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TNA Bound for Glory 2016 Review
Let the record show folks; when a wrestling promotion may be having their last big show in their history, you best be there to watch it. Hence why tonight I shelled out $40 to catch TNA’s Bound for Glory, the Grand Daddy of Them All for TNA and quite possibly a show that would reveal whether TNA would continue on with Billy Corgan at the helm or if Vince McMahon would snatch it up and crush it like when Sydney Prescott crushed Stu’s head in with that TV. Naturally that isn’t what happened. A few references aside, there was no new update on TNA’s ownership situation and little to no appearances by Billy Corgan or Dixie Carter; instead we got a lot of matches that ranged from okay to very good, and one bout that may go down as one of the craziest and most entertaining things I can ever recall seeing in pro wrestling. In short this was a fun show; nothing more and nothing less. I’ll let you be the judge of whether that’s a good thing or not. But first let’s review the proceedings! Moses…how are we working this meme?
X-Division Championship Match
DJ Z (c) defeated Trevor Lee
This must’ve been a day of the show addition because I hadn’t heard anything about this leading up. I suppose you could argue this was a disappointing way to start the show in light of there being no announcement on the ownership situation. Beyond that I was happy to see this open; anyone who’s seen Trevor Lee wrestle, be it in TNA, PWG or in the Carolinas, knows that he’s one of the most underrated talents these days and DJ Z is right there with him. They didn’t disappoint, putting on a match that reminded me a lot of the Pillman-Liger matches from the WCW Monday Nitro days. I would’ve liked it a bit more if they had been given more leeway to go full out, but both men found ways to get in some exciting spots (DJ Z had a dive that was Aerostar good), Lee got in most of his unique and brilliant offense and the pace got better as the match went along. I wouldn’t call it a match we’d be talking about for months to come as Josh Matthews (less annoying than usual tonight) put it, but this was still one of the better bouts of the night and a strong way to kick off the show. TNA should really look into giving these guys a big push if they’re going to be sticking around.
Drew Galloway Promo
Here we had your standard “I worked my life to get here, injuries are now holding me back, I’ll return as the most diabolical hater since the so called Beautiful” promo that Galloway ultimately delivered well because he’s Drew Galloway, one of the most underrated performers on the planet. The only issue I had; he may or may not have accidentally revealed that Billy Corgan was now the owner of TNA when he said Billy’s only reason for buying TNA was because he gets a talent like Galloway. Not only is that a potential spoiler, it was also the only mention of the TNA ownership situation this evening! Smooth Drew, smooth. At least he didn’t no show two shows this evening though, unlike a certain other wrestler out there.
10 Man Bound for Gold Gauntlet Match
Eli Drake defeated Jesse Godderz, Rockstar Spud, Robbie E, Tyrus, Baron Dax, Grado, Mahabali Shera vs. Braxton Sutter and Basile Baraka
Your basic Royal Rumble style battle royal for better or worse, only with ten guys as opposed to thirty. Thank Cthulhu because I couldn’t have cared less outside of when Spud, Sutter and Godderz were doing something. Those guys really stood out here, while the rest were either uninteresting or not over with the exception of Eli Drake. Which is odd considering Drake is a poor man’s Brutus Magnus, both in looks and in ability. That must be why he won this match in the end to get a shot at the TNA World Champion. I’d venture to guess he won’t get that any time soon due to the heel vs. heel match up he’d present, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he did considering his opponent is capable of making the can of pizza Pringles on my desk look good in a match. On second thought maybe heel vs. heel is the way to go!
Gail Kim’s Husband Interviewed, Interrupted by the Bennett’s
I couldn’t have had lower expectations here when TNA brought out Robert Irvine, celebrity chef and Gail Kim’s husband, to be interviewed prior to Gail’s HOF ceremony. By the end I wanted to see more of this guy! Turns out Irvine is a pretty good promo and carried himself well, both when being interviewed by Jeremy Borash and when Mike Bennett and Maria showed up. Hell I’ll admit it right now; I laughed my ass off when Irvine called Bennett a gorilla. That might’ve been the line of the night if not for some of the shit Crazzzy Steve kept saying during the Great War. Kudos to Irvine for pulling off his stint well and kudos to Mike and Maria for their work before and after Irvine left. Say what you will about Bennett, but he’s a very good heel promo and he proved it here. Maria’s influence must be rubbing off on him or something.
Moose defeated Mike Bennett
You can tell TNA loves Moose; other than the Hardy’s he was the only one to get a creative, Wrestlemania style entrance tonight, complete with guys dressed up as football players and a pre game pep talk. I’d say it was worth it considering Moose went out and then delivered in the ring. I was worried that these two wouldn’t click but they actually ended up producing one of the better matches of the night. Mike Bennett may not be the best worker alive, but he gave a great effort here and appeared to even pull out a few new tricks, including a couple of dives. It definitely helps that Moose, a guy who jumps off the screen with his athleticism, charisma and look, was there with him and was utterly spectacular. If WWE wasn’t kicking themselves already for bringing in Apollo Crews over Moose then they should now. Bennett may have showed up, but Moose was the star here and I have to imagine TNA has huge plans for him coming out of this.
Aron Rex Promo
Another standard promo to hype up the Grand Championship match, made better by the fact that the Artist Formerly Known as Damian Sandow is at his best when he’s giving interviews like this. That’s probably why TNA gave him two this evening, one right before his big match and one right after it. Let’s just say both were needed.
Impact Grand Championship Match
Aron Rex defeated Eddie Edwards
I really wanted to like this match and there was plenty I came away excited about. The idea behind the Grand Championship and having it decided in matches with rounds ala MMA is as unique an idea as they come in wrestling today and with the right guys working I think it could lead to some spectacular things. The problem is that these weren’t the right two guys. They tried really hard and there were times the action was pretty good, but ultimately these two just didn’t click. Truthfully it’s not very surprising; Rex is a guy whose style is less exciting and more grounded, while Edwards is a solid worker who just doesn’t have the flash in his game to pick up the pace. I’m not saying this was a bad match; it just wasn’t that interesting and is probably a match up we shouldn’t see again. The good news is that the right guy won in Rex, and his promo after the match was exactly what it should’ve been to set things up for the division going forward. Hopefully he gets some more exciting guys to work with, like say Mandrews. If you’re saying you wouldn’t watch that match then you my friend may be OBSOLETE!
Gail Kim Hall of Fame Induction
Remember how AAA’s Hall of Fame induction of Joaquin Roldan was a complete and utter joke? Gail Kim’s ceremony was the exact opposite of it. In fact it was everything the Art Barr induction at Triplemania should’ve been. TNA actually brought back former co-workers of Kim’s for the introductions, including Christy Hemme, Taryn Terell and a really slim Awesome Kong. They wisely used Dixie Carter only in this spot. They had a nice video package of TNA employees putting Kim over as one of the best women’s wrestlers ever (which she is). And then Gail came out, gave a great speech where she name dropped Fit Finaly, Molly Holly, Simon Diamond and numerous others in one of the best moments of the night. It wasn’t earth shattering, it was revolutionary and surprisingly it didn’t feature Maria or Mike Bennett coming out to make a scene. And that’s why this worked; it was simple, effective and a great moment for a performer who deserved it. Easily the second best part of the show. Speaking of the first…
The Great War for the TNA World Tag Team Championships
The Hardys defeated The Decay
After this match had ended, following an insane Jeff Hardy Swanton Bomb that put him and Crazzzy Steve through two tables, my friend Henry (a casual wrestling fan who had arrived mid show) turned to me and said, “That Matt Hardy is a genius!” I’m not sure what surprised me more; the fact that my friend who hasn’t watched wrestling consistently since CM Punk left enjoyed this madness or that he was absolutely right. Somehow, someway, in the year 2016, Matt Hardy has revealed himself to be a gorram genius. And tonight was his masterpiece.
That’s right folks; tonight’s Great War was not only better than The Final Deletion and Delete or Decay but it was SUBSTANTIALLY better. It may have been one of the most creative non Lucha Underground things I’ve seen from wrestling in recent memory. And it was precisely because Matt, Jeff, Reby, The Decay and TNA did the one thing they hadn’t yet done with this wacky and wonderful story; combine in with actual in ring action. The Final Deletion and Delete or Decay were wild brawls on the Hardy compound; here we started out with a match that ultimately evolved into Final Deletion esq madness before returning to a match afterwards. The dynamic couldn’t have worked better. The match parts were excellent, with some great hardcore action from all the individuals that got bigger and bigger as the match went along. And it goes without saying that the stuff outside of the ring was phenomenal. Jeff Hardy started putting pumpkins on people’s heads and morphed into Willow; Crazzzy Steve became a quote machine; Rosemary (who has looked like a superstar in this whole feud) was everywhere and anywhere; Matt and Abyss brawled across Universal Studios and in the back of a pickup truck; even the guy who the Decay left on the side of the road in Delete or Decay made an appearance, which would’ve been the craziest thing if Matt hadn’t started shooting fire out of his hands at one point. It was unbelievable; it was madness!
Now you may be thinking that this is absolutely ridiculous and there’s no way any of this works unless you look at it from an unintentionally comedic standpoint. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! What’s brilliant about this match and all the other things Matt and the crew have done is that it’s a parody of professional wrestling. Whether you want to admit it or not, pro wrestling is as out there a business as it gets, and many times over the years there’s been cartoon elements in the business that make it resemble a Looney Tunes short more than an actual athletic competition. Matt Hardy and TNA have simply chosen to parody that notion while revealing that they’re in on the joke; as such they’ve yet to fall into self parody and have instead created a wildly ambitious and entertaining side universe that has given us things we’ve never seen before, like tonight’s match. For that, Matt Hardy is indeed a genius and so are the rest of the men and women involved in this. Without question this match was the highlight of the night and something I will not soon forget. It was, as the broken one would say, WONDERFUL!
TNA Knockouts Championship Match
Gail Kim defeated Maria
Exactly what you would expect, minus the lack of a full on face turn from the Artist Formerly Known as Cherry Bomb. Maria tried to weasel her way out of this match, ultimately got control for a little bit when Mike Bennett made his way down to the ring and ultimately was no match for Kim once the distractions and weapons disappeared. Considering Maria had been tormenting Gail all year and that this was Gail’s night, it made all the sense in the world for her to get her revenge and the title and bravo for TNA for taking the right route. The bigger story here was what happened after the match; Bennett threatened to shut down Bound for Glory (a faint nod to the rumors about the show shutting down), which brought out Cody Rhodes and his wife Brandi to as bad ass a theme song not done by Corgan or Marilyn Manson that you can find in TNA. The four brawled with each other (after Maria insulted Cody and very clearly told them to go back to WWE) and that was that. I didn’t love what I saw from Brandi, but it was quick so it’s tough to judge, while Cody and Bennett worked well together in their limited action. Cody and Brandi have been dying to work with Mike and Maria, so I’m going to assume they know what they’re doing and hope this goes well. For tonight it was a decent debut, though I wouldn’t go as far to say Cody looked more important here than he ever did in WWE. Then again maybe I’ve been moved to an alternate universe where Battleground 2013 didn’t happen. I’ll have to look into that.
TNA Heavyweight Championship Match
Bobby Lashley (c) defeated Ethan Carter III
The second title match tonight where the belt didn’t change hands and I’m damn glad it didn’t. Ladies and gentlemen I have witnessed M. Night Shyamalan go from great to awful, I was there when WCW went from second tier to the number one wrestling promotion for eighty four consecutive weeks; I’ve even seen a grown man satisfy a camel (just kidding. Or am I?). But never before have I seen a transformation like the one Bobby Lashley has gone through in the past decade. This was a guy who ten years ago made Roman Reigns look like the second coming of CM Punk; he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t work, hell I’m not really sure what he could do other than look good. Fast forward a decade and Lashley is now one of the most dynamic performers in wrestling, and tonight was a showcase of that if there ever was one. Like Moose, Lashley exploded off the screen, cut a better pace than his smaller opponent and came across as one of the biggest stars around. It’s amazing how far he’s come, and my goodness TNA needs to put him and Moose together tomorrow. There’s money, there’s Atlantis vs. El Hijo del Santo in a mask match money and then there’s Lashley-Moose money. We now go live to Scrooge McDuck fantasizing about this match.
And yet, as good as Lashley was here, this match only ended up being good because his opponent couldn’t hang on the same level. I feel bad saying that because I really like EC3, he tried really hard here and most definitely wasn’t bad. But it’s pretty clear to me that the strong point of EC3 is his mic and character work, while the in ring work comes and goes. It was gone tonight in stretches, with EC3 lumbering around at times and looking really sloppy at others. He made up for it with some cool moments and ultimately he didn’t bring down the match, but it’s crystal clear that in comparison to Lashley he isn’t in the same league. Hence in the end it was without question the right call to have Lashley retain and move on to the next challenger. If there’s a Cthulhu in the sky it’ll be Moose and not Alberto Del Rio, who I was dreading would somehow find his way onto the show and even more inexplicably walk out TNA Champion. Wouldn’t that have been the most TNA thing to do? Instead he never appeared, Lashley is still champ and TNA closed Bound for Glory the right way. Huzzah!
ITS OVAH dear readers. I’ll now head off to bed so I can wake up, crank out something for Rudo Can’t Fail and then two previews for CMLL. I’m a busy man! Till tomorrow, some Spidey for the insomniacs.