"Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos." - Francis Ford Coppola
By James Guttman
For the past few months, TNA Wrestling has been overrun with chaos. Violence and uncertainty have replaced law and order. None of this is by accident. It's all because one man wants it that way and, if that's the way he wants it, that's the way he gets it.
When World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray married Knockout executive Brooke Hogan in January, many assumed it was a case of opposites attracting. Bully's love of chaos seemed to compliment Brooke's love of order. The two felt like a loving yin and yang, created to be together. But, as we all should have known then, nothing about Bully is "loving". His true nature is right in his name. He's a bully. When he turned his back on TNA for Aces and Eights, we had no one to blame but ourselves. He never claimed to be a hero. We were the ones who made that claim despite knowing better.
Bully Ray's Aces and Eights Presidential revelation could have happened right after the group arrived. But he chose to pretend to be against them for weeks. Why? Chaos. With constant questions about who was pulling the Aces and Eights’ strings, it left the roster with a sense of uncertainty. Fans were worried they might be applauding a secret villain. That's why he did it. And that's why he's doing it again with AJ Styles.
The courtship of AJ Style is a perfect example of this sick game plan. For the past few weeks, Aces and Eights have been praising the Four-Time World Champion. Styles is more than a TNA Original. He's the TNA original. Having wrestled in the first match on the first-ever TNA event, he represents TNA's heart and soul. There have been no ultimatums or threats. The Aces simply gave him an offer and sat back. Since this passive invitation, TNA has been in an upheaval. It has caused James Storm, Hulk Hogan, and others to question the loyalties of the Phenomenal One. Not only has it bred resentment from AJ, but it sent paranoia across the locker room. Will he? Won't he? No one knows. But, to be honest, no matter what side Styles chooses, Aces and Eights have already won. Just look around. The uncertainty is driving everyone crazy.
Look at what it's done to Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, the tag team of “Bad Influence.” They've been obsessed with AJ's decision. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries have capitalized on the lack of focus, allowing them to push Kaz and Daniels down the ladder and challenge for the Tag Team Titles against Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero on Thursday's Impact. The chaos running rampant indirectly claims more than "just another victim". It claims another two.
Throughout it all, Brooke Hogan has still tried to keep the order she holds so dear. With Rome burning around her, Brooke still managed to oversee the creation of the new TNA Knockouts website for its debut on Thursday. She also put together a #1 Contender Match for the Knockouts Title between Miss Tessmacher and Mickie James. In a world of chaos, Brooke put a championship bout together the old-fashioned way. When Mickie, eager to remind the world of her place in wrestling, came out victorious, it was the first sense of order Brooke has had in a while. This Thursday, when James challenges the returning Velvet Sky, one has to think that Brooke will be smiling. She'll finally some sanity in a wrestling world gone mad.
Unfortunately, Brooke Hogan's smiles don't last too long anymore because she still remains the captive wife of Bully Ray. The order and chaos are still intertwined and no one can help. Attorney Joseph Parks attempted to get the marriage annulled. Instead, much like Magnus and Samoa Joe, he was pummeled by the A&8's Sergeant at Arms, Devon. It's as if the whole company is being held hostage and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
That's why Thursday is so important. Bully Ray, has called out the father who taught Brooke about "order", Hulk Hogan. As a longtime wrestling fan, Bully has been living for this moment. Hulk is the quintessential iconic wrestling hero. Tormenting him in the most personal of ways and then confronting him in the ring is something only a true villain would do. As we all now know, that's who Bully Ray is. He's the meanest dog in the yard and he's always happy to prove it. What better way to show the world how bad you truly are than against the biggest hero in wrestling history?
With everything upside down in TNA, there's one major question everyone is wondering. What does Bully Ray have planned for Hulk Hogan when the two come face to face on Thursday? The answer, like nearly every step that Aces and Eights have taken, is that we simply don't know.
And that's the scariest part.