May 26, 2013

Looking to the Future

The Sting/Hogan Dilemma


My idea would proceed thusly...

Upon the conclusion of Bound For Glory 2013, AJ Styles is now the world heavyweight champion. Bully Ray has lost the title, and in the resulting fallout the Aces & 8s break up and the faction is no more.

The following Thursday on BFG fallout show, Hulk Hogan, jaded by his experiences dealing with the Aces & 8s for the last year and a half, announces the implementation of many new policies and safety measures in order to prevent and stamp out threats like the Aces & 8s before they arise -- things like armed security guards and zero tolerance for heels caught cheating are brought up. He says this new direction is being taken in order to safeguard TNA in the future.

The announcement is met with a divisive response from the roster with some of the wrestlers calling Hogan's new policies extreme, even draconian, while others feel the change is favorable to another Aces & 8s-like faction rising up, and as long as they just behave and act respectable everything should be fine.

This division among the roster only increases once Hogan's changes come into effect: locks on every door, security patrolling the halls, wrestlers having to be in a certain place by a certain time when they're booked for a match in what amounts to curfews, guards at ringside that have free reign to enter the ring during matches and subdue anyone in possession of a foreign object, and so on.

Some heels are upset because using steel chairs and the like to win matches has become virtually impossible, while other more savvy heels simply adapt and get more clever in their cheating methods, ironically flourishing under this new regime. Some babyfaces are happy that someone is finally cracking down on heelish shenanigans and they no longer have to worry about getting hit in the face with brass knuckles during a match, while other faces chafe at all the new rules, finding them too constricting.

At first, the majority of the wrestlers support Hogan's changes and for a brief time they do seem very effective in accomplishing their intended purpose. But little-by-little more and more of the roster raises issues with them, though any real dissent is kept backstage behind closed doors, at least in the beginning.

The tipping point comes after several weeks when one night the guards at ringside get overzealous and attack a sympathetic babyface -- hypothetically, let's say Eric Young. He was reaching into his pants for something and they mistook this for him going for a weapon of some kind. The guards attack Eric with excessive force, gravely injuring him accidentally. It then turns out that the thing Eric had been reaching for was something completely harmless (this is Eric Young we're talking about, so it could be anything). Eric is taken away in an ambulance with all indications being that his injuries are quite serious and management rules the incident a tragic misunderstanding.

The following week, Sting goes to the ring and calls out Hogan. This is the first time that anyone has publicly questioned Hogan's new approach, let alone to his face. Sting tells Hogan that he's taking things too far and it needs to stop because what happened to Eric Young was only the first hint of what's to come if Hogan continues down this road he's on.

Hogan admits the Eric Young incident was a terrible mistake, but those responsible have been disciplined. He vows that such mistakes will not happen again. Sting questions what disciplinary actions were dolled out since the guards are still at ringside, in fact, it's the same guards that injured Eric. He understands where Hogan is coming from -- the Aces & 8s fooled him, humiliated him, made him question himself as a general manager and as a man, but now he's going overboard in his efforts to make sure nothing like that ever happens again, and sooner or later it's going to blow up Hogan's face. Sting knows this because he once tried to do the same thing (Main Event Mafia) and despite his good intentions, it backfired the same way this will backfire.

Sting explains that Hogan has lost sight of the big picture and his mistake is in trying to control everything, to ensure that the company stays in balance, but if there's one thing Sting has learned over the years, it's that pro wrestling by its very nature is out of balance. There's no way to prevent another evil heel from rising up or the formation of another Aces & 8s type of faction. One way or another, these things will inevitably happen and you simply have to deal with them when they do because that's just the nature of the business: You can't be sure of anything because nothing's for sure.

Hogan disagrees. He says that as much as he respects Sting, he's sure of this. The mistakes will be addressed, but these changes need to continue and will continue for TNA's own good. Sting states that in Hogan's efforts to protect TNA he's creating some kind of totalitarian regime. This is not right and Sting will not allow it to happen. The two men realize they are at an impasse and cannot come to an understanding. Sting leaves Hogan in the ring promising that regardless of the consequences, he's going to do what he has to do. Hogan vows to do the same.

The following week a world title match is booked with AJ Styles defending the world championship in a rematch with Bully Ray, who won a #1 contendership battle royal the previous week. Before the opening match of the show, a babyface wrestler (doesn't matter who) is late for "curfew" and is being given a hard time by the guards backstage when Sting appears and runs them off. The announcers say that Sting has the right idea and the guards were being too strict. They seem to be leaning more towards siding with Sting than Hogan.

During the main event, AJ appears to have the match in hand and is closing in on a victory when Bully Ray rolls out of the ring and goes for a chain. The guards stop him, subduing him with excessive force that the announcers argue is going too far after what happened to Eric Young. Sting appears and takes out the guards with his trusty big black bat. Todd Keneley says that while it seems crazy for Sting to be helping Bully Ray, he's just keeping the playing field level; you have to treat everyone equally, even the heels, otherwise what's the point? This leads to a big commotion at ringside. In the ensuing chaos, Bully Ray grabs his chain and knocks AJ Styles out with it. He rolls AJ back into the ring and pins him. Bully Ray is the new world champion.

The following week, Hogan is furious. He calls out Sting and tears him apart. After everything he went through with Bully Ray, all the pain and suffering his family was put through, all the work that went into finally getting the title off of Bully Ray, Sting ruined it in one moment of defiance because he was too damn self-righteous to understand what Hogan was trying to do. Sting defends himself, saying that while he regrets Bully Ray regaining the title, he won't apologize because Hogan's guards were going too far and stopping them was the right thing to do.

Hogan says he loves Sting like a brother, but he will not stand for this. It's time for some tough love. He books Sting in a 6-man tag match tonight against the three baddest, most violent sons of bitches he can find (again, doesn't matter who). He dares Sting to go backstage and find himself two partners, but he knows no one is going to say yes. And when Sting can't find anyone to partner with him, he'll just have to face his three opponents alone. He hopes this will make Sting realize that he's been the one who was wrong about this because no one is going to follow him. He hopes the beating Sting is about to receive will knock some sense into him.

Multiple pretapes throughout the night show Sting trying to find two partners and coming up with nothing. Everyone he asks either isn't sure about what Sting is doing and hasn't made up their mind yet or flat out doesn't agree with him, citing the Bully Ray title win as why. Sting can't find a single partner to back him up.

Sting spends the entire match getting demolished. His opponents are showing no mercy, trying to hurt him rather than beat him and focusing on Sting's left leg. Sting is in really bad shape. The announcers are saying this has gone too far and Sting looks like he's done for, calling for the match to be stopped. They're screaming that Hogan has made his point. Sting was out there all alone and he never had a chance.

Music hits the loudspeaker, someone appears on the stage... It's Matt Morgan. Morgan charges to the ring and stands in Sting's corner, trying to rally the battered Icon. Sting fights off his opponents in a desperation move and makes the tag. Morgan cleans house, takes out all three men, clotheslines two of them out of the ring, hits the carbon footprint on the third and wins the match.

Todd Keneley states that just like the Blueprint's music says, it looks as if Hogan just awakened the sleeping giant. Sting is hobbled, he can't stand under his own power. Morgan pulls Sting up, but he needs to lean on the ropes to support himself. Sting raises Matt Morgan's hand as the show fades to black.

To be continued...

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