TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 2.7.13
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 February 7, 2013
3. Rob Van Dam – for retaining the TNA X-Division Championship against both Kenny King and Zema Ion:
Kenny King and Zema Ion are two of the most arrogant wrestlers on the TNA roster, let alone in the X-Division. Their egos are highly-inflated and have always looked to get the upperhand over each other and the wrestlers they go up against – even when partnering up as a tag team.
On this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, they wouldn’t need to worry about getting along when they participated in a Three-Way X-Division Championship Match against the titleholder, Rob Van Dam. Staying focused, however, would be key for the brash, young wannabe champions.
During the match, it was clear that King and Ion were trying to grab the spotlight and highlight their skills rather than go for the win. Even so, their moves were effective and easily could have closed out the match on a few occasions.
RVD is a veteran of this game, though, and knows better than the two of them how to take advantage of prime opportunities. The champion spent a good deal of time on the outside, while King and Ion battled it out inside the ring with some good offensive moves and a few near falls.
Van Dam struck when King hit Ion with a northern lights suplex and was a two-count into a pinfall attempt. Before the referee could get to three, he came crashing down on King with a Five Star Frog Splash and rolled right onto Ion to steal the victory.
Both King and Ion put on a good exhibition and looked better than Van Dam did during the match. RVD, however, knew the game better than both of them and closed out the match at the opportune spot. Unless King and Ion can truly focus on the task at hand instead of trying to one-up each other, RVD is in no danger of losing the X-Division Championship any time soon.
2. Bully Ray – for living up to his expectations and winning the Tag Team Tables Match main event alongside Sting against Aces and Eights:
Bully Ray’s relationship with Hulk Hogan has been very topsy-turvy. However, if there’s anything that Hogan despises more than Ray marrying his daughter, Brooke, it’s the Aces and Eights. Hogan knows that if he has any shot of seeing TNA outlast the gang, he’s going to need Ray on his side and ready to fight for the cause.
It’s that motivation that caused Hogan to reinstate Ray last week on IMPACT Wrestling and book a match for this week’s show that teamed his new son-in-law with Sting to take on two members of Aces and Eights. Just to add more fuel to the fire, Hogan added a Tables Match stipulation, which was right in Ray’s wheelhouse.
While Sting has been fighting the good fight the whole way and was an integral part to this matchup, the main point of focus was Ray. His credibility was on the line in this one and Hogan was counting on him to be the man he needs in the battle against Aces and Eights.
Sting and Ray would do battle with two members of Aces and Eights that they know very well – Doc and Devon. Doc, of course, was the man to put Sting out of commission for a bit. And we all know the storied history between Ray and Devon, who also has a great deal of familiarity when it comes to working with tables.
This match remained close and two-on-two for quite a bit, but that reluctance from the rest of Aces and Eights to get involved didn’t last the whole match through. When Ray and Devon took each other temporarily out of the equation with simultaneous closelines on the outside, Sting was left alone in the ring with Doc. He got Doc into a superplex position on the top turnbuckle with a table nearby, but he couldn’t complete the finish when Mike Knox entered the ring and pulled the table out of the way.
Devon got back into the ring and went to hit Sting, but he ended up nailing Knox instead when Sting moved out of the way. Sting sent Devon into the corner and delivered a Scorpion Death Drop to Doc, who rolled to the outside and Sting did the same.
Devon then set the table up just as Ray was getting back into the ring. He saw his former-partner on the mat and began to dish out some clubbing blows. Ray proceeded to “Hulk up,” though, and delivered some right hands to Devon before hitting the big boot. Ray picked Devon up off the mat and sent him crashing through the table with a chokeslam to close out the match in favor of TNA’s duo.
Hogan and Brooke made their way down to the ring following the conclusion of the match to congratulate the winning team, especially Ray. Ray ended up the big hero in this one and has apparently proven his credibility to Hogan.
We certainly haven’t seen the last of Aces and Eights and something seems afoot between Hogan and Ray, so I’m not sure either man is out of the water just yet. But, the respect at least appears to be coming into form between Hogan and Ray at this juncture. A bond like this is going to be hard for Aces and Eights to break in their plan to run over TNA.
1. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode – for becoming the new TNA World Tag Team Champions by defeating Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez just a short time into their partnership:
Austin Aries and Bobby Roode aren’t always in agreement, but they have certainly made an immediate impact since getting on the same page and forming a team. They feel justified in their status as former-World Heavyweight Champions and believe their place in TNA is right at the top. As a duo, they’re stance is no different.
They have done well enough in this vein at a relatively quick pace. Just last week, Aries earned Roode and himself a shot at the TNA World Tag Team Championships when, with the help of Roode, he was able to defeat Chavo Guerrero in singles action. They cashed in that title shot this week on IMPACT Wrestling in what would be their first true test when working together as an actual tag team.
There were times throughout this lengthy contest that it got a little heated between them and there was some in-fighting. At a point late in the match, Roode even walked out on Aries when he was run into by his partner, who had just broken up the third suplex of a Three Amigos. At that point, Aries was subjected to the final phase of that move and then set up for a Border Toss by Hernandez as Guerrero headed up top.
Before Hernandez could throw Aries, though, Roode reappeared to shove Guerrero off the top. Hernandez put Aries down and received a low blow from behind while the referee checked on Guerrero. Roode sent Hernandez to the outside before grabbing hold of Aries’ arm and whipping him into the corner for some extra momentum when he hit the running high dropkick on Guerrero. Aries pushed Guerrero into Roode, who put him on the mat with a Double R Spinebuster. Aries headed up top and came off with the 450 Splash, which was followed up by a cover and a three-count.
Aries and Roode celebrated pretty cohesively after the match with their newly-won straps. It’s tough to determine whether they will truly ever be 100 percent unified, but Aries and Roode seem to be getting the job done even when they don’t entirely get along. They are a dangerous tag team and have quickly risen up to the top of the ranks in the division. It would not shock me to see this reign be a lengthy one for a rather popular and talented combination like Aries and Roode.