I've found myself in a nice groove in following the Impact product like I do most of my favorite television shows - on demand, and just a bit behind schedule. It's not that I don't find it to be significant enough to follow live (or regularly), I just like the idea of being away from the internet "noise", and following the product as part of my time for my own enjoyment, rather than a "well what do you have for me this week" attachment. I'm not sure how to explain it other than that it keeps expectations low, and it all feels fun again.
Enter my late viewing of the Bound For Glory pay-per-view, and I can honestly say, this show was awesome. It was the kind of show that felt like an old-school TNA-level pay-per-view in many ways. Specifically, this was just amazing in-ring action from the pre-show to the main event.
The product is not perfect, and the roster (especially at this point) feels relatively thin, but I still don't think there is another product that is as solid consistently, and is creatively doing as much with less, as Impact Wrestling is.
Here are some quick thoughts on Bound For Glory 2022:
- We all know Impact ain't giving you much in the detailed aesthetics and presentation area. We're getting rope changes, the apron with the logo, and graphics for the transitions of segments, but the stage is going to be what it is, and the arena is going to be just that too.
And yes, we got that at BFG. And that's okay! Again, Impact has found its lane and is staying there. But the small subtle change of the hard camera facing the audience instead of the usual week-to-week visual of the entrance ramp sort of freshened things up.
It's the small things, I guess.
But again, for the "biggest show of the year," it feels too much like the norm. It doesn't have to be Wrestlemania-esque or held in another country (as we've seen before in much leaner times), but I do think there needs to be something more to help make the "big one" feel like the big one.
- I'm a fan of the Digital Media Championship concept. I've said my piece on that before. It's a great title for where it's placed, and Brian Myers has really been entertaining in carrying it.
Dirty Dango's debut was interesting as I always felt he was underutilized in the WWE. No one does rehab for a wrestler's career (or character) better than Impact. Not sure if he's sticking around, but wouldn't mind it at all. I'm glad Myers retained the title here.
- Raven was a great selection for a Hall of Fame that feels VERY representative of the company's history. And even without that context, is a strong list in professional wrestling.
The speech was light-hearted and entertaining, and the ending was a nice touch of nostalgia. I literally laughed out loud at Tommy Dreamer's line, "Even when he cannot wrestle, I'm still doing the job for Raven." Overall, as a fan, it's just good to see a guy like Raven get his due.
I've followed this company since night one, and it's still rather amazing to reflect on the lineage it now has. It's almost surreal.
- You've got to kick off Bound for Glory with the X-Division Championship, right? That in itself is tradition.
Speedball Mike Bailey really has grown on me during this run of his. The dude is super athletic and it's hard not to enjoy his performances in the ring. I still wish we could get more from him than the karate-kid vibe, but I do trust Scott D'Amore - more on that in a bit. I do think we may get that coming up.
Can we just keep Frankie Kazarian in Impact? Nothing against AEW, but like an athlete with the right team in the right uniform, Kazarian just feels at home here. And he also just seems easier to root for and get invested in.
As expected, this match was fantastic. I'm loving the old-school chicken wing used by Kaz, but I'm hoping he locks it in more like Bob Backlund. I always felt for Bret Hart as a kid in that feud. Owen did the right thing in throwing in the towel...but I digress.
- I'm digging the Mickie James storyline. Of course, it's what we've seen most notably from the WWE and Ric Flair, but I'm very curious to see who in fact IS the individual to get the rub.
I did like the moment in the match with Yim pulling the "I'm Sorry" before hitting "Eat Defeat", only to get a two count. That was great! James gets passed Yim (who is unfortunately a free agent going forward) and continues on.
- You want to talk about wrestling rehab? The move to Jessica from Havok was...SICKKKKKK!! But seriously, it's been a more likable and distinct character, especially when the dark/goth character is no longer unique within the company (or in wrestling in general).
I was surprised to see VXT drop the titles so soon as it felt like the duo never got out of second gear. This was a great tag team match, and it is obvious that Impact does women's wrestling better than everyone. Just my opinion. That was solidified even more later on.
- The awesome wrestling continued for the Tag Team Championship between the Motor City Machine Guns and The Kingdom. Honor No More has grown on me just a bit over the past few weeks. I've been enjoying their work, and their characters have felt a little bit more at home with Impact rather than feeling like an eventual transition through whatever legacy there is for ROH (which it eventually became after their debut on AEW Rampage).
Regardless, this was good stuff and I loved the finish.
- Random hot take: Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt are the best commentary team for this company in a long, long, long time. Again, just my take. From chemistry, knowledge of the product, and selling the stories - it's been all-around quality from both guys. It feels organic, and you just don't get those cringy moments that we would sometimes get from previous pairs (or trios).
- The Call Your Shot gauntlet was fun and had some cool moments, but also at times felt rushed, clunky, and sometimes like the eliminations didn't come organically.
I'm very much intrigued by Joe Hendry. Again, Scott D'Amore and his team really do get the most out of guys I've questioned. The Joe Hendry character is distinct and can be something interesting if done correctly.
Yes, I believe in Jooooe Hendraaaay! *clap* clap*
That damn song is so catchy.
I'm just a big fan of Tasha Steelz. Her vibe and swag are infectious. Just putting that out there.
I'm not mad at Bully Ray's return at all. I don't always agree with him, but I enjoy listening to him and his knowledge on Busted Open Radio, and truthfully, I've always been entertained by everything and anything he's ever done as a performer. Bully is just one of those dudes that gets it.
He certainly looks older, though. But again, I'll trust D'Amore on this.
Maclin is on the rise. This could've been his moment in winning the gauntlet, but I feel like there is more to come there between him and Bully. Again, D'Amore and the team have done an amazing job with Maclin. I had no idea who the dude was when he came in.
And thennnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, there is Bobby Fish.
I'm TRYING to trust Scott D'Amore here. TRYING! But there is very little about Fish thus far - from fan intrigue to his appearance, to a possible new gimmick, to match intrigue, to well, everything! - that I'm interested in. Nothing against Bobby Fish, but as they say...this ain't it.
D'Amore obviously carries some serious equity with my fandom, so I'm more so intrigued by how things go rather than the talent acquisition itself. But I feel nothing for Fish within this product thus far.
Anyway...with all of that said, an intriguing win for Bully Ray here. He IS sticking around. Well, alright.
- First and foremost, I'm a big Jordynne Grace fan. I really, really am. And the shape that she's in - absolutely tremendous. Same for Masha Slamovich here.
Words can't do this match any justice. So I won't even try. It is one of my favorites of the year. Both women crushed this!!
Is Jordynne the one to end Mickie's career?
- Watching the event, I thought, well, fellas, good luck following that gem! That women's match is a tough follow for anyone.
They didn't eclipse it, but damn! They came so close!
I thought the deeper storyline here was intricate and carried so many layers that it made the match feel important (goal accomplished?). The various parallels and even the touch of their families sitting at ringside were interesting.
Josh Alexander might be the best homegrown product in Impact since, maybe Bobby Roode? Is that crazy to express?
I enjoyed the war that it was, and even the final strong-style finish to cap it all off.
The tease of last year possibly repeating itself with Bully "Calling his shot" only to end the show face-to-face with Alexander was a nice touch.
Bully Ray is definitely sticking around and I'm sure that is going to annoy some fans, and even more so the idea of him going straight into a program with Alexander.
Again, I trust Scott D'Amore at this point. He's deserved that much from a continued track record in reviving this brand and a continued vision in a space that has seen comparative competition bought out (in ROH), some flame out (NWA - my opinion), and is ultimately dominated by billionaire owners (WWE and AEW) with so many resources and outreach. With that kind of perspective, flourishing is NOT easy.
But man, Bobby Fish? I'll wait on that one. Whew, that's going to be a hurdle for this fan.
- I'm so intrigued now - where does Eddie Edwards go from here?
- And also, just how long is Bully sticking around for?
All in all, Bound For Glory was a damn good show! I'm already looking forward to the shows to come, and really, the fallout from a roster that surely feels to be transitioning as we head into 2023.
Photos courtesy of Impact Wrestling