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The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 12/5/13: The Ghost Of Earl Hebner’s Dignity

By / 12.06.13

Best: Feast or Fired

Why yes, I did think the Wheel of Dixie was a brilliant idea, and yes, I love every bit of this. But I swear to god, Aunt D, if Norv gets fired instead of Chavo, though…I swear to god…I will…complain on the internet and keep watching the show.

But I won’t be happy about it!


more bleeeeerrrggghhh

Worst: Please don’t talk about my ovaries, Christopher

Christopher Daniels comes to the ring to talk tabout how some of us seem to have gotten their ovaries in a knot over their treatment of Joseph Park in the past couple of weeks. Let’s pause everything for a second, and have some real talks. First of all, that’s not how female anatomy works. See Tubes, Fallopian if you want to get that weirdly specific about sexual organs that can get tied. Secondly, you deserve every ounce of criticism for your insincere, ill-conceived, half-hearted performances, and it’s not helping when your vasa deferentia get all knotted up over it. If you don’t want to be butthurt that people who like you think you’re doing a real sh-t job, don’t do a real sh-t job. That concept is a much easier one to understand than a tubal ligation, and even that’s pretty straightforward. Even though we might not act like it (see I’ve ever made, every dick joke), we’re all adults, and just because you’re tormenting a fan favourite doesn’t mean you can’t do it in a way that progresses the storyline in a thoughtful, well-executed manner instead of being boring, gutless, hacks about it. It’s disappointing, and I say that as a consummate Impact apologist and Bad Influence fan.

I know that Ethan Carter III is the new sh-t, and he’s kind of making everyone around him look real two-bit, but come on. If you visibly don’t believe that what you’re doing is funny or entertaining, how on earth are any of us supposed to get behind needless cruelty and zero payoffs without a hint of fun, or even genuine pathos? Not gonna happen, friend. You’re better than this. I know it. You know it. Every person who still defends you in the midst of you churning out hot garbage knows this. So why aren’t you showing it?

Is it Daisy? You can tell us if it’s Daisy.

Best, but really kinda worst: Again, so close

Real talks aside, this segment perfectly illustrates how easy it is to tell a story that has an immediate emotional connection, and then well and truly F it in the A. Let’s leave the sexy letters aside for a second, and really break this down.

Joseph Park has been the best person on televised wrestling for a very long time. His journey from “who the heck is that guy in the parking lot?” to “OVW trainee” to “Shiny new Impact Wrestler” has been the only consistent long-term narrative that was steadfast in its ability to get the point across in an intriguing and endearing way. It is the only thing that has earned a wait-and-see approach, and I am being entirely truthful when I say that even Chikara has pretty much messed up that kind of goodwill. As much as I want to fight finding out the truth behind Joseph Park and, you know, his brother Abyss, just fight it kicking and screaming, the video of Bad Influence going to the Park, Park, and Park law offices only to find them abandoned is so very, very good. It’s the kind of television that drowns out everything else that is happening, and forces you to get wrapped up in what it playing out onscreen. It is so well done, in fact, that it makes everything surrounding it look that much worse, and that much more unnecessary. Is there a reason Kazarian is spitting in Joseph Park’s face? Is there a reason he needs to be broken down to the point he thinks he should have never become an Impact Wrestler, and maybe the only person to ever love having that job?

It makes me sad to see Joseph Park so belittled, and sets off a lot of personal emotional triggers from many years of being bullied (which is fine, because again, emotional resonance is a really great thing in creative endeavours), but it makes me even sadder to see that something that carries so much emotional impact is surrounded by a needless, disgusting display. I fully understand that Bad Influence are well liked, and really need to get the kind of heat it takes to make people forget they enjoy them and flat out hate them, but it’s not a case of simply booing a heel. Anyone who goes up against Joseph Park is gonna get booed (or at least they should get booed) anyways. These are the kinds of tactics and performances that don’t make people boo, they make them stop watching. It would be a damn shame to shuffle off one of the best things that’s ever happened in the history of the company, something that no one else has done and is good and true and only yours, like so many aborted storylines before it. Something people can point to and say no, it’s not all worsts, look at this thing you’re missing out on. You sure are foolish for not watching this every Thursday.

It would be an even bigger shame to ruin all of that hard work by letting two people who seem to not even give a sh-t destroy it in one fell swoop of indifference and fat jokes.

Ow, my ovaries.

lol Gunner:

lol gunner

lol, Gunner.

Worst: There’s a reason there are only three minutes of this match on YouTube, or Best: Here’s Brandon!

Worst: The TV-ification Of The Last Man Standing Match

One of my least favorite things about wrestling is how match stipulations change how wrestlers give and take offense. For example, if you’re in a regular match with Randy Orton, an Attitude Adjustment will beat him. If you’re in a Last Man Standing match, though, you have to AA him off the stage onto an exploding truck full of steel chairs. If you’re in an elimination tag, you can, like, hiptoss him and pin him. There’s no consistency, and the stipulations become the determining factor of what happens instead of a cool way to enhance the already existing drama of the match.

So Kurt Angle ends up in a main-event against Magnus. Normally, nothing you do is gonna beat Kurt Angle. You can pull out a saw and saw him right in the middle of the forehead until his brains come out and he’s just gonna reverse it into a f*cking ankle lock. That’s how he rolls. If you put modern TNA Kurt Angle into a Last Man Standing match, he’s got the power of like six John Cenas, right? But if you put that match on TV, where everything has to be shorter and more compact and can’t drag on for 40 minutes of kickouts and off-the-cage highspots, what happens?

You get a situation like this Magnus match. A Last Man Standing match that begins with an extended headlock sequence for some reason and ends with a BOBBY ROODE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER. That’s all it takes for Kurt Angle to stay down. You hit him with a crossbody or something and he’s down for an 8 count. Because OH NO HIS SPINE or whatever. But then as soon as TNA gets on PPV again, nothing in the world’s gonna be able to keep him down for three. It’s weird, and inconsistent, and makes the match stipulation seem like it’s hurting the match instead of helping.

Whoopsy daisy!

Whoopsy daisy!

What also doesn’t help is Taz, who is basically just forcing air out of his throat now like you might force a turd when you’re constipated. YEAH Y’KNOW I FACED KURD ANGLE MANY TIMES A REAL ROCKETBUSTA BUT CONSIDER THIS, MAGNUS, HIS BODY IS FINE BUT MAYBE HE GOT HURT, AND THEN KURT’S GOT THESE BAD NECKS BUT NEVER COUNT KURT ANGLE OUT. Imagine if JBL’s hate-yelling on Raw didn’t form complete sentences. Just him going MILEY TWERK A POPPYCOCK COLE, ON MONDAY WE JBL. That’d be Taz.

I am still so sad that you keep wrestling, Kurt Angle. Please just … I don’t know, find a comfortable bed somewhere and take a nap. You can be a warrior and not look like Kuato from Total Recall at the same time.



Real Talks, Part Deux: No really, I don’t hate this show as much as I sound like I do

I’m gonna give credit where credit is due, and take a second to acknowledge that even if it’s kinda crummy, Impact is progressing it’s storylines, and things are actually happening. Stories are being told, people aren’t forgetting things that happened two weeks ago, and…well, okay, Tazz is still pretty wretched. My frustrations with TNA are well documented, but at the end of the day, I want to see good things come out of it. I want to see good wrestling. I want to get caught up in the stories that are being told. Even if it’s not the most compelling or interesting thing happening, I feel like they might actually be headed in the right direction. It’s a bumpy road, and I don’t love everything, and that’s fine, but at least we’re seeing some kind of forward momentum instead of a whole lot of meaningless matches and Hernandez. I cannot stress enough that I don’t actually watch this show out of some masochistic obligation, because that’s what ROH TV is for. I’m full up in that department.

Even if I didn’t Best or Worst something, I’m not fast-forwarding, I’m not thinking about what I have to get done once the show is over, or once the report is finished. It’s not a stressful thing on top of the pile of stressful things I have going on in my life. I want Thursday nights or Friday mornings or whenever to be something to look forward to, and even if I only look forward to one or two things, it’s still something. I’d be a real asshole if I didn’t point that out. Sure, there’s wrestling I’d much rather be watching. I’m dreadfully behind on New Japan. I’ve had an unwatched St. Louis Anarchy DVD sitting in front of my television since I got back from Austin in October. There’s so much good wrestling out there that when Impact isn’t good, it sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s why I treasure EC3, and Norv, and Dewey, and sometimes yeah, even the Bromans. I don’t want it to be that way, but I am now getting the feeling that we can get to the point when that’s no longer the case. Prove me right, Impact.

For the love of all things good in this world, prove me right.

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