Bound for Glory 2019
October 20, 2019
Villa Park, IL
A little over three months since Impact Wrestling went to Dallas for Slammiversary, they return to PPV this Sunday for Bound for Glory 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Supposedly the promotion’s biggest show of the year, the card is headlined by Brian Cage vs Sami Callihan for the World Championship.
20-Person Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match
While I have never been someone who encourages ‘get everyone on the show’ matches, I am in favor of this one as it should allow the promotion to tell some decent stories in the final part of 2019.
However, the promotion of this match, which grants the winner a title shot of their choosing, has been minimal, almost entirely comprised of a battle royal on the go-home show that put the recently returned Mahabali Shera in at #20 and Eddie Edwards in at the #1 slot. Also confirmed for the match are: Rosemary, Johnny Swinger, Jessicka Havok, Jordynne Grace, Kiera Hogan, Jake Something, Cody Deaner, Raj Singh, Adam Thornstowe and Luster the Legend.
Impact has pushed Shera hard since his return, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go over, while I also think the likes of Edwards and Grace have a shot. Personally, I’d either use the match as a vehicle to get a new signing over, or push someone like TJP or Jake Something. Truth to be told Shera seems too obvious a pick, so I’ll go with my main man. Bahh. Prediction: Fallah Bahh
The Rascalz vs Dr Wagner Jr, Aerostar and Taurus
Another match on this show that has received minimal promotion. To be perfectly honest it didn’t need much beyond them saying ‘this is really cool’, but the lack of mic time for the Rascalz has been frustrating. Them dropping a fall to the Desi Hit Squad two weeks before Sunday’s PPV didn’t do much to make this feel like anything other than an afterthought.
While I’d obviously book the Rascalz to go over because they’re company regulars and they have the higher upside, Impact’s links with AAA and their continued attempts to break into the Mexican market make me think that Wagner’s side emerges victorious after what should be a really fun match. Prediction: Dr Wagner Jr, Aerostar and Taurus.
Michael Elgin vs Naomichi Marufuji
My most anticipated match on the entire card as Marufuji makes his first appearance in Impact since his brief run during 2017 when challenged for the World tag team titles alongside Taiji Ishimori. Sadly though, this match too has suffered from a lack of concerted promotion. Granted they couldn’t get Marufuji over for the Vegas tapings but there’s still so much film footage that they could have used on the weekly TV and social media to hype up what has to be the favorite for match of the night.
Although I’m sure Marufuji doesn’t really want to be doing jobs, it seems very unlikely that Big Mike will be losing in Chicago. This is the exact sort of match that Elgin has relished in the past and stepped up in to provide his best performances – think Omega in NJPW, Brian Cage at Slammiversary and Daisuke Sekimoto in Big Japan. If given the right amount of time and allowed to work the stiff, physical match they should be working, this should be great and a big win for Elgin that catapults him back towards the World title scene. Prediction: Michael Elgin
Moose vs Ken Shamrock
I’m far more interested in this match that I really have any right to be. I mean, Shamrock’s 55 and he’s barely wrestled since he won the Impact title back in 2002. That said, he’s got a tremendous physique for a man of his age and Impact has wisely kept him from competing for them before this show, meaning that there’s added intrigue for how he will actually look when the match comes around. I still feel Moose should be doing more but this is what he’s been given and he’s worked hard in the build, even if his match with Stephan Bonnar absolutely stunk.
My expectations for this one are fairly low, mostly because of the unknowns around Shamrock. My hope is that we get something different from Impact’s usual fare, something more akin to a Bloodsport bout, and a match that gives Moose another big win. However, with Shamrock reportedly sticking around beyond Bound for Glory, ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ may be the one who ends up with his hand raised. Prediction: Moose
4-Way Ladder Match for the Impact X-Division Championship
Jake Crist (C) vs. Tessa Blanchard vs Daga vs Ace Austin
While I feel that the Gauntlet match will probably open the show, I suspect that this will be placed relatively early on to keep the sold-out crowd engaged.
Impact had initially advertised this as a five-way, but then Sabu and Rohit Raju’s qualifier ended in a double countout. It is not year clear whether both will, therefore, be in, whether neither will be in, or whether it will be a five-way and there’ll be someone else included on the night. With that in mind, I’ll preview it with the four confirmed names at the time of writing.
Tessa Blanchard has been positioned as the favorite for this because of her entanglement with the World title picture and because she’s pinned Crist four times in the run-up to Bound for Glory. Crist has not felt like an imposing champion but that has fitted well within his character arc and this is the sort of stipulation that allows him to take big bumps. Daga has impressed in his singles bouts since joining the company on a permanent basis, while Ace Austin has shown in matches like this before that he’s prepared to take the highlight reel bumps (see him coming off the X structure at United We Stand).
In terms of picking a winner, Blanchard’s win seems almost too telegraphed and too obvious. Still, obvious picks are often the right ones and given what I think will happen later in the show, I suspect she’ll scale the ladder, grab the belt and become the first woman to hold a men’s singles title in the company’s history. Prediction: Tessa Blanchard
Taya Valkyrie (C) vs Tenille Dashwood
Boy does this feel as underwhelming a women’s bout as the company has put together on a major show in some time. Taya has become the longest-reigning champion in the history of the Knockouts division but her reign has turned into a damp squib, with every match ending with some form of dodgy finish or shenanigans. Tenille, meanwhile, has looked OK in all of her matches to date but she’s certainly not come in like a house of fire and she feels like a rather uninspired challenger.
While I was convinced that now Taya had broken the record, she was obviously losing to the big new signing, I’m not so convinced anymore, especially with the specter of Kylie Rae in the background. I’m still sticking with Tenille to dethrone Taya but I would not be shocked to see the champion retain. Prediction: Taya Valkyrie
Triple Threat for the Impact Tag Team Championships
The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) (C) vs Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs Rob Van Dam & Rhino
For the second successive pay-per-view, Impact has had a relatively simple but well-built tag team title match in prospect only to change it late on and make it a triple threat. A common story in the past, Impact had put two singles stars without much to do, Swann and Mack, together and given them wins over the right people to set them up as top contenders. That was a match that would have been brilliant, as Swann and Mack work superbly as a team, but then the champions dropped a fall to the ECW nostalgia team.
I personally have no interest in watching Rob Van Dam or Rhino in spots like this, even though this setting is favorable for them as they can play the hits while allowing the other two teams to do most of the work. The North has clearly been positioned as the new aces of the division and I expect them to retain here, getting a win back over Van Dam & Rhino will saving a two-on-two match against Swann and Mack for their move to AXS. Prediction: The North
Impact World Championship
Brian Cage (C) vs Sami Callihan
Injuries and storylines have meant this is only Cage’s second match since winning the title at Rebellion at the end of April. That’s obviously not great but they have done a good job in recent weeks to build this match in the right way – by amplifying Callihan’s generally despicable nature and firing Cage up, it sets the stage for these two to have a 15-minute sprint that brings out the both of them. Were it not for the inextricable links to Tessa Blanchard at play, predicting this match would be easy.
Blanchard and Callihan’s feud, which saw them main event Slammiversary, has been a constant backdrop to this, with Tessa always falling just short in her quest to beat the OvE leader. If, as I expect, she wins the X-Division title, it would not shock me for them to end the show with her cashing in Option C. As far as I see it, their three options for booking this main event are:
- Cage retains and they have a staredown between him and Blanchard at the end
- Callihan wins, Blanchard cashes in Option C and finally beats him to win the World title
- Callihan wins and Cage turns heel to prevent Blanchard from either cashing in or winning
It is hard to see the company wanting to leave their biggest show of the year with Callihan as champion as they make their move to AXS. It’s just not the image that the company should want to convey. That leaves options one and two as outlined above. I would personally book option one if they want to go all in on the Blanchard push, but that ultimately offers very little immediate pay-off to the Blanchard/Callihan feud unless she wins the belt from Cage and then defends it against Sami or they face off for the X-Division strap.
Removing that from the equation leads me to option two, which my gut tells me they might go for but my head says that they won’t. And all of this is assuming that Blanchard even wins the ladder match! It’s interesting and a situation that they have booked themselves into, so I’m interested to see how they come out of it. I’ll go with Cage to retain, but I have no confidence in that at all with so many moving parts at play. Prediction: Brian Cage