Hey, friends. Are you as glum and down and out about Lockdown as I am? Has your EC3 wallpaper become a grim Maggie Simpson “DO IT FOR HER” inspiration when watching Impact? Am I slightly overreacting? I dunno, let’s find out! (but probably yes)
– Go listen to the most recent Mandible Claw podcast. Brandon let me talk about TNA, and I said way more nice things than I should have (it was pre-Lockdown). The last half hour is Brandon reading a gross Cesaro/Alex Riley fanfic reading where he had to skip multiple paragraphs about b-hole licking due to redundancy. Multiple paragraphs!
– Like this report, comment on it, tweet it, tumbl it, send it to every person you know. Send it to people you don’t know. Send it to your local congressman. Don’t send it to Samoa Joe. Do tweet at EC3 and tell him he looks nice this week.
This week on Impact: A nation in mourning, some weird subliminal product placement, and a kitty!
Worst: Everything is MVP, and nothing hurts more
At Lockdown, Dixie attempted to secure a victory by arranging for a special guest referee obviously rigged to be on her side. Bully Ray was that ref and, of course, at a pivotal moment that would have ensured a victory for Team Dixie, Bully Ray turned on team captain Bobby Roode, and assisted Team MVP in the win. Now MVP is in charge of Wrestling Operations, and is everyone’s new boss.
This is the worst thing to ever happen in the history of wrestling and bad things.
Okay, not it’s not, but it’s still super crummy. MVP takes the time to describe his management style, and it’s conveniently an acronym that matches his initials! See, he’s gonna Motivate, Validate, and Participate. Sounds like a nifty idea, yeah? First he’s going to Motivate his wrestlers: it’s always nice to encourage and support the people you work with. That doesn’t sounds so bad. Then he’s going to Validate their opinions: should they have “beef” (or angry seitan in Austin Aries’ case), he’ll give them the opportunity to get in the ring and work it out. A little odd that that’s the only way he’s going to deal with issues – ignore them and let the problems fix themselves – but this is a wrestling show and wrestling matches need to happen somehow. Then, if that still doesn’t fix it, he’s going to Participate: he is going to get into the ring and beat you until you shut up. Oh yeah, my boss does this all the time no wait I’m sorry you’re going to do what?
I feel that now is the time to once again point that on a show where no one is really a good guy and everyone is selfish and despicable to fault (except you, Joe Park, my candle in the wind), MVP is really not the good guy.
As I’ve said before, I feel that a lot of Impact’s core issues could handily be solved by an empowered Human Resources department and a working knowledge of Labour Board standards (or whatever this entity is in America). An objective third party that understands every worker is entitled to a safe and ethical workplace environment without fear of retaliation for pointing out when these standards are not met, or you’re constantly being kidnapped by a dude who jerks off with fistfuls of your hair, or when your old-ass boss wants to put on a onesie and dance around before he drops an elbow on your face because you have a legitimate workplace concern.
And then there’s Magnus.
Seriously, we had a good thing going. You were super sh*tty, I got to place an embargo on writing about you because you were simply that awful, and it was great. Then you joined up with Dixie and Spud and EC3 and blossomed under the radiant banner of the Blokemen. It was a glorious time, albeit all too brief. Then…okay. Then things got a little weird.
At Lockdown, Magnus wrestled Samoa Joe and it was…a thing that happened IN A STEEL CAGE, but then once Samoa Joe locked in a rear naked choke and it looked like he was going to make Magnus submit, a hand came up out of the ring? And then pulled Samoa Joe under the ring? And then he came out shuffling and drooling like Kurt Angle in his natural state? And then Abyss came out to help Magnus win?
If you can’t tell by the gratuitous question marks and understanding that every sentence is said out loud with an increasingly high-pitched inflection, it was…a little odd. And kind of confusing. And also slightly boring somehow? Question mark? Inflection??
Anyways, I guess now that we’ve violently switched directions on this show once again, we’re going to forget that Abyss was going to go somewhere to get help, and not just a new mask and a new British friend who pays him money because that has been his prime motivation for the nearly two years they’ve been telling this story.
Magnus lets us know that he has eschewed his Blokeman title and (delightfully) uses a mixed up American football metaphor to explain why he’s left Dixie behind, and is now using his power and newfound fortune (lol) as TNA champion to hire Abyss has his own personal monster. This causes MVP to call Magnus’s title run a joke, then bring out his own monster, and Number One Contender, Samoa Joe.
And then things get a little muddy. While it’s super fun to pretend that Joe is the Waymond to MVP’s Montez, realistically the person MVP is most similar to is the Popeye’s Chicken spokeslady. Just breathlessly shouting buzzwords without a break until your eyes kind of glaze over and you become less aware of what he’s actually saying, and moreso just accepting of the idea of what you think he might be getting at.
I DON’T HAVE TO MOTIVATE YOU BUT I WILL VALIDATE YOU AND I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS WRESTLING MATCH BECAUSE THAT’S NOT SEAFOOD THIS IS SEAFOOD MMM-MMM SAMOA JOE POPCORN SHRIMP WRESTLING I’M MVP AND I’M GONNA GIVE YOU A REVENGE MATCH AGAINST ABYSS AND ALSO THIRTEEN PIECES OF CHICKEN FOR $9.99 LET’S START THIS MATCH LOUISIANAAA FAAAAAST.
Oh god just take a breath and pause between your sentences and stop shouting at me I’m allergic to shellfish and maybe also your management approach and great now I’m doing it thanks a lot you jerkhole.
Worst: Samoa Joe vs. Abyss
It’s a throwaway match to set up the appearance of Eric Young to…beat up the thing his best friend turned back into because he forced it out of him and this is basically all his fault, but rather than help him get treatment he wants to…punch him…because…um…
Best: New girl in town
Hey, it’s Santana Garrett! She gets an introductory video package, and a new name that I will consistently have to google to make sure I get the spelling of Brittany correct. She’s not my favourite, and she’s still in full-on Shine mode, but I also have this headcanon that she’s the daughter of Amber O’Neal and Larry Zbysko, trying to keep up the family business of apartment wrestling, so…fun!
Worst: The breakup of Lei’D Tapa and Gail Kim
Recently my store got a new district manager. Our old district manager was serious business and fairly intimidating, but also really kooky and talked like a Muppet and was a genuinely nice lady. Our new district manager is also new to the company, so she’s doing that awful thing people in business do to prove themselves; coming in guns a blazing, determined to change everything, breaking down old systems that were months or years in development, with really no regard for anyone or anything. There are a certain amount of growing pains to be expected during a management shuffle, but it’s brutal, and everyone either hates her, is afraid of her, or both. Everyone is stressed out, and it’s changed the entire tone in not just our store, but everyone who is stuck under her shiny new iron fist.
That’s kind of what Impact feels like right now. They’re ignoring canonically established personalities, plot points, allegiances, no matter how long they’ve existed. Factions and friendships are being smashed to bits left and right, and what was a mostly entertaining show with random acts of Gunner is back to being confused, miserable, disjointed, and as negative as it can possibly be. …yay.
Except you, remaining Blokemen. Well…kind of. I don’t much enjoy angry backstage group beatdowns (or Bobby Roode as ersatz Kurt Angle at this point), but it’s really going to take something drastic for me to not enjoy Spud egging on the BroMans and EC3, while DJ Zema makes a triumphant airhorn noise over Bully Ray’s supine figure. So basically what I’m saying is THEY ARE PRECIOUS AND PERFECT AND YOU LEAVE THEM ALONE DO YOU HEAR ME
Best: Sanada/Tigre Uno vs. The BroMans and that air horn noise
As of right now, Sanada’s character is JAPANESE HONOUR, and Tigre Uno’s character is HE’S A KITTY (hee!), but I dug this match. The BroMans are decked out in my favourite colour for “St. Pattycakes Day,” Uno has TINY KITTY EARS, and he and Sanada actually look like a cohesive unit. Yeah. Yeah this isn’t so bad.
I just wish they had been around for/won tag title shots during Feast or Famine so they could be called team Neko Case.
Best with a bullet: Look away, look away Dixieland
Precious and perfect. That’s what you are. The hankie bit. The look on EC3’s face at the word “supple.” Spud as baby Jesus. The tribute video. Spud in glasses. Precious and perfect.
Of course, this was not everyone’s reaction:
Worst: MVP ruins everything
I am incredibly delighted at the idea of whackadoodle Willow against Rockstar Spud, however…
Worster Worst: Bobby Lashley??
Kurt Angle has to have a bionic leg installed and therefore was unable to wrestle, leaving EC3 without an opponent at Lockdown. Bobby Lashley, in what can only be described as an act of extreme cowardice and defiance in the face of open challenge ettiquette, attacked EC3 without provocation.
Yeah. Bobby Lashley.
This is again a good time to point out that MVP has enacted a hostile takeover because “he knows better,” inserted himself into matches despite being a corporate figurehead, and has now signed another past-his-prime (did Lashley have a prime? Realistically?) wrestler/sh*tty MMA fighter to join his other main push, a past-his-prime Samoa Joe. The old guard gets another old guard. Beach Muscles Bobby is also mean for literally no reason. He’s brand new, has no legitimate “beef” with EC3 or Spud to be validated, and is incredibly disrespectful of other people’s oversized memorial photos.
These are the “good guys.”
Best: Mending fences
It’s so nice to see that Taeler Hendrix is still able to get work.
Sort of Best: Angelina Love….kinda? Not particularly, no.
Hoo boy this was rough. I only give this a best because I’ve had three separate conversations with three different people about how quasi-offensive but majorly entertaining the Winter/Angelina Love vs. the Knockouts roster not under a weird sexy vampire spell angle was. Realistically it wasn’t fantastic, but even I have to admit that it’s one of those things I look back on with fondness. Angelina Love didn’t have to speak and could just DDT the crud out of people, Winter had no core strength but didn’t have to really wrestle, just mostly be pale and pretty and German. It was also a defined Knockouts storyline that got multiple segments and matches of import.
Going forwards, I have all the faith in the world that this will be nothing like that in any way.
Worst: Oh. Oh no.
I…I think I just figured out what is happening. Bobby Lashley, MVP, a seeming reunion of the Beautiful People, rumours (extremely plausible rumours) that Vince Russo is showrunning from behind the curtain…we’re in a time travel episode. We hit 88mph and we’re all back in 2009. Jeff Jarrett is doing his own thing, Kevin Nash is back with WWE, Kurt Angle will be as soon as he gets his Robocop suit, and this is what we’re left with.
Did the room just get super tiny and full of clutching chest pains for anyone else?
It Definitely Happened: Willow vs. Rockstar Spud
what is even happening
The wacky screen effect. His velvet pants. His literally showing up out of nowhere to shout about death and cackle a bunch. This is one of those things you watch wide-eyed in amazement because it’s impossibly ridiculous, and can’t be real, but it’s on TV and I haven’t done a million drugs so it has to be happening, right?
You see it too, right?
Actual Best: What Willow inspires
And I don’t mean the sudden idea that spinning an umbrella around indoors is a safe idea. (It’s not. Teach your children well, and let them see that umbrellas are for outdoors and to stay away from people who have done a million drugs). I mean my super cool dude friend Kyle Starks has made these wonderful Willow comics, and the world should be enjoying them.
Worst: Boo this man! Or…I guess…don’t…
Reminder: the good guy is the one who very recently wanted to murder Mr. Anderson’s wife and set his newborn twins on fire.