TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week 7.17.14
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.
TNA IMPACT Wrestling Wrestlers of the Week for July 17, 2014
3. Madison Rayne — for defeating Brittany in a No Disqualification Match:
Whatever friendship may have existed between Madison Rayne and Brittany completely ceased to exist two weeks ago, when Brittany attacked Rayne. They competed in a four-way bout for the Knockouts Championship last week, but it was only a matter of time before they face each other one-on-one. That came this week on IMPACT Wrestling from New York City, where Rayne and Brittany went at it in a No Disqualification Match.
Brittany had moved Rayne to the outside with hopes of doing further damage on the floor. Perhaps she took a bit too much time, though, as Rayne was able to counter an inverted DDT attempt with a suplex. Upon moving Brittany back into the ring, Rayne ducked a closeline and came back with a couple of forearm shots and a dropkick. After a kick to the midsection, Rayne hit the ropes and dropped Brittany with a boot to the face. All that only netted Rayne a two count on an ensuing cover.
After a moment of shock, Rayne went to pull Brittany off the mat and got shoved all the way into the corner. Brittany nailed Rayne with a forearm to the chest, and then she retreaded to the opposite corner to attempt a back handspring into Rayne. Rayne moved, though, and capitalized with a Package DDT to get the pinfall.
That’s a good bit of revenge for Rayne, though it’s likely Brittany is just crazy enough to not let this go yet and continue going after the Queen Bee.
2. Austin Aries — for holding onto the X Division Championship and the ability to use “Option C” by getting through an eight-man gauntlet match:
Austin Aries took advantage of the opportunity presented to him by Director of Wrestling Operations Kurt Angle last week. He received his X Division Championship rematch against Sanada, and he walked away with the title and the chance to use “Option C” if he could keep the belt through Destination X.
There was one more hurdle to climb for Aries this week on IMPACT Wrestling before getting that opportunity. Angle wanted to test how truly great Aries is, and he scheduled him to defend the X Division Title in an eight-man gauntlet match — an over-the-top battle royal with new entrants being added to the match every 90 seconds before there were just two remaining and the victor would be determined by pinfall or submission.
Conveniently, the last two men remaining were the same two that fought for the gold last week. Sanada had a chance to earn back his championship, but it was not meant to be. He could only get a two count off a tiger suplex and then missed a moonsault, allowing Aries to nail him with a discus forearm. Aries followed with a discus forearm to the back of Sanada’s neck, and then finished things off with the corner dropkick and brainbuster to secure the pinfall.
With the X Division Title still on his shoulder courtesy of the win, Aries will decide next week whether to trade that strap in for a shot at the World Heavyweight Title. It’s likely he will take advantage of the “Option C” he created, but we’ll have to wait for Aries to make it official.
1. Lashley — for defeating No. 1 Contender Jeff Hardy to remain TNA World Heavyweight Champion:
Dropping the Willow persona at the request of Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy threw his name in the hat for the No. 1 Contender battle royal last week on IMPACT Wrestling. As the last man standing in the ring when it was all said and done, Hardy earned a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for this week’s show in New York City.
There were no frills or tricks in this match. It was just Hardy and Lashley straight up for the championship, and it was a good one. But the daredevil in Hardy sometimes does him in, and that was the case in this bout.
He had Lashley positioned on the steel ring steps on the outside and moved to the top turnbuckle with thoughts of hitting a Swanton Bomb. He delivered the move, but his back to the brunt of it when he landed on the steel ring steps after Lashley moved out of the way. From there, Lashley only needed to move Hardy back into the ring, wait for The Charismatic Enigma to get back to his feet and drill him with a spear. Lashley covered up and got the three count to keep hold of the World Heavyweight Championship.
Lashley has proven his dominance as champion, and a win over Hardy serves as a big statement for any future challengers that think simply having previous world title experience will be enough to knock the big man down.