Hey, welcome back! Missed last week? You can catch up with everything we thought was great (and not so great) here, and also watch it for yourself here. This week’s episode isn’t available, but you CAN watch A Very Brady Christmas. I’m assured by my American friends that Pop TV is a very confusing channel to get, but if you’ve figured out the subscription cipher you can (and should) watch Impact every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
Last week, we saw James Storm return to the portable Impact Zone to reform Beer Money, Mike Bennett debuted with a superfluous accessory (no, I don’t just mean Maria), and Ethan Carter III won the championship tournament and got back the belt he never should have lost.
This week on Impact Wrestling: A masterclass in character work, a lot of beer, and I think Kurt Angle’s wrestles? That seems like a thing he’d do.
Best: The Champion We Deserve
Ethan Carter III is one of the best heel characters on television, and this is a good example of why.
In just the first few minutes of the opening segment, he demonstrates that EC3 is a layered character who acknowledges his own history and uses both those experiences and the feelings of others to manipulate those around him. He turned on Spud when Spud showed that he had very real friendship feelings for him, because the role he occupied in EC3’s life was transactional at best. Tyrus isn’t a friend of EC3, he’s an employee. He is also, however, an employee with a shot at one of the only things EC3 legitimately cares about, and one of the only things he allows himself to show real feelings for. He addresses Tyrus as a friend because he knows that kind of manipulation works, but then cuts it off when Tyrus reciprocates with his genuine feelings. That’s great stuff. Bonus points if the next thing that happens is Tyrus lamenting to, I dunno, let’s say Tigre Uno that all EC3 needs is someone to teach him how to love.
I’m gonna include Jeff Hardy in this Best, which I never really get to do. He (rightfully) points out that EC3 won his title match without shenanigans, and that makes him the best. He acknowledges that while EC3 may surround himself with people and opportunities that he can take advantage of, and he deeply humiliated Jeff Hardy, he’s the best. Hardy’s cleared to wrestle, so he wants a shot at the best. It acknowledges a multi-faceted character, puts over the title win of a guy a lot of people still haven’t warmed up to, and unlike the other ‘legends’ EC3 has gone up against, puts them on an even playing field. Impact is justifiably criticized for its gratuitous in-ring segments because so much of it is just talking in circles without actually saying anything, but this is what should be happening. This conversation has a purpose, is self-referential, and makes everything that comes after it seem important. I can’t possibly love this more.