Last night, TNA added a special addition to their TNA One Night Only Series. That event would go by the name of TNA One Night Only: Live! and surprisingly, the event lived up to its live name trait. Well, at least by TNA’s definition of “live” meaning there was only an air delay of about an hour or two. It’s a small price when you compare to all the other TNA One Night Only events that tend to air months and months from when they are originally taped. That and the price tag of the event being significantly lower than your average PPV.
During this inaugural Live! event, the Knockouts have been schedule to compete in a gauntlet style match to determine who will be the new number one contender to Gail Kim’s Knockouts Title. In addition to participation from The Beautiful People (Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky) as well as The Dollhouse (Awesome Kong, Jade, Marti Bell and Rebel) there were two other surprise entrants from former Tough Enough hopeful Chelsea Green as well as rising independent star Deonna Purrazo. Unfortunately, these small surprises can’t completely make up for the disappointment that came from how this played out nor the obvious match result.
Ahead of the Knockouts Gauntlet match, we catch up with Madison Rayne backstage who runs down some quick math notes about the chances of her winning the number one contender spot. Madison is all aware that the odds of a member of The Dollhouse is high but is determined to take each of them down for a shot at Gail Kim’s title. This also includes having to take out her own Beautiful People teammate should it come down to it.
On the other side of things, Jeremy Borash sets up a backstage interview with reigning Knockouts champion Gail Kim to get her thoughts on the women seeking to win a chance for her title. The very first Knockouts champion recalls how she actually won her first Knockouts championship in a gauntlet match nearly a decade ago.
Within that last decade time frame, Gail has built a history with all the participants of this match, including her feud/recent allegiance with The Beautiful People, The Dollhouse and, of course, her greatest rival Awesome Kong. It is a bit astonishing, and concerning, how unchanged TNA’s women’s division is looking after all these years.
Under gauntlet match rules, two participants will start off the match with a new woman entering every two minutes. As with Battle Royals, eliminations will occur when someone is thrown over the top until we are down to two participants. From there, a winner will be determined via pin fall or submission.
Drawing lucky number one is the Queen Bee Madison Rayne, who looks fabulous in her white attire, kicking things off with Dollhouse representative Jade. After dodging a dropkick from Jade, Madison takes Jade down with a less than perfect head scissors takedown. From there, Madison takes Jade to a corner for an early elimination but Jade fights her off to stay in the game.
The tables turn when Jade hits a roundhouse kick to Madison and the clock counts down to bring out Rebel as the third participant of the match. Immediately upon entering the ring, Rebel aids Jade by attacking Madison with a two kick combo. The two Dollhouse members make the most of the numbers game by double teaming against Madison and working on an elimination but Madison manages to hold her own until our fourth participant comes on down.
Lucky for Madison, the fourth woman isn’t another member of The Dollhouse but instead a debuting Chelsea Green, who just happens to have be given her own intro tron. Could this be a hint that Chelsea is signed with TNA?
Once in the ring, Chelsea brings some fight to Jade and Rebel, hitting each of them with a clothesline and dropkick. Just when the playing field looks to be evened up, the Dollhouse theme song hits as the next Knockout to come out is Marti Bell!
Marti makes the save to her fellow Dollhouse members and control of the match shifts back to The Dollhouse.
After taking out Madison with a double team attack, Jade and Marti turn their focus on newbie Chelsea. The former Tough Enough contestant gets whipped to a corner and is then hit with an ensemble of an attack from each member of The Dollhouse. Rebel hitting a handstand back elbow, Marti a running forearm and a big boot from Jade. It’s all playtime for The Dollhouse!
As the time escalates, our seventh participant makes her finds her way to the crowded six sided ring. This time, it’s Deonna making a surprise entrant! However, unlike Chelsea, Deonna gets no special name display on the big screen. I’m just going to take this as a sign of this being a onetime appearance.
Once Deonna enters the ring, she brings the fight to The Dollhouse, hitting Jade with a strong forearm and a double clothesline to Marti and Rebel. After regroup themselves, Chelsea and Madison team up with Deonna to even the tides against The Dollhouse.
The pact between the new names and Madison is rewarded when Chelsea whips Rebel to a corner, causing Rebel to poorly stumble to the second rope. Chelsea attacks Rebel from behind, knocking her off the ropes for first elimination of the match.
The elimination comes just in time for our non-Dollhouse members as the next name to come out is the newly named Dollhouse leader Awesome Kong!
When our aspiring Knockouts try to challenge the mighty Awesome Kong, they are met with a double choke slam and are shortly eliminated for their trouble. Well, the new names were refreshing to see while it lasted; even though it was a given that neither of them would actually go on to win it all.
Suddenly, it would appear that Madison would be stuck in a fight alone in a battle against three members of The Dollhouse but our final participant Velvet Sky comes to the rescue!
Velvet turns her focus to Marti and Jade, taking both of them down with a running bulldog. Seeing this, Awesome Kong takes a break from dealing with Madison to go after Velvet but is instead met with a double team attack by The Beautiful People. They wear Kong down with several kicks to the midsection before taking her out with a double running big boot!
Marti tries to redeem herself against Velvet by charging after her but Velvet lowers the top rope sending Marti to slip through. Oddly enough, Velvet fails to check if Marti feet actually touch the floor causing Marti to hold on for seconds until Madison delivers the final blow. Awkward…..
On the other side of the ring, Jade manages to eliminate Velvet by tossing her over the top rope and thrusting a headbutt to the midsection. Then there were only three…
Once again, Madison finds herself outnumbered against the Dollhouse as we near the end of the over the top stipulation. The remaining Beautiful People member gets her hands crushed when Kong and Jade stomp over hands simultaneously.
In an effort to eliminate the first participant of this gauntlet match, Kong mounts Jade over her shoulders to swing in some bumped up kicks but it backfires when Madison dodges and kicks Kong in the midsection. The blow causes Kong to lose her hold of Jade and drop her over the opposite side of the ring, giving Madison the window of opportunity needed to get the final over the top elimination.
Our final two Knockouts now find themselves in a one on one match up. Kong signals for an Implant Buster but Madison manages to reverse. She manages to bring Kong down to that mat after hitting several running clothesline, an enziguri and missile dropkick from the second rope. Madison goes for the pin but Kong kicks out at two.
Madison tries her luck from the second rope again but Kong catches her this time around. The Dollhouse leader sets Madison for a chokeslam but Madison rolls Kong into a pin instead! The effort only earns Madison a two count. A shocked Kong fires back at Madison with a spinning back fist and Implant Buster that puts Madison down for the three count win. So it’ll be another Gail Kim and Awesome Kong contest in the future… what a surprise to almost no one.
Thoughts: Multi-women Battle Royal/Gauntlet matches tend to have a lot of flaws to them and this match was just another example of that.
Most of this match just felt very dreary and there were just so many messy spots when it came to the over the top eliminations as well as when the women were swarming around inside the ring. While the additional entrants of Chelsea and Deonna were nice surprises, it just didn’t seem fitting to throw them in this kind of match, whether it was being used a tryout or not. They wouldn’t be able to show everything they could and it felt as though they were only brought in to help even the playing field against The Dollhouse. This just emphasizes how thin the current Knockouts division is! Please try and get some more women on the roster TNA.
Having to sit through another Gail and Kong match just speaks volumes of where TNA currently stand with their women’s division: stale. This is a match we’ve constantly seen within the last year as well as the early years of the Knockouts division, back when it felt fresh and had the more “magic” to it. It just seems like TNA are stuck in a rut. Yes, things may play out a bit different what with Kong having the Dollhouse on her side but it doesn’t change the scheme of things that all TNA have treated their Knockouts division as an afterthought with no idea of how to progress them forward.