Saturday, 8 December 2012

The IT Factor of Professional Wrestling

Written by: Tie Up Wrestling

Bobby Roode (born Robert F. Roode, Jr) started his professional wrestling career the same way as all wrestlers do, by training at a Pro Wrestling School. Roode was trained by, some say the legend, Sean 'Val Venus' Morley and after just a year of training Roode knew that he was ready for the big time. He made his pro wrestling debut for a Canadian independent in June of 1998; and in the years which followed, between 1998 and 2004, he wrestled for other various promotions around the world including, Peurto Rico, Germany and Japan, and even had several dark matches for the WWE. In 2004 TNA saw something in him and gave him his first 'big' break by singing him to a TNA contract. Why is all of this important? Because this is just the start of, I believe, professional wrestling’s greatest star of recent years.

Roode came into TNA to be the muscle of Team Canada (A team form by Scott D'Amore featuring Petey Williams, Eric Young and Johnny Devine), but he proved that he is worth much more than that. Shortly after the breakup of Team Canada in 2006 Roode began calling himself Robert Roode, founder of Robert Roode Inc and then found himself a Chief Executive Offender, CEO, in Tracy Brookes. He started a fantastic feud with fellow Canadian Eric Young because the fans would not cheer for Roode, but they cheered anything and everything that EY did (much like they do now).

By early 2007 Eric Young had been seduced by Ms. Brookes and was coaxed into signing a contract with Robert Roode Inc. effectively forcing him to do as Roode says. The feud continued until Slammiversary 2007 which saw a 'Free or Fired' match between the pair. Roode won the match and just as he was about to fire Young, Jim Cornette, the Public Face of TNA Management, ordered the match to restart due to Roode illegally using a steel chair. As the match restarted Young rolled up Roode and gained his freedom.

Over the next few years Roode and Ms. Brookes began to have a rocky relationship. They joined Christian Cage's Coalition in a storyline involving Sting and Abyss. Once again Roode faced Young, this time in an 'Ultimate Humiliation' Match. Roode won the match and it was revealed that Young was to be tarred and feathered. Roode and Brookes’ relationship became more unstable as Brookes ended up as the one humiliated. After this, the main focal point of their partnership was that Roode had allegedly been bullying Brookes for years. They entered several mixed tag matches together and generally ended up on the winning end, with Roode using Ms. Brookes as a human shield a lot of the time. After a feud with Booker T and Sharmell, Brookes ended up free which left Roode with nothing to do.

Now we enter the most interesting part of Roode’s storied career, Beer Money. There is no other of saying this, but Beer Money was never meant to be. They should never have had more than one match together. I’m glad that they did but it was initially just two guys at a loss, with nothing else to do. They were teamed together at a house show and got a good reaction. I don't think that they could have guessed what was about to happen. Over the next 3 years (yes, Beer Money were only a team for 3 short years), Beer Money became one of the most loved, most hated, most respected and most of all, most decorated tag teams TNA has ever seen. During this time, they had feuds with some of the best tag teams in wrestling history’ including Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon), The Band (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman), The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez), Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) and The British Invasion (Douglas Williams, Magnus and Rob Terry).

When the living legend, 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair, was looking to form a new Stable to shake the foundations of TNA, Beer Money were an obvious fit. They joined Kazarian and 'The Phenomenal' AJ Styles to form Fortune. Although some of what they did didn't make sense, I still believe that Fortune was one of the best Stables I have ever seen. Flair got exactly what he wanted; 4 of the toughest, most talented and passionate wrestlers in the entire wrestling business. As Fortune was unwinding, TNA announced the first ever Bound for Glory Series; the winner of which became the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

As I have just mentioned, everyone in Fortune was hungry for success and so it was drawn to a natural conclusion that they should all enter the competition. No one thought that Robert Roode (as he was still called then) would even come close to winning the prestigious prize. Over the course of the 3 month series it became apparent that Roode would win, partly due to Samoa Joe destroying half of the wrestlers involved and partly due to Roode’s expertise in the ring.

Roode won the competition but was unsuccessful in obtaining the World Heavyweight Championship from Kurt Angle at Bound for Glory 2011. As Angle cheated to win, by holding onto the ropes for leverage, Sting decided on the next episode of Impact Wrestling that Kurt Angle would defend his title against Roode’s best friend and tag team partner James Storm. Storm pulled off a major upset by defeating Angle and becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. Roode seemed accepting of this as he ran to the ring to join in the celebrations and congratulate his 'brother'.

Storm, being such a good friend, told Roode that he would have the first attempt at taking his newly won title. On the November 3rd 2011 episode of Impact Wrestling, James Storm kept his word and faced Bobby Roode for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The last minute of the match upset the entire wrestling world as Roode began his transition from Bobby Roode, one half of Beer Money, to the 'IT Factor' of professional wrestling. He began the Selfish Generation by picking up James Storms’ own beer bottle and shattering not only the bottle but their brotherhood; he destroyed everything they had fought so hard for.

Bobby Roode accepted all challengers and defeated them all. He became the longest reigning World Champion TNA has ever seen, setting the record at 256 days. Although Roode’s career was taking a very positive turn he became one of the most hated men in the wrestling world due to the way in which he retained his pride and joy. He would purposely lose matches by count out or disqualification, and as we all know titles cannot change hands unless we see a pinfall or submission. He faced his old pal James Storm at Lockdown 2012 in Storms’ backyard, Nashville, Tennessee. The deck was stacked so much in Storms’ favour that we were all SURE we would crown a new champion. The end result saw a battered, broken and exhausted Bobby Roode lying on his back with the World Title draped over his chest. Although he looked like the defeated man he had actually won the match as Storm had Last Call Superkicked Roode so hard that he fell through the cage door and landed on the floor. Another narrow victory for Roode but he had done what he set out to do, keep the gold.

At Destination X 2012 Roode had a new competitor placed in front of him. Someone he had never faced before in his career. That man was the TNA X Division Champion, 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived', Austin Aries, or A Double as he likes to call himself. Roode shockingly lost his belt, and the rise of Aries continued. Roode was beside himself, and after several weeks of silence he finally spoke about what he thought had happened in the match. The only word that came from Roode’s mouth was 'Fluke!'.

Roode challenged Aries to a rematch which later gained the stipulation if Roode lost the match he would not get a shot at the title as long as Aries keeps it; the clause was also reversed so that if Aries lost his belt he wouldn't have a rematch against Roode. Inevitably Roode lost the match and tried to take his frustrations out on anyone in his path.

We’ve already touched upon the start of Roode’s newest feud with his ex-partner James Storm. The pair had a brutal match at this year’s Bound for Glory, one of the best I have ever witnessed. Storm prevailed and continued his lucky streak by becoming the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. On Impact Wrestling, as Storm was celebrating his win, Roode came out to provoke him. Roode brought up Storms’ daughter and by making things personal, he finally got what he was after; a match against Storm for the number one contendership. Later in the night Roode once again became the number one contender.

This brings us right up to date. We have TNA Final Resolution on Sunday 9th December and Bobby Roode again is in the title picture. Will he capture the title from Jeff Hardy? Only time will tell but I'm pretty sure this isn't the last title shot he will get. Roode has a lot more to give and I sure hope he gets a chance to be the World Heavyweight Champion again soon.