What If? Aries Wins the Big One

On Impact Austin Aries did what we all expected him to and rightfully so took his spot in the main event at Destination X to take on Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship but what if 'The Greatest Man To Ever Live' actually bests Bobby Roode? 

Aries with the X Division Championship
As pointed out in 'Long Term Booking' the Bound For Glory main event is likely going to be a Roode vs. Storm to pay off their year long feud starting which started with 'The Cowboy' defeating Kurt Angle the Impact after last years Bound For Glory event, but for the ultimate pay off Roode will have to keep the title until this years event which doesn't bode well for Aries, but if Aries wins at Destination X the Bound For Glory card and series starts to take very different shape.

If Aries did indeed pin or make Roode tap out with the last chancery at Destination X it is likely the main events at Hardcore Justice and No Surrender would be rematches of some sorts, as everyone besides Sting will be tied up with the BFG series. This offers the chance for Roode to gain back his position as top dog in the company but another title switch would weaken the creditability that Roode has given the championship by holding it for so long.

So with A Double heading into the biggest PPV of the year with the main gold around his waist, who would his opponent be? Obviously someone from the BFG series but it opens up the competition although it is relatively safe to say that Robbie E isn't on the list to win the tournament this time round, The Pope seems like an outside bet due to him being out of action for so long and Magnus is still learning the ropes and could be a top TV Champion at the minute with a view of becoming Heavyweight Champion a few years down the line.

This leaves a list of wrestlers who could all put on different but equally as good matches with 'TGMTEL' ranging from Mr Anderson to Kurt Angle to Christopher Daniels. Having had one of the best matches at Sacrifice a rematch with Bully Ray would make for a great main event at BFG, there is previous between the two and Ray has been one of the most consistent performers in TNA for the last year, even elevating Roode to main event status at last years No Surrender event in the BFG series tiebreaker. This match is unlikely to happen though as things are building to Ray facing off against Abyss and would have the biggest pay off being held off until the biggest event of the year. 

James Storm could go ahead and win the series and try and regain the title he lost, he certainly has the lead already amassing over half the points that saw him finish forth last year and being one of the companies biggest faces certainly makes sense, although the feeling that Roode and Storm will face each other at BFG won't go away so even without the championship, a grudge match between the two, maybe in a number one contenders match would add depth to the card and a pay off as such to their feud which could be picked up again any time in the future.

Kurt Angle and A.J Styles would also both provide Aries with strong competition but as they are both Tag Team Champion's at present it wouldn't make much sense booking wise for either to go on and win the series unless TNA were looking at making the tag division more like the Ring of Honor set-up. Christopher Daniels seems more focused with A.J than the title shot on offer so we will likely see the conclusion of their year long feud; if it doesn't peek before and hopefully no screwdrivers will be involved again.
Slammiversary X saw Aries and Joe lock up.

That leaves the trio who have been having multiple matches with each other to become the number one contender of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Mr Anderson, either one has every opportunity to win the BFG series as all three have had multiple chances of becoming champion this year and all have been previous holders of the belt, the other option is the final name in the competition, Samoa Joe.
Joe had an excellent and competitive match with Aries at Slammiversary which could be argued as the best of the night, again providing the BFG main event with a bit of history, although these two locking up again is an exciting enough prospect as it is, both ex ROH World Champions, both previous X Division Champions and one previous TNA World Heavyweight Champion. This would also be a big turnaround for Joe who would be making up for his terrible showing in last years BFG series as he ended on minus points where he looked done with the company and now could be back where he belongs in the main event. 

If Aries did go onto beat Roode for the World Heavyweight Championship, whether it be at Destination X or one of the other events before Bound For Glory it just goes to show that an exciting card can still be made, so here's hoping for Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe in the main event come October! 

Written by: @Robbie_G_CH
Photos by: Impact Wrestling (http://www.facebook.com/ImpactWrestling


Long Term Booking - Where's The Mystery?

This past week on Impact Wrestling, TNA made two very important booking decisions that will come into play for the months ahead, if not beyond. Typically, I would be 100% behind any such attempt at long term booking. More wrestling promotions should try this, WWE especially. Pinpoint an exact end point, months if not years in the future, and hold true to those plans. Build to that match and in no circumstance give it away before then. More often than not, this approach is ignored in favour of hotshot booking to illicit shock and awe, in the vain hope of winning the audience's attention, where none existed before. However, while I may favour the more thoughtful course of action, it's rendered several upcoming events on the TNA calender entirely predictable!

The first involves X Division Champion, Austin Aries, and his Faustian Pact to headline next month's Destination X pay-per-view. After successfully retaining his Championship in a hard-fought Ultimate X match against Zema Ion and Chris Sabin, Aries cut a promo pointing out that no matter where's he's placed on a card, whether it be the start of the show or the end, he's the main event. As such, he should be granted a shot at Bobby Roode's World Heavyweight Championship. Quickly answering Aries' request, General Manager Hulk Hogan made his way down to the ring and in a surprising move...agreed. However, there was one impediment to A Double's ascension to the main event, his continuing stranglehold on the X Division. Hogan couldn't in good conscience allow one man, no matter how talented, to reign over both divisions. If Aries is to get his shot at the gold, he has to relinquish his X Division Championship, a title he's held for almost an entire year. 

Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic start to this episode of Impact Wrestling. A jaw-dropping  Ultimate X match, a ballsy promo, the attention of the biggest name in Professional Wrestling and an ultimatum not typically seen. It elevated Austin Aries in countless ways. He's no longer just another tiny X Division high-flyer, Hulk Hogan endorsed him as the future of the business! If there was even the slightest possibility that Aries could infact win the World Heavyweight Championship, he'd be a fool not to go for it. Unfortunately, we're in the midst of another bout of long term booking, as relating to Bobby Roode. He's been Champion since just after last year's Bound for Glory and has held onto the belt by whatever means necessary. It's blatantly obvious to anyone with even a passing interest that Roode will continue to hold the title until this year's Bound for Glory at the earliest, if not longer. TNA have invested so much into his elevation to the main event, that not even putting over another young up and comer like Austin Aries could hinder such motivation. Which puts the self-proclaimed Greatest Man Who Ever Lived in a quandary. Knowing full well that he won't win the World Championship at Destination X, that he'll come away with nothing, is that one main event match worth sacrificing the legacy he's built over the last year in the X Division?

Aries will obviously go for the title shot at the PPV and relinquish his X Division Championship in the process. I mean, when was the last time you ever heard of a wrestler turn down at shot at the World Heavyweight Championship? The only two positives I can see coming out of this situation are that TNA afforded Aries the privilege of never having to LOSE the X Division Title. In retrospect, everyone will be able to look back and remember Austin Aries dominated that division so thoroughly, they had to actively remove him from it - he's that damn good. Secondly, that even though he may lose his match at Destination X, that even though he may not see another chance for months to come, he's been genuinely elevated to that level. He's up there with the likes of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Mr Anderson, challenging for opportunities as he should be. It won't be a case of IF he'll get to that main event, it'll be WHEN.

The second and far more disturbing instance of long term booking from last week's episode revolves around the returning Cowboy, James Storm. Last year, TNA created the Bound for Glory Series, in which twelve top-tier wrestlers from Impact Wrestling competed against each other in a league of sorts, winning matches to amass points, all in the hope of winning a title shot against the World Heavyweight Champion at TNA's biggest show of the year (Bound for Glory if the name wasn't obvious). While last year's series was full of flaws and in need of serious overhaul, the basic idea was sound and gave much needed drive to many of the random matches that would crop up on Impact Wrestling over the course of the summer months.

This year they kicked things off with a terrific Battle Royal involving all the participants (barring Mr Anderson, as he had a title shot later in the night). Once again, my problem isn't stemming from the segment itself or even the winner, as I hugely enjoyed the match and James Storm's triumph. But for a three month tournament of sorts, tell me you can't see the ending coming a mile away. No matter who wins the series, no matter what hijinks ensue to screw with the result, we all know that James Storm is guaranteed that main event match against Bobby Roode come Bound for Glory. The former Beer Money partners' rivalry has been the driving force of Impact Wrestling all year and every time Storm comes close to ending Roode's reign of tyranny, something gets in the way and Roode retains. There's only so long this can go on and Bound for Glory is the natural endpoint. They both had a fantastic match at Lockdown and are sure to again at BFG, but do we really need to see three months of Storm beating eleven other guys for the privilege when we know it's already a done deal?

I'll eat my words if that doesn't come to pass, but it will and no one in their right mind would dispute it. Although, in a small effort to get someone else over, I'm willing to bet that someone else will win the series on points, just as Crimson did last year. Just as before, the top points scorers will have a match at No Surrender and THAT is when Storm will go over. He'll come second in the standings to look a good sport, whilst giving the rub to someone else with the points win.

At the end of the day, all I can is - Enjoy Impact Wrestling in the coming months. You know exactly what to expect!

Written by Mark Clements


Random Thoughts: Slammiversary X

A week ago TNA celebrated their 10th Anniversary in the wrestling business with the annual Slammiversary pay-per view, an event which announced the first inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame, saw a current WWE Champion make an appearance and the return of the Cowboy along with some solid wrestling matches.  

Hot Crowd

The show was held in Texas and was the biggest ever TNA event which gave the PPV a big time feel and unlike Lockdown the crowd were really hot for the product on offer. From Hulk Hogan's entrance to open the show to Sting's Scorpion Death Drop off the stage to close the show, the crowd were vocal, showing support to their favourite wrestlers and making this event worthy of the 10th Anniversary. 

The action on show also matched up with the scale of the event, in our preview blog we bemoaned the lack of build up to such an important event but that didn't seem to matter too much. The opening bout between Austin Aries and Samoa Joe was a very good, hard hitting match which saw Aries retain his X Division Championship, the title being added to the match in Hogan's opening promo, it was good seeing Joe back in singles competition, especially in such a good match where a rematch is more than likely, but it is now unclear whether the weight limit has been removed from the division or whether it's just a 'NO ABYSS ALLOWED' area. Speaking of Abyss he appeared during his "brothers" match with Bully Ray and provided a big assist to allow Joseph to gain the victory after he erm... hid under the ring for a while, maybe he should look under there for his brother as we are led to believe Abyss was living under there along with all the trash cans, ladders and tables. 

The main event was a typical TNA bag of tricks which ended with Roode smashing a beer bottle over Sting's head while the Brian Hebner was removing another bottle from the ring, besides the ending the match was entertaining but it's time for Roode to regain some credibility and pick up some wins as he did in last years Bound For Glory series as when he does eventually lose the title so far he hasn't won a lot of matches without assistance. 

Crimson - "Sorry About Your Damn Luck" 

Crimson's undefeated streak came crashing to an end after James Storm made his return answering the open challenge offered by the then 'undefeated one', it was great to see the cowboy back and equally to see Crimson's streak come to an end, but after going over a year without losing it felt a like it was thrown away without any build up, I don't know what Crimson will do now without the streak as it was his whole gimmick but hopefully we can all move on as we all know the only streaks worth anything in the industry recently were Goldberg and Samoa Joe.
Another in need of a new gimmick is Garett Bischoff who just isn't clicking with the fans even when pairing up with an surprisingly over Devon, especially if he continues to dance the way he did after his team picked up the victory over the Robbie's.
Hernandez bested Kid Kash in a random match that had no build up although it was a solid match that reminded the audience that both still existed, Tessmacher won the Knockouts championship ending Gail Kim's extended title reign although their match wasn't as good as their Sacrifice lock up whilst Mr Anderson defeated RVD and Jeff Hardy to gain a shot at the champ on Impact which is just another round of pass the number one contendership. 

Phenomenal Tag Teaming 

Vying with the X Division bout for match of the night was the battle for the Tag Team gold which isn't surprising as pointed out in our preview due to the wrestlers involved. The match crowned new champions with Angle making Kazarian tap out to the ankle lock, leading up to this the match mixed typical tag team action with action more likely to be seen in a four way including multiple different supplex's dished out by Angle, including a German on both Kaz and Daniels. 
It's a shame that the ex champions only held the belts for a month but hopefully this is the start of singles wrestlers pairing up ROH style and everybody having a partner to be able to go for singles and tag gold. 


Peeps in the house! Current WWE and former TNA star Christian Cage made an appearance to conclude the countdown of best moments in the company.  
Despite a rousing 'welcome back' and 'yes' chant this segment felt a little empty, with Christian given a few lines including a mention of the six sided ring and once the clip he presented had finished he was gone with only Taz mentioning that it was a surprise to see him despite everyone else knowing that he was going to be there. 
The video Christian announced as the number one moment was of Stings return to TNA in 2006 which ties into the moment earlier in the night when the same man was announced as the first inductee to the HOF. Sting going into the HOF is something of a given especially as he doesn't stand much chance of entering the WWE HOF unless they go on his WCW career. It's a nice reward for the Stinger who has resisted temptation of a big pay off to stick around with TNA to help build the company and it's also nice not to see Jeff Jarrett put himself as the first to enter. 

Slammiversary X was a good PPV which was TNA's second decent showing in a row after a strong Sacrifice event last month. There was plenty of talking points, a vocal crowd and two very strong matches, the only thing that caused a downer was the ending of the main event, but all signs point to TNA building on their past and moving the company forward setting their sights on the next big event - Bound For Glory. 

Writer: @Robbie_G_CH


TNA Slammiversary X (2012): Preview

This weekend marks the 10th Anniversary of TNA (despite the company being founded slightly before). I always thought Slammiversary should have been their flagship PPV on-par with WWE's Wrestlemania, but that honour goes to Bound For Glory coming this October. Anyway, let's have a look at what's in store this Sunday in Texas!

Kid Kash vs. Hernandez

If anybody knows a reason for this match, can they please inform the rest of us! A random match, added to the card at the last minute, featuring two wrestlers that haven't been on television for months. It's good to see these guys being used on a PPV, but to just randomly throw them on to what is one of the biggest shows of the TNA year makes no sense at all.

Prediction: Hernandez to start another push

Crimson's Open Challenge

Maybe against nobody, maybe against somebody, maybe against Goldberg? Crimson is looking to keep his streak going and I can't think of anybody who will come out to beat him who isn't already on the card.

Prediction: Crimson to win again... for now

Knockouts Championship
Gail Kim (c) vs. Miss Tessmacher

In a rematch from last month, Miss Tessmacher (forget the Brooke part, that honour now goes to Hulk Hogan's daughter) gets another shot at the gold. Another match which was set up coming out of last week's episode of Impact Wrestling, so it's hard to gauge what to expect from this match. At least their original match at Sacrifice had weeks of build up. Gail Kim has held the belt for a while now, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Tessmacher get the win. Although, I really did think it would be Velvet Sky to get the win over Kim in the end.

Prediction: Miss Tessmacher to get the win (to have a title change on the card)

Robbie E & Robbie T vs. Devon & Garett Bischoff

Firstly, does anyone actually care that Robbie E is obsessed with the Television Title? I suppose it's good that someone is, but in doing so, he is ignoring the fact that he could have a legitimate chance at tag team gold with Big Rob. This match has been set up over the course of numerous run-ins. However, it would have made far more sense to book it as a four way dance for the Television Championship. Garret Bischoff has been included, presumably due to the interference in his match (and that Jeff Hardy has better things to do with his time).

Prediction: Devon and Bischoff to pick up the win, not that it matters

Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park Esq.

One of the only matches on the card that has had some build up, despite the fact that one character isn't meant to be a wrestler. It will be interesting to see how this match pans out, as it could be a total beat down on Park to draw out the storyline. Alternatively (and far more likely), he could channel his 'brother' Abyss and give Bully a run for his money.

Prediction: Bully Ray in a one sided beat down

Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries

A match seemingly set up after Austin Aries accidentally sprayed Samoa Joe in the face with water on his way to the ring. Despite it's random beginnings, this should be the match of the night, with two of the best wrestlers in the company going head to head. Joe has cut a promo online intimating Aries is hiding behind rules as not to defend his belt, which leads me to believe this could also be the main event of Destination X but with the belt on the line. 

Prediction: Joe to beat Aries in an epic encounter to set up a rematch next month

World Tag Team Championship
Daniels & Kazarian (c) vs. A.J. Styles & Kurt Angle

One secret and a ton of interference has lead to this match, which wouldn't have crossed anyone's minds a couple of months ago. However, this has the potential to be match of the night. The four individuals involved are some of the best TNA have to offer and although they all should be doing better in singles competition, this match has the ability to showcase them and remind the fans of what they have.

It's a shame that the tag team division has no actual teams (RIP MMG) to compete for the belts, but hopefully these pairings can make other wrestlers adopt the ROH mentality that everybody should have a partner. In a perfect world, we will soon see a return of former Champions, Joe and Magnus, in the near future. 

Prediction: The Champs to retain as they have only held the belts a month and I feel there is still further to go in  this story

#1 Contenders Match
Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Rob Van Dam

A last minute addition to the card featuring three main events talents who've spent the best part of 2012 challenging each other for opportunities to compete against Bobby Roode for the World Heavyweight Championship. 

Despite the star names, this match was actually given away on free television just a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, this was only a mediocre match at best and since all three were involved in the fan vote for the Television Title, suggests that nobody actually knows what to do with any of them at the time of writing. Rob Van Dam won this match last time, so maybe somebody else will be given a chance.

Prediction: Jeff Hardy wins via pinfall to get his title shot on next week's Impact Wrestling

World Heavyweight Chapionship
Bobby Roode (c) vs.Sting

Sting returned several weeks ago, during Bobby Roode's victory celebrations for becoming the longest reigning World Heavyweight Champion in TNA's ten year history. He subsequently went on to defeat the Champion in a Lumberjack match on the first live episode of Impact Wrestling to become the number one contender.
There is long storied history between these two, so despite it appearing to have been booked last minute (as with the rest of the card), there is genuine history here stemming from when Sting was General Manager, so the contender will be looking for some well-deserved revenge for the torment he suffered earlier in the year. 

The opponent everyone wants to see go up against Bobby Roode is former Beer Money tag team partner, James Storm. However, judging by the recently announced PPV specials documenting the feud, this wont be happening until Bound for Glory at the earliest. The real question is whether Roode will carry the belt the entire year or if the Icon Sting will be given one last hurrah on the biggest stage before he retires? Both are plausible booking options. 

Prediction: Bobby Roode to retain his Championship

In closing, the card is incredibly stacked, but with little build up to the majority of matches, it's hard to know what to expect. Some matches have the potential to be excellent, while quite a few seem like TV matches thrown in to fill out the card. This PPV also features the announcement of the first inductee to the TNA Hall Of Fame and a surprising cameo appearance from current WWE Intercontinental Champion (and former NWA: TNA World Champion), Christian Cage! Tune in this Sunday to see how it all goes down!

As written by: @Robbie_G_CH
As editted by: Mark Clements