By James Guttman
The wave is over and the momentum is slowing. The group that seemed all but vanquished three weeks ago is riding high again. With one match and in one moment, Aces and Eights have nearly regained full control. All of TNA's hopes that this outlaw gang could be finished for good were left battered and broken inside of that cage at Hardcore Justice.
Originally, everything looked great. We had Chris Sabin as World Heavyweight Champion. We had a five on five match between the Main Event Mafia and Aces and Eights set for this Thursday's Impact where the losing member leaves TNA forever. Surely the momentum we would get following Sabin's big title defense would lead us to the promise land. All our ducks were in a row. Then, while we were busy counting the chickens we were going to have, our eggs suddenly failed to hatch.
With the announcement that Kurt Angle will be unable to compete in the upcoming five man tag match, the Main Event Mafia was left at a disadvantage. The group scrambled and began approaching different members of the roster for support. Unfortunately, no one likes to be asked for their help out of necessity. It looked less and less likely that the Mafia would find a fifth team mate to take Kurt's place. Things looked bleak.
That's why people were amazed that Rampage Jackson offered Tito Ortiz a spot in the bout. After all, the two are scheduled to fight on the Bellator MMA pay-per-view November 2nd. Some applauded it as show of maturity. But others saw it as an act of desperation. Would Jackson have ever offered his hand in friendship if Kurt Angle wasn't out? Would he have extended Tito the invite if Austin Aries hadn't rejected their offer? That's what went through my mind when the offer was made.
It must have gone through Ortiz's mind too. When the Huntington Beach Bad Boy showed up, hammer in hand, to the cage and helped Bully Ray win the World Heavyweight Championship, people were shocked. With one swing of the weapon, TNA's momentum in their war with Aces and Eights was gone. No more five man team. No more World Heavyweight Championship. It was all gone.
This brings us to this Thursday night's Impact. The burden is on the Main Event Mafia to find a fifth member. Going into their loser-of-the-fall-leaves-TNA match at a four on five disadvantage isn't an option. The 5-on-4 beatdown the bikers gave the Mafia at Hardcore justice proved that. But that raises its own set of problems.
Even if M.E.M. manage to fill the spot in their corner, how loyal with this new partner really be? Being asked last by a team that's down on its luck might be seen as a slight to some. Given the stunning sneak attack by Tito Ortiz last Thursday, are the Main Eventers even in the right state of mind to trust a new member? There are so many factors at work here and none of them are to the Mafia's advantage.
It doesn't help them that this Thursday's Impact is a stacked show. With X Division Champion Manik facing Sonjay Dutt and a big Bound For Glory Series four-way street fight, many of TNA's finest are already scheduled for action. It cuts down on who they can even approach with the idea. It leaves many fans wondering if this is the end of the Main Event Mafia. Seriously.
What no one talks about is that the M.E.M. has already lost Kurt Angle from their group for the time being. What will it do to the team if they lose another on Thursday? Two weeks ago, the thought of the Main Event Mafia being down just one member was a huge deal. After Thursday, they could be down two. Where would they go from there?
In a related story, as all this turmoil is going on for the Main Event Mafia, Bully Ray is promising everyone within ear shot that he'll be holding a special in-ring celebration for his World Heavyweight Championship win. If that doesn't tell you that the momentum has turned, nothing does.