IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 6.28.12
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 June 28, 2012
3. Sonjay Dutt – for making a successful return to TNA in pursuit of the X-Division Championship he missed out on his previous tenure with a Tournament Qualifier victory:
The last time Sonjay Dutt was a member of the TNA roster was back in February 2009, marking a more than three-year absence from the promotion he spent nearly five years as a key member of the X-Division with. While working for their India-based Ring Ka King promotion lessened the shock of his return this week on IMPACT Wrestling, it was still a bit nostalgic to see Dutt come back to the IMPACT Zone this Thursday night to chase the X-Division Champion that eluded him during his previous tenure with the company.
Since Austin Aries will forfeit the X-Division Championship at Destination X in pursuit of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, there will be a need to crown a new lead dog in the X-Division. To determine just which X-Division star that will be, TNA determined a tournament will take place with the intention of naming a new champion at the pay-per-view. The first of the qualifying matches for this tourney included Dutt, who squared off against a man named Rubix – who was actually Jigsaw for those more familiar with his work on the independent scene.
This fast-paced contest truly exhibited what the X-Division is all about and was, at times, flawless in execution like both Mike Tenay and Taz mentioned during their commentary a couple of times. It really seemed like just as much of a homecoming for Dutt at it was an audition for Rubix to remain in TNA for more than just this one appearance.
Rubix’ best shot to take this match home occurred when he came at Dutt with a back elbow, enziguri kick and bridging German suplex that netted him a two-count. But then he went to the well once too often when he tried for another German. Dutt elbowed out and headed for the ropes before coming back with an incredible tornado DDT that dropped Rubix right near the corner. Dutt elected to head up top and came off with a double foot stomp off a moonsault that finished off Rubix with an ensuing pinfall.
Dutt looked tremendous in this return matchup and hasn’t missed a step since his last run in TNA. His experience and desire to capture the X-Division Championship are obvious. They should carry him a long way in the tournament, of which he’s probably the favorite of the known competitors to this point.
2. Rob Van Dam – for putting up his first seven points in the Bound For Glory Series by defeating Mr. Anderson via pinfall:
While still very early in the Bound For Glory Series, it is never a good idea to fall too far behind in the standings. James Storm is the leader of the pack with 36 points, helped mostly by a 20-point gauntlet match victory that started him off strong. Everybody else is really playing catch up to him at this point.
Rob Van Dam entered this week’s IMPACT Wrestling with zero points to his credit and an urgent need to get things rolling in his favor if he’s looking to be competitive in this Series. He received the opportunity to put up some points during Thursday’s show when he stepped into the ring with Mr. Anderson, who came into the match looking to improve upon the nine points he’s accumulated.
These two familiar foes are closely matched and understood the important of scoring a quick victory. There were several near falls by both men, and even a close submission attempt by RVD as he looked to put up 10 points in victory.
Van Dam didn’t put the match away in that fashion, but he did settle for seven when he was able to score the decisive pinfall. When Anderson applied a sleeper to try for 10 points, as well, Van Dam was able to get out of it by backing Anderson into the corner before flipping him over. Van Dam then ran at Anderson before getting caught up on his shoulders. RVD’s quickly countered into a crucifix pin attempt, however, that got him to a three-count for an important Series win.
Van Dam is still on the back end of the standings right now, but he got on the board. By changing the goose egg he entered IMPACT Wrestling with into a seven, RVD in now in the game with plenty of time to work his way toward the top.
1. Daniels and Kazarian – for reclaiming the TNA Tag Team Titles thanks to some stellar trickery on the part of Kazarian:
For so long, Daniels and Kazarian were able to make the lives of both AJ Styles and Dixie Carter miserable. The secret they held over the two made their personal and professional lives spiral out of control. And it led to Styles and Carter agreeing to finally let the cat out of the bag about their relationship over the past few months during last week’s show.
Contrary to what Daniels and Kazarian wanted the fans to believe about Styles and Carter, they were not having an affair. Instead, they were helping a close friend of the Carter family through a drug addiction problem in a completely random twist to this already awkward storyline. This revelation in the closing moments of IMPACT Wrestling last week seemed like a huge weight off the shoulders of Styles especially, who was a man possessed in battling Daniels and Kazarian when that infuriated duo hit the ring to mess up the proceedings.
It seemed that Daniels’ plan to paint Styles and Carter as a cheating couple had failed. And his partnership with Kaz initially seemed to take a hit, as well. They were scheduled to face Kurt Angle and Styles for the TNA Tag Team Titles in a rematch of their bout at Slammiversary. But Kaz felt mislead by Daniels and blew up at him in the locker room for incorrectly turning him against one of his best friends.
Styles, on the other hand, seemed rejuvenated. He expressed his desire to get at Daniels and Kazarian to both Carter and Angle during the broadcast, portraying a huge sense of confidence that his life was finally falling back into place. It would quickly fall back into shambles, though.
Kaz’ irritation with Daniels was simply a smoke screen. Though he led everybody to believe throughout the night that he had turned a corner and no longer agreed with Daniels’ methods, he was just fooling everybody. And that included Daniels.
When Angle and the referee were taken out of the equation toward the end of this main event matchup, Daniels resorted to grabbing a steel chair in hopes of nailing Styles with it. But Daniels was caught off guard when Kaz grabbed the chair from him, leaving Styles with an opening to drop Daniels with a Pele Kick. Styles was stunned by Kaz’ actions, which included a flipping of the bird to The Fallen Angel. But he’d be even more surprised when Kaz interrupted his attempt at a Styles Clash by nailing him in the back with that same steel chair. Daniels covered up, Kaz moved the ref back into the ring and a three-count took place to slide the TNA Tag Team Titles back to Daniels and Kazarian.
Even Daniels didn’t see this coming and Kazarian did an excellent job playing everybody. Not only did they reclaim the straps just a few weeks after losing them to Styles and Angle, but they also furthered the humiliation of The Phenomenal One after the match. Daniels pointed out the obvious pregnancy of the addict, who was sitting in the front row alongside Carter during the main event, before calling out Styles as the father of the “bastard” child.
I have to admit that this whole angle is really ridiculous and Styles deserves better than that. But Daniels and Kaz continue to come off as great heels here and that swerve by Kaz was a nice touch. Unfortunately for Daniels, he’ll be going it alone against an even more enraged Styles at Destination X when the two go at it in a Last Man Standing Match.