Hello! I’m back from the east coast, full of wrestleswoons and froggy swoons and basically all sorts of wonderful feelings that are the opposite of everything this episode of Impact made me feel. A few things:
-If you missed any of the Wrestling is Awesome/Wrestling is Art podcasts over at The Mandible Claw, I highly suggest heading over and getting caught up. Frank O’Rourke, Jervis Cottonbelly, Green Ant, the Estonian Thunderfrog…it’s basically a who’s who of Danielle’s Favourite Wrestledudes.
-Wrestling is Art has two great shows lined up this weekend, so if you’re anywhere in the area I sugest heading out. Seeing as I can’t travel 2500 kilometres every weekend (boo!), you should go, cheer your butt off, and have a whole lot of fun while seeing some great wrestling. It’s worth it. And who doesn’t love Jervis? Seriously. Tell me so I can point out all of the reasons you are a total crazy person who should stop hating joy and love Jervis Cottonbelly.
-Brandon was nice enough to cover last week’s report, so if you missed it, go on and get caught up.
-Let’s get social! Follow me on Twitter here, With Leather here, and UPROXX here. While you’re doing stuff, be sure to like this on Facebook, tweet it, tumbl it, and maybe reddit it if you’re so inclined. Tell your friends. Tell that dude you work with who you don’t really like, but keep getting stuck in the elevator with. Or talk about the weather. Whatevs.
This week on Impact: I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that a show happened, and *mumble mumble mumble trails off…*
Worst: Please don’t take my sunshine away
Tazz decides that he’s SO MAD he hasn’t made it out of the parking lot for the past few Impact shows that he’s gonna threaten Mike Tenay, and intimidate him into sitting this one out. Look at that poor, sad lizard face. This is especially mean when you consider that Mike Tenay doesn’t really know everyone is acting, and is legitimately terrified. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, JB! It means that Mike Tenay is now at a nearby Denny’s, sobbing quietly into his Senior Fit Fare Omelette.
Best: Me neither, Bully Ray
I’ll give a begrudging Best to Bully Ray for summing up this opening bit with one confused shrug of his shoulders as this is the first in a long list of “what is even happening” moments during the show. Seeing as Tazz has been important to Aces & Eights basically never, I like to think that Bully’s just going along with it to placate him, because like Du Jour, matching vests mean friendship. Like when Devon wanted to go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond for new clubhouse curtains. They don’t have a clubhouse anymore, but hey, it went better than the time they went to IKEA for a new dining room table.
Worst: Everybody’s unhappy nowadays
Say it’s your day off. You got some stuff done around the house, you had a nice dinner, spent some time with your significant other/cat/tumblr feed, and now you want to relax and watch something on television. Is your first thought “Man, I really wish there was a crummy show I could watch where everyone is miserable and yelling at each other and no one has any fun ever that makes me feel bad inside every second I watch?” Probably not. But thankfully TNA is on, the show that answers every question you didn’t ask, but refuses to answer the questions they asked themselves.
From the get go this show is the pits. If terrorizing Mike Tenay wasn’t enough, now Tazz has to scream at Jeremy Borash, then yell at Bully Ray for yelling at him, and then Bully Ray has to yell some more. Awful. Just awful stuff.
But it can only go up from here, right? ….right?
Worst: Fail Sabin
Chris Sabin is like one of those obnoxious kid actors who got chosen because they wouldn’t age out of the part by the time filming was done, and was the only kid who showed up to casting who could remember more than two lines at once. Then you put them on film and their line delivery becomes forced and stunted, but you forgive them because hey, they’re just a kid, and Emma Watson’s bound to stop acting solely with her eyebrows by the sequels, right?
None of this works. None of it. Sabin is supposed to be confident and tough, but he comes off as a petulant little brat trying to act cooler than he really is. He’s not overcoming odds, he’s a little sh-t who cheated to win and now has to act like a tough big boy in his big boy wrestling panties because he’s got a big boy belt. It’s not believable. It’s forcing a square peg into a round hole, and boy howdy is Chris Sabin ever a square. They’re not deconstructing the idea of what a champion should physically look like by giving him the belt, they’re doing a terrible job at building him up into someone who deserves to keep it.
Worst: Don’t do what Alex Riley does
+Worst for taking a page out of the Riley Playbook, right down to the wave in front of his face after insinuating that someone has a mouth full of feces.
And everyone wants to be like that guy, right?
Worst: Hulk Hogan is out of town
Hogan is out of town meeting with “the board,” because not even the board of directors watches the show enough to know that it happens every f-cking Thursday.
Worst: Brooke Hogan, because of course she is
What’s the best way to make someone look good on the mic? Send Brooke Hogan out right afterwards. See, the Hulkster “sent her with an email that she’s going to read to everyone.” Oh, goody. The girl who has trouble stringing together basic sentences is going to read to us. Surely she’ll have no problem articulating something when reading it word for word from a piece of paper in front of her. Right?
I am too optimistic sometimes.
“And I read, and I quote.”
What does that even mean?
What does any of this even mean?
Well, they’ve been reviewing all of Bully Ray’s contracts, and, apparently, Bully Ray somehow managed to overlook a clause in the Destination X contract that states if he loses in Norfolk in his steel cage re-match, he can never challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship again.
1. F-ck you.
2. You just did this with Sting.
3. I highly doubt that Bully or Lawyer Kevin Nash would overlook something like NEVER BEING ABLE TO CHALLENGE FOR THE BELT EVER AGAIN.
4. F-ck you.
Bonus worst to Chris Sabin for his reaction:
Worst: Bully Ray has a small penis
No. Really. That’s Brooke Hogan’s go-to. That Bully Ray has a tiny penis. She even uses her fingers to illustrate.
Ah yes – jokes about a person’s masculinity. The true calling card of someone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing, and can’t think of anything clever to say to insult their verbal opponent. But what do I know? I didn’t fake love the guy and fake sleep with him and have no fake problems with the guy’s penis when we were fake together.
I try so hard to keep TNA in my good graces. I really do. I want them to be good and successful and have good wrestling and interesting storylines. But during segments like this? Burn it. Burn it to the ground, salt the earth, and send Joseph Park to my house for hugs and BFF stuff. I’ll feed and walk him every day. Promise.
Bonus Pro-tip: If you want people to take you seriously as a professional wrestling organization, don’t let people cut promos like they’re alone in their bedroom mouthing off to laptop, posting it to YouTube, and begging for feedback because at WrestleMania 30, John Cena, I’m gonna take that belt from you because I’m the best and your breath smells like doodoo PLS RATE & RESPOND.
Worst: Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
The match isn’t going to get anything more than a ME-DI-OCRE *clap clap clapclapclap* chant, but that ending? Woof.
Samoa Joe has Jeff Hardy in a submission, but then Mr. Anderson stands up. That’s it. He doesn’t motion towards the ring, he doesn’t get into the ring, he doesn’t have Aces & Eights’ music play. He just stands up. Joe is so flustered that Jeff Hardy hits the jawbreaker, flips him backwards like a confused baby, and gets the three.
Joe, if you’re gonna cosplay (you know, WWE’s) Kaitlyn, at least draw a unicorn on your wrist tape or something.
Best: JB’s Mike Tenay impression
Thanks for keeping the torch burning, bud.
Worst: Samoa Joe
If you’re so mad that you have to get on all fours and give a death-stare to Mr. Anderson while letting all of the spit drain from your mouth simply because he stood up, maybe save yourself the trouble in the future by focusing on your match and not someone well off in your periphery. Tune in next week when Samoa Joe loses, then lays on the ground with his tongue lolling out of his mouth in a fit of anger because the Atlas Security guy shifted his weight.
Best: Christopher Daniels switches to Truth Martinis, or Worst: BUT YOU’RE FRIENDS GODDAMNIT
Bad Influence is cracking under the pressure of facing each other in the Bound for Glory series, and Christopher Daniels claims it’s because Kazarian is selfish. Daniels has always carried him, and been the better man. This is….well, yeah, you’ve got a good point there. This is all pretty much true. But why do we have to fight? Why can’t we have more than two people be nice to each other two weeks in a row? Why doesn’t TNA understand that friendship-based wrestling is better than murder-yelling-swearsy-hateful wrestling? Why can’t we have nice things, huh?
Additional wee Best for cutting this entire promo with a stain his shirt.
Worst: Magnus vs. Mr. Anderson
My assessment of these two hasn’t changed, so please see my previous comments on the kind of magic that happens when these two get into a ring together.
Best, but with an asterisk: Bobby Roode is here to hit you with a chair and make Magnus feel sad and stuff
One of the Bound for Glory point stipulations is that if you are disqualified, you lose ten points. Magnus shot off like a rocket, but now they need to bring him down because just like Crimson wasn’t going to win, seriously, it’s Magnus.
Bobby Roode runs into the ring, thankfully saving us from Magnus’s Awkward Human Fold Up finisher (credit to great-at-comics guy Kyle Starks for that one) or Mr. Anderson continuing to do anything…then hits Mr. Anderson with a chair. This both allows everyone to enjoy a sweet little moment of Mr. Anderson getting hit with a chair (because he kinda deserves it for kinda everything he does), and baby Hebner to look utterly confused before calling the DQ against Magnus. It’s clever, and a great way to let everyone gain on Magnus’s lead in the BFG standings.
Doesn’t this set a pretty terrible precedent? Can’t anyone just come running in willy nilly, disqualifying everyone until Sting and Hogan have to stand on the apron to guard against everyone and oh god please please please keep this a one-time thing and don’t ever do that ever.
Confused, frightened, slightly annoyed….I too make that same face whenever I see Magnus do anything.
Worst: Magnus is a-okay
Magnus approaches B-Hebs to let him know that he’s not mad, tough calls have to be made, and it’s no big deal. He’s a good guy. An understanding guy. A guy you should like because his Ken doll good looks mean that he’s both appealing and non-threatening, and his gung-ho attitude means you can really root for a guy dripping with that much positivity and why is my hand making this shape and dismissively moving back and forth in a rapid fashion?
There’s a reason Lil’ Heb looks like this through the entire segment. Nobody on this show knows what the f-ck is going on.
Worst: The BroMans
Whooooooa, did I just do that? Ugh. I did, didn’t I. Here’s the thing. I love these two together, you know I do. But saying that they kicked Tara to the curb because it’s BroMans before Romance? Way to completely dismiss and destroy the only healthy, functioning male-female relationship you’ve had in recent memory.
Though I do like Mickie James’s “broment” portmanteau, not even she escapes this segment looking good. It’s not funny. It doesn’t have any pop or oomph or, dareisay, IMPACT, which is a problem that carries over into the intergender trios match, but more on that later.
Well, kind of. He looks nice. I really like his shirt. This is the best thing about the entire backstage conversation because
Worst: Chris Sabin, the man with the plan that you just have to trust him on because of course no one is going to explain anything
Oh man. If Chris Sabin is spending this much time insisting that he’s got this great big plan and they just have to trust him because this plan is solid, it’s gonna be real good, right?
Worst: Tito Ortiz explains it all
Tito Ortiz comes to the ring, decked out in his finest hat and tank top combo, to address the reason he showed up in TNA. His response when prompted? “I don’t have all the answers, but I can say one thing.” And that one thing is KURT ANGLE’S MUSIC.
Kurt Angle comes out to brag about what a legend he is, and to let Tito know that he’s the big boss hog in these parts, and if he doesn’t get in his way, they’re cool. And then Bully Ray comes out to say that he’s the big boss hog in these parts, and he better stay out of HIS way.
So basically the answer to why his presence was built up and teased and a Really Big Deal™ is nothing because nobody on this show knows what the f-ck is going on.
Worst: Long necks and red necks and hair gel, oh my
Gunner and James Storm are…there. ODB is…there. The Country BroMans are a thing. When I like four out of the six competitors, and there’s a Gail Kim run-in, this should be a welcome change from the banal and dreadful show thus far. It’s not. It’s just a thing that happened that no one will remember until we get a slick little replay the next time ODB and Gail Kim do something together. I can’t Best everything just because it’s slightly better than someone telling someone else they have poop in their mouths. Again, a thing that happened on television in 2013.
Best: Bully Ray accessorizes
Man, TNA is really getting their money’s worth from that sale on chains at Home Depot. Pretty soon Bully Ray and Hercules will be so festooned with heavy chains that they won’t wrestle each other, they’ll just perform feats of strength like “who can get up out of this chair” and “minimal amount of mobility.”
Best: The Dudleys’ remembrance of titles past
Bully Ray is aghast that they haven’t been informed of their opponents for their fast-approaching tag match because, after all, they are 23-time tag team champions. But no, Devon interrupts, they’re 24-time champs. This continues until Bully acquiesces to “we won the tag team titles a lot.” It’s adorable. It has a sense of humour. It’s a lot more organic sounding than I AM MAGNUS AND I FORGIVE YOU BECAUSE I AM MAGNUS AND A GOOD GUY. And see? Bully Ray quietly showing personality instead of yelling and yelling and more yelling with a side of yelling with yelling dressing is a million times better.
These are real people with real senses of humour. Keep realistic little moments like this instead of forcing reality with I’M SHOOTIN’ ON YA MARRIAGE with middle fingers and death threats everywhere. Bad Influence works because they don’t hate each other (until now), and their friendship doesn’t seemed forced. Sting and Kurt Angle sitting around comparing manicotti food babies or whatever doesn’t work. Cameras peeking around corners while Chris Sabin excitedly explains his grand plan to leaving a flaming bag of dog doo outside of the closet Aces & Eights get dressed in doesn’t work. If you want a reality show feel, at least make something feel real some of the time.
Worst: Friends ‘til the end which is apparently right now
Ughhh, why is this happening. This match is so slow and boring and why are they fighting they love each other and…wait…wait a minute…
Best with a bullet: FRIENDS ‘TIL THE END!
They were just joshin’! Hee!
Better Best: If I type all in caps things will come true
I promise I will only use this power for good (read: wrestlers hugging each other).
Best, with yet another asterisk: Hens love roosters, geese love ganders, everyone else loves…Bobby Roode?
It’s still moreso common interest-based wrestling than friendship-based wrestling, but I’ll take it. Even though he forgot that he is during this episode, Bobby Roode is good on the mic, and good at wrestles. So is Christopher Daniels. Kazarian is at his best when he’s off to the side making hand gestures or holding 8x10s, so this could be a match made in creative heaven.
Oh good, another faction. This show was positively gagging for another stable.
Worst: Chris Sabin’s grand plan
His plan was to have Sting come out with him as his fake partner, but Kurt Angle is his real partner so he snuck into the ring so they could get the jump on the Dudleys. That’s it.
Best: Hit those cues
This match wasn’t totally terrible, but there were a few things I’ve been conditioned to respond to and oh man, did I ever respond to them. Kurt Angle just suplexing the crud out of everyone? Mark. Bully Ray instructing Devon to get the tables? Mark. Instinctively yelling WHAAAZZZZZUP even though Devon didn’t? Markity mark mark mark. In those few brief moments I could forget about Main Event Metamucil and Aces & Garbage (still laughing at that, thanks dude) and just enjoy three guys I have liked for a long time do the things that made me like them.
Worst: Aaaaaand the rest.
As soon as Devon got said table, I knew one of them would go full Sabu by going through the table they just set up. Because of course they did. Of course it takes the self-proclaimed best wrestler in the world to carry Chris Sabin to a match I don’t entirely hate. Sabin on his own? Still a solid no for me. The finish didn’t make Sabin look any better. He dodged Bully, he dodged Devon, and then won with a…cross body?
I suppose this is where I’m supposed to say well, he’s smaller so he has to use his wits against two larger opponents to find ways to use their size against them. But then my hand hits its cue and that dismissive wanking motion starts all over again. I may have innumerable issues with Bully Ray these days, but and rooting against the smaller flippy dude isn’t exactly in my nature, but Sabin’s attitude and carriage makes me want to see him sent back to the lowest depths of the X-Division with his tail between his legs. Preferably where he can job out to Greg Marasciulo on his way to become X-Division champ, television fixture, and BFF with Joseph Park.
NOW I AM BEST FRIENDS WITH JOSEPH PARK.
……it was worth a shot.