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The Best and Worst of Impact Wrestling 5/1/14 and 5/8/14: Circus Plumbeus

By 05.10.14

But wait, there’s more!

Oh, Spud and EC3. I love you in the morning, and in the afternoon, I love you in the evening, and underneath the lumbering shadow of Kurt Angle’s entitlement and unnecessary homophobia.

“NOT CRAZY STEVE! HE’S CRAZY!” is officially my new favourite line delivery in history of anything ever.

Willow proved that umbrella beats broken beer bottle in the worst game of Rock, Paper, Scissors ever. The Wolves and Sanada defeated the BroMen, Davey Richards might be morphing into (not such a) Kid Kash, and Bobby Roode faced his fellow Canadian (from Nashville) Eric Young for the title. Eric Young is a good sportsman and a likeable guy and whoa hey sorry almost fell asleep there for a second.

After weeks of intimidation and threats, Bully Ray threatens the “ugly woman” who put him through a table that just so happens to be the only saving grace of a brutally sluggish PPV match. He’s mad not only because it cost him the match, but physically injured his ribs. So…the big bad tough guy who made his living putting people/being put through tables went through a table in a tables match and now it’s the worst thing in the world ever. Okay. Sure. Are we done yet? Can we move on from making the hero of the people one who just wants to commit acts of violence against women? Again?

So. Then this happened. Angelina Love reads off a letter from the board of directors delivering an ultimatum: dress “appropriately,” or there will be consequences. Love and Velvet Sky respond like two rational, professional adults, and by that I mean look, guys, this is horsesh*t. Even trying to type out a distilled version of this is…it’s not even infuriating. I think it’s well past that point. Impact has not been great, nor (spoiler alert) does it get much better this week. The challenge, as I’ve often said, is to try to remain objective, and at least attempt to be constructive in my criticism in between making puns and thoughtfully drawing unhappy faces on Gunner’s butt. But I don’t even know where to go with this Knockouts situation anymore.

The idea here is that Velvet and Love are reacting how anyone should react to slutshaming: confident defiance because, you know, shaming someone like that is actually a bad thing. This, much like Velvet’s response to Sabin’s verbal abuse, hints at something deeper than an attempt at portraying a strong, independent woman and failing miserably. I don’t think there’s any attempt at all, in fact. There’s a much darker thread that has been run through the female-oriented storylines for the last little while.

Be it Dixie, Christy Hemme, or now, somehow, the Beautiful People, the end game seems to be putting women into a seeming position of power, a sudden burst of self-confidence – a show of strength and self-defence – which only leads to intimidation and humiliation. It’s Velvet being shouted at, embarrassed on camera, standing up for herself, then being dismantled by Alpha Female as Chris Sabin parades around the ring in triumph. It’s literally every single thing about the Hemme-Samuel Shaw storyline.

While the Beautiful People created this elaborate practical joke to call out the audience for being voyeuristic goons who just wanted them to get naked (because a cursory google image search won’t find either of them wrapped in plastic film or diddling themselves with an X-Box controller for Lee South), the end game was to still have their clothes ripped from their bodies, leaving them to run away in shame. It doesn’t matter how naked they get on the internet, or how little clothing they wear in the ring (or anyone wears, it’s wrestling, we know what y’all are working with), the idea is that they are being exposed against their will.

Dixie comes out to gloat about putting Bully Ray through a table, and really show him who’s boss. It seems like we’re back in the sunny meadows of DixieLand, but again, it’s just a set up for Bully Ray to intimidate her, then MVP to come out and ban them both from HIS ring, because HE’S got the power (over the owner of the company okie dokie). One must be above the other, Dixie must remember her place. She’s at the top of the company, but lowest on the food chain.

Realistically, one can infer that it’s just someone who’s not very good at writing female characters, but there’s a difference between poor writing (just pick a thing from the male side of things, it really doesn’t matter which at this point), and the abject hatred that lurks in the shadows of every female onscreen situation. There’s someone (or someones) that not only hasn’t shed that old school mentality of gay panic/pervert gimmicks/ladies getting their tickets out = $$$, but really, truly, point of fact, has a dangerous attitude towards women. Especially those in power. It’s a sinister revenge fantasy being played out over and over, but yet no one is stopping it. No red flags are being raised by this malicious behaviour. No alarm bells going off that this person doesn’t just want to write female situations, he wants to write situations that hurt females. That should both terrify and disgust you.

Wake the hell up, TNA.

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