In the beginning, there was Beer Money.
When I say beginning, I don't mean beginning-beginning, because both Bobby Roode and James Storm came to Beer Money with stories of their own. But both men had stalled out. Both men needed direction. And the answer came in opposites: Put the carefree Cowboy with the methodical and wealthy warrior. It's not like either one had anything else to do.
With that, Beer Money was born, and what came of it, for both Bobby Roode and James Storm, was nothing short of a blessing.
They became one of the most successful and decorated tag teams in TNA history. Even more, they became a TNA originals team that people would pay to see. From their entrance (Beer/Money) to what they could do in the ring, TNA had created a team that would stand the test of time against the great tag teams from WCW and WWF/E history.
But you know what they say about all good things? They must come to an end. Beer Money did come to an end, literally at the hand of Bobby Roode. Singles ambitions couldn't break them up. The Bound for Glory Series couldn't break them up. James Storm watching Bobby Roode challenge for the world title and Bobby Roode watching James Storm win the world title couldn't break them up.
But the Cowboy's beer bottle in the hand of his best friend Bobby Roode, that—with the TNA Championship on the line—could and did break them up.
And still, from late-2011 all the way to Bound for Glory 2012, what a blessing Beer Money remained for both Bobby Roode and James Storm.
From it we received one of the most storied rivalries in the history of pro wrestling. From it, like in Literature, two men were marked forever as part of each other's lives. Wins and losses couldn't change it, nor could steel cages and street fights.
But something happened on the way to Bound for Glory 2012. Something that would cause a dip in the blessed road that had been Bobby Roode and James Storm, even post-Beer Money.
James Storm couldn't win the Bound for Glory Series and Bobby Roode couldn't hold on to the TNA Championship.
Had it been what everyone thought it would be--Bobby Roode defending against James Storm at Bound for Glory 2012--it would have marked Beer Money as not only one of the most successful tag teams of all-time, but perhaps the most successful duo, post-breakup.
If Bobby Roode had carried the belt into Bound for Glory and dropped it to the Cowboy, it would have forever elevated both members of Beer Money to the absolute top of TNA, and with it, would have set them up to dominate the heavyweight title.
But instead of taking that step up, the former members of Beer Money took a step down at Bound for Glory 2012.
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't because of the match. Those two men put together a contest that should have been the 2012 Match of the Year.
But with it not being for the heavyweight title, they were on their way down, together. They would fall to a place where they remain to this day--somewhere between the very top of the roster and the mid-card.
And what was settled by the street fight in 2012? What was settled when the Cowboy finally turned the beer bottle on Bobby Roode and broke it over his head, just as Roode had done the year before?
Last week, over half a year after Storm got his revenge on Roode, we saw the Cowboy again standing over Roode, with a beer bottle in his hand, thinking of smashing it over his former best friend's head.
How many bottles does it take to make things right and settled?
This is the curse of Beer Money.
Two men, marked together, bound together, unable to relinquish the past and fully move on.
We don't see it often. A tag team breaks up and we expect one to be Shawn Michaels and the other to be Marty Jannetty. We expect one to thrive and one to falter. We expect one to stay and the other to go.
But what happens when both men are great? When neither man falters? When neither man will go?
Just today a friend and someone who reads most of my TNA columns messaged me to compare Bobby Roode and James Storm to Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
What did he mean?
Two men who were once a team, but became something else altogether. Not friends or enemies, something so much more complicated.
Two men bound together, for better and worse.
Two men who will always strive for the same spot.
These days many people expect Bobby Roode to come to the light, at least enough to battle Aces and Eights. Some, seeing the recent actions of James Storm, wouldn't be surprised by a heel turn.
What would happen if, for a short time, or longer, Bobby Roode and James Storm became Beer Money again?
Is it possible to right the wrongs made so long ago?
Can these men un-bad the blood between them?
If they were to join forces at some juncture, what would happen when they had to go their separate ways again?
Would Bobby Roode do the same thing over, betraying James Storm? Would the Cowboy think fast and beat Bobby Roode to the punch?
Or would they, could they, go their separate ways in a way where neither man is hurt, or crossed?
Could they exist together, in one company, with only one world title, and untangle themselves from the two-year narrative that has been Roode vs. Storm, post-Beer Money?
It might be futile to ask, like can the leopard change its spots.
But can Bobby Roode and James Storm ever change the page on their rivalry? Can they exist without the bad blood?
Can they one day break the Beer Money curse and let go of the hard feelings they both still carry around?
This much is true: With both men in the tag title match at Slammiversary, and with James Storm bringing a mystery partner, the relationship between the former Beer Money will soon take on another page in one of the most storied relationships in modern pro wrestling.
Yes, in the beginning there was Beer Money.
In the middle, too.
And Beer Money may just be with these two men until the very end.
Shane Combs is a pro wrestling fan since 1991, now bringing TNA fans a place to read about and discuss IMPACT Wrestling. Follow on Twitter @ IMPCTRevolution. 16 new followers in the last two days. Looking for 15 more by the end of May!
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