Hello Impact friends! Thanks for stopping by. I treasure our time together. A few things before we get to some very important puns:
Have you watched the trailer for our dear Brandon’s movie Meet Me There yet? Are you hype? Well, as someone who doesn’t get hype, but rather stays hype, I can say this reinforces my hype state tenfold.
Link, like, comment, tweet, and share these Bests and Worsts with everyone you know. Literally everyone. The girl you went to highschool with who is on your Facebook, and your mom really liked her but you never talk to her but still feel guilty about unfriending her so you don’t? Yeah. Especially her.
This week on Impact: Jump to the left, roll to the right, AJ Styles is going to try to unify the belts tonight!
Worst: AJ Styles’ hair
I’m perplexed at how one achieves and maintains such monumental hat-head on a regular basis. Do you sleep in a baseball cap? Put it on over wet hair? Do you go to the barber and ask to look as unemployable as possible? Inquiring minds want you to brush your hair, AJ.
Worst: The rest of AJ Styles
Dixie is trying to convince AJ to sign a one-match contract – a winner take all, no disqualification championship match between him and Magnus to settle this title dispute (even if the title isn’t even really AJ’s I mean he doesn’t even work there). AJ says that winner take all means that he’ll be the undisputed champion. No more tournaments, no more “stupid Dixieland matches,” one man, champion forever.
AJ, sweetie darling, sweetie, that’s not exactly what undisputed champion means. You don’t just get to keep it forever and ever with no challengers. You also don’t have the authority to ban Dixieland matches and I swear to god I’m gonna get a f-cking tuxedo match out of this company if it kills me.
The downside to how stellar Dixie has been (and continues to be throughout the episode) is that when she’s next to someone who is just kind of okay (promo delivery is a sliding scale on Impact), if they can’t rise to her level, they look foolish. AJ is…not great on the mic by any stretch of the imagination, but next to Dixie, someone who has improved exponentially with each appearance, it’s really quite sad, especially when you consider how long AJ Styles has been speaking on television. Reacting to everything like someone just asked him about the gay community, then bugging out his eyes and yelling a bunch is not exactly great form, but hey, it’s what he’s been doing for…um…*checks watch* ever. But people still cheer his white pants and dumb pele kicks, so I suppose there’s something to be said for accessorizing with matching gloves and mediocrity.
As I’ve written a dozen times before, in theory, the story is great. All of the reasons that forced me to stop writing about Magnus are all of the reasons that AJ Styles has an issue with him. Styles has been a company man for over a decade, and won the World Heavyweight Championship once prior to this. He’s fought and feuded kicked around, but he’s always been there. Of course he takes issue with someone like Magnus having HIS title in HIS company, but at the end of the day, his issue is with the company and Dixie and her motivations, not really Magnus himself. It’s an interesting story, but the delivery is shoddy, and relies heavily on the notion that TNA would be good if they the storylines to match their talent. Now his talent is at the forefront of something intriguing that actually has a modicum of continuity, and he’s falling short. Magnus, for all of his faults, has the chance to play the role of the undeserving puppet in a Big Bad’s machinations, and he’s almost there. But AJ stands, not as a martyr, but a lumbering dinosaur of a previous age. Someone who’s now settled into the category of a Sting or Kurt Angle, something to move away from as the company has a chance to evolve into something better, younger, fresher. I should be on the side of AJ Styles, given my predilection for making fart noises and wanking motions in Magnus’s general direction every time he’s on screen, but the more he wants to be king, the more I want to see him be the first against the wall.
My embargo on writing about Magnus still stands, so instead of watching him order (sigh, yes, order) Dixie out of the ring inisting that this is between AJ and him (even if Magnus is just a strawman), please enjoy this video of Oscar the Shiba Inu not understanding what a trampoline is:
Much better, eh?
Best: Joseph Park high-fives
It’s like he’s high-fiving my heart and oh god never leave ever please
Best: DJ Xema
I haven’t gotten to write too much about Xema Ion since his return, given the holidays and whatnot, but I think we can all agree that turning his obnoxiousness up to 11 and giving him an airhorn sound clip is what’s best for business.
My great wrestling loves are usually…well…big fat guys and disproportionately tiny ones…but aside from that, I love ridiculous characters. The most over the top heels, the silliest of gimmicks. That moment of “what on earth is even happening” that turns into “oh lord this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen let me love you” makes me giddy. It’s why, aside from a few moments of misogyny, I can get behind the Bromans. It’s why I will forever treasure Magnum Robbie T for giving me the posedown I longed for, and then some. It’s why I have an Akeem the African Dream action figure (see also guy, fat). All of these things are a crucial part of my wrestling happy place landscape, somewhere between Dynamite Kid in Japan Boulevard and Tommy Rich’s Beautiful Head of Synthetic Doll Hair Avenue.
This is a perfect example of what I mean when I say Impact is moving on, and is better off without some manic homophobe sputtering out pap balms. Enjoyable television is fun to watch. Who knew?
Plus if he tanks out, I can start calling him DJ Eczema. I mean come on it’s right there.
Best: I love it when a plan comes together
Prior to the match, we’re shown two quick clips of Dixie Carter first addressing Lei’D Tapa and Gail Kim, then the Bromans, asking them if they understand what they have to do. See, AJ Styles has friends (aww, friends) in the back, and with the deciding title match fast approaching, Dixie is going to distract, root out, and eliminate anyone who could possibly come to his aid. Do I like seeing Joe Park get beat up? Of course not. He should be showered with hugs and given an Andy Richter puppy suit so he’s happy all the time, but I accept it because it’s exactly what needs to happen. By beating up ODB, Kim and Tapa get to act like the assholes they are, assert their dominance, and it takes Eric Young, bearded babyface and potential Styles supporter, out of the picture. This leaves the Bromans to double team Joseph Park, get the victory, and nip any thoughts of rushing to AJ’s defense in the bud. Dixie Carter is a bad, bad lady, and she’s turning her line in the sand into a barb wire fence.
Best: Samoa Joe whoa wait what
No. Really. I am going to best the heck out of Samoa Joe, and not just because he clearly stated that he doesn’t threaten ladies instead of calling her a dumb hosebeast bitch or whatever…well, okay, yes, that’s part of it. Thank you for that. Joe simply stating his intentions and letting her know that he stands with AJ Styles (aw, friends, wrestle friends) is a good match for Dixie’s unf-ckwithable attitude. Both understand what the other is capable of, and neither is going to be intimated. Both look like strong enemies instead of one subjugating the other and making it uncomfortably gender-specific. Hooray! You did it! AND it sets up a match with consummate Best EC3. Even better!
The worst thing that ends up happening when you have a main event storyline like this is that it feels like it exists in a vacuum. You have your main players, and the rest are left to float around on their own, with no connection to the most important thing that’s going on. Dixie systematically eliminating anyone who could be connected to AJ means that those people are suddenly part of the big picture. They serve a purpose. And when was the last time that happened?
Worst: We have stuff in common, wanna fight about it?
James Storm loves to fight! So does Gunner! So does Finlay! We’ve got ourselves a match, but really, I’m just wondering how many pens you could stick in Gunner’s beard before they fell out.
Best: Ethan Carter III vs. Samoa Joe
Is this the most I’ve ever enjoyed a Samoa Joe match? No, but it’s pretty darn close. EC3 goes after Joe’s legs to take out his base for submissions, knowing full well he is a machine made of them. Simple and smart. The match is short, but well-paced, fast, and most importantly, involves puns.
Oh yes. Really.
Rockstar Spud, our intrepid bowtied minion, runs out to interfere. He successfully distracts Joe long enough for EC3 to attack him from behind with a wrench. But then, oh, then EC3 tell Samoa Joe that he’s “thrown a wrench” into his plans.