IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 9.22.11
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 22, 2011
3. Austin Aries – for making his first X-Division Championship defense a successful one against No. 1 Contender Jesse Sorensen:
Austin Aries has made a big impression in the X-Division since returning to TNA. He has established an attitude clearly aimed at accumulating wins, winning titles and making more money as the top in the division. He made a gigantic leap on the totem pole by establishing himself as the No. 1 Contender to X-Division Champion several weeks back. And he made good on that opportunity at No Surrender by defeating Brian Kendrick to score his first reign as the titleholder.
Aries was scheduled to make his first defensive of the championship this week on IMPACT Wrestling against the new No. 1 Contender, Jesse Sorensen. Sorensen earned his spot as the next guy in line for a title shot when he upset Kid Kash in No Surrender’s opening contest.
Aries has some good control early, but his cockiness got him in trouble when he decided to roll out of the ring and grab Sorensen’s football to showboat a bit. That caught him a baseball slide from Sorensen, which allowed the kid to get back into the match rather quickly. Unfortunately for Sorensen, Kash came to the ringside area soon after. And while he didn’t immediately play a role as Aries and Sorensen proceeded to have a nice back-and-forth bout, Kash’s presence inevitably aided Aries in picking up his first “W” as champion.
Sorensen has just avoided a charge in the corner from Aries with a big boot to the face when Kash grabbed Sorensen’s football and started to talk trash to him. Sorensen moved to the ropes to jaw back at him and Kash shoved the football right into his chest. Kash then raised his hands and turned away, which caused Sorensen to throw the football at his back. Kash turned around and hopped onto the apron, which forced the referee to try and hold him back from getting involved. Aries was back in the ring by now at the opposite corner and ran at Sorensen, who had lost complete focus of the match, with a dropkick to the back of the head. Aries immediately followed up with a quick rollup to get the pinfall.
Kash definitely gets an assist in this victory. But Aries simply took advantage of an opportunity presented to him by Sorensen’s lack of focus and inexperience by comparison. Aries will have no problem taking this win and continues to elevate himself as one of the top X-Division performers in TNA.
2. Mickie James – for moving past the rising Brooke Tessmacher to advance in the Queen’s Challenge:
On last week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, Knockout Law Karen Jarrett established a Queen’s Challenge as a way of determining three competitors to challenge Winter for the TNA Knockouts Championship at Bound for Glory. It was perhaps her first move in her new position that was actually meant to benefit the Knockouts.
The first Knockout to move along in the challenge was Velvet Sky, who moved past her former Beautiful People partner Angelina Love despite some intended interference from Winter. This week, Mickie James and the constantly-improving Brooke Tessmacher were on the clock to determine the second participant in the four-way matchup at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view.
James is the more experienced wrestler of the two. However, she was surprised by a couple of early counters by Tessmacher that even resulted in a near fall courtesy of a hurricurana into a pin attempt. But James got a fire lit under her when Tessmacher gave her a stinkface in the corner. Clearly infuriated, James rushed out of the corner with some closelines and a flapjack. James then finished Tessmacher off with a jumping DDT that scored her the three-count and advancement into the Bound for Glory title match.
James was denied her automatic rematch to the TNA Knockouts Championship by Karen Jarrett. But she was still afforded an opportunity to get the title back by her inclusion in this Queen’s Challenge. She’s made the most of it thus far by advancing past the opening round and getting into the Bound for Glory match against Winter, Sky and the yet-to-be-determined winner of next week’s Tara versus Madison Rayne encounter.
1. James Storm – for putting up a tremendous effort in the main event against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle:
The biggest thing going on in TNA right now – at least in my opinion – is one of the most deserving originals in the company, Robert Roode, finally has a chance at attaining TNA World Heavyweight Champion status come Bound for Glory when he faces Kurt in his toughest, yet most important, challenges to date. But Angle is not making that road easy for Roode. Thanks to his connections as a member of Immortal, Angle was allowed to put Roode in a series of matches each week heading into the pay-per-view against every fellow member of the Fortune faction. Last week, Roode came up with a win over Kazarian. This week, he was supposed to take on Christopher Daniels – a match that didn’t end up taking place.
Angle also wanted to speak to Roode in the ring during IMPACT Wrestling. He called Roode out to the ring and the No. 1 Contender happily obliged. They jawed a bit and Roode said nobody was going to stop him from winning the title. Angle responded by saying one man stood in his way, and that brought James Storm out to the ring.
Storm played with Roode a bit but made it clear that he wasn’t out there to ruin the bond of Beer Money. He flipped the script on Angle, who believed Storm would actually confront his longtime tag team partner, and challenged the Olympic Gold Medalist instead to a match later on in the night. Storm felt he helped build the company and it was time to earn some respect for it. The challenge was eventually accepted by Angle.
Storm is an exceptional tag team competitor and can certainly hold his own in the ring. But to face Kurt Angle in singles competition was going to be a tough task for TNA’s resident beer drinker. He took the challenge, however, and made the most of it by giving Angle a tremendous fight from bell-to-bell.
Storm had several big moments in the back. He backdropped Angle onto the floor from the ring. He refused to tap out to an Angle Lock and eventually countered out of it. He kicked out of Angle’s series of German Suplexes. He countered out of an Angle Slam with an arm drag and followed up with what should have been a match-ending Last Call Superkick had the referee not been down on the mat. Needless to say, Storm had plenty of opportunities to pull out an upset in this one.
But between interference from Gunner and the match just abruptly ending without an official announcement after Roode came down to the ring and stared down Angle with the championship belt in his hand, Storm was unable to come up with an official victory for the record books.
Regardless, that match will still go down as one of Storm’s best performances in TNA. He gave one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business a run for his money, even without the motivation for the championship his partner will fight for at Bound for Glory.