The Aces And Ehs Of GFW Impact 8/10/17: Going For The Bronze

Hello, and welcome to weekly Impact Wrestling coverage on With Spandex. And also welcome to me, LaToya Ferguson, your recapper and friend. GFW provided me with an early birthday present in the form of this week’s show, and I’m just now getting over the hangover of that experience. I can’t say the same about Alberto El Patron, but we’re just going to pretend things are as peachy as they were back when this episode was first taped.

Now for some good housekeeping: You can follow me on Twitter With Spandex here, and Uproxx here. And don’t forget to watch Impact on Pop at 8 pm on Thursdays so you can read these pieces and share them with the online world. How else will people witness my absolute mental breakdown?

Previously: Low-Ki joined the Beat Down Clan! He also joined LAX. For a lone warrior, Low-Ki sure does follow a lot… Also, EC3 won the Grand Championship and then told the entire Impact Zone exactly what he was going to do to it. The ol’ lay down, move around. The ol’ S-E-double hockey sticks.

EH: I Was Saying “BOO-S-A”

You know what’s not a fun way to start a show? By thinking, “Oh yeah, Veterans of War are still part of this.” After their random run-in to help Alberto El Patron and his family a couple of weeks ago — where they came and made Alberto look even better as he didn’t all the work — one could’ve assumed V.O.W. were now part of the LAX/Patron story. Except they didn’t show up last week, and instead, the focus was on possible Patron family betrayal and then Low-Ki joining LAX. Alright, so V.O.W. was a one-time thing, right? Wrong, as this show opens up with them brawling with LAX, as LAX decided to have a delayed reaction to V.O.W. sticking their nose in LAX’s business. If this were WWE, Michael Cole would talk about a “rekindled rivalry,” even though, simply by virtue of them even taking a week off in this “rivalry,” the phrase would actually apply for once.

Things are not necessarily forgotten if not mentioned week-to-week (though this episode is glaringly missing EC3, Moose, Eli Drake, and Allie — Rosemary’s absence at least make sense), but I don’t see how Impact can seriously present this as though V.O.W. is a factor in LAX’s mind at any point. They’re not a threat, they’re barely characters on this show. So going a week without mentioning them, only to start the show saying LAX wants revenge on them? That’s a dud of a start to this show.

ACE: I See You, Richard Justice

Based on plenty of AJ Styles “Welcome To WWE” stories, I know for a fact that the catering at Impact Wrestling is bad, as opposed to the catering at WWE, which is good. But I like that that doesn’t stop Richard Justice from going to town on whatever that bad catering is while a backstage brawl is going on.

EH: I Also See You, Karen Jarrett (Unfortunately)

This week, in “Karen Jarrett Is An Active HIndrance To The Product,” the show officially starts off with Sienna cutting a promo that gets everyone’s “Actually, The Hell Is The Good Guy” meter going. She calls out Karen for apparently booking Sienna in a title match at Destination X but not telling Sienna who her opponent is (despite there being a week until Destination X), threatening to hijack the show if Karen doesn’t tell her who her opponent is.

Let’s be real: Sienna is a bad person. She is very much a heel. Sure, she’s got a friend in Laurel Van Ness and did the ultimate BFF thing in brainwashing a “Parts Unknown” monster into loving Laurel. But at the same time, she’s the kind of person who gets mad at that same, mentally deficient friend when she tries to help her win a championship match and simply peaces the f out when it comes to some weird dancing Scotsman attempting to reenact Green Card meets “Don’t Fire Eric” with said friend. By the way, where’s the “Don’t Deport Grado” sign, Impact Zone-ians?

Where was I? Yes, bad person Sienna. She’s literally a white girl from Detroit who goes on about being “classy” while saying “‘aight.” Her entrance music on the indies is “Gangsta’s Paradise.” At no point should any of her arguments ever make sense — after all, she’s the cousin of a guy whose character is literalyl “So Delusional He Can’t Count To 10” — because that’s how bad of a person she is. Enter Karen Jarrett though, who is such a bad character that it doesn’t matter whether she’s heel or face: Being on Karen Jarrett’s side is being on the wrong side. Sienna wants to know who she’ll be defending her title against, so Karen Jarrett cuts this promo:

“Oh, Sienna. I sooo do not like you. Actually — I’ve never liked you. I will probably never like you. Sienna, you’re the type of woman that other women hate.”

Josh Mathews’ “Maybe Mrs. Jarrett should look in the mirror” is such a perfect response to this I hate that it came from him. Again, Sienna simply wants to know who her opponent is, and Karen comes out with a “ur a bitch kys” promo. What the hell is that? Seriously, does anyone who likes Impact or at least care for it to succeed even like Karen Jarrett or think she’s an entertaining character? I’m not asking if they think she’s hot, I’m asking if they really think she should be on this show? And no, Jeff Jarrett, I’m not asking you. Was her tearing down of Sienna supposed to get an “oh snap” or “ooh girl” from the crowd?

Then Gail Kim shows up for the most heatless brawl of the episode and literally ends up getting polite applause from the crowd at the end.

EH: Maybe Crack A Book Once In A While

“Like a speeding bullet! Superman can’t see this guy!”

Pope, you knew to mention a “speeding bullet” when talking about Superman adjacent things, so you should’ve known that Superman’s whole thing is literally being “faster than a speeding bullet.”

Also, every member of Impact commentary: When you have the guy who actually invented Sliced Bread winning a match (a match that’s good but useless, which is part for the Impact course) with Sliced Bread, you should probably mention that he’s the guy who actually invented Sliced Bread. You can even go a step further and call the move a Shiranui, knock yourself out! (I have no problem believing neither Pope nor Mathews knew this, but Jeremy Borash really let me down with this one.)

EH: Has Anyone In This Company Even SEEN A Woman?

You know what’s weird? The fact that commentary keeps calling Laurel Van Ness Grado’s “love interest.” It’s one thing if it’s just a one-time description of the woman, but it’s apparently the GFW-mandated buzzword for the situation. Even though it’s a term that wouldn’t really be used outside of discussing storytelling. It’s so weird that I kind of wish they would just start calling her a “female” a bunch as a replacement. Laurel Van Ness is apparently Grado’s “love interest,” presumably choosing that word as a way to make it less troubling he’s only using her to stay in the country (even though she’s Canadian), but honestly just making it all so much weirder.


Tyrus’ entire Impact Wrestling career consists of someone thinking it’s a good idea to give Tyrus a singles push, then remembering very quickly that Tyrus really only works as someone’s heavy. EC3, Big Money Matt Hardy, Eli Drake, and even Bruce Prichard now. Tyrus has plenty to offer as the muscle to an egomaniacal heel. But that’s about it.

That’s basically why he started the whole paid fixer gimmick, and it works for him. So adding him to an already floundering story — and given what’s shown on the screen, it’s not even something as understandable as Grado/Joseph Park paying the hired gun to take out Kongo Kong for them — helps nothing, unless you’re all about adding fuel for the “LOLTNA” fire. This is only going to fix this storyline in the way Tim “The Toolman” Taylor fixed everything.

Also: So what was (is?) the point of Tyrus/Bruce Prichard? Other than to cut the legs out from under Eli Drake?

ACE: Big Boy Banter

“Tonight, I show you that Alberto can be beaten.”

Bless Low-Ki for looking right at Lashley when he says that line. I was worried they’d gloss over the Low-Ki/Alberto/Lashley of it all, but even though it doesn’t come into play in the main event — this is the first makeshift heel team in awhile that hasn’t imploded because of clashing egos — it’s an important note in this story. Lashley may have all his MMA stuff right now, but he basically got screwed out of regaining his championship because of LAX, and now Low-Ki is repping LAX hard. I’m already ready for Low-Ki versus Lashley, especially since it presumably wouldn’t have the same tired Lashley versus the X-Division rhetoric in this case.

Lashley tops this off by reminding his partners that they’re simply “associates” for the night and this is business. Trevor Lee — who is taking the opportunity Impact is giving him and really driving home how much of a slime her is — gives Lashley a “Whatever you say, chief” look at that. Whereas Low-Ki’s face says “Way ahead of you, partner.” It also says, “Good luck fighting for a chance at the title opportunity I was just handed.” People give Low-Ki crap for being mister stoic warrior all the time, but that stoic warrior can say a lot more with one look than most can say with their words. Speaking of their opponents in this match …

EH: The Opposite Of “Big Boy Banter”

Sonjay Dutt should probably address the fact that Matt Sydal is going to be facing Lashley in order to get a shot at Dutt’s X-Division title, right? And Alberto should honestly be worried about Lashley too, with the way Lashley let LAX jump Alberto after their Batman/Superman team-up. Matt Sydal should probably also explain his logic about not “just” being an X-Division guy, since his story against Lashley started because he wants an X-Division championship shot. Instead the babyfaces just go on about themselves and how the other two in the match will be their allies in their current feuds.

They’re barely even having a conversation with each other, just cutting promos about themselves with an audience of two other men. It’s somehow even colder than Lashley’s “associates” speech.

ACE: You’re Both Lame

Despite the lack of integral Bruce Prichard perspective in this segment, the Sonjay Dutt/Trevor Lee video package is pretty darn great. Specifically Trevor Lee, going full entitled dirtbag, busting out the old chestnut of “possession is nine-tenths of the law” to explain his position how the X-Division is “rightfully” his. After all, it took Sonjay Dutt 15 years to win the title, while Trevor Lee has won it twice in the two years he’s been in this company. Sonjay’s “15 years” talking point is getting pretty embarrassing now though, considering the aftermath, but I think it’s obvious (even with the story’s problems) that this whole thing is mainly a showcase to display Trevor Lee’s Carolinian greatness. Sonjay will be fine, even if it takes him another 15 years to retrieve the title. (In this scenario, he never officially loses it, but everyone else realize he’s just so easy to steal from. If Trevor Lee can do it…)

Plus, there’s the great moment of Trevor going on about the conspiracy of putting him in a ladder match, claiming it’s because they know Sonjay can’t pin him 1-2-3 … only for the video package to simultaneously show footage of Sonjay pinning him 1-2-3.

The real conspiracy is the fact that the X-Division Championship match at Destination X is in a ladder match and not an Ultimate X match.

EH: Pro Wrestling Is Fake, Pt. 2: Look How Cool MMA Is

After last week’s reminder that professional wrestling, unlike mixed martial arts, is fake, this week’s show replays a lot of that same footage. Only now with bonus Jeff Jarrett visiting the American Top Team facility and talking about how great and professional it is. What about the Impact Zone? Who cares about that trash heap, right? That was supposed to be sarcastic, but considering how awful the crowd is this week — more than usual — it ended up being a little honest. This crowd was “I Wish They’d Bring Back The Piped In Cheers” bad, y’all.

Jarrett puts over the gym completely, along with the “zero egos” of the members (unlike, you know, every pro wrestler), then asks this question:

“What’s tougher? The world of MMA or the world of professional wrestling?”

That’s where we get all the stuff from last week, like King Mo working as the only pro wrestling defender in the bunch, but he even ends up bungling that up by talking about “competing” in pro wrestling, only to correct it to “participating” in pro wrestling. There is very much a difference, as the former is the word for an actual sport that someone takes seriously, and the latter is the basis for the “you tried” meme. Jarrett bringing up that he and American Top Team’s Dan Lambert butt heads over Lashley’s future but have promised to be professional. That’s great, but why does discussion about your professional relationship have to be on the show?

Why does Impact (especially Jeff Jarrett’s Impact, let’s be honest) think we want to know about the professional goings on of its show? I ask this knowing I constantly bring up the lack of concrete description of what Bruce Prichard and company’s job titles are onscreen, but there’s a difference between wanting to know the general point of a character who’s always on the show and the concept of professional disagreements between a wrestling company and an MMA team. And Lambert will apparently be at Destination X, which is important to know because … ? Anyone?
I hope this story ends with Lashley choosing MMA over wrestling and Jeff Jarrett being confused how any of this could have happened.

EH: “We’re No. 3! We’re No. 3!”

This is literally a segment where two professional wrestlers get into a physical altercation over which one of them is the third best athlete/wrestler/X-Division competitor (the goal post moves every few seconds in this segment) in the world. I know I brought up “LOLTNA” before, but this one might be an even bigger example.

Seriously, going into Destination X, their match is now not just about getting the title match of their choosing: It’s about proving who ranks as the third best. No offense to either man, but I wouldn’t even consider either of them the third best wrestler in Impact Wrestling.
Besides the fight to be the bronze, “Down & Dirty with Dutch” is just a bad segment. Dutch Mantell is a talented man, and if I knew what his onscreen job description was supposed to be, perhaps I’d even ask for more of him. But this segment is as third rate as possible, right down to Dutch’s chair that won’t. stop. squeaking.

Dutch starts off by asking Lashley where he’d rank himself in the top 100 athletes in the world, which is a pretty big pool to choose from, and while Lashley shows some awareness in making sure his own ranking is based on “sheer toughness” instead of “popularity,” the segment allows him to ramble on from putting himself in the top 10, then top 3 (“if not #1”), then he just lands on the magic number, 3. Matt Sydal gets the same question … only different.

Dutch asks the top 100 athletes thing, then he mumbles “against the X-Division athletes,” which doesn’t even make sense (and implies that “athletes” was only supposed to mean wrestlers and not, like, Lebron James). And yes, it’s important to note he mumbles it, as Impact’s aversion to editing keeps in the moment Sydal — who’s right next to him — trying to figure out what Dutch said and the awkwardness of that confusion. Sydal’s new thing is all about how he’s “been facing giants since day one,” and apparently Dutch is already over it, as he interrupts that speech to force Sydal to answer. So that’s when Sydal goes for the coveted #3 and all hell (and possibly Dutch’s chair, as it continues to squeak through all this) breaks loose.

EH: Yep, Still Saying “BOO-S-A”

Exactly how many times do “those two G.I. jabronies” (bless you, Konnan) have to lose to LAX for them to never have a match against them (or better yet, in Impact) ever again? Because it’s already ridiculous they failed upwards enough to even get a title shot on this show, but watching them stink up the joint in this match is just upsetting.

I swear, Wilcox is so slow he makes Kongo Kong seem like an X-Division guy, and allowing the terrible, rotten, no good “3D” (I’m sorry to even call it such a thing) remain in the final cut of this show is just plain mean. Same for Mayweather’s attempt (even when he executes it, it’s still an attempt) at powerbombing Homicide on the stairs. There’s a point in this mess of a match — and yes, it’s after the botched “3D” and “powerbomb” — where two guys try to start a “THIS IS AWESOME” chant, even though it is anything but, and I wonder who hurt them. Then I realize the same guys try to chant “V.O.W.” over the crowd’s actual “LAX” chants and they’re just Orlando residents.

It’s hard not to feel bad for Santana and Ortiz in terms of tag team competition. They’re really good at wrestling, and Slammiversary was a major showcase for that…. But they’re stuck either being fodder for Alberto El Patron or working their hardest to make Alberto’s father and brother look anything resembling good in the ring. Then they have to try to wrestle a decent match against the two guys whose only characterization is “We went to war. That means we wrestle good, right?” Even commentary points out how paper thin the gimmick is, as Pope says the only reason V.O.W. got involved in the LAX/Patron thing is because it kept being called it a “civil war,” and “war” is a buzzword for them.

You have Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid in the division, and while their current role is charming talented team who loses a lot (but try their best), they’re also a team who could have a really great story against LAX. (Konnan would of course cut a promo about how Garza Jr. removing his pants is an afront to the culture. It would be amazing.) Marufuji and El Hijo De Fantasma are two guys who deserve some singles love, but if there’s nothing for them right now, there’s definitely no shame in their tag team game. They’re providing really fun exhibition tag matches right now, but there’s no reason not to let them in on the championship hunt fun.

Thankfully oVe is debuting at Destination X, but one team to go against (and keep up with LAX) isn’t enough.

EH: Easy ACE

ACH versus Ishimori should have been an easy ACE. You have tag team partners going against each other in the semi-finals of the Super X Cup, competing to make a household name for themselves at the other’s expense. That writes itself, right? Apparently not, as commentary mentions nothing about that. At all. They honestly don’t even mention the tag team relationship or that they even have a relationship. And it’s not like it’s something they could’ve addressed in the video package hyping up this match, because, well, there is no video package hyping this match. So what is the story of this match? Other than “they both want to go to the Super X Cup finals,” I have absolutely no idea.

The only semblance of story that comes from the commentary during this match is: 1. Josh Mathews saying this is “like watching Clemson and Alabama in the college football playoffs,” which means absolutely nothing. In fact, there would be more actual storytelling in that scenario. 2. Josh constantly reminding the audience that Pope’s money is on Dezmond Xavier to win the whole tournament while Josh is all about Ishimori. And that’s been the case since week one, which means they’ve basically been telegraphing the Finals the whole time … while also setting up for an even more insufferable Josh Mathews on commentary at Destination X, as he will certainly make a big deal about Pope’s guy versus his guy on the show. (The solution to this was for neither of them to pick a competitor in this tournament, but that would’ve made sense.)

Oh, and the post-match commentary also throws in a previously unmentioned idea of one of the participants in the finals possibly taking “shortcuts” when they face off, so I’m sure that won’t come into play at all during Destination X …

As for the in-ring story — since there’s nothing else outside the match to help it along — there’s really nothing there. They do moves really well, but there’s really nothing to latch onto the way there’s been for the rest of the matches in this tournament. This match-up should’ve been a slam dunk, so naturally Impact bricked it. That extends to the Impact Zone crowd during this match, as it features two women, front row center, with their backs turned to the action the entire time. They’re having a conversation with a guy behind them, and they do that the whole match, without reprieve or any sign that anyone at Impact tried to fix the situation. This match was a sure thing, and every possible thing that could happen to make it unmemorable happened.

EH: This Is A Match

Low-Ki couldn’t beat Sonjay Dutt to get the X-Division Championship back, but he does pin him in this multi-man tag match and have a #1 Contendership for the Impact World Championship, so there we have it. Maybe Sonjay Dutt should just give up. He’s embarrassing himself on a weekly basis these days, whether by a Carolina klepto who just keeps punking him out or the guy who took losing to him as an opportunity to jump ahead of him on the card.

The match itself is fine. It’s a tag match featuring Alberto El Patron at the end of Impact. That’s literally been the case (at least the Alberto of it all) every week since Slammiversary. Nothing to see here.

ACE: You Must Remember This

Meanwhile, EC3 is not on this show, which can only mean one thing: He’s still fucking that Grand Championship. And with that, I say, don’t forget to share these recaps. Where else are people writing about prop love in professional wrestling? Wait, please don’t link me to fanfiction.