The Best and Worst of Impact Wrestling 8/23/13: The Hardcore Justice Super Special

Hey Impact folks! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week. A few things:

-Tonight (Friday) at 7:00pm ET, Wrestling is Fun will be streaming free matches, followed by hangout/question times with Jervis Cottonbelly and Chuck Taylor. Robert Newsome (of the Atomic Elbow and Mandible Claw Chikara crazypants stuff) and I will be there in some capacity. Wrestling is Not Always Miserable, so come spend some time with us!

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This week on Impact: The Brooke conundrum is finally solved, Joseph Park gets scientific, and the loser of a match has to leave TNA FOR REALZ MAYBE.

Best: Mr. Anderson and Mean Tito Ortiz

Mr. Anderson is upset with Bully Ray that he’s not answering his phonecalls or text messages, and is spending too much time with shiny new Aces & Eights member Tito Ortiz. You know, this is just like the time Kristy got mad and jealous over Mary Anne’s friendship with California transplant Dawn. Well, if Kristy were more concerned with stripper handies and state helmet laws than Babysitter’s Club dues and gimp bracelets.

Bully explains that Tito is club business, and if Tito is with Bully, then he’s with Mr. Anderson, and he’s with the club. I can see where Mr. Anderson is coming from. I mean jeez, Tito wasn’t even with them all summer at Camp Mohawk. Even Wes and Garrett got to be Junior CiTs. He doesn’t know what it’s like to deal with two weeks of Mike Knox needing calamine baths because of the poison ivy incident. He’s not even in the scrapbook how can he be so important.

Best: James Storm’s Ex-Best Friend

Kazarian, the handsome devil. Chrisopher Daniels, apparently has a nice butt. Bobby Roode, the “It Factor” until they change what “it” is. Yes. This is a thing I want. A Roode in the bush is worth two in the hand, after all.

Normally I’d be a little (incredibly) dismayed by the appearance of James Storm and his mute, shirtless friend, but for once James Storm actually makes a good point. He and Roode were a team for four years, and Roode turned on him. How can Bad Influence trust a guy they’ve teamed with for a week? He and Aries split up, but that was more of a mutual meeting of shared interests rather than friendship despite all of the hug and road trip-themed fanfiction that lives in my heart. The bottom line is: do we really want to live in a world where a drunk cowboy and his weird tattooed friend are making the most sense?

Worst: James and the Impossible Three

I know Hulk Hogan is concerned with lawyers and board meetings that can only occur on the only night your company has a wrestling tv show, but shouldn’t he be a little more concerned with James Storm’s constant self-booking and match starting? Is James Storm the Alternate Officer of Impact? Who gave him this power? And who does Lawyer Kevin Nash have to sue to get it taken away?

Worst: Gunner Likes Denim!

Everyone not named Bad Influence in this match look like 2000 Royal Rumble British Bulldog. That is not a compliment.

Brandon Guest Worst: Sonjay Dutt Vs. Manik

Danielle was nice enough to let me sub-in for a Guest Worst and talk about the Manik Verse Sonjay Dutt X-Division “not a triple threat, sorry about that” Championship match. No more playpen X-Division title matches! Nyeah!

Anyway, I asked for this spot to address four specific points:

1. Big hatred ups to Manik for lifting the finish of my favorite New Zealand women’s wrestler (and one of my favorite wrestlers, period) Evie. If you’ve never seen it, Evie does a Go To Sleep, except instead of kneeing her opponent on the way down, she falls backwards and kicks up as hard as she can. It’s great, as you can see here at the 13:15 mark. She creams people with it. Manik uses it as a transitional move, because of course he does.

2. How do I describe Manik vs. Sonjay Dutt? It’s like you made two create-a-superstars in WWE ’13, gave them all the create-a-finisher moves you could think to create and wrestled them against each other CPU vs. CPU.

Seriously, there’s no heart involved whatsoever, it’s just guys going through their animations. Manik’s like “oh, cool, I have an opening … I’ll do a move that starts off as a powerbomb, then goes into a fireman’s carry … I’ll hit a Go To Sleep, but it won’t knock the guy down, so I’ll hook him for a tiger suplex, turn that into a Glam Slam, except instead of just dropping down I’ll drop him down ONTO MY KNEES WITH A LUNGBLOWER! And I’ll make sure to add a half-turn somewhere in the middle so we’re facing the hard camera.” Somewhere in the middle you’re just like JESUS CHRIST, HIP TOSS HIM AND PIN HIM, HE’S SONJAY DUTT.

Classic wrestling moves like the piledriver or the brainbuster work because they’re flashy and dangerous things you’d never do in a real fight, but they work within the context of the reality. You pick a guy up and drop him on his head. Shawn Michaels kicked people in the face. Bret Hart twisted a guy’s legs and sat down on them. Goldberg just ran straight into people and knocked them over. Anybody who has ever made ANY MONEY EVER figures out that less is more, and that if you tell people that holding somebody’s head and sitting down hurts, they’ll start calling it the “Stone Cold Stunner” and you’ll pop 80,000 people with it for a decade. No kid who watches wrestling grows up saying “I’m MANIK! My favorite wrestling move is the powerbomb counter into a fireman’s carry GTS kick into a Glam Slam lungblower.”

You are working very hard to make me hate a wrestler in a skeleton costume. I thought that was impossible.

3. Sonjay Dutt is probably the worst wrestler to have a huge following of people who think he could be the next breakout star if he was “used correctly.” How do you want to USE Sonjay Dutt? This is all he can do. His career peaked 15 years ago when he did a cool looking but hilariously pointless quadruple springboard dive in the middle of an MLW match and sold it by standing around and holding his asshole. The-f**king-end.

4. What did Tazz drink before he started talking over this match? Was it gasoline?

Best: Brischoff’s Big Day

Best: Joseph Park and the Street Fight Phantom

Joseph Park’s first street fight! Oh, they grow up so fast. One day they’re learning front flips in OVW, the next they’re watching Hernandez deliver Mongolian chops in 2013 while everyone ignores the carefully staged trash cans full of street signs on the entrance ramp.

Best: Hello, Austin!


Worst: EGO and the Super Brat

SIGH. I spoke too soon. Aries fakes everyone out, pretending that he’s accepted Bobby Roode’s offer to join up with the BFG BFF, but of course, it is a lie. I am….slightly worried. See, the thing is, Austin Aries is a dick. Kayfabe, shoot, whatever. I love the standing on desks yelling at Hogans Austin Aries. I love move-stealing little sh*t Austin Aries. I love the costume-stealing, making his own way like that Cinderella song told him to Austin Aries. But Aries feuding with two guys who are equally as good as he is when it comes to being a heel, and Kazarian…it worries me. It’s a three-on-one handicap that I’m not sure he can overcome, and I’m not sure they’ll let him. The best part of the entire Chris Sabin schmoz was Aries’ Suicide reveal, and that was thrown out faster those KFC coupons I get in the mail. Well, I recycle them because I’m not a horrible person, but you know what I mean. Aries as a face is almost as bad as a Jay Bradley anything, and shouldn’t be attempted again anytime soon. The only way I can see this working is if Aries really is just a petulant little brat out to foil all of EGO’s attempts to foil things for other wrestlers. Even then, he just becomes the Swiper of Impact – a minor nuisance on EGO’s way to the Gooey Geyser that is Bound For Glory.

“Wait and See” is the worst game you can play with TNA, other than “Who Will Hernandez Injure Next” and “What the F*ck is the Pope Doing With Devon’s Kids.”

Best: Danielle Matheson, No. 1 Fan

Joseph Park blackhole slams Jay Bradley all the way back to Illinois, thereby pulling himself up out of the BFG standings basement. Yay! I know I don’t have to tell you how much I love Joe Park, but I don’t think you guys get how happy it makes me when I can get genuinely excited by something instead of dreading sitting and analyzing it and explaining why it did or did not work for me. My love for Joe Park is pure, unadulterated markdom and it’s the best thing, every single time.

In a perfect world I’d get a letter from Joe Park, discover that he lives in Burlington, ride my bike to his house and immediately become his intern and also best friend forever instead of writing some dumb play and shaming him for his dead daughter or whatever.

Man, Mallory really sucked.

Worst: Bully and Tito, Friends Forever

The best thing about this entire segment is when Bully refused to acknowledge Chris Sabin’s title win, and claimed that Sabin didn’t beat him, “I beat myself.” Hey, I don’t want to believe he was champ either, and also lol jerk off jokes.

Aside from Tito’s hilarious attempt at public speaking to remind us about a fight he and Hercules had one time and that they’re going to do it again, this is just grating. Yes, Bully…we know you like to swerve people. At this point, the explanation of every single thing you did and how SHOCKING and SURPRISING it is totally diminishes the surprise itself. Setting up the reveal of THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT YOUR GIRLFRIEND THAT IS ALSO SURPRISING AND WILL ALSO SHOCK YOU SURPRISE! as such becomes tedious and makes me care not at all.

Worst: Bully Ray’s Horrible Prank

There are two girls named Brooke and he meant the other one.

This is the worst M. Night Shyamalan movie ever, and that includes the one with the racist dude and the killer plants, the racist live-action retelling of one of the best animated shows ever, and the one about the presumably racist elevator.

Brandon Guest Worst: It’s Not A Good Sign When The Announcers Start Talking Amongst Themselves

The Gail Kim/ODB match wasn’t bad, necessarily. If Kaitlyn and Layla had this exact match on Raw I’d probably be raving about it. The problem is that the Knockouts (and Gail in particular) have this default “you’re better than the Divas, usually” setting in my brain, and when they have a match that just kinda plods and drags on, I get disappointed.

And sure, the fair thing to bring up is that the Knockouts Division isn’t what it was when it started. It got DARK for a while, with your Laceys Von Erich backflipping around like morons instead of ever learning how to wrestle, but in recent months it’s gotten better and better, with the addition of heel Mickie James, a motivated Gail Kim and a surprisingly-into-this Hot Mess. I want that upswing to keep swinging up, you know? I don’t want them to have boring 8-minute placeholder matches because they don’t really know WHERE to go.

At some point near the end of the match, Taz and Tenay got bored with the match themselves and started cracking jokes and bickering at each other. It was like NXT season 3 had transported into the Impact Zone, and performers like Gail (and to a lesser extent, ODB) don’t deserve it. If you’re firing everybody for budget cuts, consider paying some Shimmer talent 50 bucks an appearance to show up and make the women you want to pay on the reg look like superstars. You don’t think Courtney Rush would wrestle a match on Impact for 50 bucks? A lot of them would do it for free, just for exposure.

yes, this is what I’m saying, turn the Knockouts Division into Bleacher Report.

Worst: MEM and 2 Many Aces & 8s

Aces & Eights is a faction who historically runs away when being outnumbered three to seven, so bragging about having one more person than the Main Event Mafia doesn’t really make sense when it comes to the damn numbers game.

Worst: AJ Styles Saves the Day

AJ Styles has been playing Sh*t Donst long enough that his appearance doesn’t bode well for anyone. The very worst part about all of this (besides basically everything), is that IN NO WAY does Bully make an attempt to jump AJ Styles before he gets to the ring. As he’s constantly reiterated, he’s a bad bad man who does bad bad things. Jumping a guy with no previous allegiances wouldn’t be the worst thing, especially when one group in front of you is down a member. I mean really.

This whole thing is rough. Whether it’s Samoa Joe punching Wes Brisco the same way I punch the air when I’m mimicking Antonio Cesaro’s sped-up We the People taunt, or 101st PWI 500-ranked Wes Brisco existing as a pro grappler, this match is just not good. The second worst part of all of this?


It’s a real shame that the BSC didn’t have a book called Jessi Makes Fart Faces and is Awful so I could keep this joke up.

Worst: Devon and the Sad Goodbye

Looking at the participants prior to the match, the only person I would legitimately be upset about losing was Devon. Would anyone really miss Garrett Bischoff? Or Magnus? Come on now. Sting could shuffle off to wherever wrestlers go when they leave the Shady Pines Retirement Home that is TNA. Hercules could focus on his match against Tito and running away from rock slides or whatever. AJ Styles could take some time off, watch Kota Ibushi’s dropkicks (or pele kicks, or EVERYTHING), and then race around on his Catwoman bike in a fit of sadness that he’ll never be as good as Golden Star. Mr. Anderson? Ain’t nobody got time for him anyways.

But nope. It’s Devon.

Technically, as AJ was never a member of the Main Event Mafia, it could be argued that the pin doesn’t count and Devon can come back, rendering this whole thing null and void. Lawyer Kevin Nash could come back and be gloriously smarmy. But again, it’s a game of “Wait and See.”

But he’ll probably just take some time off, Mr. Anderson will use Bully’s inaction as a way to oust him from the club, and this could spell the dissolution of Aces & Eights. Wes Brisco will make angry mutant faces at hard camera, and Mike Knox will smile and clap because he’s secretly the most entertaining member of the group. Brooke Tessmacher will glue shiny stuff to her bras and be nothing but a prop in too-small shorts, and no one is ever gonna remember to remind Stacey to take her insulin.

Next week on TNA Impact: Bully Ray Misses Devon: when Tazz helps Mr. Anderson deal with his parents’ divorce, Mickie James raises the ire of Brooke Tessmacher by winning the Little Miss Stoneybrook pageant, and Bully Ray yells a bunch.

See you next week!