IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 11.3.11
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 November 3, 2011
3. Jesse Sorensen – for pulling off an upset over TNA X-Division Champion Austin Aries in non-title action:
Since the X-Division essentially went through a rebirth under the Eric Bischoff regime, there has been one young performer that has shined brighter than the rest. While Austin Aries is presently the division’s greatest asset, it is Jesse Sorensen who has managed to hang with anybody put in front of him – veterans such as Kid Kash and Aries included. And his rise in TNA, despite a relative lack of experience, has rubbed Kash and Aries the wrong way.
While much of Sorensen’s issues have been with Kash, he had the chance to face Aries in non-title action this week on IMPACT Wrestling. Kash wasn’t too far away from the action, however. He stood by Mike Tenay and Taz to provide guest commentary, which included bashing Sorensen over respect (or lack thereof) and cheering Aries on.
Sorensen kicked this match off with two quick pin attempts that caught Aries completely off guard. Aries came back at him, though, with a big fist following a handshake. An elbow drop came next from Aries for the two-count, and then Sorensen was able to lift Aries up with a back body drop to the outside. Looking make a big splash, Sorensen went over the top with a slingshot but ended up missing Aries on his way down. Aries quickly capitalized on the mistake by hitting a hard suicide dive on Sorensen before taking a lap around the ring.
Aries brought the action back into the ring and maintained control with a nice ground attack and a few near falls. Sorensen briefly took over when he caught Aries in the corner with a boot before delivering a knife edge chop and high knee. A dropkick following a second high knee even scored Sorensen a cover for the two-count. But Aries dodged a high crossbody from Sorensen off the top rope and delivered a stiff kick to his face in response.
Sorensen ended up against the turnbuckles, where Aries came charging in with a high dropkick to his face. Aries signaled to Kash before putting Sorensen in another corner to deliver another charging dropkick. Aries moved Sorensen into the center of the ring and signaled to Kash that he was going to finish things off with the brainbuster. But before he could even perform the move, Sorensen quickly rolled him up and ended up getting the three-count to upset the X-Division Champion.
Aries was furious and met up with an equally pissed Kash at the top of the ramp. Kash was so upset that he told Aries he was going to get his knife and cut Sorensen. Violent much?
Sorensen didn’t get a championship out of that victory, but he definitely put himself in the discussion for a future shot at it. It really only makes sense for him to be the next in line now courtesy of that win. He just has to be on the lookout for Kash coming at him with a knife. Jeez …
2. Gail Kim and Madison Rayne – for capturing the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles with some help from ally and head of the Knockouts Division, Karen Jarrett:
Gail Kim returned to TNA two weeks ago to take out TNA Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky. She made it clear just last week that she was aligning herself with Karen Jarrett because the head of the Knockouts Division had her best interests at heart, while the fans clearly did not. Jarrett even awarded Kim a title shot against Sky at Turning Point, which was a rather quick reward for the first-ever Knockouts Champion. Following that announcement, Kim made an impressive in-ring return when she battled Tara and essentially dominated the fellow-veteran from bell-to-bell.
Kim would have the opportunity to build off that and acquire some championship gold even before facing Sky at Turning Point this week on IMPACT Wrestling. She teamed up with fellow Jarrett butt kisser, Madison Rayne, to take on Brooke Tessmacher and Tara in tag team action with the TNA Knockout Tag Team Titles held by Tara and Tessmacher on the line.
Tara and Tessmacher took control of the match right away with some good tag teaming strategy. They were very aggressive, made frequent tags and cut off the ring when possible. Rayne nor Kim were really able to break through until Kim grabbed Tessmacher by the hair behind the referee’s back and Rayne was able to tag her in legally to really deliver the offense. Kim got a near fall and some submission attempts in before making the mistake of tagging Rayne back into the match.
Tessmacher was quickly able to kick Rayne off her and get the tag into Tara, who came in with a couple of closelines for Rayne and a bodyslam. Tara taunted for a moment, which allowed Kim to nail her from behind. That prompted Tessmacher to spear Kim and the two ladies proceeded to roll to the outside. Tara was able to get Rayne up for the Widow’s Peak, but Jarrett hopped the apron and distracted the referee to prevent him from making the count. Tara got up and moved toward the apron, but Kim came in from behind and nailed the Eat Defeat to put her down on the mat. Kim then rolled Rayne on top of Tara and the referee turned around to make the three-count, crowning Kim and Rayne the new TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions.
It’s still going to take some effort to make those titles more than meaningless. But being around the waists of Kim and Rayne could encourage TNA to have them defended more often. Either way, this is a big step for Kim, who now already has championship gold before even stepping into the ring with Sky at Turning Point for the Knockouts singles championship. Kim has the ability to make this a highly successful first few weeks back in TNA.
1. Bobby Roode – for winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship he failed to win at Bound for Glory by going heel and screwing over James Storm:
When James Storm defeated Kurt Angle two weeks ago on IMPACT Wrestling to secure his first-ever TNA World Heavyweight Championship, it seemed that his primary objective was to make right what went so wrong for Bobby Roode at Bound for Glory. Proud of his own accomplishments, Storm was still all too willing to let go of the gold for Roode right after he had just won it – until Roode told him he earned it and strapped the belt right around his waist.
Storm then tried to easily hand Roode the first crack at the championship the next week on IMPACT Wrestling. Samoa Joe took issue with that and ended up getting Sting to book a main event that pit him against Roode with the winner becoming the No. 1 Contender. Roode still came away victorious in that bout and got his second shot at the title for this Thursday’s episode of the IMPACT Wrestling.
Storm opened the program this week by addressing the southern Georgia crowd and calling Roode down to the ring. Much like they’ve done for weeks now, they went over their history with each other and promised to give the fans a hell of a show.
They certainly accomplished that. Roode and Storm put on an excellent performance in this match, which really should have taken place on a pay-per-view. Unfortunately, this was more than a wrestling match amongst partners, friends, brothers or whatever the Beer Money members wish to call each other. This was a championship match. And that apparently meant more to Roode in the end than any relationship he’s had with Storm.
After hitting an elbow drop off the top and covering for a two-count, Storm waited for Roode to get off the mat so he could connect on the Last Call Super Kick. Roode countered and looked to hit Storm with a fisherman’s suplex. Storm blocked that and looked to whip Roode into the corner, though Roode reversed that and sent Storm in instead. Storm stopped short when he had the referee against the turnbuckles and then sidestepped Roode when he charged in. The referee ended up on the outside limping around, while Storm drilled Roode inside the ring. Roode ended up rolling to the outside as the referee continued to agonize over his leg.
While seated on the floor, Roode noticed Storm’s half-full beer bottle sitting on the steel ring steps. The wheels churned in his head and he eventually grabbed the bottle while the referee still wasn’t looking. As Storm grabbed him by the hair to bring him back into the ring, Roode blasted him across the top of the head with the bottle. Roode then quickly got into the ring to cover while urging the referee to come in and make the count. He did and the count went to three to declare Roode the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Roode was thrilled with the win and didn’t hesitate to grab the title. Then he walked over to the still laid out Storm, spit on him a few times, and then raised his arm in victory while putting a boot on top of Storm’s chest as the show came to a close.
The move to make Roode a heel TNA World Heavyweight Champion is intriguing. But it still seems like a forced, last-minute maneuver by TNA considering Roode really should have won the title at Bound for Glory. Roode could have turned heel later on, such as while defending the belt against a No. 1 Contender James Storm. Plus, I’m not a fan of Storm being a pawn in this game here with a two-week title run that that included this one match as his sole defense.
Regardless, this is where we’re at now. Roode is the brand spankin’ new TNA World Heavyweight Champion and doesn’t really seem to care that he had to step over his partner in controversial fashion to get there. Meanwhile, Storm is pissed and should have a rematch in his future where these two will certainly go at it on a more personal level. When that bout does occur, it – along with the build toward it – should be very interesting.