Impact Wrestling
Bound for Glory 2021
October 23, 2021
Sam’s Town Live
Las Vegas, Nevada

Watch: FITE

Impact Wrestling’s biggest show of the year, Bound for Glory, emanated this past weekend from Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event, Josh Alexander cashed in the Option C clause to challenge Christian Cage for the Impact World Championship.

Six-Way Scramble for the inaugural Digital Media Championship
Jordynne Grace def. John Skyler, Chelsea Green, Fallah Bahh, Crazzy Steve and Madison Rayne

As I noted in my preview, all the qualifiers for this title match were pretty brief and I mused whether this would get any more time. With the countdown clock to the PPV showing just over seven minutes to go when the first bell rang, I got my answer loud and clear.

The action itself was good, the typically high-paced style you’d expect in a scramble sprint. John Skyler looked like he was going to get the win but instead he ended up eating the pin, Grace putting him down with the Grace driver to become the first-ever Digital Media Champion. **1/2

Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Championships
The IInspiration (Cassie Lee & Jessica McKay) def. Decay (Rosemary & Havok) (C)

Making their debut in Impact Wrestling, Cassie Lee and Jessica McKay were sung to the ring by Harley Cameron and were made to feel like a big deal. The crowd were very into them and in the ring they both put forth solid efforts, sealing the win with Neckbreaker/Powerbomb combination.

The match itself was fine but a couple of very noticeably wonky moments from Havok pull my rating down. She seemingly staggered getting into the ring after a hot tag and then got her feet all confused when attempting a running leg drop. That said, it was solid enough and there’s definitely a better match between these teams out there. **1/2

Vacant X-Division Championship
Trey Miguel def. El Phantasmo and Steve Maclin

Four years after his first appearance in Impact Wrestling, Trey Miguel is finally one of the promotion’s champions. While he’s primarily been a singles guy throughout that time, he’s improved considerably over the last year and the time was absolutely right for him to be belted up.

These three-way matches can often descend into a rather repetitive, two-in, one-out formula but I can’t say this noticeably ever did. There were some lovely trios spots, most memorably Trey hitting a Lightning Spiral on Maclin while keeping Phantasmo in a twisting Indian Deathlock.

Phantasmo is always great but one of my biggest takeaways was that Steve Maclin had really stepped up. He’d come across as relatively generic in his run with Impact thus far but looked great here and the crowd seemed really into him – his running spear through the ropes to the outside on Trey a particular highlight.

In the end it was the classic ‘heel goes for a low blow but the face is smart enough to wear a cup’ spot that led us to the finish, Trey blocking Phantasmo’s attempt to cheat before lighting him up with kicks and finishing him off with the Meteora. ***3/4

Rhino & Heath def. Violent By Design (Joe Doering & Deaner w/Eric Young)

Not every match on a PPV card needs to be a workrate classic. Sometimes, you just need a nice crowd-pleasing moment and that’s exactly what this was. Friends were reunited and the babyfaces got to stand tall. After teasing that he’d leave Heath to fight Violent By Design all by myself, Rhino hit the ring mid-match to help his friend, tagging in and hitting the Gore on Deaner for the win. The babyfaces got to stand tall and now look set to enter the tag title picture. **

Moose wins the third annual Call Your Shot Gauntlet

I’m never really sure how to write succinctly about Gauntlet/Battle Royal matches. In the end, I always end up veering towards a stream of consciousness, which is what you’ve got here:

No #1 is Chris Sabin and he’s joined in the ring by a surprise entrant at #2, Rocky Romero. Rocky has his finger in all the pies, so hopefully we get to see some singles matches in Impact involving the self-proclaimed King of Sneaky Style. #3 is Madman Fulton, a man who I always wish was given more wins and presented more strongly. #4 is my guy, the vastly underrated Rohit Raju. #5 was Tasha Steelz, who I felt had a breakout showing at the recent Knockouts Knockdown event. Just as I was thinking how we’d had no eliminations, Rocky exits courtesy of Rohit Raju. A singles match between those two would be lovely, thank you Scott D’Amore.

#6 is Rachael Ellering, and her arrival is soon followed by Raju and Sabin working together to eliminate Madman Fulton. #7 is Savannah Evans, someone who Impact see as a development project. Ellering and Evans seemed to eliminate each other but we missed it because we were rightfully basking in the glory of Johnny Swinger. Of course the Swingman is massively popular. #9 is Melina, followed at #10 by former WCW dud The Demon. We’ve now had half the entrants and we’ve got six in the ring.

The Demon didn’t sign Johnny Swinger’s autograph, instead eliminating the true ace, before we got Brian Myers at #11. Obviously his former tag partner Matt Cardona is out at #12, followed at #13 by Laredo Kid. A pair of eliminations now, Melina getting rid of Steelz before Myers snuck in to eliminate Melina. #14 is Sam Beale, a lad who’s been a nice addition to Impact in recent months and was recently eliminated from Myers’ jobber faction The Learning Tree. Beale has to eliminate him and he does, just after Rich Swann comes in at #15. We’ve got five slots left and two of them are Moose are W. Morrissey.

#16 is Ace Austin and he gets rid of The Demon before Moose comes in at #17. If we’re going to get any surprises, like Minoru Suzuki or Adam Scherr, they’ve got to come in the next two. They don’t, and we get Eddie Edwards and Alisha instead. They assault Moose and Morrissey with the kendo sticks but Alisha’s resistance doesn’t last long, Morrissey getting rid of her seconds after his arrival; nice to see Zicky Dice and VSK once again on catching duties. I thought Moose powerbombing Eddie Edwards on the apron would be the cue for him winning the whole thing but it’s not, Morrissey getting rid of him with a NASTY boot. That leaves us with seven – Moose, W. Morrissey, Rohit Raju, Matt Cardona, Chris Sabin, Ace Austin and Rich Swann.

The Desi Hitman doesn’t last much longer, thrown out by Moose and Morrissey, and neither does Ace Austin, eliminated by Sabin. Madman Fulton returns at this point, wiping out Sabin; a programme between Ace and Chris sounds good to me. Moose and Morrisey get rid of Sabin but their alliance soon breaks down, the latter eliminated alongside Rich Swann by Moose. That leaves us with a final two of Moose and Cardona. Cardona fires up for the Radio Silence but misses, taking a hard bump on his backside, and Moose then hits the spear to win.

I do question the logic of having this match, which is a huge time sink, in the middle of the show but it was good. Not particularly memorable or anything, and perhaps lacking in any big surprises, but it was well worked and set up some stuff moving forward which is pretty much all you can ask for. **1/2

Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Championships
The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) (C) def. FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) and The Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo)

I honestly think that my rating here is ultimately determined by Juice’s running commentary throughout the match; I’m here for anyone saying “I want a high-impact manoeuvre!” after a tag.

The Good Brothers kept their involvement to a minimum here, particularly so in the case of Gallows, with Chris Bey and FinJuice doing the bulk of the work. It was fine by and large and I felt that the blind tag and pin steal from Anderson after FinJuice had put Bey down with the suplex/splash combination was in keeping with the character of the champions. That said, I also can’t help but feel that the division needs some fresh blood and an injection of pace. ***

Impact Wresting Knockouts Championship
Mickie James def. Deonna Purrazzo (C)

The months long build to this match did a good job of making it feel special. David Penzer’s in-ring introductions did a good job of making it feel special. When all was said and done, these two ladies delivered performances that were special.

Mickie’s attack just after the introductions and the element of crowd brawling before the match officially started set the tone; this was clearly going to be different to all of Deonna’s previous title defences. It wasn’t about technical wizardry or whether Deonna’s opponents could keep up with her. No, this was going to be a fight that would either see Mickie prove she’d still got it or Deonna continues her reign of dominance.

In the end, it was the former. We got an arguably perfunctory ref bump down the stretch but as it didn’t affect the finish I won’t moan too much. Deonna kicked out of the first Mickie-DT but she couldn’t the second time, the springboard variation sealing Mickie’s fourth run with the belt and first in eight years. ****

Impact Wrestling World Championship
Josh Alexander def. Christian Cage (C)

During David Penzer’s pre-match introductions, Josh Alexander put one hand on the Impact Wrestling World Championship. After the final bell rang and Christian Cage offered him a hug of acknowledgement, Josh was able to hoist the belt aloft – the era of Josh Alexander, the Impact Wrestling World Champion had begun.

On paper, this promised to be one of the best matches in Impact this year. While it ultimately fell short of the bar set by Kenny Omega against Sami Callihan back at Slammiversary, it wasn’t by much. These two worked what I would call a typically New Japan main event-style, gradually building up the pace throughout, giving both a chance to demonstrate their fighting spirit without overdoing the nearfalls.

They teased the idea that Josh was too eager, too determined to win the title and that that exuberance would prove his undoing – Christian pushing him off the top rope and landing the big splash was just one example. Yet, Josh would not be denied. He blocked every attempt at the Killswitch and always found a way to cinch in his patented Ankle Lock.

The defending champion came into the match with his right shoulder taped up, and it was that shoulder that’d figure in the finish. After hurling Christian through the ropes and into the turnbuckle, Alexander once again hooked up the ankle. This time, he stood on Christian’s right hand as he torqued the ankle and there was nowhere to go. Christian tapped and Alexander was the champion.

Matt Striker’s crying on commentary was a little excessive but it was a wonderful moment for Josh, who I’ll freely admit is my favourite wrestler in the world. ****1/4

Impact Wrestling World Championship
Moose def. Josh Alexander (C)

Josh had barely had the chance to take his son Jett’s face mask off and share his title triumph with him as he promised he would and Moose hit the ring, cashing in the Call Your Shot trophy he’d won earlier in the night. Josh moved his wife and son out of the way but that gave Moose all the space he needed to hit the spear and end Alexander’s reign as champion. N/R

As the credits rolled and the show came to an end, I have to admit that I absolutely hated the finish. I hated that they’d cut short Alexander’s moment and the less said about Moose being champion the better. However, having had a gap between then and writing this, I appreciate the move a lot more.

Impact is moving out of Nashville and hitting the road again, with tapings in Las Vegas this weekend and in November, and the next PPV, Hard to Kill, set for January 8 in Dallas. As they move away from an AEW guy holding the title, they need a hot feud at the top of the card. Moose cashing in in the way he did, stealing Josh’s moment and ending the show standing over Josh and his family, should give him massive heat with the audience. He and Alexander are two of the promotion’s very best workers and they promise to have a series of great matches. It’s a hot feud that sells itself.

But, those cash-ins are a tired trope of other promotions and, for me, the timing completely missed the mark. Time will tell whether it works out for the best.

Final Thoughts

Bound for Glory was a good show. The top two title matches, Cage vs Alexander and Purrazzo vs James, were the best built on the card and they both absolutely delivered. I went four stars or higher on both and I was very close to doing the same for the three-way match for the X-Division title. Nothing on the show was any worse than fine and the finish to the show will certainly generate some discussion. At a shade under three hours, it’s an easy watch and one I’d heartily recommend.