The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 11/12/14 and 11/19/14: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hi, friends! Due to a series of ~unfortunate events, we’re doubling up on Impact. Two weeks for the price of one! Well, they’re always free, but you know what I’m getting at.

– Are you reading our British Boot Camp 2 recaps? They are super fun, and you should get in on all that British indie wrestling and (not actually) gratuitous U’s.

– Share, like, tweet, tumbl, and comment on this report. This is the last new show until January, so now is the time to get your stuff in.

– Be sure to follow me on Twitter here, With Spandex here, and UPROXX here.

This (and last) week on Impact: Kissy faces, title changes, and me getting super emotional about pro wrestling. It’s the end of an era, folks.

We’re gonna move through last week pretty quickly, because oh man, why wouldn’t we. The good news is it barely has any bearing on anything. The bad news is that we can miss a whole week of your show and barely anything worthwhile happens. Maybe as TNA Destinates America in the new year, that will be something to take into consideration.

I love that Davey Richards has been no-selling (and no-showing *cough cough*) for so long that when he does have to pretend to be injured, it’s the most dramatic, off-the-charts reaction you could possibly have. This fellow is a shoot trained EMT. He presumably has seen a lot of people in some degree of pain or another. You would think that would give him some kind of clue as to how to emulate a legitimate injury. You know when you go to the emergency room, and the triage nurse asks you on a scale of 1-10 what your pain level is? I can only assume Davey’s brain goes IT’S A F-CKING FIFTEEN and escalates from there.

Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards decide that they would not like to join The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm’s Revolution of Confusion, so Storm has his boys in blue attack them. He then cashes in his Feast or Famine briefcase (oh my god what) for a shot at the tag titles. Feast or Famine briefcase! Where did they find that? Who remembered that was a thing? That hasn’t been a thing since February. February! I apologize for the frenetic sentences all of a sudden, but you have to understand that my real life reaction was a lot closer to this. I’m in total disbelief that they remembered it, and I think the remembering might be popping me harder than the actual event itself. I wish the remainder of the shows would be like that – just remembering random things that fell by the wayside. EC3 runs into Dewey Barnes backstage, and asks where Norv is. Dewey’s eyes widen. “Oh my god, I thought he was with you!” Then a hilarious comedy of errors ensues as they travel back to the abandoned Impact Zone to search for their fragile friend.

If you guessed that all of my Impact Wrestling fantasy booking hinges on road trips you are so, so right.

But who will James Storm choose as his partner? The holder of the briefcase can win it with the partner of his choosing, so he doesn’t need his then-partner Gunner to cash it in. But lo, what’s this? Abyss? Abyss doing something random and joining up with someone? Must be Wednesday! They win the tag titles, and I get wrestler hugs, so obviously this all turns into a best. If you also guessed that a good portion of my time is spent screencapping wrestlers hugging then congratulations you’ve known me for more than five minutes. Hug life!

I also like the idea that Abyss continually just keeps going form faction to faction, and tag partner to tag partner looking for somewhere to belong. Of course, if I were writing this it would all come back to him looking for sense of belonging, and realising that he’s never felt more a part of anything than when he was Impact Wrestling Superstar Joseph Park, but to me that’s also the only context that makes sense. He acts like a big scary monster, but it’s all just a big act to protect his heart from getting hurt again. He then realises that he’s never been more out of place and subsequently betrayed than when he’s got that guard up. We also realise that Eric Young is a force of pure evil. Mr. Monster fellow, tear down that wall!

Tazz likened the Taryn Terrell-Madison Rayne match to a thing that happened at his highschool prom, because bitches always be scrappin’. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from ECW alumni, it’s that you can’t spell ECW without Catfights. Kenny King addressed Chris Melendez and Mr. Anderson, and if you guessed that most of the conversation revolved around equating mouths to assholes, that’s a freakishly spot-on guess and you should probably start playing the lottery.

This clip starts out with Mike Tenay encouraging Tazz to masturbate to Velvet Sky pinning Rebel in the privacy of his own home. Jessie military presses Crazzy Steve, but Velvet wants to get in on the action because Crazzy Steve is a shitbird of a human and she wants to take back the night by kicking him repeatedly in the ribs. Now, you’ll remember that television intergender means that the ladies can hit the dudes, but the dudes can’t hit the ladies, so Steve kisses her, and gets the elimination pin. I do not have enough time in my day to show you all of the comments and tweets saying that she was “asking for it,” nor is there an emoji aggressive enough to properly convey my reaction. The continued sexual assault of his girlfriend (a thing TNA just forced me to type in real life) obviously angers bad guy Jessie, and he goes f-cking HAM on Crazzy Steve. Jessie, son, you are my fave right now. I am demanding a Bro Mans tank top for Christmas, and not just because wrestling tank tops are secretly the best and most coveted merch you can have. Steve gets the pin because he’s the good guy (???), but Jessie G gets a big chunk of my heel-lovin’ heart.

Sometimes I think Bram is the worst thing on Impact Wrestling. Other times, like this promo, I’m convinced that we might be soulmates.

Samuel Shaw wrestled Gunner in a match that included such highlights as Brittany screeching, Brittany getting yelled at by Gunner, and then Brittany kicking Gunner in the dick. One of these things is enjoyable. Samuel Shaw tries to defend Britanny when Gunner tries to retaliate, so, again, we definitely know the who the bad guy is.

Manik’s crash course in becoming a certified PUA paid off, and he brings Shera home to daddy. James Storm gets all mad, but I also love that the dude who has harped on for so long about these hardlined definitions of real men and what real masculinity entails just spends most of his time grasping other dudes faces in both of his hands and finding excuses to get his face as close to theirs as possible. Is the Revolution one giant game of Gay Chicken? Sure. Whatever. It makes way more sense than anything they’re throwing out there.

Spud and EC3 put on fancy suits to watch their fake best friends fight. STOP THE MADNESS YOU TWO. STOP IT YOU LOVE EACH OTHER JUST BE FANCY SUIT FRIENDS AGAIN

After Eric Young vs. Tyrus, Bobby Lashley comes out to attack Eric Young. Now, we’re told this means that he’s going after random people, literally anyone who gets in his way, but considering Eric Young shit all over Lashley for so long, wouldn’t it make sense to go after one of the main detractors on the way to him losing his world title? That’s a real thing that happened. It’s not random at all. But then Austin Aries comes out, says he’s not going to get jumped from behind, and then demands that Bobby Lashley “do it to his face.” Are we not saying “Phrasing” anymore? They have a match, again, not random in the least since Aries cashed in the X-Division championship to try to take the world title away from Lashley, but again, it’s put over as this totally random thing.

I really am the only one who watches this show. Well, me and the person who remembered the Feast or Famine briefcase.

Huh. Maybe that guy’s my soulmate.


And here we are in the present week! Impact provided us with a great little recap in case we had somehow forgotten the seventeen other recaps focused on Lashley and Bobby Roode. I like this one best because Lashley comically yelling ROOOOODE repeatedly over ~dramatic music~ is the kind of unintentional goofy nonsense I am here for.

Worst: I told you so

Yes, I am happy that everything ultimately comes back to Friendship-Based Wrestling because that’s everything I want in life. Yes, I am also happy that I am right and Lashley’s motivation in attacking Actual Antichrist Eric Young for both his own personal past relationship with Young, and his current friendship with Bobby Roode. This is still a worst because we were told none of this previously on commentary. I mean, Tazz and Tenay are recording commentary after the fact in a trailer. This happened two months ago. At some point some could have watched it back and said huh, no, that’s not right at all. Let’s get ‘ol Lizard Face back in here to fix this.

Worst: Goddamn I hate canned commentary

If anything, I hate it the most because it took away my precious lizard face screencaps. They are so, so precious to me.

Best: Gail Kim vs. Havok vs. Taryn Terrell

Okay, so it’s not the one-on-one match I wanted from Taryn and Havok, but I feel like there are enough good spots in this that I can be happy with it for the most part. Taryn Terell going for the superplex on Gail, only to have both of them eat a sitout powerbomb from Havok? Yeah. Yeah that’s real good. I mean, I love powerbombs so much that my phone autocapitalizes the word. It also autocapitalizes ARN ANDERSON, so I think that gives you an accurate understanding of how I feel about them. I’m much less into the commentary. I mean, Terell goes for a drop toehold, doesn’t take her down, and then Gail Kim has to go for a spike DDT. Tenay insists that THAT takes her down, but she’s still up. Like, it’s right there in front of you. Are you calling the matches blindly? Are you calling them based off of a text description so you don’t have to go through the experience of Tazz openly masturbating beside you in a tiny trailer?

Bester Best: ILU HOT MESS

While I’m not super happy with Havok losing the title, I’m SO HAPPY with Taryn Terell getting the belt. On the one hand it’s pretty sketchy that they made her pin Gail Kim to do it, but on the other hand I can also see how it feeds into the idea that there is legitimately no other way to take the belt off of someone as strong as Havok. Decent commentary would have gone a long way in putting that over, but I guess it’s enough that the production team was able to edit out the sound of Tazz’s fist repeatedly hitting the bottom of the trailer table.

I’m having a real Chinatown sister/daughter reaction to this, but I think I’m gonna settle on happiness. I’ve been one of the biggest proponents of Taryn Terrell and her boundless effort in the ring, and if this show is the last one we get until TNA debuts on Destination America, it’s a nice thank you for not being totally awful all the time always. I’m getting for real misty in my eyes watching her celebrate, and that speaks to her ability to make that Knockouts belt a Thing That Matters more than commentary or wrestling or Gail Kim’s promos about respect or whatever.


Here’s Brandon to talk about American stuff, because as an American he is much more of an authority on, well…America.

Worst: Let’s Ask The TNA Universe What They Think About Chris Melendez

Worst: The Weird Loopholes

Just to type it again, Chris Melendez has a great story and should be celebrated for his accomplishments. He’s the kind of thing TNA should have and be proud of. The fact that he can throw yakuza kicks and bridge for fisherman’s suplexes with a prosthetic leg is awesome.

That said, there are two things that super bother me about his matches:

1. The announce team treats him like a puppy that can do tricks. Every single thing he does is greeted with a hushed, “oh my God, how can he DO that?” I don’t know guys, but I hope somebody f*cking checked to see if he could do wrestling moves before they let him be a wrestler and wrestle wrestlers on your wrestling show. The guy’s a war veteran wrestling on a prosthetic leg. He doesn’t need your “did you hear that? He can say DADA!” bullshit.

2. There are way too many visible loopholes in a Chris Melendez match. Remember when Zach Gowen was in WWE, and the point of contention was always, “if you’re in a match against a one-legged guy, why aren’t you working his leg?” If he’s got one leg and you hurt it, he literally should not be able to stand. There is no physical way for him to win a match on his butt. That extends to Melendez, too. If he’s got one leg, why are you putting him in a f*cking camel clutch?

The problem THERE is that you see his opponents actively trying to avoid it. Watch when MVP gets into the ring and attacks him with a chair. Normally if you’re sneaking up behind a guy who has your friend in a move, you’ll clip the leg. Take out a knee. MVP can’t do that, so he has to awkwardly walk around in front of Melendez and “blind side” him to his face.

And frankly, there are too many questions surrounding the legality of the leg for this to even be happening. Dude’s got a metal leg. He’s using the metal leg to kick Kenny King in the face. Sure, he’s got a shoe on the end of it, but isn’t that still a SHOE FULL OF METAL? If you hit someone with a chair and put a shoe on one of the legs, is it fine? This isn’t racing or basketball where the argument of an “unfair advantage” is unnecessarily challenging … this is a guy just straight-up hitting his opponent in the face with metal. Didn’t Gowen take off his prosthetic to avoid situations like this?

That poses further questions. If it’s established as legal because it’s his leg, could a heel take it off and hit him with it? Would that still be a DQ? If so, is it a DQ to hold somebody’s wrist and make them punch themselves in the face?

So yeah, good for Melendez for doing what he does, but purely in terms of “wrestling happening,” it’s awfully frustrating.

Oh, Spud: Oh….Spud

I’ve never Worsted a Spud Suit before this, and I’m copping out and not officially Worsting it, but oh…Spud. I wonder if people kept standing in front of him all night saying “And what’s the deal with surfboard stretches?”

Best: EC3 and Spud 4ever

So we know now that this is the last episode before Spike takes a break next week, airs a few Best Of shows, and then Impact hits their new channel in January. As someone who has watched for a long time, but also written about it for what feels like forever, I’m kind of in a weird emotional place right now. I know it’s not the end of the road for Impact as a whole, but as awful and frustrating and rage-inducing as it’s been, Impact is a really special thing to me. I hate it…a lot…sometimes, but it’s my thing to hate. Brandon’s the WWE guy, and I’m the Impact guy. You all keep calling it Stockholm Syndrome, and you might be right, but I still consistently approach Impact with the idea and hope that it can and should and maybe one day will be better.

The biggest boon to writing about Impact has been getting to watch Spud and EC3 week after week. I got to watch them grow as performers and wrestlers, and really create a whole universe around themselves when that’s not anywhere near their job function. The purpose of having a creative team is to hand down directives and create storylines that make that universe, but from the get go the effort that these two have put into their characters, and better yet maintaining their characters in spite of whatever is happening around them is everything that I could possibly love about pro wrestling in a nutshell. They’re these silly, ridiculous extensions of simple character concepts that make you connect to them in a way that just showing up and yelling and bleeding everywhere doesn’t even come close to. I’m so extremely lucky to have met both of them, and knowing them in person does nothing but amplify how much work and heart goes into what they do. If this were the last episode ever, this is where I’d be breaking down in tears instead of sending screenshots of EC3 making a kissy face to like ten people.

Impact has a terrible habit of making me take a step back because I’m forced to remember that the thing I love more than anything else sees me as nothing more than a piece of garbage: my opinions don’t matter, my body is there to be property or comedic fodder for others, and I’ll never be respected as much as my male counterparts. It sounds hyperbolic, but that is the message that is broadcast constantly, not just by Impact, but in wrestling as a whole. It’s frustrating, it’s demeaning, and it’s depressing as anything. Truthfully, it’s really hard to push through sometimes and use that as a springboard to work harder and prove every one of those people who think that wrong. It’s exhausting, actually. But, on an extremely personal, non-kayfabe level, neither Spud nor EC3 have ever, ever made me feel like that. I know I fawn over a lot of wrestlers, but when I say they’re two of the most genuinely great people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in professional wrestling, I’m not lying. They’ve given me something to look forward to week after week on television, but knowing that I have the respect of two people I respect the hell out of is something that I hold very dear in my heart. If I take anything away from the #IMPACTonSpike era, I’m so, so happy it gets to be that.

The kissy face is still hilarious, though.

Worst: EC3 is still super mean, though

Let’s shake off all those dumb real life feelings for a second because EC3 is SO MEAN. Of course I love that he cuts his hair, though. Spud stated very clearly that he got his hair cut to be just like EC3, and cutting off that hair is a statement that further severs their relationship while also serving as public humilation and an act of dominance. It’s brilliant. It’s thoughtful. I just love these two so much and I’ve gotta nope on out of this paragraph before I start feeling real feelings again. Play it cool, Matheson! Play it cool.

Best: Bram. Wait…really?

Eh, f-ck it. I’m gonna listen to that space coyote and go all in on Bram. Realistically it comes across as very stupid. The idea is great, but the execution is far from it. Everything is awful, but I’m just so in love with pro wrestling at this very moment that I’m like yeah man, the guy who beats up Tommy Dreamer is my new best friend. I’m digging what you’re laying down, rubber-faced British man.

I was at the House of Hardcore show this past weekend, and I can tell you that everything Tommy Dreamer put out there was the dirt worst of a bygone era that loves it’s shitty ECW alumni and humiliating women and killing all of the heat for the main event by crying in the ring. Yeah. It was…a weird show. Regardless, Tommy Dreamer still pays my actual friends to wrestle, so I’m not gonna slag off on the man too much. However, the concept of everything that he represents needs to be put down, and put down hard. If Bram is gonna be the one to do it then fine. I have to side with Bram. I have to! So congratulations, Bram. Now all you have to do is defend a woman and maybe have a ridiculous posedown and we might have to get married.

Worst: Just once I’d like this show to be unpredictable

So if you aren’t reading the British Boot Camp 2 recaps, maaaaaaan, you gotta. I get to write about tiny baby independent British wrestlers and make up ridiculous headcanons about wrestling boybands and it’s real fun. But here’s what I said in the Episode 4 recap, with zero spoilers as to what happened in the show last night:

The second problem really has nothing to do with either of these two wrestlers, but the unfortunate corner TNA has backed themselves into regarding the X-Division itself. Any X-Division champion has to be believable in a main event context. Because of the stipulations added, and who has recently been inserted into the X-Division, any one of them has to be able to feasibly challenge for the World Title. Sanada could have, I think, however I might just be the only one who believed that because Austin Aries was thrust into the championship instead. Samoa Joe is the current champion, and while he’s at a stage in career where he doesn’t wrestle like he could hold any belts whatsoever, from the audience’s perspective he could absolutely have a title run with the belt of his choice. If he drops it, it’ll be to Low Ki. If TNA isn’t going to do anything to build up the non-veteran components of their show, then adding one or two tiny British baby bird wrestlers isn’t going to benefit anyone.

Oh. Weird. Its almost like everything I said was actually right because predicting what will happen on Impact is way too easy, and they need something that’s not whatever they’ve been doing for the past [number of] years. Destination America could (and should) be a fresh start.

Also, Low Ki could team with Tigre Uno and they could be Dr. Claw and MAD Cat OH MY GOD IF YOU EVER LISTEN TO MY COLUMN ONCE LET IT BE THAT THING I JUST SAID HOLY JEEPERS

Worst: Not with a bang, but with a wanking motion

Is there any more fitting way for this show to go out?

lol nope