Hey everybody. I’m going to do something I haven’t done in quite a few weeks and talk about TNA Wrestling. Now I could talk about the financial issues that we’ve all been hearing about the last month, but I want. Instead I want to look at the Night of Knockouts that aired this past Friday on Destination America in the US. Now I know that you in the UK don’t get to see the show until Sunday night, I apologize ahead of time but I wanted to write this article while it was still fresh in my head. If you want to read this article later I totally understand. Stop reading now.

TNA announced last week that this episode would be “TKO: A Night of Knockouts” featuring the women of the Impact Wrestling roster. This was obviously a response to the “Give Divas A Chance” movement that was happening a few months ago. The night featured four matches with the ladies but it did have said some non-Knockout action. All in all I thought it was a decent night of action but nowhere near what the company had been doing over the last few months. However I did have some issues with the episode.

When the Knockouts division began in 2007 it came in the wake of the golden era of the WWE divas with the retirement of Trish Stratus, Lita and others moving on from the company. This led avoided strong women’s wrestling on the mainstream and after years of petitioning TNA management, Gail Kim got her wish and women became a focus of the Impact Wrestling product. This action was hard-hitting, nonstop and amazing with many great women to make it something that was standout about the television product. In the years since the women have become more eye candy than ass kickers. Almost becoming a parody of what the division once was.

A few years ago at Slammiversary, Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim reignited a spark in the division with their Last Knockout Standing Match. This would lead to a great series of matches between the two before Terrell would leave due to pregnancy. After that happened the division struggled to find an identity again going back to old tropes like The Beautiful People. When Terrell returned she seemed to struggle to find her identity and find her skill following motherhood but she persevered and became the Knockouts Champion. Gail Kim would reunite with Taryn to reignite their old feud but nothing seemed to really click with the women. Awesome Kong returned to add some much-needed changes to the division. TNA would build a rivalry between Gail Kim and Terrell on who would take down the beast that was Awesome Kong. The company portrayed the New Orleans native overcoming the veteran to battle the beast as a matter of getting respect. Then came this past Friday and the Night of Knockouts which I find perplexing.

For the last few weeks, we saw these promos for the Dollhouse Jade and Marti Bell.These videos were intriguing as we haven’t had very many new Knockouts introduced to the division. The videos had an air of creepiness while appearing very upbeat. The Dollhouse (Jade and Marti Bell) made their debut on this Friday’s Impact Wrestling definitely made an interesting first impression. The women portraying psychotic best friends would battle fellow indie darling Cherry Bomb a.k.a. Laura Dennis in a losing effort causing the two to snap and attack not only the referee but Christy Hemme as well. Post carnage they left their calling card straight out of the 1999 movie “Jawbreaker” shoving the candy of the same name in the mouth of the former the Diva Search winner. I thought it was good establishing the crazy pair as they give a different dynamic to the whole division.

Fast-forward to later on in the evening during the Knockouts Championship match between Awesome Kong versus Taryn Terrell, as The Dollhouse looks on laughing maniacally. When Taryn was in peril on a table, Jade and Marti Bell went into action using kendo sticks to stun the imposing Kong to give Taryn time to powerbomb her opponent through the table and get the victory. After the match , Taryn showing a new charisma says the Knockouts division is on notice and that now all these women are in their Dollhouse.

While I think this should a new depth to Taryn Terrel’s personality seeing her change her body language and promo ability. I have to wonder why make this move? It wasn’t like Taryn wasn’t standing toe to toe with the best and the brightest of the Knockouts. She wasn’t struggling in her title defenses. Commentary made it clear that she’s one of the longest reigning champions in company history. So why automatically associate her with this new heel female group? You could have played this out over weeks where the Dollhouse would interfere in matches and makes a fan to believe they just wanted the title but reveal at the end of it that Terrell was with them all along. It automatically puts Jade and Marti Bell as characters behind the ball. Now they are makes are just lackeys for Taryn. It just seems like a more psychotic version of The Beautiful People. I’m willing to give it a chance but it just feels like been there done that. The booking of this feels very reminiscent of how the BDC formed on January 7 just with the women’s division.

Maybe new number one contender Brooke, Gail Kim or possibly the returning Mickie James will battle against the plastic posse. Who knows we may get some great matches going forward? It just felt rushed to me as a viewer. As always said with TNA they need to take their time building something. You can hotshot and get a reaction but it’s not going to have a lasting effect if you don’t have something to follow it up with. I just feel like the Knockouts division has been surpassed by the NXT Women’s Division as the one to watch. And that’s not a shot at the performers themselves but TNA’s women are not given the platform needed to feel special anymore. I mean they didn’t even main event their own special episode. That was given to an angle for the World Heavyweight Title scene. Don’t get me wrong I thought the ending of this week’s episode was good but how can you say it’s “TKO: A Night of Knockouts” when they play second or third billing to other things on the show.

Next week, we’ll see “Hardcore Justice” on Impact Wrestling which would make the third themed episode in a row. They didn’t even announce It until halfway through the episode when Drew Galloway challenged Low Ki to a Pipe On a Pole match. Ironically, the leader of The Rising competed in the same match on the One Night Only version of “Hardcore Justice” against Kenny King. And apparently more “Extreme Rules” are coming next week as well. But none have been officially announced as of yet. I almost think TNA is trying to counter program against WWE’s pay-per-view this month. But that just maybe the cynic in me coming out.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.