Worst: Formalwear, how do you do it?
I’m constantly fascinated (read: confused) by how wrestlers approach situations where they’re expected to be on television but don’t have to wrestle. Some wrestlers had great, iconic looks that you could come to expect no matter the occasion – Million Dollar Man and his tuxedo/halter top combo, Sabu in his Chippendale dancer Aladdin pants, Hulk Hogan and his shirts operating in a constant fear of being torn asunder.
The ever so prestigious Wrestler of the Year award was greeted by three different looks. Bully Ray took the “I could be in a match at any time but I’m not wrestling tonight so this makes very little sense” approach, choosing to go with a holdsteady favourite instead of cribbing his style from infomercials. James Storm is in his best Randy Orton formal wear, which makes a little more sense seeing that he later challenges for a match. I will also forgive him for his lack of pants, because if I walked around drinking that much beer I would probably want to be as comfortable as possible, and I don’t think Storm owns a pair of comfy jammie pants with happy little penguins all over them. If he does, TNA has seriously dropped the ball.
The good news in all of this is that while you may not be able to look as heel-chic as Roode and Aries, for only $59.99, you too can look like you wandered out of your meth lab to accept your major award.
And you can be really, really happy about it.
Best: So, are you guys like, best friends now, or what?
Often times in wrestling, a more experienced, ring-savvy wrestler will pair with a greener, less experienced partner in order to show them the ropes. Like Curt Hennig and Scott Hall in the AWA, or Sin Cara and Mysterio for an example that’s not 27 years old, this “do as I do” approach may explain my sudden interest and appreciation for Bobby Roode. I know I’m in the minority when I say that Bobby Roode used to be boring and basic as hell. He was the Jacob Cass of TNA: The CAW no one actually wants, but you’re stuck with him so you try your best to like him, but at the end of the day you just want to breeze through his section and just go back to the infinitely cooler United Kingdom storyline.
Austin Aries, the real Jacob Cass for those playing along at home, brings out something fantastic in Roode. Last week’s main event really hammered that home. I enjoy when these two wrestle, but the added nuances they’ve brought this time around really make me excited to see more. Of course you guys are dressed alike. Of course you both think you’ve won. I don’t really care about your anger, Bobby Roode, but now that Austin Aries is interrupting you I am all ears. I come down squarely in the Total Nonstop Aries camp, and I am entirely fine with Bobby Roode tagging along. You’re wonderful, arrogant jerks so just get together and be BFF already because you are adorable.
Worst: Don’t blame me, I voted for Aries
Whether this was a rib at the Slammys, or just a reason to say “Hey Jeff, thanks for not being high as balls all the time,” at the end of the day I’m ultimately fine with it. Hardy looks happier and healthier than he has in a really long time, and I can’t blame fans for loving him. Little kids love him. Ladies love him. Wrestling nostalgia is a thing, so while even the most jaded of fans may not be able to love him on that level any more, there’s still a certain amount of respect for the things he’s done, and the undeniable talent that’s buried under layers of sharpie and neon face paint. If you’re new to wrestling, Jeff Hardy is a really accessible and easy to like wrestler. He’s different, he does flippy things, and holy crap guys that ladder was huge and he is insane and I wanna back that up and see it again and again. In 2012 he easily transitioned into the “Not for me” category of wrestler, like a John Cena or a Sheamus. I’m not gonna go crazy when he comes out, but I understand why he’s out there and making those kids lose their minds. Whether or not these are rigged (they are), Jeff Hardy would still be taking his Bushwood Country Club trophy home to smear it in black light paint and draw trees with eyes on them or whatever all over it.
All that said, my god Jeff, could you have sucked the fun out of this segment any harder? I appreciate that you’re not running around in jorts and making racist, slut-shaming remarks, or taking a dump in Mr. Anderson’s truck and getting a wrestling buddy in your likeness in return, but seriously. I’m not quite sure how you can suddenly book a match and have it be official without consulting anyone, but I pray that before Genesis you use some of that mysterious charm you like to brag about and turn this into the feud to beat in 2013 instead of wet-blanketing all over everything.