By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory Hits
Jake Crist vs. Tessa Blanchard vs. Daga vs. Ace Austin vs. Acey Romero in a five-way ladder match for the X Division Championship: Everyone involved in the match went above and beyond the call of duty. Romero’s fall from the ladder in the ring through the table at ringside was incredible, and fortunately it looked like the ladder missed him when it followed him to the floor. There was a lot of fan speculation that Blanchard would win the title in this match. I’m happy that wasn’t the plan. If they were going to give her the title then it should have been a straight up singles match. I actually thought Crist would retain the championship, but Austin winning the belt is solid move. As ridiculous as his storyline with Eddie and Alisha Edwards has been, he’s made the most of the opportunity by proving to be a strong personality. I assume the plan is for Eddie to use the title shot he earned to go after Austin and the X Division Championship.
Brian Cage vs. Sami Callihan in a No DQ match for the Impact World Championship: I could have done without Cage showing up in his Wolverine cosplay gear, especially since the story going into the match was that Cage was out for revenge after Callihan hit his wife with a champagne bottle and left her lying with a piledriver. Fortunately, they worked a fittingly intense style once Cage removed his Halloween costume. I was open to the idea of Callihan winning the title going into the match, especially once it was announced as a No DQ match. Yet once the bell rang, they never sold me on Callihan coming close to winning (and Josh Mathews didn’t help matters, more on that later). It was also odd that the OVE members tried to save Jake Crists’s X Division Championship during the five-way ladder match, yet no one came to help Callihan despite it being a No DQ match. Here’s hoping that this is part of a storyline that will play out coming out of the tapings and wasn’t just an oversight.
Ken Shamrock vs. Moose: The build to this match was terrific aside from the one questionable move of having Shamrock rough up Moose on a recent edition of Impact. The actual match was an overbooked mess at times, but it was also a lot of fun. Shamrock showed that he was there to do more than just collect a paycheck. The 55 year-old MMA legend worked hard and that no touch dive over the top rope was fantastic. I can see Shamrock getting more pro wrestling bookings either via Impact or elsewhere if he’s interested. Who knows, maybe word will get back to the Saudis and he’ll find himself in line for one more big pay day. Meanwhile, as much as I enjoyed the heel quirkiness that Moose showed prior to this feud, I love that he was able to flip the switch and play a more straight forward heel throughout the build to his match with Shamrock. With the win over Shamrock, I wonder if Moose is next in line for Cage.
Michael Elgin vs. Naomichi Marufuji: A very good strong style match. The vast majority of the fans seemed unfamiliar with Marufuji based on how quiet they were during his entrance. He won over some of the fans with his work, but he was not nearly as well received as a lot of the New Japan Pro Wrestling talent is when they work shows in the United States. Nevertheless, Elgin and Marufuji worked a very physical style and delivered the best singles match of the night.
Taya Valkyrie vs. Tenille Dashwood for the Knockouts Championship: A solid match despite a couple of clunky moments (the bad package piledriver on the apron being one). Impact made the right call in keeping the title on Valkyrie, who has really shined since turning heel. Dashwood was rushed into the title match and hasn’t really clicked in Impact yet.
The North vs. Rob Van Dam and Rhino vs. Rich Swann and Willie Mack in a Triple Threat for the Impact Tag Titles: A minor Hit for the match quality and for the Van Dam heel turn. RVD felt like he was spinning his wheels and while I don’t think the average fan wants to boo Van Dam, hopefully this will freshen things up. Given that RVD turned on Rhino, it was surprising to see The North pin Rich Swann. Rhino had an out for losing the match and won’t be in the tag title picture now that his partner turned on him, and having him take the loss would have protected Swann and Mack and set them a regular tag title match against The North. Instead, one team broke up and the other was beaten, so I’m not sure who is next for The North.
Call Your Shot gauntlet match: A soft Hit for a match that featured a lot of silliness that will work for some fans and turn off others. Madman Fulton’s stretch of domination didn’t work for me because the company has been inconsistent with his push as a monster. The conclusion of the match was flat. Eddie Edwards entering first and winning just didn’t feel like a big deal, and his crazy man character feels played out. The highlight for me was the surprise appearance of Kylie Rae, who would be a strong addition to the Knockouts Division if she’s going to become a regular in Impact.
Overall show: Don’t let the lopsided Hit count lead you to believe that this was a great pay-per-view. It was probably my least favorite of the Don Callis and Scott D’Amore booking era, but they set the bar high with the past events and this was still a good show. The company missed LAX, who delivered numerous pay-per-view stealing matches, particularly when they were booked against Pentagon Jr. and Fenix.
Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory Misses
Josh Mathews: I typically enjoy the team of Mathews and Don Callis, but Mathews took all the suspense out of countless near falls by acting as if it was a forgone conclusion that there would be a successful pinfall. Wrestling fans have been conditioned to expect a kick out whenever a play by play voice takes that approach. I don’t really buy the argument that it works on more casual viewers, but even if that were true, how many casual pro wrestling fans dished out $40 to $50 to watch this pay-per-view? This is likely something that Mathews likely picked up during his WWE run, but even WWE has pulled way back on having their play by play voices make that type of call.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features referee Rob Page discussing the difficulty of reffing tag matches in the modern era, making three counts if a wrestler's shoulders are down even if it wasn't the planned finish, the growth of F1rst Wrestling, and more...