TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 8.16.12
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 16, 2012
3. Jeff Hardy – for keeping himself in the Bound for Glory Series hunt with a seven-point victory over Bully Ray:
Jeff Hardy is not in the necessary top four of the Bound for Glory Series standings, but he still is not out of the competition just yet. He missed out on 20 big points this past Sunday at Hardcore Justice, when Aces and Eights distracted him during the Tables Match. The move paved the way for Bully Ray to get himself back into the contest and eventually put Hardy through a table to shoot him into a fourth-place tie with Kurt Angle at 48 points.
Hardy, who entered this week’s IMPACT Wrestling with 35 points, cut Austin Aries off at the top of this week’s broadcast to both express his displeasure and his desire to battle for the World Heavyweight Championship at Bound For Glory. He ended up calling Aces and Eights out, but his opponent for later in the night, Bully Ray, came down to the ring instead. Ray called Hardy stupid, explained how he got lucky on Sunday, once again pointed the finger at James Storm for being associated with the gang and then got interrupted by the Aries for so boldly thinking he was going to win the title at Bound For Glory. The net result of all of this was a message on the big screen by Aces and Eights, who promised to make their presence felt in a big way on IMPACT Wrestling.
Aside from going after Brooke Hogan before retreating after several members of the TNA locker room ran down to protect her, Aces and Eights would also get involved in the concluding moments of the main event between Ray and Hardy, all with Storm standing by at the ringside area.
After taking Ray down with a closeline, Hardy removed his shirt and headed up top for a Swanton Bomb that connected. He could only come up with a two-count on the ensuing cover, which disappointed him and provided Ray a chance to roll to the outside. Storm was right behind Ray and he promised not to touch him. But being that close didn’t pay off well for Storm, who was pulled in front of Ray when Hardy launched himself over the top rope.
Ray sent Hardy back into the ring and moved him into the corner, where he delivered a slap to the chest. He quickly relinquished control of the match back over to Hardy, though, when he received a boot to the face after whipping Hardy into the opposite turnbuckles. A Whisper in the Wind followed, and both men were laid out as the referee initiated a 10-count.
During the count, two members of Aces and Eights entered the ring. One of them grabbed Ray’s steel chain and wrapped it around his wrist, waiting for Ray to get up. The TNA locker room cleared before they could do any damage, and the members of Aces and Eights retreated through the crowd as they were chased away.
Ray got to his feet first back inside the ring and he tried to lift Hardy off the mat. Hardy shrugged Ray off and countered back with a sudden Twist of Fate that spun Ray around. Hardy quickly took him down with a rollup, getting a three-count out of it to gain the victory and an addition seven points to his Bound for Glory Series total.
Hardy’s celebration was short-lived when Ray closelined him immediately after the bell, clearly not realizing that he had just lost the match. Then he ate an inadvertent Last Call superkick from Storm that was intended for Ray. But the worst beating went to Storm, who was attacked by the very group he was accused of leading as the show came to a close.
With 42 points to his credit in the Bound for Glory Series, Hardy sits in seventh place. He is one point behind AJ Styles and six points shy of the 48 held by both Kurt Angle and Ray – the two men holding onto that final four spot necessary to be in the running for the World Heavyweight Title Match at Bound For Glory.
2. Miss Tessmacher – for taking back the Knockouts Championship she unjustly lost at Hardcore Justice on Sunday:
Miss Tessmacher’s TNA Knockouts Championship reign may have included some impressive victories over the likes of Gail Kim and Mickie James, but she knew she was going up against a much different opponent at Hardcore Justice. That’s because she was not only defending the title against Madison Rayne, but she was also going up against Earl Hebner – the referee for the match and Rayne’s current love interest.
That obstacle was simply too much for Tessmacher to get past. When Tessmacher argued with Hebner over a ropebreak, Rayne took the opportunity to roll her up and grab onto the ropes for leverage – something Hebner obviously did not (want to) see – to score the pinfall and the Knockouts Championship.
Rayne was proud of her work and believed that Brooke Hogan was calling her down to the ring on IMPACT Wrestling for a celebration over her Knockouts Title victory. Rayne even called Hebner to the ring to join her for the festivities. Unfortunately, Hogan saw things a bit differently. First, she told Hebner that he would no longer be allowed to referee matches in the Knockouts Division. Also, Tessmacher would have her rematch instituted later in the night with a special guest referee that was hand-selected by Hogan.
When it came time for the match, Hogan introduced Taryn Terrell (formerly Tiffany from her WWE days). This would create a more even playing field for both participants, which worked out incredibly well for Tessmacher.
Without having Hebner in her back pocket, Rayne was unable to utilize any backhanded tactics this time around. When Tessmacher missed a crossbody off the middle rope, Rayne moved in for a pin attempt near the ropes. Much like she did at Hardcore Justice, Rayne used the ropes for leverage. She was caught this time, however, and Terrell stopped the count to push her boots off the ropes.
Rayne was furious and argued with Terrell over what she just did. That gave Tessmacher plenty of time to get back to her feet. When Rayne turned around and noticed Tessmacher right behind her, it was too late to avoid being hit with the Tess-shocker faceplant. Tessmacher covered up, got the three-count and won back her Knockouts Championship.
The few days she spent away from the title could not have been easy for Tessmacher after the way she was screwed in the match at Hardcore Justice. A different referee allowed Tessmacher to steer things right again and get the gold back around her waist.
1. AJ Styles – for getting a huge win over Christopher Daniels to earn seven points in the Bound for Glory Series and the right to take a paternity test:
AJ Styles has slowly but surely started to move along from this whole Claire Lynch baby situation. He’s still ingrained in it, but not so much to the point that he’s losing focus in his matchups. In fact, he is working feverishly to put himself in better position in the Bound for Glory Series.
At Hardcore Justice, Styles was able to launch himself higher in the Bound for Glory Series standings when he accumulated 20 points in the evening’s four-way Ladder Match. The manner in which he won was pretty sudden, too, shocking Samoa Joe by springboarding onto a ladder and then quickly snatching the clipboard in practically one smooth motion.
He entered IMPACT Wrestling this week with 36 points to his credit and the opportunity to gain even more with a schedule bout against longtime friend and rival, Christopher Daniels. The stakes were raised even higher for this contest when Styles proposed the idea that a loss on his end would make him agree that he is the father of Lynch’s baby, while a victory would enable to him to get a paternity test. I’m rather certain Styles should have sought a paternity test either way, but perhaps this is not my area of expertise.
Another little hitch to this match came when both Daniels and Styles made their way to the ring. The referee forced Kazarian to leave the ringside area, making it a true one-on-one bout between Styles and Daniels. And while this would remain the case for most of what turned out to be another excellent match between these two, it was only a matter of time before Kaz found a way to get involved.
Styles ended up outside the ring when he charged in at Daniels, who dropped the top rope on him. After crashing to the floor, Daniels regrouped a bit in the ring while allowed the referee to go forth with a 10-count. As Styles started to get back to his feet, Daniels moved closer to the ropes and he was tripped up.
Styles spun him around on the ring apron and dropped an elbow across his throat. That sent Daniels to the floor, where Styles followed up with a whip toward the apron. Daniels reversed, but Styles just rolled back into the ring, hit the ropes, and came back with a flip right over the top rope and onto Daniels back on the outside.
Styles crawled back into the ring with the referee close behind, leaving Daniels on the outside. Behind their backs, Kaz darted down to the ringside area and ducked underneath, assuring Daniels that he was there to trip Styles up. So, when Daniels hopped back onto the apron and Styles lifted him up in an attempt to suplex him back into the ring, Kaz grabbed Styles’ boot and tripped him. The referee counted to three, but he changed his decision and kept the match going when he noticed Kazarian (the man he booted out of the arena before the match even started) standing by at ringside.
With the match still going, Styles ducked a closeline attempt from Daniels and came right back at him with a Pele Kick. Styles covered up and got the three-count, earning seven points in the Bound for Glory Series and the “right” to go have a paternity test taken. He even added insult to injury on Daniels by dropping him with a Styles Clash after the match.
No matter how determined Daniels and Kazarian have been to destroy Styles, he has remained strong throughout this ordeal. He’s right in the thick of things when it comes to the Bound for Glory Series, sitting in sixth place with 43 points. And now, he’s going to figure out for certain whether he’s the baby daddy.