Moments before the end sequence rolled and Impact Wrestling went off the air this past Thursday, the Impact World Champion Christian Cage, number one contender Josh Alexander and the returning Christopher Daniels eyed each other up in the middle of the ring.
Read that sentence to a wrestling fan two years ago and you’d be laughed out the room. Hell, even one year ago it’d have seemed surreal – Cage was still a) with WWE and b) retired, Alexander was tagging with Ethan Page and Daniels was firmly ensconced in AEW as part of SCU.
Yet it’s happening now and was a hot closing angle for a steady, focused show that kicked off the build to Bound for Glory in earnest.
But, for all that excited posturing on my part, don’t mistake this as another column about the Forbidden Door. A piece on Daniels’ return is coming but not now. Instead, this week is merely an expression on enthusiasm that Impact’s fourth big PPV of 2021 is four weeks or so away and is already shaping up nicely.
Cage and Alexander will square off in an all-Canadian battle for the Impact World title in front of the promotion’s first non-Skyway Studios crowd in about 20 months. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall might not be the sexiest venue in the world but you can bet that the crowd will be hot and the wrestlers will be buzzing to work in front of a properly-sized audience again. Indeed, moving out of the safe, secure confines of Nashville indicates an increasing return of normalcy that we should all embrace.
Daniels’ return points towards a big singles match with Ace Austin, while everything is coming up Milhouse for a New Japan offer match at Bound for Glory, Chris Bey and his new Bullet Club mates potentially taking on FinJuice and an as yet unknown partner.
Alexander’s decision to activate Option C and vacate the X-Division Championship has opened the door for a tournament of sorts; the winners of three, three-way dances will meet in Las Vegas in another three-way dance to crown a new X-Division kingpin. The first qualifier takes place next week, with Laredo Kid facing Trey Miguel and the debuting Alex Zayne. While Laredo Kid won out in his feud with John Skyler and has been given a proper push since returning to the promotion, Matthew Rehwoldt was shown watching his match on Before the Impact. That wasn’t addressed on commentary at the time but it does allude to something between Kid and Rehwoldt, and leaves Trey in pole position to claim his first title in Impact.
Former X-Division champion Willie Mack declared his intentions to enter the tournament, so he appears to be a likely qualifier for the finals, while his tag team partner Rich Swann entered himself into the third annual Call Your Shot Gauntlet alongside Brian Myers.
Bound for Glory’s fourth confirmed match is for the Knockouts Championship, Deonna Purrazzo making her 13th scheduled title defense against Mickie James. A match between those two was teased back at Slammiversary and feels hot already after their exchanges on Impact and at the NWA double-header in August. With Knockouts Knockdown still to come, featuring Deonna against a mystery opponent and James on commentary, the build should peak in time for Bound for Glory.
Knockouts Knockdown will likely set the stage for another match, probably involving Rosemary and Havok defending the tag belts, while The Good Brothers are currently waiting for their next challengers to their titles. The Decay tandem of Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus feel the most likely opposition right now but the Guerrillas of Destiny could be a wildcard shout…
Further down the card, Rhino looks set to leave Violent By Design. That potentially sets the stage for a tag team match alongside Heath (if he ever returns) against Joe Doering and Deaner. While not likely to be a classic or anything, it’ll be perfect material for the live crowd.
Sami Callihan’s injury has likely changed Impact’s plans for Bound for Glory involving Eddie Edwards, W. Morrissey and Moose but those three will still be there. Could Chris Sabin renew his hostilities with Moose, or is Satoshi Kojima in line for another return?
Oh, and on top of all of that, there’s the small matter of Scott D’Amore having heavily teased the debuts of both Buddy Matthews and Adam Scherr.
Impact was completely dialed in and focused this week, setting the wheels in motion for a number of matches as outlined above. The Bound for Glory card seems to be shaping up nicely and the next four weeks will be well worth a watch as we head towards the promotion’s biggest show of the year.