Monday, July 15, 2024

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Saturday Supplement: Have the Knockouts Lost Their Edge?


In the Saturday Supplement, the Diva Dirt team will aim to discuss a news story, a televised event or other relevant and current topics. The objective, like the average weekend newspaper, is to offer more indepth and lengthy discussion.

sstbpSince its inception, the TNA Knockouts division has been a burst of fresh air to many who have been soured to the world of women’s wrestling.  Over the past years, the TNA Knockouts have opened many eyes to what an ideal women’s division could look like during a time when its popularity was not as its highest.  A growing fanbase, a 2-hour syndication, a women’s championship, and a locker room of talented women would seem like the ideal formula for success.  However, to every victor goes the spoils, and with the spoils often comes hindrances.  TNA has not been without faults over the years, especially when it comes to the Knockouts, yet the company still manages to redeem itself and reserve its spot for quality wrestling.  So, does TNA’s booking do more harm than good or do the Knockouts still remain at the top of the food chain?

TNA has always appeared allegedly ‘high’ on its women’s division.  In a recent interview, TNA President Dixie Carter released this statement:

I’m very proud of the Knockouts. As a woman, it’s important to me that these ladies be represented properly. They are the best in the business, and the recent addition of new Knockouts, such as Tara and Sarita, will only further strengthen this division.

While the Knockouts could be blindly conceived as the proverbial “apple of TNA’s eye,” that is not necessarily the case. TNA has made some drastic faux pas in dealing with its talent. With the Knockouts delivering the some of the highest rated segments on air, that puts into question if TNA is even aware just where its strengths lie.  Due to its advantage of a growing female roster, TNA typically provides longer and more frequent matches for its Knockouts.  The indie superstar initiative (comprising the likes of Sarita and Ayako Hamada) has sprung new life into the Knockouts division, but has also caused the roster to become a bit crowded.  A locker room full of women may be convenient for the usual battle royale, but it also means less face time for some of the Knockouts.  Understandably, the weekly 2-hour program can only feature so many wrestlers at a time.  So, TNA tries to rectify this rolling admission with multiple feuds.  Unfortunately, having too many rivalries jeopardizes the development that is required of a successful feud week in and week out.

ssvictoriaWith so much investment as the face of the division, losing Gail Kim was a tremendous blow to TNA.  Her loss had the company scrambling for a way to recreate the magic that made the division as popular as it has become.  Thus, Victoria‘s arrival to the company was met with red hot anticipation and excitement.  What would inevitably be channeled into a title opportunity, her rapidly swelling momentum was soon swerved against her.  Well, so much for ‘Victory‘! Victoria winning and losing the title in a matter of a couple weeks was irresponsible booking on TNA’s part. Instead of drawing out the feud, TNA opts to move on with Victoria as a whole. Now, there lies a total disregard for the history between Victoria and Angelina Love. With not so much as a rematch for Victoria, both females branch off into separate feuds with Awesome Kong and ODB respectively.  Now, with the announcement of a title opportunity at Hard Justice, this leaves fans questioning the point of Victoria’s title win in the first place.  This type of topsy-turvy booking desensitizes the prestige of the title as well as the talent involved.  Alas, TNA managed to turn its own investment against itself.  And with the horrid scandal that was JennaJennagateMorasca, at some point, you have to take a moment and rethink: this is the same division that was receiving so much praise just a couple years ago?  Instead of progressing, TNA seemed to be taking one step forward and three steps back.

In what could be perceived as a desperate attempt, TNA has also recently rummaged through a pile of WWE’s leftovers.  This time, in a form of a Playboy pictorial featuring the original Knockout, Traci Brooks.  While the potential success of this development is still vague, it vastly contradicts the tagline of “No Divas here” in a way that sheds a hypocritical light on the Knockouts.

As a product of bad booking, over-exposure, and negligence, does this leave the Knockouts division at a complete loss?  Well, no.

TNA has all the talent in the world.  With a collection of accomplished wrestlers and creative clairvoyance at its disposal, TNA continues to impress.  The implementation of new on-air personalities such as Sarita, Alissa Flash, and Ayako Hamada has produced hope for a stronger division that has all the tools to break new ground.  The first encounter between newcomers Sarita and Alissa Flash reminded us of a women’s division that we all could be proud of.  The fast-paced, nonstop action elicited many “oohs and ahhs” from Knockout and Diva fans alike.  “Gail Kim…who?  Diva’s Championship what?”  With the assistance of those two women as well as the continued effort of the talented women of the TNA roster, Impact has slowly begun to become a mirror of itself in 2007, if not better.

Hungry for fresh meat, there is still a staple to succeed that protects established aspects of the division that are successful.  The Beautiful People, the ever-popular crooked alliance that has gone strong for almost two years now, still continues to dominate and entertain on Impact with Angelina Love as the rightful Knockouts Champion.  The cunning ex-champion Victoria has now found herself injected into a struggle with Awesome Kong which could be the opportunity she needs to recover from the blow she suffered at Victory Road.  Moreover, TNA has been boosting Traci’s Playboy deal in an already far more interesting manner than we’ve seen in WWE.

So what can this do for the morale of the TNA Knockouts?  Well, for every con there are a few pros to accommodate TNA’s faults.  Forgiving the Victory Road incident, TNA has been pretty decent with separating the wrestlers from the squire.  Now, stars are being made and being given the chance to fully shine.  All signs indicate that the Knockouts will continue to outdo themselves and further push women’s wrestling into magnate status.  So, the ball is in your court, TNA.  With all of these credentials, how can you really lose?

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