TNA iMPACT! Wrestlers of the Week 2.10.11
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 February 10, 2011
3. Robbie E. – for stealing the final spot in the No. 1 Contender three-way X-Division Match at Against All Odds:
Both Jeremy and Max Buck punched their tickets over the past two weeks to compete in a three-way match for the X-Division Championship No. 1 Contendership at Against All Odds. There was just one more three-way match remaining to determine who would join them and that went down this week on iMPACT!. Brian Kendrick, Robbie E. and the returning Suicide all locked up in the final qualifying three-way match to determine just who would be lucky enough to essentially face a 2-on-1 situation when he faces both members of Generation Me this Sunday.
Robbie was particularly determined for this match. He decided to forgo his usual pre-match showboating alongside Cookie in order to make a beeline for the ring and proclaim his displeasure over not being X-Division Champion. Then when Suicide made his triumphant swing into the ring, Robbie didn’t hesitate to get the match going by immediately attacking the masked crusader.
Suicide (once again played by Christopher Daniels) was actually in control for most of the match and broke out an array of impressive moves against both Robbie and Kendrick. But as this series of qualifying three-ways has already proven, it’s not necessarily about the wrestler with the best move-set moving on. It’s about taking advantage of any situation to get ahead.
That’s exactly what Robbie did. When he was dropkicked to the floor, Kendrick and Suicide were left alone in the ring to duke it out. Suicide came out on top of that fight with a suplex. But before he could go for the pin, Cookie hit the apron to distract the referee and Suicide. Robbie then snuck back into the ring to nail Suicide before covering the still-downed Kendrick for the three-count victory.
Robbie once again scores a win courtesy of Cookie’s help and now has the opportunity to head into Against All Odds for a shot at regaining the X-Division Championship. Going up against the brothers Buck, however, will force The Shore to cook up an even better plan if they hope to come out victorious against the stacked deck.
2. Brother Devon – for putting Bully Ray through a table with the help of his sons to win a Six-Man Tag Team Tables Match:
There are quite a few heated rivalries in TNA these days, but none with more history than the one involving Bully Ray and Brother Devon. Those two were prepared months ago to head off into the sunset and retire as one of the most decorated tag teams in professional wrestling history. But Ray decided to get an ego about him and attacked Devon out of nowhere, ending their friendship and brotherhood after more than 15 years because Ray felt Devon never held up his end of the bargain as a tag team partner.
The two have been going at it ever since. And last week, Ray escalated the situation when he got Devon’s family involved. After a no contest finish to a tag team matchup that included both of them, Ray spotted Devon’s sons sitting in the front row and spit at both of them. That’s a good way to further set off Devon. And it wouldn’t be the last time Ray would interact with Terrance and Terrell.
This week’s episode of iMPACT! saw a Six-Man Tag Team Tables match pitting Ray, Pope and Matt Hardy against Devon, Joe and Rob Van Dam. This wasn’t much of a tag team match, however. Joe and Pope quickly took their business to the back while the four other participants split into one-on-one pairings with their respective rivals. At first, Ray and Devon battled on the outside while RVD and Hardy went at it in the ring. But those two situations switched position when RVD dove to the outside and crashed into a chair being held by Hardy, taking both men out in the process.
After being dominated by Devon for most of their time on the outside, Ray took control of the action inside the ropes by hitting Devon in the face with an elbow off a charge and following up with a low blow. Ray set up a table on the outside and then moved to the front row of the crowd to inform Terrance and Terrell that he would put their father through a table. As Ray hopped back onto the apron, though, Devon’s sons hopped the guardrail and held his legs so he couldn’t re-enter the ring. Devon got back to his feet by that point and ran Ray off the apron and through the table setup on the outside for the win.
Because of their involvement, Ray called for Terrance and Terrell to join their father in their Against All Odds Street Fight. Having plenty of confidence in his boys, Devon agreed to join forces in fighting Ray at the Pay-Per-View this Sunday.
That should be an interesting matchup where either Terrance and Terrell getting beaten down or turning on their father seems like an equally plausible scenarios as actually helping out Devon. But getting them involved adds a little flavor to an already heated feud and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
1. AJ Styles and Kurt Angle – for defeating Jeff Hardy and Jeff Jarrett in tag team main event action:
Fortune dropped a huge bombshell last week on Immortal when they revealed themselves as the mysterious “They” Crimson had been touting. As AJ Styles noted in his argument with Eric Bischoff to close out iMPACT!, the founding members of TNA were sick of seeing all the old faces being brought into the company and felt it was time to do something about it.
On this week’s program, Bischoff and the rest of Immortal started things off by discussing his long tenure and success in the business in comparison to the failures of Styles, Kazarian and Beer Money. He passed the microphone over to Jeff Jarrett, who called out Fortune – a move he would probably soon regret. Jarrett, as he always does, reminded the members of Fortune that he brought them into his company when they were looking for work and that this was not the proper way to thank him. Unfortunately, Roode reminded Jarrett that they have played a critical role in building TNA since Jarrett gave them their opportunity and that they are sick of being secondary to the old, washed-up wrestlers they continue to bring in. Roode told Jarrett to grow a set and called him slapnuts, which brought on a brawl between Immortal and Fortune. Eventually, Kurt Angle, Crimson and Scott Steiner hit the ring to even the playing field for Fortune.
The night was just beginning for a few members of that melee. Jarrett and Angle were scheduled to hold a contract signing for their match at Against All Odds a bit later in the program. They had to be separated by security in the ring and Karen Angle did her best to get under Kurt’s skin. But she ended up the bitter one in the end, thanks largely to her newer husband. Jarrett threw a couple of stipulations in the Against All Odds match. If Angle wins, he will get sole custody of his two children – a move I didn’t realize was actually legal. Makes me wonder why more custody cases aren’t decided inside a wrestling ring. If Jarrett wins, then Angle must walk his ex-wife down the aisle during this renewal of vows wedding set to take place on the March 3 episode of iMPACT!. Angle agreed and signed without a problem.
But he went to the back and wanted a piece of Jarrett right away. The main event was slated to be Styles and Roode against Jeff Hardy and Jarrett. But when Angle met up with Fortune in the back and told Roode what he would do to Jarrett if he were in the match, Roode stepped aside and gave Angle his spot. So, the main event became Styles and Angle versus Hardy and Jarrett.
Angle wasn’t able to do much damage to Jarrett like he wanted to. That will clearly need to wait until Sunday. But he did play a critical role in his team scoring the victory. Angle attempted an Angle Slam on Jarrett, but Jarrett got out of it and a chased ensued around the outside. When Jarrett slid back into the ring, he proceeded to kick at Angle so he couldn’t do the same. But Jarrett failed to see Styles on the apron across the ring. When he turned around, Styles was leaping in with a springboard crossbody. Styles immediately covered up and got the three-count to get his team the win.
Styles and Angle did receive low blows and Strokes from Jarrett following the bell. But that just led to the inevitable Immortal/Fortune/scaled-down Main Event Mafia/Mr. Anderson/Rob Van Dam brawl to end the show.
That one win isn’t nearly enough to satisfy Angle, nor is it good enough for Styles as he leads Fortune into reclaiming their territory. But even the small victories are important. Jarrett may have largely been able to avoid Angle on this night, but he won’t be able to on Sunday with some big conditions on the line. And while Hardy might have a TNA World Heavyweight Title Ladder Match coming up this Sunday, I get the feeling he’s going to have to face “The Phenomenal One” somewhere down the line.