"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" - Winston Churchill
By James Guttman
Every great war has a turning point. There's always one battle that lets the dominant side know change is coming. With just one momentum turning moment, the underdogs make it known that they're about fight back. Last Thursday's Impact was that turning point. And this Thursday's Impact is the dawn of a new day for TNA.
This momentum shift was pretty obvious in Kurt Angle's Impact appearance. After weeks of defeats from Aces and Eights, Angle had had enough. He not only challenged any member of the group willing to step up, but allowed them to pick their own stipulation. After forcing D’Lo Brown to submit in their "I Quit Match", Kurt stood victorious. Aces and Eights, perhaps sensing the winds of change, backed off without incident. This allowed Angle, with a fresh sense of confidence, to call out AJ Styles and give him the final ultimatum that we've been waiting for. On the next Impact, when Devon, Bully Ray, and Mr. Anderson square off against Sting and Kurt, there's a vacant spot waiting for the Phenomenal One on their team. Will he take it? Will he not? No matter what happens, this Thursday, he chooses his side. No more brooding. No more silence. Styles either joins Team TNA for the six-man bout against Bully Ray's army or he's officially on the outs. Seeing how TNA is finally gaining momentum, this was the time to make this demand. The choice is not so clear cut for AJ as it might have been a few weeks ago.
TNA's sudden influx of heroes to help their cause has allowed others to renew focus on what's important. No longer preoccupied with AJ's choice, Bad Influence is finally back in the tag team hunt. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian face off with Bobby Roode and Austin Aries to determine the next challengers to Tag Team Champions, Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero. In an effort to illustrate TNA's return to order, “Cowboy” James Storm was named the special guest referee. Will Storm's past issues with Roode, who just bragged on Thursday about once cracking a beer bottle over James's head, play a role in his officiating? Will he show bias or do what's right for Impact Wrestling and call the match down the middle? While fans would love to see a clean cut contest, no one would blame Storm for harboring some resentment. The selection of the Cowboy as ref may not be the luckiest choice for Double A and Bobby. But, as the saying goes, "Sorry about your damn luck."
The most exciting example of TNA's resurgence was Sting's epic battle with Matt Morgan to determine the challenger to Bully Ray at Slammiversary. In the end, the Stinger emerged victorious. But having a star with Matt Morgan's talent waiting and willing to defend Impact Wrestling can only be a positive…right? His skills and size are second to none. His attitude, though, might leave some a little bit worried.
Above all else, one thing is certain. Up until now, this battle has been Aces and Eights versus Hulk Hogan. But, as of Thursday, that all changed. This is a new day for Impact Wrestling. We know it and, most importantly, Aces and Eight know it. We've always had the values. We've always had the desire. But, as of Thursday, we finally have what we've needed the most this whole time – hope that the war can be won.