IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 6.23.11
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 June 23, 2011
3. Bully Ray – for defeating fellow veteran Scott Steiner in an anticipated showdown for seven points in the Bound for Glory Series:
The Bound for Glory Series was developed and started last week as a way to determine the No. 1 Contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship come TNA’s flagship Pay-Per-View in October – Bound for Glory. As opposed to being an actual tournament, this series involving 12 members of the TNA roster is more of a point system, where points can be earned at TNA live events, television programs and PPVs.
This series kicked off last week in a match between Rob Van Dam and Samoa Joe that saw “The Whole F’N Show” snatch the first seven points of the tourney. A few more matchups took place over the course of the week at TNA live events. And a couple more went down this week on IMPACT Wrestling. One of those matchups actually received a bit of hype during last week’s program and was called upon to open the show’s in-ring portion.
Bully Ray and Scott Steiner are two veterans of the game who both come from renowned tag team backgrounds. They are two big, mean dudes who bring an ultra-aggressive style to the ring with very little flash. Simply put, they wanted to beat the hell out of each other and get some points to work their way up in the Bound for Glory Series standings.
They ended up doing just that, with Steiner actually possessing more of the offensive advantage throughout the contest. He managed to take Ray down with a t-bone suplex for a near fall and got him back down to the mat with a belly-to-belly suplex after irish whipping him into the referee against the turnbuckles. It was at this point that Steiner was taken off his game.
In an effort to get more points in the Bound for Glory Series by picking up a submission victory, he applied a Steiner Recliner to Ray. But since the referee was down, he couldn’t call the match when Ray tapped out. Steiner chose to relinquish the hold and try to wake up the ref. But as he did so, Ray moved into the corner and grabbed a chain that he would use soon enough by nailing Steiner in the throat with it. The referee didn’t see it and therefore had no reason to avoid making the three-count when Ray covered the prone body of the “Big Bad Booty Daddy.”
Steiner was obviously incensed by the loss of the match and seven points in the Series. He confronted Ray backstage later in the program, but didn’t attack while Ray hid behind a bench as well as Gunner and Abyss. Ray even explained to Steiner that he did what Steiner would have done. And he also offered up a spot in Immortal to Steiner, which he said he would think about.
Ray suffered more punishment throughout the match than Steiner. But where he lacks in some of the technical aspects of wrestling that Steiner is quite proficient in, he more than makes up in ring savvy. He knew he had an opportunity to take advantage of a downed referee and did just that. For making the smart play, Ray picked up an important seven points early in the Bound for Glory Series and is off to a good start as he looks for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
2. Matt Morgan – for picking up seven points in the Bound for Glory Series by scoring the pinfall over Robert Roode in tag team action alongside Crimson:
Matt Morgan is another of the 12 participants selected to compete in the Bound For Glory Series. Unlike Bully Ray, however, Morgan entered this week’s show with seven points already in his pocket due to a win at a TNA live event. He was given the opportunity to tally some points on IMPACT Wrestling as he teamed with Crimson to face Robert Roode and James Storm.
All four members of this match are involved in the Bound for Glory Series, but Morgan was the only participant that actually benefited from it. When it looked like Beer Money was going to be well on its way to scoring a victory, Storm decided to make a risky play with his partner. Roode may be back to work, but he is still nursing a sore shoulder. And instead of playing it safe with his partner, Storm had Roode launch him to the outside so he could take out Crimson in the ringside area. That obviously hurt Roode and left him vulnerable back inside the squared circle. Upon turning around, Morgan nailed him with the Carbon Footprint and a three-count followed to score “The DNA of TNA” another seven points to take the top spot in the standings with a total of 14.
While Morgan (and even Crimson, who didn’t get any points) celebrated after the bell, Storm knew he made a mistake by making that call to his partner as he looked at Roode on the canvas in pain.
There’s plenty of time left in this tournament and a seven-point cushion is far from insurmountable at this early stage in the game. But Morgan is still in a great spot right now as the leader of the pack with everybody else trying to play catch up.
1. Sting – for remaining off his rocker as he sent a message to Eric Bischoff and Abyss in the main event:
To say Sting has lost his mind as of late would be an understatement. Ahead of his TNA World Heavyweight Championship matchup with Mr. Anderson at Slammiversary, Sting started to show signs that he was going a bit cuckoo when he broke into Anderson’s locker room and splashed some of his trademark face paint all over the Green Bay-native. Then when he lost the title to Anderson at Slammiversary thanks to involvement from Bischoff, he responded by attacking Hulk Hogan in his office and smearing the same red paint across his face even after Hogan agreed to grant him a rematch on the July 14 edition of IMPACT Wrestling.
Sting’s loony and dangerous ways crept out again this week when Bischoff started the program by calling him out. Bischoff asked Sting if he thought he wouldn’t notice what happened to Hogan last week and called him an ungrateful son of a bitch. Sting sarcastically told Bischoff his feelings were hurt by being cussed at before informing Bischoff that he was going to snap his scrawny neck. After further calling Bischoff a disease that had spread to Hogan, he let Bischoff know the real Hulk Hogan would emerge soon enough.
Bischoff wasn’t buying any of that and let Sting know he and Hogan would always be a team. And while Sting has his rematch on July 14, Bischoff wanted to make sure Sting was in no shape to compete in said contest. So he booked Sting in a match for the main event against the completely unstable Abyss. Sting responded to that by punching away at Bischoff and planted him with a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting then splashed that same red face paint all over Bischoff’s mug for good measure. Still not yet done, Sting decided to apply the Scorpion Death Lock as well, which Bischoff frantically tapped out to.
Because of this, Abyss’ mission was clear – put a hurting on Sting.
Throughout their main event bout, Abyss did a decent job of that. He matched up well against the former titleholder and even got to the point where he was ready to throw caution to the wind just to punish Sting. He grabbed a glove out of his hooded sweatshirt that had barb wire wrapped around it and planned to open up Sting with it. Unfortunately for him, Sting managed to avoid a few punches and rebound from a boot to nail Abyss with a Stinger Splash followed by the Scorpion Death Drop. He got a two-count out of it. But instead of staying on “The Monster,” Sting elected to take the glove off Abyss’ hand and use it to his advantage instead. He threw the match via disqualification by doing so, but he pounded away with some punches to the uncovered part of Abyss’ face just as Anderson made his way down to the ringside area. Abyss was busted open pretty bad and Sting just continued to nail him in front of the TNA World Heavyweight Champion as the program came to a close.
Sting has definitely lost his mind a bit. But he remembers his purpose here and is dead set on bringing out the old Hulk Hogan while getting rid of whatever influence Bischoff has on him. Having the TNA World Heavyweight Championship would help him have some pull with the network, as well, so he also has not lost sight of his rematch in a few weeks against Anderson.