Tonight at Impact Wrestling: Bound for Glory, oVe’s Sami Callihan gets his world title shot in the main event against Impact World Champion “The Machine” Brian Cage! Plus, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock returns to the ring to take on Moose. All that and more tonight at Impact Wrestling: Bound for Glory 2019!

We are LIVE from the Odeum Expo Center in Chicago, Ill. Josh Mathews and Don Callis have the call for tonight.

First thoughts: The venue seems a little small, but a sellout according to commentary. We’ll see how they sound throughout the show.

Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match

Eddie Edwards is the first participant…and we get a loading screen saying Fite has lost signal from the arena approximately five minutes into the show. Well, I guess this is an interesting start, if nothing else.

We join in progress and Joey Ryan is in the ring with Reno Scum, Rohit Raju, Eddie Edwards, and others. Ryan uses his iron member to take out some of the field. Ryan makes a chain of all five opponents and knocks them all down with it, eliminating Raju and Cousin Jake Deaner in the process.

Jessicka Havok enters and chokeslams Ryan, taking control. Rosemary enters and Ryan oils up for Havok and Rosemary, prompting them to clothesline him down. Madman Fulton enters and eliminates Rosemary and Havok. Cody Deaner enters to take on Fulton, but gets eliminated. Johnny Swinger enters and decides not to get in the ring, posing at ringside. Jordynne Grace enters and hits a German suplex on Fulton with an assist from Eddie Edwards, who start to work together. Swoggle enters and scares Swinger from under the ring. Swoggle and Grace eliminate Swinger. Kiera Hogan enters and exchanges with Grace. Raj Singh enters. Tommy Dreamer enters.

Kylie Rae enters to a huge ovation. Fallah Bahh enters. Sabu enters. Shera is the final entrant at #20. Eddie Edwards, Madman Fulton, Fallah Bahh, and Shera are the final four. Bahh is eliminated by Shera. Edwards eliminates Fulton and Fulton pulls Edwards out of the ring to chokeslam him on the apron. Shera carries Edwards back in, but misses in the corner. Boston Knee Party from Edwards.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Edwards

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Aside from the technical glitch at the beginning, this was fun and fine, which is just about all you can ask from what equates to an indie battle royal in the grand scheme of things. It had some pleasant surprises and a final four that the crowd was hot for, so a decent way to kick things off.

The announce team runs down the card.

Video package previews the Impact Knockouts Championship match between champion Taya Valkyrie and challenger Tenille Dashwood.

Impact Knockouts Championship: Taya Valkyrie (c) (w/John E. Bravo) vs. Tenille Dashwood

Valkyrie attacks as soon as the bell rings and works Dashwood in the corner. Dashwood works out and they exchange back elbows until Dashwood gets a double underhooks suplex. Valkyrie runs Dashwood into the corner for a German suplex that gets a nearfall. Valkyrie in control until Dashwood lands a neckbreaker on the second rope. Bravo saves Valkyrie from a dive outside and it allows Valkyrie to sweep Dashwood onto the apron. Valkyrie slams her head on the apron and lands a backstabber inside to start working Dashwood down. Dashwood lands a flapjack to put both down and starts her comeback against Valkyrie. Crossbody off the top gets a nearfall on Valkyrie. Valkyrie with a schoolboy into the bottom turnbuckle and a corner meteora. They fight up top and Dashwood gets a powerbomb for a nearfall. Valkyrie with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. They fight on the apron and Valkyrie lands a poor package piledriver that thuds Dashwood to the floor. Valkyrie goes up top and tries to bring Dashwood up, but Dashwood sweeps her onto the top turnbuckle. Low crossbodies in the corner and a Spotlight for Dashwood lands.

Bravo gets Valkyrie’s hand under the bottom rope and gets ejected, but throws a chain to Valkyrie. Valkyrie misses and Dashwood with a nearfall. Dashwood gets the chain, but decides against using it. Valkyrie counters to land Road to Valhalla.

Winner by pinfall and STILL Impact Knockouts Champion: Taya Valkyrie

Rating: 2.25 out of 5 stars

This never really took off and it built to a high spot that was botched pretty badly. Add the screwball finish that really didn’t land and it was simply just a match that happened, which is disappointing given how Dashwood was being treated like a very big deal from her debut and how both are capable of delivering better.

Also, a minor distraction, but Don Callis got way too into taking shots at John Morrison during this match and that sort of took away from it, no matter how funny the jabs were.

Video package previews the Triple Threat tag match for the Impact World Tag Team Championship.

Triple Threat Tag Team Match for the Impact World Tag Team Championship: The North (c) vs. Rob Van Dam & Rhyno vs. Willie Mack & Rich Swann

Mack and Josh Alexander start with counter exchanges to a Mack rana. Mack springboards and kicks a camera out of commission in the process. Mack and Swann double-team The North. Ethan Page and Rhino in and Alexander attacks from the apron to snap Rhino on the top rope. The North isolate Rhino until he lands a spinebuster on Page. RVD makes the hot tag and clears The North out. Swann in and The North again attack from the apron and double-team to get control. Alexander with a rope-assisted DDT for a nearfall. Swann hits a reverse hurricanrana on the comeback and gets the hot tag to Mack.  Things break down and RVD settles inside with Page. Rolling kick knocks Page down and Alexander crotches up top. Mack with a frog splash for a nearfall and signature moves exchanged down the stretch as things break down again. Mack with a flip dive that takes everyone out. Swann and Page up top and Page with a military press off the top. Page with a swanton bomb for a nearfall and The North look for the finish. Swann and Mack break it up and RVD left standing.

RVD superkicks Rhino and starts superkicking the rest of the field. RVD leaves the ring and taunts the fans, allowing The North to land their finisher on Swann in the ring.

Winners by pinfall and STILL Impact World Tag Team Champions: The North

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars

A good match with a surprise finish that stole the spotlight with the RVD heel turn. It actually did seem to surprise and put a cherry on top of it, featuring The North playing tactical throughout and retaining the titles.

Alisha Edwards backstage and Ace Austin shows up in a towel. Edwards says it is her locker room and he shouldn’t be here, but Austin apologizes and tells her that he is looking forward to partying with her tonight. Edwards doesn’t know if that’s such a good idea, but Austin hushes her and walks out on a positive note. Edwards and Austin have some fun chemistry between them, though I’m not sure how much it elevates either.

Video package for “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Naomichi Marufuji.

“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Naomichi Marufuji

Impact had Marufuji’s graphic typed out as “Marufugi,” which is probably not a good look for a special attraction sort of match like this.

Elgin and Marufuji feel each other out with counters to a stalemate. Chops exchanged in the corner and Marufuji starts landing stomps and a neck twist on Elgin. Elgin with an exploder suplex and a suicide dive outside. Missile dropkick inside from Elgin gets a nearfall. Elgin in control with a back elbow and he works Marufuji down. Marufuji fights up and sends Elgin out for a flip dive. Marufuji with chops inside and a curb stomp for a nearfall.  Marufuji counters and flips out of an Elgin suplex and they exchange forearms. Superkick from Marufuji and a German suplex from Elgin. Elgin with a backbreaker and Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Elgin kicks Marufuji into the corner, but Marufuji counters with a big boot of his own that puts both down. They fight on the apron and Marufuji moves on a senton attempt from Elgin. Hook kick by Marufuji and Sliced Bread on the floor land. Marufuji with a flying leg drop for a nearfall. Marufuji looks for a finisher and Elgin counters with suplexes. Elgin forearms and a strike exchange sees Elgin land last with a lariat. Razor’s Edge powerbomb from Elgin gets a nearfall.

Marufuji bounces out of a Buckle Bomb with kick combos and Sliced Bread out of the corner for a nearfall. Elgin and Marufuji exchange strikes. Marufuji with hook kicks and knees, but Elgin with a side slam and lariat for a nearfall. Buckle Bomb and sit-out powerbomb get Elgin a nearfall with nearly a three count. Burning Hammer from Elgin lands.

Winner by pinfall: Michael Elgin

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

This could have been a classic for the company in front of a better audience, but the crowd really wasn’t digging the NJPW style these two brought to the match. I had a feeling that the atmosphere would drag some portions of the show down and it did here in what has probably been the only moment worth getting excited for so far.

Video for the intergender ladder match for the Impact X Division Championship.

Intergender Ladder Match for the Impact X Division Championship: Jake Crist (c) vs. Tessa Blanchard vs. Daga vs. Ace Austin vs. Acey Romero

Crist and Blanchard go at it and Blanchard with a cutter and dives to the outside on him. Austin and Daga exchange kicks inside. Austin with a Fosbury Flop to the field outside. Romero hits a dropkick on Daga. Daga with a dive to the outside. Romero teases a dive and he dives into a ladder from Blanchard. Crist gets spiked with the ladder in the corner. Austin taken out. Romero pounces Daga inside and brings in a ladder. Crist takes him out and Austin takes Crist out. Daga with a stomp on Austin and Austin comes back with a hurricanrana. Blanchard in to fight with Austin and she lands a Codebreaker out of the corner. Springboard dropkick from Blanchard knocks Austin down. Blanchard climbs the ladder and Romero takes her down with a Samoan Drop. Daga brings out a table and a ladder bridge is set on the barricade. Daga knocked out on the table by Crist. Blanchard and Austin fight for a superplex on Crist up top. Romero left as the only one in the ring, but he gets a second ladder to support him. Crist comes up and hits a cutter off the ladder. Crist and Daga hit a Canadian Destroyer onto the ladder bridge.

Romero left back in the ring. Blanchard gets in and knocks the ladder over to send Romero crashing through the table outside. Blanchard gets a ladder set up and Dave Crist gets hit with a dive. Madman Fulton comes out and throws Blanchard into the corner. Fulton brings out a table. Blanchard comes off the top and ranas Fulton into the ladder. Blanchard makes the climb and Jake Crist meets her up top. Blanchard bounces his head off the top rung and sends him through the table. Austin springboards to the ladder and lays Blanchard out with his magician’s wand.

Winner and NEW Impact X Division Champion: Ace Austin

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This was over the top in all the best ways. Blanchard coming so close, only to be thwarted by oVe once again was a great story. Combined with some great spots, including the Canadian Destroyer through the ladder. Romero taking a fall all the way to the floor through a table with his size is a risk you wouldn’t see many take, much less a man his size.

Video package for Ken Shamrock vs. Moose.

Moose and Frank Trigg interviewed before the match and Moose gets a live rap to the ring.

Moose (w/Frank Trigg) vs. “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock

Moose and Shamrock exchange punches. Shamrock hits a very sloppy headscissors and looks for an armbar. Shamrock goes for the leg and Moose with a rope break. Shamrock sends Moose out and hits a dive over the top in what was a very impressive moment. Shamrock and Moose exchange chops on the ramp and suplex attempts follow. Shamrock with a back body drop on the ramp. Moose sends Shamrock into the post. Shamrock with a slingshot dive. Trigg grabs the ankle of Shamrock and the referee separates the two, allowing Moose to kick the rope below the belt on Shamrock. Moose undoes the top turnbuckle and Shamrock with a hurricanrana. Ankle Lock applied and Moose pulls the referee down in yet another screwball booking tonight.

Moose punches Shamrock below the belt. Moose with a chair and he talks trash. Shamrock ducks under and hits a back body drop into the corner. Ankle Lock in and Moose gets the bottom rope. Shamrock pulls him back and punches Trigg out as he comes in. Moose with a pump kick and he goes for a crossbody out of the corner, but Shamrock sidesteps. Ankle Lock in again and Moose pulls through as Shamrock literally walks himself into the second turnbuckle. Spear from Moose.

Winner by pinfall: Moose

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Shamrock was really trying out there and his first dive over the top rope was highlight reel material for him, but he really didn’t have much business being out there. Everything else was pretty bad, between slow motion selling and overdone booking. It was a good effort, but not much else.

Video for Impact Wrestling: Hard to Kill in January 2020.

Video package for the Impact World Championship match between champion “The Machine” Brian Cage and Sami Callihan.

Impact World Championship: “The Machine” Brian Cage vs. Sami Callihan

Brian Cage comes out in full Wolverine gear. Callihan with a big boot as soon as Cage gets in the ring and they start brawling. Cage just bites Callihan and Callihan flips him the bird. Cage with a takedown and ground-and-pound. Discus lariat from Cage and Callihan is busted open. Cage brings his Wolverine claw out and slices it across Callihan’s forehead. Callihan sidesteps Cage and knocks him off the apron. Cage and Callihan exchange dives to the outside. Cage with a flip dive and he brings out a chair. Callihan ducks it and it hits the post. Cage has his lip busted open and Callihan with a chair across the back. Cage takes a second shot and pops back up to powerbomb Callihan against the post. Callihan with a double sledge and he throws a chair against the head of Cage. Saito Suplex on the timekeeper’s table from Cage doesn’t break the table. Cage does it again and the table breaks. Cage sets up a barricade wall as a bridge on steps and two chairs. Callihan with the groin claw and he hits a Cactus Special through the barricade wall. Callihan with a running face wash in the corner on Cage. Cage comes back with a deadlift suplex from the apron back into the ring to put both down.

Cage with a German suplex and he gets a nearfall on Callihan. Back elbow on Callihan and Callihan catches Cage with a DVD for a nearfall as he leapfrogs. Callihan with a slingshot spike piledriver for a nearfall. Cage catches Callihan coming in for an F5 that gets a nearfall. Cage brings in the barricade wall and puts it in the corner. Callihan and Cage up top. Callihan drops Cage on the barricade for a nearfall. Callihan with a piledriver onto thumbtackes, but Cage kicks out at one. Cage with a powerbomb on the tacks and a Drill Claw on the tacks.

Winner by pinfall and STILL Impact World Champion: Brian Cage

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Just a brutal affair throughout with the intensity levels already boiling at the bell, the main event was in contention for the best match of the night despite a bit of a lackluster ending.

Post-match, Melissa Santos joins Brian Cage in the ring and they celebrate to close the show.

There were some moments to be happy about on this show. The ladder match, the main event, and Elgin vs. Marufuji delivered. They left themselves a lot of room to book between Callihan & oVe, Cage, Blanchard, and potential to build other winners like Ace Austin.

That said, there was some really small time stuff that is inexcusable on your cornerstone show as a promotion. The feed cutting out early, Josh Mathews letting it slip that Ace Austin was going to win the ladder match after that battle royal, and really bad production values making the crowd seem more silent and smaller than it actually was are the sort of small mistakes we’ve counted on Impact to make when we should be way past that.

Overall, Impact is as good a product in the ring as any and this show proved it. However, they have to learn to get out of their own way at some point.

Nolan Howell can be reached at [email protected] for any questions or comments.