Everybody fears the Aces & Eights…
The Aces & Eights
were an outlaw motorcycle gang featured in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
, which debuted in 2012.
On the first night of the 2012 Bound for Glory
series, recently inducted TNA Hall of Famer Sting
was jumped during his Impact
acceptance speech by a group of masked thugs. Shortly thereafter, then-current General Manager Hulk Hogan
was sent a package with a Dead Man's Hand
inside and a note promising that they would see him soon. The group backed up that promise, attacking both Hogan and Sting the week after sending it; the attack on Hogan in particular caused him to be put out for a few weeks, during which the gang would wreak havoc on both faces
, resulting in the TNA roster in general forming an Enemy Mine
to take them down.
Despite this, the gang would continue on their assaults, first taking out D'Angelo Dinero backstage and effectively putting him on a bus
, then interfering in a four-way tables match that was part of the series that same night, before later finally breaking the arm of then-reigning World Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries
. Eventually the gang was able, via kidnapping, to get Hogan and Sting to give them a match at Bound for Glory, with the stipulation being they would either get unfettered access to the Impact Zone or be forced to leave forever. Bully Ray
volunteered his services to aid Hogan and Sting in their struggle, but while Sting agreed that they needed a big bad bully, Hogan never trusted him, instead choosing Mr. Anderson—that is, until the gang decided to take him out, leaving Hogan with no other choice but to trust Bully.
At Bound for Glory
, Sting and Bully lost in a tables match to the Aces & Eights when numerous members interfered, one even driving Bully through a table. In the post-match brawl that ensued, said member would be revealed
in a truly shocking twist
to be none other than Bully Ray's own brother and former tag team partner, Devon.
With Devon, identified as the group's Sgt. at Arms, becoming their main on-air spokesperson, the Aces & Eights continued to run amok over TNA.
(to be continued)
Tropes regarding Aces and Eights
- All Bikers Are Hell's Angels
- Arc Fatigue: Due to several factors (Spotlight-Stealing Squad of roster fillers being the main one), most people got sick of Aces and Eights by mid-2013 at the latest.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Predictably, the man who appeared to speak for them as their leader seemed to be the strongest of them. Subverted in that both said "leader" as well as the first revealed member were moreso Co-Dragons to the actual leader, who himself plays this straight.
- Badass Creed: "When you ride with the Aces & Eights, you never walk alone."
- Bald of Evil
- Benevolent Boss —> Bad Boss: Bully Ray, to the point of it basically being the group's undoing.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Particularly egregious considering they got him the World Heavyweight title, and the only other man to bring a title into the club was his brother Devon (who he basically disowned after the man was forced to leave TNA).
- Big Bad: Seem to be this of TNA at present, their leader is a more direct example.
- Book Ends: The first and the last members revealed during the takeover phase? The Dudley Boys. Also notable in that they were the most particularly jarring of the six who turned out to be Evil All Along.
- Try this on for size. Aces & Eights' official term as part of the TNA roster both started and ended with a Bully Ray loss.
- The Brute: Knux, DOC and another masked member (apparently Bully Ray). Tito Ortiz at least started to become this before Bellator had him and Rampage Jackson pulled from TNA programming so they wouldn't get injured prior to their fight.
- Catchphrase: See Badass Creed above for the group's one in particular. Several members also had their own catchphrases carried over (either as is or adapted) into their role in the club.
- Bully Ray: "Do you know who I am!?" or "Do you know who we are!?" when referring to the group. He also roars "SHUT IT OFF!" whenever his music or someone else's plays.
- Devon: "You can testify to that!", an adaptation of his long-iconic "Oh (my brother) Testify!"
- D'Lo: "Oh you better recognize just who the hell I am!"
- Co-Dragons: Devon seemed to be this to Bully Ray, first with D'Lo Brown, then with Anderson, at least until Anderson started feuding for the VP position with DOC.
- The Conscience: Devon was a villainous version of this for Bully Ray and the group in general, keeping things together and helping organize their plans. Ultimately the club began to fall apart once he was pinned by AJ Styles and forced to leave TNA.
- Cool Mask: Unlike the other members, D'Lo wore a more firm mask with sunglasses where the eye holes should be.
- Fridge Brilliance: Also usually covered every inch of his skin so his color wouldn't give him away.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Very, very much so.
- Dead Man's Hand
- Deceptive Disciple: Wes and Garret was this to Kurt Angle.
- Clark Kenting: Brisco in particular, with his "professional guy" appearance when with Angle as compared to his unkempt look when wreaking havoc with the club.
- Decision Darts: At times they would throw darts at pictures of those on the roster to decide their next victim.
- The Dragon: First D'Lo Brown, then Mr. Anderson (officially, though they seemed more like Co-Dragons with Devon). Anderson would later be brushed aside in favor of Tito Ortiz, who was more of a straight example.
- Evil vs. Evil: Even the heels hate them.
- Enemy Mine: What this resulted in at least early on for the TNA roster.
- Expy: Of SAMCRO from Sons of Anarchy, one of the TNA roster's favorite television shows.
- The Ghost: Their President was never seen, this was eventually averted when it was revealed that it was Bully Ray!
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Everyone was looking for a Hidden Villain lurking in the group's club house. Turns out, he was the guy everyone believed was The Hero of the storyline, Bully Ray.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: What their plan is has yet to be revealed. Taz said it had to do with revenge.
- The Reveal: It was to create shock and awe on the way to getting Bully Ray the World Heavyweight Title.
- The revenge angle did come into play for everyone else involved, as Devon and Garett were both cast aside despite vowing to help Hogan, Brisco was forced to beg and try out to get into TNA despite his uncle having trained Hogan, Knux and DOC felt that they'd been wronged by the business as a whole, and Anderson was abandoned by Hogan after being attacked. Ring true it did not, however, since Devon, Garett, and Brisco were all moles before long anyway, Brisco was pissed about not getting in the door through nepotism, and Aces & Eights were Anderson's attackers before appealing to him to join them. (Though he would get his revenge on the club anyway later on due to Bully going out of control.)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: That hammer which was used frequently to gain dominance in matches and backstage? It was used twice against Bully due to misthrows into the ring - Sabin to win the Heavyweight championship and Anderson to end the faction.
- It's all about me and Brooke Tessmacher: Bully's attitude late in the piece which caused dissent among the rest of the in-ring crew. Due to being True Companions though, it didn't really amount to anything.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The group's original members and their mooks.
- The Man Behind The Gang: Bully.
- The Mole: Stable Edition. The only exceptions were Knux and DOC (not in TNA beforehand) and Anderson (was recruited late in the game).
- Mole in Charge: Bully Ray would be the ultimate example. He got TNA and especially the Hogan family to anoint him as their hero against the Aces & Eights' invasion, all the while being the true villain in this story all along.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Eventually subverted once we found out who he was!
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Pretty much their MO.
- Not So Different: Garett, from his father.
- Pragmatic Villainy: They're very good at it.
- Put on a Bus: Due to budget costs, contract negotiations not reaching an agreement, many of the members left the company.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Being part of the club did this temporarily for Team 3D.
- Red Baron: Before being revealed, Knux would be called "The Armbreaker" for breaking the arm of Austin Aries.
- Sanity Slippage: Wes Brisco seemed to go through a low-grade case of this, becoming more aggressive in the ring and more eccentric in promo segments, probably as a way to attempt to get more screen time in such a large group.
- Shown Their Work: A real life Aces & Eights biker gang with chapters in multiple places does actually exist. The members clearly know this to some extent, as D'Lo Brown once talked in an interview about scouting to try form chapters of the group in other wrestling organizations, and Bully Ray once tweeted about meeting up with the "Boston chapter" of the Aces & Eights.
- True Companions: Say whatever you want about them, they certainly felt like this. Too bad the boss turned out to be the lone exception.
- Wrestling Family: Wes's father is Gerald Brisco, and his uncle is the legendary Jack Brisco. Garett's father is Eric Bischoff.
- You Have Failed Me: What has led to multiple ejections from the group.