Despite the fact that one half of the scheduled main event of TNA’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view, Kevin Nash, was hospitalized, the company was able to make up for it in spades, delivering what could possibly be the PPV of the year. His replacement, the man-beast Rhino, was not only able to put on a better match than Nash was expected to do, but also managed to break Jeff Jarrett’s stranglehold on the NWA Heavyweight Championship.
Though many people logically expected that Raven would have received a rematch against Jarrett, who stole the belt from Raven in September at Border City Wrestling’s ‘International Incident’ show, it wasn’t to be. Instead, TNA Director of Authority Larry Zybysko announced that Nash would be replaced by the winner of a ten-man, over-the-top-rope gauntlet match (essentially, a miniature Royal Rumble) made up of wrestlers who had already seen action earlier that night.
Also competing in the gauntlet were Rhino’s three opponents from the Monsters Ball match — Abyss, Jeff Hardy, and Sabu — as well as Samoa Joe, Ron Killings, Lance Hoyt, Monty Brown, and AJ Styles.
Samoa Joe and Ron Killings were the first two competitors, and Joe was able to slow Killings down with a big knee. They exchanged blows for two minutes when an injured Sabu joined the fray, making it a hardcore affair by introducing a chair into the mix. Lance Hoyt was the next man in, and Abyss entered as man number five. Jeff Hardy, still banged up from the Monsters Ball, nearly took half of the minute that was allotted between competitors, just to get to the ring. Monty Brown entered next and immediately made an impact by hitting Sabu with the POOOUNCE. Brown’s tenure was short-lived, however, and after throwing out Hardy, eliminated himself by tumbling over the ropes as well. Rhino, still bleeding from Monsters Ball, was the next to come in, and he asserted his dominance by clotheslining Lance Hoyt over the top and out of contention. As Kip James made his way down to the ring, Sabu got eliminated somehow. James, who was relatively fresh since he hadn’t wrestled earlier, should have had an advantage, but shortly after AJ Styles entered as the last participant, James got eliminated. Joe, Rhino, Abyss and Styles were the last four in the ring, and after Abyss threw out Joe and Styles simultaneously, he walked into a gore from Rhyno, leaving him prone to be dumped over the ropes.
Before he could take time to soak in his victory, Jeremy Borash introduced mixed martial arts legend Tito Ortiz, the guest referee for the main event. Though Nash wasn’t there, Jarrett still brought a casket to the ring, vowing to put Rhino in there after the match instead. Jarrett started off by taking it to Rhino, ramming his head into the casket on the outside. In the ring, Jarrett went aerial, landing a couple of big forearm smashes on the challenger. He went to the well one too many times, though, and got caught with a big Rhino kick to his Double-J’s. Tito Ortiz, who to this point had been a non-factor, asserted his authority (respect my authoritah!), by physically preventing Gail Kim from interfering and throwing her out of the ring. As Ortiz was occupied with her, Jarrett used the guitar on a charging Rhino. Rhino escaped a pinfall attempt, and Jarrett’s posse, America’s Most Wanted, hit the ring. Ortiz knocked them down and out, but not until they were able to pass another guitar to Jeff. Jarrett with a swing and a miss! Rhino hit the GORE! One-two-three, and we’ve got a new NWA Heavyweight champion!
After the match, AMW attacked the new champ. 3 Live Kru made the save, but they were in turn attacked by Team Canada. Jarrett finally did hit his guitar shot, and they stuffed Rhino into the casket. The bad guys celebrated as if Jarrett had won the match, until Team 3-D made their return and hit the ring. A big brawl ensued, and all of the villains ran away, with the exception of Team Canada’s Eric Young, who was trapped. He received a 3-D and got stuffed into the casket while Jarrett and his other cohorts retreated to the locker room. Rhino and his new-found friends celebrated his title victory as this incredible show came to a close.
This was one of the best PPVs in recent memory, and has to be a strong contender for Card of the Year honours. The company definitely lived up to its name, delivering Total Nonstop Action from top to bottom. A well-executed mixture of excellent storytelling in the Iron Man match, high-flying excitement in the Ultimate X match, and brutal hardcore violence in the Monsters Ball, this show is definitely one that has to be seen, either on the replay or on the DVD when it becomes available. They also handled the emergency situation with Nash’s illness very well, turning a negative into a huge positive, giving fans a bonus match, a shocking title change and the surprise return of Team 3-D. Based on this show, and assuming the company can maintain this kind of momentum, the company should continue to attract new fans, and in time (and possibly even very soon) become the PPV threat to the WWE that many people think they can.
TNA Wrestling’s next PPV, “Genesis”, will take place on Sunday, November 13th.
Pre-show Match: Austin Aries vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Alex Shelley vs. Roderick Strong
Unless I was on the wrong channel, this match wasn’t shown on Viewers Choice Canada. They ran the countdown clock from 7:30, despite the advertisements which stated that this would be a free preview match. They showed highlights of this match later on, though, and Sonjay Dutt won the match.
After the countdown, they showed an excellent video highlight package of clips from past PPVs. Some of this stuff is completely unreal.
Match One: Samoa Joe vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
Joe’s introduction includes him coming down to the ring with two Polynesian dancers. Streamers are thrown at Liger out of respect when he enters the ring. Tenay’s commentary about Liger’s career history only reinforces how good he is compared to stiffs like the Coach or Michael Cole. Nobody really gets an advantage early on until Liger throws Joe out, and then hits a flying body press from the top onto Joe. He tries for another in the ring, but Joe catches him and hits the Samoan drop. Joe takes control with some kicks and an ugly powerslam. Joe misses a knee in the corner, and Liger trakes over, landing a fisherman’s suplex and a frog splash. Joe recovers, but Liger slips out of a top rope move attempt, and hits Joe with a powerbomb for two. Joe thwarts Liger’s attempt at climbing the rope and hits the Muscle Buster. He clamps on the Kokina Klutch. Liger is helpless, and after some time, his arm falls three times, giving Joe the submission victory.
Match Rating: 7/10. It was good, but not as good as some of Joe’s other matches. The ending was kind of unexpected, and didn’t really help make Liger look good, but you have to love the old-school submission.
Clips are shown from the TNA FanFest weekend.
Border City Wrestling mainstay Jamie D is shown in the crowd, and is announced as having won a contest to get a development deal. Look for her to debut soon. A male winner was there, too, but I didn’t get his name.
Simon Diamond is shown backstage giving a pep talk to David Young and Elix Skipper, his Diamonds in the Rough.
Match Two: Sonny Siaki, Sharkboy, and Apolo vs. the Diamonds in the Rough
Diamond and Sharkboy start things off, but Diamond tags out after Sharkboy puts the bite on him. Skipper enters and looks impressive, but gets hit by a Diamond-Cutter like move by Apolo which slows him down. Young and Skipper hit some good looking combinations. The match becomes a pier-six brawl after some time. During the melee, Skipper soars halfway across the ring to nail Siaki with a huge flying kick. More bodies fly over the top, and even the big Apolo gets in a somersault plancha. When the match gets back into the ring, the Diamonds use their teamwork to hit a big spinebuster and get the pinfall victory.
Match Rating: 5/10
Clips are shown from earlier in the night where Raven called out Zybysko and demanded that he be named as Nash’s replacement. Raven started to choke out Zybysko, and security tried to stop him. They then cut to Rhino trash-talking Raven, telling him that he doesn’t deserve the shot because he’s lost it since his ECW days. After that, they cut to a replay of Rhino goring Mikey Batts right out of his shoes.
Live again, Shane Douglas is interviewing Jarrett who’s accompanied by Gail Kim. Douglas asks Jarrett who he’ll be facing. The cocky champion tells Shane he’ll take on anyone. He basically cuts down all of the participants in the Monsters Ball, and Raven as well. Monty Brown cuts him off, demanding silence from the champ, and saying that he wants a title shot. Jarrett tells Brown he has to beat Hoyt later on in order to be even considered.
Before the next match, Tenay pays homage to Da Crusher who passed away yesterday, noting that he was Jeremy Borash’s favourite wrestler.
Match Three: Lance Hoyt vs. Monty Brown
The match starts off with power moves by both guys. Monty gets back body dropped and lands ugly, looking like he dropped on his head, but seems not to have been affected. On the floor, Brown pulls the funniest heel move I’ve seen in a long time, telling the crowd to clear way, presumably to launch Hoyt into the seats. He starts to whip Hoyt into the barricade, then changes his direction and throws him back into the ring instead. He then laughs at the gullibility of the crowd — funny stuff. Hoyt goes for a moonsault, but gets pushed down to the floor where Brown takes over. Hoyt halts the momentum with a huge boot. He lands a Texas-sized moonsault for a two-count. They exhange power moves, Monty hitting an Alpha Bomb and Hoyt hitting a sidewalk slam. Brown hits a big POOOOOUNCE! for the win.
Match Rating: 7/10. Hoyt continues to impress, but it looks like Brown is being pushed back to the main event scene.
Backstage, Shane Douglas is interviewing the 3 Live Kru. Kip James interrupts to offer his help and be in their corner to stop Coach Scott D’Amore from interfering on Team Canada’s behalf. BG James and Ron Killings seem to be okay with the idea, but Konnan will have none of it. Kip leaves, but reminds them that he offered their help.
Match Four: 3 Live Kru vs. Team Canada w/ Coach D’Amore
Tenay goes through the storied history between BG and Kip James, as K-Dogg takes over on Team Canada. 3LK take control, and triple-team Bobby Roode. They beat down Roode for a while, but soon the tide turns and Killings gets isolated by the Canuck trio. Killings eventually gets free, and gets a hot tag to BG James who cleans house for a bit. As often happens in six-man tags, the referee loses control, giving Team Canada the opportunity to use the hockey stick on BG and they get the pin. After the match, Team Canada are beating down 3LK. Kip James runs down and rescues his “brother from a different mother.” Team Canada invite Kip into the ring and offer him a chance to hit Konnan with a chair. Instead, Kip clobbers Team Canada, saving Konnan, and the uneasy tension between the two continues on.
Match Rating: 6/10. When, oh when, will this angle advance?
Backstage, Shane Douglas is hounding Zybysko for an answer on who will get the title shot. Zybysko is frustrated by the questions he’s being peppered with (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition) and tells Douglas that he will find out in due course.
A video package hyping Ultimate X is shown.
Match Five: Chris Sabin vs. Matt Bentley w/ Traci vs. Petey Williams w/ D’Amore
This is a good time to make a joke comparing Traci’s breast size to Scott D’Amore’s, but Scott will probably kill me the next time I see him if I do, so I won’t.
Quick start, as can be expected. Petey goes to climb to the top, when Traci distracts him and slows him up in a most pleasant manner. Innovative use of the X cables here, as Sabin pulls Bentley down in a way that Bentley crashes down on top of Petey. Sabin really gets the crowd pumped, first using his throw-powerbomb, launching Petey into Bentley who’s prone in the corner. He follows that up with some dual-move action, hitting Petey with a DDT, and Bentley with an enziguri at the same time. The action’s too quick to call here, but highlights include Petey going over the top and hitting Sabin with a hurancarana, Bentley hitting his opponents with a simultaneous stunner and a bulldog, and Sabin powerboming Bentley off of the cable to the mat. Petey crotches Sabin to sing Oh Canada but his cockiness only gets him kicked to the floor. Bentley climbs the ropes to get to the cable, but he gets dumped to the floor as well. Sabin climbs up top as well, but instead of going for the cables, he decides to hit both his opponents with a big moonsault. Sabin is the first to recover, and gets really close to the X, but he gets speared down to the mat by Bentley. The X falls to the ring as a result of the impact, so the ref orders it to be re-hung, despite Petey’s protests that he should be allowed to pick it up off the ground and win the match. Though the match is supposed to be paused, the three combatants will have none of that, fighting throughout. After the X is suspended again, Sabin and Bentley race to the centre to claim their prize. Bentley dropkicks Sabin and they both hit the mat hard. The impact shakes the X loose, and this time Petey is there to catch it before it hits the mat. Catching the X apparently is okay, and Petey is awarded the win, and the number one contendership to the X-Division title.
Match Rating: 9/10
Highlights are shown of the Border City Wrestling ‘International Incident’ show where Jeff Jarrett conspired with America’s Most Wanted to regain his NWA Heavyweight Championship from Raven. Then clips are shown of AMW’s aligning with Jarrett to first take out Team 3-D and then win the NWA Tag Championships from the Naturals.
Match Six: NWA World Tag Team Championship match — America’s Most Wanted w/ Gail Kim vs. the Naturals
The Naturals start off quickly, putting the hurt on AMW, including powerbombing Storm onto the ringside barricade. Storm tries to leave, but the Naturals stop him and throw him all around the ringside area, whipping him into the barricades at will. The Naturals keep up the beating, and only a distraction by Gail Kim let AMW get back into the game. They’ve gone on for about five minutes, with maybe 10 seconds at most taking place in the ring so far. Storm busts open Andy Douglas and the smell of blood triggers AMW’s vicious streak. Storm hits the Eye of the Storm (spinning crucifix throw), but they can’t put Douglas away. Stevens comes in fresh, and takes control. Some miscommunication by AMW almost enable the Naturals to take back the tag team titles, but they can’t quite get it done. Wildcat Chris Harris finds some powder, but it gets knocked into his eyes. Blinded, he hits his own partner with the Catatonic. The Naturals hit Harris with AMW’s own signature Death Sentence, but can’t get the pinfall. They go for the Natural Disaster, but Gail Kim disctracts them and Harris escapes. Douglas goes to chase her, but gets bushwhacked by Storm who handcuffs him to the ring barrier. In the ring, Chase Stevens makes a valiant effort, but he can’t overcome the double-team advantage of AMW. The referee turns his back, allowing Storm to shatter a beer bottle over the head of Stevens. AMW hit a Death Sentence on the prone Stevens, and retain their gold. After the match, AMW clobber the still-handcuffed Andy Douglas with a chair.
Match Rating: 7/10
A video package for the Monsters Ball is shown, and then James Mitchell cuts a great promo, predicting a win by Abyss.
Match Seven: Monsters Ball — Rhino vs. Abyss w/ James Mitchell vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Sabu
With the match just seconds old, the first chair shot is delivered, and two men go over the top rope in offense. Less than a minute later, and Rhino and Sabu are brawling in the stands, where Sabu gets busted open. Meanwhile, Hardy jumps off the balcony to deliver a shot to Abyss. Rhino is cut open now as well, and then eats a flying chair courtesy of Sabu. Sabu climbs into the ring, which is filled with plunder now, courtesy of Hardy and Abyss, to hit Rhino with Air Sabu from the ring to the floor. This is bowling shoe ugly, to steal a phrase. Rhino takes control with a Singapore cane, but as he goes for a gore, Abyss catches him by the throat and hits a chokeslam for two. As Hardy and Abyss hit each other with a ladder, Rhino whips Sabu in the ring with a workout belt. This is deliciously violent, with the only complaint being that they occasionally move the camera before you can see the impact. Sabu flies over the top rope to put Rhino through a table. But Hardy steals the show with his big move. Abyss is lying down on a table which is set up on the floor in front of the video stage. Hardy climbs up to the very top of the video tower, and then leaps — clearing the stage, luckily — and crashing Abyss through the table. Unbelievable move that has the crowd chanting “This is Awesome!” Back in the ring, Sabu gets dumped over the ropes and crashes through a table stomach-first. Before Abyss can break out the thumbtacks, Rhino ends the carnage, piledriving Hardy off the middle rope and getting the win.
Match Rating: 9/10
Backstage, Zybysko announces that they are going to hold a ten-man, over-the-top gauntlet match, with the winner getting the title shot. Jarrett is upset by this decision, even though, as each of the ten would have participated in two matches by that point, he would seemingly have the advantage.
A video package is shown of the last Iron Man match between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, where Styles won in sudden death overtime.
Match Eight: Christopher Daniels vs. the Phenomenal AJ Styles
Some nice wrestling to start. These two make even basic things look amazing, for example, Styles seemed to change direction in mid-air while throwing a running armdrag. The two spill out to the floor and Daniels ends up in the stands. Great image of Styles flying at full speed from off-screen, over the barricade and onto Daniels. Things slow down a bit as they get back into the ring, exchanging headlocks and armbars. Ten minutes in, and they are still in a scoreless tie. Styles clamps on his reverse STF, but Daniels gets out of it with a hand-bite. Nearly halfway through the match, and things pick up a bit. Styles goes for repeated pinfall attempts, but can’t get a fall, then powers out of a Koji Clutch locked on by Daniels. Styles hits a move that totally begs for the ‘Don’t Try this at Home’ warning, landing a back suplex maneuver that looked a lot worse than it probably was. Ditto a Death Valley Driver by Daniels on Styles. Daniels hits a super-snapmare, but only gets a two-count. Daniels hits the Best Moonsault Ever with ten minutes left, but a kickout by Styles keeps things tied. Styles gets his second wind, spinning and slamming Daniels off of a torture rack backbreaker into a slam — only gets two. Ugliness ensues, when AJ gets dumped over the ropes and rolls out, landing on the ring steps on the way down. Daniels follows up with a running dive through the ropes, and throws Styles back in the ring. As he climbs in to follow Styles, he gets hit with a Pele kick to the head followed by a huge somersault leap by Styles from the ring to the floor. Cue Joey Styles with an “Oh my God!” — Daniels hits an ugly sheik suplex on Styles from the apron down to the floor. Why would you ever do that to someone? That’s just not right. Four minutes and counting down, and there’s a series of rollup attempts to no avail. The commentators point out the bruises and scrapes on AJ’s legs and back — he’ll be feeling this one tomorrow. About 90 seconds left, and there’s a flurry of activity. Reversals and counters a-plenty with the clock ticking down. At 13 seconds left, AJ is able to get Daniels upside-down, hook his arms, and deliver the Styles Clash to get the pinfall with two seconds remaining. Styles is visibly exhausted and emotional about his win.
Match Rating: 10/10
Match Nine: 10-man Gauntlet match to determine the number one contender for the NWA Heavyweight Championship
Match Rating: 7/10
Match Ten: NWA Heavyweight Championship — Rhino vs. Jeff Jarrett
Match Rating: 8/10
Overall PPV Rating: 9/10