Hey everyone! With all the coverage of the ‘big shows’ on ewrestlingnews, I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on some of the other shows out there with an Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory 2019 preview. Check this link for last week’s Impact Wrestling results.
Impact Wrestling has been around for a long time now, starting off as TNA all the way back in 2002. For years, TNA/Impact’s been sort of the meme of the wrestling community. Whether it’s because of its history of using ‘recycled’ stars from other promotions, seemingly constant financial problems, or other controversies that leaves many predicting the death of the company.
Starting in 2017, Impact was purchased by Anthem Sports and has seen a bit of a revival. No longer trying to compete with WWE (and now AEW), Impact’s taken a different approach, becoming almost a ‘Super-Indy’ promotion; often co-promoting shows with smaller indy promotions on their streaming service. In fact, many of the stars of Impact can be seen in bingo halls, parking lots, and high school gyms regularly throughout North America.
With the reorganization, Impact’s trimmed a lot as well. Gone is the meme-ariffic ‘Impact Zone,’ along with the slick production attempts and the Dale Oliver music (too bad, I sorta liked Dale Oliver). But what Impact hasn’t dropped are their ‘Big Two’ PPVs of Slammiversary and Bound For Glory, with the 15th BFG schedule for this Sunday, October 20th.
BFG’s also had a relaunch of sorts, as it marks their re-emergence from the purgatory of little watched cable channels such as PopTV and Pursuit to AXS; a network with a rich history of wrestling in its own right. So with Impact having another new lease on life, and a future that’s looking brighter than it’s been in a long time, let’s take a look at this Sunday’s Bound For Glory:
Match #1: The North (Ethan Page and Josh Alexander) (c) vs. Rich Swann and Willie Mack vs. Rhino and Rob Van Dam (Impact Tag Team Championship Match)
It was barely a year ago that Ethan Page was little more than Matt Sydal’s chubby annoying sidekick, always there to take the pin if need be. Now, Page and Josh Alexander have gotten a rocket level push as Impact looks to rebuild their tag-team division with the departure of long time cornerstone team LAX. In fact, it was The North who sent LAX packing storyline wise. So don’t expect The North to be losing in their first PPV defense.
Expect Rhino and Van Dam to get an old school pop, some ECW chants, and a few spots in. Willie and Rich will do some athletic moves and carry most of the heavy bumping. In the end, expect The North to emerge with their belts intact.
Predicted Winners: The North
Match #2: Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match
Impact’s always been high on the idea of ‘throw everyone not busy into a match, have a clusterf*ck spot-fest, and see what happens.‘ And more often than not, they’re fun to watch if anything. With the added stipulation of the winner having a Money In The Bank type title shot of their choice, this could be seen as Impact’s way of setting up future storylines (something Impact has been pretty good at recently).
Predicted Winner: Totally up for grabs, but if I were to pull a name out of my head, I’ll say Mahabali Shera. Impact’s obviously still high on the Indian market, and Shera would be a good threat to any face champion with the Desi Hit Squad backing him up.
Match #3: Jake Crist (c) vs. Tessa Blanchard vs. Daga vs. Ace Austin vs. TBA (X Division Championship Ladder Match)
This is perhaps the most polarizing match of the night, simply because of the presence of Tessa Blanchard. There are many in the wrestling world who think that a woman doesn’t have a place in a men’s match, citing size, strength, etc. I won’t get into that, as that’s a whole other article.
On the other hand, regardless of your feelings on intergender matches, if there is a woman who looks like she can hang in a men’s match? It’s Tessa Blanchard. The Unforgettable Diamond is, quite frankly, built like an athlete. She has an in-ring style that favors speed and hard-hitting strikes, and quite frankly looks like a girl who can throw down (let’s not forget the biggest case of kayfabe RBF in pro wrestling). In this writer’s opinion, you want to find the best women’s wrestler in North America, don’t look at WWE. Look at Tessa Blanchard.
Many have predicted that Tessa wins this, taking the belt from OVE’s Jake Crist in order to use the X-Division championship. Doing so will give her ‘Option C’ to cash in the belt for a World Title Shot against the winner of BFG’s main event. I can see it happen, although I’ll also say there exists a slim possibility of Ace Austin climbing the ladder to give more meaning behind his infidelity angle with Eddie Edwards.
Predicted Winner: Tessa Blanchard
Match #4: Taya Valkyrie (c) vs. Tenile Dashwood (Impact Knockouts Championship Match)
Ah, Taya. You’re the girl I’ve loved to hate ever since I first saw you back in Lucha Underground. And at first, I thought your Impact run was going to be a waste of time. However, after some medical issues were resolved (check her Instagram for the details), Taya re-emerged in shape, fierce, and the Wera Loca’s had the Knockouts division on lockdown for a record 280+ days.
Two questions will determine this match. 1) is Taya going to stay with Impact? Her husband, Johnny Impact/Nitro/Mundo/Morrison/Whatever left Impact a few months ago, and honestly her act’s been missing a bit since then. Slamtown needs a Mayor and a First Lady, not a First Lady and a lackey in John E. Bravo.
2) Is Impact going to put the belt on Tenille? Dashwood, the former Emma, has had a strange career since leaving WWE. Going to ROH and sort of doing nothing for a contract; and having her own medical struggles, Dashwood seems to be more interested in becoming a big influence on Instagram than a wrestler at times. Hey, if I could get paid to take bikini shots of myself at a hotel in Bali? I would too!
That being said, Dashwood still has name recognition, and could be a good transitional champion. Also, Taya’s pretty much run through everyone at this point, and has the record for the longest reign. Seems like a good time to give the belt up. Find some new feuds for new reasons, or move on to greener pastures (frankly, I’d love to see Taya have a run in NXT, there’s some good matchups for her there).
Predicted Winner: Tenille Dashwood
Match #5: The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier, Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz) vs. Dr. Wagner Jr., Aero Star and Taurus
Seemingly one of two bathroom break matches on the card. The Rascalz are a group that, I admit, don’t connect with me. Then again, I’ve never been into stoner-style groups, and their ‘Tree House’ promos riffing on That 70’s Show just seem dated to me.
This match is likely the product of Impact’s partnership with AAA, since they routinely film down in Mexico. As such, there’s no real build. There’s no real reason to watch this, unless you’re into The Rascalz’s flippy-floppy style or enjoy seeing a lucha legend in Dr. Wagner Jr. compete.
Predicted Winner: Who knows? Who really cares? This is a throwaway match.
Match #6: Michael Elgin vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Another bathroom break match IMO, Impact sort of created their own problem with this one. When Brian Cage suffered some pretty serious back problems winning the world title (Jeez, this company needs health insurance), they quickly brought in Michael Elgin to serve as the powerful heavy for the company.
Unfortunately for Elgin, Cage has rehabbed himself enough to hang onto his world title, and even pinned Elgin (with a wrestling move of all things!), leaving the Unbreakable One sort of listless. With his history in Japan, a match with Marufuji makes sense for entertainment value if nothing else.
Predicted Winner: Elgin. Impact needs to keep momentum on Elgin’s side since Big Mike’s got all the charisma of one of the dumbbells on his ring jacket, and Marufuji won’t mind doing the job in the USA; where few Japanese fans will be watching or caring.
Match #7: Ken Shamrock vs. Moose
Wait, what? On quite a few levels, this match leaves a lot of folks scratching their heads. Impact has a history of cross-promoting with MMA (and some other off the wall ideas). On the other hand, Ken Shamrock is the very first TNA champion; so having him come back has a certain sense of completion. And Shamrock’s trying (yet again) to get his own promotion going, this time a bareknuckle boxing thing… I think.
But, Shamrock’s 55 years old. And despite being in tremendous shape for his age, and more ripped than I’ll ever be, he’s not the same man he was during his WWF Attitude Era run, or even back in his first TNA run in 2002. So in that regard, on paper he seems to be no match for the younger, stronger, faster, bigger Moose.
Still, Shamrock’s got one thing on his side, in that he’s what my grandfather called “crazier than a sh*thouse rat,” and always has that ‘snap’ on his side. In what may prove to be Impact’s way of having Moose do the job in order to get the rub later, expect Shammy to go over with an ankle lock.
Predicted Winner: Shamrock in a sort of curtain call match for his Impact career. Then again, we never know as Impact seems to like bringing back old talents for limited runs. (see Dreamer, Thomas and Van Dam, Robert and Rhino for evidence)
Match #8: Brian Cage (c) vs. Sami Callihan
When Brian Cage took the Impact belt fromf Johnny Impact, I really had high hopes. Having seen his work in Lucha Underground, I was excited to see what he could do in Impact. And quite frankly, at least he’s able to hit his finisher consistently.
But Cage really screwed up his back during said match. It’s most likely the product of a body that’s seen a lot (and I mean A LOT) of hard-hitting indy matches, road miles, and pharmaceutical enhancement. So in some ways Cage reminds me of a larger, freakier, more roided out Dynamite Kid; a guy who’s carrying about 30-50 pounds of muscle that his skeleton shouldn’t be dealing with.
Add into the mix that Callihan’s been one of the hottest, most despicable heels in indy wrestling since accidentally blasting Eddie Edwards in the eye with a baseball bat; and you have the recipe for a title change. The man walks into the building and people start to boo him. Hell, I bet this man’s dog boos him. Meanwhile, Sami seems in many respects to be about as consummate a professional as you can find in the indy wrestling scene.
While I’m not a fan of OVE (frankly, a stable that’s half cultish, half Breaking Bad methheads isn’t my cup of tea), and Sami really, I mean REALLY overdoes his ‘thumbs up, thumbs down’ taunt, the logical choice is for Callihan to take the belt off Cage here. You gotta protect your company. And when your champ can’t be at three quarters of your tapings and can’t get in the ring? You know what you gotta do. Cage can lose his rematch and have plenty of other options for future feuds.
Callihan would be perfectly positioned as a charismatic heel champ. With fanatical followers protecting him (including Madman Fulton, who I think has grown a lot since his NXT days), the future’s storylines for Impact over the next 3-6 months pretty much write themselves; and are damn good at that.
Predicted Winner: Sami Callihan with some outside OVE assistance
Am I blown out of my shoes at this card? Nah, there’s some fat to be trimmed. And there’s still a lot of questions to be answered as they start their new lease of life on October 29th. With that being said, do I think it’ll be a fun night of wrestling? Hell yes. Am I going to give it a watch? Yup, and there are quite a few matches that I think will be surprisingly good. I mean, at the very least it should make more sense than Hell In A Cell, right?
So where do you think Impact’s going to go from this (already predicting five responses of ‘Bankruptcy Court’, har har)? Post your ideas below! Thank you for reading my Bound For Glory 2019 preview.