The Best and Worst of Impact Wrestling 5/22/14: Not All Eric Youngs

Hey you lovely little Broseph Parks! Thanks for stopping by on this here long weekend to get your Impact on. A few things:

– I had the loveliest conversation with Rachel Summerlyn, former ladies wrestler extraordinaire, about Inspire Pro’s In Their Blood, sexist tropes in women’s wrestling, and how much we both love Jojo Bravo. Check it out!

– If you’ll be at the Tag World Grand Prix, or Chikara’s triumphant return on Sunday in Easton, PA, so will I! Come say hello, get a high five, and see me at my happiest. If you can’t be there, be at the Austin Inspire Pro show on Sunday instead! Portia Perez in a main event? Jojo vs. Taduske? The best ring announcer in Texas? Yeah, you wanna get on that.

– Like us on Facebook, comment, share this column, tweet it, tumbl it, print it off and fold it into fun origami shapes.

– Follow me on Twitter here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here.

This week on Impact Wrestling: And lo, not a single best was given, for on that day we fully spiralled into the abyss of nonsense. And without an appearance from Abyss, I might add!

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Worst: Nation of Evolution or whatever

MVP comes out to properly introduce his newly formed stable “The ROH Special,” or “Hey, we’ve got more than one POC wrestler, let’s just jam them on a team together regardless of their styles or histories or characters because, you know…” One would think that deciding to create a race-based stable and make sure their initials spelled out M.L.K. would be a thing no one in their right mind would do in this, the year of our lord two thousand and fourteen, but here we are, with literally no room to move. An all-POC stable should be progressive, because realistically race isn’t a thing TNA handles with any sort of aplomb, but without a logical context and a focus on the interpersonal relationships driving the character motivations instead of the singular unifying factor being race, how can it not appear to have an undercurrent of racism?

As this story progresses, what are the possible outcomes? The white, moneyed family bands together with the common wrestlers (also pretty much all white) to beat up and defeat a powerful stable of POC characters? If you logically add in a non-POC wrestler (or wrestlers, because the Wolves and Bram make the most sense), you look like you’re afraid to have that progression because when you start out without logic and context, the damage is already done, and you still look hella racist. By bringing rDonald Sterling and Paula Deen into everything, doesn’t any eventual defeat seemingly vilify the actions of these obviously terrible human beings, and put over that POC characters can’t come into power naturally, are basically evil, and need to be put down? Does anyone, anyone at all, think these things through?

Kenny King says that MVP called him a few months back and explained everything to him, but then…why were they all mad at one another before? Why produce all of those King Of the Nightlife, King of the Boogie, King of the Disco ‘Round videos? It doesn’t set up any kind of “swerve,” it just makes it look like they were hoping nobody paid attention. And in that case, why wouldn’t Kenny King just stay home until last week? MVP says he brought Kenny King in, despite him already working there, so why wouldn’t you just leave it at that? The answer, of course, is always “because TNA,” but it’s impossible that this didn’t come about because a racist old white guy got caught being racist, and someone in TNA though that ripped-from-the-headlines stories would garner them some kind of attention. What attention is that? That people can tune in to see weirdly racist storylines alongside their incredibly misogynistic ones? This doesn’t do anything but perpetuate the negative stereotypes about wrestling and it’s fans, and how on earth does that make your company grow business and attract new viewers?

Thankfully fans have responded to the formation in a logical, constructive way:

Worst: The Wolves of Lull Street

But no, maybe I’m wrong. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, while they have all the personality of homemade soap, come out as Tag Team Champions, because that’s how MVP positioned them. MVP used them as muscle in his campaign to rend power from Dixie Carter. Obviously they’re with MVP.

Oh…wait, they’re not? No, of course they’re not. Building them for months as allies to MVP and enemies to Dixie Carter is absolutely what you want to do when none of it means anything. The most indie guys on the show (except Norv and Dewey, who’ve disappeared into the ether) explain that they’re mad at him because they’re there to wrestle, and that’s all they want to do, and are now feeling betrayed by MVP because it was never about money. Without turning into a super indie nerd and side-eying Davey Richards forever for saying nothing’s about money, I’m still going to give this a worst. It ignores everything’s that’s previously happened, and it’s just another cog in the machine that brings the roster members together to forget their differences and beat up the big bad black guy holy shit does no one in TNA ever say their ideas out loud first.

If you take away all of these elements, it would still be a worst because the execution is terrible. It’s delivered by a guy who seems to have vaguely skimmed Wikipedia articles for The Prince, The Art of War, and maybe seen a commercial for Civilization. Kenny King is manic and, after Lashley’s spear, appears to be going full Anderson.

Guys, come on. We all know you never go full Anderson.

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