15 August 2013

PREVIEW: Chris Sabin vs Bully Ray - TNA World Title

In one of the most shocking moments in TNA history, Chris Sabin defeated Bully Ray to become the new World Heavyweight Championship.  Even more shocking was the way in which Sabin earned his new championship, using the now-infamous hammer to bash the bully's head in.  It was poetic justice at its finest.  As bad as things were for Bully Ray, the worst was yet to come.  Last week, Hulk Hogan added a fitting stipulation to the title match at Hardcore Justice - if Chris Sabin defeats him, Bully Ray will never compete for the TNA world title again.  The architect of the stipulation that ultimately cost Sting his future world title matches, at Slammiversary, could very well befall the same fate.  Bully Ray, with a defeat to Chris Sabin at Hardcore Justice, could see his entire world come crashing down unless, of course, he has a trick up his sleeve. 

"Chris Sabin defeats Bully Ray by escaping the cage."

"Bully Ray defeats Chris Sabin due to a new Aces & 8's member's interference."

"Bully Ray wins the World Title back with help from either a returning Alex Shelley or a debuting Aces & 8's member or a combination of those two things."

It's still a bit surreal but Chris Sabin will most likely defend his world championship in the main event of the company's biggest show of the year.  I suspect that Austin Aries will be his opponent.  Conversely, Bully Ray's road leads straight to Hulk Hogan.  I realize that some want no part of this match but if it's half the spectacle that Hogan vs Sting at Bound for Glory in 2011 was, then we're in for quite a treat.

Recently, we asked fans to share, with us, their prediction on the world title match and we were pleased by the amount of fans that contributed.  A huge thanks to all of those who sent in a response.  Their predictions are below.

"As much as I want Sabin to win and keep the title, I can't help but feel that Brooke Hogan is going to turn heel and help Bully Ray get the victory, thus closing the second to last chapter on the Aces and 8s story with only the finale at Bound for Glory remaining.  So Bully will regain the title and go on to face Magnus or AJ Styles at BFG."

"I predict that Chris Sabin will retain the World Heavyweight Championship here.  TNA has really been in a slump while Bully Ray's been champion, especially with the Aces and 8s ruining the show every week.  Chris Sabin, as champion, offers a breath of fresh air and a chance to create a new star, which TNA desperately needs right now.  It seems to me like the best option for TNA is to wrap up the Aces and 8s storyline, as fast as possible, and fast track it to the end at Bound For Glory.  Also, Sabin main eventing BFG would almost certainly produce a much better main event than Bully Ray doing so."

"I predict Bully Ray gets back the World Title via shenanigans...most likely, Brooke Hogan ones."

"I predict that Chris Sabin will retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Bully Ray at Hardcore Justice in the steel cage match.  I think Sabin gets ALOT of help from the Main Event Mafia, possibly Brooke Hogan and especially Hulk Hogan, who I think plays a huge factor in the outcome of this match.  I say the referee gets knocked out; Bully grabs a hammer from a member of Aces and 8s; hits Sabin with it and tries to escape through the door.  When Hogan cuts him off, he hits Bully with a hammer of his own and helps Sabin escape, leading him to victory.  This will set up a Hulk Hogan vs Bully Ray match at Bound For Glory."

"I believe Bully Ray will win the World Heavyweight Championship back because of the match stipulation. I don't think Ray will be kept away from the world title, and hardcore matches are his specialty."

"I believe that Chris Sabin should retain his title and go into Bound for Glory as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion.  Now, I know that some say 'Well, Sabin is not a name that should be champ going into your biggest PPV of the year', however, I believe Bully Ray has done as much as he can with the title.  Plus, with the way Austin Aries has been booked and what his interviews and promos have been the past few weeks, I am convinced more than ever that we will get Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries for the world title at BFG."

"I know it might go against popular thinking, but I'm going to pick Chris Sabin.  Here's will legitimize his title reign with a clean win in the cage, at least as much as a cage match leads to a "clean" win.  This would lead to a Bound For Glory world title match for Magnus or Austin Aries.  I'm not thinking AJ Styles anymore; his character just isn't clicking.  Plus, a Bully Ray loss would lead to a BFG match vs. Hulk Hogan, maybe in a loser leaves TNA stipulation (Maybe TNA wises up and doesn't renew Hogan's contract; his price tag hasn't generated enough ratings to be justified).  Also, we really don't need or want to see Hulk Hogan vs. Bully Ray for the TNA title.  That would be counter-productive, in my opinion."

"I predict Bully Ray will win because, no offense to Chris Sabin, but I honestly don't think a Bound For Glory main event that involves him can generate any buys or buzz through the wrestling world."

"I believe Sabin will win.  It's in a cage but after reading it's a match to never have another opportunity at the world title, it will be Hogan to cost Bully the match.  This will spark the match for Bully vs Hogan at BFG.  I think it would be more fitting for Sting to cost him the match under the stipulation but I don't see another Bully vs Sting match anytime soon."

"Bully Ray over Sabin."
"Till last Impact, I thought that Sabin would retain the World Heavyweight Championship because they wanted to book Hulk Hogan vs Bully Ray at Bound for Glory.  After watching last week's episode, I predict that Bully Ray will regain the title at Hardcore Justice.  In my opinion, TNA spoiled the result of the match by adding that stipulation to the match - that if Bully Ray loses, he will never get another title shot.  I honestly can't imagine that he would never fight for the title again.  He is a main eventer who, if needed, can be used as a reliable contender to fight for the title or to put a guy over when he loses the belt."

"I know the prominent favorite for this match is Bully Ray but I just don't feel like Chris Sabin is a transitional champion.  He has what it takes to win inside the cage and with that win brings fresh match-ups to the world title picture at Bound for Glory.  It also gives Bully Ray a chance to do something much bigger - compete against Hulk Hogan in Hogan's last match."
I kept saying, after Chris Sabin won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in Louisville that 'Bully will just win it back'.  I have waffled back and forth on whether my initial reaction was right or not.  But after watching TNA the two weeks post-Sabin win, I can say that I believe...Bully Ray will win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship back at Hardcore Justice in Norfolk, Virginia.  Why?  That's two fold, in my opinion.

First off, Bully vs Sabin is in the cage so 'no one can get in and no one can get out', right?  But you have to figure the Aces and 8s will find a way to get Bully the title back.  The ref will get knocked out (because he is a wrestling ref) and the Aces will make their move.  They will climb the cage or go through the door and some will get in (probably Mr. Anderson and Devon) and attack Sabin while the rest (Knux, Brisco, and Bischoff) patrol the outside to fend off the Main Event Mafia, who will surely make their way to ringside.  A brew-ha-ha will occur and the Aces' hammer will be thrown in through the camera hole by a returning DOC (or a new Aces and 8s member) to the fresh awaiting Bully Ray.  The Mafia and the Aces clear the ring of each other.  Bop to the head, Sabin is out.  Ref is magically up...1...2...3...Bully wins. 

Secondly, and perhaps the most logical reason why Bully wins the title back is if rumors are true and Bully is now working is some backstage power role, he will politic his way into getting the belt back.  Bully Ray is a politic-er.  The only reason, in my mind, Bully would drop the title to Chris Sabin is if Bully could just get the belt back before Bound For Glory.  I think Sabin, getting the belt, was an audible by TNA after the 'bad week' TNA had.  I don't fault them, it was a surprise and a very good moment for TNA, but I believe the plan all along was for Bully to be champ at BFG.  I hope I am wrong and Chris Sabin keeps the belt because he deserves it, but this is how I see the situation playing out.

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