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A LOOK AT TONIGHT'S FINAL REGULAR SEASON MATCHES IN THE 2013 BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES AND THE MANY STORYLINE DIRECTIONS THEY CAN TAKE US EVEN WITH ONLY FOUR MATCHES TO GO (UPDATED AT 3:30 PM TO REFLECT TONIGHT'S LINEUP CHANGES)

By Stuart Carapola on 2013-08-29 15:30:07
After nearly three full months of tournament matches, the "regular season" portion of the Bound For Glory Series will come to an end tonight on Impact Wrestling. This year's tournament really seemed to blow by quickly, to the point that when I read that tonight's matches were the last, I was like "Wow, already?" And that to me is a good thing, because the Bound For Glory Series has become my favorite part of TNA since it was initially created. While the creative fortunes of the company in general tend to go up and down as time goes by, the BFG Series has remained more or less unaffected aside from the odd "rest of the world" storyline incursion, and has been presented as a more or less straightforward competition.

But like every sports season, the BFG Series is getting ready to wrap up and head into the postseason, as the men who sit in the top four spots after tonight's show will advance to the semifinals and finals of the tournament on the special No Surrender edition of Impact Wrestling on September 12th. The man who finishes the BFG Series in first place will get to choose his semifinal opponent, with the remaining two men facing off in the other semifinal, and then the winners of those matches will face off later in the evening to determind the 2013 Bound For Glory Series Champion.

Just to bring everyone up to speed, here are the current standings going into tonight's show:

1-Brutus Magnus (39 points)
2-Bobby Roode (34 points)
3-Christopher Daniels (30 points)
4-Austin Aries (28 points)
5-Samoa Joe (26 points)
6-Ken Anderson (24 points)
7-Jeff Hardy (24 points)
8-AJ Styles (22 points)
9-Frankie Kazarian (22 points)
10-Joseph Park (17 points)
11-Hernandez (7 points)
12-Jay Bradley (0 points)

The last four matches in the series, which will take place tonight, will see Brutus Magnus taking on Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode facing AJ Styles, Austin Aries against Christopher Daniels, and Frankie Kazarian taking on Hernandez. There's a few different ways things could shake out after tonight, so let's take a look at some of the dynamics going into the closing matches of this years BFG Series.

Right off the bat, Joseph Park, Hernandez, and Jay Bradley are all mathematically eliminated from the tournament. Hernandez still has a chance to play spoiler if he can defeat Kazarian tonight, but there is no possible way for any of these three men to still win the tournament.

AJ Styles and Frankie Kazarian both still have a shot with 22 points apiece, but they must win their matches tonight by pinfall or better if they hope to stay alive. I think AJ Styles was most peoples' favorite to win going into the tournament, but he hasn't really stood out as a threat so far, and the recent news of his contract status with TNA leads you to believe that, even if he was originally planned to win, those plans may have changed. He's not completely out of it yet, but it'd be interesting to see what happened if these two both won and wound up tied for fourth. I would guess they'd have a tiebreaker match next week, but this is a bridge I supposed we'll cross when we get to it.

Last year's winner, Jeff Hardy, is currently tied with Ken Anderson at 24 points apiece, though with several men ahead of him and no more matches in the tournament, Anderson is mathematically eliminated as well. I thought at the beginning that the tournament might come down to he and AJ as part of the Aces & Eights/AJ's redemption storyline, but with his contract status up in the air as well, it looks like they have decided to pull back on Anderson. I would not be the slightest bit surprised to see Hardy make it into the final four at the last minute like he did last year, but I would be surprised to see him win the BFG Series for the second year in a row.

Samoa Joe spent most of the BFG Series in second place to his tag partner Magnus, but is currently sitting just outside the top four with 26 points. He has no more matches, but he can still get into the final four if someone gets disqualified. It'd be interesting to see him get revenge on Roode by attacking AJ Styles to get Roode disqualified, knocking Roode out of the top four and giving Joe the fourth place spot.

Now we move into the current top four, and the #3 and #4 guys will face off tonight when Christopher Daniels, in third with 30 points, takes on Austin Aries, who is in fourth with 28. If Aries wins tonight by a pinfall or submission, then he'll effectively eliminate everyone below him except for Jeff Hardy, who could still squeak in above Daniels if he can pin or submit Magnus tonight. Aries has to win to avoid elimination if Hardy, AJ, or Kazarian win their matches tonight, but the only way Daniels doesn't go to the final four at this point is if he gets disqualified.

Bobby Roode is in second place with 34 points, all of which were accumulated in the last few weeks in, as he said, a game changing series of matches. He also put himself within reach of first place when he intentionally got Magnus disqualified a couple of weeks ago, because if Roode beats AJ Styles tonight and Magnus loses his match, then Roode will have come out of nowhere to finish the BFG Series in first place in a matter of weeks.

How about this scenario: Roode beats AJ Styles, Kazarian defeates Hernandez, and then Roode gets Magnus disqualified again? This would bring all three members of the Roode/Daniels/Kazarian group into the finals, leaving the fourth spot in the hands of either Austin Aries (if he beats Daniels) or Magnus (if he doesn't)?

I would not be at all surprised to see that exact scenario happen and leave us with Roode in first place tonight (in fact, I pretty much expect it), but I still think that Magnus, who is currently in first place, will wind up winning the whole thing. He took first place on the first night of the tournament and hasn't let it go of it since. While it would be cool to see him dominate the entire tournament start to finish and go on to win, I think it might make it a little more interesting to have him face that little bit of adversity and have to battle his way back to victory.

However this thing shakes out, the column you just read is exactly why I like the Bound for Glory Series so much. It makes things interesting because there are so many different ways you could go with it, even going into the final night of the regular season. I'll be doing coverage of tonight's event, so check back tonight starting at 9 PM EST as the regular season of the 2013 Bound For Glory Series comes to a close!

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And after all the time I put into this column, the whole thing got thrown out the window because Magnus is missing Impact tonight. Because, and ONLY because I enjoy the BFG Series so much, I'll update what I wrote earlier to account for the changes.

First things first: Magnus will not have any more BFG Series matches, and will stand with his current and finall tally of 39 points. He can still move down as low as third place depending on what else happens tonight, but any chance of him completely dropping out of the top four due to a DQ loss is gone, and he's now the first man to have clinched a spot in the final four.

Bobby Roode still has the chance to move into first place with a win over AJ Styles, with Daniels possibly moving into second if he can defeat Austin Aries by submission, but their pal Frankie Kazarian turned out to be the guy with the most to gain since he actually wound up gaining an extra match in the BFG Series due to being rebooked to face Jeff Hardy, who was originally supposed to wrestle Magnus tonight. Kazarian's originally planned match for tonight against Hernandez will be moved to Xplosion, so if Kazarian can pin both men, he'll finish the BFG Series with 36 points and guarantee himself a spot in the finals. If the unthinkable happens and he makes both Hernandez and Jeff Hardy tap out, he'll actually move into first place with 42 points, though I think most would agree that's a longshot at this point.

The man with the most to lose, and who is therefore in a must-win situation tonight, is Austin Aries. He was already in danger of being overtaken by Kazarian, Hardy, or Styles if he loses to Daniels tonight, but now Kazarian only has to win one of his two remaining BFG Series matches to get to 29 points, which would put him one point ahead of Aries should Aries lose to Daniels.

Two other people who could wind up getting screwed by the change to Kazarian's schedule are Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles. Jeff would have moved into the top four with a win tonight over Magnus, and AJ Styles looked at possibly winding up having to wrestle a tiebreaker for fourth place with Kazarian if they both won their matches tonight, but now with a possibility of as many as 10 additional points from the added match, both men could still wind up on the outside looking in if Kazarian wins both matches.