Worst: Brooke Hogan doesn’t understand how being famous works
Okay, real talk time. I laughed when Brooke Hogan said Tara had her plate full with signing autographs at the grocery store. Brooke would have earned her very first official (and probably only) Best during her conversation with Tara with this line alone. TNA rarely has the cognitive ability to acknowledge exactly how ridiculous the things they do are. Anyone who has waited in line to have Mickie James sign a grainy 8×10 at a car dealership, or gone to a Cincinnati Hooters just to get a mark photo with Samoa Joe can attest to this. The best moments of self-awareness in wrestling aren’t calling wrestlers by their real names or saying things like TH’BUSINESS, but rather self-deprecating jokes like this.
Of course, this being Brooke Hogan, we couldn’t keep a good thing going. She immediately jumps from “lol shouldn’t you be at a Food Lion right now?” to things like walking the red carpet and dining with the Kardashians. That’s a huge leap, especially for someone who is legitimately more famous to the non-wrestling fans of the world than anyone on this show not named Hulk (or Terry, because OH NO YOU DIDN’T). She was on television for four years. She had her own reality show. She released an album. She has a song with Paul Wall that played constantly when I worked at the mall and may or may not still be on my iPod. Even this amount of public notoriety didn’t get Brooke these things, so why would a D-grade reality star and middling former WWE wrestler not named Trish Stratus suddenly be breaking bread with Kim and Kanye? Not even Khloe would stoop so low. And she’s Khloe effing Kardashian.
Worst: Brother Devon’s Discount Title Interferences
The revelation that Austin Aries outbid Bobby Roode for the services of Aces & Eights is…a thing that happened.
Neither wrestler is kayfabe rich, and those Aces & Eights strippers who dance to the groups theme song probably don’t cost that much (sorry, ladies). Even Taz is surprised that Aries outbid Roode, because clearly that would eat a large hole in his spangly circle-cape budget. This leads me to believe that one of two things has happened:
1) Devon has to financially compensate for overspending on the Thanksgiving turkey he binged on while being sad that D’Angelo Dinero stole his family, leaving him to live with a bunch of masked dudes and a bald guy who wasn’t even cool in Ring Ka King, or
2) Aces & Eights are here to sow chaos and anarchy, but since they aren’t actually gainfully employed by the company, they have to make ends meet somehow. Motorcycles (not pictured ever) don’t fuel themselves, and it’s either this or run the risk of raising Kurt Angle’s ire by running bootleg energy drinks to Kid Kash and maybe that guy whose hair probably smells like crayons.
Best: Bobby Roode and Hulk Hogan give great backstage segment
So while Devon is off somewhere, presumably eating his feelings, Hulk Hogan is backstage and in desperate pursuit of Austin Aries. This segment had some great, unintentionally hilarious moments.
• Hulk Hogan wandering aimlessly backstage like he was just released from a cryogenic freezer and is trying to figure out not where he is, but when?
• Hogan on a cell phone. While his segments are usually the worst thing about IMPACT, any instance of him trying to use the phone is amazing. Remember last week when he tried to talk about the Internet while on a cordless phone? Amazing. I love Phone!Hogan like I love my boyfriend’s 70 year old father trying to learn to use Google Chrome. And that is so much.
• Confused, bespectacled production guy fleeing in terror from Bobby Roode. Yeah, Roode is acting like he got into Kurt Angle’s stash and chased an eight ball with about 70 hours-worth of energy, but…okay, yeah. I would hustle on out of there as well. Carry on.
• Everything Bobby Roode is doing. You know how in every procedural cop drama, they’ll inevitably pick up a junkie witness who needs ‘cool down’ before they can get anything out of him? Bobby Roode’s version of irate takes from the same playbook as ‘junkie after he’s spent a few hours in holding and is ready to talk.’ The twitching, the yelling, the scratching at parts of his body while he paces around like a caged animal. And it is all fantastic. He is two minutes away from breaking down and telling Detective Logan he found the gun in a dumpster behind the bodega, but then sold it so he could buy a bunch of smack and a bottle of Thunderbird. I re-watched this segment maybe twenty times, and each time ended up in stitches. I am by no means a fan of Bobby Roode, but if he keeps breaking out moments like this and doesn’t give up on that uranage suplex, I may just be on board with him getting another title shot.
Worst: AJ Styles still has it, TNA crowd unsure of what ‘it’ is
To me, AJ Styles is the Marc Blucas of wrestling. A perfectly serviceable wrestler with the charisma and uniqueness of a stick of butter. Just like when Riley had his ‘dark turn’ on Buffy when it was revealed that he was getting off on having the meth-head equivalent of vampire hookers suck his blood, AJ Styles tries to take a page from the “How to Turn Heel” handbook by saying he’s not going to be a company man anymore, and the most menacing thing he can do is take off his shirt. Ooo, burn.
This promo was boring, awkward, and unintentionally funny, mostly in part to the crowd’s chant of “YOU’VE STILL GOT IT.” Here’s the thing. When someone comes out of retirement, throws around their signature and finisher moves, and then pauses to take in the adulation of the crowd, sure. Chant away. That person (cough, X-Pac at King of Trios, cough) probably doesn’t have what it takes to still wrestle a PPV level match against one of the best wrestlers on TV today, but you harbor some kind of nostalgia for him and want to make him feel good about himself. Whatever.
AJ Styles is 35 years old, hasn’t gone anywhere, and just wrestled to the best of his ability against Christopher Daniels four days ago. I may not care for his Pele kicks and videogame leaps, but he’s not incompetent, and chanting this at him is more than a little demeaning. I know you love him, IMPACT Zone crowd, but if you really want to show your affection, don’t put him on the same level as X-Pac. That’s just cruel.
Additional Worst: Dixie Carter is on television. But Best: She gets a new shirt!