The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 4/11/13: I Call It A Kaiser Blade

Hola! I do not speak Spanish! I do, however, have an entire Impact report just for you! Some pre-show notes before we start:

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This week on Impact: Corpus Christi proves why they shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things, Taryn Terrell reminds us that we can’t have nice things, and Joseph Park shows up so I can say at least some nice things. COSAS BONITAS!

Best: WrestleCon makes dreams come true

Last week’s hiatus was due mostly in part to the fact that my boyfriend and I were on our way to New York/New Jersey for Chikara and various rassles-filled situations. These included watching the lovely and handsome Dan Barry pretend to be Sabu, Athena and Ayako Hamada tear the house down (WITHOUT EVEN ASKING PERMISSION FIRST, I MIGHT ADD), my heart exploding with joy in a million different ways at Chikara, and something or other that happened on Sunday.

WrestleCon on Saturday was basically a hug-filled parade of joy and hugs, and were it physically possible I would have exploded in a shower of rainbows and sparkly unicorn stickers by lunchtime. It’s a good thing I didn’t, because one of my birthday presents from Brandon ended up being this:

That’s right! That’s Mike Knox! You know, from WWE and also hugging me at WrestleCon? In short, he remembers making the video for me in Texas, now understands that I couldn’t come see The Eights because Canada, and hugged me so hard that he almost broke my glasses. Ilu, TNA bit player who just shows up and smiles and punches people. Ilu so much.


It’s always incredibly frustrating when the outcome of a match is telegraphed right off the bat. Oh, this is Chavandez’s home state? Oh, they’re coming out with some guy waving a Texas flag? Oh, there’s a stipulation that if they lose, they’ll never be able to tag together again? Well…fudge.

This is a prime example of one of the drawbacks of Impact always being on the road. Storytelling and continuity can very easily get lost in trying to please an unpredictable live crowd. The argument that we’re living in a post-kayfabe era is never more valid than when a title is won or lost on a wrestler’s home turf. As easy as it is for me to believe that there are anthropomorphic time-traveling ants from the future, or that Wes Brisco is mentally competent enough to ride a motorcycle, it’s situations like this that make it blatantly clear that this is a real-life business with monetary goals to be met and a few thousand in-person fans to be made happy in the short-term whilst the rest of us at home are miserable in the long-term.

The match itself isn’t even anything particularly special. The first two falls of the mandated best of three come all too quickly, so we’re basically left with a two-segment match we’ve seen before, and will probably see again given that there are really only three teams in the tag division, and one is busy participating in the AJ Styles after-school special. I can’t even really give Mecha Shiva a best, because everyone is just going through the motions, and it’s as bad as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s singing voice.

Best: Aces & Eights ARE SO EXCITED

I struggled a lot with bests this week, I’m not going to lie. I always feel like the biggest a-hole wrestling fan after going to a really fantastic independent show, because coming back to a major promotion is always so disappointing. You’ll never see me happier than when I’m at a Chikara show, and you’ll never see me more miserable than during the first WWE or TNA show afterwards. I had a blast at Raw this week (for the most part), but WrestleMania continually felt like a waste of my time and the $200 we spent per ticket. As such, I always look for touchstones during a show – reminders of why I continually watch and pay money into a company who doesn’t give me the same experiences I treasure from independent wrestling. A reminder of why I don’t just give up major televised wrestling shows and spend all of my time and money on old AWA episodes, JWP DVDs, and traveling to wherever I can see Jessicka Havok kick the bejeepers out of anyone and everyone.

As much as I criticize what has happened in the past, and the stalling efforts of a storyline that shows glimmers of brilliance, it’s almost comforting to see a few seconds of “the Eights” yelling and revving their engines and getting hyped up for Bully Ray’s match against Alphonse Elric or whatever. It’s short and it’s dumb, but it’s so painfully TNA that it becomes endearing. And hey, there’s WWE’s Mike Knox, smiling and standing on his hind legs like a little Rory Calhoun. I hugged that guy once and it was glorious.

Worst: Corpus Christi, you awful mother-effers

I’m sorry, are you BOOING Joseph Park? Joseph Park, brother of, you know, Abyss? Joseph Park, attorney at law, trained Impact Wrestler and Impact Star? Joseph Park, future recipient of the biggest, most loving hug I can muster? I don’t know how I can give you a bigger Worst, but when I find out, you better believe you’re getting it.

Worst, but secret hilarious best: Taryn Terrell, Full Meta Mayhem

When Todd Keneley first referred to her as a “hot mess” during the “Knockouts pretend to erotically stretch for your pleasure” preview, I was dead sure that I misheard him. There’s no way someone other than Tazz gets to make openly shady comments about someone on the roster, right? There’s no way he’d be insulting the newest member of the Knockouts, whose biggest personality trait is “pretty girl with Kelly Kelly’s Hooters tights who yells sometimes,” right?

Oh. Oh girl, no.

There are 54 Urban Dictionary definitions for “Hot Mess,” and really, none of them are anything I would want to be used to describe me. To wit:

– when someone’s physical appearance is so bad it offends the viewer

– when a problem or situation is past the point of fixing

– a wide range of attractive, beautiful women that usually [have] unlikeable characteristic such as mental or emotional issues and bad habits, and that she might end up putting her friends or partner in an uncomfortable predicament. She is therefore treated as a person who nobody wants to take seriously.

– a person that looks just pitiful

– someone or something that is extremely disorganized and/or in need of much improvement

– a delicious sandwich consisting of an unexpected combination of pimento cheese, monterey jack, banana peppers, chorizo, fried egg and Sriracha mayo on white bread

Personally, unless her new gimmick is Sexy Sandwich Lady, I’m a little offended on her behalf. I can only hope that next week we get an ongoing segment of her browsing the internet, reading some of these definitions, and laying out Brooke Hogan for making her catchphrase something that means she’s crazy gross and mentally unstable, but also means dude jizz.

Best: Speaking of hot messes…

‘sup, ODB. I dig your Sable tank top and want to know where you got those sweet pair of Dickies. I also miss your shenanigans and wish that Eric Young wasn’t busy frottaging lake trout so you could defend those Knockout Tag Titles no one remembers you have. You’re a real crazybutt mess and you know it, and I appreciate what little you do these days.

Worst: Taryn Terrell, do not speak ever

Taryn Terrell, do not speak ever. If Human Verbal Sexual Harassment Machine Tazz is no-selling your question of “Who wants to get physical with me?” as you slap Christy Hemme’s butt, it’s time to call your best get-a-grip friend, put on some pants, and review your life choices.

Worst: Gut Check, more like BUTT CHECK, AMIRITE

These are the dirt worst. Remember when these actually served a storyline purpose of letting Aces & Eights stack the roster with anti-Kurt Angle leather enthusiasts? They were still bad, but hey, at least they led to something other than having a bunch of people you’ve already forgotten about compete on a One Night Only PPV only to be outshone by a dubstep video package. Forcing a live crowd to sit through meandering excuses and Bruce Pritchard’s multi-lingual douchebaggery is a sure way to kill any momentum the show may have had. Stretching out the decision over three (THREE) separate segments is one of those moments that leads me to turn off TNA, throw up my hands, then look at the image search results for “cute animal hugs” until I feel better.

Best: Mr. Anderson

This past weekend a few of us had a conversation about how good TNA is vs. how much BS I create to make it enjoyable for myself. This is definitely one of those “make your own fun” instances. Mr. Anderson is not good at…things in general, but as he increasingly turns himself more and more into Karl Childers, the better his on-screen appearances become. Come on, Ken. Please please please let this end in you asking AJ “reckon what you like to eat,” luring him to the Aces & Eights side of things with some French-fried potaters, then murdering Tazz with a lawnmower blade.

Worst: AJ Styles

I almost feel bad for saying that AJ Styles is going Full Donst, because at the end of the day, Tim Donst has personality and depth and motivations. AJ Styles is just unkempt and possibly cold all the time. For someone who is being courted by Hogan, Bad Influence, Aces & Eights, and I guess the Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm, I hope he chooses none of them, giving his final rose to the first bottle of shampoo he can find.

Best: Christopher Daniels is a John Byrne Guy


Worst: What on earth are you wearing, James Storm


Worst: Rob Terry

Sigh. This is what you broke up the Sweater Bros for? To send him back to something that barely earns the description of mediocre? I beg you, TNA, rekindle the bromance, get rid of that ridiculous T-100 graphic (because it was never, ever a good idea), and just let the man maintain a shred of levity in this sad clusterjerk of a show.

Worst: Magno’s Gut Check Final Decision

Sorry Magno, see you never. Hello, Nellie the Sea Otter!

Ahhh. Much better.

Worst: Full Settle Mayhem

I can entirely understand the draw of this match. As someone who claims three TLC matches in her all-time favourites, the idea that two out of the six participants in those matches will go head to head with as many ladders and tables and chairs and TOTALLY NOT FAKE hammers as they can stuff into the American Bank Center is exciting. And neither of them are Matt Hardy! Even better!

I was watching the 2003 Survivor Series before I watched this episode, and it’s amazing how much things have changed in ten years. The Dudleys are back together, but look at Bully Ray. He’s a world champion in the shoot best shape he’s ever been in. John Cena hadn’t even won the US Championship. RVD was still making an effort, and Kurt Angle could still walk like a human being. Eddie Guerrero was still alive, as was [name redacted]. It was a weird trip that served to get me more into the main event of this episode than it probably should have.

My return to wrestling was born of things both of these guys did. Flippy-smashy stuff will always be rooted deep in my heart, and no amount of perceived wrestling snobbery will get rid of that. The dangerous thing about this love is that it will never come back in the way I want it to. I’ll never have that feeling again. I’ve talked and written about the dangers of nostalgia before, but the painful truth of knowing that this is just a rehash of something that once made my heart swell is enough to cast a shadow over any main event. Now, that’s not to say this was totally horrible. “Not totally horrible” is really the best I can hope for most often, and if the intention was to achieve total adequacy, they succeeded in spades. Aces of spades, even.

This really wasn’t a great episode of Impact. I’ve dealt with those before, because TNA, but this one left me feeling sad. That was further exacerbated by watching the X-Travaganza PPV immediately afterwards. TLC matches and the X-Division, both great once upon a time, but now shells of their former selves. Impact has proven that it can put on a great show, but when it leaves me yearning to pull out those VHS tapes of X-Division matches, or throw on the 2000 Royal Rumble just to watch the Dudley-Hardy tables match, it’s disappointing. I want TNA to stand on its own and entertain me each week, not serve as an anemic retread that forces me to watch something else to make up for it’s disappointing, copycat version. Unfortunately, I think that sums up what has always been TNA’s greatest failure.

So…how about them sea otters, huh?