Hola, fellow Impact lovers! Or…tolerators! Let’s get some pre-show notes going!
– If reading isn’t enough, I did two podcasts this week. The first, a look back at one of my favourite matches, Spike Dudley vs. Mike Awesome at Guilty as Charged 2000 for Wrestlespective Radio. The second was my official induction into the Wrestling Blog, where Tom Holzerman and I manage to keep the Chikara talk to a surprising minimum, but are free wheelin’ with love for Rachel Summerlyn. So stuff those in your ear holes!
– Again, Brandon and I will be reppin’ the good name of With Leather at National Pro Wrestling Day. ACH and the Estonian Thunder Frog will be there, and if you’ve paid attention to anything I ever do ever, you know I am super duper excited and can’t wait to see either of them. If you can make it, you should do it, because good wrestling is fun, but good wrestling for free is the best!
– You should follow us in as many ways as possible. My twitter is here, With Leather lives here, and UPROXX pilots the mother ship over here. You can tweet and like and tumbl and share on reddit and do whatever you can to make sure people are reading, and someone, one day, realizes that they have the power to put Jeff Jarrett on television and it is a really, really bad idea so they won’t.
This week on Impact: Joseph Park, some other stuff, more Joseph Park, and then some other stuff with people and wrestling and things. And Joseph Park!
Best – Let’s recap! And then add more stuff!
We kick off this week with a (thankfully) edited recap of what happened last week. I say thankfully, not for removing Brooke Hogan letting the world know that her boobs were out, but for not showing DOC with a death grip on her as she’s struggling to pull her dress up. Mike Knox backed off once he realized! DOC, you are doing something worse than Mike Knox. Take that in. You are terrible and I hate you, and if I never have to hear you sneer “YES DADDY” as you manhandle a woman who is in actual distress again it’ll be too soon. Oh, and Tazz is part of Aces & Eights because…oh my god, who even knows anymore.
But that’s not the part that gets the brunt of this best. TNA gives us some post-show footage of the wedding’s aftermath, and it truly is a gift to all of us who had to put up with another BIG REVEAL. To further perpetuate Hogan’s journey of understanding and redemption, we see a prone, injured Hulkster reach out to take the hand of his previous perceived enemy in Bully Ray. Is this it? Has he finally rid himself of his whispering demons, and is now prepared to accept his former friend and current betrayer as a future son? And how has it taken so many years for Hulk Hogan to be involved in a compelling, well written (kind of) storyline?
After this touching continuation of the saga of Hulk Hogan, he is then helped from the ring by a still half-naked Christian York. Obviously York didn’t have much time when he moved out of his room in the sewers below Manhattan, and only had enough room in his carry-on for his wrestling gear and about thirty jars of hair wax. Longtime friend Tommy Dreamer and newly-befriended Joseph Park do the same for Bully Ray. I like to think that Joseph Park is never actually naked, but rather his natural state is in a track suit. Like how Clark Kent always has his Superman costume under his clothes, but obviously way cooler because he’s Joseph Park, and Joseph Park is the best and is always prepared to wrestle and warm my heart.
Best: Mike Tenay
Guys, Mike Tenay is so upset. He’s fuming! He can barely even look at the camera! Now, I know Mike Tenay is not good at his job. Anyone who has listened to him call a match at any point in his career knows that he is not good at his job. He has never gotten a best before, and short of him miraculously morphing into Leonard F. Chikarason I doubt he will again. I like to think that, instead of acting, he’s the last person in the industry to not know that all of this is fake, and he is legitimately upset that his stumpy commentator friend Tazz has joined the evil biker gang that is, for some reason, wreaking havoc at work. I hope that one day, when Tenay finally overcomes his fear of water and sails out of our lives on the Santa Maria, he’ll look back at his time in TNA fondly, and not just tell Eric Bischoff to go f-ck himself.
Actually, I really hope he does that.
Best: WE ARE SO EXCITED TO BE PARKING THESE MOTORBIKES, Y’ALL
Parking in the Impact Zone on show day is brutal. I would be excited too.
Worst: Tazz is finally going to explain Aces & Eights
Oh…no he’s not. Shocking. Someone who has been barely intelligible for years and brings absolutely nothing to a match’s commentary (including calling moves properly that he has actually performed in-ring on multiple occasions) cannot properly explain the purpose of his joining a directionless stable that has been kicking around for months. He tries to say that he’s been brought over to their line of thinking (but doesn’t say what that is), and is acting under the direction of a “higher power” (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE NOT JEFF JARRETT). And then….it gets muddled. He says that attacking the wedding of Brooke and Bully Ray was their opportunity to get at them, despite the fact that they’re there ALL THE TIME and they could literally jump them at any moment. But then he goes on to say that they’re just collateral damage? And it’s totally random? And then he KEEPS GOING. There is literally zero reason for him to be speaking for this long, and then CONTINUING. It explains nothing. It moves the Aces & Eights storyline forward not an inch. If you don’t feel like watching the video posted above, let me break it down for you:
T to the A to the DOUBLE ZED
MY FRIEND HAS A HAMMER THAT’LL MESS YOU IN THE HEAD
IF YOU MESS WITH US, WE’LL KICK YOU IN THE FACE
BECAUSE WE’RE ACES & EIGHTS AND WE RUN THIS PLACE because we won a match and we are technically allowed to be here without security escorting us from the property.
Best: Chris Sims is going to theorize at you for a minute
Last night, while discussing this segment with Chris Sims (dear friend, handsome Batman expert, professional smarty-pants, and guy who is really good at writing stuff), he had an entirely different take on it. Given that, being from the liberal north and all, I don’t necessarily have the same religious touchstones or familiarity with things like chicken biscuits, he agreed to explain his theory on Aces & Eights much better than I ever could.
Best: DO YOU HAVE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT ACES & EIGHTS’ PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE?
When I was a kid, we routinely had Christian speakers show up for school assemblies and chat with the student body about the Lord for a little bit, usually getting around the fact that you’re not really supposed to do that in a public school by making sure to build their speeches around topics like staying off drugs (with the power of Jesus) or not doing crimes (also with the power of Jesus). I’ve spoken to people who grew up in other parts of the country and they have assured me that this is weird, but trust me, it’s just how South Carolina rolls.
Point being, there was this one assembly in high school where the speaker was introduced as being “the newest member of professional wrestling’s New World Order.” This perked my ears right up, especially since this guy walked out into the middle of the gym in an nWo t-shirt with the theme music and everything, and then proceeded to basically cut a 45-minute promo for Christ, liberally sprinkling wrestling metaphors in with the sermon. As it turned out, that was this dude’s gimmick, and the school was only the first stop on a week-long engagement that saw him presiding over a revival at a local church. I wish I could remember what he said, but the only one I can recall fifteen years later is that he referred to Jesus as “the Total Package,” which made me wonder if the Son of God also took the Lex Express across the desert and body-slammed Barabus on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
I’m pretty sure he did. I think it’s in Acts. You can look it up.
Anyway, between that and Tazz announcing that he joined up with them so that he could spread the word of a “higher power,” I’m starting to think that the big reveal in this episode was that Aces & Eights is a Baptist youth group.
I may not understand the proclivity towards putting everything into a biscuit, but I will accept Wrestling Jesus into my heart if it means that Jeff Jarrett isn’t going to show up on my television ever again.
Further worst: Teflon Tazz
Oh my god. You can’t just give yourself a nickname. That’s not how nicknames work. I can’t declare that I am, henceforth, DIAMANTE DANIELLE, with all the sparkle and shine of a Brandon Best & Worst but at a fraction of the cost. Ugh, Tazz, this is so not fetch.
Worst: I can’t believe I just laughed at a Jessie segment
Soo….technically this should be a best, however I am still reticent to accept that anything involving Jessie Godderz but not involving the Robbies could be funny. I have watched Big Brother with my mom for years, and despised every appearance of Jessie with every fibre of my being. For some reason, he has appeared on Big Brother a lot. That said, his use of a Velvet Sky action figure to motivate Tara before her
commercial for Bellator championship match was one of my favourite parts of the show. “You are the TNA Knockouts Champion. She likes dead pigeons or something.” “You look phenomenal and are phenomenal every single time you go out there. She’s small, tiny, and plastic.” STOP IT I AM TRYING TO HATE YOU NOT BE AMUSED AND MOTIVATED TO DO STUFF.
Best: Fine, I’ll call you Bad Influence if you keep doing stuff like this
Worst: Tazz turns heel, stays on commentary
Seriously, Tazz turns heel and we still have to listen to him on commentary? Really? Even as a heel he still makes no goddamn sense. We still have to listen to a long-form commercial for Bellator, because somehow a countdown clock so you know when to change the channel isn’t enough of a reminder. We still don’t get anything but the briefest mentions of the Knockouts match going on because Tazz has to further explainabrag about now being a member of Aces & Eights. I mean hey, it’s not a great match, and watching Velvet Sky wrestle is like watching someone dance while they’re counting the steps in their head, but still. He can’t even insult his former commentary compadres properly. He insists that Todd knows nothing because he’s only been here for a cup of coffee. When Mike Tenay pipes up that he’s been here for longer, Tazz…confirms that he’s been here for a long time. OUCH! Steady employment burn! We should find out what time visiting hours are, because he just sent Mike Tenay to the non-insulting factual BURN WARD.
Worst: “Bellator – that’s some cool stuff, huh?”
No Tazz. No it’s not.
Best: Joseph Park, because of course he’s a Best
You want to get me excited about a series of taped shows that don’t include the World Champion because he’s made some severely poor life decisions and gotten arrested for them so he can’t travel outside of the country? Yeah, this is the way to do it. I want to watch Joseph Park compete. I want to watch him get that “W.” I want to hug him if he wins. I want to hug him if he doesn’t win. I want to compare passports, because my Canadian passport has a unicorn on it and I know he’d appreciate it. I want Joseph Park on my television every week because he makes me the happiest, and I want TNA to recognize that this is what well-thought out storylines featuring non-offensive attitudes get you.
Now pony up a Joseph Park t-shirt and take my money or get the hell out.
Worst: The X-Division
Kenny King is obviously exempt from any worsting, but come on. This isn’t a tag match, playa, this is the entirety of your X-Division. We’ve got RVD, brought to you by the year 1998 and the one place in that strip mall that still does airbrushing, as the X-Division champion. Hey, remember when Zema Ion was X-Division champ? Yeah, that’s not a thing that should happen again. Kid Kash isn’t even around anymore, and how terrible do you have to be to make me wish Kid Kash was in this match?
And now, an excerpt from the Very Secretest Four Star Diary of Samoa Joe
I AM SO MAD. I tried calling Phil to talk about it, but he’s busy and also I’m not allowed to because we’re on different shows. ARGH. I’M JUST SO MAD. You would not BELIEVE the gall of these two little pricks. Calling me, texting me, just shut up about Kurt and leave me alone. Things were so much easier before they got here. Kurt used to come over every weekend to drink Five-Hour Energy and practice jiujitsu holds, and now I’m lucky if I can even get him to answer his phone. He’s always off with those two jerks, giggling and showing off his Olympic gold medal. And even worse, when he’s not with them, he’s sitting alone in the locker room writing in some stupid notebook and then making all of us promise not to follow him into the shower because he needs some “me time.” Well maybe I need some Kurt time! Those guys suck. I bet they don’t even know who Kenta Kobashi is.
Sigh. Why am I so mad? Why won’t he return my calls? Why won’t senpai notice me?
ARGH! I HATE THEM.
Submitted, as always, by your friend – Joe
Best: Guess who’s not racist and can still be awesome and effective heels?
Their pre-match segment is one of the prime examples of why everyone should be watching Impact, and not just because it makes my job easier by not needing to skip some of the best parts because TNA doesn’t put up any videos to link to. Austin Aries was already great, but Bobby Roode as his spastic new BFF is a revelation.
I know most subscribe to the idea that offensive language and attitudes, be it about race or gender or sexual orientation, are fine as long as it’s a heel saying it, and they get their comeuppance from a face. Clear-cut, black and white, good vs. evil. I can understand that point, however I still disagree with it. Just because we have the expectation and understanding that a heel is going to do and say crappy things and a face is going to make them eat their words by making them eat their fist, doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Are the still-forming brain-stuffs of kids going to know that it’s a bad thing to put down someone from Mexico because the funny guy with the cool clothes said it? Do I have to go to yet another TNA event in the States wherein the guys beside me are screaming for Hernandez to get out of their country but also get back to mowing their lawn like a good [racial slur]?
The trickle down effects of any such display of prejudice and shaming extend beyond what we could possibly consider. Whether it’s done by a good guy or a bad guy, it’s still being done, and at the end of the day it is not okay. The assumption that fans aren’t intelligent enough to understand the difference between an antagonist and protagonist without resorting to the most base, disgusting, and unacceptable insults is just that – insulting. I’m sorry, but I can’t subscribe to the notion that hate speech is in any way alright if uttered by a heel, because hate speech is never, ever alright. If you can’t make yourself a believable bad guy without it, then you are bad at your job and don’t deserve to be on a major televised program.
This set-up segment was incredibly entertaining. Rather than sit around watching old Tito Santana matches so they could crib some Mexican food-based insults from Jesse Ventura, Aries and Roode try to out-compliment the other so as not to have to face Hernandez in the ring by proving the other is the more capable wrestler. Their ulterior motives are clear, and they still get to stay heels using backhanded compliments and veiled insults. It’s fun, it’s clever, it furthers their development as two guys who hate each other but are kind of friends and tag partners because they want the same thing, and it doesn’t make me embarrassed to endorse this show. Now was that so hard?
Best, worst, I’m really not sure: Did…did you just win with a bulldog?
Yup, you did.
Best: You probably disagreed with everything I just said, so hey, here’s some Joseph Park
I secretly love The List. Well…I guess not so secretly now. This episode is, shockingly, my favourite thus far. Not only does it have Joseph Park, but also plays into the back and forth conversations Joe Park and Little Robbie have been having on twitter for months in a further stoke of continuity genius. Now, I follow quite a few people on the twitters, but I don’t pay anywhere near as much attention to anyone else as I do to Joseph Park. Okay, maybe Jervis Cottonbelly because he really is the #WorldsSweetestMan, but still. Take in this adorableness with your seeing eyes:
Worst: Of course Anderson wants to fight now
Do you know how much it costs to fly to England right now? Not to mention the transport cost for a motorcycle? This is a very poorly managed group, and I doubt they have the adroit fiscal management skills to be able to afford sending all of them to the UK, plus their bikes, plus all of the extra baggage fees because leather is heavy and they wear a lot of it. And if you’re so scared of Kurt Angle now, why go through all of that trouble to fight him in a steel cage? Why not just wait a month and fight him when he gets back? It’s cool. You can steal his erotic friend fiction from his locker and read it to all of your biker buddies in the clubhouse for kicks. It’ll be like a slumber party, but one no one wants to go to.
Worst: You’re a bad boss, Mr. Hogan
I know Hulk Hogan is at home recovering from repeated blows to the head and body from a VERY REAL HAMMER, but I don’t think Kurt Angle is high enough in the chain of command to just make up stipulations. James Storm did it, so now anyone can? Your staff is running wild all over you, brother! Even Tazz thinks this is messed up. YOU ARE FORCING ME TO AGREE WITH TAZZ DUE TO YOUR POOR ADMINISTRATIVE PERFORMANCE.
If I don’t get a full five minute flashback segment of Hulk Hogan desperately trying to figure out his fax machine so he can officially put Kurt Angle in charge of booking as an explanation, I’m gonna be crazy mad you guys.
Worst: “HEY. HOOKERS. SHUT UP.”
No, YOU shut up, Mr. Anderson. I’m glad you’re not part of my favourite TNA moment anymore, because you’re a dick, and also obviously unappreciative of all the free handies from moderately attractive ladies you wouldn’t have gotten had you not joined up with the 32 Man Gang.
Best: Hey, that was unpleasant. How about some more Joseph Park?
He’s going to “put some hustle behind that muscle.” He made making a list and carefully weighing the pros and cons canon. He is moving on from Taeler Hendrix to the super cute Taryn Terrell and taking away my opportunity to fic it because it is HAPPENING. And Taryn Terrell and Taeler Hendrix had beef in OVW where Joseph Park just trained and I make zero promises that from now on this column won’t be 100% Joe Park fanfic because my head is spinning with possibilities.
Worst: This is not actually a 100% Joseph Park column, and now I have to write about the main event
Okay, so it wasn’t a terrible match. It’s got Christopher Daniels who is good enough that he can elevate even the laziest of Jeff Hardys to an entertaining match. That said, I’m still giving it a worst for a) context, and b) not being Joseph Park. But mostly the first one.
We know Jeff Hardy can’t travel to the UK, so what on earth are you doing having a one-episode plus special vignettes set up for a championship match if it’s going to mean nothing? Win or lose, you can’t continue the feud next week, because drugs. And forgive me, but Joseph Park isn’t involved, and I don’t exactly have the most confidence in your creative team to be able to pull something off that will help continue a feud upon your return. Having a fun, entertaining match to lead to an injury so all of the little kiddies with Jeff Hardy arm bands don’t know their favourite wrestler isn’t there because drugs can be done without a championship stipulation. It seemed pointless and trite, and takes away any of the excitement leading to these two facing off again. It’s frustrating, and title shots shouldn’t just be handed out like Knockouts…title…shots… The less important a chance at the winning the belt is, the less important it makes that belt.
Legitimate worst: That goddamn REAL AS ANYTHING hammer
The following conversation happened after Jeff Hardy was hit in the back of the knee with said hammer:
Me: BABE. HIT ME WITH A HAMMER.
Matthew: Uhh, no.
Me: COME ON! Hit me with a real hammer. Not too hard, but come on, it can’t hurt that bad.
Matthew: Uhh, no.
Me: Seriously, hit me with that hammer! It’s the back of my knee! It’ll be fine.
Your hammer looks so fake and shitty that I tried to get my boyfriend to hit me with a real hammer to prove just how fake and shitty it is. Thank Wrestling Jesus I have a boyfriend who loves me enough to keep me from making some really poor judgment calls in the name of this column.
I would have sold the crap out of that hammer shot, though.
Best: Joseph Park, take us home
Love you, Joe Park.