Hello again, my darlingest Ham Sandwiches! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve. I personally spent it loudly replacing Auld Lang Syne with Boys on the Docks, and watching a very large bearded man wrestle a smaller, skinny punk kid in the snow. It was like watching Jebediah Park vs. Jeff Hardy in the match no one asked for. In other news…
• I will be attending SMASH Wrestling’s event Any Given Sunday on … Sunday. If any of you cool cats in the GTA want to come see Johnny Gargano, 3.0, Gregory Iron, and what commenters look like in person, you should head on out! I make no promises as to whether or not I will be dressed like Bully Ray, doing bad Al Pacino impressions, or telling everyone to throw their money at Gargano’s merch.
• Gifs this week have been provided by the lovely Casey/THESTINGER. He is the best person, and I am consistently jealous of his boogie.
• As always, I can be found on twitter here, With Leather keeps it tight here, and UPROXX operates their twitter machine here. By all means, like us on Facebook, and share us on the sharing stuffs, especially Reddit. Stop by, say hello, and tell us what you like or dislike about what we’re doing. I have it on good authority that the person who operates my twitter account likes hearing what you think, and is also really into Johnny Gargano.
This week on Impact: Christopher Daniels makes me think deep thoughts, D.O.C. jobs to a chain lock, and TNA makes me stretch my creative writing muscles to the point of a near hernia.
Worst: Formalwear, how do you do it?
I’m constantly fascinated (read: confused) by how wrestlers approach situations where they’re expected to be on television but don’t have to wrestle. Some wrestlers had great, iconic looks that you could come to expect no matter the occasion – Million Dollar Man and his tuxedo/halter top combo, Sabu in his Chippendale dancer Aladdin pants, Hulk Hogan and his shirts operating in a constant fear of being torn asunder.
The ever so prestigious Wrestler of the Year award was greeted by three different looks. Bully Ray took the “I could be in a match at any time but I’m not wrestling tonight so this makes very little sense” approach, choosing to go with a holdsteady favourite instead of cribbing his style from infomercials. James Storm is in his best Randy Orton formal wear, which makes a little more sense seeing that he later challenges for a match. I will also forgive him for his lack of pants, because if I walked around drinking that much beer I would probably want to be as comfortable as possible, and I don’t think Storm owns a pair of comfy jammie pants with happy little penguins all over them. If he does, TNA has seriously dropped the ball.
The good news in all of this is that while you may not be able to look as heel-chic as Roode and Aries, for only $59.99, you too can look like you wandered out of your meth lab to accept your major award.
And you can be really, really happy about it.
Best: So, are you guys like, best friends now, or what?
Often times in wrestling, a more experienced, ring-savvy wrestler will pair with a greener, less experienced partner in order to show them the ropes. Like Curt Hennig and Scott Hall in the AWA, or Sin Cara and Mysterio for an example that’s not 27 years old, this “do as I do” approach may explain my sudden interest and appreciation for Bobby Roode. I know I’m in the minority when I say that Bobby Roode used to be boring and basic as hell. He was the Jacob Cass of TNA: The CAW no one actually wants, but you’re stuck with him so you try your best to like him, but at the end of the day you just want to breeze through his section and just go back to the infinitely cooler United Kingdom storyline.
Austin Aries, the real Jacob Cass for those playing along at home, brings out something fantastic in Roode. Last week’s main event really hammered that home. I enjoy when these two wrestle, but the added nuances they’ve brought this time around really make me excited to see more. Of course you guys are dressed alike. Of course you both think you’ve won. I don’t really care about your anger, Bobby Roode, but now that Austin Aries is interrupting you I am all ears. I come down squarely in the Total Nonstop Aries camp, and I am entirely fine with Bobby Roode tagging along. You’re wonderful, arrogant jerks so just get together and be BFF already because you are adorable.
Worst: Don’t blame me, I voted for Aries
Whether this was a rib at the Slammys, or just a reason to say “Hey Jeff, thanks for not being high as balls all the time,” at the end of the day I’m ultimately fine with it. Hardy looks happier and healthier than he has in a really long time, and I can’t blame fans for loving him. Little kids love him. Ladies love him. Wrestling nostalgia is a thing, so while even the most jaded of fans may not be able to love him on that level any more, there’s still a certain amount of respect for the things he’s done, and the undeniable talent that’s buried under layers of sharpie and neon face paint. If you’re new to wrestling, Jeff Hardy is a really accessible and easy to like wrestler. He’s different, he does flippy things, and holy crap guys that ladder was huge and he is insane and I wanna back that up and see it again and again. In 2012 he easily transitioned into the “Not for me” category of wrestler, like a John Cena or a Sheamus. I’m not gonna go crazy when he comes out, but I understand why he’s out there and making those kids lose their minds. Whether or not these are rigged (they are), Jeff Hardy would still be taking his Bushwood Country Club trophy home to smear it in black light paint and draw trees with eyes on them or whatever all over it.
All that said, my god Jeff, could you have sucked the fun out of this segment any harder? I appreciate that you’re not running around in jorts and making racist, slut-shaming remarks, or taking a dump in Mr. Anderson’s truck and getting a wrestling buddy in your likeness in return, but seriously. I’m not quite sure how you can suddenly book a match and have it be official without consulting anyone, but I pray that before Genesis you use some of that mysterious charm you like to brag about and turn this into the feud to beat in 2013 instead of wet-blanketing all over everything.
Best: Kazmania is running wild
Come on, TNA. If Gunner can have a full-priced t-shirt, I see no reason as to why I can’t be wearing a Kazmania shirt in 7-10 business days.
Best: Christopher Daniels, Impersonator General
I think Christopher Daniels is trying to kill me. If he keeps doing impressions of people (again, my legit favourite thing in wrestling), I will literally explode. As much as I want to come up with some piquant little quip about this, I can’t, because I am sitting here like someone just handed me a basket full of kittens and told me they’ll never grow into cats.
I once saw someone respond to a question asking what they mark out for the most, and their response was “I haven’t marked out for anything since I was 12.” As this person had not turned 13 in the preceding week, this has stuck in my head as one of the saddest things I’ve seen from a person calling themselves a wrestling fan. I know they said it to sound cool, because to that type of person being a real fan means knowing TH’BUSINESS and being as hypercritical and contrarian as possible, but if that’s really how you feel, why on earth are you watching in the first place? I understand I am saying all of this as a person who devotes hours writing out my critical thoughts about a wrestling show every week, but it is my belief that if you can’t completely lose yourself in something you love then there really isn’t much of a point. I know that Impact is going to throw some pretty garbage stuff at me, but I will still watch with hope and faith because of moments like this. I don’t want to come off as hyperbolic, or overstate the importance of this segment because it is a very small part of a larger, kinda bad episode, but I cannot say enough how happy it makes me to see people having fun with their characters. I cannot explain how happy I am, for even just a few minutes, to turn off my smarky, know-it-all brain cells and just live in a moment of pure enjoyment. For one reason or another we’ve all come into the wrestling fandom. Whether you see it as a physical expression of high art or a dumb thing you loved once and still watch out of habit, we’re all looking and waiting for little moments like this, and I hope, for your sake, you don’t take them for granted.
Worst, but if TNA plays this properly a Future Best: James Storm is Drunk Uncle
Worst: Did you just jerk off that beer bottle?
Yup. Yup you did.
Best: Kenny King, US Weekly Feature
Hey, I’ve watched Kid Kash matches on VHS! Wrestlers! They’re just like us!
Worst: That hammer is neither hype, dope on the floor, nor magic on the mic
Ohhh, man. This segment. I know a lot of you wanted a best out of this, and I wish I could give it to you, but this was pretty bad. I wish this had been Devon, or that guy with the voice changer who sounds like Pam Poovey’s kidnappers and is probably D-Lo, but…no. We get D.O.C. I mean, wasn’t it enough that I have to imagine him having gross Florida sex with two ladies then handing them off to Mr. Anderson for even more, even grosser Florida sex? Apparently not.
Instead of a good promo, or a promo that makes me want to see Sting descend from the rafters (carefully, because you are old, Sting) and beat the baby oil right off of his tattoos, we get a shouty, swearsy, meandering mess, all while brandishing THE WORLD’S MOST REALISTIC TOTALLY NOT FAKE HAMMER™. Just don’t talk, use a real hammer when you’re by yourself, and stop making one of my favourite tag wrestlers of all time hang out with ladies who give handies to alcohol bottles and also Mr. Anderson. It makes me sad inside.
Worst: Kid Kash vs. Christian York
I don’t hate Kid Kash. He’s a serviceable, mid-level talent who, while a little past his prime, can still act as a decent opponent who can put a young guy over in a decent match. This match, though. It was not great. So in lieu of actually writing about this match, you get this instead.
“Oh man, why do they get to have all the fun?”
Christian York let out a frustrated grunt as he landed a spinning heel kick on the stack of empty pizza boxes in front of him. Frustrated, he stomped over to his bed, then proceeded to flop himself down on the mattress.
“How does this even happen? I mean, we’re already a bunch of mutant freaks. Why do they get to wear masks and hang out with a hot read head, and I have to stay down here in the sewers? Just because I’m orange doesn’t mean I’m any less tubular than they are! When do I get to go above ground and kick butt? Is all this training for nothing?”
York sighed, finally permitting the tears to fall. Suddenly, there was a knock on the drain pipe. He rushed to dry his face using his newly bleached dreads. “Come in!” he said, trying his best to sound composed.
Master Splinter shuffled into York’s room. “You did not meet me for your katana lessons as promised, my son. Is something troubling you?”
“N-n-no. N-n-nothing!” York tried, but it was too late. He was now sobbing uncontrollably, his words coming fast and harsh. “UGH! It’s EVERYTHING! Everything’s wrong! I have to stay cooped up down here like some kind of monster while all of my brothers get to go into the city whenever they want. It’s because they’re green and I’m not, isn’t it! I’m weird and a failure and you think I’m going to let everyone down just because I’m different! They get to play heroes all day and I’m trapped down here like…like a loser!”
Splinter took a deep breath, pressing his eyes closed as he did. He knew this would happen sooner or later, but no amount of preparation could ease the sting of guilt he felt in his heart.
“Christian, you are right. You are different. The world is a cruel place, but no more cruel than the prison of our own mind. I have tried to shield you from the world, to keep you safe and happy down here while your brothers fight the injustices and evils up above, but I see now this was not the right path. And for that, I am truly sorry.”
Looking back on this moment, York wished he could have reacted differently. That he would have comforted his father, apologized and thanked him for his love and kindness. Instead, this moment would be one of regret, even shame for him later in life. Running away to Orlando where he could be accepted, nay celebrated, changed Christian York’s life, but at what cost? Losing the respect of his turtle brothers? Never getting to tell his father that for once, he was well and truly free?
If only his father could be there with him now. Here he was about to face his toughest opponent, his own personal Shredder: Kid Kash. Kash had beaten him before. He had the experience, and the battle scars to show for it. But if there wasn’t time for an evening skateboard ride to clear York’s head, there definitely wasn’t time to dwell on the past.
As Christian York descended the ramp at the Impact Zone, he felt a change come over him. He felt stronger, bolder. Splinter had always believed in him, and the thought bolstered York’s courage. His father was there, after all. His father walked behind him in his steps, and lived on in his heart. As he reached the ring, preening to the crowd, York saw a flash of red out of the corner of his eye. He could do this. He could beat Kid Kash. He could beat Kenny King. He could be the next X-Division champion. And maybe, just maybe, he could hang out with a red head of his own.
Worst, with the assist from my boyfriend Matthew: Chavo Guerrero
And I quote: “OH GOD, SHUT UP CHAVO. JUST GO BACK TO BEING AN EFFING BIRD.”
Miss you, Soaring Eagle. *kisses hand, points to sky*
Best: Joey Ryan’s Pre-Match Preparations
Best: Samoa Joe doesn’t understand their love
I’m pretty sure TNA is trying it’s best to make Kurt Angle’s Brischoff shipping as canon as possible, and I am ON BOARD.
Worst: Bully Ray is a bad boyfriend
So, first you get all up in this girls stuff, then you insist that nothing is happening despite video evidence to the contrary, THEN all of a sudden you’re together and willing to defend her? Really?
Brooke, I don’t like you, and you don’t know me, but allow me to be the Get a Grip friend you so sorely need. Take a step back, open those dead, emotionless eyes of yours, and realize that the dude you’re dating basically just insinuated that you are his niece. I know the obvious joke is that you’re into that, but I will avoid it because it’s old hat and also ew. If he’s not stepping up and admitting that you’re the only one he wants to press into the back of an SUV while a television camera films you making out, then maybe you should do yourself a favour and move on. Believe in yourself, girl power, Greatest Love of All lyric, etc. This is a toxic situation and you’re better off.
And don’t waste your time looking at Garrett or Wes. They’re taken.
Best: I see what you did there, Hogan
I can’t get down on this whole thing, because the subtext of this entire storyline is great. Hulk, the road-weary father, has spent his life watching this business chew up and spit out lesser people. Now that his daughter is involved, not only does he have to deal with protecting her from the perceived evils of what has proven to be a hard and tragic business, but also his own mortality as his little girl grows to a woman. She’s got aspirations in a business whose depth she may not be ready to comprehend, no matter how much time she’s spent around her father and his colleagues, and his need to protect her is only further exasperated by the fact that she is also dating Bully Ray. This presents an added betrayal of confidence, given that Hogan and Bully Ray have worked together for so long, and the friendship and trust they’ve built in an environment of shady deals and shadier personalities has suddenly been torn to shreds by the lies of his daughter and one of his most trusted colleagues. Flustered and impotent, Hogan lashes out with the only means of control he has, banishing both his former friend and his own daughter from the ring, the true castle-construct in his own mind.
I mean, come on. This is captivating storytelling to its very core.
Worst: We can’t all live in good intentions, Impact
Unfortunately, instead of getting Carmen at the Met, we get Carmen: The Hip-Hopera: Talented performers (and Brooke) attempting to execute a grand story on a grand level, but instead giving us an underwhelming dud on a sub-par television network.
Also, if this were twenty years ago, Brooke would be four years old, and Bully Ray would be in prison learning a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘tag-team specialist.’
Best: Joseph Park, because Joseph Park
Guys! He did it! Joseph Park has proven that he has what it takes! Dickhead Danny Davis believes in him! He’s watching Christopher Daniels matches which is bound to make him improve! He’s a tubby lawyer, but still made it out of OVW faster than Crimson!
I’m so proud of you, actual wrestler pretending to be a lawyer who can’t wrestle who just learned to wrestle which might get weird soon because you could actually be said real wrestler. So proud. This one’s for you, Joe.
As often as TNA forgoes continuity in favour of whatever jerkoff direction they decide to take their stories in, ODB’s phonecalls and updates on Eric Young make me smile. I know very well what Young is doing off of television, but little kayfabe moments like this that make you want to suspend disbelief are wonderful. More of these, and less Bellator commercials disguised as Knockouts matches, please.
Best: A dream is a wish Hulk Hogan’s crumbling grip on his life makes come true
Realizing that he has now destroyed his relationship with his only daughter, a distraught and distracted (and alliterative!) Hogan makes his way back to his office. Rather than trying to make amends for the damage he’s just done to his professional image and avoid any situations that could prove detrimental to his career, Hogan acts in haste and anger when confronted by two people legitimately wronged. Rather than addressing the fact that Jeff Hardy has booked a PPV match without prior discussion or consent, thus undermining Hogan further in front of the company and television audience, Hogan confirms that there will be a match. Taking it one step further, Hogan raises the stakes to an elimination match, then puts both men (known enemies) in a tag team match against Jeff Hardy and an opponent of his choice.
I believe that his rash decisions should ultimately prove to be his undoing as general manager, however it’ll probably just lead to a dumb Hogan-Bully Ray match (please no), or a Team Hogan-Team Bully Ray Lethal Lockdown (okay maybe). Whatever Hogan’s ultimate redemption is, I just hope it doesn’t involve him wrestling. Brother.