Bound For Glory 2013 is done and in the books. And for a company that is in transition, a transition that is really up in the air with all of the rumors and speculation, Bound For Glory really shed some light on those "changes" that are true. Over the past two years, the posts here on the DP following Bound For Glory have been optomistic and have toed the the proverbial "change" line.
Two years ago, we saw a company relying on wrestling's past and the history made by others as part of their identity and product (Bound For Glory is Bound By the Past). Last year showed promise, and exemplified what seemed like a focus-needle beginning to shift away from the dark cloud that hung over the 2011 BFG (Bound For Glory 2012 is Change New Creative Envisioned).
Tonight, Bound For Glory really left me not just entertained and thoroughly excited (of course because my guy, AJ Styles has the strap again), but truly intrigued and excited for the next couple of weeks.
It's been hard to really have that feeling about TNA Wrestling lately, because lets face it, the sudden rumors regarding financial issues has thrown a lot of cold water on what used to be a fiery and loud TNA fan base.
It's become super tough to wave the banner of TNA Wrestling as a fan. Not just because of the haters, but because of the company's lack of direction as well.
However, tonight, the winds changed. At least for one night.
Tonight, Bound For Glory was a product that felt more akin to a TNA that was looking ahead instead of looking around it's car or in the rear view mirror as it has been for a while.
As the show went off the air, it hit me that acts such as the BroMans were tag-team champions. Chris Sabin was your X-Division champion. Abyss returned, even to the sound of his original theme song. Gail Kim returned to the top of the knockouts division with the help of a new monster in Lei'D Tapa. ECIII debuted as a complete - yes, complete! - character package (entrance, music theme, squash match, finisher), as TNA is notorious for lousy wrestler debuts. Bobby Roode defeated Kurt Angle - cleanly! Magnus defeated Sting - cleanly! And AJ Styles, the face of TNA, is atop the company he helped put on the map.
Besides the obvious match results, there were little things - small details - which also made a big difference and glaringly made the feel of "change" even more apparent. Abyss' return and old theme was touched on, but what about the Aces and Eights lyrical theme for Bully Ray, something that already makes the new era of Aces and Eights different. Or how about Ethan Carter's theme song? As I once wrote in a guest column for TNAsylum (It's The Little Things In Wrestling), sometimes it's the little things that make the big difference. And it seems TNA is looking to maximize these efforts.
Another change was an obvious one of allowing the ending of matches and certain situations to play out and breathe, instead of the typical rush to the next segment. It makes a huge difference. It makes things matter. We saw it with Chris Sabin's win. We saw it in the replay of Gail's pin with the nuance of Lei'D Tapa never truly entering the ring and was therefore never seen by the referee for interference. And of course, the tremendously intriguing Kurt Angle/Bobby Roode finish.
Noticing that TNA is holding important scenes longer to let them sink in. A long needed detail.
— Dameon Nelson (@DameonNelson) October 21, 2013
Over the past few weeks, including tonight, there has been an increase in backstage segments and backstage promos which is another element that disappeared over the last year or so. An element that TNA does well, and an element that is vital in building matches and characters. Celebrating with protein shakes? C'mon, that was priceless.
And finally, even an added "quality and innovation" element to their matches returned, which once set them apart from other companies. We saw this in the tag team title match with that awesome double powerbomb/backstabber by Gunner and Storm, and of course, in the stiff and brutal main event where Styles attempted a springboard 450 splash to the outside and crashed through the table.
Those were "TNA! TNA! TNA!" moments. Not the cheap swerves or the next big faction storyline.
I'm not ready to fully give my wrestling fandom heart back to TNA the way it once had, but the changes to tonight were apparent and obvious, and to be honest, it was refreshing, intriguing, exciting, and most of all, entertaining.
Tonight felt like TNA Wrestling. You know, like the TNA Wrestling that earned those chants. The company I once knew that was looking to make history and not relive it. And surely, not to prop itself up by the history of others.
Bound For Glory was a entertaining pay-per-view, and I enjoyed it. I really did.
Hopefully, this BFG is the one I can look back upon as the night TNA Wrestling made me fiery and loud for their product again.
The night "change" truly happened and sustained for TNA Wrestling.