Best: Bless you, EC3
I love that casual pre-match EC3 entails wearing jeans with his gauntlets, like Wonder Woman was in a rush, and just threw on some slacks to run out and grab some coffee on the way to a JLA meeting. I love that the best parts of this episode are the awkward yet fascinating looks into pre-match fashion choices. I love that he is still, hands down, the best part of this match. He makes Samoa Joe look a million times better than he has any right to look at this point. I like that everything he does makes sense, from a physical standpoint, to his character motivations, to how aware he is of the production of televised wrestling, and how he fully optimizes his onscreen appearances. I like that his failed splash in the corner looked like it would have actually done some damage had it been successful. Sting’s actual splashes haven’t looked that good in about six decades (I might not be good at estimating).
He is so good at things and I don’t understand why more people can’t see it. I know there are some of you who think he stinks, and think I just say these things because he’s handsome (he is!), or because he is a well-known With Leather favourite (he is also that!), but the good news is I don’t think of you nerds at all. Team Mr. The Third always!
Worst: Paying attention makes you miserable
I love wrestling. I love watching it, I love talking about it, hell, I even love writing this column even if TNA fights me at every turn to make that impossible these days. But there comes a point when you watch so much wrestling that your brain sheds the “it’s just wrestling, whatever” mentality, and when things don’t make sense, sometimes you just stop enjoying them. Watching Impact for as long and as intently as I have is pretty much a crash course in making that happen. It is the Rosetta Stone of learning how not to execute things properly. I think that’s why it’s sometimes so difficult to articulate exactly why it’s bad. As I’ve said before, you get so used to how bad it is, unless something is spectacularly awful or racist or sexist or what have you, it gets lumped in with the awful you know, and not the awful that would inspire anger from any of the bigger wrestling shows.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this match is a million times no fun, but the fact that it’s even happening might anger me the most. We’ve got MVP saying he can hire and fire people at will, but yet…he doesn’t do it. We’ve got Kenny King interrupting MVP’s emphatic protests to the First Blood match proposed by Bully Ray to agree to the match, but yet MVP doesn’t just say hey, that shit’s not binding, go home Kenny you are drunk and your shirt is too big. If MVP has all this power, just say no. Just say no! It’s not a big deal! We can move from point A to point Wrestling Match without muddling all of the facts. Don’t establish canon and then break it because then I turn into Tina Belcher shouting NONCANONICAL! at my laptop and wanting to flip over a million tables. If you establish rules, explain clearly why they are being followed, or why they are being broken. And not an explanation like that of The Menagerie, where it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Don’t just be like WHOOPS WELL OKAY LET’S JUST HAVE A BIG BABY FIGHT OVER IT instead. Don’t do that. If you get paid to write a story from start to finish, you can’t just pull a Zatanna and be like WHOOPS PAUL DINI’S GONE SO FORGET ABOUT THAT BAD GUY LET’S SAY SOME STUFF BACKWARDS OH LOOK ZATANNA IN A BIKINI END SCENE. That sucked. Don’t do that. A long-term television narrative dictates that you must pay attention to these things, so just do it. Stick it on a post-it. Write it on a white board. Remember that you are professional writers and get paid to pay attention to the things that come out of your own brain. If I have to apply critical thinking to watch it, try applying some critical thinking when creating it.
Or, you know, keep producing lazy television that nobody wants to watch, and continue to be the butt of every televised wrestling joke. Whatever.
Worst: NOT THE FACE!