TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 3.21.13
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 21, 2013
3. Matt Morgan – for making good on his promise to start fixing Hulk Hogan’s problems with a win over Joseph Park:
Joseph Park’s giddiness at being a part of the TNA roster can sometimes rub people the wrong way. When he came out last week during the IMPACT Wrestling broadcast in Chicago and once again celebrated his role as an active wrestler in TNA, making it a point to mention his victory at Lockdown, Matt Morgan came down to the ring to rain on his parade.
Morgan not only made fun of the fact that somebody like Park was in TNA, but he also pointed the finger at Hulk Hogan for making a mistake by signing him. Morgan wanted to eradicate that mistake and got Park to agree to wrestle him in a match during this week’s broadcast. Morgan even gave a preview when he delivered the Carbon Footprint to Park in a sneak attack.
Park was clearly outmatched in this one and spent the better part of the bout taking whatever punishment Morgan wished to dish out. Park put together a small rally when he dodged a Carbon Footprint from Morgan, who got caught up on the top rope.
Realizing Morgan’s ugly predicament, Park lifted the rope on him in the crotched position. Park delivered some fists while ducking counters from Morgan and then he knocked The Blueprint down to the mat with a big shoulder tackle off the ropes. Riding an emotional high at that juncture, Park stopped thinking clearly and figured a high-risk move was in order. So he went to the second rope and leapt off with a splash.
Morgan moved out the way, however, and simply waited for Park to get back to his feet so he could deliver the Carbon Footprint. Morgan covered up and picked up the three-count that most expected him to receive.
A minor scare in that match aside, Morgan still made good on his promise to start eliminating the mistakes made by Hogan. It’s not clear who else is on Morgan’s radar, but getting back at Hogan is a mission he’s been on since returning to TNA and it’s going to be difficult to prevent the big man from making good on it.
2. Kenny King – for retaining the TNA X-Division Title in the first match under new division rules against Zema Ion and Sonjay Dutt:
Because it’s the cool thing to do in TNA every once in a while apparently, there have been rule changes made in the X-Division. There is now a weight limit of 230 pounds and all matches will be of the three-way variety. I will not claim to understand the rhyme or reason behind these decisions, but they will likely be forgotten or substituted with new rules in no time anyway.
The man most impacted by these changes, and therefore the man who should be the most peeved by them, would be the X-Division Champion, Kenny King. He remained confident in his ability to hold onto the title regardless of the number of challengers he would need to go up against.
His first task under the new era of the X-Division would come in the form of a title defense against Zema Ion and Sonjay Dutt. King has plenty of experience squaring off with Ion, but Dutt was a bit of a wild card and had his moment toward the end of the match where he could have put things away.
He nailed a big move to the outside when he launched himself with a moonsault onto both King and Ion. He moved Ion back into the ring, where he scoop slammed him near the corner and headed up top. King grabbed hold of Dutt’s leg, but Dutt kicked him right into the guardrail. Ion climbed the ropes in hopes of back suplexing Dutt back down to the mat, but Dutt hit him with some elbows to the head before flying off with a moonsault into the double foot stomp.
Unfortunately for Dutt, he hadn’t put King away nearly enough earlier and received a springboard neckbreaker from the champion just as he got back to his feet. King immediately hooked the legs on a cover and got the three-count.
King could have easily become discouraged by the X-Division’s new format, but he kept his confidence and didn’t let the title slip away from him when it appeared Dutt was nearing victory. Now he has to keep this momentum going, as it’s going to be a lot easier to lose the belt now that the odds will be stacked higher against him in every match.
1. Jeff Hardy – for holding onto his World Heavyweight Championship rematch by getting past Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle and Magnus:
Out of everybody that got screwed over when Bully Ray revealed himself as the president of Aces and Eights upon winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, only Jeff Hardy could seek immediate retribution because of his ability to get a title rematch. Hardy was one of the men who stepped up when Hulk Hogan called for the troops to fight Aces and Eights at the conclusion of IMPACT Wrestling a week ago — a move that ended up seeing TNA’s crew beaten down by the gang.
Despite Team TNA’s unfortunate fate, Hogan still opened up this week’s program to show his appreciation for the four men that got involved on TNA’s behalf. He introduced them all to the crowd – Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Magnus and Hardy. Hogan then asked Hardy if, after taking a hammer to the back and being involved in the brawl last week, he was in good enough condition to have a rematch against Ray. Hardy assured Hogan that he was, but then offered up the option of booking a four-way main event to determine who among the superstars in the ring was the best to go after Ray and the heavyweight title.
Hogan loved the idea and made it official. Hardy would face Angle, Joe and Magnus, with the winner earning the No. 1 Contender spot.
Hardy had things well in hand when he starting fight back from an attack by Magnus with a head scissors takedown out of the corner. An inverted atomic drop and double leg drop to the groin were delivered to Magnus by Hardy, who then added a low dropkick to the face for good measure. Noticing Angle charging in at him, Hardy stopped him with a Twist of Fate before hitting Joe with one, as well.
Hardy hit the trifecta with a Twist of Fate to Magnus and then threw the shirt off before heading up top for the Swanton Bomb. Angle got back to his feet and ran into the corner, hoping to hit the big belly-to-belly suplex off the middle turnbuckle. Hardy fought him off, but he wasn’t able to avoid before punched off the ropes by Magnus.
As Hardy lied on the apron, feet caught up in the turnbuckles, Angle delivered a belly-to-belly suplex from the canvas to Magnus. He ducked a closeline from Joe and countered with a German Suplex, which prompted him to pull down the straps and apply the Ankle Lock.
Joe held on long enough to get his wits about him and roll over, kicking Angle off him and into Magnus. Right after, however, Hardy came flying in with a Swanton Bomb to Joe seemingly out of nowhere. Hardy covered up and got the three-count just before Angle was able to stop it, keeping his rematch and shot at redemption against Bully Ray.
Hardy could have very easily just told Hogan he was good to go and rested up as much as possible before cashing in the rematch against Ray. But he wanted to prove he was the best man to hold onto the No. 1 Contender position and made the risky move of suggesting this four-way match. He proved that not only is he the best man for the job to go after Ray in hopes of shifting the power back to TNA, but he is ready and healthy enough to do so.