By James Guttman
Mere months ago, TNA was being terrorized by World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray. When hopeful hero AJ Styles stepped up to unseat him, things surprisingly got worse. Styles left the company with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Now imagine that someone came up to you during all this turmoil and confided, "Pssst. Before the year is over, Magnus will win the World Heavyweight Championship." How would you envision that playing out? The culmination of years of hard work coming full circle as the popular British star stands tall with fans cheering his name? That sounds about right.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen - not even close. The big "break-out moment" that the former Main Event Mafia member has been griping about for an eternity didn't resemble that at all. In fact, it appeared like something from an alternate universe. Standing in the ring with the incredibly popular Jeff Hardy at Final Resolution, Magnus left some fans wondering who they should cheer for. By the end of the match, no one was wondering anymore.
That's when Dixie Carter, her nephew Ethan, and chief of staff Rockstar Spud got involved. After Spud appeared seemingly out of thin air to knock Hardy from atop the ladder (and away from certain victory), Dixie and EC3 showed their true allegiance. In one moment, half the building had gone from cheering Magnus to booing him. The only three left chanting his name were the Carter Family regime as he climbed the rungs, retrieved the championship, and made himself proud.
Listening to the locker room chatter, you'd be surprised how many people are upset with Magnus over this act of "betrayal." But in reality, the writing has been on the wall for a while and it's hard to blame him for, well, anything. His change in allies is less of a surprise than a natural choice for a man who has been looking out for his own best interests for a long time. We knew how ruthless he could be and still this was the man we all wished would achieve greatness. But, as they say, be careful what you wish for.
When the Main Event Mafia disbanded and Sting offered him a match at Bound For Glory, Magnus was overjoyed. His violent streak in that match with his "mentor" showed that he was looking to achieve greatness at any cost. There was no genuine appreciation at the opportunity or understanding of the moment's importance. No. The whole point, to Magnus, was victory. That's all he needed.
While we, as fans, may have pictured a fairy tale finish we could be proud of, that's not what the man himself wanted. Our new World Heavyweight Champion never intended to be a heroic champion - unless that was the path that ended up being easiest for him. All he ever wanted was a rise up the ladder…and he didn't want to worry about getting his hands dirty on the way. It's easier to see now in hindsight.
You can't blame Dixie Carter either. Seriously. After M.I.A.J. took off with her coveted Championship, she's been paranoid over it happening again. Of course she's going to try to find a new Champion who will due her bidding, rather than give her headaches. While her secret meeting with Jeff Hardy caused waves when it aired on television, most followers of Dixie know that something as important as a sit-down with her chosen champion-to-be would never get caught on camera. The TNA President would never allow that to happen. Again, in hindsight, it's easier to see.
This week on Impact marks the new World Heavyweight Champion's first night - not just as champion, but as the real Magnus. No more facades. No more nonsense. Sadly - and this needs to be said - his choices are no different than what many reading this would do.
When we see Magnus, we're not seeing what we hope to be. We're seeing what we are. And maybe that's why we're all so angry.