TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 11.29.12
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 29, 2012
3. Bobby Roode – for forcing Christian York, the man who took Jeff Hardy to the limit a week ago, into submission after being called out by the TNA newcomer:
Bobby Roode is certainly not the most well-liked individual in TNA and what he did two weeks ago is just a prime example of why that is the case. After failing to win the three-way match at Turning Point, he goaded winner James Storm into putting the No. 1 Contender’s spot for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship he gained with his pinfall over AJ Styles on the line by bringing up Storm’s daughter in a not-too-PG moment. Classy move to say the least, but it was effective. Roode managed to defeat Storm and claim the title shot against Jeff Hardy at Final Resolution.
With Storm in the rear view mirror, Roode turned his attention toward challenging for the heavyweight gold. On last week’s IMPACT Wrestling, he made it clear to Hardy that he was coming for him. When Hardy just narrowly escaped with a win over Christian York in an excellent matchup during last week’s Gut Check version of Open Fight Night, Roode attacked both York (with a spinebuster) and Hardy (with a spear).
On this week’s show, Roode came down to the ring to talk about what he did a week ago. Not only did he mention Hardy almost losing to a “rookie,” but he challenged Hardy’s status as a legitimate champion and even challenged York’s decision to call out Hardy instead of himself.
Well, York heard what Roode was saying and came down to the ring. Upon delivering a slap to the face of Roode that sent the No. 1 Contender rolling to the floor, York granted Roode’s wish and called him out. Feeling insulted by the newbie, Roode accepted the challenge.
Much like a week ago, York was very impressive and shows signs that good things are coming from him in TNA. Unfortunately, he still wasn’t able to muster up enough to pull out the upset.
After failing to pick up a pinfall on Roode off a cannonball in the corner, York called for the Mood Swing in hopes of getting another shot to close out the match. Roode managed to counter with the start of a Pay Off, but York countered that with a cradle and kept Roode’s shoulders on the mat for a two-count.
Roode was shocked by that move and headed toward the apron to catch his breath. York tried to pull him back in the ring by his leg and then grasped on to his back as if to go for a rollup. Roode held onto the ropes, though, and York was forced to let go. As he did, he stupidly pushed the referee out of the way and turned his attention away from Roode, who ran right in behind him with a closeline to the back of the head. Roode pounded away on York’s back with a few shots and then locked on a crossface, which forced York to tap out.
Roode wasn’t looking to let York get away easily, and he kept the crossface applied a bit longer than necessary following the bell. Then he grabbed a steel chair from the outside with definite plans to injure York’s leg. Before he could take any shots, Hardy ran down to the ring and delivered a series of right hands to the head of Roode. A Twist of Fate was coming next, but Roode dropped out of it and left the ring before any further damage could be done.
York continues to impress, but he ran into a fairly determined No. 1 Contender. Roode definitely had an easier go of it against York than Hardy and his submission win over the TNA newcomer was more convincing. Roode also might be getting into Hardy’s head, which is far more important than anything they do against York considering their championship encounter at Final Resolution.
2. Mickie James – for gaining some momentum with an impressive victory over Gail Kim:
On the Nov. 15 episode of IMPACT Wrestling, Mickie James made her return to TNA programming after a more than three-month hiatus. She made an immediate impact by winning a Knockouts battle royal to become the No. 1 Contender for the TNA Knockouts Championship currently held by Tara.
The final Knockout that James eliminated in that battle royal was Gail Kim, who she met up with one-on-one during this week’s show. With James’ match against Tara for the gold coming up next Sunday, this bout vs. Kim would be a terrific test to see just how ready she is after spending the amount of time that she did away from the ring.
James, who was potentially in danger of overlooking Kim as she prepares for her title match at Final Resolution, passed that test against a high-caliber opponent.
Kim certainly brought it, though, as she sought some semblance of redemption for just missing out on the chance to challenge Tara for the title herself. She was very physical early on and left James little breathing room to get any offense going.
Once James did see an opening, she made sure to take advantage of it. After suffering through a painful scissoring submission from Kim and then bridging out of a pinning combination, James gain some separation by kicking Kim off her during another submission attempt. When Kim came out of the corner, James was waiting there to deliver the flapjack.
James headed up top and missed the Thesz Press, ending up back on the defensive when Kim drilled her with a nice running dropkick to the chest. Kim covered up, but referee Taryn Terrell quickly ceased her count when she saw Kim putting her legs on the ropes for added leverage. Kim got James up and looked for the Eat Defeat, but James countered out and came back at Kim with the Mick Kick.
James moved in for the cover, but the fact that Kim had arms and legs underneath the ropes prevented Terrell from eating starting a count. James then moved Kim out of the corner and covered up, but she only received a two-count by this point. As James took her time getting to Kim in the corner, Kim hit her with a low kick and put her against the turnbuckles. Several right hands were blocked and countered by James, however, and one final back elbow enabled James to go for and hit a hurricurana out of the corner.
James connected on a few leaping forearms and then hit a neckbreaker off a counter on Kim. That only got her a two-count, as well, and Kim proceeded to move James into the corner off a counter of the leaping DDT. James dodged a charge by Kim and then connected on the leaping DDT out of the corner. Finally, James covered up for a successful three-count to garner an important momentum-building victory heading into Final Resolution.
James certainly needed a match like that to prove she is ready for the title match against Tara. Kim is a high-caliber opponent and showed to be the perfect test for James. Now James just needs to build off this over the next week and a half if she hopes to truly make her return to TNA successful with another run carrying the Knockouts gold.
1. James Storm – for carrying the load for his tag team and picking up a win despite partner AJ Styles’ lack of focus during the bout:
James Storm made a reactionary decision two weeks ago when he gave into Bobby Roode’s challenge and ended up losing his No. 1 Contender status for the TNA World Heavyweight Title. He admitted on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling that the fact his daughter was brought up played a big role in him granting Roode the match that he ultimately lost.
That is a bitter pill to swallow and one Storm will regret for some time. But that’s not Storm’s only problem. Even before the match at Turning Point that first granted him the No. 1 Contender status, AJ Styles and he have been on rather rocky terms. They haven’t necessarily come to blows in a big way, but there’s been some verbal jabbing going both ways. And it didn’t help matters that Styles is now denied a shot at the heavyweight title until Bound For Glory in 2013 because he ended up taking the loss at the hands of Storm during the three-way match at the last pay-per-view.
Not being able to compete for the heavyweight title is bad enough for Styles. But having to deal with old enemies again in the form of Christopher Daniels and Kazarian just makes matters that much worse. They’ve been kicking him while he’s down and will look to make him feel even worse when Daniels and he go at it one-on-one for the final time again at Final Resolution.
Still being a week and a half away from that encounter, though, Styles and Storm would need to put their difference aside for this week because they were scheduled to face Daniels and Kaz, now named Bad Influence apparently, in tag team competition.
Daniels and Kaz were obviously going to be on the same page. But would the same hold true for Storm and Styles?
Storm seemed ready to go and focused on the task at hand. Styles, on the other hand, was not wrestling with a clear mind and couldn’t seem to connect on anything during his time in the ring. It took Storm to get any kind of momentum going for their team and Styles never had that kind of success.
Because things were playing out that way, it turned really sour for their team when Daniels and Kazarian managed to get the best of Storm and work him over for several minutes. It became necessary for Styles to get back into the match in hopes of relieving his partner, regardless of his performance early on.
Styles’ chance to do good for his team came when Storm escaped a double team attack from Bad Influence after they wasted time dancing around. Storm leapt to his corner and made the tag, bringing Styles in to drop Daniels and Kazarian with back elbows, closelines and kicks. Styles planted Kaz face-first into the mat before hitting Daniels with a drop-down neckbreaker.
Styles was lifted onto the apron when he charged at Daniels in the corner, but he landed and delivered a fist, which created enough separation for Styles to nail a springboard flying forearm on his Final Resolution opponent. He could have likely gone for the win there, but instead elected to launch himself toward Kaz on the outside. He missed and crashed to the floor, however, which enabled Kaz and Daniels to take some shots at him on the outside.
They moved Styles back into the ring and Kaz knocked Storm off the apron. Then they sent Styles to the ropes and lifted him up for a double team powerbomb-neckbreaker combination, which was highly-effective, but only got them a two-count on the ensuing pin attempt. When they tried to double up on Styles again, he countered out with a kick to Daniels. He then started to chop away at Daniels’ chest, while Storm pulled Kazarian out of the ring and sent him into the steel ring steps.
Styles went for an irish whip, but it was reversed and he ended up missing a Pele Kick in the middle of the ring. Fortunately, Storm had the wherewithal to make a blind tag when Styles hit the ropes and he came in to prevent Daniels from taking advantage of Styles’ miscalculation with an Angels Wings. Instead, Storm drilled Daniels with a Last Call superkick and then covered up to collect the three-count.
Styles had a decent push in the end there, but his mind just wasn’t into it. Storm made up well for his partner’s deficiencies on this night and he proved to be the difference maker in getting his team the “W.” This bodes well for Storm, as he rebounds from losing his No. 1 Contender status. As for Styles, he has a lot of work to do if he wants to find success in between those ropes, especially with a crucial matchup coming up against Daniels at Final Resolution.