For those of you just now joining our conversation, here’s Pt. 1 of our discussion on Claire Lynch.
I’ll admit that the title of this two-part post is a bit misleading, particularly because I’ve attempted to show how the story line doesn’t have anything to do with Claire Lynch really.
The real issue is that fans have associated the story line with Claire Lynch, thus believing that her hasty exit from IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! and TNA meant the end of the story. From that perspective, yes Claire Lynch is good and gone from our television screens.
What remains is a bitter rivalry between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, one that reaches way back into the early days of TNA Wrestling. Kazarian simply adds a new face to a symbolically ancient feud between two off-screen buddies.
Why is any of this significant? Without going into deep detail of the personal relationship between the two men, Daniels and Styles work well together in the ring because of their relationship outside of the ring. It’s no different than the bromance between BFFs Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
Collectively speaking Styles and Daniels are one of TNA’s greatest assets when it comes their product and talent roster. Both men are capable of having excellent matches, but they’re even more capable of having five-star matches with one another. This isn’t saying that all of their matches have been MOTY candidates, but 9 times out of 10 you can count on them to put on one hell of a show at any given moment.
This also happens to be one of TNA’s greatest weaknesses. The company relies heavily on these two, and when creative seemingly can’t come up with anything to do with either one of them individually, they just slap them together and let nature take its course. This creates a major problem: what exactly do you do with Daniels and Styles when the honeymoon is over? This problem is complicated further when you’ve slapped the tag team titles on Daniels and “The Other Guy.”
In three days Kazaniels, also known as the World Tag Team Champions of the World, will be celebrating the two month anniversary of their second reign as tag team champions. From June 28th (when they won the titles) up until today, they’ve only defended the titles once: on the August 9th episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! against the team of Garett Bischoff and Devon.
It’s ludicrous to believe that Kazaniels should be defending the titles every week, but consider the fact that TNA proudly promotes the “wrestling” side of its product more so than the “sports entertainment” aspects and fans can begin to make some important connections between points A and B of this story line.
The World Tag Team Champions of the World are/were wrapped up in the Claire Lynch portion of the AJ Styles “golden boy” story. To place them in a significant feud with another tag team would complicate their involvement with Styles. Therefore any title matches not involving AJ Styles would only be necessary for the sake of saying that the belts have been defended.
Here’s a real rib-tickler: who would Kazaniels defend the titles against? There are very few, if any, established tag teams left in TNA right now. So even if the WTTCOTW’s were not involved with Styles, who would they defend the titles against? Hernandez y Guerrero? Kid Kash and Gunner? Magnus and Joe?
Idealistically Claire Lynch’s departure would free up the tag team champs, enabling them to get involved in a feud that value to the titles and prestige back to the division. Hell, even the Aces and 8s could provide invigoration and new blood for the failing division.
That’s not going to happen though. The tag champs are still involved in a story line with AJ Styles and adding two more individuals to the story line would unnecessarily complicate the already convoluted story line. But the story line has ended, right? That frees up AJ, Daniels and Kazarian for new story lines. Wrong again; it’s anybody’s guess as to who will win the BFG Series now that the Aces and 8s story line has taken center stage.
Here are some facts we know: the top four men in the BFG Series are (from the top down) James Storm, Samoa Joe, Rob Van Dam, and AJ Styles. The next four competitors with an immediate chance to rise above the red line of death are (from the top down) Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Mr. Anderson, and Jeff Hardy.
The round robin portion of the BFG Series will end in two weeks on September 6th, and the four competitors above the red line of death will compete in a single elimination tournament at the No Surrender Pay Per View on September 9th. The winner of that tournament will move on to become the number one contender to face the TNA World Heavyweight Champion at the Bound for Glory Pay Per View, which takes place on October 14th.
Austin Aries, the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion, was attacked by the Aces and 8s gang on last Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! Former champion Robert Roode has lost the right to challenge Austin Aries for that title after losing to him at the Hardcore Justice Pay Per View on August 12.
Here is a bit of speculation: Austin Aries may have suffered an injury that will keep him from competing, forcing him to vacate the title. If he’s forced to vacate the title a series of matches may take place to crown a “new” champion in a main event match at No Surrender in two weeks. Robert Roode could easily end up in the tournament and regain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, moving on to the Bound for Glory Pay Per View to face James Storm, the winner of the BFG Series and the superstar who has a major grudge to settle with Roode anyway.
Or…Robert Roode returns and demands that as the former champion and previous number one contender, he deserves the right to be crowned the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Interim General Manager Sting, or General Manager Hogan, places him in matches to determine the new number one contender culminating in a championship match at No Surrender. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Austin Aries, still hell bent on regaining his title, will return more focused on seeking revenge against the Aces and 8s, taking him out of the title hunt for awhile. Everyone else rallies once again against the scourge that is the Aces and 8s, including AJ Styles. But AJ has been thoroughly humiliated by Kazaniels two times, when they accused him of having an affair with Dixie Carter and when they accused him of siring Claire Lynch’s unborn and fictional child.
Logically speaking Styles cannot simply walk away from this situation. One week ago the man wrestled Daniels just to gain the right to have a paternity test to prove he wasn’t the father of the baby because he couldn’t remember whether or not he actually slept with Claire Lynch. He avoided talking to Claire, was accused of running away from his responsibilities when he went to Australia to do a promotional tour for TNA. The message from Claire’s attorney was cute and sweet, but it doesn’t explain AJ’s silence or confusion on the matter. It also doesn’t solve the initial problem: Kazaniels dislike of Styles’ golden boy image.
And there’s the question: what do you do now with Styles and Kazaniels?
The answer is simple; you keep the story going between the three of them and conclude the drama at the Bound for Glory Pay Per View OR with another Wild Card Tournament beginning in December for the World Tag Team Championships. Whatever the case may be, the feud between Kazaniels and Styles is not over and done with. With no competition, Kazaniels can still work to prove that AJ Styles isn’t as clean cut as he makes himself to be.
Styles, on the other hand, needs at least one more episode of IMPACT Wrestling LIVE! or a Pay Per View match to put Kazaniels out of their misery to move on to bigger something else. A really good way to stick it to the team would be to take the tag titles away from them again…much like he and Kurt Angle did at Slammiversary 2012; but that’s just wishful thinking. Or is it?
My last thought is this: TNA can drag out a story line for at least one year, and the true beginning of the drama between Styles, Daniels and Kazarian had nothing to do with Claire Lynch. With Lynch gone, the absurdity of the drama can be replaced with a more compelling and intriguing finish to the 500th iteration of Styles versus Daniels. At this point we can only hope that things won’t get as worse as they already have.