AJ Styles struggles to free himself from the ankle lock.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Aces and Eights Interrupted Hulk Hogan
I was surprised we didn't get any fallout from the conclusion of last week's edition, but I'm glad they held off on it. This show as fully focused on the Bound For Glory Series, as it should have been. I was glad that this was the only time we saw Hulk Hogan all night, the way it should be. Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode played their roles well, but nothing too extraordinary. As much as I like Roode and Hardy, it doesn't make sense to simply give them spots in the tournament just because they've won it before. Why not make theme earn their spot like everyone else?
Bad Influence def. World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series (Non-title)
I'm ecstatic to see both members of Bad Influence in the Bound For Glory Series this year. Daniels was able to compete in it last year, but not Kazarian, so it's nice to see both guys getting their due. However, after being the odds on favorite to win last year, I'm a bit disappointed that James Storm won't be in the tournament this year. He's World Tag Team Champion alongside Gunner, so I guess that takes precedence. I hope this victory over the tag champs leads to Bad Influence getting a title shot at some point.
Joesph Park def. Crimson to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series
It's awesome to see Crimson back on television after a year-long absence, but why reintroduce him in this fashion? Crimson is much more deserving of a spot in the Bound For Glory Series than Park. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the Park character, but he serves no purpose in participating. Alas, I guess they need someone to be the jobber to the stars similar to Robbie E's role last year. This should be part of an on-going story with Crimson rather than a meaningless one-off loss if they intend to keep him on television.
Mickie James Attacked Velvet Sky
This was yet another example of why the Knockouts division is in a much better place than the Divas division at the moment. I've been thoroughly enjoying Mickie James' slow-burning heel turn and this was an excellent way to finally flip the switch. She seems motivated for the first time in a great while and her attack on the helpless Velvet Sky was ruthless. The in-ring action doesn't normally deliver when it comes to these two, but the story is certainly there.
Magnus def. Matt Morgan, Rob Terry, and Kenny King in a Fatal-4 Way to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series
Of all the Bound For Glory Series qualifying matches that occurred over the course of the show, this was the most random. I mean, look at the competitors. None of them had chemistry with one another and it came off as extremely awkward. I'm glad to see Magnus score a spot in the Series, as I've always been high on his long-term potential as a singles star. Morgan deserves a spot as well, but perhaps he injures someone to get into the competition.
Sting Teased the Return of the Main Event Mafia
In all honesty, I am not at all a fan of Sting and wish he would retire from in-ring competition sooner rather than later, but I'm intrigued by this angle. Rumor has it that the Main Event Mafia was supposed to return in early 2011 to rival Immortal, but due to Booker T and Kevin Nash signing with WWE, that plan was scrapped in favor of a Fortune face turn. It looks like they're going back to the drawing board once again. I wouldn't be opposed to the group's original members returning (Angle, Joe, Steiner, etc.), but I'd be even happier if it consisted of new, young stars that can benefit from being associated with Sting. Who those people will be is beyond me, but I look forward to how this will play out in coming months.
Austin Aries def. Eric Young to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series
This wasn't much of a match, but it was fun while it lasted. I don't find Young humorous most of the time, but when used in small does, his comedy is effective. He meshed well with Aries and the two produced a nice, little match. It's great to see Aries in the BFG Series, as he can have a number of awesome matches with the wrestlers involved.
Mr. Anderson Won an Aces and Eights Battle Royal to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series
The match was basically what you would expect with all the Aces and Eights eliminating themselves except for D.O.C., which was teased backstage beforehand. I'm just surprised that they're already teasing tension amongst the members. I don't mind it, but it shouldn't feel rushed going into Bound For Glory. At any rate, Anderson earning the spot to compete in the BFG Series makes the most sense since he's the most established member of the group that isn't named Bully Ray.
AJ Styles def. Kurt Angle to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series
As only these two can, Angle and Styles produced yet another excellent match that manage to outdo their Slammiversary bout. They received much more time and had awesome chemistry as expected. The finish with members of Aces and Eights interfering was a bit lame, but I'm still glad to see Styles advancing to the BFG Series. He's my pick to win it and to go on to BFG to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. They once again teased the pairing of Kurt Angle and Rampage Jackson as well, which I'm fine with. They need to establish Jackson somehow, so aligning him with one of the company's most notable names is a smart move.
as a major supporter of the Bound For Glory Series, I was extremely entertained by this show. There was very little that I had a problem with and almost all of the program was dedicated to making the Series feel prestigious. Hulk Hogan wasn't overexposed like he ususally is and the Knockouts received a substantial amount of time as well. The June 14th edition of Impact Wrestling was the best episode of last year, so it's interesting that the best episode of 2013 thus aired almost exactly one year later. This goes to show that TNA really starts to get their act together in the summer season, so I look forward to what the future holds for the company in coming months.