Originally, The Main Event Mafia were scheduled to be revealed as They, which is why TNA brought back Scott Steiner. But when Booker T and Kevin Nash (as Diesel) appeared in WWE as surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble main event, it completely screwed over the MEM storyline.
In a very unprofessional move, TNA went forward with a storyline idea without having these men under contract. In addition to losing Nash and Booker, it is now speculated that Sting will also make his way to WWE.
With all this pressure, Vince Russo had under twenty-four hours to deliver a major game changer. While Vinnie racked his brain and surfed the web for ideas, he must have come across my recent post “They are coming to TNA, again” suggesting the logic in bringing back The TNA Frontline over MEM because their motives made sense in the war against Immortal. Problem is most of the TNA Originals, now known as Fortune, are affiliated with the Immortal faction.
Prior to the merge, They were only Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and Jeff Hardy, with only the last three being active wrestlers. So for the threat of They to be as imposing as Abyss made it out to be, Fortune needed to lend its services.
Since Bound for Glory, Immortal acquired the services of “The Freak” Rob Terry, Matt Hardy, Gunner and Murphy, bringing their active roster to seven – and that’s not including Fortune.
The formation of Immortal also witnessed a power struggle between the Hogan/Bischoff Regime and Dixie Carter, where Bischoff swindled her out of the company. But a recent ploy from Carter forced Bischoff’s hand and ordered Immortal to win all of the TNA championships to earn leverage. This put a lot of pressure on Fortune, whom in some way had to still prove their keep to stay in Immortal. At Genesis, Fortune collected the X-Division and the TNA World Tag Team Titles, but AJ Styles, unable to compete due to a torn hip flexor and hip labrum, could not fulfill his end and win the Television title. Instead, he helped Abyss win the belt, but regardless, Bischoff continued to paint Styles as a failure.
After holding all the belts, Eric Bischoff arrogantly sent Jeff Hardy to defend the TNA title against an exhausted Mr. Anderson, and much to Bischoff’s disappointment, Anderson wound up becoming the new TNA Champion.
The self-proclaimed “AntiChrist of Professional Wrestling” got his chance to regain his custom TNA Immortal Championship on the February 3rd edition of Impact. Meanwhile, Kurt Angle, Crimson, and Scott Steiner went over plans to reveal They at the start of the program.
During the championship bout, when the referee was knocked out, Immortal hit the ring and started attacking Anderson. All seemed perfectly normal until Fortune stopped and started attacking Jeff Hardy instead. While Crimson, Angle, and Steiner were not reported to be a part of the action, They were finally revealed as AJ Styles, Kazarian, and James Storm and Robert Roode of Beer Money, Inc. Styles went on to cut a promo of how Bischoff already drove WCW to the ground, and they will not let him do the same to TNA.
How in the world does Vince Russo expect to make sense of Fortune being They all along? Crimson almost choked the life out of AJ Styles with the threat that They were coming. Perhaps if Styles just showed up on camera feigning an asphyxiation attempt on his life then that would have left it open to the possibility that he might be lying, but the simple fact that we all saw Crimson attack Styles tells us that Fortune being They was a last-minute desperation move.
It makes sense that Fortune would want to break away from Immortal because Eric Bischoff has treated them like bastard children, but do not make it out to seem that Angle, Crimson, and Steiner elaborately faked an attack backstage.
Final Thoughts: There was a mention that a ruling will be made in March over the power struggle between Hulk Hogan and Dixie Carter. Now that Fortune has broken away from Immortal, the only TNA belt that Immortal currently has in their possession is the TNA TV Title. Will the Belts = Leverage angle be mentioned again?
Championship Thoughts: Possibly TNA Championship Fortune vs. Immortal matches – Beer Money, Inc. vs The Hardy Boys for the TNA World Tag Team Titles, Abyss vs. AJ Styles for the TNA TV Title, and Kazarian vs. Rob Terry for the X-Division Title.