Pope is the new number one contender. Am I surprised, yeah, a little. I was pulling for Desmond Wolfe as that guy has really impressed me in his feud with Kurt Angle and it seems like TNA has really dropped the ball on him having to put over their top talent and not getting too many victories. But I'll leave that for another time.
I also thought Abyss would pull off the victory as Hogan has been pretty high on the guy and said he just needed a little work to get him over the top. I thought this could have been it and give Abyss that extra something. Though, I feel he was a better, yet cheap, version of Kane rather than this little baby he has now become. Kind of reminds me of Eugene, without, well, you know...
AJ Styles was pretty much a favorite to retain the title, so a face winning this tournament was expected. Though, this is TNA and there really isn't any set faces and heels as they jump every couple of weeks it seems. All one has to do is align himself with Eric and feud with AJ/Flair to get the ball going on that. Though, none of that matters right now.
Pope is the new number one contender. Props to them on that, as Pope did get a victory over AJ on Impact. It makes sense for Pope to become the new contender (though poor Lashley STILL has a contract against the champ, even though he is no longer in the company). So the match is already given some good hype and story to it.
However, I don't see this being Pope's time to get the belt. All I see this being is nothing more than a title defense for AJ Styles. The next PPV is supposed to be an all X Division type show. With that said, I don't think they will push this match for another 2 months so it'll be a TV defense. And TV defenses usually have the champion retaining.
There is a lot of hype behind Pope. Fans are behind him, people think Pope is pimpin', and people like his glasses. As for me, it takes more than a couple of flashy moves, some cheap getup, and a ghetto act to make me take you serious inside the ring and get behind you. That's probably the reason Cryme Tyme hasn't really been given anything for quite some time.
People claim that Vince McMahon must be kicking himself in the ass for letting go of Pope. I disagree. He wasn't much in the company. He had a following, sure, but hell, there's a following for most WWE wrestlers. That's not saying much. The creative team saw nothing in him so they allowed him to walk. Great for both sides, really.
Pope is nothing more than a big fish in a very small pond. The main event of Against All Odds was nothing more than a WWE midcard match at best. The guys in WWE must be laughing to see two former midcarders now atop of the company.
Before people tell me Mr. Kennedy is a Main Event wrestler in the WWE, he was always injured before he could get moved to that spot. One US Title reign, a MITB in which he did not even get to cash, and two feuds against future Hall of Famers does not equal being a Main Eventer yourself.
As for Pope, he's probably enjoying himself being at the top of TNA. However, being TNA World Champion really isn't pimpin', if you ask me. I know ECW is now dead and gone, but the TNA World Championship might be considered lower than the ECW Title. The reason I say that is for the fact that Impact and ECW bascially had the same amount of viewers, big difference, though, at least the ECW Champion is usually on WWE PPVs that get bought and gets to open Smackdown shows, which both get higher numbers and attendance than a TNA show.
True, it's nice being at the top of a company, but isn't it settling to be happy being at the top of a company not many people care about rather than trying to be with the top company? That's like saying I'm happy to be a champion for the XFL and not want to play and win the SuperBowl (yes, I went there). If it was just about being at the top of a company, I doubt someone like Danielson, Punk, and others would leave ROH and go to the WWE.
With that said, Vince probably doesn't care for what could have happened with Pope in the WWE. Pope is a dime a dozen. Yes, I'll say it again. The Pope is a dime a dozen.
See, WWE has enough talent to last for a long time. The farm system in WWE is incredible, which is why so many people are looking forward to NXT. Then we have guys like Miz, Morrison, DiBiase Junior, Rhodes, Punk, Cena, Orton, etc etc etc that can easily carry the company into the future. WWE don't need Pope for anything. Pope, however, needs to go back to the WWE if he wants to see if he can make it in the big leagues. However, with the way WWE treats TNA works, seems like Pope would need to work extra hard to be pimpin'.