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Heel Turns: Impact tries to restore Glory

Posted by Achilles Heel On November 5

In the midst of an organizational upheaval, with a transition back from Global Force Wrestling to Impact Wrestling, Impact Wrestling has done a decent job of promoting matches for Sunday’s “Bound for Glory” pay-per-view (8 p.m.), which takes place in Ottawa.

By “promoting matches,” The Greek God of Wrestling means building anticipation for Sunday’s matches. I certainly don’t mean promoting via the company’s Web site, where you still have to search a little to find the Bound for Glory card (although it was easier to locate than it was last week).

As good a job as Impact has done in building anticipation for the matches, Achilles Heel is most intrigued by the return of Alberto El Patron. Will he interfere in a match? Will he actually be involved in a match?

El Patron, the former Alberto Del Rio, was stripped of the GFW/Impact title after an incident in a Florida airport with Paige, his fiancée. Alberto has had a number of “off the field” incidents in recent years, and the decision was made to take the title off him. It will be interesting to see if he’s reinserted into the championship picture right away.

The Impact World Championship is on the line at Bound for Glory, with Eli Drake defending the title against Johnny Impact. The Greek God of Wrestling was expecting a title change, but the presence of El Patron may change the equation – and outcome.

In other title matches, Dave and Jake Crist (oVe) will defend the Impact Tag Team Championship against LAX (Santana and Ortiz) in a 5150 street fight, Sienna defends the Knockouts Championship against Gail Kim and Allie in a triple threat match, and Trevor Lee defends the X Division Championship in a six-way match against Sonjay Dutt, Matt Sydal, Dezmond Xavier, Petey Williams and Garza Jr.

The highest-profile match, based on events during Impact Wrestling, is the MMA-influenced steel cage match between Stephan Bonner and Moose and the team of Bobby Lashley and King Mo. Bonner is the wild card here. But, with Lashley and King Mo having experience in both wrestling and MMA, this could be a good match.

There will be a six-man match pitting Team impact against Team AAA. Ethan Carter III, Eddie Edwards and James Storm will represent Impact, with the story being that Carter and Storm aren’t getting along. Team AAA consists of El Hijo de Fantasman, El Texano Jr. and Pagano.

The two other announced matches are Rosemary vs. Tara Valkyrie in a red wedding (first blood) match, and Grado vs. Abyss in a Monster’s Ball match, with Grado being forced to leave North America if he loses. (Although nothing official has been announced by Impact Wrestling, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer reports that Valkyrie will not be at Bound for Glory.)

Although there are too many stipulation matches for The Greek God of Wrestling, Bound for Glory could be an entertaining card. The X Division title match should have the most action. The question is whether the fans have enough emotion invested in many of the wrestlers and feuds on this card.

But the added intrigue of Alberto El Patron’s return puts the Bound for Glory card over the top.


IMPACT IN OTTAWA: Following Bound for Glory Impact Wrestling will remain in Ottawa for five nights of television tapings.


FEEL THE POWER: Achilles Heel doesn’t include a lot of Japanese wrestling in Heel Turns, except when it is tied in to Ring of Honor, but my international travels this week inspired me to include New Japan’s Power Struggle on Sunday (the middle of the night on Saturday on the East Coast). I won’t run down the entire card, but the three top matches are Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi for the Intercontinental Championship, Kenny Omega defending the United States Championship against Baretta, and Will Ospreay battling Marty Scurll for the IWGP Jr. Championship. The top three matches at Bound for Glory pale in comparison to those three matches.

The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) are toward the bottom of the New Japan Power Struggle card. That should tell you all you need to know about the quality of the event.


ANNIVERSARY PLANS: The Greek God of Wrestling gives a huge thumbs up for WWE’s plans for Raw’s 25th anniversary special on Jan. 22, 2018. First, we should congratulate WWE on reaching this impressive milestone. Wrestling used to be featured on weekends. A weekday show was a major change.

The interesting part of the plans is that the anniversary show will emanate from two locations: the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom, which was the site of the first Raw on Jan. 11, 1993. The Manhattan Center remained Raw’s home until the shift was made to new – and larger – locations. The show also has expanded. The first Raw was a one-hour show, a far cry from the three-hour shows today.

These days the Hammerstein Ballroom hosts shows by smaller organizations, such as Ring of Honor’s sold-out Final Battle pay-per-view on Fri., Dec. 15, so it will be cool to see Raw once again grace the Manhattan Center. Among the names mentioned so far for this special edition of Raw are Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and the Undertaker.


PRELUDE TO RUMBLE: Raw’s 25th anniversary show won’t be all nostalgia. That will also be the “go home” show prior to the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia the following Sunday.


SURVIVOR TEAMS: The teams for the Raw vs. Smackdown traditional 5-on-5 elimination match at Survivor Series is beginning to take shape. The first big shoe to drop was Stephanie McMahon making general manager Kurt Angle the captain of his team and issuing an ultimatum to win. Angle’s first pick for Team Raw was Braun Strowman.

Randy Orton has already qualified for Team Smackdown by defeating Sami Zayn. After Angle was named captain of the Raw team, Shane McMahon named himself the captain of the Smackdown team. (Could this lead to more tension with Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan, who, although injured by Kane on Raw, could argue that, as general manager, he should have been named the captain?) Bobby Roode qualified by defeating Dolph Ziggler in a 2-out-of-3-falls match, and Shinsuke Nakamura qualified with a victory over Kevin Owens. That leaves one remaining spot to fill on Team Smackdown. A.J. Styles would be a terrific choice.


EUROPEAN TOUR: The Greek God of Wrestling can report some news from WWE’s European tour. Triple H has been teaming with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as a third member of The Shield. Also, the Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) made their debut. Both Raw and Smackdown will be taped in Manchester, England this week.


HONOR IN FLORIDA: Ring of Honor will present cards in Lakeland, Fla., next Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday event is highlighted by Cody Rhodes defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Rocky Romero and, in the main event IWGP United States champion Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) squaring off with Jayl Lethal, Dalton Castle and Ring of Honor World Television champion Kenny King.

Don’t forget that Ring of Honor will return to Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena for more television tapings on Sat., Dec. 16, one day after the Final Battle pay-per-view. Two smaller sections are already sold out, as is the Arena Box VIP section.


JACOBS RETURNS: Jimmy Jacobs, who was fired from his writing position by WWE after posting pictures with his friends from Ring of Honor during an “invasion” angle, will return to the ring next Saturday (Nov. 11) against Sami Callihan during Combat Zone Wrestling’s “Night of Infamy” at Rastelli’s Complex in Sewell, N.J. Jacobs hasn’t wrestled in two years.

Night of Infamy is headlined by Shane Strickland defending the CZW World Championship against Joe Gacy in a CZW Rules match. CZW has rules? Who knew?


SURPRISING RELEASE: WWE’s release of Darren Young and Summer Rae wasn’t surprising, but the Greek God of Wrestling is puzzled by the release of Emma. She had been pushed on Raw lately and had a pair of competitive matches with Asuka, including Asuka’s WWE debut at TLC. If the plan were to release Emma, why not have Asuka squash her? That tells Achilles Heel that Emma’s release was due to something that came up after he matches with Asuka.

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