Scores of pro wrestling fans were displeased with the conclusion of last night’s TNA Bound for Glory pay per view.
The main event match between Kurt Angle and Robert Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship ended when Angle pinned Roode in controversial style. Not only was Roode’s arm under the ropes, but the wily champion utilized the middle rope for leverage.
What’s surprising is that a good number of fans weren’t displeased by the finish of the match, but rather were upset that Roode didn’t win period.
The prevailing thought making the rounds on the internet is that the company spent an exorbitant amount of time hyping and building the challenger up, only to “swerve” the fans and have him lose at TNA’s biggest pay per view of the year.
As such, numerous fans have claimed that TNA ruined what could have been the biggest moment for the company in recent history. Some even stated that they would stop watching the company’s product while others readily agreed that this ending killed the momentum for what was sure to be a PPV of the year candidate.
Honestly, it made perfect sense for Robert Roode to lose last night.
Fans regularly complain that certain story lines in pro wrestling are too predictable; the WWE gets accused of this all the time.
Robert Roode was being positioned as a savior of sorts for TNA, the prospect for a new creative direction as the messiah for masses thirsting for something different for the company in a stale and stagnant industry.
The vignettes about Roode’s journey to the top of the BFG series were inspirational; he was a hard-working family man that spent 14 years attempting to reach the main event level.
Roode was shown in his modest home with his average family, working out in his average workout room and sitting on the side of a generic lake pondering this single important moment in his career.
The build was so impressive and beautiful that most fans seemed to completely forget that Roode spent most of his TNA career with a “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase-esque gimmick, but that’s no longer the issue.
Fans believed that Roode would defeat Angle soundly and usher in a new age for TNA. Fans knew it was going to happen; Roode worked his ass of for this moment, and he was (no pun intended) bound for glory.
It was his moment. It was the perfect time. It was predictable.
When Roode was pinned last night, fans were actually upset because TNA chose not to go with the very predictable finish?
The wisdom of Vince McMahon once again proves itself to be true: “Fans know what they like, but not what they want.”
Vince Russo specialized in swerving the audience every chance he got, thus making these twists and turns synonymous with all things related to IMPACT Wrestling. Word on the street is that Russo had little to do with the rise of Robert Roode, which validates why the build for him was as strong as it was.
But how damning for the product would it have been for Roode to win last night? Russo’s many swerves made fans pay attention to the product; whether you loved the swerves or hated them, the shows and pay per views always left questions to be answered at the next taping.
TNA isn’t all that predictable and TNA loyalists always credit this as one of the company’s strengths. No one expected Roode to lose last night; the company delivered on one of its strengths that fans claim to love.
But fans are still made that TNA didn’t go with the predictable finish?
Consider the fact that fans also complain about short title reigns. Kurt Angle has held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship since Hardcore Justice, which took place on August 7, 2011. Angle has been TNA’s top dog for a little over two months now.
In those two months Roode began his ascent to the top of the BFG series. Do not forget that Roode spent a good amount of time at the bottom of that series along with Samoa Joe. From the very beginning, Roode was a dark horse in winning the series.
As a matter of fact, the odds on favorite to win the BFG series wasn’t even Roode and was never Roode until he started winning matches; Crimson was (and still should be) the one destined to receive the shot against Angle, and would have been most assuredly won last night if he wasn’t forced out of the series due to an injury.
But again, TNA doesn’t do “predictable.”
Roode magically starts defeating opponents when he had trouble from the very beginning and the front runner is taken out by Samoa Joe. At last month’s No Surrender pay per view, Roode defeats Gunner (another front runner) and Bully Ray (another front runner) to get his shot at Angle’s title at BFG.
At this point Roode has quite the steam of momentum behind him and in the weeks prior to last night’s pay per view, Roode manages to defeat all of his Fourtune stable mates except Chris Daniels. When did Roode become invincible and/or immune to losing?
The two weeks prior to last night were important for Roode’s character because they attempted to portray him as the resilient underdog headed for the biggest fight of his life. Everyone talked about how “proud” they were of him, how he “earned” this chance and this shot.
Most of his supporters in the company were completely sure that he would become the next TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Everybody was proud of him and very few exhibited signs of professional jealously.
James Storm then enters the picture.
For two successive IMPACT Wrestling tapings James Storm ran circles around Roode on the microphone and TNA fans acknowledged it in large numbers. For two successive TV tapings, Storm’s matches told better in-ring stories than Roode’s matches.
In his match against Roode, Storm more than likely would have defeated his Beer Money Inc. tag team partner if not for Kurt Angle’s interference.
The most interaction between Roode and Angle came in the form of in-ring promos and mind games played on the challenger by the champion. This would also be the first BFG ever that saw Robert Roode in the main event for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Did Roode actually stand a chance at defeating Kurt Angle? Could Roode possibly choke at the company’s biggest show of the year?
Even TNA’s flagship performer, Hulk Hogan, voiced his opinions on Roode as the “next” big star in the business. In an interview with Sirius Satellite Radio’s Busted Open radio show, Hogan had the following to say about Roode:
“Nah, he’s not ready. He’s not the next guy. Ya’ know, they might think he is. Dixie Carter might think he is. The whole world might think he is. He’s not the next guy.”
If you think that’s funny, there’s more:
“This is much more than being a wrestler, this is crossing barriers, medias, ya’ know media barriers, and, and entertainment barriers of all kind. Getting your character down verbally has 90% to do with getting over.
"I just have a very strong feeling Kurt Angle’s going to clean his clock performance wise, and carry the match, and basically remains the champion.”
And just when you didn’t think it couldn’t get any funnier, Hogan adds a tidbit about James Storm:
"I’d go with James Storm all day long. Mainstream brotha’! Cowboy hat, beer drinking, middle America, Nascar, Walmart, Country Western. I mean all day long, it’s a no brainer. That’s me. That’s my opinion.”
Let’s recap: Hulk Hogan, the most recognizable face in TNA, not only buries the #1 contender to the company’s top prize but also puts over his tag partner prior to Roode’s match and the pay per view?
The same Hulk Hogan who had been a heel for months and received a louder pop than everybody on the card last night (including Jeff Hardy, Styles v. Daniels, and RVD v. Lynn) actually publicly spoke against Robert Roode?
Hogan very well could have been “in character” when he made these comments, but seeing as he turned face last night and the sheer idiocy of burying a wrestler instead of hyping the match and the pay per view without naming individuals, why would he “work” fans just to have Roode actually lose last night?
Roode had to lose last night. Angle’s two month reign as champion still reeks of breast milk, and having the five-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion lose to a man who is experiencing his first time at the dance would have been disastrous.
Can anyone out there remember when RVD defeated AJ Styles for the title after six weeks in the company?
Roode’s loss also sets up more creative opportunities for the Roode character in the future. Roode has to move away from the Wall Street/money persona to fully embrace the scrappy, hard-working underdog persona.
Roode has to break away from his tag team partner to solidify his spot as a top singles’ competitor. Roode must also develop his character so that James Storm isn’t kicking his ass creatively.
So why blow Roode’s development in two months when six months from now his momentum will be unbelievable?
Now that fans have invested in Roode they’re likely to root him as he continues on his quest to gain the championship. Live gates for pay per views are one thing, but TNA is probably also looking to boost their buy rates as well.
If Roode continues to headline, his profile will have to be raised if he looks to maintain the coveted last match at the top of the card.
Having Roode win last night wouldn’t have accomplished all those things. He didn’t look weak in defeat; he will get another shot at Angle, and a fresh program between the two and involving James Storm will make the title and Roode more interesting and valuable to the company.
Having Roode win last night would have also killed the Immortal story line. With Sting returning power of the company to Dixie Carter and no Immortal champion whatsoever, where do you go with a very vanilla babyface holding the title with no contenders on the immediate horizon?
My opinion is that we fans should relax and see where this is going; Russo’s insane booking wasn’t present (or we can assume it wasn’t), and the outcome of the match was fine. Stars aren’t grown overnight, and Roode’s time to shine should not have culminated in championship win after only a two month build.
Chillax people; never forget that at this moment in time, it pays to be Roode.