Countdown to TNA Bound For Glory
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
Is it Bound For Glory, or Bound For Oblivion? TNA Impact Wrestling seems in a real state of flux at the moment. Are the live, touring Impact tapings on their way out for a return to Universal Studios? What's the deal with Hulk Hogan's contract? Dixie Carter's a heel. Really?
With all that on our mind, let's have a quick look at the Bound For Glory pay-per-view, which is on Sunday at 8 pm ET, from Viejas Arena in San Diego, California.
World Heavyweight Championship - No Disqualification Match
Bully Ray vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles
Apparently, it was a little confusing at Impact on Thursday whether this would be a title match or not, but the official Impact website says it is. Bully Ray is in his second reign as TNA World champion, holding the belt since August 15, 2013 at the Hardcore Justice edition of Impact, when he knocked off Chris Sabin. AJ Styles, the TNA Day Oner, has actually only held the TNA World title once, but he did hold the NWA World title three times.
NOLAN HOWELL: All signs lead to AJ Styles on this one. Considering the alleged up in the air status of his contract, Dixie Carter has seemingly provided an incentive for Styles to stay be keeping him in the main event picture, much like she did for Jeff Hardy when grumbles went around about his status. The on-screen presentation provides that picture as well, as Aces & Eights are close to mutiny against their captain and Bully seemingly only has Brooke Tessmacher (and Taz) on his side. However, given the love of the swerve in TNA, something is fishy here. Look for Hulk Hogan, Dixie Carter, Brooke, and the Aces & Eights to play parts in what should be an overbooked screwjob in favor of Bully.
SLAM! WRESTLING READERS: Our loyal readers voted with AJ Styles, with 38% thinking he was going to win; only 6% think that Bully Ray will win. Most notably, though, are the 57% who think "Knowing TNA, someone else entirely." Sounds like TNA has a wacky reputation for its booking, doesn't it?
MATTHEW ASHER: Blame it on the booking, blame it on the story arc, but with Bully Ray as the President of Aces and Eights (which has like what, three members now?) winning the title back from Sabin a few months ago killed any interest I had in this match. AJ has won many more titles in TNA so I think Bully retains tonight because I don't see Dixie Carter bowing down and doing whatever AJ wants if he wins. The only way this works out for AJ is if Knux and Bischoff take their frustrations out on Bully, effectively ending Aces and Eights. Otherwise I expect Brooke to interfere to establish her and Bully as the new "Power Couple" with her as the Knockouts champ.
MATTHEW BYER: Being that apparently Hulk Hogan has signed a new contact with TNA this will likely be the match where he makes his triumphant return. The great question is whether or not Hogan will return as a face and a heel. What is without doubt is that this match will have a ton of interference involving the remaining members of Aces and Eights and Dixie Carter. I'll go with Hogan costing AJ Styles the match by blasting him with a chair shot meant for Bully Ray.
"The Icon" Sting vs. Magnus
NOLAN HOWELL: Magnus is someone TNA really wants to get behind. The tools are all there, although he still a little green. However, he has come along very well and this match should end up the way it was presented on-air: a match to put Magnus on the map. Perhaps there will be some shenanigans, given the uneasy ground the two stand on at this point, but Magnus should have the win over Sting.
MATTHEW ASHER: With all the issues Magnus has had to deal with over the past few months, there's no way he'll lose this match. Sting should put Magnus over with a clean victory.
MATTHEW BYER: Magnus is the one who desperately needs the win if he's ever to establish himself in the TNA main event picture, but being that TNA has tended to follow some of the unfortunate tendencies of WCW booking from the 1990s that's not likely to happen. The match will undoubtedly be a hard fought one, but it'll be Sting with his hand raised at the end.
Bobby Roode vs. Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle
NOLAN HOWELL: As far as TNA is concerned, it is Kurt Angle weekend. Because of that, it is hard to imagine anything but an Angle win here. However, expect Roode to be booked strongly here and the two should have plenty of time to put on what should be the best match of the show.
MATTHEW ASHER: Since Angle is the newest TNA HoF member, I see him making Roode tap out to the Ankle Lock in the sleeper hit match of the night. The only way Roode wins this is if Daniels and Kazarian interfere on his behalf and since I don't see them wining the tag titles, it's not going to happen.
MATTHEW BYER: It's been quite a while since Angle had a match so Roode may have more responsibility placed on his shoulders than normally would be. If Angle doesn't have too much ring rust this promises to be the match of the night. As for who wins I'll predict a victory by Angle to help cap off his TNA Hall of Fame honor.
Ultimate X Match for the X Division Championship
Austin Aries vs. Manik vs. Chris Sabin vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
NOLAN HOWELL: Tough one to pick. It could just be my misguided interpretation of the product, but TNA seems to be really high on Manik, and rightfully so because of his in-ring work. None of these men have been booked or portrayed in a sense that it would give you an idea that they'll be winning this match, so I will take Manik to retain.
MATTHEW ASHER: This is probably going to be the most entertaining match of the night. Hardy is the only one of these men to not be X Division champ yet. Based on that, I think he's the favourite to win.
MATTHEW BYER: This will be the match that much like the Roode/Angle one could be the best of the night. However, in this case it'll be dependent on making sure that all four participants are properly utilized throughout rather than focusing on just two wrestlers at a time which tends to happen with four-way matches of this ilk. Being Sabin is coming off a recent TNA World Heavyweight Championship run and needs to re-establish himself I'll pick him as the winner.
Tag Team Championship
James Storm and Gunner vs. Preshow Match Winners
NOLAN HOWELL: I'm expecting Storm and Gunner to take on the Bad Influence team of Kaz and Daniels. Given how the Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organization has been given so much time to develop on-air, it makes sense to give them a little shine by winning the belts here with their trademark dirty antics.
MATTHEW ASHER: Unless Storm and Gunner face Joseph Park and Eric Young, they're going to win. If Park and Young make it to the match, expect Park to get bloodied and channel his brother Abyss and take the titles home.
MATTHEW BYER: Obviously, this'll be the match the most difficult to predict because the opponent is dependent on who the Preshow Match Winners are. I'm not sure why, but my gut instinct is that James Storm and Gunner's opponents will be Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. If that's the case I'm pretty sure Daniels and Kazarian will win the match, but not the Tag Team Titles. If it is one of the other teams Storm and Gunner will probably be the winners.
ODB vs. Gail Kim vs. Brooke
NOLAN HOWELL: Firstly, this match might not even be completed if Lei'D Tapa has anything to do with it. If they are trying to put Tapa at the top, the only person that it would make sense to match her up with to maintain a little realism is ODB. I expect the match to be ended by Tapa clearing out all the women or ODB retaining and the two slugging it out.
MATTHEW ASHER: ODB is a good champ because you can tell she's not a Barbie Doll. Gail Kim is a great worker and proves despite her build she's a great wrestler. Naturally I expect TNA to screw this up and give the least talented of all three participants, Brooke the title allowing her and Bully to be the new "Power Couple" in TNA.
MATTHEW BYER: TNA has traditionally been pretty good when it comes to giving the Knockouts division sufficient time in the ring so hopefully that trend will continue. ODB is still in the very early stages of her fourth Knockouts Title run so she'll pick up the win in order to help further cement her championship status.
Preshow Gauntlet Match (Winners earn a Tag Team Title shot that night)
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian vs Joseph Park and Eric Young vs The BroMans vs Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez
NOLAN HOWELL: The first two teams listed make sense, as Bad Influence and Park and Young have been given a lot of TV time, with the latter getting their own mini-web series about their trip to Bound for Glory. I expect it to come down to these two teams and Bad Influence to get the win.
MATTHEW ASHER: If Knux and Bischoff were in the match, I'd vote for them since it would be possible for Aces and Eights to regain almost every belt. With that out of the question either EGO's Daniels and Kazarian or Parks and Young will walk out as winners. I assume BroMans will be one of the first two teams and will be eliminated in record time.
MATTHEW BYER: As mentioned earlier my prediction is for Daniels and Kazarian to win the Tag Team Title shot. It'll probably come down to them and Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez towards the end though.