IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 11.17.11
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 17, 2011
3. Garrett Bischoff – for squeezing out a second consecutive victory over Immortal’s Gunner in front of daddy Eric Bischoff:
Garrett Bischoff’s defiance of his father and the entire Immortal clan has really gotten under the skin of Eric. It’s annoyed the elder Bischoff so much that he even put his newly signed contract on the line last week for an opportunity to get Gunner in the ring against his son. Should Gunner somehow lose that contest, Sting would have the ability to re-write his contract.
Very much to the chagrin of Eric, Ric Flair and even Gunner, Garrett was able to snag a disqualification victory and earn the right for Sting to re-write Bischoff’s pact with TNA.
This week, Garrett wanted a shot at finishing the job and urged Sting to give him another match against Gunner on IMPACT Wrestling. Sting was hesitant at first and only promised Garrett that he would think about it. But that thought process came to a quick end when Eric told Sting that it didn’t matter what he did to his contract because he wasn’t going to sign it. The flip switched on Sting and he immediately elected to grant Garrett’s wish and book the match for later in the night. And while he more than gave his blessing for Bischoff and Flair to be at ringside, Sting also promised to be out there in Garrett’s corner.
Gunner naturally controlled most of the contest – most of it on his own accord and a bit with some outside assistance. But Garrett had an impressive offensive outburst or two, as well. And he was able to hit the last move when by Gunner charged in at him but was countered with a DDT from Garrett that kept the big man down for a three-count.
Bischoff and Flair were obviously annoyed at the second straight failure by Gunner. But Garrett managed to do what he set out to do and finished what he started last week. He’s certainly not done dealing with his father. But getting past an aggressive beast like Gunner should set him up well enough to get through the rest of Immortal before eventually getting his hands on his father.
2. Matt Morgan and Crimson – for taking the TNA World Tag Team Championships from Mexican America after Sting persuaded them to team up following their showdown at Turning Point:
Two of the biggest wrestlers in TNA – in both stature and potential – set themselves up for a battle of the big men at Turning Point this past Sunday. Both Matt Morgan and Crimson had the urge to prove to themselves, each other and the fans just who was the better man between them. And there was also the added feature of Crimson’s undefeated streak being on the line.
But in a hard-fought match in which neither competitor held anything back, their aggressiveness eventually caused a no contest finish because they shoved the referee. So the night ended without a definitive answer as to which one of them is better.
That didn’t stop them from continuing the discussion as they walked backstage during IMPACT Wrestling Thursday night. They went back-and-forth over their best parts of the match at Turning Point, and they did so right in front of Sting. Sting advised them to stop bickering with each other and instead work together. He reminded them that dominant tag teams were diminishing in TNA and that they should team up to face Mexican America for the TNA World Tag Team Titles. Reluctantly, both men agreed to team up and would square off against the duo that retained the gold at Turning Point when they battled Ink, Inc.
Hernandez and Anarquia clearly had the advantage in experience and chemistry when it comes to tag team wrestling. And they showcased what they had to offer after Sarita and Rosita put a halt to an early run by Crimson against Anarquia. The distraction of those two ladies enabled Mexican America to take over and they retained control all the way up until Crimson rebounded out of the corner to drop Hernandez with a spear.
Crimson finally got Morgan into the ring just as Anarquia was tagged back in. Morgan hit a few closelines on Anarquia before noticing Hernandez coming at him and putting him down on the mat with a fallaway slam. Morgan delivered a running corner closeline each to both Anarquia and Hernandez before nailing Anarquia with a chokeslam. Morgan went for a cover, but Hernandez broke it up at two.
Hernandez moved Morgan into the corner and delivered some right hands before calling for Anarquia to join him so they could both irish whip Morgan into the opposite corner. Morgan was able to bounce off the turnbuckles, though, and delivered a double closeline to Mexican America. Morgan looked to set Anarquia up for a suplex, but Hernandez broke that up, too. At this point, Crimson was recovered enough to enter the ring and take Hernandez out of it with a closeline to the outside. Crimson then dropped Anarquia with an exploder suplex, and Morgan followed right up with the Carbon Footprint. Morgan was able to cover uninterrupted this time for the three-count to score Crimson and himself the TNA World Tag Team Titles.
While this is a solid move for Morgan and Crimson as it relates to gaining gold, I’m fairly certain this is just another in a long line of questionable title changes in TNA. Regardless, these two big men now have a new purpose that doesn’t involve fighting each other. Instead, they’ll defend those straps as a team and maybe last long enough to be the dominating force Sting felt the tag team division was otherwise lacking.
1. Mickie James – for getting past six other Knockouts in a 10-woman gauntlet matchup to secure a TNA Knockouts Championship Match against Gail Kim at Final Resolution:
Since TNA has the attention span of a five-year old on Christmas morning, it couldn’t focus long enough at attempting to build Velvet Sky into a somewhat respectable Knockouts Champion before instead deciding to take the strap off her in favor of the newer gift with a shinier bow. At Turning Point, Sky’s 28-day title reign was apparently plenty and it was deemed time to move the championship over to the returning Gail Kim – who already captured the Knockouts Tag Team Championships alongside Madison Rayne just 10 days earlier and now holds both female titles only four weeks since coming back to TNA.
Instead of taking the next logical step of granting Sky a rematch for the title, TNA instead elected to book a 10-woman gauntlet matchup for this week’s IMPACT Wrestling. And while she was involved in this contest, Sky didn’t end up being the last woman standing. That title goes to Mickie James.
James was the fifth participant in this matchup and first squared off with Angelina Love, who was the one to eliminate Sky after the previous titleholder got rid of Brooke Tessmacher and Rosita. A Mick Kick from James ended Love’s evening and brought Sarita in as James’ next opponent. A missed springboard maneuver from Sarita gave James the opening to hit a leaping DDT for the pinfall. Up next on her dance card was Tara, who presented the biggest challenge to James in the entire matchup. Despite sustaining a good deal of punishment from Tara, she still managed to pull through by avoiding a charge in the corner and followed up with another leaping DDT to put Tara away with the pinfall.
James was really showing some fatigue at this point, but we were only up to No. 8 when Winter darted down to the ring. Winter dominated James for much of their encounter. But James was able to elbow out of a fireman’s carry position and catch Winter with a Mick Kick in order to gain yet another three-count to move onto ODB at No. 9. ODB continued to wear James down but she could not take her out. After seating her on top of the first turnbuckle, ODB caught some forearms from James that forced her to back out of the corner. That separation of space allowed James to really head up top and leap off with a Thesz Press that transitioned into a pinfall.
As contestant No. 10 – Rayne – made her way slowly down to the ring, ODB dished out an assault on James that should have set up an easy victory for Rayne. Since Rayne took her sweet time coming down to the ring, however, she instantly got caught in a rollup when she started to lift James off the mat. James kept her down for the three-count and, as a result, won the matchup by moving past six other ladies in order to face Kim at Final Resolution for the Knockouts Championship.
Since James and Kim are two of the most reliable in-ring workers TNA has to offer, they should have little issue giving the fans a great match at the pay-per-view. In the time between now and then, however, James has the wrath of Karen Jarrett to look forward to.