Best: It begins…
World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III has the best ring to it. Magnus, you’re in trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…
Worst: Kurt Angle vs. Dixie Carter
Ways to make Kurt Angle palatable this week:
1) play his speaking parts at double speed so he sounds vaguely human
2) fast forward until Bobby Roode shows up
3) Continue to watch this video instead
Worst, best, I dunno, whatever: Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim
Madison Rayne is back and mad at Gail Kim because…she can be? She wants the belt, but there isn’t really anything more defining of her motivations than “welcome back, please enjoy being a placeholder while we think of something else, but we’ve got other stuff to do, so have a belt until then I guess.”
Best: Gail, baby love
I will always pop for that hanging figure four, even if TNA gunks it up with bad camera angles. Always.
Worst: The bland tagging the bland, or Best: ilu EC3
Better best: Friendship-based everything!
Come back to me, you sweet thing.
Best: Sting vs. EC3
Of course I’m giving this a best. Of course I am. Up until the very end, I loved this. I love what’s happening with EC3’s hair (did you straighten it? Did you just wake up from a nap? I don’t understand it but it is a thing I support!), and I love that Rockstar Spud accessorized his referee gear with a bowtie. Sting is…not great, but he can still kinda make some things look good, and his wrestling brain is hampered by his old man wrestling body, so I will cut him some slack because my heart is still full from friendship-based tweeting. There’s one really well executed Scorpion Death Drop that made me raise an eyebrow in appreciation, or, well, raise both with the internal idea of raising one because I can’t actually do that.
We get a lot of back and forth about Sting in these parts, and how some people don’t get it, and the rest are just really sad because he was a thing they loved and now his brain is all melty and he’s shaped like those old men who water their lawns in dress pants and undershirts all summer long. There’s…okay. There’s really, truly, something to be said for seeing Sting live, and there’s something in that that adds to how good this match feels to watch. A live crowd loves the ever-living f-ck out of Sting, and there is no way that you can avoid getting swept up in that kind of excitement. Well…you can, but we can talk about my miserable WrestleMania main events some other time. There is also a great deal of forgiveness extended to him by a live crowd simply because you can’t really see what’s going on. Real talks? I was the most mojo when he came out at Lockdown 2011. The lights went out, and his music hit, and it was just so cool and everyone was so excited. Any feelings I had about the participants coming into it, I let go of, and now have these weirdly fond memories of the match. The double-Scorpion Death Lock he put on Anderson and RVD? Oh man. I remember it being so good, and when I watched the match again on DVD, it looked like the hottest garbage. Just the worst, laziest thing you’ve ever seen.
But that feeling…this match seemed to have that same feeling. This match made me wish I were there to cheer on EC3 (maybe quietly, because so many reasons), to be a part of the crowd that was so excited and then watch them get sooooo butthurt at the outcome. It sounds terrible, and maybe I’m watching it wrong, but anything that makes me feel like I missed out on something by not going to a show is a very good thing, and so sorely lacking in the show up until now.
And then ending? Oh, sweet purple trunks, that ending. Here’s the deal: Dixie Carter was upset that Senior Referee Earl Hebner (more like…senior…referee..who doesn’t know how to be impartial…um…we’ll work on that later) walked out on the last match, and doesn’t trust him to call this one right down the middle. Despite his protest, Dixie arranges for another referee: Rockstar Spud in all of his tiny stripey non-smooshed glory. The match starts, wrestle wrestle wrestle, but lo, Spud doesn’t take kindly to the idea that there’s a sliver of a chance Sting could be getting the upper hand, so he jumps him. Sting, with Spud on his back, swings around in maybe the best little bit of physical comedy he’s done (no, I am not including his wrestling, don’t be mean), and uses Spud’s little legs to knock out EC3. Sting gets EC3 down for the pin, but Spud refuses to count. Sting grabs him by the hand, forcing it to the mat, but then MAGNUS OUTTA NOWHERE pulls Spud from the ring, rips off his jacket and shirt to reveal a ref shirt, EC3 gets the roll-up, 1-2-3, Sting loses.
And it is glorious.
Three blokes, united under one common goal, friendship-based everything! Magnus gets a best, the world is topsy turvy, my heart is happy, and then…oh. But then…
Worst: Boys wear belts but men wear suspenders and I paid five bees on the nickel for these boots
Sigh. We were so close. So close.
Sting calls out to Magnus, prompting Mike Tenay to yell that Magnus should “man up.” Sting then goes on a convoluted diatribe about how Magnus isn’t a real man, and he should be a real man by giving Sting a title shot, so be a real man, because boys wear belts, so are you a man, or are you a boy?
Well, he has the belt, so clearly he’s a boy? But then after saying that boys are champions, the second boy is said with an affected feminine whine and a limp wrist insinuating that being a boy means that you’re gay and there’s definitely something wrong with that?
Tune in next week when Sting debuts his new FAGNUS t-shirt, and gets into an argument with a retaining wall over why it’s still cool to be a senior dressed like the Crow in 2014.