Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Professional Wrestling Review: TNA Knockouts Knockdown 2016

The show opens with Maria and Mike Bennett for some reason.    They bring out a bunch of Knockouts, maybe most of them to be featured on this show tonight, and Maria gives them the chance to introduce themselves.     Josh Mathews is on commentary by himself- no Pope, which isn't a bad thing- and he talks to Jeremy Borash who is in the ring.

Laura Dennis is up first and she says she's "cherry" (Get it? Because she is aka Cherry Bomb)   She says everyone else is trashy and she's classy then begins laughing the way only a sociopath would laugh at their own joke.     Did TNA script this awful bit for her?  I've always thought she was better than this.

Jayme is up next and she wants to have a flexing contest with Mike Bennett but Maria won't allow it.   I still like her from SHINE, so there's that.

Veda Scott (introduced only as "Veda") wants to do her secret handshake with Maria.   Where is Moose?  Oh, right.   But really, the fact that they knew each other in ROH is kind of funny.

Barbi Hayden looks like Terri Runnels if the former Marlena got hit by a bus.

Leva Bates is next, perhaps the best woman on this whole thing.    She is dressed like "A Clockwork Orange".   I'm looking forward to her match if it means we can one day see the Lucha Sisters in TNA.

Deonna Purrazzo is up next and why not, she continues to go back and forth between NXT and TNA.

Shelly Martinez is wearing a ridiculous hat and has her face painted up as well.   This is just embarrassing for her.

Allysin Kay is the last of the group and she seems to have the best things to say as she runs down the rest of the women in the ring.   AK-47 is already winning over fans in the Impact Zone or wherever they are.

Jeremy Borash tells each of the women who their opponents will be.   This could have been done with a poster/graphic, but it is worth noting that JB refers to them by their full names while Maria was on a first name only basis.    Still, it's Laura Dennis and no "Cherry Bomb" though.     Interestingly enough, Leva Bates draws Jade so the former Lucha Sisters will do battle tonight!  

So JB breaks it down as eight aspiring Knockouts vs. eight TNA Knockouts and one of them will be crowned "The Queen of the Knockouts" and, um, you know, that title will in no way interfere with the one Maria has.   Hahaha.    Clips from previous years- back to 2013- are shown and I can't say that this is a good step in moving forward (looking towards the future) but I can sense that it needs to be done simply to show the sorted history of this One Night Only event.    Gail Kim and Madison Rayne hug a lot.    Awesome Kong is shown defeating HavoK to win the QotKO Title/crown and somewhere you know Matt Hardy's wife is crying into a diaper.

Josh Mathews checks in on commentary with Jeremy Borash, Maria and Mike Bennett with him, though Bennett does not appear to be wearing a headset.

Match One: Allysin Kay vs. Gail Kim

It's odd that this could be one of the biggest matches on this entire show and yet it is opening the show.    Gail Kim has been such a staple in the KO division in TNA and Allysin Kay is quite possibly one of the best women not currently signed to WWE or TNA.   (I'd throw ROH in there, but they don't really have a women's division)    The crowd tried to start an "Allysin Kay" chant during the match, but nothing in regards to AK-47, which is the chant I would have gone with if I was there.    In typical TNA fashion, more of this match was spent talking about the budding feud between Maria and Gail Kim than, you know, how great Allysin Kay is in the ring.     Unfortunately, Mike Bennett got involved in the match and Gail Kim was counted out.  Just when I was thinking this was what we needed to see on Impact every week, something like this has to go and happen.   After the match, Gail Kim says she is tired of Maria and her interference.   She calls Mike Bennett a "pussy" (no edit) and says she will fight Maria and Mike Bennett in a tag team match later on in the show.   So much for this being women only.   Josh Mathews wonders who Gail Kim will find as a partner.

Shelly Martinez cuts a backstage promo about how last time she was in TNA things were different (she was in LAX) and her grandma died and she was the only one who really believed in her.    I don't know if Shelly Martinez is on drugs or not but if she isn't, she really should be.    Shelly leaves one word for Rebel: muerte.    Yes, this felt a lot like an audition for Lucha Underground.

Match Two: Shelly Martinez vs. Rebel

Josh Mathews says that even though Rebel is on the TNA roster Shelly Martinez has been wrestling longer.    Now, I actually saw the finish to this match on the Botchamania Facebook Page before I watched the entire show, so I will suggest you go over there and read comments for just about every joke you could ever want to hear about this awful, awful match.   Shelly Martinez tried to hit a suicide dive (?) but got caught in the ropes.   There was then this awkward roll up of sorts where it looked like Rebel was sniffing Shelly's butt and it ended because it felt like the referee was tired of witnessing it.    The commentators had a hard time covering that one up and this was a taped freaking show.   This really had no place being on a pay-per-view, let alone a pay-per-view designed to showcase the talents of women.     Rebel should be fired and the name Shelly Martinez should only ever be spoken again in professional wrestling in the past tense.     Unfortunately, Rebel will move on to the main event gauntlet match.   

Velvet Sky tells us her favorite moment of the Knockouts Division is the birth of the KO Division.   Geez, that's like saying your favorite part of professional wrestling isn't the matches or promos or drama but the fact that it first started in 1926 when Abe Lincoln wrestled a bear.   Why does anyone let Velvet Sky talk... Ever?   She starts talking about Jackie Moore as if foreshadowing her inevitable debut in WWE because she is dating Bubba Dudley.   I am in no way looking forward to that, if I haven't said it a thousand times already.

Match Three: Laura Dennis vs. Velvet Sky

In case anyone is wondering, when TNA announced new signings right after they announced Bobby Roode and Eric Young leaving, there were five names they first dropped and Laura Dennis was among them.   So she really isn't an "aspiring Knockout" or whatever Josh Mathews said because she is actually under contract with TNA.   Still, that makes this match that much more interesting because here you have Laura Dennis making her TNA debut in a way (since signing with the company) and Velvet Sky is, based on all sorts of rumors and speculation, finishing up her time with the company.     Josh Mathews does mention one time that Laura Dennis is known as Cherry Bomb on the independent circuit.    Laura Dennis wins the match despite having her foot on the rope during the pin but, hey, at least Velvet Sky can go away now.     Velvet Sky shakes the hand of Laura Dennis then does the kick into Stone Cold Stunner thing and I'm left wondering how exactly that makes Laura Dennis the heel.   Ah well.  Velvet Sky is done for the night so I guess that's what really matters.  

Jade says her favorite Knockouts moment was when she debuted and got to beat up Christy Hemme.   See, that's a real moment to say is your favorite.   Wtf is wrong with Velvet Sky??     

Match Four: Leva Bates vs. Jade

Before the match and after the Jade talk, Josh Mathews says we'll be seeing Jade later tonight.   Umm, she's in the match which Leva Bates is coming out for right now.   This is why people hate Josh Mathews on commentary.   Leva Bates does have a promo from backstage (while she is in the ring) and she mentions the history she has with Jade.   Josh Mathews also says that Leva Bates looks like a mime or Charlie Chaplin but I'm sticking with my "A Clockwork Orange" assessment.     During the match, Josh Mathews informs JB what "Netflix and chill" actually means and this is something nobody should have to hear on television ever.   I'm really much happier when I tune out the commentary but I'm trying to see if Josh Mathews slips up and says "Blue Pants".    Josh Mathews mentions that Jade holds a victory over Gail Kim but they've been very careful to avoid stating who the KO Champion is exactly.   No one has been shown with the title- neither Gail Kim nor Jade- but based upon when this aired and not when it was taped Jade would be champion though, again, it hasn't been shown here on this taped show.    But could Leva Bates- or anyone for that matter- really defeat Jade then?  I'm pretty sure this is why Jade went to the gauntlet and won this match ("Gotta make the champ look strong, even if we don't recognize her as champ on this show!") so it's just the luck of the draw which kept Leva Bates out of the gauntlet.   Truth be told, I only found out about Knockouts Knockdown 2016 because Leva Bates promoted it on Twitter.   Yes, Leva Bates has more publicity pull than all of TNA and I'm not sure how anyone should feel about that.     Still, this was one of those matches where you'd want to buy this DVD or find this on YouTube or however aspiring wrestlers research matches (They say someone like HHH watches a lot of videos but how does he get access to them?  Did he call TNA and get free DVDs to prepare for his match with Sting?) and watch it if you not only are a woman who wants to be a wrestler but even as a man who wants to wrestle I recommend watching and learning from this match.   So far, this match alone has made this show worth the price for me.   I just wish I could somehow send my money straight to Jade and Leva Bates, cutting out the middleman of TNA.   (And Josh Mathews, who they pay for some dumb reason)

Match Five: Veda Scott vs. Rosemary

Have you read my rant yet about how if I went to a wrestling convention and had the chance to meet Veda Scott and/or SoCal Val for free with no lines, no waiting I still wouldn't do it?   Yeah, Veda Scott fits in TNA in the same way that SoCal Val did.   Veda Scott, in a word, is awful.   Let's hope Rosemary can make it so we never have to see her again.   That's my mindset going into this match: sacrifice Veda Scott.   Though it's odd because I'd say Rosemary is booked as the heel in TNA, obviously, but there isn't really a reason I can find for anyone watching to care about Veda Scott.    But I guess that is just one of those things which makes Veda Scott so terrible- she's not giving you a reason to invest in her character or want to see her win and defeat Rosemary.    Veda Scott doesn't even look like she believes she can defeat Rosemary, so why should the fans get behind her?   Crazzy Steve comes out with Rosemary and if he plays into the finish of this match then so be it.    Veda Scott says Crazzy Steve is out there because Rosemary is afraid of her.   Makes sense.    Josh Mathews says he likes Veda Scott and her stock instantly drops.    It is mentioned though how they have notes about Veda Scott but still know nothing about Rosemary.   JB says Veda Scott is a vegan and Josh Mathews says it's cheaper to eat when you're a vegan.   Obviously he's never known a vegan before.  Organic shit is expensive.    At one point during the match Crazzy Steve licks Rosemary's forehead and Josh Mathews acts as if his mommy won't let him watch Lucha Underground.   Josh Mathews is so bad that if someone decided to dub their own commentary over his and upload it to YouTube, TNA wouldn't sue them they'd give them a job.    Josh Mathews says between the previous match and this match it has been worth the price of admission so at least he's hyped on the Leva Bates-Jade match and sees the Rebel-Martinez match for the trainwreck that it was.    I know Veda Scott isn't with Moose anymore (I think) but doesn't she manage someone who could have come out to counter Crazzy Steve?   Mist spit out by Rosemary into the face Veda Scott sends 

Match Six: Barbi Hayden vs. Raquel

Barbi Hayden has someone at ringside with a number one fan sign and I'm pretty sure it's a plant as she looks like a female wrestler as well.   Raquel has only been seen in TNA thus far- from what I remember- as trying to seduce Lashley once backstage, but I'm pretty sure she hasn't had a match unless she was in that mess on Impact which Maria won to become the leader of the Knockouts or whatever.    Barbi Hayden says something like, "Not everyone is going to love you" and a fan can very loudly be heard saying, "You got that right".   Funny.   Barbi calls her number one fan "Trina" and it's kind of like she's Dana Brooke mixed with... I don't know.  A roll of toilet paper.     Josh Mathews notes Raquel is the first Brazilian Knockout in TNA but that does little to tell us who she is and why she is already a Knockout and not an aspiring KO.   A "Let's go Barbi" chant starts, though putting her against Raquel seems to be why.    For every bit of awful I think the gimmick of Barbi Hayden is and for every bit of "What?" I feel about Raquel because we really haven't seen her a lot in TNA, this match was that much of a disaster.    It'd be nice if you could say, "Well, her gimmick is terrible but at least she can wrestle", but no.   This is a close contender for Worst Match of the Night and had it not been for that classic botch by Shelly Martinez it so clearly would be.    The # 1 Fan- who both commentators call Trina Michaels- distracts Raquel and gives Barbi Hayden the win.   Raquel hits an okay dropkick on Barbi Hayden and then the worst backstabber ever on Trina Michaels.   Seriously, and I've seen wrestlers hit the backstabber on things which are not even human and it looked better than this.

Madison Rayne said her favorite Knockouts moment was when she took a year off.  It was ALL of ours favorite moment I think, MR.   Okay, maybe she kept talking after that with more words meaning something else different, but I took it for what I wanted it to mean because it's funnier that way.

Match Seven: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Madison Rayne

Deonna made her debut in TNA at KOKD2014 and she says Madison won that year.  If you want to see Deonna's favorite Knockout moment it probably wasn't when Asuka was kicking the crap out of her in NXT.     JB says when her career is over, Madison Rayne will be remembered as a pioneer of the KO division and Josh Mathews says her theme song is inspired by Imagine Dragons.   Terrible on both accounts.    Someone should find out why Deonna floats back and forth between TNA and NXT and can't seem to get hired by either company.    Deonna shakes hands with and tells Madison Rayne "Thank you so much" during the match.  Okay, now I don't want to see her ever again.   As Deonna screams "That was awesome!" after a move a fan can be heard saying "Shut up!".   Really, she's marking out like a fan but she's in the wrestling ring.   This gimmick does not work for her and I will not look at her the same way next time I see her in NXT.    In a single match, my good thoughts of Deonna Purrazzo in both NXT and TNA might have just been destroyed.    Josh Mathews asks JB to pick his MVP of the night and says he wants to forget the Shelly Martinez-Rebel match.  He says his MVP is Leva Bates and he is wise to do so.    Josh Mathews then begins talking about Warehouse Championship Wrestling and he and JB both say "WCW" as if tempting the fates of trying to put TNA out of business.    As if it matters, Madison Rayne wins this match clean and she goes on to be in the gauntlet.    So I believe that means there are three matches left on this show then.   

Match Eight: Jayme Jameson vs. Marti Belle 

I'm pretty sure Josh Mathews said we were going into our mixed tag match now and Jayme Jameson would fight later tonight as she made her way to the ring and was being introduced by JB.    But I also feel like they just showed us a recap of Gail Kim losing earlier and setting up the mixed tag match because the Shelly Martinez-Rebel match ended before it was supposed to on account of it being awful.     This match is a tough one for me because Jayme Jameson has really been growing on me in SHINE, yet Marti Belle in the gauntlet with Jade and Rebel would certainly be interesting as well.    I suppose this means the mixed tag match is next and then the gauntlet match.   Josh Mathews- I shit you not- begins to tell us that there are already four aspiring Knockouts set for the gauntlet match.   He counts Allysin Kay, Barbi and Laura Dennis before trailing off and then saying the Knockouts in the match are Madison Rayne, Rebel, Rosemary... And then he trails off again.   The seventh woman he can't remember is Jade, who is a Knockout so did Josh Mathews just give away the finish of this match?   More importantly, based upon when this was taped to when it actually aired, why would you not edit that??    Then, Marti Belle wins the match and I feel like Josh Mathews doesn't even care about TNA.  

Match Nine: Mike Bennett & Maria vs. Gail Kim & A Mystery Partner

Maria and Mike Bennett cut a pre-match promo backstage and then Maria comes out and does her annoying bit about Mike Bennett being "The Miracle".   The only thing that is a miracle around here, pal, is the fact that you have a job in professional wrestling.    Josh Mathews explains why this match is happening, which we've already seen twice, but yet no one says that Mike Bennett isn't a woman.    If Maria is the leader of the Knockouts or whatever though, will their business ever be over??   Gail Kim comes out and her partner is revealed as DJ Z.   Josh Mathews sounds like he is trying his hardest not to laugh as he says what a great choice DJ Z is.    This match would have been a nice rest in between the Knockouts action if some of the previous matches weren't such clunkers.   Mike Bennett scored the pinfall on DJ Z and I feel like nothing is over.

Match Ten: The Gauntlet For The Crown

A video package is shown basically reminding us of how we got here.    Barbi Hayden is out first and her Number One Fan is no longer at ringside.    The second entrant is Marti Belle and it's funny because The Dollhouse music hit and I wasn't sure who it was going to be at first.   I think Sean Waltman said something about this when he was in DX and how it was funny because everyone in the nWo came out to the same music when they had their own songs in DX.    It does make it rather confusing.  Perhaps if they come out as a group or even just duo they can have the Hole song, but when they come out individually there should be distinct theme songs so you know who is coming.     Madison Rayne is out third and I'm not sure how that will work out since there are already two heels in the ring that don't get along.    Out fourth is Rebel and apparently she was not fired for her "match" from before.   Josh Mathews said he thought it had to be Rebel but then realized all three members of The Dollhouse are in this match.  Yes, he finally finished the thought he couldn't finish earlier.   Good job, Josh Mathews.   Let me hope I am never in an actual emergency situation with you.    Thankfully, Barbi is eliminated and now she can go back to being a model at car shows or whatever.   Laura Dennis is out fifth and she is running into the ring then cleaning house as she screams.    Allysin Kay comes out at number six which leaves just Jade and Rosemary to come.    Laura Dennis is eliminated and then Rebel is as well.   Rosemary draws number seven.   There are currently four Knockouts in the ring now as three have been eliminated and one is yet to enter.  They all kind of stand on their own, but Jade is out next/last and she can team with Marti for sure.    Rosemary gets eliminated and then Allysin Kay does as well.   These are some of the least exciting eliminations ever.    Jade finally comes out at number eight and it's a 2 on 1 situation with The Dollhouse versus Madison Rayne.   I really hope Madison Rayne does not win this.   JB says that this is a good chance for The Dollhouse to get some gold, not titles but the crown.   Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jade is Knockout Champion though so I'm confused.   It's like we're pretending for this show that the KO Title doesn't exist but then they kind of talk about it sometimes.     Jade hits Marti Belle accidentally and then they hug it out.   Jade says they're family, but when her back is turned Jade dumps Marti Belle over the top rope and then kicks her to make sure she hits the ground.    Jade eliminating Marti Belle is cool with me if it means tension in The Dollhouse, but I hope this doesn't somehow lead to Madison Rayne winning which seems likely given TNA's history.    With the final two left there are no longer over the top rope eliminations and it has the rules of a normal match between Jade and Madison Rayne.     After a short time, Jade pins Madison Rayne clean and wins the Knockouts Crown to become Queen of the Knockouts.   Given her status as Knockouts Champion, which they don't want to talk about, this does make sense.   Plus, if Leva Bates is going to lose to anyone in the Match of the Night it might as well be the woman who wins it all.   

So the official poster for this has the TNA Knockouts on it (not the aspiring ones) and Jade is somewhat hidden in the back as Gail Kim seems to be the most dominant.   Should TNA decide to release this on home video they should change the artwork to include Jade at the forefront of it all and then- and only then- will be worth buying for about $20 on DVD, maybe $15 on sale, just because this show really was about Jade in a lot of ways and even with its faults... You know, for as bad as some of these matches were and some of these women are at wrestling, the way this event just puts Jade in the spotlight makes up for it all because she truly is one of the best in the world today, man or woman.    I would definitely recommend watching this at least once all the way through and then go back and watch the parts with Jade, Leva Bates, Laura Dennis and Allysin Kay over and over and over.   

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