Hola Knockout fans as I welcome you to this week’s Impact Wrestling recap! We bid goodbye to the Impact Zone from Orlando, Florida and say hello to their location of Windsor, Ontario, Canada for these next couple of weeks.
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 29, 2018
Surely, these fans can be more spontaneous than those from the Impact Zone right? Anyway, let’s see how things play out for the Knockouts as we continue on the road to this year’s Slammiversary PPV event!
Madison Rayne kicks off the show this week. She greets the crowd and goes on to say that of all the returns she has made to Impact, this has been the most exciting one yet! Rayne reminds us (once again) that her intention was not to return as an in-ring competitor this time around but in this business, things change quickly. Since returning to the Impact ring, she has made new moments for herself with wins over Tessa Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie. The next moment she is aspiring to achieve is becoming a six-time Knockouts Champion at Slammiversary.
Rayne admits that the current title holder Su Yung got to her head and spooked her out last week. After all, this is the same woman who put Rosemary and Allie in coffins and we haven’t seen either of them since then. (We miss you Team Demon Bunny!)
Rayne continues her opening speech by discussing the talk she had with her daughter, saying that if she wants to be an example for her, she needs to conquer her fear and defeat the monster that is Su Yung.
Cue in Tessa Blanchard to interrupt Rayne’s moment! Blanchard laughs and thinks that Rayne competing at Slammiversary for the Knockouts title is a complete joke! Blanchard reminds Rayne that it’s not 2011 anymore: Rayne isn’t the best anymore, she is.
As Blanchard celebrates her family’s legacy, Rayne reminds her that she was the one who pinned Blanchard back at Under Pressure and has no problem doing it again! Our Knockouts main event is set!
Suddenly, the lights go dim and flicker and we hear echoed laughter from Su Yung. Blanchard uses this distraction to strike Rayne down with a stiff forearm.
Later in the evening, we see Grado and Katarina Leigh (AKA Impact Wrestling’s as they like to call themselves) cozy up. She surprises Grado with the news that she will be competing in the ring next week! What’s this??? I am just as confused as Grado. Katarina will actually be an active in-ring member of the Knockouts division going forward? Yes, please!
She explains to her boyfriend that she is actually a former two-time Knockouts Champion, she just had a different name during a different. Of course, Knockout fans knew this already season! Eh, while I’m happy to see the chance of WINTER coming back, what the hell was the point of returning of under a different name, to begin with?
Before we get to out Knockouts main event match, a quick shout out to Alicia Atout on her Impact Wrestling debut as the newest backstage interviewer! Don’t forget to keep those AMBY interviews coming!
After a commercial break, our Knockouts match gets started. Blanchard slides outside the ring after a strong forearm by Rayne. After some refocusing, Blanchard returns to the ring, kicking out of multiple pin attempts from Rayne, to take control of the match following a running forearm. A sliding elbow and running kick to the back combination from Blanchard earns her a two count over Rayne.
Rayne tries to create separation by punching Blanchard away but it is of little avail as Blanchard maintains wrist control to run Rayne down with multiple clotheslines and a side suplex for another near fall. Blanchard switches gear and traps Rayne in an abdominal stretch but Rayne counters out of it.
A kick to the face allows Blanchard to stay in control and power out another suplex. Rayne gets to her feet in time to avoid a top rope attack from Blanchard. She follows up with a stand-up enziguri that stuns Blanchard and land in some much-needed offense with a head scissors takedown and a sliding clothesline.
Rayne sends Blanchard to a corner but misses a charging attack. Blanchard takes advantage and plants Rayne with a Flatliner from the second rope but Rayne stays alive! The Knockouts recenter in the ring, where Rayne takes Blanchard down with a spear. The Knockouts crawl back to their feet and trade strikes. Rayne wins the bout and follows with more strikes and running big boot to head.
Rayne goes for a Cutter but Blanchard counters with a kick to the midsection, adding more boots at a corner. The referee tries to calm Blanchard down but she shoves him out the way instead. Blanchard grabs a handful of Rayne’s hair and sets up for the Hammerlock DDT but Rayne reverses with a leaping crucifix pin for the win!
Rayne’s victory celebration gets cut short as Blanchard unleashes an all-out attack. She grabs a chair and heads to ring but before any damage can be inflicted, Su Yung’s music hits and out comes the Knockouts Champion with her parade of Undead Bridesmaids who surround the ring.
Blanchard escapes, leaving Rayne alone in the ring. The Knockouts Champion orders her minions to go after Rayne. The crowd begins to chant for Rosemary as Yung sets Rayne up for the Panic Switch when suddenly a returning Allie heads to the ring to make the save! She clears the ring of the Undead Bridesmaids and chases Su Yung away to close the night.
Thoughts: This felt like a bigger episode for the Knockouts than that of recent weeks. They were able to open and close this week’s show, see a return of a big babyface and still build for Slammiversay.
It’s a relief to see Allie back on Impact, during their first week in Canada no less. Allie and Rosemary have been such key players within the Knockouts division (and Impact Wrestling altogether) within the last two years so much that as their absence from television has really left a void for me. My only small gripe surrounding Allie is that her Knockouts Title rematch clause was never addressed… and I don’t expect it to be addressed with the Knockouts Title match already set for next month.
While the set-up for this week’s Knockouts match felt repetitive to previous encounters (Maidson talking about making moments to dedicate to her daughter and Blanchard being a rising third generation star), I enjoyed this match more than their match at Under Pressure. Blanchard continues to prove her strength in the ring, dominating most of the match, and holding her own in a promo across Madison Rayne, a five-time Knockouts Champion. Hopefully, Blanchard can bounce back from some of these defeats, assuming there are future plans for her.
If I remember back correctly (and I don’t intend to recheck spoilers because I enjoy the element of being surprised in wrestling), there was a mention of Katarina getting back in the ring but wasn’t that match taped for Xplosion? Maybe it will play on Impact after all? Or will something else play out that prevents from the match actually taking place? Eh, either way, I am looking forward to seeing any possible chance to see on of my favorite character Winter coming back!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling? Are you excited to see Allie back on Impact? Are you looking forward to seeing Katarina Leigh/Winter back in the ring?