It was a very special TNA Impact last night: only days before Bound for Glory, TNA went live and promised us a spectacular show. Did it live up to the hype? There’s tons to talk about, so lets get right to it!
After a painful segment between Abyss, Dixie Carter, Eric Bischoff and various other male talents, we switch to an outside area where a car has just pulled up. Who exits but the country singer/wrestler Mickie James! The cameraman asks what she’s doing here. James is coy, saying only that we’ll have to watch and see. She looks good, rocking the beads threaded into her hair. Taz exclaims, “Mike, that WAS Mickie James!” Well no shit, Sherlock. We get an announcement from our fearless commentators that up next is the tag team match between Tara and the Madison Rayne vs. Angelina Love and Velvet Sky that will determine who owns the rights to “The Beautiful People” name and music. Should be interesting to see if any tensions regarding the upcoming pay-per-view match manifest in this one tonight…
After returning from commercial, the Beautiful People music plays, and out first is Tara and Madison Rayne on the motorbike. Tara’s ditched the helmet at last and looks pretty good sporting black curly hair with red streaks. But my jaw drops at Rayne’s new tresses – she’s a brunette and DAMN she looks fabulous! It’s official, brunettes have more fun, obviously Madison has seen the light. She’s wearing quite the sleek outfit as well. The two enter the ring with the customary smack on the ass & kiss on the lips. Which I’m not complaining. The music keeps playing as Angelina Love and Velvet Sky come out onto the ramp with their own customary pose. Their outfits are a similar shade of silver, Velvet with pink added in while Angelina has purple in hers.
The two go for their usual entrance into the ring, but Madison and Tara aren’t about to wait. Rayne rushes Angelina, pulling her fully into the ring, whilst Tara shoves Velvet off the apron to the floor. The two double team Angelina in their corner, taking turns choking her, until the ref orders one of them out. Tara exits, leaving Madison to do her own damage, choking away until going for a pin. Angelina immediately kicks out. Bringing in her erstwhile bodyguard, the two get a double team side Russian legsweep on Love before Tara tries for another pin. Another kickout.
Velvet and Madison are screaming at each other on the apron, and while Tara applies a sleeper on Angelina, the two meet at the opposite corner, slapping away at each other. The referee breaks it up but behind his back, Love’s managed a cradle. Velvet screams at the referee and he does go for a count but Tara almost immediately breaks free. On their feet, Angelina ducks a fist from Tara and rolls to the corner, tagging in Velvet. Vel-Vel also ducks Tara’s fist and instead hits several clotheslines and a running bulldog on Tara! Vel’s fired up and as Tara gets to her feet, Sky goes to whip herself off the ropes for leverage, but Madison hits her from behind. It’s enough of a distraction that Tara clobbers Velvet. We switch to a shot of Miss Tessmacher, who’s now standing at the top of the ramp, taking notes. The camera goes back to the ring, where Velvet’s on the outside, Madison standing over her. Rayne tosses Sky back into the ring for Tara, as Tessmacher looks on with a smug smile on her face. What’s on her mind is anyone’s guess…
Tara’s gone for another pin, getting another two count. We hear Madison scream “GET OVER HERE!” to her partner. Tara complies, hoisting Velvet over her shoulder and muscling her into the corner. She tags in Rayne, the two double teaming her until once again the referee gets Tara out. Madison grabs hold of Velvet by the neck and rushes her over into another corner, slamming her head into the turnbuckle. She then goes to whip her into the opposite corner, but Velvet reverses. Madison jumps, putting her legs on Sky’s shoulders, but Vel simply tosses her stomach first into the mat! As the new brunette holds her jaw in pain, Velvet tags in Angelina. Seeing Tara about to enter the ring, Angelina rushes over and knocks her to the ground before turning her attention to Madison. She ducks Rayne’s attempt at a clothesline, countering with two modified clotheslines and a bicycle kick that sends Madison crawling to her corner, tagging in Tara.
Angelina hits a nasty looking jaw breaker on Tara, while Velvet enters the ring and hits Madison, sending her to the floor. The OBP hit a double kick on Tara, sending her crashing down. Angelina goes for a cover. 1 – 2 – 3! This one is over, and the original Beautiful People have won the right to use the trademark name and music! Madison is BALLISTIC on the outside, gradually circling the ring until she comes face to face with Tara, and begins to yell at her. But before this can get any uglier, Miss Tessmacher interrupts. She reminds them, rather sternly, about the upcoming four way match for the Knockouts Championship at Bound for Glory. She repeats this isn’t dress up, playing with barbies – this is a COMPETITION. There are no BFFs here. To ensure that each of these “skanks” as she put it (harsh!) play by her rules, she has a special guest referee signed for the match…
“HARDCORE COUNTRY!” blares over the loudspeaker as Mickie James comes strutting out in her trademark leather outfit, looking damn fine! Predictably, Tara and Madison are NOT happy about this, Tara’s jaw dropping in shock. The Impact Zone goes NUTS. Mickie smiles and waves to the people before taking the mic from Miss Tessmacher and greeting the four women. She goes on to speak about being the newest TNA Knockout, being “bound for glory” and setting her sights on being the first woman to make history by holding “every single prestigious title known to womankind!” Short but forceful statement, putting each woman on notice as to her intentions. Mickie hugs Miss Tessmacher and the two leave the other four woman looking fustrated and angry.
Short match but had the most satisfying, if the least surprising, outcome. After all, Angelina and Velvet are the Beautiful People. It would’ve made no sense for Tara and the Rayne to win this one. No, what really stood out for me was Miss Tessmacher. I’m quickly growing to like her in this role as what appears to be an authority over the Knockouts. Much like the aborted role of Traci Brooks, it seems as if Bischoff has delegated the division to Tessmacher, and she’s growing into the role nicely. She has a very Stephanie McMahon-air to her, which is a good thing. Good on the mic, she emits an air of “Don’t Mess With Me” – something which other assistants in wrestling don’t always succeed in getting.
Other than her, the anticipated debut of Mickie James was the other standout for tonight, obviously. After not seeing her on television for months, it looks as if James has taken the time between WWE and TNA to train, get back to basics on the indy scene, and recharge her batteries. She looks fantastic! Cheesy promo somewhat, but there’s no doubt that she’s on course to become the new centerpiece of the division. When (there’s no doubt it’s just a matter of time honestly) she wins the Knockouts Championship, she will be the first trifecta champion, having held both of the WWE’s titles. The only other woman I can think of that’s come close to this would be Madusa aka Alundra Blayze, who held both the WWE Women’s Championship and the WCW Women’s Championship. We all assumed that when Gail Kim made the jump to the WWE a few years ago and debuted on Smackdown that she would be the first woman to hold this distinction. That seems highly unlikely at this point, unless the WWE decides to have Gail be the one to make history before Mickie does. Interesting thought, we’ll see how that plays out.
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For now, it’ll be interesting enough to see how her role as referee in the upcoming match plays out. It’ll be a chance for her to establish a clear babyface or heel role, if she doesn’t remain impartial that is. TNA wasn’t done with debuts on tonight’s episode, however. Towards the end, some new music hits and out comes Cookie aka Becky Bayless alongside her partner Robbie. It’s an obvious Jersey Shore gimmick, but I gotta say Becky – I mean, Cookie – looks fantastic! After she applies some lip gloss and he shows off his killer six-pack, the two make their way to the ring, doing a slammin’ fist pump upon entrance.
The two have mics but before they can even say a word, the crowd is all over them. Great heat! Robbie E speaks first, saying the Shore has arrived, to which Cookie shouts, “PARTY!” After further words from Robbie, Cookie chimes in about not seeing a single “dirty gorilla” in Orlando, and insulting the crowd for having no tans. They finish up by claiming that the real posers are the ones on MTV and the Shore will be back next week.
It’s a short but fun promo that serves to introduce us properly to Robbie E. and Cookie. Two very over the top characters and this is where Bayless shines. She’s a great actress, I’ve enjoyed her past characters such as Brooke Lynn on Wrestlicious. She always puts everything she has into her roles, and this one looks to be no different. Sure, it’s a cheesy rip off of Jersey Shore, but it’s fun and the role seems to be taylor made for Becky. I’m looking forward to seeing these two in the future!
All in all, not a bad night for the Knockouts. No major mis-steps and Mickie and Cookie’s debuts went off without a hitch. I find myself actually looking forward to watching “Bound for Glory” – we’ll see if tensions arise between the two partners when forced to compete for the title, and if Mickie’s being the referee will have a major influence.