For weeks the group Aces & 8s have been causing chaos on Impact Wrestling. They have taken out Sting, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, officials, a Gut Check contestant and even hospitalized Hulk Hogan.
At first it may have seemed that the group was a modern version of WWE’s Nexus, all just trying to make a name for themselves.
However, on Impact Wrestling this past Thursday, Roode accused James Storm of being the mastermind behind the “Total Non-Stop Anarchy” as Taz puts it. Could Storm really be behind the group? Let’s look at the evidence.
Roode claims that after his close friendship with Storm he knows how the Cowboy’s mind operates.
By the end of the episode Angle, Styles and Aries also had their doubts. Although Storm came to the ring to oppose the Aces & 8s, they fled before he could actually reach them.
Allies don’t hurt allies, right?
Earlier that night, Storm expressed a sigh of remorse after asserting to Angle that Roode’s accusations were false. Are these facts merely constructed to lead us on, or will Storm actually be the leader of the Dead Man’s Hand?
Storm returned to TNA at Slammiversary after a several month sabbatical to end Crimson’s undefeated streak. It was the following episode of Impact Wrestling where the Aces & 8s debuted and attacked “The Icon” Sting. The timing is seemingly right, although just as likely coincidental.
The kayfabe reason for Storm’s sabbatical—which is potentially better called a mid-career crisis—was his defeat at the hands of Roode at Lockdown. Storm felt that he had let the fans down, as well as himself.
Has Storm returned with some insurance to make sure he can exert his dominance where necessary?
So far the Aces & 8s’ attacks seem to show little forethought and structure. The seemingly random beatdowns are yet to benefit Storm, other than relieving him of a match he requested against Kurt Angle.
If Storm was behind the devastating group, it would seem his only goal so far is chaos. Time will tell whether Storm is indeed in the wake of a major heel-turn.
Things are not likely as they seem though, as there are plenty more candidates. The group may act of their own volition, or be under instruction from anyone. Cases can be made for Bully Ray and even Roode.
Aces & 8s did not attack Bully Ray when they invaded the main event of last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling.
Roode could also still be behind it all. He who makes the accusation should be the first investigated. The fact that the group attacked him, too, means nothing.
It could just be another ploy to keep his identity hidden. Roode could be setting up Storm, or the two could even be in collaboration.
Don't rule out any possibilities.
Even Joey Ryan may be the orchestrator, following his frustration at being refused a contract in a Gut Check segment back in May.
TNA is doing a great job at building this angle and keeping the payoff a secret. Sooner or later we’ll know the truth behind the hostile masked men, but until then we can’t be sure.
Although Storm is being set up as the prime suspect, everything is likely not as clear-cut as it seems.