The Bound for Glory Series has become a valuable asset for TNA, but what if the WWE were to present a similar concept using their current roster?
The TNA team have long impressed with their proclivity for using tournaments and competitions to keep to product interesting, to engage fans looking for a longer-term story development and to elevate several superstars at once.
Most importantly, the Series gives TNA a flexibility of booking and a direct complexity which benefits each and every contest involved in the summer and early autumn run-up to the eventual event.
The current edition is no different, with twelve of the federation’s more interesting stars competing for the chance to challenge for the TNA championship at the Bound for Glory PPV. Each character fulfils a set role within the field and creates a thoroughly engaging dynamic.
By comparison, the WWE have opted not to use tournaments in such a regular fashion and have failed to realise the significance and the benefit that such competitions can bring to their product and the advantages they can have on the roster.
Take King of the Ring for example. Once a brilliant device for elevating stars, for making the irrelevant relevant again and for giving the bookers flexibility in approach and execution, the tournament gradually drifted down the list of company priorities.
After Brock Lesnar’s victory in 2002 it ceased being an annual PPV—despite the subsequent propensity for themed events—and despite the effective reign of King Booker following his victory in 2006, dropped off the radar after William Regal’s triumph in 2008 and Sheamus’s reign in 2010.
This article imagines who would fill ten certain, specific roles were a Bound For Glory-esque tournament to be introduced into the WWE.
Big E. Langston is Jay Bradley
It is a wise idea for TNA to include a rookie in the Bound for Glory Series. Such a character can give the tournament a change of pace, can vary the complexion of the competitors and gives the bookers a broad flexibility of storylines.
At the very least it allows a young talent to enjoy the rub of seasoned competitors and to test himself, finding his name up in lights, against some of the best in the business.
Last year Robbie E filled this role, while this term it is Jay Bradley who fills the ‘Rookie Slot’ in the selection.
Even though Big E. Langston is making inroads for himself in WWE’s emissions, I could see him effectively playing this role in the Series.
Like Bradley, Langston has great promise and his character would not be damaged terribly by losing regularly to established competitors. The pair both have fairly one-dimensional finishers, overly-hyped by commentators, and their in-ring output would surely benefit from such an experience.
Brodus Clay is Joseph Park
Like him or loathe him, Joseph Park is an engaging character who consistently manages to create a spectacle and draw a reaction from the fans. In the BFG Series so far he has skilfully been booked in order to advance those around him, but in a way that has not been detrimental to his own character.
In this respect, Park is a hugely valuable asset to TNA.
While Brodus Clay currently fulfils a different role in the WWE, he has the capacity to benefit his company in a similar way. Like Park, he possesses an imposing physique and is a very real physical threat to opponents.
Similarly, his primary role is as light relief, a dancing lump complete with catchy theme music and an oversized companion.
I hope that Brodus can be used in a more dynamic capacity in the future, and while their characters will surely be very different, Park provides a template for the comedic big man. WWE would do well to take note.
Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow are the Bad Influence
Many people are excited by WWE’s handling of the breakup of the Rhodes Scholars and the subsequent fallout. It may be early days, but indications suggest that both men can feasibly be elevated as a result of Sandow’s traitorous actions at the Money in the Bank PPV.
There are few more effective ways of breaking up a duo than the sharpening of both men’s ambitions as an individual prize draws closer.
It happened with Rhodes and Sandow and it may be happening again with the Bad Influence.
News that Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian would be competing next week on Impact was initially greeted by characteristic bravado and humour, but this eventually gave way to hard-nosed desire as the latter emphasised his desire to claim the points.
Could the Bad Influence be on a collision course similar to that of the Rhodes Scholars?
The Miz is Bobby Roode
If Bobby Roode wants to understand a fall from grace and a drift into obscurity, he could do a lot worse than asking The Miz.
Both men were, at one time, at the absolute peak of their respective companies. Roode was the longest reigning TNA World Champion in history, while Miz managed to main event Wrestlemania and score a victory over John Cena—albeit in a contest that was overshadowed by The Rock’s involvement.
Since then, both have struggled. While Miz’s character will take an awful lot of renovation to even begin to assail the heights that were once his, Roode could quite feasibly turn things around.
His disastrous start to the BFG Series prompted a more focused, determined character twist and the methodical, in-ring approach has given way to a more desperate assault on the competition.
His underhanded victory over Hernandez was a case in point.
Both of these men can understand what it means to explore unthinkable depths to once again stand on top of the mountain.
Wade Barrett is Magnus
Barrett and Magnus have, until now, held similar roles in WWE and TNA respectively.
Beyond their nationality and their physiques, the pair have both perennially threatened to break through to the main event, constantly presented as legitimate threats, but without making that extra leap to the top of the card.
Both have the potential to be the complete package, but both enter (or would enter) the Series as dark horses.
However, while Money in the Banks and Royal Rumbles have come and gone without Barrett making a major impact, Magnus looks to be grasping his current opportunity with both hands.
Sitting atop the rankings with an enormous 49 points from six matches—already more than half of last year’s competitors managed—and an established part of the Main Event Mafia, Magnus has emerged as one of the company’s key figures.
How his compatriot can only dream of a similar breakthrough.
Dean Ambrose is Mr. Anderson
While Mr. Anderson is a competent and realistic contender in the Bound For Glory Series, it is clear that his key priorities lie elsewhere.
All of this has meant that Anderson’s participation in the BFG Series has been less than wholehearted, often letting his disdain for the Mafia get in the way of the ultimate goal.
Dean Ambrose would be an ideal fit for this position.
Like the former WWE star Anderson, he is a terrific in-ring performer. The pair match great technical skills with excellent story-telling ability and succeed in engaging wholeheartedly with the audience…not to mention some expertly delivered facial expressions.
Similarly, Ambrose’s main attention since winning the U.S. title has not been on his own personal in-ring achievements, but on the fortunes of his stable, The Shield.
While an Ambrose/Mark Henry clash may be on the cards somewhere down the line, the team leader’s singles career is currently on ice while he backs up his own soldiers.
Alberto Del Rio is Austin Aries
Despite winning almost all there is to win and constantly commanding television time and company attention, Alberto Del Rio persistently fails to convince in one of the WWE’s top spots.
Now back as a heel, he once again holds one of the key titles, but for how long?
It feels like too much of the same from the Mexican aristocrat.
Things aren’t quite as bleak for Austin Aries, who does manage to draw a response from fans and does succeed in competing in regularly engaging matches, but still feels a little too lightweight for a top spot. Too reactive rather than proactive.
However, like Del Rio, it too often feels like Aries is enjoying a status and a profile that is above him. It’s great that the company are investing in and backing a talent to the hilt, but both men still have to prove—despite the accolades and the monikers—that they can thrive as each company’s key heel.
Kane is Hernandez
While I had earmarked Hernandez as an outside bet to steal into the top four of the Series, early results suggest that his destiny is elsewhere. Super Mex currently sits in eighth place, with only seven points from six matches.
Even though he isn’t picking up the victories, Hernandez remains a viable threat and a major scalp for the other competitors to take. This is despite receiving a number of stalled pushes over the last few years—a factor that did tempt me to consider Jack Swagger or Wade Barrett as his ‘replacement’.
Both men have been described as unsung loyal servants to their companies.
Like Kane, he is a tag team specialist, and the pair also possess admirable agility for so-called “big men”. Time and time again they manage to alight a dormant audience with a high flying move, imaginatively conceived and audaciously executed, for men so imposing.
However, like Hernandez, Kane is regularly used as an obstacle for other wrestlers to overcome, a physical face who carries prestige, an impressive notch for the bed post.
A WWE Bound for Glory Series would surely see Kane playing a similar role to his Mexican counterpart; ostensibly a serious competitor, but ultimately, likely to fall short.
CM Punk is AJ Styles
While AJ Styles and CM Punk are both very complex, multi-faceted individuals, incredibly different from each other, the pair do share some similar characteristics.
I could easily see CM Punk slipping into the ‘Greatness Reconfigured’ spot in the BFG Series.
Both men are dark, brooding individuals, they both command the instant respect from fans and both possess the technical grounding and independent education to thrive in the big match environment against a multitude of opposition.
Styles’s current apathetic outlook is not dissimilar to some of the attitudes Punk—in a heel capacity—has adopted over the years.
Styles enters the BFG Series as the brooding heel, the isolated figure who rejected the advances of the Aces and Eights to forge his own pathway. Similarly, Punk is now going it alone having refused the courtship of his ‘Best Friend’ Paul Heyman.
While both men have enjoyed different fan reactions for their decisions, they are both adept at thriving as either a face or a heel. They would both command a valuable spot in such a tournament.
Let me know what you think of my proposed Series down below and comment on who you think should fill the remaining spots. Don’t hesitate to seek me out on Twitter: @Eddydove