Pruett's Pause: TNA Impact Wrestling - The Aces and Eights collapse, an help no one, the Mafia runs into EGO again, Dixie Carter and Hulk Hogan speak, and more!
By Will Pruett
The Aces and Eights are falling apart. The faction at the center of TNA storytelling for the last year is now losing members week by week and almost moment by moment. D'Lo was defeated. Doc is gone. Devon has left. Anderson departed. Tito Ortiz was pulled by Bellator. And on this show, Brisco was relieved from being the lone long-haired Aces and Eight. The faction now consists of three wrestlers, a valet, and a commentator. This has not been due to the work of some great babyface force overcoming them one by one, but it has been through the devices at play within the faction itself.
In standard wrestling storytelling (which provides us with guidelines, but not hard rules), heels are usually built up to put over babyfaces. When Mr. McMahon dominated the scene for most of 1998 and won the 1999 Royal Rumble, it was to put Steve Austin over going into WrestleMania XV. When a heel begins becoming stronger and a heel faction forms, the purpose is usually to build up a conquering babyface to tear the faction apart.
TNA is not creating the conquering babyface. The lead (non-authority figure) good guy in TNA right now is A.J. Styles, who is engaged in a feud with Dixie Carter with worked-shoot comments and contracts being thrown around. He has had almost nothing to do with the collapse of the once mighty biker gang. He did pin Devon to eliminate him, but nothing else has been directly or indirectly tied to A.J.
A babyface faction was even created with one of their two purposes being to destroy the Aces and Eights. What has the Main Event Mafia done to eliminate these wrestlers? They won the five on five match to eliminate Devon. The won on this week's Impact when Bully Ray promised to kick out the losing member of the gang. Only one of those major losses to the Aces and Eights can even be claimed by the MEM.
This collapse is coming from within. The remaining members, last week and this week, have confronted Bully about his actions. They are dissenting. They are leaving. Should I cheer them now? The men who attacked my heroes with hammers are now leaving because Bully isn't vicious enough or focused enough.
The result of this collapse is no one getting over because of it. The other members of the Aces and Eights are being beat and disappearing. Bully Ray looks like a weak leader too distracted by a girl who maybe says two words per episode of Impact. The babyfaces are just as over as they were before. Nothing is really accomplished, and like many TNA factions before them, the Aces and Eights will disappear without a true blow off.
Critical as I was of Ring of Honor's SCUM storyline, they created a mega-faction, then blew it off. I really wish TNA would have done the same.
Picking up the pieces:
- It was nice to hear Bully Ray at least mention A.J. Styles on this show. I continue to wonder how promoting Bound for Glory as essentially Dixie Carter vs. Hulk Hogan really helps TNA.
- The shaving talk with Eric Young and Joseph Park was cute. I'm still waiting for the Park story to evolve. I feel like TNA realized Park was more fun than Abyss and just gave up on the story.
- The Bro-Mans and Gail Kim vs. Park, Young, and ODB was a decent match that I expected very little from. The Knockouts division with ODB at the helm is now a comedy division, so a comedy match here was fitting.
- Kenny King has not had much television time to perfect his promo skills. He came across very raw in his segment with Austin Aries. I believe there is promise with him, but he needs time (and a good story) to develop.
- This post-BFGS period of time illustrates the failure of that series. There was not a huge effort made to tell stories in the undercard of the series and now wrestlers in it (Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, others) are directionless going into Bound for glory.
- King vs. Aires could have been much more than it was. I hope the blood was hard-way, simply because it added nothing to the match. It was essentially a squash for Aires, who looks to be possibly heading into the X Division Championship picture.
- Lei'D Tapa is joining a very challenging Knockout's division right now. I'm happy to see new blood coming in. Hopefully she ends up being what it needs.
- Magnus and Sting still have me convinced they will be meeting at Bound for Glory. I'm not sure what the story will be there, but the confrontations between them cannot be for nothing. Sting is one of the only wrestlers Magnus could beat to have a real signature victory at this point.
- Hulk Hogan's mid show promo was there only to promote his end of show promo. I'm confused.
- Who's Ethan? Will it be Tito Ortiz again? I hope it's Tito. I miss the awkward way he stands.
- Kurt Angle coming back to TNA is welcome, especially if he is healthy. I could see him in a tag match against EGO, or in a match against one of them.
- Chris Sabin is a heel now, so he is acting like one an awful lot. This was a pretty sudden character shift. His match against Manik was meant to get this character shift over. With Austin Aries being in the picture as well, it'll be interesting to see what happens with the X Division Championship at Bound for Glory.
- The six man tag was pretty forgettable, even with EGO involvement and Sting and Joe winning the match two on three.
- Goodbye, Wes Brisco. I hope you get better.
- The final segment, featuring Dixie Carter branding "Team Dixie" and Hulk Hogan getting A.J. Styles to sign a contract was odd. I'm still not into this story. The performances could be amazing and I still wouldn't like the story being told. It's about authority and power, not the TNA World Championship.
This show built towards Bound for Glory, but didn't do a ton for that show. We still only have the BFG main event on the card and other program from last week (the Tag Titles) were completely forgotten here. It was a weird episode of Impact without many highlights.
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 at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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