Impact had a (very) brief renaissance. Plenty of action and character development. Austin Aries became a star. Bully Ray became a big-league heel. The Aces & Eights story arc added just the right kind of intrigue.
But now things are back to square one. Impact was building toward Roode vs. Storm, the money match, but seems so far away from that now. The Aces & Eights angle became flat-out silly on this week’s TV. How many people are in Aces & Eights? It looked like there were HUNDREDS. It reminded me of all those Black Scorpions hitting the ring in 1990.
Aces & Eights’ primary weapon is that no one knows who they are, right? Yet, when Hogan bashed a couple with a baseball bat during Impact, immobilizing them and putting them at his mercy, Hogan (and Sting) DID NOT UNMASK THEM. Same with the pier-six brawl that ended the show. No one tried to unmask anyone. In fact, at one point, I swear I saw an Impact wrestler tugging a foe’s camouflaging bandanna BACK IN PLACE.
For any viewer with a modicum of intelligence, fake wrestling needs to be logical. THIS WAS NOT LOGICAL.
They did all that brawling to break Aries’ hand so they could strip him of the title without beating him. Now they can do Roode-Storm for the belt. It’s chintzy and makes minimal sense – not unlike taking your top babyface and casting him in a light where he seems legitimately untrustworthy. I SMELL MONEY!
It was going good. But you knew it couldn’t last.
The Lesnar-HHH PPV match lacked logic, too. IT SUCKED. It was a microcosm of WWE’s misuse of Lesnar: They took one of the best real fighters in the world and put him in a FAKE WRESTLING MATCH. Lesnar-HHH wasn’t as convincing as Lesnar-Cena. It wasn’t even as convincing as Undertaker-HHH, a match featuring A GIMMICK PERFORMER.
No, Lesnar-HHH was just TYPICAL FAKE WRESTLING. There was nothing whatsoever compelling about it. The Kimura is NOT OVER. Why? Because HHH didn’t sell his broken arm the first time around.
If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe the WWE Universe (gag). This was supposed to be HHH’s GRAND FAREWELL – well, until he comes back, anyway. Here was the crowd's idea of a sendoff: “YOU TAPPED OUT! YOU TAPPED OUT!” HHH is one of the greatest performers in recent WWE history, and a WWE crowd was TAUNTING HIM. They might as well have been telling him to go F himself. THEY GOT IT. THEY KNOW.
I don’t place much blame on Brock. As Bruce Mitchell of PWTorch.com might say, VKM is paying UFC Brock, but insists on using WWE Brock. That’s by way of proving the machine made Brock, just like it made everybody else. But that’s not true. Brock made Brock. His accomplishments span genres. VKM just can’t prove otherwise.
Audience of one, y’all. AUDIENCE OF ONE.
Wrestling blows. I still like C.M. Punk. Impact needs to fire about half the roster. Cut their losses. Run a tighter ship. Does Impact gain even one viewer because Christy Hemme does the ring announcing? Because Earl Hebner screwed Bret a million years ago? Boy, is Ken Anderson mediocre.
The two smartest minds in wrestling are Paul Heyman and Jim Ross. Neither has anything to do with wrestling’s creative process. That tells you all you need to know about wrestling’s priorities as they currently stand.
BTW, this column blows, too. I wrote it in about 14 minutes while I was all hopped up on tequila and cough syrup. I’ll start trying when they do.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m.weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA (105.9). Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail. com . FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MarkMaddenX