IMPACT Wrestling’s Wrestlers of the Week 5.3.12
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 May 3, 2012
3. AJ Styles – for scoring the victory for his team in six-man tag action over Sacrifice opponent Kurt Angle and his best friends turned enemies, Daniels and Kazarian:
No matter how much time passes, AJ Styles can’t seem to shake Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Just when he thinks he’s all done dealing with them on either a group or individual basis, they both seem to remain a thorn in his side.
A perfect example of this was the way they got involved in his match against Kurt Angle two weeks ago on IMPACT Wrestling. By passing along evidence they are holding against him in relation to a secret, Styles was left vulnerable to a roll up from the Olympic gold medalist and he was kept down all the way for the three-count. While always willing to take a victory, Angle was not happy with the way he achieved this one and made certain to tell Daniels and Kazarian to stay out of his affairs.
That message was repeated last week, but it could not exactly be adhered to on this week’s show. That’s because Angle was forced to team up with Daniels and Kazarian to face the combination of Styles, Samoe Joe and Magnus. Angle really didn’t want to have any part of teaming with Daniels and Kaz, as he became visibly irate over the conversation they were having in relation to getting their shot at the TNA Tag Team Championships at Sacrifice.
That inability to get along with his teammates was what eventually cost Angle and his team the victory in this match.
With Joe, Magnus, Daniels and Kaz all on the outside, Styles looked to hit the ropes and fly with an aerial attack onto all of them. But Angle saw that coming and cut Styles off by grabbing the leg to trip him up. Once down, Angle immediately applied an Ankle Lock to The Phenomenal One and wrenched that thing while Styles squirmed around in hopes of grabbing onto a rope. Angle took that option away by dragging him all the way to his corner, not expecting Kaz to slap his back for a tag.
As Angle asked what he was doing, Daniels tried to calm him down in the corner. That’s when Joe charged in at Daniels, who fell right into Angle and ended up sending both of them to the outside. Kaz had Styles up for a Fade to Black, but was not able to execute it because of Magnus delivering a boot right to his chest. Kazarian and Styles rolled enough for Styles to lift Kaz off the mat so he could hit the Styles Clash. Styles rolled over for the pinfall to score his team the win.
Styles will have a lot weighing on his mind going into next week’s IMPACT Wrestling, since Daniels announced after the match that he plans to reveal Styles’ secret in seven days if he doesn’t do it himself. And since we don’t know what that secret it, we don’t really know how serious it is. But Styles has long managed to overcome whatever Daniels has thrown his way since that friendship dissolved before our very eyes long ago, and this situation should be no different.
2. Brooke Tessmacher – for picking up a third pinfall over the Knockouts Champion, Gail Kim, while teaming up with Velvet Sky:
The immediate success Brooke Tessmacher has achieved since returning to TNA just three weeks ago cannot be denied. Over the course of her first two shows back, she managed to come up with a pinfall over Knockouts Champion Gail Kim in six-woman tag team action, as well as a singles victory last week via pinfall on the Open Fight Night edition of IMPACT Wrestling.
With showings like that, it’s hard not to take notice of the rising credibility Tessmacher is putting into her bid for a shot at the Knockouts Championship. But there is another contender still lurking in the shadows by the name of Velvet Sky, who Tessmacher would team up with in tag team action as they both set out to prove themselves worthy of unseating Kim, who would team up with normal partner in crime Madison Rayne for this tag bout.
Despite their individual yearning for a shot at the gold, there actually wasn’t any in-fighting among Sky and Tessmacher. They worked rather well together, in fact. But in the event of a victory, only one of them was going to be the responsible participant for achieving it and that individual would likely etch herself right into a championship match. In keeping her hot streak alive for a third week in a row, that lucky lady turned out to be Tessmacher.
Overcoming an offensive onslaught from Tessmacher, Kim elbowed out of being planted face-first into the mat so that she could regain the upperhand and put her opponent on the mat with a closeline. After a bit of trash talking, Kim looked to finish the match off with an Eat Defeat to the face of Tessmacher. But Tessmacher shoved Kim off and right into the turnbuckles, leading Rayne to enter the ring for an attempt at a closeline. Tessmacher ducked and Rayne was instead left running straight into a spear from Sky. Rayne and Sky rolled to the outside, leaving Tessmacher and Kim alone in the ring.
Tessmacher went to deliver a kick to the midsection of Kim, but Kim caught the book and yet again started talking trash to Tessmacher. Tessmacher took a few swiped at Kim while standing on one leg, but Kim kept dodging the blows only to come back at Tessmacher by pointing her finger at her. Tessmacher wised up to this soon enough and simply grabbed the arm of Kim so she could turn the tides on the champion and plant her with her own finisher. After hitting Kim with an Eat Defeat that she never expected, Tessmacher pounced on top of her for the three-count that scored her team a victory and played a key role in setting her up with a TNA Knockouts Championship Match against Kim at Sacrifice.
It is a bit hard to imagine Tessmacher taking the strap off Kim when the likes of Mickie James and Madison Rayne could not. But nobody has fared nearly as well as Tessmacher has since she’s returned to TNA. A win or two might just be luck, but to come up with three consecutive pinfalls over the champion is highly impressive. She’s still going to have to work her tail off if she hopes to become the Knockouts Titleholder come Sacrifice. But the confidence gained from her recent victories will go a long way once that opportunity arrives.
1. Bobby Roode – for taking advantage of a backfired attempt at revenge interference on the part of Jeff Hardy to score a pinfall over Mr. Anderson:
Rob Van Dam was crowned the new No. 1 Contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship currently possessed by Bobby Roode when he managed to get past both Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy in three-way action two weeks ago on IMPACT Wrestling. His participation in that match was a reward for helping out Team Garett Bischoff at Lockdown, and Van Dam took full advantage of the opportunity Hulk Hogan afforded him by backsliding to avoid a Twist of Fate from Hardy en route to the three-count to earn his shot at Sacrifice.
With Roode and Van Dam on a crash course heading into Sacrifice in just 10 days, Hogan granted both men the authority to book matches for each other on this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Roode ended up picking Hardy as RVD’s opponent, while Van Dam put Roode in the ring against Mr. Anderson.
The match between Van Dam and Hardy would remain without any extra stipulations. But always looking to stick things to Roode, it seems, Hogan amended the rules of the champion’s match against Anderson to be of the no disqualification variety. That added rule would end up benefiting Roode in the long.
Before taking part in the main event against Anderson, Roode did play a role in the outcome of the match he booked involving RVD and Hardy. He wanted a closer look at the action, apparently, and made his way to the ringside area toward the end of the bout. As the referee began yapping at him, Hardy and RVD were setting up near the opposite ropes for an irish whip. While Hardy looked to send RVD to the ropes, Van Dam was actually able to reverse it and send Hardy across the ring instead. As the referee jumped out of the way, he missed Roode taking a swing with the heavyweight strap right to the back of Hardy – which was inadvertent since Roode likely missed the reversal and thought RVD was coming his way. Not even realizing what Roode had done, RVD delivered a kick to the face of Hardy and quickly covered up to score the pinfall.
Roode’s participation there would be very important to the result of his match against Anderson. After nailing a Double R Spinebuster that only netted him a two-count, Roode had high hopes of dropping Anderson on a steel chair with a fisherman’s suplex in order to put an end to the main event. But Hardy ran down to the ring to both save Anderson and try to exact some revenge over Roode for his part in costing Hardy the earlier match.
Hardy nailed Roode with some fists and then an enziguri that put him down on the mat. Hardy then looked to help get Anderson up off the mat to take advantage of this opportunity. But not realizing that this was Hardy, Anderson quickly hit him with a Mic Check. Anderson saw that it was Hardy after the fact and was a bit upset over it. But in taking a few brief moments to survey the scene, he allowed Roode to get back to his feet with the steel chair in hand.
Roode nailed Anderson in the gut with the chair and then blasted him across the back with it. Roode wasted little time lifting Anderson back up off the canvas to he could actually hit a fisherman’s suplex this time into the cover that went for the three-count.
Roode continued to deck both Anderson and Hardy with the steel chair following the bell, which led to Van Dam hitting the ring to try and make a save. Roode slid out of the ring before Van Dam could touch him, only to re-enter the ring when RVD wasn’t paying attention so he could nail him in the back with a chair shot, too. The champ then closed out the show by dropping Van Dam head-first onto the chair with a DDT.
Roode’s attempt at costing RVD his match against Hardy did not quite go according to plan. But in making Hardy mad, he went on to benefit from the no DQ stipulation added to his main event matchup by Hogan. Hardy wanted to cost Roode the match, but he only ended up hurting Anderson in the process. Closing out IMPACT Wrestling with Hardy, Anderson and Van Dam all laid out in the ring because of damage inflicted by Roode was just icing on the cake. Van Dam would be wise to prepare for Roode seriously. He wins matches by any means necessary and will continue to stoop to any level required in order to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Sacrifice.