Damn you, Moose!
Impact’s Bound for Glory PPV was full of feel-good moments all night long at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas, then Moose had to ruin it at the end.
The evening started on a pleasant note with Gail Kim inducting Awesome Kong into the Impact Hall of Fame. Jordynne Grace’s hard work paid off by becoming the inaugural Impact Digital Media Champion. The PPV portion kicked off with a musical entrance from the IInspiration, as sung by Harley Cameron.
The IIconic newcomers won the Knockouts tag titles in their Impact debut. Believe in Jessie McKay and Cassie Lee as your IInspiration, and you can achieve the possible.
Trey Miguel completed his return journey as an Impact stalwart to win the X-Division Championship. Heath and Rhino reunited as best friends, and it felt so good.
Moose was victorious in the Call Your Shot Gauntlet. Well, that’s nothing to celebrate. However, the match did have cool surprise entrants, such as The Demon from WCW.
There was also the cathartic release of seeing Eddie Edwards and Alisha Edwards take turns bashing Moose with kendo sticks.
Mickie James turned back the hands of time to dethrone the smug dominance of Deonna Purrazzo. James is a returning hero winning the Knockouts Championship for the fourth time. Hooray.
In the main event, Josh Alexander won the Impact World Championship to become the face of the company. (Details here.) He did so in front of his wife and young son watching ringside. I had my qualms about the character leading into the bout, however, there was no denying that the real person was worth rooting for. Alexander persevered through setbacks during his career to finally reach the mountain top.
The title bout was a physical chess match worthy of closing the show. Both men were shifty enough to escape signature moves. Christian had me convinced he would retain when Alexander missed a moonsault then was ripe for the picking on a spear. The challenger showed the heart of a champion to kick out.
When Christian went for another spear, Alexander dodged. Christian rammed into the ring post and that affected him attempting a Kill Switch finisher. Christian was inches away from victory but had to release the position due to pain. Alexander seized the opportunity to hook an ankle lock. Christian crept toward the ropes and actually made it under for a break, but Alexander pulled back to center and cranked tight. Christian tapped out. Alexander celebrated with his family in the center in the ring.
Damn you, Moose!
Moose ran in from the backside to cash in his Call Your Shot trophy. Alexander ushered his family aside to protect them. He turned around right into a spear from Moose. 1, 2, 3. Moose is now the Impact World Champion.
That was a pretty wild finish to the PPV. Alexander became a made man in Impact by defeating Christian clean. Impact successfully turned him into a star. Moose had the last laugh by leaving a lasting impression as a heatseeker dumping on an evening full of feel-good memories. Impact did an outstanding job setting up Moose to receive genuine ‘F you’ reactions and providing Alexander a second opportunity to bring tears to Matt Striker’s eyes during the chase to get his title back.
Let’s run through the rest of the card from top to bottom.
Knockouts Championship: Mickie James won the belt from Deonna Purrazzo. (Details here.) James attacked before the bell for the ladies to brawl ringside. Down the stretch, both women were down after a double running crossbody collision. Blows were thrown as they rose to their knees. James had the upper hand to attack for a flying Thesz press. Purrazzo kicked out. James escaped a Gotch piledriver to counter with a DDT. Purrazzo kicked out. The champ went back to her bread and butter armbar. As James reached for the ropes, Purrazzo snatched the free arm for a double armbar. Fortunately for James, her feet were positioned under the bottom rope for the break. Purrazzo continued with a successful Gotch piledriver, but James surprisingly kicked out on the cover.
Purrazzo brought a chair into the ring. As the referee took it away, James accidentally collided with him on a flying Thesz press. Purrazzo picked up the steel with bad intentions, but James kicked it into her face. The referee was back for the count. 1, 2, kick-out by Purrazzo. The Virtuosa turned up the heat attacking the arm. She mocked James to set up a DDT. Hardcore Country don’t play that. James escaped to land a kick to the gut then a tornado DDT for victory.
Whenever a champion is as dominant as Purrazzo, it is always a shock to see the reign broken. That was very much the case with this match. They set up a few false finishes that would have been believable for either side. That set up good drama for the final ending. James lived up to her Hardcore Country nickname with the opening attack and savage biting. I think having James as the new champ was the smart move. It opens up the division, and there is still more to explore in this feud. The match was good enough that it deserves a second chapter with higher stakes.
Impact World Tag Team Championship: Good Brothers retained against FinJuice and Bullet Club. (Details here.) Karl Anderson stole the winning pin after FinJuice planted Chris Bey on a superplex and flying splash.
This match ended up being the cool-down for me. My only curiosity was to see if the Bullet Club would win. It’s odd that Bey took the pin. That should eliminate them from the title picture. I was hoping to see Impact dive a little deeper into business between the Good Brothers and the Bullet Club, but perhaps Hikuleo’s time is over in Impact for now. That leaves FinJuice with a claim for a regular rematch, however, that’s not a bout I have much interest in seeing again. It is time for Impact to come up with fresh challengers for the Good Brothers.
Call Your Shot Gauntlet. (Details here.) Surprise entrants included Rocky Romero, Melina, WCW’s The Demon, and Eddie Edwards returning from a storyline injury. Stories within the match included Sam Beale eliminating Brian Myers after being cut from the Learning Tree, Chris Sabin eliminating Ace Austin then Madman Fulton entering the ring as a legal cheat to pummel Sabin for an easy elimination, and Eddie & Alisha Edwards getting payback by going wild with kendo sticks on Moose and W. Morrissey.
The final four came down to Moose, Morrissey, Rich Swann, and Matt Cardona. Morrissey had Swann on his shoulders working toward an elimination when Moose betrayed Morrissey to dump the 7-footer and Swann over the ropes. Cardona had a minor rally on Moose, but he missed a flying leg lariat and ate a spear for Moose to prevail in the end.
Royal Rumbles are always fun, and this gauntlet did not disappoint. There was the right mix of comedy and action with a sprinkle of unique spots. The surprise elements hit well. This bout was dominated by big men. High-flyers like Laredo Kid and Rich Swann didn’t have room to operate with all the bodies in the ring. That reinforced the unique concept that is the gauntlet. Sometimes these matches can feel manufactured with bodies lying on the mat and a fresh man coming in to hit signature moves. That wasn’t the case in this contest.
Heath & Rhino defeated Violent by Design. (Details here.) Heath started alone when Rhino didn’t show. Eventually, the War Machine saw the light and rushed to his best friend’s aid to clean house and win the match with a Gore. Jubilation and hugs were shared in celebration of the reunion.
Impact told this story well over the weeks by creating drama. The obvious result was always Rhino helping Heath, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable once it came to pass. It was so satisfying to hear, “Gore,” over the loudspeaker. The action itself wasn’t all that special. This was all about building to the moment for Heath and Rhino getting back together again. Slide this into the ‘putting smiles on faces’ category.
X-Division Championship: Trey Miguel defeated Steve Maclin and El Phantasmo. (Details here.) Trey rallied in the end with his wits for an amusing moment. He used a protective cup on his crotch to block a groin punch from Phantasmo. Trey kept on the pressure for the pin after head kicks, a brainbuster, and a Meteora.
This match was a blast as all multi-men X-Division contests tend to be. It was total nonstop action. Maclin was the standout in that he showed skills he never had a chance to while employed with WWE. Maclin has made the most of his minutes on camera for Impact. His intensity always leaves me wanting more mayhem from him. Maclin played the powerhouse role perfectly against the smaller opponents. It always helps to have agile dance partners, as shown by Trey taking a spear while upside down against the ropes.
Knockouts Tag Team Championship: The IInspiration won the titles from Rosemary & Havok. (Details here.) Havok powerhoused her way through Jessie McKay and Cassie Lee with ease. They never gave up and finally turned the tide toward victory. Cassie clotheslined Rosemary out of the ring, then the double-team began on Havok. Cassie connected on a roundhouse kick. The IInspiration smashed Havok’s coconut into the ring post three consecutive times. That disposed of the monster. Rosemary shot in for a roll-up on Jessie. Cassie slyly tagged herself in during the motion, so the referee didn’t count the pinfall. Jessie exploded on the kick-out sending Rosemary full force into a knee strike from Cassie. The IInspiration finished the job with comedy and strategy. Seeing Jessie run for a crossbody and bouncing off Havok was a hoot. The IInspiration seemed completely lost early on, however, they picked up steam utilizing divide and conquer to succeed. They smartly focused on removing Havok from the fray. Sneaky tag team tactics allowed them to outmaneuver Rosemary for the win. Jessie and Cassie are kind of choppy in the ring, but they make it work to complement each other as a teammates.
Impact Digital Media Championship: Jordynne Grace became the inaugural champion. Grace competed against John Skyler, Crazzy Steve, Fallah Bahh, Chelsea Green, and Madison Rayne in a six-way tornado match on the pre-show. The match was only five minutes, but that was long enough for Grace to shine as the standout star. She knocked Bahh down on a power collision, and she also clotheslined Rayne as she had Green on her shoulder for a musclebuster. A spinning backfist and a Grace Driver put Skyler down for the three count.
Congratulations to Grace. She’s too big a star for Impact to be floating aimlessly. This new title should hopefully give her direction. Unfortunately, all the digital matches so far have been in the five minute range, so there’s only so much she can do to elevate the belt into relevancy.
Impact Hall of Fame. Awesome Kong was officially inducted into the Impact Hall of Fame. Gail Kim did the honors on the pre-show. Kim gave an interesting speech that was to the point with amusing stories. She told how Low Ki came with the idea of bringing Kong to Impact. Kong and Kim wrestled together with something to prove. Magic was created as they were given the opportunity to shine. Kong ran through a ‘thank you’ list and her appreciation for Impact and Shimmer for their role in women’s wrestling.
Impact stuck to their strengths and played on emotion for a fun PPV.
In closing, I do have a question about the main event conclusion. In the Knockouts Championship match, Mickie James was stuck in a double armbar, but the referee instructed a break when James’ feet were under the ropes. In the Impact World Championship bout, there was a similar scenario with Josh Alexander administering an ankle lock to Christian Cage. Christian clearly positioned his hand under the bottom rope, and yet the referee did not force a break. He allowed Alexander to pull back and continue the submission. Something seems unfair about that. It doesn’t help that they were in back-to-back matches. If it wasn’t for Moose being a giant jerk to deflect the attention, then Alexander’s victory and/or Purrazzo’s loss could be shrouded in controversy.
Share your thoughts on Bound for Glory. Which moment was your favorite? Who stole the show?