Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The "James Storm Era" begins in TNA

"Cowboy" James Storm is one of a handful of wrestlers to have debuted on the very first TNA event in 2002 and still remain in 2011. His hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to the TNA brand was rewarded with his first world heavyweight championship victory last week.

This is the first singles championship of any kind for Storm, who has been seen throughout his career as a tag team specialist. In an era in wrestling where tag teams have faded from prominence, Storm has been an intregal part of two of the best teams of the last decade.

He initially made his name in TNA with "Wildcat" Chris Harris in the tag team America's Most Wanted. They were two young, popular guys, who helped redefine tag team wrestling in the early days of TNA. The duo eventually turned heel and added an additional layer to their presentation. This is around the time Storm developed the beer-drinking aspect to his character. He would come to the ring with a beer bottle and usually wound up smashing it into somebody's head before stealing a victory.

America's Most Wanted broke up and Harris and Storm began feuding. Just about everybody saw big things out of Chris Harris and saw James Storm as just being there. After dominating the feud, Harris bolted for WWE. After a forgettable run there, Harris is nowhere to be found. His former partner is now the top wrestler in the number 2 promotion in the world.

In 2007, James Storm and Robert Roode were floundering. Storm was on the verge of becoming a midcard comedy heel, coming off his feud with Eric Young over a self-created "Beer Drinking Championship." Roode had recently turned heel and didn't really have anybody to feud with. He was in danger of just becoming another person there.

The two formed a team that combined their two characters - Beer Money. The beer-drinking country roots of Storm and the Wall-Street focused aspect of Roode's character. They were instantly hated and became multiple-time tag champs.

A funny thing happens in wrestling with the best heels. They always become faces. It's not on their own terms - the fans appreciate how good they are at their job and begin to respect them. That's what happened with the team of Beer Money.

As the summer turned to fall and the build to TNA's biggest event of the year - Bound For Glory - began in earnest, the big story was the sudden rise of Bobby Roode. He had emerged as the frontrunner in a points-style tournament system of matches held over the previous months, with the winner receiving a shot for the championship at BFG.

Roode won the tournament and received his match against Kurt Angle. After being heavily hyped for several weeks, Roode came up short in the match. In a bit of controversy, Roode's arm was under the ropes and Angle held onto the ropes for leverage while pinning Roode. Both of those facts should call for the referee to break the count.

Through some sort of legal loophole in the contract, Roode did not receive another shot at Angle. Storm challenged Angle instead. The match was made for the first episode of Impact Wrestling after BFG. The video above is from that match.

Storm's ascension to the top of TNA is very interesting and leaves the door open for a multitude of possibilities. Bobby Roode is happy for his friend shortly after winning, but will he want a shot against him? What about the rest of his Fortune stablemates, AJ Styles (himself a multiple-time TNA Champion) and Frankie Kazarian? Will Kurt Angle get his rematch? What about Bully Ray? Ken Anderson? Jeff Hardy? The list goes on and on and on and on...

Tune in every Thursday at 9 p.m. on SpikeTV to see what happens next.

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