TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 1.24.13
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 24, 2013
3. Tara – for defeating Velvet Sky with some help from Jesse to hold onto the TNA Knockouts Championship:
Velvet Sky made it an immediate goal to win the TNA Knockouts Championship upon her return to the company, and she secured the right to make good on that promise by twice earning the No. 1 Contendership. First, she won a gauntlet match at Genesis and then defeated Gail Kim one-on-one last week to officially earn her shot at the title this week on IMPACT Wrestling.
Tara is one of the best TNA has to offer, but even she needed a little motivation prior to putting her title on the line. She received that from her boyfriend, Jesse, who hyped her and himself up while comparing Sky to an action figure. That was a different way to go, but it seemed to work for Tara just before she set out to defend her championship.
What also worked for Tara was the fact that Jesse was allowed to be at ringside for this match. No matter her talent, Tara always has an ace in the hole with her boyfriend in her corner and he played a role in the outcome of this match to keep the Knockouts Title around her waist.
Tara had the match in hand all on her own for a bit until she went up top and got caught by Sky, who slammed her down to the mat. Sky dished out some right hand shots to Tara before connecting on a couple of closelines and a tilt-a-whirl head scissors takedown. When Tara got back to her feet, Sky kept on her and drilled her face-first into the mat with an inverted-DDT of sorts.
When Sky went for the cover, however, Jesse was quick to hop onto the apron and provide a distraction to referee Taryn Terrell. Sky argued with Jesse until she could sense Tara running in behind her. That’s when she moved out of the way and watched Tara nail Jesse off the apron instead. Sky capitalized with a quick rollup on Tara, but she was only able to get a two-count out of it.
Sky tried to keep on Tara with a suplex, but Jesse was able to trip her up just as she lifted Tara. Tara fell on top of Sky in a pinning situation and Jesse grabbed a hold of Sky’s foot as Terrell made the three-count for a successful title retention by Tara.
Well, for all that hard work Sky had to put into getting this opportunity, it all became nothing more than a bust in part (or wholly because of) outside involvement. With the way title shots seem to get rotated around the Knockouts Division, there’s no guarantee another one will be right around the corner for Sky. But, Tara is in line to be champion for a long time so long as her indisputable talent continues to be backed up by the underhanded shenanigans of her boyfriend.
2. Bobby Roode – for getting a singles win over Hernandez as his partnership with Austin Aries continues to develop:
Austin Aries and Bobby Roode have temporarily tabled their World Heavyweight Championship aspirations in order to combat the “disrespect” they believe has been launched at them by TNA. Born out of a common dislike for Jeff Hardy, Aries and Roode slowly worked their way into a team that, while still in its beginning stages, could very well take the tag team division by storm.
A clear indicator that these two are forming a partnership came last week when they not only announced their mutual respect for each other, but they came together for an encounter against the TNA World Tag Team Champions, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. It was an encounter that Aries and Roode managed to escape from, but it did set up for a match this week.
Hernandez was selected to take on either Aries or Roode. The two former-World Heavyweight Champions were left to decide amongst themselves who would go one-on-one with Super Mex. After some debate, Roode was named the power man in their team and therefore declared the better option to take on the power man from the tag team champs.
In a way, it didn’t entirely matter which one of them was chosen to take on Hernandez because it was almost a certainty that the other was going to get involved in some fashion.
That turned out to be the case when Hernandez shoulder tackled Roode to the floor and was set to hit a dive on the “It Factor.” As he was running toward the ropes, Aries rushed down the ramp and moved Roode out of the way, stopping Hernandez short inside the ring.
Roode and Aries argued and shoved each other on the outside until Guerrero ran around the ring and attacked Aries. When that caused a distraction to Hernandez and the referee, Roode re-entered the ring behind Hernandez’ back and dropped him with a bulldog. Roode covered up and was able to collect the three-count when the referee slid back in the ring just in time to make it.
Roode continued to argue with Aries after the bell, figuring that he didn’t need his help in order to gain the victory. But he got it and was successful in the process, and Aries didn’t seem to hold any animosity afterward. When this situation does boil over, Aries and Roode should continue to develop as a strong and dangerous team.
1. Jeff Hardy – for retaining the TNA World Heavyweight Championship with a big win over Christopher Daniels:
Jeff Hardy has faced plenty of top-notch competition as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, but he was dealing with a different kind of foe on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling.
Christopher Daniels, who earned a title shot by defeating James Storm at Genesis, has been in the game for a long time but has yet to hold the heavyweight championship. Despite the fact that the title has eluded him his entire career, Daniels still entered Thursday night as confident as ever with the last laugh from a week ago on his side courtesy of delivering an Angel’s Wings to Hardy right on the championship belt.
Daniels also had the numbers advantage thanks to Kazarian being in his corner, as usual, expect this time with the label of manager “extraordinaire.” The man had a license and everything. Hardy would need to keep an eye out on Kaz, who did play a role during the match. But, this was a great one-on-one battle between two of the best in-ring competitors TNA has to offer.
The end result of the match was determined largely by the men competing in it, thankfully. Daniels looked to put things way with the Angel’s Wings after countering a Twist of Fate, but he could only come up with a two-count from it. He then went for a Best Moonsault Ever, but Hardy moved out of the way and Daniels was forced to land on his feet instead. Hardy tried to come right back at Daniels with the Whisper in the Wind, but “The Fallen Angel” moved aside and attempted another pin attempt that once again netted him a two-count.
Daniels clasped on the double underhook and seemed to be going for another Angel’s Wings, but Hardy countered with a hurricurana and followed up with the Twist of Fate. Daniels was sent reeling backward from the move, which in turn knocked Kaz off the ring apron. Hardy then hit another Twist of Fate to put Daniels down on the mat, where he was in perfect position to receive a Swanton Bomb. Hardy covered up after connecting on that move and collected the pinfall to retain the heavyweight title.
Hardy has done an admirable job of defending the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and this victory against Daniels ranks right up there along some of his best. Unfortunately, Hardy’s night ended on a sour note when a member of Aces and Eights nailed him in the back of the leg as the show was nearing its end. But, he didn’t look too injured by the attack and should be back in no time to defend the championship again, deal with Aces and Eights or do both at the same time.