The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 2/24/14: We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes

Hey friends! It’s another week of Impact Wrestling, which means another week of me trying to sum up a show without just posting gif after gif of people aggressively rolling their eyes. But first…

– Brandon and I tried out a fun new thing where we provide viewer Slammentary for a vintage WWE pay-per-view. For some reason the last fifteen minutes cut out, and I can’t seem to fix it, but everything that came before it is fine. Well…if you define “fine” as trying to wrap our heads around what is basically ten minutes of a hate crime.

– Like, comment, tweet, tumbl, and share this report around. Sharing is caring, and tweeting is…something nice that rhymes with tweeting.

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This week on Impact: Rockstar Spud goes from lion to gazelle in what is secretly the best episode of Animorphs ever.

Best: If you’re lucky, Magnus will get in the hammock with you!

I know, I know. Danielle enjoying both Magnus AND the official dissolution of a friendship-based wrestling friendship? Who even am I?

See, for me, this is exactly what Magnus should be doing. Well…he should be sitting out in the garden of an English country estate, eating crustless sandwiches and drinking tea with Abyss before they attempt to solve a murder mystery with the help of a sassy old lady and her plucky, smarter-than-his-station-would-suggest driver, but enough about my secret Mrs. Bradley Mysteries/TNA crossover headcanon. If their friendship was just a ploy, then of course Magnus should be firing him. He’s no longer the champion. Abyss is wrestling for his title. Magnus goes on to correctly point out that Abyss doesn’t even work for TNA (which is still a thing that wasn’t really explained, but it’s canon now so okie dokie), and he shouldn’t have been afraid of MVP firing him because he works for Magnus, not MVP. He had one job, and he failed to do it.

Logic? In my TNA? It’s just…it’s just so beautiful, guys.

And hey, while I’m mired in the muck of this more than likely all too brief love affair with Magnus, can we talk about how delightful Magnus Enterprises is? Do you think he has business cards? Custom pens that he lends to people only to say “No no, you go ahead and keep that” because it appears altruistic but really it’s just good advertising? Whenever Impact writers decide to pull the plug on arguably Magnus’s best performance run (because we just can’t have nice things), I hope they somehow position him as a Hank Scorpio-type heel. I mean, he didn’t even give you his jacket, Abyss.

Okay, I guess: MVP, I guess

I’m not going to give MVP a best, because he doesn’t really deserve it, and I’m sure we’re not far from him doing something to earn his now traditional Worst Because Of Course He Is, but if we’re going to accept that the Television Champion who was never really released and remained on the TNA roster page during his “absence” DOES NOT work for TNA, then this is a smart move. Well, as smart as it is to employ a big scary monster who hurts people, has a split personality, and somehow has the ability to be in two places at once. If you’re MVP and you have a problem with Magnus (because you’re a terrible boss and kind of a crummy, vindictive person masquerading as the savior of a thing you keep making exponentially worse), taking the mentally and physically dangerous human who just wants a sense of belonging and positioning him against your perceived enemy who just happens to have very recently pissed off and alienated said dangerous human is a pretty good idea.

Best: Velvet blazer!

Hashtag cangetit

Best: Rockstar Spud vs. Kurt Angle

So glad we could get this exclusive match gif:

I kid, I kid (kinda) (not really). To the surprise of literally no one, putting EC3 at ringside to cheat, cheerlead, and wear that shirt with the double collar is a move I support wholeheartedly. The match is a squash, predictably, but I love the little bits of offense Spud gets in, preventing it from being Kurt Angle shoot murdering him via Old Man Suplex ’04 for five minutes straight. While I’m sad that EC3 took off his shirt instead of Kurt Angle’s leg (lol kidding you do what you want Mr. The Third), this is a perfect example of what should be happening right before a pay-per-view. A clear and concise story told from preliminary promo, throughout the match, right down to the RICKETY REE RUN IN OF THE WILLOW. It’s simple, it make sense, you know why everyone is there, and you know the reason they’re fighting. Plus we get a bonus of mega-adorable bowtie adjusting, and EC3 carrying Spud up the ramp, Bodyguard-style. I might not agree that the new, younger talent should be the bad guy in a scenario in which one man refuses to listen to his crumbling body and keeps insisting he wrestle, and the other is…okay, the other is gloriously stupid and entertaining in his own ridiculous, but still.

Worst: Do you happen to have a good wrestling match in that Makeover Bag?

Fun idea: Let’s make this segment over into one that isn’t offensive on almost every level.

Worst: I know no one actually watches their own show…

…but has anyone ever seen any actual wrestling before?

A larger, stronger wrestler catching a smaller wrestler off of the top rope? What’s next, a top rope suplex? You crazy for this one, TNA.

Worst: Speaking of Twitter…

HAHAHA good one.

Best: Beer Money 2: Beer Harder

Again…really? This is a thing I’m into? What is happening to me today?

Let’s review the facts: James Storm hates Gunner, consistently wishes him immense physical harm. He correctly points out that no one would give a sh-t about Gunner had he not brought him on as a tag team partner, and Gunner didn’t even say thank you. He reaffirms his commitment to keeping the Sad in Sad Dad. Now that Kurt Angle is back, Bobby Roode can stop being the seizuring bald guy who’s just so mad and just slightly coherent, and gets to seem more like the asshole Bobby Roode who forced me to love him. Also, he says “about” like I say “about!”

While I don’t believe that hitting the reset button and making everything go back to the way it was is the very best idea (unless the way it was is bring back Joe Park forever), I just really like confident, unapologetic nature of the both of them, I think. There’s a big difference between the smarmy greasiness of MVP and his Messiah complex and James Storm wishing that Gunner and his entire family would just die already. Magnus went from the drizzling sh-ts to King Sh-t just by owning the fact that he’s a conceited jackass. Ethan Carter III has relied on nepotism to get him this far, but he’s so charming in his utter dickishness that he’s managed to move on, and turn his family connections into one part of a multi-faceted character. What I’m saying is I like my heels like I like my coffee: unsweetened, about an inch of cold soy, clad in well-tailored blazers and familial deathwishes.

The last two are really hard to order at Starbucks.

Worst: Gunner

This brings us to a really good point. What exactly is the purpose of Gunner? I know I am wont to make dismissive wanking motions in his general direction, but…what’s his deal? Every bit of “personality” he has relies on other people. Sure, he’s the go-to guy when you want to whip a Southern crowd into a patriotic frenzy at a house show, but literally any American roster member (or Eric Young???) can do that with a big flag and tertiary knowledge of conservative political rhetoric.

All of Gunner’s character development relies heavily on other people. James Storm as his tag partner. James Storm as his supportive best friend. James Storm as his unsupportive ex-friend who wishes he had died in the war. Sad Dad. James Storm vs. said Sad Dad. I mean, he’s supposedly a modern-day Viking, but what does he, you know…vike? He’s just got a beard. That’s it. Anything that’s identifiable with his character orbits around him, controlled by other people.

I’ll be forever grateful for him bringing Lailman into my life (it’s funny because Lail is his last name, and it sounds like mailman, and dad humour is a precious commodity), but man, Gunner…that guy sucks.

Worst: I can’t make gifs

But I assure you, if I could, I would make a gif of Bully Ray gently elbowing that table and then laugh at it forever.

Worst: Get it? Pie? Because he wants to f-ck his mom?

While I’m happy that we’re not focusing on the insanely uncomfortable aspects of showing that Samuel Shaw is a violent sexual predator, this is…better, I guess? But not great? Just because someone said Norman Bates in response to the person who said Patrick Bateman in the writing room’s brainstorming session doens’t mean you have to go through with it. It’s hacky and kind of gross, but again, it’s better than what it was.

The thing that bothers me the most, however, is that through all of this – the jerkoff mannequin, the assault, the creepy nightvision in the bedroom of one of Shaw’s multiple residential locations – THIS is what it takes for a cameraman to stop and say “naw, this is f-cked, I’m outta here”? …really?

I guess between the Knockouts tweets and this, we’ve discerned that the creepy bastard was the camera guy this whole time.

Worst: The Beautiful People vs. And The Rest

Instead of writing a full-page missive on why positive female role models are important, why a culture that treats women like commodities is outdated and dangerous, and why everything is awful forever, I’m just going to let the official Impact Wrestling twitter account remind you of what they think a woman’s worth is:

Worst: This girl is on fire

So…what is the story here? Knux returns to help his very own Sad Dad, but now he’s not going to help him, he’s just going to go back to work, and bring along a lady who hates pants?

Wait, looks like YouTube commenters have solved another mystery:

Worst: What even are you

So…are they wolves? Hackers? Th’Shield? Am I supposed to believe in the Wolves of Justice, or beware of the one guy on the production team who is really, really into Enemy of the State trailers?

Best: Magnus vs. Abyss

The match is…a match. It’s not anything grand or memorable, but I love, love, love the finish. Disqualification via ball shot is in keeping with the tried and true trait of the cowardice of heels, and it fits what a d-bag Magnus is right now. Magnus casually dragging the steel chair behind him, then into the ring is, again, and example of that cold confidence that elevates him from what he was before. It’s a subtle, small thing speaks volumes as to the turnaround Magnus has gone through. I mean, here I am, a person who despised his work (in and out of the ring) so much that I placed an embargo on ever writing about him, and he drags a chair ten feet and I’m falling all over myself.

I’m constantly saying that you don’t need to shout and threaten to murder people constantly to be good at being bad, and this is what I’m talking about. Besides, we all know that shouting about murderkilling people makes you the good guy in Impact anyways.

The part of me that loves watching and enjoying wrestling on television is all over this, and it makes me excited to add something to the very short list of things I look forward to each week (and by list I mean EC3), but the part of me that has watched Impact for years with startling regularity fears that this may be the death knell for Cool Heel Magnus. Episode after episode, year after year, I’ve been conditioned to expect that if something is good and fun and well executed, the plug is going to be pulled because of the fear of change and success that permeates everything that Impact Wrestling does. There’s a perceptible shift from the good place we were settling into back to everything that is awful about TNA. Matches that don’t matter. Gross sexism. Youth wasted in favour of aging castoffs. Russo stink. Bobby Lashley. When Aces & Eights and Hulk Hogan were good, and I mean really good, it all went down in flames. We had pay-per-view Knockouts matches that stood out again, and now we have the return of the Beautiful People and everything that is wrong with how females are portrayed in media. I miss Joseph Park every day. Impact Wrestling is the lesson I fight learning, it’s history like the wheel. “Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don’t complain when you are cast back down into the depths.” All we’re left with is the hope that these, the worst of times, will soon pass away.