The Tabletop Game
The TNA Wrestling Stable
- 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.
- Author's Saving Throw: Bully Ray's reveal as club president, as well as the series of vignettes in which he arc weld the entire nine-month storyline up to that point and showed off its surprising amount of depth, were met with critical acclaim and even justified the angle to some fans who were getting tired of it, if only for a short time.
- Badass Decay: The angle being too long or not, people did think Aces & Eights were pretty badass when they didn't know who most of the members were, and even when the revelations did have several critics calling them underwhelming the group only really lost it's shine when they started failing to win matches in rapid succession.
- Captain Obvious Reveal: Bully Ray being their leader. Everyone who stated this admitted that they had no evidence or concrete proof; they were just use to TNA pulling this kind of thing.
- Fandom Rivalry: Had this with contemporary WWE Power Trio The Shield, due to a whole year of both groups' runs occurring at the same time as well as the many ways in which the two groups are essentially foils of each other. There was also a little of this with SCUM more so due to the longstanding ROH\TNA rivalry than any inherent similarities or contrasts between the groups.
- Fridge Brilliance:
- The masked Vice President's attire more often than not contained long sleeves with gloves, and his mask was fuller than that of the other members, even being complete with sunglasses. At first one would think it's just a matter of rank to emphasize his power within the club. But then the reveal comes that this VP is actually D'Lo Brown and it all makes sense. They were covering every inch of his skin whenever they could so his color wouldn't give him away.
- The club takes its name and motif from a real life motorcycle club operation modeled after the Dead Man's Hand, which is associated with a Northern/Western USA folk hero. This is despite their objectives being anything but heroic. First off, TNA is a Southern promotion, and the group's original leaders come from New York (The Dudley Boys) and Chicago (D'Lo), so this plays directly into a "North vs. South" theme. Secondly, it plays to the fact that nearly the entire stable is made of The Mole, with Bully Ray in particular being Mole in Charge, and to the idea that most of their members felt like they were "wronged" by TNA or the business as a whole in some fashion. All things considered, this introduces an element of Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters into the storyline, making them oddly similar to WWE's hot stable at the time, The Shield, despite the two groups being perfect opposites in many ways.
- The female "backstage worker" that sprayed Hulk Hogan and Sting with mace so that Aces & Eights could kidnap them and make the deal for Bound for Glory 2012 was actually Leva Bates. In light of the reveals made at BFG and at Lockdown 2013 this makes total senseLeva was trained by Bully Ray and Devon, so (A) they'd know she's down to try any gig and (B) she most likely felt a sense of loyalty to them.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The storylines surrounding AJ Styles and DOC. While DOC was being unmasked as part of the club during their apex of dominance, AJ Styles had started transitioning from his cleaned-up "Brian Krause's brother" look into the Darker and Edgier man on a mission we know today, including talking with local bikers in his hometown, driving a Hayabusa moped, and supposedly getting into drinking and drugs (a rumor which was later dropped), seemingly adopting the Aces' motif on his own. Once he returned to Impact, both TNA (desperate to keep him) and the Aces (confident they could take him), and even Fortune traitors Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels began pitching for his interest, with the Aces looking like the clear frontrunners and even helping him beat up Kurt Angle while trying to patch him in. Then he hit DOC, along with Knux and Bischoff with their own ballpeen hammer which DOC had brought into the club, and made it clear he stood with no one.
Speaking of DOC, his storyline of competing with Ken Anderson for the VP bid after D'Lo Brown got kicked out ended in Anderson winning the vote and DOC turning in his kutte shortly thereafter.note Meanwhile, Styles would turn full face and defeat Bully for the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Bound for Glory despite company president Dixie Carter suddenly going heel on him. Then when Dixie stripped him of the official championship, he took trips to other promotions to defended his now "unsanctioned" championship in defiance of President Dixie Carter, implied to be sponsored by "friends", before coming back in a title unification match with Dixie's new champ Magnus which turned into a gang beatdown by their minions to screw AJ out of the company for good.
Within the next year, both Styles and Doc Gallows were winning titles in New Japan Pro-Wrestling as part of a different club, which Doc had actually joined as the partner of another second-in-command named Anderson during AJ's last TNA title run. Also, Bully Ray and Devon were faces again and would later throw out a challenge to said new club at the next year's Bound for Glory. Come summer 2015, The Dudley Boys were back in WWE for a year, with Styles, Gallows, and Karl Anderson entering in 2016. And on the final night of the Dudleyz' latest tour of the 'E, their goodbye segment concluded with Gallows and Anderson destroying them and putting Devon through a table.
The absolute kicker? On May 23, 2013, the night the Aces & Eights thought they were becoming Phenomenal, Bully Ray made the most correct statement of his career while convincing AJ Styles to down a beer:
- Magnificent Bastard: What most did not expect was for Bully Ray's reveal as leader of the group to actually make sense in the context of everything that was shown. This included Bully Ray intentionally losing fights while "helping" TNA in order to go through the same beatings every member of Aces and Eights was required to take as well as outright lying about how bad individual members of the group were in order to make himself look more like a "hero" to TNA. Lies that were at first written of as retcons or failure to be a good baby face.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Or members. While it was obvious in the initial attacks they had multiple masked mooks, two of which happened to look a lot like two known indy wrestlers wearing outfits that hid where said two wrestlers have tattoos and one kinda used a move he was famous for. When these two had a match as a part of a gutcheck, the commentary even went as far as to suggest these two were taking it easier on one another, but in the end neither were actually ever revealed as members of the group. The two in question, Brian Cage and Jay Bradley, another two powerhouses let go from WWE like many of the rest of the stable. Cage and Bradley would both end up with Impact in later years anyway, the former being its current world champion as of summer 2019.