TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 10.25.12
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 25, 2012
3. Rob Van Dam – for making his first defense of the X-Division Championship in a Bound For Glory rematch against former-champion Zema Ion:
Rob Van Dam’s match for the X-Division Championship against Zema Ion at Bound For Glory kind of came out of nowhere. But he made the most of the opportunity, defeating Ion to add the title to the lost list of championships he’s won over the course of his career.
Van Dam will definitely bring a certain level of prestige to the X-Division Title, but he’s also going to have a long list of competitors who want to take it off him. That starts with the former-champion, who became attached to holding the strap since he won it at Destination X.
Ion got his rematch this week on the “Championship Thursday” edition of IMPACT Wrestling. Ion made a strong push toward the end of the bout in his effort to quickly gain back the title, but RVD was able to handle whatever he could muster.
When Ion failed to convert the pinfall off a leapting tornado DDT, he went high-risk and attempted a gorgeous corkscrew that missed. Both men got back to their feet at about the same time and Van Dam was able to take control with a springboard thrust kick. He followed up with the Rolling Thunder, which set up nicely for Van Dam to deliver the Five Star Frog Splash off the top rope. He covered up and collected the three-count to retain the X-Division.
Van Dam’s night went sour when Matt Morgan hit the ring and nailed him with the Carbon Footprint. Joey Ryan was also present and raised the X-Division Title over his head as if to signal that he’s gunning for the gold and is pushing to become the next contender for it.
Ryan is definitely sneaky and with Morgan in his corner, RVD does need to be concerned about him. But the type of ability and experience that Van Dam showed in his matches against Ion are just two examples of the fact that he’s more than capable of handling this new challenge.
2. Samoa Joe – for getting past the second Robbie in a Television Championship Match:
As TNA Television Champion, Samoa Joe is going to be featured on a far more consistent basis than he was prior to taking the vacant title. Since he’s won the gold, we’ve seen Joe look dominant in contents against the likes of Rob Van Dam, Magnus and Robbie E.
Robbie E. was Joe’s latest victim, who he defeated via the Coquina Clutch last Thursday. After that match, Robbie T. tried to attack Joe, but he received a rear naked choke for his troubles, too. So, that set up nicely for Joe to make this week’s defense of the Television Championship against the larger of the Robbies.
Contrary to Robbie E.’s effort last week, Robbie T. actually put up a decent effort against Joe. He absorbed many of the blows Joe sent his way and had the champion reeling on a few occasions with his forceful attack. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for Robbie T.
Joe managed to counter out of an attempted chokeslam by Robbie T. right into a choke, which Robbie T. actually managed to break on several occasions thanks largely to some referee distracting by Robbie E. Joe was determined, however, and he kept locking the choke right back on every single time Robbie T. got out of it. Finally, on the fourth attempt, Joe had Robbie T. on the mat and grapevined so he could not escape again. Robbie T. was forced to tap out, delivering Joe another victory at Television Champion.
This was a decent challenge for Joe and Robbie T. has, at the very least, earned another crack at the championship. But Joe still came out as strong as ever and worked through facing a more powerful opponent very well to keep the gold around his waist.
1. Jeff Hardy – for retaining the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in the evening’s main event against Hulk Hogan’s hand-picked opponent, Kurt Angle:
After winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Bound For Glory, Jeff Hardy received a one-week rest before heading into this week’s “Championship Thursday” episode of IMPACT Wrestling for his first defense of the gold as new champion. The field of possible challengers was narrowed down to four last week and included Mr. Anderson, James Storm, Bully Ray and Kurt Angle.
Hulk Hogan was tasked with narrowing down this list even further to one during this week’s show. After removing Anderson, Ray and Storm from the equation, it was Angle’s opportunity to challenge for the World Heavyweight Title in the main event against Hardy.
While defeating Austin Aries was a big deal for Hardy and the former-champion’s guaranteed rematch was still looming over the heavyweight title picture, there’s no doubt that Angle represents one of the toughest challenges Hardy is likely to face while holding the title. So, this would be a good test to see if Hardy was up for the task of being the top dog in TNA again.
It turned out that he is.
He missed an initial attempt at the Swanton Bomb and fell victim to an Angle Slam as a result. But he kicked out of the ensuing cover at two and countered out of a German suplex with not one, but two Twist of Fates. That allowed Hardy to head up top again and try for the Swanton Bomb, which connected this time and allowed Hardy to cover up for only a two-count.
Hardy ended up being sent to the floor by Angle, who retrieved the champion and moved him back into the ring to try for another Angle Slam. Hardy countered with a sunset flip, though, and he was able to keep Angle stacked for the three-count.
Hardy celebrated the victory with both the real title and his own personal version, but the party was short-lived when Aries attacked him from behind. Aries informed the downed Hardy that their rematch would take place at Turning Point and that he would bring the real championship back where it belongs.
Hardy needs to be wary of Aries. Aries can get jealous and sometimes that slips his guard a bit. But he is still a dangerous foe who can steal victories if necessary – as he did against Mr. Anderson earlier on the IMPACT Wrestling broadcast. Still, a win over Angle counts for a lot and he has a solid chance of stepping out of Turning Point with the World Heavyweight Title still around his waist.