IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 8.11.11
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 August 11, 2011
3. Robert Roode – for coming up with the pinfall and seven points in a Bound for Glory Series three-way tag team matchup:
Now that Hardcore Justice is out of the way and No Surrender is coming up on September 11, we’re heading down the home stretch for the Bound for Glory Series. Just one month remains to determine which top four competitors will go toe-to-toe at No Surrender based on the point standings. The winner of that matchup will, of course, land a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Bound for Glory.
At this point in the game, there are several wrestlers still with legitimate shots at making that four-person bout in four weeks. And there are others, like Samoa Joe (-10 points), who are pretty much out of the picture barring a miracle of monumental proportions. For the most part, however, this thing is still up in the air.
A six-man, three-team tag match was slated for this week’s IMPACT Wrestling that gave half of the Series’ competitors an opportunity to keep themselves in the running. The current TNA World Tag Team Champions Beer Money (James Storm – 33 & Robert Roode – 28) went up against Rob Van Dam (25) and AJ Styles (21), as well as the unlikely combination of Devon (30) and the Pope (17). As with all tag team matches in the Bound for Glory Series, only the participant securing the decision would receive points.
That man ended up being none other than Roode. He became a legal man in the match when receiving a tag from none other than his own tag team partner Storm, who separated himself from an assault by Devon with a boot in the corner followed by a flying uppercut off the ropes. Devon tagged in Pope at the same time and Roode took him down with a series of closelines. An irish whip reversal was met with a forearm from Roode, who drilled Pope with a running closeline against the turnbuckles. Roode ran into a boot after putting Pope back in the corner, but he recovered quickly enough to plant Pope into the mat with a Double R Spinebuster.
A cover was broken up at two by Van Dam, who soon found himself sent into the corner by Roode for a kick to the back of the head by Storm from the apron. RVD stumbled out of the corner and right into a DDT from Roode. The Pope turned Roode around and sent him to the ropes. But Roode held on and nailed Pope with a back elbow, which turned Pope around into a nice springboard flying forearm from Styles. Devon entered the ring and waited for Styles to get up so he could put him right back down with a spinebuster. Devon then ducked a closeline from Roode and dropped him with a neckbreaker before rushing Storm and pushing him off the apron.
Pope re-entered the ring and told Devon to head up top while he lifted Roode off the mat. Pope held Roode for Devon, but Roode moved out of the way just in time as Devon flew off with a shoulder block and ended up hitting Pope instead. Storm came in and took both Devon and himself out of the ring, leaving Roode alone inside with Pope. Roode quickly got Pope off the mat and hit him with a fisherman’s suplex into the pin that scored him the three-count.
This was a victory for Beer Money, however Roode was the big winner here getting the pinfall and seven points as a result. That win put him at 35 points, which is good for second place and puts him just two points ahead of Storm. Crimson is still solidly in first with a 15-point distance above everybody else. But those spots behind him are very much up in the air still, and Roode is firmly in the picture with a hot streak as of late and sole possession of second place following this week’s IMPACT Wrestling.
2. Crimson – for beating the odds and picking up a seven-point victory in the Bound for Glory Series against three members of Immortal:
Crimson has been the leader of the pack when it comes to the Bound for Glory Series essentially since its inception. His still intact undefeated streak has allowed him to compile a lot of points along the way and has pretty much left him looking over his shoulder at the rest of the competitions as they duke it out for the three other spots in the No Surrender matchup. Crimson entered this week’s IMPACT Wrestling with 43 points and one of his toughest tests to date ahead of him in the main event.
Unlike most of Crimson’s bouts since joining TNA where there was generally an even playing field, this week presented a tough four-way matchup for him. Bully Ray announced at the top of the broadcast that Scott Steiner, Gunner and he would all be involved in a four-way match against Crimson. While this was technically a situation where it was supposed to be every man for himself, the prime objective was to take Crimson out and it was clear there would be a lot of working together on Immortal’s end.
Crimson’s only strategy in this match could really be to just weather the storm Immortal had planned for him and look for that perfect opportunity to get into a situation for a quick move and cover. He did fairly well in the beginning of the match against Gunner. But Steiner and Gunner were eventually able to really take over, while Bully Ray simply watched from the ring apron reluctant to actually get involved.
Crimson suffered pretty mightily at the hands of Gunner and Steiner, who managed to get some double team work in despite the fact that there really were only supposed to be two men in the ring at a time. But as stated, Crimson looked to just weather the storm and find his spot. That came when Gunner and Steiner sent him to the ropes. He ducked a double team closeline and came back with some closeline attempts of his own. The one on Steiner connected, but Gunner ducked the one aimed at him and charged right at Crimson instead. Crimson saw him coming and sent him right into Ray, who flew off the apron and out of the picture. Crimson immediately rolled Gunner up looking for the pinfall and just managed to receive it before it looked like Steiner might be close to breaking it up.
The win added seven more points to Crimson’s total to bring him to 50 – still good for first place in the Bound for Glory Series standings and at least 15 points ahead of everybody else. Unfortunately, he suffered a rather brutal attack at the hands of Kurt Angle to close out the program, with his face and knee being main targets of the Olympic Gold Medalist. So, we’ll have to wait and see just how that affects Crimson going forward and if that loosens his grip on first at some point before No Surrender.
1. Kurt Angle – for aggressively defending his actions at Hardcore Justice en route to winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship:
When Kurt Angle squared off against Sting at Hardcore Justice this past Sunday, it was believed that he was going in with a simple goal and an even simpler motive. Angle wanted to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for a fifth time. And he supposedly wanted to do so cleanly, as such a result has eluded him in any previous match with Sting. Angle wasn’t being completely honest in that department, however, as his actions in the main event told a different story. He did win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. But the victory came via a vicious shot to Sting with a chair that just so happened to be brought down to the ring by Hulk Hogan.
Angle was set to defend himself on IMPACT Wrestling this week. He meant everything he said to Sting previously and he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time at Hardcore Justice. This boiled down to the marriage between his ex-wife Karen and Jeff Jarrett. Angle received a call from a briefly anonymous source, who told him that a third party was involved in all of it. That third party was Dixie Carter, who was supposed to be looking out for Angle but supposedly lied to him about knowing nothing about the emerging relationship between Jeff and Karen. Angle deduced that Carter’s primary focus was Sting and not him, despite being told by her that she wanted to make him a centerpiece of TNA and surround him young talent. Now, Angle plans on taking out that young talent one-by-one and has made it a personal goal to make sure Carter never gets the company back.
As Angle left the ring and headed up the ramp, Sting came up through the hole on the stage behind Angle wielding a baseball bat and ready to strike. Angle had a chair in hand and blocked repeated blows from Sting with it. And their standoff allowed Hogan to sneak in from behind and blast Sting in the back with a chair of his own. Angle then revealed that Hogan was that source who tipped him off, and the two proceeded to beat down “The Insane Icon” inside the ring all the way through a commercial break. Angle and Hogan even embraced in the ring to symbolize their new allegiance.
The new TNA World Heavyweight Champion wasn’t ready to call it a night, either. At the conclusion of a four-way Bound for Glory Series Match that saw Crimson go over three members of Immortal, Angle assaulted the undefeated star mercilessly to conclude the broadcast. This was part of Angle’s plan to dispose of Carter’s precious young talent, and he did a number on Crimson with repeated blows to the head and a vicious attempt to blow out Crimson’s knee across the ropes.
So, Angle has effectively developed a new mean streak. It’s not clear yet if he has officially joined up with Immortal, though I don’t think he really needs to. Remaining his own man delivering on his own agendas might be more effective for Angle in the long run. It has made him the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, after all.