I’ve had the privilege of covering IMPACT Wrestling since earlier this year when the brand essentially underwent a rebirth with June’s Slammiversary Pay Per View. At that show a number of talent either returned or debuted with the company, supplementing the already stellar roster that the company had. In the months since, IMPACT has regularly put on shows either better or on par with every other company despite their smaller foothold.
While Slammiversary was a rebirth, the approach of Bound For Glory, long held as the company’s biggest show of the year, has been to make a statement. Expectations for many have been high, so could the show live up to the hype?
The show begins with an extended take on the prison vignettes including IMPACT World Champion Eric Young discussing what he has become over the preceding months and promising that Bound For Glory will be the final time anyone sees Rich Swann.
Some production snafus seemingly, with Josh Matthews even commenting “don’t they test this during the day?” in a humorous note. Despite the snafus, nothing that takes away from the show. Our commentary team is Josh Matthews and IMPACT Executive Don Callis.
6-Way Scramble for the X Division Championship – TJP vs. Chris Bey vs. Trey Miguel vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Willie Mack vs. Rohit Raju (C)
Result: Rohit Raju wins via pinfall on Trey Miguel after a TJP frog splash.
Thoughts: The perfect match to begin a big show with, as the X Division is simply stacked with incredible talent currently. Going into the match it was obvious that the deck was stacked against the current Champion Rohit Raju, who has consistently been one of the best parts of the show and maybe the best chickenshit heel in the business right now. Everyone gets their moments to shine in a fast-paced match that exceeds expectations. Keeping in line with his character, Rohit manages to retain his Championship after TJP hits a Frog Splash on Trey Miguel, allowing Rohit to dump TJP to the outside and grab the pinfall.
Backstage we get most of the WrestleHouse cast still in prep mode for this week’s upcoming wedding between John E. Bravo (who is dressed for Halloween as the Batman Forever version of Two-Face, maybe foreshadowing something leading into the wedding) and Rosemary. Bravo informs Rosemary that the wedding will have to take place in the ring as the best man Fallah Bahh didn’t book the creepy castle in time. Jimmy Jacobs enters and informs the crew that the Call Your Shot Gauntlet match is about to begin.
We see Rhino and Heath prepping for the Gauntlet as we get another production snafu and something goes awry and they have to restart the scene on camera. Not as bad as Sycho Sid at In Your House but something I’m sure we will see on Botchamania for a long time to come.
Call Your Shot Gauntlet – Rhino vs. Shawn Daivari vs. Larry D vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Acey Romero vs. Tenille Dashwood vs. Havok vs. Brian Myers vs. Swoggle vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Alisha Edwards vs. Kiera Hogan vs. Taya Valkyrie vs. Fallah Bahh vs. James Storm vs. Adam Thornstowe vs. Luster The Legend vs. Heath vs. Sami Callihan vs. Hernandez
Result: Rhino wins via pinfall following a Gore on Sami Callihan, earning a Title Shot of his choosing and guaranteeing Heath a contract with IMPACT.
Thoughts: I don’t think there was any doubt that either Rhino or Heath were going to win this one given what was on the line. They could have had someone spoil it to play it out a little further but given it’s already been running since Slammiversary it was the right call to end this particular story. The two big stories from this one will be the return of the ‘Cowboy’ James Storm and the unfortunate injury to Heath. As a TNA Original James Storm absolutely makes sense to be here, the question now remains whether it is a one-off appearance or if he is here to stay. He has most recently been apart of the NWA who have seemingly had a working relationship with AEW so I’m sure more news will be coming out soon regarding his status. As for Heath, he unfortunately landed awkwardly following a kick on Adam Thornstowe immediately after entering the match and has since posted an image on Twitter confirming some sort of injury, which I hope is not overly serious. As for the rest of the match, outside of Heath and Rhino the only two viable options to win were Brian Myers, who absolutely cleaned house during his time in the match and Sami Callihan who almost played the role of spoiler for Rhino and Heath. A fun match especially with some of the returns (I’ve always dug Shawn Daivari) although others were just weird (Swoggle?). My personal guess depending on the severity of Heath’s injury is that he and Rhino will go for the Tag Titles together to wrap everything up nicely. And I can’t forget the tribute from Tommy Dreamer for the recently passed Road Warrior Animal, as he entered the match with his hair cut in a similar fashion along with an Animal shirt and his face paint. Classy move as always from the longtime veteran.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match – EC3 vs. Moose (C)
Result: Moose wins by KO?
Thoughts: I commented earlier this week on Twitter how much I’ve loved this entire storyline and how it shows how good Moose and especially, EC3 is in 2020. Filmed as a “Cinematic Match” I was getting big time vibes of David Fincher’s Fight Club early in the match, which once music was added started giving off Rocky IV vibes. Both Moose and EC3 beat the everloving hell out of one another both in and around the ring. Clearly this match has EC3’s fingerprints all over it with his creative vision since leaving WWE earlier this year and reinventing himself and his quest to turn Moose into the monster he should be. In the end, Moose becomes what he is meant to be as EC3 gets to his knees and tells him to “Control Your Narrative” and Moose blasts him with the belt after thanking him. As Moose looks on and prepares to leave, EC3’s minions around ringside drag him out of the ring and carry him off in a very similar fashion to The Undertaker and his druids in the past. I loved every second of this one and can’t wait to see what comes next with both Moose but especially EC3.
Footage is shown from earlier in the night with Ken Shamrock being inducted into the IMPACT Wrestling Hall Of Fame by none other than The Rock! Well deserved and many congratulations to ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man!’
Singles Match – Eddie Edwards vs. Ken Shamrock (w/ Sami Callihan)
Result: Ken Shamrock wins via submission with the Ankle Lock.
Thoughts: Arguably the most underbuilt feud on the show, almost an afterthought to include Ken Shamrock given his Hall of Fame induction. Not a ton to say about this one as it seemingly hinges more on the feud between Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan. I love the hell out of Ken Shamrock but he just doesn’t seem built for longer PPV-calibre matches at this stage in the game. He needs to be kept in tag team matches to protect him and prevent him from blowing up. In the end, Callihan turns out the lights and when they come back on is standing in the ring with his trusty baseball bat. Edwards however has his kendo stick and beats up Sami, leaving him open for a belly to belly suplex and the Ankle Lock from Shamrock for the win.
IMPACT World Tag Team Championship Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Match – The North vs. The Good Brothers vs. Ace Austin & Madman Fulton vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (C)
Result: The North win via pinfall when Ethan Page pins Karl Anderson.
Thoughts: Maybe the match I’ve been most excited for not only for this show, but of any wrestling match in all of 2020. Unfortunately it doesn’t pan out the way I’m sure I and many others hoped for. Upon entering the arena it is clear that Alex Shelley is walking gingerly and is injured. The North both attack the Machine Guns and Josh Alexander nails Shelley with a double underhook piledriver on the stage, taking him out of the match. From this point on there is an overwhelming feeling that the match that the teams had put together fell apart and a lot of it felt disjointed. It’s still a good match, just not the great match it should have been. Everyone gets to shine at points, and Chris Sabin puts in overtime to make up for the loss of his partner. In the end, the nefarious ways of The North prove most effective as they clock Karl Anderson with the title belt allowing Ethan Page to get the win and they get to reclaim their coveted IMPACT World Tag Team Championships!
Backstage we get the final segment building to this week’s coming wedding and it seems Bravo has finally let all of the stress planning the wedding get to him as he exclaims that once they are married, Rosemary will do everything he says. Guess that Two-Face costume makes even more sense now.
Former 5-Time Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne joins the commentary booth for the next match, as she and Don Callis relentlessly mock Josh Matthews in a good-natured rib.
Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo makes her entrance accompanied by Kimber Lee. She gets on the mic and states that nobody knows where Kylie Rae is, but she is a fighting champion and issues an open challenge for a match which is answered by the return of the Undead Bride, Su Yung!
Knockouts Championship Match – Su Yung vs. Deonna Purrazzo (C) (w/ Kimber Lee)
Result: Su Yung becomes the new Knockouts Champion after hitting a Panic Switch for the pinfall victory.
Thoughts: Well they threw us a curveball here. I had been expecting that Su Yung would show up and have some effect on this match or this week’s coming IMPACT, but I certainly wasn’t expecting her to replace Kylie altogether and win the strap. I can imagine that Su had something to do with Kylie’s mysterious disappearance and I expect this storyline to continue for some time. A very good match between the two, certainly different than what many would have expected from Purrazzo and Kylie. Much like a game of chess it came down to the proper moves to get ahead, with a great segment at the end where they enter a stalemate with Purrazzo locking in a Crossface but being stuck in the Mandible Claw at the same time. Following the anticipated interference from Kimber Lee, Su nails a Panic Switch to take the win and the Knockouts Championship!
Following the match, the commentary team announces the return of the Knockouts Tag Team Titles, a welcome announcement that will undoubtedly help out with the great current Knockouts roster.
IMPACT World Championship Match – Rich Swann vs. Eric Young (C)
Result: Rich Swann wins via pinfall after a Phoenix Splash to become the new IMPACT World Champion!
Thoughts: A fantastic back and forth match between the devious Champion and the newly fresh-faced challenger. Great psychology with EY consistently targeting the injured ankle and working it over. The underdog Swann seems to get in his licks in stages, where he will fire up and take it to the Champion before getting cut off and having his ankle worked. Great selling from both men throughout the match especially on the part of Swann. Perhaps the only thing one could pick apart was Swann having his bad ankle worked over only for him to land such a high flying move for the win, but in the bigger scheme this is a minor gripe. Having the happy ending on the biggest show of the year, while anointing Rich Swann as the guy moving forward left a smile on my face. The icing on the cake was having the babyface roster all come out to celebrate with Swann and place him on their shoulders showing him as a leader for the roster. Not quite on the scale of Bret Hart at WrestleMania X but a great moment nonetheless.
Overall, how does Bound For Glory stand up? It was a great show, despite some obvious production issues and unfortunate injuries (I’m still confused about the status of Alex Shelley). Was it as good of a show as Slammiversary was? I’d say no, but there is still a lot to unfold over the coming weeks that could tie it altogether. But overall I would recommend watching the show if you have the opportunity.
And of course, be sure to be back here later this week for the recap of this week’s big post-Bound For Glory show featuring the dark wedding and more!