TNA IMPACT Wrestling: Hardcore Justice Wrestlers of the Week 8.22.13
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: Hardcore Justice Wrestlers of the Week for August 22, 2013
3. Bobby Roode and Kazarian — for getting a win, albeit underhanded, against the TNA World Tag Team Champions, James Storm and Gunner:
The decision by Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian to combine their efforts in the Bound for Glory Series paid immediate dividends a week ago when Roode and Kazarian managed to score 20-point victories. In Roode’s case, his jump in the standings was significant, as he moved into second place with 34 total points.
Daniels would have the opportunity to try for his own 20-point win on this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, which served as the second part to Hardcore Justice, but Roode and Kazarian also got some work in at the top of the card.
When the three-man contingent opened the show to brag about their wins last week and even ask Austin Aries to join their group on the basis that he could trust Roode, it prompted James Storm and Gunner to come down to the ring. Storm questioned just how much anybody could trust Roode, as he was bitten by that in the past, and a tag team match between the champions and the duo of Roode and Kazarian developed.
The match appeared to be a win for Storm and Gunner when The Tennessee Cowboy had Roode in his sights for a Last Call Superkick. Storm had to stop short when Roode pulled the referee in front of him, but Storm immediately turned around and noticed Kazarian coming at him with one of the tag team championship belts. Storm gave him a superkick, which forced Kazarian to drop the title as he fell to the mat. While the referee removed the belt from the ring, Roode delivered a low blow to Storm behind his back and rolled his former tag team partner up immediately to steal the victory.
The group just keeps on rolling, with Roode obviously leading the charge in terms of success. With so little competition in the tag team division, it might even be possible for members of this new group to work in a World Tag Team Championship Match should Storm and Gunner be so inclined to go for a rematch.
2. Joseph Park — for adding a needed 20 points in the Bound for Glory Series via a victory in a four-way Street Fight:
When the Bound for Glory Series started, Joseph Park never stood out as a major player in the competition. That stand only gained more credibility as his inability to hone in his inner-Abyss caused trouble and he just otherwise was not prepared to take on the other participants.
Eric Young decided to stand by him to try and keep Park focused, and it seemed to have a positive result on this week’s program.
Park took part in the four-way Street Fight that also included Jay Bradley, Hernandez and Christopher Daniels. It seemed almost inevitable that Bobby Roode and Kazarian would get involved to try and steal the win for Daniels, and that almost happened.
When Hernandez had Daniels up for a Border Toss, Roode and Kazarian were making their way down the ramp. Daniels got out of the move by grabbing onto the top rope with his feet, and then Hernandez noticed Roode and Kazarian hanging on the ramp. When he turned around, Austin Aries entered the ring, and it appeared he was taking Roode up on his offer from earlier in the evening to join the group.
With Hernandez distracted, Daniels charged at him with an STO and then stepped aside for Aries to get his piece. Aries high-fived Roode and Kazarian before turning around to Daniels … and dropping him with a brainbuster. Aries hightailed it from the ring and was chased to the back by Roode and Kazarian.
In the ring, Bradley pulled Park back into the squared circle and delivered some right hands, one of them with a pair of brass knuckles on his hand. Unfortunately for Bradley, that shot busted Park open on the mouth. As has been the case every time Park sees his own blood, the big man snapped into Abyss-mode and dropped Bradley with a closeline. After knocking Hernandez off the apron, Park took Bradley down with the Black Hole Slam and covered up for a three count.
Park is still lingering in the bottom portion of the Bound for Glory Series with just 17 points. But the man has to start accumulating points somewhere, and it has to feel pretty good to get a win with such a high point total up for grabs.
1. AJ Styles — for going back to being phenomenal by joining up with the Main Event Mafia and scoring the pinfall over Devon to rid TNA of the Sergeant at Arms of Aces and Eights:
Since returning from his hiatus from TNA, AJ Styles has maintained his distance from everybody in the company. Content to be a lone wolf, Styles simply carried out his business with the purpose of doing whatever was necessary to get the job done for himself. He was no longer worried about doing the right thing — just what was right for him.
That seemed to be an effective move for Styles, never giving into the pressure of joining a group. But he sure changed his colors on IMPACT Wrestling, saving the Main Event Mafia in their time of need. Just when it appeared to be a five-on-four fight against the Aces and Eights, Styles suddenly came down the ramp out of nowhere and returned to his “Phenomenal One” form to join the fight alongside Sting, Magnus, Samoa Joe and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The big stipulation in this match was that the member of either the Mafia or Aces and Eights that wound up on the losing end of the pinfall would be gone from TNA. Once Styles joined this fight, it seemed only fitting that he would be the one to deal the decisive blow.
When Styles got tagged in by Sting late in the match, he went right after Devon with a springboard flying forearm. He then knocked down the other four members of Aces and Eights off the apron before turning back to Devon for a fist, kick and back elbow. Styles lifted Devon off the mat for an enziguri kick and covered up to get a two count.
Mr. Anderson and the rest of Aces and Eights tried to halt Styles’ offensive flurry, but the Main Event Mafia was right there to keep things in check. After the ring was cleared, Styles and Devon remained alone inside it, and Styles looked to go for the Styles Clash. He noticed Garett Bischoff entering the ring, however, and ducked a closeline in order to go for the Pele Kick. Styles went for a closeline to Devon, but he was met with a vicious spear that turned him inside out.
Devon lifted Styles up, but Styles floated over and managed to work Devon into a Styles Clash that he hit in the center of the ring. The pin immediately followed and Styles got the three count to give the Main Event Mafia the win and boot Devon out of TNA.
That was a pretty surprising move from Styles, who seemed perfectly content just doing things for himself. But he came through when the Main Event Mafia needed him the most, and he was red hot in that match for them. His focus should still be on the Bound for Glory Series, but this certainly adds some intrigue to his presence in TNA and status with the Main Event Mafia.