Sunday, March 08, 2015

#StreakVsSpud


The word impact is described as having a strong effect on someone or something. And for over a decade, making an impact has become a way of life for the athletes that make up IMPACT Wrestling. In this TNAsylum exclusive series, we'll take a look at some of the most impactful moments from TNA's past and present product, all in an attempt to preview what has yet to come.

For this fourth installment of INSTANT IMPACT, we'll take an in-depth look at the expansive history between Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud: the friendship they immeadiately forged, Spud's blind loyalty to the Carters, EC3 turning on Spud and the subsequent rivalry that has followed. All of which will culminate on this upcoming Friday Night IMPACT, as they face off in a hair vs. hair match.

DIXIELAND: THE RISE & FALL

On November 20, 2013, after winning the first season of TNA's British Boot Camp, Rockstar Spud debuted on IMPACT Wrestling.

Spud had been hired as the Chief of Staff for TNA President Dixie Carter's growing "Dixieland" empire. The concept of which was that the increasingly egomanical Carter was going to handpick the faces of her company, and manipulate outcomes to do it.

Also a part of Dixieland was her spoiled nephew, Ethan Carter III—who debuted merely a month prior—and beginning in December, Magnus.

Magnus had been a fan favorite that was breaking his way into the main event with his undeniable presence, charisma, mic ability and improving in-ring skills. He, however, grew sick of waiting after losing the Bound for Glory Series and accepted the help of Dixie and Spud to defeat Jeff Hardy in the most convoluted match concept in professional wrestling history the final of a TNA World Heavyweight Championship tournament.

The reason for said title tournament beginning in the first place was the ongoing dispute between Dixie Carter and present champion AJ Styles.

After a decade of being associated as the face of the company, Styles had grown frustrated with being underappreciated, including what he considered to be a low contract extension offer, and was seriously considering leaving the company. Dixie, meanwhile, reminded Styles that TNA was much larger than just he. In fact, it was her playground that he was lucky to be allowed to play in.

Styles briefly disappeared from television and defended his title across the world, despite having been officially stripped just nine days into his reign. And at the conclusion of the tournament in which Magnus won, Styles returned. This set up a title vs. title match, where Magnus won due to absurd amounts of interference, and served as AJ Styles final match in his illustrious TNA career.

The new empire atop IMPACT Wrestling would make Sting suffer a similar fate, too. Sting was cheated out of a match against EC3, then faced former fellow Main Event Mafia member Magnus in a title vs. contract match, and lost.

EC3's undefeated streak—where he'd turned his attention to Kurt Angle—and Magnus' world title reign would remain intact through LockDown 2014. However, secret investor MVP would seize control of wrestling operations in a Lethal LockDown match, deeming Dixie Carter essentially powerless.

Without Dixie at the helm, Magnus would soon lose the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Eric Young. The relationship between the two would slowly disintegrate, until ending altogether when Magnus' childhood mate Bram showed up.

As for EC3, his main focus turned to Bully Ray. Ray, despite being the Carters' insurance policy, cost Team Dixie the aforementioned Lethal LockDown match. And soon, Ray declared his intentions of putting Dixie through a table.

A war would wage between Ray's extreme friends and Dixie's handpicked guns. EC3's win streak would remain intact through matches with Ray, fully earning his nickname of the Hardcore American Icon in the process. However, Dixie wasn't as lucky, and was powerbombed through a table on August 7, 2014.

Following this, Ethan Carter III's demeanor changed. He was hellbent on destroying all those he deemed responsible for this reprehensible act. And it wasn't too long until he turned his attention to Rockstar Spud.

EC3 ISN'T WITH SPUD


Since debuting in IMPACT Wrestling, Rockstar Spud adored EC3. He wanted to be just like him, even getting the same haircut at one point. On the flip side, EC3 saw Spud as his employee. So when that employee's usefulness was gone, he was on borrowed time.

After assaulting Rhino, EC3 became increasingly abusive towards Spud. At first, Spud was timid and horrified at how his idol could act in such a way towards him. Eventually, though, Spud grew tired of the bullying and slapped EC3 in the face. And as a result, was fired as the Carters' Chief of Staff.

Within weeks, EC3 would introduce Spud's replacement: Tyrus, formerly known as Brodus Clay in the WWE. These two continuously took advantage of Spud both verbally and physically. Standing up for Spud initially was Eric Young, then ring announcer Jeremy Borash. Borash would get his head shaved for his efforts.

The tides would turn when British Boot Camp 2 winner Mark Andrews (annoyingly referred to as Mandrews), saved Borash from a beatdown at the hands of EC3 and Tyrus, with help from Spud. This odd trio fought valiantly, but soon found themselves in trouble (trouble trouble) once more. That is, until the returning Mr. Anderson came to their aid, saving Spud's head of hair in the process.

Anderson, Andrews and Rockstar Spud got their measure of revenge by cutting the mohawk of EC3's bodyguard Tyrus. Numerous attempts to save each other's heads from both sides would fail in upcoming weeks, but this feud was obviously reaching a boiling point.

This past week on Friday Night IMPACT, Rockstar Spud called out EC3 and challenged him to a match. EC3 upped the ante by putting Spud's hair on the line, and Spud returned the favor.

The once timid servant now seems more akin to a confident, fearless underdog. He's not a lion, a tiger, or a gazelle as EC3 called him before, no: he's a man. A man who isn't looking for a win or a chunk of hair, all he wants is revenge.