Best(ish): Welcome to the Slack Parade, Samoa Joe
Bobby Lashley, as of this writing, has been champion for 78 days. We’re now approaching a three month run with this title, even if it feels like he’s held the belt for ages. Then again, TNA is a mysterious, time-displaced universe where months can feel like years, and Tommy Dreamer still actively wrestles. A run of this length comes with many challenges, especially when it seems there’s no clear end game, writing staff is transitioning, and every “challenge” to the belt has been lame duck at best. Every challenger for the belt up to this point has operated under the assumption that Lashley didn’t deserve his title. Eric Young didn’t think so, yet more than once he was beaten cleanly and proven wrong. Bobby Roode was like hey, nobody’s better than my friend Eric, except, you know, me, so I’LL beat you. He did not succeed. Kurt Angle put Austin Aries in an X-Division Championship match so that he could win, then immediately cash in the title for a chance at Bobby Lashley. He failed. So now what?
It’s pretty accepted at this point that much like in WWE, TNA faces are violent garbage pissbabies, and the heels are hated because they make too much damn sense. But from a critical standpoint, what is it that makes Bobby Lashley a bad guy? Is guilt by association literally the only thing? He shows up, he doesn’t say anything, he wins, he leaves. His victories are clean, he doesn’t go after anyone specifically. He’s never threatened to set someone’s babies on fire or jerked off with a lock of Eric Young’s beard hair in secret, so what’s up? If we hated Jeff Jarrett or Kurt Angle for walking into championships and winning titles they didn’t deserve, why is someone who consistently proves that they can defend it with, dareisay, honour such a terrible thing?
This was initially a worst, but as I think about it, I can appreciate Samoa Joe’s perspective. He supported MVP when he first arrived in TNA under the guise of putting the emphasis back on wrestling by wrestlers for wrestlers. I mean, he could have just thrown on some PWG DVDs and called it a day were that his goal, but whatever. After that he got dicked out of his world title shot by outside interference, and has been either persecuted or flat-out forgotten ever since. Now he’s got the X-Division champion, and to prove that it’s a Very Important Title, he wants to…go…after…a different title. Okay, maybe that part rubs me the wrong way a little. But I don’t think it’s necessarily that. Joe’s got Finlay syndrome – he loves to fight. This is just the shitty, drawn out version of Sheamus gleefully running down the ramp shouting OIL FIGHT ‘IM! Samoa Joe has never actually watched himself on TNA television, and fancies himself A Tough Guy. MVP says that Bobby Lashley is A Tough Guy. Joe wants to see who is tougher. Of all the terrible and moderately racist reasons Bobby Lashley has had to defend his title, this might actually be the one that makes the most sense.
Worst: TL;DR explanation
At heart, Samoa Joe is Paddy Tanninger the Caddy Manager of TNA tough guys:
Best: Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell
Guys. Guuuuuuuyyysssss. They’re trying again.
During the podcast that I mentioned in the pre-show notes people tend to skip over I had to grade each TNA roster member on a letter scale of A-F. Taryn Terrell earned a solid B+, the definition being that she shows up, does her thing, makes an effort, and even if she’s not the best, she generally tries to maximize the time she’s given to entertain and put on a good match. This is the B+ Hot Mess that I love so much. Serious Worst with a capital W for Impact for only giving us a minute and a half of this match, because it killed. And look, I’m not gonna pretend that it’s Akira Hokuto out there busting faces, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch this match with nothing but glee in my heart. At one point Taryn Terrell takes a stunner on the metal ring steps and it looks nasty as f-ck from every angle. Both ladies throw themselves into every part of this match, sometimes quite literally, and it’s a joy. It’s everything that made people love their matches last year. Remember that ladder match from last July? Remember Taryn putting Gail into a modified dragon sleeper? Gail tying Taryn to the ropes with her own hair? Both women chucking everything they had at each other and it being brutal and fun and not just a set up for sexy rest holds? They’re trying to do that again and I am just swooning all over the place for it.
Best: Speaking of swooning…
To quote Bram: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Jessicka Havok is my number one lady wrestler with a bullet. I flat out love this woman. Love her. I love watching her murder people. I loved watching her and Sami Callihan beat the crud out of each other in WSU before he went off to hack people’s lighting systems in Orlando with his iPad. I love her look and and her ferociousness and being an unapologetic lady hoss. I once gave her money at WrestleCon just to tell her she was awesome and because I had all of her merch already but still wanted to support her and she’s always been the loveliest person and guys. Guys. If you think I fangirl for EC3, then how happy J-Hav makes me will blow your effing domes. She’s here to make the knockouts think about death and feel sad and stuff and I’M JUST SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW.