When Austin Aries defeated Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Destination-X, I thought it was a step in the right direction.
Aries is the prototype for the future of the business. He can talk the talk and work his tail off in the ring like nobody's business. He is tailor-made for TNA and capable of being a star on the grandest stage.
Fast forward to Bound For Glory. Aries loses the title to Jeff Hardy, prematurely ending his championship run. Did TNA lose faith in A Double? It feels like Aries was only champion for a minute. I respect Jeff Hardy, but I would have given Aries the benefit of the doubt and allowed him to hold on to the belt a little while longer.
Maybe this is part of a bigger plan. After all, Aries and Hardy are two of the best athletes in the company. Their matches have the potential to be classics that will hold up.
It just looks like TNA was only willing to take so much of a gamble on Aries, like it was afraid he would never fit the bill as champion. Given Jeff Hardy's past with drugs, TNA is still taking a gamble. As usual it has decided to go with a former WWE star rather than a home-grown TNA star.
When Bobby Roode captured the championship it was a tremendous departure from the norm. Roode held the title long enough to convince us that TNA was finally ready to go in a different direction. No more relying on past WWE stars to carry the company as its top ambassador. When Aries defeated Roode, it looked like the trend would continue. Aries' loss to Hardy says different.
Aries is a serious threat to Hardy. If anyone can defeat Hardy, it's Aries. At the very least they will continue pushing each other to greatness during their matches.
Still, TNA should look at CM Punk's current reign as WWE Champion. Punk doesn't fit any preconceived mold yet he's the best thing to happen to the WWE Championship in a long time, especially for fans tired of John Cena.
Aries has that kind of talent. He can be TNA's CM Punk, given the chance. Better yet, allow him to be himself and you'll have a mega star on your hands.