Have the Knockouts Become a PPV Afterthought?

So, another TNA pay per view passes and I can’t help but feel the same thing I felt last month, and the month before that, and the month before that one too. The care and attention that was once evident in the way the Knockouts were presented on pay per view has now worn off. That carefully applied gloss and sense of importance, likely a conscientious decision to show WWE how it’s done, is no longer there. In it’s place is seemingly the same match over and over again. Different names, different faces, different match types — but in the end, it’s the same match. Bound for Glory last night was no different, I came out of it feeling exactly the same as I have for the past few pay per views. The first thing I thought: “Never got out of first gear.”

Last night’s Bound for Glory was the biggest pay per view on TNA’s calendar with not one but two championship matches for it’s celebrated Knockouts division. Neither, if you ask me, were truly memorable matches worthy of TNA’s WrestleMania. The fault isn’t solely on the women themselves, but should be blamed on the way TNA plans out it’s pay per views. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be complaining if TNA, like WWE, showed no effort in it’s women’s division and added a Knockouts match as a ‘filler’ like the Divas. But that’s not the case with TNA, this is a company that says they have such a value in their women’s division yet fails to deliver. What’s worse is that this is a division that once did deliver, to pull that rug from under viewers’ feet, I argue, is far worse than WWE’s Diva filler matches on PPV.

Slowly but surely, those long introductory video packages that added a big fight feel to the Knockouts matches, have been phased out. This was something that TNA did extremely well and made the Knockouts seem significant; in WWE we haven’t seen these kind of video packages for the Divas in years. The fact that TNA managed to do this for nearly every pay per view was a nice touch, it made the matches on the card seem important.

Granted, one thing that has changed over the past couple of months is, we now more often than not, get two matches on the pay per view. With a singles division and a tag division, should we just be grateful for getting two matches on one pay per view card? I argue no. I would much rather have just the one, lengthy and fully exhaustive match that allows two or more Knockouts to really showcase what the division is all about. What happened to those long 15-20 minute matches that we once got? Could you really tell a story like Kong vs Kim in the 7 minutes the Knockouts Championship bout got last night? Hell no. Tara vs ODB vs Kong should’ve been a bigger affair than it was, one befitting of the 15-20 minutes that those early Kong-Kim matches got.

The matches have gotten shorter and shorter, which brings me back to that feeling I get every month: “Never got out of first gear.” These matches we seem to be churning out month after month are never truly given the opportunity to explore all the possibilities, to really showcase talent in the way the opening Ultimate X match did last night. Instead, they end far too quickly — usually just as things are getting a little more interesting — into an abrupt finish.

There’s no emphasis on the quality anymore and I feel like I’ve seen it all before and can’t truly enjoy the match; it’s like knowing the DVD is going to stop half-way through the movie. The Knockouts are coming across as less and less important with each passing pay per view. I had a feeling going into Bound for Glory that neither match would be able to top the Hamada-Flash match on Impact, it’s a sorry state of affairs when you’re giving away a match of that caliber on TV but not on something fans have paid $40 for.

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  • charlierogue26

    I actually agree. I have never…and most likely never will…bought a PPV from either company. I feel that the Knockouts have hit the “Glass Ceiling” of Wrestling. I feel that TNA has lost faith in their Knockouts. And it’s SO sad because, as you said, there were once EPIC matches that happened at TNA’s PPV. Gail Kim vs Awesome Kong in the No DQ Match at Final Resolution and ODB vs Gail Kim vs Awesome Kong at Destination X were two of the greatest TNA PPV matches on their respective cards and I mean MATCHES, not Knockouts Matches.
    It’s time for TNA to start reminding people why their Knockouts are, and I believe they still are, a lot better than the WWE Divas.
    Come on TNA, start re-stepping it up. Please

  • TNAFan80

    It was the talent involved in those matches that made me “not care”. I don’t think ODB and Velvet Sky are all that talented and Madison Rayne looked awkward last night. It should have been Awesome Kong and Tara for the Knockout’s Championship. I don’t feel TNA is using their best female wrestlers in the higher profiled matches. I would have loved to seen Alissa Flash and Hamada have a match instead of the dreaded TNA Knockout’s Tag Team Championship Match.

  • xxChristinaxx

    I also feel that it should had been Awesome Kong vs. Tara for the Knockout’s Championship because ODB isn’t that great of a worker. If Kong and Tara have a match I think it would be amazing.

  • Goodnightddtmnm

    I would have to agree on that one…I have realized that the knockout matches on impact and on PPV’s has gotten alot shoter it seems they have lost faith with the knockouts it seems like the knockout matches r just a filler on the card. The way they r booking ODB explains alot .I would have rather seen Tara vs Kong in a Harcore Match and Hamada vs Alissa in a Monster Ball match or whatever….ODb as knockout outs Champ hasnt benefited no one how many times has she lost a match since getting the title back ?….

  • Mikas

    “I had a feeling going into Bound for Glory that neither match would be able to top the Hamada-Flash match on Impact, it’s a sorry state of affairs when you’re giving away a match of that caliber on TV but not on something fans have paid $40 for.”

    Well, the problem for the Knockouts (and Divas) is that they dont sell PPV-buys. The people who buy the PPV want to watch Angle-Morgan, Sting-Styles or the other big names. Knockouts are nice for the tv ratings (highest weekly segment), but people dont actually have to pay for that. Even if they would put a 15-minute Hamada-Alissa match on the PPV, that wouldn’t increase their ppv-buys much, so they might as well put that match on tv where it at least raises the ratings.

    The people who like female wrestling are a minority, and most of them rather pay $45 for 3 SHIMMER dvds (9 hours of quality wrestling) than $40 for a ppv with max 2 knockout matches (both matches combined under 10 minutes). And i dont see a change any time soon, unless a program like Wrestlicious becomes a HUGE succes in the ratings, which would drasticly alter the perception of womens wrestling. But until then its just going to be 1-2 diva/knockout matches on the ppv’s as “filler”.

  • shannymac

    What TNA really needs to do is switch up the feuds and really give them some depth. Take Tara and Kong out of the title picture for a while and let them have a good feud together. Those two don’t need the title to put on a PPV-worthy match that will go over with the fans. Take the title off of ODB. I love her, but she has been booked so poorly as champ. Set up an angle where she loses it to either Alissa Flash or Daffney. Both are good heels who could have a feud with ODB that would make her seem strong and the title seem important.

    And for god’s sake, bring back Angelina!

  • NT86

    I can see we’re you’re coming from. I still think TNA has a lot of faith in thhe Knockouts than WWE has in the Divas. But match lengths have ridiculously short of late. The 3-way was a good one IMO but that Tara/Couture thing just hurt the flow of it. They should have kept it separate from TNA.

    Also keep in mind the Scott D’Amore was absent and Ed Ferrara (the on who mocked Jim Ross in the dying days of WCW) was in charge of them.

    Also the tag title match was probably related to TNA’s lack of faith in the new BP. Velvet just isn’t capable of stepping up to the level of women like Taylor and Sarita. They are just lost without Angelina. If they can hire Sara Del Rey and pair her with Alissa Flash, or bring in the Canadian Ninjas from SHIMMER I am pretty sure TNA would have faith in letting them wrestle longer. I mean Velvet and Madison (though she is good in her own right) aren’t on the level of Kong and Kim to work longer matches.

    One thing about most Knockouts matches, whether on TV or PPV, the fans generally respond well. In WWE it’s so sad how the women are met with silence most of the time.

  • Evan

    I think that there’s just too many Knockouts and all the time that should be spent on building up a decent feud is being used on building up new characters

  • ScottL

    Right now, ODB is being booked as a mid-card champ. It reminds me of when Kurt Angle first got the world title in the WWE, but it was clear that The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H and Undertaker were still the biggest stars. Since getting the title in a joke match, ODB has defended her title by beating Kong with help from Tara; beating Tara with help from Kong; and beating Kong with an accidental assist from Raisha. And ODB has swallowed the 2 pins in tag matches. On the good side, she did kick out of Kong’s finisher at BFG, which is strong booking.
    But it doesn’t seem like they see her as a long-term champ.

  • adifferentsame

    The Knockouts have been condensed somewhat, but I think that’s the product of the division expanding. There’s so many women on the roster it would be hard to loan the same development that girls like Gail Kim and Kong were getting last year. What TNA do very well is give their women a lot more to do and fans get to see a lot more. On WWE, I find that the women are merely bolted on accessories to the man’s world of wrestling. Talent is so often buried (look at Gail Kim’s lackluster return, Jillian Hall and Katie Lea Burchill). I would go so far as to say the Knockouts require more time, but I’m not sure I’d consider them an afterthought. Only one of two Knockouts are a mess in the ring, while the WWE are rife with horrible female performers.

  • charlierogue26

    to: adifferentsame I agree completely! I wish TNA would get a second show already, so that we could have two different shows, and therefore two different Knockout’s divisions. or hell give the Knockouts their own show. They would benefit from it sooo much. They could get back to more storytelling and more eventful PPV matches…and hopefully better bookings.

  • http://lifeinthesquaredcircle.blogspot.com/ faux.brit

    When I first watched the KO division they were being booked properly and they were the most watched matches on Impact.
    Are the knockouts still the highest watched segment on Impact, or has that changed?

  • jamie1

    Agree that both matches were disappointing. the KO title matches seemed to be a lead in to this week’s Impact setting up kong vs Saeed and the Tara/Couture. Seems wrong way round as TV shows should lead into and culminate in a PPV. ODB still seems an interim champ just waiting to be beaten.

    The tag match was another disappointment, sadly the new version of TBP miss Angelina and are really struggling against Sarita/Taylor. Even still this match could have been given more time, possibly Madison may have been able to lift her team’s game to prolong interest here.

    I’d like to see TNA give the knockouts a chance to out on a long match, Alissa vs Hamada could be the one regardless of whether there is a title or not at stake. Also agree with mikas that a Shimmer DVd presents real value.

  • Kaledrina

    i think a lot of it is overexposure. the kos ain’t as wow as they once were, because we’ve seen it all before. hell, even the alissa/hamada match from impact wasn’t that big a deal to me, because i’m used to watching “proper” women’s wrestling.

    compare those two matches to any recent wwe diva match, and the knockouts look incredible.
    compare those two matches to those knockouts matches of a year and a half ago, and they look like divas.