Welcome this week’s edition of “Ringside Review.” While I know this is was conceived to be a column where we’d review books, games, films etc, I’ve been on a TNA kick lately and “Bound For Glory” provides the perfect excuse to allow me to continue discussing it.
I’m not going to sit and review every match, segment and everything in between, but there were a couple of things I’d like to discuss in depth. If you saw “Bound For Glory” live and followed @WrestlinRambles during the course of Sunday night, then you probably have a pretty good sense of where this article might be going.
The first topic up for discussion is the evolution of the Aces and Eights angle. We had the first reveal of an identity, and it turned out to be none other than Devon Dudley. At the time people were shocked, and not in a good way. The pay-off of the last 5 months of watching Impact isn’t a debut or a re-debut…it’s the return of a guy who’s only been off Impact for 2 months.
Yes and no. First of all, I don’t for a second believe that Devon is the leader. He was still on TV when the Aces and Eights debuted and appeared. I didn’t believe at the time either and it was quite amusing seeing people’s reactions believing that he was the brains of Aces and Eights I must tell you, especially for a guy who’d been up for nearly a solid 24 hours when it happened.
Having Devon revealed is actually quite clever. I don’t think anyone saw it coming and it provided progression to the story. It provides enough info to keep the audience guessing behind the leader and the motives that they have.
I was glad they didn’t go the obvious route and have Bully turn on Sting. While it may eventually be revealed that he’s involved, keeping that away from overbooking the angle at “Bound For Glory” was a good decision. One of two things will happen though in my opinion: Bully will be revealed as being part of Aces and Eights or he’ll turn face. You heard it here first!
I wouldn’t be surprised if another two men on the show ended up being members of the Aces and Eights. “Bound For Glory” also saw Joey Ryan beat Al Snow with more than a little help from a returning Matt Morgan. It would make sense for the two of those guys to join the stable, especially if it turns out to be a group of guys who feel as though they’ve been “screwed” by the company.
As for who will eventually lead the stable? Unless they can lure an insanely big name in, the only viable candidate that I can see is Jeff Jarrett. Eric Bischoff would be extremely underwhelming in my opinion. Given that he had to “retire forever” if he lost at Lethal Lockdown then return a mere half a year later would be WCW-esque, and I’m not talking about the good stuff that happened in WCW.
The second topic of discussion is one which left me with an extremely bitter taste my mouth. The main-event that induced a level of rage I’ve felt toward a pro-wrestling company in my life was raised (Jericho in the Royal Rumble is a distant second place) when Jeff Hardy (Yes, THAT Jeff Hardy), emerged victorious over Austin Aries.
To say that this was not a popular decision with the live crowd would be a huge understatement. In my opinion there was a valid argument to be had as to whether Hardy deserved to main event the biggest show of the year, never mind be crowned as champion on it. Never mind the event, there’s a legitimate debate to be had as to whether Hardy should even have a job at TNA after the debacle at Victory Road last year. Not to mention he had been publically criticising the company in the period of time just before that happened.
Rumors are rife that TNA put the belt on him in an attempt to convince him to stay with the company. So, let me get this straight. A guy who turned up to main event a PPV against one of the most respected, revered figures in the wrestling world stoned out his face; who owes his career to said company for not throwing him out without his feet touching the ground and who would have been perfectly entitled to do so for his gross lack of professionalism is now being pampered and coddled to stay? Hardy should be thankful he even has a job, let alone be applying pressure back stage to be made champion, and if he doesn’t, well, he’ll just take his ball elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Aries who’s gotten himself over and been one of the men responsible for TNA’s vast improvement over the past year, is shafted for the benefit of Hardy? Guys like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Kaz and the one guy who’s been with the company through thick and thin, AJ Styles, are pushed to one side so that Hardy can be THE guy in TNA? Quite frankly it’s obscene and to me it symbolises everything that is wrong with this business.
Rather than just saying what was wrong, I’m going to outlay what could have been done instead of Hardy going over in the premier event that TNA have to offer.
I’ve seen Hardy supporters say “Hardy had to go over to complete the redemption story though.” Fine, but that didn’t have to be for the title or in the main event. Have one of the heels call him out after his failure in the BFG series (won by AJ Styles in my own fantasy world) and call him out on what happened. Hardy replies that he’s absolutely right, but that was who he was, not who he is now and that he’s going to get his redemption by kicking the said heel’s ass at Bound For Glory. The story’s still complete and Jeff Hardy isn’t anywhere near the main event.
Meanwhile we can have a Pay-Per-View main event featuring one of the major stars of the past year on Impact and one of the major star’s in TNA’s history. One of the men involved in their first show, their first ever X-Division Champion and their first triple crown winner pick up the gold in the biggest event in the year of their tenth anniversary. How could you have a better feel good story than that for “Bound For Glory.”
Let it be clear. I’m not criticising Jeff Hardy as a person or saying that he’s nothing but a junkie. I do believe that he has gotten himself together, and I’m genuinely happy for him. I’m unhappy that TNA have completely collapsed to his whims and are bending over backwards to accommodate him. Regardless of where Hardy is at now, nothing can compensate for his previous actions, and for him to be given preference over guys who have done very little wrong and who do everything asked of them by the company leaves me feeling extremely uneasy.
Anyway, this rounds up another edition of “Ringside Review.” I know this was a little top heavy on the Jeff Hardy situation, but I had a lot I wanted to talk about and a medium to do so, and I couldn’t let the opportunity to pass me by! Overall though, Bound For Glory was a sensational event in my opinion, albeit soured by the ending of the world title match but it’s rare that you see and event with so many quality matches. Even Van Dam’s match was good, which at this moment in his career is definitely saying something!
Ta Ta For Now!
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I’ll say it then, Hardy is nothing but a junkie. It was a shit decision to make him champion. TNA are better off without him.
From what I hear, he’s made a TON of strides.
Yeah until the next time he fucks up.
He could, but I wonder how many times this has happened before and we just didn’t know about it.
Mike, I completely agree with everything you’ve said. D-Von isn’t the “Aces & 8’s” mastermind, Ryan & Morgan will be involved w/A&8’s and Aries DID get shafted.
Here’s my take on Jeff Hardy. WWE tried to bend over backwards for Hardy in ’09 before he left and gave him a title run, but he still fucked off, did his own thing and got caught up in his “personal troubles”. Then he appears in TNA and does the most unprofessional thing I’ve EVER seen a wrestler do. Never mind that it was for their big title in the main-event of a PPV, he should’ve been fired even if that was a curtain-jerker on a house show.
Now for the last year or so, Jeff cleans himself up and then it’s almost as if TNA have selective amnesia and forgot the damage he did to their company at VR 2011. I agree with what you’ve said. Hardy didn’t have to win BFG, they should’ve had a heel, Samoa Joe or AJ Styles to win that. Joe because he’s not had that shot in years and AJ for putting up with that absolute clusterfuck of a storyline with Crack-Whore Claire.
Hardy could’ve faced a heel like Bully Ray (who took Hardy’s place in Immortal) or something like that, and climbed “back to redemption” that way. I think that TNA’s decision to give Hardy the belt will backfire and he’ll walk away from them, just like he’s done elsewhere.
Either that, or Aries beats him on Impact and the problem’s solved! lol
Might not be a surprise that I agree with every word here either!
One question though: If a guy who isn’t a “star” like Jeff Hardy pulls that stunt, do his feet even touch the ground on his way out the exit door and does he ever work for another major promotion in his life?
Couldn’t they have just fired him to spare us from his “promos”? For a guy who dubs himself “The Charimsatic Enigma” his mic skills are god-awful.
He needs to just paint his promo on his face.
Now there’s an idea.
I say Devon could be a plant on TNA’s part.
Would put it past them, TNA have been swerving their audience all year so I’m putting nothing past them at the minute! Kinda be reminiscent of Angle in the Invasion angle though.
DEVON, QUIT THE STABLE!!!
I hope Jeff’s reign goes better than his last one.
So long as it lasts as little time as possible, I couldn’t care less over how it goes. I’ll be rooting for anyone he faces in a title match. Unless it’s Hogan.
Yeah, I’m still waiting for Hogan to be become TNA champion. It’s gonna happen sooner or later, lol.
TNA might finally have managed to find a way to trump David Arquette becoming WCW Champ if they ever went down that route.
Can’t see it happening though.
It’s Hulk Hogan, so I won’t rule out anything.
Well that right there is one of the worst booking decision in wrestling history.
Awesome column buddy.
I read this yesterday on the WordPress.com app but only can comment now. I don’t really disagree with you on any of the subjects you covered. The show was not good to be their ‘biggest show of the year’ but better than average. I wasn’t disappointed that I made 3 hours for myself to watch it. I loved that they revealed Devon. He isn’t the main leader (which was confirmed on Impact BTW) so I like that they are continuing the story on further. TNA needs a long storyline like this one. You hit the nail on the head regarding Hardy mate! lol.
I think that’s a bit harsh to be honest. Maybe Bound For Glory didn’t blow some of TNA’s other shows out of the water (Slammiversary and Destination X I remember as being particularly excellent) but it was still a brilliant event that I enjoyed far more than the excuses for PPV’s that WWE have had this year headlined by Cena.
I’m gonna be real careful with how I word a few things here, because I’ve seen the latest Impact, and don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t seen it yet.
With the reveal of Devon, I actually had a similar reaction to Bully Ray, because I really didn’t see it coming. It also stopped me repeatedly going “please not Bischoff, please not Bischoff” as Hogan unmasked him. 😉 Having thought it over, it was a clever moment. I think if we’re all honest, we were expecting someone else to be revealed, someone who you could say “Damn, I had a feeling he’d be the leader” (i.e. Jarrett/Bischoff), so to do this was not only shocking, but an unexpected swerve. Fair play to TNA for doing this, AND keeping it so quiet, which in this age of wrestling isn’t that easy (look how easy Jericho/Taker’s recent returns blew up online). Now we continue puzzling over who the leader is, and I look forward to more of this storyline.
Onto Jeffrey Nero Hardy. I’m not a fan of this guy. I do believe in second chances (apart from certain cases), but this guy is close to double figures with the amount of chances he’s had in both WWE and TNA….and he still finds a way to fuck up, and both companies find a way to give him another chance! There’s no way he should have won the BFG Series to begin with, and I’m sure the original plan wasn’t to go with him winning. I mean, he did only sneak into the top 4 on the last night, and we had Samoa Joe and James Storm running away with it for months. It feels like they switched plans late on, to try to convince him to stay. Then they do the same with the World Title, using it as a tool to convince him to sign a new contract. But as pointed out above in the comments, it’s not worked before when WWE tried it, so I think it’s pointless TNA trying it. It also ends Aries reign before they can do anything properly to push him as World Champ, and pushing him aside (like Storm, Joe, etc) to dangle a carrot for something not worthy of the chance to hold the World Title again.
Victory Road should have been the sign TNA needed to terminate his contract, as that was the most embarassing moment I’ve seen in a wrestling ring. Considering how quick they released his brother with the DWI incident, it’s a bit poor they allowed Jeff back onto TV, and gave him everything they have done. Even worse considering Jeff was representing their company on worldwide TV.
Sorry about the long post, but the situation with Hardy has annoyed me for a while now…
I’m not sure why Hardy would want to leave to TNA. I seriously doubt WWE would take him back.
WWE have a history of giving guys who have had issues second/third/fourth chances in cases. HBK, Eddie, Marty Jannetty, Sean Waltman were all fired for substance abuse then rehired down the line. I could actually see Hardy back in the WWE, but purely as an enhancement to their top guys. I could see him being in programmes with heels at the top of the card but no danger WWE puts either of the World Titles on him.
Hardy is not a man who can be the face of a company anymore, either in WWE or TNA.
Don’t worry about the length of the reply! I’ve seen Impact and I’m really interested to see where they go from here. No spoilers for those who haven’t though obviously.
I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. It was amazing in this day and age that news about Devon being re-signed or revealed didn’t leak. In fact, they even managed to get some mis-information doing the rounds that Chris Masters and Jo-Mo were backstage before the event (they weren’t). So major Kudos to TNA for that.
I’d agree with you on plans being changed though. Storm was built for so long as the man who was going to win, but when they decided to take the belt off Roode it changed a few things. They teased AJ winning when he won that ladder match for the 20 points to propel him right up the board, but Hardy came from pretty much nowhere.
Good shout on the comparison with Matt though. He no-shows and gets some bad press. Jeff turns up stoned, gets taken off TV for 6 months then put back straight at the top of the card. I always preferred Matt anyway…