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Diva Dirt presents its sixth annual Writers’ Choice Awards, as decided by the Diva Dirt team. As we come to the end of 2016, we have picked the best of the best to be awarded our Writers’ Choice trophies.
TNA Knockout of the Year: Gail Kim
She may have lost the award for Writer’s Choice for Knockout of the Year to Taryn Terrell in 2015 after holding onto to it for three consecutive years but the year 2016 was the year that saw Gail Kim reclaim the title.
When fans hear the name Gail Kim, it is practically a synonym for the TNA Knockouts division. After all, Gail is a founding figure to the division (even before its official launch), is in the history books as the inaugural TNA Knockouts Champion and has put on a handful of MOTY throughout her time in TNA.
So how does a woman with an impressive resume as the one Gail has built get a nod for Knockout of the Year for the fourth time? By being involved in one of the most memorable Knockouts feuds in recent times, becoming the first woman to be inducted to the TNA Hall of Fame and winning the Knockouts title for a record setting six times!
Gail kicked off her 2016 as the Knockouts Champion, continuing a battle against longtime rival Awesome Kong – who had taken charge of a vacated Dollhouse stable. After Kong’s abrupt departure from TNA, Gail received a blast from the past when one Maria Kanellis offered to “fix” the Knockouts division and even give Gail some “mainstream” exposure in the process. Never one to backdown from a fight, Gail was more than willing to represent how strong and powerful the Knockouts are when it came stepping foot in the ring.
When Maria declined to partake in any match-up, with or against Gail, it led to a series of misfortunes for the first half of Gail’s year that include: being stranded in a Lethal Lockdown match, losing the Knockouts title to Jade, having to call her refer to her new rival as a “leader” and being ambushed on a weekly basis by Maria’s new muscle Sienna.
After failing to recapture the Knockouts title at Slammiversary, things began to turn around for Gail when Dixie Carter announced that Gail would be the 2016 inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame. Surrounded by her fellow TNA Superstars and fans alike, Gail takes this moment to thank TNA for being the reason her passion for wrestling stays alive even after sixteen years in the business. SIXTEEN YEARS GUYS!!!!
With the honor of being the 2016 TNA Hall of Famer under her belt, Gail would climb back to Knockouts title picture in time for Bound for Glory with the aspiration of winning the belt for a record six times from the woman who had made her life a living hell for nine months.
Former Knockouts Awesome Kong, Christy Hemme and Taryn Terrell all made surprise appearances for the occasion to share their stories and appreciation for Gail, who they credit has that gift of bringing out the greatest potential in anyone, no matter who she is across the ring with.
Though Gail wasn’t able to end her year with the Knockouts title, thanks to an unforeseen injury and attack be The Decay, a stare down between her and a newly crowned Rosemary leads to believe there is still some unfinished business for Gail to pursue in 2017, business that we’ll continue to keep watching.
The year 2016 was a challenging one for Knockouts fans; much like the Raw Women’s title, the Knockouts title was being tossed around in ‘hot potato’ fashion, there were only a handful of of genuinely great matches coming from the Knockouts division and any reassuring news about TNA’s future would be shut down by the surprise of legal woes.
Through the highs and lows (as with previous years) Gail has remained the glue of the Knockouts division all while hitting new strides in her already accomplished career in 2016. No matter where you stand on TNA’s booking of Gail, which is always a topic of debate, we can’t oversee Gail’s commitment, passion and hard work for the business.
This isn’t to take away from all the other contributions the rest of the Knockouts have made this year.
After all, this was the year that saw Jade breakout from her Dollhouse persona and grow to the War Queen we know she is, the menacing Rosemary become (by far) the greatest female character in wrestling today, Maria’s fantastic heel persona – in which she recruited and aligned with newcomers Sienna and Laurel Van Ness while feuding across the likes of Gail, Brandi Rhodes AND a lovable Allie – who, in my eyes, is the Knockout to watch in 2017 as the potential top babyface of the division!
If TNA has taught us anything throughout their time, its that they’re full of surprises. The Knockouts division are in a road to recovery and have the means of getting back to their glory days with a group of talented women, newly creative characters and an essential tool named Gail Kim to help along the way.
Stay tuned for more Writers’ Choice Award reveals throughout the day.