Hey guys. I know this week is tough and everything in the world is awful, so let’s take a break and escape into a wrestling world where…umm…everything is awful.
– We all made predictions for SummerSlam. Mine includes clubhouses and friendship. For more serious and accurate predictions, you should probably read the predictions of everyone else who works at With Spandex.
– With Spandex remains pretty great, so make sure to tell all of your friends about it. Also, please make them read this column. Tweet, share, tumbl, email, and whatever else you have to do to get people reading and make me feel like I’m walking alone for miles in the pit of danger that is TNA.
This week on Impact: TNA proves it is totally your racist uncle who still gets invited over for Christmas so he doesn’t get drunk and fall asleep with a lit cigarette.
Worst: Look how cool we are. Remember that cool thing we did? SO COOL.
So to recap, we’re celebrating two dudes who used to assault and kidnap people, treat women like garbage, treat each other like garbage, reunited by ignoring factual things things that happened, stalked a woman and then nearly paralyzed her? Okie dokie.
I know I’m prone to giving out Worsts willy-nilly, because almost everything in TNA is sort of bad, but this is practically unbearable. It’s four wrestlers who have been around forever, fellating the others over their accomplishments and matches that all happened outside of TNA. Bully Ray is so cool. Matt Hardy is so cool. Jeff Hardy literally says “I’m extremely cool.” The Hardyzzzz vs. The Dudleys in 2014 TNA is the dream match of someone who has taken their words at face value and never watched WWE ever. There’s this kinda gross thing that happens in indie wrestling where older wrestlers, or wrestlers who were once in WWE but aren’t anymore get booked for name recognition and better publicity, but take away spots from regular roster members. You can have this great indie fed full of up and coming wrestlers, but the idea is that they’re a bunch of nobodies, and everybody wants to see f-cking Balls Mahoney put some guy you’ve never heard of through a flaming table. That’s what TNA feels like pretty much all of the time. Nobody cares about putting on a great wrestling show, or advancing the talent or careers of people, just that they can say they used to watch Amish Roadkill on TV, and now they get to book him/see him in person. The reality of the situation is that when you’re at those shows, when the main event finally comes around, it’s either super sad, or they’re just goofing around, laughing at a joke nobody else is in on. You, in turn, end up wishing they would have left the memories alone, and could go back to watching those local “nobodies” tear ass and put on a great show.
To be even more of a pretentious indie wrestling jerk, let me put it this way: your televised wrestling show should never leave people asking “What loser money mark booked this garbage?”
Best: Jeff Hardy
I am gonna give him a best for responding to a match request with “I didn’t paint my face for nothin!” I like to imagine that he actually does it all the time, but like Willow – just hovering in the shadows waiting for someone to ask him to do something. Hey Jeff, wanna run to the store and buy some cream of mushroom soup? I didn’t paint my face for nothin! Hey Jeff, can you rinse those bottles out before they go into the recycling so we don’t get ants? I didn’t paint my face for nothin!
Worst: The good guys
Bobby Roode and Eric Young are watching Dixie go through a table on EY’s phone and laughing about it. Austin Aries, also watching it on his phone, joins them to make fun of her and celebrate her broken back because good guys in TNA are the worst douchebags on the planet.
Worst: Forget about it, Danielle. It’s the X-Division.
There are a bunch of things I liked about this match, most of them from the kitty fellow. Conversely, there are a lot of things in this match that don’t make sense, and suck all of the fun right out of it. Most of them are Crazzy Steve and Homicide. But really, why is Tigre Uno bouncing down on the top rope to turn around and do a headscissors takedown on Manik? He still had to step over and turn around on the rope before he did it, so it wasn’t so that he could change his position to face his opponent. Why do “fast-paced” and “high-flying” equate to “physically make no sense at all?”
If you watch a lot of cruiserweight-style multi-mans, you generally have an idea of how the eliminations are going to go. If you’re watching WCW, La Parka and Psychosis aren’t gonna go out first, you know? But it’s gotta make sense on the way. Why is DJ Zema dropkicking Homicide and Low Ki instead of kicking Manik in the back when he’s clinging to the ropes? Manik turns on him immediately instead of going after the two guys who just teamed up on him. Why is Manik putting himself at a disadvantage? If we know that ultimately he’s not going to be one of the final two left standing, why isn’t he even making an effort to try to be? Zema eliminates Manik with a dirty pin, and gets caught celebrating. All in keeping with his character, all “justified” since Manik attacked him instead of eliminated the Ghosts of X-Division Past, and a logical progression to getting eliminated by the more “serious” final two. A Best to Zema for still secretly improving all the time, and I guess a Best to Manik for staying in character as “guy who aggravates me always.”
Best: Spud and EC3
They come across some production guys also watching the video of Dixie go through a table, and proceed to flip the eff out. They remind them that Dixie is still the boss, and they’re lucky they don’t lose their jobs. Again, the worst thing they did was care, and remember Dixie’s actual position in the company.
Supplementary best for Rhino’s intimidation tactic being thrusting at them. You know that one Cody Rhodes taunt in WWE ’13 where he pulls his fist back towards his hips and shoves his head forward, a thing Cody’s probably never done ever, but it’s super fast and super handy to build up to your finisher faster? That’s what Rhino did, and it’s the funniest thing in the world to me.
EC3 threatening to claim squatters rights in the Manhattan Center is delightful. Him demanding that Bully Ray be terminated for assaulting the president of the company who is also his aunt that he cares about is totally fair and should have already been under review by the board of directors for like a week now. I’m pretty sure if you walked into one of those board meetings, grabbed the VP of Public Relations and snapped his spine, the board wouldn’t be like naw man, it’s cool. He always stole people’s pens and never turned his cellphone off during meetings. That guy totally had it coming.
Worst: Kurt Angle, oh my god stop making me hate you
Kurt Angle and EC3 have a history. A glorious, velvet blazer-clad history. I get that. I do. But Kurt Angle is now in a position of power wherein he is charged to book wrestling shows, and treat the wrestlers as employees, not his boys. Entertaining a vendetta from the past when you’re put in charge of someone is super wrong and also super illegal, or at least it is here in Canada. I don’t know your state or federal labour laws. Kurt Angle tells EC3 that they’re not in Nashville anymore, they’re in New York. What the heck does that even mean? They don’t regularly wrestle in Nashville. They’re outside of Nashville literally all of the time. What, once they get to New York it becomes the Purge, and all workplace harassment laws go out the window? That’s actually what the Purge was about, right? People slapping secretaries on the butt and putting copy paper in upside down? Unlawfully discriminating against employees and not collating your reports?
Anyways, Kurt Angle insists that a clearly injured EC3 wrestle (which is super unsafe and irresponsible), or get out of “his” ring. Since EC3 is obviously not going to wrestle, Kurt Angle tells him that he’ll be removed by the NYPD.
Worst: Wait I’m sorry you’re gonna what now
Someone explain to me what legal recourse the NYPD has to remove current employees from their place of work. They didn’t threaten Kurt Angle. They didn’t assault Kurt Angle. They have no legal right to detain anyone who’s currently in the ring, let alone arrest them and remove them from the building. Sure, they can hold them for 48 hours if they’re suspected of a crime, which they are super duper totally not. EVEN IF EC3 was brought in for attempting to bribe a police officer, that offier shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and is, himself, doing something unlawful. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe utter death threats all the time. Bully Ray legitimately assaulted and injured someone guys why is this happening what is happening please someone help meeeee
Rhino bends over to pick Spud’s jacket up after he flings it off yelling about diplomatic immunity, setting my friendship-based wrestling senses into a frenzy. Damn, that guy sure is considerate. He’s obviously the bad guy.
Worst: Oh we’re still going with this after commercial okay cool
EC3 is still offering the cops money, which makes sense for his character. One officer responds with “I hope you like Central Booking.” To be fair I don’t think that’s a thing that anyone likes, however what are they being booked for? Resisting being arrested for nothing? Being put into a situation that would goad them into resisting? We’re getting a follow-up segment next week about these cops being investigated by internal affairs for entrapment, right?
Worst: Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner for custody of Sam Shaw or something
Please enjoy the isolated commentary for this match:
Worst: Better than Divas
This match is, you know, definitely A Match That Happened, and Taryn and Gail are still doing their best to make things palatable, but it’s not super great. The main issue I have with the match is these dudes chanting BETTER THAN DIVAS. Okay. Let’s real talk some things here:
1) Celebrating the Knockouts by insulting the Divas isn’t how celebrating women works. That’s not how praising anything works, actually.
2) Picking on Divas at this point is a hack move, and shows that you neither watch not care about women’s wrestling (or wrestling in general).
3) Had any of these fine gentleman in the crowd paid any attention to female wrestlers in the WWE, they would see that they’re having some baller matches. Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, NXT Emma and NXT Summer Rae, Paige, AJ, Alicia Fox…these ladies are legit. Putting Sara Del Rey behind the scenes is one of the smartest things WWE has ever done. You can’t tell me that Velvet Sky is putting on a match better than any of them.
4) Everyone should watch NXT, basically.
5) I bet these dudes don’t go to, I don’t know, a Shimmer show and chant BETTER THAN KNOCKOUTS. I would bet a very substantial amount of money that none of the people chanting have been to, nay heard of, a Shimmer show. Who are they to decide a wrestling hierarchy?
Fake wrestling boys are the f-cking worst, amirite?
Best: MVP/Kenny King
I’m going to give them a best for the promo they cut before heading into the ring. The camera man wants to know how MVP feels about Dixie Carter going through a table, and he shrugs it off because it doesn’t matter to him. Yeah he hated her, but they got the title, and have their own set of problems that come with it. Kenny King says that she’s rich and can buy herself a golden wheelchair, but they have to go out and fight. It’s true, though I don’t think a golden wheelchair would be super functional. It’s in keeping with the idea that they’re still mad that they have to fight for everything while others get handed stuff, and I assume are still pretty pissed off that Bobby Lashley has had fair, clean victories over and over and these wrestlers still won’t leave him alone in saying he doesn’t deserve it.
When you say things out loud, Roode/Aries/Eric Young are some real assholes, huh.
Worst: Kenny King, MVP, and Bobby Lashley vs. White Privilege
That’s what this is, right? Three alpha-male super jerks who refuse to believe, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, that these guys who complained about being treated unfairly aren’t their equals? Nobody in this ring is impressing with their wrestling (except countering the spear with a last chancery was kinda great), so we’re left with story and characters. Wrestling has proven that Bobby Lashley deserves to retain his belt, and they beat these guys AT WRESTLING in this very match. We’re not left with any other conclusions to draw, right? Roode and Aries and Eric Yonge, at this point, are just hella racist, right?
(Please note that the video for this math was removed from their YouTube channel, so if you didn’t watch go ahead and assume it’s just as bad as you think it is).
Best: NO WAIT WE WERE WRONG IT’S HCVQK
Worst: BRAAAAAAAM AHHHHHHH
Bram stole “Janice,” the nail-studded piece of wood Abyss uses to get taken from him in matches and hit in the tummmy with. Abyss is super attached to it, and calls it her, which I admit really bothers me. Applying gendered pronouns to an inanimate object is really weird to me. Eddie Kingston does it with the Chikara Grand Championship as well. Unless Kid from Chrono Cross is trapped inside, or the object has an actual functioning vagina/the sentience to identify as female, maybe we could cool it? Or maybe we could start naming things like that after dudes, so it doesn’t seem like objects are given female names because it’s more believable that a woman could be owned/possessed? I want Magnus to get all butthurt that Bram is using Janice when his baseball bat stuck full of razorblades named Steve is right there. I want Bobby Lashley to let MVP speak for him and call the belt Ronald. Nobody’s getting in between Bobby Lashley and Ronald!
Bram and Abyss yell and bulge out their eyes and get all red in the face at each other. Abyss wants to know if Bram wants to get EXTREME, and seriously, what are they going to do, have another Monster’s Ball match? Are they acknowledging that hitting each other with tin foil trashcans isn’t as bad as it looks? Apparently they need to add chairs and tacks and glass and things that should have also been in a Monster’s Ball match. The difference is that Janice will be hanging above the ring, and the winner gets to keep it. Like…can’t Abyss just make a new one? Is he banned from Home Depot AND Lowe’s? Why can’t he just let go of Janice and be like okay cool guess I’ll use her big brother Reginald (Reg being an axe handle with like five machetes taped to it).
Worst: The Stockholm Syndrome of the Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm
Self-proclaimed redneck holes up in the woods with a Japanese man he just turned against his homeland and his mentor, dyes his hair black to further erase his known personality, and spouts a bunch of stuff about revolution and being the light and the guy is also shirtless and in a bare cabin with a noose outside. Nope. Not concerning whatsoever.
*whisperscreams* what is happening…
Worst: The Rob Van Dam Effect
That’s what this match is. You remember this guy you loved and it was from a time where wrestling made you really happy and you watch him win the TV title and it’s like whooooa that’s my motherf-cker, but then you watch him in TNA or WWE these days and it’s like whooooa, that dude needs maybe chill out and spend the rest of his days playing arcade games and getting high with Rey Mysterio and Sabu.
I get it. I really do. The Hardys vs. The Dudleys at Royal Rumble 2000 is my jam. They’ve been in a lot of matches I love and watch over and over again. That does not mean, however, that they should have the same match over and over again, especially when that match requires you to put black tape over the WWE logo on your gear. Nostalgia is great for punctuation, but look. Paul Orndorff and his incredible mustache are a great thing for a few minutes, but you don’t want him throwing hands at Seth Rollins every week.
Note: I 100% want Paul Orndorff and his mustache throwing hands at Seth Rollins every week.