IMPACT WRESTLING on Pop Tuesdays at 9/8c starting January 5, 2016

Bracing For IMPACT: Happily Never After

By James Guttman

Bully Ray should not be the World Heavyweight Champion right now.  He ruined everything.

Slammiversary lulled us all into a false sense of security.  Look at the landscape of Impact Wrestling heading into last night.  After weeks of seeing TNA gain momentum in their war with his Aces and Eights, Bully finally defended his championship against our franchise, Sting.  It was a scenario we all waited eagerly for and a time for justice to be served.  Finally, the Bully would get his due.

As the excitement grew, it was easy to envision the Stinger walking off with the Bully Ray's gold.  For so many who questioned Sting's ability before, that was the swift result.  This was supposed to be TNA's night.  It was supposed to be the super hero finish to our Aces and Eights nightmare.

But that didn't happen.

It didn't happen because Bully Ray isn't like the many who questioned Sting's ability before.  He's the President of Aces and Eights and he doesn't read storybooks.  Our happily-ever-after doesn't work in his world and, unfortunately for us, he has the ability to do whatever he wants.

Think about the night.  We had Chris Sabin.  After a year on the disabled list, Sabin returned to the platform he once held dear - the X Division Title.  There was nothing quite like watching Chris overcome both the returning Suicide and champion Kenny King to regain the glory in an awesome Ultimate X Match.  It was a magical moment for all fans of wrestling. Everyone who has had the chance to hear Chris talk and see the passion in his eyes since returning knows that this is how things should be.  He earned that championship.  He deserves that championship.  He is that championship.  Hail Sabin.

If that wasn't uplifting enough, we had Kurt Angle.  Not only did the Olympic Hero defeat A.J. Styles in their long awaited encounter, he was announced as the second entrant into TNA's Hall of Fame.  The term "much deserved" doesn't even begin to describe this honor.  The skill level of Kurt Angle is beyond what anyone can imagine.  Whether he's on the microphone or the mat, Kurt can run circles around anyone.  The announcement of his Hall of Fame induction is just verification of what we already know to be true.  Kurt Angle is one of the greatest of all time - period.  The night was turning out to be a proud one for the family and fans of TNA.

I mean, Abyss!  Come on!  The monster took the place of his brother, Joseph Park, and won the TV Title, ending Devon's 100 lengthy title reign.  The roof came off the place.  It was electric.  At that moment, nothing could stop us.  This was sure to be TNA's night!

If that wasn't enough to make you think the evening was going to end with a heroic takedown, what about James Storm and Gunner winning the tag team titles?  Watching two brand new partners come together to overcome three of the greatest teams in TNA was amazing.  When Storm was still without a partner mere weeks ago, no one imagined it would be Gunner.  Fewer imagined that they'd overcome Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero for the TNA Tag Team Championship.  When you also realize that Badd Influence and the team of Austin Aries and Bobby Roode were in the battle as well, it's even more mind-blowing.  There's nothing greater than a true underdog coming out on top and that happened here.  With new champions left and right, surely we thought it was in the air.  Sting was going to vanquish the Bully's reign once and for all.

From the awe-inspiring Last Knockout Standing win by Taryn Terrell to Jeff Hardy's tremendous return alongside Samoa Joe and Magnus, Slammiversary had all the elements. It was supposed to fade to black with the Stinger holding the TNA Championship above his head. But, no. Instead, it closed with Aces and Eights in our ring, celebrating with our title.  No one ever promised us a fairy tale ending, but this one was particularly rough.  Slammiversary wasn't supposed to end like this.  But I guess we learned one lesson, things aren't over until they're over.  

This Thursday on Impact, I have a feeling that Bully Ray and Aces and Eights will learn that too.