I think there's a bit of competition here between the two wrestling organizations about who can put together the more compelling version of the same story. One reads like a novel, the other like a morning paper comic. The A.D.D. storyline running of WWE skips to the end far quicker than is necessary. When I think of making a statement, I don't think of three guys working one guy over at the finish of a headlining match on one of the big four PPVs, I think about something a bit more colorful. Give it to the fans on national TV. Give the fans something to talk about. You just told us that you're here to right wrongs. You're maintaining justice and wearing pleather, gloves, and hair gel to do it. I applaud your candor. Unfortunately, when WWE skipped to the end, it resulted in the same behavior in two solid weeks, and on three separate occasions, aimed at the same guy. I grant that Sting was attacked twice in the beginning of the Aces and Eights saga, but when you compare what happened to Ryback at Survivor Series to that below....
I was dying to bring this one up because WWE got it right with this one. Two of the four men walking in were already main event material. By the time the stable had run its course, every man was moreorless able to join the main event tier.
TNA's equivalent. It brought Bobby Roode and James Storm into the main event picture, but it ultimately left Daniels on the sidelines, with no real money feuds to count on. For the record, Styles doesn't count. Styles has been an upper tier guy for years now, with bouts of upper mid-card clouding his skies, but with the emphasis on him getting pinned at last month's PPV, I think we could be seeing something change for the better on his front.
This is another one I wanted to bring to the table because this was an example of what NOT to do with a bunch of guys. Allow me to set the scene. It was early 2011. Officials at Spike were pushing for TNA to bring back the Main Event Mafia to combat Immortal. Booker T, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner were on the verge of their contracts expiring. In spite of all efforts made by those at TNA, the three opted not to re-sign. The problem? By this time, officials had been led to believe that at least two of the three would re-sign, allowing them to still move forward with the plan. So, a vignette was filmed making overtures to that direction. When negotiations fell through and Booker T and Nash decided to go back to WWE to debut at the Royal Rumble, TNA was forced to do something to try and salvage the pieces and so they turned Fortune against the assembly. Ultimately, the members of Fortune did well enough, but Immortal became one of the least successful ventures TNA has ever attempted.
Main Event Mafia-
This was a hard one to grade because each man never really moved up or down the card per se. When the stable was put together, it was based around the typical complaints of WWE. The glass ceiling. The top guys who just didn't want to move out of the way and let the young bucks jump in and take the reins. It wasn't until AJ Styles won the Legends Title, which was later renamed the TV Title, that the faction began to die out and splinter back into the singles stars each were when they came into it.
My initial point in all of this is that TNA has made some tactical mistakes over the years and have come to a point where they've found a way to make a large faction not only possible, but thrive in the live atmosphere. There really is no comparing Aces and Eights to any faction or stable to come before as they can swarm like the nWo did and do so with greater dramatic flair, they can injure and maim worse than any faction before them, and save for those most recently unmasked, they are still anonymous, making them more dangerous than any other faction so far.
Eventually, TNA will have to make their demands known and their ultimate goal will have to be brought to the forefront, but for the moment, they can just let the momentum work in their favor as they begin to reveal characters one by one. Keep in mind, TNA fans, that with each member they unmask, they come closer to the finish of this chapter in the story. This has been the most success TNA has enjoyed with regards to critics being happy with the product. Now if they can only correct some of the grievances I mentioned in the last column, they can finish out the year with their heads held high.