Instead of freezing in Philadelphia, the Greek god of wrestling is chillin’ in Phoenix. The warm fall weather – the high temperatures are supposed to be 82 on Saturday and 93 on Sunday – is perfect for the ladies because they get to see Achilles Heel’s chiseled physique at the pool.
But my Phoenix trip isn’t solely for fun and games. TNA hosts “Bound for Glory,” its biggest pay-per-view of the year – unless it’s time for Slammiversary – on Sunday in Phoenix. On Saturday night, Sting becomes the first inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame.
Bound for Glory appears to be a very good card. The top of the card has the potential to be outstanding if the action isn’t overwhelmed by over-booking.
TNA World Champion Austin Aries defends his title against Jeff Hardy in a match that is interesting for numerous reasons. There should be plenty of action in this match. There also is suspense regarding which man is going to win, which enhances the drama of the match.
Hardy is the most popular wrestler in TNA. The question is whether TNA trusts him to be its champion. Hardy’s problems with drugs have been well-documented. In the most public example of Hardy’s problems, he showed up at the “Victory Road” pay-per-view in 2011 in no condition to wrestle, which resulted in a 1½-minute loss to Sting in the main event. Hardy was subsequently sent home by TNA to get his life in order. There were times when Hardy appeared close to reaching the top of the WWE ladder, only to have his out-of-the-ring issues cost him championships.
My guess is that TNA is going to give Hardy a shot as champion. There is a tremendous upside due to Hardy’s popularity, but there also is a tremendous risk.
I’m not as keen on the Team TNA (Sting and Bully Rays) vs. the Aces and Eights tag team match. This angle was going nowhere until Bully Ray was inserted into the match. It seems obvious that Bully Ray is going to turn on Sting … which probably means TNA is going to swerve its fans by having someone else turn heel or get involved. This could be very good, even if the wrestling is mediocre.
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian defend the Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match against Kurt Angle and AJ Styles and the team of Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. This should feature plenty of exciting action. Expect some friction to develop between Angle and Styles. Unless they’re going to remain a tag team, it’s time to start working on their breakup.
Bobby Roode battles James Storm, with King Mo as the special enforcer. You know King Mo has to be involved in the finish. The expected move would be for Mo to cost Roode the match. A potential swerve might be for Mo to help Roode win, thus becoming a heel.
Other matches include Magnus defending the Television Championship against Samoa Joe, Zema Ion defending the X Division Championship against Rob Van Dam, Miss Tessmacher defending the Knockouts Championship against Tara, and Al Snow facing upstart Joey Ryan.
If the fans are interested in the TV and X Division championship matches, the top of the card could elevate Bound for Glory and make it a terrific pay-per-view. With Hardy-Aries, the tag team championship and the Sting-Bully Ray team, Bound for Glory should, at worst, be a good pay-per-view.
NORTH OF BORDER: Bound for Glory isn’t the only pay-per-view this weekend. Ring of Honor holds “Glory By Honor XI,” an Internet pay-per-view in Mississauga, Ontario.
Yes, I know. Ring of Honor has had massive technical problems with its pay-per-views. To alleviate the problem, the stream of the show starts 15 minutes early so people can determine whether or not the feed is working correctly.
There are enough interesting matches to entice fans to order the pay-per-view. Ring of Honor World Heavyweight champion Kevin Steen defends his title against Michael Elgin, and tag team champs Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino defend their titles against the Briscoe Brothers. Television champion Adam Cole defends his title against Eddie Edwards, his tag team partner the previous weekend in Rahway, N.J.
Other matches include Jay Lethal vs. Davey Richards and a tag team match pitting Rhett Titus and B.J. Whitmer against Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin). Those two teams failed to defeat Corino and Jacobs in a triple threat match at Rahway.
TRAINING WITH HOLLY: CZW appears tonight (Saturday) at the Flyers Skate Zone at 601 Laurel Oak Rd. in Voorhees, N.J. CZW World Heavyweight Champion Masada meets Necro Butcher in the main event. The Nation of Intoxication’s Danny Havoc and Devon Moore defend the tag team championship against 4Loco’s Azrieal and Bandido Jr.
If you’re in training to be involved in the action instead of watching it, the CZW Pro Wrestling Academy has a special training seminar with former WWE wrestling Bob “Hardcore” Holly on Sunday (2 p.m.). The seminar, opening to people currently training to be pro wrestlers, will be held at 2 W. Ritner St., across from the former site of the ECW Arena. Go to CZW’s Web site for more information. Here’s a little advice for those attending the seminar: don’t agitate Holly by teasing him about wrestling as Thurman “Sparky” Plugg or one half of the New Midnight Express.
MAIN EVENT: The Greek god of wrestling believes there is too much wrestling on television, which is contributing to lower ratings for the flagship shows of WWE, TNA and (in a related note) UFC. Although I’m complaining about the quantity of wrestling, it’s difficult to quarrel with the quality of WWE’s “Main Event” on Ion on Wednesday (8 p.m.).
The second edition featured a good main event between Big Show and Randy Orton and a solid match between Kofi Kingston and Michael McGillicutty. After Kingston defeated McGillicutty, he was attacked by The Miz. This will lead to an Intercontinental Championship match between Kingston and Miz this week on Main Event.
ORTON INJURY? It appeared to me that Orton was legitimately injured on Big Show’s match-ending choke slam during Main Event. This is based on Orton’s reaction as he was being pinned. I could be wrong … but Achilles Heel is rarely wrong.
MIXED RESULTS: Dave Batista won his mixed martial debut with a first-round TKO over Vince Lucero. The victory was not as easy as the preceding sentence makes it seem. Batista absorbed some hard early punches before emerging victorious.
It’s difficult to make your MMA debut when you’re 43 years old. I’d suggest Big Dave find another outlet for his energy and craving for the public spotlight present in almost all retired athletes.
FAREWELL TO KARRAS: Former Detroit Lions great Alex Karras dies this past week at age 77. Karras is best known for playing for the Lions and his acting career, but he supplemented his income by wrestling during the offseason. When he was suspended by the NFL for owning a bar known as a center for gambling and organized crime in 1963, Karras returned to wrestling. He later played a pro wrestler as the title character in the 1977 film “Mad Bull.”
IT’S NOT ALWAYS SUNNY: Someone close to Tammy Sytch, the former “Sunny” in WWE, needs to get her into a rehabilitation program. Sytch has been arrested five times in four weeks and hit with a restraining order. Her life is clearly out of control. Her friends need to step up and help Sytch save her life.
AGELESS WONDER: You’ve got to give it up for Vince McMahon. The 67-year-old multi-millionaire stepped back into the ring Monday night to face WWE champion C.M. Punk. McMahon didn’t exactly put on a five-star classic, but his willingness and ability to absorb punishment while transforming himself into a believable opponent is remarkable. Punk and Paul Heyman also deserve kudos for making McMahon seem like a legitimate opponent.
OVER THE EDGE: At the end of the Punk-McMahon match, which ended with Punk fleeing into the crowd when Ryback charged the ring, an idiot fan took a cheap shot at Punk as he stood in the crowd. Punk’s retaliatory swipe hit a fan – the wrong one.
The moron who hit Punk is fortunate this isn’t the old days of arena wrestling, without cameras and cell phones everywhere. I suspect that fan would have had an unpleasant experience before leaving the arena.
Fans are there to watch the matches, not to get physically involved. As the Rock used to say, “Know your damn role!”