TNA iMPACT! Wrestlers of the Week 4.7.11
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 April 7, 2011
3. Samoa Joe – for making very quick work of Murphy as he continues to eye a showdown with The Pope:
Samoa Joe has his sights set squarely on a showdown inside the Steel Cage with The Pope at Lockdown. Pope didn’t realize how bad a move it really was to make an enemy out of Joe, who has been all over Pope for his sketchy business endeavors and recent assaults against Okada. The time will come next Sunday for Joe to get his shot at redemption. Until then, however, Joe can only wait and take out his aggression on other TNA wrestlers like he did against Murphy on iMPACT!.
With Pope doing some guest commentary alongside Mike Tenay and Taz, Joe went one-on-one inside the ring with Immortal’s Murphy. Murphy hit Joe first but his time on top didn’t last very long. Joe angrily dropped him with a closeline, followed up with some knees to the chest and forced Murphy into submission with the Kokina Clutch.
Joe made quick work of the big man and took even less time to celebrate the victory. He immediately left the ring and headed straight for Pope, who rightfully decided to run off to the back.
Pope won’t be so easily able to escape the Steel Cage come Lockdown. Joe will get his hands on Pope and might just put a little legitimacy into the chant, “Joe’s Gonna Kill You!”
2. Bully Ray – for stepping up to Daniels and taking advantage of a Hogan sneak attack to defeat him:
Bully Ray has instantly become a heavy hitter for Immortal since joining its ranks. He hit it off with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff right away. And now he seems to be a right hand man for Ric Flair, who watched Ray take out AJ Styles for the foreseeable future after powerbombing him off the iMPACT! Zone stage. Ray and Flair will be joined by Abyss and Matt Hardy as they take on Fortune’s Robert Roode, James Storm, Kazarian and the recently returned “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels in a Lethal Lockdown match next Sunday.
Daniels made a big impact last week when he re-emerged in TNA with a crossbody off the top of the steel cage. He came back to TNA to help Fortune in their fight for redemption over having taken out Styles. The “Fallen Angel” opened the show this week to explain his return and ask of Fortune to be included as the fourth man on their team at Lockdown.
That brought Flair, Ray, Hardy and Abyss down to the ring. Flair played his regular card of not knowing who Daniels is and informed him that he didn’t even have a contract with TNA. Daniels let Flair know that while Flair, Hogan and Bischoff might not know who he is or want him back in TNA, “The Network” does on both accounts. Not wanting to be upstaged, Hogan hit the stage and re-affirmed his status as the man running TNA and agreed to offer Daniels a contract and a spot on the Lockdown card alongside Immortal.
Hogan also wanted to see Daniels in the ring right there on iMPACT!. So he booked him in a match against Ray, who proceeded to get in Daniels’ face over the mascara he wears and nail polish on his fingers. Daniels told Ray he shouldn’t worry about that stuff until the guy wearing it is kicking his butt, which lead to scuffle between everybody in the ring.
The match between Daniels and Ray for later on in the program became a Lumberjack Match, with the members of Fortune and Immortal supporting their representative along the ringside area.
Daniels looked as if he would be able to come back from an early disadvantage against Ray with an STO that was followed up with the Best Moonsault Ever. But the referee was pulled out of the ring by Flair before Daniels could get the three-count. The ref became distracted by a brawl between the feuding groups, which allowed Hogan to come out and nail Daniels with a chain to the head as he tried to pull Ray back inside the ring. Ray covered the knocked out “Fallen Angel” and the ref came back into the ring to make the three-count.
That wasn’t quite the way Daniels wanted to return to a TNA ring. Hogan’s involvement is of no consequence to Ray, who will take the win any way he can. Ray has paid off immensely since joining Immortal and will be a key player in the group’s fight against Fortune in Lethal Lockdown.
1. Mr. Anderson – for plotting throughout the evening to take out everybody in his way of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship:
Mr. Anderson is a man of simple motivation. He just wants the rematch he has long believed he’s been screwed out of for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Since losing the title to Jeff Hardy at Against All Odds, Anderson has watched while Sting returned to immediately become champ and Rob Van Dam has stepped in front of him for opportunities at the title. To say the least, Anderson has not been too pleased with being constantly overlooked.
And that has lead to him falling out of favor with a lot of people. Anderson has many enemies and few friends in TNA, which leaves him constantly fighting everybody off. And there seemed to be a rising uncertainty over whether Anderson might sell his soul to Immortal in order to make his run toward the TNA World Heavyweight Championship a whole lot smoother.
Anderson appeared to be heading in that very direction over the course of iMPACT! and was followed heavily throughout the program.
His evening started by receiving a few letters he believed were coming from Sting telling him that it was “Showtime” and that they should finish what they started. So, Anderson hunted down “The Icon.” On that hunt, however, he was attacked by RVD, who snuck up behind him wearing a trench coat.
As a result of that attack, Anderson was forced into making a request from Hogan. Amidst an in-ring confrontation between Sting and RVD, Hogan decided to book the two of them in a non-title main event match as sort of a preview for the three-way dance also involving Anderson at Lockdown. Anderson went to Hogan’s office and asked to be named the special guest referee for that match. Hogan wanted to know what was in it for him. Anderson gave the old “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” rationale. So Hogan happily agreed to what he likely saw as Anderson laying the groundwork for a jump to Immortal.
To the surprise of nobody, Anderson wasn’t much of a referee in the main event. He started out doing things by the book. But it was only a matter of time before he interjected himself physically. And that time came after Sting hit RVD with the Scorpion Deathdrop. Anderson nailed Sting with the Mic Check and watched as Van Dam finished the champ off with a Five Star Frog Splash so he could make the three-count.
Even though he got the win, RVD didn’t escape an attack from Anderson. During Van Dam’s celebration, Anderson belted him with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. With both Sting and Van Dam laid out, Rob Terry and Murphy headed down to the ring while Hogan stood on the stage. Terry and Murphy came into the ring and lifted Anderson up on their shoulders as Hogan applauded on the stage over what he believed to be a new addition to Immortal. That wasn’t the case, however. When Terry and Murphy set Anderson down, he dropped them both with Mic Checks and left Hogan furiously heading to the back to close out the show.
Anderson has not had his way as of late and has received his fair share of butt whoopings. But he showed everybody standing in his way of the TNA World Heavyweight Title what he’s capable of doing when motivated and thinking straight.