TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 1.10.13
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 10, 2013
3. Jay Bradley – for earning the Gut Check victory this week over fellow-contestant Brian Cage:
All Gut Check competitions to this point have consisted of a newcomer seeking a contract with TNA battling an already-established wrestler with the company. They decided to change things up a bit on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling and decided to allow two aspiring TNA stars the opportunity to battle each other in Gut Check.
Jay Bradley and Brian Cage were the lucky contestants this week. While there was definitely respect between them, that wasn’t going to stand in the way of either competitor giving it his all for the opportunity to stand in front of the judges in hopes of earning a contract.
Both guys were fairly impressive and given a shot to display his talents in front of the IMPACT Zone audience. Only one of them could come out on top, however, and that feat went to Bradley. It seemed like there was a high amount of anticipation during the match for Bradley to break out a big lariat, which he calls the “Boomstick.” He was finally able to hit it after ducking a discus closeline from Cage and then Bradley covered up to collect the pinfall.
This new format for Gut Check is certainly intriguing and gives two hopefuls a more legitimate shot at winning their match while showcasing their skills. Now Bradley just needs to wait and see if he did enough against Cage to pique the interest of the judges.
2. Kenny King – for winning his opening round match in the X-Division Tournament against Zema Ion to earn a shot at Christian York at Genesis for the No. 1 Contendership:
A tournament kicked off last week to determine who Rob Van Dam will next defend the X-Division title against. Four X-Division stars were entered into this tournament, with a No. 1 Contender slated to be determined at Genesis.
Christian York was the first man to advance to that matchup by picking up a win over Kid Kash on last week’s IMPACT Wrestling. This week, it was time to figure out if York would face Kenny King or Zema Ion in that No. 1 Contendership bout.
Both King and Ion are about as cocky as they come, so there would be no shortage of ego in this match. There would also be no shortage of speed and skill, either.
Ion seemed to be working his way to victory by netting a few near falls in the end and having King set up near the corner while he attempted a 450 Splash. King was able to roll out of the way when Ion attempted the high-risk move, however, and proceeded to dropkick Ion hard into the turnbuckles. King then followed right up with the Royal Flush to plant Ion on the mat for the pinfall.
After the match, King’s confidence only escalated and he declared to the IMPACT Zone that Christy Hemme would be announcing him as the new X-Division Champion on Sunday.
King has a bit of work to do before getting to the point, starting with the tournament finals match against York and then the championship bout against RVD if he manages to get to that point. But, King has proven in his short time in TNA to have the talent to go toe-to-toe with both of those men, and he may just have enough in the tank and up his sleeve to get the job done.
1. Sting – for defeating Mike Knox, who had previously injured Kurt Angle with the hammer:
TNA received a big boost in its war against Aces and Eights last week with the return of Sting, who played an integral role in yet another member of the gang being unmasked. When it seemed that Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe would be outnumbered in a beatdown by Aces and Eights, Sting made one of the most underwhelming returns in professional wrestling history to save his buddies and provide the space necessary for Angle to rip the mask off who turned out to be Mike Knox.
With a huge victory over Aces and Eights, Sting, Angle and Joe felt very confident when opening up this week’s IMPACT Wrestling to essentially provide the gang with an open invitation to come down and get a butt whooping. Angle even called out Mr. Anderson to find out where he stood in this whole fiasco.
Anderson came out and didn’t have too many kind words for Angle. But, that didn’t matter to Angle, who simply wanted to do whatever he had to do to get at Aces and Eights. If Anderson wasn’t with them, then he was against them and that was a problem for Angle. In the end, a match was scheduled between the two for later on in the show.
Unfortunately, that match never did take place since Knox interrupted the contest before it could really get going by attacking Angle with the ball-peen hammer. Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco and Joe came out to save Angle, but the damage was done by Knox and Angle had to be stretchered out.
That didn’t stop Sting from going down to the ring and calling out Knox. He challenged Knox to a match, which Devon essentially forced Knox to accept. If what Knox did to Angle wasn’t enough to get him back in the good graces of Aces and Eights leadership after losing his mask, defeating Sting would definitely get the job done.
Unfortunately for Knox, he didn’t really do much to help his standing in this match. Aside from a few shots here and there, Knox was ineffective against Sting. Sting, on the other hand, was really able to dish out quite a bit of punishment against Knox.
Sting was unable to apply a Scorpion Death Lock because Knox was able to kick him off and into the turnbuckles. That’s where Knox was also able to deliver a splash to Sting. Sting just shrugged that off, though, and put Knox into the corner. Sting then hit the Stinger Splash before grabbing hold of his opponent and dropping him with the Scorpion Death Drop. Sting covered up and collected the pinfall for the victory.
Sting would have loved nothing more at that point than to beat Knox down further, but Devon came out with the rest of Aces and Eights by his side and Brooke Hogan in their possession. Bully Ray had to come down for the save, which led to shenanigans involving Hulk Hogan to close the show.
But, in regard to Aces and Eights, Sting definitely made his presence felt for a second week in a row since returning. He may be without the aid of Angle for some time while the Olympic Gold Medalist heals from the attack dished out to him by Knox, but Sting has the ability to fill in and lead a pack of whatever superstars want to stand beside him as this war against Aces and Eights continues.