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TNA: Could Austin Aries Be Headed for a Heel Turn?

After a month’s absence from Wrestle Enigma, I’ve returned to offer some insight on some recent happenings in Impact Wrestling. With Bound For Glory a few short weeks away, I’ll be focusing primarily on TNA’s show of shows as the historic event draws near.

At TNA’s No Surrender pay-per-view a few weeks ago, Jeff Hardy shocked the world by defeating Bully Ray to win this year’s Bound For Glory Series and earn a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Bound For Glory. Hardly expected anyone Hardy to make it this year in the tournament, much less winning it.

Nonetheless, there could’ve been far worse selections for this year’s BFG Series winner, so I have no complaints. Besides, Hardy has his “redemption” story going for him since returning to the company late last year, so having his rise back to the top of TNA culminate at Bound For Glory makes perfect sense.

However, one issue that I have with Hardy earning the title shot is that his match with TNA World Champ Austin Aries doesn’t have a main event feel to it, if you know what I mean. Aries taking on Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, or even AJ Styles all would’ve been classic dream matches, but not so much with Hardy.

Sure, Hardy and Aries are bound to have a great match, but as of now, they don’t have much chemistry together. While not every story-line in pro wrestling has to include a face battling a heel, it surely makes the feud much more compelling.

Despite the major success TNA has had thus far this year, one of their biggest issues at the moment is the fact that they don’t have a guaranteed, certifiable top heel and top face. While they have plenty of both, not one wrestler on the roster has been in the main event as consistently in the past year than Bobby Roode, but even he has been dropped down a few begs since losing the strap.

That being said, there’s an over-abundance of faces in TNA right now including the likes of Aries, Hardy, Van Dam, Angle, Styles, Storm, Anderson, and somewhat Sting. On the other end of the stick, Roode and Ray are the only top heels TNA has to offer at the moment, but even they aren’t all that credible with the amount of losses they’ve garnered in recent months.

My guess is that TNA must have realized the same thing and decided to change that by planting the seeds for something last week on Impact Wrestling: an Austin Aries heel turn.

When Aries first entered the TNA scene at last year’s Destination X pay-per-view, he was a heel from the start, and a damn good one at that. Similar to any other villain, he used dirty tactics on occasion to score victories, but the way he did it was so effective and entertaining that it made his matches the most must-see on the card.

Earlier this year, TNA opted to abruptly turn Aries face in order to feud with Bully Ray, and has been shining as a fan favorite ever since. Unlike CM Punk, Aries hasn’t grown stale in his face role and still garners a positive reaction from the audience, so I see no reason to revert him back into a heel so early in his face run.

During last week’s edition of Impact Wrestling, Aries made a handful of sly remarks toward Hardy and declared that anything he could do, the Greatest Man That Ever Lived could do as well. Aries usually acts this way to an extent because his character just revolves around being himself, but the way he came off seemed a bit arrogant, even for Aries.

I don’t blame TNA for attempting to add an extra spark to this feud, but why in this fashion?

Obviously, turning Hardy heel would be a mistake, especially since his last run as a heel bombed to the fullest. Don’t get me wrong, Hardy was phenomenal as a heel, but his drug problems got in the way of it living up to its full potential while his popularity is at its highest.

Another thing I dislike about this angle is that it draws quite a few similarities to what WWE has done in recent months. CM Punk’s slow-burning heel turn was done excellently, and it seems like TNA is trying to repeat that same success with another former Ring of Honor star in Austin Aries.

If Aries does in fact revert back into a full-fledged heel heel in coming weeks, I won’t be entirely down on the idea, but that would make Hardy a top guy, a role that should be reserved for James Storm instead. As a heel, he could have plenty of fresh matchups with the likes of Angle, Styles, Storm and more, so it could definitely work out in the long run.

Hardy winning the World title at Bound for Glory would make sense, but my fingers are crossed that they don’t put a major halt to the momentum Aries has built up over the last year. TNA is always known for their unpredictability, so only time will tell as to what they end up doing as time progresses.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on the Austin Aries situation and where you believe it’s headed. As previously stated, I’ll be back to writing weekly here on Wrestle Enigma for the next few weeks with Bound for Glory coming up, but my future on the site following the event remains unclear.

GSM out.

 

Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling, and listen to my SAVE US GSM radio show every Wednesday night at 10/9c for more of my thoughts and writings,alongwithWWE/TNA news, reviews, recaps and more.

About Graham "GSM" Matthews

Wrestling fan since April 2008, I’ve seen my passion for the product grow as each day passes.
  • http://twitter.com/phenom951 phenom951

    Short answer, YES he’s turning heel.

  • MINISTER OF SINISTER

    Obviously. Aries will be turning heel by years end. Hide and watch,

  • SiD

    He should not. In this scenario, Jeff Hardy is face, Bully Ray is heel, and Aries is tweener, and it should stay this way.

    • Graham “GSM” Matthews

      But how long will Bully be involved in the World title picture? The way I see it, Aries is Punk, Hardy is Cena, and Ray is Show from the WWE title feud last month. Meaning it’s only a matter of time before Austin reverts back. I don’t want to see it happen, but I have a feeling it will.

  • Judas Thundersteel

    Ehhh? Austin Aries’ face turn is pretty special in the fact that he literally changed nothing about himself, just the fans embracing him as a face. I didn’t think of Aries turning heel, because he’s already basically the villain to Jeff Hardy, without explicitly being that. This is all on Jeff Hardy being so over and such. So they have something where a heel turn is not necessary. The only interesting part to the feud is Aries’ end on this. See, he won’t get majority love with feuding with Jeff, so again, a bit like a heel in that respect, getting some boos at Impact when Jeff’s sharing screen time with him. I think the opening segment of Impact two weeks ago. However, his story paints himself as an underdog, and kind of like a face, but there’s the Jeff Hardy logic. Basically saying “no,” because he’s Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy won BFG series. Why? Because he’s Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy beat Bully Ray, twice in one week to go to Arizone. Why? Because he’s Jeff Hardy. Now to specify, I don’t understand why there’s this “redemption” thing with Hardy. How come nobody’s talking about the fact that Hardy challenged for the world title when Roode was champion, earlier in the year? Ehhh? Nobody, I don’t get that, and that’s where “redemption” was stronger, especially when Hardy came off a feud with Jeff Jarrett that tapped into his past. This feud doesn’t tap into Jeff’s past, thankfully into Aries, but then that’s just it.

    That’s where it’s viable to say that this doesn’t feel like a main event, because both ends of the spectrum are not balanced. Jake said it best in a previous podcast, Jeff’s a brick wall. A brick wall that is over with the fans because of what this brick wall contains at face value. When it comes to the actual substance in doing a feud, Jeff’s not the lead, nor is he at a talking level to be a strong force. To me it always depended on who he worked, and for Aries, strong talker like him it’s better than nothing. So while there’s going to be blatant window dressing on Jeff’s story (“redemption” is more outdated with me and just rings to mind of them trying to satisfy him with rumors of his contract expiring in early 2013), this is Aries’ feud to work. I’ll look to him to hold everything over, but in general, the top feud heading into BFG, in my opinion, at least one that I know both sides click amazingly well: James Storm and Bobby Roode. That segment last week where they brawled all around, that was amazing. The power is there, the fire is hotter than Jeff and Aries, and the funny thing is that that feud could have been for the TNA world title, but nope. As far as the thought of TNA known for their predictability, I don’t really believe that. I believe more on swerves for the sake of swerving, with the results being very mixed, and not coming across as a big plan descending from the stars. So with BFG coming up, who knows what their next swerve for the sake swerving will be, should that come at BFG. Jeff Hardy heel turn, leader of Aces and 8s? Oh God no.

    Sigh, yeah, I’m not really on the topic of Aries turning heel. I don’t see that, they clearly are attempting to add fire to the feud, and that will involve a more ticked off personality. Aries is that designated guy to fill that role, because Jeff sure as hell wouldn’t.

  • JacobStachowiak

    I really really hope they don’t. Aries as a heel would be cheered anyway because he’s the greatest man who ever lived. Aries has to retain, I hope that doesn’t mean he has to turn heel in order to do so. I just want Aries to go over clean on Hardy and stay face cause there’s no reason for him to turn heel with Aces & Eights (heels), Roode (heel), and Ray (heel) being so prominent on TV. TNA doesn’t need another big heel. As you said, it’d be too similar to stupid, god damn CM Shit as well.

    But yes, he is showing signs of a heel turn….very unfortunate signs to me at least.

    • Graham “GSM” Mirmina

      Forgot about Aces and Eights. There’s no real need to turn him heel, but it looks like that’s the direction they’re taking.