We have arrived at the “grandest event in TNA history”, their premiere show, Bound for Glory 2005! Following last month’s Unbreakable pay-per-view, Jeff Jarrett defeated Raven to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Championship during a house show in Windsor, Ontario. Double J was scheduled to defend the gold against Kevin Nash tonight, who was legitimately hospitalised prior to the event, with a new challenger to be determined. Additionally, A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels square off in an Ironman match for the X Division Championship and the legendary Jushin “Thunder” Liger graces the six-sided ring for the first time.
TNA Bound For Glory, October 23rd 2005:
The retrospective opening video package reflects upon the first year of TNA monthly PPV events, seamlessly incorporating show names as we relive standout moments: “a year of Sacrifice, a year of battling Against All Odds. They faced a Turning Point, with an Unbreakable will and knew No Surrender. Now, they are Bound For Glory”. The video adds an aura of occasion to tonight’s event. Nevertheless, we’re once again in Orlando’s regular-looking Universal Studios, a shame because a larger arena or creative stage set-up would have differentiated this PPV from those previous.
1: Samoa Joe vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger:
The arena is abuzz ahead of our opener, owing to the anticipation of a genuine dream match and two unique entrances. Polynesian performers accompany Joe, who even performs a Siva Tau, whereas Liger’s arrival is met with streamers, a fantastic tradition of Japanese wrestling. Sadly, the duration is insufficient for the bout to deliver upon on its enormous potential, it felt like the competitors were restricted because of their card placement. Regardless, we witnessed a rare exhibition that could only happen on an important show. As a pioneer of the X Division style, Liger was the perfect guest attraction. Nonetheless, he was bested by a younger, stronger opposition following the lethal Muscle Buster and Coquina Clutch combination. Joe maintains his undefeated streak, which technically remains intact having avoided the pinfall in the three-way at Unbreakable.
Winner: Samoa Joe in 7:27
2:Diamonds in the Rough (Simon Diamond, David Young & Elix Skipper) vs. Apolo, Sonny Siaki & Shark Boy in a Six-Man Tag Team Match:
Ahead of the match, Diamond demanded his partners, whose potential he believes is untapped, prove they are winners tonight. They deliver by combining for the finish when Skipper elevates Siaki into Young’s grasp, who nails a crisp spinebuster. This was a serviceable and occasionally exciting contest, particularly leading to the finish, yet seemed unworthy of this card. The highlight was Skipper using Young and Apollo as unsuspecting stepping stones to craft an attempted flying hurricanrana on Siaki. Although a great idea, the move is botched – it’s a shame the execution rarely fits his ambitious ideas.
Winners: Diamonds in the Rough in 7:03
Mike Tenay and Don West recap the pre-show, where Sonjay Dutt defeated Austin Aries, Alex Shelley and Roderick Strong in an X Division four-way. Elsewhere, Raven called out authority figure Larry Zbyszko in order to campaign for a championship rematch. The request was denied before Rhino’s interruption instigated a brawl, which resulted in Raven being escorted from the arena as the Man Beast GORE’d his follower, Cassidy Riley.
Shane Douglas interviews new NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett backstage, he is accompanied by recent TNA signee Gail Kim. They’ve formed a new faction with America’s Most Wanted, who assisted Jarrett’s championship victory, cementing their heel turn. Double J returned the favour by helping Storm and Harris defeat The Naturals to win the NWA World Tag Team Championships. Their new alliance was punctuated with a beatdown of Team 3D (aka The Dudley Boyz), who signed with TNA in September. Jarrett’s challenger for tonight is yet to be determined, though Monty Brown interrupts and vows to take the title one day. The champion suggests that the Alpha Male must beat Lance Hoyt to impress Zbyszko and stay in contention…
3: Lance Hoyt vs. Monty Brown:
Could this be the start of Brown’s journey back to the main event? I hope so. Similarly to Hoyt’s contest against Abyss at Sacrifice (***1/4), the story of this match was two athletic hosses trading their biggest blows in order to put the other away. A brief duration therefore made sense. The Alpha Male impressed as usual, displaying incredible power by catching Hoyt during a cross body attempt, transitioning into a Powerbomb. Interestingly, fan support was divided, which is notable as Hoyt is a traditional fan favourite in TNA. Conversely, his opponent is a heel who has been booked poorly of late. Considering his enduring popularity, Brown, who won following a POUNCE, would be my pick to challenge Jarrett.
Winner: Monty Brown in 6:29
4: Team Canada (Eric Young, A-1 & Bobby Roode) (w/ Coach D’Amore) vs. 3 Live Kru (B.G. James, Ron Killings & Konnan) in a Six-Man Tag Team Match:
Moments ago, Kip James interrupted a 3 Live Kru interview, offering his assistance in order to counteract Team Canada’s four-on-three advantage. B.G. and Killings are open to the idea, although Konnan (understandably) doesn’t trust the former Billy Gunn, who created conflict among the Kru for months. Perhaps they could have used his assistance, as the returning Coach D’Amore proved decisive by distracting the referee, allowing Roode to strike B.G. with the hockey stick for the cheap win. We’ve seen that far too often. Lazy, predictable booking. Kip James, carrying a steel chair, sent the Canadians into retreat during their post-match assault. So soon after the six-month issue between the Kru and Kip James finally concluded, it is reignited. Sure, there’s a twist, Kip has a new babyface approach to resurrecting a partnership with B.G. However, this is now beyond repetitive – please skip to the inevitable conclusion where they’re a team again.
Winners: Team Canada in 6:08
5: Petey Williams (w/ Coach D’Amore) vs. Matt Bentley (w/ Traci) vs. Chris Sabin in a Three-Way Ultimate X Match to determine the Number One Contender for TNA X Division Championship:
Matt Bentley proposed the Ultimate X stipulation in the wake of Sabin’s victory over Williams at Unbreakable. The former Michael Shane won the inaugural Ultimate X match, which are generally of a high quality. For its majority this was on par, displaying the expected exciting competition. The standout moment came when Bentley’s climb along the ropes was cut short by Sabin, who performed a sickening Powerbomb. Unfortunately, the entertaining action was overshadowed when the X unintentionally fell down – twice! The production staff used a ladder to replace the X after its initial fall; it originally appeared a purposeful spot devised to allow the competitors to utilise the ladder. Alas, that was not the case. The X dropped into the grateful hands of the Canadian, concluding the bout prematurely. Sabin and Bentley were furious. Even Williams, the victor, looked as if he’d just been told his dog died. The poor execution makes the company appear substandard, undermining the dangerous performance of the wrestlers beforehand.
Winner: Petey Williams in 13:13
6: America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) (w/ Gail Kim) (C) vs. The Naturals (Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens) in a Tag Team Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championships:
This contest is the culmination of a long-running feud between two of the most successful teams in TNA history. The match is appropriately wrestled in a manner that reflects that. The Naturals charge to the ring to initiate a brawl with the new champions, they rarely display such intensity and they’re subsequently far more engaging here. Their intent to harm is clear – they Powerbomb Storm onto the guardrail and use tape to choke Harris, who gets revenge by smashing Douglas’ head against the announce table to draw blood. This is fought dirty, which ultimately plays into A.M.W’s hands. Gail Kim is influential at ringside, goading Douglas to the outside where he’s handcuffed to the guardrail. The champions retain after a glass bottle strike to Stevens’ head, followed by the Death Sentence. Unfortunately, the fans weren’t massively engaged, they seemingly didn’t buy the prospect of a quick title change. Nonetheless, this felt like a fight rather than a performance. The wrestlers effectively conveyed their mutual hatred and appeared focused on defeating one another, rather than entertaining an audience.
Winners and still NWA World Tag Team Champions: America’s Most Wanted in 10:37
7: Rhino vs. Abyss (w/ James Mitchell) vs. Sabu vs. Jeff Hardy in a Four-Way Monster’s Ball Match:
The four are locked in isolation the day of the PPV without food, water or natural light, which is how they’re having me churn out these reviews. Beforehand, Mitchell cleverly compares Abyss’ participation here with inviting a war veteran to paintball. The fight quickly spills into the crowd, where Sabu is busted open and Hardy leaps from the bleachers. There are essentially two matches occurring simultaneously. Amid the chaos, two spots in quick succession stand out: Sabu drives Rhino through a table wedged between the apron and guard rail before Hardy performs a remarkable stunt. The Charismatic Enigma dives from the apex of the entrance set onto Abyss, through a table by the stage! The ECW originals resume battle in the ring until they’re interrupted by … Abyss?! The Monster catches Sabu and dumps him to the outside, through a table. Abyss retrieves his signature thumbtacks but before he can spill the spikes, he is GORE’d by Rhino, destroying yet another table. Hardy re-enters the fray but his body has reached its punishment quota following a series of high risks, he suffers a Rhino Driver off the second rope that concludes this frantic, exhilarating contest.
Just look at the stipulation and the participants, it’s a recipe for destruction that met high expectations. At twelve minutes, the relatively brief duration was appropriate given the degree of damage dealt out. The competitors continued to fight when they weren’t the primary focus, a feature that added a layer of realism to the bout. The action was therefore absolutely relentless, almost to a fault. Some high spots needed more time to breathe, particularly Hardy’s jaw-dropping dive from the entrance set, which only momentarily eliminated Abyss. A slightly less frenetic pace wouldn’t have significantly affected the chaotic nature of the match.
Winner: Rhino in 12:20
Douglas is backstage with Zbyszko of the NWA Championship Committee, who books a gauntlet match for tonight. The winner will wrestle Jarrett immediately afterwards for the gold. Surely the bout prior could have been for contendership, no?
8: Christopher Daniels vs. A.J. Styles (C) in a 30-Minute Ironman Match for the TNA X Division Championship:
These competitors contested a thirty minute Ironman match at Against All Odds that went to overtime, where Styles scored the deciding fall. He also bested Daniels in September’s three-way to end the Fallen Angel’s six-month reign. The Phenomenal One starts strongest here, hitting a dive from the steps into the crowd, before slowing the pace down and controlling the match for much of the opening ten minutes. Daniels finds his footing and applies a Koji Clutch, the hold that Styles gruellingly endured to force overtime in their previous Ironman meeting, until the champion finds sanctuary in the ropes. Styles survives a nasty Death Valley Driver, a Blue Thunder Bomb and a B.M.E as Daniels likewise kicks out of Styles’ signature offense.
After a nasty unplanned bump onto the steps, A.J. appears genuinely hurt for the remainder of the bout. Nevertheless, he soon perfectly executes a tope con hilo but his momentum is halted when the challenger hits a back suplex from the apron to the floor, leaving both men grounded. Back in the ring, Daniels counters a handspring elbow with a German Suplex but the Phenomenal One powers through and hits a discus clothesline. There’s a series of unsuccessful covers as we head into the final minute at deadlock. The challenger attempts Angel’s Wings but Styles counters, mirroring the finale of their Unbreakable classic. Daniels escapes on this occasion but the innovative Styles hoists him into the Styles Clash to win in the final seconds!
Repeating the thirty minute Ironman match, instead of upping the ante or applying a different stipulation, was odd. This struggled to gather momentum and mostly lacked a gripping sense of urgency. It appeared obvious due to its pacing that whilst they wouldn’t again reach overtime, there weren’t going to be any falls until the closing moments. Subsequently, the match fell into a bizarre limbo where the action was outstanding but felt like a formality. Regardless, give these two half an hour on every wrestling card for the rest of time and they’d continue to entertain.
Winner and still TNA X Division Champion: A.J. Styles (1-0) in 30:00
9: Ten-Man Gauntlet Match to determine the Number One Contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship:
Samoa Joe enters first and Ron “The Truth” Killings joins him to start. Killings unsuccessfully competed in tag team action this evening and is now wrestling for NWA World Championship contendership. They will compete for two minutes, with a new entrant joining every minute thereafter. Tenay and West are unaware of the incoming participants, setting up a potential surprise, maybe? Sabu, who is in bad shape after the four-way, is number three, followed by Lance Hoyt. The earlier matches were a waste of time, then. Still no eliminations as Abyss enters fifth, also looking worse for wear. Jeff Hardy is number six and Monty Brown is seventh. After a POUNCE on Sabu, the Alpha Male inadvertently eliminates himself whilst throwing Hardy out. Rhino is next and swiftly removes Hoyt. Kip James is our penultimate arrival before an exhausted A.J. Styles enters last. West had suspected that Raven would be the final entrant, however Zbyszko has evidently shut out the former champion as punishment for their altercation on the pre-show. We discover that Sabu was eliminated previously in the contest, which the cameras and commentary missed. The production is nearly as bad as the booking. Following an array of sluggish strikes from the remaining participants, Kip sacrifices himself to save Killings, who is also dumped out moments later anyway. Abyss disposes of both Styles and Joe simultaneously and we’re down to two: the Monster and the Man Beast. Rhino emerges the victor, posing the question of why contendership was not simply contested in the Monster’s Ball. Nevertheless, Rhino challenges Jeff Jarrett imminently…
Winner: Rhino in 14:12
10: Rhino vs. Jeff Jarrett (C) (w/ Gail Kim) with Tito Ortiz as Special Guest Referee for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship:
Tito Ortiz literally hadn’t been mentioned once until now, suggesting too much is happening. There’s a casket at ringside as per Jarrett’s demand, which he says someone is leaving in tonight. Ugh. The champion immediately goes to work on his weakened opponent, beating down the challenger. Following a brief comeback, Rhino quickly attempts a GORE but Gail Kim’s interference allows Jarrett to use the guitar to deliver a wicked blow. The Man Beast kicks out nonetheless, before America’s Most Wanted hand their stablemate a second guitar and attempt to distract Ortiz. However, the former UFC Light Heavyweight champion strikes both Harris and Storm, with Rhino capitalising by nailing a GORE for the shock title win! A stunned Jarrett and his allies assault the new champion until 3 Live Kru make the save but they’re numerically overwhelmed by the arrival of Team Canada. The heels drag the casket into the ring and lay Rhino to rest inside. No longer champion, Jarrett holds up the belt high atop the casket regardless before Team 3D return! The Dudleys clear house and Rhino escapes the casket. Team 3D hit the Dudley Death Drop on Eric Young to send the fans home happy.
… and breathe. The term overbooked is insufficient to cover the last two bouts. The process of determining a challenger was unbelievably heavy-handed itself, never mind the execution of Rhino’s victory. Similarly to Tito Ortiz’s appearance, the title change was clearly shoe-horned in to provide a notable moment for the landmark show. Though this was overshadowed by the excessively busy aftermath that did not need to be so complicated. There were neither a good wrestling match nor a coherent story told on the last half hour of this card.
Winner and NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Rhino in 5:30
TNA have long carried the reputation of a promotion with significant promise that slips up in key moments. Consider Bound For Glory 2005 exhibit A. The night opened by reminiscing upon the highs of the promotion’s monthly PPV past, yet the final matches unfolded like a recap of their lows during Jarrett’s previous run on top. Fortunately, both the X Division and Abyss’ hardcore matches, which were frequent silver linings of TNA PPVs in 2005, delivered again here. The four-way Monster’s Ball and the Ironman were polar opposite but equally entertaining back-to-back contests (***3/4). Elsewhere, the NWA World Tag Team Championship bout was solid (***) and Liger’s appearance was a treat (**3/4). More of the pageantry that we saw in the opener, such as Joe’s entrance, would have enhanced the presentation of this show as a grand occasion.
Overall, “TNA’s Super Bowl” fell short of its billing. The event failed to leap out from their other PPVs in terms of aesthetic, in-ring product and star power. Many of the undercard matches were too short to achieve anything meaningful and had a weekly television feel. The company made significant changes in the build-up to Bound For Glory that arguably cooled their momentum; cutting short Raven’s title reign with the intention of running back Jarrett vs. Nash from Against All Odds(*3/4) was utterly baffling. TNA is Jarrett’s world, however his undue ever-presence at the centre of attention is damaging this product.