Saturday, December 2, 2023

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TNA One Night Only: World Cup of Wrestling in Review: May the Best Team Win

Greetings, Knockout fans, and welcome to another One Night Only recap. This month, we take a look back TNA’s World Cup of Wrestling that originally aired back in August; just one month after the United States Women’s National Team won this year’s World Cup! (I just had to plug in that victory again!!!)

Okay, so TNA’s World Cup of Wrestling may not exactly have the same hype or feel as an actual World Cup but, for me, it still remains to be one of TNA’s more “fun” One Night Only PPVs. As always, the rules for this annual event include four team captains hand picking members of the TNA roster to join their team. There will be two singles matches, one tag team match, one Fatal Four-Way between team captains and, of course, a Knockouts match!

Each match is worth a set number of points and after all the points have been tallied up, the two teams with the highest score with duke it out with one another in a big elimination tag match, all in the name of bragging rights and the World Cup of Wrestling trophy! Huh, this is much like the ongoing World Title Series except a whole lot shorter!

Serving as team captains this year are Bobby Roode, Ethan Carter III, Eric Young and Jeff Hardy. After every leader has had a chance to deliver their opening statements inside the ring, they each take their places outside the ring to begin drafting names from the TNA roster to join their respective teams.

After the first two rounds of drafting a few of TNA’s heavyweights, the third round begins the trend of the Knockouts being called from backstage to take part in this World Cup of Wrestling series. It all begins when Ethan Carter III huddles up with his team members to pick a Knockout who likes to destroy beautiful things. Cue Awesome Kong‘s music and out comes the two-time Knockouts Champion, who doesn’t look all that excited to join her fellow team members.

Eric Young responds to Ethan’s Knockout pick and decides to go with Awesome Kong’s one time rival Havok to join his team. Longest reigning TNA Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode picks fellow record breaking reigning champion Taryn Terrell to join his team. Finally, Jeff Hardy wraps up the Knockouts pick by choosing Gail Kim to complete his team. Keep in mind that all this was taped prior to any Dollhouse or ninja gimmicks were introduced.

We go to our first Knockouts match of the event, which just happens to be contested under Hardcore rules! Havok makes her way to ring and she brings with a can of weapon goodies! Kong makes her entrance next and though she may not come out with a can of arsenal, she isn’t empty handed. Kong carries a pipe with her and before she can even reach the ring, Havok meets Kong at the ramp and goes after Kong with a stick of her own!

The sword-like battle ends shortly when Kong tosses Havok off the entrance ramp. Havok spots a nearby trash can and intends to use as a weapon but Kong punches it right out of Havok’s hands, shaken her up in the process. Kong retrieves the fallen trash can and strikes Havok with it.

She tosses Havok back at the entrance ramp and uses the same trash can once again. This time placing it over Havok and striking her with the same pipe she had brought with her.

When the two powerhouse find their way to the ring, Havok manages to avoid another hit from Kong’s pipe. Seeing an opening, Havok begins to work on Kong, striking her back with a trash can lid. Havok tosses Kong into the ring along with the weapons she begins to unload from the trash can she came down with.

Havok opts to enter the ring by climbing to the second and taunting the Impact Zone. WAKE UP GUYS!!!! Havok gets knocked down from her place when Kong grabs the lid that Havok provided and strikes her with it. Kong goes into full ninja mode next when she recaptured her pipe, swings it a full circle motion (take note Ninja Kim and Ninja Queen) and uses it to hit Havok in the midsection.

Havok fights back with a bulldog through a trash can and goes for the first pin of the match, only earning a two count. Frustrated, Havok takes her anger out on Kong, striking her back again with the same trash can lid.

Havok searches for more weapons under the ring and pulls out a ladder to bring inside the six sided ring! This ladder would, unfortunately, prove to be Havok’s downfall as Kong would hit her rival with a chokeslam over the steel ladder and get the three count for her team. A proud Kong would swing her giant pole one more time before heading to the back.

Unlike the first Knockouts match, Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell will do battle under normal rules. After both women make their entrances to the ring, they tie up to trade headlocks. After the short standstill, Gail sends Taryn to a corner with a running dropkick. Gail follows up with a running clothesline but Taryn moves out the way to hit Gail with a dropkick as well.

The Knockouts move on to the ring apron where they take each other out with a big boot, landing on the outside ground. They’ve been equally matched so far. When Taryn returns to the ring, Gail grabs her legs and drags them to the corner to lock a figure four from the ring post!

Gail releases the illegal submission and returns to the ring to go for the cover but Taryn kicks out at two. Playing possum, Taryn takes down Gail with a drop toe hold and adds a single legged Boston Crab for Gail’s trouble.

When Gail is unable to get to the ropes, she rolls Taryn into a roll up pin for a two count. When Gail backs on her feet, she uses her speed to try and hit Taryn with a corner crossbody but misses, finding herself back on the outside ring. Taryn joins Gail after leaping from the ring apron to hit a flying crossbody.

Taryn isn’t the only one with some outside offense, as Gail manages to hit the blond bombshell with a Side Russian Legsweep to the barricade, hurting herself in the process. The referee is at the nine count when both women find their way back to the ring. Once back in the ring, Taryn looks for high ground, climbing the top rope to hit a crossbody but lands on the mat instead when Gail ducks out the way.

Gail takes advantage and looks for an Eat Defeat but Taryn reverses this, going for her Cutter finisher. Taryn’s Cutter doesn’t connect as Gail reverses this finisher as well into a roll through pin to get sneakily get the three count win for Team Hardy. They’ll now join Awesome Kong and Team ECIII to move on to the Final Elimination Tag Team to determine the winner of this year’s World Cup of Wrestling.

During our main event, the Knockouts would most be at standby until the elimination of Crazzy Steve would force Gail and Kong to square off. Sadly, the women would only get about two minutes of action as they would get themselves eliminated with a double count out when they take their short brawl to the outside so the ring.

In the end, Jeff Hardy would pick up the win for his team after pinning James Strom. He is then rejoined by his team, including Gail, to savor in the victory!

Thoughts: As I’ve said in the beginning, behind the Knockouts Knockdown PPV, these World Cup of Wrestling events tend to be one of the better One Night Only PPVs. I’m a fan of the concept and, aside from the main event, I liked the Knockouts involvement this year.

The Havok/Kong match was short but a very physical match up. Kong and that pole swinging bit had me in tears! This match gave us a chance Kong and Havok go at it one more time, given that we didn’t actually see much during their fued from earlier this year. I just wish the crowd wasn’t as cold as they were for this match, as it took away some of the life from the match. Shame that even here Havok couldn’t pick up a win against Kong.

The Gail/Taryn match was solid and both women looked like they were on the same playing field. I always loved the chemistry between these two and even though this match was taped way back in February, it served as a nice reminder as to the kind of matches these two can have when you take away the gimmicks that they’ve since accustomed.

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