Disclaimer: This week I will be talking about the amazing Destination X event (it’s not a match by match review) and all its impending fallout. Yeah that is pretty much it considering how monumental last night’s ppv was. I will name drop a few people but those namedrops have no malice intent at all. Quick explanation as to why I didn’t post a column last week: I was hit with writer’s block. I just couldn’t find anything to write about.
Is TNA a Believer in Samoa Joe Again and Vice-Versa?
For years now one of the big things the IWC harped about was how Samoa Joe deserves to be a main event player in TNA and how it was a disgrace how badly he has been booked. Now some of the booking decisions for Joe were indeed terrible (his Nation of Violence Knife wielding phase was embarrassing) but Joe shouldn’t escape blame either because his work with whatever he was given was utter garbage too. It was basically like Joe felt like TNA didn’t care about him so he acted like he didn’t care about TNA with his phoned in-work. (Only against his friends did Joe look like he was trying) By the end of 2011, Joe was lost. Hell I don’t even remember who he was feuding with post-BFG 2011 to the start of that tag team invitational at the very end of 2011.Since he started teaming with Magnus, Joe started to get more engaged with wrestling again. His promos or should I say vignettes with Magnus were really good and as time went on during their title reign, Joe’s workrate got crisper and better. Joe got to work consistently and I think more importantly got into a routine with what he was doing. Then the tag team of Magnus and Joe seemingly ended after they lost the tag belts and Joe could’ve gotten lost again. However Joe stayed in his routine and stole the show with Austin Aries at Slammivarsary X. From there Samoa Joe got into the BFG Series tournament and was the last man eliminated in the kickoff match of the 2012 BFG Series which got him in an immediate 20 point hole behind James Storm. However that didn’t stop Joe as he has won 3 BFG Series matches by submission and a 4th one by pinfall to makeup the early deficit he was in to James Storm.
Here we stand on July 9th 2012 and Samoa Joe is a featured talent in TNA again as he is ranked number 1 in the 2012 BFG Series. Now one has to wonder is Joe’s renewed push due to TNA creative being hell-bent on pushing Joe or are they rewarding Joe for working hard to get back in shape and being a motivated wrestler again?
Zema Ion, The Heir Apparent to Austin Aries
My immediate reaction was like WTF are they doing by strapping Zema Ion with the X-Division Belt but after a night to sleep on it (it’s a saying not really what I was thinking about when I was sleeping) I realize it’s a pretty good idea. The expected influx of X-division talent set to sign on with TNA which one would expect to see most of them if not all of them start out with TNA longterm as babyfaces. Since Zema Ion is an established heel in the X-Division it makes sense to have Ion feud with these guys going forward as the X-Division champion. Having Kenny King win would’ve been awesome, but there really isn’t anyone to feud with him afterward other than Ion (and Kash perhaps but TNA doesn’t want to use him for some reason). However due to Ion’s 5 months of losing X-Division Title matches, Ion wouldn’t be viewed as a threat to King. Now with Ion as the X-Division champion, his feud with King or Rubix or Dutt won’t be viewed as a one-sided affair because Ion has now won the big one. It was a subtle yet smart booking decision by TNA here.
Austin Aries, The Greatest World Heavyweight Champion That Ever Lived
As Jim Ross would say “by gawd he did it, the son of a bitch did it”. Some people are writing stuff like “I didn’t believe Aries would win until the ref actually counted the 3” but like I said in my last column this was the smart business move. The payoff to Storm ending Roode’s 11 month title reign in 3 months is a boring and predictable way to go. I mean I get that the endgame is James Storm winning the main event at BFG 2012 and as of this moment should still be the endgame but you need intrigue to fill the time in between. I mean in September of 1998 when Stone Cold lost the WWF Championship at Breakdown, we knew the endgame was Austin regaining the belt at Wrestlemania XV. The key was that the WWF fans and I’m sure the IWC would claim that Vince Russo didn’t have a clue how we would get there. As some have stated since last night’s show (Drummerjc5 being one of the people who said it), nothing is certain anymore and that’s a good thing no check that a GREAT THING.
We could still get the Roode vs. Storm for the TNA World Title as the main event at BFG but now we could also see other matches get that main event slot: Aries vs. Styles (first time ever????), Aries vs. Jeff Hardy (FIRST TIME EVER), and IMO the big one Austin Aries vs. Kurt Angle (FIRST TIME EVER) as BFG’s main event. Not to mention we could get Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe II (In TNA it would be their 2nd match) or even Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray II. Aries vs. Daniels is a dark horse candidate as well. Sorry D_D_G, I don’t share your enthusiasm on an Aries vs. Anderson feud but even that feud at BFG is now possible with Aries as champion. TNA took their long term booking plan and turned it on its head (Heath Ledger’s Joker character would be so proud) for the better. A lot of us went from knowing the next 3 months of TNA booking without the need of Davey Meltzer’s “backstage” updates to now salivating at all the potential possibilities to headline TNA’s biggest show of the year.
But the biggest reason why Aries winning the title was so awesome was because we have seen him grow over the past year. This isn’t Sheamus’ immediate climb to the belt in late 2009, this isn’t Jack Swagger jobbing to Santino Marella one week and pinning Chris Jericho the next week to become the WWE World Champion and this isn’t James Storm winning the belt 4 days after Roode got “buried” by Hogan, Angle and TNA out of nowhere. No this is a guy who came to TNA a year ago as a lowcard act. This is a guy who took whatever TNA gave him and made the most of it. (Something Samoa Joe wasn’t doing in 2010 and 2011) This is a guy who was delivering on ppv every time out despite wrestling a myriad of opponents (Kendrick, Shelley, Kash, Sorrensen, Bully Ray, Zema Ion, and Samoa Joe all shared ppv matches with Aries) who wrestle different styles to boot.
Perhaps the biggest reason of them all as to why Aries winning the belt is a good thing is that Aries knows what is at stake now that he is the World Champion. He isn’t the guy who is new to the business that got pushed to the moon ASAP, this is a guy who has scraped and clawed his way to this point. He understands that the onus is on him to go out there and deliver quality every time out. I don’t recall seeing many Aries/Shawn Michaels comparisons out there but Aries in 2012 compares favorably to Michaels in 1996. It took both men years to get to the point where they are at the top of a mainstream federation (ROH doesn’t count here) and they know that to stay there; they have to be at the top of their game all the time.
Like I said in my column a few weeks back, the World Championship ball is in Aries court now and it’s up to him to determine how long the title reign goes.
Where Does Roode Go From Here?He should go home for about a month. If Roode sticks around he might lose some of his luster while Aries rides his momentum but if Roode goes home, there is intrigue over what will happen when Roode does appear again. It makes Roode a bigger deal without him even being there taking up TV time. One thing is for certain, Roode’s character needs to change. As champion, his retain the belt at ANY COST character worked just fine but now he can’t call himself champion anymore because he lost the belt. It’s time for Roode to find his violent streak. Having a mean streak is not enough anymore; he needs to be a violent character. He needs to find his inner Ken Shamrock who routinely suffers from snappage (As Jerry Lawler would say) where he just destroys people. Since November 3rd 2011, so many TNA wrestlers have gone through character tweaks or wholesale character changes; now it’s Roode’s turn to do so and I for one can't wait to see it.
The Joey Ryan Business From Impact 11 Days ago
Well I was right all along, the Joey Ryan videos were indeed a work. I won't say I told you .................................. but what the hell: I and Docteur Lobo and Drummerjc5 and MSTKI and Shelbin and a few others whose names escape me told you guys so. That was the one thing I knew I would have written about in last week's column if I had written one.