Following on from the blow-away Slammiversary, iMPACT Wrestling takes over the Melrose Ballroom in New York City for its biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory. Austin Aries an Johnny Impact have had a tumultuous week of back and forth twitter banter that escalated into something far more personal, and it all comes to a head in the main event for the Impact World Championship. Aries didn’t stoop so low as not to bring in Johnny’s wife, Taya Valkyrie, into things, but Taya has a championship match of her own to look forward to, as she must face the iMPACT Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard. iMPACT Wrestling’s Knockouts Division has been at the forefront of the Women’s movement in pro-wrestling (despite what any other company may say), and Taya and Blanchard are sure to put on a hell of a show. Speaking of hell, former Knockouts Champion Allie must venture into the Undead Realm to try and rescue her friend Keria Hogan from the Undead Bride, Su Yung. The iMPACT Tag Team Championships are also on the line as LAX and the OGz do battle in a Concrete Jungle Death Match, where the ring will have no mat or protective linings and no turnbuckle pads, with no disqualifications.
+ Austin Aries (c) vs Johnny Impact (iMPACT World Championship): this started out a little bit awkward, as I was not sure if these two were genuinely trying to hurt each other, but it soon turned into a well worked, if not well-wrestled, and intense main event title match. Amusingly, considering some of the lead up back-and-forth, Aries really did look tiny next to Johnny, who is not a particularly large man himself, but both guys are such incredible athletes their sizes are almost irrelevant. Despite not quite meeting the excitement of Aries/Pentagon, or even Aries/Moose, this was a good match with lots of interesting moments to talk about
+ Allie ventured into the Undead Realm: this was the sort of Final Deletion stuff that is lots of fun every now and then. I can’t say I’ve been watching a lot of iMPACT, but this was just so much fun I was hooked from the beginning. As I always write, Allie is sucha cutie-patootie that I can’t help but get invested in everything she does, and this was just so outrageous that I loved every second of it
+ LAX (Ortiz & Santana) vs The OGz (Homicide, Hernandez & Eddie Kingston) (Concrete Jungle Death Match for the iMPACT Tag Team Championships): in a similar way to the oVe/Lucha match before it, this felt like a downgrade in terms of stipulation. Converse to that match, which was seemingly safe but had people nearly die, the difference is that this was bonkers dangerous, but all five guys worked such a perfect match that I’d be surprised if they got out with anything worse than a scrape or two. Exposed turnbuckles, no mats or padding on the ring floor and no aprons (ie. just steel beams) was the go-to for this match, and it made me watch the whole thing assume someone would break their leg or just straight up die. This was good, and if you tell me it was the match of the show I won’t disagree
+ oVe (Sami Callihan, Jake Crist & Dave Crist) vs The Lucha Bros (Fénix & Pentagon Jr.) & Brian Cage (oVe Rules Six-Man Tag Team Match): following Callihan/Pentagon’s Slammiversary bloodbath, this was a huge let down. The oVe boys work best in violent brawls, and the most violent thing here was a botched move that nearly killed at least one of the guys. I’m a huge Callihan fan, and I want him to succeed, but the Crists are holding him back. Their three opponents were all fine, thought I admit the ending was a little bit out of nowhere. This was good, but could and perhaps should have been another singles match between Callihan/Penta
+ Tessa Blanchard (c) vs Taya Valkyrie (iMPACT Knockouts Championship): this was really, really good. Taya has been called all sorts of things, including “husky,” by Austin Aries in the lead up to his match with Taya’s husband, Johnny Impact, but frankly I couldn’t help but think Taya looked significantly less so than in recent times. When I first got back into iMPACT recently, Taya was certainly at her heaviest, but since slimming down she is great (coincidentally, I think that slimming down happened in her time off from Lucha Underground, on which she has just returned this last week). Anyway, Blanchard is great, comparable in more ways than one to Charlotte Flair, and this was a far better match then I ever would have thought it would be
+ Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs Matt Sydal & Ethan Page: this was everything you could want from an opening match. Swann and Sydal were the highlights, but I will always love me some big boi flips, which is something Mack excels at. I’ve not seen a huge amount of Ethan Page, and frankly, after this match I’m not racing to find any more. Nonetheless, this was fun, even if the stakes weren’t particularly high
– Moose vs Eddie Edwards: this was far from the advertised match I’ve just written, and I think the change ultimately hurt both the story going in and the match itself. After the Edwards/Dreamer and Moose/Aries matches from Slammiversary, this was a large step back for all involved.
– Eli Drake’s Open Challenge: if you have read any rumours or done any fantasy booking going in, this may have been a bit of a let down. But for what it ended up being, it was perfectly fine. Unfortunately, for iMPACT’s biggest show of the year, “just fine” isn’t going to cut it
Should you watch this event: This wasn’t quite the unbelievable success Slammiversary was, but overall it was still a really good show. Surprisingly (maybe?) the best match on the show was Blachard/Taya, but frankly the LAX/OGz and Aries/Impact matches weren’t too far behind, each for different reasons. If you’ve been on the fence with iMPACT Wrestling, even after Slammiversary, then hopefully this can help assuage some of that uncertainty.