By James Guttman
I once heard someone explain what "courage" is. If you see someone drowning and you jump in the water to save them, it's only courage if you know how to swim. If you jump in and come out with a rescue, it's courage. If you jump in and float to the bottom of the ocean, it's stupidity.
I'd like to think that Manik is showing courage. The masked star isn't content to just defend his title against whatever roadblock TNA puts in front of him. He's actually gone out and put obstacles in his own path. It's admirable that he's requested Jeff Hardy as his opponent for this Thursday's Impact. The question is: Is it courageous?
The answer to that question rests with Hardy. The Charismatic Enigma has risen from the ashes more than any wrestler in TNA history. He battles back from certain defeat both in and out of the ring on every possible occasion. Just when you think Jeff is finished, he's back and stronger than ever. Many a confident champion, like Manik, has been Swanton Bombed back into reality. Will our current X-Division Champion feel that same jolt on Impact? It's highly possible. If it is, the masked man will have no one to blame but himself. It'll be a rough lesson to learn and one that Hardy isn't a stranger to teaching.
You can apply all of what was just said to Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez, too. The duo accepted the open challenge put out by Gunner and James Storm last week. Chavo was especially confident in his approach and the Tag Team Champions didn't seem happy with his attitude. Now, he gets his wish. When the four square off, we'll find out if Guerrero and SuperMex showed courage or not. Stepping up and getting a win is something to be applauded. Stepping up and getting a loss is something that's extra painful. They'll have no one to blame but themselves.
This leads us to the talk of the company - A.J. Styles. Last Thursday, something unprecedented happened. A.J. not only called out TNA President Dixie Carter on her past mistakes, but did so right after securing a World Heavyweight Championship match at Bound For Glory. It was kind of a big deal.
You see, the first time Styles made comments that could be considered "anti-establishment", he was ignored by the TNA President. Now, things are different because Style is poised to challenge for TNA's biggest honor at one of the biggest shows of the year. Can Dixie Carter really afford to ignore someone in such a high profile position with the company? With all the work that goes into preparing for a major show like Bound For Glory, how would she ever be able to ignore him even if she did? The interviews, promos, fan events, and more will be enough to ensure that she won't turn a deaf ear this time.
But then what? What does A.J. Styles hope to accomplish in all this? This week on Impact, the Phenomenal One has promised to confront Dixie with some pretty strong issues. It's doubtful that she's happy about the embarrassment that he's causing her.
As someone who's isolated himself from so many of his fellow wrestlers this past year, Styles is now confronting the most powerful person in the company all alone. Fans are applauding his courage. But we don't know if it's really courageous yet. It sure doesn't seem that way.