When I heard that Rampage Jackson was going to be a member of the Main Event Mafia, I was apprehensive. When I heard that Chris Sabin was going to cash in the X Title, I was hopeful. When I heard that Magnus won the Joker's Wild Tourney, I was beside myself, stammering in amazement. When I heard that every part of that equation would come face to face with each other next week, I felt vindicated. Do you know why? Because the current shift in tides is only the beginning and I've been predicting this.....
In my eyes, Chris Sabin is a wild card. I'm going to give you two scenarios as to how this could go down.....
1. Chris Sabin wins and moves into the target position with someone brand new, namely the winner of the Bound for Glory Series and AJ Styles. This move puts TNA's stamp of approval on Sabin as a newly christened member of the main event tier, creating YET ANOTHER World Champion to sharpen their playing field.
2. Bully Ray retains, making him the likely World Champion to face Magnus AND AJ Styles at Bound for Glory this year. I've made no secret that this is the match I believe will come about and I still believe that.
As much as I would LOVE to believe Chris Sabin is going to win out this time, I just have trouble with that as it relates to Bully Ray's character, the circumstances surrounding the match, and the current momentum the Main Event Mafia has of late. They've been the perfect foil so far. This makes me skeptical.....I mean, Ray's capturing of the World Title was done by covert means (or not so covert, by some people's reckoning) and has been held by the stable and not necessarily the person from match to match. The influx of the MEM has muddied up the story a bit, but not enough to fully "cap" off the stable, at least not yet. I could see a left field lob with the Mafia unable to handle the Eights and AJ Styles coming from nowhere to aid another X Division colleague for the win and then turning on him once his hand is raised, but I have my doubts TNA would play it that way.
But let me stop right in my tracks and say why Chris Sabin as the World Heavyweight Champion would be a good thing....
Chris Sabin's story would read very much like that of Jesse Sorenson's, who was a question mark before finally opting out of the wrestling ring in favor of a role behind the scenes. After two ACL injuries back to back and nearly two years out of action, Sabin returns to a hero's welcome, but without his tag team counterpart, Alex Shelley, TNA would be unable to reunite the two. So TNA returns him to his roots, but in this new world, the X Title has more than just part time merits, but more global implications, so to speak. In the newly revamped division, the uphill battle finally returns him to the top of the summit to finally get his first EVER World Heavyweight Title shot. You just can't make up a story like that. So if he wins, here's what we, as fans will receive:
Chris Sabin and Magnus aren't strangers; they've faced off during the bright years of TNA's Tag Team past, where Magnus and Doug Williams were matched against the Motor City Machine Guns for a short time. In like fashion, Sabin and AJ Styles aren't strangers, having squared off MANY times as X Division competitors before Styles upped his focus into the World Title picture. Simply put, it remains to be seen how well the chemistry is formulated between the three, but a squaring off between Sabin, Styles, and Magnus would be one for the history books....and you can take that to the bank.
So next week, we'll see just how all the pieces to this story fit together. President Ray vs. Chris Sabin in a match for the World Heavyweight Title with the battleground to be determined for the Aces and Eights and the Main Event Mafia. If the Aces prevail, I believe we'll see the retaining of the belt, but if the Mafia comes out on top or if no Aces are in Bully's corner, I believe we'll see a brand new main eventer to headline the top PPV of TNA's brand.