This Sunday proves to be the first big test for Anthem owned Impact Wrestling as it brings Impact’s flagship PPV, Bound For Glory, to their home and native land in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The past few weeks have shown a markedly unique approach to Impact Wrestling, combining solid matches featuring Impact stars from various international promotions (like Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH, Mexico’s AAA and The Crash Lucha, and Canada’s Border City Wrestling), with tight vignettes and Impact Zone storyline matches building up to this card.
Sadly, the numerous releases the past few weeks, including several Impact referees in the past couple days has detracted from the fact that Impact Wrestling has really assembled a top notch card featuring some of the indies most underrated prospects and stars, some real international breakouts, and a cast of Impact characters that all had cult fave status the past year. If you haven’t watched Impact Wrestling lately, this is probably a solid choice to jump back on board with (although I’d recommend watching the last two weeks’ episodes, as the new format is captivating). The card, mixed with the last few weeks, really feels like we’re finally officially seeing the beginning of the vision the new creative at Impact Wrestling have been steering towards these past few months.
Here’s a quick rundown of this Sunday’s card and what we can look forward to.
TEAM IMPACT (Eddie Edwards, Ethan Carter III & “Cowboy” James Storm) vs. TEAM AAA (Texano, Pagano & El Hijo del Fantasma)
The first real feud to come out of the cross promotion alliances between Impact Wrestling and Mexico’s AAA, this began as friendly showcase matches from AAA’s El Hijo Del Fantasma (known to Lucha Underground fans as King Cuerno) and Pagano in the Impact Zone, but things got personal when another LU and AAA star, El Texano Jr., came in and assaulted Impact’s Eddie Edwards and Ethan Carter III. This lead to TNA Original “Cowboy” James Storm coming down to fend off AAA and help balance the score, with a series of match-ups in both Impact and AAA over the past month. This should be the final blow off, with all six men coming out with some solid momentum.
Prediction: Team Impact with the win
RED WEDDING MATCH: Rosemary vs. Taya Valkyrie
Over the past six months, Impact Wrestling has done an admirable job rebuilding it’s Knockouts Division into one of it’s consistently reliable parts of the show. It’s a testament to it’s depth when a match of this magnitude isn’t even the “main event” of the division. Rosemary‘s demonic persona has found a “pet” in her “Bunny” Allie and it’s seemingly let her guard down against Lucha Underground star and former 2x AAA Reina De Reinas Champion Taya Valkyrie. The two have been toying with each other back and forth the past few weeks, but this Sunday they’re settling the score in a Red Wedding Match, which presumably will be a First Blood Match. These two can go hard and work stiff, so it should be a real battle between these two Canadians on their home soil. Women’s first blood matches are a rarity in North American wrestling (although Japan has had a few), and ironically, it was Impact Wrestling that had the first women’s First Blood Match back in March of 2010 between Daffney and Tara (former WWE Superstar Victoria).
Prediction: Taya Valkyrie wins (but the feud continues)
MONSTER’s BALL MATCH: “The Monster” Abyss (w/ Father James Mitchell) vs. Grado
Grado has had a hard road the past year, trying to get his work visa situation worked out to remain in America with Impact Wrestling. He hired Joseph Parks, the lawyer “brother” of Abyss, to work as his counsel, through a series of fiascos, like trying to marry him to an Impact Knockout to stay in country (oddly enough, he came closest to marrying Laurel Van Ness, who is Canadian – so not sure that would have helped his US visa problems). Regardless, over the months Grado found out he’d been robbed off his earnings the past year when he discovered Parks had been embezzling his pay. In an attempt to get his visa from Parks, a match was made, but Parks changed the rules to make it his brother Abyss facing him instead. Abyss has returned, with former manager and ECW Original Father James Mitchell at his side. Monster’s Ball matches are usually bloodbaths of extremism, but adding a comedic element like Grado should make this more Cabin in the Woods than The Exorcist. Expect some big bumps and a strong showing from Abyss, but after a month of desperation, this should be Grado’s feel good underdog moment of the year (just so he can move on to a new story).
Prediction: Grado wins
SIX SIDES OF STEEL CAGE MATCH: Moose & Stephan Bonnar vs. Bobby Lashley & King Mo w/ Dan Lambert
What started out as a groaner to many has emerged as one of the more emotionally charged stories heading into Bound For Glory. Moose and UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar have turned the tables on Bobby Lashley and Dan Lambert‘s American Top Team MMA camp. The intensity between all those involved – including ATT member and BFG competitor King Mo – has been incredibly real and added an extra ooomph to what could have been a dead duck in no time. One of the surprising standouts has been the mic work of ATT’s Dan Lambert, who gave an amazing speech to the Impact Zone tonight on Impact shredding the wrestling industry and it’s fans. With three MMA fighters in the ring – and a former NFL offensive lineman – this match will be heavy hitting and rough. And while the 6-sided ring will be reminiscent of the octagon, the steel cage aspect will be a little less forgiving.
Prediction: Lashley & King Mo for the win
TRIPLE THREAT FOR THE KNOCKOUT’S CHAMPIONSHIP: Sienna (c) vs. Gail Kim vs. Allie
The Knockouts Godmother, 6x Knockouts Champion Gail Kim, is ready to lace up for her final Bound For Glory as she winds down her final year in the squared circle. She’s already transitioning to a backstage producer and scout for the Knockouts Division, but she’s going out in a blaze of glory in her home country. She’s facing another fellow Canadian in Allie, against the reigning Champion, Sienna. There’s going to be a lot of emotions running high in this ring on Sunday, and Kim is not going to want to leave with her head high. There’s real potential for this match to steal the show.
Prediction: Gail Kim wins her record breaking 7th Knockouts Championship (and relinquishes or drops the belt and retires next week at the Impact Tapings)
5150 STREET FIGHT FOR THE IMPACT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: OvE (Dave & Jake Crist) (c) vs. LAX (Santana & Ortiz) w/ Konnan
Ever since LAX (Santana & Ortiz) lost the belts to newcomers OvE (Jake & Dave Crist, aka OI4K on the indies), Konnan has had his crew running rampant over the new champions at every corner. Two weeks ago, OvE finally admitted that the LAX family was just too strong and that it was time for them to bring in some “family” of their own, which lead to Sami Callihan‘s tattooed arm entering the camera shot. This match is going to be a no-DQ street fight and both these teams can give it as well as they can take it.
Prediction: LAX wins to become the NEW Impact Tag Team Champions (but during the post-match beat down, Sami Callihan officially debuts to fight off LAX and unite with his fellow OI4K brothers)
6-PACK CHALLENGE FOR THE X-DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: Trevor Lee (c) vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Garza Jr. vs. Matt Sydal vs. “The Canadian Destroyer” Petey Williams vs. Sonjay Dutt
It took some fine tuning, but after this summer’s Super X Cup tournament, the X-Division is starting to show the potential to be on track to reach similar prestige as it did back in the mid-2000s. Trevor Lee has been a great champion and his opponents for this 6-way match for the X-Division title features some TNA Original legends, in Sonjay Dutt and the returning master of the Canadian Destroyer, Petey Williams, indie stars like Dezmond Xavier (who won the Super X Cup) and Matt Sydal (formerly Evan Bourne in WWE), and former AAA up-and-comer Garza Jr. A lot different X-division styles, from technical wrestling to high flying, that could see this become the match of the night.
Prediction: Trevor Lee retains the X-Division title
IMPACT GLOBAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Eli Drake (c) vs. Johnny Impact
No matter who Impact Wrestling lost this year, the arrival of Johnny Impact was bigger. Since his departure from the WWE, John Hennigan (aka John Morrison in the WWE and Johnny Mundo in Lucha Underground and AAA) has become a larger than life rockstar on the indie circuit. He’s the current reigning AAA World Champion (MegaChampion) and a former AAA Latin America and Cruiserweight Champion, as well as one of the main event stars of Lucha Underground, where he’s won all three of the company’s titles, Lucha Underground Championship, Gift of the Gods Championship and a reign as Lucha Underground Trios Champion with his faction, Worldwide Underground (alongside Jack Evans and PJ Black, aka Justin Gabriel in the WWE). He’s finally in Impact and an immediate threat to cult hero Eli Drake in what should be a great main event. Drake and Johnny are both solid wrestlers with a gift of charisma and the potential for this feud to build steam all winter could only get better.
Prediction: Eli Drake retains the Impact Global Championship (due to outside interference from Chris Adonis)