Hola Knockout fans and welcome to this week’s Impact… or hmm… rather the very first GFW Impact Write-Up!? First off, I’d like to thank Matthew for covering the last two episodes of Impact Wrestling and Slammiversary during my short break. And my what an episode to come back to: the company formerly known as TNA is going through yet another name/merge as GFW takes over (the identity crisis continues!) and we hear a major announcement from the returning Gail Kim.
Jeremy Borash introduces his good friend Gail as she gets set to make her special announcement. He calls Gail a pioneer Knockout who truly defied a division. No arguments there JB! The Hall of Famer looks beautiful as the Impact Zone greets her to a tremendous ovation.
Gail starts off by revealing that she has been holding on to this announcement for quite awhile now. She expresses her gratitude of having the chance to work with some of the most talented and respected people in the business. She’s performed for millions around the world – literally giving her soul, mind and body to wrestling with no regrets. We love you Gail!
With all that being said, Gail officially announces that by the end of 2017, she will retire from in-ring competition. A “No” chants begins to break out. Gail thanks all of the friends she’s been able to make throughout her career and thanks Impact Wrestling for allowing her to be herself.
Lastly, Gail thanks all of the fans, who begin a dual “Thank you Gail” and “Please don’t go” chant. Gail closes out the segment by stating to that she intends to go out on top, right here in her home of Impact Wrestling! #ThankYouGail
Karen Jarrett and Gail both comment on the retirement announcement during GFW’s Last Word and Inside Out.
In some of the more humorous highlights of the night, Scottish wrestling star Grado is on a mission of finding a bride in an attmept to avoid deportation from the United States. That’s one way to beat the system. His ace attorney Joseph Park suggests he marry a Knockout, saying that all the boys are doing it.
Grado approaches a parade of Knockouts that include Ava Storie, Amber Nova, Rebel, McKenzie Mitchell, Sienna, Rosemary and Allie. All these lovely ladies, sadly, reject the beloved bachelor to a simple date.
After being told ‘No’ so many times, Grado meets back with Joseph Park who says he is running out chances. To help Grado, Joseph hands Grado a bottle of champagne and a box of the finest chocolates. Champagne you say, clearly Laurel Van Ness is next on Grado’s love connection agenda!
Speaking of Laurel, she’s up next in a match against Ava Storie:
As the bell rings for this contest, Josh Matthews questions how many months it has been since Laurel has worn her broken bride wedding dress. Same Josh, same,
Laurel starts off by charging after Ava, who literally ducks and covers Laurel into a roll up for a two count. Ava traps Laurel via body scissors and goes for a series of pin attempts all around the ring to no avail.
Avail switches gears, landing a series of forearms to Laurel and whips her to a corner but Laurel reveres. The Broken Bride stays in control as she knocks Ava off and goes for the cover that earns a two count.
Laurel maneuvers Ava back to a corner, where she stomps her head to the bottom turnbuckle. After choking Ava out via ring ropes, Laurel goes for the Curb Stomp but Ava manages to escape.
Ava blocks and catches Laurel’s kick, countering it out with a neck breaker. Laurel retreats to the outside, looking to walk out of the match but Ava chases after her and tosses her back to the six sided ring. As Ava re-enters the ring, she is struck with a running knee from Laurel all leading up to second rope DDT and curb stomp combination that earns Lauerl the three count win!
Post match, Grado and Joseph Parks are back on our screens to congratulate Laurel on her win. The Impact Zone are fully behind Grado as he tries to charm Laurel into going out on a date with him.
Grado compliments Laurel from head to toe and asks him she would like to possibly grab some food, drinks and catch a movie. Grado just wants an answer damn it! While the Impact Zone lets out a ‘Yes!’ chant, Laurel doesn’t give Grado an answer as her beast of a hunch man Kongo Kong comes out to chase away Grado and his lawyer.
During GFW’s Last Word, cameras catch Laurel where she apparently agrees to Grado’s proposition to a date.
Thoughts: Say it ain’t so Gail! I absolutely love Gail Kim, so it is very bittersweet to hear of her forthcoming retirement. On one side, the Knockouts division will lose their MVP of many years; a woman who is practically the synonym to the Knockouts division. On the other hand, health comes first and with a tremendous career of nearly two decades, Gail will no doubt leave behind a career she can be very proud of! Thanks for all you have done for women’s wrestling Gail!
As for as everything else, the Knockouts seem to be in a stuck rut at the moment. Even though this week’s Knockouts match was short (the trend continues) I think this was Ava’s best showing on Impact so far. She looked more comfortable in the ring and I think there is a chance to see her grow if the company would just give her something to work with and not switch her from babyface to heel every other week. Same goes for all the newest additions to the Knockouts division: MJ Jenkins, Diamanté, Alisha Edwards, Christina Von Eerie.
I’m a bit disappointed that Rosemary has yet to make a full on cameo since her defeat from Slammiversary (no, that small Grado bit doesn’t count) as we continue to head into this full GFW take over. This has been one of the company’s hottest act and after making a turn to her character, I’d like to see what she’ll do next after such a lengthy reign as Knockouts Champion.
From what it seems, the GFW Women’s title will be the replacement to the Knockouts one come Destination X next month. I understand this is all part of their 1000th ‘reset button’ fiasco but there’s so much prestige behind the Knockouts title that this is giving me flashbacks to 2010’s Night of Champion scenario involving the WWE Women’s and Divas Titles.
I’m unsure how to feel going forward with the GFW re-branding. Changing the name of the company may take some of the ‘bad’ from the previous TNA and Impact history but there were still plenty of good that came from it – especially when it came to the Knockouts division! I still believe in this division (the talent is there!) but unless creative do their part in investing in them, the only thing that will truly change is the name.
What did you think of this week’s Impact? Are you shocked by Gail’s announcement? How do you feel about the GFW rebrand? Let us know in the comments below!