Before watching Bound for Glory 2017, I had just come off watching the NJPW Power Struggle show – which in my opinion was extremely solid. Omega vs. Beretta was incredibly good, Tanahashi vs Ibushi stole the show, and Chris Jericho challenged Kenny Omega to a match at Wrestle Kingdom 12… Holy fruitcakes Batman! Therefore, I feel like the pressure was really on Impact Wrestling because of this.
However, as I do with every Impact Wrestling show, I wanted to review their version of WrestleMania with nothing but a positive mindset.
Opening video package
The opening video package was pretty good to be honest. Each main roster member got across the importance of the event, and the legacy of Bound for Glory. After watching the package, I was kind of excited what was about to come. Thumbs up, Impact Wrestling.
X Division Championship 6-way match
Let’s start with the negatives, so we can quickly move on to the positives. The first thing I picked up on is very petty, and I hate to sound petty… but I don’t think the champion should ever enter first. However, that is just a pet-hate of mine. The only other negative for me was some of the spots felt a little too choreographed, and sometimes came across sloppy – even if they were entertaining.
Now time for the positives. I really liked that the ring ropes were the colours of the Canadian flag, a nice nod to Bound for Glory’s (and maybe now Impact as a whole) host. I was happy when I saw Garza Jr, Petey Williams, and Matt Sydal come out because I’m a huge fan of all three of these lads. After the entrances, Josh Mathews explained that the match would be contested under Lucha rules, and did a good job of explaining that the wrestlers did not need to tag in, and could enter the match whenever. When Josh Mathews isn’t trying to get his heel persona across on commentary I really enjoy his announcing.
Garza Jr delivered his signature trouser tear spot which I think is a great fit for his Mexican romance character. Trevor Lee hit Sonjay Dutt with a suplex into a powerbomb which looked bloody awesome. Desmond Xavier nailed a cartwheel into a corkscrew sault to the other wrestlers outside the ring before hitting a gorgeous spiral tap onto Trevor Lee. Then the ending of the match involved Petey Williams hitting his finisher, but Lee threw Williams outside the ring and stole the victory. I think the ending was a great way to set up a feud between Williams and Lee, which hopefully ends with Williams eventually winning the X Division title.
Ishimori vs Dux
This time let’s start with the positives – of which there is only one. The moments of the match that were actually shown on camera were good, but for most of this match the camera just focused on Laurel Van Ness who was playing her drunken bride character in the audience. Which leads nicely into the negatives. Laurel Van Ness showed up in the middle of a potentially good match between two X Division athletes, not getting involved in the match itself, just distracting from it. It’s a shame the fans watching via a television didn’t get to see any wrestling during this match.
Grado vs Abyss – Monster’s Ball: If Grado loses, he leaves Impact
One of the coolest parts about previous Bound for Glory events have been the signature Monster’s Ball matches. Back in 2004, these were portrayed as incredibly intense hardcore fights where superstars were locked up in a cell 24 hours before the match to induce some sort of manic aggression (cool concept in my opinion).
However, this was far from that. Instead of an intense hardcore battle, we got a very comedic trash brawl which I think was the wrong way for this match to go. Grado sported a Mick Foley red and black checkered vest – since Foley is indeed a hardcore legend, I think was a nice touch. According to Foley on twitter he actually gave the vest to Grado two years ago, so that’s pretty awesome.
One of the main problems for me was the fact I was unsure who was face or heel – and I’m convinced the commentators didn’t know who to put across as heel or face either. Overall, I just didn’t think this match was that good at all. I know Grado is an entertaining comedy wrestler and I think he’s really cool, but I feel like he should’ve been less comedic to sell the importance of this match which would actually determine his future in Impact Wrestling.
Team Impact vs Team AAA
The main story behind this match was that neither team were very cohesive as a unit, which was heightened by the fact that rivals James Storm and EC3 were on the same team. However, I didn’t think this angle was played up enough. At the beginning of the match EC3 refused to tag in, but a later on he suddenly became Mr. Impact and decided to tag in and ally himself with his rival James Storm. I like this concept, but I feel the build to EC3’s sort of face turn should’ve been more of a slow burn.
Pagano (clown looking member of Team AAA) has a cool insane clown look, but his in ring ability is extremely limited and I felt like he dragged down the other guys involved in the match. Other than that, I think it was a solid 6-man tag team match. The spot at the end with Storm and EC3 cracking a few beers open after winning was cool, but as I mentioned before I think it would’ve been better if EC3’s face turn was played up more.
LAX vs oVe – 5150 Street Fight – World Tag Team titles
I really like LAX. I think they’re a badass team with an awesome entrance, and I think Konan leading the charge as the godfather of the group, leaving the younger guys doing the in-ring work, is awesome. I think oVe have an interesting look, but I’m not sure if I quite understand their characters. However, a tag team street fight is always good fun. Perhaps the craziest spot of the match was when Santanna (LAX) hit a splash off of the lighting rig to one of oVe’s members through a table – FREAKIN CRAZY. The other member of oVe (don’t know which one) then hit a sick looking superplex to Ortiz (other LAX member) through a set of chairs that were set up. However, the oVe ended up getting the worst of the impact (pun intended).
Then Sami Callihan made his Impact debut (big fan of his). The fans didn’t really know who he was (which is crazy) and the commentators didn’t really put him over as a big star or a huge surprise which was disappointing. Callihan has done some great stuff in Lucha Underground and, in my opinion, should be put over as a big star. Callihan hit a Rhino-esque piledriver off the apron to one of LAX through a table (awesome spot) which allowed oVe to win the match.
I was left a little confused after the match however as Callihan and oVe beat down LAX (who were the heels), and then Callihan spat on the Puerto Rican flag. So I’m guessing Callihan’s allegiance with oVe turned them heel? I’m not exactly sure to be honest. I think it’s a big shame that Callihan didn’t turn out to be the Switchblade character in New Japan that ended up being Jay White. I think Callihan would have really suited that character.
Sienna vs Ali vs Gail Kim – Knockouts Championship
Before the match started, Santino Marella showed up in the audience. Maybe the cobraaaaaa will be debuting soon?
Don’t really have much to say about the match to be honest. I didn’t think it was bad, but the inclusion of Ali to make it a triple threat I think was unnecessary. Ali spent a lot of the time just kind of hovering in the corners so I feel her presence in the match could’ve easily been left out. I mean that as no disrespect to her, just from a booking perspective. I did like the fact that the commentators got over it was the 10-year anniversary since Gail Kim became the first ever Knockouts Champion so that was a nice touch. Gail Kim eventually won the match which I think was cool considering she was the first ever Knockouts champion and this was her retirement match, so that was a nice moment.
After the match, Jimmy Jacobs showed up and hinted that he’s possibly working for Impact. Jimmy Jacobs was the main creative input behind the Jericho and Owens feud so it would be interesting to see what he has in store for Impact.
Moose & Stephen Bonner vs Lashley & King Mo
The story behind this feud is awesome. The feud is focused around the fact that Lashley (along with his MMA coaching team) feel like he should step away from pro wrestling so he can go and earn more money in MMA which sparked a feud between him and Moose. The buildup included a cool moment where Moose showed up at Lashley’s MMA training facility to confront him, but was knocked out by Lashley’s MMA teammate King Mo.
Therefore, going into this match I was already really hyped due simply because of the awesome build up. I think the match should’ve been just Lashley vs Moose, but the inclusion of King Mo and Bonner (non-wrestlers) doesn’t bother me much at all. I really liked the fact that Lashley and his MMA team mates (America’s Top Team) came out wearing matching blue attires. Nothing says cohesive group more than matching tights, yo. Moose entered to a variation of his theme song which was rapped by his legit brother apparently, which I thought was badass and made Moose come across as a big star. At one point King Mo and Bonner got into a legitimate grappling match which I thought was really refreshing to see in a pro wrestling match. The match ended when Lashley pinned Moose after hitting an awesome spear that twisted Moose inside out.
I really liked this match. It wasn’t a five-star classic, but not every match has to be (sorry Dave Meltzer). The match told a good story and having the MMA guy Lashley go over inside of a cage was the right booking choice in my opinion. This match gets a nice set of thumbs up from me.
Johnny Impact vs Eli Drake – Impact Global Championship
Finally, the champion entered last instead of first! It’s worth noting that since the GFW branding was dropped, these weird looking metallic stickers have been stuck on the title belts. The one that is stuck on the Global title looks extremely tacky, and I hope they get new belts made up again. I wasn’t that excited for this match in terms of build-up, however I like Johnny Impact’s in-ring style so I was still invested in some way.
There was a really cool spot where Johnny Impact hit a somersault heel-kick off of the apron to Drake. Johnny Impact hit an awesome looking second rope snap German suplex that Berretta debuted at Power Struggle. The match took an unfortunate turn for the worse when Alberto El Patron stopped the referee from counting the three for Johnny Impact. El Patron then hit Johnny Impact with a chair before smashing Eli Drake in the face with the title belt. Drake then pinned Johnny impact to retain his title. One of my pet hates is when a PPV world title match ends with an interference – I think this was an extremely silly way for the PPV to end.
This PPV was not bad, but by no means was it that good. It had some hopeful moments, but also had some very sloppy moments too. For a PPV that is meant to be Impact Wrestling’s WrestleMania, it really didn’t deliver. It’s a shame because I want Impact Wrestling to be a strong contender in terms of being a highly ranked promotion, but I feel like they always take one step forward and two steps back.
I hope you all enjoyed what I had to say about Bound for Glory. In the words of Kenny Omega; goodbye and good night.