Friday, July 1, 2022

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TNA One Night Only: Joker’s Wild in Review: Fighting Spirits Run Wild


Greetings Knockout fans and welcome to another installment of TNA’s One Night Only sequence. This month’s TNA ONO event is Joker’s Wild, one of TNA’s better shows, in my opinion. As with previous years, the concept around Joker’s Wild involves teams being randomly paired together through a random drawing. The winning teams would go on to compete in a final gauntlet match for the chance at a $100,000 dollar grand prize! *Insert TNA financial joke here*

This year, our two competing Knockouts taking part for a shot at the “grand prize” are Jade and Gail Kim. Will this year see a first female winner making it to end and winning it all? Let’s find out.

We head over at ringside, where we find Jeremy Borash having a busy night of drawing names of the TNA roster from a black box. During match number five, he draws the name of Tyrus, who has fun poking fun of the live audience in attendance by seizing a child’s foam finger and taunting fans sitting within the first row.

Borash reaches back to the black box and to pull out the name of the second competitor of this match. He pulls out the name of Jade, who makes her graceful entrance all while Tyrus taps back into his Funkasaurus persona and bops to Jade’s entrance theme song. Just call them Team TnJ!

The names of Team TnJ are drawn and as luck would have it, they would square off with their equals in the form of Gail Kim and Lashley. The bells rings as starting things off are Lashley and Jade? Lashey opposes this arrangement and calls out for Tyrus but Jade insist they go on with the match. She shows Lashley she is just as tough as he is with a few flexing poses. An unimpressed Lashley brushes off Jade but the Dollhouse member begins laying her offense with a series of forearms and sidekicks, all which do nothing to Lashley. He scoops Jade up, gently places her at a turnbuckle and taps her on the head to stay put.

Jade refuses to stay put and flies off the turnbuckle only to be caught midway. Lashley continues to avoid any psychical harm and instead makes a tag to his partner. Gail enters with full force landing a combination of forearms, swift kicks and a flying clothesline. She goes for the pin but only earns a two count.

Jade jabs Gail in the midsection with a knee shot and whips her to the turnbuckle. Jade sprints towards Gail but bumps into an elbow when Gail counters. Gail follows up with a Flying Dragon submission and quickly turns into a roll-up pin attempt but Jade reverses this into a pin of her own. Both women fail to get the three count.

The women then try to outdo each other with a grounded headlock, causing their partners to enter the ring to get a better view of this instead of actually trying to break it up. Then men head back to their respective corners after some backlash from the female partners and the action picks right back up. The two Knockouts go back and forth but hit a stalemate when they each hit a running face crusher. Both teams make a tag and the battle between the heavyweights begin.

After a double clothesline takes out Tyrus and Lashley, the men look for their partners to make the tag. Once the tags are made, Ninja Kim manages to dodge a big boot from Jade and maneuvers to the top of a turnbuckle to hit a crossbody into the pin for a near three count. Gail runs to the ropes but finds herself stumbling to the outside grounds when Tyrus widens the ring ropes. Lashley gets retribution for Gail by knocking off Tyrus from the ring apron.

Jade’s plot to land some offense to Lashley continues but, once again, Lashley overpowers his female counterpart and sets her up to be spanked. Tyrus runs in to make the save before any hands can hit any rear ends. While Tyrus may not have any intentions of butt spanking, he does want to lock lips with Ninja Kim and pulls out a bottle of breath spray for minty freshness! Gail is having none of this and fights off the uncanny Tyrus with an Eat Defeat! While Gail continues to land her attacks on Tyrus, the legal Jade rolls up Gail from behind and gets the three count win for her team.

A proud Jade mocks Gail but gets an Eat Defeat for her smack talk. Gail then turns to Tyrus and agrees to a smooch when in reality it was a set up for Lashley to hit a spear. Despite this post attack from Gail and Lashley, Team TnJ are moving on to the finals!

When we arrive to our final gauntlet showdown, we get an appearance from Maria Kanellis, who introduces her husband Mike Bennett as the first competitor to this match. Mike starts off strong against his first two opponents, X-Division stars Mandrews and Tigre Uno. He manages to eliminate the British Boot Camp winner early on and hold down Tigre until fourth opponent Jade makes her entrance!

Upon entering the ring, Knockout representative Jade dodges a clothesline from Miracle Mike and hits him with a dropkick that sends him to a corner turnbuckle. Tigre targets Jade but she manages to fight him off with a strong right arm and a running tornado DDT! Jade sets her eyes on Mike once again and dashes towards him but Mike lifts Jade over the top rope.

Although Jade is able to land her feet on the ring apron, an interfering Maria hauls Jade’s legs off, eliminating her from the match in less than a minute after even entering! In the end, the Bennetts almost got away with that “100K” prize had it not been for Drew Galloway and his sturdy big boot.

Thoughts: Behind Knockouts Knockdown, Joker’s Wild tends to be my favorite TNA ONO event. It’s an event that allows for TNA to sort of be free in trying new directions with no storyline attachment, more so when it comes to the Knockouts. Sadly, this year didn’t completely deliver that for me.

More often than not, in intergender matches, in TNA and WWE, are treated pretty much treated as a gimmick. While it has been a treat to see Jade/Gail square off again and see that they are on evening playing fields, the small bits of comedy during this mixed tag match sort of took away from it. From Tyrus/Lashley trying to get a close-up of Jade/Gail while they’re competing to the spanks and kissing efforts, it brought down the competitiveness flow of things, for me anyway. It served as reminders as to why we don’t see these kinds of matches play out on television, unlike last year’s Joker’s Wild where there was some grasp of both Awesome Kong and Gail Kim managing to hold their own against male competitors.

Even when Jade made it to the gauntlet, the less than a minute presences felt anti-climatic. I just wish we were able to see more of what Jade can do, as this served could have been a great way to showcase outside the Dollhouse strings. But, as the saying goes: beggars can’t be choosers!

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