This week’s edition of Impact Wrestling continues developing TNA’s three major summer storylines: Chris Sabin winning the TNA World Heavyweight Title, Aces & Eights vs. the Main Event Mafia, and the Bound for Glory Series. Below is a rundown of all advertised segments:
TNA Says: HUGE MAIN EVENT ANNOUNCED: For the first time on broadcast television, it will be AJ Styles vs. Austin Aries in a Bound For Glory Series match! Watch as two of the top superstars in wrestling battle for the first time on IMPACT!
Dave Says: On paper, this is a great, great matchup. It will be interesting to see the recently slowed-down A.J. work his new style against a man who wrestles as fast and hard as he did in his own rise to stardom, if not more so. This match is also novel in that it’s fairly unpredictable – both Styles and Aries are receiving strong pushes and both of them effectively play “tweener” characters.
Best Case Scenario: These two have a fairly long TV match featuring back-and-forth action. A.J. plays the more heelish role, working Aries’ leg to slow down the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived’s high-flying offense. Aries goes into a hot comeback, but Styles cuts him off and makes him tap to the Calf Killer for 10 BFG Series points.
Worst Case Scenario: Neither character is ever established through work or a promo to be the heel (as was the case with Roode vs. Aries at Destination X). Styles and Aries completely fail to mesh as each insists upon working his pace and ignoring the other’s. Aries wins clean in the middle of the ring with his Brainbuster, destroying any mystique left in A.J.’s comeback.
TNA Says: AS VOTED BY THE FANS: The following Bound For Glory Series matches will air on Thursday: Austin Aries vs. AJ Styles Joseph Park vs. Jay Bradley Hernandez vs. Bobby Roode
Dave Says: Apparently whoever writes these previews has fallen in love with capital letters. I wonder if the exclamation point knows he’s fooling around behind her back. All kidding aside, one of these matches is very exciting – the one I already wrote about. The others, less so.
Best Case Scenario: The Park vs. Bradley match does not simply focus on the Abyss storyline and end with a disqualification as many of his BFG Series matches have. Bradley is allowed to showcase his strength in the ring and draw some heat from the crowd by pounding Park into a pulp and winning with his Boomstick finisher. Roode manages to make Hernandez look like a real wrestler before ultimately hitting the Payoff for the seven-point win.
Worst Case Scenario: Joseph Park and Jay Bradley wrestle a sixty-minute Broadway in which Abyss appears no fewer than six times. When the time limit draw is announced, the crowd riots, killing Jeremy Borash, Christy Hemme, and Eric Young. Hernandez is finally betrayed by the heel Chavo and, in shock, drops Bobby Roode on his head, ending his career.
TNA Says: Plus, Thursday’s IMPACT will feature a HUGE main event bout as it will be CHAMPION vs. CHAMPION! NEW World Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin will battle NEW X-Division Champion Manik! Don’t miss what is sure to be an action-packed match between two of the most acclaimed high-flying superstars in wrestling today!
Dave Says: Wait, didn’t they already say Styles vs. Aries was the MAIN EVENT in very persuasive caps lock? Now I’m just confused. On a serious note, you have to read pretty far down this preview before you see World Heavyweight Champion Chris Sabin’s name. That’s a problem.
Best Case Scenario: Sabin has a highly athletic, hard-hitting match in which he shows fans who may not know him as well what he can do. Sabin brings his signature X Division “energy,” but works a more dramatic main event style which helps him contrast with Manik in a clear way. These two have a fifteen-plus minute match (during which Aces & Eights stays away) that Sabin ultimately wins cleanly with his finisher in the middle of the ring. The match serves to establish Sabin as an athletic, fighting champion and does something to make Manik’s character more real and intriguing.
Worst Case Scenario: Sabin blows out both his knees, necessitating the finish to be changed on the fly. Manik becomes the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion and begins his Masked Reign of Mystery, or something terrible like that.
TNA Says: In addition, the Main Event Mafia continues their war with Aces and Eights for supremacy in TNA! But this Thursday, rumor has it that the Mafia has an offer to make to the Aces and Eights that the gang won’t be able to refuse! What do Sting, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Rampage Jackson and Magnus have planned for the Aces? Tune in and find out!
Dave Says: Remember when I was miffed that I got so far down in the preview without talking about Sabin? I am not miffed about how long it took to get to the Main Event Mafia vs. Aces & Eights.
Best Case Scenario: Both groups actually start talking about a clear, decisive confrontation that will pay off this angle rather than just chirping back and forth about how great they are. A few matches are announced for Hardcore Justice between the two groups, including Joe and Magnus versus Bischoff and Brisco and Kurt Angle versus Ken Anderson.
Worst Case Scenario: The Main Event Mafia and Aces & Eights take up more than a combined twenty minutes cutting promos saying the same old stuff about who’s “in charge” and who “runs TNA.” The Main Event Mafia are so filled with outrage and babyface zeal that they storm the A&E locker room, only to be cut off and badly beaten down.
TNA Says: Also, Thursday’s IMPACT will feature more news on the special August 15 “Hardcore Justice” edition of IMPACT on SPIKE, featuring the big Steel Cage World Heavyweight Championship rematch with Chris Sabin vs. Bully Ray!
Dave Says: I don’t typically talk about TV ratings, but this seems like a blatant attempt to try and recreate Destination X’s modest ratings success with only a few weeks’ planning time. Does this represent TNA going back to the storytelling shortcuts of the monthly pay per view era?
Best Case Scenario: At least one other “big” match for Hardcore Justice is announced besides Bully Ray’s steel cage rematch. Also, the concept for Hardcore Justice is more fully explained (Is it all “hardcore” matches? Will deserving stars get “justice?”) so that it seems like something special to look forward to – not just another edition of Impact.
Worst Case Scenario: EV 2.0 emerges from the back to announce that they are back in TNA and they’re taking over. After August 15, Stevie Richards is TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman are Tag Team Champions and Raven is X Division Champion. Everybody throws up at once.