We are less than a week away from Slammiversary. For Knockouts fans, it can be said that there is a feeling of cheer in knowing that two Knockouts matches will take place on this year’s event. On one side, we have Gail Kim, at last, getting her chance to get her hands on her oppressor Maria Kanellis. Elsewhere, Knockouts champion Jade will defend her title against the winner of a number one contendership between Sienna and Madison Rayne. So how well did TNA plant their seeds for their go-home show leading to Slammiversary? Let’s find out!
Our Knockouts number one contendership match between Sienna and Madison Rayne are given an early spot on this week’s episode of Impact. Wait, how did Madison get this opportunity for a title shot despite being off TV for weeks? Ugh, the inconstancy of it all. In any event, Jade will be seated close at ringside to see who she will be facing on Sunday.
Madison makes a solo entrance while Sienna is accompanied by her high pitched manager Allie. Allie has a mic in hand as she walks down the entrance ramp with Sienna, singing nothing but high praises for her partner in crime. When Allie meets with the champion at ringside, she adds that if Jade should get involved in anyway, Madison will be disqualified.
While Allie continues to yap it up in the ring, Madison silences her by grabbing a handful of her hair. A nearby Sienna clobbers Madison with an elbow shot, signaling the bell to ring for the start of the match. Sienna whips Madison to two parallel turnbuckles and follows up with a Samoan drop. When Sienna decides to trash talk the Knockouts champion a bit, Madison tries to fight back with a few forearms to Sienna and even goes for a Northern Lights suplex.
Unfortunately for Madison, she isn’t able to completely get Sienna off her feet, throwing her back in the process. Instead, Sienna hauls up Madison with a standing suplex, much to Allie’s amusement. As Sienna looks to put Madison away completely, the Queen Bee surprises her opponent with an enziguri kick and goes as far as bringing Sienna down with some right fist offense.
After a running elbow drop, Madison climbs the top rope of a turnbuckle to hit Sienna with a flying cross body. The move connects but comes at the price of some harm to Madison’s already weaken back. Madison goes for another attempt at a Northern Light suplex, successfully hitting the move this time around but adding on more injury to herself in the process.
Sienna recovers and makes the most of a frail Madison by setting her up for the shoulder flip cutter finisher. A close listen to The Pope at commentary would reveal that the name of Sienna’s finisher is AK47. Hey, interesting name for it! After Sienna’s win, she tries to send Jade a message by inflicting more pain to Madison but the champion runs in the ring to make the save. Jade clears the ring of Sienna with a running dropkick, ending the segment with a stare down until the two meet Sunday.
We move on to a small backstage piece with power couple Mike and Maria Bennett, who have a few choice words for their opponents Ethan Carter III and Gail Kim, respectively. Both Gail and Ethan will team up later in the evening as a warm-up to Slammiversary.
TNA Tag Team Champions The Decay are guests on Eli Drake’s “Facts of Life” talk segment. Rosemary and her boys show no fear ahead of their tag team title defense against The BroMans, even with Raquel at their corner. The BroMans would come out to confront the heels inside the ring, with a backup of babyface friends with them in the form of Grado and Mahabali Shera.
Speaking of tag teams, the time has come for our mixed tag team match between the Bennetts and Gail and Ethan. Gail is excited for this mixed tag match as Maria wouldn’t be able hide behind her husband with Ethan lurking around.
We head to the ring after our competitors have all made their entrances. Allie is working double duty as she accompanies the Bennetts for this match as well. Or rather, triple duty, as Maria declines to take part in this tag match and orders Allie to compete for her. A surprised Allie soon straps on some knee pads and sneakers found in Maria’s gym bag, semi-dressed to compete. Gail is unimpressed by this latest attempt of Maria evading her.
Mike and Ethan look to start things off but Mike would quickly tag his partner early on, forcing Ethan’s ears to be pierced by the sound of an objecting Allie’s voice. That’s quite a pitch Allie has going for her. Ethan makes a tag to his partner and Gail easily toys with Allie, landing several running offense. When Gail tries running the ropes a second time, Maria interferes by pulling Gail’s leg, allowing Allie to some miscellaneous hair pull and back scratch offense.
The Knockouts would make a tag to their partners after they took one another out with a running face crusher. As Ethan dominates over Mike, Allie tries to make a save with a few flimsy chops to Ethan’s chest. To move things along, Ethan tags in Gail, who decides to take down Allie with a cross body from the top rope when she flees to the outside of the ring.
Meanwhile, Ethan and Mike take their battle to the back, leaving the Knockouts with the task of ending this match one-on-one. Gail goes for an Eat Defeat but Allie counters with a kick to Gail’s leg. Allie would follow up with a standing suplex but Gail reverses this to a cradle pin, putting Allie down for the three count and win.
As Gail tries to clear the ring of Allie and Maria, she is knocked off her feet by an oncoming Sienna. The three women would all gang up on Gail, injuring her knee with the use of some chairs. Maria closes the night by standing over her opponent on Sunday, hoping to get an advantage after causing some injury to Gail.
Later backstage, Gail seeks some medical attention after being outnumbered by Maria and her clan.
Thoughts: Not too bad of a home-go show for Slammiversary. Certainly, TNA tried to make the most of their women on this week’s episode; even with those who aren’t necessarily on the card.
The number one contendership match was all too predictable given the randomness of throwing Madison in it. Sienna has been built up as a threat up to this point, only suffering a loss to Gail two weeks ago, so naturally she would be the one to challenge Jade for the title. The match was short and did served its purpose in making Sienna look like this big and powerful threat to Jade.
Sadly, Jade’s reign as champion has been treated more so as an afterthought; with it being sidelined in favor of building up for the Maria/Gail feud. It’s a bit disappointing as this Knockouts match, on paper, looks fresh and could have had more hype to it aside from a few tag team confrontations with one another. Still, I hope that this match is given a fair amount of time on Sunday.
On to the non-title Knockouts match: Maria and Gail’s feud has a real strong story behind and, clearly, TNA are latching on to it as one of their “bigger” matches for Slammiversary. The story telling has been fascinating up to this point and it really stems from how Maria has been able to portray her character; avoiding any physical harm even up to this final stretch.
All that ends on Sunday and I have to wonder what kind of role Allie will play in this match, as well as the Jade/Sienna title match. Here’s hoping she’ll lose the “fear” when it comes to being physical in the ring.
Keeping kayfabe in mind, it’s safe to bet that Gail’s “injury” will play a role on Sunday’s match. Maria has some edge now, something she needed given how inactive she’s been in the ring. I’m not expecting such a high caliber match but maybe this match will surprise fans as much as the Gail/Taryn Terrell Last Knockout Standing match at Slammiversary 2013 did.