After spending just a little over a month overseas, the 2016 TNA UK tour comes to an end this week. Things may have started off rocky for our Knockouts but as we gradually moved forward, we were able to at least get some long overdue spotlight to the Knockouts Championship.
During this final stop in Birmingham, Knockouts Champion Gail Kim is set to defend her title against Jade, after the Dollhouse member picked up a pin fall over the champion as well as surprising her with an ambush of an attack. Will The Dollhouse be able to strike gold for a second time? Let’s find out!
Before we get to our Knockouts Title match of the evening, we first meet up with TNA President Dixie Carter:
She opens up the show with her TNA roster (the babyfaces anyway) surrounding the ring, as the company celebrates Kurt Angle‘s decade-long TNA career. The Olympic gold medalist is hanging up the wrestling after his final match against the destroyer Lashley.
Dixie goes down memory lane and recalls when Kurt first came to the company; how they were able to keep the news discreet as fans anticipated Kurt’s TNA debut. Long story short, Dixie puts over Angle, thanks him for raising the bar for all of professional wrestling and for helping expand the TNA brand. On a personal note, my favorite Kurt Angle TNA match was his match against Lashley just last year, where he won the TNA World Heavyweight for the sixth and final time. #ThankYouKurt
After that emotional start to Impact, Dixie makes her way backstage, only to be stopped by an awaiting Maria Kanellis:
The First Lady of Professional Wrestling thanks Dixie for bringing the miraculous couple to TNA. The Bennetts are looking to make waves and Maria invites Dixie to join them in the ring in a few moments to hear them out. Dixie makes no promise of joining them but Maria leaves Dixie with one final proposition.
Turning back her attention to the Knockouts division, Maria tells Dixie that she is still seeking that leader role for the division and requests that she give her assistant a call to set up a formal meeting on how to arrange this little request. Dixie brushes off this idea as well, telling Maria that much like Gail Kim, she is a believer in actions, not words. Hmm, could this be the start of a possible VP of the Knockouts role coming back?
From the backstage to the six sided ring, the Bennetts are working overtime to get Madam Carter’s attention. Unfortunately, they call the attention of ongoing rival Drew Galloway instead, who chases the couple after a heated exchange of words on who truly is the rising star in TNA.
Knockouts Title match time!
Jade is already in the ring as Ninja Kim makes her entrance. We’re treated to a recap from last week’s attack where Jade made her mark against the champion and as soon as the bell rings, Gail goes for some retribution offense. She takes Jade to a corner with and lands a running dropkick, sending the challenger to the outside to recollect herself.
When Jade reenters the ring, she tries to gain control of the match by scooping Gail up over her shoulders and dropping the champion onto the right knee. Jade keeps the attacking coming with several kicks to Gail’s chest. A running big boot is on Jade’s mind next but Gail manages to dodge out the way, leaving Jade crash to an empty turnbuckle.
Gail makes the most of Jade’s stumble by hitting a corner crossbody and applying a ring post figure four lock. She lets go of the illegal hold and tries to grasp an evasive Jade, who fights off Gail with a quick kick to the head. Jade follows up with a submission hold that traps Gail onto the mat but the champion manages to break free. After hitting Gail with a gutwrench suplex, Jade goes for a pin cover but only gets a two count.
The submissions maneuvers come back when Jade locks in an arm lock to Gail, applying pressure all while shouting that she is better than Gail. Ninja Kim rolls through and counters Jade’s submission with a headscissors headlock. Jade toughens through the initiative move and knocks Gail back down with a big boot.
Jade then begins to look for higher ground, climbing to the top of a corner turnbuckle to hit a dropkick. Gail sidesteps out the way and gets the ball rolling again, landing several forearms to Jade, a running clothesline and even a neck breaker. The arsenal of attacks isn’t enough to put Jade down for the three count.
The champion looks for an Eat Defeat next but Jade masterfully counters with a German suplex, earning a near three count. After arguing with the official, Jade refocuses on the champion and tries to put away Gail with her packaged piledriver but the champion counters with a high kick to the head. Gail quickly makes her way to the top of a turnbuckle to hit Jade with a crossbody leading to a pin. Jade vigorously rolls through but Gail reverses this, pinning Jade’s shoulder onto the mat and getting the three count to retain her title.
Thoughts: It’s such a relief to see the Knockouts Title picture get some airtime and focus again! Gail has been Knockouts Champion for well over 200 days now but has only had three title defenses, including this one. Sure, that can be because of TNA transitioning from Destination America to Pop! TV, the World Title Series and, of course, the unexpected departures of past Knockouts but I just wish this lengthy reign had more depth and meaning to it.
Normally, I would be a bit bothered by these roll through pin finishes but I’ll take it this time around since it doesn’t completely kill the momentum Jade has been building up in these past few weeks. Jade has managed to pick up a handful of wins so far and is still really the only contender that can be a threat to Gail’s Knockout Title. I think she worked well with Gail in this match, combining her striking offense as well as adding more submission maneuvers. Gail continues to bring out the best in everyone she faces the ring and this match was no different. I do wish that these two had a bit more time but maybe we will see the next time these two face off, should this feud continue.
On another note, I did find Maria’s interaction with Dixie backstage interesting. While Maria made it clear she has no interest in wrestling in the ring, a leader role, such as VP of the Knockouts, would be one way to continue to use her in the division without getting psychical. Perhaps Maria can continue to provoke the likes of Gail the same way Karen Jarrett did with Velvet Sky in this role, if she is given it. Maybe it can lead to interactions with other Knockouts or maybe nothing will come from it at all. After all, both Dixie and Gail have yet to see Maria “prove” anything.
Here’s hoping that when TNA return to the States next week in a semi-live episode of Impact, we’ll get answers and the start of new action!