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TNA pins down right formula
Upstart wrestling company should pull out all the stops for upcoming pay-per-view
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


The NFL has the Super Bowl.

In baseball, it's the World Series.

For WWE, it's Wrestlemania.

And for TNA Wrestling, America's No. 2 grappling group, the flagship event of the year is Bound For Glory, which goes down tomorrow night on pay-per-view.

The card is headlined by a world title clash between Jeff Jarrett and challenger Kevin Nash but hardcore mat fans are more excited about the undercard, which is as loaded as Sammy Sosa's bat.

AJ Styles (the company golden boy with major mainstream break-out potential) will take on Christopher Daniels in a 30-minute Iron Man match, Jushin Liger makes a rare trip to North America to face Samoa Joe and the X-Division guys (think cruiserweights on speed) go at it in an Ultimate X match.

TNA's game plan seems to be succeed in every area WWE fails, so the in-ring action is usually the centre of attention: More violence, technical wrestling and high flying; less time spent on corny backstage skits and dull 20-minute monologues.

Regular TNA pay-per-views tend to be five-star affairs and since the company wants this to become its version of Wrestlemania, it'll be pulling out all the stops to make tomorrow night seem like a big deal.

The show will be the exclamation point on what has been a banner month for TNA.

The group's Impact TV show on Spike TV has settled into a regular rating of around a million viewers Saturday nights and another half million or so for the Monday night replay.

Not only is that more than double the viewership WWE was doing in the same Saturday time slot, it's a substantially higher cable rating than most NHL games draw in the U.S.

Spike TV bosses are so happy with the numbers that TNA is already in line for a prime-time special, just three weeks into their deal with the network.

A two-hour show will be taped in Orlando Wednesday to air on Spike TV in early November.

- - -

TAPE DELAY: Many wrestling fans wonder about the Stampede Wrestling tape library, one of the biggest remaining wrestling archives not owned by WWE.

Although WWE has gained the rights to use a couple of Bret Hart's old matches for an upcoming DVD, the Stampede Wrestling library -- with all its classic Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid, Owen Hart and Duke Myers matches -- still belongs to the Hart family.

Negotiations with WWE reached a stalemate in 2004, while talks with The Fight Network (Canada's new cable TV station dedicated to wrestling and boxing) are ongoing.

Of course, all this attention couldn't have come at a better time for Stampede Wrestling itself.

Canada's most famous grappling organization recently re-opened its doors, after shutting down earlier this year.

Taking a lead from the PWA group, which is doing phenomenal business in Edmonton, Stampede Wrestling runs shows every other Friday in Calgary, with Harry Smith,

TJ Wilson, Apocalypse and Nattie Neidhart among the key players.

Under new management, the group is drawing solid attendance numbers for an indie fed, with as many as 250 fans showing up for some events.

The next Calgary Stampede event takes place Friday at the

Bowness Community Centre.