Best: Nepotism or Senility, the hot new game show that’s sweeping the nation!
Hogan comes out to kick off the show, and lets us know that after careful consideration he’s chosen the #1 contender to face Jeff Hardy for his butt-ugly belt at Lockdown. So who is it? Mecha Austin Aries? The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm? RVD? Haha, of course it’s not RVD. It’s Bully Ray, because of course it is.
At first blush this seems…wrong…and I assure you that it is, but for the sake of the grander story being told, let’s go with it. Bully Ray is injured, and didn’t compete in the Tournament of Farts (shoutout to all of my Canadian professional women’s curling fans with that one! *wink wink*). Bully Ray comes out, just as incredulous as his acting skills will allow. Bully Ray well and truly should have been champion long before this, but TNA is now running wild down a treacherous path. With Aces & Eights finally getting some momentum, this could lead to a very big reveal that would more than justify slogging through months of leather vests and beer bottle hand-jobs. It could also just lead to Bully Ray becoming champion with no exploration of the familial politicking of Brooke Hogan and the overt nepotism of Hulk’s decision.
The problem with getting so invested in an Impact storyline like this is the precedence they’ve set for completely dropping the ball on compelling storylines, or negating any good things they’ve done by adding, say, Jeff Jarrett into the mix. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of confidence in doing something different then falling back on whatever they think a WWE audience would like or what, but I’m really glad that they’re sticking with this. Other storylines and divisions (X, Knockout) may be suffering, but thus far I think they’ve been incredibly successful in expanding the characters of both Bully Ray and Hogan, and I really want to see this through to what will hopefully be a satisfying conclusion. Heck, best friend and confidant Sting has been the most likable and relatable he’s been in just about ever. Even if this is just a long-form parody of the benefits Triple H has reaped by getting it into then putting a ring on Lady Stephanie, it’s really, really good. More of this, less #slapnuts please.
Worst: F-cking injuries, how do they work?
Bully. Bully Ray. Sweetie, darling. Stop. You can’t say you’re injured, then go dancing. You can’t point out that you’ve torn a quad and shouldn’t compete at Lockdown, then book yourself into a match involving the same guys who injured you. Oh wait, you can? And you did? Well, I guess we’ve got time for miracles, and I can notice and recognize them, so sure, let’s do this.
Best: Call me Jerry Lawler, because I just made a sh-tty heart attack reference
In all seriousness, my heart. is full. of FEELINGS. Mecha Shiva and Bad Influence! Everyone hates Chavandez! Christopher Daniels earned his medals! They all get to be on the same side and be best friends and drink appletinis and put pictures of Chavo and Jeff Hardy in their burn book and…okay, maybe not. But hey, they’re all on the same four-man tag team, so it’s a start! Is there a way this could get better?
This couldn’t get better, right?