Hola, lovelies! I am riding high on a Christmas full of Jack Swagger action figures, talking Chewbaccas, and a shockingly great (mostly) episode of Impact. I hope you’re all ready for a heck of a lot of bests, because I am full of leftover festive cheer and also coffee and I am ready to get to it! But first things first:
• Before you do anything, you should go out and send a Christmas card to Dalton Dingle. Go on. I’ll wait.
• We don’t have fancy video packages, but you can find out what got Bested and Worsted last week here. If you aren’t caught up, but already guessed that Taz made horribly offensive gay jokes about Santa Claus, you’re right, and I am so so sorry.
• You don’t have to kiss to be clever, but we’d always appreciate it if you’d Tumbl for us. You can also like us on Facebook, use the twitters to tell all of your friends about the cool stuff you read on the internet (and also this article), and follow myself and With Leather while you’re there. UPROXX lives in the twitters as well, should you feel the need to tell them how much you enjoy these reports, or send selfies of you clutching your pearls (or personal equivalent) at the idea of a non-Brandon Best & Worst.
This week on Impact, gratuitous heel on heel action, Bully Ray proves that even he doesn’t watch this show, and Mr. Anderson takes them both because he is…whatever the Mr. Anderson equivalent is of hardcore.
Worst: How did it get burned, and other mysteries from last week
If you’ve ever stopped by Brooke Hogan or Bully Ray’s twittah machines, you know that they are some busy people. Clearly they are too busy to watch the only television show they actually get paid to appear on, because they are seemingly mystified as to how anyone could ever possibly find out that Bully has been attempting to give Brooke a tonsillectomy using only his tongue. Obviously somebody must have taken a picture with their phone, or perhaps, and I’m just spit-balling here, used one of the dozen or so HD cameras floating around filming everything at all times. I dunno guys, I’m stumped.
My biggest hope for this whole storyline is that he was actually making out with someone else, and in reality, Brooke just mistook that time he handed her the tray of pickles in catering as a declaration of intimate intentions. Next week he’ll find her boiling his neck chain after she picked Devon up from Biker Gimmick School and took him out for ice cream and roller coaster rides.
Best: What do Bully Ray, Kevin M (Atlanta, GA) of Forever Comfy fame, and I all have in common?
We are effing fabulous.
Worst: Impact Creative apparently did not get the memo last week…
…and are still encouraging the use of “bitch” and “lol ur a girl” as insults. I think I covered this pretty well last week, so instead I will remain in the hope that someone will get a late Christmas gift of the Shakespearean Insult Day Calendar, leading Samoa Joe to call Masked Man #2 a cankerous fool-born applejohn before muscle-bustering him to injury.Subscribe to UPROXX
Best: WE’VE GOT A BRO-OFF
Quick! Raise your hand if you thought Robbie E’s gimmick would still be tolerable, nay likeable, after Zack Ryder lost the favour of the bulk of the Internet Wrestling Community.
The brief glimpses of Robbie E while his then fiancée shopped for wedding dresses at Kleinfeld’s desperately made me want to like him, but alas, I could never get into what he was selling. Of course what he was selling was an attempt to be an X-Division champ, and a Jersey Shore knockoff gimmick because TNA always has their finger on the pulse of ideas that weren’t even good the year before.
I’ve been incredibly hesitant given that the shelf life of an annoying reality show-based gimmick is basically non-existent (plus I didn’t care in the first place), but I admit that over the past few months Robbies E & T will be pop up, say something stupid (only fighting words in Hollywood, phew), and against my better judgment I will giggle, then feel a twinge of shame. My shame at enjoying the bro-off this week is at the most minimal it can be, so either Robbies E&T have hit their stride, or I have lost track of how to feel ashamed. The big bag of brownies I just ate for supper tells me it’s the first one!
An even Bester Best, Bro: The look on Bigger Robbie’s face
Because dude, I feel you bro.
Worst: Taz thinks sweaters and colours are gay
Because of course he f**king does.
Best: The rules of a Bro-Off are simple and finite ….bro
One of the main things that is tentatively and ever so gently placing me into the Robbies camp is that I cannot doubt their commitment commitment for even a second. Sometimes a terrible gimmick can turn great when those involved accept the ill-conceived hand they were dealt, and instead of trying to force it, have fun with it because hey at least it’s better than being unemployed so why not dance around and be glad you get paid to be on television. Plus side number two: Those sweaters look way more comfortable than Christian York does moving around in his own skin. Plus, apparently they are gay, which means absolutely effing nothing.
I started out completely ready to hate this segment, but my snark turned to a smile, my smile turned into wide-eyed excitement at the possibility of a posedown, and then before I knew it I was shouting “HE LOSES HE DIDN’T SAY BRO HAHA SUCK IT JESSIE.”
…okay, maybe I can still feel a little shame.
Best: Chekov’s Overhead Press
Once upon a time, in a galaxy that may or may not be this one, a grudge against Robbie T (for TRENTA) was born. You see kiddos, I am a girl of simple tastes. My favourite promo is Jake the Snake threatening the Million Dollar Man with the terrors he could find lurking in Jake’s bag alongside his stolen Million Dollar belt, but really it’s just Jake talking about a bunch of snakes over some occasional stock footage. I like cats on treadmills, simply because they are cats on treadmills, and if there’s one place a cat should be, it’s YouTube. On a treadmill.
My favourite Royal Rumble is that of 1989 (though ’90 and ’91 make great cases in my heart of hearts), for many reasons. Ax vs. Smash! Andre the Giant! Ted DiBiase shenanigans! Mr. Perfect! Big Boss Man! Akeem! Jake Roberts! Big John Studd! My favourites, they’re all here! FIRST PRIZE. But besides being an A+ Rumble and having some killer pre-Rumble promos, this event also had one of my favourite moments in wrestling history: The Ultimate Warrior-Rick Rude Super Posedown. It’s not just a posedown, it is a Super Posedown. It is 15+ glorious minutes of greasy, gyrating ridiculousness for no reason and it is amazing and why aren’t you watching it right now? Again, I’ll wait.
Back in February 2011, Egyptian President Mubarak stepped down after widespread and at times violent protests, the Obama administration determined that the Defense of Marriage act was unconstitutional, and in TNA Scott Steiner was supposed to face Robbie Big & Tall in a posedown to settle a dispute over similar nicknames. Rob Terry called himself “the Freak,” to which Scott Steiner, the “Genetic Freak” took umbrage because fighting over nicknames that aren’t actually all that desirable or flattering is a thing that happened. Regardless, I was excited because holy jeepers I love me a posedown, and how often does one take place? (hint: not often.) Predictably, Scott Steiner shouted a bunch of incoherent insults, and Rob Terry jumped him and ran off, all without ever striking a pose. Since then my only reaction to Rob Terry has been shouting YOU OWE ME A POSEDOWN at my television then making Kevin Nash angry faces at him until he was off screen.
Even though the commentary team was calling for a posedown, it wasn’t until Jessie hoisted Tara above his head that I let myself get excited. All I could hope for was that Robbie XL would do the same for Baby Gap Robbie, because I write about TNA and I need this excitement, okay? Just like Sabu can’t set up a table without going through it, Super Big Gulp Robbie atoned for his past Scott Steiner-related transgressions in stunning fashion. Apparently some people on the internets thought this was worse than whatever was left in Rikishi’s mawashi after his in-ring dancing segments, but to those people I say hey, seriously, do you remember Scott Steiner?
Best: Rob Van Dam Calisthenics, coming soon to VHS
Extend that hallway walk to an hour, slap it on an RVDDVD, and include a pilates ball and replica X-Division belt and I will so totally buy that when it’s $5 during a blowout sale on TNA’s website.
Worst: Everything else RVD does in this show
I don’t want to keep Worst-ing RVD, but goddamnit Rob. Just go hang out in your garage and get high with Sabu and Rey Mysterio while playing with your vintage arcade game that was on your episode of Fake Wrestler Cribs or whatever that was and let Kenny King Royal Flush everyone in the X-Division until TNA comes to their senses and just drafts as many great wrestlers out of ACW as possible to throw graps at each other without dumb storylines and my heart explodes because wrestling.
A perfectly cromulent Best: Joseph Park’s Lineage
Did you know that his great-great grandfather Jebediah Park almost beat George Hackenschmidt in a game of fisticuffs once? I think we can all agree that these segments, as wonderful as they are, could be even better if we all sat down over a nice cold glass of turnip juice to hear more stories from the Park Family Tree.
Worst: Come pay us money to let Danny Davis be a dick to you
I know that when it comes to sports psychology, tough love and negative reinforcement are employed to increase perfectionism and a students need to please. Personally, I don’t care for all of this bashing of Joseph Park. I know Danny Davis is supposed to get the point across that Park is a bad wrestler except when he sees blood because Abyss yadda yadda wanking motion, but to put things in perspective Mr. Davis, Joseph Park, Esq is not stupid, he is a lawyer, and your accomplishments include giving the world a wrestler named The Proctologist. I can only assume the Eugene gimmick came not from WWE creative, but years of Nick Dinsmore believing Davis’s intimations that he’s mentally retarded.
Best or Felony: Bobby Roode
I seem to get a lot of flack and shocked comments about my feelings on Bobby Roode. Last night while I was grocery shopping, I happened upon a package of entirely crustless white bread. Ladies, gentlemans, spam bots, that singular bakery item perfectly sums up how I see Bobby Roode. So either Bobby Roode has picked up a coke habit none of the dirt sheets have gotten wind of, or he has been practicing emulating the best of what he can find when searching “funny eighties wrestling promo hogan warrior lol.” I would be remiss, nay, it would be ROODE of me not to point out that whatever it is, it’s working, and I am enjoying his segments more than I have ever enjoyed him before.
Really, both theories could be correct, and he is basically living in this promo:
I can smell what The Rock is cooking. It is meth, and someone should call the police.
Worst: The “Where’s Your Boyfriend” chant
Maybe one day after I win the lottery and become a world-renowned philanthropist/lady who writes about wrestling, I will turn my charitable heart to the Impact Zone audience. The plan would be to stake out a decent spot at Universal Studios and hand out pamphlets featuring Tazz and Matt Hardy as helpful guides to what life decisions not to make. Need an insult? Don’t make a gay joke! Need to do anything else? Don’t do what Matt Hardy does!
Alright. So now that we’ve gotten to know each other a little better, and you now know that one of my favourite things in pro wrestling is the posedown, I’ll give you another inside track to the deepest loves of the wrestling part of my heart: There is not a single thing I love more than wrestlers impersonating other wrestlers. Like I said, simple girl, simple tastes. So imagine my delight at the entirety of the Kazarian/Christopher Daniels segment. If you imagined me laughing until I couldn’t breathe properly, you can take a novelty prize of your choice from the giant treasure chest of dollar store crap. Last week I let their segment speak for itself, but I feel like this could really use a Lightning Round. Ready, set, ACCENT.
Best: Christopher Daniels referring to the crowd as Ham Sandwiches.
Best: Christopher Daniels is a Ring General, and he’s got the custom medals to prove it. He truly is a national treasure.
Best: Calling out AJ Styles and getting Kazarian completely tops him puppeting AJ Styles entrance with a babydoll at a fake in-ring baby shower, otherwise known as the best thing to happen in TNA all year.
Best: Me thinking that in no way could Kazarian get better than he did last week, and turning me into the biggest, flamingest-pantsed liar in the history of liars. The accent, the confusion over what to do with his hands, it’s all brilliant and I want to live in this moment forever.
Worst: CHAVO GET AWAY FROM THE RING NO ONE WANTS YOU HERE
Best: Kazarian still selling his confusion as to how AJ Styles’ gloves work as Chavo tries to ruin everything I love.
The tag match was whatever, but for a few brief moments I was in comedy wrestling segment heaven, and it didn’t even involve Jervis Cottonbelly or an in-ring game of Duck Duck Goose. This is the most serious of bests I could ever give, and I’m going to just go ahead and worship them……NOW…instead of thinking about how it’s going to be downhill from here in 2013.
Worst: Speaking of rapid declines, here’s Aces & Eights … everything
I was going to pepper these throughout the report as they happened chronologically, but these backstage segments were so horrible and made me so genuinely uncomfortable inside I’m just going to get it all out at once.
I had to work through Impact and watch the replay at 11:00pm, and when I got wind via Twitter that Anderson returned, I was more than excited at the idea of writing him into this report. I have a love-hate relationship with Ken Anderson. I hate the asshole gimmick (#buttstuff), but I love legit comedy Anderson (see: stellar impersonation of Sting). I hated him for not being willing to sell a single goddamn move and just rolling out of the way of every swanton Jeff Hardy could set up, but then Victory Road happened and I realized hey, he probably just didn’t want to get hurt because Jeff Hardy was high as f*ck. He’s got a dumb gimmick and mediocre in-ring skills at best, but he was super adorable with a bunch of kids at Lockdown and way nicer to my boyfriend than he ever had to be, so like I said – love/hate.
Instead of any of the things I could have handed out a Best or Worst for in the past, we get stuck with the squicky idea that a) D.O.C. has just had a threesome with the club’s rhythmically challenged strippers (ew), and b) the only thing that can bring Ken Anderson back to the TNA fold is sloppy seconds (double ew). I don’t want to get all Danny Davis on this, but guys, this is really, really stupid. And ladies, here’s your pamphlet.
Worst: Gail Kim calls out Tessmacher and it is TOTALLY SPONTANEOUS
I like to imagine that Tessmacher doesn’t actually go home, she just sits perched in gorilla position, reapplying her makeup and not letting any wrestlers get to the ring until they answer her questions three.
Best: Hey, Gail Kim!
This match wasn’t really anything special, but it’s great to see someone with genuine wrestling skills instead of the Divas training moveset of bull dog, clothesline, clothesline, schoolboy, crappy DDT. More of Gail Kim against ladies who are at her level or better, less threesomes and impassioned promos about someone stealing your bat, please.
Esteemed wrestling blogger Thomas Holzerman recently did a year-end wish list of things he’d like to see in 2013. I fully admit that I am going to take a page from his book, and throw out a wish for something I would love to see less of in the year to come (besides an unemployed Taz). Because seriously, lady rasslers, can you maybe stop rubbing your assholes in your opponents face? Can this stop being a thing now that we’ve all gotten the “Kelly Kelly thinks she got the stinkface from the baboon from the Lion King” jokes out of our systems? Thanks.
Best: Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries vs. Glittery Ring Gear
I think we’re all winners with this one.
Best: Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries for realsies
I know a lot of you think I’ve forgotten to write about the main event in the past two reports, but I really haven’t. They’ve been decent, serviceable main events, but when you have such dizzying highs and disgusting lows, serviceable gets stuck in the middle. “There was a match and it was good” doesn’t really go with “Christopher Daniels said stuff and my brain exploded with happiness.”
There are so many little things that happened during this match that elevated this beyond the past two matches I’ve had the opportunity to write about but chose not to. I enjoy shades of grey in my wrestling personas, and shoot good against shoot bad is fine, but heel versus heel? Sploosh. The rules go out the window because both participants have no problem winning by whatever shady means necessary, and they’re usually much more charismatic (ergo, they get to be heels), so we get to see more humour reflected in the storytelling of the match.
I may be a bit biased as I am a pretty big Aries fan (despite the fact that he may be a horrible person in real life), but I think Aries is talented enough that he can get a passable match out of someone like RVD, a great match against someone like Roode, and a match of the year candidate against someone like Alex Shelley. It’s been said that out of kayfabe he’s basically a selfish jerkstore looking to put himself over on the backs of everyone else, but whether that’s true or not, kayfabe Austin Aries will steal your moves, wrestle circles around you, then put on a pair of sunglasses because you need to DEAL WITH IT.
Bobby Roode’s (alleged) personality boost plays so well into this aspect of Aries’ style, and I loved it all. The back rakes, Aries throwing up the X to fake out Roode, boxing the other’s ears, eye jabs…little things out of the “How to Wrestle Like a Heel and Make People Hate You” handbook entertained the heck out of me. Teaming up on Earl Hebner in a show of bad-guy solidarity? You better believe that’s a best. I would be perfectly content seeing more out of these two every week, leaving Jeff Hardy to spend his time in between pay per views talking to himself and painting eyes on his eyes because Jeff Hardy. Sure, you can pull him out now and then to take off his shirt to get that audible crowd squeal and sell neon armbands, but I think we could all use a little heel-ing to soothe the ills 2012 Impact episodes hath wrought, and Roode-Aries is just the way to do it.