Worst: Knockouts? More like…something clever that conveys that this sucks
Gail Kim forgets how being in a heel tag team works despite very recently being in a heel tag-team, and doesn’t anticipate either Velvet Sky attacking her from behind while Angelina Love has the mic, nor does she remember that celebrating will bring a shot from behind from Angelina and her title belt. She’s been shot into facedom so quickly it practically gave her whiplash, and she’s obviously suffering. For as long as Gail Kim has been a heel, you would expect that she understands how they operate, because it’s how she operates. But that takes thought and effort and an understanding of the idea of continuity, but we’re resetting everything up in here, so Gail is just helpless against Velvet Sky (seriously, think about the laughable imbalance of offense in this match), and clueless when it comes to heel tactics.
Also, protip: If you’re going to cut over to Velvet Sky distracting the ref with SEXXXY MOVEZ, be sure to leave the camera on her long enough so it doesn’t just look like she’s squatting to crank out a turd. (And I don’t just mean this match! Hohohooo.)
Best: Ethan Carter III because of course he is
Because goddamnit of course he is. Everyone knows my feelings on Mr. The Third by now (and infer some feelings that aren’t there, so that’s a cool thing too), but this promo is good. It’s damn good. It’s the kind of thing that made my not-as-big-a-fan boyfriend think this is the best thing he’s ever done, and now wants him to take the belt off of MVP at bound For Glory after MVP wins it at Slammiversary. Personally I see myself struggling to endure MVP as champion (or on television) for that long, but it makes sense, and I won’t say no to an EC3 championship.
Worst: The Ass Menagerie
So last week I pointed out that if Impact were an episode of Criminal Minds, the writer behind the Knockouts storylines would be arrested as crazy predator ensub due to overwhelming evidence, but y’all wanna get mad over Worsting the debut match of the Menagerie, so cool. Okay. Let’s take a hard look at them this week.
The thing about The Menagerie (besides the infuriating constant mispronunciation of their stable name) is that it should be a stand out. It’s a fun idea that isn’t based solely upon violence towards women, or wanting to murderkill everyone because tough guy toughness. You’ve got stilt-walkers, a weirdo strongman, and a clown with too many Zs. Mike Knox gets a sparkly vest and a new puppy’s excitement, and he seems to enjoy being around his split-doing, fire-twirling, pants-hating lady friend. There’s enough of a creepy carnival undercurrent that should keep it from being a total joke.
But none of it works. As tweetbro/DropToehold Editor Kurtis pointed out, “this reminds me of something else I like and this isn’t it.” That about sums it up, doesn’t it? I mean that about sums up Impact as whole, realistically, but the sentiment is apt. I like creepy carnival throwback type stuff. I like wrestling. I can’t twirl fire because I’m me, and that me only last night hurt myself trying to take a package out of the mailbox, so it’s just a bad idea all around. I want to like The Menagerie. I tried very hard to like The Menagerie. In theory, I like The Menagerie. In practice, oh boy, it is not great.
The interaction between Crazzy Steve and The Freak has the potential to be cute and fun. The Freak (again, without naming his super-secret-not-obvious-at-all-even-though-he-once-had-a-feud-over-that-name identity) has an underrated knack for comedic timing. Crazzy Steve is…I dunno about that guy. He reminds me of an Oliver Grimsley-meets-Buxx Belmar sort, but it’s not really enough of one or the other to really stand out, and he hasn’t done much other than “I have balloons and now I don’t HAHA THAT’S CRAZZY,” but could maybe be something interesting if given the time. Rebel has, shockingly, been given enough of a backstory that it makes sense for her to be there. Knuxxy is…also there. And that’s fine. It’s all so terribly fine.
The underlying issue is that they don’t really make sense in the TNA Universe. Right now we’re building to some sort of “all the heels are faces now so we can fight off big bad MVP because he lied to us so let’s forget we hate each other and band together as one to defeat a common enemy” tilt, but they’re just…there. It’s such an odd time to debut all of them. They haven’t had enough interaction with people outside of the giant shipping crate they all live in to be involved in a roster-wide shift in attitude. Their debut match stunk, and this one? What is even happening? Seriously. Go back and watch it. What is even happening.
The lighting continuing through the match is fine, but I’ve never been anti-Sin Cara’s strip club ambient lighting either, so that could just be me. The music playing throughout the “match” doesn’t lend a creepy carnival vibe, it’s distracting and chaotic, but not in the way the entire thing tries to portray them as distracting and chaotic. It’s just noise. The apron comedy spots, the balloon splash, Rebel doing whatever she’s doing…it’s all so forced. It’s like Bully Ray and his need to prove that he’s a cool dad or whatever last week. There is no room for an organic reaction to what’s happening. We’re not left to draw our own conclusions and form our own opinions because this match and its accompanying commentary are screaming down our throats. WHOA LOOK HOW WACKY THIS IS. WHOA THIS MUSIC IS CRAZY. WOW THIS IS TOTAL CHAOS LOOK AT THAT LADY DOING STUFF OH MY GOD NOW THE REFS PANTS ARE DOWN HAHA HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMETHING SO WACKY IT’S WACKY GUYS IT’S SO WACKY. And poor Kazarian. Oof.
We can infer that Impact doesn’t have any respect for the intelligence of its audience simply based upon the kind of show it puts on every week, but you don’t even treat toddlers like this. I never took my brother to the zoo and shouted LOOK AT THE ZEBRA LELAND DO YOU SEE THE ZEBRA WOW IT’S A ZEBRA DID I ALSO MENTION IT’S A ZEBRA LOOK AT THAT ZEBRA because I know that even at three years old, guess what? He can see the f-cking zebra.