Hello, lovelies! Welcome back to the Impact Best and Worst, unfortunately sidelines by a bout of food poisoning. If you’re not sure if you should eat it, and you do it anyways, you kind of get what you deserve, and I really, really did. A couple of notes, then we’ll get right to it!
– So The Mandible Claw is a thing I do now, and you should absolutely be checking it out. Besides the new weekly podcast featuring Brandon and myself, there are some great guest contributions that are more than worth your time.
– At the time of posting, there legitimately aren’t many videos up on Impact’s YouTube channel, so if you’d like to play along go to Spike TV for the full episode.
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This week on Impact: Kurt Angle makes some questionable life decisions, Wes Brisco is allowed to hold a live mic again, and we finally find out who that D’Lo shaped member of Aces & Eights is! Tuck in, folks! It’s gonna be a long, poorly executed ride!
Bill Moody, Percy Pringle, Paul Bearer…no matter what your name is, you’ll be missed terribly.
Worst: A whole week, Kurt? Really?
Before anyone starts harping on storylines and television, I know. I know why it’s being done. But really Kurt? Really? A semi-vicious gang with a history of beating people into extended reality show vacations and kidnapping people, and you decide…to keep things to yourself? For a WEEK? Like, you can’t even send a quick text? Leave a note? Send a fax? What if something happened to you? Maybe a quick heads up to, I don’t know, anyone, would be way safer than walking around with vital information about the group threatening your livelihoods? It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again, and yeah…that’s a TNA problem.
Worst: Impact crowd, I am for real not going to miss you
Drunk ladies behind Aries in the crowd, playing with your phones and generally being distracting and obnoxious, you are awful, and I’m glad you won’t be opposite hard camera again anytime soon. Creepy Sting Guy, see you never. Impact Redhead, I won’t miss you, but Chris Sims will, so…y’know… maybe do some traveling. People who wandered in during their vacation and thought it might be cool to be on TV and see a free wrestling show who just sit on their hands and don’t give two anythings, I’ll miss you least of all.
Best: But oh hey, wrestling!
It’s pretty amazing how the presence of Austin Aries can elevate the presence of those around him not named Chavo or Hernandez. As far as I’m concerned, Aries shouldn’t be able to walk because so many crummier wrestlers have just attached themselves to his underbelly like baby opossum in hopes of getting awesomer. He can get a passable to good match against 2012 Samoa Joe. When he’s paired with someone like Alex Shelley magic can happen. This may not have been magic, but Austin Aries is the biggest and best non-Joseph Park reason to be watching, and is the best opponent to wake Jeff Hardy from his complacent stupor.
Worst, but maybe best: Sting is going off the rails
Sting has his team in Hogan’s office, and gives literally the worst, most crazeballs rhyming pep talk in the history of rhyming and pep and talking. It’s not about submission, it’s about being on a mission! Eric Young, you kissed a fifteen foot tiger shark while you were supposed to be recovering from a nasty A&E-inflicted injury!
YELLING! MORE YELLING! LOCKDOWN! FLARGLEFARGH!
Worst: Oh, so you CAN go into their clubhouse
After eight months of jamming 13 people and at least 6 to 8 “ladies” into a couple of tiny rooms, only now does anyone decide to take the fight to them? I know they’re technically allowed to be there, but these guys get spooked when they outnumber their opponents 6 to 3. They don’t understand how numbers work, or apparently locks, so imagine how freaked out they’d be if the rest of the roster just showed up in their little dining room area looking to fight. Aces & Eights can dish it out, but it’s highly doubtful that they can take it.
Best: Matt Morgan’s beard
No amount of talking will make me ever want to see Matt Morgan wrestle ever, but sir, that’s a fine beard. There’s no debate that Chris Trew undoubtedly has the best beard in the game, but I appreciate the effort, Mr. Morgan, and I would totally give you a low car insurance rate in the future.
Worst: Wes Brisco, what even are you
Wes Brisco delivers the promo equivalent of those thirteen year old girls on Jenny Jones makeover shows who insist that there’s nothing wrong with wearing almost no clothes, we’re just jealous of allllll thaaaaat. I’m sorry Wes, but I will not sit down. Whoever it was who saw his last promo and thought “oh, yeah, let’s let him do that again!” should be fired immediately. I know the writers are probably only being paid in leftover Don West brown bags, but there is literally no excuse for this shmashmortion of a promo.
Best, worst, and thing that happened: Shut the front door, it’s D’Lo?
After exclusively referring to that D’Lo shaped member of Aces & Eights as D’Lo for the last however many months, I personally was shocked to find out that D’Lo was the VP of Aces & Eights. In other news, it’s opposite day! Wes Brisco, you don’t look anything like the lovechild of a CHUD and a Kewpie doll in a greasy fright wig someone found in the trash. Tazz, you are an excellent commentator who brings up many salient points in the most respectful manner possible. Bellator rules, and I wish they’d mention it more.
But in all seriousness, I am glad that the reveal happened when it did. I think now is the perfect time to start causing some serious dissent and distrust between the non-Aces & Eights roster members. D’Lo can say more than “TESTIFY MAH BROTHER” and doesn’t insist that Jack and Gerald Brisco were one singular wrestler. I assume he claims the ladies of the night as dependents, and got everyone some sweet tax returns in order to help the club afford a trip to England. D’Lo Brown fears neither audits nor Team Sting!
Best: Mike Knox
It’s pretty amazing how quickly WWE’s Mike Knox became my favourite Aces & Eights member, and one of my favourite things about watching TNA. He’s so useless, and it’s incredible. Look, he’s laughing! JUST LIKE HE DID IN WWE! Look, he’s pointing at something! JUST LIKE HE DID IN WWE! Look, he’s placing his hand on someone’s shoulder! YOU KNOW, LIKE HE DID IN WWE! Ilu Mike Knox, and I hope you stick around doing absolutely nothing forever.
Worst: Is this a work, brother?
This really is the worst. The Impact crowd is historically so terrible that it’s not hard to believe that some fan would legit think it was okay to throw a beer in a wrestler’s face. It’s also just as easy to think that it’s a plant (which it probably way), and all of this was intentional so that Devon could get the pin and the win and the extra man at Lockdown and blah blah blah I’m over it. It encourages the worst of fans and the laziest of dirty victory tropes. It’s dumb, it’s dangerous, and I can’t pretend that I enjoyed any second of this match other than ‘lol you go Sting, paint that mask closer to your hairline.”
Worst: You can’t see him, we can’t say his name
When introducing Danny Davis as Tazz’s Gut Check replacement, Bruce Pritchard points out that OVW has trained the who’s who of wrestling, then waves his hand in front of his face in the John Cena “you can’t see him” motion. I think this is truly the core of TNA’s problems. As soon as you point to something else as being the pinnacle of wrestling , you immediately bury any of the talent you have on the roster. Instead of saying “he trained Joseph Park, currently undefeated since his return from OVW” and calling back to a current storyline, they have to yet again point out that WWE is “better” than they are. Instead of standing on their own, and taking pride in the good wrestlers they do have (whether they’ve been harvested from WWE’s castoff pile or not), and the compelling stories they’re telling, they’re feeding into whatever grudge they have for not being the top wrestling show on television. By saying that WWE is the best, it insinuates that wrestlers who made their names in WWE then came to TNA have fallen from the mountain top, and the wrestlers who never went to WWE or became more famous in TNA just weren’t good enough to make it in the big leagues. WWE is not. always. better. It’s different, for sure, and while they may have more money and better ratings, I would much rather see Christopher Daniels or Joseph Park or Abyss than say, Zack Ryder or Ryback. I would also much rather see Mark Henry or Antonio Cesaro than Garrett Bischoff. They are two separate companies in the same field of business, and TNA would be much better off giving up their inferiority complex and focusing on what they should be doing to improve or continuing what works with confidence instead of bitterness.
Best: Is that you, Sinister Minister?
Worst: Big Lady, Small Plates
I can only hope this is to bring back Ivelisse in some sort of revenge capacity, because while Lei’d Tapa may have been adequate, she was also awkward, unconfident, and incredibly frustrating. Last week, Ivelisse got the win via submission while Lei’d Tapa held her shoulders mere inches from the ground. Instead of tapping, all she had to do was drop her supporting leg and use her size to get the pin on Ivelisse. It wasn’t well spotted and made her look weak, and like she had no ring awareness whatsoever. Ivelisse is a heck of a lot better than she was on Tough Enough or FCW or NXT or whatever, and she could make a real name for herself in TNA. She’s been looking good in the last Shine PPVs, and the Knockouts division needs someone who can learn and grow and be a good match for someone like Gail Kim. Her ‘rana last week was beautiful, and looked a million times better than anything Tapa did. Just because people are booing Lei’d Tapa doesn’t mean that she’s over as a heel like Jay Bradley, it means they legitimately do not want to see her wrestle again, or cut another weakbutt promo. Her asking us to imagine what she could accomplish in two more years doesn’t make me look forward to watching her work out the kinks on TV, it makes me think that even she knows she’s not ready for this. If she’s gonna stick around, even with Velvet Sky’s terrible everything, she’s got a steep learning curve, and I’m not sure she can keep up.
Best: Heels rule, Chavandez Sky drools
Not getting to see the heel trio’s entrances was definitely a disappointment. It’s pretty much a given that any time they dance on down to the ring, Kazarian and Daniels make my heart grow three sizes. Any worsts I get ready to write up seem to magically disappear in a haze of Ring General medals, appletinis, and homemade Kazmania shirts. That said, I enjoyed this match a lot more the second time I watched it. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s disheartening that a lot of my bests end up being because they’re completely adequate, but Kazarian, Daniels, and Gail Kim managed to make this six-man tag a lot of fun. It also helps that they’re super good at what they do.
Chavandez wasn’t total hot garbage for a change, and Hernandez’s suicide dive looked good, but man, Velvet Sky… Now, a lot of you seemed to interpret my criticism of her lazy and poorly executed moves as hatred, which should be cleared up here and now. I don’t “hate” Velvet Sky. I don’t “hate” any of the ladies in the Knockouts division. When you are paid to perform a job you should make sure you are putting your best effort into everything you do, especially when it involves the physical safety of others. Yeah, those create-a-wrestler streaks are pretty bad, but it genuinely doesn’t matter what she looks like, or how many people will rush to her defense because she has a certain kind of aesthetic that appeals to a certain amount of people. You can be attractive and still be a good wrestler. You can be unattractive and still be a good wrestler. It doesn’t matter what you look like when you’re throwing clotheslines that look as bad as hers. If you don’t care enough to make any sort of improvement after ten goddamn years, well guess what – you’ve walked through that door once, you can walk through it again. There are many, many talented female wrestlers who would be happy for a steady paycheque and to show off their skill at something they have a passion for. If you’re just going to be a placeholder, or someone who likes rubbing their butt on a camera, put on some stripes and jump around with Taryn Terrell and let people who have some respect for themselves and what they do get in the ring, and stop wasting my time.
Hoooo boy. Magnus. That was…not a thing you should be doing on television. Sting is beaten, bloodied, and understandably upset. Can he trust his team? Can he trust anyone? Magnus responds with “I dunno, I can’t even trust myself sometimes, but this is war, and tonight I show the world who I am.” Um….not really helpful. That doesn’t answer whether or not you can be trusted. You’ve been around for ages. We’ve seen you. Some of us have even seen you as the Ring Ka King champion (though all of us should, because Ring Ka King). Last week he was treated like some young gun, not a guy who has been wrestling for their company since 2008. He’s teamed with and feuded against Samoa Joe who is right there. You were great in Ring Ka King, Magnus. You are not great here. Much like the theme of the night, you are ruining the narrative with your piss poor execution.
Best: OMG AJ STYLES
We didn’t get to talk about this last week, but I’m pretty sure my howling, delighted laughter was heard ‘round the world. It all starts out fine, and AJ’s wife makes some good points, and really sells the effects of the Claire Lynch storyline. And then, at minute 1:30, AJ Styles stumbles into his house and…well, you can see for yourself. It’s much more effective than me typing HAHAHAHAHAHA for seven pages. Because HAHAHAHAHAHA!
This week, the camera crew tracks down AJ Styles and he is SO MAD, Y’ALL. Then again, I would be angry too if the company I had devoted years to produced a t-shirt that spelled my name in ejaculate. The shirt is called “discharge.” You are fooling no one, TNA Shop. That’s cum and you know it. And it makes AJ so mad.
Best: Hey, we found Trent Barreta!
This explains so much.
Worst: Thanks for showing up EY, but we’re not going to need you
Eric Young reminds of us that serious EY is seriously good. He and ODB get to have an adorable little moment before the corpse of Sting wanders up to them, so my heart is happy, but then he immediately starts making his case to be the one to go out and face Aces & Eights in the third and final match to determine who will have an extra man and the advantage going into Lethal Lockdown. He makes some deft arguments, and cuts the best promo of the entire show. He makes you want to follow him into the war Magnus was muttering on about earlier. Sting responds with a wanking motion and sends The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm out instead. Well, not a literal wanking motion, but he may as well have. I know you’re half dead Sting, but come on, that didn’t stir a single thing in your joker-painted heart? None of your feelings descended from the rafters and made you consider EY for a second? Not a single Stinger tear splashed down? Unbelievable.