Hey guys! This was a rollercoaster of a show, but before we get to it, we’ve got to stand in line and cover the pre-show notes.
-This time next week I will be in Austin, TX for wrestling and BFF Forever time with Brandon. We’ll be at the NWA/NJPW-affiliate shows in Houston and San Antonio to see Jushin Liger, Gedo, and marvel at the manicured eyebrows of Rob Conway. Sunday we’ll be at Anarchy Championship Wrestling in Austin. If you’re going to be at any of those things (or were on the fence about going), come, say hello, and watch me finally get to smush Evan Gelistico’s face with all of the love I have in my heart. We’ve got some fun stuff planned for the report next week, so get excited now, and then forget about it by about Tuesday, and then get excited again when it happens!
-Gif credit to the stunningly awesome Mobsy/Lobster Mobster/Jessica. Follow her and love her and shower her with praise.
-Dear friend (and guy I mention a lot) Chris Sims and his cohost Matt Wilson sat down to talk with Christopher Daniels on War Rocket Ajax last week. Listen to that here.
-Follow me on Twitter here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. We love follows and comments (well, some comments) and likes and shares and tumbls like I love Joseph Park. Well, maybe not that much, but we still love them a whole bunch, so make them happen!
This week on Impact: There’s good, there’s bad, and there are ugly velvet wrestling trunks we should probably just ignore.
Best: Seriously, honey
There you go, Dixie. I don’t much care for the name dropping (Mr. Stephanie Levesque, jesus), but everything else was on point. She’s sassy! She straightened her hair! Her keychain says YOU GO, GIRL and yeah she does! She bought sexy old lady boots and she’s not going to let anyone get in her way!
I’m cutting her a lot of slack for the misspeaking and flubbing the delivery of some of her lines, but hey, she’s new to heel town, and it’s to be expected from someone who appears on their own wrestling show…not a lot. I don’t mind it, and I especially don’t mind it when she’s right. AJ was asked to leave the building, he snuck back in, and interfered in a match that had nothing to do with him. Accepting the boos directed towards her and implying, nay, encouraging them because she thinks AJ Styles should be booed? Come on. That is undeniably hilarious. Patronizingly explaining what carte blanche means? Bless Your Heart-ing Sting? No Dixie, bless your heart.
This is what I need from Dixie Carter. She’s referencing things that happen on the show. She’s taking charge. She’s calling out Sting for making a match for himself when he has no right to because he’s just a wrestler, and has no business doing so. If you’ve read the column at any point in time, you know how much it irks me when matches get made that bypass the established chain of command. She’s making salient points in the most condescending way possible, and she’s not a face so it’s mind-numbingly frustrating. She’s ticking every box, and as much as I think she’s a pretty crummy person, kayfabe President Dixie Carter is kicking my ass in the very best way. There’s a reason she’s had a controlling stake in the company for eleven years and people still say she has no idea what she’s doing (besides Patriarchy). Eleven years would mean a literal butt-tonne of cred anywhere else, but not learning from your mistakes and letting everything consistently run itself into the ground negates all of that. Hopefully this is the real TNA GENESIS of something special, and it’s onwards and upwards from here.
Get on the Dixie Train, boys and girls, and enjoy the ride before it invariably jumps the rails and ends in disaster.
Worst: Moment of panic
Even though it makes the most sense, guess how hard my stomach lurched when she said Jarretts. I fully expected them to jump the gun and send him in now, and those few seconds of anticipation for Jeff’s entrance music were the opposite of fun. So if you guessed “instant nausea,” congratulations, you just won the most accurate description of my feelings towards Jeff Jarrett.
Worst: Whatchoo gonna do, AJ?
AJ says that after he wins his match at Bound For Glory, he’s going to make both Bully ray and Dixie pay. See, this is where it makes it hard to take AJ seriously. If he’s no longer under contract, and his match at BFG fulfills his final contractual obligation, then what is going to do? Win or lose, he’s done. He has no recourse should Dixie take the belt away from him after a victory, should that happen. I mean, I’m pretty sure TNA doesn’t make you put down an exorbitant deposit on the belt, so he can’t just Ric Flair it and show up at some indie promotion shortly afterwards claiming it as his own. I mean jeez, it won’t even have his name on it.
However, while these things don’t make sense now, TNA is building up enough good will that I want to see how it all turns out at Bound For Glory. It might not be for the right reasons (as my desire to watch AJ Styles wrestle is virtually non-existent), but I want to have that trust that it will be addressed and handled in a compelling and entertaining way. Aside from Joseph Park and now EGO, that trust is something I don’t have. I’ve been conditioned to expect the worst – I think we all have. But the hope is always there, and it would be nice if that hope, for once, was not in vain.
Worst: Aries vs. Hardy
Basic wrestling fact: Wrestlers have movesets, and the more we watch, the more familiar we become with them. It’s not a bad thing. Good wrestlers can fill the space around those moves with interesting spots and transitions that keep you entertained, and when those signature moves are hit, it gets us excited. Signature move one, signature move two, you know that sh*t is over WHOA HEY FINISHER ONE TWO THREE MATCH DONE TIME TO CHEER.
One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about watching Aries wrestle is when he doesn’t follow that predictable pattern. This…this is not one of those times. While there were some great spots, and both are undeniably talented, this match was so unbelievably boring. I often criticize Magnus for his overly choreographed Dancing With the Stars-style tendencies, and that same criticism can be applied to this match. The transitions are sloppy, and Aries missed missile dropkick that still would have been at least a foot above Hardy’s head was laughable. Hardy throwing Aries out of the ring with a headscissors is a fine idea, but Aries standing, practically sauntering to the ropes, and then pitching himself to the outside is borderline embarrassing.
This is where the peanut gallery breaks in to say that both are talented and it was a great match, but pairing two talented wrestlers (with one clearly phoning it in) does not a great match make, and this is definitive proof.
Worst: Hey girl, I heard you like Ring of Honor so I put some Ring of Honor in your Ring of Honor leftovers
I JUST applauded you for calling out self-created matches what are you even doing TNA stop that thing you are doing.
Worst: Magnus and Sting have a
circle jerk conversation
My moratorium on Magnus remains, so please enjoy ten hours of the Lost Woods theme from Ocarina of Time. You’re welcome.
Best: The EGO Hall of Fame Induction, because of course it is
A friend messaged me to say that this might be better than the Claire Lynch baby shower, and yes. Yes it is. The suits? Fantastic. The giant chair, forcing Bobby Roode to swing his legs like I do when I sit in any chair because I’m little thereby making me love Roode just a little bit more? Oof, my heart.
Bobby Roode being called the Pride of Peterborough is amazing, and anyone who lives in the Greater-Something-Area should pop like crazy. Like Edge or the Miz, you claim the closest city to you because nobody gives two sh*ts about Parma or Orangeville, and Peterborough doesn’t sound as cool and stand on its own like, say, Battle Creek, Michigan. As someone who is from the greater Toronto area, saying Toronto when people ask where I’m from has become my knee-jerk reaction, so hey, EGO, this 905-er appreciates that show of really specific GTA pride.
I know that I am constantly saying that friendship-based wrestling is the best wrestling, and it’s true, but take a second and think about why.
Wrestling matches are solutions to problems. If you take issue with someone, or have something to prove, you feud and then you fight. Too much feuding and fighting leads to a glut of negativity, which is usually the gutter TNA likes to dwell in. Moments of levity are the helping hand that pulls a show out of that muck. If I wanted to watch people yell and be sh*tty to one another with very little break, this report would go up on Monday after ROH TV airs on the weekend, and I would be a million times more miserable than I ever am towards Impact. Fun fact: the little break in ROH TV also involves television lawyers and is unsurprisingly awesome.
Even if friendships are forgotten and continuity is thrown out the window over time, that period where people truly like and stand by each other amidst constant insults and fighting and pretending to injure each other for 3-15 minutes every week is comforting, endearing, and easy to connect to. When wrestling allows itself to have fun, the audience has fun. When every single thing thrown at you is mean and derogatory, it creates a terrible environment where nobody feels good. But heels or not, people who seem to legitimately like each other and work together to reach their common goals are so easy to get behind. The Four Horsemen. The Shield. It’s the genuine emotion that separated AJ Lee and John Cena from AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler. Brischoff from the rest of Aces & Eights. ODB and EY from Bully Ray and Tessmacher. Most notably, it’s what separates EGO from the flaming garbage pile that is Main Event Mafia. Aries and Roode were broken up, but we got something way better in EGO. And when EGO gets broken up, you might just see The Worst and Worst of No-Sells and Delayed Vertical Suplexes every Monday from then on.
Best: No, really
LOOK AT HIS LITTLE LEGS
Worst: Kurt angle is back
Kurt Angle, all-American athlete is legendary. I love the Kurt Angle of Old. There is a mark photo of my boyfriend and I with him currently residing on top of our television. Kurt Angle in a tiny cowboy hat is the stuff dreams are made of. This “Kurt Angle who just looks like BJ Whitmer’s twin who ate him in utero” of now is none of those things, and it’s rough, and it’s sad, so let’s make some jokes because that’s what we’re all here to do. Rapid-fire joke time!
First you get a plant, then you get a pet, then you get a girlfriend, then you get a BowFlex.
Looks like you took 12 steps over to a bottle of HGH.
They tried to make you go to rehab, and you said GAY, GAY, GAY because dude you are weirdly homophobic and you should probably cut that out.
It’s surprising that Kurt spent so much time campaigning to save Olympic wrestling since he’ll be dead before 2020.
Where do monkeys go to drink? The monkey bars!
Worst: Velvet Sky selling those ribs
They probably should have hired a new catering company after the whole Manik incident, but hey, live and learn and take lots of Immodium, girl.
Worst: Brooke Tessmacher vs. Velvet Sky
Magnus Time: Not gonna happen
If you’d like to watch Magnus and Sting vs. Bad Influence, click here.
If not, please accept this Tanahashi-Okada match from day 8 of NJPW’s G1 Climax event in it’s place, because it made me happy when I was real down the other day, and also because Okada’s gear is baller as f-ck.
Okada’s theme makes me walk around my apartment punching air and getting all hyped up to do…I dunno, sit on the couch and watch more wrestling or whatever, and you should love it like I do. And when you go to the well of “guys promotions don’t know how to use properly,” remember that Okada was in TNA, and they relegated him to Xplosion because what the hell were you even thinking.
Best: The AJ Styles Foundation
Dixie Carter had a chat with AJ bakstage, and offered him a substantial amount of money if he would skip out on his next two scheduled matches, then suggests he use the money to start a foundation for little redneck kids who can’t read. Illiterate redneck children should be the new El Generico orphans in Mexico, but they never will be because AJ Styles has principles, and rips it up. But it doesn’t matter. She didn’t sign that cheque anyways. Hee.
Best: Mike Tenay is SO MAD
Sometimes I wonder what takes up so much space on my laptop, and then I realize I have 23 hi-res pictures in different folders, all labeled “Tenay Face.” My commitment to his glorious lizard face is steadfast and true, and when Bully Ray kicked him out of his seat at the commentating desk, I instinctually opened Photoshop because how could this not be a gold mine. I don’t really care about Bully Ray on commentary, but Tenay standing off to the side and complaining to Borash about him is precious and perfect and I want to keep it forever.
Worst: AJ Styles vs. Almost A Whole Wrestler
This gif is the most important thing you should take away from this match:
I don’t know what it is, but outside of those brief shining moments of wonder, this show feels like it’s about three hours longer than it actually is. Like Kate Moss, nothing is as long as mediocrity feels. Or…something like that. Thoughtful analysis is the hardest when everything happening makes you wish it would just hurry up and end. It’s kind of like when Brian Eno decided to leave Roxy Music, because he found himself onstage thinking about the laundry he had to do instead of being present in the moment. The in-between parts aren’t engaging. You don’t want to watch them, let alone spend a couple of hours watching and re-watching and picking out and describing and making jokes about every little thing. Even the great shows that I point to as reasons people should watch TNA are just a series of great moments mired in matches you have to slog through to get to the good stuff. It’s a tough balancing act for TNA, and I sincerely hope they start watching these shows back, knowing they did good things they should keep up, and trimming the fat like they just spent 28 days doing crunches and making out with a former MLB pitcher.
I really don’t want to end on a negative note, so let’s address the part I intentionally skipped over earlier.
Best: ROAD TRIP
I don’t know what kind of fresh hell they’re going to unleash as Bound For Glory that they need to unleash a joy-bringing distraction of this magnitude, BUT BRING IT ON. I said I wanted a Joseph Park buddy road trip and I got it, and I am the HAPPIEST PERSON.
While we’re on the subject, I would also like a weekly segment wherein Joseph Park hugs fans named Danielle Matheson who write weekly Impact columns and who really loves Chikara and pictures of baby otters. *cough cough*