Aces and Eights debuted in TNA in mid-2012 and had people interested. A group of
mysterious, masked wrestlers who would debut by attacking Sting the night after
Slammiversary. Who were they? What were their intentions? Who was the
mastermind behind this new organisation? These where the three central
questions everyone was asking.
On various forms of social media, discussion forums and on internet wrestling websites, everyone had their thoughts and opinions as to who were the men behind the masks and who the leader of the group would ultimately be.
To a degree, it all ended in disappointment. The masked men and leader left many fans
short-handed, expecting bigger marquee names than what was served up.
Perhaps TNA should have done the Aces and Eights angle using their MMA cross-over performers from Bellator, just a thought.
The only positive to emerge from the group was Bully Ray’s elevation to the main event
and his rise as the top heel. In fact, both members of Team 3D redeemed themselves as singles performers from their horrible solo runs in WWE over a decade prior.
However, the group ultimately brought very little to TNA.
Aces and Eights, in the end it gave TNA very little. Apart from the above-mentioned
elevation of Bully Ray to the main event, it gave the company no new stars and
it elevated no home-grown talent.
It's culmination involving a match between Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson – two men who
had made their names in other companies – epitomizing the opportunity spurned.
A stark contrast to WWE who now have the two home-grown talents of Seth Rollins
and Dean Ambrose feuding with one another in one of its centrepiece storylines
following the break-up of The Shield.
The likes of Mike Knox (known in TNA as Knuxx) Luke Gallows (Doc) added very little other
than the cheesy and out of date ‘big guy’ to the group. Both are hardly future stars of any company. D’Lo Brown was pointlessly added to the group which became a bigger let-down every time a member was unmasked and revealed to the world. Garrett Bischoff’s inclusion in
the group served only as a reminder of the fact that Eric Bischoff had gotten
his son a job America’s second-biggest wrestling company.
Whilst the young, emerging stars – who were too few in the faction - should have become
the centrepieces of the group, Wes Brisco and Garrett Bischoff where anything but. Both could have emerged from the shadows to become key figures in TNA today, but there was never any form of long-term planning in that regard. It should have been one of them rising up to Bully Ray and ending the group, subsequently emerging as babyfaces. It was not to be.
The majority of Aces and Eights are no longer employed by TNA – a sorry indictment on just
how little the faction brought to the company’s long-term standing.
Then, we have the Shield.
The Shield were built correctly. A smaller amount of members which enabled all three to
obtain key moments in the spotlight and a carefully selected cast who will serve WWE well in years to come.
The Shield’s break-up now offers WWE to promote three superstars as singles wrestlers. Thanks to their runs as part of the Shield, all three are already over, are comfortable
on the mic and are proven in the ring. In fact, it is as if WWE had signed three
stars from another company and are now ready to push them. The Shield gave WWE
three future World Champions and three men who may become the faces of the company.
Money in the Bank was the first pay-per-view in the post-Shield era, all three men proved
that night – and on television before and after that – that they are more than capable of taking the ball and running with it. When it comes to the Shield, it served its purpose. WWE hit the home run.
Crucially, they now have three men to be future main-eventers of their biggest pay-per-views. What a contrast to TNA.
Whilst one may point to the fact that WWE with more hours of weekly television programming where in a better position to promote a faction than TNA with just 80-odd minutes, the planning, assembling, formation, delivery and run of the Shield was a greater success for the WWE than what Aces and Eights were for TNA.
For the sake of wrestling, perhaps it needed to be the other way around.
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