It’s supposed to be Impact Wrestling’s version of WrestleMania, but for various reasons such as the company’s reputation and a lack of mainstream attention, Bound For Glory has never reached that magnitude. It’s a shame because the annual event has a rich history of classic matches and moments that even TNA diehards sleep on. Since 2005, BFG has been the culmination of storylines and feuds, and sometimes the launch of new chapters.
Here’s a 10-step retrospective on the forgotten history of Bound For Glory.
When Impact Wrestling tweeted Saturday that Taya Valkyrie wouldn’t be able to compete at the show, fans were universally bummed because her Red Wedding match with Rosemary was highly anticipated. It’s certainly not the first time a Bound For Glory card has been changed last-minute: Hulk Hogan had to pull out of a six-man tag in 2010 due to health reasons and Kevin Nash had to miss the main event of the inaugural show due to heart issues.
On the Road
The company finally left the IMPACT Zone in 2006, bringing BFG to Plymouth Township, Michigan. It started a trend of taking big events like Lockdown and Slammiversary on the road as well, freshening up the atmosphere with different arenas and hotter crowds.
WWE’s loss has been TNA’s gain on more than one occasion. Last year, Cody and Brandi Rhodes joined the company at BFG, and in 2013, EC3 made his in-ring debut at the event. A decade before visiting NXT, Jushin “Thunder” Liger appeared at BFG, losing to Samoa Joe in a special attraction.
Speaking of puroresu, BFG went international in 2014, pairing with Wrestle-1 for a joint show in Japan. Due to the time difference, the event aired on tape delay in the United States. It was also the first time that the world title wasn’t defended at BFG; instead, the main event pitted Great Muta and Tajiri against James Storm and The Great Sanada.
A far cry from the celebrities that WWE lures for WrestleMania, Impact Wrestling has taken a different approach, recruiting popular athletes from other sports. Tito Ortiz served as the special guest referee for the main event of the first BFG, and Steve “Mongo” McMichael reffed Monster’s Ball in 2008. Adam “Pacman” Jones accompanied Ron Killings and Consequences Creed in their Tag Team Championship match in 2007. This year, Impact has called on the MMA-world once again, as Lashley teams with King Mo to battle Moose and Stephan Bonnar.
Years before the Women’s Revolution, Impact Wrestling showcased women wrestlers with respect, starting at BFG 2007. There was a 10-woman gauntlet for the gold match featuring an assortment of familiar faces like Jackie Moore and Christy Hemme and emerging stars like Awesome Kong and O.D.B. TNA’s first woman hall of famer, Gail Kim, won the bout and became the first Knockouts Champion, instantly igniting credibility in the division.
Foreshadowing Billy Corgan’s future involvement in the company, The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tarantula” was the official theme song for BFG 2008. Five years later, Jeff Hardy’s band Peroxwhy?gen provided one of the theme songs. The wrestling connections don’t stop there – Fozzy’s “Enemy” was used for BFG 2006, marking Chris Jericho’s only involvement with Impact Wrestling. Of course, that may change in 2018, considering his free agent status and shocking appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
Compared to the current thin roster, it’s fascinating to see how many superstars and legends have worked for the company. At BFG alone, the Young Bucks challenged for the Tag Team Championship, Mickie James returned to ref a Knockouts Championship match and the Steiner brothers reunited to face Team 3D in a dream match. Even Jake “The Snake” Roberts popped up as special referee for a Monster’s Ball.
BFG holds the distinction of being the last televised event that Hulk Hogan wrestled on, a historic footnote if there ever was one. It was supposed to host Kurt Angle’s final match as well, but our Olympic Hero stayed past BFG 2015 to participate in the following tour of the U.K. Larry Zbyszko had his final televised match at BFG 2006, losing to Eric Young in a “loser gets fired” battle. On a lesser note, Team 3D wrestled their final match in the company at BFG 2014, defeating Abyss and longtime rival Tommy Dreamer.
Rumors of the company’s impending demise have been circulating for years, but none were more rampant than in the days leading up to BFG last year. Several reports claimed that the company didn’t have enough money to put on the event. At the eleventh hour, a third party stepped in to fund the pay-per-view, later revealed to be current company owner Anthem Sports.