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.
Best: I Believe in Joseph Park
Needless to say I loved this segment. The naïveté of Joseph Park thinking that “politicking” means having posters and buttons and an actual campaign is downright adorable, but the best part is Hogan’s reaction to Joe asking if he can count on his vote.
I feel like this is the most natural we’ve seen Hulk Hogan be…pretty much ever on a wrestling television show, and these moments of seemingly genuine emotion are what really elevates his storyline above most others on television right now.
So don’t leave your candidate a question mark, go ahead and vote for Park!
(I have made a Republican variant, because just like TNA, my sh-tty jokes were only relevant 4+ months ago)
Worst: Gainful Employment
JOSEPH PARK HAD A Q&A AND I WAS AT WORK
WORST. WORST FOREVER.
The Q&A was pretty great, and I learned a lot of adorable things about Joseph Park, but ugh, stupid work and needing to pay bills and buy food and stuff. It was actually pretty brilliant and reminded me of things in his storyline that even I, the Internet’s Foremost Joseph Park Scholar and Best Friend Wannabe, had forgotten. It filled in some blanks (like what kind of law he practicesw, and…well…just look:
brb, creating a Kickstarter to go to the zoo with Joseph Park.
Best: Hulk Hogan, despite Consummate Worst Brooke Hogan
I don’t think there was a single thing I didn’t enjoy about Hulk Hogan during this episode. It’s a shame this isn’t up on YouTube, because despite how terrible Brooke Hogan is at everything that’s not wearing sparkly dresses and pencil skirts that make me covet her wardrobe, he has so many moments that seem almost totally genuine. Either he’s becoming a better actor, or he’s realized that not every single thing has to be Hulking up and shouting stuff and catchphrases.
One of my absolute favourite things is when actors or actresses have an authentic reaction to something. For instance, whenever Lucille Ball would laugh at something on I Love Lucy. And I mean really truly be amused with something. Not breaking, necessarily, but a moment of legitimate amusement that didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was like seeing them for the first time, and being connected to them in a way that went beyond how you’re supposed to feel as a viewer.
This is almost what I’m getting with Hulk Hogan. He’s softened up, and it seems like he really means things. He really likes Joseph Park, and stands behind him, and wants him to be successful. He wants to put a belt on Bully Ray (because seriously TNA, please put the championship belt on Bully Ray), but for once he remembers that he can’t just pull stuff out of thin air and do what he wants, because he’s got at least eight guys who all “deserve” a title shot as well. He seems to really love Sting, and calls him the greatest wrestler of all time. I might disagree with him, but it’s crazy to hear someone who really is the most popular, well known wrestler of all time, and who is often viewed as selfish and narcissistic, putting someone over to such a great extent. Later on there’s a segment where Hogan confides in Sting (and complains about Brooke’s whining haha), then leaves to go to the ring. He goes the wrong way down the hallway, Sting points it out, and then they’re just sarcastic jerks to each other like any two friends would be in real life. They seem comfortable and like pals and I love it.
Additional Best: I will never stop loving this face as long as I live
Best: Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode
This totally, 100% makes up for all of the worsts and whatevers I’ve given this show, because goddamn this was great. This is entirely in the running for one of my favourite matches of the year, and guys, I’ve already seen the Estonian Thunder Frog live. I love everything about it: The slow build, the story they’re trying to tell, the actual match once it gets going, just…everything. I don’t even know where to begin besting this, because everything was so on pointe, and so enjoyable. Not a single thing could get a worst from thi-
Worst: GET OFF OF MY TV CHAVANDEZ
Best: I KNOW, I WAS WORRIED TOO BRO
Don’t worry guys, the Robbies are totally fine, and totally still coordinating their outfits, and TNA better not ever do what they did last week if they know what’s good for them because, you know, I will write ANGRY WORDS ON THE INTERNET and stuff.
Worst: Aces & Eights interrupt Hogan’s decision, because of course they do
Options for dealing with Aces & Eights now that the Impact Zone is kaput:
1) Just call the cops when they show up to local arenas
2) Just get a second or third guy in the ring, because they don’t seem to understand how being outnumbered works
Don’t make us poke your eyes out, Hogan.