TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 11.22.12
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 November 22, 2012
3. Christian York – for being a big boy and challenging TNA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy to a match that he was highly competitive in despite a loss:
This week’s Open Fight Night revolved largely around the winners of the Gut Check Challenges that have occurred over the past few months. Those winners appeared on IMPACT Wrestling, some for the first time since receiving their contracts, and were instructed to make an impression when making their challenges throughout the evening.
It was basically a moment of “Go Big” for these guys (and gal), which Christian York did more than anybody else. He went to the top of the food chain and called out the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hardy.
York has been in the business for a long time. So if anybody was going to challenge Hardy, it made sense that it would be York. Unlike some of the other competitors who likely would have fallen to Hardy relatively quickly, York actually put up a solid fight and had Hardy in trouble on a few occasions.
York was unfortunately unable to come out on top of the match, however.
He had Hardy in a vulnerable spot up top when it looked as if he was going to try for the superplex. Hardy was able to block, however, and took York down with a sunset flip powerbomb. Hardy followed up on York with a closeline and back elbow before sending him to the ropes. York reversed, but he still caught a forearm shot to the head. When he got back up, York was unable to nail Hardy with a closeline and ate a Twist of Fate on the counter. That set him up for Hardy to go back up top and dive off with the Swanton Bomb. Hardy covered for the three-count and victory.
He couldn’t lock down the win, but York still made the boldest move of anybody on the night by calling out the heavyweight champion. Despite the loss, he made good on his challenge with a solid performance against Hardy.
2. Wes Briscoe – for making the most of his Gut Check Challenge with a victory over buddy Garett Bischoff:
Wes Briscoe was clearly disappointed last week when Kurt Angle selected Garett Bischoff as his partner against Aces and Eights. The reality was that Bischoff did have more experience in TNA and a history with Devon. So, it was the right move. But that didn’t stop Angle from developing some big plans for Briscoe.
After Briscoe saved Angle from an attack by Aces and Eights following that tag team matchup, Angle called for the Gut Check judges to grant Briscoe an opportunity in the Gut Check Challenge on this week’s Open Fight Night. They seemed somewhat reluctant but apparently gave in since Briscoe opened the evening with a match against his and Angle’s buddy, Bischoff.
Briscoe certainly got one of the easier opponents since the initiation of this Gut Check Challenge. Regardless of the caliber of opponent, though, Briscoe still needed to impress since he will be judged next week. Bischoff didn’t exactly have that kind of pressure.
This was an evenly-contested matchup in which either man could have come out with the win. It was Briscoe who had the final say, though, and hit Bischoff with an interesting SOS-style pin attempt after he had just been hit with a flapjack. Briscoe must have caught Bischoff off guard, because his shoulders were kept pinned down for the three-count to grant Briscoe the win.
Angle, who watched on from ringside, was elated for Briscoe and went all-out in congratulating the second generation star. Bischoff was also happy for his friend and made sure to raise his hand after the match.
While it must be considered that he did face Garett Bischoff, a win is a win for Briscoe in his first match in TNA. He was fighting to impress the judges and earn a contract on IMPACT Wrestling, and it’s going to be hard to deny him based on his Gut Check Challenge showing.
1. AJ Styles – for scoring a win that his confidence needed dearly over Kazarian:
AJ Styles’ year has been a bit rough and it was only made worse at Turning Point when he suffered the pinfall in the three-way match against James Storm and Bobby Roode. By virtue of taking that loss, Styles will not be able to challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship until Bound For Glory in 2013.
It only made sense for those who have been the biggest thorns in his side to kick him the hardest when he was down. When Styles came down to the ring last week, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian decided to confront him. And Daniels put out a challenge for one last match against Styles at Final Resolution, which will count as perhaps the 100th time these two have faced each other in one final match.
Daniels and Kaz felt the need to bring it up on Open Fight Night this week before Kaz got bold and decided that he wanted to challenge Styles. Styles obviously accepted and these two did battle in what was otherwise mostly a night of challenges by former-Gut Check contestants.
In a surprising move, Daniels didn’t hang around for this one to help his friend, leaving Kaz and Styles to go at it one-on-one. Unfortunately for Kaz, he managed to make an enemy out of the referee and his actions shifted the odds in Styles’ favor.
After drilling Styles with a springboard DDT, Kazarian started arguing with Earl Hebner for getting in his way. Kazarian then charged at Styles in the corner and was countered with the start of a sunset flip, but Kaz went down before Styles could get the full rollup and had him in a pinning predicament. Kaz tried to take the shortcut by grabbing onto the ropes, but Hebner saw it and stopped his count at two, prompting another argument between them.
Kaz shoved Hebner, which caused Hebner to push him right back into a rollup from Styles. Kaz kicked out at two, but he missed a closeline upon getting up and fell victim to the Pele Kick. Styles covered right up and hooked the leg to collect the three-count for a big win.
Styles definitely needed that win for his confidence and will certainly look to build upon it heading into his next final match against Daniels. He may not be able to get a title shot for some time, but he can still stick it to the people that have agitated him the most.