The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 10/15/14: Highway To Shell

Hey Impactorinos! A few things before we get to the fallout from this weekends pay-per-view:

– Did you read The Best and Worst of Bound For Glory? You should. It doesn’t actually have a huge TN IMPACT on this week’s show, but it was actually kinda fun?

– Be sure to comment, tweet, tumble, email, share, and be in Facebook-like with this column.

– Follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and UPROXX here. Let’s all be tweetbros, okay?

This week on Impact Wrestling: Ethan Carter III gets a new bodyguard, that bodyguard gets in a fight, and my heart grows three sizes.

Worst: Kurt Angle is still a bad boss

So Kurt Angle wants us to think that the wrestling we watched at Bound For Glory was the best in the world on any stage and Impact Wrestlers are the Best Wrestlers ever and blah blah blah. Okay. We get it. The case for Kurt Angle’s delusion is strong. What’s somehow more bothersome is that Kurt Angle is sick of the title picture being manipulated. You know, the guy who took a job and made its sole purpose to manipulate the title picture. Since stepping into the position of authority, he’s done nothing but try to manipulate the people he likes into the main event, and enact revenge against those he’s held onto grudges against. Because, you know, he’s the good guy.

Worst: I don’t think Kurt Angle knows what he’s doing

To further this manipulation, Kurt decides that he’s going to arbitrarily choose four wrestlers who will compete for number one contendership because they’re the most deserving. Like I’ve said before, the idea that one is more deserving than another is complicated, but in this instance I really don’t think Kurt Angle has a clue as to what’s going on on his own show.

Because there was no Bound For Glory Series this year, I decided to use the point specifications for fourteen of the wrestlers on Impact, starting from the same week in June up until No Surrender. As a reminder, this is the BFG scoring system:

Submission Victory: 10
Pinfall: 7
Countout: 5
DQ Win: 3
Draw: 2
DQ Loss: -10

In this case, I didn’t count house shows as they’re repetitive and not booked in such a fashion that wins and losses would matter like they were previously. If one of the wrestlers was in a tag match, the person who scored the pinfall got the points. Table match victories counted for 7 points as well. No additional points were added for special circumstance matches, but we’ll get to that later. The breakdown of the point totals is as follows:

As you can see, the four men who technically should be in this match are Bobby Roode, Sanada, Samoa Joe, with Austin Aries and Bram tied for the fourth spot. Had EC3 not lost 10 points for disqualifying himself by hitting Rhino with a chair, he would be tied with Sanada in second place.

Eric Young was not counted as he was champion during this period, however he would not have held enough points to be in the top ten, let alone the top four. Austin Aries also comes with a caveat: had the Gold Rush tournament counted as a bonus points match, with say, 2-25 points awarded, he would have 5-10 more points than Bobby Roode.

If you break down those numbers further, you can see that EC3 and Roode gained or lost points from the same amount of matches with 5, Sanada was victorious in 4, and five wrestlers after than get there points from 3. Note: The bulk of Roode’s wins have been under Kurt Angle’s leadership, and Bully Ray has 0 points because Devon always gets the pin after hitting the 3D because of how they’re positioned after the finisher. We can infer that Bobby Roode has been put in just as many matches for him to win as EC3 has been put in to lose, and we can also infer that I put way too much thought into this.

The takeaways can be that Kurt Angle is absolutely not as fair an unbiased as he should be, that Eric Young shouldn’t be in this match at all, and nobody cares about Bram, I guess.

Worst: Jeff Hardy

“How does the number one babyface in the company look?”

“Like a lactating horror clown.”

“Perfect, send him out.”


I’m so sad this video isn’t up on YouTube because Cool Magnus is back and it is wonderful. Magnus interrupts Matt Hardy cutting a promo about something I am 100% sure is not important in any way, and introduces himself because they haven’t officially met. A little weird since they’ve been working at the same place for months but okie dokie whatever I’m going with it. He introduces himself as “Magnus. I beat your brother Jeff once in the main event. For the world title, actually.” And then he’s just smarmy to Matt Hardy about him being a loser, and how he’s only Jeff Hardy’s cheerleader. Matt response? “I’m Matt Hardy, and I’m proud to be a cheerleader!”

Look, I’m not going to transcribe the whole thing, but while it’s impossible to not be the cool when when standing next to Matt Hardy, he was still Cool Magnus, and I still spent the whole segment pointing aggressively at the screen while making happy squealing noises. Never leave again, Cool Magnus.

Worst: Matt Hardy

Matt Hardy is proud to supposrt his brother, unlike Magnus when it comes to his brother Bram. Wait…did we retcon another thing, or does Matt Hardy actually think that all British people are related?

Worst: Madison Rayne and the Knockouts Division

Remember how I said I really want to see Taryn Terrell vs. Havok? This match makes me want that even more. With the company’s future tenuous at best, there isn’t a lot of room to be making changes within the Knockouts division, but oh lord, they need changes in the Knockouts division. I love Havok. I love her so much. I’m not gonna stop loving her, but it’s really hard to give a best just because she’s there. I gave her one for her finish at Bound For Glory because it was legit great and made me happy, and also because we don’t need another ten paragraphs of me reminding you that after ten years, Velvet Sky should a) know how to bump, b) know how to wrestle, c) should maybe look into going back to school because she for real should not be in a ring unless it’s to help take it down.

Madison Rayne is significantly better than Velvet Sky, but goddamn this is out of her depth. And I feel bad for blaming her, because realistically there’s probably still some ring rust left, but also too because look at who and for how long she’s been made to wrestle in the past. If the only requirement is to wrestle Velvet Sky for two minutes and sell her weak-ass attempts at a clothesline, you’re not going to be able to suddenly carry a long match with someone of a drastically different size and style than has been in the company for years. Working on the indies for so long has given Havok the opportunity to wrestle against varied opponents and some extremely talented men and women.

Ultimately, TNA has done such a disservice to any of the girls with a modicum of talent and personality they’ve employed in the last few years. Taryn Terrell was lucky because of her matches against Gail Kim, but I don’t know how she’s supposed to get better when she’s not wrestling her. She’s still trying, bless her heart, but if no one else is, what does it matter? Angelina Love has a good wrestler in there somewhere, and we’ve seen it come out before, but being pigeonholed into what the Beautiful People do doesn’t allow her much leeway, and doesn’t make her look good. Nothing about the Knockouts is to make them “look good” other than wrapping them in saran wrap bras while Lee South jerks off in the background. It’s so sad, and it’s so frustrating, and it’s extremely detrimental to both the women of the division, and the Impact product as a whole.

Best: Matt Hardy vs. Magnus

It’s real bad. Real real bad. Magnus looks like he’s part of the Pit Crew, and even if Cool Magnus is back, he’s still wrestling like Regular Magnus. Matt Hardy is wrestling a singles match in this, the year of our lord 2014. Look at how gently Magnus carries Matt Hardy into the ring post. Look at that that sequence leading to the break up of Magnus’s leverage pin. Trust me, this match is the hilarious gift that keeps on giving.

Worst: Crazzy Steve

This match was where the show took a bit of a turn. I like the Beautiful People with the BroMans because it makes sense, it’s funny, and it doesn’t feature VelVel wrestling in any supposed-to-be-believable capacity. I…am surprised that anyone remembered the Menagerie Exist. As much as this match bolstered my Jessie G fandom, it really solidified that I kind of genuinely hate Crazzy Steve. I mean, at first I was just confused by him. Why was he so happy to see Dixie go through a table? It made no sense for his character at all. I didn’t like his aesthetic, or that he conveyed “crazzy” in his online persona with more CaPiTaL-LoWeRcAsE switching that a Korn LiveJournal fan-community in the 90s. Then he attacked Velvet Sky. The build up all week on his Twitter was to brag about how he was going to sexually assault Angelina Love in between RTing fans who want to kiss him. This is hugely problematic. All of these things are gigantic scumbag red flags.

If a woman is hitting you in self-defense to prevent you from kissing her? That’s assault, bro. If a women says no, and you continue to do that thing? That’s assault, bro. The justification of said sexual assault by pointing out how many other women would be happy to be in the victim’s place? Are you f-cking kidding me do I even have to explain how awful and terrifying that is, and how much that helps normalize rape culture on multiple levels? Goddamn what the f-ck is wrong with you, Crazzy Steve?

Best: Jessie G

Jessie G isn’t gonna put up with that nonsense from Crazzy Steve.

Heels are nice to women and try to protect them from being attacked, physically or sexually. Faces like making fun of women, kissing them against their will, using gendered insults, and putting women through tables.


Worst: Tenay and Tazz

Of course two old men shouting INTERGENDER over and over before devolving into incoherent mumbling are going to be a worst, but they really turned it on for this match. When Tenay wasn’t yelling at Tazz to not openly masturbate during they match, he was wondering aloud whether or not Knux and Rebel met on Tinder. Y’know, canonical childhood sweethearts Knux and Rebel. The idea is shot down because they’re “carny folk,” and “carny folk don’t have mobile apps.”

Sigh. Launch ’em both into the sun, I guess.

Best: Wait a minute, it’s Wednesday! I’m With Spud Wednesday!

Nobody can be sad when Spud’s around! I mean, he’s just so delightful, and he’s making the best of a bad situation, and he’s really finding confidence in himself and…wait, why doesn’t his keycard work?

Why is taking off his jacket?



Worst: Spud, nooooo

Worst: EC3


Best: EC3


I can’t lie, I loved parts of this show. The show as a whole had what can only be described as a lightness to it. That hasn’t happened in, well, to be honest, since last October. The worst part was Crazzy Steve. The second worst part was how gutting it is to lose Spud, only to not be able to ever be upset with EC3 ever? I try so hard to be mad at Mr. The Third, but he just keeps reeling me back in. Look at this asshole with his great hair and fantastic mic skills and his ability to work the crowd and his brand new gigantic smiling friend. I can’t do it. I’m so weak.


How can I hate this I can’t I can’t do it and you can’t make me

Worst: Devon, or Best: Bram!

Devon comes out to interrupt EC3’s promo about how he’s undefeated to say that all EC3 does is talk, and that must be why he gets his ass kicked every week. That’s…maybe not what undefeated means, but go on. Devon then says that EC3 brags about beating so many TNA Hall of Famers, but there’s one he hasn’t beaten: Devon. Devon makes fun of Tyrus’s name, says he’s going to put EC3 through a table, and if Tyrus tries to do his job and stop him, Devon will make him his “biotch.” And then Bram saves the day.

Yeah. That Bram.

Bram attacks Devon from behind and proceeds to lay him out. Later on when the IMPACT 365 camera man asked Bram what attacking Devon was all about, Bram just gave him crazy eyes and shouted IT AIN’T NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF IT before running away. Uh, this Bram kinda rules. Instead of literally everything he’s done beforehand, if he’s just going to attack hardcore icons when they use gendered insults and act like assholes, then flip off the Impact cameramen, Bram might become my new favourite wrestler.


This is magical and my heart is three times bigger than when this show started. Is saying stuff is your spirit animal still a thing? Because I think Shark Boy mashing donuts against his face and saying that he can turn it on any time is mine.

Best: Shark Boy vs. Tyrus

I’m just so happy right now. This is the second time I’ve watched everything back, and I’m just as amused as the first. It’s a squash match, so whatever, it’s not meant to be a barn burner, but I’m sorry, is that motherf-cker doing pushups on Shark Boy as he’s pinning him?

EC3 is magic, and his powers transfer to everyone around him, I guess.

Best: Davey Richards

No no, not for this. It’s a best because I finally realized why I’m always surprised that Richards doesn’t have a British accent everytime he opens his mouth. He really does look like one of those scummy, grimy bit players in British period pieces who like, hang out in dingy pubs, menacing at you in the background. Like he’s the criminal element hanging out in back alleys shouting OI MATE GONNA BOP YOU FOR A FARTHING or something.

Wait, no, that makes him sound like an olde-timey sex worker I just meant he’s gonna rob you damnit I’m not British I effed up I effed up so bad

Worst: Jeff Hardy vs. Eric Young vs. Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode

Something is wrong with my Chrome and I can’t watch videos, so I don’t know if the hilarious headscissors Jeff Hardy did on Eric Young made it in. Eric Young sold it by flopping around and launching himself out of the ring, because of course he flopped around and launched himself out of the ring. The superplex followed by Hardy jumping from one dude to the next to try to get the pin was great, because you don’t see people in multi-man matches trying to take advantage of more whatever opponent happens to be directly in front of them at the time. The biggest downside is that we all knew who the final two would be.

It’s a shame that working stiff has an entirely different connotation in wrestling, because that is the most accurate way to describe what I hate about both of these guys. I don’t know what happened, but Face Aries and Face Roode are so, so stiff. Just stuttering move after stuttering move. Everything is so tense, and there’s no fluidity to what they’re doing. It doesn’t feel organic at all, but it also doesn’t seem like they are, at the very least, going through the motions. It’s just flat out not good, and it’s a shame because this was a pretty decent episode overall. The Bests far outweighed the Worsts, I was excited to write about it, and I was still really content watching it for a second time. This really, really dragged it down.

But at least this happened, amirite?

Never forget.