Wednesday 19 September 2012

Aces High

The Aces and Eights faction has been appearing on TNA programming for a couple of months now but the group’s roster still remains a mystery. While it’s known that Luke Gallows, D’Lo Brown, Wes Brisco, Mike Knox and Chris Masters have all appeared as members of the group under masks it is not known whether they will be revealed as actual members of the gang when the inevitable unmasking comes. Who will have their faces shown as A&E members has been as much of a talking point as what the gang’s motives are.

The fact that so many of the men confirmed to have been on run-in duty for the group are former WWE performers could be indicative. Perhaps the group will be comprised exclusively of former WWE wrestlers who feel they should have been offered jobs by TNA. Perhaps they will be presented as men desperate for work, who have hit rock bottom and see joining the Aces and Eights as their only viable option.

Perhaps it’s simply a coincidence that TNA have used so many former WWE wrestlers so far. Or perhaps it has been a deliberate attempt to lead so-called smart fans down the wrong path.

Personally I think that when the group’s members do start getting revealed we will be seeing a number of ex-WWE guys in the ranks. All the men listed above (with the exception of road agent D’Lo Brown) would work well as part of a large heel faction where their duties mostly consist of running interference or work multi-man outings. I could see any of them being revealed as members.

It’s possible Matt Morgan will be revealed as an Aces and Eights man. A few months ago it looked as though ‘The Blueprint’ was leaving TNA and heading back to WWE. His surprise appearances at last weekend’s TNA house shows indicate he has opted to ink a new deal to stay in the IMPACT Zone.

The likeliest reason for Morgan’s return, after being very outspoken about wanting to jump to WWE, is that his former employer aren’t hiring talent recently affiliated with TNA right now (due to an ongoing legal battle between the groups). Being unable to make the move he wanted will have restricted his options.

It’s too early in the Morgan storyline to determine exactly what’s going on but membership of A&E is an option. Of course it’s equally possible he’ll be a pro TNA babyface that works hard to protect the company against the gang.
Who's under these masks, eh?
There are other former WWE stars that could pop up in the group too. DH Smith and Cliff ‘Domino’ Compton spring immediately to mind. TNA’s previous form of loading up on former employees of Vince McMahon is what makes me think we’re going to see the ranks swelled by sports entertainers.

The question of leadership is another interesting point. For a while it was rumoured Sting would be revealed as the A&E mastermind. Thankfully that is looking increasingly unlikely. Not only has ‘The Stinger’ been attacked by the group himself but it wouldn’t have been sense for him to be part of the group. What would he have been gaining from it?

In my mind there are four potential leaders. The first, and probably most unlikely, is Mr Anderson. ‘The Asshole’ has been given nothing of interest to do for almost a year and is currently at a loose end after his token inclusion in the Bound for Glory series predictably ended in failure. Maybe he formed the Aces and Eights faction in order to help him take out the competition and regain the TNA world title.

Bully Ray is another potential leader. What I like about ‘Calfzilla’s’ chances of being revealed as the group’s leader is that he’s recently been teasing a face turn. If he were to be announced as the leader of the heel unit that’s been plaguing TNA for months it would make any fans who had cheered and supported him feel foolish, something the Bully character would revel in reminding them of in promos.

The man most people think will be the group’s head is Jeff Jarrett. He has been absent from TNA since late last year, overseeing the company’s Indian Ring Ka King endeavour and various other projects. ‘The King of the Mountain’s’ return would freshen up the headline picture somewhat and provide the group with a good mouthpiece and credible centrepiece, but it wouldn’t exactly be a surprising move.

The other option I can see is Eric Bischoff. ‘Easy E’ has been absent from TNA screens since April and while I’m sure most other fans would agree with me in saying that there’s no need for him to hurry back I can imagine he and the rest of the promotion’s creative department are keen for him to resume TV duties. He would be slightly more surprising than Jarrett in the role, but he would just be doing the same thing he always does: acting as a heel spokesperson. If that’s what the group are getting then at the very least somebody new should be given a crack at the role.

I hope that whoever is revealed as the group’s leader is a surprise and there’s a logical plan in place to build on it. The worst thing TNA could do after working so hard to get the unit over would be to provide an inadequate leader, roster and goal for the group. It needs to be something more than a big name wrestler returning to become champion and “take over” the company.

Of course, the biggest mystery regarding the group is why they’ve chosen Aces and Eights as their name. This being TNA we may never get an answer to that.

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