The Bound for Glory series this year was somewhat of an unmitigated disaster. With some competitors finishing the series with 2 or 3 less matches than others, it was a real disappointment from a really promising concept. Tournaments and points-based competitions should be a really great device in wrestling – it allows casual fans to pick it up easily and provides a good jumping on point for new fans, while immediately creating important matches. The best tournaments are almost exclusively held in Japan, with this year’s G1 Climax probably the single best wrestling tournament ever. The reason these tournaments are so successful is that the bookers are able to weave together multiple threads, character arcs and storylines in order to leave everyone with something to do at the end of it.
So, what if the Bound for Glory series had been done differently, with that in mind? Let’s start from the beginning, and find out.
First off, I’m not changing anything major about the format – it’s a 12-man tournament with each wrestler facing each other once. The top four advance to semi-finals, and there is an eventual winner. I’m keeping the same points system (10 for a submission, 7 for a win, 5 for a count out win, 3 for a DQ win, 2 for a draw, -10 for a DQ loss) but I’m adding in 3 points for a forfeit for reasons that will become clear.
I’m also sticking to the TNA schedule as it was this year, starting with Impact on June 20th and encompassing all the house shows that really took place. I did choose to end it a week early, in order to allow for build to the No Surrender finals show. I’ve also retained the Hardcore Justice and Joker’s Wild elements from this year’s series. That means 66 matches plus five extras, on 19 shows.
I’ve retained nine out of the twelve competitors in this year’s series – AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Chris Daniels, Hernandez, Jeff Hardy, Magnus, Mr Anderson and Samoa Joe. I liked the idea of an underdog newcomer, but Jay Bradley doesn’t really fit that for me. In Rockstar Spud you have the ultimate underdog, a role he plays to a tee. I really don’t like Joseph Park being in there, so I decided to replace him with Devon, to give parity between the MEM and Aces and Eights in having two horses in the race each. Instead of Kazarian, I decided to choose someone to fill the Ibushi role – an outsider to the company that the fans know well from elsewhere. From recent times and realistic expectations, Greg Marisciulo (fka Trent Baretta) is a good choice there. Let’s dive in.
June 20th Impact: Magnus pinned Joe, Hardy pins Anderson, Hernandez pins Marisciulo, Styles pins Spud, Roode pins Devon.
June 27th Impact: Marisciulo pinned Joe, Anderson submitted Devon, Aries pinned Magnus, Styles pinned Hardy, Spud pinned Hernandez.
June 28th live event: Hardy pinned Aries, Anderson pinned Styles, Devon pinned Daniels.
Standings on June 30th: Hardy 21, Anderson 17, Styles & Aries 14, Spud, Magnus, Hernandez, Marisciulo, Devon & Roode 7, Joe & Daniels 0
Jeff Hardy is your early front runner, closely followed by Mr Anderson who gets a lot of assistance from his Aces & Eights brothers. On the June 27th Impact, Devon lays down for Anderson and taps to a vicious pinky hold to give Anderson the maximum ten points. Hulk Hogan was furious with this, his plan being to cause division within the group. As a result, all Aces and Eights members are banned from ringside during all of Devon and Anderson’s matches, lest they be kicked out of the competition. Given how important it is to Bully Ray to have one of them win and lay down for him at Bound For Glory, Ray grudgingly tells the group to comply. Samoa Joe has lost three times, including to newcomer Marisciulo in a great match that got the critics raving. It’s worth remembering that Magnus did not join the MEM until July 4th, so his match with Joe on June 20th didn’t have much tension to it in that respect, though they are former tag team champions of course. Rockstar Spud picked up a big win over the big man Hernandez on June 27th with a surprise roll-up. The New Japan style of parity booking is present here to an extent, with Hardy losing to AJ Styles on June 27th.
July 4th Impact: Marisciulo pinned Hardy, Aries def. Joe by countout, Roode def. Magnus by countout.
July 5th live event: Joe submitted Spud, Styles submitted Marisciulo, Anderson pinned Roode
July 6th live event: Roode submitted Spud, Marisciulo pinned Daniels
July 11th Impact: Joker’s Wild! Based on current standings, 1st, 2nd and 3rd take on 10th 11th and 12th, and 4th, 5th and 6th take on 7th, 8th and 9th. The person who gets the fall gets ten points.
Styles, Anderson & Roode def. Magnus, Spud and Daniels (Anderson got the pin)
Hardy, Aries & Marisciulo def. Joe, Devon & Hernandez (Hardy got the pin)
July 13th live event: Hardy pinned Hernandez, Magnus submitted Marisciulo, Roode submitted Joe.
July 18th Impact: Aries submitted Spud, Roode pinned Hardy
Standings on July 18th: Roode 39, Hardy 38, Anderson 34, Aries 29, Styles 24, Marisciulo 21, Magnus 17, Joe 10, Devon, Hernandez & Spud 7, Daniels 0
Bobby Roode has surged to the top of the table by the middle of the month, going 4-0 not including the Joker’s Wild six man tags. Jeff Hardy is just one point behind, though was upset by Marisciulo at the start of the month. Marisciulo is something of a surprise on 21 points with wins over Joe, Hardy and Daniels – who has yet to get any points on the board and is having a frustrating tournament. Joe’s sole win so far comes with a submission of Spud at a live event. Anderson has fallen behind a little, but pinned leader Bobby Roode. On July 4th, after the MEM had come together with Magnus and Joe, Devon and Anderson managed to distract and lure away both Joe and Magnus in their matches with Aries and Roode respectively, resulting in both being counted out. The group continue to be one step ahead of Hogan, but Hogan bans the MEM and A&8s from getting involved in each other’s BFG series matches from now on. Spud has lost by submission three times, but earned respect from both Joe and (grudgingly) from Aries.
July 19th live event: Anderson pinned Daniels, Joe pinned Devon, Aries pinned Hernandez
July 20th live event: Devon submitted Marisciulo, Aries and Daniels went to 15 minute time limit draw
July 25th Impact: AJ Styles pinned Daniels, Anderson pinned Marisciulo, Hardy def. Devon via DQ
July 26th live event: Anderson pinned Hernandez, Roode pinned Styles
July 27th live event: Styles and Magnus went to a 15 minute time limit draw, Joe submitted Hernandez
Standings on July 21st: Anderson 55, Roode 46, Hardy 41, Aries 38, Styles 33, Joe 27, Marisciulo 21, Magnus 19, Devon, Hernandez & Spud 7, Daniels 2
On July 20th Devon submits Marisciulo after Aces and Eights assaulted him on his way to the ring – since the match hadn’t started, they didn’t break Hogan’s rules. After attacking his knee, Devon is able to submit him. We see why Devon was keen to have that ten point cushion on the July 25th Impact, when he attacks Jeff Hardy with a hammer to lose by DQ, and drop ten points. Once again, since the match is over, Aces and Eights interfere and beat down Hardy, and after a brutal assault on his knee Hardy is carried out. The man who was the favourite to win is now left with the very real possibility of having to forfeit the rest of his matches. Hogan promises an update on August 1st. Before the match between Anderson and Marisciulo on the same night we see footage of what happened between Marisciulo and Devon at the live event, and Hogan wants to cancel the match as Marisciulo is still injured. However, Bully Ray and Anderson highlight a clause in Anderson’s contract, which allows him to sue for lost earnings if his match is cancelled at less than 24 hours’ notice. Marisciulo valiantly agrees to the match, but loses quickly. Anderson also picks up wins over Daniels and Hernandez, giving him a nine point lead. Roode and Aries continue to chase, though Aries is somewhat hurt by a draw with Daniels. That result allows Daniels his first points on the board, though he still languishes in 12th place. After being attached by A&8s backstage, Spud does not appear in this half of the month. AJ Styles picks up a win over Daniels on Impact, but is frustrated in a draw with Magnus. Hernandez’s losing streak is causing tension between he and partner Chavo Guerrero who has been accompanying him. Hernandez has not won since the first night of the tournament. Daniels is still on just two points, despite going to more and more desperate nefarious lengths to try and win.
August 1st Impact: Anderson pinned Magnus, Joe pinned Daniels, Roode submitted Marisciulo. Jeff Hardy forfeits his remaining matches, giving three points to Magnus, Spud and Daniels.
August 2nd live event: Roode pinned Hernandez, Magnus pinned Spud
August 3rd live event: Devon pinned Styles
August 8th Impact: Aries pinned Styles, Marisciulo pinned Spud, Hernandez pinned Daniels
August 15th Hardcore Justice: Magnus def. Aries, Spud and Daniels in a tables match, Styles def. Roode and Devon in a ladder match, Joe def. Anderson, Marisciulo and Hernandez in a falls count anywhere match.
Standings on August 15th: Roode 63, Anderson 62, Joe 54, Styles 53, Magnus 49, Hardy 41 (injured), Marisciulo 28, Devon and Hernandez 14, Spud 10, Daniels 5
It is announced on 8/1 that Jeff Hardy is injured and cannot continue in the tournament and as such forfeits his remaining matches. Those forfeit wins are worth just 3 points, but that gives Daniels only his second points of the tournament – though he has yet to win a match. Anderson and Roode charge ahead, but Joe Styles and Magnus pick up big wins at Hardcore Justice that pushes them into contention. Hardy falls down the table due to his elimination. There is speculation that Roode is working with A&8s after Devon appeared to offer to stand aside for Roode in the ladder match on 8/15. However, both parties deny this when questioned. Hernandez turns on Chavo Guerrero after the two lose a tag team title match on 8/1, and this seems to have somewhat of a desired effect – he breaks his losing streak on 8/8 albeit against Daniels. Chavo attacks Hernandez during the falls count anywhere match, and the two have to seperated by security. Chavo is later found in a bloody mess backstage, with Hernandez the likely culprit. Marisciulo and Spud receive a standing ovation from the crowd after their incredible fast paced match on 8/8. Spud and Daniels exchange some harsh words and brawl to the back in their match at Hardcore Justice.
August 16th live event: Aries pinned Devon, Magnus submitted Hernandez, Daniels pinned Spud
August 17th live event: Devon pinned Hernandez, Magnus submitted Daniels
August 22nd Impact: Spud pinned Mr Anderson, Aries submitted Roode, Joe pinned Styles, Magnus submitted Devon
August 29th Impact: Styles submitted Hernandez, Anderson pinned Joe, Spud pinned Devon, Marisciulo pinned Aries, Roode pinned Daniels
Final Standings: Magnus 79, Roode 70, Anderson 69, Styles 63, Aries 62, Joe 61, Hardy 41 (injured), Marisciulo 35, Spud 24, Devon 21, Hernandez 14, Daniels 12
As the tournament draws to a close, Magnus has come from nowhere to top the table. After his big win at Hardcore Justice he racks up two submission wins over Hernandez and Daniels, and a final one over Devon on August 22nd to secure first place in the series. Despite already winning the series, his final match with Devon on 8/22 has consequences – if Devon had win, A&8s would have been the lumberjacks for Anderson .vs. Joe on 8/28, but with Magnus winning the match was in a cage to allow Anderson no escape, and to prevent interference of any kind.
Going into the final Impact and “must-win Thursday”, Roode, Anderson, Aries, Joe and Styles can all qualify in the final three spots. Joe and Anderson face off in something of an eliminatior, with Anderson getting the win despite the stipulation. The clean win elevates Anderson into a real contender for the finals. Bobby Roode successfully qualifies with a win over Daniels, and AJ manages to come from behind to come 4th by just one point after submitting Hernandez. Aries just misses out after being upset by Greg Marisciulo, though Aries is adamant this is a fluke.
Daniels picks up his first win over Spud, and mocks Spud as he is now the one on a losing streak not Daniels. However, Spud is quick to stick it to Daniels, beating both A&8s members in the final two weeks of the tournament on Impact. Hernandez is distracted by Chavo Guerrero’s music playing in his match with Styles on 29/8, and afterwards cuts a promo saying that he beat Chavo so bad, he’s never coming back.
September 12th No Surrender: Semi-finals: Roode pinned Magnus, Styles pinned Anderson. Final: Styles submitted Roode.
After a random draw, Aces & Eights and the MEM are kept apart with Magnus drawn against Bobby Roode, and Mr Anderson drawn against AJ Styles, and Hulk Hogan orders them not to interfere with each other’s matches. However they can’t stay away from each other – Magnus is found attacked backstage but no one saw who did it despite A&8s being the obvious suspect. Magnus soldiers on but Roode is just too much, further fueling speculating that Roode is working with Aces and Eights. After the attack Hogan is furious and decides to give the Aces and Eights the fight they want, and makes both factions the lumberjacks for Styles .vs. Anderson. All-out war ensues at ringside during the match, and Anderson is dragged into the fight. This gives Styles the opening to beat Anderson, and both factions are left in a stalemate with neither having triumphed in the series. In a long match with plenty of near falls, AJ Styles gets the submission win over Bobby Roode. The Aces and Eights tease coming out to interfere, but turn their back on Roode and leave to the back.
AJ Styles goes on to turn fully babyface again as the one fighting for TNA against the Aces and Eights, and alongside the Mafia. He beats Bully Ray for the title, and is once again the biggest player in the company.
After screwing with each other all through the tournament, Hogan orders a final battle between Aces and Eights and the Main Event Mafia at Bound for Glory with the losing faction ordered to disband. Thankfully, the Mafia prevail and the A&8s are finally gone! With the threat eliminated the Mafia go their seperate ways too, and the faction battle is over.
Jeff Hardy returns and pursues Bobby Roode, who admits he arranged with Anderson for Hardy to be injured to allow him to get ahead in the series.
Greg Marisciulo stays around and feuds with Austin Aries, who blaims Marisciulo for costing him the series. Chavo Guerrero returns too and he and Hernandez go to a double DQ at No Surrender. Spud captures the X Division title later in September, but Daniels continues to deride him for bringing shame to the division he helped create.
This leaves you with a Bound For Glory card that looks like this:
TNA World Title: AJ Styles def. Bully Ray to become champion
Main Event Mafia (Joe, Magnus, Sting, Angle) def. Aces and Eights (Devon, Knux, Brisco, Bischoff), A&8s must disband.
Jeff Hardy def. Bobby Roode
X Division Title: Spud def. Christopher Daniels to retain
Austin Aries def. Greg Marsciulo
Street Fight: Hernandez def. Chavo Guerrero
All twelve men come out of it with feuds, Anderson and Magnus are elevated into the main event after the factions are done. Spud and Marsciulo have been established as new fan favourites, and Hernandez takes a step up with a dominant win.
And all the matches actually happened.