TNA IMPACT Wrestling: Destination X Wrestlers of the Week 7.18.13
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: Destination X Wrestlers of the Week for July 18, 2013
3. Sonjay Dutt, Manik and Greg Marasciulo – for winning equally difficult qualifying matchups for next week’s X-Division Championship Ultimate X Matchup:
Now that Chris Sabin has vacated the X-Division Championship, a new titleholder must be crowned. The time for that will come on next week’s IMPACT Wrestling, where three competitors will battle it out in an Ultimate X Match for the championship.
To determine the three X-Division wrestlers that will compete in that match next week, TNA offered up three qualifying matches on this week’s “Destination X” edition of IMPACT Wrestling. Each match had a bit of a theme to it: wrestlers from the past, those on the current TNA roster and future superstars.
The first of those bouts saw Sonjay Dutt defeat Petey Williams and Homicide. Dutt is one of those guys that has long been itching to get his hands on the X-Division Championship, and he set the stage for that possibility to become a reality in one week by coming out on top after hitting a moonsault into a double foot stomp on Homicide for the pinfall.
Next up was the current performers on TNA’s roster, where Manik got past Kenny King and Chavo Guerrero to earn his spot in the Ultimate X Match. When King got a little too excited after kicking Guerrero to the floor, Manik caught him with the double underhook into a gutbuster for a three count.
Finally, we had newcomer Greg Marasciulo (aka Trent Barreta) get the win over Rubix and Rockstar Spud when he hit a cradle back-to-belly piledriver on Spud for a pinfall.
Dutt, Manik and Marasciulo put together three equally impressive wins, and now they move onto the championship Ultimate X matchup next week. It could go any way next week and each contender is sure to bring his “A” game.
2. Austin Aries – for defeating Bobby Roode in a Bound for Glory Series Match at the same event he beat Roode one year ago for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship:
Austin Aries’ most memorable and career-propelling moment in TNA came a year ago when he traded in his X-Division Championship for an opportunity to fight for the World Heavyweight Title. Aries, who was the longest-reigning X-Division Champion at the time, gambled heavily by relinquishing the strap for a fight against the long-reigning World Heavyweight Champion, Bobby Roode.
The risk was worth it, as Aries was able to defeat Roode and become the new holder of the heavyweight title. He went on to instantly stake his claim as one of the top talents in TNA.
His relationship with Roode gradually got better, to the point that they became a successful tag team and even won the World Tag Team Titles. However, that wound never completely healed for Roode, and there was a chance it would re-open on this week’s special “Destination X” edition of IMPACT Wrestling. In a Bound for Glory Series matchup, Aries and Roode would face each other in singles action.
For Aries, this match was about proving himself yet again as a better wrestler than Roode, and about accumulating some more points to continue climbing the scoreboard. Roode, on the other hand, was looking to first get on the scoreboard with two losses to zero wins heading into the show, and a little bit of redemption for last year’s title loss.
Unlike last year’s bout where there was some feeling out, the fact that they were tag team partners brought a lot more familiarity regarding each others’ game. It showed in the way they anticipated moves throughout the contest.
One of those moments came when Roode, after having a spear blocked by Aries, was able to counter a brainbuster and drop Aries with a sharp closeline. Roode covered for a two and lifted Aries off the mat to try for a fisherman’s suplex. Aries managed to get out of that, though, and spin out with a discus forearm.
Aries wanted to deliver the brainbuster to the stunned Roode, but Roode once again got out and lifted Aries up onto his shoulders. Aries delivered some elbows to Roode’s face to get back down and instantly hooked Roode up for the brainbuster, which was completed successfully this time. Aries covered right up and got the three count, beating Roode for the second year in a row at “Destination X.”.
Roode, who is now 0-3 in the Series, went nuts after the match, tossing chairs and other ringside gear all over the place. He is definitely not in a good place. Aries, however, is in fine position with another seven points to his Series total, sitting in a tie at fourth place with 14 points.
1. Chris Sabin – for becoming an unlikely TNA World Heavyweight Champion by scoring the main event victory over Bully Ray:
Chris Sabin’s tenure with TNA has been a long one, but it seemed as if his destiny was to remain a top competitor in the X-Division and tag team ranks. A shot, let alone an actual reign, at the World Heavyweight Championship figured to be a long shot for Sabin. As X-Division Champion with “Destination X” rolling around, though, Sabin was afforded the same option Austin Aries was a year ago — remain X-Division Champion or cash it in for a chance to take on the World Heavyweight Champion.
Sabin clearly chose the latter of those options, despite the threats from Bully Ray that it was in his best interest to not go that route. Sabin was determined to prove he had what it takes to go one-on-one with a much bigger and brash Ray. And even though Ray promised to have the Aces and Eights by his side, the Main Event Mafia evened the odds for Sabin to make for a relatively fair fight.
For the most part, the Mafia kept Aces and Eights in check. Unfortunately, it wasn’t doing Sabin a whole lot of good, as Ray focused heavily on Sabin’s previously injured knees. The champion really dominated by working over the knees, and Sabin struggled to fight back.
When Sabin did create some separation after working out of a Bully Bomb and hitting an enziguri, he headed up top to deliver a missile dropkick. Ray bumped into the referee, though, and all three men in the ring were laid out on the canvas. With the referee out, Mr. Anderson handed Ray a hammer, which prompted the Mafia to go after him and the rest of Aces and Eights. A brawl ensued, and the members of both factions that were out to support their respective combatants battled all the way to the back.
Sabin and Ray were left alone in the ring, as was the hammer. Ray was the first to pick it up, but Sabin kicked him in the midsection, forcing him to fall to the mat and drop the weapon. Sabin then picked up the hammer, which he couldn’t use immediately after getting kicked in the stomach. When Ray lifted him up for a powerbomb, though, Sabin drilled him on the top of the head. Ray dropped with Sabin falling right on top of him, and the referee came to just in time to count the three.
And with that, Sabin is the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. I personally think that, while Sabin is an incredible talent deserving of praise, this came way out of left field and the title was doing just fine around Ray’s waist. But Sabin has plenty of fan support and will surely receive it after getting the top title in a company he has worked over 10 years for. Now, time will tell how successful he will be holding onto the title now that he’s the one with the bulls-eye on his bacK.