Hi friends, it’s time for the Impact Wrestletalk Rumble! But a few things first:
– Brandon and I went to an inordinate amount of wrestling shows in a ridiculously short period of time. There’s so much to recap that we had to split this week’s Mandible Claw Podcast in two. The first part, where we over ROH/NJPW and Beyond Wrestling is up for your listening pleasure, but be warned: the only thing that will get Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme song out of your head is the impossible to destroy earworm that is Jushin Liger’s theme.
– Comment, share, like, tweet, and tumbl this report. Be a part of the conversation so it’s not just me shouting at my laptop about how nothing makes sense and I miss Joseph Park.
This week on Impact: Nothing makes sense and I miss Joseph Park.
Worst: I am still super sick with strep
It kinda sucks writing the reports when I’m all hopped up on medication and socialized health care. I mean, I forgot at least thirty things I meant to put into the report last week, so I’m just left with a notepad full of half-formed thoughts such as “Why does Bobby Lashley wrestle in his real life underwear,” “Does Bobby Lashley know this makes him look like a member of the Pit Crew from RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Why does Bobby Lashley have to go fully into Downward Dog to take his shirt off,” and, most importantly, “Why Bobby Lashley.”
One thing I haven’t forgotten, however, is how to spell his name. The same cannot be said for an actual person who gets paid to work at the same place he does:
And look, I don’t mean to suddenly get pedantic over wrestling nicknames, however, Ethan Carter III = EC3. It’s pretty well established. It even says so on a t-shirt, and we all know t-shirt canon is binding in at least 17 different countries.
Best: Kenny King
Sometimes I rewatch the Hogan-Bog Boss Man cage match because, you know, it’s great, but every time I do I get so dang mad that at the end Hogan steal Slick’s hat and wears it around the ring because he’s a real big jerk. This was 25 years ago and it makes me so freshly angry every single time. During the Bully Ray beatdown, Kenny King loses a shirt, but gains a hat when he steals it from Bully Ray. Just like what happened in 1989, were I in any way on this Bully Ray’s side I would be the most mad. A+ dick move, Kenny King.
Worst: Beach Blanket Bully
Bully Ray has set up this frustrating gallery of tables to illustrate his tables “hit list.” To the surprise of absolutely no one, this segment is a diagonal winner on the 2014 Bully Ray BINGO sheet:
B – References to balls, being a man, or shoving something up someone’s ass
I – Taking off chain, angrily pacing
N – FREE SPACE or THE MOST UNNECESSARY YELLING EVER
G – Character alignment incongruous with long-established character traits/alliances
O – Oh my god can you cling to your past glory any harder with this tables nonsense
I thought we were gonna get a full horizontal line with “mention of violence towards a woman,” but the putting something up someone else’s butt thing sealed the deal.
Best: Is this the best Spud Suit yet?
Yes. Yes it is.
Worst: Nobody makes EC3 cry his own tears
Worst: It’s not about money, or fame…
It’s all about wrestling. And the fans. And jet packs. Definitely jet packs.
Worst: Kenny King of Trios
So because we are embroiled in a wishy-washy “let’s forget our differences and divide into two alliances without every really explaining why our characters would be motivated to do so other than I’M MAD and I AM A JUDGEY DICKHOLE” storyline, MVP has “the balls” (and the rest, because damnit he needs to rethink how flattering his gear is) to accept Bully Ray’s demand for a six-man tag.
Last week Davey Richards was carried out on a stretcher, his body somehow stiffer than his wrestling, but he remembered that he is who he is, equipped his Invincibility red brick, and soldiers on through the match. Maybe my favourite thing about this match is how he sells his injury more on the wolf howl than he ever does on offense.
Austin Aries’ favour has gone up and down in this column over the year and a half I’ve been writing it, and that’s fine. That’s fair. Contrary to popular belief I don’t just arbitrarily pick things to hate and then never change my mind ever (see Magnus, I miss you Cool). Austin Aries has been wandering in Impact purgatory, where he doesn’t really have a character, per se, he’s just a placeholder. Gone are the days of drunk Austin Aries standing on Hogan’s desk, or legitimately entertaining matches against Bobby Roode or, bless his heart, Samoa Joe. Anything he’s doing right now could easily be done by anyone on the roster. He was mad, and then he wasn’t, and now he is again, so he’s going to fill a spot on Team Impact for Lockdown or whatever. He doesn’t have a great dynamic with any of these fellows he’s standing toe to toe with, and the weasely smarm that ends up being his most endearing and attractive trait has no place in this angle. As such, we’re left with half-hearted wrestling that brings out the very worst of reasons people dislike Aries. The stutter steps, the excitable-puppy shaking and jumping instead of fluid, meaningful movements. I still enjoy the heck out of his brainbuster, but his infuriating freshly-caught-trout method of selling is a weird (nay, super sh-tty) way to show solidarity with Eric Young.
The mega-worst thing about this match is that I forgot at least four times that Eddie Edwards was in it.
Yeah. I know. Yeah. It’s amazing how taking two seconds to address something logically will earn a best for someone who is…not. Anderson is mad that Gunner went to see Sam Shaw, and points out to “Dr. Phil….Shatter” that he has a team of doctors and staff members there to address his mental health, and Gunner isn’t actually a licensed professional who can help in any way. Gunner rebuts that he and Anderson have both served in the military, and have seen first-hand the trauma people can bring back with them. Maybe Shaw is the same, and he just needs some help. Anderson, somehow the voice of reason…reason…in all of this correctly points out that Shaw did not serve overseas, he’s a legit psycho and they are far from the same things. None of this explains why they’re teaming together, but a million Thank Yous to Mr. Anderson for taking two seconds to stop acting like a hyper two-year old to point out that conflating PTSD with being a violently disturbed sexual predator are super duper not the same things.
Worst: Ménage à Huh?
Anderson and Gunner teaming up makes…very little sense, as they’re definitely allowed to talk to each other without being forced into convoluted tag team matches that serve no purpose other than to…lord, I don’t even know at this point. I guess it’s to set up…this? The Menageries comes out to…do a thing…which I will explain…maybe…at some point…???
They’re wacky! And crazy! It’s madness! It’s…oh my god, it’s this: