By James Guttman
According to most successful wrestlers, the key to achieving greatness is a combination of skill, charisma, politics, and heart. Then, almost without fail each time, they'll pause and add, "Plus, a little bit of luck."
That's well and good, but this Thursday's Impact will feature the one match in wrestling that flies in the face of that logic. In our annual "Feast or Fired" match, luck isn't an add-on. It's the main factor. With four unmarked briefcases hanging above the ring, a participant's retrieval of one could earn him an instant Championship match…or it can earn him a removal from the TNA roster. Three Championship opportunities and one pink slip await whomever is willing to take the gamble. However, no one has any idea what they're "winning" until the day the cases are opened.
That's where luck plays a huge role in this annual match. You could be the most skillful wrestler on Earth. You could show up, outwrestle everyone there, run rings around them with your mat style, deliver a stinging interview that excites the crowd, and sell a million t-shirts all before the final bell. But if you happen to grab the wrong case, you're fired. No questions asked. Great match. Go home.
The one thing that immediately stands out when you size up the competitors in this year's battle is the participation of Ethan Carter III. His inclusion is baffling to most wrestling strategists. Here's the nephew of Dixie Carter - a man who can literally pick his own opponents - stepping into a situation where he could be terminated for no reason than pure luck. Why would he do this? Is it confidence?
No. It's arrogance. Make no mistake. EC3's Feast or Fired participation isn't an example of throwing a fist in the air and proclaiming, "I shall overcome!" No. It's more of a shoulder shrug and cocky question of, "What? Like it's hard or something?"
Ethan has no idea what he's in for. The men he will be facing on Impact know what it's like to fight the odds and have no choice but to risk it all for a chance at future success. James Storm and Gunner would almost rather be underdogs than favorites. Sure, The Cowboy and The Viking love to climb the proverbial ladder, but they love it much more when they get to fling others down from it as they do. Their mouths have caused them some trouble with management in the past and they're pretty well aware that this is their one shot to bypass political games on their way to gold. For them, it's worth the risk.
Chavo Guerrero has been fighting for respect his entire career. Every time he steps in the ring, Chavo not only has his own reputation to protect, but that of his legendary family. The chance to become World Heavyweight Champion is one of his biggest obsessions and a line he's had penciled into his list of accomplishments for way too long.
As for Samoa Joe and Mr. Ken Anderson, nothing really needs to even be said. Perhaps the two most fearless and outspoken wrestlers in TNA history, neither Joe nor Ken can bank on a free title match anytime soon. These two have found themselves on the wrong side of Dixie Carter more than enough to know that any chance to become a Champion has to be gained by overcoming a massive obstacle. The fateful nature of Feast or Fired is right up their collective alley. Getting canned close to the holidays is never a welcome scenario but, as the old bowler's saying goes - if you want to make your strikes, you have to risk your balls.
So this Thursday on Impact, sit back and enjoy the carnage. For five men, it's a chance to rub elbows with lady luck and perhaps make a blind choice that could elevate their careers. But for one "blue chipper", it could be the night he learns an overdue lesson about the difference between fate and favoritism.