Impact Wrestling Bound for Glory 2021 HOT TAKE
"This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory,
Don't carry nothing but the righteous and the holy.
This train is bound for glory, this train."
- Woodie Guthrie
Since that fateful day in 1936 when the city of Las Vegas legalized casino gambling, it has become the epicenter of the term "High Stakes." The Neon Capital of the world attracts those seeking to slingshot their name into fame, those hoping to cascade themselves with riches and those going for broke - literally - to achieve greatness.
It is only fitting, then, that on Saturday October 23rd, Impact Wrestling returns to FITE not just for Impact+ subscribers but for FITE viewers across the globe with their biggest event of the year, Bound for Glory 2021, with the promotion's grandest championships and fiercest rivalries colliding live in Sin City.
The desert can be a harsh mistress, devoid of hope, water and safety, but for those who find themselves trapped in the desolation but are able to navigate that labyrinth of danger, emerging with a new lease on life, it can also be the entryway to salvation, to a new chapter, to that moment in time where your future breaks from the past, setting a trajectory for a greater future.
The last year within Impact Wrestling has seen the promotion besieged by Elite athletes, has seen the rise of mammoth monsters and the resilience of Impact's most soulful performers inside the ring. Bound for Glory has always proven to be the time capsule for Impact Wrestling's history and now, today's stars seek to etch their names into eternity.
Bound for Glory has always been a night where careers are defined, where grudges are laid to rest and where championship history is enshrined forever. It is where men and women step into the squared circle as champions and challengers and emerge future Hall of Famers.
Bound for Glory is both the culmination of the journey and the beginning of the next, the nexus for all who dare to lay down the gauntlet and seek to raise the sword, at one staring down the neon streets of dreams and the void that is defeat. It is the event where anything can happen, where the bold and the confident face off with the hands of fate. All who enter seek the boundless riches and bragging rights of victory, but not all will emerge unscatched and successful.
That is the curse of Las Vegas and in many ways, it's also the curse of Bound for Glory.
Icarus, Icarus, though the end is piteous, Yet forever, yea, forever we shall see thee rising thus, See the first supernal glory, not the ruin hideous." - Stephen Vincent Benét.
Indeed, just as Icarus once famous flew too close to the sun, Josh Alexander finds himself at the greatest crossroads of his career, prepared to sacrifice all he has accomplished over the course of his career, gambling away the X-Division Championship via Option C in hopes of attaining that greatest of glories, the Holy Grail known as the Impact Wrestling World Championship.
Since the formation of Impact Wrestling's first permutation back in 2002, the Championship has been the pulse that propels every Impact athlete forward as they strive for the moment where they can attain golden greatness. For Josh Alexander, who consistently pushed his body to the brink with its physical performances inside the squared circle, who has raged against the machine to compete to the best of his ability despite the odds and who has an insatiable need to earn his way into being the definitive competitor within Impact Wrestling, October 23rd has become the most important night of his life. It's all or nothing.
For the reigning and defending Impact Wrestling World Champion Christian Cage, however, Bound for Glory is a return to old stomping grounds. Cage has been to the dance before over the course of his stellar career and in 2021, Cage once again shocked the world numerous time, once by returning to the ring after once being thought retired, once by stunning the world with his AEW debut and then hitting the trifecta by handing Kenny Omega a rare loss on the debut edition of Dynamite to ascend upwards as the new Impact Champion.
Bound for Glory doesn't just represent another pay-per-view or even another title defense for Cage. He's already accomplished more than any mere mortal could aspire to in any combat sport. No, instead, October 23rd is his moment to prove yet again that he's still the best in the world, one more night to achieve victory and to take back a little of the time lost during the pause of his in-ring career. To take down Josh Alexander, who has had a career year in Impact, Cage gets to slam down an exclamation point on his own astronomical achievements.
The reality is this - Alexander grew up inspired by Cage, but in order to become the athlete he dreams to be, he's going to have to become the man who takes his inspiration out. For Cage to maintain his position on the throne, he's going to have to strategize his way past one of the best chess players inside the ring. Alexander is a thinking man's professional wrestler, but Cage laid that foundation for the 21st century's grappling generation.
This will be a war, one that not even the Vegas Bookies are able to properly gauge. If ever there was a match designed to be hosted by Bound for Glory, it was Cage vs. Alexander. When that bell rings, dreams will be made and broken as they paint their picture in sweat and blood stained athletic excellence.
The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it" - Moliere
Of course, Bound for Glory on FITE is not built on the hype of simply one great championship bout. Every Impact Wrestling title will be on the line with the fabric of the promotion itself at stake in a series of incredibly promising championship confrontations.
Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo calls herself the Virtuosa for a good reason. Whether it be work ethic personified or divine right, Purrazzo has proven herself over and over as the most celebrated female competitor in recent Impact Wrestling history, proving over and over again that she can break challengers down, force them to submit or overwhelm them until they fall prey to her pinfalls. Purrazzo has the ability to conquer the world, sneering every step of the way.
Over the last several months, Purrazzo's world has been turned upside down by the intrusion of all-time great Mickie James into Impact Wrestling. Although initially appearing to invite Purrazzo to compete at NWA Empowerrr, James' attempts at inter-promotion diplomacy were met with condescending attitude and physical assaults. No longer content to just be an NWA Executive, James stepped forward to challenge Purrazzo to a championship match, something that Impact's Scott D'Amore recognized was a worthy Bound for Glory attraction.
Not all that different from Alexander vs. Cage, albeit with roles reversed in terms of who is the defending champion, Purrazzo vs. James is a clash of the best of two different generations. Unlike Alexander vs. Cage's dignified rivalryLOR, anger and resentment has always surpassed the boiling point, leading to Purrazzo assaulting James on her own farm in Virginia. With the line truly crossed, the powderkeg has been lit, with the fuse finally exploding October 23rd on FITE.
Another championship bout that has captured the imagination of the audience across the globe is the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Tag Team Championships as the rulers of the undead realm, Decay, Havok and Rosemary, step into the unknown yet again. In a most unique turn of events, their challengers, The IInspiration, will make their Impact Wrestling debut, rolling the dice in a take all or nothing moment, challenging for the Knockouts titles. Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay have had iconic career moments in the past, but whether those worldwide exploits have prepared them for the enigma known as Decay remains to be seen. Havok and Rosemary are an unnatural force of nature, bruising and demolishing opponents. At the same time, the world has yet to see what form the IInspiration will take when they step into an Impact ring for the first time, so there's no true way for anyone to strategize against them. This is a dream tag team match that no clairvoyant could have foretold. Two very different, distinctive sets of tag teams will clash for championships at Bound for Glory.
With Josh Alexander having utilized Option C, Bound for Glory has not become the battleground to determine the next X-Division Championship. New Japan Pro Wrestling's El Phantasmo, with a Super J-Cup victory last year and an incredible list of accolades (just ask him) steps into the ring at Bound for Glory with a purpose. Backed by Bullet Club, Phantasmo would like nothing more than to shove everyone's face into the dirt and emerge with yet another championship. Phantasmo's biggest problem is that in this three-way encounter, Trey Miguel blocks the passage to victory.
Perhaps the most focused and aggressive Impact Wrestling competitor of 2021, Trey Miguel now stands alone, fighting the good fight, leaving every ounce of his heart and soul embedded on the ring apron in pursuit of victory. If there is a moral champion for Impact's fan base, Miguel has long been the uncrowned champion. He has his chance to level up at Bound for Glory, but to do so, he not only has to contend with Phantasmo, but also Steve Maclin.
Since coming to Impact Wrestling, Maclin has broken souls and beaten opponents like someone who has smashed the chains of the past, seeking only to wreak vengeance on all who stand across the ring from him. Having already handily defeated all-time great Petey Williams and more, Maclin has proven that everyone in the Impact locker room should fear him, but has yet to attain that milestone championship win. It's certainly just a matter of time until he achieves that moment and live on FITE, it may very well happen in this battle of three very different and talented competitors.
Bound For Glory has always been a home for firsts in professional wrestling history, and 2021 will be no exception as the first-ever Impact Wrestling Digital Media Champion will be crowned. With qualifying matches taking place right here on FITE for Impact+ survivors, Jordynne Grace, Fallah Bahh, John Skyler, Crazzy Steve and more will vy to see if they can make history and take their place among the names who have earned their own legacy in the annals of Impact Wrestling greatness.
Of course, let's not overlook Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers, who have been antagonizing FinJuice, Bullet Club and Impact Wrestling management alike in recent weeks, setting the stage for their championship defense in Las Vegas on October 23rd.
To win without risk is to triumph without glory." - Pierre Corneille
Beyond championship matches at Bound for Glory are two intriguing clashes that not only hold the future of the promotion in its hands but perhaps even the heart and soul of the competitors involved.
On October 23rd, Impact will present its annual Call Your Shot Gauntlet as former World Champions and would-be competitors strive to survive in order to achieve the wrestling's equivalent of Blackjack, the ability to call their shot for a championship opportunity. For W. Morrisey, who has qualified for a chance to enter as the final competitor, it may be an easy night at the office.
For Chris Sabin, resigned to enter the fray as the first competitor, the celebrated former Impact Champion will have to dig deep and battle on, hoping to overcome the odds inside a city that was built on them. With a celebrated series of competitors including former Impact World Champions Rich Swann and Eddie Edwards, former TNA World Champion Moose as well as Matt Cardona, Brian Myers and more all seeking victory, there is no telling what twists and turns this melee may see.
Then, there's Heath Miller, who one year ago had victory and championship gold within seconds of his reach before falling prey to injury at Bound for Glory 2020. Worse, Heath was being forced to sit on the sidelines helpless, recovering from surgeries as he watched his best friend Rhino transmute in the clutches of Eric Young's Violent by Design. As it finally appears that Rhino is close to breaking free of VBD's programming, Heath has returned to Impact, finally signed by the promotion, with a newfound purpose, rescuing Rhino.
Having signed for a tag bout against VBD, Heath has called for Rhino to again be there in his corner, going as far as to declare that should The Manbeast not appear, Heath will battle VBD in a handicap match. Despite invoking what could prove to be his undoing in his return match, Heath has placed his trusts and hopes in Rhino. Bound for Glory will be the destination where this unique series of circumstances will play out. Will Rhino return and if he does, will it be Heath's heart being gored?
With all of this, plus Awesome Kong's official Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame induction and more set for FITE on Saturday October 23rd, once again, Bound for Glory will be where Impact's greatest fighters attempt to ascend to the heavens, hoping that by doing so, they haven't sentenced themselves to crash down to hell at terminal velocity.
Las Vegas has seen champions anointed and earth scorched. Bound for Glory, live on FITE, will be no exception to those Sin City traditions.
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.