Impact Wrestling returns to pay-per-view Friday for their annual Bound for Glory event, headlined by Impact World Champion Josh Alexander defending against Eddie Edwards.
Edwards, the leader of Honor No More, will be looking for his third title reign while Alexander is gunning for his 12th title defense.
Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace will defend against Masha Slamovich while Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) defend against the Motor City Machine Guns.
X-Division Champion Mike Bailey defends against former champion Frankie Kazarian.
Knockouts Tag Team Champions VGK (Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green) defend against The Death Dollz (Taya Valkyrie & JesSICKa) and Digital Media Champion Brian Myers issues an open challenge on the pre-show.
The pre-show will also see Raven get inducted into the company's Hall of Fame.
Mickie James will look to stave off retirement as she takes on Mia Yim and one person will win an opportunity to challenge for any title at any time in the Call Your Shot gauntlet match.
Brian Myers open challenge opened up the preshow with his open challenge for the Impact Digital Media Championship.
Impact Digital Media Champion Brian Myers defeated Dirty Dango to retain
Perfectly fine match to open the show, but not one that I would put on the preshow if you are trying to convince people to buy the PPV. A high flying or more exciting match likely would have done better here.
Dango got a great reaction from the audience for his entrance, with the fans dancing along to his music. Myers, however, beat Dango around the ringside area to boos from the crowd. The heat segment of the match featured lots of chin locks from Myers, which is not really something you need to see on the preshow for Impact’s biggest show of the year.
Dango did a tope to the floor, and the crowd immediately started chanting his name. Dango hit a side Russian legsweep and falcon arrow for a 2-count. Myers responded with a nice enziguri and an implant DDT for a 2-count. Myers charged at Dango but ate a superkick and a tornado DDT for a 2-count.
Myers hit a spear after Dango missed a top rope dive and then hit the roster cut for the pinfall.
--A highlight video aired of Raven’s highlights in TNA and Impact over the years, showing why he was a legend. Tommy Dreamer talking about Raven’s impact on his career was great, as no one knows him better.
--Tommy Dreamer came out to induct Raven into the Impact Hall of Fame, and he told the funny story about how it happened, with Scott D’Amore saying he wanted to talk to Dreamer about the Hall of Fame, and Dreamer thought it was about him, but it ended up being about Raven, so Dreamer did the job to him again.
Raven’s speech was quite nice, going over his whole career, with lots of humour, and thanking everyone along the way. He even asked the fans to boo him to make him feel comfortable. Raven talked about his struggles with mental health issues, including his egotism and personal issues, and how it was okay to get help, as his egotism was just masking his insecurities. He said his career came full circle, starting in Memphis, and moving back to Nashville based Impact. Raven thanked Dreamer, saying their 28 year feud finally ended tonight before hugging Dreamer and then hitting him with the evenflow DDT. Perfect end to the speech.
Frankie Kazarian defeated Mike Bailey to win the Impact X-Division Championship
Holy cow, this match was fantastic. Kazarian was incredible, and Mike Bailey looked like one of the best workers in the world today. Go out of your way to watch this match.
Kazarian grounded Bailey immediately, going for the crossface chicken wing, but Bailey made the ropes and then picked up the pace, hitting a dropkick. Bailey hit a springboard moonsault to the floor to a huge reaction from the crowd. Bailey went to the top rope again, but Kazarian cut him off and dumped him to the floor.
Kazarian hit a guillotine legdrop for a 2-count. Bailey hit a victory roll for a 2-count, but immediately got up and dropkicked Kazarian in the leg. Kazarian blocked a kick and Bailey went for a handspring kick, but Kazarian ducked under and hit Back to the Future for a 2-count. Bailey hit a superkick on Kazarian and Kazarian responded with a lariat and both men were down.
Bailey hit a hard spinning kick in the corner before hitting the ultima weapon for a 2-count. Bailey went for the flamingo driver, but Kazarian slipped out and locked on the crossface chicken wing. Bailey managed to stand up and throw himself to the floor with Kazarian on his back, which was awesome.
Kazarian went for a baseball slide dropkick on Bailey, but Bailey jumped up onto the top rope, dodging it before hitting a springboard moonsault to the floor. That was incredible. Kazarian hit a cutter while pulling Bailey into the ring for a 2-count. Kazarian put Bailey on the top rope and pulled out a flux capacitor for a 2-count. Kazarian went for Back to the Future again, but Bailey turned it into a poison rana before going for the ultima weapon again. Kazarian caught him in a cutter and then transitioned immediately to a chicken wing and Mike Bailey tapped out! What an incredible match.
--Gia Miller interviewed Mickie James about her match with Mia Yim, saying that it wasn’t quite time for her to hand the torch to the next generation and that she was going to bring it better than she ever has against Yim.
Mickie James defeated Mia Yim
James and Yim clearly wanted to reference Flair/HBK at WrestleMania in a few spots in this match, but it worked for them. James was fantastic, as was Yim. I think the natural story is for Mickie James to eventually face Masha Slamovich for the Knockouts Championship, and either winning or losing in that scenario presents a good end to this story with James putting her career on the line.
In many ways, James was a mentor to Yim in her early career, and it was reflected here with both women matching each other move for move in the early portion of the match. James and Yim exchanged a lot of pinfall attempts and basic holds in the first 3-5 minutes. After attempting a bulldog off the ropes, James landed and hurt her knee.
Yim took advantage of this when James went for her head scissors in the corner with Yim catching the leg and yanking on it off the top rope. Yim continued the assault on the knee though James refused to give up, hitting a neckbreaker despite the injury. James hit a Thesz press and a few forearms. James kicked up after a flapjack, but sold the knee in the process.
Yim powerbombed James into the corner and hit a cannonball for a 2-count. James kissed Yim on the top rope to surprise her and knock her off the top rope. James went for the Mick Kick, but Yim caught it and locked on a stretch muffler. Yim hit a German suplex for a 2-count. Yim hit eat da feet, but James managed to grab the ropes to break the pinfall.
Yim went for eat da feet again, but James countered with the Mick Kick and hit her MickDT after dodging a cannonball for the win.
Death Dollz (Taya Valkyrie & Jessicka) (w/ Rosemary) defeated VXT (Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green) to win the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship
Jessicka tried to take Green’s head off with a boot and Green immediately tagged out to Purrazzo. Valkyrie and Purrazzo picked up their feud where they last left off, with Valkyrie hitting a stomp on Purrazzo. Purrazzo seemed content to attack Jessicka on the apron, but this did not pay off, and allowed Valkyrie to hit a sliding German suplex.
Jessicka slammed both VXT members onto the mat and hit a running crossbody on both of them for a 2-count. Valkyrie hit a spear on Purrazzo, but Green hit a pump kick on Valkyrie. Unfortunately for her, she turned around into a sickishi driver on Green for the pinfall.
The Impact World Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Mike Bennett) (w/ Maria Kanellis) defeated The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) to retain
This match was awesome. MCMG are still one of the best tag teams going today, and The Kingdom are no slouches either. This was fantastic, and Maria’s work at ringside highlighted how good those three are as an act.
Taven and Bennett attacked Sabin and Shelley right away, and the pace got very fast, very early, with both teams bouncing all over the ring. Shelley threw Sabin into Taven in response to Taven throwing Shelley into Sabin in the opening part of the match. Every effort by The Kingdom to get one over on the Machine Guns failed, with them just being one step ahead.
Shelley hit some chops on Taven and hit an arm breaker on both Taven and Bennett while Maria tried to get in the ring to help, but was kept out by the referee. Bennett hit a forearm on the floor, but got caught on the ropes when he tried a dropkick, so he just went to the apron and hit a splash off it.
Bennett locked a kimura on Shelley, but Shelley made the ropes. Bennett whipped Shelley into the turnbuckle and Shelley took it like Bret Hart would. Taven and Bennett got some major heat from the audience for their teamwork on Shelley in this part, showing lots of arrogance while doing so. Bennett accidentally clotheslined Taven and Shelley tagged out. Sabin came in and hit some German suplexes and a flying crossbody after Taven accidentally clotheslined Bennett.
Sabin and Shelley took out both men with dives on the floor after some great teamwork. Taven managed to hit a running knee on Sabin for a 2-count. Taven and Bennet hit Hail Maria on Sabin for a 2-count, but Shelley broke up the pinfall. Sabin managed to hit a cutter on Bennett after some standing switches.
Maria grabbed the foot of Shelley while he was on the ropes, and Taven was able to cut him off. Shelley chopped Taven and caught him up on the ropes. Meanwhile, Sabin and Bennet exchanged chops and superkicks. Shelley hit a belly-to-belly into the corner on Bennett, who crashed into Taven. Maria got on the apron to distract Sabin and Sabin turned around into a superkick from Bennett, but he ducked and Maria ate it. Taven then rolled up Sabin and put his feet on the ropes to pin Sabin, barely surviving with their tag titles.
Bully Ray won The Call Your Shot Gauntlet
This was an opportunity to make Steve Maclin, but they went with Bully Ray instead. We shall see how this plays out, but I question that choice.
Eric Young was the first entrance in the match. The second entry was Joe Hendry, and the crowd sung his entrance theme, which made my day, because I believe in Joe Hendry too. Eric Young did not take kindly to Hendry, and attacked him from behind. Hendry hit some uppercuts and hit a gorilla press on Young before hitting a stalling suplex.
Steve Maclin ran in as the next entrant and killed Hendry with a uranage into a backbreaker. Rich Swann was the next entrant and hit a series of 450 splashes on Eric Young and Maclin. Hendry hit a fallaway slam on both Swann and Maclin at the same time. PCO then mad his way down to the ring.
Savannah Evans entered next and came face to face with PCO. They tried to chokeslam each other, but Maclin hit them both to boos from the crowd. I believe the 2-minute entries were severely worked in this one, as Johnny Swinger entered about 30 seconds after Evans. Tasha Steelz entered next, dancing her way down to the ring and immediately teaming up with Evans.
Killer Kelly entered hitting forearms on everyone. She didn’t last long though, as while Evans and Kelly were battling, Steelz dumped them both to the outside, taking out her own partner in the process. Moose was the next entrant and he immediately tossed out Joe Hendry. Moose backdropped PCO to the floor and Sami Callihan made his entrance and got into a fight with Moose and Maclin again.
Johnny Swinger targeted Tasha Steelz, the smallest person in the room, because of course he did with his gimmick. Taylor Wilde was the next entry, returning to Impact, and immediately hitting a hurricanrana on Swann and a German suplex on Maclin. Gisele Shaw entered the ring next. One of Eric Young’s army came out through the audience and security went after him. Deaner then ran in and dumped Sami Callihan to save Eric Young.
Bully Ray made his entrance to a massive pop from the crowd. Tasha Steelz walked up to Ray and challenged him to a fight. Ray pressed her above his head and threw her on to Eric Young’s Designed and security to eliminate her. Tommy Dreamer came out next with a bandage on his head from the DDT earlier.
Moose and Maclin ate bionic elbows from Dreamer and Ray. Rhino was next to enter, returning to Impact after being out with injury for quite some time. The fans chanted ECW as Dreamer, Rhino, and Ray came face to face. Johnny Swinger joined them, as he was in ECW too, but only for a little while.
Dreamer and Ray dumped Swinger over the top rope and out of the match. Bhupinder Gujjar entered next and Dreamer was thrown out around this time. Heath entered next and hit a wake up call on Young, Swann, and Moose. Heath and Rhino hugged to a pop from the crowd. Bobby Fish was in the match next, and despite being a hometown wrestler, he got booed, and the fans chanted CM Punk. Poor guy.
The final entrant was Matt Cardona making his return to Impact Wrestling to a good reaction from the crowd. Moose threw Rhino out of the ring while Maclin got rid of Heath. Maclin then eliminated Moose with a clothesline. Cardona and Bully Ray have been arguing on Twitter and making reference to each other in NWA. Bully Ray and Taylor Wilde did the classic Dudley’s headbutt.
Shaw and Wilde were then eliminated by Matt Cardona, who was then eliminated by Gujjar. Eric Young hit a neckbreaker on Gujjar on the apron, which eliminated him from the match. Swann eliminated Eric Young on the apron with a kick. The final four were Bully Ray, Steve Maclin, Rich Swann, and Bobby Fish.
Everyone swarmed Bully Ray, trying to take out the biggest man left. Swann and Fish were eliminated soon thereafter, leaving Maclin and Bully Ray as the final two, as it became a singles match. After dodging a corner knee, Bully Ray hit the Bully Bomb on Maclin and pinned him to win the Call Your Shot Gauntlet. I am not sure how I feel about that.
--Eddie Edwards was backstage in his locker room getting ready when his two daughters and wife, Alisha Edwards, and his youngest hit her nose on her dad’s head as she went to hug him, said “Ow!” and pouted for the whole promo, which was quite funny. Kids. They go into business for themselves. Edwards said he was going to win the Impact World Championship, and it was going to be over tonight and his oldest daughter asked, “What if you don’t?” and Alisha Edwards said “That won’t happen.”
Impact Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace defeated Masha Slamovich to retain
Personally, I would have had Slamovich go over here, but the finish didn’t hurt her at all. Grace had to basically kill her to retain, and Slamovich looked no less a monster in the process. Either way, this was a fantastic match.
Slamovich came out with Bull Nakano style face paint and hair. The crowd was hot for this one because it had bene built so well, with Grace and Slamovich both being dominant for so long. They immediately started brawling and Grace hit a clothesline on the floor to drop Slamovich.
Slamovich withstood the early onslaught and hit a strong zero on the apron. Slamovich put an immediate stop to Grace’s attack with that. Grace jumped and hit a double boot in the corner when Slamovich charged, and stayed with it into a stomp, but Slamovich responded with a fireman’s carry and a double stomp of her own.
Slamovich hit a hard kick to Grace’s back before hitting some mounted elbows. Grace hit a spinebuster after dodging out of the corner. Grace and Slamovich exchanged hard chops in the middle of the ring. Both went for spinning backfists at the same time and crashed to the mat after connecting.
Grace hit a huge Michinoku Driver for a 2-count and missed a Vader bomb. Slamovich hit a spinning kick on Grace and then a Canadian destroyer for a 2-count. Slamovich went to the top rope, but Grace cut her off and hit a stalling vertical superplex before rolling through into a jackhammer for a 2-count. That was awesome.
Grace went for a muscle buster out of the corner, but Slamovich slipped out and hit a hook kick on Grace before locking on a rear naked choke. Slamovich threw Grace with the choke and locked on a bulldog choke on the mat. Grace came close to passing out but managed to fight to her feet and make the ropes.
Slamovich then hit a bridging straight jacket suplex for a 2-count. Slamovich went for the Snow plough, but Grace fought out and hit a Cop Killa for a 2-count on Slamovich. Grace went for a lariat, but Slamovich hit a pump kick. Grace blocked the Snow plough and hit a Grace driver for a 2-count. About half the fans started chanting “You can’t beat her!” while the other half chanted “Yes you can!” Fantastic stuff.
Slamovich hit an air raid crash into the corner and a Snow plough, but Grace’s foot was under the ropes, so it broke the fall. Slamovich put Grace on the top rope, but Grace fought her off and hit a Grace driver off the middle rope for the pinfall. What a match.
Impact World Champion Josh Alexander defeated Eddie Edwards to retain
This match was awesome. There is no other way to put it. Edwards and Alexander wrestled in an absolute classic in what had to be one of the best Impact matches ever, though it does leave a lot of questions about the future of Honor No More and the whole angle where they failed to achieve what they wanted to with Alexander retaining.
Edwards tried to take it to the floor in the early parts of the match, but Alexander kept it in the middle of the ring, exchanging holds. As soon as Edwards got back into the ring, Alexander took him down with some basic wrestling, frustrating him again. Edwards decided to start hitting hard, and nailed Alexander with an uppercut and a running boot that sent him to the floor.
Edwards hit a tope to the floor and started chopping away at Alexander, quite literally. Alexander necked Edwards and hit a crossbody to the back of Edwards who was left on the apron. Edwards was able to turn it around with hard chops in the ring, leaving Alexander in pain. The fan dressed as Ric Flair in the front row informed Edwards that he was chopping incorrectly. I debate that point, Ric Flair Dressed Man.
Edwards hit a tope suicida on Alexander and ripped up the mat at ringside, exposing the wooden floor. Edwards went for a die hard driver on the floor, but Alexander fought out. Alexander was able to roll into the ring, hit the ropes, and hit a dive of his own. The crowd was pretty evenly split at this point, chanting back and forth for both men.
Alexander tried to suplex Edwards off the apron onto the gym floor, but Edwards fought it off and swept the legs of Alexander before grabbing him and hitting a die hard driver on the floor. That was brutal. Edwards brought Alexander into the ring and hit a series of hard chops before hitting a backpack stunner for a 2-count, but as Alexander kicked out, Edwards transitioned cleanly to a single leg crab.
Alexander escaped and hit an Alabama slam into the corner, which also looked brutal. Alexander hit a few rolling German suplexes, but Edwards grabbed the ropes, so Alexander just held on and did it on the apron, continued to hold on, and did another on the floor, and then on the ramp. Holy cow, that was awesome.
Alexander hit a powerbomb into a back breaker on Edwards for a 2-count. Edwards hit a blue thunder bomb for a 2-count after Alexander hit the ropes. Alexander caught Edwards after a corner charge and hit a Styles clash to a huge pop, and then Alexander transitioned into an ankle lock. Edwards rolled through to escape.
Edwards hit an enziguri on Alexander who went to the top rope. Edwards hit a die hard driver off the top rope but Alexander rolled through and hit a C4 spike. As the referee was counting, Matt Taven pulled the referee out of the ring and Mike Bennett took out the ref. Security came out and took Honor No More out of the ringside area after Kenny King low blowed Alexander.
A new referee came down as Edwards hit the Boston knee party, but Alexander kicked out. Edwards went for the die hard driver, but Alexander slipped out and hit a huge half nelson suplex. Alexander blocked another enziguri and locked n the ankle lock again, but Edwards had to break it because they were in the ropes. This led to Edwards hitting a Tiger Driver for a 2-count.
Alexander started bleeding heavily from the nose from the kick earlier, and Edwards started chopping away again. Alexander started firing back, and they both started exchanging slaps and strikes. Edwards spit in the face of Alexander, and Alexander ripped off his head gear and started hitting hard. Edwards dropped Alexander with a brutal lariat, but ate hard forearms from Alexander who hit a C4 Spike for the pinfall. What an incredible match.
Honor No More immediately ran down to attack Alexander after the match, beating him down. Heath and Rich Swann tried to make the save, but got overwhelmed by the numbers. Taven, Vincent, Bennett, and King setup a table in the middle of the ring. Before they could put Alexander through it, Bully Ray’s music hit. The announcers noted that Ray was in ROH for quite some time.
Bully Ray and Alexander then teamed up to clear the ring, but as Alexander turned around, Ray was holding the Impact World Championship. The show came to a close with Alexander taking the world championship back and Ray saying he was going to be Alexander’s toughest challenger yet.
Bully Ray as a short-term challenger is fine here, but there is a major question about what to do with Eddie Edwards now that he lost. That said, this was an excellent PPV from Impact, with several fantastic matches. As Impact’s biggest show of the year, it absolutely delivered on its promise of good wrestling, and had a show with next to zero screwy finishes, showing it is far removed from the TNA days of old. If you want to see a good wrestling show, you will not be disappointed to watch this one.