We're not yet a day removed from the Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Impact Wrestling live No Surrender pay-per-view (PPV) event from Orlando, Florida, and I've read and heard nothing but bad reviews for the show, so far.
The wrestling, as usual, was fine, but the booking left a lot to be desired. Or at least that's what the critics are saying, absolutely livid with Jeff Hardy winning the Bound for Glory (BFG) Series and James Storm getting left behind to reignite his feud with Bobby Roode on a much lesser scale than days gone by.
I hear this and while I can see the argument for it, there's also a pretty strong argument against it.
A few key decisions were made over the past few months that have changed the landscape of the promotion and, in turn, dictated taking a few sharp turns. The first was the Bobby Roode losing the world heavyweight championship to Austin Aries. Hulk Hogan, who has far too much power within the company, never really felt Roode was a guy who could carry the promotion, even while he was holding the organization's major title for longer than anyone in its short history. It was no surprise, then, when Aries was trotted out and Hogan put him over huge verbally before having Roode do the job inside the ring on multiple occasions.
You could argue against the idea of Aries winning the belt and that's fine. He's not a proven draw but TNA is typically a wasteland for talent. They really only have one guy who can move the needle and do so consistently and his name is Jeff Hardy.
You know, that guy who won the BFG Series and is drawing the ire of the pro wrestling fanbase.
Speaking purely from a business perspective, there was no better play. Putting your biggest draw in the main event of your biggest show of the year and having him chase the heavyweight title after winning a major tournament just seems obvious. It might feel wrong because of the way a few stories have played out but it's the right move for business.
As for the anger surrounding Storm not winning the BFG Series, what would that have accomplished? He was always headed for a match with Roode at Bound for Glory and when Roode lost the belt and there were no plans to give it back to him, Storm winning the Series no longer made sense.
This all works out in the end because Roode lost most of his heat when he lost the belt (though he's still performing wonderfully) and TNA killed a lot of Storm's heat with the ill-fated Aces and 8s storyline when weeks were wasted trying to figure out if Storm was the leader. The expectation was that fans would rally behind him while the roster turned against him and he would become an even bigger star because of it, much like Sting in 1996 with the New World Order (nWo).
But that never happened. If anything, the fans started to turn on him and the storyline was quickly scrapped. The damage was done, though, and it paved the way to what we were given at No Surrender last night.
We're still getting Storm vs. Roode, there just isn't a belt on the line. And the promotion's most popular star, Hardy, will be main eventing its biggest show of the year against arguably its best wrestler, Aries.
Why, again, is this so bad?