I honestly wasn't expecting a lot from this Pay-Per-View heading into it, and that isn't a great way to be heading into what is supposed to be TNA's biggest show of the year. The build up had included a couple of decent episodes of Impact Wrestling, but whilst I tended to come out of the show feeling entertained, they didn't really make me want to watch this show any more, mainly due to haphazard booking and the awful heel turn of Dixie Carter dominating most of the show.
The show kicked off with a promo video outlining the lead up to the main event, that would see AJ Styles challenge for Bully Ray's World Heavyweight Championship. I thought this was very well put together, and TNA had clearly put some effort into the production of the video, but Styles spent most of the video talking about his issues with Dixie Carter, instead of his opponent. The Styles/Ray build up should of written itself, but TNA have some how managed to balls it up.
X Division Championship Ultimate X Match:
with Velvet Sky
The main feeling I got coming away from this one was that a lot of talent had been wasted. This wasn't the greatest showcase of any one of these guys talents, and a lot of them looked uninspired by their situation. There was some decent spots thrown into the mix, like a Suicide Dive from Samoa Joe onto Jeff Hardy and a well worked hurracanrana spot that saw Manik take Chris Sabin to the outside, but with nothing particularly stringing them together, which with a lot of history between all five of these guys was pretty mind numbing. The Ultimate X stipulation wasn't used to it's full extent with very little interaction with the structure, and towards the end of the contest it became more of a Ladder match, which I kind of defeats the point of Ultimate X. If they wanted a Ladder Match, then they should have just gone ahead and made it a Ladder match. The finish involved Chris Sabin using Velvet Sky as a distraction for Jeff Hardy, allowing him to sneak up the Ladder and after some battle with Hardy, grab the belt to win his seventh X Division Championship. Whilst the finish was a little clichéd, it work well enough here with Sabin's character development, but I think if they'd have had Sky turn heel on Hardy, by pulling him from the X structure then it would have been much more effective than what was actually shown. It wasn't exactly terrible, but with the talent and history involved it should have be a lot better.
Winner and NEW X Division Champion: CHRIS SABIN (11 Minutes, 50 Seconds)
It's nostalgic replay time! Tonight's theme is AJ Styles' greatest hits, which seems a bizarre choice seeing as in storyline TNA President Dixie Carter is trying to push Styles out of TNA. The first video shows Styles becoming the first X Division Champion on 19th June 2002, at TNA's second weekly PPV, in a bout that also involved Jerry Lynn, Lo-Ki and Psicosis, which TNA should have looked at when putting together the multi-man X-Division match that opened the show.
Bad Influence are out next to complain about not being booked on the show. Kazarian calls it a travesty, and the crowd seemed to agree with him and so do I. Bad Influence have routinely been the most entertaining part of any TNA show for over a year and a half, and should have been a bigger part of this show. Eric Young was out to warn Bad Influence that they had awoken a monster (Kazarian and Daniels had attack Joseph Park during the Pre-Show on Spike TV) and out came Abyss routinely destroying Bad Influence with a series of signature moves. It was teased that Abyss might turn on Young as well, but instead Abyss simply picking him up from the corner. As a short segment, this didn't have a lot wrong with and was a good way of reintroducing Abyss to the fold after far too long. A feud between Bad Influence and the Abyss/Young duo has potential, although Bad Influence are on the brink of becoming too popular to be heels due to TNA's constant mistreatment of the duo.
Backstage in the Interview area, a dapper Jeremy Borash interviewed World Tag Team Champions James Storm & Gunner about their upcoming title defence against The Bro-Mans. I was really impressed with Gunner here, this is certainly the best promo that I can remember him delivering, he came over as an old-school ass kicker and if TNA go down that root with him I can see him doing pretty well for the company. Storm's promo was loud and humorous, as we've come to expect from the Cowboy, messing around with JB. This interview was a nice addition for the show, as was needed to give some context to the upcoming tag title match.
World Tag Team Championship Match:
with Phil Heath
James Storm & Gunner ©
Good acceptable tag team action. The crowd was pretty dead for the start of this one, as it built slowly with The Bro-Mans effectively working over Gunner in their corner, until an impressive Super Fall-away Slam allowed Gunner to make the hot tag to Storm. From here, the match really got going for me, with a series of exciting and well worked near falls for both teams began to get the crowd interested, with a Spinebuster/Backstabber combo from Storm & Gunner on Robbie E, being a particular highlight. The finish saw Robbie E distract the referee by throwing a title belt into the ring, allowing The Bro-Mans to double team Storm hitting a Heart Attack on the Cowboy to pick up the pinfall victory and win their first World Tag Team Championship. The only problem I had with the finish was that it wasn't particularly clear what had happened to Gunner, which isn't the fault of the performers, it had more to do with poor camera and editing work. If they run with The Bro-Mans as champions, and make them look credible on Impact Wrestling for a few weeks then they could lead to some entertaining moments and potential for feuds, and it also gives a chance for both Storm and Gunner to move back into pursuing singles gold.
Winners and NEW World Tag Team Champions: The Bro-Mans (11 Minutes, 50 Seconds)
Footage was shown of Kurt Angle's Hall of Fame evening the night before, with speeches from clips of speeches from Samoa Joe, Magnus and Sting, before Jeremy Borash introduces Sting for the actual induction, it was all a little confusing. Sting put over Angle as a family man, before bringing out the man himself. Sting presented Angle with his Hall of Fame watch, I'm guessing they left the meaningful speeches for the night before, as Sting honestly looked like he didn't want to be there. Bizarrely, Angle went on to turn down the induction saying that he didn't feel like he deserved the induction because of the mistakes he'd made in his life, before leaving the ring. The crowd didn't have a clue to react here, and I'm not sure anyone in TNA had even thought about how they wanted the crowd to react either. I thought it was pretty tasteless of TNA to use Angle's very real personal matters as storyline, it's not like it's never been done in wrestling before, but it just didn't sit well with me.
More AJ Styles based nostalgia was on the way, this time Styles's World Heavyweight Championship win at No Surrender 2009, in a five way including Kurt Angle, Matt Morgan, Hernandez and Sting, with the crazy confetti and the TNA roster flooding the ring straight after. They were really playing up Styles' past achievements, it would have been nice to have seen some Bully Ray moments as well, just to shrink the giant signposts that TNA were planting with these videos.
Backstage, TNA President Dixie Carter met with Ethan Carter III (Formerly WWE's Derrick Bateman) with it being revealed that Ethan was Dixie's nephew, I'm happy to see how that unfolds for now, even if Dixie was giving one of the hammiest performance I have ever seen, reciting her lines in a weird rhythm. Dixie told Ethan that she had hand picked his opponent for tonight, which was mildly interesting at best.
Knockout's Championship Three-Way Match
This was not half bad, but it had a potential to be a lot better. The three women involved in the match didn't really connect with the three-way concept, with a lot of one-on-one stuff with the two heels each taking turns against ODB. The early parts of the match felt like everyone was simply going through the motions, with Gail Kim especially spending a lot of time on the outside. They pulled out the Figure Four on the ringpost, which is always impressive, and nice sequence that saw ODB unable to Superplex both women, leading up to a near fall for Tessmacher after an elbow drop on Kim. Following a ref bump, they went for the finish, where it looked like ODB had the win after a Delayed Vertical Suplex on Tessmacher and BAM on Kim, in what looked like a decent finish to the bout, but this is TNA so all was not as it looked. With ODB about to get the win, out came Lei'D Tapa, and for some unknown reason instead of going for the pinfall, ODB went after Tapa and was quickly disposed off, Tessmacher quickly went the same way, with Kim simply falling into the pinfall to win her third Knockout's Championship. It was then revealed that Tapa was in cahoots with Kim, leading to obvious parallels to be drawn between the two and AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka in WWE. I think this ending would have been more effective if this had been used to re-debut Lei'D Tapa, instead of the strange re-introduction on Impact Wrestling a few weeks back.
Winner and NEW Knockout's Champion: GAIL KIM (10 Minutes, 25 Seconds)
Backstage, new interviewer Gil Corsey attempted to catch up with World Tag Team Champions The Bro-Mans, and ended up getting showered in protein shake, in what was pretty funny segment. I still have hope for The Bro-Mans Tag Title run after this. Corsey also looked like a good addition to the broadcast team, bringing an energy to the show that was lacking in a lot of areas.
Up next in Jeremy Borash's interview room was Bobby Roode. Roode did a good job of his promo with some intense delivery as he continues to play his role down to a tee, even if the content and storyline that he's having to deal with at the moment is pretty poor. Roode finished off by saying that he would make Kurt Angle tap out in their bout later tonight, which felt refreshing for a heel, as it's become so easy for guys to simply play the cowardly heel and get away with it.
In terms of in ring action, this was by far the strongest match on the card, building up nicely with some solid amateur style wrestling at the beginning. At times, Kurt Angle looked a little bit slow, but that's understandable considering the amount of time that he's had off, his age and everything else he's had to deal with over the last few months, and those limitations were worked round very well and with the way the match built didn't end up effecting the bout that much. Everything in the bout felt like it was done with a purpose, with both men bringing their impact moves to the contest, before the focus of the bout moved to their respective submission holds. The highlight of this bout for me, was a really well done false finish, with Angle transitioning Roode's Cross Face into an Angle Slam, with the crowd absolutely hooked. Then the match was ruined. With Roode passed out from Angle's Ankle Lock, the referee went to raise Roode's hand to check if he was out and accidentally put Roode's hand on the ropes, causing the rope break. It was just felt so stupid and looked like they were trying to pull a screwjob angle, but they weren't. I was pulled straight out of the match that Angle and Roode had worked so hard to get me interested in. The actual finish was just as silly, with Angle hitting a Super Angle Slam on Roode that saw both men down for an extended period of time, Roode managed to get to his feet first and fall onto Angle to pick up the pinfall victory. For me, this one needed a definitive finish, but left more questions open than it answered.
Winner: BOBBY ROODE (21 Minutes)
After the match, they had Angle put onto a stretcher with a silent crowd, before Angle refused the medical help and left on his own. With so many people concerned about Angle's real life health, I thought it was really distasteful to have people believe he had suffered an actual injury here. I'm not sure where they are going with Angle at the moment, but for his sake I'd hope he is at least used sparingly by TNA from now on.
More AJ Styles nostalgia was up next, this time showing Styles retaining the World Heavyweight Championship against Sting at Bound For Glory 2009. They were really building up the main event, and showing a truly classic Bound For Glory main event that people were truly invested in, put a lot of pressure onto Styles and Bully Ray to deliver something good in their match later on.
It was then backstage were Bully Ray talked to members of Aces & Eights who were not shown on screen. I'm guessing they wanted people to think they had re-signed some of the members that had left the group, by not showing them, whether anyone truly believed that Mr. Anderson, DOC, Devon or even D'Lo Brown would be getting involved in the main event, who knows?
Ethan Carter III
It was time for Ethan Carter III's début, and on the biggest stage TNA has to offer, they decided to pit him against Norv Fernum (PWG's Peter Avalon) in an enhancement match. For what is was, this match was okay, and if it was on Impact Wrestling I would have had no problem with it, but this a PPV, the biggest pay-Per-View of the year supposedly. Carter picked up a quick victory after a mild comeback by Fernum, hitting a Headlock Driver to get the pinfall. Carter has potential, and I enjoyed his run on NXT a short while ago, but this wasn't a great way for him to début.
Winner: ETHAN CARTER III (3 Minutes, 25 Seconds)
Magnus was up next in Jeremy Borash's Interview room, cutting a so-so promo on his upcoming match with Sting. Magnus failed to draw me in for most of the promo, mainly due to his tone and rhythm of delivery, which at times could have done with changing pace and tone to make his words really begin to stand out. Understandably, Magnus did look nervous here which probably effected his performance on the mic, which is usually pretty sound.
This was not the match it needed to be, in order to make Magnus look like a star. Where we should have had the young rookie digging deep to defeat one of the best of all time, we had Magnus beating up an almost elderly looking Sting, before a slow comeback by Sting, including one of the worst looking Scorpion Deathlock's I have ever seen, it looked more painful for Sting to put Magnus in the hold, than it did for Magnus. The finish saw Sting asking Magnus to bring it, with Magnus quickly locking in the Kings Lyn Cloverleaf to pick up the submission victory. Magnus will become a star sooner of later, and he's not far off at the moment, but this did nothing for the Brit. If this isn't Sting's last match, there is something very wrong in TNA.
Winner: MAGNUS (11 Minutes, 5 Seconds)
In the final build up for the main event, Jeremy Borash welcomed World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray into his Interview Room, with Brooke Tessmacher in tow, who had apparently recovered from Lei'D Tapa's attack earlier in the night. Ray continued to be a beacon of light in crumbling mess that the Aces & Eights storyline has become, with a stellar promo based around Guns N' Roses track “Welcome to the Jungle”, as he sent a message to AJ Styles. Ray's transformation from tag team specialist to one of the best heels in the business is one of the true success stories in TNA, and it would have been nice to see some focus put onto that during this show, as well as the AJ Styles hype videos.
World Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Match
with Brooke Tessmacher
These two wrestlers had the potential to put on a compelling World Heavyweight title main event, but once again TNA thought otherwise and decided to send in the cavalry with a series of run ins and ridiculous shenanigans, with the bout descending into chaos within minutes. In between a distraction from Garrett Bischoff and Knux doing his best 911 impression, Ray and Styles actually manage to scramble together some decent action, showing a spark of what could have been if this bout had been left to play out naturally, with a crazy spot that Ray move out of the way of a springboard 450 splash that sent Styles crashing straight through a ringside table, being the pinnacle of the action for me. They repeated the spot where Bully Ray removes the protective cover of the ring for the third, I didn't enjoy the spot the first time it was done at Slammiversary and I didn't enjoy it here either, and it just seemed unnecessary after Styles had already taken a ridiculous bump through the table. Of course, Dixie Carter had to make her presence felt in the bout, keeping Styles from winning by shouting some stuff at referee Earl Hebner, I'm not sure why the whole build up has been around Carter, instead of the two guys in the match and her input here only dragged the match down again, especially with the logic lapse that was the coming. I thought the closing stages of the bout were actually really well done by Styles and Ray, with Styles looking convincing fighting from underneath after taking a serious beating from Ray, pulling out last gasp move the Pele Kick, before delivering a chair shot and hitting Spiral Tap to pick up a pin fall victory and win his second World Heavyweight Championship. On it's own the end was fine, but in context, why the hell didn't Dixie just stop it again? Overall, the effort that Ray and Styles put into this one shouldn't be discounted, because both men worked incredibly hard throughout the contest, but there was just too much going on and taking the focus of the match for me to really enjoy what they were doing.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: AJ STYLES (22 Minutes, 35 Seconds)
The show finished up with images of AJ Styles celebrating in the crowd, whilst Dixie Carter looked on mournfully, similarly to many of the fans who paid money to watch this pay-per-view.
Overall, Bound For Glory 2013 wasn't a vintage year for TNA's “biggest” event of the year. Whilst at time the action within the matches was good, it was often let down by poor booking and an over reliance on “swerve” finishes. The talent still remains within TNA, but until that talent is allowed to breath and then used correctly, TNA will continue to put on disappointing shows like this one. At least there's only four of these a year now though, eh?
X Division Championship Five-Way Ultimate X Match
Chris Sabin def. Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and Manik ©
World Tag Team Championship Match
The Bro-Mans def. James Storm & Gunner © via Pinfall
Knockout's Championship Three-Way Match
Gail Kim def. Brooke Tessmacher and ODB © via Pinfall
Bobby Roode def. Kurt Angle via Pinfall
Ethan Carter III def. Norv Fernum via Pinfall
Magnus def. Sting via Submission
World Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Match
AJ Styles def. Bully Ray © via Pinfall