When former Knockouts Champion, Tara‘s contract with TNA expires on May 21st, there will be a gap in the Knockouts division that needs to be filled. For the past year it seems, the entire division has revolved around Tara in one way or another, she is without a doubt the star power of that division and has been the top Knockout from the moment she came in to the moment she leaves. One woman doesn’t necessarily define a division, but with a spate of departures including the high profile loss of Awesome Kong and the streamlining of lesser used Knockouts including Traci Brooks, Alissa Flash and Roxxi, TNA hasn’t positioned itself very well for a division without Tara. So what happens when she leaves?
The ideal candidate to helm the new Knockouts division as top babyface would be the recently injured Angelina Love, but TNA has done themselves no favours by limiting the roles of two former Knockouts Champions — ODB and Taylor Wilde — in recent months because there’s no strong secondary babyface to help prop up the division and make up the numbers along with Angelina. The heel side looks stronger as currently, The Beautiful People at the moment hold all the gold. Daffney is another extremely strong character and worker that could be a real asset to the division. Then there’s Sarita & Hamada, arguably two of the best female wrestlers in the world, just sitting on the sidelines and going to waste. TNA has given us little reason to care about most of these Knockouts over the past several months. And with that, I think that post-Tara, TNA needs to draw a line under everything that the Knockouts division has stood for so far and ‘reboot’ the division almost. Do something bold, imaginative and attention-grabbing to draw attention back to this division.
With Tara and Kong gone, TNA will no doubt be hiring some new Knockouts soon; Betsy Ruth recently had a tryout with the company and there are a dozen of girls on the independents who would love an opportunity with TNA. Many of them are starting Twitter campaigns to try and catch Dixie Carter’s ear. Why not give them a shot but also find a way to grab the viewer’s attention and get them interested in the Knockouts again? I propose that TNA gives some of these hungry potential Knockouts an opportunity — on national television.
Similar to the Diva Search and the current WWE NXT competition, it’s my suggestion that TNA launches its own competition to find the next TNA Knockout. However, instead of scouring modelling agencies and cafes in LA for desperate actresses, use these independent girls that want to be in your company. Take advantage of girls like Lizzy Valentine, Shelly Martinez, Lorelei Lee and even our own Kristin Astara.
My idea is this: TNA chooses 8 girls from the independents who want to be a Knockout. Bring them down to Orlando for the Impact tapings and give them televised tryout matches… with a twist. Each week, over four weeks, two of the 8 girls will wrestle in an ‘exhibition’ match in the Search for a Knockout competition. After the match, TNA directs its viewers to its website to vote for the Knockout that impressed them the most. The four Knockouts over those four weeks who won the polls can then compete in a tag team match the next week or a fatal four-way match, then the fans vote again for the wannabe Knockout who impressed them the most and the two with the highest number of votes advance to the finals in week six. The final two wrestle each other, the fans vote and the winner is made the newest addition to the Knockouts roster.
Why is this a good idea? It gives some independent talent who want a shot with a major company to show what they can do on national television. It also gets the fane division becas excited about thuse there’s the voting element — they get to vote for the girl that they want to see. For the winner, there’s that six week journey that the viewer has taken with them that will hopefully help them get over. You will begin to care for these girls and when a winner is crowned, it just won’t be a random girl debuting on TV like Chelsea etc., she’ll be someone you already know and maybe rooted for. And of course, there’s great storyline potential for the winner right off the bat — she could easily go into a feud with an established Knockout who feels she has paid her dues and here’s this girl getting her contract through a competition.
And who is to say that some of the other 7 finalists couldn’t be contracted either? I mean, WWE did it with the Diva Search. These televised tryouts would give TNA’s higher-ups an idea of who is getting over with the crowd, it’d give them the opportunity to see these girls work a few matches, see their attitude backstage etc. This could hopefully result in a few girls being brought in to flesh out the division.
At this point, anything is worth a try and something dramatic could help take the attention away from the fact that all of these top Knockouts have left and the division is a shadow of it’s former self, and it could get people excited about the future of the division. For me, Tara’s departure is the end of an era — the final nail in the coffin of the division that was. Do something radical and different to set the new era apart from the old one.