Hello friendly friend-types! It’s nice to see you. Wanna talk about some wrestling? I’m sure you haven’t done that at all in the past week. Let’s change that!
– This week at The Mandible Claw, Brandon and I recapped our respective weekends of wrestling delights. In case you missed our WrestleMania preview show, Brandon got all hopped up on codeine and I shouted about Gunner’s Sad Dad. Like…a lot. #TeamSadDadForever
– If you like action movies, creator-owned comics, and cool temporary tattoos, my dear friend Kyle Starks (creator of Ricky Thunder and those Willow comics that rule) has a Kickstarter campaign for his (already completed!) new book. Give him love and/or money and get love and/for sure a radbutt comic.
– Like, share, comment, tumbl, or whatever you do to get this column out there. The more you share, the more we can all make fun of Mr. Anderson together.
– Follow me on Twitter here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. I posted this picture from my weekend, and that’s gotta be enough for at least a hey, hello, how do I get in on this kind of magical wonder, right?
This week on Impact: Rockstar Spud gets a new suit, Davey Richards gets a new hairstyle, and Ethan Carter III doesn’t get nearly enough screentime.
Best/Worst/HUUGGGGZZZZZ: What we missed last week
Alright. We’ve got a lot of things to cover, and first and foremost, we all need to take a minute to watch this, and understand the feelings it made me feel:
Did…did I will this into the universe? Is this how The Secret works? If I really try hard enough, can I do it again and get this sweet prince back at least every other week instead of just the One Night Only X-Stravaganza this weekend (which I am hella watching because of course I am)?
I know it’s patronizing, and just a ploy to keep him on the Magnus side of things, but…until later on in this week’s episode, the Magnus side of things has been pretty rad, and his shirt is so pink, and there’s so much hugging guys guys look at that hug guys my brain might be melting down due to friendship.
Also boo on Eric Young for interrupting such a lovely moment. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be on his side when he took Joseph Park away, and now just keeps trying to beat up Abyss, and stop him from being heel friends with Magnus. That just seems mean and unnecessary and no you’re watching them hug again because shut up that’s why.
This match has some fun spots, but really, there are two things you’ll probably experience by watching it: a) being mad that someone seems to have scuffed EC3’s boots, and b) Spud and EC3 vs. Willow is basically them wrestling an animate, velvet-clad Kermit the Frog stuffie and it’s so impossibly dumb that it’s kind of amazing. I mean, you could also say that tables matches in Impact have hit a series of diminishing returns, and the “crotch claw” where Bully Ray fisted Bobby Roode’s balls was awkward and kinda weird, but…you know…I really like those boots.
Velvet Sky and Angelina Love faced Brittany and Madison Rayne, and I need to admit that every time they mention Brittany I am sad that we’re not watching this instead. It’s not a knockouts match you need to see, especially if you’ve seen…basically any Beautiful People match ever.
A bunch of other fairly innocuous stuff happened. Kenny King and MVP don’t like each other, there was an X-Division match that wasn’t horrible, and Mr. Anderson wrestled (yeah…skip that for sure). We got to meet Knux’s Sad Dad, and he’s sad, sure, but has he ever tweeted at members of Kiss to say how much he loves them? Yeah. We all know which Sad Dad reigns supreme on this show.
Magnus retained his title by both manipulating Abyss’s feelings with love and friendship, and an elbow drop that doesn’t look like hot garbage now that TNA is sticking to filming all elbows from a different angle. And I’m not mad at it. The full match is rough, but if you’ve got a few minutes to kill, you should watch this hilariously bad country music video someone filmed on their iPhone. It’s got EC3, so, you know, it’s worth it.
Best/Worst/So Much Is Happening: 10 men enter, one of them is Gunner
This week we’re treated to a patented “Don’t call it a rumble” rumble-style TNA gauntlet battle royal. I might secretly love these even though the format doesn’t really make sense for what it’s called, but I love rumbles and I love the opportunity to tell multiple stories within one match, because when it’s done right, it’s glorious. This one is maybe…not quite that.
Much to the shock of anyone reading, Ethan Carter III (he of brand new shirt fame) is a for real highlight, and I have no shame in admitting that when he was eliminated I furrowed my brow so hard it started to hurt. I went full Miz Girl for most of the show, but this is one of the last times we get to see him this episode, and goshdarnit I want my Magnus-EC3 feud because it makes sense in continuity and also I want it give it to me why can’t I just have it already.
This battle royal also confirms that Oh My God Gunner Why Aren’t You Dead Yet And Can I Help Change That James Storm is my jam, and I am so on board with him just busting people’s faces and never speaking ever. Everyone eventually finds their niche, and I Hate You So Much That I Wish Your Family And Everyone You Love Would Just Die Already is somehow his.
Other than that, it’s tepid at best. Willow shows up to rub his velvet old lady pants all over a bunch of people, bringing out our own precious rainbow-coloured Rockstar Spud, in a wheelchair, making my heart just a wee bit happier than it was before. This joy is tempered by Gunner smashing his head into the turnbuckle multiple times because when Impact prematurely pulls the plug on The Superkick of the Cowboy Who Wants You Dead James Storm storyline, the pieces are in place for a serious PSA on PTSD. And lo, Eric Young has beaten the odds to become the number one contender for Magnus’ title.
Best: Wrestlers on commentary
Magnus wanders out to be a total sh*tbag on commentary, and I love it. One of the things I always point to as a great thing they used to do but don’t anymore is guest wrestler commentary. It’s fun, it breaks up the monotony of the Tenay-Tazz circle-jerk, it further tells the story of what’s happening with the characters in the ring, and it forces you to be engaged with the match instead of just tuning most of it out because commentary in Impact is of no value to anyone. Can we make this a thing going forward? Maybe get Rockstar Spud on commentary? EC3? WILLOW ON COMMERY DOMMERY TALKTALKS?
Magnus is also there so that Eric Young can call him out in person, setting the stage for the title match later tonight. Having him out there already is so much more convenient, no? Ugh Impact just do this more please.
Worst: MVP, not for the first time, definitely not for the last time
MVP acquiesces to Eric Young’s request for a title match that night, which is fine, but then has to swing his dick around, making it known that “Magnus Rules,” or, “Traditional Rules of a Title Match Almost Everywhere” do not count, and he will forfeit the belt should he be counted out or disqualified. Magnus (rightfully) shouts that he can’t do that, but he can because he’s drunk with power and no one can see that he’s a cruel tyrant, bending the rules as he sees fit for people he likes more than anyone else. He also bans Abyss from ringside, which is fair seeing as the dude listed on the roster and the current Television Champion supposedly doesn’t work for Impact, so he can essentially be escorted from the premises whenever they see fit. We don’t get that explanation, mind you, but who needs logic when you have a pocket square, amirite?
Best: Rockstar Spud
I am so glad Rockstar Spud got to be more than petulant guy who couldn’t keep his tongue in his mouth/could only throw three punches in a match and never do anything else. He’s lovely, and I want him to be my travel-sized British friend – a pocket-sized pal. He thoughtfully decorates an office to welcome back the Dame of Dixieland, but…wait…
Dixie’s mad at everything, including Spud, and if you look closely you can actually pinpoint the second my heart breaks.
Best: FLIBBERTY FWAH IT’S TH’WILLOW
After yelling at Spud for being so willing to turn on him and work for MVP the second she left (despite him being only one of three people vocally still loyal to Dixie), she storms off. Spud hears a knock at the door, assumes it’s Dixie coming to apologize, but NO IT’S WILLOW EEEEEAAAHAHAHAHA. Willow vs. Office Plant is the thing you didn’t know you needed in your life, but now don’t know how you ever lived without it. I tried to find a gif of it because it’s so stupid it loops around to incredible, but the only things I could find were some still shots, a couple of aggressive sex confession posts, and a fanfic that involves a Mary Sue cyborg who likes to dance and kiss Willow after inter-gender tag matches.
Jeff Hardy fans are weird as f*ck.