My Two Centsss - TNA's Next Mega Star (That You Never Saw Coming)
By Super Chrisss
May 15, 2013 - 7:25:53 PM
(Credit: Tom Jenner @ImageBlownOut)
Writer's Note: Hello there, beautiful readers. I apologize for the lack of a RAW review column this week. I would have posted something yersterday, but with the exception of the six-man eleimination match, it would have consisted of nothing but berating the WWE for the snoozefest they put on. And since making comments about a show you didn't like automatically labels you a 'hater' or a 'whiner' I figured I'd skip the drama this week and shift gears by talking about a wrestling company that has been entertaining in recent months - TNA.
Never fear though, Skitz and I will have our Extreme Rules predictions posted sometime before Friday. Until then, I invite you to join me for some fantasy-booking, TNA-style.
Austin Aries has been the talk of the town this week. Unfortunately, not in a good way. TNA has issued a statement where they promise to 'discipline' Aries for his actions on last week's Impact Live. For those of you who don't know, TNA ring announcer Christy Hemme mistakenly announced Aries and his partner Bobby Roode as their opponents for the evening, Bad Influence. Aries, clearly ticked off by the error and acting in the heat of the moment, decided to 'punish' Hemme by shoving his crotch in her face on public television. Although Hemme was filmed laughing at the incident, it has become a big deal and now it seems like Aries has found his way into TNA's doghouse.
But today's column is not about Austin Aries, or discussing his actions from last week. However, Aries does receive an honourable mention because without him, this article wouldn't have come together. That's because if you recall, it was a little less than a year ago that Aries, the longest-reigning X-Division Champion in history, made a deal with Hulk Hogan. That deal involved Aries forfeiting his X-Division championship in exchange for a world title match at the upcoming Destination X Pay-Per-View. Not only that, Aries also declared that from 2012 onward, whoever was the X-Division Champion the weeks prior to that year's Destination X could follow in Aries' footsteps by trading in the X-Division title for a main-event, world title match at the PPV.
The idea was a huge success. To the shock of many TNA fans, Aries successfully defeated Bobby Roode for the world heavyweight title and would go onto main-event the biggest TNA PPV of the year, Bound For Glory. To make a long story short, Aries became a main-eventer last year. Could it have happened without making the deal with Hogan? Sure, but it was a unique plan that instantly put major importance on an often overlooked, X-Division title. All of a sudden, being the X-Division Champion meant you could be holding a one-way ticket to the main-event.
There's only one problem. TNA made the decision late last year/early this year that instead of holding twelve live Pay-Per-Views like they've been doing for nearly a decade, 2013 would feature only four live shows - Destination X did not make the cut. This has caused many people to ponder on the future of Aries' deal. Can the X-Division Champion still "cash in" for a world title shot? Or will TNA simply ignore the past, and hope the fans will forget about the "Summer of Aries"?
What I think will end up happening is this: TNA will allow whoever the X-Division Champion happens to be this summer to trade in his title for a world heavyweight championship match on a random edition of Impact. Now there's two interesting things to consider here: a) Kenny King is the current X-Division Champion and b) TNA held a press conference in Las Vegas this week to announce that they would be filming two episodes of Impact on June 28th. In case you didn't know, King's hometown is Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Impact where Aries made the deal with Hogan aired in late June. Coincidence? Maybe yes, maybe no.
But I don't see that happening. I like Kenny King, but I am confident he won't be the one to exchange his X-Division title for a world title shot this summer. Rather, I believe the man who will challenge for Bully Ray's world heavyweight title - and possibly even win it - is none other than: Chris Sabin.
Now, hear me out, folks. I know Sabin has been back on the road for less than a month. I know he has a history of injuries. I know he's never been given a chance to be a main-eventer. But something tells me 2013 just might be Chris Sabin's year. He's been with the company for quite some time, but has never been regarded as more than a tag team specialist or a high-flyer. This could be the perfect opportunity for TNA to create yet another new star, and what better guy to put him over than Bully Ray?
For those who might not remember, or those who are relatively new to TNA Wrestling, Bully Ray and Chris Sabin have quite the history together. The Motor City Machine Guns (Sabin and Alex Shelley) had a lengthy tag team title feud a years back with Team 3D (Bully and Devon). As a matter of fact, it was a loss to The Guns that pretty much caused the Dudleyz to break up and for Bully to turn heel. That's why, considering their past, TNA could easily build to a Bully/Sabin match similar to that of Edge vs. Jeff Hardy from 2008/2009. Essentially, it's two former rivals feuding for a world title rather than the tag titles.
The major chip on TNA's shoulder would be convincing the fans that Chris Sabin actually stands a chance at dethroning Bully Ray for the world title. Unlike Aries, Sabin hasn't been the X-Division Champion for nearly a year. Hell, Sabin isn't even the X-Division Champion yet. He isn't anywhere as credible as Aries was this time last year. To think that Sabin would succeed in toppling the President of the Aces & 8s when so many other big names have failed - including the likes of Hardy, Kurt Angle, and Sting - would be taking a major leap of faith.
But isn't that the point of the Aces & 8s storyline? To not only elevate its' members, but to elevate young talent as well? How lame would it be if an old-timer like Sting or Hulk Hogan ends up being the one responsible for disbanding the evil group that has terrorized the company for months? Neither man should be standing in a wrestling ring in 2013, let alone wrestling and winning matches. Why not put the spotlight on someone who could stand to benefit from the win? Chris Sabin might be an unlikely choice, but who would have guessed that Austin Aries would have rose to superstardom as quickly as he did? Sabin could very well be the next big thing in TNA, and most people wouldn't see it coming.
My final question is possibly the most concerning of all: does Chris Sabin have what it takes to be the next big face of the company? I'm not expecting Sabin to match Jeff Hardy's level of popularity by the end of the year, but if he can propel himself to the status of someone like James Storm or Aj Styles, that would be a huge benefit for not only him, but the company as a whole. Sabin can get it done in the ring with nearly any opponent you throw at him. Imagine a feud between Sabin and Roode, Sabin and Angle, Sabin and Hardy, as well as the matches they could produce? I'm drooling just at the thought of it all. Like I said, Sabin is the unlikely pick as TNA's next mega-star, but so was Roode winning the inaugural Bound For Glory series; so was Aries challenging for the world title at last year's Destination X. Just because we can't see it coming doesn't mean it won't happen.
Of course, Sabin has to actually win the X-Division title first, and TNA has to keep up their end of the deal. A lot of IFs and variables, but as long as Sabin doesn't go down with another freak accident, 2013 could very well end up being his year.
What do you think? Will TNA allow the X-Division Champion to trade in his title for a world title shot this summer? If so, who do you see cashing in, if not Sabin?
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