What’s up Knockout fans and welcome to this week’s Impact Write-up. TNA are back in the Impact Zone following a very entertaining month in the UK, culminating in a second Knockouts Championship win for Velvet Sky. Speaking of the champ, she will be defending her title against the former champion Tara, and she’ll have Jessie alongside her this week! Also, there’s the announcement of who the winner of this contest will face at Lockdown. Excited much? Well that’s not all!
In addition to this blockbuster title rematch, Gut Check has returned and will feature TWO female participants battling it out against each other for a chance to become a Knockout. This is only the second time that women have been featured and also the second time that two wannabe talents have fought one-another to try and get a contract. The two ladies vying for a roster spot are former NXT Diva, Tough Enough contestant and current SHINE competitor, Ivelisse Velez and the niece of renowned Tongan wrestler, Barbarian, Lei’D Tapa. Which girl will get the win and will either of them get signed? Well, we won’t find the latter out until next week but you can’t blame a guy for trying to build suspense!
We kick things off a little differently this week before the Knockouts Title match as we see the special commentator for this match looking godly-in-green, it’s Gail Kim! Mike Tenay informs the viewers that whoever wins tonight’s title bout will face Gail at Lockdown and I’m facing the holy city of Toronto whilst praying as we speak! The reason as to why Ms Kim has been given this shot wasn’t revealed but I imagine it’s because
they need someone strong to put Velvet over Brooke Hogan realized that Taryn Terrell inserted herself into last week’s match way too much and she deeply regrets making Taryn the referee… or something like that. To be fair, all that Taryn has done is made Brooke look a fool when she distracted Brooke that one time and Mizz Hogan feel off the ramp! I saw it with my own eyes.
Alas, there is a show to get on with and Tara’s addictive theme song ‘Broken’ is getting it back on track. The former champion looks good enough to eat (just like the pizzas in her new restaurant[shameless plug]) and this week, Jessie is once again by her side, but can he steer her to glory once more? The flutter of wings distracts my trail of thought and out comes the NEW Knockouts Champion, Velvet Sky! Pigeons go so well together with gold it seems and Velvet’s pigeons are looking looser than ever, whatever the hell that means! We see a recap of last week’s Velvet victory but the Holy Gail makes sure that we remember Taryn Terrell’s hands-on approach to refereeing!
The bell rings and Tara is on the offensive immediately. She kicks Velvet in the gut before thrusting her shoulders into the former Beautiful Person’s gut. The Widow’s Peak Freak goes for two covers following a hairgrab takeover but she only manages to get a two count with both of them. The record-tying five-time Knockouts Champion then whips Vel into the corner but the pretty in pink champ makes sure to fight back, with a combo of kicks in the corner. It appears that Velvet could hear Gail trash talk her as all of a suddent, she picks up a major head of steam. She delivers two solid clotheslines to the owner of Poison the tarantula followed by an elbow. Vel Vel keeps her momentum going by reversing Tara’s reversal of her Irish whip and turning it into a lovely headscissor takeover.
The Big Apple native looks to seal the deal and go for a win but just as she is about to move towards Tara, Jessie grabs her ankle. Although Taryn doesn’t see this, she does see Jessie break up the next pin attempt, and she bans him from ringside, leaving Gail disgusted. Although Tara initially floors Velvet with a kick, she soon turns her attentions fully towards Jessie and she is furious! After bumping her gums (a British term for pointlessly talking and mouthing off), Tara turns around into a kick from Velvet. An ‘In Yo Face’ later and Tara is out for the count!
We’re going to be injected with our second dose of Knockouts insulin now and *SIREN NOISE*, it’s a Knockouts cliché! A woman bending and stretching backstage, no way!? [/sarcasm] Ivelisse is seen warming up behind-the-scenes in a hot terracotta and leopard attire, although I’m not sure that Diva Dirt’s Jake will agree – I know he’s very particular when it comes to the girls’ clothes! We cut to a video package of the former Sofia Cortez and we see her smiling and sparring and her jovial actions are accompanied by some Latin music that I’m sure Diva Dirt’s Bobby is loving. Ms Velez talks about how long she’s been in the business, the fact she’s a tomboy, her athleticism and MMA background and *SIREN NOISE*, it’s a Gut Check cliché! A sob story, no way!? [/sarcasm] Ivelisse discusses how her family were originally against her decision to train to wrestle but now, she’s a stronger person because of it. She also explains that she wouldn’t be where she is now without the new-found support of her Mum. You will either be retching into a sick bucket or listening to Spice Girls’ ‘Mama’ right now, but to be honest, I thought this was a lovely moment. Ive closes her package by stating that she is “the hottest female talent out there right now”, and after seeing that package, I can hardly disagree.
Next up is Lei’D Tapa, the niece of former WWF superstar Barbarian. Tapa comes across as very humble and she’s proud of her Tongan heritage. She then gets tearful about explaining how much she wants this opportunity. She then states that everything happens for a reason and that she’s not only doing this for herself but she’s also doing it to prove that people can achieve their dreams. Before the show aired, I was backing Ivelisse as I hadn’t heard of Lei’D, but after seeing both videos, I am solidly rooting for them both, and I have no idea which of them I want to win!
We cut to the ring to see that some harsh mood lighting is setting the mood, a mood which is seemingly a bad one as, urgh, Jeremy Borash is in the ring. He botches the pronunciation of Ivelisse’s surname but undeterred by his slip-up, Ivelisse is full of charisma and confidence on the ramp. Mike Tenay puts over Ive’s commitment – stating that she had an MMA fight tomorrow (today now) and she cancelled it. Lei’D is next to enter the Impact Zone and oh my god, I didn’t realize how massively tall this girl is. The imposing Tongan marches her way to the ring before screaming when inside the squared circle, and you could cut the intensity with a knife!
The bell rings and it’s clear how much of a David vs Goliath situation this match is going to be. Tapa groans at Ivelisse trying to throw her smaller opponent off her game but Ivelisse has a lot of spirit and she dives at Lei’D with a forearm. Ivelisse tries the blow once moe but Tapa wraps her hand around Ive’s throat before lifting her up by the neck. Ivelisse’s athleticism is then showcased as she manages to get out of her compromising position with a nice armdrag. Following a thrust kick to the stomach, Ivelisse’s MMA background comes to the forefront as she applies a guillotine choke. After a few chops, Tapa breaks free and after accidentally typing Tara, it’s clear to see that if those two faced one another, writing a write-up could be hard work!
Lei’D then scoops Ivelisse up into a Death Valley position yet the Puerto Rican wriggles out and latches in a rear naked choke. Tapa then writhes her way out of the submission and goes for one of her own, yet her potential wristlock is thwarted by a collection of kicks from Ivelisse. Tapa however nails a major kick of her own to restore the momentum in her favor. Lei’D then acts for from ladylike by clotheslining Ivelisse, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Ivelisse looks to be in serious trouble following a scoop slam and headbutt and things don’t get any better following a hard irish whip.
Things do get better a few moments later as Ivelisse rolls out of danger in the corner. She then pushes herself off the second rope whilst getting back into the ring and hits a really unique DDT. Ivelisse doesn’t go for a cover and she decides to dish out some more pain with a forearm smash. She then avoid a charge from Tapa and hits a gorgeous hurricanrana that leaves Lei’D lying. Lei’D isn’t down for long though and she hits a Samoan Drop and I begin to wonder whether Tongans have their own drop – if their neighbors can have one, so can they! Tapa goes for the first pin attempt of the match yet she only manages a two, and she seem pretty miffed that her athletic adversary has kicked out. Lei’D argues with Taryn Terrell and she runs her mouth for a little too long as Ivelisse applies her Guillotine Choke once more. Tapa tries to get to her feet, yet all her weight is resting on her bent left leg, and getting to a vertical base is proving difficult. Todd Kennelly then ponders whether Lei’D Tapa could turn into Lei’D Tapout here, and his crystal ball was seemingly accurate. Tapa taps out and Ivelisse is victorious!
Thoughts: I’ll firstly address the Championship match and if I’m being honest, I wasn’t impressed. The offense wasn’t technically bad by any means but nothing absolutely excited me. Jessie being thrown out with Tara getting distracted by it has happened twice already and to see it again just made Tara look silly. I also feel that Velvet could have done with winning a longer and much harder fought battle to cement her reign as Champion, but maybe we’ll see that at Lockdown against Gail.
Speaking of Gail, she proved how amazingly acid-tongued she can be on the mic and I loved her work tonight. I also love the choice of having Gail as Velvet’s #1 Contender. Even though we’ve seen it before, Gail was the person who ended Velvet’s last reign and who is to say that she can’t end her second reign even quicker than her first?
Onto the Gut Check match now and I don’t know if it’s just because it was so fresh but I absolutely loved this match. With only one pin attempt in the entire match, the pace was incredibly different to normal matches and it felt very realistic. Normally, you’ll see a wrestler go for a pin after hitting a move that will clearly not get them the win, yet in this match, due to the move the Tapa used being synonymous with the part of the world that she’s from, it made perfect sense for Tapa to go for a pin attempt, and I believed that the match could have ended there. Talking of Tapa, for being someone who 99% of the women’s wrestling fan base had never heard of before now, she definitely proved a point tonight. Her look is very refreshing and I really liked how she came across in her vignette and in the ring.
Ivelisse impressed as all of us fans knew she would, with her DDT and hurricanrana being the stand-out moments of the match. I love her look, her attitude and her in-ring style, and TNA would be fools to make the same mistake that WWE made by not capitalizing on her. This Gut Check was the first to feature two female contestants battling it out, and let’s hope that it is also the first time that both participants get signed. On reflection, I feel that Ivelisse is ready for Impact right now and although Tapa could do with a little more work in developmental, she definitely has potential and should also be signed. I’ll be sat on the edge of every seat that I park my bum on this week in anticipation of next week’s results, and I’m sure you all will too. And with that, stay tuned, Jack will be back!