The Best And Worst Of TNA Impact Wrestling 2/7/13: Live From Manche-zzzzzzzzzzz

Hello again, lovelies! My apologies for not being able to write last week’s column. As you know, Brandon and I attended National Pro Wrestling Day in Philadelphia, and traveling took away any opportunity to write. A few things:

– National Pro Wrestling Day, despite having some brief, gross, unpleasantness (I’m looking at you, Resistance Pro), was a wonderful experience full of great wrestling, hanging with old and new Wrestling Bros, sharing Halloween costume photos with Dasher Hatfield, and somehow becoming Kobald’s Valentine. Jervis Cottonbelly, the World’s Sweetest Man, was also there, and if any of you know anything about me, it’s that I was elated to indulge in some Gentlemania. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage everyone to purchase it here, and get a taste of something wonderful we got to be a part of.

– Speaking of lovely masked fellows, you should head on over to The Wrestling Blog, where I wrote a thing you should read.

– Do you like the Social Media? Do you understand it better than Hulk Hogan? Why not follow me on Twitter? Or perhaps With Leather and/or UPROXX for all of your entertainment needs? There is a 27% chance we will tweet a picture of Brooke Hogan’s legs, and only a 3% chance we’ll get defensive about it.

As always, comments, likes, tweets, shares, and tumbls are always appreciated. This may not be the best show or the best report, but if you’re desperately curious as to what I do to procrastinate, hoo boy you best get to reading!

This week on Impact: We’re (not so) live in the UK! Some boring stuff happens, tumbleweeds drift by, something you won’t ever remember probably happens, and then something happens THAT WILL SHAKE ME TO MY VERY CORE.

Page 2

Worst: Oh god, this episode

Here’s a list of things I did either during Impact or afterwards to procrastinate, because trying to write about this episode was the pits. Please feel free to enjoy it as you would a John Hughes montage set to, I dunno, Blue Peter or something.

– Made myself a mini pizza. It was delicious.

– Went through a bunch of Ask Chris questions on Twitter because I am a good and helpful friend

– Creeped on all of the photos someone has posted to Facebook (for science, obvs)

– Practiced drawing angry manga eyes

– Tried to think of wrestling-related Valentine puns (feel free to contribute in the comments!)

– Had a pretend lightsabre duel with the Christmas tree we still have yet to take down

Edited an interview with my someday wrestling boyfriend Jojo Bravo

– Got stuck in a k-hole of Canadian music videos, and ended up watching twenty minutes worth of Glass Tiger videos on YouTube

– Set all of my fantasy hockey teams for tomorrow, and giggled a lot at Adam Henrique’s TINY TINY HEAD

– Laid down on the floor in front of the television seriously contemplating skipping this week because oh god, this episode

This is literally the Marc Blucas of episodes. I understand that Buffy eventually has to have a human boyfriend, and I know it needs to lead into the weird Jocasta Complex-laced Initiative storyline, but watching it play through is torture. If this were a meal, it would be a bowl of lard with some celery on the side. If it were an ice cream, it would be pralines and dick. If it were a weekly televised wrestling show, it would be TNA Impa…um, nevermind.

Worst: Why are you even here, Aces & Eights?

I touched on this two weeks ago, but seriously…why are they there? Isn’t the stipulation they agreed upon (because litigation=wrestling) was for Aces & Eights to be allowed in the Impact Zone? This isn’t the Impact Zone. Can’t they just call Scotland Yard or Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Fowler or whomever and have them arrested? I mean, if a bunch of fake biker dudes who hated me showed up and tried to injure me with a TOTALLY NOT FAKE™ hammer, I would probably try to have them escorted from the building. Why isn’t anyone doing that? And most importantly, did they leave out enough food and water for their lady companions back in Orlando?

Worst: But no, seriously…

This is your one chance to remove Tazz from commentary, and you don’t take it? If I didn’t already know better, the best we could have hope for was someone stealing Tazz’s passport and ID, calling some of Jeff Hardy’s “old friends,” and Brokedown Palace-ing his ass.

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Worst: Wes Brisco on the mic

HAWK HOGAN*.

Really, Wes? Or perhaps the better question would be WHATCHOO GONNA DO, WHEN HAWKWAMANIA RUNS WILD ON YOU?

*please note that I have included the evolved New Pokemon Order Hogan for posterity.

Best: But still, thanks for trying to help out, Wes

Worst: Brischoff, maybe you should shut up soon

I’m sorry, Hulk Hogan didn’t call you? You went from WWE to a cup of coffee in Florida indies to being in the main storyline in TNA? You both have extremely well connected fathers within the industry and get to bask in the glow of nepotism while others are wrestling their hearts out in no-name promotions in the middle of nowhere for twenty people, ten of whom probably don’t even care? Gee, sorry I’m not sorry ‘bout your struggles, guys. Maybe the next time you guys feel sad you can take one of Eric Bischoff’s private jets to his massive ranch and ride horses across the countryside and have a cowboy bonfire with stacks of hundred dollar bills. Or, I dunno, get better at wrestling and not be douchebags.

Worst: The X-Division Match

This show is already to the point where I might as well just have posted a picture of Hulk Hogan’s disapproving poopies face and left it at that, because that is basically the only amount of emotion I could muster for any of this.

I would have generally skipped this match, given that it’s yet another pointless title defense with 3/4s of the X-Division (obviously Christian York couldn’t travel due to stringent animal quarantine laws) with some perfectly competent wrestling amidst all of the…not so good sloppy wrestling, but this show was so boring even I struggled with finding anything positive to say. I am still struggling. I started watching and writing five hours ago, and all I have to show for it is two visual gags, a token Jervis Cottonbelly mention, and a W against my Christmas tree.

Worst: Tazz, the Human something something Machine

Guys, that is not a Northern Lights Suplex. You have one job. I will begrudgingly accept some mistakes from Todd Keneley because he’s still pretty green and also endearingly awkward, but Tazz. Sweetie. Tazz. You were the Human Suplex Machine. A machine LITERALLY MADE TO SUPLEX/MADE OF SUPLEXES.

Sigh.

Hey Tazz, mind holding onto this package for me?

Worst: That finish, though…

[This portion of the Best and Worst of Impact has been redacted. With Leather appreciates their sponsors, and in no way would want to offend any of our more impressionable readers with the use of gratuitous adult language, especially for five straight paragraphs. We here at With Leather are grateful for your understanding and consideration in this matter. Thank you, and have a pleasant day.]

Speaking of RVD, however…

Page 4

Best: Twitter, how does it work?

Tweeted after Dixie’s appearance. Thanks, Rob Van Dam! You’re as slow at tweeting as you are in the ring!

There are some twitters I absolutely love following. Jervis Cottonbelly for my daily dose of warm fuzzies, Sidney Bakabella for hilarity, and then…then there’s Rob Van Dam. I kind of tend to lump him into a group with someone like JR. Someone will tweet to JR saying “How do u feel about stone cold can I get a HELL YEAH?” to which JR will respond with “I just spoke to him yesterday. He is in Texas.” Ha, thanks, JR. I love your old man Twitter.

It’s all nonsensical and doesn’t really accomplish what most Twitter accounts should be used for, but it’s wonderfully endearing. Take Devon, for example, who finds Aces & Eights so laughably terrible, he has to make fun of himself.

Best: Team MechaShiva

Again, their promo wasn’t anything terrible, or outstanding, it was just a thing that happened, and I like them together so they get a best. They dislike each other, but they hate everyone else even more, and are okay with being the best together. Aaaaand that’s it.

At this time of the night, and when TNA gives me absolutely nothing to work with, I start to consider putting in some of my actual thoughts as I watch. Thoughts such as hey, I bet Bobby Roode smells really strongly of cologne. You know, the kind of smell you would expect from that guy you ride the elevator with first thing in the morning, who just woke up and showered and is on his way to his job at the local Mazda dealership. It’s not an unpleasant smell, just generic, but there’s way too much of it, and you really can’t wait to get off of the elevator so you can start to get the smell out of your nose.

I bet Austin Aries smells like lentils and glitter and awesome.

Best: Grande Papi

Hey, Spanish version of Big Poppa. Where have you been all my life?

This is the best burrito-music combination that doesn’t belong to Terp2it (warning: explicit language and graphic burrito…stuff…). It also doesn’t make me feel kind of weird for totally craving a burrito after watching.

Page 5

And now, a Guest Worst (or Best if you dig it) from the world’s foremost expert on what and how many animals Batman has punched, Chris Sims:

SORRY – ABOUT YOUR DAMN HAT

Thing that happened: British Boot Camp

For those of us who didn’t get a chance to see any of the British TNA spin-off, and because TNA doesn’t really understand how spoilers work or how to be excited when someone wins a competition, we get a nice little recap of what we’ve missed. As far as I can tell, getting your gut checked in Britain involves getting drunk, getting beaten up by an older gentleman for getting drunk, and playing in Velvet Sky’s makeup bag possibly while also drunk.

Aaaaand the winner is…some guy you’ll probably only see when we realize that our roster kind of sucks and we need a fill-in for a gauntlet match!

Worst: Chavo and Hernandez are on TV again, and will probably suck

Spoiler alert – they did.

But wait…wait…what?

BEST: HOW DO YOU SAY WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD IN SANSKRIT?

Yay!

Sure, it was a crummy match and will be about as memorable as Gunner, but goddamn those boys look great in gold.

Best: And now I have a burrito!

Thanks, Chris Trew!

Page 6

Best: Tara’s Entrance

There’s something really endearing about Tara wearing Jessie’s shirt to the ring. I like that she’s cognizant of the fact that she is still in-character, and there is a storyline that she’s trying to stay within. She’s held multiple titles in her career, and is arguably one of the best wrestlers the Knockouts division has, but she’s come to rely on having her special man friend around to encourage her, and okay, yeah, probably interfere and cheat a little. It’s sweet. And either way, it’s a whole lot better than…

Worst: Janustat, the Dual-Stinkfaced God

Frontsies stinkface, backsies stinkface…Jesus Christ Tessmacher I cannot keep making jokes about your junk thrush. It’s gross and makes me use words like “junk thrush.”

Worst: There was no Joseph Park on this episode, so let’s

Best: Watch him get the W over Robbie E

HE’S JUST SO HAPPY. HE IS THE HAPPIEST IMPACT WRESTLER TO IMPACTFULLY WRESTLE ON IMPACT.

Best: Oh thank god, it’s the Robbies

At this point, Rockstar Spud has been speaking for less than a minute and I’m already praying for an interruption. Thankfully it’s our favourite gentlemen in matching garments. That’s right! You hold him back, El GigantRob!

But…but wait…what are you doing…

No, wait, what are you….

You can’t…..

Worst: WHAT IS HAPPENING

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Wait did you guys just Edge?

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOO

Page 7

Alright. You know what guys? I’ve had it. There legitimately isn’t a single redeeming thing about the rest of this show. I have tried and tried to pull even the tiniest Bests out of this show, but it has been abysmal (obviously things are ABYSSmal without Joseph Park, but still).

I know things are different when you’re taping in front of a foreign crowd weeks before airdate, but this really makes me worry for future episodes. TNA’s lease on the Impact Zone is up, and as such they’ll be traveling to a city near you each week. The problem with a show like this week is that there is a whole new crowd to please, and one that doesn’t often get wrestling shows, so the faces have to go over, and they don’t spend as much time developing their narrative, but rather giving the fans what they think they want to see.

I’m sure it was a real kick to be there live, and see Bully Ray wrestle his brother and put him through a table and point out that he doesn’t need him anymore because he’s got Sting now to wrangle his opponent’s legs like he’s trying to change the diaper on an orangutan, but watching at home the match was slow, and dull, and had zero gravitas.

I feel like for once TNA is really on the right path, if not somewhat delayed by dumb Aces & Eights shenanigans while they waited for Sting to come back. I feel like they are at least trying to listen and take strides, but between this terrible episode and the horribly botched Gut Check Voting System, I’m really not hopeful.

I really hate to be negative, but I don’t believe that TNA has proven that they are capable of handling an undertaking like this. They’ve been the most successful in their execution lately by developing the emotional turmoil of Hulk Hogan, or letting Kazarian and Daniels do what they want. Joseph Park is the best thing on wrestling television. Are these guys even going to be there each week? This episode had zero Joe Park, zero Bad Influence, and one weird moment with Hogan where he was kind of super creepy about stuff. That last one could be alluding to the idea that he’s behind Aces & Eights, and he just did it to take Sting’s GM position, but…jeez. Even typing all of that out makes it seem like a horrible idea. Sadly, it’s still better than Jarrett or Bischoff, so…okay maybe it’s good enough.

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the Impact Zone, but while I don’t think they should have ever been running PPVs out of there, there’s something to be said for the production quality that’s allowed with a fixed venue. Look at how terrible the show looked last night. It was like watching old ECW matches that have been “digitally restored” to be put into DVD production. People already have the opinion that TNA is about as low-rent as you can get (because apparently they’ve never watched ROH TV), so is this really going to win them over? Especially when all you can expect is James Storm yelling at people, RVD huffing his way through the world’s sh-ttiest Rolling Thunders, and Jeff Hardy celebrating the longest TNA championship run in its history with all of his creeeeeatures?

So what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to no more Impact Zone? Are you devastated at losing the weekly appearance of the Impact Crowd Redhead? Let me know! I clearly have strong opinions on the subject, but I’m curious to find out what all of you think. And I’m not just WHISTLIN’ DIXIE.

Yeah, you really should help with those puns.

Next week on Impact: It better effing be this guy….

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