IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 10.20.11
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 October 20, 2011
3. Tara and Brooke Tessmacher – for successfully defending the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles against former-Knockouts Champion Winter and Angelina Love:
The TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championships are rarely ever featured, and when they finally are it’s easy to forget exactly who holds them. But this week on IMPACT Wrestling¸ they were defended by titleholders Tara and Brooke Tessmacher in the first match of the evening after an approximately 45-minute promo segment that lasted through three commercial breaks.
Tessmacher and Tara came to the ring via Tara’s motorcycle and were immediately ambushed on the ring apron by opponents Winter and Angelina Love. Winter was especially motivated considering she dropped the TNA Knockouts Championship a few nights earlier at Bound for Glory.
Tessmacher took the brunt of the punishment from both Winter and Love and was prevented from making a tag for a while. When Love missed a crossbody off the middle rope, however, she was able to get the tag to Tara just as Love tagged Winter into the ring. Tara ducked a closeline, knocked Love off the apron and then came right back at Winter with a forearm. A right hand followed, as did a closeline off an irish whip, before Tara removed her shirt (relax, she had her ring gear on underneath) and wrapped it around Winter’s neck to perform a couple of snapmares. Tara lifted Winter onto her shoulders and drove her into the mat with a spinning side slam that led to a cover. Love broke up the pin attempt at two and then called for Winter to help her with a double team. They sent Tara to the ropes, where Tessmacher made a blind tag, and then missed on a double team closeline. Tara came off the ropes with a closeline for each of them as Tessmacher ascended the turnbuckles. Tara tossed Love out of the ring and Tessmacher flew off the top with a crossbody onto Winter that kept the former-Knockouts Champion down for the three-count.
That was a decent matchup and a good title retention for Tessmacher and Tara against quality competition. Now they can relax for a bit as their next defense probably won’t be for another couple of months.
2. Abyss – for beating the hell out of Gunner to the point that Gunner ran from the ring and accepted a countout loss to The Monster:
Abyss has been out of the good graces of Immortal pretty much ever since he dropped the X-Division Championship to Brian Kendrick at Destination X and allowed the division to continue to thrive despite Eric Bischoff’s opposition to it. Abyss has been in the background and never really relied upon to do much of the dirty work he previously would have been called upon to handle.
He tried to make amends last week after months of sitting on the bench during a Mr. Anderson vs. Scott Steiner matchup. Bully Ray was named the special enforcer for the match, but his constant taunting of Anderson caused TNA’s top a-hole to leave the ring and take him out of the equation. When that happened, Abyss came down to the ring and grabbed the chain Ray uses as a weapon. Abyss wrapped it around his hand at Steiner’s request and went to nail Anderson with it as Steiner held him up. But Anderson ducked, Abyss hit Steiner instead and Anderson ended up with the victory. That led to an Immortal beatdown on The Monster, who was finally officially kicked out of the group at that point.
Well, this week provided Abyss a little bit of redemption. He was booked in a match against Gunner, who clearly did not expect to receive the beatdown he was about to get at the hands of The Monster. Gunner grabbed a microphone before Abyss came down to the ring and told him that last week they decided to take out the trash. Also, when you’re part of Immortal, you need to prove yourself and prove that you deserve to be at the top. So he volunteered himself to finish off Abyss. Bad move, buddy!
Abyss didn’t hesitate on his way down to the ring and beat the holy hell out of Gunner. He unleashed a plethora of fists in the corner and then drilled Gunner with a closeline. Some stomps followed before Gunner was lifted up for a double choke slam. Gunner tried to leave the ring a few times, but Abyss prevented him each time and instead decked him with a right hand that sent him reeling to the outside. Abyss followed him out and continued to dish out a world of hurt. He grabbed Gunner on the ramp and sent him into the steel ring steps. Gunner was moved back into the ring and took the opportunity before Abyss could re-enter to dart right back out of the ring and hightail it through the crowd. A 10-count was performed by the referee and Abyss was eventually declared the winner via countout.
Gunner met up with the rest of Immortal following this bout and informed them that they might have made a mistake getting rid of Abyss. They brushed it off and told him to relax. But the rest of that clan might soon find out why pissing off The Monster might have been a bad move. Abyss looks to be back to his old self again and appears focused on continuing to get his revenge on the faction that embarrassed him for far too long.
1. James Storm – for become NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion in his first opportunity at the gold just four days after his partner, Robert Roode, was screwed out of the title at Bound for Glory:
The biggest moment of Robert Roode’s career turned into a major disappointment at Bound for Glory when Kurt Angle had to resort to cheating in order to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Roode was going toe-to-toe with the 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist from the start of the match. And realizing that Roode stood a very good shot of taking the title off him, Angle needed to hold onto the ropes for leverage to get a pinfall and screw Roode out of becoming champion in his first opportunity at the title.
That did not sit too well with Roode, who confronted Angle this week on IMPACT Wrestling during the 45 minute promo segment that began the show. He was furious at Angle for screwing him over and essentially called for a rematch. Sting, who was put in charge by Dixie Carter, called for that rematch to take place later in the evening. But Angle ruined their fun by pointing out a clause in the contract for their match at Bound for Glory that called for Roode to receive just one shot at the title so long as Angle held it. That was, as Angle put it, because they knew Roode was a threat.
Angle was preparing to tell Roode the line that his Beer Money partner always says, but James Storm himself interrupted Angle and asked if there was any kind of clause that prevented him from getting a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Of course, there wasn’t and Sting booked the match for the main event. Angle was furious at that call but still promised to go out there and give Storm hell. Storm, on the other hand, got a nice little pep talk from Roode prior to the match and went into it all pumped up.
For as much of a classic as this match could have been, it didn’t really last long enough to receive that kind of credit. In fact, the introductions by Jeremy Borash may have lasted longer than the actual match.
They started things out by staring each other down for a few second before Angle stopped a lockup with a kick to the gut followed by a fist. Angle continued to pound away on Storm in the corner. The referee backed him off, but Angle went right back to the punching after that warning. A stomp caused the referee to deliver another warning to Angle, who proceeded to argue with him before returning to the corner send a few more shots Storm’s way. This time when the referee warned him, Angle pushed him aside and argued with him some more. And then when he turned around, Storm broke out a Last Call Superkick from out of nowhere and immediately covered for a surprise three-count that crowned him as the NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Storm was congratulated by Roode, took the title into the crowd with him and then re-entered the ring for further celebration with Immortal. He grabbed a mic and tried to hand the title off to Roode. But Roode insisted that Storm earned the strap and wrapped it around his waist so that they could raise his hands up as champion as IMPACT Wrestling came to a close.
While it’s incredibly awesome that Storm is heavyweight champion because he completely deserves the honor, I find it very odd that TNA went this route instead of giving the title to Roode at Bound for Glory. I know there have been rumors of Hulk Hogan playing a role in that decision, and I’m inclined to believe them. But since I place Roode and Storm on essentially the same level – perhaps Roode being just a single notch higher, I don’t get how a one minute championship match on IMPACT Wrestling to award the title to Storm makes more sense than having Roode win the championship in a Bound for Glory main event that was built up relatively well. Again, I’m happy for Storm. But if this was the road they planned on heading down all along, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship should have been Roode’s this past Sunday.
Anyway, good for Storm. He’s been there a long time, and he deserved the honor and recognition. Now I just hope this title reign isn’t just one of a transitional nature.