TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 7.4.13
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 July 4, 2013
3. Hernandez – for getting on the board in the Bound for Glory Series with a win over Jay Bradley:
A hulking performer on the TNA roster, Hernandez could make a legitimate run at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. With flashes of brilliance, and equal moments of disappointment, Hernandez still appears as a work in progress with tremendous potential. Now might be the time to make something happen for Super Mex, as he is one of 12 guys competing in the Bound for Glory Series.
He entered IMPACT Wrestling this week with a goose egg beside his name on the scoreboard, but he would have a winnable match in front of him by going up against Jay Bradley. Chavo Guerrero, Hernandez’ tag team partner and the man he defeated to qualify for a spot in the Series, encouraged him prior to the bout and stood in his corner during it.
Guerrero did quite a bit more than stand in Hernandez’ corner, though. Aside from cheering him on, Guerrero played a key role in helping Hernandez get the victory. When it looked like Bradley might be nearing an upset by setting up for the Boomstick, Guerrero slid into the ring to grab his leg before rolling right back out, causing a distraction to Bradley. That opened up an opportunity for Hernandez to charge in with a shoulder tackle, taking Bradley down for the pinfall.
It’s tough to tell if Hernandez actually saw Guerrero’s interference, but he took advantage of the moment regardless. At the end of the day, he put seven points beside his name in the Series and that gives him something to work with.
2. AJ Styles – for adding 10 points to his Bound for Glory Series total by submitting Kazarian:
One of the unknowns in this year’s Bound for Glory Series is AJ Styles. More than capable of going all the way (and with plenty of motivation to do so since his ban from receiving a World Heavyweight Title shot gets lifted at Bound For Glory), Styles is still in a relatively obscure state of the mind that either makes him extremely dangerous or ultimately vulnerable.
His first match in the Series only netted him two points, the result of a time limit draw against Samoa Joe. This week, he would get another shot in the ring against another familiar foe, former buddy Kazarian. Aside from the cocky attitude, Kaz is still a tough opponent and he would also have the motivation of trying to move past a submission defeat in his first Series match against Magnus and a pinfall loss to Joe in his second Series bout at a TNA live event.
While Kazarian came out alongside Christopher Daniels dressed as Sigfried and Roy in front of the Las Vegas crowd, Styles was in no mood for fun and games. He was looking for the kill and to amass the most points he could in hopes of climbing the ladder in the Series. He was successful.
When Styles originally wanted to close the match out with a Calf Killer, Kazarian was able to quickly counter with a rollup that Styles kicked out of. Kaz went at Styles right after the failed pin attempt, but Styles was able to grab hold of him and roll through to slap on the Calf Killer, locking it on this time until Kaz had no choice but to tap out, picking up 10 points for his efforts.
Styles bumped himself into third place with the win on a total of 12 points, sitting just behind Magnus (24) and Joe (19). He has to keep at it, but Styles certainly seems focused at making the most of his opportunity in the Series.
1. Chris Sabin – for winning back the X-Division Championship to earn the right to cash in for a World Heavyweight Title Match at Destination X:
There were some major shenanigans during last week’s IMPACT Wrestling. Suicide managed to capture the X-Division Champion, but it turned out that the man wasn’t actually the wrestler who portrayed Suicide this whole time. Instead it was Austin Aries, who stole the Suicide costume and did what he needed to do in order to get a shot at cashing in the X-Division strap for a TNA World Heavyweight Title opportunity at Destination X.
Among all the questions surrounding this situation, the most pertinent had to be whether Hulk Hogan would actually let this stand. We got our answer early on this Thursday’s show.
When Aries called out Hogan early on to inform him of his decision to go for the World Heavyweight Title, Hogan turned the tables a bit and informed him that it wasn’t set in stone just yet. Aries would need to defend the X-Division Championship in the evening’s main event against Chris Sabin and Manik (the man formerly known as Suicide, in the same Suicide costume). The winner of that match would win the title and have the opportunity at cashing it in for a chance at Bully Ray and the heavyweight strap.
Manik was taken out of the equation relatively early, when he decided to launch himself onto Doc on the outside once Aces and Eights come out to the ringside area. Doc slammed him into the ground and Manik had to be taken out of the arena, leaving just Sabin and Aries left to fight it out. The Main Event Mafia, now with new recruit Magnus, came out to even the odds and ensure that was the last time Aces and Eights interfered in the match.
Sabin and Aries duked it out just like one would expect two of the best X-Division stars in TNA history would. Sabin almost had the match put away when he hit the Hail Sabin in the middle of the ring, but Aries somehow kicked out at two. Sabin lifted Aries up in a fireman’s carry for another driver attempt, but Aries countered into a rollup that Sabin had to kick out of at two.
Aries dropped Sabin with a discuss elbow and fell to the mat himself, as well. When they got back to their feet, Aries and Sabin exchanged shots. Sabin seemed to win out when he hit a few consecutive forearms and knife edge chops, and then a kick to the midsection that sent Aries stumbling into the corner. Sabin charged at Aries against the turnbuckles and then ran to the opposite corner, but Aries followed right behind and nailed him with the high dropkick.
Aries seated Sabin on the top turnbuckle and met him up there, looking for the superplex. Sabin, however, managed to counter by getting Aries up on his shoulders and hitting the Hail Sabin from the middle rope. Sabin covered up and collected the three count to win back the X-Division Title.
After the match, Sabin thanked the Main Event Mafia for watching his back, and then he told Ray that he might be looking at the new World Heavyweight Champion.
It was a bit surprising to see the X-Division Title swap hands as it did over the past week, and Sabin seems less believable as a challenger to Ray than Aries. But there is still that hope for a big upset special once Destination X rolls around and it should be fun to watch Sabin go for it.