Devon? Devon? That's bloody great! I was absolutely blown away by certain segments of Bound For Glory, but Devon was the creative crowning glory of the night. I'm not sure how it all went down, how Devon's contract issues were figured out, who's idea it was to change from Bully turning on Sting and being announced as the leader of Aces & 8's, but it was just fantastic! What made it that much better was the way Bully sold the swerve. The look on Bully's face was one of utter shock and dismay, something that made that segment so much more than it would have been otherwise.
The other segment of BFG that's stayed with me through this week was the Street Fight. Storm and Roode had a lot to live up to. They've been building for that feud since they first started tagging together, and they're actual issues have been going on for about a year, so they had a lot to work out, and a lot of fans salivating to see them destroy each other. I think TNA did a decent job of setting up the final tense moments between them the past couple weeks on Impact. At first I wasn't thrilled about King Mo being added as the Special Guest Enforcer, but I think he worked out well, and like Bully, his facial expressions added so much to the match! When an MMA fighter is watching a wrestling match in awe, with absolute dismay on his face, you know those wrestlers are utterly killing each other out there. Storm had a crimson mask that would put Flair to shame! If you haven't seen this match, I can't say anything to truly describe the way Storm bled. Ellie and I have talked about 'splat on the mat' for years, especially before the WWE got squeamish, and the 'splat on the mat' has turned into a real indicator for color in a match, but Storm left a huge splat on Roode's back after a move, then Roode left a 'splat on the mat' from the residual blood on his back. To me that shows just how much blood was gushing down Storm's face. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all about the blood, those two men about killed each other out there in and around that ring. They hit moves that left me gaping. It was beautiful, and while Storm won – as I felt he should – I don't think this feud is quite over. I can't wait to see what else might happen.
My least favorite moments of BFG were when Aries lost his Title after giving such a great fight, and when Jesse came to the ring and sucked face with Tara. Honestly, I figured Tara' 'boyfriend' would be a Q list nobody (who I only know about from watching this past season of Big Brother to watch Frank Eudy – Sid Vicious' son – and Jesse popped in as an annoying guest), but nobody needed to see them mauling each other in the ring. And then there's Aries who gave us a great match, has given us a great Title reign, one so many of us never thought we'd see, and he was pushed aside for the likes of Hardy. Hopefully they make something good out of this. Personally I think TNA has been too swayed by their local Impact Zone fanbase. When they were outside the Zone for BFG, it was obvious that the majority of the fans were not behind Hardy, and would have been happier if Aries had retained. If only Impact was even semi-regularly traveling for Impact, the show would be hundreds of times better, in both fan reaction, and storylines as creative would understand what the fans around the USA, and possibly the world, actually wanted to see. Keeping themselves grounded in Orlando has seriously hurt how creative handles things, and in extension, how the fans around the world react to what they see. I know it's expensive, but the way they're cutting contracts, you'd think they'd have a little leeway.
Video > A-
Of course they had to start with video from BFG. The backstage segments with Sting and Bully were great, but Hardy saying that right then he was the best wrestler on the planet made me cringe. Stacy usually doesn't say much, but he stated that Hardy just couldn't say that!
In Ring Segment > A-
Four members of Aces & 8's on the tron, six in the ring, and then Devon came out. I have to say that Devon has his sexy on looking that way. It really works for him, as long as he can carry being full on heel. I know we've seen him as a heel, but always with Ray by his side. It was interesting that the fans in the arena still chanted for Devon until he came out and joined A&8's and told them to shut up. Very funny. He really did a great job of working the crowd and getting some heat. I have to say that the 'Bully's better!' chants shocked me.
Devon's talk about taking down TNA, and that A&8's are the group to do it, had me worried. To me that sounds very nWo, and that's something we don't need in TNA. I think this storyline is plugging along at a solid pace, some swerves being shown just before things are about to get boring, but I think they need to pick things up a bit now. Time to get the ball rolling. Rather than attacking A&8's, why not corner one and unmask him?
Well, the way the fans were riled up, looks like TNA will be building to a HUGE feud between the Dudley brothers. I am really liking how Bully isn't really a face, but he's running with them in a big way right now. This is very cool. If they don't turn Bully and have him as part of A&8's in the end, they could make this brother versus brother thing huge! I'd love to see them in six sides of steel... you know what I mean!
Video > B+
Okay, the fans were chanting for Hardy more than I remember from Sunday, but they were also as vocal for Aries. Honestly it sounded as though most of the people chanting for Hardy were women, kind of like who chants for Cena most of the time. Maybe it's the same type of thing?
Backstage Segment > A-
Bring some cookies? I don't like chocolate chip cookies, but if Aries brought them to my cookies, I'd be all over them! The way he said he'd bring cookies left me smiling. He has great comedic timing, even though his character is not at all comedic right now.
Shop TNA > B+
Every month TNA puts together a new 'commercial' that they show a couple times during Impact to push their merchandise, and it's usually seasonal produced. Normally I don't say anything about these, but the Halloween/zombie theme of this was so well executed that I couldn't stop myself. This segment shows that TNA's creative does have some great ideas, and their production crew really knows how to put together something that works. I'm not saying I want TNA to go all early WWECW, but I do want to see some more amped up creativity on TNA. They have it, why not use it?
Backstage Segment > B+
Hardy is facing who for what? That was brushed by so quickly that it didn't really mean anything, but glad that Anderson might be in to face him. But better than that was Joseph! He was great at BFG, and really sold his character again. That man is a goldmine! Wonder what that's all about!
TV Title Match – Joe (C) vs Robbie E w/ Robbie T > B
Lucky us, the TV Title is being defended on Impact again and we're stuck seeing Robbie! Okay, I will admit it was nice to see Joe disassemble Robbie without any issue. And even though Joe didn't catch much of T when he flew out, he destroyed E as he should have been destroyed. So Joe took care of them both, but I'm not done with Magnus!
Winner – Joe (2:37)
Backstage Segment > D
He's Jesse from Big Brother! Like we care. Then them sucking face! Not something I ever need to see. Please, make it go away!
Tara vs ODB > D
Ew! Jesse chewing Tara's gum made me gag. And ODB? Oh, please tell me they're not going to set up ODBEY versus Tara and Jesse at some point? I think I see where they're going with things. I won't say this match was good, but it had a few entertaining moments. After saying that, entertaining moments are nice, but only if the match is actually decent, and this one wasn't. I'm not at all thrilled with the match or the possibility of there this could be going. I want EY back, but not to have to deal with Jesse!
Winner – ODB (3:14)
Backstage Segment > B-
Daniels is in a Triple Threat Match for a WHC shot? That sounds odd, but not as odd as AJ has been sounding lately. Wonder where TNA is going to be taking his character next. Hopefully it's somewhere passionate as his segments like this have been terribly flat lately.
I didn't hit on the TTC match from BFG earlier, but not because it wasn't great. It was great, but it just happened to be overshadowed by other events on the show. Honestly all six guys looked great in that match, and this video was solid.
Gunner & Kash vs Chavito & Hernandez > B+
Hernandez carrying his belt to the ring with that chain around his neck is very cool. Normally things like that grate on me for some reason, but Hernandez can pull it off and make it work! He and Chavito seem to be a great team, and it was wonderful to hear Chavito actually talking in the pre-Impact commercial earlier. Stacy didn't know that Chavito could talk as well as he could. Of course he can talk, he a Guerrero! But Stacy hasn't been watching wrestling long enough (just under five years now), so he hasn't seen much of Chavito on mic.
While Kash and Gunner looked really great in this match, they were nothing compared to the Tag Team Champs! I honestly thought that Daniels and Kaz would find a way to retain at BFG, but I'm thrilled that they didn't. Chavito and Hernandez with these belts could really elevate the Division. They both go all out every time that they're in the ring. Chavito has the Guerrero finesse, whereas Hernandez is hard hitting and won't take any crap. That over the top rope shoulder from Hernandez always makes me smile, and that's just one of his moves. These two could be unstoppable!
Winners – Chavito & Hernandez (4:53)
Backstage Segment > A-
I agree with Bully about knowing there will Devon. Then again a good build could make things that much more interesting if they do decide to have Bully turn in the end. Either way, he's handing this wonderfully.
Video > B+
I'm a bit surprised that TNA is showing bigger clips of the WHC Match from BFG, but they do things differently from the WWE who will only show stills. I guess it makes some sense, and maybe they're trying to get more people interested in watching this PPV, and future PPVs.
In Ring Segment > A-
Wait, what is Hardy carrying around? That's really ugly! Actually, Hardy sounds like he's throwing around sound bites, not giving any sort of decent promo. But then Aries coming out singing with balloons and cookies was hysterical. Even better was Aries trying to get into the ring with the balloons. Ah, the balloons and the cookies. Aries was funny, but then it came to his flip comment about that not being his belt! The face of the company with his face on the belt? I cannot believe that TNA made Hardy ANOTHER freakin' WHC belt! I'm totally disgusted by the pandering to Hardy when everyone else takes cuts in their contracts and scrape together to make it financially. Ugh! The only reason this segment got the grade it did is because Aries was so solid, and that he's not done fighting for the WHC.
Backstage Segment > B
So, TNA has no trouble with their wrestlers working the ring after they've been drinking alcohol? I know I've mentioned this before, but after all WWE has done with their Wellness Policy, and all the drug issues there are/have been in the industry, you'd think they wouldn't be so flip about Daniels' and his boozing before a match. Then again, they don't seem to have any trouble with the recreation RVD delves into, so what's the biggie about a couple appletinis?
Triple Threat Match – Angle vs AJ vs Daniels > A
What's with the 'rebel'? The magic marker on Daniels' chest was too strange. Beyond that, Daniels looked great in the ring in this match. Okay, they were all sick in this match. Each of them went out there and hit each of their moves as if it was their finisher. They were all working as crisp and tight as I've seen them work. Their styles match up so wonderfully in the ring and make everything they do look that much better. Maybe it's AJ who brings the best out of both Angle and Daniels, because they both work so wonderfully with him. Not saying that Angle isn't one of the all-time best in the world, or that Daniels isn't a fantastic wrestler in his own right, just that being in the ring with AJ brings out an extra bit of spice that makes everything that much better.
When AJ flew out onto Daniels, I thought Daniels had to be hurt from that one, but then it was AJ who was limping, I was a bit shocked. But then Angle getting the win, but AJ not shaking, I said a few weeks ago that tensions were growing there and we'd be seeing these two going into a feud. I wasn't sure which of them would be turning heel. Angle is a proven heel, and I've thought that AJ struggles as a heel much of the time, but going against types is almost always good for the storyline as a whole.
Winner – Angle (6:53)
Video > C
Personally, I didn't think this video was needed going into the next segment.
Backstage Segment > B
Ryan is so good on mic. Then there's the issues between Hogan and Morgan. Morgan has no charisma? Dancing giant routine? Calling Hogan by Terry? Actually, looks like Hogan got what he was after. I know it's all storyline, but that was really well executed by Hogan at the end. Wow, after all that's gone down this week with Hogan, I didn't think I'd be saying that Hogan had a well executed ending.
Video > B+
I'd love to watch Sting's induction into the TNA HOF. Then into the video from that sick Street Fight. That was just amazing.
In Ring Segment > A-
All that blood from that one little cut that's covered by a regular sized bandaid! Dang can Storm give a great promo. I will fully admit that I barely noticed him when he was running around with Wildcat. It wasn't until Storm joined up with Roode that he really caught my eye, and now he's up top in my top ten favorite wrestlers. Five years or so, for someone to make such a jump for a long time wrestling fan, is something big.
Not saying that Roode doesn't have that amazing charisma, just that Storm resonates with me in a way Roode doesn't. Storm has this SCSA/HBK feel that I really enjoy. I loved the way Storm ended this segment with a simple 'nope' and a last call kick. Works for me, especially since I'm not ready for this feud to be over.
Video > B
Seeing Lex Luger looking so good is just wonderful. He's really come far, and it was great to see him there for Sting.
A&8's Devon vs Sting > B
I was surprised at how many fans were still chanting for Devon through this match! While a slower match, it was well paced and with some decent tension. They worked all over the ring together, and looked decent, not even factoring in their ages. All that being said, I wasn't at all surprised that when Sting got the upper hand and looked as though he win it, that the rest of the group came to the rescue.
Winner – Sting via DQ (10:56)
In Ring Segment >
Interesting that Garett Bischoff was out with TNA to fight off A&8's. I was under the impression that he might be part of the faction. It's not that he absolutely cannot be part of the faction now that he's fighting with TNA, but I was surprised as we really haven't seen much of him on Impact recently. I think it would have made more sense if we hadn't seen him in a while, then he appeared as part of the group, but that's just my feelings on the matter.
My big question is why did all of A&8's flee when Bully rushed the ring? Yes, he had Sting's bat in his hand, but it seemed as though they were fleeing Bully more than the bat. That makes me wonder if it really will be revealed that Bully is part of the faction. It's still a very real possibility, and that they don't want to fight with him – other than at BFG – makes me wonder that much more about where Bully is going in the long run.
They really need to do something with Joseph and what he knows about A&8's. There has to be something juicy there. I'm still going on Abyss being part of A&8's, even though his alternate personality isn't. I see something big coming from Joseph, and hopefully soon as A&8's could get very boring and stagnant very quickly.
They also need to reveal another member of the group soon to add more interest to it all. I don't think it should be D-Lo as I think having the mouthpiece being a mystery would be better for a while, though I do hope they reveal D-Lo as part of the faction. I'm not sure who should be revealed, but it should be someone semi-recognizable, maybe from the WWE. Masters? Gallows? Dinsmore? Actually, Dinsmore would be a great reveal. Could you see it? All the people who thought playing Eugene was the end of his career, yet returning to wrestling on TV (in the USA) as a member of A&8's, that would be sick!
Hopefully TNA can keep the ball rolling with Aries going after Hardy, the feud between Roode and Storm, the growing issues between AJ and Angle, and the A&8's faction as a whole. They have a lot to work with and could really do a great job to finish off 2012 on a high note, possibly bringing in new fans as well as piquing the interest of some fans who were burnt out on Hogan, Bisch and all that crap they pulled when they joined the company. I think if they push hard, stay on creative and really cultivate the storylines to keep them tight and continually moving forward at a good pace, people will be talking about TNA in a positive light and others will start checking out Impact to see what's changed. I'll admit I'm much more curious in watching these days, and expect more from TNA as a whole after what they've shown us recently.