By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Minoru Tanaka def. Manik
It was odd that the audience embraced Manik over Wrestle-1's own Tanaka and the fact that Manik didn't didn't act very heelish didn't help matters much. That aside, this was a very fun opening match with a showcase of styles from the two competitors. I don't watch any Japanese wrestling, so I wasn't familiar with any of the Wrestle-1 stars on this show, but Tanaka impressed me here, especially for a guy of his build. Additionally, that was easily the best Manik match I've ever seen in TNA. It's a shame the guy doesn't mean more.
Ethan Carter III def. Ryota Hama
I really liked how they played up EC3's undefeated streak going into this match and how he made his debut at the event one year ago. The streak was in genuine jepoardy going into this match given Hama's massive size, but it would've been silly for them to ruin EC3's momentum by having him lose his first match to someone from another promotion. It was mostly a comedy match, which was fine, but if EC3 wants to be taken seriously as an up-and-coming main event star, he has to have more serious matches/opponents. He's come a long way in the last year and he's easily the best thing going in TNA right now.
MVP def. Kazma Sakamoto
Why in the hell would the commentators bring up the fact that Sakamoto was once in WWE's as (Lord) Tensai's manager? He was made to look like Tensai's bitch during his entire run there. The match itself was good and the live crowd loved MVP. It goes back to the Manik match in that MVP should have portrayed the heel and instead of playing to the crowd, but I didn't bother me too much since MVP has history in Japan. The way he belittled his opponent prior to the bout made his win mean less, but it was still solid.
X-Division Champion Samoa Joe def. Low-Ki and Kaz Hayashi in a Triple Threat Match
Given the talent involved, you had to know going in that this was going to be a barn burner of a bout and it definitely was in every way. All three competitors worked hard to deliver a memorable match and they came pretty damn close. They all played their respective roles well and each had their time to shine. I've been enjoying Joe's run as X-Division champion, but as I've said before, it'd be better if he actually had a rivalry with the people he's defending his title against.
Kuroshio Ikemen Jiro and Yusuke Kodama def. Andy Wu and Hijo Del Pantera
TNA viewers virtually had zero reason to care about this match or its participants since TNA did nothing to familiarize us with them, but for what it was, this was a highly enjoyable match. For someone who doesn't watch Japanese wrestling, I was impressed by the hard work put in by each competitor. There wasn't any story to it (then again, there wasn't for most matches on this card) and it consisted mostly of high spots, but they deserve credit for having a very good match.
Team 3D def. Tommy Dreamer and Abyss in a Hardcore Match
Did they make an announcement that this would be a hardcore or was it just me? Either way, it would've been silly of me to think anything different since that's the only kind of match these four are capable of in order for it to be any good. That's not a knock on them, but Dreamer and even Abyss for that matter are limited at this point in the careers. That said, they put forth a strong effort and the fans were invested in the action. I cringe every time they do a thumbtack spot. I just don't see the need in it, especially when it's overdone as much as it has been. It loses impact (no pun intended) after a while. There was no documented tension between the two teams since it was made clear beforehand that Team 3D and Dreamer are close friends, but at least Abyss acted like a heel. I'm unsure as to whether this was Team 3D's final match with the company or not, but if so, they went out on a high note.
Knockouts Champion Havok def. Velvet Sky
This had disaster written all over it since neither of them are all that great in the ring, but they surprised me by having a decent match. It unquestionably paled in comparison to the recent battles we've seen Gail Kim (whose presence was missed on this show) a part of, but given how bad Sky is as a worker, they pulled together a passable match. I don't know what Sky ever did to earn herself a title shot and it would've been wiser if someone a bit better than her would've contended for the gold instead.
The Great Muta and Tajiri def. James Storm and Sanada
It may not have seemed like a match of main event caliber on paper, but it was the only match that had an actual story behind it. TNA has invested a lot of time in the buildup to this bout and I was glad see it not go to waste. The action itself, however, should not have been featured in a main event of a pay-per-view, much less the biggest one of the year for TNA. Muta was extremely limited, but he had his spots. Storm, Tajiri and Sanada were all decent, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this was essentially a midcard match. Maybe the Japanese crowd enjoyed it more than I did, but there was too much green mist for my taste. Bound for Glory was the Team 3D show in a way, so I was happy they closed it out.
I could rant for days and days about how much TNA dropped the ball with this event, but I'll attempt to sum it all up in a nutshell. I was happy to hear many months ago that this show would be emanating from Japan. It's great that TNA is trying new things, but if they really wanted to make this feel like a big deal, why not give us a card worthy of the biggest pay-per-view of the year? This was a Wrestle-1 show more than it was a TNA show and it felt more like a One Night Only event than anything else. For what it was, I enjoyed this show, but as a Bound for Glory, it was a complete disappointment and to leave your biggest stars (Bobby Roode, Lashley, Gail Kim, Jeff Hardy, The Wolves, etc.) is inexcusable. TNA obviously didn't care enough to even bother promoting this show in the weeks leading in, so I'm not surprised virtually none of the fans cared about it, either. I wish TNA all the best, but this was a total embarrassment and disheartening to watch after their great New York tapings over the summer.
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