TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 3.14.13
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 March 14, 2013
3. James Storm – for defending the honor of AJ Styles with a victory over Christopher Daniels … before being closelined by the returning Phenomenal One:
While Lockdown didn’t exactly go TNA’s way when it was all said and done, they did have an important victory on the night before it all went to hell with Bully Ray’s championship win. Team TNA was able to defeat Aces and Eights in the Lethal Lockdown Match, which James Storm was a big part of.
Storm’s participation in that match didn’t give him any long-term plans, though, so it seems like he’s doing more freelance work in TNA. That continued on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling.
AJ Styles was expected to make his big return to TNA this Thursday, but Bad Influence came out dressed as the Legion of Doom in front of the Chicago crowd instead when he failed to appear after being introduced. After some mocking of both Styles and the Road Warriors, Storm came down in defense of both and challenged one of them to a match.
Daniels was the victim when Storm pulled him into the ring, but the momentum swung in The Fallen Angel’s favor when Kazarian interfered on behalf of his partner. It remained that way until Daniels tried to overpower Storm with right hands. Storm won what exchange and followed with a forearm shot, inverted atomic drop and bulldog.
Storm attempted the Eye of the Storm, but Daniels was able to slide off his back and hit a big right hand shot. Daniels put Storm down on the mat to set up for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Storm moved out of the way and came back with the Closing Time.
Storm was going for a Last Call, but Kazarian provided a minor distraction on the apron to steal his attention. Daniels tried to capitalize with a rollup, but Storm held onto the ropes. He then ducked a closeline and hit the Lung Blower before stacking Daniels’ legs for the pinfall.
Unfortunately for Storm, no good deed goes unpunished. After winning the match, Bad Influence elected to assault him and Styles finally made an appearance to get Daniels and Kazarian off him. When Storm stood side-by-side with Styles afterward, Styles drilled him with a closeline.
So, Styles and Storm are not exactly buddy-buddy at the moment. But, Storm still did his part to punish Daniels, much like he did four nights earlier as a member of Team TNA.
2. Velvet Sky – for picking up a pinfall in tag team action after retaining the Knockouts Title at Lockdown:
It was apparent during the Knockouts Championship Match at Lockdown that Velvet Sky would not be defending her title alone. For some time now, Gail Kim has had her difficulties with referee Taryn Terrell and that tension hit its peak during this match.
Kim’s constant nagging and finger pointing eventually sent Terrell over the edge and she attacked Kim wildly out of frustration. A few moments later, Sky was able to take advantage of those events by delivering the In Yo’ Face for the victory.
According to a taped video from Kim on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, Terrell’s actions at Lockdown have her on probation. That still did not prevent her from being the referee in the ensuing tag team matchup that teamed Sky with Mickie James against Kim and Tara.
Once again, the issues between Terrell and Kim were present in this match and impacted its outcome. Sky delivered a tilt-a-whirl into a side Russian leg sweep to Tara and immediately covered up, but she could only get a two-count once Kim made a save. Kim wanted to remain on the offensive against Kim, but Terrell got right into her face since she was not a legal participant. After some finger-pointing between the two, Kim pie-faced Terrell down to the mat and continued to taunt her.
Well, Terrell no longer cared about being on probation and slapped Kim across the face. That was followed by James coming off the top rope with the Thesz Press onto Kim. Tara moved in on James and took her out with the Widow’s Peak, but Sky moved in next with an In Yo’ Face to Tara that was good enough for a pinfall.
The issues between Kim and Terrell only seem to be getting worse and it’s just a matter of time before they go at it in a match. Meanwhile, Sky seems to be gaining the most benefit from it and managed to secure solid singles and tag victories over the course of the week.
1. Bully Ray – for sticking it to Hulk Hogan and the TNA locker room as the leader of Aces and Eights just four nights after taking the World Heavyweight Championship off Jeff Hardy:
The events that took place in the main event at Lockdown couldn’t exactly be considered a surprise. It all seemed like a simple matter of time before either Bully Ray or Hulk Hogan was revealed as a member of Aces and Eights. And in the closing moments of the Steel Cage World Heavyweight Championship main event on Sunday, it turned out that Ray was the man in charge of the biker gang all along.
After what had already been a close battle between Ray and then-titleholder Jeff Hardy, several member of Aces and Eights climbed the cage. Hogan and his daughter/Ray’s wife, Brooke, could do nothing but stand outside the cage and watch as Devon tossed Ray a hammer, which he then used to smash Hardy in the back. Ray covered up, collected the pinfall, became World Heavyweight Champion and announced himself as the president of Aces and Eights.
Aces and Eights waited little time to continue basking in their glory. A tag team matchup was supposed to open IMPACT Wrestling this week, but that plan was scrapped when Aces and Eights came out to attack Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez. After disposing of those two men, Ray was introduced to the crowd in Chicago.
Ray talked about fooling everybody, including Sting, Hogan, Brooke and the fans. He then challenged Hogan to come on out and fire them. Hogan didn’t come out at that moment, but he did address the situation after a main event gone awry.
Sting, who originally convinced Hogan to trust Ray despite the general manager’s inclination to do otherwise, was in a foul mood. He was fooled by Ray and lambasted for it by Hogan. In no mood for shenanigans when Bobby Roode and Austin Aries started giving him crap backstage, he told Aries that they would fight.
That match did take place, was pretty solid and just moments shy of going Sting’s way via a Scorpion Death Lock. Before Aries could even consider tapping, Aces and Eights flocked to the ring and attacked Sting. Ray once again got on the microphone and called for Hogan, asking if that moment was memorable enough – referring to their prematch talk at Lockdown.
Hogan finally responded by coming out to the stage. He told Ray that firing them would be the easy way out, so he instead empowered everybody in the back to do what was necessary to fight Aces and Eights. Just then, several members of the TNA locker room hit the ring and engaged in a huge brawl with the gang.
Unfortunately for Hogan, the TNA crew fell and Aces and Eights were left standing when it was all said and done. The proud leader of Aces and Eights, Ray walked up the ramp a little to get closer to Hogan and asked him what he was going to do now that his cavalry was just killed.
Without even competing in an actual match, Ray and Aces and Eights left IMPACT Wrestling this week looking incredibly strong. With the World Heavyweight Championship around his waist, Ray has led a group that has truly taken over TNA and has Hogan backed into a corner.