TNA Bound for Glory 2014 HITS:
Samoa Joe vs. Low Ki vs. Kaz Hayashi: On a show with very little positive, this match truly stood out. Quite frankly, I had forgotten how good Kaz Hayashi was from his WCW run nearly 14 years ago. Combined with the lengthy history between Samoa Joe and Low-Ki, and Mike Tenay’s excellent colour commentary (although he was supposed to be the play-by-play guy), this match was the star of the show for me. It’s a shame it wasn’t given a little bit more time to develop, as there was a lot of crap from this show that could have been cut.
Andy Wu and Hijo Del Pantera vs. Kuroshio Ikemen Jiro and Yusuke Kodama: Again, on a show with very little positive, I’m grasping at a straw here. I enjoyed this match for it’s athleticism, but I had absolutely no idea who any of the four men were prior to the match, and would have a really difficult time picking them out of a crowd following the match. On an episode of Impact, this match would have been top-notch. But on the biggest Pay Per View of the year? Barely above passable.
TNA Bound for Glory 2014 MISSES:
Overall Show: I’m not going to bother breaking this down, match by match. The entire show was atrocious. Is this the same company that’s struggling to find a domestic television deal? If the effort put into their PPV was any indication to what audience they’re hoping to draw, or carry-over to a new network, I have no idea what that audience is. I’m not even really sure where to start.
Korakuen Hall is a popular Japanese venue, and historic in many ways. However, to the American television audience that has never heard of it, it looks incredibly second-rate on television, especially considering Bound for Glory is to be considered TNA’s biggest Pay Per View attraction of the year. Although the building appeared to be sold out, I would be shocked to hear that there were more than 1000 people in attendance. When you can hear individual cat calls on a post-produced show from members of the audience, the venue is too small the second biggest North American wrestling company to host its biggest Pay Per View of the year.
The post-production process was awful, as well. Mike Tenay and Taz commentated the event from TNA offices in Nashville, which speaks volumes. I understand the budgetary concerns in TNA right now, but would Vince McMahon have Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler commentate WrestleMania from the basement of Titan Towers in Conneticut? Never, ever, ever. If TNA can’t/couldn’t afford to properly produce the show, they shouldn’t have had it in the first place. Again, I remind you, this was supposed to be their WrestleMania.
The card was downright atrocious. If you skipped this PPV, you can watch Impact this week, having not missed a single thing. There wasn’t a single match that carried any consequence into this week’s episode. Even by TNA standards, this PPV meant the least of any offering in the past 11 years, and was arguably one of their most important. The best heel in the company to this writing, Ethan Carter III, was stuck in a lower-midcard comedy match with the Japanese version of Rikishi (complete with moveset). MVP wrestled Kazma Sakamoto for nearly 10 minutes. Yes, the same Sakamoto that was slapped silly by Tensai in WWE years prior, and then was promptly released. I understand he’s a good-to-great wrestler, but the American audience doesn’t know anything about him. TNA did nothing to build him, or anybody besides The Great Muta, in the weeks leading to this PPV. So, as far as the American audience knows, one of TNA’s lead characters was taken the distance by Prince Albert’s punk whipping boy.
And on the topic of the Great Muta, with all due respect, he has no business being in the main event of a major PPV in 2014. The Great Muta was an amazing piece of talent, but for the same reason why we won’t see Booker T headline WrestleMania this year, we shouldn’t see Great Muta headline Bound for Glory, either. The match was awful, and easily ranks in the top 5 worst main events in the past 30 years of any major wrestling company (WCW, ECW, WWF, TNA, RoH, WWA, etc. etc.)
This wasn’t a TNA One Night Only PPV, available for $10. This was Bound for Glory, available for $49.99. Despite fighting an uphill battle against WWE, and their $9.99 Network of endless content, live specials, and Pay Per Views, TNA presented what can easily be pointed to as their worst PPV ever (and there have been some real doozies in their history). The gimmick of having your biggest Pay Per View of the year in Japan shouldn’t have been relied upon as your one and only selling point. You have endless amounts of talent at your disposal. The gimmick of having a few Japanese wrestlers that most American fans are unaware of on your PPV shouldn’t have been your only selling point. Putting your biggest show of the year in a building that, on television, doesn’t look any different than any number of the thousands of independent wrestling venues that I, myself, have wrestled in was a huge mistake. Perception is reality, and coming out of TNA Bound for Glory 2014, my perception is that TNA has just simply thrown their hands up in the air, and said fuck it.