The show must go on… for now anyway. That’s right Knockout fans, even with a predicted expiration date going around for TNA to be kicked off Destination America airwaves, the company has managed to pull out a lifeline to keep them momentarily afloat.
That lifeline would turn out to be the start of a brand new tournament series to crown a new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, following the aftermath drama from Sunday’s Bound For Glory event. What makes this new tournament of crowning a new champion unique is that a selected group of Knockouts will take part in it!
Our show opens up with TNA President Dixie Carter, along with Senior Producer Billy Corgan, to discuss how this World Title Series came together, in the event that anyone missed it.
Former TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III filed an injunction against Impact Wrestling for his lost to Matt Hardy at Bound For Glory, sighting Hardy having an unfair advantage with his brother Jeff Hardy acting as special referee and putting his hands on him. No argument there Ethan!
While the injunction threatened to hold off the World Title off television, Aunt D was ready to take her nephew to court to challenge his legal team. Lucky for Dixie though, no kayfabe judge would be needed, as Matt Hardy unselfishly gave in to Ethan’s demand and relinquished his newly won championship. There goes my fantasy of seeing a Carter vs. Carter case playing out during an episode of Judge Judy’s 20th anniversary.
With no World Heavyweight Champion in TNA, it was decided after much discussion, deliberation and soul searching that this tournament would begin immediately… because, you know, the Knockouts title (as well as all the other TNA titles) pretty much mean nothing now until this tournament comes to an end. Sigh….
We turn over to Josh Mathews and The Pope who, with the help of a new green screen, explain the rules of the World Title Series:
During the first round of play matches, there will be eight groups that will compete in three matches against people within their respective groups, facing a new opponent each time. In these 15 minutes time limited matches, participants can pick up three points with a win, one point if the match ends in a draw or zero if they come up with a loss.
At the end of these group matches, the two participants of each group with the most points will advance to the Round of 16 where single eliminations matches with no time limit will begin. Easy enough? Now that rules have been explained, let’s see how Group Knockouts squared off in their first night!
Our first Knockouts match would begin with Gail Kim taking on Brooke. Before the match, TNA cameras catch up with Gail to get her opinion on the Knockouts having the chance to take part in this World Series.
Gail says she continues to be grateful with TNA for allowing their women to be part of something great. Where else do women get a chance of being World Champion? I reckon Gail must have missed Sexy Star and Ivelisse‘s participation of Lucha Underground’s Aztec Warfare, when they were looking to crown their first Lucha Champion.
Onto the match, Gail starts things off with a headlock takedown to Brooke, trying to slow her down early on. Brooke fights through Gail’s headlock, breaking free by maneuvering behind Gail and slamming her face first to the mat.
While the match progresses, the TNA split screen cameos make their return as we hear from a pre-taped round table segment why Gail and Brooke both feel they deserve to advance in this tournament.
Gail says she is out to prove why she is the best Knockout of the division. It was, after all, her passion for this business that helped make the Knockouts division what it is today. A more humbled Brooke responds by stating that she is just happy to be there and that being a three time Knockouts champion should speak for itself.
Back to the match, Gail continues to work against Brooke, flipping her with a Monkey Flip when Brooke decides to run the ropes. Gail goes for a head scissors to next but Brooke manages to halt Gail and counter her move by pinning Gail’s shoulder to the mat for a pin attempt.
Gail reverses into a pin of her own and the two trade pin falls, each time kicking out before the three count. After the pin exchanges, Brooke springs to the turnbuckle and shoots a flying forearm from the second rope, following up with a hurricanrana.
Gail takes a moment to roll to the ring apron to catch her breath. When she’s recovered, Gail goes after Brooke again but Brooke’s aggression continues to play in her favor, as she manages to trap the champion in an inverted arm submission hold.
Gail refuses to tap out, resulting in Brooke breaking her submission and trying to hit her Butterface Makeover finisher. Gail is able to counter and trap Brooke with a one legged submission hold.
Just like Gail, Brooke refuses to tap out, causing Gail to break her hold and go straight for an Eat Defeat finish. Brooke counters by shoving away Gail’s leg before the finishing move can connect.
When the two Knockouts get back on their feet, Brooke corners Gail and with the use of the second rope, hits her Butterface Makeover face crusher! A risky Brooke holds off going straight for the cover and instead climbs the top rope of a turnbuckle, looking to land a flying elbow drop.
Brooke’s attack misses when Gail rolls out the way. Shortly after Brooke picks herself up, she falls back down to the mat when Gail sweeps her leg from the ring apron. Gail continues to target Brooke’s leg, locking in a figure four submission via ring post.
With the damage done, Gail goes for Eat Defeat again but Brooke surprises Gail by having enough to still counter the champion’s finisher as well as cradling her into a possum pin for the three count win!
With the first victory as part of Group Knockout, Brooke has earned three points to become the leader of her scoreboard.
Our second Knockouts match of the night pits Awesome Kong and Madison Rayne against each other. With no entrances from either women, the action begins with Kong immediately going for an Awesome Bomb.
Madison manages to punch her way out of Kong’s grasp and hit her with a dropkick after landing safely to the mat. Madison relies on her speed when attacking Kong, going after her when Kong rests at the turnbuckle.
Kong is one step ahead of Madison, moving out the way before the Queen Bee’s attack can connect. Kong then uses her own speed to crash and squash Madison from the turnbuckle with a running splat!
As Madison climbs to the back of Kong to mount a comeback, the time for another split screen round table segment in the middle of a match has come. As with Gail and Brooke, we hear from both Madison and (surprisingly) Awesome Kong on their feeling of the World Series.
Madison feels like an under dog, admitting to not having done much lately but says that is her advantage as her competitors will over look her. The usually quiet Awesome Kong states that her rage will get her through any man or woman that is thrown at her.
When cameras refocus on the match taking placing, Kong lifts Madison onto her shoulders and begins to inflict damage by bending the Queen Bee in half. After the tortuous move, Kong drops Madison like a sack of potatoes and runs the ropes, looking to hit a running splash.
Madison safely gets out the way and rolls Kong into a pin but Kong kicks out. Madison goes for another pin after hitting a running cross body to Kong but Kong manages to get her hand the second rope to break the pin.
Madison next strategy of putting away Kong is to pull out a series of flashy moves that include a combination of an enziguri, a running big boot to the head and even a missile dropkick from the top rope!
Madison goes for the pin one last time but Kong’s endurance keeps her in the match as she is able to kick out. Running out of options, Madison then tries to suplex the mighty Kong but is instead hit with a spinning back fist, leading into an Impact Buster set up, thus giving Kong the win and earning her three points to match Brooke.
At the end of the night, we stand at a tie in the Group Knockouts leader board with Brooke and Kong tied for first place with Madison and Gail in behind.
Thoughts: While some may credit TNA for including the Knockouts in this World Series, I personally can’t value it.
Reason being that the Knockouts group were probably only added to help fill in the gap of matches of this entire tournament to begin with. A tournament that I see simply being used as a way to stall onscreen television time into the new year while offscreen television deals are being made. I have doubts that, if TNA were not in the situation they’re in, the Knockouts would actually be getting this kind of a golden opportunity. It also sucks that the Knockouts title, as well as all the other TNA titles, are being sidelined coming right after Bound For Glory.
Still, I will say that I do like the concept of scoring of this tournament. It’s something we haven’t quite seen in wrestling but my concern is that the marathon of taped matches for this angle will feel like a drag until any possible intergender matches take place.
Of the two matches, I enjoyed Brooke and Gail more; the two work well against each other and it was a nice surprise to see Brooke get an early win. Both Josh Matthews have spoken of Brooke and her rematch clause, wish makes me hopefully that there will be some story in the Knockouts title picture once new material comes in. Hopefully, they’re match can deliver even more than this one!
Madison and Kong was all right and while it was great to see Madison on screen again, I do have to question as to why she was chosen to take part of this World Series. Of all the participants, Madison has yet to be involved in any sort of TNA intergender matches this year.
Personally, I would have preferred if Jade had taken Madison’s spot, given her history of already mixing it up with the men outside of TNA, and it would also have helped us see more of Jade outside the Dollhouse circle; which is something I think would be very beneficial to a rising star.
With the first series of matches done, all we can now do is await to see who will advance. Until then, hasta luego Knockout fans!