December 03, 2012

The Leader of the Aces & 8s Should Be...

The TNA writers seem dead set on sticking with the Aces & 8s storyline for as long as they possibly can (some would say passed the point of redundancy), and after months and months of this, there are still innumerable questions about this faction: Who are they? Why are they concealing their identities? Why are they invading TNA? What are they trying to accomplish? Etc, etc, etc. But one of the more widely speculated questions is who the leader of the group is, the mysterious "president" that Devon keeps alluding to that's been running this whole operation.

And since it doesn't look like we're going to get an answer to that one any time in the near future, I thought I'd throw out a few suggestions. This was born mostly out of my desire for the reveal of the leader's identity to be worth the wait after all this build up, but also my disappointment with the rumored less-than-stellar lineup of the group, as well as my fervent hope that the leader is NOT Jeff Jarrett or Eric Bischoff.

Also because I want people to get it through their damn heads that I am not the leader of the Aces & 8s. Long story...

The leader of the Aces & 8s should be...

#1) Abyss
This is the one that I think would be the best choice and make the most sense, while at the same time not be overly predictable. Plus, Abyss has been gone for long enough now that his return would really mean something, especially if he came back in a major way like this.

Abyss disappears, which leads to the introduction of the Joseph Park character. After a time, Joseph stops searching for his brother Chris (you know, Abyss) and becomes more preoccupied with the Aces & 8s, going so far as to supposedly discover the identity of their leader, only to be kidnapped and held hostage by them for weeks, mysteriously forgetting who the leader is once he was freed.

I've explained in detail in my iMPACT reviews how that entire subplot was a whole lot of build up for essentially nothing, but maybe it wasn't, maybe it was all going somewhere that they still haven't arrived at. They've been teasing the Joseph Park split personality angle every so often, but haven't officially pulled the trigger on it yet. Maybe that's what it's been building up to -- revealing that, not only are Abyss and Joseph Park the same person, but that the entire plot of the Aces & 8s was birthed in the twisted mind of Abyss and his other personality never had any idea. And if the writers REALLY wanted to mindfuck the audience, they could reveal that even the Aces & 8s themselves had no idea Abyss and Joseph were the same person. Oh, the possibilities... 

Imagine if it all came down to that rumored Lethal Lockdown match involving, among other people, Joseph Park and Hulk Hogan, and ended with Joseph seeing his own blood, going into that familiar trance, but instead of going batshit insane on the Aces & 8s, he suddenly turns on Hogan, revealing himself to not only be Abyss, but the leader of the very group they were fighting all this time.

While I would regret the possible loss of the wonderful Joseph Park character, which has been one of my favorite new characters to come around in years, I can't think of a better person to be the leader of this faction. After all this time, whoever it is needs to be someone really shocking, and this would certainly be shocking. For this reason, I believe Abyss/Joseph Park is the best choice.

#2) Crimson
This one is a bit of a longshot. I admit, it's more about my belief that TNA have a potential top heel in Crimson than it is about what makes the most sense for the story. I know he has his share of critics and I'm not saying he isn't a bit of a work in progress, but I truly believe this guy has the tools to be something really big for TNA. He's been competing in OVW for the last several months, and since he's been there he's really blossomed as a character, reinvented himself as a cunning, manipulative mastermind type, grown much more comfortable in the mic and shown that he's charismatic enough to be a believable faction leader. I wonder if this has been TNA prepping him for a similar role when he returns to the main show.

Whether management sent Crimson to developmental for more seasoning or just to stave off ring rust until creative finds something for him to do is unclear right now, but the fact that he's stopped appearing on iMPACT is worth noting, I think. If Rob Terry can be sent to developmental, but still appear on iMPACT at the same time, why can't Crimson? Why is Crimson being kept off TV, but not a talentless clown like Terry? He's still working house shows in the meantime and he's the current OVW heavyweight champion (at least he was until a few days ago) -- I think it's clear TNA have been preparing Crimson for something, and they seemed so excited about him last year that for him to just vanish like he did feels kind of suspicious.

Crimson is another character who's been gone long enough that his return would be really impactful if it were done right, and him being the leader of the Aces & 8s would definitely fit that bill. It would require a bit of revisionist history to explain, but I think they could make it work.

Crimson's 18 month win streak was ended at Slammiversary 2012 by James Storm. He then faced Devon in a losing effort on iMPACT, and that was the last time we saw him, his disappearance seeming to roughly coincide with the Aces & 8s bursting onto the scene. This may not have been the writers' original idea, but they could easily tie it all together.

The story could be that Crimson had been planning this all along, or maybe the end of his win streak that he'd identified himself with for so many months drove him over the edge. He left TV by choice to avoid suspicion, and that angle over the summer with James Storm being suspected of being the leader was machinated by Crimson as revenge for Storm handing him his first loss.

Really the only thing that would contradict this would be the following loss to Devon, but that could be easily explained as Crimson throwing the match on purpose because Devon being the "Sergeant At Arms" was in the works even back then, and if he lost to Devon on that night, no one would think Devon was taking orders from him later. It might not be a 100% seamless explanation, but I think it would be enough to satisfy most fans.

Crimson is probably the least likely candidate here and I expect the chances of him being the leader are slim. Still, I maintain that TNA have a future breakout top star with this guy; much like with Magnus, it may take some time for him to realize that potential, but if he's ready for it, Crimson as the leader of the Aces & 8s is an idea I would not be quick to write off.

#3) James Storm 
When I think about James Storm lately, the same two words keep coming up over and over again: What happened? 

Here's a guy who was so hot for most of last year, who had more momentum than almost anyone else on the show as recently as a few months ago, and somehow TNA have managed to drop the ball on James Storm's main event push, not once, but twice, in just 12 months! Considering the potential and charisma of James Storm, that is something I cannot let pass. So, yeah, this is basically just me wanting TNA to find a major role for the Cowboy, to stop jerking him around and to get him back into the world title scene where he belongs. If you have a problem with that, then you're reading the wrong blog. 

Storm lost to Bobby Roode in the main event of Lockdown in his home town. After that he disappeared for 2 months, returning at Slammiversary to end Crimson's undefeated streak (the Aces & 8s first appearing just 4 days later) and looked to be the favorite to win the Bound For Glory Series until the very end when he was derailed by Roode once again. But during that 3 month period there was something else going on, a storyline about the suspicion that Storm might be the leader of the Aces & 8s. This angle went on for some time, with Storm not being able to prove his innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt and people gradually starting to think that he might very well be the leader. And just when the suspicion was reaching its apex, the Aces & 8s inexplicably attacked Storm for seemingly no reason, thus proving his innocence for him. 

Ever since then I've been wondering what the point of that storyline was, seeing as how it didn't go anywhere or lead to anything for Storm or the Aces & 8s. In hindsight it seemed like it was done for no other reason than to fill time. The only thing it really ended up accomplishing was clearing James Storm of any possible involvement with the group... and maybe that was the point. 

Storm was one of the first people accused of being the leader of the Aces & 8s and the first person cleared of any wrong-doing in everyone's eyes. Maybe the reason why this was done was just so people wouldn't suspect him later. Maybe he ordered the Aces & 8s to attack him, taking the beating voluntarily just so no one would ever think he was guilty after that. 

Maybe the loss to Roode at Lockdown effected James Storm far more than anyone realized. None of us really know what he was doing for the following 2 months. He was supposedly doing some soul-searching at home, but maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was putting together this insurgent group for some purpose that has yet to be revealed, possibly to ensure that what happened to him at Lockdown would never happen to him again. 

Like with Crimson, there might be a couple holes in this theory, but nevertheless, I think it would work. Either way, James Storm needs a boost after the shabby treatment his character has received recently. And being the leader of the Aces & 8s could be just the shot in the arm the Cowboy needs to finally capture the world title again and cement himself as the top star he could be if TNA would just give him the ball and let him run with it. 

1 comment:

whoamIanyway said...

I would really like the Abyss/Joseph Park idea to work, but how would you explain Park AND the leader appearing at the same time when sting and hogan were at the clubhouse?