The Best And Worst Of TNA Impact Wrestling 1/17/13: Extreme Championship Wedding

Well hello, lovelies. I apologize for the delay in getting this column up. I had some work and travel issues (it was the blerst of drives!), so I had a fair amount to deal with before I could get to watching my new favourite episode of TNA ever. Before you find out why, let’s get a few things out of the way:

– If you’re not following myself, With Leather, or UPROXX on twitter, I encourage you to click the links for each. You can like the article on Facebook, you can tumbl about it, and you can apparently share it on Reddit. I went on Reddit once to read an AMA with Tim Donst, and that has been the extent of my experience, but I’m told it’s a good thing, so y’know … if you could.

– You should also read that AMA with Tim Donst. It’s pretty great. He talks about the time he tried to kill Hallowicked with a drill in a furniture store, otherwise known as one of my most treasured of Tim Donst videos.

– Like Brandon, I will be attending National Pro Wrestling Day to lose my mind over ACH in person, indulge in some Wrestling Bro high fives, and maybe try to hug Jervis Cottonbelly, because he is the best. If you can make it out, you definitely should. We’re good people in person, and again, ACH!!

Alright guys, let’s get to it. This week on TNA, it’s the wedding of the century, and nothing else matters except all of the other stuff I wrote about. Move over, Will & Kate! A Hogan’s getting married!

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Best: HOLY F’N CRAP SPIKE DUDLEY

Guys. Guys. YOU GUYS. When I wrote last week that I would be the happiest girl in the world if Spike Dudley showed up, IT WAS TRUE BECAUSE I AM LITERALLY THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD. I have also taken the liberty of checking with all of the other girls in the world to confirm, and yeah, I’m right, no need to do your own research.

For someone who has some pretty serious opinions about this period of time in wrestling, it might shock you to know that some of my absolute favourite things came from ECW. My favourite match, my favourite feud, my favourite commentary team, my favourite wrestler was there for a cup of coffee, one of my favourite tag teams…ECW was incredibly influential in my formative wrestling experiences. Within all of those things I’ve listed, there are few things I love more in wrestling than Spike Dudley. He even inspired my favourite Halloween costume.

Now, when TNA and Bully Ray hinted at some “extreme” wrestlers showing up, I figured we would get Tommy Dreamer, because of course we would, and maybe Jerry Lynn. Worst case scenario we would get Balls Mahoney, and the gif of me running headlong into a wall would finally come out. But this…guys. Seriously. I am the happiest.

Best: No seriously, Spike Dudley

The glasses! The joke about the tye-dyed tuxedo! How genuinely happy everyone looked to be there! It’s all a best! We’ve gone through a lot of ‘acting’ in the past few months, but did you see how genuinely happy and excited all three men in the room were? When was the last time we got to see something like that? When was the last time we got to see Bully Ray smile like that? A true, genuine smile? I can guarantee you that this will be the biggest Best that I ever give, and I don’t think there’s anything they could do to deserve a bigger one. I know they’re going to star-wipe over to the bride-to-be any second now and this feeling will probably be diminished, but thank you, TNA, for giving me the happiest, most meaningful feelings I’ve ever had watching this show.

Best: Scumbag Miss Tessmacher

Right on cue we cut over to Brooke Hogan and her bridesmaids in mid-preparation for the upcoming nuptials. This should probably be a worst, and maybe I’m still sitting, basking in the warm Dudley glow from Dudleyville, but from Tessmacher casually, yet cattily, asks if Brooke’s dad is going to be there, to the horrified looks on faces of Mickie James and Christy Hemme, this was great. “Say yes to being a bridesmaid, bring up near-traumatic daddy issues on day of wedding” is almost as good as reliving some of the best moments in Kellerman’s history for Tessmacher. Even the whispered “Sorry!” is good enough to negate any amount of aforementioned “acting” from Brooke.

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Worst: Pretty sure we’ve been over this before, Impact Crowd

Both Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles are 35 years old, have wrestled regularly for a good number of years on television, and with the exception of AJ disappearing to find his smile and Jeff disappearing to find enough of his sobriety to pass any drug tests he’ll have to go through, they really never lost “it.” So what’s up with this sudden need to chant “YOU’VE STILL GOT IT”? Yeesh. Tune in next week when they chant the same thing at a 34 year old Austin Aries, and Brandon has to fill in on the report because I have thrown my laptop from the balcony in a fit of confusion and anger.

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Best: ILU WTTCotW

Seriously. Just worship them…..now.

Best: Are you okay, Christopher Daniels?

Because you just spilled a lot of tea. During the (mostly one-sided) verbal exchange with Jeff Hardy, Daniels takes a dig at Hardy and his fans by saying that they’re “not creatures of the night, but creatures of habit.” It’s amazing how one little sentence completely sums up almost the entire Jeff Hardy fandom, isn’t it? It was such a small part of this segment, but it’s not often that we get that kind of brutal honesty as a throwaway insult from a primarily comedy-based heel team. Almost the entirety of TNA’s roster and business model is based on this notion: Oh, you used to like this guy? Well hey, come like him here in TNA! He might be a little older, a little slower, and a lot more full of drugs, but if you loved him once you can do it again! I’m happy to see that Jeff Hardy appears to be making strides in his overall health, but admittedly he has been going through the motions. We’ve gotten a few good matches, but nothing overly memorable. There’s nothing much left that makes him innovative or exciting or different. He’s just…Jeff Hardy, plain and simple. Heels can be jerks and say mean things, but the best heels will make you think to the point of throwing your arm-band loving, face-painting, nostalgic fans into a headlong existential crisis.

Worst: James Storm

I know Hogan is pretty busy practicing his disappointed faces and measuring his biceps, but you can’t just magically decide, then and there, that you’re going to launch into a tag team match. You aren’t even wearing pants, let alone a three-piece plaid Teddy Long special. No. Stop it. Bad cowboy. Bad.

Best: Tazz

Wait, what? No no, bear with me! Speaking of throwaway lines, Tazz suggests that Jeff Hardy should paint the truck of James Storm. TEAM PAINT YOUR WAGON IS NOW CANON. Every other tag team name can go home now, thanks. I mean, this isn’t as good as when the WWE blatantly and liberally used a tag name that Brandon had thought of came up with a really great name for Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, but whatever, it’s TNA. This is the closest we’ll get.

Best: Wrestling!

I enjoyed this match! The creation of it is sketchy at best, but in a show that doesn’t have a whole lot of wrestling, I’m glad we got this one in here. Kazarian sells the Twist of Fate like death, and it looked awesome. Christopher Daniels hit the Angels’ Wings on Hardy on top of the championship belt, then posed over his corpse in true Douchebag Eve Torres fashion. It was great, and I’m looking forward to seeing some good matches out of everyone involved. Even Jeff.

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Worst: America’s Next Top Wrestler – Crimson Guard Edition

I know that people (including myself, at times) like to get down on Hulk Hogan for consistently ruining the momentum of a show, but is there anything that stops a good show in its tracks like these awful Gut Check debates? These are just terrible. I’ll give a mini-Best to Al Snow’s velvet blazer, because velvet blazers are always best, but does anyone really want to listen to their mock debate between Tomax and Xamot? And why are they all wearing jackets? Is it really cold? Are they on their way to lunch? And Bruce, what on earth is that on your jacket?

Worst, but secret Best: lol Bruce Pritchard

Oh. Oh my. Are we totally switching gears from ANTM jokes? Do I have to throw out all of the GI Joekes I’ve been trying to think up all week in order to make this segment a little more palatable? Are they in a sub-sub-basement of Kleinfeld’s that caters to leather jackets for bridge & tunnel Father’s of the Brides that doesn’t make it onto the show? And most importantly, Bruce, are you saying “yes” to this jacket?

Best: TNA is trying to kill me with feelings

Just when I think I can’t be any more overwhelmed with happy wrestling feelings, this segment gives me Tommy Dreamer fussing with Spike’s cummerbund, more shoot happy Bully Ray, and JOSEPH PARK. Good old Joe Park thanks Bully Ray, because if it weren’t for him he wouldn’t be on the roster, gives him a box of Cuban cigars from “a friend at the airport,” and then inquires as to a pre-nup in the most adorable Joe Park way. If you guessed that I watched this three times, then deleted the paragraph I had written because it was just JOSEPH PARK AND SPIKE DUDLEY OMG OMG OMG over and over again, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE I AM CALLING THE POLICE MY BOYFRIEND KNOWS KARATE.

Best, Worst, whatever: Gut Check Decision

Xamot got eliminated, and Tomax gets his spot on the show because he has a personality and also enjoys highway frottage or something. Whatever. That’s great. Congrats. Don’t they know we have a wedding to get to?

Best: Kenny King

Again, this is mostly just a best for his sheer presence. I mean, you’re either really really good, or your division is really really terrible if you consistently get a best for being “not those other guys.” Don’t get me wrong, I think King is pretty great and I am aching at the chance to see him wrestle someone who has more mobility than a Jaxx action figure, but the idea of writing about another Christian York match makes me flop around the couch, whining and whinging and oh my god, stop making me do this TNA. Please. If you can give me Spike Dudley, I don’t see any reason why you can’t stop drafting X-Division guys out of the sewers, and start drafting them out of the ranks of the best of the indies. WWE just signed El Generico, everyone’s favourite independent Mexicanadian. If they can get Sara Del Rey, Claudio Castignoli, and Chris Hero…come on. Step up your game. If there’s one thing you decide to follow WWE’s lead on, it shouldn’t be the importance of what is trending (because it’s legit not important), it should linking all of Beer Money’s leftover six-pack rings and dredging the best of the independent best up to turn them into delicious, entertaining, X-Division slurry.

Worst: Oh, Stinger

I know you’ve been doing this for a long time, but at some point you’re going to have to remember that no matter how much face paint you wear, we all can tell that you seriously do not give any effs about this entire thing.

Worst: Todd Kennely

You should not have said yes to that jacket.

Best: Hulk Hogan

I love that he’s so upset, he will only communicate via THIS FACE. I mean, he’s not Moammar Gadhafi angry, but this is still serious business.

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