Bound for Glory Series and Austin Aries Make TNA Championship Must-See

Shane CombsCorrespondent IIJune 14, 2012

Courtesy of TNA
Courtesy of TNA

On TNA Impact, TNA announced the list of wrestlers who will be competing in the 2012 Bound for Glory series. The entries appeared by way of a Gauntlet match, in this order:

AJ Styles

Jeff Hardy



Bully Ray

Kurt Angle

The Pope

Robbie E

Christopher Daniels

Samoa Joe

James Storm

(Mr. Anderson, in losing to Bobby Roode, will also be included in future Bound for Glory series matches.)

For those who may not be familiar with the rules of the Bound for Glory series, TNA lets you catch up here.

But you’d better do so quickly, because the Bound for Glory series is off and running. The opening match in the series—the Gauntlet—was worth 20 points and instant momentum.

There were also some clues as to where TNA may be going with some of the current participants. Bully Ray, for instance, was eliminated by Abyss, who was not in the match but materialized from under the ring.

The Bully Ray-Joseph Park-Abyss storyline is one of the hottest in wrestling and it seems it may extend on for some time despite Bully Ray’s attempts at going to Bound for Glory to become the TNA  Heavyweight Champion. That is the problem with being a bully—you can’t take time out to pursue greatness. Men like Abyss will have their revenge no matter what you have on your calendar.

In other moments, AJ Styles cost his partner Kurt Angle and The Pope made a surprise return.

But the guy who won the Gauntlet is also the wrestler who has to be considered the current favorite, James Storm.

It is fitting to have him win the opening match at the 2012 Bound for Glory series, as the 2011 series was won by Bobby Roode.

TNA has now set it up where James Storm will make history by winning this year, or he will tell a story of heartbreak if he comes up short. The reaction he received after his victory ensures it will be nothing short of a grand or horrible moment for James Storm, depending how it plays out over the next few months.

This series reminds me of the Four-Man Round Robin that the NWA had in 1989 to determine who would carry wrestling into the next decade.

Sting won that night and went on to become the Franchise of WCW.

Add to that the fact that Bobby Roode won the 2011 Bound for Glory series, and he went on to become the longest-reigning TNA heavyweight champion to date and the current man in TNA.

All of that means one thing: Tournaments like this mean a lot. They mean a damn lot. They might be the greatest tribute to wrestling in the business today.

Consider how the usual contenders are determined. They are announced randomly the week after a PPV or they win some match on TV or they happen to be the guy feuding with the champ.

That is the status quo in wrestling, but it’s not good enough for TNA and Bound for Glory.

The Bound for Glory series allows fans the opportunity to watch a guy compete for months in a series that leads to the biggest night of the year. It is a way to connect with the wrestler and his journey like no other.

It makes the story matter.

And that story is now underway.

And, in the meantime, it seems that Austin Aries may be stepping up to challenge for the TNA Championship at the next PPV.

TNA and Hulk Hogan went a long way on Impact to validate the man who is one of the realest deals in wrestling today. Austin Aries wants to be the man, the main event, and the top guy in TNA, and he may soon get a chance to challenge in a PPV main event.

Which means no matter how you view it—short or long term—the TNA title picture may be the most interesting title picture in the business today.

And Bobby Roode may be the most hunted of all of wrestling’s champions.