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This week on Impact: Heels, deals, and zero Jennifer Beals! Switch on your youth, ‘cuz we’re going into Impact!
Worst vs. Best: Tired vs. Classic
I didn’t want to start off on a negative foot, but when a show starts out with MVP doing his best Montez Walker, I’m really not sure that I can come out positive guns a blazin’. See, I’m still not buying into the idea that MVP is a good guy. If Kurt Angle is a lumbering dinosaur of a bygone era, then MVP is the Pachycephalosaurus to Angle’s Apatasaurus: more agile, sure, but hard-headed as f-ck, with ideas and an attitude that should long since have died.
In a few sentences he manages to make fun of Dixie’s appearance (like his 41 year-old ass isn’t caked in HD makeup), question Magnus’s manhood (‘cuz he’s ~edgy and ~keepin’ it real), and put over the fact that he has zero idea of how a suit should fit. It’s like he printed off pictures of Todd Keneley and said yeah, just give me the opposite. It also leads me to believe that the biggest heel move of EC3 thus far is withholding the name of his tailor.
But we’re not here to debate how a suit should fit (spoiler alert not like that), we’re here to lock down some Lockdown contracts! Shockingly, the biggest surprise of this segment is that I actually like MVP adding the submission-only stipulation to the title match between Magnus and Samoa Joe. Well, submission or tap out, because I guess they’re two different things now. Dixie has been making all of these no DQ matches, allowing run-ins from Team Dixie to skew the matches the way she needs them, so it’s a really nice call back to something that has already happened. Someone watched the show! Good for you, that person. Let’s call you Steve.
Now, if Steve really has seen more than one episode of the show that employs him, he knows that Magnus’s submissions are shoot garbage, and a current Samoa Joe submission match is just joke punches and aggressive cuddling. Steve is now Magnus’s biggest fan, because while MVP is tiresome and grating, Magnus is kicking my ass right now. Being the biggest sh*theel in your own country ABOUT your home country with a campy throwback heel delivery is so wonderful that guys, I am…*whispers* looking forward to this match.
Don’t tell anyone, though. I’ve got a rep to uphold.
Worst: Man, Taxi Driver has not held up
Worst, but with a caveat: BOOOOOOOOOO
See, Steve here realised that they maximized their time overseas by taping roughly 237 weeks of television ahead of time, but would still be running house shows back in the US. Steve paid attention, and created a logical progression of a narrative by marrying events from two different periods of time with planning and forethought. Three for you, Steve.
A Nice Thing About The American Wolves: Davey Richards is really fast in his flippidy doo pins.
Best: A Hard Day’s Bro
This is such a tiny, throwaway thing, but on a show that makes me Just So Mad™, the BroMans going for a bit of madcap comedy make me smile. Thank you for being ridiculous people, bros.
Best: The Brotacular finish to an otherwise underwhelming match
I put on my objective eyes and tried really hard to enjoy this match, but I feel like this is where the divide between me and some of you lovely readers gets its widest. Predictably the crowd loved this match, and while I thought it was boring, I can see why. The second good thing I will say about the Wolves is that, to their credit, what they lack in charisma or personality of really any sort whatsoever, they make up in speed. Having two perceivably young guys (both are 30) come in like a house of fire and force everyone to match their pace feels fresh, and of course would be welcomed on a show where most of the matches move slower than Kevin Nash climbing into a ring. The problem, however, is that it’s all pointless. It’s speed and flippidy doos and jumps and kicks that don’t really have any weight or meaning to them. There’s no impact in this Impact match. You know, it’s the joke that Davey Richards can’t make it in WWE or Avon, ‘cuz he can’t sell for sh*t. There’s no logical response to the moves they’re delivering other than a momentary OW MY BACK or YEAH LOOK WHAT I CAN DO sh*teating grin. No cause and effect, just BOOM BOOM BOOM ARE YOU IMPRESSED YET.
But this is still a best, because oh lord, Robbie E, you are a treat. I am LIVING for the gentle tap on Richards’ boot. Stealing a win in a comedic heel fashion is a million times better than fifty moves in two seconds for no reason other than you can.
Worst: Oh look, another EC3 promo that isn’t on YouTube
They improve the quality of my life. He is great. Literally no one cares about Gunner. Fix your priorities, Impact.
Worst: Oh look, AN ENTIRE EC3 match that isn’t on YouTube
Look, Steve, I get it. You gotta know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, and know when you’re going to make a lady who writes about your show on the internet hella pouty in real life. This is that time.
Sigh. Kenny Rogers wouldn’t do me like that.
Worst: Literally no one cares about Gunner
Best: This is meaningless, but look at his happy baby smile!
Angle looks genuinely happy, and I’m not made of stone. Even if Kurt has zero idea of when to fold ’em, I am a Kurt Angle fan at heart, and I like when people I like get to be for real happy.
SUPER NO VACANCY Best: The Internet is always right, and by the internet, I mean everything I have to say about EC3
YES TO ALL OF THIS.
It appears that some people are still not sold on EC3. For those of you who are new to the report (hi new friends!), I cannot express to you enough how into Mr. The Third I am. Yes, he is an unnaturally charismatic, handsome, and in-shape human with the style of C-Tates and the hair of a certified dreamboat, but to leave it at that, or assume that is the only reason I continue to write glowing paragraphs about him is downright foolish.
A lot of the struggle I have in writing about Impact is that as much as I should be approaching it as a standalone wrestling universe, it unfortunately does not exist in a vacuum. For instance, this show went head to head with the WWE Network’s first NXT special, specifically Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn. Would I much rather be writing my guts out over two indie-bred guys wrestling to the best of their incredible abilities (which are vast), telling a complete story, building off of every past match they’ve had on some crazy Tiger Mask-Dynamite Kid trip, and making me feel like I basically need to lie down forever? Oh jeepers, of course I would. Is watching Samoa Joe punch like I pretend to punch in any way going to stack up against that? No. In the grand scheme of wrestling as a whole and complete entity, is a “fun” or “decent” TNA match going to hold up? No. It’s not. But I want it to, and when it doesn’t, it’s extra frustrating.
When you take a step back and look at the scope of the current, say, North American wrestling scene (because we don’t need like seven different Sailor Moon heart-eyed gifs over Okada in this report), there are some really amazing things happening. Weighing something in TNA against any of those is a dangerous game, like hunting men for sport, or drunk UNO. Determining what is a Best when you know very well that if you plucked that thing out of the sucking vacuum of Impact, it wouldn’t work at all, is p. hard.
When something works, however, it really is the best. And that’s where EC3 comes in. His promos, the continuing narrative of his dysfunctional relationship with Magnus, little looks here and there, it can work on any stage. The versatility to move between humour and serious, calculating deliveries is a vastly underrepresented skill on Impact, and you need that to put on a compelling, entertaining show. That kind of skill raises up the people around you, unlike just saying you’re going to murder someone with a hammer, or choke someone out, or then murder someone with something else, and having your whole character be angry dude who wants to murder something (seriously can we cool it with the murderkilling threats thanks). He makes people around him more likeable. I am hella #TeamDixie, and a good 73% of that is him. (21% of that is currently his hair, but I’m only human, and also really really bad at math.) Were wrestling a game of chess, he would be a queen piece, able to move in any direction. And yes, Ethan Carter III, the Queen of Wrestling is a thing that makes me giggle about as much as you’d expect.
I guess to further break this down, I am Lisa Simpson, TNA is Ralph, and EC3 is well-read and a little bit wild (and young):
Ohh, if only someone could tame him.
Worst: Hey, do you like crummy wrestles and uncomfortable transphobic commentary?
Yeah? Then get the f*ck outta this report, Tazz.
Worst: On Thursdays we wear grey
When Mr. Anderson is the voice of reason, you need to step back, look at your life, look at your choices. It’s at this point in the show when, after Tazz’s comments and this big boy fight over who gets to wear that shirt on TV and Christy Hemme’s “availability,” my first instinct is to grab Team Dixie and EC3’s blazers, send them to stay with their moms, then burn this sh*theap to the ground.
Best: Black and white winter hymnal
I think the only thing in this ridiculousness that would tickle my fancy harder is if the umbrella flew out of his hands, and he had to chase it into the next room, surprising Fleet Foxes as they recorded their new album.
Come down from the mountain, Jeff, you have been gone too long (and it’s made you crazeballs).
Best: Austin Aries where are your pants
So Austin Aries was heavily courted during the course of the show (because people build bad teams and make bad decisions on Impact), which leads to Bobby Roode vs. MVP to determine who will win the heart of the fair maiden going into their Lethal Lockdown match. Austin Aries made himself the special guest referee so he could turn on MVP and reunite Team Boy BFF, and he did it all while wearing this:
I took roughly sixteen screencaps of this for no other reason than I could, and laughed until I cried. Twice. I’m pretty sure this match was hot garbage, but…but…just look at him! You can’t put on kneepads to counteract the fact that when you put on regular people clothing it makes your big boy wrestling panties look…well, like big boy wrestling panties? Why didn’t Steve just grab him some tearaways? What is even happening on this show?
Tune in next week when we answer literally none of these questions!