TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 1.31.13
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 31, 2013
3. Joseph Park – for winning his “Open Fight Night” debut against Robbie E.:
Joseph Park has been determined for some time now to leave the courtroom behind and get in the ranks on the TNA roster as a professional wrestler. Not only has he had a few forays inside the ring, but he’s also spent a good deal of time at Ohio Valley Wrestling to learn the craft and try to improve his chances of being an impact player on IMPACT Wrestling.
On last Thursday’s show, Park noted that he was prepared to make his debut performance on “Open Fight Night” and he would spend the week both watching video and taking notes to determine just who he should call out.
When he came out in front of the Manchester, England crowd this week, he made mention of the fact that he watched hours of video and took copious notes. None of that mattered in the end, however, as it seems his decision was made for him. Before he could even announce his decision, Robbie E. and Robbie T. made their way to the ring and the former of those competitors goaded Park into accepting a challenge to face him.
Perhaps Robbie E. was the perfect opponent for Park to face anyway. There was no reason for the often-ambitious Park to reach too far over his head as he looks to make his mark in TNA.
The match was going Robbie E.’s way for a bit before Park found his bearings, which seemed to occur after sidestepping a charge in the corner. As Robbie E. got himself out of being hung up in the ropes, Park got fired up and shoved his opponent down a couple of times. A closeline came next and Park charged the corner at Robbie E., who moved out of way just in time to send Park crashing into the turnbuckles.
Still, Park had things well enough in hand to catch Robbie E. for a belly-to-belly suplex. Park then went up to the middle rope and flew off with a splash, which turned out to be good enough for the three-count to get Park a confidence-building victory.
Park is still a ways away from being at the top of the game, if he’ll ever really get there. And only so much stock can be put into a win over Robbie E. However, Park pulled through in his first “Open Fight Night,” coming back from playing defense early to string together a few moves that netted him a pinfall. Now we’ll just wait and see if he can build off this to add a few more “W’s” to his record.
2. Kurt Angle – for beating Mr. Anderson in a grueling Steel Cage Match before being blindsided by the two men he’s been mentoring, Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff:
Kurt Angle’s contribution to TNA’s battle against Aces and Eights has been huge. Perhaps even more than Sting and Bully Ray, Angle has done his best to fight back against the biker gang and he has even played a role in revealing some of the members who otherwise took pride in being shielded from having people know their true identity.
During Angle’s fight, he has also had a great deal of backup, including the likes of Samoa Joe, Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco. That part of his world would come crashing down on him this week on IMPACT Wrestling, but it wasn’t before he had a huge main event matchup against Mr. Anderson inside of a Steel Cage.
Since joining up with Aces and Eights, Anderson has been a prime target for Angle. There was never any love lost between those two anyway, as they’ve battled it out in the past – including a Steel Cage Match at Lockdown in 2010.
Prior to the match, Joe was attacked backstage. The attack was never shown, but Bischoff was left in the back to call for help while Brisco accompanied Angle to ringside and looked on as the main event occurred.
Angle shrugged all that off so he could focus on his bout with Anderson. Like previous encounters, there was no clear-cut winner between the two and it was sure to be a battle to the bitter end.
Angle had hoped to put things away when he caught Anderson trying to escape and Angle Slammed him all the way from the top rope back down to the mat. Several moments passed before Angle was able to roll on top of Anderson for a cover, which only got the two-count. Angle went to lift Anderson off the mat, but he caught a low blow and was given a Mic Check to turn the momentum over to Anderson.
A cover for Anderson was stopped at two upon an Angle kickout, though, and Anderson double hooked the legs for another pin attempt that once again only went for two. In disbelief that two covers didn’t pan out, Anderson again tried to escape the cage and again got caught by Angle – this time with a powerbomb. Angle stacked the legs for a two-count and then immediately transitioned into an Ankle Lock. Anderson held on for a bit, but Angle dropped down and hooked the leg, forcing Anderson to tap out.
A big win for Angle was spoiled when an Aces and Eights member climbed the cage and entered the ring. But, Angle had some backup in his corner and Brisco entered the ring to stand side-by-side with his mentor. Or, that’s what we were led to believe, at least, when the masked member of Aces and Eights revealed himself to be Bischoff. When Angle rushed Bischoff, Brisco went after Angle’s knee and the two attacked him as IMPACT Wrestling concluded.
That definitely blindsided Angle, as he had taken both Bischoff and Brisco under his wing. There will be hell to pay for those two, including from Joe considering they are the likely culprits who attacked the Samoan Submission Machine. That aside, Angle still had a pretty banner night beforehand by coming out on top of a close Steel Cage Match with Anderson. That can’t go unnoticed and it’s certainly something for Angle to hang his hat on going forward as the fight against Aces and Eights rages on.
1. Austin Aries – for earning Bobby Roode and himself a shot at the tag team titles by beating Chavo Guerrero in singles action:
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries may be partners by circumstance, but it’s certainly working out for the two former World Heavyweight Champions. Not only are they entertaining as hell, but they have developed into a formidable team that, by no secret, is willing to do whatever it takes to be as successful as they can no matter their situation.
Their situation at the moment happens to be a feud of sorts with the current TNA World Tag Team Champions, Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. Last week, Roode was selected as the power man of their team to face Hernandez in one-on-one action and he was victorious, partly because of involvement by Aries.
This week, it was Aries’ turn to do the bidding for their team and it came against the other half of the tag team champions – Guerrero. The one catch this time, however, was that a victory by Aries would earn Roode and himself a shot at the tag team titles.
Aries was working over Guerrero pretty well when he decided to get bold and go at Guerrero with a Frog Splash. Guerrero moved out of the way and started to get back into the match with a series of right hands and a dropkick. Guerrero swung away at Aries in the corner and hit a back body drop off a counter on an irish whip reversal to the opposite turnbuckles
Guerrero waited for Aries to get back to his feet before attempting a Three Amigos. He couldn’t even get it started before Aries countered out, but Guerrero still took right back over with an interesting flipping kick that scored him a two-count on the ensuing cover.
Guerrero then went for and connected on all three phases of the Three Amigos. After heading up top and delivering the Frog Splash, however, Roode entered the ring and prevented the referee from starting a count. Hernandez then came into the ring, but Roode took that opportunity to run out of the ring and distract Guerrero while the referee dealt with “Super Mex.”
That distraction enabled Aries to run in at Guerrero with the high dropkick in the corner before hitting the brainbuster in the middle of the ring. Aries covered up and got the three-count to score the victory and a tag team title shot for Roode and himself.
Aries and Roode argued over responsibility for the victory much like they did last week, so that questions their ability to truly work together. But, they were able to get the job done both weeks and that’s the part that matters the most. It’s not that farfetched to believe that Aries and Roode, who do mostly seem to be on the same page, could very well win the TNA World Tag Team Championships when they get their opportunity against Guerrero and Hernandez.