Hello! I hear it’s a long weekend where most of you are. Why not take the next three days off to enjoy an Impact report? A few things:
– By the time you read this, the latest edition of that crazypants Chikara conspiracy theory podcast I do with Smiths-lovin’ vegan cool guy Robert Newsome will have been posted to The Mandible Claw. Dark things are coming, guys. And I don’t just mean our extended conversation about Supermarket Sweep.
– If there’s one thing I am good it, it’s making suggestions on how you should spend some of your money. Might I recommend donating to the Air Sex Documentary Kickstarter? Or how about a brand-spanking new Dasher Hatfield shirt? Chris Trew and Dasher Hatfield make me endlessly happy. Get into them!
– You can follow me on Twitter here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. You can also like us on Facebook! You can tumbl this column! What a world we live in, guys. Sex with air and social media. Greatest generation, shmeatest shmeneration.
This week on Impact: Senility, yelling, more yelling, terrible wrestling, and the unintentional hilarity of an angry Samoa Joe. It’s…even worse than it sounds.
Worst: This entire show
No, seriously. This week is bad. Were I TNA I would be ashamed at what I had just participated in producing. Only one segment – ONE – gets away without something tainting it irreparably. And it doesn’t even include Joseph Park. This was beyond being able to put up a few otter videos and some Jojo Bravo pictures and whatever other happy, fun things I could to distract us away from how crummy things were. Way beyond.
There have been a few times in the past where I’ve thought about just skipping a week because it is so bad, and so hard not to just write paragraph after disdainful paragraph about everything that is wrong with the show, but never as bad as this. Once I reached 800 words alone about just how infuriatingly bad the first 14 minutes were I realized that hey, this might not actually be salvageable. And I don’t want to put that out there. If you read any TNA review column, it’s usually all negative, even when the show is good. Even when, midst the bad matches or the sexist commentary, there are little jewels of greatness. Little things that make the show worth watching. That amount of sheer negativity isn’t fun to write. It’s not fun to read. If you watched the entire show, you’ve already been through enough. You don’t need seven or eight pages ripping it to shreds.
So I’m still going to write this week’s column. It probably won’t be fun. It wasn’t fun to watch, that’s for sure. I will try to be constructive. I will try my very best to make this a much better experience for you than it was for me, or anyone else who watched. The reason I do this report is because I am a legitimate TNA fan. I want the show to succeed. I want to be entertained. They’ve put on good shows before, so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. But this is rough. This is what people point to when they say TNA is awful. This is what ensures that Impact will never, ever lose the stigma of being the second-rate company who puts on the worst-rate show. And the fact that no one, not a single person there, seems to care or have any desire to make things better? I don’t have a big enough Worst to give.
Worst: You goddamn son of a beach
I’ve expressed this fear before, and unfortunately it seems to be coming true. When Impact announced that it was going on the road each week, I thought no, no no no. You’re going to give up everything you’ve been working hard to build when it comes to continuity and storytelling for cheap pops. Well, here we are, right here in TAMPA, FLORIDA, BROTHER, talking about BEACHES and HOGAN’S BEACH and HOGAN’S MUSIC and now here’s STING and you remember him from WCW and he was a BIG DEAL when you were young and everyone loves NOSTALGIA, right? In the past I’ve pointed to Sting and Hogan’s work together as being some of the most intriguing. There was a vulnerability to Hogan we haven’t seen before. His conversations with Sting were some of the best work he’s done in his career. Heartfelt, believable storytelling. This…this is just yelling. Hogan has equated MEANINGFUL to YELLING for way longer than I’ve been alive, and here he’s reverted back to the same guy everyone can wag their finger at and say oh look, TNA is at it again. Dumb, predictable TNA, parading out the old folks like they’re more important than good storytelling and good wrestling. Normally I would disagree, but they’re right. This is…nothing. If you turn on any Top 40 radio station, it sounds like all of the songs came from the same lyrics generator sheet – you know, like a D&D name generator? YOUR LOVE MAKES ME FLY and I LOVE YOU BABY and YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL TO ME and WE COULD FLY TO HEAVEN and just nothing lyrics over nothing melodies. This is basically the same thing. There’s no effort. There’s no emotion. There’s yelling and then Brooke Hogan pretends to know how to pretend to cry. Oh, did I not mention Brooke was there?
Worst: Brooke Hogan in Being HumanSubscribe to UPROXX
The whole opening segment was Hogan trying to talk Sting out of the stipulation he reached with Bully last week at the PPV (if he loses, he can never compete for the title again), and then blaming himself. And then Sting blames himself. And the Brooke comes out, and blames herself. And then they all said no, I love YOU more, and refused to hang up the phone for twenty minutes. Well…not really, but that’s what it felt like. It was excruciating. I thought it couldn’t get worse than Hogan spoiling a surprise appearance later on in the show (I won’t, because I understand how spoilers work!), but then they gave Brooke a live mic, and it went about as well as you’d expect.
She enters the ring and visibly motions for the sound guys to cut her music. Really? That’s…really? You self-important…ugh. Nope. Not finishing that sentence. Finishing that sentence would be just as disrespectful as obviously instructing people who do the same job week in and week out on just how to do it, and on air at that. These people had to earn their jobs by being good at something, a concept that is clearly foreign to someone whose primary talent is having the last name Hogan. At the height of her expository segment she says “Sting, you shouldn’t have to fight him because I was a dumb girl.”
That is a thing you just said.
Brooke continues on saying that she’s basically to blame for everything, and as much as she’s proud of the Knockouts (um), and how much they’ve grown the division (…um), she feels like she should resign. Yes Brooke. Yes you should. Get into your hybrid car fueled by gasoline and nepotism and drive as far away from anything to do with wrestling as possible.
Worst: His name is Bully, and he loves to yell
Much like I like to imagine Sheamus, in the middle of a hoagie at craft services, running off to the ring as soon as he hears he word fight, I think Bully does the same thing every time he hears someone yelling. “Whaaaa? But *I* like to yell!” he…well….yells, as he tears down the hallway, lunchmeat and lettuce flying everywhere, desperately wiping mayo from the corner of his mouth before he makes it onscreen.
Bully lets us know that they shouldn’t blame themselves, because it’s his fault. He tore the company apart. Him and no one else. Oh, and he’s also still in love with Brooke, and she’s all he thinks about, and their special connection is why he’ll never take his wedding ring off.
This is so very bad. If Bully Ray is telling the truth? Terrible. If he’s lying and just further psychologically torturing Brooke because hey, we all love watching abusive relationships play out on national television? Terrible. I said last week that this should really be the time where TNA is taking advantage of the post-Mania lull, but they aren’t. This is not fun. This is not entertaining. This is not telling a compelling story in any way. And guys, we are only 14 minutes into the show.