IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 7.5.12
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 June 5, 2012
3. Devon – for handing Crimson his second loss as a member of the TNA roster in his return to defending the Television Championship:
Crimson sported an undefeated streak of 470 days when he entered Slammiversary and offered up an open challenge to anybody in the TNA locker room. That mark was where it all ended for the former-World Tag Team Champion. It took James Storm a matter of minutes to unravel what Crimson put together in well over a year. His record finally sported a number other than zero in the loss column.
The next question would be whether he would rebound from that loss or start putting together a streak in the opposite direction. The answer to that question would be revealed on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, when Crimson squared off against Devon for the TNA Television Championship.
Devon was coming off a bit of a break from making his weekly title defense thanks to the Bound for Glory Series kicking off. He looked to fully delve himself right back into that commitment after getting Robbie E. and Rob Terry off his back following a tag team victory against them alongside Garett Bischoff at Slammiversary.
Taking a couple of weeks off made Devon a bit sluggish at the start, as he fell victim to four early pin attempts and a smothering attack both in the corner and on the mat by Crimson. Devon did get his bearings when the crowd picked him up, however, and he came back from an Irish Whip with a devastating spear to Crimson. After hitting a closeline and back elbow, Devon backed up and delivered a crushing splash to Crimson in the corner. He took a minor step back when Crimson came right at him with a closeline. But after a fifth pin attempt by Crimson went completely awry, Devon was able to catch his opponent coming off the ropes with a spinebuster. Devon then covered up and collected the three-count to make it 110 days as the Television Champion.
Crimson had the right idea in this match and was hoping to get back on the horse after his first loss. But Devon is too tough to go down to early pin attempts. He found his way throughout the match to keep right in it and caught Crimson at the opportune time with a spinebuster to close it out for his second consecutive defeat. It’s another nice win for Devon as he continues to extend his run with the TV Title.
2. Tara and Miss Tessmacher – for defeating Gail Kim and Madison Rayne in tag team competition to provide Tessmacher some added momentum heading toward the Knockouts Championship Match next week:
We were supposed to receive a Knockouts Championship Match this week on IMPACT Wrestling between the titleholder, Miss Tessmacher, and the former-titleholder, Gail Kim. Unfortunately, that match got delayed a week and will now take place on next Thursday’s program.
This week’s show was not void of Knockouts action, however. Those two ladies still competed in a match – albeit of a tag team variety. Tessmacher partnered up with her former co-Knockouts Tag Team Champion Tara to take on the still-aligned duo of Madison Rayne and Kim. While no gold was on the line in this contest, the winning team could easily provide its respective representative for next week’s matchup a great deal of momentum.
There was a chance Rayne would come into this week’s match a little unfocused. After all, she did just reveal with a hot and steamy kiss that the crush she’s had for several weeks now is on Earl freakin’ Hebner. Perhaps that served as motivation, though, because she came out swinging at Tessmacher before the bell even rang.
After Rayne did some damage to Tessmacher and came up with an unsuccessful cover, she tagged Kim into the match. Kim did a bit of damage to the champion and came up with a cover of her own. Tessmacher did eventually manage to fight back. And after a crossbody by Kim failed to connect, both ladies were forced to make tags at their respective corners.
Tara connected with some right hands shots before delivering a series of closelines to Rayne. She followed up with a snap suplex and kipped up to hit her next move, a spinning side slam that got her a cover for a two-count. Tara was hoping to hit the Widow’s Peak, but she noticed Kim entering the ring to interrupt it. So, she drilled Kim in the face with a boot as she dropped Rayne to the mat. She then sent Rayne into Kim, who fell to the outside, before lifting Rayne right back up for a Widow’s Peak that connected this time. Tara could have covered up right there to close things out. But knowing what’s on the line next week, she elected to tag Tessmacher in instead and she finished off the bout with a pinfall.
Tessmacher’s success against Kim has been unmatched in TNA, so it’s doubtful she really needed any extra boost going into next week’s Knockouts Title rematch. But I guess every little bit helps as she looks to retain the gold in one week’s time.
1. Jeff Hardy – for picking up seven crucial points against the leader of the Bound for Glory Series, James Storm:
The Bound for Glory Series is just getting started, but it already seems as if James Storm is running away with it. He entered this week with 36 points to his credit and appears as focused as ever on getting to the finish line. His mindset is already geared toward getting the TNA World Heavyweight Championship away from Bobby Roode at Bound For Glory in October, and he looks like a man on a mission every time he’s in the ring trying to accumulate points.
His toughest test in this series to date would come this week on IMPACT Wrestling. As announced by Hulk Hogan on last week’s program, Storm was scheduled to go one-on-one against Jeff Hardy. Hardy, who possessed just seven points coming into the show, is always tough to read and entered this bout as the guy most capable of tripping Storm up.
This match was as back-and-forth as it gets. Neither Hardy nor Storm could really string together a good enough offensive attempt before the other guy broke through to get back into the swing of the match. Between several near falls and reversals, it was any man’s game.
Hardy started to feel as if the match was turning in direction when he delivered an attack to Storm in the corner that ended up laying Storm out near the turnbuckles. Hardy headed up top in hopes of hitting the Swanton Bomb. Unfortunately for him, Storm rolled out of the way and headed up top for a high-risk maneuver of his own. Storm connected on a flying elbow drop to Hardy that led to a pin attempt. Hardy was able to just kick out of the cover at the two-count, much to the dismay of The Tennessee Cowboy.
Storm didn’t take too much time to fret over this missed pinfall. He got back to his feet and called for a Last Call Superkick while waiting for Hardy to get up. Hardy could barely stand and Storm needed to move in to help him up in order to go the superkick. Once he did that, Hardy ducked out of the way and immediately responded with a Twist of Fate. Hardy jumped on top of Storm and remained there for the three-count to grab a huge victory and seven important points in the Bound for Glory Series.
This was a fun and even matchup that truly could have gone either way. The desperation from Hardy to climb up the standings provided him just that little extra motivation to hang in there and come through with the win. Storm is still in a solid spot atop the standings and should be able to move on without issue. But for Hardy, the ability to make his presence felt in this series and be in a two-way tie for third place is a great move in the right direction.