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.
The gang would take advantage of this time to wreak havoc on both faces
, resulting in the TNA roster in general forming an Enemy Mine
to take them down. This did little to stop them, as they continued taking out TNA wrestlers, interfering in the BFG series, and creating havoc by timing their attacks to create speculation as to who The Mole
in its midst was. 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. Meanwhile, amidst his role alongside Hulk Hogan and Sting in the vanguard to stop the Aces & Eights, Bully Ray eventually became close with Hulk's daughter Brooke, as discovered by disgruntled former World Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries
. Initially this created strife between Bully and Hulk Hogan which led to Hogan suspending Bully; however his persistence in helping fight the Aces & Eights as well as protect Brooke in the process led Hogan to change his mind and eventually warm up to Bully. Ray would ingratiate himself to the Hogans, becoming Brooke's fiancé and Hulk's most trusted hand.
Meanwhile, the Aces & Eights' plans continued to progress. The key members of the club would eventually be unmasked, revealing themselves to be Mike Knox (soon rechristened "Knux"), the former Luke Gallows (now known as "DOC", short for "Director of Chaos), Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco (manipulating Kurt Angle
as his protégés for several months), and wrestler-turned-road-agent D'Lo Brown
as the group's VP. They also had local models convince Mr. Anderson to join the club, and color commentator Taz reveal his status in the gang to lead a gang ambush from them during Bully and Brooke's wedding.
, Brooke convinced Hogan to award Bully Ray the #1 contender's spot ahead of eight competitors who auditioned for the role in a series of matches, while Sting commanded a team of wrestlers wronged by the Aces & Eights to fight them at Lethal Lockdown and Kurt Angle fought Wes Brisco. Brown helped Brisco beat Angle, however the rest of the Aces came out on the losing end of Lethal Lockdown. Still they returned for the world title main event, cornering both Bully Ray and World Champion Jeff Hardy
…only for Devon to toss Bully Ray his ballpeen hammer, which Bully then used to attack Hardy, stealing the World Heavyweight Championship and revealing himself to be the President of the Club
Some emotional knife twisting for the Hogans and Arc Welding
to explain each element of his master plan later, Bully and his crew asserted their dominance over the TNA roster, attacking wrestlers more brazenly than ever. However, Hogan, Sting, and the roster's desire for revenge became the driving force behind the challenges to Bully's title, namely coming from Jeff Hardy and Sting. Following his failure to win the championship, Sting decided to recreate the Main Event Mafia to counteract the Aces & Eights. The Mafia was able to neutralize the Aces & Eights and help Chris Sabin, who traded in his X-Division title for a shot at the World Champion, defeat Bully for the title. Taking back the championship a few weeks later, Bully revealed that he'd enlisted the aid of MMA fighter Tito Ortiz as his enforcer (betraying close friend and Main Event Mafia member Rampage Jackson in the process), as well as entered a secret tryst with Brooke…Tessmacher
, who was then added to the club.
In time, a seeming hemorrhage of TNA roster cuts would lead to several members' exodus, such as D'Lo Brown being kicked out of the club for being weak early on, Devon being forced to leave after being pinned by surprise participant AJ Styles
in a 10-man Aces-Mafia tag match, DOC turning in his kutte after losing the replacement VP bid to Anderson, Anderson being taken out for insubordination after questioning Bully's decisions and challenging him for the title, and Brisco being taken out for failing Bully one too many times. Heading into his Bound for Glory title defense against 2013 BFG Series winner AJ Styles, the club was reduced to Bully, Garett, Knux, and Taz. Despite their interference and AJ's own issues with TNA President Dixie Carter, Styles defeated Bully for the Championship, then beat him in a rematch to retain the title.
Mr. Anderson soon returned to TNA, wanting revenge against Bully for his violent exodus from the club (repeating the cycle from two years ago with Immortal). Originally this excluded his former brethren, as he hoped to appeal to them to leave the club as it had become too restrictive and Bully-centric. But when they used this to set a trap for him, he abandoned this mercy and extended his Roaring Rampage of Revenge
to taking everyone out en route to a Career vs. Club match against Bully. Anderson won, disbanding the Aces & Eights forever.
More details (if necessary) can be found at The Other Wiki
Tropes regarding Aces and Eights
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Though they are in reference to a different club.
- 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: D'Lo, DOC, Devon
- 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.
- The Bus Came Back: Mesías helped bring Ivelisse Vélez back to TNA, inadvertently giving Aces And Eights a temporary solution to their "we don't have a Knockout" problem. They still did their usual run out and attack the opposing wrestler thing but needed someone to put up the pretense of a match first, so they could maybe win some points in TNA's world cup.
- Canon Discontinuity\Three Month Rule: During the takeover phase, the Dudleys poked into this trope and played it to perfection. Shortly after Devon was revealed as the Sgt. at Arms, Bully confronted him about it. Devon claimed it was because the Aces & Eights picked him back up when Hulk Hogan carelessly let his contract run out and did nothing to resign him, but Bully insisted Devon did it because of their issues from Bully's betrayal two years prior over the retirement match against the Motor City Machineguns. Bully claimed that the real reason he'd turned on Devon was because Bully felt he'd let the fans down only for Devon to say something along the lines of "We're rich and successful, screw the fans," which Devon was suddenly all too happy to corroborate. For fans who actually remembered that feud, it seemed as though Bully expected us to believe that Devon saying some cocky BS in the locker room warranted stabbing him in the back, trying to verbally bury his credibility and worth to the team, and attacking his teenage sons.
But then Bully revealed himself as the Big Bad All Along five months later when he became the TNA World Heavyweight Champion thanks to Devon's hammer, then explained his plan through a series of Arc Welding Evil Gloating vignettes. When he got to the part involving Devon's role in it, he cited how Hogan "turned his back" on Devon — proving that Devon was telling the truth regarding his own motives and that the "Devon dissed the fans" angle was revisionist history designed to enhance Bully's cover as The Hero.
- 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.
- Cross Through: Technically a part of River City Wrestling and The American Pro Wrestling Alliance too but was never mentioned by TNA on screen.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Very, very much so. They'll taunt you in the ring and bash someone backstage at the same time. You can never be sure if they're around when you're trying to wrestle a regular match with someone unaffiliated with them. They'll pretend to be your friend, ally or pupil and then stab you in the back right when they have what they need. They'll even pretend to break up right to your face and then beat you to a pulp once your guard is down. At their peak they were deadly - in a kayfabe wrestling sense.
- Dead Man's Hand: Ironically, the cards are associated with a hero to many in the Northern and Western USA, Wild Bill Hickok, and even named such after he was shot while holding that hand.
- Deceptive Disciple: Wes and Garret were 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), Anderson (recruited late in the game), and possibly Brooke Tessmacher (depending on how long her secret relationship with Bully Ray had been going).
- 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.
- Mooks: Given they were a masked group for most of their existence, this was pretty easy to pull off. One of them named Mike, was captured by Austin Aries before being booted out of the group.
- 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 for Team 3D after their vicious breakup feud two years prior.
- 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.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Devon is weak, I don't care about him, he's nothing more than a disappointment and a sidekick and he always has been." Sorry, Bully, but that look of shock on your face last week told us a different story. It looks more like you're starting to lose your handle on things.
- True Companions: Say whatever you want about them, they certainly felt like this. Too bad the boss turned out to be the lone exception once his brother was gone.
- Villainous Breakdown: You could argue that Bully Ray had his once Devon was kicked out of TNA by AJ Styles, as he suddenly started becoming a callous jerkass as a boss, denying that he cared about Devon at all and treating the rest of the group as peons besides Tito and Brooke.
- 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.