Hello Impact wrestlefriends! Another week, another good show! I know! I’m surprised too. A few things first:
– The Best and Worst of NXT is a thing that is happening, and it’s rad. Best: You reading all of the Bests and Worsts. Do that here!
– Also rad? Being Twitter bros. Follow me here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. If you like sports comedy updates, Game of Thrones gifs, and cartoon representations of Evan Gelistico, these links are invaluable.
This week on Impact: Staggering highs! Crushing lows! And Joseph Park!
Best: Sweet little baby opening segment
This opening segment is so TNA I can’t even handle it, and it’s kind of wonderful. There’s a fine line between the genuinely bad things TNA does (way more on that later), and the stuff that is dumb to the point of being endearing. “It was an act of god to stop me from bringing the hammer all the way down, and chopping him down with the edge of my hand.” Huh. Alright Hulk. Now let’s put the safety scissors away, take out a circle of paper, and learn the difference between “select” and “qualify.” I mean, guys, he wants to hype an online vote between Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode by encouraging people to “call in,” or use “Twitter or something.” My fascination with Hulk Hogan not understanding technology is pretty well documented, but purporting that you vote online by making a phone call…it’s precious. I want to wrap that sentence up like a baby and cradle it to myself while making cooing noises. I have a particular penchant for terrible knockoff designer wear. For those of you unaware, Coco Chanel’s apartment, and the flagship Chanel store in Paris, are located at 33 rue Cambon. The very best fake Chanel shirt I’ve seen claims that they are located at “33 rue Jambon.” My affection for that shirt is my affection for this segment. This entire segment is Ham Street. And it’s perfect.
Best: Mike Tenay
Somewhere along the line I got into the habit of not watching Impact as it airs. On the rare occasion that I do, I’ll leave little notes for myself to jog my memory when I do actually write the Best and Worst. This week my only note was “Mike Tenay’s dumb lizard face.” (note for those new to the Impact report: Mike Tenay’s face is the best face in wrestling that doesn’t belong to Evan Gelistico And with good reason! Bully Ray yells (because Bully Ray) that Jeff Hardy is a target, and Bobby Roode is a target (and you get a car, and you get a car), then sends his big heavies to attack them in the ring. This is a group who flees when “outnumbered” 3 to 6, so obviously going after two multiple-time championship winning main eventers requires….oh. Wes Briscoe and Garrett Bischoff. Wrestling lesson #1: If even Mike Tenay is in bemused disbelief that you would do something that ill-conceived, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Ham Street, USA.
Worst: Kazarian has a new character trait…
….and it’s slut-shaming? Again? Really? Now, I know you’re reaching for that keyboard to leave a comment about how I’m overreacting, and that’s fine, but I’m gonna need you to check your privilege for at least the length of this paragraph. Kazarian wants to use an analogy for the amount of tag team partners James Storm has had in TNA (5 in 11 years, if we’re making this a thing). His go-to insult is that he’s had more partners than Taylor Swift. You know how many people Taylor Swift has dated? It doesn’t f-cking matter.
Yeah, it’s an easy cultural reference to make seeing as Taylor Swift has made a career writing love songs and break-up songs and songs about crying onto musical instruments over boys, but there’s a very real, very important difference between saying yeah, that dude likes tag team wrestling, and man, that girl seems to like being in a relationship, lol what a slut. There is a malicious inference to that statement, as casual and offhand as it may be, that illustrates how easy it is for misogyny to occur, and breed the attitude that being rotten to women is perfectly acceptable because it’s “just a joke.” But please, go ahead and let me know exactly why the rest of society can (or at least attempt to) move forward and leave antiquated social ideas in the past, but wrestling gets a pass for all of the misogynistic, homophobic, racist bullsh-t we’re expected to accept because those who disagree are too uptight to understand that it’s “just wrestling.”
Worst: Christopher Daniels
Um…you know you are a former co-tag champion with James Storm….right? I guess if James Storm has to get himself to the free clinic, you should probably drive.
Best: CREEK SWIMMIN’
The hammest street in the whole USA.
Worst: But no, seriously, Kaz
The attitude in the earlier segment kind of ruined the match for me. Yeah yeah, I should ignore everything I said before and just focus on the wrestling, but if it literally is “just wrestling,” this would be the Best and Worst of Collegiate Division I, and we’d be talking about mouthguards instead of wrestlers. Characters are there for a reason. There is a reason people who are charismatic and good on the mic succeed, and lol Gunner. You know I love the WTTCotW/Bad Influence. There are months worth of columns stating just how much, and how usually they’re the best part of the show not named Joseph Park. It was a perfectly good match, and I really wanted to enjoy it more, but it was tainted from the get go, and it stinks. Sorry, all of those bests I was going to give to the Double Knee Face/Backbreakers That Come Prior to The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm. I guess you’ll just have to be not-sh*tty next week (please do that).
This week’s LOL Gunner goes to: Crimson!
Jeez, that is Crimson, isn’t it. Remember when he was a thing? Well, if not, he’s gonna tell us, because oh man, he really was a thing. To be fair, I never really hated Crimson. He was super personable and made me giggle when I met him, and he does a sweet sit-out powerbomb. If there’s one way to my heart, it is an impactful, well-executed sit-out powerbomb. Were I to write the Best and Worst of NXT (read it here!), one very adamant and consistent Worst would be that Brodie Lee/Luke Harper is not powerbombing the f*ck out of everyone who steps in front of him. But…man…Crimson. If the only things you brought back from OVW were more tattoos and trunks that, from afar, look like a giant puckered anus…you’ve really gotta have a chat with Danny Davis.
Best: JOSEPH PARK
AND HE HAS A NEW TRACK JACKET
But seriously, Crimson, sweetie, darling, sweetie…I know Joseph Park is the wind beneath my wings, but when a new track jacket overshadows your year-long absence after a 470 day undefeated streak…oh, Danny’s on the phone? Oh. Cool. I’ll let you go then.
Best: Joseph Park reacts to qualifying for the Bound for Glory Series
Odds I didn’t watch this with my hands clasped to my chest and hearts in my eyes: 5 billion to 1.
Best: Mickie James
While I may have loved the opening segment for potentially all of the wrong reasons, this was absolutely the best part of the show. The best. If you would have told me three weeks ago that I would care more about a Mickie James promo than a Joseph Park wrestling match I would have laughed in your face. Well…probably not, ‘cuz I’m a little nicer than that, but I definitely would have sent a lot of “Oh man, get a load of this!” messages about you in private. It’s smart and it’s funny and it’s vicious and it makes every heel-loving fibre of my being vibrate with joy. It’s so good it makes me forgive the bad camera angle that caught her weak little Johnny Gargano leg slap.
Best: Me at this point in the show
Before it all takes a horrible, horrible turn, let’s continue with the super weird tone set in the first paragraph and celebrate having good, fun (mostly) Impact episodes again. At this point, this is me. I am Linda Belcher and this is how I feel about most of the segments thus far:
Now let’s never speak of this again.
Worst: Matt Morgan
Waaaaaah, I’m good at wrestling (debatable), and I have to go through this series like everyone else who is good (better) at wrestling on this show about wrestling. Waaaaaaaaaah. I got soup in my manbeard earlier and had to shampoo it out. Waaaaaaah.
I assume this is going to be a slow-burn feud with Hulk Hogan, now that he feels jilted, the cape is back, and he gets the only non-jobber entrance, but we really shouldn’t be left to assume things, because when you assume things, it makes Matt Morgan look like an ass (or however the phrase goes).
Worst: This match really QUALIFIES as being crummy
No, really. This match was crummy, and the people involved should feel crummy. Even you, Walking Best For Existing Kenny King. I like Kenny King. I like him a lot. But those punches? Those kicks? I know we’re supposed to look at Kenny King and Magnus as young, fresh-faced sons of guns, but there is a combined experience of 21 years between them. Think about that. If you add together the years both of them have been wrestling it is an entire adult of legal US drinking age. Technically there are 37 years of ring experience in this match. That aforementioned adult now suddenly has a mortgage and a family and a real grown-up job, but still can’t throw a fake punch to make it look like it for real hurts. In other news, I may have just set some unrealistic expectations for a bunch of 37 year olds.
Worst: Stop it, Sting
Stop pointing at me. It’s weird and unnerving and you keep doing it. I hope this doesn’t mean there’s something ominous on the horizon for me, specifically me, the one at whom you are pointing.
Worst: Speaking of unnerving and weird…
Did…did you just end a cute Eric Young promo with the sound of him taking a stress dump? And can I embed an mp3 of it into the report every time Velvet Sky wrestles?
Worst: This is still supposed to be a Really Big Deal™
Worst: Sting has a very important announcement
Okay, okay, you’re making a pretty valid point. No one came to your aid and that sucks, sure. Okay, you want your own faction. …okay. Just…no. No don’t say it. No…no don’t say mafia. Don’t say…don’t even…
“New Main Event Mafia.”
At this point, once I stopped screaming at my television, I slid dejectedly from the couch and watched the rest of the show crunched up on the floor between the couch and the coffee table. But why, Danielle? What could be so bad about a New Main Event Mafia? What was so bad about the old one?
From Wikipedia, for those who may not have lived through one of the shoot worst things TNA has ever done:
The group formed in late 2008 and had since been largely successful, with Sting and Kurt Angle being TNA World Heavyweight Champions, Booker T introducing a new championship into TNA called the TNA Legends Championship and declaring himself the first official champion with Kevin Nash going on to win the belt as well and Booker T and Scott Steiner holding the TNA World Tag Team Championship. The group’s formation was the result of TNA introducing a new storyline in which the veterans began a rivalry with younger talent within the company (who call themselves The TNA Front Line); with the MEM being the villains of the storyline as the veterans modeling themselves after the Mafia, portrayed as being upset at the disrespect being shown by the younger wrestlers.
Trust me when I say it is roughly a million times worse than it sounds. Still don’t believe me? Here. Have the worst match in TNA history:
I can’t go back to that, guys. I can’t do it. No amount of table flipping gifs or mp3s of my choking screams can accurately convey how incapable I am of ever going back to something that horrible. Don’t make me do it, Sting. I won’t do it and you can’t make me.
Best: The polar opposite of everything that just happened
EY + ODB = OTP. Irrefutable mathematical proof that this was exactly the thing I needed to not keep making this sad face at my television. Eric Young and ODB are a treasure. Stress dumps aside, they bring the perfect amount of levity to what could have spiraled into a thousand more words describing the exact kind of despair the Main Event Mafia bring along with them.
One of the best things I have repeatedly pointed to in regards to Austin Aries’ in-ring work is his ability to be a smarmy jackhole, humorously mimicking his opponents’ signature taunts. EY manages to out-Austin Aries Austin Aries, and it’s glorious. His trunks look like a U-Gene school art project. ODB is so happy. And no one tried to jokingly shove their balls in her face. A+++++.
Worst: Austin Aries
Careful Aries. If you pout any harder you’re going to hurt yourself.
Best: Eric Young and ODB
No really guys. They are magical.
Best: The Aces & Eights Battle Royal
MOTY. Mark my words.
Best: Impact Insider
A special thanks to TNA Impact for sending a sneak peak at the new AJ Styles gloves, available exclusively at shoptna.com:
More like AJ CRYles, AMIRITE
Best: The main event
A minor worst for not paying attention for a second, seeing AJ Styles from behind, and thinking for a second Sting was wrestling. But a best nonetheless for giving a decent match when the only purpose was to set up a run-in at the end. I mean, the entire match isn’t even on YouTube. But you know what? I am super duper looking forward to hearing this music each week:
See you next week when Kurt Angle fully embraces his role as Newton, and Mike Knox discovers that he’s invulnerable when wearing the Mask of Vulcan. Until then!