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Ricky Jackson

Is Impact the best promotion in wrestling history?

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15 hours ago, SomethingSavage said:

And really, that's what rubs me the wrong way. People are outraged, but only up to a point. At least I'm being honest about it. I'll keep watching. But so would everyone else, which has been established and shown over time - just as you'd reiterated.

I will say - I was thinking about buying the show tonight, and this has soured me enough to be sure I'm not going to. Now, to be fair, I was on the fence to begin with (Impact's shows I think are a bit expensive relative to the value). And it's not like I'm saying I'm never going to watch Impact again. But sometimes people do decide to vote with their dollars.

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16 hours ago, sek69 said:

The thing about Tessa is the main reason she was in Impact in the first place is she had a terrible rep and no one else would touch her. Her going there was supposed to be a time for her to stay under the radar and rebuild her rep, which ironically was going pretty well until she decided to blow everything up today.  

So yeah, this isn't so much a case of everyone dogpiling on someone because the place they work makes them an easy target to ignore. It's because she's someone who was previously known to be a shithead who people were assuming had reformed before finding out that wasn't the case. 

Again, I pay no attention to the rumor mill or wrestling Twitter. So I had no clue about Impact being the stop gap for her to "rebuild her rep" with folks backstage. I just knew the peripheral talk I'd heard about her having a bad attitude, and even that dissipated after I started following her Knockouts run anyhow.

I get the fascination with knowing these people and the gossip. I listen to a lot of the podcasts, after all. I just don't let it affect my enjoyment of anything. Pro wrestling is an escape. If it's not enjoyable, I'm not making an effort to keep up.

If 2019 has taught me anything, it's that I can step away from my 30 years of wrestling fandom, come back 12 months later, and really not have missed much of anything. So when something like gossip and bullshit detracts from my enjoyment, then yeah. I'd rather just tune it out. Call that whatever you want, but life's too short. I've got enough going on with my own priorities than to worry about the real life character of people I'll never meet or interact with anyway.

Now don't get me wrong. If Tessa had spit in my face and called me the N-word, then yeah. We'd be having an entirely different conversation right now. But that's the thing. One is real world. One is at a distance. Again, racism is something I have very real, actual experience with. And I'm not the type to fake or force exaggerated outrage over something so serious.

If it bothers folks, then it should bother them across the board. Murdoch shouldn't get a pass because he throws a mean working punch. Hayes shouldn't get a pass for drawing crowds to the Superdome. There is no good excuse.

But I can separate what I see as entertainment from the shit I experience in the real world. I can still watch Tessa matches, Hogan matches, etc. I can still see Mel Gibson movies. This doesn't mean I forgive or sympathize with the things I've heard them say or do.

I do appreciate you sharing that perspective though. Like I said, I wasn't aware of that being Tessa's situation - a time out of sorts in Impact for bad behavior. I never got that impression just watching the show and following her story there.

And I'm glad. It's blissful ignorance, because I've enjoyed her run and will probably continue to enjoy her run there.

11 hours ago, TonyPulis'Cap said:

Overall, looking forward to the show tonight. In 2019, Impact was arguably my favourite of the promotions that is a television product, where a lot of the time rivalries and feuds are built on personal issues and where you can identify with the motivations of people involved. For anyone that's looking to jump on board the Impact train, and that wants to pick out some of the best matches from last year to revisit to give you a flavour, this is my top 10 of Impact matches from 2019 based on my match ratings:

NB - these are in chronological order rather than ranked 1-10 on which I thought was best.  You can see the same names often cropping up.

01/06/2019 Homecoming: LAX vs Lucha Bros     

02/08/2019 Impact: LAX vs Lucha Bros

02/15/2019 Impact: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (Street Fight)         

04/29/2019 Rebellion: Tessa Blanchard vs Gail Kim         

04/29/2019 Rebellion: LAX vs Lucha Bros (Full Metal Mayhem)  

07/07/2019 Slammiversary: Brian Cage vs Michael Elgin

07/07/2019 Slammiversary: Sami Callihan vs Tessa Blanchard     

08/02/2019 Impact: The North vs The Rascalz    

11/19/2019 Impact: Tessa Blanchard vs Brian Cage vs Rich Swann vs Michael Elgin vs DAGA vs Moose (Gauntlet match)

10/20/2019 Bound for Glory: Jake Crist vs Ace Austin vs Tessa Blanchard vs DAGA vs Ace Romero (Ladder match)

Good stuff. Proud to say I've actually managed to watch everything on this list, except the Gauntlet and the North/Rascalz tag.

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According to PWInsider, Rich Swann's ankle is causing him lots of trouble and Ethan Page is planning to work through serious case of food poisoning. Some talents have had trouble getting to Dallas because of the storms. As of this moment, Rohit Raju still hasn't made it to Dallas.

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2 hours ago, Migs said:

I will say - I was thinking about buying the show tonight, and this has soured me enough to be sure I'm not going to. 

I'm actually in the other camp. I didn't even know that the show was happening & now I plan on watching it tonight. 

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I had forgot about the show being this weekend (mostly due to my hectic work schedule and having to put in some 16-hour shifts this week), but the combination of that awesome YouTube video and now this has made it must see for me.

I'm tempted to check out the results here from work, but I may just wait and catch it on replay after the fact. Either way though, I'm definitely going to watch.

It sucks that some folks are having a hard time getting there. I hope it doesn't cause too much last-minute restructuring for their plans. But that storm was crazy down here. My friend was completely snowed in over in West Texas, which is just nuts. The weather patterns have been insane all year down here.

End times, bruthas. Might as well watch a little bit more rasslin a'fore we go dinosaur.

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Interesting to see they seem to have changed the accent color on the belts from Impact Blue to  more TNA looking red.

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It's looking like I won't be able to catch the show in full until Thursday or Friday at the earliest, but I'll gladly read your guys' thoughts on the show before then.

I'm hearing good things about the Edwards match. And here's hoping the Moose match was a fun brawl. Dude usually goes full throttle in those.

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Eddie/Elgin was great again, as good or better as their match last week on Impact. Moose/Rhino was a real fun hardcore brawl. Tag titles match suffered the loss of Swann but still really entertaining for a handicap bout. Main event lived up to expectations and put on an epic. Sucks we don't get to see RVD vs Cage.

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11 hours ago, Alucard said:

Sucks we don't get to see RVD vs Cage.

I can't believe this didn't happen on a SoCal major indy at some point.

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So apparently a segment with RVD and his girlfriends had some nip slips and got Impact's Twitch channel banned for violating TOS.

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Eek.

I mean, obviously that was too much. But hey. I'm enjoying the shit out of this RVD heel run overall. It's unfortunate that somebody was dense enough to let that fly like it was no big deal, but yeah. RVD in this role has been a win on the entertainment end of things.

His character is basically an exercise in the idea of, "What if Shawn Michaels never got his shit together?" in 2020. It's an amazing experiment in fantasy booking that scenario.

Think about it. A clearly wasted, arrogant dickhead who walks around bragging about his talents and how he revolutionized the business through matches and movez.

In this world, Shawn never sobered up. Maybe he split with his Nitro Girl wife and hooked up with a newer model - a twerking, pornstar-ish exotic dancer.

In any case, what they're actually doing is a truckload of fun. I mean, sure. It's gratuitous. It's gross. It's obnoxious. It's borderline uncomfortable to watch them kiss and grind on each other like a couple of animals in heat.

But that's the point. You aren't supposed to find it cool. You aren't supposed to nod along and parrot Rob anymore. You aren't supposed to agree. You're meant to feel that this guy is smack dab in the thick of a midlife crisis. And Katie Forbes is a key ornament to help accentuate that.

I'm not sure if I'm a big fan of the threesome shit they've introduced now, but time will tell. As it stands, I've been digging what they've had Rob doing with Katie by his side. The twerking. The new gentleman's club theme music. The matching gear. It's all just the right kind of annoying. Plus it's a fresher presentation for Rob, which was lonnngggg overdue.

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It seems like they just decided to take Charlie Sheen's life and make it a wrestling gimmick, substituting cocaine use for weed. 

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I mean, in itself, I also find this very amusing and love @SomethingSavage analogy with a what if HBK never got his shit together. In fact, I'm sure Paul Heyman would look at this and wished he would've thought of that himself for heel RVD in ECW when he had the chance.

Isn't Josh Mathews the guy in charge of social media for Impact? In the end, he should be the fall guy for letting this go through, right?

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It should be interesting to see if there's any kind of accountability in the aftermath of this thing. It's unfortunate, but yeah. Obviously that was just excessive. And again, I enjoy the act. But come on. Common sense has to come into play at some point.

6 hours ago, sek69 said:

It seems like they just decided to take Charlie Sheen's life and make it a wrestling gimmick, substituting cocaine use for weed. 

I love it. And, to his credit, RVD carries off the glazed, hazy-eyes look like nobody else. That, along with his "give zero fucks" nonchalant demeanor puts this over the top for me.

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Yeop. It must be because of the quotation marks to start the title or something.

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15 hours ago, C.S. said:

Is the thread listed below breaking the board for anyone else? I can't get it to load.

"Is Tessa Blanchard the best American woman worker?"  How many matches to watch to make a conclusion?

By War is Raw, 2 hours ago

The post is stuck in limbo and can't even load to edit or remove. I would like anyone's thoughts on my question though:

Quote

 

"Is Tessa Blanchard the best American woman worker?"  How many matches to watch to make a conclusion?

I know this topic was discussed back in the day with GWE, but there was no consensus. Is there even a number? Assuming the bulk of a career has made it to video, how many matches do you watch to feel comfortable making a final judgment about a wrestler's skill level, talents, career, or personal historical ranking? What breakdown of squash matches, early career vs peak vs twilight, TV matches, indie work vs major leagues, big PPV matches, tag, best of... compilations, random house shows, etc. would you consider?

What is your educated guess, like if you were assigning homework to research to answer the question "Is Tessa Blanchard the best American woman worker?" 

I assume I'd make a shortlist of the top American female talent (her peers) based on published rankings/push to compare Tessa to, but once I get the names, how many matches to watch?

 

TLDR: How many matches of Tessa should one watch to assess her skills and compare her to Charlotte, Becky, Sasha, etc.?

 

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I don't know if there's a right or wrong answer here. My gauge to determine that could be different than yours, like it would be different from somebody else. We would have to come together and decide specific guidelines to accurately judge it. But even there, it's all subjective, especially if your bias for or against one of those names come into play.

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I have zero interest in overanalyzing the comparisons to compile lists or anything, but I'm more than willing to discuss some of Tessa's performances.

Specifically, she was fantastic last weekend. And yes. She comes across like one of the very best in the world at this moment - and honestly, it has felt like she's belonged among that class for about two years now.

I found it ridiculous (and still do) when people here lined up to trumpet Sasha Banks as "the best wrestler" in 2014. That idea certainly hasn't aged well, and I never really bought it to begin with. But somehow, the idea of Tessa Blanchard receiving the same praise doesn't seem so far-fetched.

The major issue will obviously be how some people receive intergender matches. The believability factor is going to be a big element in how her performances are viewed and discussed. However, when you actually look at her work brick by brick, she is absolutely amazing.

In 2020, women could be perceived as the new cruiserweight style underdog. What I mean by that is that undersized wrestlers used to draw instant sympathy. Nowadays, it's so commonplace to watch smaller guys battle bigger guys. David and Goliath is still a match template, but it is so commonplace that it takes a special performer to get it right. With intergender wrestling, I think it draws out a more visceral response.

But going back to Tessa, she absolutely knows how to tap into that. She clearly gets it. Every moment, every second, and every inch of space is filled with SOMETHING meaningful. There's no dead air in her performances. She's either struggling, fighting back, firing up, or selling her ass off.

Seth Rollins should be forced to watch Hard To Kill everyday for the rest of his days to see how to sell a knee.

Kenny Omega should be forced to watch Tessa Blanchard for the rest of his life to see what a match can look like when you perform like it's combat and not like it's a dance recital. Whereas Tessa treats things like a fight - displaying fury, anger, and agony - Kenny treats things like a prep rally - with goofy facial expressions, prissy twisty prancing, and jazz hand finger puppet bullshit.

Seriously. The way Tessa approaches the "downtime" in her matches is so smart and critical to the overall performance. There's very little chance she'll lose your attention or give you reason to disengage from the story she's selling you. In 2020, I feel like that's such a rare feat and nearly a lost art in pro wrestling.

I'm not saying there aren't wrestlers that still do that. There are. But they are few and far between. And if the likes of Rollins or Omega get discussed as being some of the best, with their performance art athletic exhibitions, then Tessa certainly smokes them in all categories when it comes to actual PRO WRESTLING.

I realize that may make me an outlier on the issue (no surprise there). But I don't care. I'll stand by it. Show me a Kenny Omega match (that isn't led by Okada or Jericho) that even comes close to looking like a struggle. Show me a Seth match that ever looks like anything but an excuse for him to flip and flop around like a frog in a blender.

Tessa manages, time and time again, to blend the contemporary in-ring style with the more emotion-based storytelling methods that have always proven timeless. Move trends come and go. But it's the selling, the fire, and the story that will never go out of style. Years from now, when a lot of the "greats" of the here & now are exposed as spot-based workers with no transitions and empty, soulless performances - I absolutely believe Tessa will stand out head & shoulders above the pack as someone who was doing it right.

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I would definitely put Riho in the conversation, for having matches that consistently get more over as it proceeds. AEW women's division is not great, but she has had some strong matches with multiple opponents. 

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I completely overlooked the "woman" worker specification. I don't know that I'd rate anyone above her. I think there are some that might eclipse her in terms of GOOD quantity and sheer volume of matches. But I'm not convinced she can be touched in terms of GREAT quality when it comes to major payoff matches.

I love me some Sasha, but she doesn't always show up the same. Ripley is another on the radar, but I wouldn't put her at that level yet. Charlotte is very hit or miss, although I would note that she's had plenty of matches that fall in the GOOD category. Becky is solid but nowhere near as sharp as she's made out to be.

And Shayna is one I struggle to rate properly, because I think so much of her appeal has (thus far) hinged on her heel demeanor. How does she fare in the babyface role, for example? She's almost been entirely the dominant heel defender. Tessa has completely killed it from both sides of the allegiance fence already. It's hypothetical versus proven examples, which admittedly is unfair. But it's what we are given to judge here.

I'm not intentionally sleeping on Asuka either, who has really felt reenergized by the heel slant this past year.

I haven't seen enough of Riho to know where she would fall in this discussion. Can you recommend me anything? If so, much appreciated.

Ultimately, I believe it's the small things that separate the good from the great performances. And a lot of that comes down to the in-betweens. There's simply no filler and no fat to trim off a Tessa performance. She has a way of engaging her audience from the first second to the last. Her presence helps, but Sasha has a great command of that as well. It's just that Tessa has practically mastered the art of combining all the elements - the selling, the fire, the story, the threading of all these things together - to push her ahead of the pack in my mind.

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To be fair, this is something that both her dad Tully and her stepdad Magnum TA also excelled at. They understood how to put a match together to excite the crowd to the max and she also understood that rather quickly. I don't think I've been bored by a Tessa Blanchard match yet.

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