Thursday, September 21, 2023

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Destination X in Review: Night of the Zombie (Hot)?

After getting snubbed last month, the TNA Knockouts were finally allowed back on pay-per-view in the form of Tara and Daffney, and the match was for the Knockouts Championship. Over the past month or so, we’ve all sat and watched the evolution of Daffney. She’s gone from having a supporting role in matches to starring in her own and it’s been refreshing and rewarding for everyone involved and for everyone who has watched. A lot of people have been waiting for Daffney to finally get her chance at some Knockout gold. Just how successful was Daffney in her quest to rectify the fact she’s the only Knockout on the roster to never hold gold?

The Knockouts match is the first TNA title match of the night and probably the best one, and before the two heated rivals make their way to the ring we’re given the briefest of recaps about their history with one another. Mike Tenay and Taz run down a few things and they speculate that this could be the night of the zombie …hot. (Thanks for the title, TNA!)

Daffney makes her way to the ring first in a nice red outfit and tiny little hat. She has an extremely sexy entrance and once she rolls to the middle of the ring she lets out an ear piercing shriek that gets the fans popping. Tara’s music hits and the fans go crazy for her as well. She looks so pumped and focused for this match and she strides to the ring with a purpose. Once Tara gets into the ring she sits Poison and the title in her corner and goes right for Daffney. The women begin exchanging blows and after going back and forth, Tara finally gets the upperhand by knocking Daffney to the mat and then following it up suplex. Tara rips her T-shirt off, much to the delight of the fans, and hits her trademark standing moonsault. She goes for a quick pin but Daffney kicks out. This match is far from over! Daffney gets to the corner and lures Tara into her clutches. Tara’s face connects with the middle turnbuckle pad and Daffney begins jumping off the ropes and onto Tara’s back, painfully almost compressing the champ’s spine. It just looks terrible to take that abuse and for the opening minutes of the match it’s pretty insane to see. To add insult to injury, Daffney lifts Tara up by the legs and kicks her in the vajayjay. Here’s hoping Tara didn’t want to start a family anytime soon.

Daffney goes for a pin after the vag kick, but Tara powers out. It’s going to take more than that to keep the champ down, ladies and gentlemen. Daffney doesn’t get disturbed and just gets up to her feet. She helps Tara along and slams her in the middle of the ring. We’ve already eluded to how unorthodox Daffney is and she proves it by stepping on the face of Tara and doing a twirl type of thing. Great stuff. Daffney levels Tara with an uppercut and gets her into the corner. Tara gets nailed with a nice little chest chop and Daffney begins to harass the referee, who according to Taz is a bit of a weirdo himself. He backs off and Tara is whipped across the ring. Daffney goes to charge her, but Tara moves and manages to catch Daffney and lock her in a tarantula. She’s only allowed to hold the move for about five seconds but it’s long enough to send Daffney staggering back and allowing Tara some time to recuperate on the outside of the ring. Her rest is short lived because Daffney pulls her back into the ring by her hair.

With Tara back in the ring, Daffney goes back on offense. Instead of releasing her grip on Tara’s shiny black locks, she maintains it and begins to repeatedly snapmare her into the mat. Eventually Daffney gets bored of this and kicks Tara in the face, sending the Californian flat on her back. Daffney goes for the cover but of course, the tenacious ex-Diva kicks out. Daffney sits Tara up and begins to drive her knee into Tara’s lower back, then she begins to lock in a few submission holds. When Tara doesn’t give up, Daffney draws the legs of Tara up towards Tara’s face and painfully begins to stretch her. If that wasn’t enough, Daffney had to go and bend one leg which made me cring IRL. Tara looks to the crowd for support and when they begin to rally behind her, Tara digs deep and starts to fight back. She gets herself out of the awful hold and knocks Daffney away from her. It’s all about survival at this point for Tara and she pulls her MMA training out of the bag and begins stiffly kicking away at Daffney before nailing her in the head and sending her to the mat. The ever feisty Daffney attempts to fight back but Tara is feeling it again and she starts hitting her opponent with some nasty right hands. Then, Daffney is taken down with a very nice slam and Tara goes for the pin. Daffney BARELY kicks out, as in she waited until the absolute last moment, and Tara is in disbelief that no matter what she throws at Daffney, Daffney just won’t go away.

Tara shakes off the failed pin attempt and goes back at Daffney. Daffney fights back and after a back and forth struggle, Daffney hits a beautiful bridging suplex into a pin attempt. She basically comes within an eyelash of becoming the new Knockouts Champion. Now it’s Daffney’s turn to act frustrated and annoyed that she didn’t get the win. The crowd is chanting for both women at this point and rightfully so. They’re both pouring so much into this match and it’s amazing to see. As both women get to their feet, Tara hoists Daffney up on her shoulders. She hits a gorgeous spinning sidewalk slam but that doesn’t put Daffney away either. Tara is very frustrated and lets the referee know about it which is very out of character for her. Daffney catches Tara with an eye rake, then hits a modified jaw breaker looking thing on the champ. Tara is seemingly out and Daffney goes for the cover. Could we have a new champion?!

Tara kicks out! How she did that, I’ll never know and neither will Daffney because she starts to freak out. She tosses Tara outside the ring and uses the guardrail as a legal weapon. She throws Tara back into the ring but instead of going for the cover, she goes for the title belt. Tara ducks the attempted cheap shot and finally gets the opportunity she’s been waiting for. One quick Widow’s Peak later and Tara has retained her title in the best Knockout match in a long, long time. Tara immediately goes to the outside of the ring to celebrate her victory with the fans and Daffney rolls to the outside. The audience is very appreciative of Tara, Daffney, and their efforts and after a few more seconds of relishing in her victory Tara gets back in the ring to get Poison. But he/she/it is gone.

Tara looks around before the fans point up the ramp. The camera zooms to the entrance ramp and there is Zombie Hot with that nasty spider and a sick smile on her face. Daffney laughs maniacally and in true weirdo fashion she licks the glass case that houses that spider. Tara looks upset and mad now, and chases Daffney up the entrance ramp leaving all of us fans to wonder if this feud is over or not.

Now that was a pretty good payoff. I’m not going to get super excited and say that this feud is far from over. Too many angles have been dropped in the past with little or no explanation so lets remain calm about this and reflect on the great show Tara and Daffney put on for all of us last night. The kidnapping of poison certainly leaves the door open for more interaction between these two women but for all we know, TNA may just decide to settle this once and for all tonight on Impact. I hope beyond hope that’s not the case and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will continue for another month. Everytime I watch Daffney, I enjoy her more and more. I’ve even gone as far as re-watching my CM Punk ROH DVDs just to see the parts she played in his matches under her Lucy moniker. Daffney is championship material and it astonishes me she’s never gotten an opportunity to carry any women’s division. I won’t go as far as saying she’s the greatest wrestler on the Knockout roster, but she brings all those intangibles to the table that just can’t be taught. Daffney brings charisma, excitement, danger, and anticipation to every match she competes in and you find yourself watching her and waiting just to see what she will do next. She has qualities about her that no other woman in TNA possesses and I want to see her as Knockouts Champion soon.

Tonight, I was so glad to see Tara retain. I may have wanted a cheap victory for her, but I didn’t necessarily want to see her lose the title. Tara’s two title reigns have been very forgettable and short, so she is due to have a nice one this go around. She has a fresh opponent, a couple of storylines going on, and she’s stepping it up each time I see her. There is no denying that Tara works her butt off. If you follow her on Twitter, she’s constantly talking about the workout classes she takes and believe me, they don’t include step aerobics. Tara is in the best shape I’ve ever seen her. She’s smokin’ hot and in TNA she is finally getting to enjoy the fruits of her labor. The WWE misused her very badly, and one thing TNA is getting right so far is their treatment of Tara. She deserves to be front and center for all the major Knockout storylines and she definitely deserves to be Knockouts Champion. All these reasons are why I feel she and Daffney compliment each other so well. They’re both fighting for the same thing in their own way and neither of them are the conventional beautiful wrestler girl. They’re down, dirty, hardcore, and kick-ass and women’s mainstream wrestling needs more of them.

Destination X left me wanting more Daffney and Tara in my life. They need the chance to throw caution to the wind and go at it full force. Maybe the kidnapping of Tara’s pet will make this feud a personal one, so come Lockdown, we will get the bloodfest we all want between these two. TNA please don’t water down this feud or forget it after tonight’s live show. Let it continue. Indulge us fans who make ourselves watch your show each and every week just for our one little Knockout segment. We’re not asking to much. We’re just asking for a little more respect thrown at the Knockouts and no more pointless crap. We get the feeling you still care about the division a little bit after last night so lets keep it up and keep moving in the right direction.

Match Rating: 4/5

This match definitely did it for me, even though it wasn’t a hundred percent perfect. Out of a possible five stars, I give it four because nothing in wrestling is ever perfect, but this came pretty damn close.

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