Smart Marks 9.21.03: Space Flying Tiger Dropping Bombs on Y'all
Posted by Dino Zucconi on 09.21.2013
This week, I break down the AJ/Dixie confrontation, give my thoughts on Chris Sabin's recent actions, and make fun of jerks who don't understand the difference between being ripped off, and watching a wrestling pay per view.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Smart Marks, where I break down events in our beloved wrestling world, and give my take on them all. As always, your thoughts are more than welcome down in the comments, where you can feel free to tell me how right I am, how wrong I am, or how absolutely stupid I am in the most condescending tone you can muster! Either way, I'll still be here, telling you what I think!
Before we really get underway, I wanted to give some props to reader Wrestling Fan who accurately called Magnus entering into a feud of sorts with EGO, which should provide some entertaining matches along the way. I must not have been totally paying attention last week, but when EGO interfered in the AJ / Magnus match, I really thought that AJ would be the one trying to get at EGO for nearly costing him his big match. It didn't even cross my mind that perhaps Magnus might want a piece of those guys, and I was happy to see Impact kick off with those four getting into an altercation. Maybe Magnus will be all right, after all!
It's been a whirlwind couple weeks here in my real life, so I haven't been able to fully digest my usual programming as I'd like to. However, I've still managed to more or less stay on top of my WWE and TNA news, which is basically what I cover anyways, unless I happen upon some rad collection or something like that. This week, I think I'm going to focus a bit more on TNA, as I really enjoyed last night's episode of Impact. We might touch on some WWE happenings as well, but for now, I'd like to hop into what I considered the best part of Impact, and I'm still pretty surprised that I feel that way.
So, did you guys watch Impact? I'm going to be discussing the segment that ended the show here, so if you don't want to read about it, I'd skip on down to the next topic.
In the last couple years, there have been quite a few segments on TNA Impact that have revolved around Dixie Carter and AJ Styles. And from where I sit, nearly every single one of them were horrible. Dreadfully horrible. Embarrassingly horrible. Worthy of many, many cringes. That entire fake affair and Claire Lynch story? Being bullied around by Kaz and Daniels? It's always bad. At least, it's always been bad. So when Impact started up last night, and we were told that AJ Styles was going to hit the ring later in the evening, and he was going to say some stuff that Dixie might not like, and Dixie would have a chance to offer a rebuttal afterwards... well, let's just say I was extremely underwhelmed. Nightmares of AJ stumbling through a Serious Promo™ as the crowd chants "WHAT?!" at every pause he takes, of Dixie attempting to act, of them both talking about how important AJ Styles is to the world of wrestling... I was not looking forward to this.
And then that stupid hybrid music hit, and out came AJ Styles. How bad was this going to be? To my surprise, it wasn't going to be that bad. At least, not to start off. AJ grabbed a microphone, and actually did a pretty decent job speaking his mind. I know that AJ Styles and his mic skills has been a recent point of contention around here lately, so let me just say this- he's not great, and he's not the worst. He struggles the most when he's trying to sound big, bad and tough, because he's none of those. When he's being an arrogant jerk? He's great. When he's trying to rally troops? He can be good. When he's trying to be the guy you should be afraid of? It's really difficult to listen. That's my take on AJ Styles with a microphone in his hand.
I sat there pretty stunned at how well he did. His rant reminded me of the Samoa Joe shoot I posted here a couple weeks ago, actually. AJ talked about the "chemistry" that used to exist in TNA, and how guys who worked there would bust their asses for the company. He talked about how once Dixie got her "daddy's money" she was able to ignore those guys and go try to get superstars, guys who "would take a two year vacation here and then head right back to where they belong." Whoa! Who IS this guy?! AJ Styles absolutely nailed it, in my opinion. The fans were digging it, too. "Am I the only one here who's pissed off about this?!" The arena loudly let him know that no, in fact, he's not the only one who's angry about guys like Jay Lethal and Low Ki being run out of town so that Mick Foley and Tommy Dreamer could have jobs. AJ Styles laid it out perfectly. This is his house, he's spent the better part of 11 years building it, and he's gotten nothing but grief and mistreatment for it. This may very well be the best AJ Styles promo I've heard him do, as long as I can discount comedy. I've honestly never bought into a word that guy ever said before, but I bought into that promo.
Then it was Dixie Carter's turn. She had been "preoccupied" all night to say the least, appearing distracted, and even forlorn. While AJ had done his part and delivered the promo he had to deliver, I was really worried about Dixie. She's historically caused Linda McMahon to say "Man, this bitch can't act for shit" on many occasions. There's no way she holds up her end of the bargain, I thought to myself. I almost didn't want to even watch the rest. I could live without Dixie Carter crying through some apologetic promo while simultaneously kissing AJ's ass.
And this is the part where I eat crow. To my utter shock and disbelief, Dixie Carter delivered the promo of her life. Yeah, that's right- her LIFE. She immediately knocked AJ off his pedestal, reminding him that everything he is, is because of her. It was HER marketing genius that created the "Phenomenal One" gimmick. It was HER that hammered home how he could deliver a five star match at any time. She then followed that up by pointing out that she couldn't even remember the last time he actually had a five star match, because it'd been so fricking long. Basically, Dixie Carter tapped into her inner Vince McMahon, and the result was not atrocious! I was laughing along, and enjoying it all. Sure, some of that is just due to some professional AJ hatred and enjoying seeing him cut down like that, but at the same time... who saw this coming?! Who had AJ Styles and Dixie Carter being involved in a GOOD segment together?? Not me, that's for damn sure.
For me, the best part of this was that there was absolutely a lot of truth to what Dixie had to say about AJ. AJ's always been a bit overrated in my opinion, and the past year and a half or so, his character on screen has been nothing but a waste of time and effort. It was nice to see the Boss call him out for not bringing much to the table besides whining and crying. It was nice to hear the contract situation mentioned, but not played out in the same manner as, say, the Summer of Punk. AJ Styles isn't happy with TNA. He knows the only way he can "save" TNA is to win the World Title back, so he'll get the props he deserves. Dixie Carter just doesn't think he has it anymore. AJ wants to prove her wrong.
Look at that, we have a compelling story heading into the BFG Main Event, and it wasn't just because Bully Ray had AJ get jumped by Aces and Eights. Well done, TNA. I still can't believe those two pulled it off. Well freaking done.
Another surprising turn of events on Impact, for me at least, was the turn of Chris Sabin. Hell, it wasn't too long ago where in this very column, I talked about wrestlers who should never be a heel, and I'm pretty sure Chris Sabin was on that list. I've just never seen anything out of Sabin that says he could be anything other than a standard chicken shit heel, with nothing special to add. His offense is the kind that gets the fans to pop, and he doesn't have any kind of serious impact/submission move to curb those kinds of reaction.
His Thank You For Staying World Title reign this summer only reinforced my thoughts. Here he was, positioned as the guy that beat Bully Ray for the title, the number one guy on the show... and he just can't help but sound like some snot nosed 12 year old kid any time anyone says anything to him. He didn't show anything that said "There's more to me than just really cool moves, you know." And that's always been my problem with Chris Sabin. You know exactly what you're getting out of him, and you should know better than to expect anything else. He's just not a guy who will draw you in with his character, and that's always going to be a bit of a hindrance.
And again, here comes TNA to serve me up some humble pie. What's your problem, TNA?! Why you gotta make me look bad? Sabin approaching Manik backstage, and basically giving him the "hey, you're welcome for making all of this possible for you" speech was a good start. It wasn't overt, but it was a clear signal that Chris Sabin might be changing a bit. Add to that his new girl Velvet Sky, and suddenly Sabin appeared to be a bit of a cocky jerk with a hot babe on his arm. A little Zigglerfication to fix Sabin? That could easily work!
However, after Jeff Hardy defeated Manik, Sabin entered the ring, shook Manik's hand, and then assaulted him from behind, running off when Hardy returned to the ring to intervene. Some taunting from the ramp, and the heel turn was complete. But we weren't done yet. We needed to know what exactly sparked this. Surely Chris Sabin has better things to do than worry about Manik?
That's when TNA's backstage cameraman caught up to Sabin, asking what the hell that was all about. And Sabin, surely knowing that it was the night of surprising ass promos, knocked it out of the park. Everything he said was 100% true. He pointed out his multiple X Division championships. His Tag Team championships. The fact that just a few short weeks ago, he was the World Champion. And yet, where's his respect? Where's his adoration? Sure, it may seem like a cookie cutter reason to turn heel- feel disrespected, throw a temper tantrum- but could anything be more on point?
It's never seemed to me that Chris Sabin is held in the same regards as an AJ Styles, or a Christopher Daniels. He's not spoken of reverently like a Jerry Lynn, no one loved his moves the way they did for Petey Williams, and he doesn't get any stake in the "helped build TNA" sweepstakes like a Bobby Roode or a James Storm. Yet Chris Sabin has been with TNA basically since the start. He's held every title, and wowed the crowds. But he's still just treated like any other wrestler. This was perfect. Chris Sabin looked and sounded like he believed every single word he was saying, and that's how it should be. I'm glad they didn't try to force a character on him, some kind of stupid gimmick he couldn't possibly pull off. I'm glad he's not talking like some super tough guy. I wish he had some of this attitude while he was feuding with Bully Ray, but I'm happy to see it show up now.
In one quick segment, TNA managed to turn a guy heel who I felt had no business in that role, and they did it with logical reasoning and had it delivered by a surprisingly good rant from Sabin himself. I could see Sabin return to the X Division, treating it like it's below him, and attempting to dominate it all. A feud with Manik would produce some good matches, while also giving Manik a chance to shine against more established wrestlers, while also maybe even pulling out a win here and there. Great move by TNA to make sure Sabin didn't just tread water for the next eight months, and I'm definitely looking forward to this. Could Styles and Sabin end up working together, both frustrated by Dixie Carter's lack of attention? I'd be down for it!
What do you guys think of Sabin's turn? Any feuds you'd like to see? Hit me up in the comments!
To close it out, a story recently came out regarding WWE fans calling their cable provider following Monday's RAW where Daniel Bryan was stripped of the championship, and demanded their money back from their purchase of Night of Champions- and they GOT the refund!
That's right- because a wrestling show's scripted ending did not jive with what they wanted, they were able to actually get their money back from the cable company. As a former waiter, I know well the horrors of the Customer is Always Right society, and here's just another example. No one called for a refund because the show wasn't broadcast. There were no technical issues. There was nothing offensive. Sunday night, when everyone went to bed, everyone was happy. There were no problems with what happened on the pay per view. But once shit gets changed the next night, NOW we have a problem. And they actually get compensated.
What really gets me, on top of the idiots who called their company to complain about wanting money back because they didn't like the end of their show, is that the cable company went with it. Where were the "you know it's fake, right?" types when we actually NEEDED them?
No wonder everyone else hates wrestling fans. We're so freaking stupid sometimes.
Really though, I'm just bitter that I didn't think of this for WrestleMania 6, Survivor Series 1997, Over the Edge 1999, and SummerSlam 2003! Think of all the money I could have right now if I had only realized that if you just complain about anything, you can trick people into thinking you deserve something.
Were you one of those yokels that got a refund? Share your story in the comments below!
Well that should pretty much do it for this week. TNA looks to be gaining momentum (I didn't even talk about the seeming collapse of Aces and Eights!), while WWE continues on with the Corporate Takeover story. While we've all had just about enough of Crying Big Show, I'm still excited by the angle overall, and look forward to the reintroduction of Cody Rhodes to the mix, along with seeing what happens now that the roster has actually stood up and fought back. We'll talk about it all in seven days.
Until then, enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your lucha, your puro, and your indies.
It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It.