Hardy! Storm! Aries! Roode! TNA World Heavyweight Championship!
Two major events happened last Sunday (Nov. 11) at Turning Point. The first is that Jeff Hardy beat Austin Aries -- clean -- as he climbed up a ladder to grab both the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and his own "enigma" Championship.
This is an excellent move by TNA.
The biggest complaint I have about the pro wrestling industry is that stories rarely get the conclusions they need. Too often do things get overshadowed by shmoz and shenanigans in the major promotions. It killed WCW, it is killing me to watch in WWE, and it has almost killed TNA again and again. Two clean victories in well fought matches make Hardy look strong as champion. He is able to move on to his next opponent without the baggage that traditionally accompanies the TNA title.
That is not to say that Austin Aries won't be hanging around, of course. He is still "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived." He'll serve his time in the upper-card, most likely in a series of #1 Contenders matches. He has the talent in-ring and on the mic to stay hot without the gold around his waist.
As much as I love what Aries is doing, I have no problem with the promotion moving forward in a definite direction. Hardy has proven he can still compete, get over with the fans, and, most importantly, stay sober. If this is what TNA thinks is best for its business, then good on them for going all in. A debate can be had as to whether this is a smart move or not.
But that won't be settled until the ratings and buyrates start rolling in.
The second event which occurred at Turning Point is James Storm pinning AJ Styles in a Triple Threat, also featuring Bobby Roode. The two match stipulations were:
- The winner would become the #1 Contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
- The man who was pinned would not be given a title shot until Bound For Glory 2013
This should have been a good move by TNA.
Storm should be given a legitimate run with the championship. He's been getting screwed out of the strap repeatedly throughout the past year plus change. His entire feud with Roode should have been for the championship. Having Storm next in line to challenge Hardy is a step in the right direction.
Roode, on the other hand, doesn't need to be challenging for the title right now. "The IT Factor" is good in the ring, great on the mic, and can work with anyone thrown his way. Like Aries, he can safely wait in the wings until the opportunity presents itself for him to be inserted into the top of the card.
This is the way it should work. However, this may not be how everything goes down.
Due to the Thanksgiving holidays, Impact Wrestling will be going back to a taped format. What this means, is spoilers are available (which, if you are so inclined, can be found here). I won't ruin anything, but lets just say that TNA continues to get in its own way at every opportunity.
Styles! Face of TNA! Eternal Loser!
Poor, poor AJ Styles.
The man who has consistently put his body on the line for the promotion since its inception has once again drawn the short straw. First, it was Hulk Hogan, then Eric Bischoff, and followed up by a bunch of has-beens forcing him down the card. Then it was the utter destruction of the X Division, the division Styles practically created with his own hands. His sole reign with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship saw the fan favorite turn into a pathetic heel. To top it all off, he was saddled with the Claire Lynch fiasco for months on end, ad nauseum.
Just when things were starting to look up, he was pinned by James Storm, forcing him out of the main event for a year.
The knee-jerk reaction is to view this as utterly idiotic, but there is actually a way for this to work out for Styles. That is, there is a way this could work out, if TNA handles it correctly.
"The Phenomenal One" has been used and abused for years with nothing to show for it. Now that he has no opportunity to reach TNA's highest plateau, it is time for him to just loose control. Go completely buck-wild. Take out anyone and everyone who looks at him wrong. Join Aces & 8s and fight against TNA. Hell, screw Aces & 8s. They would just slow him down anyways. Let's take them out as well. Create his own championship and defend it every match. If he loses it, he invokes a rematch clause, with a lead pipe! He has an unstoppable run until October of 2013, where he makes good on a promise. A promise to be the true face of TNA. A promise to right the wrongs committed against him.
A promise to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion!
Now, that is an angle I would love to see.
Everything Else! Bullet Points!
- The recurring feature Open Fight Night comes tangoing back into our lives. All wrestlers are on deck, ready to be called out on a moments notice. For all that TNA screws up, this is probably one of the better gimmicks in pro wrestling.
- Tonight will also feature the return of every Gut Check winner, which means the return of MY GURL Taeler Hendrix. This makes The C.J. a very happy man.
- We will also see a battle royal to be the #1 Contender for the Knockouts Championship. This can be good or bad, depending on your view of the division. At the very least, it should be entertaining to watch.
- Aces & 8s is still a thing, and TNA still has no clue what to do with it. At the very least we got to see Joseph Park's head busted open. So there's that.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Thursday night gang in the live blog right here.