For their first time out of Orlando for a pay-per-view, TNA showed surprising experience in putting on a live show, eclipsing even the big budget WWE. Bound for Glory produced some superb action in the ring, and the extras for the fans in attendance ensured the crowd stayed hot for the entire show. It’s the type of night that any pro wrestling fan should be allowed to experience.
Fans nearly filled the cozy Compuware arena in Plymouth, Michigan, amassing an attendance of around 4,200. The lively crowd was brought to their feet even before the show started as TNA allowed some of their talent to casually walk the floor, signing autographs and taking pictures. Norman Smiley and Christy Hemme gained most of the attention.
Before a solid warm up match between Bobby Roode and Lance Hoyt, TNA employees chucked countless freebies to the crowd. A record number of t-shirts were fought over, as were copies of the latest Mortal Kombat video game. Roode and Hoyt then put on a nice performance with enough high spots to get the crowd involved early in plenty of time for the opening bell when the show went live.
Kevin Nash started the night off with an X Division invitational, an over-the-top rope battle royal. As is the norm for TNA, their high flyers were given numerous opportunities to show off some simply insane stunts, even getting a woman and a midget involved in the proceedings. Newcomer Aaron Starr came away with the win.
A crowded tag match involved four separate squads, including AMW, Team 3D, The Naturals, and the James Gang. While the fans repeated chants for tables went unanswered, each team was given ample time to perform the fans favorite spots. Still, Team 3D had enough in them to pull out a victory.
Eric Young pulled away a victory against Larry Zbyszko in a “Loser Gets Fired” match. More of an opportunity to see Young in the ring than anything resembling a decent match, this short rumble did little else but keep the crowd quiet about the missing tables from the previous tag match.
A Monsters Ball no-holds barred brawl ended up in a melee. Brother Runt, Abyss, Raven, and Samoa Joe battled all over the floor, through the crowd and up the decorative scaffolding. Spots were brutal, including Samoa Joe face-planting Abyss into a pile of tacks, easily taking home the award for the most painful move of the night.
Runt was not only tossed from the scaffolding onto a pile of boxes the ring crew set up before the match, but then received a long-fall elbow drop when Abyss fell off. Samoa Joe would come away with the eventual pin, made by guest referee Jake “The Snake” Roberts. After the match, the TV audience watched an interview, while Brother Runt was helped off by medical staff with an apparent leg injury.
As if the violence from that fight wasn’t enough, Rhino and Christian Cage battled it out in an 8 Mile Street Fight. While nothing more than a fancy name for a hardcore slugfest, unforgettable spots were rampant. Prop streetlights became a popular offensive item, both men wasted tables and the audience responded as expected as ladder-match specialist Christian brought his favorite piece of weaponry to the ring. The ladder ended up on top of Rhino who was buried underneath countless pieces of broken tables, chairs, signs, lights and more chairs before Cage gained a three count.
The lightweight title was on the line in the next bout, pitting champion Senshi against Chris Saban. Both fought stiffly, landing some incredible kicks that connected cleanly. Each one produced a sickening echo to the accepting crowd. Numerous false finishes heated this one up to a decisive finish as Senshi pulled away to take home the belt. It was arguably the shows high point of the night.
One of the highly anticipated match ups was for the tag team title. LAX challenged the high flying duo of Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles inside TNA’s unique six-sided steel cage. Blood poured from nearly every wrestler as this one continued on. An unforgettable spot was a three-man suplex followed up by a top-of-the-cage splash by Styles. It wasn’t enough as LAX managed to pull out a victory and the title.
That set the tone for the main event between Jeff Jarrett and Sting. With a solid 20-minutes to work with, both guys kept working the crowd in-between some superb ring work. Former WWE star Kurt Angle was hyped as the special enforcer, and ended up making the final count after the referee was inadvertently knocked out. While Angle’s involvement was minimal, Sting was the one on top when the third count was made, surely enough to create tension between TNA’s latest acquisition and Jarrett.
With the smaller crowd, close fan interaction and inviting atmosphere, TNA has the advantage when it comes to live shows compared to the WWE. It’s the closest we’ll ever come to creating the intensity of a rabid ECW crowd, and the in-ring action provides a unique brand of pro wrestling that has all the right ingredients to break out into the mainstream.