Magnus became Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s first ever British Heavyweight World Champion last weekend, after he defeated Jeff Hardy in a controversial Dixieland Match at Final Resolution.
Hardy had been on the verge of claiming his fourth title, but was prevented from taking down the title belt hanging at the top of the stage ramp due to the interference of Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III.
The result means that the Brit, 27, takes victory in the eight-man world title tournament arranged by company president Dixie Carter. Having also won his semi-final against Kurt Angle in contentious circumstances, after interference from Bobby Roode, his victory is unlikely to be received well by the rest of the TNA roster.
All eyes will now be on the potential return of former champion AJ Styles, who turned down a new contract with TNA and refused to align himself with Miss Carter, following his victory over Bully Ray in October.
With Styles still holding the original world title belt, that he won from Ray at Bound for Glory, wrestling purist’s will no doubt be hoping for a unification match to determine the true champion.
The Dixieland match started with the contending duo locked in a steel cage, in a format never before seen in Professional Wrestling.
To claim victory a competitor needed to climb up and out of the cage, race to the top of the ramp that ordinarily leads to the ring, climb a ladder and detach the World Title belt hanging from a rope.
At the start of the evening Magnus met with Hardy in the ring and accused the Charismatic Enigma of taking a bribe from Carter, who has been known to be looking for a champ that would side with her, represent her and, most importantly, follow orders.
A mysterious Hardy initially refused to confirm or deny these rumours but, ahead of the match itself, confirmed to the crowd that he had turned down her offer.
He said that: “nobody would own him, that nobody would own the creatures [his fans],” and that he had told Dixie to: “stick it”.
Carter emerged and told Hardy that if he failed to follow orders that she would have no qualms in him going the same way as AJ Styles. If he would not follow orders, he would not be her champion. She then positioned herself at the top of the ramp to watch the match, alongside her nephew Ethan Carter III.
An unbelievable match then pursued with no one sure on the rivalries and alliances in play. Hardy was the first to make it to the top of the cage but, rather than drop over and out – he launched an ambitious whisper in the wind attack from close to 20 feet in the air.
Magus recovered however, and both men clambered to the top at the same time, with the Brit holding a slight advantage due to his climb having been made on the ramp side of the ring.
As Magnus began to work his way down the other side of the cage, he was grabbed from behind by EC3, suggesting that despite his comments ‘Team Dixie’ were still willing to offer Hardy the chance to become World Champion.
Unwilling to throw away his hard earned reputation as one of Wrestling’s ‘good guys’, Hardy gave up his opportunity to take down the belt to instead help his opponent, knocking Carter aside with relative ease.
Turning to Magnus, he proceeded to make a clear indication that the match was still on, but it was only to be between the two of them.
The pair grappled for several moments on the ramp, before Hardy sent Magnus sprawling to the floor. The Charismatic Enigma moved wearily towards the ladder at the top of the stage, only for Dixie to step in front of him and tell him that, only over her dead body would he take the title, clearly a result of his treatment of her nephew, and his unwillingness to be ‘bought’ by the company bosses.
Hardy made his way gingerly around a screeching Carter and climbed to the top of the ladder. But, moments before he was able to take down the belt, he had the ladder knocked from under him by Dixie’s chief of staff, Rockstar Spud.
The fall left Hardy unconscious on the ramp and Spud, after quickly repositioning the ladder, joined the two Carter’s in urging Magnus to take down the title. The Brit shot a lingering glance towards his opponent before deciding to turn heel: making his way slowly and steadily up the ladder and pulling down the belt, holding it over his eyes as the emotion of taking his maiden title became clear.
Boo’s rang round the arena as Magnus celebrated with his new associates, while Dixie Carter raised his arm in triumph.
It was a sad moment for a man who has led an incredibly respectable and honourable five-year career in TNA, which recently included a spell in the Main Event Mafia. Inevitably, his desire to answer the doubters, who have dubbed him as the ‘future’ of wrestling for so long, proved too much and he decided to do anything, even ‘sell out’, to claim victory.
After the match, he was seen celebrating further backstage, while he also bizarrely heaped praise on EC3 for his performances since arriving in the company.
It was a busy night for the youngest of the Carter’s, as he also won a World Tag Team Title shot. Last week, Feast or Fired returned, with four briefcases offering four different outcomes.
In a backstage ceremony, it was also revealed Zema Ion would get an X Division Title shot, Gunner would compete for the World Heavyweight Title, and Chavo Guerrero Jr. would be fired. Magnus could now align himself with EC3, in an attempt to add the tag team title to his world title belt.
Before the opening of the briefcases took place, EC3 was again confronted by Sting. The Icon told Carter that he would take his place, and the contents of his briefcase, negating the chance of him getting fired, if he faced him in a match. Carter declined, and instead took his chances in Feast or Fired.
Elsewhere at Final Resolution, Bobby Roode defeated Kurt Angle once again, this time in a two out of three falls match.
A distraught Angle, who has now lost to Roode on four consecutive occasions since Bound for Glory, is thought to be considering his TNA future.
Eric Young announced that Joseph Park will fight Bad Influence next week in a Monster’s Ball match, a format made iconic by Park’s ‘brother’ Abyss.
And finally, Gail Kim suffered her first defeat since she won her Knockout’s Title at Bound for Glory, losing a tag team match alongside Lei’d Tapa, at the hands of ODB and Madison Rayne.
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