TNA’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view (PPV) aired last night (Oct. 2, 2016) from Orlando, Florida. There was worry, like there often is with this promotion, but like they always do, TNA made it happen.
You can read all of the results in the live blog here.
The Bobby Lashley dominance train continues after the Destroyer defeated EC3 tonight.
Within the story they were telling and look to continue to tell, this was the way to go about it. If the idea is to book MMA/pro-wrestling star Bobby Lashley as the most dominant champion, he needs to make it through a major PPV with the title. He won it at the last show, Slammiversary, and if he lost it tonight, he wouldn’t seem as dominant as they are trying to sell.
The story of this match was EC3’s fight for survival. As Jeremy Borash was introducing Carter, Lashley speared the challenger, leaving Ethan to start the match behind the 8-ball. Then he had to contend with the Destroyer using the no holds barred stipulation to keep Ethan down.
Carter survived much. He took a spine buster onto the entry ramp. He took two more spears during the match. He took a hell of a lot of chair shots. But he kept fighting.
Having come up short recently with his standard move set, he broadened his arsenal with moves like a suicide dive and submission chokes of his own. But none of that was enough. Even his patented One Percenter couldn’t get the job done against the dominant Lashley.
So he tried to expand his arsenal some more and attempted to deliver a One Percenter from the top rope onto a chair. But the champion still had some fight left him in. He shoved the challenger off the rope and landed a sweet looking diving spear onto EC3 to retain his title.
My biggest gripe of this feud is that in the weeks prior, they telegraphed the likely upcoming Moose/Lashley feud too much that this ending felt like a foregone conclusion. That did more of a disservice to EC3 than the loss itself.
Carter isn’t going to suffer from this loss. It’s the one blemish on his rather stellar record. This allows the allure of Lashley’s dominance to continue to grow, having already bested TNA’s best young guns in Drew Galloway and EC3. Given the fact that Lashley has been doing the best character/promo work of his career, continuing his championship reign will make for good television.
THE GREAT WAR
The Great War ended up being what many predicted: a mixture of in ring performances and pre-taped spots around the Orlando lot. And it ended with new tag team champions.
This is something that isn’t often done at PPVs (I am hesitant to say “never” because there’s been so much wrestling out there). Combining the Final Deletion style cinematic storytelling that got them over with in ring wrestling for the live fans to enjoy is going to be a delicate balance. And when the Hardys bested Decay at the end in front of the live crowd, the crowd was loving it.
The pre-taped stuff felt like it dragged in the middle. There was a lot of standard backstage/outside brawling to fill time between their patented wackiness that likely could have been cut out for more in ring stuff in front of a crowd who just loved Broken Matt and Brother Nero.
But they did hit that Final Deletion level insanity. The Hardy’s actually brought some of the Lake of Transformation with them to keep backstage. Jeff Hardy used it on himself to turn into some weird dude with an accent and goggles. If that was someone out of Jeff’s past, I didn’t make the connection so that bit was lost on me. Of course, he eventually transformed into Willow, who needed to show up in the Great War.
The real cinematic gems were with Broken Matt, Rosemary, and Abyss. Rosemary gave Abyss his trusty board with nails, named Janice. But before he can use it, the poor bastard whose truck they stole to drive to Delete or Decay drove up looking for revenge, literally saying “Don’t nobody sodomize me.” So Rosemary kicks him in the nads and steals his truck again! Abyss and Matt resume their fight in the bed of the stolen drink, and as Abyss looks to use Janice on Matt, the Broken One just decides to shoot some fire out of his hands to set the board on fire. No big deal. (Not sure if that means Janice is dead.)
After these events, all the players made their way back to the ring. When Rosemary tried to mist Matt Hardy from the apron, he held her mouth shut and Reby powerbombed her through a table. With great attention to detail, Rosemary starts slowly letting the mist seep out of her mouth. (Rosemary also hit a coast to coast on a trash can covered Matt Hardy earlier which was badass.) Abyss received the Side Effect through barbed wire board and tacks. And Matt, for one night only, allowed Brother Nero to indulge his spot monkey addiction and Nero Swantoned Steve from a ladder through a table for the win.
And most importantly, the crowd was hot for all of it.
Even though the pre-taped stuff dragged a bit in the middle, this was a successful way for the Hardys to deliver both worlds of entertainment.
From what I saw on my Twitter timeline and comments, there are some people who are already calling the Grand Champion format a failure. While I’m certainly not sold on it, I’m not there yet. I still think there’s something that can be done with it.
For this title match, they changed the 3 minute rounds to 5, which is a big improvement. There was never enough time for a round to get going with only three minutes. It was over before it got started. Just two more lets the match breathe more.
Also the judge’s decisions made sense tonight. There were no lame split decisions that made zero sense. The finish could have gone either way and they scored that as a split, which made sense.
And most importantly, the men wrestled the way they would in this type of match. Edwards dominated round one so Rex came out super aggressive (almost heelishly so at times) in round two because it was a round he must win to have a real chance to win the match. And then after he won that round, though less handedly than Eddie won the first, he came out on fire again for round three. There are kinks that need to be worked out and they need to be clearer on how the judges are scoring, but there’s still potential in this.
As for Rex himself, his post match promo did nothing to sell me on this version of babyface Rex. He’s still super smug and unlikeable. It’s to the point I was hoping when he was getting aggressive in the match that it was hinting at a heel turn. Because he’s not a character I care to cheer right now.
In the middle of the event, Gail was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. Christie Hemme, Taryn Terrell, and even Awesome Kong were there to introduce her. Kong was a bit surprising only because it wasn’t long ago she was released after a reported incident with Reby Sky. But when it came to Gail, she needed to be there given their rich history together.
Then they played a nice video package and Gail read her speech. It was a nice ceremony. While this may have fit better as its own event and not in the middle of a PPV, the ceremony itself was well done.
Then Gail went ahead and defeated Maria Kanellis-Bennett to win her sixth Knockouts title. Unfortunately, the match didn’t really get to hit the notes of the story that drove this feud prior.
Allie wasn’t too active in the happenings and it was her involvement, briefly winning the KOs title before being forced to lose it to Maria, that lit a spark into the division. She had brief moments. She inadvertently screwed Maria a couple times, one by revealing that Maria was cleared to wrestle when the First Lady tried to say she wasn’t. Then when Maria wanted Allie to toss her the arm brace she had used as a weapon earlier, Allie accidentally (maybe) tossed it to Gail Kim who threw it out of the ring and unloaded on the champ leading to the win.
Then the aftermath of it was really just to set up Cody’s debut and his and Brandi’s feud.
Gail’s win definitely was deserved. But the hot points of the story were Allie and her relationship with Maria, and they couldn’t hit those too hard without taking away from Gail. And then they used this to introduce Cody Rhodes. All of that made this match and the win feel like it took a backseat.
More Than One Wrestling Family
Which brings us to that Cody debut. After Maria lost, Mike Bennett cut a promo about how this was not how things were supposed to go down. He lost to Moose earlier and Maria lost her title, and in his mind this was all a conspiracy against them. So he threatened to hold the show up. That’s where Cody and Brandi came in.
It was a brief confrontation that saw Brandi deliver a knee to Maria after the First Lady told Cody to “go back to WWE.” Then Cody brawled with Bennett, ending with Rhodes hitting his Beautiful Disaster.
It was a brief segment, but it did its job. Cody looked good without saying a word and this feud could be a strong one. I’m not entirely sure why Cody decided to put on wrestling tights with no scheduled match, but that’s a different story for a different day.
It couldn’t be clearer that Moose is someone that TNA sees as a big star. He was one of two people who got special entrances (Reby played the piano for the Hardy entrance). Just so you never forget that Moose once played in the NFL, a bunch of people in football uniforms came out doing the Moose chant and then he came out wearing shoulder pads.
The match itself was a fine match, but nothing that sticks out after the fact. Now, Moose is moving on and eventually he’ll be facing Lashley. That’s clear. And Bennett will be facing Cody. And Moose’s introductory feud, it did its part.
TNA broke their pattern of a “Get them all on the card” X Division title match for their PPV and instead booked a singles match between DJ Z and Trevor Lee. This allowed their characters to breathe and tell a bit more of a story than they could when it’s just a bunch of guys trying to get their spots in.
Even without any real build, these guys got some time to put on a fun show to open the PPV. They set up the match around Trevor Lee trying to avoid the rolling DDT that the DJ has been winning with. Z tried at least three times to hit his finish and the challenger came up with a more creative counter each time (I enjoyed the double foot stomp the best).
While a build going into this match would have really made this match a hot open, these two men were able to put on an exciting match. And it’s nice to see TNA back off the multi-man X Division matches that they were doing too much and instead focus on some one on one matches.
Bound for Gold
Consider this TNA’s Andre the Giant Battle Royal on their big show to get everyone on the card. The match was good for what it was, but without any surprise inductions, Eli Drake was the only person that was a believable winner.
Luckily, he did win. Eli Drake has killed it this year and deserves to be someone at the top of the card.
As for the rest of the match, it never felt like it dragged, which is the main goal for this type of match. They had a couple tag teams in there (The BroMans and the Tribunal) so that worked with the relationships between the members of the teams and the teams against each other. Hopefully, they can spin a tag feud out of this since neither team is doing anything and that is the best use of a battle royal - to extend or create feuds. They called back to the relationship between Rockstar Spud and Tyrus as well when Spud tried to get the big man to team with him but he’d have none of it.
It was fun for what it was.
Of the TNA PPVs I’ve reviewed in the last 2 years, this has been my favorite. Match wise, there was no bad match. Not all of them were excellent but that’s to be expected on every card.
The biggest detriment to the show was pacing. They had a lot of different types of events featured on this show and had to mesh them into a single wrestling card. There was a gauntlet style battle royal, the Great War, which itself had two different paces, and Gail Kim’s hall of fame induction. Individually, all of those things were fine, but trying to fit them in a card with standard wrestling matches around them led to a wonky flow.
The Deletion match is something that would have been best to close the show. I understand why they didn’t because the world title normally should close the show. But that was what the crowd was hottest for and that’s what people very likely paid to see. The Knockouts and the main event had to go on after all that madness and while they did their best, that was a tough act to follow.
That by no means ruined the show. I quite enjoyed it. But it gave the show a weirder feel at times with matches having to recover from what came before it.
Pros of the Show:
- The Great War was overall successful at delivering a Deletion style match for a live crowd
- The main event continued to tell a good story with Bobby Lashley.
- Really fun X Division match to open the show.
Cons of the Show:
- The pacing of the show was somewhat thrown by the multiple special attractions
- The Bound for Gold match could have used more legit contenders
- Gail Kim’s title win felt like it took a backseat to what was going on around it.
This ended up being a pretty fun show.