Thursday 30 April 2015

All Dolled Up

NXT has been praised for its booking of female wrestlers for a while wow. Rightly so. The women's division of the WWE developmental league is significantly better than the Divas division of the main roster, featuring better matches fought between more over performers with better defined characters. But while NXT remains the wrestling TV show of choice for women's wrestling (and wrestling in general, for that matter) TNA have recently tried to steal some of its thunder.

The March 24 episode of Impact was advertised as being built around the Knockouts division. As things turned out this was a lie but only a minor one. The all important opening and closing segments both featured Kurt Angle, Austin Aries and Eric Young and there didn't seem to be any fewer lads matches than normal. But although the KOs didn't receive top billing or get either of the big star slots they were granted plenty of time on the show.

The first of the three women's matches to take place was a four-way between Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Brooke Nosurnameallowed, and Angelina Love. Although it wasn't as long as it could have been the four made excellent use of what time they had and pumped out a very good match. It was pretty much a case of the writing team slinging some bodies into a match because they had nothing else for them to do but they made it work. If nothing else this match served as a reminder that the Knockouts can have great matches when given the opportunity.

Sadly the debut of the Doll House faction didn't go as smoothly. Considering they were making their first appearance this segment should have had a fair bit of attention paid to it to ensure that members Jade and Marti Bell looked as strong as possible. That Jade lost by disqualification to a woman being presented as a jobber and only got her heat back by bullying Christie Hemme indicates that the writing team's attention was elsewhere.

The spark the Knockout division's been needing? Maybe.
Thankfully there was more planned for the Doll House later in the show which helped them to make the impression they deserved. During a no DQ match for the Knockouts championship Jade and Marti returned to the ring and helped champ Taryn Terrell power bomb challenger Awesome Kong through a table (sort of), allowing her to retain her gold. They celebrated with the champion afterwards as she took a microphone and confirmed that she was a member of the faction.

None of this is the most imaginative wrestling writing ever. But it is a promising sign from the frequently frustrating TNA. Jade, more commonly known as Mia Yim, is a good-looking, talented wrestler, exactly the sort of woman TNA should be signing for their depleted division. I'm less familiar with Marti Bell but from what I've seen she's solid enough in the ring. The heel turn of Taryn was good in that it was unexpected and gives her a chance to do something new, although the downside is that she seemed to be quite liked by TNA fans and worked well as an overmatched babyface. It also leaves the Knockouts division bare on the babyface front, with Gail Kim and Kong being the only performers left not playing baddies.

But these negatives aren't catastrophic or beyond fixing. Terrell can switch to wrestling interference-heavy matches now that she's the head of a stable, disguising her limitations in a different way. One or two women could be turned face to even things up a bit and the already popular Rebel could have her in-ring role increased (although not before she's improved as a wrestler, ideally).

TNA deserves credit for doing something to change up their Knockouts division because it's one of the areas in which they can upstage WWE. If the league did more with its Knockouts and the X Division lads its shows would more readily feel different to those of WWE which would allow TNA to more successfully position itself as the alternative brand it's so desperate to be. The Night of Knockouts may have featured a duff debut but the match quality was strong. Imagine how good the Knockouts division could get if the writers were as good at their job as the wrestlers are at theirs. But then that's true for TNA in general.

No comments:

Post a Comment