Impact returned to Cicero Stadium outside of Chicago for its biggest pay-per-view of the year.
Impact Wrestling’s flagship Bound For Glory show featured some great matches, with the major one being Will Ospreay against Mike Bailey.
Date: Saturday, October 21, 2023
Place: Cicero Stadium (1909 South Laramie Avenue; Cicero, Illinois 60804)
Ticket Price: $45.10 after fees
Section F7, Row C, Seat 6 (Golden Circle Ticket)
I’ve been following Impact a bit recently this year. I’m a paid subscriber to their YouTube channel so I watch each week’s episode when I can. They put on good weekly shows. My only major complaint is a lot of the roster is bloated with lower level, ex-WWE guys or other stagnant talent that have been around forever.
This was actually my first TNA/Impact show I ever attended. I just never got around to attending one of the shows. At least in the early days they didn’t tour around Chicago much. I watched the company when it first started in 2002 as NWA-TNA during the “Asylum” years as they were doing weekly PPVs with like Road Dogg vs. Jeff Jarrett as the main events. I even watched through the Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff years and the Aces & Eights storyline in the early 2010s. I haven’t really followed the company for the last several years though. Most of the talent on this card I had also never seen live before, like Alex Shelley, Mickie James, Mike Bailey and a ton more. I was excited to see them all in person.
Impact Wrestling World Championship Match: Alex Shelley (champion) defeated Josh Alexander Knockouts World Championship Match: Trinity (champion) defeated Mickie James Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match: Jordynne Grace wins, calls out for Knockouts world title match at the Hard To Kill PPV in January Will Ospreay defeated "Speedball" Mike Bailey Impact World Tag Team Championship Match: ABC (Ace Austin and Chris Bey) defeated The Rascalz (Trey Miguel and Zachary Wentz-champions) Monster's Ball Match: PCO defeated Rhino, Steve Maclin and Moose X-Division Championship Match: Chris Sabin (champion) defeated Kenta Impact Hall of Fame introduction for Traci Brooks, Mike Tenay and Don West Knockouts Tag Team Championship Match (pre-show): MK Ultra (Killer Kelly and Masha Slamovich-champions) defeated Tasha Steelz and Deonna Purrazzo
- This show had a great crowd. They announced beforehand it had sold out. It seemed like everyone was having fun at the show. There were loud reactions in the building throughout the whole night. It was a really great and positive atmosphere. I’m not sure how many people were there but it’s a decent sized, smaller venue. I want to guess between 1,500-2,000 people.
- Cicero Stadium is fantastic for wrestling. I love the building’s set up with how it has bleachers and then additional seats around the ring. The bleacher seats are fantastic and give a great view. This was basically MLW’s building before the pandemic but they haven’t come back here since. Cicero Stadium is basically now Impact’s home when they come to the Chicagoland area.
- MK Ultra were great. They work really well as a team. This was my first time seeing them live. From their entrance to their moves together, both Kelly and Slamovich come across like stars.
- They had a nice video package for Traci Brooks going into the Hall of Fame. She gave a great speech too. Throughout the whole Hall of Fame they really put her over as a pioneer for women’s wrestling and an important person in the history of TNA/Impact as an original Knockout.
- Mike Tenay really is “The Professor.” He gave a great Hall of Fame speech before the PPV for himself and Don West, who passed away in January at 59. Tenay had all these facts and stories when he talked. I didn’t know that West was actually from Chicago. Tenay also said that Will Ferrell even did skits on Saturday Night Live based on Don West’s career as a salesman, which I never knew about. I always loved West. His work as a salesman on Shop at Home and his big personality were so awesome. He’s one of the most underrated wrestling announcers of all-time too. Tenay is also a fantastic broadcaster. He ended his speech in a classy way by throwing it to Tom Hannifan and Matthew Rehwoldt for the start of Bound For Glory. I wish Tenay was still announcing for Impact as I don’t feel their current broadcast team adds much to the shows. They sound and feel too much like WWE announcers without their own personalities/style.
- The opening PPV match between Chris Sabin and Kenta was really good. Sabin is really underrated. He got a big reaction from the crowd. Kenta was funny because he teased some CM Punk stuff with his GTS finisher but then flicked the crowd off.
- It was funny hearing fans use “motor city” as a pro-Sabin or Alex Shelley chant when we’re in Chicago and not Detroit.
- The Monster’s Ball match got pretty hardcore. They were all beating the crap out of each other pretty good with weapons and big moves. The crowd got super loud for it too.
- PCO is nuts. The punishment he puts himself through is just wild. He took a powerbomb from Moose on the floor outside the ring onto thumb tacks. When PCO stood up you could see those same tacks stuck to the back of his head.
- Rhino looks absolutely massive in person.
- Ace Austin has improved a lot since I last saw him live a few years ago. I like his tag team with Chris Bey, whose another guy that’s pretty underrated. Their tag title match was also really good.
- Will Ospreay vs. Mike Bailey was definitely the biggest match on this card. It’s one of the best matches in 2023 and easily a match of the year contender. It’s probably the best match I’ve ever seen live in person. There were so many great exchanges between the two. It was incredible to watch just a few rows from the ring. Ospreay is the best wrestler in the world. I’m also a huge fan of Bailey and he’s one of the best guys Impact has right now.
- The crowd was so hot for the Ospreay match. The atmosphere in the building was awesome. People were going insane for the match.
- The crowd did cool off for the rest of the show after the Ospreay match though. The fans were still pretty engaged with the rest of the matches but they didn’t get as hot. There was no way anything could follow that.
- I never thought I would see “The Juice” Juventud Guerrera live in person. He was part of the Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match.
- The Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match was okay. The crowd was into each wrestler coming out. There were some good surprises like Sonny Kiss showing up. Kiss also had a great exchange with Bully Ray where they teamed up and hit the old Whassup finishing move, with Kiss acting as D-Von from the top rope.
- There was one fan in the bleachers going super hard against Bully Ray every time he appeared. This guy was yelling at the top of his lungs telling Bully how much he sucked and to go away forever. It was hilarious.
- Joe Hendry got a big reaction when he came out during the Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match. The fans sang along with his “I believe in Joe Hendry” line. He’s a guy that Impact can build up as one of their own stars.
- I did love Frankie Kazarian’s wrestling tights with the homage to Eddie Van Halen’s famous red and white “Frankenstrat” guitar.
- Trinity’s entrance is really awesome to experience live. They had passed out a ton of glow sticks to the fans so a lot of the crowd were waving them around during her entrance.
- The women’s title match was just okay. It was kind of slow and not much happened. Trinity is really athletic. I think having Trinity as champion does elevate the title and division a bit though.
- Alex Shelley really carried himself like a champion and main eventer.
- The main event between Shelley and Josh Alexander was pretty good but didn’t match Ospreay and Bailey. The main event was at a much slower pace. Shelley worked over Alexander’s arm and hand a lot with submissions. They didn’t do a lot of close finishes. Alexander lost pretty definitively too. I don’t know much about Alexander’s world championship run in Impact but he’s good in the ring.
- You really notice all the wrestlers playing for the hard camera position. It’s kind of funny sometimes when you realize what they’re doing.
- The big announcement after the main event was that the company would be rebranding and changing their name back to TNA Wrestling in January 2024. I guess people have nostalgia for it now but the TNA name had a ton of negativity attached to it years ago. A lot of TNA programming was also pretty bad too. I don’t think it matters long-term as the company is sort of stuck in their current positioning unless they get a better television spot, put more money into the production and get more hot talent/build homegrown stars. I don’t think most people feel that Impact Wrestling having that name is the reason why they aren’t more popular or competitive with the other promotions out there. Scott D’Amore got pretty fired up for the announcement though. Impact under his leadership has certainly improved a lot over the last several years. Fans in the building chanted “TNA” a lot during the announcement so people were hyped for it. I guess the company will generate some more short-term interest with the TNA name back. It comes down to the product being consistently good though.
- Bound For Glory was a strong momentum-building show for Impact/TNA.
- I have to mention that pizza was discounted to a dollar a slice after the show so I had to get some.
- It was a mess getting out of the building once the show ended. They didn’t have any personnel guiding people and there’s only one entrance/exit in the room. It was basically a free-for-all. Everyone just came together in one massive group to get down a single flight of stairs. It also didn’t help that they had the concession stand set up right at the bottom of the stairs too.
- A lot of fans stayed in the hallway on the ground level waiting for the wrestlers to leave the building. The wrestlers all seemed pretty cool.
- Overall Bound For Glory was a great show. It was a really fun experience being there live. I’m glad I went.