By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory Hits
Jordynne Grace vs. Masha Slamovich for the Knockouts Title: The company did such a good job of building up Slamovich and then the go-home show contract signing angle was so strong that it left me wondering if this match would close the show. It would not have felt out of place in the main event slot because Grace and Slamovich had a hell of a match. Grace has really improved her facial expressions and does a great job of conveying the emotion of a match. I went into this thinking that it would have been foolish to have Slamovich lose after that massive buildup the company gave her, but both wrestlers did such a good job that I came away feeling fine about Grace retaining.
Mike Bailey vs. Frankie Kazarian for the X Division Championship: A hot opener. It was great to see the X Division Title defended in a singles match on the company’s biggest show of the year as opposed to being featured in some type of multi-person spot-fest. Bailey’s title reign was great and he elevated the prestige of the championship. In fact, I felt like it was a slam dunk that Bailey would retain the title because he’d been such a strong champion. Kazarian returning to Impact and winning the title again after all these years made for a nice moment, but I’m still not sold on the idea of taking the title off of Bailey.
Matt Taven and Mike Bennett vs. Motor City Machine Guns for the Impact Tag Team Titles: Man, I love good tag team wrestling. The near falls for both teams were fantastic and this match featured top notch work from bell to bell. On a show filled with so many clean finishes, the heel duo cheating to retain their titles didn’t bother me. The finish created the need for a rematch between these teams, and I’m all for Guns being in chase mode.
Josh Alexander vs. Eddie Edwards for the Impact World Championship: If there was one weakness with this show on paper it’s that Edwards just didn’t feel like the right person to challenge Alexander on Impact’s biggest show of the year. Edwards would be a fine challenger on any other Impact pay-per-view, but the idea of him challenging Alexander at BFG felt underwhelming. These are two great wrestlers so I never had a doubt about the match quality, but it just didn’t stand out as big show special. As expected, Alexander and Edwards produced a strong match and the right man went over.
Call Your Shot Gauntlet Battle Royal: Had someone told me in advance that there would be mid-match ECW reunion, I may have actually groaned. As much as I loved the promotion, it feels like we’ve been there and done too many times. But I’ll be damned, the reunion with Bully Ray, Tommy Dreamer, and Rhino was a lot of fun, particularly when Johnny Swinger tried to get involved. Taylor Wilde playing the role of D-Von Dudley was good for a laugh. They lost me when Bully Ray pinned Steve Maclin to win the match. I’m a big fan of Bully Ray’s old school heel work. I’m not even down on the idea of him having a one-off title match with Alexander because Impact needs star power. But Bully could have won the match by pinning someone other than Maclin. Even so, I enjoyed the match and I never would have predicted the outcome.
Mickie James vs. Mia Yim: The story that James will retire if she loses a match on her road to a Knockouts Championship match is still at the point where it’s making her match outcomes feel predictable. That will be less of an issue the longer this goes, but it did work against this match to some extent. Even so, it was a quality match the veterans did their best to create some dramatic moments.
Raven’s Hall of Fame induction: Tommy Dreamer delivered a nice presentation speech. Raven followed with an acceptance speech that was self deprecating, biting, humorous, and endearing all at the same time. Raven putting Dreamer down with another Even Flow DDT was easy to see coming and yet still very enjoyable.
Overall Show: The venue arrangement stood out immediately. It was so good to see fans seated opposite the hard camera rather than the usual approach where the camera faces the stage. This approach made the show feel so much bigger than the weekly television show and even other pay-per-view events. The key matches delivered. Every match that looked strong on paper lived up to or exceeded my expectations. This was a very good show that lived up to the hype of being Impact’s biggest show of the year.
Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory Misses
Brian Myers vs. Dirty Dango for the Digital Media Championship: Some wrestlers get released by a major company and reinvent themselves. Others stick with some variation of the gimmick they played on the bigger stage. Myers reinvented himself and has found success. Dango and No Way Jose are examples of wrestlers who really should reinvent themselves rather than attempt to ride the nonexistent momentum from their undercard runs on WWE television. So while the ring work was fine and the right person went over, I just never got caught up in the match because the idea of Dango winning held no appeal. He’s a talented guy who needs to move on from the bad WWE gimmick.
Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green vs. Taya Valkyrie and Jessicka for the Knockouts Tag Titles: A soft Miss. It’s hard to get invested in the Knockouts Tag Team Titles when the company plays hot potato with the belts by booking them to change hands every couple of months. Purrazzo and Green are great singles wrestlers and I had high hopes for them as tag team champions, but they took the cliche Mean Girls heel approach. It worked for Green and felt off from Purrazzo based on her past persona. I’m also feeling underwhelmed by Valkyrie’s latest Impact run. She had an awesome run in Impact before she left for NXT, but she feels a bit wasted this time around with so much of the focus being on the Jessicka character. And I get a kick out of Jessicka (I try to forget the character was born in the Undead Realm), but it still feels like Valkyrie should be doing more than feuding over the Knockouts Tag Titles.