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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Train Is Bound For Glory

The spiritual tune “This Train Is Bound For Glory,” popularized by the great folk artist Woody Guthrie, tells the story of a train full of passengers who are pure of heart and full of virtue: “Don't carry nothing but the righteous and the holy/This train is bound for glory, this train.” The competitors for TNA’s upcoming Bound For Glory pay-per-view event stand in stark contrast to the folks described in Woody’s tale. From the haggard, hardcore vets of EV 2.0 to the vain and opportunistic rogues’ gallery of Flair’s Fortune to the larger than life trio who will slug it out for the World title, TNA has assembled a formidable “crazy train” of its own heading into the 10-10-10 show.

As an organization, TNA has taken some bold steps forward in the effort to gather momentum for an event that might well prove to be a major step in the company’s development. Resurrecting stars of the past, pushing new talent to the top of the card, and laying the groundwork for an exciting future are all on the agenda for the second Sunday in October. Of the three most prominent matches on the event’s card, any and all of them have major implications in the continuing evolution of TNA.

Ken Anderson’s elevation to “main event” status is a terrific step in a new direction. Anderson is not necessarily a rookie in the business, but his attitude and charisma have garnered an appreciative and enthusiastic fan base. The fact that Mr. Anderson is up against fan favorite Jeff Hardy and living legend Kurt Angle in a bid for the TNA championship suggests that he’s earned the confidence and approval of the promotion’s backstage decision-makers. Angle’s pledge to retire should he fail to regain the title makes for a compelling subplot to an already intriguing three-way dance. Thankfully, TNA recognizes that wrestling fans appreciate good, suspenseful storytelling, and the Angle-Anderson-Hardy rivalry has secured a well-deserved spot at the top of the card as well as the attention of TNA fans.

TNA continues to appropriately portray the feud between Flair’s Fortune and EV 2.0 as a spectacle of epic proportions. While many of the singles encounters between members of the warring contingents tend to climax with run-ins and riotous melees, there are decisive victories in these contests from week to week. This is an important departure from the WWE tradition of using “no finish” results to build suspense for big PPV matchups. Brian Kendrick’s surprise victory over Matt Morgan a couple of weeks back, along with AJ Styles’ ladder match victory over Sabu, seem indicative of the fact that TNA isn’t content to end a battle with a simple brawl or disqualification. By providing each stable the opportunity to showcase their respective power and collective abilities week after week, TNA is effectively setting the stage for a highly anticipated showdown between these titanic forces at Bound for Glory.

Also on the books for October 10 is the arrival of a group known only as “They.” Week after week, The Monster Abyss heralds the imminent arrival of the mysterious collective pronouns with vignettes that push the boundaries of my own personal suspension of disbelief (I’m not feeling the recent branding-iron scene, for what it’s worth). Nevertheless, the unrelenting ferocity of this entire campaign serves to keep the nagging riddle of TNA’s mysterious new faction in the forefront of an undeniably bustling promotion.

As the TNA train rolls on to its date with destiny, we’re surely in for some great stuff on the way to the big show. Barring a tremendous gaffe or colossal misstep in the coming weeks (which does happen every so often in the wrestling industry), Bound For Glory has all the makings of a watershed moment in TNA history.

All aboard!

Mike Bessler
Contributing Writer/PW

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