IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 4.5.12
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 April 5, 2012
3. The Motor City Machine Guns – for making their triumphant return to TNA with a victory over the team that put Chris Sabin on the shelf, Mexican America:
It has been well over a year since The Motor City Machine Guns have graced a TNA ring. A three-month injury to Alex Shelley last year was followed up almost immediately by a practically one-year layoff for Chris Sabin, rendering one of the best duos in TNA history and today ineffective for far longer than the company or any fan would like.
At Victory Road, TNA began airing video hyping the return of the former-TNA World Tag Team Champions and they finally returned to the ring as one this week on IMPACT Wrestling. Sabin and Shelley would square off against the same team that essentially put Sabin on shelf with a knee injury – Mexican America.
This match was a bit back-and-forth, though The Guns had good control of the match for the most part. Shelley did find himself playing some defense against Mexican America late in the match. But some miscommunication helped Shelley take Anarquia down and then Hernandez with an enziguri, leading to the hot tag to Sabin.
Sabin was on fire with some back elbows and a closeline to Anarquia before delivering a low dropkick to Hernandez that knocked him straight off the apron. Sabin sent Anarquia to the corner for a running back elbow splash before setting him up in a Tree of Woe to nail him with the hesitation dropkick.
Sabin lifted Anarquia up onto his shoulders, but was prevented from doing anything when Hernandez entered the ring. Hernandez tried to capitalize on catching Sabin off guard by delivering a Border Toss. But Sabin worked out of it and then was aided by Shelley on the apron in sending Hernandez back to the outside when he charged off the ropes at them. Some more offense on both Hernandez and Araquia eventually led to them pulling off the Skull and Bones on Anarquia to collect a long-awaited pinfall.
After the match, Sabin grabbed a mic and felt it important to mention that they already had their sights set on challenging for the TNA World Tag Team Championships. I don’t think that’s any surprise and it should be just a matter of time now before Samoa Joe and Magnus have to defend the straps against their toughest competition yet.
2. Velvet Sky – for making good on her promise to challenge Gail Kim for the Knockouts Championship by winning a six-woman No. 1 Contender’s Match:
Velvet Sky put the entire Knockouts locker room on notice last week that she was gunning for Gail Kim and the rematch she never received for the TNA Knockouts Championship. She picked up a strong defeat against a former-three-time Knockouts titleholder in Madison Rayne and then took to the microphone to declare that she was coming for what she rightfully believes is hers.
Sky would have the opportunity to put her plan into action this week on IMPACT Wrestling when she competed in six-woman action, where the winner would be named No. 1 Contender for the Knockouts Championship and receive a match for it at Lockdown. Aside from Sky, Mickie James, Angelina Love, Winter, Tara and Rayne were all involved in this contest.
Each of these competitors was highlighted in this match and had a moment during it with the upperhand. But it did eventually boil down to a last lady standing situation toward the end, where each Knockout systematically took another out of the equation until there was just one remaining. And that one turned out to be Sky.
Previously sent rolling to the outside by Rayne, Sky waited until Rayne, Love, Tara and Winter were all taken out. With James as the only participant left after she delivered a leaping DDT to Winter, Sky moved back into the ring and kicked James in the gut. She then dropped James with the double underhook sitout facebuster to set right up for the cover that netted Sky the pinfall victory and No. 1 Contendership.
It seemed pretty obvious that Sky was going to take this one based on the speech she made last week on IMPACT Wrestling. But even so, she needed to get past five other former Knockouts Champions in order to attain this victory. And now she moves on to Lockdown, where the rematch with Kim that she never received is on tap while locked inside of a Steel Cage.
1. James Storm – for getting some good preparation in for his World Heavyweight Championship Match with a defeat over buddy AJ Styles:
Bobby Roode had a plan all along that, while he will need to step into the ring with James Storm at Lockdown to defend the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, he would not have to compete before the pay-per-view as a result of an unsafe working environment created by Sting. But now that Sting is out of the picture as general manager and Hulk Hogan is the new man in charge, he isn’t going to be able to play that game. Hogan ordered Roode to compete against Mr. Anderson on Thursday night, and the champion reluctantly followed those orders.
Just because Roode is now being ordered to get into the ring, that still does not mean Storm wants to just sit idly by and wait for his title match. He wants to remain fresh and prepared, and sought out some competition on the same episode of IMPACT Wrestling that could help him get more comfortable for his bout against Roode. He wanted to face somebody with some speed to his game, knowing that if he could catch him he would be able to catch Roode with little issue come Lockdown. So, he found AJ Styles. And a former partner as a member of Fortune, Styles was more than willing help out a buddy and agreed to take Storm on.
This definitely turned out to be a test for Storm, who faced both a high-flying and grounded arsenal of moves from Styles. But it was Styles’ bread-and-butter of going high risk that ended up doing him in and enabled Storm to pick up a nice confidence-building victory in the end.
After missing a splash in the corner and smashing his head into the top turnbuckle, Styles stumbled across the ropes and decided it would be a good idea to attempt a springboard inverted DDT after catching Storm with a back elbow. But Storm dodged the move entirely and waited for Styles to look up just a bit before catching him hard with a Last Call Superkick. Storm covered and captured the three-count from there.
While Roode is a much different opponent than Styles, being able to think quickly will help Storm in the championship match at Lockdown. Knowing that he can, coupled with any extra momentum gained from defeating a quality opponent like Styles, only helps as he inches closer and closer toward challenging for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.