23 April 2014

MVP: Be Careful What You Wish For

One of my personal highlights from last Thursday's Impact was the confrontation between The Most Disgruntled Man That Ever Lived, Austin Aries, and our Head of Wrestling Operations, MVP.

Whenever Austin Aries is given some airtime, he makes the most of it.  Whenever Austin Aries is given a microphone, he proves that he is one of the greatest talkers that has ever stepped into a wrestling ring. However, with this week's Impact fast approaching, my joy at seeing Austin Aries in such a potentially high profile feud has transformed into a feeling of unease at what may transpire in their match on Thursday.

I can't help but wonder, will MVP end up looking like the bad guy when the dust has settled on this match?

I do not remember the particulars of MVP's David Brent style acronym of "Motivate, Validate, Participate", but the fundamental aim seemed to be to provide a level playing field and eradicate any antics that were common on the pastures of Dixieland.  Therein lies the first problem.  MVP claimed that the reason he has been keeping Aries on the bench all these weeks is because Aries refused his offer and double crossed him in his match against Bobby Roode.

Personally, this reasoning did not sit well with me, and went against the grain of MVP's philosophy about settling disputes in the ring instead of trying to hold wrestlers down.  Was MVP really justified in sidelining Aries for his actions?  Let us not forget that Dixie Carter was still in charge when Aries smacked MVP sideways with a discus elbow.  So who can blame Aries, a man that has and likely always will have his own agenda, from trying to throw his lot in with what he believed to be the winning team?

Whether or not MVP was just with his actions, this decision pales in comparison to a much larger problem that could turn the tide against MVP.  Austin Aries came out to the ring to confront MVP about why he has been sidelined for these past few weeks, but we all know that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  The truth is that Austin Aries has been critically misused for well over a year, leaving fans baffled and bewildered considering how talented a performer he is.  I won't speculate as to why this might be, but from 2013 to the present day, Aries has more or less been booked as a bit player; part of a tag team, part of failed revivals of the X-Division, part of various World Title tournaments.  Unquestionably a bit player that never has a bad match, but a bit player nonetheless.

The net result?  You only need to listen to the "Austin Aries!" chants that go up without any encouragement whenever Aries steps through the curtain to know that fans have been yearning for him to get involved with something big.   The support for Aries is so overwhelming, and the outrage over his booking amongst the fans so genuine, that linking this injustice in any way to MVP could have serious repercussions for MVP as a character.

There have been a lot of comparisons between Eric Young and another bearded wrestler up north, but if fans are looking for a comparison then they're looking in the wrong direction.  The storyline up north may have been planned and contrived for the entertainment of the fans, but it closely resembles the reality of Austin Aries' career over the last 16 months: arguably the greatest wrestler on the roster being held back by his company despite the fans crying out to see him given the opportunity he richly deserves.

I am usually one of the first to commend the TNA creative team for keeping their finger on the pulse with regards to how the fans are feeling, and weaving it into storylines to muddy the waters of fact and fiction. However, in this instance I have a horrible feeling that they have left it too late and painted themselves into a bit of a corner.  Austin Aries has a tremendous amount of support from the fans, and such a horrific misuse of this talent has only intensified this support over the last year.  They will need to work a miracle to turn the fanbase against The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, and placing him in a match against what should be one of the company's top faces could have very ugly consequences.

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