Cheerio! ‘ello Guvnah! Whatever stereotypical British greeting you’d like me to give! I hope you all had a wonderful week, and a very special Anna Howard Shaw Day. A few things before we get on to the (thankfully) final episode from the UK.
– This weekend I will be heading across the border for Squared Circle Wrestling’s Heat Wave (scroll to the bottom for the card) event in Niagara Falls, NY. Jessica Havok! Christina Von Eerie! Rachel f’n Summerlyn! SPIKE DUDLEY! If there’s no report next week, it will be because my heart literally folded in on itself like an Autobot transforming. If you like the idea of seeing any of these wrestlers, and also hanging out in American Niagara at a bar that doesn’t even have a website, then by all means come out, say hello, enjoy some badass ladies and little Spikey, and hope our cars don’t get broken into!
– This week at The Wrestling Blog, I interviewed ACW’s own Jack Jameson. Head on over, watch some fun matches, and compliment him on his full and manly beard. I’ve been close to it in person and it’s nothing short of glorious.
– So this Social Media fad is pretty fun and far out, so why not get on board and follow me on twitter? With Leather is here, and UPROXX is also worth a follow. We also appreciate likes and shares and up votes and all those good things, so hit as many buttons as possible when prompted. It helps spread the word, and lets me keeping doing things like posting pictures of myself eating a burrito on a legit sports comedy website.
This week on Impact: In what feels like the longest UK tour ever, Hogan kind of sort of makes a tournament, shows that his poopies face isn’t just for disapproval, and gets lost in the hallways of Wembley Arena. Find out if he chooses an opponent for Jeff Hardy at Lockdown or gets committed to an assisted care facility after the jump!
Best: The crowd’s reaction to Hulk Hogan
When carefully weighing the pros and cons of traveling vs. the Impact Zone a la Joseph Park, this will always fall into the Pro column. Instead of having a handful of people there to see Jeff Hardy and Sting peppered into a crowd of tourists who thought it might be a fun idea to see a wrestling show then sit on their hands like a WCW crowd for an Ultimo Dragon match, you’ve got people who don’t often get the opportunity to see these wrestlers and are so excited to do so. I don’t think they’ll get the same reaction necessarily when they come back stateside, but how great is it to see that many people excited for TNA? Some of these people have never gotten to see Sting or Hogan in person, or any of these guys for that matter, and it’s so much fun to see them cheering their hearts out and enjoying themselves to that extent.
Hulk Hogan is the best guy to open a show like this, because no matter how smarky you are, or how many words per minute you can type about how he’s a selfish jerk who monopolizes airtime and takes focus away from younger guys who are more deserving, you can’t deny that in situations like these, Hogan sells tickets. Hogan gets a crowd excited. I’ve seen the coolest of customers melt into a puddle of childlike wonder at meeting him, so for a market where TNA is popular and they don’t get as many touring shows, yeah. Hogan’s going out first, and he’s gonna keep coming out. People are gonna cheer as soon as his music hits, and they’re going to keep cheering. I know that this is incredibly doubtful at times, but TNA is there to entertain, and when in the UK, Hogan’s gonna be a big part of that. He got them excited, and that got me excited to see the rest of the show.
I know a few people had a squicky reaction to him basically equating Wrestlemania III and his past title wins to the noise he heard in the arena that night, but I really didn’t mind it. He didn’t say it was just as good, or better, but rather that it sounded “pretty damn sweet.” I can believe that. Here’s a guy who gets a tepid to fair reaction in the Impact Zone, but also gets totally brutalized on the internet for pretty much every single thing that he does. When going from “slamming giants” and “winning titles” to basically a being a walking joke, I have to imagine it does feel pretty damn sweet to get that kind of affection and not be made to feel like a great big naugahyde bag of crap.
Best: Hogan basically writes my column for me
So Hawk Hogan swoops in, basks in some adulation, and proceeds to lay out what’s going to happen on tonight’s show:
• RVD vs. The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm
• Christopher Daniels vs. Guy Who’s Going Over Because England Magnus
• Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
• Mecha Austin Aries vs. Shiva Bobby Roode
• After all of this, Hogan is going to arbitrarily choose a #1 Contender to face Jeff Hardy at Lockdown
• Sting will captain a team of wrestlers to face Aces & Eights at Lockdown.
Thanks, Hogan. You know, I’m bookending staying up all night writing this with two work shifts and pretty much no sleep, so I appreciate you filling in for me. There’s a pretty clear Best in this mess of an outline, and it’s not hard to figure out what I’m not going to enjoy about the rest of it, so… See you next week, Impact Fans!
Best: Bad Influence
This show was way better than last week’s, but that’s like saying that root canal was way better than the time you accidentally came to during an appendectomy. Let’s take some time to appreciate Bad Influence, because they’re certainly working overtime to make this match entertaining. Daniels is trying his very baldest bestest to make Magnus look good (and I mean really, really trying), because I don’t care how good Magnus was in Ring Ka King, there isn’t a single reason in the world he should legitimately get this pin. Kazarian is such a great heel manager, and it’s obvious as to why he breezed through testing and got his license so soon. They are a bright spot in a poorly lit arena, the wind beneath Hawk Hogan’s wings, and other stuff I read on Valentine’s cards this week, but wrestling related.
Best: Christopher Daniels’ Finger Wear
Because of course you can remove the index finger to flip off a British crowd. Of course you can.
Worst: MAGNUS YOU LEAVE KAZARIAN ALONE
Have you worked hard to get your Manager’s License? Are you gonna pay the replacement fee? DOUBTFUL.
Worst: That’s not how injuries work, Bully Ray
This next segment wasn’t totally horrible. Bully Ray continues his streak of fairly decent “acting,” expressing to Brooke his disappointment in his quad injury, not being able to compete for a #1 contendership spot, and his wedding to Brooke getting ruined by Aces & Eights. He then says that it’s Valentine’s Day, so he’s going to buy Brooke some shoes, take her out to an Italian restaurant, and then go dancing.
I’m pretty sure if you can’t wrestle, you probably shouldn’t be going dancing. Like, I have terrible carpal tunnel, and I’ve sacrificed a lot of drawing time this week. I’m not lamenting that I can’t draw and then grabbing a shake weight and going hard on it for a few hours after I attempt 300 one-armed push-ups. Come on.
Thing that happened: Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle
While this week’s episode was so much better than last week, it’s still just a lot of “so…that was a thing that happened.” It wasn’t a great match, but it’s the best either of these guys have looked in a while, so it’s definitely not a worst. It’s just….Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle. Shrug city. I feel the only worst I could really give is the missed opportunity for some backstage exposition. Joe and Angle were part of a foursome that became a twosome because of the TOTES UNPREDICTABLE reveal that Brischoff were part of Aces & Eights. They now have to further divide themselves by wrestling against each other. There’s no “Hey, I’m glad you’re here to stick it out with me, but I think we can both agree that the World Heavyweight Championship is a pretty big deal, and something we both want, so let’s just go out, give it our all, and may the best man win.” But thank god we got to hear Brooke Hogan speak, right guys?
Best: lol Brischoff
Worst: Oh hey, an inter-gender trios match! This could be fun OH HOLY HELL WHAT HOT GARBAGE IS THIS
I’m sorry, but as someone who did not watch Gut-archy in the UK, TNA has done their damndest to make sure I have zero interest in watching any of the four competitors, and zero confidence in their ability to wrestle. The only way I will accept the Blossom Twins after a tag move on Tara that was so awkward I was afraid they broke her neck is if they literally become the Blossom Twins, start wearing overalls, hats with turned up brims and giant sunflowers, and refer to Party Marty exclusively as Six. Or just replace him with the actual Six. Jenna Von Oy is a great wrestling name, and I’m pretty sure she could make that suicide dive connect a lot better than Party Marty did. Also, she could change it to Jenna Von Oi! and give Christina Von Eerie a badass punk rock tag team partner. Then MASADA could show up and say “WHOA!” every time they hit their finisher and it would pretty much be the greatest thing to ever happen to independent wrestling ever.
Worst: The last three sentences I wrote will never happen
Default Best: FLOWER GIRL MECHA SHIVA
Worst: RVD vs. The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm
Sigh. Let’s just…move on.