TNA iMPACT! Wrestlers of the Week 1.27.11
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.
iMPACT! Wrestlers of the Week for January 27, 2011
3. Max Buck – for topping Chris Sabin and Amazing Red in a three-way matchup to move on in the X-Division Championship No. 1 Contender tournament:
Clearly having no real direction for the X-Division and its championship at this point, TNA decided to develop a somewhat convoluted tournament to determine the next No. 1 Contender for the strap currently held by Kazarian. In this tournament, three three-way matchups will take place. All three winners from those three matches will partake in a fourth three-way match at Against All Odds. The winner from that three-way match that includes the three winners from the three preceding three-way matches will be named the new No. 1 Contender for the X-Division Championship and will receive a shot against Kaz on a yet to be announced date at a yet to be announced time.
Got it? Good. ‘Cause I don’t.
The first of the qualifying three-way matchups took place on iMPACT! this week. With Kazarian joining Mike Tenay and Taz at the announce table, Amazing Red, Max Buck and Chris Sabin fought to figure out the first member of the Against All Odds bout. Buck was the only wrestler to come to the ring with some support, which came in the form of his brother Jeremy. Red was not joined by his brother Crimson, who was fighting alongside Kurt Angle later in the card. And Alex Shelley was not by Sabin’s side during this bout, either.
That extra man would do wonders for Max in the end of this high-paced, action-filled contest. With Max down on the mat, Red hit a Code Red on Sabin and looked for the cover. But the referee got distracted when Jeremy hopped onto the apron and disrupted the count. Red knocked Jeremy off the apron and then headed up top, but Jeremy crotched him across the turnbuckles and Max DDT’d him from the top. That allowed Max to succeed in his pin attempt and score the three-count to punch his ticket to Against All Odds.
That was an important first step for Max, who is now en route to trying to obtain his first X-Division Title in TNA. Now he will wait for his two Against All Odds opponents to be determined.
2. Angelina Love – for overcoming a bit of a numbers game in six-Knockout elimination tag action to secure a victory for her team:
Ever since becoming TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion alongside Winter, Angelina Love has essentially been between a rock and a hard place as it pertains to her relationship with Velvet Sky. The bond between The Beautiful People is strong, as both Love and Sky have made it clear they are best friends. But it’s been tough for Sky to watch her partner in crime head down to the ring with a different Knockout to defend a set of titles she believes she should hold with Love.
On Thursday, that situation was reversed a bit. Instead of Love teaming with Winter, she actually joined up with her Beautiful People buddy and Mickie James for six-Knockouts elimination tag team action against Madison Rayne, Tara and Sarita. Just before The Beautiful People entered the iMPACT! Zone, Winter grabbed Love’s arm and attempted to stop her from wrestling in a match without her. But Love eventually broke free and made her way to the ring with Sky, leaving Winter behind in a rather furious state of mind in the backstage area.
Luckily, Love was able to block out that distraction and do what needed to be done in the match to overcome a bit of a numbers game toward the end to secure the victory for her team. It became a 2-on-1 situation against Love after Sky (eliminated via pinfall by Sarita), Rayne (eliminated via pinfall by James) and James (eliminated via pinfall by Sarita) were taken out of the match. That left Love alone to face Sarita and Tara. At first, she did a damn fine job against the opposition. But once Tara nailed her with the elbow brace, she succumbed to some punishment from Tara and Sarita.
Love was able to gut through the punishment, though, and came out of nowhere with a Botox Injection to Tara for a surprise three-count. Sarita tried to jump in right away for a rollup to put Love away, but it was reversed and the three-count instead went down in favor of Love to end the match and score the victory for the face team.
Love has definitely been pushed as one of the premier Knockouts in TNA and that win does nothing but solidify her positioning within the division. But that doesn’t eliminate the drama she has to deal with. Instead of going backstage to a congratulatory celebration from Sky, she ended up finding her pissed off after having been attacked by Winter. That led to Sky calling Winter out later on in the broadcast, which didn’t really go quite as planned and forced Love to come down to the ring to save her.
At some point, this will all come to a head and Love will be forced to make a decision – side with her longtime partner who is constantly falling short (Sky) or the woman she has had great in-ring success with and currently holds the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles with (Winter.) That should be interesting …
1. Mr. Anderson – for defeating Matt Hardy in preparation for his TNA World Heavyweight Title defense against Jeff Hardy next week:
Mr. Anderson hasn’t had a great deal of success in the weeks following his victory at Genesis, where he defeated Jeff Hardy to win his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship. After learning from Eric Bischoff at the top of the first iMPACT! following the PPV that he would put the title on the line against Hardy on Feb. 3, he went on to lose two straight tag team main event matchups while teaming up with Rob Van Dam. On that same episode, that duo lost to the re-uniting Hardy Boyz after interference from Beer Money. Then last week, Anderson and RVD suffered defeat at the hands of James Storm and Robert Roode courtesy of interference from Matt and Jeff. Meanwhile, Jeff was doing nothing but gaining momentum in preparation for his title rematch against Anderson.
Immortal wanted to continue that trend one week ahead of that encounter by pitting Anderson in singles action against Matt while giving Jeff a week off to rest up. The plan was to wear Anderson down as much as possible so that it would be nothing but slim pickings for Jeff next week as he looks to bring the TNA World Heavyweight Title back to Immortal.
Before the match itself, Anderson and Jeff had a bit of an in-ring confrontation. Hardy put down the fans and declared he would reclaim his title next week. Anderson then came down to the ring and pretty much quashed any ideas Hardy had about winning their rematch, which seemed to irritate the former champion.
Soon after that, it was time for Anderson to go face-to-face with Jeff’s brother. Matt did some damage to Anderson’s left am, therefore making the match somewhat successful for Immortal. But he was not able to put away Anderson for the win. Instead, Anderson took advantage of a lazy cover from Hardy after a Side Effect and reversed it for a pin of his own that resulted in a three-count.
Jeff ran down after the match and combined with Matt to do more damage to the left arm Matt was working over during the bout. But this beatdown was eventually halted when RVD darted down to the ring for the save.
Now Anderson must use the next week to heal that left arm, as a tough task lies ahead in the form of a vengeful Jeff Hardy yearning to take what he perceives to be his championship back.