IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 4.19.12
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 19, 2012
3. Brooke Tessmacher – for making the most of her return in eight-woman tag team action by pinning the Knockouts Champion, Gail Kim:
As the Knockouts Division has revolved around the likes of Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Velvet Sky and Mickie James over the past few months, it’s been easy to forget that Brooke Tessmacher has been missing in action on TNA programming. The prolonged absence of the former Knockouts Tag Team Champion was a bit disappointing considering the significant improvement she’s made as an active in-ring competitor. It was just a matter of time before she got back in between those ropes, however, and that time came this Thursday evening.
Tessmacher made her return in eight-woman tag team action on IMPACT Wrestling, where she partnered up with TnT teammate Tara, Mickie James and Velvet Sky to take on the combination of Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Sarita and Rosita. While the main focus of this match initially would be Sky’s inability to take the TNA Knockouts Championship from Kim at Lockdown, it was Tessmacher that ended up making the biggest impact.
As with any Knockouts match containing this many combatants, it’s really all about getting as many of them as possible a bit of time in the ring to make some noise. Tessmacher’s moment came toward the end when she was tagged in by Tara. At first, she took it to Sarita. But when Rayne broke up a pin attempt, Sarita was able to get to her corner and tag Kim into the match.
Even against the Knockouts Champion, however, Tessmacher was able to fight hard and sent Kim crashing face-first into the mat for another attempt at closing things out with a pinfall. Unfortunately, this cover was broken up, as well, and by basically all the other Knockouts in the match. The six non-legal competitors spilled to the outside for a brawl and left Kim in the ring to counter a monkey flip out of the corner by Tessmacher by going for a cover. She popped her legs onto the ropes for added leveraged and hoped nobody would notice her attempt to cheat before the referee made it to three. But Sky was right on top of things and pushed her feet off the ropes. Some arguing between Kim and Sky left Tessmacher the opening needed to come from behind Kim and roll up the Knockouts Champion for a surprising pinfall victory.
She certainly had some help in getting Kim into that rollup, but she was still very impressive on her own merits in her return to IMPACT Wrestling. The direction TNA is heading in for Kim’s next opponent is a bit tough to judge. I would assume Sky is going to get another crack at the title. But it’s really anybody’s guess and this company would have done stranger things if it does see fit to give Tessmacher a go at the strap off her performance Thursday.
2. Devon – for making the first of what is now a weekly defense of the TNA Television Championship with a victory over Gunner:
After defeating Robbie E for the TNA Television Championship at Victory Road, Devon hadn’t done a whole hell of a lot with it for about a month. This past Sunday at Lockdown, he entered a Steel Cage to defend the title against the man he took it off of. And he was successful in putting Robbie E away with a pinfall off a spinebuster.
On this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, Devon took part in an announcement by Hulk Hogan. After calling all champions down to the ring, Hogan announced a change in format to IMPACT Wrestling. Once a month, there will be an open fight night. Additionally, the TNA Television Championship will be on the line each and every week on the show. This was a decision met with open arms by Devon, who promised to be a fighting champion.
His first fight as part of TNA moving in this different direction was going to be a tough one, as he would face the uber-aggressive Gunner.
Gunner was dominant in the early part of this match and started things out very strong by attacking Devon before the bell even sounded. But Devon suffered through a stifling offense from Gunner and held strong in kicking out of a few near falls to eventually be lifted up by the fans.
As the crowd chanted for him, Devon came off an irish whip to the ropes with a spear to Gunner. He kept on Gunner’s stomach with some right hand shots before move his fists toward Gunner’s face. A closeline and back elbow followed, as did a shoulder block off the ropes to Gunner’s chest. Devon then sent Gunner to the ropes and took him down with a Thesz Press, furthering the punishments with some quick punches to the side of the head. Devon came off the ropes to drop a headbutt on Gunner and then waited for the big man to get back to his feet before flying in at him with a splash against the turnbuckles and flying closeline off the ropes. With momentum well on his side, Devon finally decided it was time to wrap things up and nailed the spinebuster after ducking a closeline to get Gunner down on the mat for a three-count.
Things were not looking great for Devon early on. But he ended the match very strong after making a tremendous comeback thanks to some encouragement from the crowd. He looked strong and even slightly quick on his feet (at least for his standards) in defeating a tough opponent in Gunner.
It’s going to be a tough road ahead for Devon as he has to defend that Television Championship every week now. But he seems excited about the opportunity and will win quite a few matches with the way he closed things out on this week’s show.
1. Rob Van Dam – for earning a TNA World Heavyweight Title Match at Sacrifice with a win in three-way main event action against Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy:
No matter how badly James Storm wanted to destroy Bobby Roode inside a Steel Cage at Lockdown and step away the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, it simply wasn’t meant to be for The Tennessee Cowboy. On IMPACT Wrestling, we witnessed Storm begin to reflect on his career and come to the conclusion that maybe his luck has run out.
But while he hangs his head, Roode is feeling as good and as confident as ever. He cut his hair, opened up IMPACT Wrestling and ran through the level of competition he’s defeated thus far as champion. Roode believed he was through defeating all of TNA’s top stars, until that sentiment was challenged by Mr. Anderson. He confronted Roode in the ring and began jockeying for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. But he was soon joined by Jeff Hardy, who also wanted a shot at the belt after coming off a big win over Kurt Angle at Lockdown. After a bit of bickering, Hulk Hogan offered up a solution and booked a No. 1 Contender’s Match for the evening’s main event between Anderson and Hardy. The winner of that match would receive a title shot against Roode at Sacrifice.
While a good match on its own merits, Hogan would soon tweak it significantly. Before heading to the ring to address TNA’s champions, he found Rob Van Dam backstage and offered him a spot in that main event against Anderson and Hardy as a reward for his participation on Team Garett Bischoff at Lockdown. RVD happily accepted and made the bout to close out IMPACT Wrestling a three-way.
The match itself was fairly decent and very fast-paced. Each man was looking to hit an impact move or two before going for the cover, as they each knew they had very little time to squeeze in that pinfall before the third man would jump in to break the cover. RVD was the one to eventually capitalize on a little breathing room.
After Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind on Anderson, all three men were down on the mat. As the referee started to count, they began to get back up and RVD was able to drop Anderson with an enziguri kick before hitting the Rolling Thunder on Hardy. The second he got back to his feet, Anderson was waiting on him to deliver the rolling fireman’s carry slam. After he nailed RVD with that move, however, Anderson catapulted right into a Twist of Fate from Hardy.
Hardy followed up with a Swanton Bomb in hopes of keeping Anderson down for good. And he did. But Van Dam was the one who was able to take advantage of it because he nailed Hardy with a kick right after the Swanton Bomb was hit. RVD then flew off with a Five Star Frog Splash to Anderson for good measure before countering a Twist of Fate by Hardy into a backslide that he added some extra leverage to by going into a full split. RVD was able to keep Hardy down without any interference from Anderson for the three-count and earned himself No. 1 Contender status as a result.
Van Dam now becomes the next in line for Roode, who will put the heavyweight strap on the line against RVD at Sacrifice. Van Dam is still irked by the fact that he didn’t truly lose the belt in the first place, and looks to make his recent return back to TNA a big one by trying to right that wrong.