TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 7.25.13
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 25, 2013
3. Mickie James– for taking advantage of a distracted Gail Kim to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship:
Two of the most accomplished, and egotistical, Knockouts on the TNA roster are Mickie James and Gail Kim. They are two of the best female wrestlers in the business, and they know it. So, when Kim defeated Taryn Terrell in a Ladder Match two weeks ago to earn a shot at James’ Knockouts Championship, we were in for a treat once the match took place.
That time came on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, and it brought with it some added intensity based on a brawl that took place between the two a week ago. Just to add even more intrigue, Velvet Sky took a ringside seat for a front row view of the action, possibly to witness her next challenge en route to another title opportunity.
As would be expected, Kim and James put on a very solid match that really could have gone either way. However, an old habit crept up for Kim that ended up costing her the match in the end.
Kim blocked a hurricurana attempt from James out of the corner with a powerbomb, and went for the cover in hopes of closing out the contest. She went a bit too far, though, when she put her legs on the rope for added leverage. The referee, ODB, halted the count when she noticed the backhanded move, and that prompted some frustration to rise out of Kim.
Kim and ODB argued over the lack of a three count, and that lack of focus enabled James to attack Kim and try to get the upperhand back. When James grabbed a hold of Kim and tried to toss her outside, Kim reversed and sent James to the floor right in front of Sky. Instead of remaining on top of James, though, Kim decided to turn her attention back to arguing with ODB. She even slapped the referee across the face.
That proved costly, as James was able to recover, slide back into the ring and surprise Kim with a rollup that ODB had no problem counting to three.
Kim and ODB argued some more until Brooke Hogan came out to remind Kim that ODB was still a member of the active roster, prompting Kim to leave the ring before things really got ugly.
As for James, she is still Knockouts Champion and will accept that outcome no matter how it came. It seems another bout against Sky might be in the cards for James, which shouldn’t affect her confidence but could very well keep her on her toes a bit if Sky’s leg has healed up completely.
2. AJ Styles – for getting a big 10-point win over Jeff Hardy in Bound for Glory Series action:
Aside from Magnus seemingly running away with the top spot, this year’s Bound for Glory Series has been a relatively close competition in the early goings. That makes it all that more important for participants to pick up points at all costs, especially in matches against other high level opponents.
One such match took place in IMPACT Wrestling’s main event, where AJ Styles took on Jeff Hardy. Hardy, a former Bound for Glory Series winner, is obviously one of the guys to watch in this year’s Series. But Styles is no slouch and has his sights firmly set on advancing at all costs through this competition.
Hardy entered the night with 17 points to his record, while Styles was at 12 points and looking to add a significant number of points in this bout. One of the most highly anticipated bouts of this Series, and one that both men were incredibly prepared for, this was a match that Styles pulled out all the stops in order to climb the ladder toward top 4 positioning.
Styles, who already has a submission victory from his match against Kazarian on July 4, went for another 10-point win on this night.
As Hardy looked to close things out with a Twist of Fate, Styles shoved him off and countered with a Pele Kick. When both men got to their feet, Hardy moved in on Styles again, seemingly for another Twist of Fate attempt. He moved a bit too slowly and gingerly, though, and Styles once again countered, this time by rolling through and locking on a Calf Killer that Hardy tapped out to.
Hardy tried to do the honorable thing after the match by offering his hand to Styles, but The Phenomenal One just walked away without reciprocating.
The mean streak continues for Styles. While not the most likeable member of the TNA roster, he is getting the job done and sits in sole possession of third place with 22 points on the scoreboard. That’s the most important thing for him right now.
1. Manik – for grabbing the X-Division Title to become the new champion in an Ultimate X Match:
Chris Sabin reached the pinnacle of his TNA career a week ago when he successfully acquired the World Heavyweight Championship in his title match against Bully Ray. In doing so, he relinquished the X-Division Championship and brought upon a competition for the vacated title.
Three matches took place at Destination X to determine the three X-Division superstars that would battle for the championship in an Ultimate X Match this week. Those that came out on top were Sonjay Dutt, Manik and Greg Marasciulo.
There were a lot of different stories in this match and each competitor had a legitimate reason for thinking he was the most worthy of walking away with the title. But the outcome would be determined inside the ring, where the first man to snatch the X-Division strap hanging above the ring would become the new titleholder.
With Manik was taken out on the ramp, Dutt and Marasciulo climbed the structure holding the wires above the ring and engaged in a high-risk brawl. Things got very risky up there and they both tried to position themselves accordingly to reach down and grab the title.
In the time it took them to deal with each other up top, though, Manik was able to move back into the ring and shimmy his way across the wire to move near the center and the title. Marasciulo tried to kick Manik down and then get him off by getting back to his level. Manik managed to knock him back down to the mat, however, and he grabbed the belt off the wire before there was anything Dutt could do to stop him.
With that, Manik goes from being a bit under the radar to becoming the top guy in the X-Division. He will have a bulls-eye in his back now that he has the title, but Manik has earned this opportunity and will be fired up enough to make the most of it.