Sometimes, you have to be guarded in your approach to reporting what is going on in the world of professional wrestling. Those of you who have been reading professional wrestling news on my suite of websites dating back to 1996 know that there are times when my sites just don’t cover certain stories – and there is a reason for that lack of coverage. For better or for worse, iMPACT Wrestling just provided a great example of why certain stories do not really need to be covered.
While other websites out there went through the effort of copying and pasting the weekly Bound for Glory Series standings, we didn’t really cover those standings on TNAStars.com. Some of you folks might wonder why we didn’t cover them and the answer is pretty simple: while the Bound for Glory Series was a method of moving a wrestler towards the main event for the biggest pay-per-view of the year, it was totally unproven in terms of delivering that outcome. In other words, we knew what the Bound for Glory Series was supposed to do, but we didn’t know whether or not it would be successful in getting us to that point in a manner that made sense and was entertaining.
And, for my money, the Bound for Glory Series failed at the finish line.
To be more specific, I think the Bound for Glory Series led the viewers to a certain, expected conclusion (Crimson challenging for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Bound for Glory) and then pulled that conclusion at the last minute. It’s almost like the audience was running in a marathon and then as the finish line was in sight, someone pulled the road out from underneath us so we all fell right smack on our faces.
Sure, I’ve watched the progression of the Bound for Glory Series and I’ve noticed that the writers were focusing on certain storylines. First it was the story about certain guys not having any points. Then it was the story (that hasn’t gone away) about Samoa Joe not being able to get a win. There was the somewhat lackluster removal of Matt Morgan from the tournament because of an injury. We also had a story between D’Angelo Dinero and Devon that crossed from before the Series and will likely last until after the Series. Then there was the #1 vs. #2 match between Crimson and Rob Van Dam. And now we have the “Samoa Joe as a one man wrecking crew, but being stopped by Matt Morgan” story playing prevalently into the last weeks of the Series.
But more so than any of these sub-stories, the larger story during the Bound for Glory Series was the ascent of Crimson as a formidable opponent for any challenger in iMPACT Wrestling and as a real contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Whether it was the Series’ intent or not, that was the story that rose above the rest of the pack and got some momentum from the audience. Crimson even got a new entrance theme (I think) and a new t-shirt from this push!
And then, at what seemed like the last minute, he was taken out of the Series due to an attack by… Samoa Joe? Really? This is the same Samoa Joe that has been getting the equivalent of X-Pac heat from the audience, right? This is the same Samoa Joe that hasn’t been relevant in iMPACT Wrestling in over a year and a half, right? This is the same Samoa Joe that still isn’t relevant after knocking one of the most fan favorite wrestlers out of the Bound for Glory Series, right? I mean come on already!
Now don’t read my aggravation here as a deep dislike of Samoa Joe. On the contrary – I think he’s a talent wrestler and has a great deal to offer iMPACT Wrestling. But after more than a year of being irrelevant does it make any sense to have this guy be the spoiler in the Bound for Glory Series? That question holds even more weight when you consider that iMPACT Wrestling is trying to make this Series an anticipated annual tournament. Having an irrelevant performer essentially destroy the Series at the last minute is just bad writing. I think most of you folks know that I’m never one to rip on the writing (or the writers themselves) at iMPACT Wrestling, but this decision really kicked the wind out of a pretty momentous summer for Crimson and his new legion of fans.
And no, I’m not looking forward to the eventual payback match between Crimson and Samoa Joe because, frankly, Samoa Joe is still irrelevant in the eyes of many fans (this fan included). There is a larger conversation here about someone as talented as Samoa Joe being uselessly booked, but that’s a column for another day.
In the end, we’re left with a Bound for Glory Series that features Bobby Roode, Gunner, James Storm, and Bully Ray as the top ranked guys. Sure, Bully Ray and Gunner have both come into their own as personalities and heels in the last few months (Bully Ray more than Gunner, but Gunner has still had a nice progression). And sure, Bobby Roode and James Storm could each build some momentum as singles wrestlers. Yet the question remains – are any of these guys as exciting to watch as Crimson was during his climb to the top of the Bound for Glory Series?
For this fan of iMPACT Wrestling the answer is a resounding no.
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