Hello! It’s nice to see your faces! It’s been too long! We’re back, a little older, probably not much wiser, but definitely ready to assign positive and negative attributes to wrestling on television! First things first:
– It’s been a busy two weeks over at The Mandible Claw. Podcastravaganza is ready to take over your earholes and fill your brainstuffs with delight! Guests include Leva Bates, and Beyond Wrestling/WSU’s Drew Cordeiro. Brandon joined me to talk about the pitfalls of leisure time at Lucha Libre shows, teenage crushes, and the importance of Halloween costume accuracy. The week kicked off with Robert Newsome of the Atomic Elbow sharing more crazy Chikara theories as we descend deeper into the rabbit hole, and also potentially complete and utter madness.
– I dug into the mess of unopened discount wrestling DVDs that live on my shelf to review WWE’s One Night Stand: Extreme Rules 2007. It involves wrestling reenactments, du-rags, and shark attacks OUT OF NOWHERE. Vintage Mandible Claw!
– I’ll be at the (maybe) two ROH shows in Toronto (Border Wars and (probably) the TV taping), so if you see me, say hello! I’ll be the one in the ACH shirt looking slightly uncomfortable when ACH or Veda aren’t around. Or, if you see a lady and think “hey, that girl looks like she shrunk Brandon’s wardrobe but increased his visible distaste for Kevin Steen,” yes, that is me.
– If you didn’t get enough podcasts at the Mandible Claw, I guested on Holzerman’s Wrestling Podcast: Tweetbag Edition. This one has dinosaurs! I also had a wicked fun time recording What a Maneuver: Monday Night Raw/Monday Nitro January 27th, 1997. I watched my very first full episode of WCW Nitro with hilarious and incredibly confusing results. Did you know that Eric Bischoff once thought it acceptable to wear a leather jacket with tearaways? Man, what a dick.
We should all be Twitter bros. Do that by following me here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. It’s perfect should you need to keep on top of funny sports happenings, Alison Brie gifs, and my obsession with Kyle Starks live-tweeting Hemlock Grove.
This week on Impact: Chris Sabin’s knee, Chris Sabin’s ACL, Chris Sabin training, and Chris Sabin talking about stuff. Spoiler alert: Chris Sabin.
Worst: Past Their Prime-Time Players
Hogan calls Sting out to apologize for getting swept up in personal issues, and pushing him away when he needed him the most. Sting, in a move that further proves his impending dementia, asks Hulk to let him put together a team to help get rid TNA of Aces & Eights. Um…Sting, sweetie, darling, sweetie…remember Lockdown? Remember how that didn’t work out for you at all? Hulk puts the responsibility of putting together his team (Hot Stings Part Deux), and thinks the most important thing for him to be doing is finding someone to go up against Bully Ray for the big belt at Slammiversary.
Okay. Let’s think about this for a minute. Last week, Bully Ray lived up to his name and bullied his way past three security guards, which seems to be the first time we see a legitimate attempt to stop them since Impact took their show on the road. So while these security fellows were busy being terrible at their jobs, maybe someone should have, I dunno, called the police? While they had rights to have their clubhouse in the Impact Zone, because wrestling, a simple phonecall to people with lawful authority and also guns that aren’t euphemisms for muscles could handle at least 3/8ths of them. I assume the contract issues of the rest of the members could be easily dealt with. Given what they’ve done to Joseph Park in the past, I’m sure Park, Park, and Park would give Hogan a reduced rate, and I highly doubt Mr. Anderson has the same iron-clad contract the Human Sitting Machine has. Logic has no place in wrestling, I know, but…guys. Seriously. Park, Park, and Park. 911. Look into it.
Worst: The blueprint for a bad segment
Matt Morgan is still upset that Hogan didn’t choose him for a World Title shot. Of course he didn’t. You stole his cape. You are not his friend. You can’t attempt to steal both a man’s property and his legacy, then expect some kind of special treatment because you’re taller than everyone and believe in yourself. If I went to work, stole, say, my manager’s nametag, told her she made dumb decisions, and then asked for a promotion I would probably be fired. At the very least, written up. In response to the assertion that this is the part where Hogan hands the title shot over to Sting, Hogan tells Morgan that no one is going to have anything handed to them anymore, not Sting, and not Morgan. He then proceeds to say that the man who faces Bully Ray will be the winner of tonight’s main event match: Sting vs. Matt Morgan. Swing and a miss!
Worst: Sabin, your hair…
Hey Chris, welcome back! Loved you in such titles as the X-Division, and Hercules, but Chris Sabin’s Lower Body vs. TNA has been the pits.
Worst: Thanks for making me screencap Kurt Angle’s junk
It happened so quickly, so I had to back up and pause the episode to figure what on earth was shoved up Kurt Angle’s singlet. Upon further inspection, it appears to be a clever place for him to keep his mouth-guard. I feel extremely let down that it’s not a wad of Kleenex, and Kurt Angle isn’t, in fact, wrestling’s equivalent of everyone’s grandmother ever.
Best: But for real guys, Chris Sabin!
I may not have been thrilled with this match, and the constant fear that Xema Ion was going to split Sabin’s knee-wig just by looking at him (because injuring people is what he doooooes), but unlike Petey Williams, I enjoy Sabin for more than one move. It’s not there yet, but this is definitely a step in the right direction of making the X-Division more than 1/3rd decent. And he looks like he’s in good shape, saving us from the inevitable Motor City Machine Gunt puns.
Worst: But for real guys, Chris Sabin’s shorts
Alex Shelley would have never let you wear those out. And that dude, at best, has severely questionable taste in wrestling attire. You look like post-transformation Goth Hulk. YOU WOULDN’T LIKE HIM WHEN HE’S MOPEY.
Best: The shade of it all
I don’t think Tazz is cognizant enough to realize how referential the phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread” is, but intentional or not, it was still pretty great. I know, Tazz. I miss MCMG too. Though I have a sneaking suspicion you just miss the chance to call him Alex Smelly, because Tazz.
Best, but also a sad Worst: We have to watch the rest of Impact instead of Jessie’s movie
Backstage, Jessie tells Robbie E that the Rob Terry situation is just like “the blockbuster movie he’s casting in 2014: It’s three dudes at a lake, just trying to slay a dragon.” I don’t understand it but I want it immediately. Kickstarter, anyone? The purpose of the backstage segment is to put Joey Ryan into a three-on-one against The Artist Formerly Known as Robbie T, because he’s “just enough sleazy to make this easy.” Robbie E claims that “sleazy” and “easy” don’t even rhyme, bro. It’s a good thing I have very recently hugged Robbie E because oh my god let me love you, bro.
Worst: TNA didn’t put this on their YouTube Channel, so let me describe it
INT. ILYA KOVALCHUK CENTRE – BACKSTAGE – NIGHT I GUESS
A distractingly one-dimensional Bully Ray paces in front of his club members, angry, because wrestling.
I have worries about Slammiversary. Buttstuff. Who is going to take Kurt Angle out?
By the look on his face, he doesn’t mean out for a nice dinner and maybe a movie if Kurt plays his cards right.
I can barely speak in public and can’t win without interference, but let me do it! Surely the public wants to see me wrestle again!
I’ve got a chain! And I cut my hair into a mohawk so I look more menacing! I even have….sunglasses.
D-Lo, obviously frustrated, shoves both young men aside.
No guys, I can do this. Knux, you’ve seen me go in the ring. Doc? Damn right Devon you know what I can do. Garrett, Wes, now you may not have been old enough to see me wrestle, but let me grab my iPad and we can YouTube some matches. Don’t try to do my neck thing, though! It was the leading cause of wrestling fan-related injuries for many years, just ahead of “trying to give stunners to your friends” and “dancing like Shane MacMahon.” And goddamnit Wes, stop playing Angry Birds. You’re going to mess with my high score. And you keep getting jam on the screen, fool.”
Dejected, Wes sets the iPad down next to a number of empty beer bottles, presumably left behind by James Storm like a trail of bread crumbs so he can find his way back to the ring.
Are you going to get the job done? Do you stake your colours on it? Are you willing to give up the smell of sweat-soaked leather, the near-gentle caress of a stripper hand job, and sitting on a parked bike because only two of us have motorcycle licenses?
Do I get to keep my iPad?
Yeah sure, I guess. I mean…
IT’S COOL I’LL DO IT LET ME JUST GRAB MY CHARGER SO I DON’T FORGET IT OUTTA MY WAY GUYS
That’s the club charger, D-Lo. Because when you charge your mobile devices with Aces & Eights, you never charge alone.
Best: The Three Bromigos
I know I’ve said it before, but I genuinely never thought that I would enjoy Jessie, yet here we are. Putting together the three dudes who are the best at one-liners and bringing a much-needed dose of levity to the parade of yelling and old-man sadness that Impact loves to showcase is a great move by TNA. Three Bromigos for King of Trios, yes yes? (No no, Danielle. Trios and amigos doesn’t even rhyme, bro).
To the surprise of no one, this was actually the best match of the show for me. I think the three non-Welsh participants compliment the others’ varying skill levels well, and I want more. It was silly and fun, and HANDS OFF TNA I JUST WANT TO HAVE NICE THINGS.
Worst: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone
RIP Rob Terry’s Stupid T-1000 Titantron, Whenever he first started using it-May 2nd, 2013. Your ridiculousness will be missed. His Stupid Titantron leaves behind #buttstuff, jump cuts of computer generated ribcages, and three grandchildren.
Best: Sit down, Bad Influence. You’re just jealous of allll this.
It seems that my assessment of a Bad Influence-Mecha Shiva as a worst in the last column differed greatly from the opinion of a number of people. I was chatting with someone who enjoyed it, and their reason for liking the segment was because “they’re just being jerks, and talking like dudes actually talk to each other.” Okay. Fair enough. But let’s be clear about something: The delivery was great, but the message that the default insult of “lol gay” is an okay thing to do because people are casually discriminatory and homophobic in real life is very much not. Like…come the f-ck on. It’s 2013. I should not be shouting DON’T MAKE GAY JOKES DON’T MAKE GAY JOKES DON’T MAKE GAY JOKES at my television. Unless, of course, they are jokes about Rudy Gay. Then you may proceed.
TNA finally caught the hint that putting the best thing about the show not named Joseph Park on YouTube is probably a thing you want to do to entice folks to watch on a weekly basis. Guess upping the ratings with those Magnus segments didn’t really work out for ya, huh.
Sub-Best: Kazarian explains what increased blood flow to the lower body region means.
Boners, guys. It means boners.
Worst: Kurt Angle Wrestling Shapewear™
The faux-corseted Sexy Captain America singlet is still kicking around. I can only assume knockoff Spanx in varying Americana themes is Kurt Angle’s next business venture. I wonder if they have the little flap on the bottom for when you have to pee.
That joke was for the ladies.
Worst: Christy Hemme’s post-match interview
“Congratulations Kurt. So, was this a measure of revenge for you?” I can only assume they edited out her follow-up questions “Was this your first I Quit match?” and “How’s your neck?”
Worst: Hot Stings – no group RRSP, doesn’t even offer dental
The whole will he-won’t he-who cares AJ Styles storyline is still crawling at a snail’s pace, so Kurt tries to entice him over to the Sting side of things by not really offering him anything, just threatening him if he doesn’t. That is workplace intimidation, Kurt. You are terrible at recruiting. I know “ladies will touch your penis” is hard to beat (pun very much intended), but at least make an effort, big guy.
Worst: The Knockouts match
Dare to be…fast-forwarded through.
Best: On next week’s episode…
I swear to god, if Chavandez shows up I will…give it worst and….make fun of Chavo’s Hernandez backpiece-themed shirt or…something. I don’t know. I have no power here. They’re just really f-cking annoying and ruin everything they touch.
Worst: Geez, this main event
Best: Wait a minute, can I do that??
Worst: I asked Brandon…
He said no.
But I guess we’ll always have boners then, amirite?