Thursday, 20 October 2011

What Will TNA Do With Bobby Roode?

On Wednesday night, I got to see the TNA’s flagship event Bound for Glory. TNA is shown on Challenge TV in the UK, and they show Impact on a Sunday night (repeated on Tuesday), Xplosion (which is crap) on a Wednesday and the PPVs on a Wednesday (Xplosion gets moved to Tuesday when that happens).

I thought the event was pretty solid with some good wrestling, although I really can’t explain Hulk Hogan suddenly turning face and being best friends with Sting. The main event had Kurt Angle defending his TNA World Championship against Bobby Roode. Roode had won the Bound for Glory Series against 11 other wrestlers to become the No. 1 contender. After Roode won the series at No Surrender, there were a few videos really building him up. Angle, taking advantage of his new position in Immortal, had Roode facing his fellow members of Fortune, AJ Styles, Kazarian and James Storm; followed by a handicap against Gunner and Jeff Jarrett in the weeks before Bound for Glory.

I wasn’t sure who was going to win this match. With Angle being part of Immortal, my shenanigans sense was going wildly (which happens constantly with any match involving Immortal), so I can see Angle retaining. However, the way that they built Bobby Roode, especially over the last month, made me think that TNA wouldn’t waste all that time doing this build up for him to just lose.

Some of the highlights were Roode reversing Angle’s attempt at a moonsault into a throwaway back suplex, sending Angle halfway across the ring; Angle managing to reverse a crossface into an ankle lock; and Roode getting out of another ankle lock and then hitting a Spinebuster. The end had its typical TNA screwjob with Angle hitting an Angle Slam and getting the pin despite referee Brian Hebner missing not only Roode’s arm under the bottom rope, but Angle holding onto the middle rope for leverage. The match wasn’t the best of the night although I was impressed with Angle’s performance, especially since he was carrying a leg injury. My main criticism of the match is that Roode went for the crossface submission manoeuvre way too often for me (it was least 5 or 6 times).

There’re reports on the internet stating that the plan was to Roode to become TNA World Champion. However, Hulk Hogan thought that Roode wasn’t ready to become a main eventer and carry the company. This seemed to be supported by the fact that Hogan criticised Roode in a radio interview before Bound for Glory, prompting AJ Styles to defend Roode. Therefore, the TNA writers decided to have Angle retain. This doesn’t make sense to me as Angle was carrying an injury going into this match so Roode could have won it even if it’s just for a few days.

The question is now what to do with Bobby Roode. They could continue with the build and have him win the World Championship.  If TNA do that, they have two (maybe 3 feuds) built in. Obviously, he would have a feud with Kurt Angle; but he could have a slow building feud with his Beer Money Inc. partner James Storm with Storm slowly getting jealous of Roode and turning heel. Maybe even one with AJ Styles in the future as Styles is the only one in Fortune who has been a World Champion and Styles could grow increasingly unhappy with the way Roode has been acting as champion. Roode could turn heel with this. However, except for Sting, the last few champions have been associated with Immortal and it would be nice to have more faces as potential Champions.

The other is for Roode to go back to tag team wrestling with Beer Money. At the minute, there seems to be only 3 other tag teams (Ink Inc, British Invasion and current champions Mexican America) and TNA don’t really seem that interested in that division. With the way that both members have been performing in single matches, it would be crazy to effectively put them back there. It would be slightly similar to what happened to R-Truth in the WWE. Over the Spring, R-Truth was becoming one of the hottest heels in the company and had a WWE title shot against John Cena at Capitol Punishment. Even though he lost, I thought that he would get another chance at Money in the Bank. However, WWE went with CM Punk and his “leaving the company with the title” angle, which was vastly superior to anything that they would have done with Truth and he ended up teaming up with The Miz.

Personally, I’m not quite sure yet if Bobby Roode is ready to be a TNA World Champion. However, they can’t depend on people like Sting and Angle carrying the company for ever and it may be time to build a new star. I think that TNA has some good wrestlers (especially Austin Aries and Bully Ray) and a decent women’s division. I just think that with Vince Russo, it has been a creative mess. Hopefully, with Bruce Pritchard becoming head writer and Dave Laguna joining the company, it will start to get better. For that to happen they need to create some new main eventers and Bobby Roode may be that man.

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