TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 1.30.14
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 January 30, 2014
3. James Storm and Gunner — for burying the hatchet and partnering up again to defeat Christopher Daniels and Kazarian:
There has been a lot of tension between former TNA World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner. It stems from when Gunner threw in the towel during Storm’s match against Bobby Roode in the heavyweight title tournament, and it only grew when Gunner reached over Storm to snatch the final Feast or Fired briefcase that wound up garnering him a future TNA World Heavyweight Championship opportunity.
The two made an effort to bury the hatchet this week on IMPACT Wrestling, though. They talked about fighting for each other and having each others’ back, before shaking hands to essentially call a truce. The feel-good moment was interrupted by Bad Influence, who came down to tell Gunner not to trust Storm. A brawl ensued, of course, and a tag team match between the duos took place right there and then.
For added motivation, Gunner’s briefcase was on the line in this contest.
Gunner found himself in some trouble early and was unable to get a tag into Storm, until he countered out of an Angels Wings by Daniels and managed to get Storm into the ring. Storm bolted in with a few fist and a flying forearm to Daniels. He put Daniels back on the mat with a closeline, before charging at him in the corner and delivering a kick to the back of the head after being lifted to the apron. Storm headed up top and leapt off with a crossbody, which got him a cover and two count, before moving out of the way of an elbow drop by Kazarian that was intended to break the pin but instead landed on Daniels.
Storm tossed Kaz to the outside and grabbed Daniels for an Eye of the Storm. However, Kazarian made it back to the apron quickly enough to pull his partner down, and he tagged into the match. Kaz headed up top for a missile dropkick that sent Storm reeling toward his corner, where Gunner tagged himself in.
Gunner psyched himself up and waited for Kazarian to turn around before delivering a running high knee to his face. He then nailed Kaz with a headbutt that put him in the corner, and Gunner charged in with a huge splash. He delivered a big slingshot suplex, before heading up top. Daniels hit the apron and intended on stopping whatever Gunner was planning, but a Last Call Super Kick from Storm sent Daniels crashing to the floor instead. Gunner then flew off the top turnbuckle with a huge diving headbutt to Kazarian, which resulted in a cover and three count.
There is always the chance that this rekindling of their partnership is only temporary, but Gunner and Storm worked well together, having each others’ back along the way just as they promised. Now we just need to see how long they can remain on the same page.
2. Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky — for forming a Beautiful People reunion and beating Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa:
Madison Rayne made the most of her opportunity to secure a fifth Knockouts Championship when she defeated then-titleholder Gail Kim in the first part of Genesis two weeks ago. It was just a matter of time before Kim was made to look foolish for having her open challenge with the promise of a Knockouts Championship Match, and Rayne was the one to take her former-BFF to task.
Rayne is certainly not out of the woods, though, as Kim should eventually get her rematch. For this week’s IMPACT Wrestling, Rayne dealt with Kim in tag team competition, joining up with her former-Beautiful People partner, Velvet Sky, against Kim and Lei’D Tapa.
Rayne had a rough go to start the match after Sky and she were attacked before the bell by their opponents. Sky turned the match in their favor, though, when she was tagged in. Upon putting on a double underhook to Kim, Tapa entered the ring to make a save, and Rayne shot in to even the score with a spear to Kim. Rayne then delivered a low dropkick to Tapa to knock her off the apron. Sky was then able to complete the move she was attempting earlier, the In Yo’ Face, to get the pinfall for her team.
After the match, Sky had to deal with Chris Sabin coming down to the ring and getting in her face over what transpired with him losing the X Division Championship. But she kicked him to the curb and left the ring a pretty happy camper.
Sky is probably not quite done with him, just as Rayne probably isn’t rid of Kim just yet. But The Beautiful People had a grand reunion by picking up a big tag team victory.
1. Samoa Joe — for becoming No. 1 Contender while saving his and Kurt Angle’s jobs by making Magnus tap out in tag team main event action:
As far as those not aligned with Dixie Carter are concerned, TNA is getting pretty out of order. With Magnus as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, the company has lost Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles and most recently Sting, all because of unfair advantages that have been set up by Carter.
The top of this week’s IMPACT Wrestling saw some bickering between two guys who very well could have been next, Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, and the contingent of Magnus, Ethan Carter III and Rockstar Spud. The exchange started backstage and eventually made its way out to the arena. Some barbs were traded between the two groups, and it all resulted in a tag team main event with severe implications.
Angle and Joe would team up to face Magnus and ECIII. If Angle and Joe lost, then they would be gone from TNA, just like Styles and Sting before them. However, a victory by that duo would grant the superstar who scored the decision No. 1 Contender status for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Dixie Carter immediately tried to put a stop to this match, already stressing from having to deal with the secret investor. But she was trumped and the match went on, with a message from the investor and delivered by The Wolves that if anybody interfered in the match, they would be fired.
That left Joe and Angle, who had already sent a message to Bobby Roode to keep out of their business, with the peace of mind in knowing that the bout would stay two-on-two.
Joe tried to get Magnus to tap out when he dropped down with an arm bar, but Carter came in to break the hold. He then tried to get Magnus back into it, but Angle cut that pep talk short by pulling Carter out of the ring and delivering a belly-to-belly suplex to the floor. Magnus screamed to Angle, but in turning his back to Joe, he left himself open for a big chop the chest upon turning around. Joe hit the ropes and Magnus tried to follow with a closeline, but Joe ducked and slapped on a rear naked choke with the grapevine down on the mat to force Magnus into submission.
With that tapout from Magnus, Joe won the match for his team to not only keep his and Angle’s jobs with TNA secure, but to attain the status as No. 1 Contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. And he made sure to tell Magnus to shine his belt, cause “Joe’s gonna kill you!”
Joe really led the charge on this night and deserved to be the guy to get the decision. Whenever his title match takes place, it will be interesting to see Joe give his best effort against his former tag team partner with the biggest prize in TNA on the line.