Hiiii! A few things before we get to some of the most predictably Danielle Bests maybe ever:
-This week over at The Mandible Claw, Robert Newsome and I got to talk to Marion Fontaine for Olde Wrestling, and the Estonian Thunderfrog for Wrestling Is and also my heart. I love these guys. You should too.
-Speaking of Robert Newsome, if you love wrestling, good writing, and excellent comics, you should buy the latest edition of The Atomic Elbow zine. I’m not in it, but friend and rad comic-making guy Kyle Starks is, and trust me when I say he drew maybe the best wrestling comic of all time. Again. It’s just what he does.
-Follow me on Twitter here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. You should also like this, share this, comment, tumbl this, and however else you share things. You are a person on the internet, so I assume you know better than I how to be socially savvy when it comes to this stuff.
This week on Impact: Friendship rules, Gunner drools.
Best: EGO loves me, this I know, for the intro tells me so
Magnus kicks off the show by saying that he doesn’t have anything to say because he said it all in the ring, and then says a bunch of other stuff because Magnus should never be allowed to speak on TV ever. And look, I don’t want to say that my disdain for Magnus has reached the point where I take some kind of sadistic glee in two guys I like and one guy who is good at holding up photos beating the tar out of him, but I maybe kind of sort of did.
This can all go one of two ways: Magnus can grab that power star (usually called “Wrestle Cody Rhodes” elsewhere) and use these three to challenge himself and rise to a higher level, OR he’ll be left floundering and gasping for air because he’s in the deep end of the talent pool and forgot his floaties.
Either way, if I said I didn’t shout YEAH DANIELS KICK HIM RIGHT IN THE WINTERGREENS, I would be straight up lying. Sorry, Magnus.
Best: Holy sh-t that guy bought that AJ Styles shirt, or Better Best: That guy wearing an ACH shirt
One guy recognizes that ACH is the best, and one guy voluntarily paid real human money for a shirt that spells out AJ’s name in male ejaculate. Had the first guy been wearing ACH’s new Dragonball-inspired shirt that kinda looks like he’s riding a giant sperm, Brandon would have to take over because I would be dead from immature giggles.
(But seriously, you should buy all of ACH’s shirts because he is the best, and I am good at telling you how to spend your money. Just sayin’.)
Worst: Is this a wrestler I see before me?
Once upon a time I watched a production of Macbeth put on by a group of second graders. If there are two things I can take away from that, it’s that 1) tiny kids with tiny swords and big words are adorable, and 2) every single one of them was a better actor than Magnus.
Best, I guess: At least MEM remembered they’re a thing?
“Come on, Sting! Magnus asked for one of them, but now all three members of EGO are beating him up! We’ve gotta go save him!”
“Goddamnit Joe stop yelling at me you’re gonna make me mess up my Crow lines! UGH, NOW ONE OF THEM IS CROOKED AND I HAVE TO START ALL OVER ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?”
(The answer is no, Samoa Joe is probably always miserable.)
Best: Chris Sabin turns his smarm into charm
Chris Sabin as an intentionally condescending prick “encouraging” Manik while taking the credit for being the heart and soul of the X-Division and paving the way for him to be champion? And then calling him Tiger? Yes. This is a thing I want. If TNA is actually learning from their mistakes and having Sabin amplify the worst things about his title run into the best thing about him losing it, then TNA is learning from their mistakes and I can’t give this a bigger best.
Best: Jeff Hardy vs. Manik
It wasn’t long, but it didn’t have to be. Jeff Hardy gets to pull out all of his familiar spots and do all of the things that keep people spending money on multi-coloured nylon armbands and facepaint, and he’s smart and with it enough to know how to play to Manik’s strengths and make him look good, even in a loss. Even if Manik is the champion of a division that’s in the worst shape it’s been in in a long time, putting him against Hardy makes him look strong, and helps legitimize a belt that could feasibly have, what, three challengers? Are we even up to three?
Best: There’s at least one
If Sabin can keep being a douche, and not overplay it (he’s dangerously close), this could be a wonderful thing. No one respects him! Smarmy dickbag heels forever!
Note: I will also accept Chris Sabin going full Dangerfield. If he starts saying that his father carries around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet, and he and Velvet Sky were happy for twenty years – and then they met, it will shoot be the best thing TNA has ever done.
Best: Smarmy dickbag heels forever!
Love you, Mickie, even if this doesn’t go your way.
Best: TNA is learning
Using Joseph Park to distract me from Mickie James losing the title? I never stood a chance.
Best: No really though, Joseph Park
Is not understanding why Joseph Park is the best thing on television right now still a thing? Are you guys still playing at that nonsense? Are you not charmed by him celebrating a win by drinking chocolate milk? Did him saying “How dare you, SIRS” not make your heart grow three sizes? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? But really, how are you not entertained? Joseph Park believes in everything he says. His love for Impact Wrestling, his friends, and saucy pork ribs is real, and real touching. He wants to be there. He wants to be successful. He doesn’t want people to be mean to him or his friends, and he has four cats, two of them named Gimmick and Tater. His brother (you know, Abyss? *holds hand up over her head*) is a big scary monster who secretly loves hugs in person. He stands for honesty and justice and friendship and casual track suits. He is the most Danielle wrestler to ever wrestle and I love him with all of my heart. If you can’t get on board with that, you should probably go back to posting “lol this is gay wherez Abyss” on all of his YouTube videos and leave the rest of us to our blissful Park-filled existence because sirs and madams, there is no place for you here.
Best: A Fine Bromans
Eric Young takes umbrage at the Bromans’ insults towards himself, his wife, and his best friend (because friendship-based wrestling is the best wrestling), so he decides to take on Robbie E. Also, so Joseph Park doesn’t ruin his suit. That’s a good dude right there. Robbie E gets rolled up in no time, making him huffy and embarrassed, and that leaves him no choice but to call out Joseph Park, the opponent he chose in the first place. Joe Park of course rolls him up and gets the immediate victory, which leads to the following Bests:
1) The Bromans have a tag finisher, and tag finishers rule
2) They performed said finisher on EY after the match, which is fine, because they’re two friends united by their douchebro-edness, and I both brake and mark for wrestling friendships
3) Joseph Park will not stand for this, goes to the place that only he and I guess Randy Orton can go (they must have a timeshare deal), and delivers a super pretty Black Hole Slam to Robbie E
Best: Kyle, in the conservatory, with the TOTALLY NOT FAKE lead pipe
I like to think that this guy knows how to punctuate properly, but couldn’t think of a better way to update his agent on the progress of his murder mystery novel. Spoiler alert, jeez.
Bonus Best to Mike Tenay for having that face.
Worst: TNA giveth, TNA taketh away
Bully Ray leads Tessmacher to the ring, with a chain, like a dog.
I’ve been writing this column for almost a year. Do I really need to explain why this is a worst?
Sigh, I guess we’re doing this: Aces & Garbage goes to the dump
I hate that this works. If TNA knows to wave Joseph Park in front of me so I turn away from Mickie James losing in rather unspectacular fashion, they know how to both make me want to see Bully Ray get triple-power bombed by being an utterly gross human being, and forget all of my nice words in the last couple of columns by hoping for the swift dissolution of any group of people who use the phrase “bros before hoes.”
Really, it’s just another week of pushing that rock. Bully Ray spits truth everywhere by pointing out that before him, Brischoff were nothing, and they need him. He dismisses their hurt feelings and concern for the club and reacts like any insecure leader would, exerting power by threatening bodily harm, which is really all he has left. When Mike Knox steps up and says “What about me?” you want to see how it plays out, because he’s right. I mean, he’s WWE’s Mike Knox. By acknowledging that it suggests that he doesn’t need this (though…he does, really), and his staying with the club and defending Bully Ray gives him the purest of motivations out of the three remaining club members. Suddenly the guy known best for clapping and smiling in the background is busting on Bully’s mistakes harder than AJ busted on that dude’s shirt. This is so good and yet again the perfect example of why TNA is so frustrating and we can’t have nice things.
The argument you can make is that my logic is sound, and this is why TNA has to pepper the things that work with sexism and homophobia and racism. Because it works. Because it makes me root against the bad guy. But here’s the deal: TNA, despite basically everything that happened before this, does not write for me, and they do not write for people like me. For every person who said “Is he REALLY leading her around like a pet?” there were scads and scads more who said “Oh man, that’s so hot” without a single thought of how degrading it is (or many thoughts that were later emptied onto a tissue). For every person offended by Tazz’s gay jokes, there are scads and scads more who see absolutely nothing wrong with it because at no point have they been presented with the idea that there is anything wrong with it. If you want to keep pretending that these things in no way have a trickle-down effect, then by all means, continue to display your ignorance in comment sections and forum boards. Then go to a show with an all-female card, come back, and tell me you didn’t hear a single sexist or degrading comment said as an aside, or more blatantly as a chant. Tell me it’s okay because your girlfriend thinks it’s okay, and then try to keep a cool head when a stranger demands she gets her tits out. It’s the same hill and the same rock, and I’ll be the happiest when the idea that any of this okay gets squashed.
Good wrestling speaks for itself. Good heels can make you hate them without being lazy. When you can’t recognize that, everyone loses.
If you didn’t believe me when I said TNA doesn’t write for me, please see Exhibit B: The reason the fast-forward button exists on your DVR remote.
Alternate Worst: This match is called a Bathroom Break Match, because it does everything short of literally walking into your apartment to take a dump on your living room floor.
Worst: Who are we supposed to root for again?
I know EGO might be fan favourites, or “smark” favourites if you like being that person, but come on. Magnus does the “just a minute” finger, which anyone who has ever worked in retail or in the food service industry or not been an asshole knows is a straight up dick move. Sting goes to the back to get his bat despite this being a fair fight without a No-DQ stipulation. First Sting gets a bat, Riff brings a knife, Chino brings a gun, and then I’m left to wander around my apartment like a post-dinner theatre Linda Belcher, all snapping fingers and jazz hands and song narrations of everything I’m doooiiiing toooooniiiiight!
The point is that musicals are great, and the good guys are acting like real jerks.
Best: “The talented feet of Samoa Joe”
His kicks are okay, Tazz, but have you seen his soft shoe? He moves like a dream!
Best: Roode wins via Baseball Bat
Holy crap, Magnus IS Tony. The only thing that could have made this better is if Samoa Joe threw himself on top of Magnus shouting DON’T YOU TOUCH HIM, then dramatically walked to the back with his towel over his head.
Best: AJ Styles is almost right
AJ Styles says a lot of things in this promo that are…almost right. I mean, Jerry Lynn retired, so he wouldn’t exactly be sticking around, but if he’s going to suddenly be incredibly self-aware and copy pasta the general sentiments of any TNA internet discussion, this is the way to do it. He can’t call out Hogan and Sting, but picking on Dixie is the most effective way to go. And I dig it. If you read this report on a regular basis, you know that this is the exact thing I called for when I suggested that Dixie should be all of the worst parts of Mrs. Carlson. Sure, it’s been done before by the company TNA is supposed to be an “alternate” to, but being anti-authority isn’t anything new. Daniel Bryan’s doing it. Punk did it. Stone Cold did it. But pick any movie with an overbearing boss and it’s been done. It’s a common trope that works on every level because we’ve all had sh-tty bosses who make poor decisions, and we can identify with being frustrated and feeling trapped by someone higher up who just doesn’t understand what it’s like to do the job that keeps the company running.
Best: The Marginal One
Dixie Carter, get out of my dreams and into my car. She just set my world on fire, and that is something I never, e-e-e-ever thought I would say. AJ Styles might be almost right in everything he said, but Dixie just brought that Sugarbaker sass she should have had in the first place. She’s right. AJ Styles isn’t what he used to be, and it’s entirely dismissive of him to say that he built this company when there are a number of people who wrestled better matches and bring in more money than he ever did. It is her ring. It is her daddy’s paycheque. He is an above-average fish in any pond, and the only way I could love this more is if she starting insulting him via satellite from her private jet.
I hope to god we can get through this whole thing without upsetting gender-specific insults, because I am beside myself. This is right. This is good. Keep doing this and everything might just be okay.