Hey everyone! Impact Wrestling just had their Bound For Glory Pay Per View, and seeing as I did a preview of the show, it seems only right I do a review as well! So without further ado, let’s get started. Instead of a detailed breakdown of each match, I’ll give good and bad points for each. If you’re looking only for quick results, you can check out the Bound For Glory Results page here!
Match #1: Call Your Shot Gauntlet
Predicted Winner: No strong prediction, but I did say Mahabali Shera could take it. Since he got to the final two, I’ll say I did okay here.
Winner: Eddie Edwards
- Kylie Ray showing up. After her sudden departure from AEW there were quite a few folks worried about Smiley Kylie and her health. Such is the nature of pro wrestling, sadly enough. Thankfully, she looked good here. Here’s to hoping Kylie is on a good course in life.
- Joey Ryan. Love him or hate him (I’m looking at you, Jim Cornette!) Joey brings a pop to what is, in reality, a throwaway match. His 5-way Penis Plex spot got a laugh from the crowd, and he didn’t threaten for the win, so he did his job and did it well. His signing an Impact contract I think is a good pickup for the company.
- Match Placement. Having Eddie Edwards win this match, knowing the storyline he’s in, sort of ruined the anticipation for the X-Division match later. If I were the booker, I would have placed this match after the X-Division Ladder match, as it would leave more fans going “Oh, if so-and-so wins, it’ll be great to see them challenge for THIS belt” because there were participants who could have used the Call Your Shot contract for X Division, Tag Team, or Knockouts matches.
- Swoggle and Johnny Swinger. As much as Joey Ryan was a welcome bit of brevity, Swinger and Swoggle weren’t. Swoggle has never been a good worker and is out of shape, and Johnny Swinger… well, his comedy act just isn’t funny IMO.
- Pacing. Unfortunately, any staggered entrance battle royal tends to drag in the middle. Even the Royal Rumble itself does this EVERY year. Impact tried to mitigate this with a shorter gap between entrances, but I honestly would have liked to have seen just a normal battle royal. Or, if you have to do staggered entrances for the entrance pop factor, what about like what AEW did with sending people down in groups? Quickens the pace, kills the drag, and you have a stronger opening match.
Overall though, a good opener.
Match #2: Knockouts Championship Taya Valkyrie (c) vs. Tenille Dashwood
Predicted Winner: Tenille Dashwood
Winner: Taya Valkyrie
- Taya Valkyrie. La Wera Loca is a strong champion to carry the Knockouts Championship going into the AXS Era for Impact. Of all the champs going into Bound For Glory who have done there best to carry and bring respect to their belt, Taya’s done the best job. So while my prediction was wrong, I’m happy it was.
- Ribbing. Normally, breaking kayfabe by announcers is a no-no to me. But since Taya’s marriage to John Hennigan/Johnny Impact/Nitro/Mundo (I just call him Johnny MunPacTro) is both real life and part of their characters; getting a few ribs in at him was funny. John E. Bravo coming out with a stuffed dog named ‘Hennigan’ and Don Callis saying that Taya’s the best wrestler in her family both earned chuckles from me.
- Slow & Sloppy. I’ll say similar things about other matches tonight, but this match sort of let me down more than the others. I stated in my preview that Tenille Dashwood seems more intent on being an Instagram travel influencer than a wrestler anymore, and it showed in this match. While the botch on the ring apron was perhaps the ugliest and most dangerous ‘you fucked up’ moment, Dashwood looked a step too slow numerous times throughout the match. Honestly, if this is the best that Tenille Dashwood can do in the ring anymore, then perhaps she needs to stick to Instagram.
- John E. Bravo. Since her husband left the company, Taya has tried to keep the Slamtown schtick going with John E. Bravo as her bumbling assistant. In my opinion, it takes away from her and her skills. She’s already getting cheers even though she’s a heel, and tonight she often got more crowd support than Dashwood. If Impact wants Taya to keep the belt until the next PPV, she should drop Bravo, stick to being La Wera Loca, and prepare to drop the belt to a full on heel.
Overall… I’ll call it the weakest match of the night, which is a shame because as I’ve stated, Taya’s grown on me to the point she’s my second favorite female wrestler currently.
Match #3: World Tag Team Championship The North, Ethan Page & Josh Alexander (c) vs. Rob Van Dam & Rhino vs. Rich Swann & Willie Mack
Predicted Winners: The North
Winners: The North (phew, I was starting to think I was going to get proven wrong every match)
- Ethan Page. I noted in the preview that it wasn’t that long ago Page was Matt Sydall’s underwhelming, chubby jobber sidekick. While he’s not ready for a main event singles run here, he showed greatly improved in-ring work, and his top rope spot late in the match had quite a few ‘Holy Shit!’ chants. Good for him.
- Match Quality. Was it an all-time classic? Nope. But for a tag division that’s had it’s foundations cut out from underneath it in the past year, it was a good match.
- Willie Mack & Rich Swann. Have we found another good tag team here? Looking more like a legit tag team and less like a couple of buddies who happen to be tagging, both looked good in the match. I’d like this team to succeed, because I honestly worry that both men would get lost in the crowd of the singles division currently, which is a damn shame because both are talented.
- RVD. Why Rob why? Now, I’m not saying RVD snapping and turning heel was necessarily a bad thing. But why’d he snap on Rhino? If he was to go full heel on anyone, it’d be Mack and Swann, who’d been stealing his spots most of the match. To just up and superkick Rhino felt… well, baffling. In the hands of someone stronger on the mic, this could work. RVD is many things, but a strong promo isn’t one of them.
- ECW Nostalgia. We saw it with Sabu in the Call Your Shot match, and again here. A few years ago, all three men would have gotten big nostalgia pops with their entrances. Instead, the reception was muted at best. Thankfully in this match, Rhino and RVD both worked well enough to earn some crowd reactions, but the luster is off their legends right now, and they might need to consider being part timers or mentors to the next generation from this point forward.
Overall, a good match, much better than the Knockouts match before it. And I’m sensing The North can be strong champs if given the chance to do so. Coming out of Bound For Glory, there’s renewed hope for the Tag Team division.
Match #4: Michael Elgin vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Predicted Winner: Elgin
- The winner. Impact needs to protect their main event people and keep them looking strong. Elgin winning here was the right move in that regard.
- The crowd reaction. In some spots, the match earned great crowd reaction. While I was underwhelmed, I’ll chalk this up to a match that was more intense live than it was on video.
- Pacing. While the live crowd seemed satisfied, this match really started to drag for me by the end. I’ll put the blame in transitions and working the crowd, because most of the moves looked crisp and impactful. But there were just too many times where both men were down, or staggered, or playing to the crowd just a bit too long. If they’d shaved 2-3 seconds off of each of these overly long transitions, the match would have been 5 minutes shorter, and a hell of a lot more fun IMO.
Overall, a decent showing for Elgin, who still suffers from a complete and total lack of charisma during this Impact run; but did well in this type of match. He comes out still looking like a potential main event threat.
Match #5: Intergender Ladder Match for X-Division Championship Jake Crist (c) vs. Tessa Blanchard vs. Acey Romero vs. Daga vs. Ace Austin
Predicted Winner: Tessa Blanchard
Winner: Ace Austin
- Acey Romero. Just a question, when did he get a ‘y’ to the end of his name? Ace Romero, Acey Baby… okay. Acey Romero might take a little adjustment. Either way, the Jumbo Jet really decided to show up here and make the most of his first Impact PPV, stealing the spotlight more than once in the match. From crashing through tables, to using two ladders to climb up, to suicide dives… the list goes on and on. Great first showing.
- Jake Crist Losing. Ever since getting the X-Division belt, Crist has been underwelming at best. First off, it’s left Dave Crist not doing much. Second, Jake’s flailed around trying to find some hook for his promos, but hasn’t. Golden Draw? More like Golden Bathroom Break. And he showed up looking out of shape for this match. Here’s to hoping that Crist can go back to doing what he does best, which is tag team wrestling.
- Tessa Blanchard. Not sure if it was the loudest pop of the night, but the period leading up to the finish where she was climbing the ladder, frustrated by OVE interference, dealing with OVE and then climbing the ladder again was damn good.
- Ace Austin. In my opinion, the wrong person won this match. Austin doesn’t need the belt to further his feud with Eddie Edwards, and Edwards doesn’t need the Call Your Shot contract to get his hands on Austin. If Impact wants to keep the X-Division belt in an athletic cruiserweight’s hands, Daga would have been better than Austin, and would have led to storylines that could be more interesting that the obvious Austin/Edwards feud.
- Outside Interference and Foreign Objects. Frankly, I’m tired of OVE as I’ve said. And their presence should have been felt in the main event, not here. Also, Ace Austin’s little magic cane, which is basically not much more than tinfoil (see this video for a demonstration), supposedly being able to knock Tessa off the ladder? She’s taken ladders, chairs, choke slams, table shots… but is knocked down by that thing?
Overall, a hell of a fun Bound For Glory match. While Ace Austin winning the match dims it some, a great return to what the X-Division is supposed to be, seat of your pants, what the hell did I just see matches by athletic wrestlers.
Match #6: Ken Shamrock vs. Moose (w/ Frank Trigg)
Predicted Winner: Shamrock
- Moose wearing pants. There are some people who just should wear certain types of outfits. Ken Shamrock is a guy you just can’t imagine in anything other than Speedos when he’s doing pro wrestling. Moose switching to pants here? Good thing, as it made him look more solid, and more intimidating.
- Ken Shamrock’s physique. Okay, we all know he isn’t natural. We all know Ken Shamrock does enough PEDs to keep half the dealers in Reno happy. That being said, the man did what few other ‘legends’ coming in for a one shot do, and that’s trained his ass off and came into the match in phenomenal shape. Like watching Sly Stallone take off his robe in Rocky Balboa, Shammy wowed the crowd before ever doing a move.
- Pacing. Much like other matches, this match did drag at times. Ken Shamrock’s never been the world’s best worker, and he missed a few spots that took things down a notch.
- Frank Trigg. I understand the idea of protecting Shamrock’s reputation in this match. But Trigg’s interference (and a ref bump that was way too ridiculous for belief) didn’t hide Shamrock’s age or protect his rep, it just hurt the overall match.
Overall, a middling match that I was tempted to give worst of the night to, but decided to cut it some slack because Shamrock’s a one time guest star (hopefully).
The Main Event: No DQ Match for the World Heavyweight Championship Brian Cage (c) vs. Sami Callihan
Predicted Winner: Callihan
Winner: Brian Cage
- Brian Cage’s health. The biggest reason I thought Impact would take the title off of Cage is because of his back problems and lack of appearances. I mean, when your champ’s only defended the belt one time since Slammiversary, that’s nearing Lesnar-esque territory; and we all know how Lesnar-like title runs go down with the fans. Obviously someone’s gotten healed up. Cage came out of the gate looking not just jacked (okay, maybe Ken Shamrock wasn’t the most ‘roided up dude in the building), but agile, strong and hostile. It was flashes of the Brian Cage from Lucha Underground, and it was good to see. Only thing missing was Melissa Santos announcing him “from the Five-Five-Nine” with a little stank on it.
- Sami Callihan. I’ve frequently criticized Callihan for falling back on certain things a bit too much. Specifically the ‘thumbs up, thumbs down’ taunt. Kept it in check tonight, and looked a lot more vicious and dangerous than I think he has in awhile.
- No DQ. When I first heard this, my initial reaction was “Crap. A way to take the title off Cage without making Callihan look strong.” Instead, the brutality came off very well.
- The Table! Sorry, any time someone gets slammed on a table and it doesn’t shatter, all I can hear is “I AM THE TABLE!” in my head.
- OVE. Wait, so Sami’s the head of OVE. And sure, OVE maybe took some lumps during the night. But when you’ve got your leader in the match, and it’s No DQ… why weren’t they involved more? I don’t think this was explained well, if at all.
- Brian Cage’s entrance. I’ve never been a fan of cosplaying for entrances. I don’t care if it’s Triple H pretending to be Conan the Barbarian, Kenny Omega trying to be Sephiroth or whatever anime character, or who, the number of cosplaying entrances that have worked in my opinion can be counted on one hand (and Prince Devitt has about half of them). This was probably one of the worst. With a mix of The Terminator, Wolverine, and maybe Bane from the Batman universe, combined with a ‘I had $5 for my Halloween costume so this is what I came up with’ vibe, it just did not work. Pick a motif and stay with it. Blending three universes at once is no bueno.
Overall though, a great match. Again, Impact goes into the AXS Era with a strong champion, if they can address some of the flaws in Brian Cage (I’ll discuss that in my next article), so a big up for them.
Hey, it’s Impact. They’re not going to put on a spectacle on the level of Wrestlemania or even All-Out. And if you expect them to have seamless, perfect matches, well you’re going to be disappointed.
But for a fun night of wrestling, it delivers. The company’s in a good place going into the AXS Era, and with another PPV coming up in January, they’ve got time to build to another big step.
I’ll talk about what Impact needs going into 2020, but in terms of Bound For Glory 2019, it’s good. If I had to rank it among 2019 PPVs, it’s no TakeOver: New York, but it’s miles above Super Showdown or Hell In A Cell.