TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 1.3.13
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 January 3, 2013
3. Christian York – for winning his opening round matchup in the X-Division Tournament against Kid Kash:
The field of X-Division superstars that could reasonably be Rob Van Dam’s next challenger for the championship is a bit wide open. Quite a few superstars have made a case to be the next in line, so TNA felt its best option to decide the No. 1 Contender was to start a tournament this week on IMPACT Wrestling.
One first round matchup took place on Thursday, with Christian York taking on Kid Kash. Next week, Kenny King will go up against Zema Ion. The two winners will face each other at Genesis, with that bout’s victor appearing later on the pay-per-view for a TNA X-Division Championship Match against RVD.
York and Kash are both similar in the fact that they have plenty of experience in the wrestling business. However, Kash has made more of a name for himself over the course of his career, while York has only recently become a bigger player. Either way, both had their eyes on the prize Thursday night and sought to advance to the No. 1 Contender’s Match at Genesis.
This match was a quick and physical one from start-to-finish and neither man really took definitive control. They even traded some two-counts in the late goings with Kash getting the latter off a small package. Kash tried to follow up with the Money Maker and even a backslide once York reversed his finisher, but York got out of it all before delivering the Mood Swing and that was all he needed to seize control for good with the pinfall.
York has been impressive ever since earning his spot on the TNA roster via Gut Check. But, to actually come through with a big win on IMPACT Wrestling was a solid step in the right direction after taking some losses, even if they were to high-profile opponents like Jeff Hardy and Van Dam. Now he awaits the winner of King vs. Ion to find out who his opponent will be at Genesis with the No. 1 Contender spot on the line.
2. James Storm – for shutting up Kazarian in singles action after losing out on the 2012 TNA Wrestler of the Year Award:
James Storm had an interesting year in 2012 to say the least, but it wasn’t quite up to par with the one Jeff Hardy had. As a result, the Tennessee Cowboy was not selected as the TNA Wrestler of the Year like the current World Heavyweight Champion was during IMPACT Wrestling’s opening segment and he certainly heard about it from Bad Influence in the back.
Christopher Daniels and Kazarian mocked Storm backstage, which only served to light a fire under him. He came right back at them with some fighting words of his own social media-style and challenged either one of them to take him on in the ring as the opening bout of the show.
At first, it looked like Daniels was going to be the guy to answer the call. As he stepped on the apron with his jacket off, Kaz entered the ring and nailed Storm from behind to complete the swerve. While Kazarian took on Storm in what was really a return match from Final Resolution (a match that Storm ended up winning), Daniels hung out at ringside to both support his partner and wait for the opportune moments to interject himself.
Daniels got involved on a few occasions and enabled Kaz to get control of the contest when perhaps he would have been in danger of losing it. Storm’s resolve was strong, though, and he kicked out of a cover at two following a swinging cutter by Kazarian that was largely made possible by Daniels’ second major instance of interference.
After the kickout, Storm hit Kazarian with the Closing Time and began signaling for a Last Call. As Storm warmed up, Daniels hit the apron and ran at him with a closeline attempt. Storm saw it coming, though, and ducked before knocking Daniels off the apron with a kick to the back of the head.
Meanwhile, Kazarian got back to his feet and charged at Storm in the corner. Storm moved out of the way and Kaz tried to springboard his way back to an offensive advantage off the middle turnbuckle. Unfortunately, Storm was waiting for him and drilled him with the Last Call Superkick after he leapt off. Storm covered up and picked up the three-count to make it two in a row over Kaz.
While a 1-on-1 matchup inside the ring, the numbers advantage was definitely in Kazarian’s favor considering the amount of involvement Daniels had. Still, Storm found a way to get past that and provided a big example of why he believes 2013 may very well be his year.
1. Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe – for beating and unmasking one of the members of Aces and Eights with a good deal of help from a returning Icon:
As the battle against Aces and Eights rages on, Kurt Angle seems to be the guy leading the charge against the motorcycle gang. He was one of the TNA superstars attacked by Aces and Eights and sought his redemption against Devon, Doc and the like ever since. He was provided an opportunity to get his hands and both Devon and another masked man this week on IMPACT Wrestling when he teamed with the man Devon regained the Television Championship from, Samoa Joe, in a Steel Cage main event match.
While that in its own right is a huge deal, there were two other interesting tidbits to watch out for. First, this was the night Sting promised to make his return. Also, Angle made the call that he wanted to unmask another member of the group right there inside the cage.
Both of those things came to fruition in a match that still provided Aces and Eights with a numbers advantage despite a steel cage surrounding the ring. Doc was able to make an immediate presence when he prevented Angle from entering the ring, leaving Joe inside with two members of the gang all by himself. Even when Angle finally got into the ring, Doc was able to blast him in the head with the cage door and bust him open.
Still, Angle and Joe were able to regroup and come together for the victory when a nice rally culminated in Angle delivering the Angle Slam to the masked man. He covered up after hitting the move and got the three-count to seal the win.
Angle tried to remove the mask of the big man following the match, but a ton of extra Aces and Eights members rushed the ring and began to attack both he and Joe. That’s when Sting finally appeared and he cleared the ring with bat shot after bat shot to each member of Aces and Eights. The only man left in the ring was the masked man from the tag match, who was unmasked as promised by Angle and revealed to be Mike Knox. Sting, Angle and Joe closed out the show standing tall inside the ring.
A big statement was made both by gaining the victory and by Sting’s involvement leading to another unmasking. These three men are far from done with Aces and Eights, but a big momentum boost was gained there.