The go-home IMPACT Wrestling show for Bound for Glory saw a no-disqualification match as well as a Knockouts tag team main event.
Impact Wrestling 19/10/23 from Graceland Soundstage in Memphis, Tennessee.
There was a video that showed some highlights from a NJPW recent event where Josh Alexander accidentally cost he, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin the NJPW Never Openweight 6-man Tag Team Championships. You can see highlights here.Last week’s show ended with Frankie Kazarian finally defeating Eddie Edwards in an awesome 2/3 falls match which I rated 4¼ stars. Bound for Glory is this Saturday and the card is great. I will leave some short predictions at the end of this column.
Tom Hannifan welcomed us to the show and was screaming about Bound for Glory being only 48 hours away. We are straight into the action.
Match #1: Mike Bailey vs Samuray Del Sol
Del Sol has probably had the weakest presentation of any debuting star in recent memory. He got taken out backstage and lost a competitive match against Chris Sabin, then they threw him in Ultimate X on Impact 1000. He will be losing this match tonight so we are still waiting for his first win I believe. They shook hands to start the match and Del Sol got a single-leg takedown and a springboard arm drag. There was lots of flipping and athleticism early on. Bailey connected with a hard kick to the chest of Del Sol. He missed a corner attack so Del Sol hit a nice enziguiri and a twisting arm drag from the top rope. Bailey countered Salida Del Sol with a big boot that took Del Sol off the apron. Bailey missed a diving attack through the ropes so Del Sol nailed a beautiful springboard moonsault to the outside. He tossed Bailey back into the ring and only scored a 1 count. Del Sol hit a series of kicks with Bailey against the ropes. Bailey blocked an Irish Whip and hit his series of kicks that took Del Sol to the mat. He nailed a kick to the back of the neck and then another across Del Sol’s chest. Bailey scored with a running Shooting Star Press for 2. Del Sol blocked a corner attack from Bailey then both men took each other out with a dropkick. They rolled to opposite sides on the outside area and again connected with kicks which knocked the other wrestler down. They rolled inside to reset the ten count and then battled on the ring apron. Del Sol hit a kick which sent Bailey back into the ring. Del Sol went to the top but Bailey quickly caught him with an enziguiri which sent him to the outside. Bailey connected with a twisting senton on the floor. He sent Del Sol back into the ring and wanted Ultima Weapon but Del Sol blocked it with a kick to the face. He hit an awesome body scissors driver off the top rope for a close 2 count. Bailey blocked the Salida Del Sol and used a backslide for a 2 count. Bailey nailed a running Spanish Fly for 2. He hit a thrust kick which sent Del Sol into the corner. Del Sol blocked the Tornado Kick and nailed a big boot. He rang back to the corner to set up another move but Bailey met him with the Tornado Kick. Bailey nailed Ultima Weapon for the win after 9½ minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Mike Bailey
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a great opener, at an electric pace. It was pretty clear that Bailey was going to win since he is facing Will Ospreay at BFG, however, Del Sol got plenty of offense in and looked impressive in defeat. Hopefully he can pick up some wins soon.
There was a vignette with Dirty Dango, Alpha Bravo and their new heavy Oleg Prudius (FKA Vladimir Kozlov). Dango ran down some past Impact stars. He talked down to Bravo who keeps making mistakes when Dango is trying to win. Dango said that eventually you have to audit the situation and that meant bringing in Oleg. He talked up Oleg’s toughness.
Analysis: I’m a fan of how they present those videos but there wasn’t much to that one. There still wasn’t any real introduction of Oleg but the reason for bringing him in made sense.
Chris Bey and Ace Austin cut a quick promo ahead of their Tag Team Championship shot against The Rascalz at Bound for Glory. Bey said the situation had become personal.
Analysis: That should be one of the better matches on the card but I think they will all be great!
Match #2: Heath vs Kenny King w/ Sheldon Jean
Heath hasn’t done a great deal lately so it’s good to see him on TV again. I’m a big fan of Kenny King and will continue to advocate for him and his poor booking. King got a cheap shot in at the start and backed Heath into the corner. They traded right hands and the referee broke up the scuffle against the ropes. Heath was arguing with the referee so King got a kick in. Heath connected with a clothesline so King bailed to the outside for a breather. Heath stalked him on the outside and bounced King’s head off the ring apron. He pummelled him with right hands around the ringside area. King fought back with an elbow and rolled into the ring to break the count. He returned to the outside area but Heath met him with a right hand shot. Sheldon Jean was mouthing off to Heath so Heath smacked him in the face. King capitalised and sent Heath into the ring apron, face-first. Heath rolled into the ring so King taunted the fans. He got up onto the apron so Heath suplexed him back inside the ring. Heath hit a clothesline that sent both wrestlers over the top rope. He was holding his ankle after an awkward landing. He barely made it back into the ring before the 10 count. King targeted the ankle with kicks. He choked Heath out against the middle rope. King hit a flurry of right hands with Heath trapped in the corner and then he wrenched at the left ankle of Heath. He tried to sit down on it but Heath kicked him between the ropes. Heath connected with a clothesline off the top rope for a 2 count. King hit a Legsweep and then a hard kick to the shoulder for 2. Heath ducked a clothesline and then both men took out the other with a clothesline of their own. Heath nailed a high knee lift and a powerslam for 2. His ankle was still bothering him and King tried a roll up with his feet on the ropes but the referee saw it and stopped the count. King ran right into a spinebuster and Heath got a close 2 count. Heath was setting up for the Wake Up Call but Sheldon Jean jumped up on the ring apron to interfere for about the 4th time (this particular referee is always allowing things like this I’ve noticed) and turned around into a big spinning kick and the Royal Flush for the victory for King after 9 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kenny King
Analysis: **3/4 Injury angles during matches usually make things less interesting and that was certainly the case here. It was okay but the referee continually allowed King to get away with illegal things. I’m a bit of a stickler for referees and bookers using their brains.
They showed a video promo from Frankie Kazarian after his match last week. He said Eddie Edwards now had no choice but to respect him.
Match #3: No Disqualification Match: Crazzy Steve vs Black Taurus
These two faced off when Steve was freshly turned and the match had no build up or story behind it and now they’re having a random No-DQ match with still no story. Steve has a guaranteed Digital Media Championship match against Tommy Dreamer down the line. Taurus charged at Steve who bailed to the outside immediately. He chased Steve back into the ring and hit a series of clotheslines. Taurus hit an upper cut and an arm-breaker but Steve again bailed to the outside. He went underneath the ring and retrieved a steel chair but he was hesitant to use it. Taurus missed a chair shot and hit the steel steps. Steve grabbed the chair and bashed Taurus over the back twice, then went hunting for other weapons. He pummelled Taurus on the floor with left hands. Steve got some more chairs from underneath the ring. He hit Taurus with 3 more shots and then set 3 chairs up on the outside area. Steve grabbed another bunch of chairs and sent them up like the others. He clubbed Taurus over the back of the neck and then hit a Russian Legsweep against the ring apron. Steve got a trash can and cracked Taurus over the back with it and then tossed him into the ring post. They went back into the ring and Steve set two chairs up facing each other. He wanted to suplex Taurus on them but Taurus fought out of it with a headbutt and hit Steve with a spinebuster on the chairs! Steve kicked out at 2. That wouldn’t have tickled. Taurus saw all of the chairs assembled on the outside so he tried to suplex Steve onto them. Steve fought out of it and Taurus went back into the ring to hit a slingblade. He grabbed the trash can but Steve hit a Stroke-like move onto the trash can. Steve hit a Destroyer out of the corner that looked painful. He nailed a cannonball in the corner for a 2 count. Nice sequence of moves there. Taurus hit a stiff palm strike and went to clothesline Steve over the top onto the chairs but Steve caught him and flipped him over his head and Taurus landed painfully on the stack of chairs. Yikes! Steve was clapping his dirty work as they showed replay which didn’t look any more fun on second showing. He went to his briefcase and pulled out the fork. Taurus blocked it from stabbing his head and they fought over it back in the ring. He overpowered Steve, who begged for mercy. Steve slipped out of Destination Hellhole by gouging Taurus’ eyes and nailed him in the head with the briefcase against the turnbuckle. That was unique. Steve nailed his spiking Tornado DDT for the win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Crazzy Steve
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a really good brawl, that didn’t use a lot of weapons but instead the commentators played up the personal relationship between the two combatants. This should’ve been built up over the last few weeks and then it would’ve felt like a bigger deal. The action was very good. Steve is one of the better acts on Impact currently.
There was a video package for Josh Alexander showing highlights of his championship run, his injury and his return.
After the match Steve went right over to the camera and said he was going to prise the Digital Media Championship from his cold, dead hands.
There was a video package of some of the Call Your Shot Gauntlet competitors Bully Ray, Eric Young and Jake Something who is #1. Overall, 13 people spoke so we know who at least most of the wrestlers are.
Analysis: I still think Something might win from #1. I hope it’s Kenny King. There’s no real standout at this point. Hopefully there are a few surprises. It was a good way to get a lot of people on the show.
Trinity and Mickie James had a very pleasant interview with Gia Miller, ahead of their tag team main event. It has been a very respectful feud but I expect one of them to accidentally strike the other one during tonight’s match, which usually happens in face vs face feuds.
Match #4: PCO & Rhino vs Brian Myers & Moose
¾ of these competitors are in Monster’s Ball on Saturday. Moose doesn’t have a lot of beef with any of them so it’s weird seeing him in the match. Him or Maclin should win it though and it will be a violent match. Rhino and Myers started the match off here. Rhino overpowered Myers, who went for a pep talk with Moose. Myers wanted a test-of-strength and Rhino still hasn’t worked out after 27 years of wrestling that heels use this to get a cheap shot in. He hit a spear in the corner and targeted the left shoulder of Myers. Rhino nailed a shoulder block and tagged in PCO. Myers didn’t want a piece of him so he tagged Moose in. They went face-to-face and Moose tried a shoulder tackle but PCO wouldn’t budge. Moose went for an eye rake and they traded chops in the corner. PCO hit a running knee to the ribs of Moose and a side Russian Legsweep. He connected with a running headbutt and tagged Rhino back in. The face team took down Moose with running elbows. Rhino chopped away at Moose and bounced his head off the corner turnbuckle ten times! Moose bailed to the outside and Rhino followed. Rhino bounced Moose’s head off the ring apron and sent him back into the ring. Myers distracted Rhino so Moose hit a Pump Kick. He pummelled Rhino with right hands on the mat.
Myers choked Rhino against the middle rope as we returned to the action. He hit a Russian Legsweep for 2. Myers tagged Moose in who continued to choke Rhino in the ropes. Myers hit a cheap shot on Rhino when the referee was talking to Moose. Moose covered for 2. Rhino blocked a suplex attempt and nailed one of his own. PCO and Myers tagged in for their teams. PCO nailed a running clothesline and a DDT on Myers. He hit a Lung blower from the middle rope and a nice legdrop over the neck of Myers for 2. PCO hit a Reverse DDT on Myers and went to the top for the moonsault but Moose pulled him out of the ring. PCO landed on his head by the looks of it. He’s mad. Rhino met Moose with a belly-to-belly suplex. He set up for The Gore but Steve Maclin dragged him out of the ring and tossed him into the steel post. He set up for The Gore on the outside but Bully Ray stopped him. This allowed PCO to hit a dive on him from inside the ring. PCO was getting back into the ring so Moose kicked the ropes to give him a low blow. Moose hit an ugly looking spear for the win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Brian Myers & Moose
Analysis: **3/4 It wasn’t the smoothest tag team match but you can probably expect that with veterans in there. I like how they brought Maclin and Bully into the fray, as well as how the commentators played up how dangerous Monster’s Ball is.
MK Ultra cut a promo, via video, on Deonna Purrazzo and Tasha Steelz who they face at Bound for Glory. Masha spoke and Kelly translated and it was usual stuff about teams falling to MK Ultra.
There was a video package for Mike Bailey vs Will Ospreay. Impact are bringing in Ospreay for two shows and they couldn’t even give him an interview or something to pump up the rivalry? It would just seem to be a random match to the casual viewer but they have cool interactions on their social media, which they should’ve played up.
Rhino confronted Bully Ray backstage and let him know that he doesn’t trust him or need his help. Bully told him he was welcome but he had already left.
Alex Shelley/Josh Alexander Sit Down Interview with Scott D’Amore as Moderator
Scott D’Amore said that even though they’re both in the building, they’re holding this interview in separate rooms so that nothing physical occurs before Saturday night. Shelley reacted angrily to D’Amore asking Alexander the first question. Alexander puts over Shelley but he didn’t want to hear it. Shelley asked if he was the face of the company, why was Alexander plastered all over Impact 1000. He called Alexander’s triceps injury a vacation and Alexander argued if Shelley is the face of the company, why is he always wrestling in other places? Alexander said Shelley was a deserving World Champion…for 48 more hours. Shelley said that Alexander accepted the match against two weeks ago because if he loses to Shelley then he will have an excuse afterwards. Shelley was coming off paranoid here. Shelley told Alexander to be quiet when he spoke. Alexander said he’s never had excuses in the past and he’s 100% healthy. He’s worried about Shelley’s mental state and the fact that he is unravelling in front of the Impact Zone as we speak. Alexander said Shelley was buckling under the pressures that the World Championship holds. He said the reason why Shelley assumes Alexander thinks he’s a transitional champion, is that deep down Shelley believes it himself. At this point Shelley furiously took off his ear piece and stormed off camera.
Shelley stormed into Alexander’s room and they brawled for a brief moment until D’Amore broke it up. D’Amore kicked Shelley out of the room and Shelley complained that D’Amore was always on Alexander’s side.
Analysis: I don’t find sit-down interviews very interesting usually, but this one was fiery. I like this version of Shelley. He’s not fully blown heel but more in the mould of the paranoid Stone Cold champion from 2001. I like his arrogance and little heel mannerisms.
The commentators ran down the card for Bound for Glory.
Match #5: Gisele Shaw & Savannah Evans w/ Jai Vidal vs Trinity & Mickie James
Mickie saved Trinity from a beatdown a few weeks ago and invoked her rematch clause for Bound for Glory. Shaw will participate in the Call Your Shot Gauntlet match. Shaw and Evans jumped the face team before the bell sounded but Trinity and James hit dual Thesz Presses and sent their opponents outside the ring. Evans and James started off the match. Evans sent James to the floor using her power. She hit a short-arm clothesline and held Mickie’s left arm. Evans pulled James down to the mat by her hair. James hit a kick to the ribs and then one to the knee. She tagged in Trinity and they hit a double clothesline on Evans. Better than MJFs and you know it. Trinity hit a hard kick to the head of Evans in the corner. She teed off with right hands in the corner. Shaw came over for the distraction but Trinity sent her off the apron. She turned around and got clobbered by Evans. Shaw tagged in and slapped Trinity and hit a knee to the ribs. Trinity connected with a head scissors and a dropkick in the corner. James tagged in and took down Shaw with a back elbow. She covered and Shaw kicked out at 2. James sent Shaw into the corner and hit a series of kicks to the chest, followed by some stiff forearms. She connected with a neckbreaker for only 1. Shaw sent Mickie off the ropes, but James slid through her legs and tagged in Trinity. Trinity took down Shaw and then hit her jumping splits which is always cool. She hit a diving clothesline and a neckbreaker, then a kick to the chest. Trinity was on fire with a legdrop but Shaw kicked out again. She bailed to the ring apron but Vidal pulled her out of harm’s way. Trinity catapulted to the outside and took them both out with a crossbody. Trinity was distracted by Evans, so Shaw hit a superkick and dragged Trinity to her corner. Evans tagged in and stomped away on Trinity. She sent Trinity head-first into the turnbuckle on opposite sides of the ring. Evans tagged back in and her team hit a double-suplex on Trinity. She tried to lock in a rear naked choke but Trinity was quick to her feet with an enziguiri. Shaw took out James, just as Trinity had reached out for a tag. Evans and Shaw stomped on Trinity as the referee was blocking James from aiding her tag partner. Evans tagged in and hit a scoop slam and a big leg drop for 2. She quickly tagged in Shaw again. Shaw whipped Trinity hard into the middle turnbuckle pad and tagged Evans back in. Trinity fought off Shaw on the apron with elbows and made it to James for the tag, but the referee was dealing with Shaw getting in the ring so didn’t permit the tag. Evans and Shaw beat Trinity down in their corner. Evans locked a sleeper hold in on Trinity. Trinity fought her off with forearms and a kick from the second rope. Trinity finally made the tag to James. She took down Shaw, who tagged in too, with a series of clotheslines. James hit a hurricanrana and a flapjack on Shaw. She hit a seated senton from the top but Evans broke up the pin. Shaw tried a quick pin for 2. She tagged in Evans, who hit a backbreaker. Shaw hit a running kick as Evans held James, but Trinity broke up the pin. Shaw ran right past the referee to confront Trinity on the ring apron, but Trinity hit a vaulting DDT by leaping over the top rope inside the ring. James and Trinity traded kicks on Evans then Mickie hit the MickDT on Evans for the win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Trinity & Mickie James
Analysis: *** It was just a simple tag match where Trinity spent a lot of time getting beaten down and James got the hot tag to win the match. Evans was always taking the loss here.
James and Trinity celebrated after the match. Trinity went to leave but James held on to the title. They had a stare down as Impact went off the air.
Analysis: Finally, a little bit of tension. I’m looking forward to the match Saturday, but not as much as some of the other Knockouts Championship matches that have had a clear heel/face dynamic.
Final Rating: 6.5/10
It wasn’t the most exciting final show before their biggest PPV of the year, but it was effective in spending TV time showcasing almost every match on the card- either through a promo, interview or in-ring confrontation. I enjoyed the No-DQ match and Mike Bailey/Del Sol’s opener. They were good TV matches that got decent time. The only real feud that didn’t feature tonight was KENTA vs Sabin. I am disappointed in the build-up of that match as well as for Ospreay vs Bailey. There has been no confrontation between both sets of wrestlers which doesn’t give you any story to the match. I understand that Ospreay and KENTA have been overseas and these shows were taped a while back, but it would add a lot to the hype had we seen them both beforehand. It just seems like Ospreay will turn up, win and leave. Same with KENTA except he will lose. I also read a report that said this week’s show only had 77,000 viewers. I am no expert on ratings on the scale used in US/Canada but surely that’s a very worrying number. As a comparison, the week that Dynamite (600k or so) and NXT (900k or thereabouts) went head-to-head there were over 1.5 million people watching wrestling at the same time. Then you have DVR, On Demand etc. I just want Impact to do better and the talent is there, but other aspects are obviously not.
I think Bound for Glory probably has the best PPV line-up that Impact has put forth this year. Even without a full blown heel/face dynamic in the main event, Shelley has done enough very good character work to think he could snap and go heel. I’ll predict that and that he will retain his title. I think it will be a great night of wrestling and I hope we get some surprises, too.
The next PPV is Bound for Glory on October 21st. Here is the lineup with my predictions in bold:
* Impact World Championship: Alex Shelley (c) vs Josh Alexander
* Impact Knockouts’ Championship: Trinity (c) vs Mickie James
* X- Division Championship: Chris Sabin (c) vs KENTA
* Impact World Tag Team Championships: The Rascalz (c) vs Bullet Club
* Knockouts’ Tag Team Championships: MK Ultra (c) vs Deonna Purrazzo & Tasha Steelz
* Will Ospreay vs Mike Bailey
* Monsters Ball: Moose vs PCO vs Rhino vs Steve Maclin
* Call Your Shot 20-Person Gauntlet Match: Predicted winner: Jake Something
Looks like I am predicting every champion to retain. I wouldn’t have thought that before re-looking at the line up, but it does make sense just looking at the matches.