The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 4/17/14: Lions And Tigers and Bros, Oh My!

04.18.14 3 years ago 22 Comments

Hey special friends! Let’s kick this long weekend into high gear, or at the very least a solid neutral, and talk about wrestling! But first:

Meet Me There, the movie written by my very best friend that I’m sure you’ve heard of by now, has announced new screening in select cities! They could be close to you! Go check and see!

– This week at The Mandible Claw, Brandon and I talked about…a whole bunch of stuff. Everyone loves stuff, right?

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This week on Impact: I make it through the whole report without making a joke about someone’s monster balls.

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Worst: Transitional Champion is real hard to chant I guess

Eric young’s Wikipedia page reads like the saddest testament to just how bad TNA could get. From his paranoia gimmick that involved yet another “funeral” and a play on the Katie Vick storyline to now, he’s been “fired” because of Larry Zbysko, feuded with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and X-Pac, the Nasty Boys, became a super hero, then moved on to what is referred to as his “mentally challenged” persona. That was a whole can of worms in and of itself (let’s pair off the bisexual with the guy who has brain damage lololol). His sudden recovery from mentally-unhinged guy stalking Scott Baio to pretty okay husband to ODB/Knockouts Tag Title holder was never really explained, so we’re either to believe that you have to be mentally deficient to marry someone like ODB, or it was just another thing that fell by the wayside. I guess he recovered on his own? Transferred it to Abyss/Joseph Park when he didn’t wipe the toilet seat? And what is this Eric Young now?

Now, I’m not going to say that everything Eric Young has done has been throwaway garbage. Most of it, yeah, but attacking D-Lo while he was buying gas station tampons still amuses me (despite the inference that all black people look the same and mental illness is hilarious), World Elite proved that he could at least be competent on the microphone, and he was precious and adorable with ODB. I can understand this championship as a thank you for putting up with all of the storylines and time spent around X-Pac, but man, Koko B. Ware got to be in the hall of fame, but they didn’t put the belt on him, you know?

If you watch the entirety of this segment, the obvious idea presented is that Eric Young is Daniel Bryan. The idea on any level is laughable at best, but bear with me. Watching Eric Young parade around as the champion of the people, because this belt is for them, blah blah whatever, it just feels like the whole thing was translated from WWE by a little kid. You know when you talk to a little kid about, say, their favourite movie, and they distill everything down to basic plot points, hacky catchphrases made to be repeated ad nauseam, and jokes about bodily functions? That’s exactly what this is. Do it for the people? Check. Paper Champion rhetoric that doesn’t really make sense, but people keep saying it over and over? Check. Puke/crap remarks? Check. Coincidentally, I think we’ve just cracked the John Cena promo creation code.

If you’re going to do a Law & Order-style ripped from the headlines episode, at least do something to make sure that we know that any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Best, kinda: Dixie Carter

That said, I went back and forth on how I felt about Dixie’s response. Is it hilarious that she wants to claim intellectual property rights over a bearded wrestler appearing on television? I think it kind of is. The idea that everything that is fashionable in wrestling because she thought of it first is a nice touch to her delusional rich boss mentality.

The rest, however, is problematic. Practically begging to get on Eric Young’s good side while he has the belt? Why? That seems ultimately pointless. Telling him he’s going to get a makeover? Trailblazing. There’s a thin line between the enjoyable ridiculousness of the over-the-top out-of-touch mean lady boss we know and love, and falling into the trap the other person in the ring has, and laughably, blatantly just acting out some ideas from the guy they pay to watch Raw and take notes. I assume his name is Joey, and he’ll be 8 years old in 16 sleeps!

Worst: Bully Ray, do you know who you are?

Does TNA not have yearly performance reviews? As I pointed out last week, it seems to me that at any point in time, they could justifiably release Bully Ray for being the worst employee maybe ever. That said, Bully Ray comes out to defend Eric Young, telling him how much he likes and respects him. Remember that time he and his biker friends respectfully duct taped his wife to the ring and attacked him with a hammer? Remember the time Bully Ray turned on his own brother, got a bunch of his friends fired, and sent Knux to Floodland USA to his sad dad? I think the lesson is here that unless you are Rick and you own a strip club, you probably don’t want to be liked and respected by Bully Ray.

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Worst: Knockouts Street Fight

The only good thing I can say about this match is that they did not refer to it as a Street Walker Fight.

Best: EC3, Life Coach

Spud and Ethan Carter III aren’t in a handicap match, they’re handicappers. EC3 ended the career of Kurt Angle, Spud is going to end Willow’s career because HE’S A LION, and they’re both going to end my career because friendship feelings.

Worst: MVP and Austin Aries

Maybe my biggest gripe against MVP is that I have carpal tunnel, and it is getting hella aggravated by all of the wanking motions I am making at this segment.

Worst: Tag Team Rut

Robbie E and Not Robbie T have been doing whatever they can to get out of defending their titles. That’s fair – I don’t like being anywhere near Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, and I don’t even have to wrestle them. It plays to the best of the Bromans comedy abilities, but at the same time serves to portray the Wolves as serious in-ring threats. Or at least it should.

Blending comedy with technical wrestling takes a finessed approach that requires both parties to be on the same page. When executed properly, it’s the kind of thing that makes something like Chikara magical, and when it’s not, it’s Santino doing…anything. The problem with the lather, rinse, repeat feud of the Bromans and the Wolves is that their styles are so drastically different, but we don’t really see any noticeable attempt to harmonize said styles. I’ve written before how the Wolves failures to engage in the ring come from too much speed, and not enough depth or gravitas in a match. The moves are essentially meaningless (for further reading, please consult every episode of ROH TV). Taking two guys whose flaws in that area are so evident, coupling that with their severe lack of personality, and THEN putting them into an incongruous bout against two average wrestlers with above average comedic timing does not a good match make. I know that asking this of them is like asking an unsalted stick of butter to show some versatility, but you’d think with the amount they have wrestled each other in the short period of time the Wolves have been in TNA, someone would have said hey, bro, stop trying to chop me and just work with me a little.

It’s a give and take that’s just not there, and the story becomes less about contrasting styles, or Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards being big scary Otherkin or whatever, and more about highlighting their utter dysfunction.

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