By Neil Borenstein
Each week here at 1wrestling.com, I will select three of the top wrestlers from TNA iMPACT! and present them to you in inverse order as the show’s Wrestlers of the Week. In choosing the show’s top three superstars, performances from that week’s iMPACT! and any relevant preceding programming – such as Pay-Per-Views – will be taken into consideration.
“Before The Glory” iMPACT! Wrestlers of the Week for October 7, 2010
3. Angelina Love and Velvet Sky – for taking the rights to “The Beautiful People” with a win over Madison Rayne and Tara:
While the main focus of the Angelina Love/Velvet Sky vs. Madison Rayne/Tara feud has been the TNA Knockouts Championship, it hasn’t been the sole point of contention. Love and Sky are amazed at the monster they created in Rayne and would thoroughly enjoy bringing her back down to Earth. But they also want to take back their Beautiful People gimmick, which Rayne was also claiming she had the rights to.
All four of these ladies had the opportunity Thursday to settle that issue in a tag team matchup. Whichever team managed to snag the win would also be granted the rights to name and music of The Beautiful People.
Miss Tessmacher was watching on from the entrance ramp during this bout, which turned out to be short and sweet. Once Love got a hot tag in toward the end of the match, she took Rayne out with some closelines and a kick. She called for Tara to enter the ring and delivered a jawbreaker once she obliged. Then Love and Rayne double-teamed with dual kicks to the chest and legs of Tara, which enabled Love to get the pinfall for the originals. With the win, Love and Sky earned their gimmick back.
But all was not settled between these Knockouts. Love had her title in hand and, with Sky, had their gimmick back. But Tessmacher didn’t come out simply to enjoy a better view of the match. She had an announcement. She reiterated her booking of a four-way match at Bound For Glory in which Love, Sky, Rayne and Tara would fight their own individual battles against each other for the TNA Knockouts Championship. To ensure they play by her rules, Tessmacher added a special guest referee for this encounter on Sunday – the newest TNA Knockout, Mickie James.
2. Kurt Angle – for snagging $100,000 and momentum heading into Bound For Glory’s heavyweight title match with a battle royal victory:
The Bound For Glory Pay-Per-View this Sunday is highlighted by a three-way dance between Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson for the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship. All three of these wrestlers have earned their way into this match over the past couple of months and it is set up to be a good main event in just two short days from now.
But one of them had the chance to not only enter the show with a bit of added momentum, but also an extra $100,000 lining his pocket. Dixie Carter established a battle royal with many of TNA’s top names fighting it out over-the-top-rope elimination style for 100 G’s and some bragging rights. And it was more than convenient that the first three members of this battle royal Thursday night were the three guys competing for the championship on Sunday.
The ring did manage to fill up and guys were tossed out here and there. Once Abyss hit the ring, though, he cleared most of the participating TNA superstars out of there. Abyss was simply dominating and looked to be well on his way toward victory. But then the final member of this match hit the ring, and it was his opponent at Bound For Glory – Rob Van Dam. RVD went right after “The Monster”, and took both Abyss and himself out with a crossbody over the top.
Once both of those men hit the floor and then proceeded to fight their way to the back, we were left with two. Those two were the ones who started it – Anderson and Angle. They traded some rights and Anderson took Angle down with a shoulder block off the ropes. He didn’t capitalize coming off the ropes, which allowed Angle to get up. And they traded finishing move counters, including a Mic Check attempt by Anderson that Angle managed to elbow out of. Anderson charged at Angle after a brief pause, and Angle caught him with an Angle Slam that sent Anderson over the top and to the floor for the win. Angle was then presented his cash and all was good for the Olympic gold medalist.
That was until ReACTION, of course. Anderson wasn’t pleased with losing and told the interviewer that Angle should consider buying some integrity with the $100,000 he just won. Once Angle caught wind of this and watched the tape, he was furious and confronted Anderson in his locker room. After a heated verbal exchange, they came to blows and battled it out inside the locker room. Angle got the last laugh with a shot to the nether regions and looks even more prepared than ever to not only defend his career at Bound For Glory, but to stake claim at least one more time to that TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
1. Mick Foley – for being the Last Man Standing in a violent matchup against Ric Flair:
It’s been no secret that Mick Foley and Ric Flair have not seen eye-to-eye during their many decades in the professional wrestling business. While most of it has been behind the scenes, of course, a lot of it has also been played out in front of our very eyes. And that’s been especially true since the EV2.0 vs. Fortune storyline kicked off on the evening following Hardcore Justice.
Foley for the longest while has wanted an in-ring talk with “The Nature Boy” and he got that last week during iMPACT!. It turned out to be a heated exchange between the two legends, in which Foley told Flair that he brought the best out of him. And since he believed he wasn’t quit living up to the status he worked so hard to achieve throughout his career, he needed another rodeo with Flair in order to get the best brought out of him again. When it was all said and done, and the two were finished punching themselves in the head to the point that they both had blood dripping down their faces, a Last Man Standing Match was agreed upon for this week’s live “Before the Glory” edition of iMPACT!. And to sweeten the pot, Flair had enough confidence in himself that he declared he would kiss Foley’s backside if he couldn’t come up with the victory.
On paper, this match really could have gone either way from a quality standpoint. Regardless of how long they’ve been the business and how high they are held in professional wrestling lore, neither man is in his prime at this point. However, there is enough heat – both legit and artificial – for these two to present a really solid brawl on live TV.
The reality of the match was that it was decent. It didn’t take very long for blood to get involved. It also was no surprise when they brought the fight outside of the ring and introduced plenty of weapons to it – including thumb tacks.
What was surprising, and relatively disappointing, was the finish. Flair delivered a low blow to Foley and decided to place him near the corner on top of a table Foley had just set up. He smashed him with a barbed wire board before heading up top and coming down with a splash to send Foley through the table that we rarely ever see from “The Nature Boy.” Both Foley and Flair felt the punishment of that one and struggled to reach their feet as referee Earl Hebner was counting in the background. Flair flopped down in vintage style head-first into the thumb tacks. Immediately after that, the referee called for the bell and Foley was declared the winner. That 10-count was not really mentioned by Mike Tenay or Taz during the broadcast, and thus the finish came off as sudden and unexpected. And that was disappointing for a decent match that really brought the best out of both guys.
Regardless, a win is a win and that belonged to Foley on this occasion. And he would have been happy enough to take the “W” over Flair and simply walk away. But Foley was going to make Flair live up to his word. He grabbed a microphone and called for Flair to get down to the ring and kiss his derriere. The bloodied Flair came back to the ring and got to his knees. But before he could pucker his lips and attach them to Foley’s hind quarters, Fortune hit the ring and attacked the Hardcore Legend. EV2.0 eventually came out for the save, thus setting up the final fracas between the two factions before heading into Sunday’s Pay-Per-View for their Lethal Lockdown Match.
The win by Foley is going to be a big boost for EV2.0, who should be able to rally around what was a big victory for Foley. Defeating Flair is a relatively big deal for him based on their history throughout the decades. And even for as out-of-nowhere as the finish came during the match, it was still an entertaining enough brawl that made Foley look a lot better than he has in TNA for a good while now.