Views From The Turnbuckle: Aces & Eights And The Never-Ending Story(Line)
Even if you were to watch an episode of Impact Wrestling for just a few minutes, you would undeniably hear of Aces & 8s. It is inescapable to the viewer, and it is by far the largest storyline going on in wrestling today (with the possible exception of CHIKARA shutting its whole company down for the sake of a storyline, but that is for another column). It is all-consuming, and for the past year, it is really the only storyline in TNA that has any legs.
Unfortunately for TNA, a lot of fans have felt that Aces & 8s has run its course, and at this point the storyline is more likely doing more harm than good for TNA. Instead of peaking the interests levels of fans, Aces & 8s has the led the charge in TNA's worst ratings skid in years and perhaps even into financial instability.
In case you don't know, Aces & 8s is an invading gang of bikers who have pledged to lay waste to TNA. The group consists of Bully Ray, Devon, Mr. Anderson, Garrett Bischoff, Wes Brisco, Knux (Mike Knox) and until very recently, D.O.C. (Luke Gallows). Why they are bikers is something that TNA never got around to explaining, but the gist of it is that they are a motor cycle gang (think Sons of Anarchy) that wanted to end TNA or something.
See, for a long time we never really knew what Aces & 8s agenda was, and neither did TNA. Nobody knew who was in the group, as TNA would routinely throw random masks on people to record promos and film beat downs. It wasn't until Lockdown that we found out that Aces & 8s real reason for invading TNA was to make sure that Bully Ray would become World Champion, something that they accomplished when Bully turned heel and won the TNA World Title. Of course, they had been around for almost 10 months at this point, but only then did they spring into action.
Since Lockdown, Aces & 8's has been feuding with Sting and Hulk Hogan, two men in their mid-to-late 50s, over control of TNA. During that time span, Bully Ray had married Hogan's daughter, beat down Sting with an actual hammer, and then defeated Sting at Slammiversary, with the stipulation being that if Sting lost, he could never contend for the TNA World Title again.
Aces & 8s has been going strong for 13 months now, and although it is nice to see a stretched out storyline that spans months, continuity and logic have been completely tossed by the wayside for the sake of limping the storyline along. In addition to some poor creative decisions, roster moves and match booking have also had a hand in reducing Aces & 8s into one of the most unbearable storylines in wrestling history.
If you were to go back to Lockdown, the trademark "Lethal Lockdown" match featured Sting leading a specially assembled squad to take on Aces & 8s (minus Bully Ray). The match was a complete and total annihilation of Aces & 8s, as Sting entered the match last, carrying a litany of weapons, and the beat down was on. Aces & 8s barely got in an offensive move and Team TNA won after an Eric Young elbow drop from the top of the cage. For all intents and purposes, it seemed that Aces & 8s was disposed of. However, Aces & 8s would interfere in the World Title match and give Bully Ray the championship. So on one night, TNA had made Aces & 8s look tremendously strong, as they held the TNA World Championship, but they had also made them look terribly weak, as when push came to shove, they didn't stand a chance against the TNA roster.
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