Hi friends! Did you watch TNA this week! I sure did! Wanna talk about it? I sure don’t! But hey, let’s do it anyways, For the kids, y’know?
– This has been a fun week at With Spandex. The Thread Count took a look back at the first four (amazing) televised pro wrestling weddings. David debuted his Racist Gimmick of the Week column, and it’s predictably fantastic. Did you see this badass pop culture-pro wrestling crossover art? If you have, look again. It’s still pretty cool.
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This week on Impact: A war hero, a kitty, and Matt Hardy walk into the Manhattan Center, and it’s not the set up for a joke! Well…maybe it is a little.
Worst: F-ck all of this, basically
Remember last week when you guys (well, not you guys, the royal you) railed on Brandon for being mean and dismissive and coming out to just be hateful towards Impact? You know he was pretty much super right, yeah? There’s this thing that I’ve come to terms with; that Brandon is “the Raw guy” and I’m “the Impact guy.” Every part of me wants to fight against that, because, you know, I watch the show, but at the end of the day that’s actually a real thing. I do watch Impact every week. I do miss covering it when we swap weeks, even if missing it means a relaxing week of great wrestling and things that make me happy. I love Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud and I get mad when people dismiss the show without even watching it and I do want it to be better than it is, but real talks: this sucks. This sucks hard. I can’t dance around this and try to pull something great out of this opening. Ooo, Best, Kurt Angle remembers what’s supposed to happen five minutes from now without reading it off of a sheet of paper. Ooo, Bobby Lashley…okay, Bobby Lashley still isn’t speaking, so he’s fine. The best thing about a segment can’t be the guy who doesn’t try to speak out loud, you feel me?
Worst: So uhhh, I think NXT made me mean?
I think it did. I was all psyched to come back and be like no really guys, let’s SHOOT STRAIGHT about Impact because wrestling is awesome and my favourite thing and who doesn’t want to talk about their favourite things? Turns out this gal does, but not in the positive way I wanted to. MVP brings up the NYPD’s illegal chokehold that killed Eric Garner, to which the crowd boos because they love New York, but don’t realise that by extension they’re cheering the murder of innocent black man. Super cool. Then Tommy Dreamer comes out because someone lit up the COOL DAD signal (an outline of a bowling shirt with flames on it), all fired up and ready to defend New York because, you know, Tommy Dreamer. The thing is he doesn’t even really defend New York all that much. He just wants to talk about how Bobby Lashley is finally living up to the potential that everyone else saw in him, and how dominant of a champion he is. I can only assume this is reverse psychology, seeing as it’s been months of nothing but people shitting all over him and saying he’s not a legitimate champion despite clean wins all the time always. Either that or Dreamer doesn’t actually watch the show, he’s just done the math on how long Lashley’s been champion and drawn his own conclusions.
It’s probably that last one.
Kurt Angle’s had enough of their shenanigans, and decides to put Lashley and Dreamer into a street fight. Maybe he secretly hates Dreamer and wants Bobby Lashley to spear him right out of his sweatpants and into the gaping maw of imminent death? I dunno. But that’s it. That’s the first ten minutes of the show. Talking and talking and nobody making any damn sense and the crowd responding awfully to things in order to prove that they aren’t awful. You also have to take my word at all of this, because TNA made the YouTube video private. You’ll just have to trust me when I say good for Kurt for learning how to words good again.
Best: MVP’s pants
Soooo…did you fall ass-first into the Martha Stewart Home Collection, or…?Subscribe to UPROXX
Worst: Why isn’t this already over
Note: The above video contains roughly three full minutes of wrestling. That is roughly 2:59 too long for a match like this. Let’s get this straight: Eric Young, former World Champion, most talented wrestler to ever put on big boy panties and get in a ring according to his coworkers, could not beat Lashley clean. Bobby Roode, former World Champion, criminally underutilized according to a bunch of opinions I read on the internet, dude basically in his prime, could not beat Lashley clean. Austin Aries, former World Champion, guy who wins stuff he really shouldn’t ever win, couldn’t beat Lashley clean. Tommy Dreamer, one deep breath away from a hernia, is just happy to be there, and you’ve gotta start cheating? Really? If you’re Bobby Lashley you probably shouldn’t even give a shit what Tommy Dreamer thinks, because you look like Bobby Lashley and could probably run through a cinderblock wall like Juggernaut, but damn…really? What’s he gonna innovate all over you, Bobby? A stern talking to about doing your homework before you play video games?
Worst: The TNA style guide
“Hey Steve, what do you think the best font would be to really help convey that you can rub one out to these ladies 365 days a year?”
“I dunno, how about that one that looks like a little kid wrote it?”
Worst: Oh ladies…ladies, no…
Who’s excited for Jessicka Havok to show up in TNA? Anyone who watched this match from start to finish. BOOM ROASTED.
But seriously, let’s take a second and pretend I didn’t just type BOOM ROASTED, and this is a real wrestling column about real wrestling. I’ve spoken very highly of Taryn Terrell in the past. Scratch that – I’ve spoken very highly about her effort in the past. She is the physical embodiment of a Hot Mess, sure, but at least she goes all in on something people usually only go teensy-weensy-tippy-toes in on? She doesn’t even have that going for her this week. Her high cross body is maybe the best thing she does, and even that looks looks more like a myotonic goat got startled while climbing the turnbuckle. Madison Rayne is fully going through the motions, but making it very clear that she is setting up and waiting to go through every single one.
Also, isn’t she supposed to be a good guy? What’s she doing using a leverage pin? Veteran professional wrestling babyface Madison Rayne equipping dirty pin is like Clean Victory Bobby Lashley letting Kenny King try to hold down Dreamer. Just no recollection of who they are or what they do from week to week. Just write it on your hand if you forget. Or Stiffler’s shiny dome. He’s always around somewhere.
Look, here’s Brandon! Just can’t keep that guy away (when me eating a sandwich and making fart noises at Manik over Voxer is about all I can muster for critical commentary).
Best/Worst: And Now It’s YOUR Turn!
For better or worse, this is what my heart wants from the TNA X-Division: bonkers, consequence-free jumping and falling where nobody sells, everyone looks like a Sanrio character and more time’s spent doing “get ready for my next thing” taunts than pro wrestling.
There’s a place for it, I guess. It’s the 2014, ADD-ridden successor to WCW’s baller cruiserweight division from the 90s. There, smaller guys would work long matches in creative ways, building a style all their own to the point that you could have legitimate arguments about who was better, Dean Malenko or the WCW Champ. The answer was always Dean Malenko. TNA’s top talent are mostly ex-WWE guys and a scattered collection of decade-old ROH types, so their “cruiserweight division” being a box of crayons somebody spilled on the floor and accidentally kicked around is perfect.
If TNA wanted to make a great video game, they’d watch this match and recreate it. If I was playing this instead of watching it, oh man, I’d be having so much fun. Low Ki and Homicide are there, and there’s a purple cat man and a sassy DJ with a mohawk and for some reason a clown won’t stop bouncing up and down on the ropes. Manik is there too, which makes sense because he’s FROM a video game. All they need is powerups falling from the ceiling to make it better. Is that what Ultimate X is?
A Serious Best: Low Ki’s Doublestomp Counter To Manik’s Gutbuster
That’s the first time I’ve watched TNA in AGES and went HAHA WHOA WHAT. If TNA wants a license to print money they should hire Ricochet, ACH, Rich Swann, AR Fox and all the Dragon Gate youngboys and say “you only get paid if we see something we’ve never seen before.”
– I AM [A TNA WRESTLER] AND I RESPECT YOU, [FELLOW TNA WRESTLER]. WE HAVE DONE [A TAG TEAM THING PROBABLY] TOGETHER IN THE PAST, SO I KNOW FIRSTHAND JUST HOW MUCH RESPECT TO SHOW TO YOU, JEFF HARDY UH I MEAN [TNA WRESTLER STANDING IN FRONT OF ME].
– NO, IT IS I, [TNA WRESTLER], WHO RESPECT YOU [TNA WRESTLER TRYING TO DO ALL OF THE RESPECTING HIMSELF]. I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT YOU ARE THE BEST [WRESTLER/TAG TEAM PARTNER/TAG TEAM OPPONENT/CATERING GUY] IN THIS COMPANY, AND IT WOULD BE AN HONOUR TO FACE YOU IN [AMERICAN CITY]. NOW LET US SHAKE HANDS AS A SYMBOL OF OUR SHARED RESPECT, AND SWEAR TO KEEP RESPECTING EACH OTHER UNTIL WE HATE EACH OTHER NEXT MONTH OVER [LITERALLY NOTHING OF CONSEQUENCE].
*INTENSE RESPECT GLARES*
I’m…Not Sure: Don’t hinder Tinder
I am an old lady with a real life love interest who had to have Tinder explained to her by an indie wrestling referee. I am out of touch, and so very far from being this demographic. I do, however, really hope we get to meet the French bulldog.
I’m gonna so mad when we don’t get to meet the French Bulldog.
Best: It’s Yellow Gear day!
Well now, I can’t be a big jerkface on Yellow Gear day!
Best: Fan shoutout…
…to that guy in the front row who does EC3’s entrance along with him. In world where you’re either NEXUS or AGAINSTUS, that guy is totally NEXUS.
Best: ‘Sup Ethan Carter III
Look at me make it through a whole NXT report last week without saying that all of my favourites don’t work there anymore but totally should. Kudos to me and my restraint! At the end of the day, however, Ethan Carter III is the sunshine of my Not Thursday But Wednesday nights. Missed you, bro.
I’m going to extend this best to this whole match, because I’m a grownup and I do what I want, but also because I just really enjoyed it. Two guys who have a reason to fight fighting? That’s it. It’s so simple. Canonical reasons for wanting to get up in each other’s stuff and tear it apart. EC3 is mad and wants to stay mad and show how mad he is all over Rhino. Rhino makes weird faces and wants to gore stuff. Both stay true to their characters, and can progress forward without a future rematch seeming like a retread. How is this match not a thing I’m going to love?
Worst: DON’T LOOK A SPUD LIKE THAT
BFF! BFF FOREVER! IF WE’RE SPEAKING CANDIDLY I’M STILL GOING TO BE ON YOUR SIDE BUT I WANT SPUD THERE TOO! FRIENDSHIP-BASED EVERYTHING! :(
Best: Tazz vs. The Internet
Tazz and Tenay are shilling the upcoming tapings in Bethlehem, PA, as you do, but then Tazz breaks out this super sarcastic voice to say that he knows “Internet wrestling fans love when we talk about old wrestling, and the history of wrestling in New York and Philadelphia. They love hearing that stuff; they love to report on it heh heh heh.” The sarcasm implies that we don’t, and you’re willfully doing stuff that fans hate. I don’t know if that is the appropriate time for sarcasm. Do…you want us to talk about that part of it on the internet? That’s sorta my job. I…don’t know if Tazz understands how this all works.