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Home » Editorials » TNA Hardcore Justice: Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode, a Clash of Story vs. Momentum

TNA Hardcore Justice: Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode, a Clash of Story vs. Momentum

This Sunday, we will see the return match to what some are claiming as the best match of the year – not just for TNA, but in wrestling as a whole. While I wouldn’t quite go so far, it is certain to be quite a match as long as overbooking doesn’t ruin things.

With Aces and Eights running around laying waste to everyone, AJ Styles dealing with baby troubles, and the Bound for Glory Series moving along, you can sometimes forget the centerpiece of the whole show, TNA’s World Heavyweight Championship.

In order to do this all justice, I want to go back. Back to when things were a little different for TNA, and the future was more of a seed than a budding flower.

One year ago, a tournament was started that would shake the foundations of TNA at its core. It was called the Bound for Glory Series, where twelve of the biggest stars in the company at the time faced off to become the number contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at TNA’s biggest pay-per-view, Bound for Glory.

Week after week, these top stars faced one another, carving out their own niche, each fighting (some more successfully than others) to become a star.

As the Hardcore Justice PPV approached, it seemed clear who the favorites were in the series. Crimson stood out clearly in first, while names like RVD and Devon were moving their way up the standings.

In the midst of all this, the TNA Tag Team Champions Beer Money were competing in the tournament. No one knew what to make of these two great tag team competitors competing as singles stars for a chance at the biggest prize in the business.

Even after Hardcore Justice, both men were still tag team champions. They fought tooth and nail to get points in the Series, but they also fought together for their titles. Slowly but surely, they rose in the rankings. After several stars were written out of the Series, it came down to four men, two of whom were now the former tag team champions.

James Storm and Bobby Roode, for the first time in years, were completely venturing out on their own to become World Champions. At No Surrender, Roode emerged victorious after gaining hard-fought victories over Gunner and Bully Ray, ready to take his first chance at singles gold in his career.

“It’s time for a new era. There’s no doubt about it. Wrestling fans have turned to Impact Wrestling every Thursday night now for quite some time and have seen the Kurt Angles, the Hulk Hogans, the Ric Flairs, and the Stings. And, you know, that’s great. Those guys have made a name for themselves and proven themselves over the years, but I’ve busted my ass here. I’ve been put in a position now where I can make a difference, I can go out there and beat Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Title, and I can be the guy to take this company to the next step. – Bobby Roode”

At Bound for Glory, everything was set. It was the perfect moment to crown a new champion who would defeat the five time TNA World Champion and wrestling legend Kurt Angle. Instead, Roode failed. On the following Thursday night, his friend Storm got the same chance and emerged victorious as champion.

Feeling jealous that his partner had succeeded where he had failed, Roode would turn on his partner and cheat to win the World Championship in brutal fashion with a beer bottle to the skull.

Storm was sidelined due to the attack from Roode, allowing many others, including AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy, to come in and try and take their shot at the gold. Yet no one could succeed. Roode was unstoppable until Storm returned to get his rematch at Lockdown in his hometown of Nashville.

Storm ended up failing to beat Roode in a brutal and physical Steel Cage match, when he accidentally knocked Roode out of the cage. This would cause Storm to again disappear. This time, he just couldn’t take the loss and even contemplated quitting wrestling.

Unbeknownst to everyone, at No Surrender, TNA not only began Bobby Roode’s rise to glory, but also began to create a star in the man that would eventually take that title from Roode, Austin Aries. On that night, Aries captured the TNA X Division Championship and went on to be unstoppable, never having lost the title.

“They gave me an inch, I took a yard. They gave me a yard, I took a mile. Whatever they put on Austin Aries’ tee, I knocked out of the park.”
– Austin Aries

As Roode and Aries became the two longest reigning champions in TNA history with their titles, they began to butt heads. Aries and Roode had run out of competition it seemed; so Aries was willing to give up the title he had refused to lose just so he could get one chance at glory.

Where everyone else failed to defeat Roode, at Destination X Aries defeated Roode and became World Champion in honor of every single X-Division wrestler.

It sounds like the end to the perfect fairy tale. The little X Division star rises above adversity and defeats the cheating and undefeatable villain and walks away as the new face of the company. Perhaps you’ll notice the problem though.

The story was always Roode vs. Storm. They were two young guys looking for that first chance at gold. Their quest for gold developed into an emotional and personal rivalry, where two friends showed what they’d do to be the best.

“Bobby Roode, they say is this about revenge? You’re damn right this is about revenge because, Bobby Roode, you took what meant the most to me, you took what I worked my ass off for fifteen years [to get hold of]. Now, Bobby Roode, it’s no secret I’ve been pulling for ya. I’ve wanted you to be World Champion, so you know when you look up and see me holding that World Heavyweight Championship, you know that I am the man that took everything from you.” – James Storm

The story of Aries was always on the side, a footnote.  He became a major footnote certainly, but he wasn’t the focus until that night at Destination X.

What we have at this juncture is a conflict between story and momentum. Roode/Storm is still happening. The story is still there as much as it was before Aries won. However, Storm is now sitting pretty in this year’s Bound for Glory Series, ready to become World Champion again.

But the stage was always going to be Bound for Glory. It was always supposed to be James Storm and Bobby Roode, finally having that one definitive title bout. It always until Aries became too big for TNA to control.

Now, it’s down to TNA and their decision. Will they give Roode the title back and continue the epic story of two friends who have become the most bitter of rivals both wanting to claim that they are the best? Or will they keep the title on Aries who would go on to face Kurt Angle or Samoa Joe or whoever else ends up winning the Series?

I’m not going to sit here and try to argue about what is best here. On one side, Bound for Glory could have several main event level matches if Aries remains champion.

On the other hand, Roode/Storm with the title on the line main eventing BFG one year after those two began this epic journey to become main event singles stars would be one of the most captivating and definitive bouts in TNA history.

The choice comes down to a company. It comes down to everything that has been built and set in motion since the beginning of the very first Bound for Glory Series. Who knows what is to come and what isn’t?

All I know is that at the end of the day Roode and Aries will put on a show like no one else can. It will be a match that exemplifies all sides of wrestling, every facet of what makes TNA and professional wrestling as a whole great.

I just hope that when the result occurs and the night is over that it feels right to TNA as a company and also to the fans.

“I’ve always said that the championship is only as important as the man who holds it, and that means that this belt right here, the World Heavyweight Championship, is the most prestigious and the most important championship in professional wrestling.” – Austin Aries

About Kevin Berge

Wrestle Enigma's voted Writer Of The Year two years running. I am writing to prove a point. The day I stop writing is the day I realize I have nothing more to say, and I don't believe that day will ever come.
  • http://twitter.com/AmericanDolphin Brett Chandler

    I’m some days late, but awesome breakdown, Kevin. Really liked how you mixed the quotes into it.

  • SiD

    Great stuff, Kevin. I’m really excited for HJ, and BFG after that!

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      BFG is the PPV I really am excited to see. It should be awesome, and hopefully not have a screwball ending for once.

      • SiD

        Yeah, hopefully. Immortal and Roode not winning was screwy, so hopefully it changes. 

  • http://twitter.com/JeffAwesomeWE Jeff Awesome

    Great article. Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode should be a high quality main event. It seems like it can go either way. Roode vs. Storm is a given at BFG. But Aries future opponent is unclear. If Aries does retain, expect Roode to get one last match at No Surrender. 

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      Yeah, Roode/Aries with a special stipulation next time at NS. If Sunday’s match is great again, it could be an incredible trilogy between the two. I really do wonder who they will have Aries face at BFG. Angle would seem the most likely, but Joe, Hardy, maybe even a dark horse like Magnus could be cool.

      Thanks, Jeff.

  • Judas Thundersteel

    Why is it that Kevin Berge does breakdown articles for higher level matches? Destination X, you did the Kurt Angle/Samoa Joe match, Slammiversary, Roode and Sting. I think I know the answer, because he makes them more important? I’ll let you answer that. I think TNA has put themselves in a situation they shouldn’t back out of. See, if Roode gets the world title back, it does hurt more than just Aries. For one, Roode and Storm, the idea of it having Storm face the longest reigning world champion, STILL as world champion, was just money. The highest value of gold. Roode gets the title back, that high value of gold will be less, but I’d like to think it’s still gold. Now the more obvious side of the coin is how this affects Aries. He just won the world title, it’s coming across more as them pulling the trigger on him. If he lost the title, it wouldn’t come across as that anymore, instead, swerving fans for the sake of swerving and keeping the BFG series on its toes.

    Now if Aries wins the match, Roode will just continue his accusations of Storm in regards of Aces and 8s, and also, being angry he didn’t win the world title, he’d cost Storm the series. The explanation being that Storm should not win the series, because he’s leading a renegade faction, and, well, Roode just hates Storm. Well documented, and as you recalled Roode and Storm’s road from 12 months ago to April, I recalled an amazing video package they did, where Storm ends it by saying “the bullshit, stops.” Uncensored! Such a statement can be reborn if Roode were to screw Storm up. Aries gets a win over Bobby Roode again, further legitimizing him, and it guarantees that he will be world champion come BFG. With Storm and Roode being a hot feud to warrant a non title bout, Aries, his popularity, his world title, automatically creates a co-main event situation for BFG. Aries would then face the winner of the BFG series, who by then, will be just on a roll, them winning a pretty competitive series now. So if Joe wins? The rematch from Slammiversary, a classic battle in its own right, at first for the X-Division, but now for the world title? Evolution. Joe and Aries having a lot of history with each other that doesn’t just include TNA. Furthermore, a nice nod for Joe, being revitalized and the bullcrap he’s gone through for so many years, washed away with a dance in Phoenix, Arizona. It could be Kurt Angle. I finally got to watching the Before the Bell for Hardcore Justice (thanks Jake), and Angle’s words were pretty interesting. His goal in the series is to win it, get the world title, and still prove that he can be the best wrestler in the company, the best in the world, the top guy. It’s not just simple talk, as he alluded to failing in getting to the Olympics and focus issues. Those are two stories in Joe and Angle to come off pretty nicely, and give Aries a high caliber match. One other name is Bully Ray, but with recent reports of him not happy in contract negotiations, I’d rather be brief on this. They faced each other at Sacrifice, tremendous storytelling, Ray never getting a one on one title shot, Aries and Ray, here we go again. Again, short and sweet there.

    So in my opinion, Austin Aries has to win at Hardcore Justice. I think Roode and Storm are safe without the title, with a good avenue being explored with the Aces and 8s angle, leading to Roode costing James Storm the BFG Series. Meanwhile, Aries continues to be a main draw in TNA, as he adds dates to his world title reign. Which, by the time BFG happens, he will have been champion for about 3 months. It’s pretty interesting how these parallels intersected at Destination X. Roode and Aries being dominant champions in their division, with Aries edging out in time, and it has to be fact: Aries’ X-Division Championship reign is the longest reign of any championship, in TNA wrestling. Sounds about fine with me. Anyways, both guys were kicking ass, taking names, legitimizing themselves, becoming more over with the fans, and they finally clashed at Destination X. Ending with Aries on top, as he’s the guy, while Roode, all the skill in the world, manages to keep himself a hot heel, despite not having his most prized possession. Great stuff in flashing back to one year ago, it’s that element that you added that makes this match a lot more important.  The quotes were sexy too.

    • http://twitter.com/JacobJ_Enigma Jacob Stachowiak

      He gets to do them because he’s the most qualified writer to do so. 

    • Charlie G

      I love that idea. Aries retains, Roode continues to accuse Storm of being in with A&8’s, screws Storm out of the BFGS & we have 2 big matches for BFG. Aries defending the belt vs BFGS winner & Roode vs Storm.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      They give me the big matches because no one else seems to want them, so I take the one that I have a cool idea on presenting and then convince everyone else to do the others eventually.

      Aries as X Division champion though really didn’t have anyone to fight him for the title near the end, so it is not quite as impressive a run as Roode’s was. That said, you make a good point. They can have two. I just feel that Roode/Storm for the title is more perfect. Aries winning though will spread the wealth.

      Thanks as always, Judas, for commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/JacobJ_Enigma Jacob Stachowiak

    Awesome breakdown, Kevin. You hyped up the match real good especially emphasizing on the history of Bobby Roode’s rise and reign.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      Thanks, Jacob, glad I could please.