Impact Wrestling hosted Bound for Glory Sunday night from the Odeum Sports & Expo Center in Villa Park, Illinois.
The pay per view event, also available on Fite TV, is the biggest event of the year for Impact wrestling. Multiple titles were on the line Sunday evening, including the Impact World championship, as well as the Impact tag team titles. One of the most potentially interesting matches was a five person ladder match. Yes, you read that correctly, a five person match. Tessa Blanchard would tangle with four other male competitors for the X Division championship. Let’s get down to business and discuss Sunday night’s action match by match.
Call Your Shot Gauntlet Battle Royal
Result: Eddie Edwards won, lastly eliminated Mahabali Shera via pinfall.
The night’s festivities kicked off with a battle royale style event titled the Call Your Own Shot Gauntlet. The prize for being the last person standing was huge: a championship title shot. The winner gets to call their shot by choosing which title they want to compete for, anything from tag team title to X Division title, to Impact title. 20 competitors would enter the ring looking for their chance to punch a ticket to a title match of their choice. The final two contestants would end up squaring off in a single’s match to determine the winner of the Call Your Own Shot match and eventual number one contestant for any title.
The Odeum Sports & Expo Center erupted when Kylie Rae made her surprise entrance into the gauntlet. This was a true intergender competition as Rosemary, Kiera Hogan, Jordynne Grace and Jessica Havok, as well as aforementioned Kylie Rae all participated in hopes of obtaining the golden ticket to a title shot. Entrant number 20, Mahabali Shera, had been pre determined as the final contestant of the gauntlet and he did made his presence felt immediately disposing of several other men. The match would come down to Eddie Edwards and Shera battling it out for the victory with Edwards able to counter a flurry of offense to win by pinfall over Shera. I think the “Call Your Shot” stipulation is creative and exciting. The action in the ring was average to solid at best.
Impact Knockouts Title: Taya Valkryie (C) vs Tenille Dashwood
Result: Taya retains via pinfall
The first title match of the night came when Taya Valkyrie faced off against Tenille Dashwood for the Impact Knockouts Title. These two competitors are no strangers to one another, especially inside the ring. It was clear from the opening bell that Valkyrie wanted to send a message to the rest of the women’s division that she is the Alpha of the women’s division. Taya Valkyrie set the tone early delivering vicious blows and attacks to a stunned Dashwood. Tenille would recover briefly to rally and make a run at Valkyrie. Dashwood’s strength and experience would show as she rocked Valkyrie a few times during the match. Both competitors did a great job demonstrating their dislike for one another from the get go.
Taya was hell bent on keeping her Impact title streak of 287 days intact and appeared willing to employ any means necessary to protect her streak. Johnny Bravo, who was ringside with Valkyrie, tried to give her a little insurance by tossing her a chain to use against Dashwood. Dashwood wound up with the weapon and tossed it out of the ring. Ultimately, Valkyrie would deliver her finisher, “Road to Valhalla” to defeat Dashwood and retain her Impact Knockouts title
I found this match to be highly entertaining with a good deal of disdain being shown towards each other to make the rivalry even more intense. Both these women knew what was at stake and their in ring efforts reflected the significance of the match.
Impact Tag Team Titles: The North (C) vs RVD & Rhino and Rich Swann & Willie Mack
Results: The North retain via pinfall
The Impact tag team titles were on the line in a three team match between the current champions, The North v Rob Van Dam (RVD) and Rhino v Rich Swann and Willie Mack. Six man tag teams are always tricky because a team could conceivably be eliminated from title contention without ever stepping foot in the ring. Additionally, competitors must have great in ring awareness or risk being tagged out by a member of a competing team. There is always so much going on during a six man tag team that it can be distracting for fans.
The action for this match began predictably enough with each team jockeying for position looking to gain an advantage. Willie Mack became the star of the match by demonstrating highly acrobatic maneuvers that seemed like the moves of a much smaller man. Mack and Swann seemed to take control of the match and appeared to be on the verge of becoming the new Impact tag team champions when all hell broke loose.
Inexplicably, RVD would deliver a superkick to his own partner, Rhino. Van Dam then laid out Swann and Mack with superkicks of their own and then left the ring. The stunned crowd at Odeum Sports & Expo Center, in disbelief, began booing the actions of Impact’s newest heel. The North seized the opportunity to pin the physically stunned and beaten team of Swann and Mack to retain their championship titles.
This match was highly entertaining in its own right with the high flying aerial maneuvers of Swann and Mack. Add to this, the plot twist of RVD turning on his own partner and you have the recipe for one heck of a match. I personally would have loved to have seen Swann and Mack be the benefactors of the nefarious actions of RVD.
Michael Elgin vs Naomichi Marafuji
Result: Elgin wins via pinfall
The match between Michael Elgin and Naomici Marafuji had the unenviable task of following up the brilliant three way tag team match. This match featured very contrasting styles. You had the raw strength of Elgin against the Japanese wrestling style of Marafuji. This was a relatively slow paced match that seemed to kill the momentum of the show. The build up of the prior matches was brought to a grinding halt by the slow and unimaginative pace of this match.
Throughout the match Marafuji tried to go toe to toe with the larger, stronger, Elgin. A few times the resilience of Marafuji surprised Elgin but in the end it wasn’t enough as Elgin was able to defeat Marafuji by pinfall. Elgin delivered the finishing blow by administering the burning hammer to collect the victory over Marafuji. This match seemed to be filler and was anticlimactic compared to the rest of the card.
X Division Title Ladder Match: Jake Crist (C) vs Tessa Blanchard vs Daga vs Ace Austin vs Acey Romero
Result: Ace Austin wins by grabbing the belt
One of the most intriguing matches of the night was the five person intergender ladder match. This match was for the X Division championship held by Jake Crist. In order to win the match a competitor must climb a ladder and retrieve the championship belt hanging above the ring. In order to do this one must subdue his or her opponents aggressively enough to have time to ascend up the ladder without being knocked from the ladder.
Tessa Blanchard, Acey Romero, Ace Austin, Daga, and the X Division champion Jake Crist set out to not only survive but win the title. Blanchard began the match by attacking every other competitor involved in the match. There was obviously some unfinished business between Blanchard and Crist which would be a factor throughout this match. Newly signed Acey Romero made his presence felt by displaying impressive, if not, unexpected agility by throwing himself through the ropes and landing on a ladder. Romero utilized two ladders to attempt to obtain the championship belt. Jake Crist sent Romero tumbling down off the ladder preventing him from claiming a title in a company he had been with for less than 24 hours.
Tessa Blanchard had victory in sight when Daga climbed the other side of the ladder. It appeared to be a race between the two to see who could claim the belt when Ace Austin pushed the ladder over sending both Blanchard and Daga to the floor. Blanchard again appeared to have the upper hand as she leveled Jake Crist only to be blindsided by Fulton. Ace Austin hammered Blanchard with a stick ending her shot at victory while Austin retrieved the belt and earned the X Division championship. This match had it all: bad blood between Crist and Blanchard, athleticism, plot twists, ladders and tables. Blanchard was so close to victory and it makes me want it so much more.
Ken Shamrock vs Moose
Result: Moose wins via pinfall
Fifty five year old Ken Shamrock, the MMA assassin and master of the ankle lock versus the former football player Moose. Shamrock appeared to be in fantastic shape as he faced the much larger and younger Moose. Early on, Moose found himself down on the mat against Shamrock, not an enviable place to be against a submission artist like Shamrock. At times the two men would go toe to toe with each other with neither man yielding.
The only advantage that worked in the favor of Moose was the interference from his manager Frank Trigg. The actions of Trigg briefly turned the momentum in Moose’s favor when Trigg interfered by allowing Moose to land a kick to the ropes which appeared to injure Shamrock’s groin area. Trigg would remove the padding from the turnbuckle which would prove to be a key aspect of the match as Shamrock would hit the turnbuckle face first prior to succumbing to a spear by Moose. Shamrock would not be able to overcome the spear and Moose would claim victory. This match was entertaining but seemed a bit too predictable and lacked any real creativity. This was a great opportunity to give Moose some credibility and a great way to start off a major push but having him win only through the actions of his manager cheapens the win a bit. I give this match a B-
No Disqualification Match, Impact World Title: Brian Cage (C) vs Sami Callihan
Result: Cage wins via pinfall.
The main event saw an enraged Brian Cage seek to exact revenge on Sami Callihan for the attack on Cage’s wife. Cage set the tone early by immediately taking the fight to Callihan. There was extreme violence early and often in this match as Callihan received a beating at the hands of Cage. Callihan was bloodied early in the match and the blood streamed down his face for the entirety of the match.
The energy level for this match was high as the hatred between these two men was palpable. The action took place inside as well as outside the ring with neither man willing to yield to the other. Once Cage was back inside the ring, Sami Callihan produced a black bag full of thumbtacks which he scattered over the mat. Callihan would deliver a piledriver to Cage on top of the tacks. The tacks angle backfired on Callihan however as Cage would recover and deliver a powerbomb of his own to Callihan on the very same tacks to secure the 1-2-3. With the victory, Cage was able to claim some measure of revenge for the cowardly attacks on his wife. This was the most intense match of the night. It had violence, compelling storytelling, great wrestling, and a happy ending.
Overall Grade: A
I hope you enjoyed Impact Wrestling 2019 Bound for Glory as much as I did. I thought, overall the show was fantastic. There were plot twists, contrasting styles, great technical wrestling, and interesting story lines to keep the viewer interested and invested in the characters and the product as a whole. I look forward to seeing where Impact goes from here and I will make a concerted effort to watch more Impact in the future.
You can find me on Twitter @ngtriplett. Thanks for reading.