TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week for December 13, 2012
3. Velvet Sky – for picking up a win in her return match at IMPACT Wrestling to help her chances of earning a Knockouts Title shot next week on Championship Thursday:
When Velvet Sky officially departed from TNA Wrestling back in July, it was a fairly big blow to a Knockouts Division that she helped to put on the map. But since the grass was apparently not greener on the other side, Sky made a surprise return to IMPACT Wrestling a week ago. Interrupting a segment between Knockouts Champion Tara and Mickie James, Sky made it clear that her intent was to get the Knockouts gold back around her waist.
Tara and James handled their business at Final Resolution, where Tara successfully defended her championship thanks in large part to participation from her boyfriend. Regardless, Tara won’t have much time to rest, as her next title defense comes next week on a Championship Thursday edition of IMPACT Wrestling.
Sky is going to be in the running to become Tara’s challenger, but she would need to prove herself in a return match this Thursday night when she went up against former-champion and former-Beautiful People partner, Madison Rayne.
Motivated by Rayne’s pre-match ranting, Sky started out the match on fire and put Rayne on the mat for a pin attempt that went for a two-count. Sky’s time on top ended when Rayne countered a double-underhook with a closeline. But much of Rayne’s time in control was spent yelling at referee Taryn Terrell, which eventually presented Sky with an opportunity to take back over.
After arguing with Terrell over not making a three-count, Rayne received a kick to the head by Sky and then a series of knife-edge chops. Some knee strikes and closelines followed, as did a back elbow and bulldog. All of that setup perfectly for Sky to lock in the double underhooks and hit the In Yo’Faces sitout facebuster that netted her a pinfall for a successful in-ring return.
The other possible competitors for Tara’s championship next week are ODB, Miss Tessmacher and James. So, Sky certainly has formidable competition for the No. 1 Contender slot. However, her victory this week against Rayne should go a long way in helping her case.
2. Jeff Hardy and James Storm – for teaming up to defeat two members of Aces and Eights:
Jeff Hardy and James Storm entered this week’s show off successful nights at Final Resolution, even if Hardy was left a little worse for wear following an unenviable post-match beatdown. Storm was able to get past Kazarian in an impromptu matchup that opened the pay-per-view’s in-ring action, and Hardy came out on top of his TNA World Heavyweight Championship defense against Bobby Roode.
Hardy’s night wasn’t all roses considering he was attacked by Aces and Eights after his win, and he made sure to answer that beatdown this week on IMPACT Wrestling. After Roode called out Aces and Eights to find out just who out-paid him for the gang’s services, Hardy and Storm decided they wanted a piece of the bikers and ran down to the ring for a fight. The two members of the Aces and Eights that were in the ring – Devon and Doc – escaped before much damage could be done. But, a match was still scheduled for later on that teamed Hardy with Storm to face Doc and a masked member of Aces and Eights.
The members of Aces and Eights clearly has the size and power advantage in this one. Hardy and Storm, on the other hand, brought the experience (both overall and in the tag team ranks) advantage to the table.
The duo of Storm and Hardy proved they were looking for a fight with a strong start to the match. Hardy was especially into it with a fast and unpredictable attack early on. When he got caught with a closeline from the apron by the non-legal masked member of Aces and Eights, however, momentum shifted and Hardy was left to suffer several minutes of punishment by the opposition.
After several failed tries to make the tag, Hardy finally made a move out of desperation by going through the legs of the masked man and then kicking him off when he grabbed hold of the champion’s leg to get Storm tagged into the match.
Storm first ducked a closeline and knocked Doc off the apron to make the situation one-on-one out of the gate. Now all alone with the masked man, Storm was lifted onto the apron and came back with a kick to the back of the head. Storm headed up top and leapt off with a big cross body to collect a two-count before the masked man was able to kick out.
Storm wasted a little time arguing with the referee and then tagged Hardy back in. They doubled teamed the masked man in the corner, first with a closeline by Storm and then the Poetry in Motion by Hardy. Storm noticed Doc entering the ring and stopped him with a kick before he and Hardy combined for a double team suplex in the center of the ring.
That’s when another big man from Aces and Eights hit the ring. His efforts were futile, however, as Storm cut him off. Hardy cut off another one, and then Storm ducked a baseball bat swing from Devon in order to counter with the Closing Time. Hardy closelined Devon over the top rope and to the floor, leaving Storm and Hardy alone in the ring with the two members of Aces and Eights they started the match out with.
Pumped up and ready to close things out, Storm nailed Doc with a Last Call Super Kick and Hardy dropped the masked one with a Twist of Fate. Hardy covered up and took the three-count to bring his team the impressive victory.
They learned after the match that the man who paid Aces and Eights off at Final Resolution was none other than Austin Aries, who explained later in the night that his motive was that he was sick and tired of doing other peoples’ dirty work. He wanted a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship, which prompted Hardy to come out to the ring and offer up a title shot next week on Championship Thursday. Aries seemed to decline, but an attack by Hardy possible changed his mind.
It’s still not clear whether that match will go down next week on IMPACT Wrestling, but Hardy seems as prepared as ever to put the title on the line if it turns out that he is to go up against Aries. It’s not clear what Storm’s next course of action is, either, but he looks just as ready to go no matter what obstacle he has to face next.
1. Bully Ray – for picking up a convincing win over Jesse in the main event during his attempt to prove himself to Hulk Hogan:
When Bully Ray turned the page on his career and started to do the “right thing,” he thought it would put him in the good graces of those that mattered in TNA, such as Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, getting close with man’s daughter can take things in the opposite direction, and Ray has been in Hogan’s doghouse since it’s come to light that there might be something going on between him and Brooke Hogan.
Aries was the one to first drag a possible Ray and Brooke relationship into the spotlight. And it was because of that, plus past interactions with the man, that Ray desperately wanted a match against Aries at Final Resolution. It took some time for Hogan to finally grant him the match, but he finally got it and was slated to battle the former-World Heavyweight Champion this past Sunday night.
Ray was having a rough go late in the match and was busted open. But, he still had a great chance to get his win over Aries. Unfortunately, Brooke chose to come down to the ring to check on him and she ended up getting into trouble with Aries as a result. Ray saved her and all, but it did cost him the match when Aries low blowed him from behind and rolled him up to collect the pinfall.
The trust issues continued on IMPACT Wrestling, and Hogan and Ray got into a heated discussion in the back prior to Ray’s main event matchup against Jesse. These two are clearly not on the same page, but Ray tried his best to make it clear that not only was it possible he wasn’t even interested in Brooke, but that she’s also a big girl and can make her own decisions. Hogan wasn’t buying it, but the heat between those two will play out in the coming weeks.
For this week, Ray had that match against Jesse and he came out ready to dish out a beating. Jesse quickly learned a hard lesson from Ray early in the match and ate several hard chops to the chest that could be heard across time zones.
Jesse really only got into the match when he saw Ray slap his girl, Tara, across the butt because she decided to get involved inside the ring. Jesse got some offense in against Ray, including several dropkicks and hard closeline.
It just wasn’t going to happen for the big man in the end, though, and his chance at the upset was wiped away when he wasted time flexing before going for a leg drop. He missed, obviously, and Ray waited for him to get back up and turn his way so he could hit the Bubba Cutter. Ray covered up, hooked the leg and got the three-count to earn the win.
As the segment came to a close, Ray screamed out to the camera and asked Hulk “What’s it gonna take?”
Hogan’s going to have to answer that question eventually, but Ray made it clear that he can still do plenty of damage despite the distraction. It will, however, be in his best interest to get this all worked out so what occurred against Aries at Final Resolution doesn’t repeat itself at any point in the future.