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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