Impact Wrestling
Bound for Glory 2018
October 14, 2018
Melrose Ballroom 


Impact Wrestling’s biggest event of the year, Bound for Glory, took place this past Sunday at the Melrose Ballroom in New York. The venue was quite compact, meaning the hot crowd was closer in proximity to the ring than usual. The Cold Open, narrated by Santana and Ortiz, opened proceedings before we went over to Don Callis and Josh Mathews on commentary.

Rich Swann & Willie Mack def. Matt Sydal & Ethan Page

Both Willie Mack and Ethan Page were making their official Impact in-ring debuts here, and they played starring roles in a hot tag match that was the perfect way to start the show.

They began with a showcase of Swann and Mack’s athleticism advantage over their opponents before Sydal and Page worked together to ground the high-flying Swann. He was eventually able to make the hot tag to Mack, who demonstrated why he’s such an underrated talent with his physicality, charisma and strength. Mack got a near fall with a standing moonsault before tagging back to Swann, who was thrown from the ring by Ethan Page. Page’s swanton bomb on Mack was well-executed by wasn’t enough either, and from there it all broke down.

Swann was hit with a hurricanrana by Sydal, setting him up for a powerbomb by Page, only for Swann to connect with a hurricanrana of his own. Mack took out Page before getting wiped out himself by Sydal. He and Swann tried to evade each other’s strikes but eventually, the latter came out on top. A roundhouse kick put Sydal down long enough for Swann to connect with a phoenix splash for the win.

A thoroughly entertaining tag encounter, with a good win for the babyfaces. I hope Page and Mack are permanent additions to the roster. ***1/2

Eli Drake def. James Ellsworth

Aside from Eli’s dig about the New York Giants, this entire segment sucked. It was painfully long and as far as I am concerned, Ellsworth can go away and stay away. Respect to the guy, he’s made a pretty penny out of being a glorified jobber, but he’s no good in the ring and he’s got go away heat for me and judging by the crowd, I’m not the only one.

Drake deserves better than this (and better was reportedly planned), and as much as it was nice to see Abyss get a big moment on his special weekend, why not have him beat up someone else? Drake needs to be a babyface and challenging for titles, not doing this garbage. DUD

Impact Knockouts Championship
Tessa Blanchard (C) def. Taya Valkyrie

So, if the last match sucked the life out of me, this brought me right back to the dance. Tessa again stepped up and delivered big, whilst Taya put in the most rounded performance of her Impact career to deliver the best women’s match in the company this year.

Small presentational details can make a lot of difference to my perception of wrestling, and therefore I was a big fan of Tessa and Taya’s contrasting ring gear. The stark differences in their respective attires demonstrated the discernible differences in their respective characters, setting the stage for a match that was worked at a tremendous clip from start to finish. Taya had early success with a spear before Tessa leveled the playing field with a neckbreaker on the apron and a leg-hooked codebreaker. A distracted ref spot could have ruined it for me, but they saved it with Taya kicking out of Tessa’s wristlock DDT. She didn’t last much longer though, with Tessa connecting with the leaping codebreaker for the win. A really fiery contest and hopefully the first of several between the two. Tessa continues to be excellent. ***1/4

Eddie Edwards & Tommy Dreamer def. Moose Money & Killer Kross

You have to respect the craft of Tommy Dreamer continuing to get on PPV in 2018. He did it here after a horrendous bait and switch of the planned Eddie Edwards/Moose match. It was a hot match and one that needed a clean outcome but was likely altered because of the main event finish, but more on that later.

The Edwards/Moose match lasted about a minute before Killer Kross choked him out and we got this bog standard walk-and-brawl tag. The interactions between Moose and Edwards were good, as Moose continued to demonstrate why he’s a fashion icon (honestly, in his pre-show interview he was dressed like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America), but the fact this was a tag really annoyed me. Edwards eventually won it for his team with a roll-up after Moose had tried to ring his bell with a kendo stick. **1/2

Post-match Eddie got laid out with a spear by Moose and then a powerbomb on the apron. Why not just have Moose and Kross win and then do the beatdown? Surely that gets them over more?

OvE & Sami Callihan def. Brian Cage & The Lucha Brothers

This had the potential to be match of the night coming in and it more or less lived up to the hype. These six put on a brilliant car-crash tag team match and whilst I’m still not totally clear what OvE rules are, I like them if they produce matches like this.

There’s no other way of describing this contest, it was a spotfest. You had Brian Cage catching and throwing Jake Crist every which way, Fenix flying all over the place, Pentagon chopping any bare chest in sight and the OvE boys bumping their backsides off. I genuinely don’t think they get enough credit for that – OvE get beaten up in almost every match to make their matches more exciting and they took a proper pounding here.

Coming into the match, predicting a winner was difficult. The two options were either Cage and the Lucha Brothers winning and moving on to pastures new, or Callihan pinning Cage and likely making himself the No.1 contender to the X-Division title. We got the latter, which was a bit telegraphed by Cage coming to the ring with his thigh all strapped up. The end came when Callihan hit a piledriver on Pentagon on the apron, leaving Cage in a three-on-one scenario. He kicked out of the All-Seeing Eye at 1, ate about 15 superkicks before being hit with a piledriver by Callihan and suffering his first pinfall defeat since joining Impact.

This was very spotty, and probably wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I liked it. The finish was pretty abrupt and there were a few botches, but this was a lot of fun. Callihan’s tremendous year continues. ****

Concrete Jungle Death Match
LAX & Konnan def. King & The OGz

I was surprised that this didn’t go on last, given that they had to basically deconstruct the ring. Rapped out by Bodega Bamz, LAX were without Konnan initially, after he was taken out by King in the back earlier in the show

Right from the moment the teams came out though, I was concerned about the ring. One of the slats was already loose and within a minute of the opening bell, you had the wrestlers sliding about all over the place and the referee desperately trying to keep the ring intact. That undoubtedly had an effect on the match, which was never going to be as good as their Slammiversary classic, but I still appreciated it. I think the precariousness of the ring, and King taking some hefty bumps (including when he completely whiffed on a dive and headbutted the guardrail), had me on the edge of my seat, although probably not in the way they intended.

A double superplex by LAX on Hernandez genuinely made the ring shake, before King took both men out. He looked to be setting up for the final blow when Konnan’s music played and the pop for the K-Dog was enormous. He clouted both Homicide and Hernandez with the slapjack before throwing King into the remaining table. That cleared the way for LAX to hit the Street Sweeper, win the battle and end the feud. It wasn’t the classic I think a lot of us hoped for, but credit to them all for trying it, it was good idea in theory. ***

Allie visits the shadow realm

Hahaha. Haha. Ha.

Putting this segment here made sense as it was cool down from the last couple of matches and gave the ring crew time to put the ring back together before the main event. That said, this was so camp and also quite entertaining in a perverse way. I’ve said before that I don’t like the Su Yung stuff, but this was so daft I couldn’t help but laugh (again, I don’t think that was the intention). It did provoke a lot of questions – does this mean Kiera Hogan is sticking around? Is Allie permanently affected by Su being a nutter? Is the rightful Queen of the Knockouts division, Rosemary, back?

After that madness, Don Callis and Josh Mathews announced that Impact will return to PPV on January 6. Named Homecoming, the show will be broadcast from the original TNA Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee.

Impact World Championship
Johnny Impact def. Austin Aries (C)

Despite the weak origins of this feud, this was quite heated by the time the bell rang. The TV stuff did nothing in comparison to the twitter spat, the TMZ interview and the brawl at the Hall of Fame ceremony the night before. It had suddenly become very personal, a battle for the heart of Impact Wrestling. Would it belong to the celebrity who took a load of time off for various other pursuits or the cocky heel Aries who has had a great run since coming back in January?

By the time the in-ring introductions began, this had the big fight feel, making you wonder just how it could have been had they started the programme sooner with a bit more purpose behind it. The opening moments saw the two men engage in a feeling out process before Impact surprisingly went for a single-leg takedown. Aries latched on a tight guillotine choke, which Impact escaped from after some difficulty, leading to a striking exchange that just saw the two men tee off on each other. It was clear that this would not be the sort of match you usually expect of either man, but a proper gritty fight.

Everything was snug and tight. You had the usual flair from Impact – at one point he leapfrogged Aries so that one foot was on the ring apron and the other on the guardrail, enabling him to land a Pele kick on the outside – but you also saw him land a plethora of punches, knees and body shots. I like my wrestling best when two competitors are just knocking the pudding out of each other and this did that and more besides.

Impact landed a nearfall with a Spanish Fly, before Aries wiped him out with a death valley driver on the apron and a 450 splash for a two-count. Momentum shifted back and forth, with both men having to make use of the ropes because they didn’t have enough left to kick out of their opponent’s maneuvers.

Key to this becoming a more intense feud were the comments made by Aries about Impact’s wife Taya. Unsurprisingly, therefore, she played a clear role in the finish. She got into it with Aries, allowing Impact to land a nearfall with a backslide. The two men went back to trading strikes, only for Aries to duck under Impact’s offense and land a suicide dive to the outside, wiping out Taya. That seemingly flicked a switch within Impact. He kicked Aries into the fence before landing a brainbuster in the ring and connecting with Starship Pain for the second time to win the match and his first Impact World Title.

Impact’s win got a tremendous pop from the crowd, who were then left stunned when Aries no-sold the finish, shouted at Don Callis on commentary, raised his middle fingers to the fans and stormed off. Work or shoot, I don’t know, but it shouldn’t matter. The moment here was Impact winning the title after my favorite match in Impact this year. I might be the high man, but this was exactly my style and I thought it was incredible. The era of Impact has begun. ****1/2

Final Thoughts

Bound for Glory was, in many ways, a microcosm of Impact Wrestling’s 2018. Some stuff landed and landed well. Some stuff didn’t because it was rubbish and some stuff looked better on paper than in practice. It was a perfectly solid show, timed very well, highlighted by two top matches.

The main event gave me everything I love in my wrestling and therefore ticked all my boxes. Aries’ actions will be the talk of the town for the next few days, but I’d keep the faith for the time being. Everyone did their best and put on a good wrestling show that should lay the foundations for some good television over the next few weeks and beyond. A thumbs up from me.