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.