Worst: Full Settle Mayhem
I can entirely understand the draw of this match. As someone who claims three TLC matches in her all-time favourites, the idea that two out of the six participants in those matches will go head to head with as many ladders and tables and chairs and TOTALLY NOT FAKE hammers as they can stuff into the American Bank Center is exciting. And neither of them are Matt Hardy! Even better!
I was watching the 2003 Survivor Series before I watched this episode, and it’s amazing how much things have changed in ten years. The Dudleys are back together, but look at Bully Ray. He’s a world champion in the shoot best shape he’s ever been in. John Cena hadn’t even won the US Championship. RVD was still making an effort, and Kurt Angle could still walk like a human being. Eddie Guerrero was still alive, as was [name redacted]. It was a weird trip that served to get me more into the main event of this episode than it probably should have.
My return to wrestling was born of things both of these guys did. Flippy-smashy stuff will always be rooted deep in my heart, and no amount of perceived wrestling snobbery will get rid of that. The dangerous thing about this love is that it will never come back in the way I want it to. I’ll never have that feeling again. I’ve talked and written about the dangers of nostalgia before, but the painful truth of knowing that this is just a rehash of something that once made my heart swell is enough to cast a shadow over any main event. Now, that’s not to say this was totally horrible. “Not totally horrible” is really the best I can hope for most often, and if the intention was to achieve total adequacy, they succeeded in spades. Aces of spades, even.
This really wasn’t a great episode of Impact. I’ve dealt with those before, because TNA, but this one left me feeling sad. That was further exacerbated by watching the X-Travaganza PPV immediately afterwards. TLC matches and the X-Division, both great once upon a time, but now shells of their former selves. Impact has proven that it can put on a great show, but when it leaves me yearning to pull out those VHS tapes of X-Division matches, or throw on the 2000 Royal Rumble just to watch the Dudley-Hardy tables match, it’s disappointing. I want TNA to stand on its own and entertain me each week, not serve as an anemic retread that forces me to watch something else to make up for it’s disappointing, copycat version. Unfortunately, I think that sums up what has always been TNA’s greatest failure.
So…how about them sea otters, huh?