Saturday, 31 May 2014

So Give It To Me, Give It To Me, Give It To Me

I'm not an easy-going person.

I know I'm demanding and impossible to please.

But even so, there are some things that just cross the line. Some things I won't put up with.

Like the last episode of Xplosion.

I said in my review of it how their Match of the Week frustrated me.

And I'm still not over it.

TNA keep shoving people who've left down our throats and they need to stop.

I'm fine with admitting said people exist. It's better than pretending they were a figment of our imagination, like the WWE says CM Punk is.

Image © Feedback via Wikimedia Commons.

But there's mentioning somebody now and then, and there's slapping us around the face with what we've lost.

And that bloody Xplosion match was definitely the latter.

Twelve years of TNA shows to choose from, and they picked what?

A match with my favourite heel tag-team and possibly my favourite wrestler of all time. All three of whom TNA have let slip through their fingers.

Watching Bad Influence and AJ Styles wrestle is depressing.

It's not the wrestling. It's not the acting. It's not the psychology. All those are fantastic.

Image © Charles LeBlanc via Flickr.

It's the fact we're not going to see these men in a TNA ring any time soon that's so upsetting.

Now I don't know how the negotiations with Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels went to the letter.

They've made TweetSecret videos about it, sure. But I'm still no expert.

Yet from what I can gather, the main reason that TNA let Bad Influence go is that they didn't know what to do with them.

Are you kidding?

Any creative department that can't think of anything to do with Bad Influence is beyond help.

If your current staff can't think of anything, hire somebody who can.

Hell, hire me! I have ideas!

For example, Bad Influence are a tag team. They want the titles. They wrestle the Wolves for said titles.

Is that so hard?

Or how about this? Kaz and Daniels are X Division competitors. Have them go after Sanada.

As for AJ, I've heard he left because the pay wasn't as much as he deserved.

You know what, TNA?

If you'd set up a GoFundMe to bridge the gap between those figures, I guarantee it would have met its goal within a goddamn week.

I would not have been able to empty my wallet fast enough to keep AJ with you.

Image © Fox courtesy of Rautaa.

And this is why seeing AJ and Bad Influence wrestle on flashback matches frustrates me.

It makes me think about why they left.

It makes me think about how TNA could have solved the issues.

And it makes me think about how much I loved seeing those guys perform in TNA. Something we might not get to see again.

So please, TNA, focus on highlighting the people you still have left, or work on getting these guys to come back.

Because I'm not impossible to please.

All I want are Bad Influence and AJ.

And that's not much, is it?

– Stark

Thursday, 29 May 2014

TNA Xplosion: Air Date 28th May 2014

I hated it.

Unfair? Probably.

Still hated it.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Spin Cycle was fun. Rockstar Spud, EC3 and the BroMans made me laugh. Charades was just as good as last week's Pictionary.

And EC3 failing to flip a table was glorious to behold.

But then the Xplosion Xclusive match was Tigre Uno versus Sanada.

And I love both of them. I love seeing them wrestle. But we've seen this match about five times now.

Is there nobody else in the X Division?

Austin Aries? DJ Z? Manik? Nobody?

And Sanada has triumphed in all but one of their matches. It's getting repetitive.

Then there were the Slammiversary flashbacks.

Some parts made me smile. Like Samoa Joe's terrible Nation of Violence face paint. Or how different Bobby Roode looked with long hair.

But then I started thinking about all the people who have left and I just started feeling depressed.

Which brings us to the biggest kick in the teeth imaginable: the TNA Match of the Week.

Image © Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

AJ Styles and Kurt Angle versus Bad Influence.

I refuse to put up with this.

TNA couldn't keep hold of AJ Styles. TNA couldn't think of anything to do with Bad Influence. TNA let all three of them go.

But now they're celebrating them by playing their match on Xplosion.

It's ridiculous. It's insulting. And it's frustrating because the match was amazing and we're not getting anything like those three on the show any more.

Which makes me miserable.

And makes me hate your show.

– Stark

P.S. As mentioned last week, I'm cutting down polls to once a month. As such, the current poll question will be staying up until the beginning of June.

Related Post: TNA Xplosion: Air Date 21st May 2014

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

TNA Impact: UK Air Date 25th May 2014

Do you remember when people called TNA "Total Non-stop Angle"?

Well, it's now Total Non-stop MVP.

I separated the show into eleven strands this week. MVP's Unnamed Group, or MUG as I will call them, were in almost half.

So let's get them all out of the way first.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

I am ecstatic that the Wolves aren't part of MVP's convoluted plot for power.

And I'm impressed that TNA remembered this lingering plot thread existed.

Why does everyone try to break Davey Richards, though? Is it because he's short? Is it the hair? What?

And Eddie's attempted Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Kenny King was wonderful. True tag-team friendship there.

Eric Young standing up to MUG was fantastic, but I don't know why MUG left if they were going to come straight back out.

Maybe they recorded the segments at different times. I dunno. It was odd.

Austin Aries running out to save the day Big Damn Heroes-style was awesome.

Having said that, every MUG match and fight ended exactly the same way.

MUG overwhelmed their foes and left them unconscious.

And this happened four times in a two hour show. Ridiculous.

Finally, MVP does not mix well with Dixie and Bully Ray.

Image © Krystal Bogner via Flickr.

It just makes a strange miasma of conflict between the three that doesn't fit.

As for Bully, EC3 is now failing to make friends with him too. Is Rockstar Spud his only pal? Does he get lonely?

Bully's attempts to attack Dixie are less creepy now she has somebody bigger than Spud protecting her. But they're still creepy.

Speaking of creepy, Gunner and Samuel Shaw fascinate me.

I love how the plot ties in with Gunner's military background.

I love the potential it has for Shaw.

And I love how Gunner has no reason for doing this beyond being a nice guy. It makes a refreshing change.

Also refreshing were the moments of drunken/"drunken" Ken Anderson and James Storm shenanigans.

Storm ended up beaten down again, but to be fair, he was drunk and Anderson was sober. So I'll let it slide.

Then there's Willow, Magnus and Bram.

I don't know if Magnus is losing his conscience or growing one.

Image © Simon Q via Flickr.

I don't know why he's resisting Bram's encouragements when a few weeks ago, he was beating Abyss and EY with a ring hook.

And I don't know Bram is so obsessed with that bloody pry-bar.

The whole angle is a bit of a mess and I'm losing patience with it.

And speaking of patience, I've lost it with Brian Stiffler.

He let Angelina Love beat Brittany because he was too busy staring at Velvet Sky. Again.

If Taryn Terrell doesn't come back from maternity leave soon, I may pop an artery.

Finally, the Slammiversary flashbacks were gorgeous but painful.

I miss AJ Styles. I miss Christian Cage. And where have Samoa Joe and Abyss gone?

In short, this episode was okay: repetitive in places, but still enjoyable. I've definitely seen worse.

See you Thursday with the Xplosion review.

– Stark

Monday, 26 May 2014

Special Post: "Christopher Daniels & Kazarian Wrestle Aw Yeah Comics!" Review

I have an interesting relationship with comic books.

See, I don't pick up comics regularly.

But I do read webcomics. I have read Watchmen. And I watch Atop the Fourth Wall every week.

And recently, I got my hands on a copy of Christopher Daniels & Kazarian Wrestle Aw Yeah Comics! when I went to MCM London Comic Con.

Image © Stark Remarks.

I've got it. I've read it. So why not review it?

I will admit that I'd never read an issue of Aw Yeah Comics before this one.

In fact, I'd never even heard of them before Daniels started tweeting about the Bad Influence crossover.

Will I be reading more issues?

If they're anything like this comic, then oh hell yes.

Because Christopher Daniels & Kazarian Wrestle Aw Yeah Comics! is absolutely amazing.

You remember that post I made about Bad Influence? The one where I described them as (and I quote" "pure, unadulterated fun"?

That is this comic in a nutshell.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The book looks great. Art Baltazar is a talented guy and his artwork is gorgeous.

Daniels's writing is both well-crafted and funny as heck. And when I say funny, I mean that I laughed out loud throughout.

And really, the comic just oozes charm by the bucket load. Just like Bad Influence themselves, you could say.

If you haven't read this book, go to your local comic book shop and pick up a copy.

Or if you don't have a local shop, get on Comixology and download it now.

You won't regret it.

– Stark

Related Post: That's All They Really Want – Some Fun

Friday, 23 May 2014

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

There's too much negativity in professional wrestling.

Everywhere you look, somebody's moaning about something.

So today, I'm going to spread some positivity.

Here's a list of eleven things I love in professional wrestling.

Why eleven? Because of a movie I've never seen.

Let's take a look.

*

Clever Faces AND Heels

I love when wrestlers use their brains and get inventive, especially heels.

Like James Storm using beer itself as a weapon against Ken Anderson.

Creativity: it can only hurt other people.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

Good Authority vs Evil Authority

I've adored this tripe since Austin and Bischoff on Raw.

The pettiness, the satisfaction when the good authority triumphs, it's all good.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

Genre Savviness

If the heel offering you a handshake is infamous for sucker-punching people, I will respect you more if you refuse.

Pattern recognition. Common sense. Watching the show. More of this, please.

Image © Tobias Wolter via Wikimedia Commons.

Tag Teams with Actual Names

A proper name just makes a team feel more special than calling them Whoever and Whoever.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

Faces Tackling Impossible Situations

Providing there's a good reason to do it, I love a face willing to take on the impossible. It's one of the reasons EY is awesome.

Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

People Who Can Crack a Joke

We watch wrestling for fun, so somebody needs to be cheerful now and then.

Every show should have at least one person or group who can smile and crack a joke.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Semi-Realistic Consequences

Wrestling has its own reality, but I still like it when it reflects the real world.

If you cross the line, somebody should bring up the police. Even if it's just to say "I'm not pressing charges, I want to deal with this."

It helps suspension of disbelief.

Image © MarcusObal via Wikimedia Commons.

Heroes Acting Like Heroes

When Christy Hemme was in danger from Samuel Shaw, Anderson came to her aid without question.

When Knockouts are in trouble, ODB runs out to help.

And that's what a hero is: somebody who helps others.

Most faces should be like them.

Image © KailinMB via Flickr.

Tag Team Members Who Care About Each Other

Tag teams with animosity can be fun. Seeing two people at each other's throats forced to co-operate? That's great.

But I prefer it when team members care about each other.

Betrayal is everywhere in professional wrestling. So seeing some actual friendship once in a while? It makes a refreshing change.

Image © Anton via Wikimedia Commons.

Faces Who Don't Put Up With Nonsense from Heels

You remember when Shaw sat on top of the cage at Lockdown and threatened to jump if Hemme didn't come out to see him?

So Anderson came out and refused to take any of Shaw's creepy melodrama seriously for a second?

I love it when that happens.

Heels pull some ridiculous asshole moves sometimes, and seeing the faces refuse to put up with it is always fun.

Image © Pedrohoneto via Wikimedia Commons.

Superkicks

Because superkicks.

Or because they can come out of nowhere, are always super effective, and look awesome.

Take your pick.

Image © Simon Q via Flickr.

But how about you? What are your favourite things about wrestling?

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

– Stark

Thursday, 22 May 2014

TNA Xplosion: Air Date 21st May 2014

Last night was my first episode of Xplosion. How did I find it?

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Wikipedia.

First, the "Don't try this" pieces with EY and Rockstar Spud were adorable. Just saying.

The Xsplosion Xclusive match between Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne had great action. But the crowd could only have been more dead if the ring were in a graveyard.

And while Madison winning was fine, Velvet having a tantrum afterwards was... weird.

The Impact 365 segment was the same Wolves and BroMans segment from Impact, which was fine.

The Spin Cycle was hilarious.

Essentially, EC3 and Rockstar Spud were competing with the BroMans and DJ Z in the wrestling version of Pictionary.

One team member had to draw a wrestler; the others, guess who it was.

All the drawings were hilariously awful, and the segment was great fun.

If you haven't seen it, check it out.

Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of ImpactWrestling.com.

The Match of the Week was the main event from last year's Slammiversary.

I like the concept of Match of the Week. It gives the viewer some of TNA's past as well as a bit of good wrestling.

And finally, the Impact flashback for this week focussed on the storyline between EY and MVP. It had their opening promo and their match.

Again, this was fine. And I've made my feelings clear on this plot already.

To summarise, Xplosion is an amusing show with inoffensive flashbacks and fun original content.

Will I watch it again next week? Most definitely.

See you tomorrow with an opinion piece.

– Stark

Related Post: TNA Impact: UK Air Date 18th May 2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Off-Topic: Posting Schedule

As you might have noticed, Stark Remarks has a posting schedule. Impact on Monday, a poll on Wednesday, and an opinion piece on Friday. PPVs tend to go up on Thursdays. Special posts slot in wherever.

Sadly, I don't get a lot of votes in the polls. So I'm thinking that people are less interested in them.

So here's what I'm going to do.

  • Reduce the polls to one per month, starting from the beginning of June.
  • Change the Impact review day to Tuesday from next week.
  • Start watching Xplosion and post a review of that Thursday from this week.
  • Change the opinion post day to Saturday from next week.
  • Change the PPV review day to Friday from this year's Slammiversary.
  • I hope you like the changes. I'll see you tomorrow with the first review of Xplosion.

    – Stark

    Poll: Are you looking forward to Slammiversary 2014?

    Last week, I asked if you like MVP's heel turn.

    Unfortunately for him, the answer to that is a resounding "No".

    Oh dear.

    This week, I ask: are you looking forward to this year's Slammiversary?

    Yes? No? A little? Not sure?

    Vote and let me know.

    See you Friday.

    – Stark

    Tuesday, 20 May 2014

    TNA One Night Only: Joker's Wild II

    This is a tad late, perhaps, but how was Joker's Wild II?

    To say it was good is an understatement. I cannot emphasise enough how awesome this show was.

    Mike Tenay and Taz killed me on commentary. They were hilarious.

    Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

    And all the interviews were interesting, amusing, or both.

    And as for the matches?

    The British Invasion reunion brought a smile to my face.

    Seeing Bad Influence was amazing, but it bummed me out too. Dammit TNA, why'd you let those guys go?

    Having said that, this was the only bad part of the evening. Which only goes to explain how good the show was.

    It was great to see Samoa Joe after his prolonged absence from television. Is he coming back soon? I hope he is.

    Rockstar Spud and Bully Ray versus Ken Anderson and Austin Aries was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life.

    Even Aries couldn't get upset when Spud pinned him. It was wonderful.

    But that wasn't the best match of the evening.

    What was?

    The Wolves versus Beer Money, of course.

    This was truly the highlight of the evening.

    I marked out over that match like a complete dork. It was sublime from start to finish, and a credit to every man in the ring.

    Amazing.

    Kazarian and Curry Man versus EC3 and Eric Young was almost as funny as Spud's match.

    It was strange seeing EY being "simple" again after seeing him as champion, though.

    But it's always nice to see Curry Man.

    Image © John Jewell via Flickr.

    And EC3 and Kazarian's frustration was just too funny.

    DJ Z and Jessie Godderz versus Samuel Shaw and Abyss was... interesting.

    I liked seeing Shaw and Abyss tag, to be honest. If TNA don't have anything else to do with them in the future, I'd like to see them team again.

    Team Psychiatric Unit, maybe.

    Although when Abyss thinks you're a creepy bastard, you're beyond help.

    The Knockouts match was a breath of fresh air after the Evening Gown nonsense from Impact.

    In fact, if we put this back in context with the UK tour, it makes the Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa break up work better.

    It's a shame it took so long for the show to get here.

    And finally, we had the Gauntlet match.

    The Wolves wrestling each other? Awesome.

    Abyss cleaning house? Sad because he eliminated both the Wolves, but still pretty damn cool.

    EY getting to the final three when he was still a "comedy" character was awesome.

    And EC3 winning? Just goes to show that they want to take him places, doesn't it?

    Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

    Every single match was fantastic. Some were funny, some were serious, but all told their own unique story through the action and interviews.

    This is what good wrestling is: simple stories, told by wrestlers, combined with good action.

    I can't recommend Joker's Wild II enough. If you haven't seen it, go and watch it now.

    It won't disappoint you.

    I'll see you tomorrow with the poll results.

    – Stark

    Related Post: TNA Sacrifice: UK Air Date 30th April 2014

    Monday, 19 May 2014

    TNA Impact: UK Air Date 18th May 2014

    Last week's Impact sucked. Was this week better?

    Yes. But it wasn't great.

    Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

    The TNA 365 flashbacks are running long again.

    Just show us a minute or so to establish context then give us the interviews. That's all we need.

    The Knockouts were much better, but strange.

    It bothers me that Velvet Sky is little more than Angelina Love's sidekick now.

    And Gail Kim winning clean was great to watch, but bad for the Beautiful People.

    And can we get Taryn Terrell back? Or a temp replacement? Anything to get Stiffler away from the Knockouts.

    Speaking of beautiful people, Magnus and Bram's match against Willow was weird too.

    Neither Magnus nor Bram have a clear motivation. It's all murky and confused.

    But at least Willow didn't win by DQ for a third straight week.

    Which brings us to James Storm and Ken Anderson, which was great.

    Storm won a singles match and I couldn't be happier for him.

    Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

    And he won by being smart, which I always like to see.

    I'm starting to love this feud now.

    Another thing I'm loving is the potential between Gunner and Samuel Shaw.

    TNA set this up last week through Anderson and Gunner's conversation in a surprisingly subtle way.

    And the idea of Gunner trying to help Shaw is just... nice.

    Less nice? Crazy Steve of the Menagerie versus Kazarian.

    What can I say?

    Comedy and madcap antics are fine, but they don't mix with Kazarian going solo.

    If it were Bad Influence? Maybe. But as it stands, the Menagerie just aren't quite clicking for me.

    But even more jarring are Bully Ray's antics.

    Look. I know Dixie Carter is the villain. I get that.

    But a man breaking into a woman's house so he can wreck her stuff and threaten her?

    That's not funny.

    That's terrifying.

    Not even EC3 protecting his Aunt D's honour could save this for me.

    Bully Ray is as bad as Samuel Shaw, if not worse.

    And he needs to stop. Now.

    That was the worst part of the evening. The best was the X Division Championship match.

    Tigre Uno and Sanada seldom disappoint, and DJ Z was a great addition.

    Having said that, Austin Aries is still getting the shaft.

    He would have been a great addition to this match, and he deserves more screen time than he gets.

    Also getting the shaft is the "indefinitely suspended" Bobby Roode.

    With luck, he'll come back face soon. TNA need him.

    Last but not least, EY and MVP.

    EY was fantastic. No complaints there.

    But MVP?

    Image © Krystal Bogner via Flickr.

    His heel turn is illogical and poorly written. His brawl with EY was boring. And the end of their title match was confusing and awkward.

    Do we really need another evil alliance conquering TNA? No.

    Is it because the WWE have Evolution? Were you jealous?

    It makes no sense.

    So better than last week, but confusing and with a lot of room for improvement.

    I'll see you tomorrow with my Joker's Wild II review.

    – Stark

    Friday, 16 May 2014

    You Can't Always Get What You Want

    MVP shouldn't be here.

    Image © Krystal Bogner via Flickr.

    I don't mean that personally. I've got nothing against him. He's doing fine with what TNA provided.

    But he's the wrong person for the job.

    Think about it: what was his motivation for joining the company? "Dixie is a bad boss and I could do better"?

    He has no real reason to get involved. No deep emotional connection to what's been going on in the company.

    And that's why his heel turn isn't working. There's no pathos.

    We don't feel betrayed because we don't know why MVP's doing anything, why he cares, or why we should care.

    But what if somebody else were the mystery investor instead of MVP?

    What if it were AJ Styles?

    Image © Tabercil via Wikimedia Commons.

    Let's pretend that TNA used their money to hook AJ instead of hiring MVP.

    AJ lost the title in one of the most overbooked matches TNA has seen. He has an axe to grind. He's out for revenge.

    So why not do it the way that would frustrate Dixie the most: by taking control of her company?

    It would even work with him bringing in the Wolves. The writers could easily justify it. "AJ met them on his championship-defending sabbatical around the world", perhaps.

    Imagine AJ Styles coming back to reclaim the house that he built. The pop for that would have blown the roof off.

    As for the wrestling... well. The Wolves, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy as Willow on one team?There aren't many combinations that could beat that.

    And think how much better the interactions would have been if it were AJ Styles instead of MVP.

    AJ getting angry with Austin Aries's betrayal because they built TNA.

    AJ rubbing Samoa Joe up the wrong way because of all their history together.

    AJ challenging Kenny King because this is his back yard and he won't accept disrespect here.

    And swapping MVP for AJ Styles would even do the seemingly impossible: make the heel turn work.

    It would be a twofold thing. On one hand, it would have an element of He Who Fights Monsters.

    AJ came back to destroy corruption and has himself become corrupted by power. It's a classical tragedy plot.

    And on the other, there's the personal element.

    AJ never lost his belt. And now he has to stand aside and watch Eric Young, the comedy guy, the goofball, the joke, parade around with his championship?

    Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

    No. AJ deserves that belt. And that's why at Slammiversary, he's going to take it back. Because he never lost it in the first place. Not really.

    Now this is just my flight of fancy, but I think it does a good job of illustrating the problems with MVP in TNA.

    Nothing is personal for him. And because he has no good reason to care, neither do the audience.

    Whereas with AJ Styles, there's more than enough emotion and conflict to go around.

    That's why AJ should be here and MVP be shouldn't.

    But unfortunately, you can't always get what you want.

    – Stark

    Wednesday, 14 May 2014

    Poll: Do you like MVP's heel turn?

    Are you a Samuel Shaw guy?

    If you are, I'm not surprised. More of my readers want him to get a TNA Heavyweight Championship title shot than anybody else in TNA.

    I know I'd rather see him wrestle EY than MVP...

    But what about this week's poll?

    This time, I want to know whether you like MVP's heel turn.

    Yes, no, or not sure: cast your vote now.

    I'll see you Friday.

    – Stark

    Monday, 12 May 2014

    TNA Impact: UK Air Date 11th May 2014

    To quote Wade Barrett, I've got some bad news!

    This week's Impact sucked.

    Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

    Let's get the good out of the way.

    The highlight of the evening was the Wolves versus the BroMans.

    Have we seen it before? Yes. Were ladders necessary? No. Was it amazing? You bet.

    Also good was Gunner and Anderson chatting in the locker room. It was nice to see the guys shooting the breeze like actual coworkers.

    Now for the bad.

    I've got mixed feelings on EC3 versus Kurt Angle.

    EC3 winning? Great. But Angle should not have been in the ring if he wasn't fully healed.

    Still. Get better soon, Kurt.

    The main event was a damp squib too, and so underwhelming I didn't realise it was the main event.

    Willow is a magnet for terrible DQ finishes, it seems.

    And Bram's contributions so far are to get a contract and wreck Magnus's match. Thanks, Bram. Real helpful.

    Speaking of new additions, the Menagerie debuted this week and I didn't care. Why? Because Frankie Kazarian had to job to them in (probably) his last TNA TV appearance.

    Yeah. I'm gonna miss him too.

    Team Canada alumni EY and Bobby Roode cut great promos at the start, but they were better suited to last week's show.

    And promising us a match between the two then pulling it away was just spiteful.

    Plus MVP's behaviour towards Roode made Bobby far more sympathetic than a heel should be. Either he's turning face or this was awkwardly handled.

    Which bring us to #MVPMakesBadDecisions. This week, his bad decision was turning heel and giving himself a Slammiversary title shot.

    I'll talk more about this on Friday, but suffice to say, I don't like it.

    Another thing I didn't like was Bully Ray's behaviour.

    Stalking a woman to her offices so you can attack her is scary. Scavenging her home address so you can hunt her down and attack her is downright terrifying.

    If this were Samuel Shaw and Christy Hemme, we'd be howling for blood.

    The saving grace was Rockstar Spud, but like Roode, he came across as far too sympathetic.

    Yes. Despite the face having a wild frat boy beer party, the heel was still more likeable.

    That takes some doing.

    Finally, we have the worst part of the show: the Evening Gown Knockouts match.

    The Beautiful People, Madison Rayne and Brittany were great. So why did I hate it?

    Because it was the ugliest, most misogynistic piece of pseudo spank material I've seen all year.

    We're still doing Bra and Panty matches in 2014. The Attitude Era has been dead for over a decade, and we're still doing this nonsense.

    As for the ending...

    Brian Stiffler should not be so hypnotised by Velvet Sky's breasts that he can't do his job.

    Men do not work that way. Life does not work that way. You lose. Good day, sir.

    I have one word for it: atrocious.

    Fingers crossed that next week's show is a big improvement on this dreck.

    – Stark

    Friday, 9 May 2014

    I Had Better Not Been Born at All Than to Be Born a Loser

    Remember when I was excited about James Storm turning heel?

    Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

    The slow burn, the fake apology, the sudden betrayal. I loved it.

    But that was then.

    Now?

    Now I think this heel run is the biggest botch since Brian Stiffler's at Sacrifice.

    Let's look at the Cowboy's last four months. How many singles matches has he won?

    Zero.

    That's right: former TNA Heavyweight Champion James Storm can no longer win a match alone.

    It's like TNA have given up on him.

    And it seems like he's given up too, judging by his match against Willow.

    There was no reason for him to go for the DQ loss.

    But reasons don't matter. What's important is how these matches make Storm look.

    Pathetic.

    Don't get me wrong. I love Storm as a heel. After all, it worked for Beer Money.

    Storm has the right presence to be a villain, and out of the ring, he's right on the money.

    The problem is that he's all mouth and no trousers.

    A villain who never wins is no threat. We know he's not going to succeed, so we stop caring.

    His opponent becomes a boring Invincible Hero.

    The fans switch off.

    Or to put it another way: when James Storm loses all the time, he and Gunner look bad.

    So how could we have fixed this?

    By having Storm win.

    Storm has lost to Gunner three times since the betrayal in February: at Lockdown, on Impact, and at Sacrifice.

    But imagine if Storm won the first two.

    Say at Lockdown, he put Gunner in handcuffs.

    Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

    And on Impact, he could've used the beer bottle.

    He doesn't care about beating Gunner clean. He just wants to cut him down.

    But every time, Gunner comes back and demands another match.

    No matter what Storm does, Gunner won't quit.

    And that's why they end up in an "I Quit" match at Sacrifice.

    From there, things play out as they did at Sacrifice.

    Gunner takes everything Storm gives, refuses to give up, and makes him quit.

    That way, both of them look strong: Gunner for his determination, and Storm for his victories.

    But what about that match with Willow?

    Well. Why not kill two birds with one stone and have Ken Anderson be the reason why Storm abandoned the match?

    Have Anderson and Gunner's match play out as it did on Impact.

    But during Storm's match, have Anderson come out and join Taz and Mike Tenay on commentary.

    Then Anderson would be both hilarious and a distraction for Storm.

    Storm's expecting Anderson to get some payback. And after a while, he's sick of waiting.

    He gets the beer bottle, shoves Brian Hebner out of the way, and goes after Anderson.

    There you go: a reason for Storm to quit the match with Willow, and a start to an Anderson and Storm feud.

    It doesn't take much to fix this sort of problem.

    But until TNA do, I'm going to keep complaining.

    Because Storm deserves better.

    Image © John Jewell via Flickr.

    Sorry. Not sorry.

    – Stark

    Wednesday, 7 May 2014

    Poll: Who most deserves a Heavyweight Championship shot?

    Last week, I asked you all "What has been the best PPV of 2014 so far?"

    And the answer is a tie!

    Genesis Part One and Sacrifice got an equal number of votes.

    This week, I want to know who you think is most deserving of a Heavyweight Championship shot.

    An up-and-coming star like Gunner? A fan favourite like Austin Aries? Or an old-hand like Kurt Angle?

    Let me know and I'll see you on Friday with an opinion post.

    – Stark

    Tuesday, 6 May 2014

    Off-Topic: Gunner Meet & Greet

    Yesterday, I met Gunner.

    Image © Mike Kalasnik via Flickr.

    And you know what? It was an awesome experience.

    Gunner is a great guy. Polite, friendly, and all-around awesome.

    And he was a good sport with the questions at the Q&A afterwards. Especially when somebody asked him about Murphy.

    All in all, I had a fantastic time.

    If you can meet Gunner, I recommend it. He's a class act.

    See you tomorrow with a new weekly poll.

    – Stark

    Related Post: And It’s So Easy When You’re Evil

    Monday, 5 May 2014

    TNA Impact: UK Air Date 4th May 2014

    Sacrifice? Good PPV. First Impact back? We'll see.

    Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Rasslor.

    The interviews were better this week thanks to the shorter flashbacks, but they're still not great.

    We'll start with the Knockouts.

    Gail Kim works as a face, and the Beautiful People trolling was fun.

    But call me a killjoy if you will: I didn't like Madison Rayne and Brittany stripping them.

    The Knockouts are wrestlers. Not cheap titillation. Treat them as such.

    Speaking of beauty, my Twitter feed says Magnus is pretty, so let's talk about him.

    His claims he should have been in the title scene were valid, but other than that, his segments left me confused.

    Who is Bram? What's going on? And does Abyss have a contract or not?

    At least Knux's story is clear at last. With luck, the Menagerie will liven up the tag team division. Looking forward to them.

    In the tag division, the Wolves wrestled the BroMans and Zema Ion. Again.

    Sanada was a good addition, but we've seen this match before. We're gonna get sick of it.

    And the BroMans and Zema lost way too easily.

    Speaking of, the nadir of the evening was James Storm against Willow.

    The match was just getting good when Storm attacked the ref for no reason. Then he tried to stab Willow with a broken bottle for no reason.

    And then Storm ended up flat on his back unconscious. Again.

    Storm could not look weaker right now and it's pathetic.

    Storm's interference in Anderson and Gunner's match made no sense either. His and Gunner's feud is over. Why is he still getting involved?

    All in all, not good.

    Gunner versus Bobby Roode wasn't impressive either. Nor was Anderson versus Gunner. Neither match had enough time to get going and just fell flat.

    Much like the planning process.

    When your booking method is sillier than throwing darts at photographs of your roster...

    Well. We all know #MVPMakesBadDecisions.

    His other big screw up of the night was stopping Dixie going through a table.

    Is violence against women right? Of course not.

    But Dixie started this fight. The Impact Zone wanted it. And MVP took it away.

    Unless he's turning heel, this was the worst thing he could do bar firing Austin Aries live on camera.

    And Bully going to Nashville to get at Dixie is just creepy.

    But let's end on a positive note.

    Rockstar Spud trying to protect Dixie was adorable. EC3 acknowledging the "Where's your boyfriend?" chant was amazing. And the two were glorious together as always.

    And Kurt Angle laying a verbal beat-down is always satisfying.

    But even better was Roode and Eric Young's Heavyweight Championship match.

    The match had time to develop. Both wrestlers looked amazing. And EY came out on top with the belt.

    What can I say? Highlight of the evening, hands down.

    This episode was a mixed bag. The good was great, but the bad was terrible.

    Fingers crossed for consistency next week.

    Remember to vote in the poll. I'll see you Wednesday.

    – Stark

    Friday, 2 May 2014

    There's Nothing Left to Say, but Goodbye

    Christopher Daniels has left TNA.

    I'm sorry if I'm the one breaking the bad news to you, but it's true. His profile has gone to the alumni section on the TNA website.

    And with Kazarian's contract ending in May, I'd say that Bad Influence's time in TNA has officially come to a close.

    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    There are a lot of other topics I could be talking about this week.

    Like alternatives to ref bumps, because Lord knows the Bully Ray/Bobby Roode match needed one.

    Or how a bad crowd can ruin a good match like Tigre Uno and Sanada's.

    I could even talk about how you can't have your face win almost every match in a feud. I'm looking at you, James Storm and Gunner.

    But I'm not going to talk about those things. I'm going to talk about Bad Influence.

    Why? Because I freaking love them.

    TNA could not have dropped the ball harder with this team if they'd tried.

    I mean, look at their tag team division right now.

    You know how many tag teams TNA have on the roster?

    Two.

    Three if you count Knux's new little group.

    You all know how much I love the Wolves. But even I'm going to get sick of them if we see them wrestling the BroMans every single time.

    Then again, they wouldn't need to if TNA still had Bad Influence.

    Think about it. A feud between the Wolves and Bad Influence would have been solid gold.

    Image © Anton via Wikimedia Commons.

    The wrestling would be fantastic. Two of the best tag teams in the industry today fighting it out in high-flying action? You can't tell me you don't want that.

    And just imagine the promos Bad Influence could have cut on the Wolves.

    Daniels calling them badly dressed because they have fur on their jackets. Kazarian criticising Davey Richards' dye job. Both of them making fun of the wolf howls.

    I can even imagine Daniels and Kazarian dressing up as the Wolves to make fun of them. Wouldn't that be great?

    It could have been fantastic. It would have been fantastic.

    But of course, it's not to be. Because TNA let Christopher Daniels go.

    I'm not angry with Daniels. Why would I be? I don't know what's best for him and his family. And that's more important than keeping me happy.

    And I'm not necessarily angry with TNA either. I don't know what a contract negotiation between them and their talent is like. Maybe there was no way to reconcile.

    I don't know why Daniels chose to leave. I don't know why TNA couldn't keep him.

    But I do know that TNA need people like Bad Influence. And I do know that TNA letting Daniels go was a bad idea.

    But thank you, Christopher Daniels. Thank you, Kazarian. It's been a great run, and you're my favourite heel tag team in the world today.

    Image © vistamommy via Flickr.

    TNA will be a lesser place without you.

    – Stark

    Thursday, 1 May 2014

    TNA Sacrifice: UK Air Date 30th April 2014

    It's PPV again, but was Sacrifice a triumph, or a disaster?

    Image © TNA Wrestling courtesy of Jonathan Sullivan.

    First, the video packages and interviews were all great.

    My favourite was the EY showcase before the main event. It said everything about how far EY has come, and it was beautiful.

    As for the matches, I could not have been happier about the curtain jerker.

    You know how much I love the Wolves, and seeing them win the titles? Priceless.

    For all that "Committed Match" is a bit of a stupid name, I enjoyed Ken Anderson versus Samuel Shaw.

    It was nice to see Christy Hemme get a decent bit of revenge, and Shaw's character is still compelling.

    I look forward to seeing where this feud can go next.

    Rockstar Spud and EC3 versus Kurt Angle and Willow started slow, but ended up fun by the end.

    We also have progress in what I've dubbed "Knux of our Lives".

    Knux is returning with his lady. Either she is Rebel, or they're joining with somebody called Rebel.

    Either way, we're also going to get "Crazy Steve" and "The Freak".

    I'm curious, but also concerned. This could end up a rip-off of the WWE's Wyatt family if TNA aren't careful.

    The Best of Three Finale between Sanada and Tigre Uno had great wrestling. Unfortunately, the crowd at the Impact Zone was awful.

    They ruined the match and made it the low point of the evening despite the great performances.

    Austin Aries chants. Calling Sanada "Goku". The crowd oscillated from disrespectful to downright racist. Despicable.

    James Storm versus Gunner in the I Quit Match was fantastic for Gunner. He came out of this looking amazing.

    But once again, Storm has got the short end of the stick, which is a shame. Storm is a great heel and he deserves more success than he's getting.

    The Knockouts Championship match was great. Madison Rayne and Angelina Love wrestled well.

    And they handled Velvet Sky's meddling with tact.

    The ending was a bit cheap, though. I know Velvet's an attractive lady, but having her distract Ref Stiffler by just wiggling her backside was daft.

    And then we have the infamous Bully Ray and Bobby Roode tables match.

    I don't hate Dixie Carter getting involved. That made sense to me.

    What I hate is the way TNA over-use the ref bump, made worse by Stiffler's spectacular botch.

    TNA need to invent some alternatives to smacking the ref around and fast.

    And finally, we have the World Heavyweight Championship match between Eric Young and Magnus.

    What can I say about this match? It was amazing. EY retaining was just what he needed, but Magnus came out looking tough as nails too.

    A sublime main event. I couldn't ask for better. Truly the highlight of the night.

    Sacrifice was a great PPV. Did it have a few missteps? Of course it did, but all creative works do.

    Fingers crossed that TNA keep up the momentum in the Impacts to come.

    See you tomorrow with an opinion piece.

    – Stark

    Related Post: TNA Lockdown: UK Air Date 12th March 2014