Did…did Willow just say that Rock Star Spud reminds him of dirty burgers?
Best: Spud and EC3, because of course they are
Because of course they are. Contending with Willow and his WIPPITY WOO VELVET PANTY PIES THAT ARE AS SMOOTH AND SOFT AS HIS SOUL WHEN IT DANCES IN THE BLACKEST RAIN EEEAHAHAAH is, in theory, one of those things at which I should furrow my brow, then give up on to google gifs of baby goats doin’ cute goat stuff to make myself feel better, but the criticism I can give to the Wolves/Bromans doesn’t apply here. It’s a serious match with three ridiculous personalities that has enough humour to maintain the integrity of their personalities, but also enough actual wrestling that it’s not just Willow jumping around with his umbrella trying to be the mall-gothiest Mary Poppins to ever goth or Poppins.
Had 16-year-old Danielle had a dance crew, it would 100% have been named Pop & Goth.
Worst: But seriously
Running a concurrent angle about a guy who went through the indies, was crapped on by WWE, and came back from it to prove he’s best in the world at what he’s good at with Eric Young instead of EC3? Come on. Mind you, it’s a storyline they shouldn’t be running anyways, and interrupts everything that EC3 has built, but come the f*ck on. He’s spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it!
(and also his friend too while you’re at it okay please and thank you forever)
Worster worst: Hurty Kurty
Impact Wrestling: Where life begins at 40.
Alternate jokes considered for his return:
– I heard that Kurt Angle’s favourite XTC song is Life Begins at the Hobble
– Kurt Angle and Willow to form tag team, plan to call themselves Hobble Goblin
– Kurt Angle to star in upcoming docudrama The Hobble: An Unexpectedly Long Journey To Get To The Ring
Best/Worst: Sanada vs. Tigre Uno And My Existential Crisis
A guest entry from Brandon:
On paper, this is the best part of the show. It’s probably the best part of the show OFF paper, too, but bear with me.
On paper, you’ve got exactly what I want from TNA’s X-Division. It’s a match between international stars. One of them is a tiger-themed guy from Mexico. The other is a young Japanese star tasked by THE GREAT FREAKING MUTA to bring honor to himself and his country by proving the worth of Japanese professional wrestling to an American audience. This guy’s got the X-Division championship, his “passport to the United States,” and he’s defending it in a Best of 3 series. The tiger guy took him by surprise with a crazy splash from the top rope to even the series at 1-1, and now we’re going into match 3 with tons on the line. This is beautiful.
The problem, like most of Impact’s problems in my brain, comes in the translation. Instead of spending time to truly focus on the story told in that paragraph, you’re rushing them through everything and filling most of the match shilling Willow and your live shows. Big moves happen and Tenay soullessly says things like “look at the agility of Tigre Uno” like he’s reading a takeout menu. “Look, they’ve got sesame bean curd.” Kenny King’s on commentary talking about Samoa Joe and MVP. Taz is doing everything he can to not yell ME SO SOLLY on a live mic. It’s over in like two minutes. You’ve got a best of three series between international stars for your second most prestigious title and it’s over in TWO MINUTES. You could do all three falls in 10 minutes. All three falls in half the time it takes any authority figure to talk in the ring. Everybody moves on and the match is instantly forgotten, because of course they went 1-1, and of course we’re doing match 3 in the best of three.
The distressful thing is how badly I want to love this, and how obviously it’s a 15-minute WCW Nitro story crammed into a 3-minute package. That’s just it. It’s Juventud Guerrera vs. Super Calo or whatever without any time spent allowing it to sink in or be understood. The announce team’s talking about Hollywood Hogan and what the nWo’s gonna do tonight, but with 12 fewer minutes. So everything’s insanely detached and ADD. Nothing matters. You forget it when it’s over. That sucks. I’m okay doing that with a Mr. Anderson match, but these guys can be GOOD. Extreme Tiger kinda blows (why does he have spiders on his pants if he’s a tiger?) and Sanada’s not exactly Okada, but they’re here to prove themselves, right? Why are they getting Divas time restraints to prove themselves? Isn’t wrestling like this the thing that “sets you apart” and makes you an “alternative?”
Take your time, TNA. If every time you do a story somebody can say “lol you ripped off WWE,” and your only defenders are guys who say “everybody rips off everybody, TNA did it first, WWE stole their ideas,” that’s not ideal. You want to do things that make people say “I’ve never seen that before,” or “I really enjoyed watching that,” or “this is a thing I prefer based on its own merits.” Creating comments section arguments is not how you make money. You make money by observing your own strengths, spotlighting them and backing the hell away from your weaknesses.
Here are 8,000 more words about how a good little 2 minute match made me reflect on Impact Wrestling’s entire life.