TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 12.20.12
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 December 20, 2012
3. Tara – for retaining the Knockouts Championship against Mickie James with the help of interference from her boyfriend:
Tara entered this week’s “Championship Thursday” edition of IMPACT Wrestling knowing that she would defend the TNA Knockouts Championship. She just didn’t know who she would be putting the title on the line against. There were four potential challengers – Mickie James, Velvet Sky, Miss Tessmacher and ODB, and there was little she could do to prepare since all of her potential opponents brought different styles to the table.
Brooke Hogan was in charge of narrowing down the field to just one. She immediately eliminated ODB from the running and Tessmacher was the next one told to wait her turn. Finally, Hogan told Sky it wasn’t her time just yet and James was sent through the curtain to challenge for the championship.
Tara was, of course, accompanied to the ring by Jesse and he played a pivotal role in the outcome of this bout. James actually seemed to have the match in the bag when she hit the Mickie-DT off a Widow’s Peak counter. Jesse interrupted the ensuing count, though, by pulling his girlfriend out of the ring.
James answered that move by delivering a flying Thesz Press all the way to the floor onto Jesse. After a little slap to Jesse’s face, James sent Tara back into the ring and looked to step back into the ring herself. While referee Taryn Terrell checked on Tara, however, Jesse grabbed James’ leg and prevented her from getting back into the ring until Terrell finally noticed and told him to let go.
James was able to charge at Tara once he did so, but Tara caught her with a knee right to the face. James was clearly out of it after that move with one of her knees bent awkwardly on the mat. Tara immediately covered up and scored the three-count to get the win and keep her Knockouts Championship.
Clearly Jesse played a role in Tara’s success on this night, as she likely would have been done once James hit that leaping DDT. Fortunately for Tara, though, she was able to take advantage when the opportunity presented itself and she remains the Knockouts titleholder for it.
2. Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan – for defeating the interesting duo of Rob Van Dam and Kenny King after King decided to bail on his partner:
There’s no doubting that Joey Ryan and Matt Morgan are an odd pairing, but they both have a common goal and that is to earn respect in TNA. They have different methods of going about accomplishing that goal, as Ryan likes to shoot his mouth off and Morgan likes to intimidate with his dominating size and strength.
Ryan and Morgan had a chance at becoming World Tag Team Champions at Final Resolution, but that dream was dashed when they suffered a loss via disqualification. Still, they didn’t seem to lose much steam despite the result and remain near the top of the contenders when it comes to challengers for Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez.
They teamed up on IMPACT Wrestling this week for a bout against another weird duo – Rob Van Dam and Kenny King. Van Dam and King have been opponents recently. RVD defeated King at Final Resolution in their X-Division Championship showdown, while King picked up a win last week when he used the ropes for assistance in securing a pinfall.
Apparently their teaming after facing each other these past few weeks was supposed to be a sign of mutual respect between the two. That went completely out the window by the end of the tag team match against Ryan and Morgan, though.
RVD got a tag late in the match and took care of Ryan with a series of lightning-quick kicks and a closeline. King then came back into the ring to deliver a double dropkick alongside RVD to Morgan, who dropped off the apron as a result.
In the ring, Ryan was able to rake the eyes of Van Dam, who then stumbled into the corner. Meanwhile, King went at Ryan and was able to deliver an atomic drop and spin kick to the back of his head. After dropping Ryan, King noticed Morgan getting back into the ring and thought about his next move for a couple of seconds.
He finally decided on telling Morgan “peace out” and left the ring for RVD to catch a Carbon Footprint from the big man. Morgan put Ryan on top of Van Dam to collect the pinfall and the three-count was academic.
This isn’t done between RVD and King – that much if obvious. But as far as Ryan and Morgan go, they are certainly a cohesive and dynamic unit that still represents a more than adequate challenge in the ranks of TNA’s tag team division.
1. Jeff Hardy – for keeping the TNA World Heavyweight Championship with the aid of Bobby Roode:
Jeff Hardy took great offense to the methods being employed by Austin Aries, specifically his decision to pay off Aces and Eights to do part of his dirty work. Hardy made that clear at the end of IMPACT Wrestling last week when he not only offered up a title shot to Aries for this week’s program, but he assaulted him to the point of almost hitting a Swanton Bomb before Aries rolled out of the ring.
The TNA World Heavyweight Title Match, which would represent the third showdown between these two, wasn’t made official by the end of last week’s program. It was, however, announced as the main event at the top of the “Championship Thursday” episode this week.
Logic would have had Hardy keeping an eye over his shoulder on the chance that Aries was keeping Aces and Eights on the payroll for this night. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t Hardy that needed to worry about somebody else getting involved in this match.
Some back and forth in the later stages of this match resulted in the referee being taken out courtesy of Aries kicking Hardy off a leg drop attempt and into the man in stripes. While Hardy showed some concern for the ref, Aries simply nailed Hardy with a low blow and then delivered the brain buster. He called to the back for another referee and then stacked up Hardy for the pin attempt.
Before the new referee could make any kind of count after running down, he was pulled out of the ring by Bobby Roode. Since Aries wasn’t actually facing the referee’s way, Roode came in and started a count, stopping just short at the two. When Aries got up and turned around to see what was going on, he noticed Roode there flipping him the bird and then he received a Double R Spinebuster.
Roode left the ring and Hardy was able to hit a Twist of Fate to set up for the Swanton Bomb. Hardy covered up and got the three-count to keep the TNA World Heavyweight Title around his waist.
Hardy benefited greatly from Roode’s interference, but that just stood as an equalizer to Aries’ shenanigans in the end. The title picture is not clear right now, and Hulk Hogan mentioned that sorting it out was a top priority for him as the show was coming to a close. It seems like Roode, and perhaps even Aries still, are at the top of the list of possible challengers for Hardy’s championship.