For Impact, 2017 was a tough year on the Knockouts Division, though to say that the entire year was bad would be an incredibly unfair statement.
Jade and Rosemary had amazing Monster’s Ball and Last Woman Standing encounters. Rosemary additionally had a great match with Sienna at Slammiversary, followed-up by another enjoyable Last Woman Standing match.
The inclusion of Angelina Love and Alisha Edwards in the feud between Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards led to intense brawls and a very physical mixed tag-team Full Metal Mayhem match. We also saw the emergence of one of the more entertaining characters to come from the Knockouts Division in recent memory, “Hot Mess” Laurel Van Ness.
Despite the positives, other factors plagued the success of not just the Knockouts Division, but the entire company.
2017 saw numerous changes in Impact management, leading to inconsistencies regarding production and the formatting of shows. Additionally, numerous female talents, such as Mia Yim, Maria Kanellis and Brandi Rhodes departed from the company. Other stars such as Angelina Love, Brooke Tessmacher and Taryn Terrell, made their returns to the Impact, only to leave a few months later. Lastly, one of the longest tenured Knockouts of all time, Gail Kim, retired from in-ring competition following Bound For Glory.
As 2018 has progressed, however, it is impossible to deny that the Knockouts Division hasn’t regained momentum. Moreover, these ladies have worked hard to provide an enjoyable alternative to WWE. The debuts of new Knockouts, the re-emergence of previous female competitors, and the promise of new talent going forward, has led to a resurgence for this division.
Throughout the year, athletes such as Kiera Hogan, Su Yung, Tessa Blanchard and Scarlett Bordeaux have made their debuts on Impact programming. The characters of Bordeaux and Yung in particular have been enjoyable to see develop for different reasons. Scarlett portrays a seductress role based on sex appeal, while Su is known as the “Undead Bride.” Furthermore, the additions of Kiera and Tessa to the Knockouts division has led to consistently good matches and in-ring work.
Madison Rayne faced off with Tessa Blanchard in two solid matches, and had an enjoyable match with Su Yung at this year’s Slammiversary. Taya, who had to miss last year’s Bound For Glory due to an injury, finally finished her lingering feud with Rosemary that began last year. Since then, she has had great matches with Kiera Hogan and, most recently, Tessa Blanchard.
While we haven’t seen much in-ring time for Katarina, she has participated in a light-hearted and fun storyline with Grado and his best friend Joe Hendry. Alisha has also made her presence known by participating in a storyline with Eddie Edwards, consistently trying to be the voice of reason for him.
Recently, it was also reported that on Thursday, Nov. 8, Jordynne Grace will be making her debut with Impact. Grace has wrestled for various independent promotions since becoming a wrestler in 2012. Most recently, she was the only female talent to be featured in the Zero Hour Battle Royal during the highly praised All In pay-per-view.
Impact has received a lot of criticism over the years for different factors such as talent coming and going, changes in management, and at times not taking itself seriously as a wrestling promotion. Impact has had problems with all of the above issues and other things, as well. However, readers should not let preconceived judgments or criticisms stop them from tuning into Impact. The company has made great improvements to their product since January, and show no signs of stopping anytime soon.
More importantly, the Knockouts division has grown to be a division that is a true alternative to the mainstream product. In an industry that is dominated by WWE, it can be hard to find what other products and talents are out there. Impact, though, has a lot of great female talents that are currently on the roster.
The in-ring and character work is there and fun to watch. It’s not by any means perfect, but the roster has a solid group of dedicated, hard-working women; women who have carried on the original mantra of the Knockouts Division, which was to provide compelling action and storylines that made the division stand out.
Who do you enjoy seeing on Impact? What improvements or changes do you think could be made to the division? What are you looking forward to in regards to the Knockouts Division as the year ends? Let us know in the comments below!