Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Bound For Glory in Review: Old Rivals Meet Again

Despite future uncertainty, rumors of a television deal coming to an abrupt end and the threat of an unwanted visit from Hurricane Joaquin, TNA has managed to weather through yet another year to provide fans with their biggest event of the year, Bound For Glory! Unlike last year, the event was live and held within the United States. However, much like last year, the Knockouts match on the card got the short end of the stick as part of what felt like a last minute scramble.

While the young adolescent in me is filled with joy to see that the Wrestling Gods have answered my prayers of seeing a rematch between Awesome Kong and Gail Kim for the Knockouts Title happen at Bound For Glory, the present me realizes the need to lower my expectations for this desired rematch. That is not to say that these two fantastic women can’t put on a great match but rather that it would be a real challenge for them to ignite that same fire they had years ago. Let’s see how the latest chapter between these two rivals unfolded.

After both champion and challenger have made their entrances, their eyes lock as they stand across from each other inside the six sided ring. The bell rings and immediately Kong overpowers Gail, shoving her down to the ground when the two tie up.

The champion picks herself back up and goes for a second tie up, this time managing to trap Kong in a headlock. The submission hold wouldn’t last long as Kong’s strength would allow for an easy escape with a shoulder block. Gail would meet the ground again when Kong hits a knee shot to Gail’s midsection, along with a strike to the back for good measures.

Following several chops from the corner turnbuckle, Kong begins to target Gail’s back. She scoops Gail up twice and slams her down on the mat, failing short of three consecutive slams when Gail slips through Kong’s third attempt. From behind, Gail is able to immobilize Kong with several kicks to Kong’s left leg. The champion then climbs the top rope to hit a cross body turn into the first pin of the match but Kong kicks out at two.

TNA cameras then turn to a special guest in attendance, who also just happens to also be Gail Kim’s husband, Robert Irvine. The Food Network star looks like he is hardly excited to be at the event but, of course, is in the crowd to fully support and cheer on his beautiful wife.

Back in the ring, Gail begins to lay in on get offense, throwing forearms to Kong’s head and runs the ropes for a speedy attack. Kong catches Gail before her run in move can connect, slowing her down by positioning the champion in a camel clutch.

To assure Gail isn’t able to escape, Kong switches up her clutch into a cross arm breaker. This new submission hold provides Gail a chance to counter when she rolls through and reverse Kong’s submission with a leg hold of her own.

Still relying in her submission holds, Gail traps Kong in a Flying Dragon hold when Kong gets back on her feet but Gail goes crashing down when Kong finds a way to counter with an Air Raid Crash.

Gail kicks out of Kong’s Air Raid Crash, causing Kong to climb the second rope of a turnbuckle to reach new heights of damage. Gail tries to put a stop to this by meeting Kong at the second rope and striking her in the head with a high kick. The champion tries to knock Kong off the rope with a hurricanrana but Kong does not flinch! The rock solid Kong strikes down Gail with a thunderous fist to the head and flies from the second rope to hit a massive splash! Miraculously, Gail has enough power to still kick out at two.

Frustrated by Gail kicking out, Kong throws the champion out of the ring and soon steps out in search of every chair she can find hiding outside and under the ring. (The crowd in attendace want to see a table be pulled out) When Kong manages to stack two chairs together, she spies a third one nearby but doesn’t get the chance to add it to her collection as hubby Robert Irvine snatches it away from Kong’s hand.

Bringing out his Restaurant Impossible persona, Robert yells at referee Earl Hebner to “do his job right”. As Earl tries to calm Robert down, Kong is able to cause some serious damage to Gail when she hits an Implant Buster into the carefully placed stacked chairs! An even louder Robert yells at Earl to pay more attention and do his job right! Is that any way to treat the latest inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame?

With the damage done, Kong tosses Gail back in the ring and goes for the pin. Kong is more calmer this second time Gail is able kick out at two and goes for a power bomb. Gail reverses with a hurricanrana pin but Kong kicks out before the three count.

Gail tries her luck at hitting the Eat Defeat to Kong but Kong counters with a spinning back fist, knocking the wind out of Gail! Kong takes the champion to the corner with the hopes of hitting another Implant Buster, this time from the second rope.

Things don’t go as planned as Gail is able to knock off Kong from the ropes, land a good kick to Kong’s head and hit the Eat Defeat from the second rope! Gail quickly rolls Kong into a pin and gets the three Count to remain Knockouts champion!

After the match, Gail is embraced with a hug and a kiss by her husband. She then takes a moment to call Earl Hebner to stand by her so that she can raise HIS hand in congratulating the latest addition to the TNA Hall of Fame. I still nominate Ms. Gail Kim as the the next inductee!

Thoughts: Wow, what a very hard hitting battle between these two women in what may be their last encounter with one another.

Again, despite the very predictable outcome and my mixed feelings going into this match, I have to say I really did enjoy it! There were a lot of new spots in this contest than in the past matches we’ve seen these two in, making it a bit more refreshing. Both women have grown since then and I think it really showed this time around.

Granted, the Kong vs. Gail series of matches from 2007-2008 were much hotter and hard hitting but that was seven years ago, when both Kong and Gail’s bodies were able to endure more damage. In fact, I was surprised to see many spots pulled off, such as the Implant Buster into the chairs, Awesome Splash from the second rope and even the Eat Defeat finish. It made me appreciate this match even more.

So where do we go from here? Gail remains champion and at the top of the Knockouts pyramid as we await to see and hear what remains to be of TNA’s future. Given Gail is pretty much TNA’s “go-to girl” when they’re unsure of where to take their Knockouts division, it makes sense but, assuming TNA can go forward, what can we expect? Dixie Carter has already acknowledge that Brooke is entitled to a rematch, so there’s that but here’s hoping that TNA can pull it out again so that we can continue to see our Knockouts on a weekly basis.

To quote the very same Dixie, “stay tuned…”

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