The Best And Worst Of Impact Wrestling 7/12/13: Where The Surf Is High And The Seagulls Cry

Hello lovelies! How have you been? We gave you the old RUSSO SWERVE last week, so hopefully you’re not too mad. It was fun (a little weird, but fun), and hey! At least you know one of us can’t wear a leather jacket with track pants. A few things:

– Last week I wrote about NXT, my one chance to write hundreds of adoring words about dudes who were legitimately in Chikara until Rubix gets on a weekly show. If you ever want to know how my sleep-deprived brain feels about Antonio Cesaro, go here. Brandon wrote the Impact column, so if you want to know how positive he is about a show he actually liked, go here.

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This week on Impact: A new MEMber, tag team SHENANIGANS, and Joseph Park. I missed that guy like the deserts miss the rain. Shall we?

Retroactive Best: These dudes right here

Christopher Daniels and an adorable stuffed tiger? That sound you hear is my brain folding in on itself.

Worst: Bully Ray forgets he’s on TV

Brook Hogan got engaged, and congrats to her! But what does this have to do with kayfabe? Surely real life events can be kept separate from a storyline because at the end of the day, TNA can respect that we’re not entirely stupid and know that you can be fictionally married to someone on a television show but single or engaged off of it. Oh…wait…no? This is really what we’re doing? Bully Ray is really, really mad and super possessive of someone he tricked into marrying him because he was trying to fool the entire roster about not being the leader of Aces & Eights?

When I pause the show to put my head in my hands like a someone on the cover of a “Dealing With Your Grief” pamphlet, you have done a bad, bad thing, TNA.

Best: Dismissive Mike Tenay

Isn’t it special? Isn’t it nice?? I hope the first person who tries to explain kayfabe to Mike Tenay understands that they’re immediately walking into a sworn blood oath against them.

Worst: Ssshhh….

I am 100% sick of being yelled at each week. I get it. You’re a bully named Bully. You’re a bad bad man who does bad bad things. We all get it. Yelling is what you’ve always done, and apparently it’s what you’ll always do. It’s incredibly disappointing, however, to see someone who has gone through so much progression in his career – physically, character wise – fall back on old, boring habits.

This is where the part of my brain that makes stuff up in order to rationalize things kicks in, and I think well, maybe he’s gone back to that because he is a bully, and they’re playing into the trope of the toughest, loudest guys secretly being the most vulnerable. But then I realize I am giving a heck of a lot of credit to people who unmasked someone for NO REASON just to put them back into a mask for NO REASON with a new name for NO REASON.

Guess who would have been 100% more negative about that part of last week’s show had they written about it.

Worst: Tazz

He totally stole my joke about Kurt Angle’s sunglasses. What a Tazzhole.

Worst: Main Event Mafia, because of course it f-cking is

I don’t want to say I told you so, but guys, come on. I told you so. I hold out hope every week that something that was terrible the last week will be fixed and great again this week, and I love the optimism a lot of you darling dearest readers showed when the MEM was just a solitary Sting. I try to be positive but it somehow just keeps getting worse and worse. I know Brandon was extremely critical, and rightfully so, last week, but good lord, GET OFF THE F-CKING APRON, STING. If we’ve established that Aces & Eights still have a right to be there despite their Orlando clubhouse presumably being set ablaze because that’s the only thing that will kill some of those germs, they have as much right to be there as you do, Sting. That was not your match, yet SOMEHOW everything was all about you. Again. Just the way it was the first time around.

If you want to do something in the Impact roster’s best interest, you and your gang of funsuckers will let wrestling happen, and stop interrupting every single thing with your goddamn N64 game dungeon level theme song. Unless you start showing us your scrapbook of that time you all drove to Paramus to buy suits (obviously titled Who do you want? Paramus!), I will kindly take a pass on everything you’re doing, sirs.

Best: Spinny Royal Rumble Picker Thingy

AHHHHHHHHHHHH. I don’t know what it’s actually called, but it is a B-E-S-T Best. It’s one of those great little throwback touches that immediately sets my heart ablaze with thoughts of Royals Rumble past. Using it to pick the TOTALLY RANDOM sequence of entrances into the Joker’s Wild tournament? You’re doing a good, good thing, TNA.

Best: Jeff Hardy

Congratulations, Jeff Hardy, on being the 30th entrant into the 1989 Royal Rumble. Ted DiBiase is looking for you, and I think he wants to make a deal.

Best: Joseph Park, because of course he is

In case you missed it last week, Joseph Park was at the Basebrawl show in Brooklyn being goddamn stupendous.

In lieu of all the happy words I could have typed about him last week, please accept this interview because he’s so good he makes me want to lie down on the floor like that time he retweeted me and maybe possibly knows that I love him like little fishies love water.

The match itself is…meeeeeaahhhhh…but there are great little moments. The submission AJ Styles throws onto Park’s partner, Hardy, looks super rad and about a million times better than anything else he does. Joseph Park’s hesitance to try to break it up because it’s against the rules for him to be in there, and then apologetically explaining to Baby Hebner why he did it? Guys. Come on. I know we all like different things, but if you’re not a Joseph Park fan, you are missing out completely and should seriously consider joining us. Plus #ParkMark rhymes. Who doesn’t like stuff that rhymes?

Special shout out to Best Dude™ Brian for both looking this genuinely happy in his picture with Joe Park, and making sure that a Park, Park, and Park rally towel will soon be in my possession. Best Dude™.

Best: AJ Styles Theme Song

James Storm_Aces_and_Eights_Mashup(No Pine Sadness Remix).mp3 is way, way better than it has any right to be, so let’s take a moment to appreciate it while we pretend we’re not all totally making fun of AJ Styles’ Chuck-Taylor-with-a-frustratingly-low-flow-showerhead hair style.

Worst: Recipe for Disaster

Let’s see…Jay Bradley, Hernandez, Mr. Anderson, and Magnus. Wow. For a better explanation of this match, please consult the following video:

Just like this match, I can’t get ten seconds into that video without feeling physically ill.

Best: Bobby Roode

It’s amazing how much Bobby Roode has gotten me wholeheartedly behind him. I was entirely convinced that separating him from James Storm and letting him stand on his own would see him flounder in a sea of mediocrity, but week in and week out he just seems to be getting better and better. It’s amazing how far even a little bit of personality will take you. *cough Magnus cough cough*

Best: I don’t like you, and you don’t like me…

But I like what you did here! Sometimes (SOMETIMES GODDAMNIT TNA, SOMETIMES) a little bit of predictability is alright. Of course they’re the only four left, and of course two feuding tag teams are going to be split up and paired with their nemeses. And it’s so great. Tag team partners wrestling each other is wonderful, if only for the fact that they know each other so well, they have to demonstrate a level of creativity in countering someone they’re so familiar with. Kaz and Daniels have a legitimate friendship you can get behind (because again, friendship-based wrestling is the best wrestling), but Aries and Roode have made it clear that even if they get along, they’re united by their desire to be better than everyone else, and if push comes to shove either one of them would beat the tar out of the other to be the super mega best. Despite their differences, Aries and Roode have a great dynamic whether they’re on the same side or not. There are so many interesting, fun things to tap into, and all four of these guys play so well off of each other, if not for the upcoming ladder match this would be the best match of the show, hands down.

Best: That finish

Kaz pinning Daniels? You are dirty heels.

Best: Eights rule, Tazzes drool

Tazz has to leave the commentation station to join the Aces & Eights vote for the new VP. I may not like him, but thank god they’re finally including him in something, and treating him as a functional member of Aces & Eights.

I do, however, like to think that Brischoff had to scramble to take down the sign on the door that said NO TAZZƎS ALLOWED.

Worst: Brooke Hogan Knows Best

Oh lord, we’re really following through with this engagement thing, huh. *preps baby otter videos for future use*

Worst: Mike Knox (WWE’s Mike Knox!)

I’m really not sure what the position of VP of Aces & Eights entails (mostly admin work, I assume), but DOC is your friend, Knox, and unless the job is “world’s shittiest Slingblade impression,” in no universe is Mr. Anderson the more qualified party.

In other news, now that I’ve worsted Mike Knox, make sure to put hats on your feet and stay away from any and all hamburgers lest you’d like to suffer the deadly consequences.

Best: The ODB chant


Best: Jeff Hardy School of Falling off of Ladders, Class of 2013

Hoooooly jeepers, guys. Hoooooooly jeepers. One of the main reasons I agreed to swap last week besides knowing I got to skip Gut Check, use that video of Brodie Lee kicking Tim Donst’s face off (sorry Tim) IN CONTEXT, and getting to swoon over Cesaro and William Regal, was knowing that I got to write about this match. And it is SO. GOOD.

We all know Gail Kim can hang with the best of North American lady wrestlers, but Taryn Terrell has really come into her own. She’s willing to ignore the BODIES WILL BE BROKEN warning that’s ingrained into most of our psyches and bump like she just ate ten pounds of grapes. There’s this moment before each big spot where you can see her briefly collecting herself before throwing her body into harm’s way with all her might, and it’s incredibly endearing. There’s getting an A for effort, and then there’s giving me hearts in my eyes because you’re willing to do anything and everything to give a great match. She’s impossible to screencap because she’s always doing something weird with her face, but she’s also impossible not to like at this point. She’s not the best wrestler, but bless her heart for at least looking like she wants to be.

There are so many moments that are just so good. The figure four around the ladder. The hanging guillotine choke from the top. Terrell’s shockingly fabulous cross body. And the finish? Terrell puts Kim into a sleeper, but it’s close to the ropes, so Kim uses Terrell’s hair to TIE HER TO THE ROPES, climb the ladder, and get the contract. WHO EVEN DOES THAT?

When I complain (douchebro translation: whine) about the Knockouts division not rising up to where it once was, THIS is the appropriate response. Not bikini shoots and Velvet Sky “clotheslines;” good wrestling that tells a story and makes people look at these two, not as just girls, but as strong, talented wrestlers. More of this, TNA. So much more of this.

Worst: I can’t listen to that fart video again

But yes, it is also appropriate for this.

Every bit of my Royal Rumble lovin’ heart likes the changes to this traditional tag gauntlet. A new entrant comes in every two minutes, but instead of a pinfall elimation, you have to throw your opponent over the top rope. Big ups to the person at TNA who also has the complete Royal Rumble DVD collection for that one. Once the field is narrowed to two, the top rope stipulation ends and a pinfall or submission victory is necessary. I like it. I LOVE tag gauntlets, and I LOVE rumbles, so marrying the two is a good way to make me interested.

While watching with Impact Buddy Chris Sims, I commented that if Magnus wins, we should all just hold hands and walk into the ocean. Magnus going over Bobby Roode by pinning him with his little bitty Brity piggy toes? Ain’t no one got time for that.

But no. Seriously. Watch Magnus’s cloverleaf. Then watch this. Then, if you’re me, get your boyfriend to put you into a cloverleaf the way Magnus does it just so you can be sure of how legitimately awful it is.

Take my hand, friends, and we’ll head east ‘til we smell the salt.

Best: Chris Sims is here to save the day

And save you all from pictures of Kevin Sorbo and dismissive wanking gifs. Sims is a gifted writer (no really, buy this if you haven’t already). So gifted, in fact, he actually manages to explain the end of the show in way that almost makes me interested. Almost.

Best: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

In retrospect, it should’ve been pretty obvious that the big reveal for the Main Event Mafia was going to be Rampage Jackson, which is probably why Danielle called it as a joke last week. They’ve been teasing his appearances forever and just stopped talking about him long enough for us to sort of forget he was around. Either way, I am truly delighted by this development — not because of the time-honored tradition of the Celebrity Tough Guy Enforcer keeping order in the ring, but because TNA Impact Wrestling just straight up became an episode of the A-Team.

Seriously, this has become exactly the kind of goofy action story that you could only get from mid-80s TV. There’s a wrestling promotion where the roster’s being hassled by a gang of bikers who want to take over their business. They’ve tried to fight them off, but they just keep getting outnumbered, and to make things even more dicey, the boss’s daughter has been tricked into marrying the bad guys’ leader. The only guy who can take them out has a good heart, but darn it, he just came back after two ACL surgeries, so he can’t fight off an entire gang. They’ve run out of options.

They had a problem.

No one else could help.

But they found them.

And they hired actual real-life B.A. Baracus (or at least the guy who played him in the movie) to take on all the bad guys so that they can settle things in a clean, honest wrestling match. The only way this could be more of an 80s TV show is if KITT and Airwolf were brought in to make sure Aces & Eights didn’t escape on their motorcycles.

I kinda want to go to there.