Greetings everyone, and allow me to first apologize for the lateness of this weeks Impact Write-Up. I could go on with the reasons as to why it got delayed citing the lack of videos and time I had to sit down for more than ten minutes at a time over the past few days, but no one cares about that (myself included haha), so let’s get right into the Knockout action.
This week, we’ve got quite a lot to discuss. After the female Gutcheck that transpired last week between Ivelisse Velez and my new obsession, Lei’D Tapa, the results are in! Now I have no idea how it works on whether or not only one can get signed or if (what I’m hoping for), both can join the division. Either way I’ll be thrilled with either acquisition because the roster desperately needs some fresh faces injected in it.
Also, we found out last week that it would be Gail Kim stepping up to challenge Velvet Sky for the Knockouts title at Lockdown, and while I wish said match would have a certain steel caging around it, that’s likely not the case. However, we’ve got one show to get fans hyped to see them square off and in that show, the two shall grace us with a brief backstage segment (which I will gladly accept no matter the length as proven by my strange infatuation with segments, theme songs, video packages, and titantrons), as well as a six person tag team match where Velvet Sky teams up with Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez to face the trio of Gail Kim and Bad Influence aka Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian aka the men behind the introduction of America’s sweetheart who was taken from us far too soon, Claire Lynch.
Alright, let’s get into the action because if we don’t I’m going to start talking about and potentially linking you all to the many Claire Lynch music videos I’ve become fond of since her startling departure.
Ahem, we head backstage to see Velvet Sky and her shiny white championship standing before a cameraman, but my eyes kind of avert behind her. You see, if watching mind numbing amounts of horror movies and/or television shows has taught me anything, it’s that you always stare intently behind someone because you never know what might pop out at you and send you into a flurry of high blood pressure mixed with heart palpitations.(Speaking on behalf of a friend of course as I fear nothing except the thought of a one night Lockbox Showdown return.)
Velvet claims her title win was nothing short of a dream come true, and unlike how the media is perceiving Anne Hathaway, she seems to come off as genuine. (Hey, I’m staying unbiased on the Anne issues so no anger laced comments directed my way if you’re a fan.) Anyways, Gail Kim pops up from behind and startles out champion, which pleases me immensely as it’s build up! Gail loves that Velvet is keeping her title all shiny and new for when it returns to its rightful owner at Lockdown. Not only that, but Gail seems to have a memory flashback and wonders why Taryn and Velvet aren’t breaking the title in half and splitting in like another flawless best friend duo we tend to reminisce on.
Velvet rolls her eyes, but Kim means business… as proven by the dubbing of Velvet Sky as “honey” which I have learned either means someone is extremely nice and welcoming like an elderly grandmother, or they are secretly plotting your downfall to make room for their own success. She runs down a list of reasons that work in her favor of reclaiming the Knockouts title, but Velvet pretends that she doesn’t exist despite the screaming in her face and hair flinging. Finally, she acknowledges the devious challenger with nothing more than a smack right across the face! “Did’ya hear that?!” Yes Velvet, we all heard that and I for one loved it. Of course, this could be related to the fact that I love a good smack. …Waaaiiit, after typing that I realized how wrong it sounded. Let me rephrase — I love a good smack to be used as a weapon in a segment. Those suckers are powerful, and smacking someone is a sure fire way to build anger that needs to be let loose in a match.
To the ring we go and a severe lack of creepy Christy Hemme slow-mo pan up action takes place tonight. Nonetheless, the trio of Velvet, Chavo, and Hernandez walk out to the ring. And I’ve got to admit, I’m not impressed… with that theme music. Lyrics are the way to go people. There are very few non-lyriced theme songs that I count as exceptions to this rule, and unfortunately this is not one of them. Following a commercial break, we return to all six competitors in the ring, and once I’m able to recover from the lack of “Puppet on a String”, the bell sounds and we start things off. Now for the purposes of this recap (and since we still have gutcheck to go which will take me a long while to get through with all the commentary I’m sure I’ll come up with), I’m going to strictly focus on the parts of this match involving Velvet and Gail.
(Skip to 3:25) Chavo and Christopher Daniels are backed into a side of the ring, as Chavo ends up Irish whipping Daniels from the opposing side. Because she still has a bit of that Beautiful People left in her, Velvet isn’t playing the nice game tonight and she takes it upon herself to trip Daniels up so that he lands face first. This brings Gail trying to get into the ring, and in return ends up actually bringing Sky in and forcing Taryn to hold her back.
(Skip to 5:59) Both Daniels and Chavo are down. They crawl and crawl and crawl some more until finally both men make the tags to their female counterparts. In comes Velvet with a set of clotheslines and a back elbow! She follows it with a headscissors takedown and a spear, but before she can get the cover, in comes Daniels to break it up and hold her back. He seems to try and make a move on her, but Sky slaps him. She tries to repeat the action, but Daniels grabs hold of her. She manages to let go just in time for Hernandez to slam him down, before being taken out with a missile dropkick by Kazarian.
Chavo flips Kazarian to the outside, as Daniels hits a springboard moonsault to the outside that misses Chavo and hits his own partner. Inside the ring, Hernandez flies over the top to the outside and lands on top of both members of Bad Influence. Back inside the ring, Velvet tries to celebrate her teammates high flying-ness, but before she knows it, Gail slithers in like a viper and drills her with the Eat Defeat for the victory. A reluctant striped Taryn Terrell doesn’t seem to want to raise her hand, but Gail forces the action to not only happen, but be repeated. Is this a sign of things to come? And by that I mean Taryn doing a good job at reffing, because I certainly hope so as she was on her game tonight. Props to Double T (which is another one of those sayings that sounded better in my head than it did being typed out coming from me.)
Dun dun dun dun! It’s time for some form of Gutcheck results between Ivelisse Velez, the spitfire who, while being a familiar face, debuted some sick MMA style holds mixed in with her usual high flying wonderfulness, and the Tongan Terror who won me over so hard last week with her “CheeHooOoooooo” warrior call and overall uniqueness, Lei’D Tapa. Apparently only one can move on, which already upsets me because the division could seriously use both of them and then probably a few more (cough Athena cough). The three judges walk in and I want to say Bruce Pritchard(?) calls this the toughest gutcheck they’ve ever deliberated on which you know is probably said in every gutcheck and will continue to be said in every gutcheck. But I want to believe it’s true and they will announce that both women are to be signed at once to contracts permitting they must appear every week on TV for the next three years.
Sigh… only one of them is moving on to the judging stage. It turns out that… oh wow, Ivelisse is going home and not getting an opportunity (despite winning the match last week?). While this stings, I’m beyond excited for Lei’D Tapa to potentially be signed later on and give the knockouts a new face. The crowd is clearly peeved that Ivelisse didn’t go through. Heck, Ivelisse is clearly peeved that Ivelisse didn’t go through. As I sit here wondering why we can’t have nice things and just sign them both, Ivelisse forcefully shakes their incompetent hands and walks off to hopefully SHINE in MMA. (See what I did there?) Lei’D Tapa tries to downplay her excitement because she’s that great of a human being, and we head out to the ring for judging time!
I sit with my Pepsi cup, ready to scream at the screen if these judges do something I disagree in. By that, I of course mean if spend all this time and then don’t give the hope of seeing more Tapa in the future weeks. After a 5-hour Energy plug, Jeremy Borash and the judges stand in the ring. Following their introductions, Tonga Tapa (sorry, I love mixing her name up and it’s really late here so I’m barely coherent right now) makes her way out to the ring. I seem to be the only one cheering her, but that’s okay because it will hopefully shape her up to become the evil villain persona I hope and pray for.
The crowd pretty much cannot stand her and something tells me the lack of Ivelisse is the reason why. Lei’D Tapa is through with these people, and following some head shakes and a scream to one of the fans, she tries to speak but is actually halted by their continued berating and chanting to her. Okay at first I was kinda bummed as they don’t like her, but now I see it in the other way of how awesome it is that they dislike her so much. She screams at them to be quiet, and reveals that while she didn’t win the match last week, her character shown through.
In just two years of training, Lei’D Tapa has made it to TNA so just imagine how great she will be in two more years. (I swear if that’s a premonition that she’s going to be getting Taeler Hendrix’ed and we won’t see her again until 2015, I will send angry fan mail. And I will send it every. Single. Day.) Jeremy Borash wants to go to the judges, and is it just me or do the first two judges vote the same exact way on every gutcheck? (Side note: I haven’t seen all of the gutchecks so I’m generally curious if someone out there has.) Danny Davis gives Lei’D Tapa a yes(!), therefore I forgive him for everything he’s ever done wrong that I just don’t know about because of my general unfamiliarity with him beyond knowing his name as being related to OVW.
Up next, Bruce Pritchard takes a moment out for Paul Bearer which means I can’t pick on him for saying no to Lei’D Tapa. This brings us to a tie (surprise), and forces Lei’D to take the mic again and try to impress Al Snow. The fans instantly boo her, but she is not phased and simply takes the time to try and persuade Al Snow that her loss is not the only thing about her. She knows what she can bring to the Knockout division, and if it’s even half of what I’ve conjured up in my mind, then Bruce Pritchard should just interrupt her right now and announce he’s retracting his “no”. Al and his red suit make the ultimate decision, as I beg of him to not listen to the crowd. He sees her talent… he sees her charisma… he sees her presence… he sees that she clearly gets people to care about her (which brings me to do 50 Hail Lei’D's to this crowd if they help him to do the right thing). Al gives her a… SI! Or “Yes” if you don’t speak Spanish. Lei’D Tapa is a Knockout! I’m currently letting out my finest “CheeHooOoooooo” in celebration, and as far as I’m concerned the crowd are simply under the impression that the show was taking place on April Fools Day so their boos are really cheers of admiration.
Thoughts: Well since I’m fresh off speaking on Gutcheck, I’ll start of with that. Okay, Lei’D Tapa, if you couldn’t gather it above, is so so awesome to me. I love everything about her. She stands out, she’s fresh, she has the presence of a legitimate wrestler/entertainer. I love when she screams at the crowd, but my only critique would be that her regular non-screaming voice needs a little more “oomph” to it if that makes sense. More intensity. She’s the tall, stoic heel that I’ve felt the division has been lacking for some time, and I really really hope that the amount of overwhelming negativity the crowd gave to her is what will push TNA to keep her appearing while the momentum is around. I don’t know why Taeler Hendrix or the other Gutcheck winners appear so little, but I really want this round to be different and hope Lei’D Tapa is back next week as well.
I’m bummed out that Ivelisse didn’t get signed too though. She would’ve been perfect for the Knockouts as well since her MMA/lucha style isn’t really something we’re seeing a lot of with any certain female on the roster. Who knows? Maybe this is a storyline and she will rejoin at some point. I’ve heard the Aces & Eights idea thrown around, but I’m not sure how I’d feel about it since the stable has kinda fallen off to me. Nonetheless, whatever gets her back would be cool with me and I’m all for it. She could rock a mean bandanna around her mouth and look like a badass while doing it.
The one thing that has kind of halted the Knockouts for me isn’t that they don’t get time or characters. I mean, clearly they get time but I was just using that as an example. The main thing for me is that the division has hired so few new faces that actually appear each week so it makes all of the matches seem kind of repetitive? It’s not any of their fault, but you can only see the same people fight the same people so many times before you start to not be as excited in seeing them face again. I can’t even remember the last knockout to get signed outside of Gutcheck honestly, and that kinda stinks because you’d think they would want to bring in more faces and keep it fresh instead of going through a “wash, rinse, repeat” cycle with the same ones over and over.
I’m not saying that the Knockouts we have aren’t entertaining or anything, but more so that I just wish we could see some new match-ups like we got with Ivelisse vs. Lei’D or Tara and Gail’s mixed tag bout against The Blossom Twins. I’d love to see Lei’D Tapa vs. Brooke Tessmacher or heck even incorporate her in some tag matches and you’ve already got a completely unique feel. Seeing different people come together are what make matches fun for me, so while I do enjoy when the current Knockouts face off and put on good showings, there’s just always going to be a spark that’s missing if I feel like I’ve seen the match happen multiple times before that.
Now, I did like that Gail and Velvet got to take part in a mixed tag because it was different and totally unexpected. They could’ve had them do the proverbial tag team match, but they didn’t and I commend them for it. I enjoyed what we saw from the two, and I loved the backstage segment. Hopefully it’s enough to give them the fire and intensity to really take their match to the next level. If it were up to me, I would love to see them do some outside work to make it different. Throw Gail into the steps, or drop Velvet on one of the barricades. Okay, I know that sounds really heartless as I’m basically saying to just throw them around like they’re rag-dolls, but I mean no harm. I think incorporating some of their surroundings outside would help me to remember this match down the road, or even if they just have a big moment it could work out too. I mean I still remember Gail and Awesome Kong’s (no pun intended) awesome bout at Final Resolution in 2008, yet I can barely ever remember what I eat for breakfast half the time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope Gail and Velvet go all out for their match on Sunday and really surprise some people. They can deliver on the big stage, and I’ll be really interested to see how it transpires.