While AEW and WWE are often seen as the two most major players in professional wrestling within North America, Impact Wrestling is still holding it down as one of the most underrated and underappreciated promotions today. With the company having reached their 20th Anniversary in 2022, they are now looking to the next twenty years, with stars such as Josh Alexander, Mike Bailey, Jonathan Gresham, Deonna Purrazzo, and Steve Maclin. With the company being plagued with injuries earlier this year, Bound for Glory sees Impact nearing 100% again, though with some names like PCO and Sami Callihan seemingly on their way out, this could also be the beginning of a new era.
With Bound for Glory serving as one of Impact Wrestling’s “Big Two” PPV Events of their yearly calendar, the card has begun to take shape in recent weeks, with the first round of matches announced for the event. Taking place on October 21, Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory 2023 will stream live from Chicago at 8 pm EST on Fite as a PPV, with a Countdown to Bound for Glory Pre-Show taking place 30 minutes before showtime. On top of the big card coming together, Impact will also induct a few new members into its Hall of Fame, with Traci Brooks, Mike Tenay, and the late Don West being inducted this year, which should prove to be an emotional portion of the show for long time TNA and Impact Wrestling fans. All matches announced for Bound for Glory so far can be found below.
Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match
During the height of TNA’s popularity, the company ran a yearly tournament known as the Bound for Glory Series. The final iteration of this tournament came back in 2016, with Ethan Carter III picking up the win. Since then, the tournament has been absent from Impact’s yearly event, though another famous Impact Stipulation Match would take its place in recent years. In 2019, Impact began running the Call Your Shot Gauntlet Match, a spin on the Gauntlet for the Gold Match that the company had used since 2002, as an annual affair at Bound for Glory with Eddie Edwards, Rhino, Moose, and Bully Ray being the first winners at BFG.
In 2023, the match will return, as a large portion of Impact’s roster will be featured in the match. It is open to both men and women, with the winner earning the Call Your Shot Trophy, which works in the same way Money in the Bank works for WWE, though it can be used on any championship. Looking at Impact’s roster right now, it seems likely that someone like the recently returned Jordynne Grace and Jake Something would be strong contenders to win the match. Steve Maclin is another strong choice, especially depending on who walks out of Bound for Glory as Impact World Champion.
KENTA vs Chris Sabin (c) – Impact X Division Championship
2023 has been one of the best years of the Motor City Machine Guns’ career, as Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley would both capture singles gold, with Sabin winning the X Division Championship twice in 2023, making him a record-setting 10-Time X Division Champion, while Shelley shocked longtime Impact fans by finally winning the big one, as he dethroned Steve Maclin to win the Impact World Championship. Following his victory over Lio Rush to win his tenth title and his defense against Alan Angels, Chris Sabin was taken by surprise as his next challenger stepped up.
With Impact and New Japan sharing a working relationship together, it would be revealed that KENTA would be making his return to Impact Wrestling, as he looks to steal the X Division Championship away from Chris Sabin on behalf of Bullet Club. While it seems unlikely that KENTA would win the title here, stranger things have happened this year, including the first time that Sabin lost the belt being a literal squash match where he was dominated by Lio Rush. The safe bet is a Sabin victory from my perspective, as he looks to have a strong run for his record-setting reign, but you can never fully bet against Bullet Club.
Mickie James vs Trinity (c) – Impact Knockouts Championship
Arguably the biggest Free Agent signing that Impact Wrestling has made in quite some time, Trinty’s arrival to the company came at a great time, as the Knockouts Division is the one women’s division in North America that seems to be thriving. Since coming in, the former WWE Superstar known as Naomi has captured the Knockouts Championship and has dazzled in some truly starmaking matches. Throughout her time in WWE, she remained popular with fans, though she never got to show what she could really do.
At Bound for Glory, Trinity is set to face off against the returning Mickie James, who was forced to vacate the Knockouts Championship earlier this year due to injury. With the stage set for a clash between the two biggest stars in Impact’s women’s scene, this could be seen as the biggest match of Trinity’s career. Will she fall victim to Mickie James, who continues to outrun time in her 20+ year career? I think so. Trinity is still on fire right now, and there does not seem to be many benefits on display for having Mickie defeat her at the PPV. Trinity should win this match before moving onto big challenges from the likes of Jordynne Grace, Masha Slamovich, and Killer Kelly.
Will Ospreay vs Mike Bailey
2023 is the year of Will Ospreay. Despite being a polarizing figure to some, it is undeniable that Ospreay is having one of the best years out of every wrestling company. With incredible matches nearly every month and singles victories against living legends such as Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho, and Naomichi Marufuji, Ospreay is on top of the world. Following a huge six-man tag-team match at AEW WrestleDream, Ospreay is set to have a few other marquee matches before the end of 2023, with one of them being a bout at Bound for Glory.
Earlier this year, Ospreay was supposed to wrestle at Impact x NJPW Multiverse United, though he was unable due to an injury. Now, Ospreay is back and set to face one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world, Speedball Mike Bailey. Despite facing off before, this is a Dream Match for many, as it is the biggest stage that the two men have fought before. With four singles matches in their past, Ospreay currently leads 3-1 against Bailey. While a Speedball win would be huge, Ospreay is on the run of his life right now, and shows no signs of stopping. Will Ospreay will defeat Mike Bailey, though it will be another starmaking moment for Bailey and likely the Match of the Night.
Josh Alexander vs Alex Shelley (c) – Impact World Championship
In 2022, Josh Alexander would prove himself to be one of the best wrestlers in the world, with a truly sensational run as Impact World Champion. Things came to a screeching halt for him in early 2023, as he was forced to step down as champion due to an injury, though he managed to return this past Summer. With Alex Shelley stepping up as the current Impact World Champion, the two are now set to meet again for the first time since August 2022, when Shelley challenged Alexander at Emergence 2022 in one of the best matches of the year.
This will only be the second-time Josh and Alex are having a singles match with one another, and with the tables turned on the champion status of both men, it makes the match-up all that more exciting. Alex Shelley has been a great champion in Josh’s absence, and while it feels like he still has a lot to offer with his current reign, the smart money would be on Josh Alexander to regain the title he never truly lost. While Ospreay vs Bailey may seem like the more exciting match on paper, looking back at Shelley and Alexander’s match from last year should be an indication of how outstanding this main event could be.