Things were finally sort of looking good for TNA in the Fall of 2005. They had just landed a TV show on SpikeTV, the same network that WWE had just left. Its timeslot (11 P.M. on Saturday Nights) wasn’t great but it was far better than Impact Wrestling’s previous Friday afternoon slot and was probably the best TV slot that TNA had had to that point. They had also signed The Dudley Boys (renamed Team 3D in TNA, for legal purposes), which at the time, seemed like another case of TNA signing an off prime WWE act (Dudley Boyz had not done much in WWE, outside ECW One Night Stand, in the past few years) but ended up paying off long term.
Between that and the positive buzz built up over the summer and all, the timing was right for TNA’s first flagship pay per view. Of course, TNA had always had pay per views. In fact, for the first two and a half years, it pretty much only had pay per views. But it never really had that signature event ala WrestleMania or Starrcade in WCW. That would change with the first Bound for Glory in October 2005.
The first Bound For Glory was actually planned for October 2003 with a Hulk Hogan Vs Jeff Jarrett main event. Of course though, Hulk Hogan Vs Jeff Jarrett is a match that never seems to actually happen. Thankfully. TNA finally had strong enough support and a strong enough full time roster to try and put together an epic show. Its planned main event? Kevin Nash Vs Jeff Jarrett. WHY DID PEOPLE COMPARE TNA to 2000 WCW SO OFTEN!?
Anyway, generally, no one ever likes to see shows fall apart last minute but I think Bound For Glory 2005 might be a rare exception. I don’t think anybody was too bummed when Kevin Nash had to bow out of the show the day of because of heart problems. I’m not sure if even Kevin Nash really wanted to main event that pay per view.
At this point though, the main events almost seemed to be an afterthought because of how hot the X Division was. Bound For Glory promised two instant classics in a dream match between Samoa Joe and New Japan Pro Wrestling legend Jushin Thunder Liger and a 30 minute Iron Man Match for the X Division Title between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. Plus you had a Monster’s Ball match and some other entertaining under card matches. They probably could have brought Cheex back to main event against Jeff Jarrett and people still would have been kind of excited for the show.
TNA Wrestling Presents Bound For Glory
October 23rd, 2005
Live from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida
Announcers: Mike Tenay and Don West
Show opens with Jeff Jarrett, America’s Most Wanted, and Gail Kim hanging outside their limo in the parking lot. Jeff Jarrett’s not sure what he’s gonna do. He was supposed to defend the NWA World Title against Kevin Nash but Nash isn’t medically cleared to wrestle. Chris Harris tells James Storm to quit drinkin’ beer until after the show. I guess this was the start of Storm’s beer drinking doofus gimmick.
Oh. I guess we’re getting the pre-show included as part of the main feature again. Eh. It kind of looks bush league to me to include the pre-show as part of the main feature of the DVD but a small part of me wishes I could get the Sunday Night Heat pre-show matches for the ’05 WWE PPVs on WWE Network…
Four Corners Match (Pre-Show) : Alex Shelley Vs Roderick Strong Vs Sonjay Dutt Vs Austin Aries
And I don’t mind being forced to sit through a pre-show match when it’s something like this as opposed to something like Shark Boy Vs Mikey Batts. This match does feel like something that could be included on the main show. I say it every time I recap these ’05 shows but the Impact Zone crowds are so much hotter then than now. Part of it is too due to the overall product being better but they mark out even for a lot of the junk. This is not junk. Really kind of a perfect pre-show match. Four energetic, up and coming guys that are worth putting on the card but not so over that anybody’s gonna get pissed over them not being on the main show, getting 10+ minutes to bust their asses. Somehow, Sonjay Dutt gets the win with the Bombay-Ranaaerial on Shelley. I’m so used to seeing Dutt in the role of “Token X Division ‘Legend’ brought into job to new X Division guy” that it’s surprising to see him in a time when he was actually a hot, new act. ***1/2
We get a recap of America’s Most Wanted winning the NWA World Tag Team titles from The Naturals. Shane Douglas interviews them and they cut a heel promo. It’s odd to see Shane Douglas in the role of indignant babyface backstage interviewer.
Mike Tenay says Larry Zbyszko has ordered all wrestlers to remain in their ring gear for the entire night, given that we don’t know who will replace Kevin Nash in the NWA World Title match. Raven storms out and demands the title shot. He says Jeff Jarrett’s practically raped his corpse. Zbyszko (in ugly ass, Guy Fieri-asque bowling shirt with flames and skulls) tells Raven to go ride the Mummy because he’s not gonna get a title shot. Raven and Zbyszko get into a pull apart. Rhino storms down. He says Raven’s gone soft and he’s the one that deserves the title shot. Rhino thinks Raven’s gone soft probably because of a woman. Another pull apart ensues, culminating with Raven’s sidekick Cassidy Riley getting Gored twice.
Five minutes left to the show and we don’t know what the main event is. This is very later day WCW-esque.
Shane Douglas talks to X Division Champ AJ Styles, who stares at the X-Division Title like it’s some sort of word jumble that he’s trying to decipher. AJ’s facing Christopher Daniels in a 30 Minute Iron Man match. AJ compares their rivalry to the Florida Gators-Georgia Bulldogs rivalry. OK, Jim Ross.
Some Polynesian dancers welcome Samoa Joe to the Impact Zone. The dream match of Samoa Joe Vs Jushin Thunder Liger will open Bound For Glory.
Random dude in a dashiki and kufi hat narrates some over some TNA clips. This will be the greatest night in the history of TNA and these men’s lives. Not sure how a random middle aged African dude is supposed to get me hype about this show. Maybe if they had Akeem or Power Uti narrate this.
Jushin Thunder Liger Vs Samoa Joe
Really smart of TNA to open up the show with the IWC’s dream match. This is Liger’s first match in TNA and they horribly misused him as they did every Japanese wrestler that appeared for them. Tenay calls IWGP Junior Heavyweight the “X Division of Japan”. Excuse me while I unroll the eyes from the back of my head. Tenay actually references Jushin Thunder Liger wrestling Brian Pillman in the first match on Monday Nitro. As much as we all love to joke about TNA aping WCW, I don’t remember too many explicit references to WCW. This match is like the last eight minutes of a twenty minute classic. Some really good spots but it feels like we’re missing a good chunk of the story. I think some miscommunication is why this match was so truncated. Samoa Joe gets the win with the Coquina Clutch after a muscle buster off the top. ***
We get some clips of TNA Fanfest with a lot of footage of overly effusive TNA superfans. TNA is REAL Wrestling. Not soap opera crap! It’s the future of the sport!
We see the winners of the first TNA Gut Check Challenge, Jon Bolen and Jaime Dauncey, sitting in the audience. Didn’t know they were doing Gut Check way back then. Of course, these two would provide many great moments in TNA history! 🙂
Simon Diamond yells at Elix Skipper and David Young! He isn’t teaming with them because they’re losers! He’s teaming with them cause they’re Diamonds in the Rough.
Six Man Tag: The Diamonds in the Rough Vs Shark Boy, Apolo, and Sonny Siaki
Apolo & Sonny Siaki get some boos despite them being babyfaces. No idea why Shark Boy is teaming with them. Mike Tenay brings up Simon Diamond’s love of Notre Dame Football in every match Simon Diamond’s in, it seems like. Again, does he think he’s Jim Ross? This is a really unremarkable six man tag, outside of Apolo inexplicably doing a dive to the floor. Diamonds in the Rough actually get the win after David Young hits the spinebuster on Sonny Siaki. ** For a guy whose gimmick is “Guy who is awesome at spinebusters”, David Young has a really mediocre, forgettable spinebuster. Arn Anderson is crying in Heaven.
We get a recap of Raven, Rhino, and Larry Zbyszko’s pull apart on the pre-show.
Shane Douglas tries to get the scoop from NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett laughs about NASH no-showing another pay per view. Monty Brown interrupts and acts nutty. He smells the fear on Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett says Monty Brown’s got to get past Lance Hoyt first!
Lance Hoyt Vs Monty Brown
Tenay dedicates this pay per view to Jeremy Borash’s all time favorite wrestler, Da Crusher, who had just passed away. An actually fairly decent Lance Hoyt moonsault tops Apolo’s suicide dive for most inexplicable move of the night so far. Got to say I’m kind of digging revisiting the career of Monty Brown. He kind of seems like a more comprehensible, less dangerous version of Ahmed Johnson. Just a crazy dude who yells shit and throws around people. He wins with THE POUNCE. **. Mike Tenay thinks this victory should seal Monty Brown’s fate as #1 contender.
We get some footage of Sonjay Dutt, Simon Diamond, and Shark Boy visiting Bombay, India. TNA in India…more things change, the more they stay the same.
Shane Douglas talks to 3LiveKru.
Billy Gunn The Outlaw Kip James offers to help them out and him and Konnan get into an argument. B.G. James wants everybody to hear him out!
Six Man Tag: Team Canada Vs 3LiveKru
Fat guy in a CRUNK t-shirt dances along to BG James spiel. 2005! Which future poster of http://www.therealtsm.com did he turn out to be? Announcers get way too much of a kick out of Kip James coming down to ringside wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m Kip James, Bitch”. 2005! Team Canada wins after Bobby Roode hits BG James with a hockey stick while the ref is distracted and Eric Young covers for the win. After the match, Kip James runs in for the save. Maybe Konnan was wrong about him. I haven’t watched a TNA PPV from ’05 that didn’t have a mediocre, forgettable 3 Live Kru match. *1/2
Backstage, Larry Zbyszko tells Shane Douglas to scram. He’s got some decisions to make about the main event and The Franchise will be the first one to hear about it.
Video package for Ultimate X. Ultimate X is usually an entertaining train wreck but man, I don’t wanna watch another Matt Bentley match.
Three Way Ultimate X Match to Determine #1 Contender for TNA X Division Title: Chris Sabin Vs Petey Williams Vs Matt Bentley (with Traci)
Of all of the guys to be inexplicably popular during this era of TNA, Matt Bentley was most inexplicable. The Bentley Bounce was the Shera Shuffle of the ’00s. I feel like there was some kind of huge botch in every Ultimate X match and this case, it’s the X itself falling down mid match and the ref awkwardly ushering in a bunch of security guys to rush back in and set it back up while everyone fights outside awkwardly. Speaking of which. Match ends with Petey Williams just catching the X as it fell to the ground. Crappy finish.**1/2
We get footage of America’s Most Wanted helping Jeff Jarrett win back the NWA World Title. Gail Kim joined AMW to help them beat up Team 3D. Then we see AMW winning back the NWA World Tag Team Titles.
NWA World Tag Team Titles Match: America’s Most Wanted (c) (with Gail Kim) Vs The Naturals
The Naturals jump America’s Most Wanted at the bell and the two brawl around ringside for the majority of the match. I’m not sure if this match was announced as No DQ. Seems like it’s basically a tornado tag anyway as they really don’t remember to make any tags. Anyway, this is a nice brawl with some good intensity. These two teams seem like they do legitimately dislike each other, which is good because their previous matches were fine but a little bit mechanical. Finish comes during a scrum where Gail Kim distracts the Naturals and Andy Douglas somehow gets handcuffed to the ring barricade. Chase Stevens tries to overcome the odds but eventually gets the beer bottle smashed against his head by Storm and gets hit with the Death Sentence to retain the titles in their first defense. ***1/2
Over the top video package for Monster’s Ball plays. Kind of silly to claim that the competitors have been locked in a dark room for 24 hours before the show with no food or water. We saw Rhino on the pre-show!
James Mitchell talks to Shane Douglas. Abyss isn’t hurt by the pre-match stipulations. His parents made him live like all of that time. Inviting him to Monster’s Ball is like inviting a combat veteran to play paintball!
Monster’s Ball Match: Abyss (with James Mitchell) Vs Jeff Hardy Vs Rhino Vs Sabu
Hardy’s body paint is out of control and he gets it all over everybody. What a nut. I talked about it in my Unbreakable ’05 write up but there was really a sense in 2005 that Jeff Hardy had blown his chance to become a megastar. Nobody could have predicted that he’d become a WWE Champion a few years later. Rhino’s one of those guys that I kind of forgot how big of a deal he was in the mid ’00s. Just as I type that, I notice has the “Big FN Deal” on his tights. This is a stereotypical Monster’s Ball match but hey, all four of these guys are pretty much the perfect dudes for this type of match. Hardy does a Swanton Bomb off the PPV set onto Abyss, in a precursor of the more famous Swanton Bomb from off the top of the RAW set on Randy Orton three years later. Rhino gets the win a piledriver off the top rope on Hardy. ***1/2
Shane Douglas is with Championship Committee Member Larry Zbyszko. Zbyszko says there’s going to be a 10 Man Gauntlet for the Gold match to determine who will get a shot at the NWA World Title. The 10 men will be men who have already competed earlier tonight. Jeff Jarrett wants to know whose idea this is! Shane Douglas thinks is unfair to Jarrett. I don’t get his logic here at all. It’s unfair that Jarrett has to wrestle someone who’s wrestling their third match of the night!?
Video package for AJ Styles Vs Christopher Daniels.
30 Man Iron Man Match for the TNA X Division Title: AJ Styles (c) Vs Christopher Daniels
I always like that TNA had the countdown clock during their Iron Man matches. Very good for doofuses like me who can’t keep track of time. Daniels wearing a clerical collar with no shirt always made him look kind of like a male stripper. Even moreso like a male stripper than the average pro wrestler (line can get blurred, especially in the modern era). Iron Man match between these two is a very good idea for first Bound For Glory. This is a classic rivalry, at least by TNA standards. A lot of people are annoyed at Iron Man matches without a lot of pin falls but I don’t really mind. Although I think a 60 minute one needs at least more than one (I’m looking at you, WrestleMania XII!). AJ Styles gets the win with The Styles Clash after busting out of the Angel’s Wings and a fun set of pin reversals. Obviously, these guys were faced with an impossible task trying to follow up their insane, instant classic with Samoa Joe at the previous pay per view but this was a very fun Iron Man match. The thirty minutes flew right by. ****
10 Man Gauntlet for the Gold to Determine #1 Contender for NWA World Title, featuring; Abyss, AJ Styles, Ron Killings, Samoa Joe, Kip James, Lance Hoyt, Monty Brown, Sabu, Rhino, and Jeff Hardy
No one knows who is in this match! Samoa Joe and Ron Killings are #1 and #2. Joe beats the hell out of R-Truth. Sabu is #3 and limps out with a chair. Lance Hoyt comes in at #4. #5 is Abyss. We get a stare down and a hoss throw down between him and Samoa Joe. Wish JR was commentating this. R-Truth breaks it up. Jeff Hardy limps out at as the #6 entrant. Monty Brown comes in at #7, eliminates Jeff Hardy (elimination #1) and then eliminates himself (elimination #2). Rhino stumbles out at #8. All four members of the Monster’s Ball have entered this match. They’ve all went through Hell but they’ll do anything for a NWA World Title shot. Rhino clotheslines Lance Hoyt out of the ring (elimination #3). Kip James is #9. He hasn’t wrestled at all so he’s got the advantage. During his entrance, Sabu gets elimination (elimination #4). AJ Styles is our tenth and final entrant. Kip James gets tossed by Abyss (elimination #5). James tries to prevent Truth from getting eliminated by Samoa Joe but the ref shoos him away and Truth gets tossed (elimination #6).
Final Four: Samoa Joe, Abyss, Rhino, and AJ Styles
Samoa Joe and AJ Styles have a brief showdown but end up getting tossed by Abyss (eliminations #7 and #8). Abyss gets hit with the Gore and is eliminated (#9) and your winner is RHINO! Obviously match was super rushed but this was a fun, loose Gauntlet for the Gold. They definitely achieved the vibe that they wanted to go for (These guys have given everything but are willing to give up just a little more for that title shot). ***
Jeremy Borash comes in and intros our special guest referee, UFC star Tito Ortiz!
NWA World Title Match (Special Guest Referee: Tito Ortiz): Jeff Jarrett (c) (with Gail Kim) Vs Rhino
Jarrett immediately jumps Rhino. Don West is disgusted. Rhino has no chance! He’s been through Hell and back. Jarrett beats the tar out of Rhino with Don West’s trashcan. This isn’t even fair. Jarrett smashes Rhino’s head against a casket (what’s that there for? We saw Jeff Jarrett & AMW’s funeral for Team 3D earlier so maybe related to that?). Quick chokeslam and a kick to the dick to Jarrett starts a comeback. Gail Kim comes out to distract the ref but Tito tosses her out of the ring. This allows Jarrett to bring in the guitar, Rhino goes for the Gore but goes head first into the guitar. Rhino kicks out. AMW come out but get decked by Tito. Jarrett goes for a second guitar shot but misses and Rhino hits THE GORE for the win. Another quick match but fun in an overbooked way. **1/2. After the match, AMW jumps Rhino. Ron Killings and BG James try to run in for the save but Team Canada runs out to give the heels an advantage. They bring the casket in the ring and put Rhino in it after another guitar shot. Team 3D runs out and them and 3LK fight off the heels. Was wondering when they would show up. Show ends with the ex ECWers and 3LK standing tall as Rhino poses with the World Title.
Rhino basically had to get the title so the fans wouldn’t feel gypped by the last minute replacement. He’d lose the title six days later on Impact.
This pay per view definitely felt like a bigger event than the normal TNA PPV, even though it was held in the same venue as all of their shows and had a main event that was booked on the fly. The special guest appearance of Jushin Thunder Liger and the fact that every guy on the roster worth showcasing was featured on the show really helped make it feel like their version of WrestleMania. Even though the main event didn’t add up to anything in the long term, it definitely was memorable and made chicken salad out of chicken shit. There were no classic matches but it was definitely one of the strongest overall cards that TNA had booked to this point. Things looked like they were slowly coming together for TNA but of course, TNA being TNA, they’ll be bumps in the road and more than a few surprises. I’ll see TNA again in 2016…. well… at least in this Ten Years After column!
Next Time on Ten Years After… You pick the stipulations for the matches and you get to watch ’em! It’s WWE’s yearly interactive pay per view, Taboo Tuesday! Ric Flair defends the Intercontinental Title against his former pupil Triple H and John Cena defends the WWE Title against Kurt Angle and an opponent of the fans’ choosing in a Triple Threat Match!