Another great Bound For Glory is in the history books and as this article is being written weeks after the event aired, enough time has passed to do a proper rundown on some of the best and newsworthy things to come out of this year’s BFG.
Here is my list of the Top 10 Moments from Bound For Glory 2023.
#10. The Hall of Fame Inductions
Starting off this list we go to the Bound For Glory preshow. Former TNA Knockout, Traci Brooks, play-by-play commentator, Mike Tenay and posthumously his colour commentary partner, Don West were all inducted into the IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Fame.
From the video packages looking back at their respective careers to the talking heads giving their thoughts on how all three shaped the company to Traci and Tenay giving their speeches where they honour the folks that helped them along the way, the entire thing felt spectacular and deserving for such important figures in the promotion.
#9. Bully Ray ‘Lion Kings’ Steve Maclin
Boy, it’s been a rollercoaster year for both Bully Ray and Steve Maclin; From feuding with Josh Alexander at different points to their alliance to beat up Scott D’Amore to their numerous attempts at trying and failing to kill PCO, but like all alliances between two dastardly heels. Things soon fell apart.
After being unable to tag with Bully against the team of D’Amore and a returning Eric Young at Slammiversary due to injury, Maclin would make his return at the Emergence event not long after. However, when Maclin’s feud with Rhino was re-ignited upon the latter’s return, Bully was unable to help Maclin in a way the former Forgotten Son found unsatisfactory, leading to him calling Bully Ray “Soft” in the following weeks.
Because calling a former ECW legend “soft” is a big no-no especially when it’s someone as ill-tempered as Bully Ray, Maclin would get his at BFG. Towards the end of the four-way Monster’s Ball match Maclin looked to head to the top rope in order to finish off the other competitors when Bully Ray arrived. In a moment similar to what Scar does to Mufasa in The Lion King, Bully pushes Maclin off the top and onto a barbed wire board that was set up on the outside.
Let that be a lesson: Never call someone who wrestled in the original ECW “soft”.
#8. Ospreay Honors AJ Styles
The Will Ospreay/Mike Bailey match at Bound For Glory will go down in history not just because it became the first Dave Melzter-rated Five Star match in the company since 2005, but simply because it was tremendous.
Really if you haven’t seen this match then do yourself a favor and watch because it’s a perfect introduction to what makes both Ospreay and Bailey two amazing wrestlers to those who’ve never seen them before.
This entry will focus on the moments where ‘The Aerial Assassin’ Will Ospreay decided to honour a fellow high flyer and legend in ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles.
As Ospreay has admitted in interviews his love for TNA came from the in-ring work he saw done by the likes of AJ Styles, it’s not too surprising that Will would honour his favourite wrestler by delivering a ‘Phenonmenal Forearm’ and ‘The Styles Clash’ at various points in the match which popped the crowd who were already cheering for what was an instant classic.
#7. Sonny Kiss’ IMPACT Debut
The Fifth annual Call Your Shot Gauntlet match at Bound For Glory might be one of the best with the match looking and feeling like the closest thing you could get to the great Royal Rumble match happening outside of a WWE ring.
While moments like Gisele Shaw’s entrance being interrupted by security due to Crazzy Steve-related antics to the two squaring off in the ring…and will get to that, the highlight for me has to be the surprise debut of former All Elite Wrestling star, Sonny Kiss coming in as an entrant in the gauntlet.
Genuinely Kiss is a joy to watch in this match from eliminating Gisele Shaw with a press slam to his interactions with Bully Ray and of course, that spot where Sonny and Bully team up to hit a returning Matt Cardona in the balls.
With news of Sonny Kiss appearing on the upcoming set of tapings for IMPACT, I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.
#6. Prudius Runs Wild in the Gauntlet
Still with the Gauntlet for this next entry as it sees a Ukrainian man (famous for playing a Russian man in the WWE) go beserk for several seconds.
In the lead-up to the Gauntlet, a series of matches were made to determine who would get the number one spot in the match and who would get the number twenty spot. Dirty Dango (formerly Fandango in the WWE) won the final spot on IMPACT thanks to the interference of a debuting Oleg Prudius aka the former Vladimir Kozlov.
Well, payback is certainly a bitch because when the time came for Dango to enter the match, Jake Something (who started off as number one in the gauntlet) grabbed the former fashion policeman and immediately threw him out of the ring which was just hilarious and a nice payoff to their ongoing feud.
What wasn’t so funny was Prudius losing his shit and began dropping competitors in the match all while security again had to come to the ring to stop some outside interference with Bully Ray being the smartest one in the ring by cowardly staying in the corner to avoid getting beaten up. Speaking of Bully Ray.
#5. Bully vs. Grace
When he wasn’t pushing army veterans into barbed wire boards or being scared shitless in the corner by the non-Russians, Bully Ray was making it into the final four and soon afterwards the final two in the gauntlet alongside Jordynne Grace.
Much like the Dango being eliminated by Jake Something was a nice callback to a feud that was escalating on IMPACT, this now one-on-one intergender match was also a good follow-up. Jordynne got into Bully’s face during a multi-person tag match where Bully treated the former Knockouts World Champion like nothing.
In fact, this whole thing could be traced all the way back to 2018 when Grace and Bully first encountered each other in the Over Budget Battle Royale at All In.
Neither Grace nor Bully was holding back when it came to hitting one another but ultimately it was Grace who scored the pinfall on the former TNA World Champion to win the gauntlet and become the first woman to do so, but Jordynne wouldn’t hold onto that newly won trophy for too long because…
#4. Jordynne Calls Her Shot For HTK
Mere moments after winning the Call Your Shot Gauntlet match, Jordynne Grace began to soak in the moment that was her victory before grabbing the microphone to make a very important announcement.
Without skipping a beat, Grace announces that she will cash in her title opportunity for the Knockouts World Championship at the first pay-per-view of 2024: Hard To Kill.
So this now leads to the question: Who would be walking out of BFG as the Knockouts World Champion to face Jordynne? Well, that was answered later on in the night when…
#3. Mickie’s Future
The first one-on-one match between Mickie Jame and Trinity wasn’t too bad with each lady being able to shine at various points of the contest. In the end, for Hardcore Country it wouldn’t be enough as she would tap out to the Starstruck submission hold ensuring Trinity’s victory on this night.
What happens after the match is the main focus of this entry as both ladies embrace each other following their hard-fought battle with James even kissing Trinity’s hand at one point before vacating the ring. From here the camera shows a very distraught Mickie James as she walks to the back with commentary speculating as to if this was the last we’ve seen of Mickie James in an IMPACT Wrestling ring.
Considering James has been working with IMPACT for the last two and a half years despite not being signed to a long-term deal, it’s possible the whole post-match scene could be used to add some intrigue for when she does return on TV.
With that said, her husband and wrestler Nick Aldis is working in the WWE as an authority figure on Smackdown and Triple H is now in charge of the company and its creative process…It’s unclear what the future holds for Mickie James going into the new year.
#2. Shelley Topples Alexander
Alex Shelley’s surprise victory over Steve Maclin for the IMPACT World Championship at Against All Odds and the reign that proceeded afterwards is up there as one of the best things about IMPACT Wrestling in 2023.
Despite this victory and his successful title defenses over Maclin, Brian Myers and Nick Aldis some questioned if Shelley’s title run was nothing more but a placeholder, a transition champion set in place until Josh Alexander (the man who vacated the belt due to injury) came back.
These thoughts seemed to be in the mind of Alex Shelley as the stresses of being champion and his loss to Josh for the world title at Emergence 2022 still resonated with many fans.
In the main event of Bound For Glory, Shelley defended his title against Josh Alexander. Much like their previous title bout the year earlier was a solid, back-and-forth contest with Shelley hitting not one, but two Shell Shocks onto the head of ‘The Walking Weapon’ to secure the win and put any doubts of his title reign to rest with the cherry on top being Alexander shaking Shelley’s hand and strapping the title belt around the champion’s waist.
#1. The Return of TNA Wrestling
Sure the surprise returns/debuts in the Call Your Shot Gauntlet were good, and the Ospreay/Bailey and Shelley/Alexander matches were excellent but that’s nothing compared to what happens moments before and after the show went off the air.
In the final moments of the show, a number of IMPACT wrestlers including Josh Alexander, Eric Young, Jordynne Grace, Frankie Kazarian and Alex Shelley came together in a dark forest. Here they discussed among other things the need to be a change in professional wrestling and that the legacy of IMPACT Wrestling has already been written but that also needs to be changed, and for that to happen they needed to go back to where it all started.
This leads to Josh Alexander approaching a chest that Kazarian pulled from the water and upon opening it the words ‘TNA Wrestling’ could be heard with memories of the past combined with moments of the present coming together all while the wrestlers look on in awe and wonder. The old TNA Wrestling logo appears with the words ‘We’re Back’ shot onto the screen with Hard To Kill 2023 being the first pay-per-view of the returning TNA Wrestling brand.
Scott D’Amore’s passionate in-ring promo following the news to the fans in attendance chanting the words ‘TNA TNA TNA TNA’ to the reaction from the locker room who celebrate as if they were opening presents on Christmas Day. Everything about this got the wrestling world talking about IMPA…I mean TNA Wrestling again and with promises of new change with the return of Total Nonstop Action.
I will see how things will turn out in the company in 2024.
And that’s my list, What are your favourite moments from Bound For Glory 2023 and what are your thoughts about TNA Wrestling returning in 2024?
Be sure to leave your thoughts down below in the comment section and be sure to follow Lace ‘Em Up on X @laceemupoffice You can follow me also on X @hakeemfullerton and I’ll see you in the next article.