iMPACT! Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 5.19.11
By Neil Borenstein
Each week here at 1wrestling.com, I will select three of the top wrestlers from TNA’s iMPACT! Wrestling 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! Wrestling and any relevant preceding programming – such as Pay-Per-Views – will be taken into consideration.
iMPACT! Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week for May 19, 2011
3. Tara – for earning her team a victory in six-Knockout tag action on her first night of freedom from Madison Rayne:
When Mickie James pinned Madison Rayne to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship at Sacrifice, there were actually two winners. Not only did James end up having her hand raised at the end of the contest, but she also enabled Tara to be set free from her service contract to Rayne.
Tara appreciated Rayne’s willingness to bring her back into TNA after being the one to cause her exit from the company. But the recent abuse by Rayne was simply too much for Tara. She thanked James for including the stipulation in the match and played a crucial role in James scoring the victory by nailing Rayne with a loaded glove while the referee was knocked out.
On her first official night free from the control of TNA’s resident queen bee, Tara teamed up with her liberator and Miss Tessmacher to take on Rayne, Sarita and Rosita.
It was clear throughout the contest that Tara desperately wanted to get her hands on Rayne. Knowing full well that Tara would likely destroy her if successful in that ambition, Rayne constantly tagged out of the match whenever the two of them would otherwise be in position to battle each other.
When she did that toward the end of the match, Rosita ended up the unlucky combatant on the wrong side of a few closelines and a spinning side slam. Tara went for the cover after the latter of those moves, but Sarita came in to break up the pin. A melee ensued from there and Rayne was left in a position to try and attack Tara from behind. Tara was wise to this, however, and turned around just in time to back Rayne off. Rayne grabbed Rosita instead and shoved her right into Tara, who planted her into the mat to lead into a pinfall.
Tara immediately stared down Rayne, who hightailed it for the ramp and screamed that this was far from over.
Tara may not have gotten her hands on Rayne this evening. But the time will eventually come when those two square off and she is able to receive some semblance of retribution for the months of reluctant service she provided. Tara was able to display just a small dose of what she’s capable of doing when that showdown finally comes to fruition.
2. Velvet Sky – for scoring a handicap win over Winter and Angelina Love following further involvement in Karen Jarrett’s business:
So, it turned out that Velvet Sky was not lying when she continually insisted to Karen Jarrett that she was not Kurt Angle’s hired mistress. Instead, that ended up being Chyna, who aided Angle in defeating the duo of Jeff Jarrett and Karen at Sacrifice this past Sunday. Sky was not quite finished meddling in their affairs, however.
After Angle and Jarrett confronted each other in the ring to agree to a match for Slammiversary that will see them go one-on-one with both the No. 1 Contendership to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and Angle’s 1996 Olympic Gold Medal on the line, Karen made a surprise appearance through the trap door Angle normally comes through during his ring entrances. Angle thought Karen would be out of the picture for a long time courtesy of what Chyna did to her. However, Karen assured Angle she would be by her husband’s side – even if that needed to take place with her riding a wheelchair.
The bad thing about wheelchairs, however, is that they can roll down ramps. And while Karen was running her mouth at the top of the stage, she didn’t quite realize Sky was moving in from behind her. When she finally did, there was nothing that could be done to prevent Sky from pushing her wheelchair all the way down the ramp and into Jeff.
Upset at that little incident, Jeff used his stroke to get a match booked for later on iMPACT! Wrestling that saw Sky go 1-on-2 against both Winter and Angelina Love in handicap action.
Despite how well she was able to do when in the ring with Winter, Sky struggled mightily to do any damage to the still zombie-like Love. That left her vulnerable in the latter stages of the match to a beating from both Love and Winter. Sky was resilient enough, however, to come back from a spinning backbreaker by Winter and catch the tagged-in Love with a small package rollup to score a surprise pinfall.
Sky didn’t have much time for celebration, as she was attacked on the outside by ODB. It’s unknown at this point whether ODB attacked on behalf of Winter and Love, the Jarretts or simply herself. But with another dilemma to deal with, it appears that Sky will once again have to delay her plans of chasing the TNA Knockouts Championship a bit longer to deal with the other women causing her problems.
1. Abyss – for helping Eric Bischoff in his pursuit of ridding TNA of the X-Division by capturing the championship from Kazarian:
When Hulk Hogan and network representative Mick Foley are away in New York for a meeting, Eric Bischoff and the rest of Immortal shall play. With no other legitimate authority figure around to legislate the first true episode of the re-branded iMPACT! Wrestling program, Bischoff decided he was going to call the shots for the evening. He made it clear that anybody looking to stand in the way of those plans would pay the price for it.
Naturally, there were a few willing souls eager to challenge Bischoff’s authority. They just so happened to be a few select X-Division stars unhappy with being underutilized and further displeased with how they were specifically disrespected by Bischoff a few weeks back when he told them to grow another foot and a half.
Bischoff decided that he had enough of them and wanted to rid TNA of the X-Division entirely in one single night. His plan to do so was to book most of them in matches over the course of the evening. While Brian Kendrick only received a slap in the face that led to a monster brawl between them, Immortal and the joining Fortune faction, other X-Division talent was placed in rather unfair matchups. Amazing Red landed in a one-on-one bout against the man currently possessing some heat with his brother, Crimson – Samoa Joe. Generation Me was placed in a match against Matt Hardy and Bischoff himself. And finally, to use the division’s own motto against it (“It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits”), Bischoff forced Kazarian to put the X-Division Championship on the line against the 350-pound Abyss.
Despite the power and size disadvantage, Kazarian was able to hold control for majority of the match courtesy of his speed and explosiveness. But even when Abyss’ strength didn’t get the job done, his quick thinking certainly did.
After putting Kaz down with the Shock Treatment, Abyss followed his fallen foe into the corner and attempted a slingshot splash. Kazarian moved out of the way and proceeded to focus on the right knee that Abyss grabbed at immediately upon hitting the mat. Abyss shoved Kazarian off, which caused the referee to hold Kazarian back because he felt Abyss was really hurt. He was simply tricking them, though, because he put down a charging Kazarian with a boot and followed up with the Black Hold Slam to score the three-count to become the new X-Division Champion.
It’s hard to say that the X-Division is completely dead as a result of this. However, it doesn’t look to be in good shape with somebody like Abyss holding the championship. The future of the division is in Bischoff’s hands now and he could very well kill it like he so desperately wants to now that his monster holds its greatest prize.