TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 8.2.12
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.
TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week for August 2, 2012
3. Chavo Guerrero – for picking up a win in his debut matchup with TNA against Kid Kash:
Last week was supposed to be Chavo Guerrero’s big moment in TNA. He was to make his first appearance with the company to a great reception and just have a grand old time overall in this next chapter of his career. It went that way initially, but Kid Kash and Gunner just couldn’t sit by and let Guerrero’s good time last forever.
They interrupted his inauguration to mock the Guerrero legacy and ponder why the elder members of his family weren’t there. Once Kash resorted to bringing up the drinking habits of Chavo’s father, a fight broke out in the ring. Because of the 2-on-1 situation, Guerrero was fighting a losing battle. That was until Hernandez showed up to come to his aid.
Guerrero wouldn’t need to wait too long to get his hands on Kash in a shot at redemption. They went one-on-one during this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, with Gunner standing in Kash’s corner while Hernandez stood by Guerrero’s side during the match.
This was a nice back-and-forth match between two veteran wrestlers. No matter how good the action was in the ring, though, the result was likely to be influenced to some degree by the men on the outside. The presence of Gunner and Hernandez certainly did play a role in this one.
Gunner and Hernandez both hopped onto the apron as Guerrero was in control. The advantage switched to Kash when he took advantage of the double-sided distraction with a right-hand shot to Guerrero’s head. Kash followed up with a kick before setting up for a suplex, which was countered nicely by Guerrero into the Three Amigos.
Guerrero continued to pay homage to his late uncle, Eddie, by heading up top in order to dive off with the frog splash. Guerrero stayed on top of Kash after hitting the move and hooked the leg to pick up the three-count for a win in his first bout under the TNA banner.
It’s tough to make a better in-ring debut than that, and Guerrero should be happy about the success and revenge gained by his victory. Beating Kash is no easy feat, but Guerrero did it and has adapted pretty well to the TNA scene already.
2. Austin Aries and Kenny King – for successfully opening up the show against their current set of rivals, Bobby Roode and Zema Ion:
Among the many rivalries that exist in TNA, it has been fun for the last month or so to watch how the X-Division and heavyweight title situations have intersected. Austin Aries has been the key figure in this, transitioning from X-Division Champion to World Heavyweight Champion thanks to the opportunity presented to him – and slated to repeat every year – at Destination X.
Aries will defend his championship in a rematch against Roode at Hardcore Justice. Kenny King, who failed to defeat Zema Ion for the X-Division Championship last week because of interference on the part of Roode, will receive another shot at the gold at the very same pay-per-view when he once again goes toe-to-toe with Ion.
To get the juices flowing for both of those contests, IMPACT Wrestling opened up this week with a brawl-turned-matchup pitting Aries and King against Roode and Ion.
Once the show started, these four men were battling it out all the way toward the ring. King and Ion were paired off for some ringside area brawling, while Aries and Roode duked it out atop the entrance ramp. It took several minutes for Aries and Roode to end up inside the ring as the legal men for their teams. Once that occurred, the bell sounded and the actual match was officially on.
Roode quickly escaped the ring by making a tag with Ion, who didn’t perform all that well in the early stages of the match against a very game duo in Aries and King. They worked extremely well as a team by making frequent tags and utilizing their time in the ring efficiently to secure a few near falls on the arrogant X-Division Champion.
Once Roode showed an interest in getting involved in the match, however, momentum swung the other way. Ion and Roode were able to take control of the match and utilize the same quality tag team strategy of cutting the ring in half that their opponents employed earlier to dish out a nice attack against King for the next several minutes.
King thought he had an opening to get out of the match when he hit a nice high cradle suplex on Ion that kept both men down on the mat. Just as King was about to make a tag to Aries, Roode rushed into the ring and distracted the referee. Aries entered the ring, but the referee held him back since he didn’t see the tag. Roode then dragged King back to his corner and continued the beatdown alongside Ion.
Clearly having had enough of getting his butt whooped, King battled his way out of a predicament in the corner by nailing Roode off the apron and then drilling Ion in the head with a spin kick. King went for a cover on Ion, which would be broken up by Roode at two. But it was at that point that Aries took it upon himself to get into the match with a missile dropkick to Roode that sent the former-heavyweight champion rolling to the outside.
Aries wanted to head for the ropes, but he was halted by a kick to the gut by Ion. Aries recovered quickly, though, and dropped Ion with a closeline before going back to the ropes for a heat seeking missile to the outside on Roode. Meanwhile, King dropped Ion on the back of his head in the middle of the ring for another pin attempt that finally made its way to the three-count.
King really shined in this contest, even despite taking a great deal of punishment from the opposition. He hung on long enough to finally get some help from an irate Aries. And once that occurred, he was able to catch Ion and pin the champion – something that, if replicated, will give King the X-Division Championship at Hardcore Justice. The win provides Aries some extra momentum heading into his title defense against Roode at Hardcore Justice, as well.
1. James Storm – for putting the accusations about his relationship with Aces and Eights on the backburner to score a big seven-point Bound for Glory Series win over Kurt Angle:
James Storm’s biggest concern right now should be keeping himself atop the scoreboard in the Bound for Glory Series so that he can challenge the TNA World Heavyweight Champion for the title in the main event of the October pay-per-view. Instead, his attention has been diverted toward deflecting accusations that he is somehow affiliated with the Aces and Eights gang that is wreaking havoc across the company.
The idea of Storm being involved with Aces and Eights was first planted by his former-Beer Money tag team partner, Bobby Roode, during last week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. Storm vehemently denied any involvement, but the fact that the gang failed to put him in any harm while attacking others over the course of the show expanded that seed of doubt about Storm’s innocence.
When Storm should have been focusing solely on a main event bout with Kurt Angle during this week’s show, he needed to face some direct confrontation by Sting and Angle. He was called out to the ring by Sting for a recap of what went down a week ago, and Angle later joined the party to once again point out that Storm went untouched by Aces and Eights. At the end of it all, Storm stuck to his guns. And Angle promised to make Storm tap out, while Sting said that he would be at ringside during the match in case the members of Aces and Eights decided to show up.
Sting was not the only person standing ringside during the match. Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Devon, Garett Bischoff and Roode also appeared in the IMPACT Zone during the main event on the chance that another attack went down.
Aces and Eights never did actually show up. But a good match took place in the middle of the ring between Angle and Storm. Lost in a lot of this Aces and Eights hoopla was the fact that important points and a push into first place were on the line in this Bound for Glory Series bout.
Angle seemed to be working the match in his favor toward the end when he managed to hit the three German suplexes and turn a failed attempt at the Angle Slam into a big kick to the head of Storm. After only picking up a two-count on the ensuing pin attempt, Angle looked for an Ankle Lock after taking the straps down. Storm was able to roll him off, however, and hit an Angle Slam of his own on Angle for a two-count.
Storm and Angle battled back and forth for a bit before Angle was able to get another Ankle Lock applied to Storm. Storm could not kick Angle off of him this time and he remained held up in the hold for a while. After sustaining quite a bit of pain, Storm finally managed to roll over and drill Angle in the side of the head with a kick. The hold was released and Storm immediately hit him with the Last Call Superkick. Storm went right for the cover and scored a huge pinfall over the Olympic Gold Medalist in order to gain seven crucial points for a total of 52 – good enough to move five points ahead of the second-place Samoa Joe.
Storm decided to call Aces and Eights out after the match, but they didn’t show up. That led Roode to once again connect the dots and point the figure toward there being a relationship between the gang and his former tag partner. Ray ended up entering the ring to fight Storm, while Aries and Roode went at it as the show came to a close.
So, the mystery continues as to who exactly is behind Aces and Eights. The accusations are not yet over for Storm, who will probably still need to defend his innocence to a few people on the TNA roster.
A concrete link between them still doesn’t exist, however, and Storm is only going to be able to say so much before he can’t worry about it anymore. His major concern needs to remain the Bound for Glory Series, and he seems to be handling that just fine. A win over Angle is a major deal and those seven points became perhaps his most critical thus far in the Series.