term booking, we finally reach the culmination of Bobby Roode and James Storm's epic feud. This was quite literally a year in the making, beginning with Roode's inability to defeat Kurt Angle in the main event of last year's Bound for Glory. James Storm picked up the World Heavyweight Championship in the weeks following, sending his former Beer Money tag team partner into a spiral of jealousy. One beer bottle smashed over Storm's head later, we had the birth of 'The Selfish Generation' and the self proclaimed 'IT Factor of Professional Wrestling'. The feud appeared to be reaching it's conclusion months ago, back at the Lockdown pay-per-view, but Roode once again fluked a victory and Storm's quest for vengeance continued. Personally, I would've ended it right then and there, but with a Storm victory, winning his World Heavyweight Championship back fair and square. Looking back, that was the pinnacle of their momentum and in a world where a one month feud is considered long-term, six months was damn near legendary. With the pair approaching a year now, interest in their conflict has waned considerably. Where once it was top of the card and for the World Title, it's now an afterthought and the Title has been diverted elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, these two will still put on a hell of a show, but their heat boiled over months ago. Getting it back to that level of intensity will be next to impossible. The one saving grace of the match will be in it's finality. This should be the very last pay-per-view encounter between the two, so enjoy it while you can.
Robbie G: It goes to show the change in mentality of TNA booking that this is another match that brings the events of the previous year to ahead, with the two former Bear Money members facing off for the last time in a Street Fight, even if many did think this would be for the TNA Heavyweight Championship and Main Event of Bound For Glory.
The match between the two should be similar to the last bout these two had at Lockdown, hard hitting with lots of blood but will be hard to match the intensity as both have been apart for a number of months with Storm taking time off before dominating the BFG series and Roode involved in the Championship scene and then taking some time off before returning to derail Storm's chances of main eventing this event.
The addition of King Mo to the fray baffles me slightly as he doesn't add anything to the match itself and judging by his actions on Impact (04/10) he will favour 'The Cowboy' which will detract a little of the glory from winning the bout and ending the feud. I imagine in the fallout of this match Roode will offer King Mo his first match on the back of this whilst Storm will go back into the hunt for the title.
Prediction - James Storm defeats Bobby Roode via pinfall.
Aces & Eights vs Sting & Bully Ray
MC: In yet another TNA attempt at an invasion storyline, the Impact Zone has been besieged for months by a mysterious biker gang called Aces & Eights. The one key difference being in this case, we don't have a single clue who these guys are meant to be. Not to mention, the fear that when they are finally revealed, they won't be anyone we know or care about. Infact, if the reveal of this group ISN'T a resounding failure, I will literally stand up and applaud them. There are numerous rumours that the leader is Eric Bischoff or Jeff Jarrett, but I suspect something far more surprising, sinister and probably not make a lick of sense. My bet is the one, the only, the Monster, Abyss. Aces & Eights are meant to have been keeping Abyss' brother, Joseph Park, captive for almost a month by the time Bound for Glory rolls around and as we all know, Joseph Park IS Abyss. However, the placement of Bully Ray in this match does make for a curious alternative. For the longest time, Ray was the main suspect in the Aces & Eights mystery, so much so, he became TOO obvious. As we saw on last week's Impact Wrestling, Aces & Eights took out Sting's initial choice of tag team partner, Mr Anderson. Conveniently making the way for someone they'd prefer in the match, Bully Ray. All in all, expect several swerves, reveals, screwjobs and hopefully we'll finally get to the bottom of this mystery. This has dragged on far too long and the audience needs a genuine face for Aces & Eights going forward.
Robbie G: It's hard to say how a match will play out when you only know one team involved but we all know this will be similar to the Sting / Hogan 'match' from last years event where the ending and aftermath will be more important than the match itself, whilst also having similar stipulations.
'Team TNA' have two of the top names in the industry whilst Aces & Eights are likely to be made up of Mike Knox and Drew (Luke Gallows) Hankinson fighting for their chance of allowing the group access to the Imapct Zone, lets face it without the masks and mystery this match would struggle to draw a crowd for a house show.
The Aces & Eights storyline has been very hit and miss, it was exciting for a short period but without motif or explanation it has seemed to drag on without really evolving, has thrown suspension of belief to the next level with the Impact Zone seemingly being accessible to anybody walking by, Joseph Park being kidnapped for a few weeks without the police becoming involved and if Joey Ryan needed to sign a contract to compete on the show then who drew up the contract for this match and why would it get signed?
Bully Ray has benefited multiple times from the actions of Aces & Eights even so getting himself in this match but these actions seem far too obvious that he would be apart of the gang, especially as everybody made a big deal of his 'Do You Know Who I Am' catchphrase but if MC is correct and Abyss is involved then it would suggest rather than an Immortal reunion, Bully is there to take a beating in revenge for making Abyss disappear and then forcing 'Joseph Park' into the ring.
Expect a roller coaster of a ride and to see Aces & Eights come out on top, it won't get the reaction Hogan's face turn but as long as he doesn't turn heel and this turns out to be more than just an Immortal reunited case then the pay off should hopefully be worth it, even if it is just to refresh the landscape of Impact.
Prediction - Aces & Eights defeat Sting & Bully Ray via pinfall to gain access to the Impact Zone.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Jeff Hardy vs Austin Aries (c)
MC: I have to admit, I am genuinely surprised that TNA booked this match. At every turn, another eventuality seemed far more likely. Back at Destination X, I never would've guessed Austin Aries would defeat Bobby Roode and become the World Heavyweight Champion. Equally so, I never would've guessed he'd retain the Title against Roode again at Hardcore Justice. Not to slight Aries ability, but a year's worth of TNA booking pointed towards Bobby Roode vs James Storm headlining the biggest show of the year.
Similarly, the Bound for Glory series seemed almost entirely geared towards putting James Storm over and giving him that second chance at revenge on Bobby Roode. So imagine my shock when not only does James Storm NOT win the BFG series, but he goes out in the Semi-Final. All logic then pointed towards Bully Ray, the man who defeated Storm, taking the top spot. After all, Aries has been playing a Face Champion for the past three months, it'd make sense to put him up against the biggest heel on the roster. Lo and behold, that didn't happen either! While Jeff Hardy is arguably TNA's most popular wrestler, I defy anyone to predict he'd find himself in the main event of Bound for Glory challenging for the World Heavyweight Title.
I have a sneaking suspicion that recent contract negotiations with Jeff Hardy have played a huge factor in booking this main event. Amid rumours of Hardy not re-signing with TNA when his contract expires and god forbid, returning to WWE, I wouldn't be surprised if a high profile title win and subsequent reign at the top was used as a bargaining tool. Hell, even if Hardy did fail to re-sign, TNA have him until February guaranteed and may feel the need to get as much out of him as possible before that time, ergo, a last minute push towards the title.
Still, I have to hand it to the current Champion, Austin Aries, for working with Hardy's inherent lack of mic skills and crafting a story worth watching. Acknowledging that he was never going to be able to compete against Hardy's legion of fans (aka sheep), Aries has wisely flipped the dynamic of the match and instead of Hardy chasing for Aries' title, it's become about Aries chasing Hardy's fame and notoriety. With it being a fool's errand to try and out-face Hardy, Aries has reacquainted himself with quite a few of his old heel techniques and you can positively feel the resentment emanating from the Champ. Playing into his previous feud with Bobby Roode calling his title reign a fluke, this grudge against Hardy being more popular for no reason makes perfect sense for Aries' character.
Fingers crossed, this will be match of the night and a true classic for the TNA archives. I outright challenge Jeff Hardy to expand his moveset for the night. The biggest pay-per-view of the year, the audience deserves a show. Equally, I challenge TNA to let the wrestling speak for itself. In past Bound for Glory main events, the conclusion has been overshadowed by controversy and twists. However, this match will do all the work for them, they just need to sit back and let it happen.
Robbie G: It brings me much joy to see A Double in the Main Event at Bound For Glory, it goes to show that hard work and determination can make anything happen. Little over a year ago Aries was competing for a contract, then he was rebuilding the X Division and now he is walking into TNA's biggest event of the year as World Heavyweight Champion. Unfortunately that joy diminishes slightly with Jeff Hardy being his opponent for the evening, not only because back in June I predicted Samoa Joe would win the BFG series, but for me Hardy has never captured the magic he had when in the Hardy Boyz as a singles competitor and his matches generally involve him hitting the same moves over and over.
The booking leading into this match has also taken off the specialness of the Champion vs. The BFG Series winner as both have been involved with each other in one way or another since No Surrender although Bully Ray has been at the centre of all activity and its unclear if or how he will interject himself into this match.
Aries has taken the role of heel and underdog for the match, although it can be debated if he ever actually turned face and has played the underdog the entire time since his entering the heavyweight division and my heart says the TGMTEL will retain his title but with Hardy playing the fan favourite my head says he will come out victorious to create a 'BFG moment' and give the BFG series it's first direct winner.
Prediction - Jeff Hardy defeats Austin Aries via pinfall to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
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