By James Guttman
What did you expect, A.J.?
That's the only thought that's run through my mind since Thursday night's Impact. As the Phenomenal One took to the ring, after weeks of provoking TNA management, we all knew something big was about to happen. The unhappy Styles slammed the decisions made by TNA President Dixie Carter through the years and promised to put her in her place.
It didn't exactly go as he planned though. When Dixie came to the ring and verbally tore him to shreds, everyone was shocked. When she cut his microphone and ended Impact abruptly, fans said they couldn't believe it. So I'll ask them too.
What did you expect, fans?
Was Dixie Carter supposed to come out and cry? Drop to the mat and beg A.J. to forgive her for employing him this past decade? Should she have thrown money into the crowd and then give AJ a big hug? Was that the response everyone expected?
Because, to be frank, Carter's answer on Thursday was pretty much the only way this thing could go. This is Dixie Carter. She's the President of TNA and has been for a decade. She didn't get to where she is by allowing herself to be pushed into a corner. She's the face of the company to many fans and the complaints that Styles voiced are just some of many she hears on a regular basis. In fact, they're probably getting tiresome.
How so? Well, positive praise always heaped on wrestlers or the company as a whole. But every time someone has a problem, she's the name people direct their anger to. "Dixie needs to do this". "Dixie needs to do that." It's all anyone ever says when critiquing the company.
As she mentioned, this is her house. If Dixie Carter decided to turn TNA Impact into an Ice Skating reality show starring Carrot Top and the cast of Hanging With Mr. Cooper, she can. After months of hearing what she needs to do, she finally had enough. Her blasting of A.J. Styles may seem harsh, but it's probably just the tip of the iceberg that she wants to say. It's still early to say, but the floodgates may have been opened.
So now, we have a problem. We have a World Heavyweight Champion in Bully Ray who has been a brutal problem for TNA. The level of violence and arrogance he's unleashed on the roster has been legendary. Getting the prestigious championship title from him is supposed to be the most important thing for Impact's survival. The next major challenge he has? Bound For Glory on October 20th against A.J. Styles.
Most fans know that Styles needs to win this bout in order to save Impact from the grasp of Bully and his Aces and Eights brothers. That would be what's right for the company. But…is it what Dixie Carter thinks is right for her? Has A.J. pushed her to the point where she's rather have Bully at the top of the totem pole than the disgruntled A.J.? Just a few weeks ago, who would have ever imagined that - or even the speculation of that - would be a possibility?
So on Thursday's Impact when Hulk Hogan arrives to address this situation, everyone will be listening. Now that we have someone in place to finally rid the company of Bully Ray and his band of outlaws, will our own President be the one to stand in the hero's way? If so, whose fault is that - Dixie or A.J.? What will the General Manager, after months of personal animosity with Bully and a vested interest in seeing his demise, have to say about all this?
Some are hoping that Hulk might be able to shoot down the TNA President's anger with Styles on Thursday. Unfortunately for Hogan, Dixie might have some things to shoot with him about too.