Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - Man on woman violence happens as Bully Ray puts Dixie Carter through a table, Samoa Joe becomes X Division Champion, Monsters Ball, and more!
By Will Pruett
I am emotionally conflicted about this week's episode of Impact Wrestling. It was built around the moment when Bully Ray hoisted Dixie Carter up onto his shoulders and dropped her through a table. This moment incited a party in New York City. The fans were jumping up and down. The fans were basically rioting, but in a positive way (like in LA when the Lakers win a championship). For the pure spectacle of the moment and for the build to the moment, the creative force behind Impact Wrestling deserves some praise. It is, however, impossible to praise this moment without mentioning the man-on-woman violence at the core of it.
Dixie Carter is not a trained professional wrestler. Dixie Carter is some random business woman who ended up mixed up in professional wrestling because she was Jeff Jarrett's neighbor in some weird Nashville-area rich person apartments at some point. Carter is a middle-aged woman. She became a central figure in Impact Wrestling in a misguided effort to explain the departure of highly-paid stars. She has business in a wrestling ring. She has no business taking bumps.
While I know there was a significant effort to build to this moment and to make fans anticipate it, the moment still doesn't sit right with me. The effort almost makes it worse. The promotion was built, for the last three months, around Dixie Carter being physically assaulted by the bigger stronger Bully Ray. She ran from him. She hid from him. He pursued her. He brought other wrestlers in so he could get to her. Bully Ray based his entire character on physically assaulting someone weaker than him. The sad part is, fans were expected to cheer it.
The sadder part is that fans did cheer it. I'm not criticizing the fans as much as I'm criticizing the creative effort. This was a story completely aimed at the lowest common denominator who will needlessly argue "Well, she deserved it" instead of realizing what they're cheering. What does this say about the societal place of wrestling? Does this make wrestling seem more attractive to non-wrestling fans who don't understand the tropes inherent in it? What did she really do to "deserve it" and what did it mean?
A theater packed with people threw a party when a woman, who was trying to run, was finally assaulted by a man. Yes, #ItHappened, but what it worth it? Was it worth hurting the reputation of professional wrestling yet again? If this effort would have gone into the wrestling matches for the last six instead of the senseless violence, maybe we wouldn't be talking about Impact Wrestling's impending cancellation.
Picking up the pieces:
- The opening match was another festival of needless senseless violence. Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't need to see a match with thumbtacks and a barbed wire board. I don't need to see wrestlers cutting themselves up with the ultimate goal being the retrieval of a murder-weapon named Janice. Bram and Abyss might have worked hard. I don't know. I had to fast-forward through this gore-fest.
- Are wrestlers still locked in small rooms, starved, and water-tortured before Monster's Ball matches?
- I enjoyed the emphasis on the past feud Samoa Joe and Low Ki have had, but why not try to emphasize a feud you have the footage to show? The announcers didn't even talk about the feud as much as they could of.
- Sam Shaw is still a thing. Who knew?
- When I stopped watching TNA, Gunner was taking off as a babyface. What did he do to get stuck in the never-ending Anderson and Shaw saga of awful?
- The eight-man hardcore war was an interesting match, but I wasn't passionately involved in it. Ethan Carter III continues to be the star of the show and the best star TNA has right now.
- Gail Kim wants to defend her Women's Championship against everyone. Sometimes babyfaces make poor choices.
- The Sanada and James Storm pairing is still fairly new, but it is confusing me. Is Storm hurt? Why was the decision made to make him Sanada's hype man?
- Samoa Joe vs. Low Ki vs. Sanada was an action packed six minute match, but it was kind of difficult to see a six minute technical match, when you know almost twenty were dedicated to some ECW-nostalgia garbage wrestling earlier in the show. Why not give both matches equal treatment?
- How long until this revival of the X Division fades away?
- I understand why fans cheered for the final spot with Dixie Carter, but I don't agree with it. As a culture, we should be above it.
This show was built around a moment and a hashtag. I didn't like the moment and I didn't like a lot of the garbage leading up to it. It was my least favorite of the New York City shows thus far. Hopefully Impact Wrestling gets back on track and stops trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Wrestling can be better than this.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter @itswilltime, unless you're going to explain to me that men can hit women. If you're going to do that, I will say mean things about you.
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