TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 6.20.13
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 June 20, 2013
3. Austin Aries – for answering the challenge of Jay Bradley and coming up with seven points in the Bound for Glory Series:
There is rarely a clear-cut favorite to win the Bound for Glory Series when it begins, but there are generally a few participants that can easily be viewed as not having a chance. Out of the field of 12 in this year’s competition, Jay Bradley fits that mold. He earned his way into the Series by beating Sam Shaw at Slammiversary to fill a slot reserved for one of the Gut Check winners, but he was always going to be a long shot at best.
That did not prevent Bradley from making a bold first challenge during this week’s “Open Fight Night” edition of IMPACT Wrestling. He called out a former TNA World Heavyweight Champion that could be perceived as one of the top guys in this year’s Series, Austin Aries.
Now, Bradley does have the size and aggression to be a tough opponent, and he showed that early when he thwarted a high-risk maneuver from Aries by kicking him all the way to the floor. But Bradley couldn’t capitalize with a pinfall in his ensuing offensive onslaught, thus allowing Aries to get back into the fight by avoiding a big boot in the corner.
With one of Bradley’s legs hung up on the top rope, Aries proceeded to pelt the other with some kicks. Aries continued to work over that leg in the corner, and then he went up top for a missile dropkick that connected. Aries ran at Bradley in the corner, but he got caught with a boot to the face. However, he countered an attempt at the Boomstick with a discus elbow.
Aries continued to pound him with fists and kicks before hitting the ropes, which enabled Bradley to catch him with an impressive spinning backbreaker. Bradley prepared the Boomstick again, but Aries pulled out another counter, this time with a crucifix maneuver.
Aries then charged at Bradley in the corner with a high dropkick, which was immediately followed by the brainbuster. Aries hooked the leg and collected the three count to put up seven points beside his name on the Bound for Glory Series scoreboard.
Bradley may not be a favorite to win this Series, but he proved that he’ll be a tough opponent against everybody else involved. Aries simply had the speed and experience to work around Bradley’s advantages and picked his spots best to get the win, starting off his quest to earn another heavyweight title shot very well.
2. Magnus – for scoring a submission victory over Kazarian to pick up 10 big points in the Bound for Glory Series:
Magnus is one those of those guys TNA is really trying to build into a rising star with the company, and he’s done quite well for himself while taking on this responsibility. He earned his way into the Bound for Glory Series last week by getting past three other men — Matt Morgan, Rob Terry and Kenny King, and he could very well be a nice sleeper pick in the entire competition.
Magnus’ first test in this year’s Series came against Kazarian, who called him out as part of “Open Fight Night.” Kazarian wanted to prove himself against one of TNA’s top prospects and, as he pointed out, one of Dixie Carter’s favorites.
Magnus took the immediate advantage, but it did not take Kazarian long to trip up Magnus and grab the offensive edge. Magnus got back on top when he forced his way out of a Dragon Sleeper by kneeing Kazarian in the head. Magnus followed with a few big closelines in the center of the ring before sending Kazarian to the ropes. Kazarian kicked him in the chest on the return, but Magnus took right back over with another big closeline in the middle of the ring.
Magnus sent Kazarian to the ropes and caught Kaz coming back with a springboard crossbody, slamming him back down to the mat with a suplex. Magnus covered up, but Kazarian was able to get a boot up on the rope to stop the count at two.
Magnus went for a charge in the corner, but he slammed into the turnbuckles when Kazarian moved out of the way. Kazarian then went up top and delivered a missile dropkick, but he bounced off Magnus’ chest and got locked into a Texas Cloverleaf. Kazarian held on for a bit, but he eventually had to tap out and Magnus secured a 10-point victory as a result.
That’s a hell of a way to start off the Series for Mangus. It’s critically important to get a win of any variety in these matches, but it’s also a numbers game. Grabbing the 10-point win vs. just a seven-point win could make a big difference when the Series winds down. Magnus put himself in a great position.
1. Jeff Hardy – for challenging Bobby Roode and making good on that challenge in the main event:
This week’s IMPACT Wrestling started off with 10 of the 12 Bound for Glory Series participants standing in the ring, and the other two were introduced by Hulk Hogan. Both Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode, the two previous Series winners, joined the rest of the field in the ring and Hogan announced that Hardy won a fan vote to make a challenge to anybody else in that ring as part of the “Open Fight Night” theme for the evening.
Austin Aries and Christopher Daniels made their cases for Hardy not to choose them, and the Charismatic Enigma basically obliged by selecting Roode as his opponent for the main event. And then a brawl broke out between all of the Series combatants.
Hardy and Roode could be considered favorites in this year’s Series. Not only are they championship-quality wrestlers, but they’ve been through the grind before and know what it takes to come out victorious.
Just as Hardy was rolling in this bout and picked up a few near falls, he had a Twist of Fate countered with a Double R spinebuster, leading to a two count for Roode. When Roode tried to follow with a fisherman’s suplex, however, Hardy was able to counter with a successful Twist of Fate. With Roode positioned well toward the corner, Hardy headed up top and flew off with the Swanton. Roode was able to roll out of the way, though, allowing him to shoot in on the fallen Hardy with a crossface.
Hardy held on long enough to get enough momentum to roll over, putting Roode in a pinning predicament that forced him to let go of the crossface before a three count. Roode tried to immediately reapply the hold, but Hardy flipped over and caught him with another Twist of Fate. This time, Hardy covered up right away and got the three count for a big seven-point victory.
Both Hardy and Roode stand a significant chance of walking away with the win in this year’s Bound for Glory Series, so to get the win in this main event bout was very important. It doesn’t mean Roode is out of it; things are just getting started, after all. But to get this kind of momentum early on should serve Hardy well going forward.