IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 9.8.11
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 September 8, 2011
3. Winter – for getting the better of Mickie James in tag team action three days ahead of their TNA Knockouts Championship showdown at No Surrender:
When Mickie James managed to win back the TNA Knockouts Championship last week, which was around one month after losing it at Hardcore Justice, it was simply a matter of time before Winter got her rematch the and the ladies fought it out for a third go-around at the title. That rubber match will go down at No Surrender this Sunday.
In preview of that bout, James and Winter competed on opposite sides of the ring in tag team action on this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Winter’s partner was obviously Angelina Love. James, meanwhile, was joined by Velvet Sky, who also has her eyes set on capturing the TNA Knockouts Championship one day.
This match presented a great opportunity for either of this weekend’s participants to wear down the other. Winter did avoid James for most of the match and either Love or Sky was mainly the legal member of their respective teams when James or Winter were in the ring. But Winter couldn’t run forever.
When Sky managed to pull off a counter on Love and take herself out as well in the process, tags were necessary for both teams. Winter received the tag first and tried to prevent Sky from getting to her corner. But Sky kicked her off and made the tag anyway, allowing James to come into the match with a Thesz Press right off the top on Winter. James knocked Love off the apron and then drilled Winter with a closeline followed by an elbow. A neckbreaker was next and James covered up for a pin attempt that Love stopped at two with the save.
Sky went right after Love and proceeded to kick her in the corner. James tried to bulldog Winter while that was going on, but Winter managed to get James against the turnbuckles instead. Winter and Love tried to whip James and Sky into each other, but they dosey-doed instead and connected on dropkick and forearm shots. While Winter was down near the corner, Love raked the eyes of Sky before grabbing James by the hair so that she could not attack Winter. Sky ended up drilling Love with a spear to get her off James, but Winter was stirring in the corner and James moved toward her. As the referee was distracted by Sky and Love fighting to the outside, Winter spit blood right into the face of James. James fell to the mat and Winter immediately went for the cover that the referee came right in to count to three on.
At first, James seemed to be unable to get past Winter so long as Love was involved. But by spitting blood into her face, Winter may have developed another way of getting at James both mentally and physically inside the ring even if Love isn’t at ringside to lend a helping hand. That win was definitely a big momentum boost for Winter heading into the TNA Knockouts Title Match this Sunday.
2. Devon & The Pope – for earning a shot at Mexican America and the TNA World Tag Team Titles at No Surrender with a victory over The British Invasion:
Devon and The Pope didn’t see eye-to-eye for a long time. Devon always viewed Pope as a bad influence and hated the idea of him hanging around his boys. But over time, it seems Devon may be warming up to Pope. In fact, he’s pretty much indebted to him for preventing a Samoa Joe attack that ended up taking him out of the Bound for Glory Series from doing far more damage than what had already been done.
Now that the two are sort of on the same page, TNA figured it made sense to team them up. And they did just that this Thursday night with a No. 1 Contender’s status for the TNA World Tag Team Championships already well within their grasp. Devon and Pope started out the in-ring action on IMPACT Wrestling in a battle against The British Invasion’s Brutus Magnus and Douglas Williams, with the winning team going on to No Surrender to face Mexican America for the titles.
Devon and Pope looked great early on, but The British Invasion soon took over control of the match and spent a good portion of it going forward by cutting off the ring and really doing some good work on Pope. It wasn’t until Pope avoided what could have been a devastating double team attack by the British Invasion that Devon was able to get them back into it.
Pope ducked a boot from Magnus that ended up going right into the face of Williams instead. Pope then dropped Magnus with a DDT and slowly crawled his way to the corner to make a tag to Devon. Devon dropped Williams with some right hands before coming off an irish whip reversal with a shoulder tackle. Devon quickly nailed Magnus with a closeline before going right back at Williams in the corner with a splash. A side slam followed and Devon covered up Williams for a two-count.
Devon got back to his feet and realized Magnus was heading at him, so he ducked a closeline and hit Magnus with a neckbreaker. Devon then sent Williams to the ropes and dropped him for a powerslam that resulted in a cover broken up by Magnus. Magnus and Williams double-teamed Devon with a whip to the ropes, but they fell victim to a double shoulder tackle from Devon that sent them both to the mat. Pope finally returned to his feet at this point and took both Magnus and himself over the top rope and to the outside. That left Devon alone in the ring to hit a spinebuster on Williams that was good enough to get a three-count.
Devon and Pope now move on to face Anarquia and Hernandez in TNA World Tag Team Championship action at No Surrender. Mexican America certainly comes in with more experience as a team, and therefore has better strategy and chemistry. But Devon and Pope looked to be on the same page on IMPACT Wrestling and were certainly impressive as a result. They might still be the underdogs, but having the match is great for both wrestlers and should serve as a nice challenge to see just how good of a team they can really be.
1. Gunner – for nailing his own Immortal partner in four-way action involving the Bound for Glory Series finalists to grab the momentum heading into No Surrender:
The Bound for Glory Series was a long ride for the 12 competitors involved. And for the four men that head into No Surrender with a shot at becoming No. 1 Contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Bound for Glory, they certainly put their time and effort in to getting to this point. Robert Roode, James Storm, Bully Ray and Gunner will all do battle this Sunday with a shot at winning the grandest prize in TNA on its grandest stage on the line.
Before they do that, however, all four men were thrown into a four-way matchup this week on IMPACT Wrestling. Despite separate allegiances – Roode and Storm as Beer Money, Ray and Gunner in Immortal, it was every man for himself in this match. And that credo ended up coming into play at the conclusion of the contest.
Before the match took place, all four of them met in the ring for a little discussion. Ray talked about how great of a tag team Beer Money is, but also talked about breaking away as a singles wrestler and how’s he going to be the next champion. Roode told Ray that they will indeed go down as one of the best tag teams. But they will share in the celebration regardless of whether Storm or he wins the title. Nothing will come between them. And Storm went forth in apologizing to Ray for his damn luck. The only voice not heard there was Gunner. And sometimes it’s the quiet ones that do the most damage.
Again, this was every man for himself. But most of the match turned out to be more of a tornado tag environment, as in-fighting was not present between Immortal and Beer Money. That was until the very end, at least.
Roode managed to hit a Double R Spinebuster on Gunner and went for a pin, one which was broken up by Ray. Ray tried to toss Roode out of the ring, but Roode reversed and sent Ray to the outside instead. That left both members of Beer Money in the ring with Gunner. They did go eye-to-eye to tease a fight between then, but then they saw Gunner coming at them and planted him with a double-team suplex instead. They followed up with a “Beer, Money” chant, which took just enough time for Ray to get back into the ring and drop both of them with closelines as they turned around. Ray then hit a lifted side slam on Storm for a two-count. Ray quickly moved to Roode after the failed pinfall and hit him with a Bubba Bomb. But before Ray could get anything from it, Gunner suddenly charged at him with a knee and was able to subsequently cover up for the three-count.
Gunner was probably the least likely to win this one and he came through with a surprise victory in the end. It won’t make Ray happy, who probably saw Gunner as nothing more than a tool within Immortal to help him win. But that’s a big confidence boost for Gunner and he should head into No Surrender with that momentum as he looks to secure a TNA World Heavyweight Title shot for Bound for Glory.