Thursday, September 23, 2021

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Xplosion Write-Up (February 18th, 2014): Gail Meets Portugal’s Perfect Athlete

On this week’s TNA Xplosion, we finally saw the result of Shanna joining TNA’s UK tour. While she’s not (yet) signed by the company, she is seen here getting one hell of an opportunity, wrestling former Knockouts Champ Gail Kim (sans Lei’D Tapa). Will she impress enough to eventually get signed? Let’s see:

Gail clearly doesn’t think much of Shanna, getting in her face right off the bat and talking trash. She turns her back for a moment to taunt the crowd and pays for it, because Shanna rolls up her up for the pin. Gail kicks out, going for a wild right hand and missing before getting rolled up again. She kicks out again.

This time, she’s able to halt Shanna’s momentum, getting to her feet and kicking her in the face. She starts to beat down Shanna, tossing her in the corner and stomping on her. She goes for a corner splash, but Shanna dodges it, leaving Gail to eat turnbuckle.

Shanna bounces off the ropes and hits Gail with a headscissors, punctuating it with a dropkick that sends Gail out of the ring. Gail takes her time on the outside, yelling at the fans and pacing. When she gets close to the ring, Shanna pounces, locking her in another headscissors through the ropes. Gail stops her in her tracks, though, freeing herself and slamming down Shanna’s right leg.

Gail tosses her back into the ring, taking back control of the match. She takes ahold of Shanna’s hurt leg and twists it, dropping an elbow on it twice. She then brings Shanna to a corner, wrapping the leg around the middle rope and twisting the knee. After that, she sets Shanna’s foot on the middle rope and brings herself down on the back of the knee. With Shanna hurting, we head to commercial.

When we come back, Gail is cutting to the chase, stomping directly on the back of Shanna’s bad knee. She takes the leg in one arm and drops to the mat, tweaking the knee even further. Gail then goes for her signature submission, dragging Shanna to a corner and locking in the figure four around the ring post. Gail breaks the hold upon the ref’s count, reentering the ring.

She bends back Shanna’s leg and lifts her up, but Shanna fights back, pounding Gail in the head. Gail drops her and Shanna hits her with an armdrag, ducking a blow but falling to the mat, her knee too weak. Gail grabs her by the hair, but she kicks her in the head, landing a series of blow and irish whipping Gail into the opposite corner. The effort is too much, though, and she falls back to the mat.

Gail laughs at this and waits for Shanna to get to her feet, then charging at her for a clothesline. Shanna is quicker, though, and hits Gail with one of her own. She goes for a pin, but Gail kicks out.

Frustrated, Shanna climbs to the top turnbuckle to try and finish Gail off. Gail stops her and tries to lay out Shanna with a superplex but is shoved all the way to the mat. Shanna flies and hits Gail with a crossbody, going for another pin, but again gets only a two-count. Shanna can’t believe it, but quickly gets to her feet and lifts Gail up onto her shoulders. Gail frees herself and hits her with a clothesline off the ropes. She pulls Shanna up and knocks her back down with the Eat Defeat. Gail gets the pin and the win.

Thoughts: This was mostly your usual “heel targets a body part” type of match. Gail is great at it, though, because she’s great at playing the shark, smelling blood in the water and finding creative ways to exploit the injury. It’s not just a series of submissions, but attacks that takes her opponent all around the ring.

Shanna looked good too, playing the fighter and showing off a few eye-catching moves. It wasn’t a full-on showcase for her, but I suppose she couldn’t do too much without making Gail – who dominated the division for months – look weak. I would have really liked to see her hit that headscissors through the ropes, but then again, that set up the knee injury, so it served its purpose. She definitely should (and probably will) be signed by TNA soon. If this was her tryout match, I wouldn’t turn her away.

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