That leaves us with the three former TNA World champions and the classic two heels and a face triangle. Or does it? While Roode is unquestionably THE heel in this triangle, it's not too clear where the other two stand. Both Aries and Styles have made it clear that they are in this for themselves, however their definition maybe different. Do they mean that they are not part of any faction (which is true for both)? Do they mean that they mean to say they don't care what the fans think of their actions? That's a bit more difficult to determine. As both men have been riding the heel/face line for many months now, and they've only seen their popularity rise as a result, yet they've seemed to take no pride in it at all.
So who has the advantage?
- AJ Styles: The clear favorite to take it all. Winning the BFG series and then going on to the PPV and reclaiming the gold one year after losing his right to get a title shot (a stipulation from last year's BFG) would make his adventure come full circle and perhaps break him out of his shell to once again make him the hero of TNA. HOWEVER, he has the issue of his contract which will be expiring soon (more on this later).
- Bobby Roode: The longest reigning TNA World champion of all time was at risk of becoming lost in the shuffle but thanks to the brilliant formation (and interference) of the Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organization (EGO) he shot back to the top of the BFG series to finish in the final four. Could a few well placed Appletinis bring him to victory?
- Austin Aries: The underdog of the three, but a position he's been in before. In addition he is an extremely crafty player who knows how to stack the deck in his favor. Remember when he convinced Hulk Hogan to create what is now known as "Option C" and traded the X division belt for a World title shot that ultimately saw him win? Or how about when he stole the outfit of Suicide and wrestled the match undercover to defeat Chris Sabin for the X Division title? True he got caught and had to unmask but the point is never underestimate him.
Considering all the options, I have to go with "The Phenomenal One" to win the BFG series and the right to face the World champion at the Bound For Glory PPV.
So what does all of this have to do with Hulk Hogan? I'm glad you were wondering, because I'm going to tell you. As I mentioned above, a highly talked about issue is that AJ Styles contract expires "late this year". A lot of people are wondering what the hold up is on re-signing the man many consider to be "Mr. TNA". Why can't they come to an agreement? Ever since losing his rights to a shot at the TNA World title last year AJ has expressed that he feels betrayed, forgotten and unwanted. Could the problem be that maybe he doesn't want to sign?
Picture this scenario: AJ goes onto win the BFG tournament as predicted but his contract "expires" before the PPV. Dixie Carter calls AJ to the ring with a new contract to sign. Then in the ultimate show of rebellion, AJ tears up the contract and walks out of the company (kayfabe) leaving TNA with no main event match for their biggest PPV of the year. Enter Hulk Hogan. The man who Bully Ray has been undermining for months. The man who's daughter Bully humiliated and the fans have more desire to see tear Bully Ray apart than anyone.
With AJ (and the BFG tournament) out of the picture TNA is finally free to book Hulk Hogan vs Bully Ray for the TNA World championship at Bound For Glory - a match that has been teased since December of last year. Fans both for the idea and against it have had no shortage of opinion. The only question was how to get around the Bound For Glory series. They may have just done that. Or if they haven't, I have.