Austin Aries Calls Out Aces & Eights
This brawl really was fantastic. The World Heavyweight Champion stood in the middle of the ring and called out Aces & Eights' biggest fighter, and the guy who tried to break his arm. Despite a huge size disadvantage, Aries came prepared, and managed to remove half his mask before the rest of the gang came to the rescue. This would prompt the locker room to empty, and for a minute there was mass chaos.
I had said in my hype piece for No Surrender that I didn't care what we got tonight, as long as we got something. I've heard a lot of fans still complaining about the lack of reveal; how we still don't know who was under the mask. I think a lot of people, quite frankly, are missing the point. It's not about the individual members of the Aces & Eights. No matter which free agent independent guys are under those masks, this angle is all about their master plan. They're almost a cult, of sorts, and cults don't exist to further the means of the individual. Somebody is pulling all the strings, and if you look at the more subtle building up that TNA did tonight, I think the picture is pretty clear.
There's no way it's coincidence that Jeff Hardy was taken out only an hour before his big match with Bully Ray. And it's hard to look past Bully Ray showing up late to the fight (again), the Aces & Eights backing away from him as he ran to ringside, and the abnormal amount of empathy he was showing for Jeff Hardy. TNA wholly re-captured my interest in this angle, by very clearly setting up Bully Ray as the guy behind it all. Or at least, that's the direction they want you to think it's headed…
I do not understand the unusual amount of hate for Zema Ion. Is it because he almost ended a guy's career? Is it because his heel character is fairly easy to despise? Or is it because he was the replacement for the internet's precious Austin Aries? Don't get me wrong, I love Aries. But he's not the Champion anymore – he was never going to hold it forever anyways – and we need to move on. There are impressive athletes like Sonjay and Kenny King on the TNA roster right now, but Zema was the best established character they had available. Not only can he hang with the best high flyers and flippy-floppies in the business, Zema Ion has a personality, and a gimmick that is easy to hate.
All that aside, I feel terrible that workers like this have to wrestle in front of crowds like the Impact Zone. Orlando gave the X-Division an official "Divas welcome", and stayed silent for the better part of this fantastic match. It reminded me a lot of the X-Division matches of old, and if TNA had a live crowd worth a hill of beans, they wouldn't be struggling so hard to remain relevant. Sonjay was incredibly impressive, but Zema retains the belt in a match that far exceeded my expectations.
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