Hello hello hello! Welcome back to the Best & Worst of TNA Impact, alternately known as “Jesus Christ, are we still in the UK?” A few things before we get to the (thankfully) final installment under the monarchy.
– I went to 2CW’s Niagara Falls show last week, and this is a thing that happened! For those of you who regularly read this column, you’ll know that this is pretty much one of the best things that could ever happen, and it’s a miracle I am writing this week because my heart almost burst from sheer joy. As an aside, please note that I am 5’2 ¾”, and he is officially listed at a cool Danny Briere 5’9. Mmhmm. Okay Spikey.
– While I was hanging out in a wrestling ring with Spike Dudley and fangirling over Jojo Bravo at a merch table with the effervescent Rachel Summerlyn, Brandon got to go to Elimination Chamber and a WWE press conference. He did a TOTALLY CONTROVERSIAL podcast about these experiences that you should listen to here. He also got to meet Big Show and Mark Henry, and had I not done the aforementioned, I would probably ragequit the internet from blind jealousy. You can listen to his fun and less divisive podcast about that here. Chris Trew is involved, and hey, we all love that guy (we should all love that guy).
– Twitter is a nifty little thing, and if you think so too, you should absolutely follow me here. With Leather is good times and occasionally posts about cats on treadmills (the best kinds of posts), so follow them here, and our UPROXX mothership here. Like us on Facebook, rock the tumblr, and share (or whatever the verb is) on Reddit, too. We like shares and follows and likes and such, so do it as much as you can! You can even use buzzwords and get proactive and in your face about it!
– Shout-out to Wrestling Bro Prime Casey for the GIFs.
This week on Impact: A title changes hands, Joseph Park flies, and after some serious consideration, a #1 contender is picked for the World Heavyweight Championship. Onwards and upwards, my friends!
Best: Nepotism or Senility, the hot new game show that’s sweeping the nation!
Hogan comes out to kick off the show, and lets us know that after careful consideration he’s chosen the #1 contender to face Jeff Hardy for his butt-ugly belt at Lockdown. So who is it? Mecha Austin Aries? The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm? RVD? Haha, of course it’s not RVD. It’s Bully Ray, because of course it is.
At first blush this seems…wrong…and I assure you that it is, but for the sake of the grander story being told, let’s go with it. Bully Ray is injured, and didn’t compete in the Tournament of Farts (shoutout to all of my Canadian professional women’s curling fans with that one! *wink wink*). Bully Ray comes out, just as incredulous as his acting skills will allow. Bully Ray well and truly should have been champion long before this, but TNA is now running wild down a treacherous path. With Aces & Eights finally getting some momentum, this could lead to a very big reveal that would more than justify slogging through months of leather vests and beer bottle hand-jobs. It could also just lead to Bully Ray becoming champion with no exploration of the familial politicking of Brooke Hogan and the overt nepotism of Hulk’s decision.
The problem with getting so invested in an Impact storyline like this is the precedence they’ve set for completely dropping the ball on compelling storylines, or negating any good things they’ve done by adding, say, Jeff Jarrett into the mix. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of confidence in doing something different then falling back on whatever they think a WWE audience would like or what, but I’m really glad that they’re sticking with this. Other storylines and divisions (X, Knockout) may be suffering, but thus far I think they’ve been incredibly successful in expanding the characters of both Bully Ray and Hogan, and I really want to see this through to what will hopefully be a satisfying conclusion. Heck, best friend and confidant Sting has been the most likable and relatable he’s been in just about ever. Even if this is just a long-form parody of the benefits Triple H has reaped by getting it into then putting a ring on Lady Stephanie, it’s really, really good. More of this, less #slapnuts please.
Worst: F-cking injuries, how do they work?
Bully. Bully Ray. Sweetie, darling. Stop. You can’t say you’re injured, then go dancing. You can’t point out that you’ve torn a quad and shouldn’t compete at Lockdown, then book yourself into a match involving the same guys who injured you. Oh wait, you can? And you did? Well, I guess we’ve got time for miracles, and I can notice and recognize them, so sure, let’s do this.
Best: Call me Jerry Lawler, because I just made a sh-tty heart attack reference
In all seriousness, my heart. is full. of FEELINGS. Mecha Shiva and Bad Influence! Everyone hates Chavandez! Christopher Daniels earned his medals! They all get to be on the same side and be best friends and drink appletinis and put pictures of Chavo and Jeff Hardy in their burn book and…okay, maybe not. But hey, they’re all on the same four-man tag team, so it’s a start! Is there a way this could get better?
This couldn’t get better, right?
Best: Danielle’s Fandom Armageddon Tag Match
WELL HELLO THERE, JOSEPH PARK.
This is a real TNA Turning Point in the episode, because there is pretty much no way the show will have anything better than this tag match. It’s not perfect, but…nevermind, 5/8ths of it is. Let me put it another way. It’s a real shame that the YouTube version of the match is cut down, because this is basically ten minutes of a four-on-one handicap match of Mecha Influence vs. Joseph Park, and it is glorious. It is so good that upon watching it after it aired, a friend messaged me to make sure I was alright. And I am not alright. I am so much more than alright. I am the MOST DELIGHTED.
In this match we have:
– Legitimately great wrestling
– Four of the best heels to ever heel their way around a TNA ring
– Joseph Park showing heart and determination
– Joseph Park going top rope
– Said heels remembering that they’re actually total jerks and collapsing under the weight of their own egos and jerkitude
– Joseph Park
Even Tazz likes Joseph Park, and Tazz is an idiot.
Best: Joseph Park, high-flyer
Worst: We lie, we cheat, we steal other people’s pins
That was Joseph Park’s pin, dude. BOO, CHAVO. BOOOOOOO.