TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 10.4.12
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 October 4, 2012
3. Chavo Guerrero – for defeating Kurt Angle off a distraction from his tag team partner, Hernandez:
While the antics of Christopher Daniels and Kazarian have made them the common enemies of AJ Styles/Kurt Angle and Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez heading into their defense of the TNA World Tag Team Championships at Bound For Glory, some of the heat is coming off them as their opposition realizes that it will be every team for itself on Oct. 14. Tension is starting to mount between the two contending duos and there is certainly some pushing on the end of the champions to get it even higher.
Daniels and Kazarian even resorted to trying to drive a wedge between partners on IMPACT Wrestling. They overhead Kurt Angle propositioning Sting to be his partner against Aces and Eights at Bound for Glory and utilized that situation to suggest to Styles that perhaps Angle’s head wasn’t completely in their tag team title match. Styles didn’t buy it and left what was originally a backstage discussion with Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez with some bitter words for all four men.
Of the six men involved in this upcoming triple threat tag team match, two of them competed on this Thursday night’s show. Angle, who was still grasping at a chance to pull double duty at Bound For Glory, suited up to take on Guerrero.
Hernandez and Styles were ringside in support of their respective partners, which would play a role in the result of this contest.
When Guerrero survived three consecutive German suplexes and countered out of an Ankle Lock, he came right back at Angle with the three consecutive snap suplexes before heading up top in hopes of finishing the bout off on a frog splash. He missed, however, and Angle put Guerrero on the mat with the Angle Slam. The straps were pulled down and Angle appeared ready to close the match out, when he was distracted by Hernandez on the outside. Left vulnerable to an attack from Guerrero, Angle was rolled up from behind and his shoulders were kept pinned to the mat (sort of) for a three-count.
Angle pushed Guerrero after the bell and a bit of a shoving match began to ensue between the two teams when Hernandez and Styles joined the fray. Daniels and Kaz appeared on the ramp to egg the two teams on and encourage them to continue fighting, which only caused the four men in the ring to call them down.
Daniels and Kaz didn’t oblige, but their plan to get Angle/Styles and Guerrero/Hernandez at each others’ throats is working to some degree. On this occasion, Guerrero was able to get a little momentum for his team when he capitalized on a distraction from Hernandez and picked up a win over the Olympic Gold Medalist. For the team that I believe is the least likely to escape Bound For Glory with the tag titles in hand, that’s a significant victory.
2. Samoa Joe – for making a successful initial Television Title defense against Rob Van Dam:
Samoa Joe may linger on the TNA roster at times – to the point of being frustrating, but he is always a threat to do something big when given the opportunity. When the vacant TNA Television Championship was on the line last week in a match between “The Samoan Submission Machine” and Mr. Anderson, Joe made good on his end and choked out Anderson to become the new titleholder.
Joe’s first defense of that title came this week on IMPACT Wrestling, when Rob Van Dam was given an initial crack at the new champion. Also hanging over both of their heads was the fact that Sting and Hulk Hogan were looking on to see if either of them was up to the task of being Sting’s partner against Aces and Eights at Bound For Glory.
RVD was a formidable first foe for Joe, but the champion did an incredible job neutralizing Van Dam’s high-flying attack with his very aggressive, stifling style. Van Dam couldn’t really get any type of breathing room early on and only started to come on a few minutes into the match, when a kick and thrust kick out of the corner put Joe on his back.
Van Dam looked to capitalize with a rolling thunder and he landed on Joe’s back for a little added pressure. He could only barely get a two-count out of the move, though. RVD stayed on him with a spinning double kick to the chest of Joe in the corner, but Joe recovered quickly enough to catch RVD as he was going for a monkey flip and put him on the top turnbuckle.
RVD managed to kick Joe away and hit a crossbody. He then stopped a kick from Joe and countered with an enziguri. But an attempt at the Five Star Frog Splash proved to be futile when Joe snapped back up to his feet and darted into the corner to hit Van Dam with the Muscle Buster. Joe covered up and collected the pinfall from there.
Not only did Joe retain the Television Championship in his first defense of it against a quality opponent, but he also gave Sting something to chew in regard to selecting his partner for Bound For Glory. That part didn’t work out for Joe in the end, but he still looked really good in the match against RVD and seems primed to make a long run of it with this championship.
1. Bully Ray – for defeating champion and challenger in the main event before successfully pleading his case to be Sting’s partner against Aces and Eights at Bound For Glory:
Bully Ray has done everything in his power to stay aligned with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship situation even though the title match is already set for Bound For Glory, where Austin Aries will put the championship on the line against Bound for Glory Series winner Jeff Hardy. Ray has maintained a presence in the buildup between Aries and Hardy, and he even managed to pick up a win over the champion two weeks ago during Open Fight Night.
The problem for Ray is that a desire to squeeze his way into the title match at the pay-per-view has not netted any result and his dance card for TNA’s biggest pay-per-view of the year is empty. That would change drastically by the end of this week’s IMPACT Wrestling.
With general manager Hulk Hogan and Sting paying close attention to the matchups on this week’s show with the intention of picking a partner for “The Icon” to take on Aces and Eights, Ray wanted a piece of the action. He went to Sting to drop his name in the race, and Sting called for him to prove to him that he really wanted it. So, Ray got into the middle of a discussion between Aries and Hardy to call out the latter for a match.
Aries took exception to that since he believes he is the barometer Ray should be measured against since he is the World Heavyweight Champion, and Hardy suggested a three-way matchup as a way to make everybody happy.
With Aries, Hardy and Ray going at it in the evening’s main event, two things were up for grabs. First, Aries and Hardy would be battling for momentum, while Ray was seeking a good matchup to increase his potential for being selected by Hogan to stand side-by-side with Sting against Aces and Eights.
Things worked out perfectly for Ray in the end.
He started to take over late in the match when Aries and Hardy decided to argue with each other in the ring. Ray closelined both of them hard and sent Hardy over the top rope and to the floor. Aries charged at Ray, but Ray back body dropped him over the top rope and he landed on top of Hardy on the floor.
Ray tried to pull Aries back in the ring, but he was dropped across the top rope and then nailed with a missile dropkick. Aries followed with a dropkick to Ray in the corner and then he set up for the brainbuster. Ray countered out by gouging the eyes of Aries and then headed for the corner to look for his chain. Instead, he grabbed the World Heavyweight Title belt and stalked Aries from behind as if he was going to nail him with it.
When Ray realized Hardy was back in the ring and charging in, he stepped out of the way and re-directed the “Charismatic Enigma” right into Aries. As Hardy stumbled backward, Ray hit him with the Bubba Bomb and covered up to score the three-count.
Picking up a win over both the champion and challenger in the Bound For Glory main event had to open the eyes of Sting and Hogan. Unfortunately, those two initially went with Mr. Anderson to be Sting’s partner against Aces and Eights. When the camera showed the gang beating up Anderson in the back, however, Hogan and Sting were forced to look elsewhere.
That’s when Ray hit the ring and pleaded his case to Hogan to name him Sting’s partner. Sting was on board with Ray fighting by his side and Hogan finally agreed to let it happen, although he appeared to remain skeptical of Ray’s loyalty.
It is a little fishy how Ray worked this out, but he’s still a powerful partner to have if he’s really going to be on the same page as Sting. This will be a fight against Aces and Eights and Ray knows how to do whatever it takes in order to come out with a win. And that victory against both Aries and Hardy on IMPACT Wrestling is just a small indication of what he’s capable of doing to get a win.