Before ANYONE calls me out and corrects me by saying it hasn't been a year yet, in my view, it feels like it. When MVP comes out and flaps his mouth and Dixie comes out to retort, every time I wish it were Sting or AJ or both to restore order. I don't like Team Dixie and Team MVP isn't doing anything for me either, but I can't say it's been booked badly, it just seems like a team is missing to balance the playing field....
Think back, people....who always turned the tides in heel authority figure stories? Before Sting's arrival, it was Styles, but once Sting came in, HE was the 'go to' guy. During the time Team Jarrett was running ragged over the roster in 2004, Sting won the World Title at Bound for Glory and sent Jarrett packing. When the Main Event Mafia was running over the roster, who turned face first? Sting. When Hogan came onboard and began securing control, who held him at bay and turned the tides and Hogan, in the process? Sting. When Team Dixie first came to power, who was the pillar at the top of the opposition? Sting. The facts don't lie, even though the characters might.
Since I've covered AJ Styles extensively elsewhere, I won't linger over his history, but suffice it to say that TNA really could use the burst of energy he brought to the ring and especially in a renewed 6 Sided Ring. It's not the same, and no one can convince me otherwise.
ON THE OTHER HAND, there is plenty happening right now that prompts me to believe we'll see Styles one way or another. When Styles left TNA, he began leaving a trail of injuries from his opponents in other promotions. For some reason, his tenure in TNA accustomed those receiving his finisher in the way to take it and not get hurt, but not anywhere else. I have only one explanation: he never thought he'd find his way to the door and would ultimately retire in TNA. Seriously. Watch any interview in the wake of his final negotiations falling through. He believed he would be facing friends and colleagues for many years to come, but when the opponents he faced were in a different mindset than those under TNA's banner, signals were crossed, messages were mixed, and people got hurt.
I'm not blaming Styles. In fact, I'm saying, for the record, that TNA should have retained him. Could he return? Absolutely. And Sting? For once, I have no idea why. Would he bring in new fans? Maybe. Is there a place for him to fit into the current landscape? I'm having trouble finding it. Without a brand loyal babyface as his co-pilot, I simply don't see a place for Sting to stand where it makes much sense and that's a sad thing for me to say. I'm a big fan of the Stinger, I really am, but he's done everything TNA can offer him. He's held every belt, grabbed every ring, and crossed every line set up for him. I think the only place Styles holds the advantage is his age, but unless officials are willing to roll up their sleeves and open their pocketbooks, we won't see him back in TNA again.
So now the question is, is TNA better or worse for the losses? I say better on the Sting side, but worse for Styles. I'll probably catch some heat for this, but there would have to be something drastic that would happen to bring back Sting....what, you ask? I'll save that little morsel for later because THAT piece is purely speculation.