By James Guttman
In professional wrestling, it's often better to reach the top when everyone doubts you. Strangely, the less likely you may seem to become a major star, the less stressful the journey to the top becomes.
The opposite can be said for someone who's seen as a "blue chipper". For those rising stars, the bar is raised. Fans expect to see him make it to the main event and dominate once there. If that star achieves anything less than perfection, it doesn't feel like enough. When placed in this situation, the scorching heat of pressure can engulf any eager hopeful.
That fire is coming close to engulfing Magnus.
Things were going great for a while. Not only was he named a member of the elite "Main Event Mafia", but Magnus seemed poised to win the Bound For Glory Series and eventually the World Heavyweight Championship. Fans were already envisioning Magnus action figures packaged with tiny World Championship accessories before the bout was even signed. It was that much of a "sure thing".
Then the slide happened. Over the course of a few weeks, the Main Event Mafia's future prospect not only fell short of winning the BFG Series, but suffered some additional losses brought on strictly by bad choices. His three-on-one Gauntlet challenge to E.G.O. was mind-boggling. While handicap matches are a long-time part of wrestling, they're usually done in order to earn a championship match or as a form of punishment. This bout was neither. It was simply Magnus putting himself against insurmountable odds on Impact. And why? A mix of frustration and pride - two things that will sink any wrestler who's struggling to keep his focus.
After the loss to E.G.O., it wasn't his fans that were disappointed. It was Magnus himself. Seeing an opportunity to create an opportunity, fellow Main Event Mafia member Sting showed up afterwards to offer him a match at Bound For Glory. The Stinger - a true icon in every sense of the word - was finally presenting a clear chance to reach the top. A show-stealing encounter with a TNA Hall of Famer at the biggest show of the year is exactly what Magnus has been hoping for and the answer to his frustrated wishes.
It's been all that has been on Magnus's mind since it was signed. It'll be what he thought about last week and will think about this week. It'll run through his mind over and over again. Finally. This is it. This is his moment and this is who he was meant to become.
Then again, it might not be. For anyone with "potential", that question is the scariest of them all. After hoping for a chance to prove your worth, what happens when you wind up proving nothing at all? Will October 20th be that crushing day for the former TNA Tag Team Champion? Or will he stand tall after defeating Sting in a moment he knew was destined to happen?
Make no mistake, while fans might be cheering on Magnus's effort, fellow TNA stars are secretly wishing for a defeat. In a dog-eat-dog world of wrestling, nothing helps you rise up the ladder than seeing another fast climber lose his footing. Every person on this week's Impact, whether it's Samoa Joe vs. Chris Sabin or Christopher Daniels vs. Eric Young, has an eye on the Magnus-Sting match at Bound For Glory and its potential outcome. After all, when a rising star of that size finally falls from the sky, it's going to leave a pretty big spot to fill.