By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory 2023
Aired live October 21, 2023 on FITE.TV
Cicero, Illinois at Cicero Stadium
Bound For Glory Pre-show
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from the commentary table to start the pre show. They introduced the French announce team, who said some things in French. Hannifan then sent the show to a Traci Brooks Hall of Fame video package…
Back at the arena, Gail Kim made her entrance to induct Traci Brooks. Gail said Traci was a sister to her. She talked about how they used to be roommates. Kim also talked about Traci being the first person she met at wrestling school. Gail talked highly of Traci being a good person. Gail talked about being paired in matches in her early TNA career. After more praise, Gail welcomed Traci Brooks to the stage.
Traci Brooks made her entrance with Frankie Kazarian and their son Rebel accompanying her. Traci joked about being a hot mess. Traci thanked Gail Kim for the intro and for not revealing why they had to buy a car together after wrecking another car. Traci thanked Frankie Kazarian and said that his dad and Killer Kowalski would be proud of what Kaz has become. Traci then talked to her son and said he should be proud that his dad is still wrestling and his mom is a hall of famer.
Traci then brought up Gail Kim and repeated similar praises that Gail gave her. Traci said she’s proud of the Knockouts of the past and the current Knockouts who make Impact have the strongest women’s division. Traci then laid out a long list of names of women and men who helped her in her career. Traci said that Impact is family. Her last thanks went to the fans, which caused her to shed some tears. Traci soaked in “Traci” chants. The segment ended with Traci receiving her Hall of Fame trophy as well as a bouquet of flowers from her son…
Hannifan then sent the show to the Mike Tenay and Don West Hall of Fame package. Scott D’Amore made his entrance to induct Mike Tenay and the late Don West into the Hall of Fame. D’Amore talked about how Mike and Don being the long time tag team broadcasters in TNA. D’Amore talked about how they’ve called some of the greatest matches not only in TNA Impact history, but in wrestling history.
D’Amore talked about how he was good friends with former Home Shopping Network salesman Don West. D’Amore said everyone loved Don and Mike because of how welcoming Don and Mike were. D’Amore talked about 2006 being a fun year where he, Mike Tenay, and a few other TNA staff members got to attend a baseball game with former White Sox player AJ Pierzinski. D’Amore said Mike Tenay is underrated in terms of his contributions because he didn’t only call some of the greatest matches in history, but he had a hand in it.
D’Amore talked about one story where they were going over collectables. D’Amore talked about how he pulled out a jacket and Don West immediately went into auctioneer mode in selling it despite D’Amore not wanting to part with the jacket. D’Amore thanked Don West’s family in attendance. D’Amore then introduce Mike Tenay who made his entrance. Mike Tenay made his entrance with a lot more grey hair than we’ve seen him in the past.
Mike thanked everyone for the introduction. Tenay said it’s only fitting that they are celebrating Don West’s life in Don’s hometown Chicago. Tenay talked about how TNA executives saw Don West on the home shopping channel and thought that would be a strong person to bring aboard to TNA. Tenay talked about how Don was proud of becoming a Saturday Night Live character that Will Farrell portrayed. Tenay talked about how people actually thought Don West had “Too much” enthusiasm for TNA, but he won them over with his hard work and study ethic.
Tenay said even AEW and WWE gave praise to Don West even though he never called an AEW or WWE show. Tenay joked that his son called Don West his favorite announcer. Mike Tenay said you don’t get too many true friends in the wrestling industry, and Don is a true friend. Tenay thanked great commentators he called shows with in the past like Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes. Tenay told a story about how a fan hated Heenan so much that a person attempted to murder him with a gun in Chicago.
Tenay thanked Eric Bischoff for taking a risk on him. Tenay noted that he was given short notice because Bischoff was making Steve McMichael a wrestler and they needed a new commentator for Nitro. Mike Tenay thanked the long list of people he shared his career with. Tenay then sent the show to Hannifan and Rehwoldt to introduce Bound for Glory…
John’s Thoughts: Simple, effective, and wholesome. Good inductions by deserving people. Tenay and West were a long time coming as they are so ingrained in the history of TNA-Impact. Respectful induction for the late Don West. Despite having grey hair now, Mike Tenay sounded as good as he’s ever sounded, like he could jump into the booth today if he wanted. Good that all three inductees got their recognition tonight.
Impact Wrestling Bound for Glory 2023 Main Show
A BFG intro package aired…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt were on commentary. Dave Penzer was the ring announcer…
Entrances for the X Division Championship took place. Hannifan noted that Kenta hasn’t lost in 3 months and the last person to pin him was Kazuchika Okada…
1. Chris Sabin vs. KENTA for the Impact X Division Championship. Sabin and Kenta had a respectful separation from the collar and elbow. Kenta went for a handshake, but then kicked Sabin in the gut instead. Kenta took down Sabin with a boot to the face. Sabin tripped up Kenta and gave Kenta snake-eyes on the apron. Rehwoldt noted that Kenta was the only person to knock him out cold in a match.
Sabin took down Kenta with a cannonball from the apron. Sabin got a two count off a diving crossbody. Kenta stalled at ringside to draw boos. Kenta swatted Sabin away during a Plancha attempt. Kenta tackled Sabin’s back into the ring apron. Kenta tossed Sabin around at ringside. Kenta yelled at the crowd to draw heat. Rehwoldt noted that Kenta was bleeding from the mouth. Kenta went for rapid pin attempts on Sabin.
Hannifan noted that Sabin has wrestled at the most Bound for Glories in history. Sabin hit Kenta with a jawbreaker. Kenta came back with a chinlock. Sabin and Kenta traded strong style forearms. Sabin grounded Kenta with a leg lariat. Sabin caught Kenta with a Missile Dropkick. Sabin caught Kenta with a Mafia Kick in the corner followed by a diving Tornado DDT for a nearfall. Kenta escaped a Cradle Shock with an eye rake. Kenta gave Sabin a Tornado DDT on the top rope.
Kenta hit Sabin with a top rope lariat for a nearfall. Sabin used a tackle to escape a draping DDT. Kenta tossed Sabin’s shoulder into the ringpost. Kenta hit Sabin with a draping DDT. Kenta hit Sabin with a Mafia Kick and hesitation Dropkick. Sabin dodged a double stomp and got a breather after a leg lariat. Kenta grabbed the referee to avoid a Cradle Shock. Kenta went for a leverage pin, but the referee caught it.
Kenta planted Sabin with a snap DDT. Kenta hit Sabin with a double stomp for a nearfall. Kenta teased the CM Punk GTS pose, but gave the crowd middle fingers. Sabin escaped a GTS attempt. Sabin ate some Kenta paintbrush slaps and hit Kenta with a superkick. Sabin hit Kenta with a enzuigiri and hit Kenta in the back of the neck with a Missile Dropkick. Sabin hit Kenta with the Clothesline from Hell Michigan. Sabin hit Kenta with a the Cradle Shock for the win.
Chris Sabin defeated Kenta via pinfall in 11:28 to retain the Impact X Division Championship.
Hannifan and Rehwoldt introduced the French announce team, who said some things in French…
John’s Thoughts: Strong show opening match. We didn’t get a Go 2 Sleep in Chicago, but I did like Kenta’s heel work by flipping the crowd off. Since Kenta is based in the US, I wouldn’t mind seeing more Kenta in Impact as he brings that Bryan Danielson-ish style (which kenta pioneered) that translates to good matches with multitudes of opponents. Sabin continues to be put over strong, picking up another big win over a wrestler from another company.
A Monster’s Ball hype package aired…
Brian Myers handed Moose a bottle of water after he was freed from his sleep deprivation room. The other wrestlers were shown exiting separate sleep and sense deprivation rooms. All of them selling blindness from the light…
Back at the ring, there were cinder blocks and the usual pro wrestling weapons around the ring. Maclin attacked Rhino during his entrance. Moose attacked Maclin from behind. Moose power bombed Maclin on the apron. PCO made his entrance when Moose was about to spear Maclin.
2. Moose vs. PCO vs. Steve Maclin vs. Rhino in a Monster’s Ball Match. PCO tossed Maclin to the French announce desk. Moose backdropped PCO on a ladder that broke at ringside. Maclin beat up Moose and Rhino with a trash can. Maclin then gave Moose a Death Valley Driver onto a trash can in the corner. Maclin gave PCO a Suplex on a ladder. Maclin hit PCO in the back with a chair PCO then gave Maclin a chokeslam. PCO hit Rhino with a Cannonball Tope at ringside.
PCO caught Maclin with a Codebreaker in the corner. PCO gave Maclin a top rope leg drop. PCO hit Maclin with a De-Animator on the apron. PCO found the usual black bag. Moose hit PCO in the back with a trash can lid before PCO could open the bag. Moose gave PCO a Uranage, which PCO no-sold. PCO no-sold another Uranage and a few boots. Moose yelled at the referee to give him the got damn tacks. Moose then spilled the thumbtacks on the cinder blocks. Moose power bombed PCO on the thumbtacks and blocks.
PCO did his no-sell sit up. Maclin caught Moose with a suicide dive. Maclin gave Moose a Tree of Woe spear. Rhino tossed Maclin in the corner and tackled him. Maclin got a chair and beat up Rhino with it. Bully Ray ran out and got in between Rhino and Maclin. Maclin was on the top rope. Bully shoved Maclin off the top rope and pushed Maclin into a barbed wire table. Bully asked Maclin “who’s soft now!?!”. PCO and Moose traded right hands in the center of the ring.
PCO grounded Moose with a DDT. Moose recovered and hit PCO in the back with a chair. Rehwoldt noted that it was like hammering nails because PCO was covered in tacks. Rhino took himself and Moose out by Gore-ing a steel chair that Moose held. PCO hit Moose and Rhino with a cannonball for the victory.
PCO defeated Moose, Steve Maclin, and Rhino via pinfall in 11:09.
John’s Thoughts: Fun and harmless gimmick match to use as somewhat of a buffer. The build to the match was weird and near non-existent. What’s odd is I thought Impact had something interesting when they were teasing character development for PCO with Bully Ray trying to pull the humanity out of him. Bully has sorta pivoted to defending Rhino and feuding with Maclin outta nowhere, a less interesting story. Looks like Maclin and Bully are set up for something based off Bully’s involvement here.
Gia Miller interviewed Mickie James who had nothing but good things to say about wrestling a friend in Trinity…
A hype package aired to hype up the Tag Title match. Hannifan noted that every Rascalz title defense has involved some sort of cheating, mostly with spraypaint. Hannifan noted that the Wentz-Miguel configuration of the Rascalz has been undefeated in Impact, dating back to when they teamed with Dezmond Xavier (a.k.a. Wes Lee)…
3. “The Rascalz” Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz vs. “ABC” Ace Austin and Chris Bey for the Impact Tag Team Championships. Bey and Trey blocked each other’s finishers. Ace tagged in and ABC swarmed Trey with kicks. Wentz tagged in and caught Ace with a stunner on the ropes and slingshot codebreaker. The Rascalz swarmed Ace with quick moves for a nearfall. Ace rallied back with strikes on the apron. Trey gave Ace a Scorpion Kick and neckbraeker on the apron.
Wentz worked on Ace with elbows to the shoulder. Trey tagged in. Trey and Ace traded right hands. Trey ducked an enzuigiri. Trey knocked Bey off the apron to prevent a tag. Ace dropkicked Trey off the apron. Ace hit both Rascalz with a Fosbury Flop. Bey tagged in and dumped Miguel to ringside. Bey took down Wentz with a clothesline. Bey hit Wentz with a chop and uppercut. Trey helped Wentz escape a Brainbuster. Bey hit both Rascalz with a Flatliner and DDT at the same time.
Bey hit Wentz with a Brainbuster for a nearfall. Wentz avoided a dive from Bey. Ace tagged in. ABC hit Wentz with a Disaster Kick-TKO combo to give Ace a two count. Wentz avoided an assisted Cutter and gave Bey a PK. Wentz gave Ace a uppercut in the corner. Trey catapulted Ace into Wentz’s superkick and double stomp. Wentz gave Bey a dive at ringside. Ace kicked out of Trey’s pin at two. Bey gave Trey a Gamengiri. Ace took down Wentz with a kick. Trey caught Ace with a Meteora. Wentz hit Ace with a Swanton.
Bey used a dive to break Trey’s pin. Both men soaked in “This is Awesome” chants while everyone recovered. Trye brought out a spray paint can into play. Wentz accidentally sprayed Trey in the face with paint. Ace and Bey hit both opponents with Savate Kicks. Bey hit Wentz with an assisted cutter. Ace hit Wentz with The Fold. Ace picked up the pinfall on Wentz for the win…
ABC defeated The Rascalz via pinfall in 9:49 to become the new Impact Tag Team Champions.
A Mike Bailey vs. Will Ospreay hype package aired…
John’s Thoughts: A good match as you would expect with this talent and it looks like they’re going with the feelgood finish of the babyface team going over. I wouldn’t mind this feud continuing with The Rascalz getting the titles back somehow. If they do pick up wins again, I hope they find a way to do it without the spray paint finish which they have run into the ground and has had it backfire two shows in a row.
Entrances for the next match took place. Hannifan noted that this upcoming match was supposed to happen in Downtown LA at the Multiverse United show. Hannifan also plugged Ospreay working against Josh Alexander and Eddie Edwards at Impact’s upcoming tour of England…
4. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Will Ospreay. Both men soaked in “Holy shit” chants to start the match. Ospreay landed a stiff chop. Ospreay used boots to launch speedball in the air. Bailey hit Will with a draping axe kick combo. Bailey hit Ospreay with a springboard Triangle Moonsault. Bailey caught Ospreay with a elbow. Ospreay came back with a Flapjack and big boot. Ospreay caught Bailey at ringside with a Plancha. Ospreay slowed down the action and worked on Bailey with chops.
Ospreay hit Bailey with a backbreaker for a one count. Bailey countered an abdominal stretch with a hip toss. Ospreay took down Bailey with a stiff chop. Bailey came back with Muay Thai roundhouse kicks. Ospreay came back with a chop. Bailey was knocked off the top rope with a chop. Bailey dodged a baseball slide and caught Ospreay at ringside with an Asai Moonsault. Rehwoldt joked that it looked like the Aerial Assassin was assassinated.
Bailey worked on Ospreay with chambered kicks and a standing Shooting Star for a two count. Ospreay dodged a few chambered kick, but got hit by a delayed Buzzsaw Kick. Bailey hit Ospreay with a Frankensteiner. Ospreay dodged some chamber kicks, ran off Bailey’s chest, and laid off Bailey with a flip thrust kick. Ospreay hit Bailey with a slingshot shoulder tackle. Ospreay caught Bailey in the corner with a Yakuza Kick and Cheeky Nandos. Bailey escaped a power bomb. Bailey countered an Os-Cutter with a backslide.
Bailey hit Opsreay with rapid kicks and a Poison Rana. Bailey hit Ospreay with a sweep kick on the apron. Ospreay used a boot to shove Bailey into the ringpost. Ospreay hit Bailey with an Os-Cutter on the apron. The crowd gave both men “both these guys” chants. Ospreay gave Bailey a leg drop and Os-Cutter in the center of the ring. Bailey kicked out at two. Bailey crumpled to avoid a Hidden Blade attempt.
Ospreay mockingly toyed with Bailey by shoving him with boots. Ospreay gave Bailey a few methodical forearms. Bailey showed his fighting spirit and hit Ospreay with rapid forearms. Osprey and Bailey traded Kawada Kicks. Ospreay caught Bailey with a few superkicks. Both men traded kicks and counter kicks. Bailey hit Ospreay with a kick, but Ospreay followed through with a Hidden Blade. Both men were knocked out.
A “Fight Forever” chant ensued. Ospreay hit Bailey with a Buzzsaw Kick combo. Bailey blocked an Oscutter with a Lungblower. Bailey caught Ospreay in the back with Ultima Weapon for a great nearfall. Ospreay blocked a Tornado Kick with an elbow. Bailey hit Ospreay with a Frankendriver. Bailey hit Ospreay with a Standing Ultima Weapon. Bailey dragged Ospreay to the top rope with Meteorain (Super Flip Fisherman Buster, also named after a Final Fantasy 7 move).
Ospreay kicked out at two. Bailey caught Ospreay with the 720 Tornado Kick. Ospreay countered a Flamengo Driver into a Styles Clash. Bailey kicked out for a great nearfall. Ospreay hit Bailey with a Storm Driver for a nearfall. The referee checked on Bailey when Ospreay set up for the Hidden Blade. Ospreay hit Bailey with a Hidden Blade and Stormbreaker for the win.
Will Ospreay defeated Mike Bailey via pinfall in 17:58.
John’s Thoughts: Dream match on paper and dream match in action. This was wonderful. It might have ended up better that this match got to stand out on a PPV as opposed to that stuffy venue in Downtown LA (on a show that also had other “dream matchups”. Ospreay has the “visiting champion plot armor” but thankfully the action caused me to suspend my preconceptions. I’ve reviewed a ton of false finish fests in the past, but I was caught off guard a few times in the end here (They had me reaching for my stopwatch several times here thinking the match was finished). If you only have time to check out one match on this show, check this one out.
Josh Alexander was shown at a stairwell psyching himself up. Alex Shelley was doing resistance band workouts in another room. Hannifan sent the show to the Call Your Shot Gauntlet hype video…
Dave Penzer laid out the rules of the Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match. The Call Your Shot Trophy was at ringside. Impact actually shilled up more money this year with an actual large trophy this time that had the names of past winners engraved at the base (as opposed to the high school participation trophy they used in the past. Bully Ray looked like a dork carrying that thing around last year. I felt bad for him).
Jake Something was number 1 with Eddie Edwards as number 2. Hannifan noted that Eddie Edwards won the first Call Your Shot battle royal…
5. The Call Your Shot Battle Royal. Jake no sold some chops and gave Eddie a front hip attack. Jake blocked a suplex and gave Eddie a Body Slam. Jake sent Eddie into the corner with a power whip. Two minutes in, Kenny King was the third entrant. Sheldon Jean accompanied King to the ring. King caught Something with a leg lariat. King hit Something with an Eddy Gordo kick. Eddie and King hit Something with a High Low combo. Hannifan noted that Eddie and King are Honor No More teammates.
3 minutes in, Juventud Guerrera was the fourth entrant (Did Konnan somehow set this up?!?). Fun surprise. Juvi rallied with strikes and took down King and Eddie with a DDT and Flatliner at the same time. Juvi hit King with a Buzzsaw Kick. Juvi knocked Jean off the apron which allowed King to hit Juvi with a spinebuster. Five minutes in, Johnny Swinger made his entrance at number 5.
Swinger called out King who was his last opponent. Swinger gave King a right hand. King hit Swinger with a TKO facebuster. Juvi rallied back with a chop on King. Juvi used a huracanrana and lariat to eliminate Kenny King. Crazzy Steve ran in and hit Juvi with the Call Your Shot Briefcase. Gisele Shaw made his entrance, but Security ran out to escort Steve away. Gisele Shaw eliminated Swinger. Crazzy Steve took out his fork and threatened Swinger with it. Tommy Dreamer ran out to attack Steve.
Dreamer and Steve brawled to the back. Jody Threat was out next at number seven. Threat tried to eliminate Shaw, but Vidal and Evans held on to Shaw after Shaw took a dropkick from Threat. KiLynn King was the eight entrant. King caught Threat with a chokebomb on the buckle. Hannifan noted that Threat and King have been working a program on the BTI show. Eddie eliminated Juventud with a tackle to the back.
Out at number nine, was Sonny Kiss. Sonny Kiss cleaned house with a few flip moves. Kiss caught Shaw with a Gamengiri. Kiss eliminated Shaw with a Military Press onto her teammates. Bully Ray was out at number ten. Ray gave Kiss his usual trance stare. Kiss did a dance in front of Bully, which Bully no-sold. Kiss asked Bully to join in the dance. Bully then did a dorky white dude dance. Nice!
Kiss jumped into the arms of Bully. Out at Eleven was Matt Cardona. Cardona took a body slam from Bully. Kiss filled in for Devon and hit Cardona with the What’s Up. Bully asked Sonny to get the Tables. King took down Kiss with an axe handle strike. Jordynne Grace was the twelfth entrant. Bully and Grace stood chest to chest. Eddie Edwards few in to break up the standoff.
The Thirteenth entrant was The World Class Maniac Eric Young. EY hit Eddie with a Death Valley Driver. Young hit Cardona with a Pile Driver. Eddie hit Eric with a chop and elbow strike. Young dodged an elimination and eliminated Eddie with a lariat. Cardona clubbed EY from behind. The fourteenth entrant was Joe Hendry. Hendry went right after his old rival Cardona. Hendry hit Cardona with a delayed vertical suplex.
The fifteenth entrant was Cardona’s long time tag partner Brian Myers. Myers hit Hendry with a spear and eliminated him. Cardona got in Brian’s face and teased tension, but hugged. Kiss hit the Major Players with a crucifix driver. The Major Players both eliminated Kiss. The sixteenth entrant was Heath. Heath hit Something and Young with Zig Zags. Heath blocked KiLynn’s kick and gave her a Zig Zag. Myers eliminated Heath.
The seventeenth entrant was Frankie Kazarian. Kaz caught Cardona with a draping leg drop. Kazarian hit Myers with One Final Beat. Cardona skinned the cat off a toss from Kazarian. Myers caught Kazarian with a Roster Cut. The eighteenth entrant was All Night Long Rich Swann. Swann teamed up with Kazarian to take down the Major Players. The nineteenth entrant was Jonathan Gresham. Gresham worked on Swann and Kazarian with chain wrestling.
Gresham backdropped Threat and hit Threat with a t-shirt. Gresham eliminated Threat with a shove. Dirty Dango was the last entrant. Oleg Prudius and Alpha Bravo accompanied Dango. Hannifan noted that Bravo’s orange attire made him look like a traffic cone. Something eliminated Dango in one second. Oleg beat up a bunch of random wrestlers, all while wearing a business suit.
Someone eliminated Kazarian. Hannifan laughed when Jonathan Gresham tried to eliminate his wife Jordynne Grace. Gresham then went after Swann, who was teetering on the apron. The match was 24 minutes in. Swann got eliminated by Gresham. Young alternated strikes on both Major Players. Cardona used a shove to eliminate Young. Something blocked Gresham’s lionsault and elimated Gresham with a front slam.
The Major Players beat down Jake Something. Jake hit both Major Players with a double suplex. Something gave both Major Players corner lariats in opposite corners. Something did his catchphrase and hit Myers with Into the Void. Jake hit Cardona with a front hip attack. Cardona held on to the rope to prevent elimination from Something. Myers hit Jake with a low blow and eliminated Jake. Cardona eliminated his tag partner.
Cardona, Grace, Bully Ray, and KiLynn King were the last four. Grace hit Cardona with a back elbow, while Bully squared off with King. Bully and Grace eliminated King and Cardona.
Bully Ray and Jordynne Grace will now have a singles match. Bully no sold shoulder tackles. Grace no sold a chop from Bully. Hannifan noted that this was the longest a woman has lasted in the Call Your Shot Match. Bully took down Grace with a chop. Grace avoided an elbow in the corner. Bully gave Grace a big boot. Grace avoided a diving senton from Bully.
Grace hit Bully with spinning backfists. Bully didn’t fall and took down Grace with a head slam. Grace avoided an elbow drop and went back at Bully with spinning back fists. Grace avoided a chop. Grace hit Bully with the Grace Driver for the pinfall win.
Jordynne Grace defeated Bully Ray via pinfall in 28:56 of total match time to win the Call Your Shot Battle Royal.
Bully kicked out after three and sold shock. Grace was avoided the new, and less cheap looking, trophy. Hannifan noted that Grace can cash in on any title she wants. Grace took the mic and said she loves making history. Grace said to avoid confusion, she’s calling her shot at the Knockouts World Championship at the Hard to Kill PPV…
The Trinity and Mickie James hype package aired…
John’s Thoughts: Battle royals are overdone in wrestling these days, but at the same time they can be fun when they are done right. This was one of those “done right” ones with a good amount of storytelling along with fun surprises. It was fun seeing Juventud Guerrera who I haven’t heard to be working anywhere these days. Cardona got a lot of mileage in the match. Sonny Kiss is someone I hope sticks around because Sonny is someone I’ve been really high on since the Lucha Underground days (someone AEW totally dropped the ball on in my opinion). Intergender matches are hit and miss. This was a good one with Bully and Grace in the end.
A tale of the tape aired for the Knockouts Title match. Entrances for the Knockouts Title Match aired. Dave Penzer handled the formal in-ring Championship introductions (and in a nice touch that Impact does, he actually named the referee by name)…
6. Trinity Fatu vs. Mickie James for the Impact Knockouts Championship. Both women started the match with respectful chain wrestling. Hannifan noted that Trinity showed up to Chicago early to train at a local wrestling school. Trinity got the first slam in. Trinity got a two count off a backslide. James blocked a Starstruck attempt. Trinity had lit up boots with lightbulbs in them. Mickie and Trinity then had a Test of Strength that Mickie dominated.
Trinity reversed the pressure with a bridge. Mickie slammed Trinity to the mat who continued to kick out while still in the Test of Strength. Trinity reversed with a Thesz Press and hit Mickie with a split leg drop for a nearfall. Mickie kicked out a few Test of Strength pin attempts. Mickie got to her feet and hit Trinity with a kick combo. Trinity dodged a lariat with a matrix dodge. Mickie caught Trinity with a Superkick for a nearfall.
Trinity caught Mickie with a Disaster Kick. Both women traded huracanranas. Both women traded fighting spirit strikes in the center of the ring. Both women started dodging strikes. They both took each other out with stereo crossbodies. Trinity caught James with a facebuster. Hannifan noted that the crossbody could have hurt Mickie more because she had to drop the Knockouts title due to a rib injury.
Both women beat the ten count to avoid a countout. Trinity and Mickie traded forearms in the center of the ring. Trinity caught Mickie with a Rear View for a two count. Trinity caught Mickie with a standing stink face. Mickie responded by licking her fingers with a V sign. Both women traded rollups. Trinity caught Mickie with a enzuigiri. Trinity hit Mickie with a split legged Moonsault for a two count.
Mickie tossed Trinity into the corner and hit Trinity with the Mick Kick for the nearfall. Trinity escaped a Mick DT attempt and hit Mickie with a Seated Atomic Drop for a nearfall. Trinity use a body scissors to get a few nearfalls. Rehwoldt noted the body scissors was working on Mickie’s injured ribs. Mickie hit Trinity with a Tornado DDT for a two count.
Mickie avoided an X Factor and rolled up Trinity for a two count (might have been a botch). Both women traded high kicks. Mickie tossed Trinity to the apron and gave Trinity a draping Pedigree which Rehwoldt noted was a Trinity move. The referee then checked on a knocked out Trinity. Trinity reversed a Mick DT with a shove and gave Mickie a low headscissors. Trinity locked Mickie in Starstruck. Mickie tried to roll up Trinity to escape, but Trinity adjusted her legs to put back in the submission. Mickie tapped out.
Trinity defeated Mickie James via submission in 11:59 to retain the Impact Knockouts Championship.
Mickie blew Trinity a kiss from the stage. Hannifan wondered what the future holds for Mickie…
John’s Thoughts: The match had both women working hard, but the crowd seemed a bit drained from the past two matches. Smart decision to try to use the Call Your Shot battle royal as a buffer before the big title matches, but it still seemed like the crowd was a bit drained. Good effort from two friends.
Gia Miller interviewed Moose. Moose said it didn’t go his way in Monster’s Ball. He said he’s not a loser. He said he’s always a winner as long as he has his world title briefcase. Moose said he’s going to walk out of Hard to Kill as Impact World Champion…
Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt checked in from commentary and noted that Moose was calling his shot too at Call Your Shot. They sent the show to the world title match hype package. Looks like the Knockouts Tag Title match may have been deferred due to time (?)…
A Tale of the Tape aired for the World Title Match. Entrances for the world title match occurred. Dave Penzer handled the formal in-ring championship introductions…
7. Alex Shelley vs. Josh Alexander for the Impact World Championship. Alexander and Shelley started the match soaking in dueling chants, leading to some ground chain wrestling. The chain wrestling led to a stalemate. Shelley put Alexander in a wristlock. Alexander countered with a wristlock slam. Shelley countered into a rope assisted hammerlock. Shelley and Alexander countered out of each others’ finishers. Shelley quickly grabbed the ropes to avoid an ankle lock.
Shelley took his time to recover at ringside. Shelley put Alexander in a side headlock. Alexander put Shelley against the rope to break the hold. Alexander put Shelley into a side headlock. Shelley used his boots to escape. Shelley worked on Alexander with joint manipulation. Shelley got Alexander’s shoulders to the mat for a two count. Shelley gave Alexander a disrespectful right hand. Alexander rallied back with a shoulder tackle.
Shelley came back with a few paintbrush boots. Alexander took down Shelley with a chop. Hannifan noted that Alexander hasn’t lost a singles match in two years (where Moose defeated Alexander for the World Title in Bound for Glory 2021). Alexander took down Shelley with a big elbow and big boot. Alexander gave Shelley a backbreaker for a one count.
Alexander worked on Shelley with a butterfly stretch. Shelley escaped the hold and put Alexander on the apron, where Shelley gave Alexander a jawbreaker. Shelley gave Alexander’s arm a slingshot stomp. Shelley avoided a C4 and gave Alexander a backdrop. Shelley tossed Alexander’s shoulder into the ringpost. Shelley then tossed Alexander again into the ringpost.
Shelley worked on Josh with joint manipulation against the turnbuckle hooks. Alexander turned the tables a bit by yanking Shelley into the ringpost. Alexander worked on Shelley with strikes at ringside. Shelley went for his own chop, but accidentally hurt his hand on the post after Alexander ducked. Alexander slammed Shelley’s legs into the apron. Alexander gave Shelley a buckle assisted Figure Four.
Both men traded counters in the corner. Shelley ripped off the buckle cover. Alexander hit Shelley with chained suplexes. Shelley peppered Alexander with a slap and enzuigiri. Rehwoldt and Hannifan noted that Shelley aimed his kick at Alexander’s arm. Shelley hit Alexander with La Mistica into a Border City Stretch. Alexander got to the bottom rope for the break. Shelley no sold right hands from Alexander. Alexander reversed a Shell Shock, but Shelley countered back with a neckbreaker.
Shelley worked on Alexander with a straitjacket stretch. Shelley turned it into a backstabber. Alexander caught Shelley’s PK. Shelley tried to escape with slaps. Alexander got a breather after hitting Shelley with a clothesline. Both men traded quick counters with Alexander ending the sequence with a Belly to Belly on Shelley. Shelley used kicks to block Alexander. Shelley hit Alexander with an STO into the bottom buckle. The match hit the 17 minute mark.
Shelley hit Alexander with a Snap German Suplex and Sliced Bread. Alexander quickly countered into a Bridged Chaos Theory for a nearfall. Shelley kept a low base to block a C4 Spike. Shelley got to the ropes for a break. Alexander hit Shelley with a Dragon Screw against the ropes. Shelley blocked Alexander’s crossbody at ringside and hit him with Shell Shocked into the guardrail.
Shelley hit Alexander with a Sliced Bread at ringside. Shelley tossed Alexander to break the countout. Shelley caught Alexander with a Frog Splash for a two count. Shelley quickly put Alexander in a Border City Stretch. Alexander broke the hold with a rollup and put Shelley in a Ankle Lock. Alexander grapevined Shelley’s leg. Shelley escaped with overhead slaps. Shelley hit Alexander with a PK to the back.
Both men traded fatigued strikes and holds. Shelley and Alexander traded discus elbows. Alexander dropped Shelley with a haymaker. Both men escaped finisher attempts. Shelley caught Alexander with Shell Shocked. Shelley hit Alexander with a Superkick and another Shell Shocked for the clean win.
Alex Shelley defeated Josh Alexander via pinfall in 22:32 to retain the Impact World Championship.
Hannifan noted that Shelley finally proved himself as champion by defeating the man that never lost the title. Alexander then got on one knee in the ring and held out his hand for a shake. Shelley accepted it and both men hugged. Alexander put the title belt on Alex Shelley. Shelley then celebrated his title win while Alexander respectfully sat down in the corner…
John’s Thoughts: It still felt like the crowd was still recovering from the Will Ospreay vs. Mike Bailey hype, but the methodical paced allowed for the crowd to get back into it by the end. That finish surprised me because they did such a good job building up Shelley as an unhinged and paranoid underdog. If he did win, I thought it was going to be via dirty tactics, not a clean win. Nice job Impact. We need surprising finishes like that in pro wrestling. Kudos to Impact over the last two years for building up Alexander as a dominant singles champ who hasn’t been pinned in two years. Good match and even better if you watched it live because of the surprise clean win by Shelley.
But wait! There’s more! A horror movie themed cinematic aired with various Impact Wrestlers meeting together in a dark forest. For some reason, Frankie Kazarian emerged from a swamp with a treasure chest. Eric Young said they all know why they’re here. Kazarian said they all remind everyone every day that this company isn’t buried. Kazarian said Professional Wrestling is Bleeding and “this” is the change. Jordynne Grace said to get there they have to get back to where it started.
Alisha Edwards and Eddie Edwards talked about rewriting the pages of their own story. Young said sleep is the cousin of Death and Impact has been slept on for too damn long. Josh Alexander said he wanted to be a part of this all his life. Sabin then said there was one thing to do. Josh Alexander opened up the “TNA Treasure Chest”. A voice said “This is TNA Wrestling” and a graphic said “It’s back”. The show cut back to the arena where the crowd were giving TNA Chants.
Scott D’Amore was in the ring surrounded by a bunch of wrestlers saying “We’re Back!!!”. Another TNA chant ensued to close the show…
John’s Thoughts: So, they’re bringing back the TNA branding? If this were even two years ago, I would have said it was too soon. That said, I think Scott D’Amore and crew have done a masterful job wiping away that dreaded “TNA stank” that had become so infamous, and have evolved the company to a great pro wrestling company that they’re right, too many people are sleeping on these days. Not being hyperbolic, and I love AEW, but Impact Wrestling top to bottom is a better booked company with intricate storylines that don’t insult the intelligence of the viewer.
That post-credits stinger was a bit cheesy though. It did get a laugh out of me. Frankie Kazarian randomly finding the “TNA pandora box” out from under a swamp. At least a turkey suit, Claire Lynch, ninjas, the train that ran over Mickie James, Rudy Charles doing a REF BUMP,and Black Reign didn’t jump out of that box. I kid, I kid. Impact has been rumored to be getting “production upgrades” soon, and I wonder if this is a start. Hey, maybe it’s time for Impact to start shopping themselves out there and try to escape AXS TV hell? They have a damn good product.
Bound for Glory 2023 was a good show; and you can’t go wrong with Impact PPVs these days. The wrestlers always fight like they have a chip on their shoulder and they always come through with solid good work. The Call Your Shot exceeded expectations with good surprises and being more than just your usual “walking and punching” battle royal that we get in wrestling. Of course, the one match that sold the show on paper alone was Will Ospreay vs. Mike Bailey. Worth the price of admission by itself. People are joking about HBK and Tony Khan having a random feud for Booker of the Year, enter Scott D’Amore with the Call Your Shot trophy of Booking to jump in and make a strong case for running a strong wrestling company. Guy did the impossible job of defeating “TNA stank” that deserves credit alone.