Twenty-one days and counting.
If you weren’t clear on the importance of the Bound for Glory final between Jeff Hardy and current TNA World Champion Austin Aries, let me sum it up for you. This match needs to hit a home run for a lot of reasons.
Personally, I like the way TNA has gone about starting the hype for this match. Hardy is the solid veteran who was the surprise finalist and winner over Bully Ray to get the title opportunity after he had been so close over the course of the year in matches with then champion Bobby Roode.
Aries, the current champion, is somewhat of a loner who is popular but craves the fan support Hardy has gotten in TNA and over the years.
It’s a classic tale of two superstars at different crossroads in their careers.
And with the interchangeable “part” being Bully Ray, who will now claim he has a legitimate gripe to challenge for the TNA Title since he beat Aries this past week on television (albeit with some help from his infamous chain), there is plenty to build on leading into the match three weeks from now.
I have to give it to TNA for their storytelling ability, which outshines the WWE by miles. Old school NWA and AWA themes, vignettes and backstage presence make the company more in tune with the “wrestling” aspect of the business. It is what those like Sting, Hulk Hogan and Jeff Jarrett grew up on and learned.
And to think two potential aerial assassins and mat technicians like Hardy and Aries could tear down the house in arguably TNA’s most important PPV event of the year is phenomenal.
Again, it’s something I cannot wait to see.
My only fear is that the fans of TNA may not want this finale the way Bound for Glory went down last year with the loss by Bobby Roode to Kurt Angle, the subsequent heel turn on James Storm and the months of buildup for Storm’s return, only to see the Cowboy fall short again of his goal.
And with stories recently of Hardy possibly looking toward a return to the WWE (via sescoops.com), does this mean a great series such as Bound for Glory has been produced with no real exciting end in sight?
Yes, the match will deliver—I have no doubt about that. But I wonder if a victory for Hardy (should it happen) will prove to be hollow. Or if Hardy were to win and Aries, the sulking sort, does not get what he wants in the way of fan support, is there a heel turn in his future again?
I’m always curious how a company thinks about its matches and how they prepare programs that are supposed to run for months on end. It’s hard to see Bound for Glory be anything other the SummerSlam of events for TNA; its loyal fans love the angle, promos, vignettes and the planning that goes into it yearly.
This time, however, because there really was a surprise ending to the lead-up to the finale, the final must deliver without hesitation.
And the outcome must lead us to an even more important end-of-the-year finale that will make us believe giving Hardy the title shot was the right thing in the first place.