By James Guttman
Anything can happen in professional wrestling. On any given night, a match can go the way you don't expect and it turns everything upside down. The moment changes history and alters where things go from that point forward. Last Thursday at Destination X, Chris Sabin turned everything upside down.
In his win, Sabin gave TNA more than hope in its battle with Aces and Eights. It gave us hope that anything can happen. Who's to say that AJ Styles, after months of self-centered brooding, doesn't see this as a bright moment to rekindle his love for TNA? Who's to say that Styles, heading into his Bound For Glory Series match with Jeff Hardy on Impact, doesn't view this as an opportunity to soak up the cheers like Sabin did last Thursday? It's a thought that we wouldn't have even considered two weeks ago. But after Chris, anything is possible.
Perhaps "Me, Me, Me" Mickie James can see the new TNA Champion as more than inspiration. Maybe she can follow his path and carry her title with equal honor. The humble demeanor that Sabin has shown both before and after his title win speaks volumes for his character. Mickie, well, not so much. Her Knockouts Title win has been a double entendre for the start with how fans are knocked out by her new attitude. Gone are the days of a strong role model Mickie and in are the days of arrogant reminders of her talent. Following the "anything can happen" mindset, James's return to her true form is possible, albeit improbable. However, fans might not have to want for a role model for long. Impact could see a new Champion as the more-than-capable Gail Kim gets her shot at the gold and, as we've gone over, anything can happen.
While Sabin might inspire so many to follow his path, there are perhaps no wrestlers who will be inspired more than Manik, Sanjay Dutt, and Greg Marasciulo. All three men square off in a match to determine the new X-Division Champion. With the wave of momentum surrounding the outgoing champion, one has to recognize the dream-come-true aspect this match presents for all three men. For Manik, it's a chance to right the wrong that Austin Aries started by attacking him weeks ago and stealing his title match. While it all ended with Sabin holding the strap, it has to annoy Manik to know that his vicious attack set this all in motion. For Dutt, the X-Division Title represents a chance to show that he's always had the ability to bounce back into the spotlight. Greg Marasciulo, on the other hand, has the opportunity to prove that he has the ability to immediately jump into the TNA spotlight. Three men. Three different motivations. One title. This is going to be one Impact Wrestling X-Division Title match that fans won't soon forget and a new champion will stand tall when it's all said and done. In a business where you might see a new champion on any given night, this is a rare chance to go into a show knowing a new champion will be crowned. For all three men, history awaits Thursday at 9pm on Spike TV.
But, at the end of the day, to steal a phrase, everyone acts like they forgot about Ray. How dangerous that can be? You see, all of this storybook "anything can happen" talk is great, but it doesn't fit with conventional reality. For over a year, TNA has been terrorized by Bully Ray and the Aces and Eights. It's naïve to think that a win by Chris Sabin or a confrontation with the Main Event Mafia or Hulk Hogan will stop that. In fact, Bully is more dangerous now than he's ever been. With the title on someone else's waist, Ray has a reason to be infuriated. That title, in his mind, is his. With fans celebrating and wrestlers singing the new champion's praises, the Bully is planning his response. Given his past actions, I worry about what that means for Chris Sabin…and for TNA as a whole.
So tune in Thursday night and see where things go. If last week's Impact was any indication, it's safe to assume what can happen this week.
Spoiler Alert: Anything.