As you’ve probably heard by now, Matt Hardy won the TNA World Title this past Sunday at “Bound For Glory 2015”. However, less than 48 hours later, Hardy had already vacated the title due to some storyline reasons that we’ll get into in a bit. Now with no champion, it has been announced that there will be a 32 person championship series for the vacant title, likely cobbled together from matches taped at their marathon sessions back in July. While this looks like a horrible idea on the surface, we’re going to look at a few reasons why this isn’t surprising.
We’ll start in 2012. This was the first year of the Aces and 8’s, but at this point the story was still new. All we had so far were some masked men attacking here and there but no one had been revealed yet. At “Bound For Glory 2012”, two unnamed masked men defeated Sting and Bully Ray for full access to the Impact Zone (which loosely translated to “they can do anything they want.”). After the match, Hulk Hogan returned from an injury and grabbed a third masked man. The mask was ripped off to reveal……D-Von.
Yes D-Von. As in the D-Von whose solo career highlight was winning the TV Title after no one else wanted to accept an open challenge for a title shot. The same D-Von who was the second fiddle to Bubba Ray Dudley for years. As in the D-Von who was unmasked as the first named member of Aces and 8’s that made everyone collectively say “D-VON??????”
It was such a disaster and set the next phase of the story off on a horrible foot. While it would soon be revealed that D-Von wasn’t the boss of the team, that was the first impression. The entire story went downhill from there as the future reveals were nothing special and the whole thing wound up being about Hulk Hogan and Sting fighting off another invading force, but it all started badly with D-Von as the first reveal at “Bound For Glory 2012.”
Speaking of reveals, let’s look at one of TNA’s crowning achievements: the build to “Bound For Glory 2010.” This was a very complicated setup to a simple idea: a group of clandestine villains is lurking around TNA and planning on taking over the company with their big reveal coming at the pay per view. It was clear that the reveal would come in the World Title main event (which took place after Tommy Dreamer pinned AJ Styles in a Lethal Lockdown match) between Kurt Angle, Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy.
Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan came to the ring and it wound up being Jeff Hardy doing the big heel turn to win the title. So yes, the big idea at the end of the day was to take arguably the most popular guy in the company and turn him into a third banana to Hogan and Bischoff. After all those months of building Hardy up as a top star, they turned him heel for the sake of a shock and took away everything that made him into a star in the first place.
Finally we’ll look at a multi-year concept known as the Bound For Glory Series. This was a string of matches with the winners earning points throughout the competition and the four with the highest totals advancing to a mini tournament. The Series from from 2011-2013 and TNA never quite got the formula right.
Starting in 2011, the Series had 12 competitors. Here are the final total matches for everyone in the tournament (note that the last four didn’t finish the competition due to injuries):
Bully Ray – 16
Bobby Roode – 16
Gunner – 20
James Storm – 13
Rob Van Dam – 13
AJ Styles – 11
Scott Steiner – 10
Samoa Joe – 10
Crimson – 10
D-Von – 15
Matt Morgan – 5
D’Angelo Dinero – 17
It’s all over the place and somehow TNA didn’t figure out that they didn’t have enough time to have everyone get an equal number of matches. Roode wound up winning the Series and then lose the title match at “Bound For Glory 2011”, only to win the title about two weeks later, making the loss and Series as a whole relatively pointless.
After the 2012 version was a much better success (Everyone had 13 matches save for D’Angelo Dinero who was injured again and Mr. Anderson who had a World Title match instead of a Series match. Jeff Hardy won the Series and the title), the 2013 Series was another mess.
Again not everyone had the same number of matches as they ran out of time before needing to have the Series completed. In addition to that, AJ Styles, the eventual winner of the Series, didn’t have enough points to qualify for the final four so everyone was thrown into a battle royal for twenty bonus point (double what could be won in a regular match) to make up for the missing points. This one isn’t as bad as the first year, but again it came off like TNA didn’t know what they were doing when they started this whole thing.
On top of all that though, the 2013 Series wound up meaning almost nothing as Styles would win, defend the title once, and then leave a week later due to contract negotiations. This would be followed by yet another tournament won by Magnus, who then defeated Styles in a unification match. In other words, the whole Series was a waste of time and we didn’t get to the real champion until around the beginning of the year.
There are other questionable Bound For Glory decisions over the years (such as Sting winning the World Title three years in a row and dropping it back to Kurt Angle a week later on one occasion or the whole “Bound For Glory 2014” mess) but I think you get the point. TNA has managed to bungle so many of their major shows over the years that it’s really not a surprise that they did it again this year. When you break it all the way down, they simply don’t know how to run a top level show year to year. Maybe it’s thinking about it too hard or maybe it’s that they have no other alternatives, but it’s really not surprising.
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