TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 9.13.12
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 September 13, 2012
3. Chavo Guerrero – for defeating Christopher Daniels to earn himself and Hernandez a shot at the TNA World Tag Team Championships:
Since the whole Claire Lynch debacle blew up in the faces of Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, Hulk Hogan has seen fit to punish them for the way they tormented AJ Styles and Dixie Carter. He mainly kept them competitive inside the ring with a few high-pressure defenses of the TNA World Tag Team Championships.
Their most recent foes came in the form of Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez last week on IMPACT Wrestling, and Kurt Angle and Styles four nights ago at No Surrender. On both occasions, the straps left the arena on the same waists they entered on thanks to a couple acts of cheating on the part of Daniels and Kazarian.
Hogan was clearly not impressed with either result and saw fit to continue sticking it to the champions by booking them in singles matchups this week on IMPACT Wrestling. Kazarian would face either Styles or Angle, while Daniels would look across the ring at either Guerrero or Hernandez. The real kicker in this was that if Kaz or Daniels lost, then the winner will have earned another crack at the TNA World Tag Team Championships for his team.
When it came time for Daniels’ match, the potential challengers decided to send Guerrero out. After all, he did want a little revenge for being outsmarted in the old Guerrero-style of cheating.
He didn’t need to resort to that Guerrero tradition in order to earn the victory. Instead, he did a great job of spotting Daniels trying to nail him with the belt and ducked it just in time to counter with the three amigos. After Guerrero hit all three suplexes, he headed up top for the frog splash that led to a pinfall.
Guerrero made good on his end of the bargain and earned himself and Hernandez another crack at the TNA World Tag Team Championships. They were not the only duo to do so on this show, but they earned the opportunity to face a set of champions that must be getting worn down physically and mentality at this point.
2. AJ Styles – for also earning himself and Kurt Angle a shot at the TNA World Tag Team Titles with a victory over Kazarian:
AJ Styles has the most to gain from the suffering of Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. After all, he was the focal point of the Claire Lynch ploy and he worked hard to clear his name in all of that. It wore him down mentality for some time and really set him back in both tag team competition alongside Kurt Angle, as well as his push to compete in the Bound for Glory Series.
With all of that behind him, however, he can truly focus on getting on with his career and playing a role in the punishment Hulk Hogan has in store for the champions. With Angle, he was not able to regain the TNA World Tag Team Titles at No Surrender when the champions cheated in order to retain the gold. But he would be provided a chance at getting them another title opportunity on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling.
While Daniels failed in his matchup against Chavo Guerrero, Kaz was faced with the task of going up against either Styles or Angle earlier on. With some reassurance from Styles that he was emotionally ready for this, Angle okayed The Phenomenal One representing them for their bout.
It was a smart choice. Styles seemed incredibly ready for this match. While Kazarian certainly put up a fight, he was no match for Styles in the end.
He seemed to be giving himself a chance at the victory when the fight spilled to the outside and he put Styles on the mat with a monkey flip. Kaz moved back inside the ring while the referee administered a 10-count, but it was broken up by Styles at seven and Kazarian immediately pounced on him for the cover.
Styles kicked out at two – three consecutive times – before regaining control of the match with some right hands and closelines. Styles nailed Kaz in the corner with a flying forearm and then he lifted him off the mat for a try at the Styles Clash. Kaz countered out by lifting Styles up and onto the ring apron. That, however, only led to a springboard flying forearm by Styles.
Styles got right back up and stood Kazarian up out of the corner. Kaz managed to trip him up and go for a pinfall with the added leverage of having his feet on the ropes. Styles still kicked out, though, and he fought back at Kazarian off a ducked closeline with the Pele Kick. Styles went for the Styles Clash again and he connected, turning Kaz over for the pinfall that was good for the three-count.
The victory provides Styles and Angle another shot at the tag team titles, making that two upcoming defenses for Daniels and Kazarian. Now that the champs are wearing down a bit, the two teams that earned these shots on IMPACT Wrestling should stand a decent shot of capturing the gold away from the current titleholders when their time comes to cash.
1. Jeff Hardy – for holding onto the No. 1 Contender status for the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Bound for Glory with a second straight win over Bully Ray:
The Bound for Glory Series is a grueling process that takes several months to reach a conclusion. But when it’s all said and done, there is just one of the 12 participants who can move on to Bound For Glory and challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
The final four heading into No Surrender was James Storm, Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe. After the first two semifinal bouts at the pay-per-view, it boiled down to Ray and Hardy in the evening’s main event. That match almost didn’t happen courtesy of Aces and Eights, who banged Hardy up during an earlier attack and definitely left him less than 100 percent for the deciding match. Hardy’s resilient style wouldn’t keep him from competing, though, and he pulled through all the way for a highly-impressive victory over Ray to earn the No. 1 Contender status.
Hardy’s big night at No Surrender was a topic TNA World Heavyweight Champion Austin Aries wished to discuss at the top of IMPACT Wrestling this week. He called Hardy out essentially to congratulate him and tell him that he earned the main event slot at Bound For Glory. Ray had other ideas, however, and came out to call both of them lucky for his loss on Sunday. It ended with Hardy and Ray agreeing to battle it out in another match, which was later amended to includ Hardy’s shot at the title being on the line.
The inclusion of that stipulation was with Hardy’s full agreement and it absolutely raised the bar on the importance of this rematch. With months of effort having gone into that victory, Hardy could have lost his shot at the richest prize in the company all too quickly.
Thankfully for Hardy, he once again gutted through another tough contest and further proved that he belongs in the main event of next month’s pay-per-view.
Out of a plethora of near falls in this one, Ray’s best shot came when he countered a Twist of Fate from Hardy into a Bubba Bomb. It only netted him a two-count, though, and Hardy avoided another Bully Bomb by countering with a jumping DDT that got him a two-count.
Hardy chose to head up top, but Ray was not worn down enough and he crotched Hardy on the top turnbuckle. Ray met him up top for some clubbing shots to the back before delivering a big superplex that got him another two-count. Ray tried to keep on Hardy with a Vader Bomb, but it was a miss and Hardy returned to the top turnbuckle for another crack at the Swanton Bomb. He, too, missed his move when Ray moved out of the way and Ray immediately jumped on him for another Bubba Bomb. Somehow, Hardy once again kicked out of the ensuing cover at two and Ray seemed at a complete loss.
Ray still got to his feet first and retreated to the corner, where he called for the big boot and waited for Hardy to get back up. Once Hardy did, he went for the boot. It was ducked by Hardy, though, and countered with two straight Twist of Fates that kept Ray down on the mat for a successful Swanton Bomb. Hardy covered and finally received the three-count to keep his TNA World Heavyweight Title shot at Bound For Glory.
It wasn’t exactly Hardy’s wisest move to include the title shot he worked so hard to receive in this matchup against Ray. However, he proved a lot by putting it on the line and coming out victorious. Between his confidence and sheer ability inside the ring, Hardy is setting up to be a heavy challenge for Aries at Bound For Glory.