IMPACT Wrestling’s Wrestlers of the Week 1.12.12
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 January 12, 2012
3. ODB – for defeating former Knockouts Champion Winter with a little assistance from new partner Eric Young:
Their pairing was unorthodox from the start, but Eric Young and ODB have developed an odd and mostly-uncomfortable relationship that has extended beyond their teaming in the Wild Card Tag Team Tournament. They are now at least slightly romantically involved and are sure to be side-by-side for the foreseeable future.
Young accompanied his lady squeeze this week on IMPACT Wrestling as ODB took on former two-time TNA Knockouts Champion Winter in singles action. Young would be there to not only lend support to ODB, but also to counteract any involvement Angelina Love had planned on behalf of her partner. As expected, those two did get involved and played a significant role in influencing the outcome of this matchup.
The match played out with ODB and Winter trading control while Young continuously hopped the apron and otherwise tried to get involved thinking that this was, in fact, a tag team contest. Young would really interject himself, however, when Love entered the ring following ODB putting Winter down with a Bronco Buster in the corner and fall away slam in the middle of the ring.
Young lifted Love onto his shoulders and took her around with an airplane spin, causing both of them to stumble and fall to the outside. Winter tried to take advantage of ODB with a behind the back attack, but she ate a back elbow instead and was then put down hard on the mat with the TKO. ODB covered up and scored the 1-2-3 courtesy of that move, which she is now apparently calling the Bam, and Young entered the ring following the bell with flask in hand to share a drink with his partner.
While this win won’t instantly place ODB in line for a crack at the Knockouts Championship, it still goes down as a solid victory over a quality opponent. It also provided a few chuckles along the way thanks to Young’s involvement.
2. Matt Morgan and Crimson – for successfully defending the TNA World Tag Team Championships against Robbie E. and Rob Terry after doing the same against Samoa Joe and Magnus at Genesis:
Matt Morgan and Crimson sat by for several weeks and watched the Wild Card Tag Team Tournament unfold to see just who they would be putting the TNA World Tag Team Championships on the line against at Genesis. Samoa Joe and Magnus ended up walking away the victors of that tournament and presented a formidable challenge for the big men holding the straps. That being said, Morgan and Crimson were still able to work together and get the job done in order to keep the gold around their waists.
After all that downtime Morgan and Crimson had while the tournament played itself out, Morgan and Crimson were sent right back to work this Thursday evening. They once again put the belts up, this time against the duo of Robbie E. and Rob Terry. While not nearly as tough a challenge as the one they faced against Joe and Magnus on Sunday, Morgan and Crimson would still need to be aware of Robbie E’s tendency to cheat and the strength that Terry brings to the table.
Terry did fair very well against them when he was in the ring for his team. But that was very brief and Robbie E. could not replicate the success of his partner when he was the legal man. The champions handled him with relative ease and eventually put him away with a double team spinebuster that enabled Morgan to hit the cover for an easy three-count.
That match definitely put Morgan and Crimson in a position to look as dominant as TNA wants them to appear. However, there seemed to be a little unfinished business from Genesis, because Joe and Magnus hit the ring during the champs’ celebration to attack them from behind.
Joe and Magnus were able to lay out Morgan and Crimson and gain the last laugh on this night. But I doubt Morgan and Crimson are going to take that assault lightly and it should set up for a nice return matchup between these two aggressive duos sometime in the not so distant future.
1. James Storm – for rebounding from his Genesis loss to Kurt Angle by facing and beating the 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist for No. 1 Contendership to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship:
James Storm headed into his match against Kurt Angle at Genesis with two wins over the Olympic Gold Medalist already in his pocket and plenty of extra motivation based on how Angle mocked his lifestyle over the last few weeks. But the experience of Angle taking any avenue necessary to win matches eventually won out, and Storm was unable to make it three in a row by virtue of eating a superkick after Angle took some shortcuts to get in a position to hit the move.
Storm took a moment on IMPACT Wrestling this week to call out Angle and inform him that even his six-year old daughter considered him a cheater for how he went about winning their match. Storm challenged Angle to another matchup, but Angle told Storm that he had the night off and was setting his sights past Storm all the toward the world title.
Since Angle doesn’t quite call the shots around TNA, that naturally was not going to be the final word. Sting hit the IMPACT Zone and deemed a rubber match necessary since each man owned a pay-per-view victory over the other. That rubber match would happen basically right there and then, with Angle given essentially a short commercial break to get himself ready. And as an added bonus to this bout, the winner would receive a TNA World Heavyweight Title shot against the winner of a championship main event booked by Sting at the top of the program between Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy.
Angle had the momentum quite a bit but he started to see it slipping away as the match progressed. So he eventually tried to resort to some underhanded method of regaining control over Storm. After pounding away at Storm’s face inside the ring, Angle headed to the outside to grab a beer bottle left by Storm on the steel ring steps. Earl Hebner caught Angle doing this and took the bottle away from him. But he didn’t notice Angle taking a mouthful of the beer and failed to prevent him from spitting it in Storm’s face when his back was turned. Angle hit his version of the superkick on Storm following the spit and covered for a very near but still unsuccessful pin attempt.
Frustrated, Angle slapped Storm around on the back of the head and yelled for him to get up. When Storm met those demands, he nailed Angle with a double knee facebreaker. Angle hit the ropes instead of falling to the mat, which left him wide open for a Last Call Superkick from Storm as he rebounded off them. Storm quickly covered up and collected the three-count to secure the victory and No. 1 Contendership to the TNA World Heavyweight Title.
Now, Storm’s opponent in that championship match is not quite clear considering there was no winner determined in the Roode vs. Hardy matchup. Storm may need to wait until those two battle again, or TNA could simply throw all three of them in a three-way matchup.
Either way, Storm claimed an important win over one of his toughest challengers by defeating Angle in what can easily be considered the best match of the night. And now one way or another, he’ll get a shot at reclaiming the World Heavyweight Championship that he only lost when his former Beer Money partner decided to take a beer bottle to his head.