Hello Knockouts fans! I’m filling in for Josue for this week’s Impact Write-Up. This looks to be a pretty momentous week, so hopefully I can do it justice.
On deck we’ve got the Triple Threat Knockouts Title match, which was booked two weeks ago when Awesome Kong and Brooke won their way to a title shot. Taryn Terrell puts her belt on the line days after The Dollhouse lost to the pair at Slammiversary. Can she regain some of her lost mojo? Will Jade and Marti Bell find a way to make it up to Taryn?
Before we can answer those questions, we need to take in another big Knockout development: Mickie James‘s “one more match” has finally been proposed. Yes, she lives! The former Knockouts Champion joined her fiance Magnus in the ring for a promo that was interrupted by the villainous James Storm, the man who pulled a Frank Underwood a few weeks ago.
Mickie thanks the fans for their support and admits that she should have listened to Magnus from the start. She calls out Storm, which brings him to the entrance ramp, mic in hand. He says Mickie should be thanking him for not pushing her harder onto the train tracks and claims that he never wanted her to join The Revolution. He just wanted to show the world how easy it is to manipulate a woman. He can have any damn woman he wants.
Mickie calls Storm a “pathetic excuse for a man” and says she’s just trying to compensate for something he lacks by recruiting followers. If he can find “one woman” to follow him, both of them can face Mickie and Magnus in the ring. She promises to whip both of their asses anywhere they want.
Who could this mystery woman be??? Not gonna lie, it’s taking a lot of restraint to not blurt out a spoiler here.
Knockouts Title match time!
When all the competitors make it to the ring, both Brooke and Kong set their sights on Taryn, backing her into the ropes. She shoves Brooke into Kong, who tosses her fellow babyface back into the champion. Brooke and Taryn roll around a bit, trading blows while Kong looks on. Kong eventually sees enough, grabbing a handful of Taryn’s hair and tossing her across the ring.
Brooke pulls Taryn to her feet and performs a hair toss of her own. Taryn backs up against the corner, bringing a charging Kong upon her. Brooke then hits the champ with a facebuster. Taryn stands up and shows some uncharacteristic guts, running the ropes and attempting to take both Brooke and Kong down. The two of them knock her down easily.
Taryn then slips out of the ring, escaping Brooke’s grasp and leaving her and Kong to finally fight each other. Brooke lands a few kicks on Kong before her legs are sweeped out from under her. Kong latches on a sleeper hold, wearing down Brooke while Taryn watches on from the outside. As Brooke starts to stand in the sleeper, Taryn reenters the ring. Kong spins Brooke around a bit before releasing the hold, turning around to be greeted with a second rope dropkick from Taryn.
Taryn boots Kong out of the ring, allowing Brooke to attack her from behind. She plants Taryn with a dropkick and attempts to whip her into the opposite corner, but Taryn claims the momentum and levels Brooke with a clothesline. She climbs atop Brooke’s back and drags her face across the mat, screaming like a banshee. She then goes for the pin, but Brooke kicks out easily.
Taryn chokes Brooke a bit before attempting another pin, Brooke again kicking out. Taryn hits her with a suplex and celebrates, unaware of the returning Kong’s presence in the ring. She turns around to be met with a series of blows and palm strikes, Kong whipping her into the opposite corner and planting her with a chokeslam. Kong runs the ropes, but she’s tripped up by Marti and Jade, who pull her out of the ring.
As Kong battles Taryn’s minions, Brooke starts to gain momentum, hitting Taryn with a spear. She climbs towards the top turnbuckle and thwarts Jade’s attempt to stop her, not noticing Marti on the other side. Marti kicks Brooke and sends her all the way to the floor outside. Meanwhile, Kong climbs back into the ring, surveying a prone Taryn. She runs the ropes, but Jade is again there to stop her, kneeing her in the back. She drops Kong throat-first against the top rope, leaving her to stumble back towards a waiting Taryn, who hits her with the Taryn Cutter! Taryn pins Kong for the three-count and retains the Knockouts Title!
Before The Dollhouse can escape, though, they’re halted in their tracks by a blackout. Suddenly, that mysterious video package airs again, revealing the woman behind it to be none other than Gail Kim. They are not pleased.
Well, that was underwhelming. I think TNA should have gone down a different route if they were set on hyping Gail’s return as the dismantler of The Dollhouse. For one, they could have had her mysteriously attack them for a few weeks before revealing herself. I just don’t think airing video packages was the right idea, since those tend to infer that a new Knockout’s going to debut. Revealing that its purpose was just to hype the return of a Knockout who’s only been gone for a few weeks is kind of disappointing, no?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure Gail’s going to kick ass. I just think the lead-up to this could have been handled better.
Lastly, Karen Jarrett made a follow-up appearance to last week’s shocker, sitting alongside her husband Jeff Jarrett for an interview with Mike Tenay:
Not much to see here. Frankly, I’m not too psyched about the Jarretts in TNA so far. Just announce the GFW/TNA partnership already!
Thoughts: Despite its surprisingly short length (under five minutes!) I really enjoyed the Knockouts Title match. At times, it felt more like a Handicap match than Slammiversary’s match did. It was a nice follow-up to that match, despite being taped beforehand. As far as the Knockouts go, I don’t see any real negative consequences springing from that TV taping/Slammiversary scheduling disaster. It all feels organic.
This was a very well-structured match, feeling totally unique amongst all the Triple Threat matches we’ve seen lately. It helps that Taryn had Marti and Jade at ringside to facilitate some of the eliminations these matches call for – allowing the action to stick to mostly one-on-one encounters – without feeling too spotty. As TNA often does, they exploited each of the Knockouts’ unique character traits and kept the action fresh. Taryn was fantastic, being equal parts cowardly heel and batshit, gold-obsessed champion. You get the sense that she’d bite your face off to remain champion, much in the way a high school movie villain would do anything and everything to be crowned Homecoming Queen. She brings something new to the table, not settling for the “sexy alpha bitch” archetype she could have easily taken on. I absolutely love Taryn as a heel, if that wasn’t clear. My one complaint about The Dollhouse would be the treatment of Marti and Jade – I know they’re Taryn’s lackeys, but I’d like to see them pose more of a threat. As is, they’re on the fast track to jobber status.
Even in a match that clocked in under five minutes, the Knockouts managed to keep me on the edge of my seat. Well, almost. I do read the spoilers, after all. The Knockouts division has been doing this a lot lately: putting the main roster Divas division to shame when it comes to match booking. They tell a story almost effortlessly.
So, we move forward with Taryn still at the helm, snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat. It almost feels Game of Thrones-esque, the villain triumphing against all odds. You get the audience investeded in seeing their downfall, since they’ve been so cruelly denied it. That’s the mark of an effective heel in my book. Long live Taryn!