-Though I admit I've become more than a little skeptical about TNA's booking of the Knockouts in the last six months, I have to say, I'm curious about what they're going to do now with departures and injuries taking out every female babyface the writers seemed to have any desire to push. I expect the new signee, Betsy Ruth, will debut sooner than later, though it would probably be unwise to plug her into the top spot immediately. I think it would be a good idea if they avoided doing that with her because there's bound to be Awesome Kong comparisons and it might help her chances of catching on with the fans if she came in under the radar rather than as an unstoppable monster like Kong did.
-But that leaves the question, who do they use as top babyface now? They need someone who is credible and can connect with the audience, but thanks to TNA's shortsighted booking and their stubborn refusal to build up anyone to take Tara's place in the event that she ever left, none of the remaining girls fit that bill. Angelina & Daffney -- out with injuries. Sarita & Taylor -- buried. Hamada -- last seen getting pinned by Velvet Sky during a commercial break. ODB -- currently in the doghouse for daring to tell the truth about the sorry state of the division on her facebook page. That's pretty much everyone. Beats me what they're going to do now. Either way, this should be interesting...
ROXXI vs. MADISON RAYNE (c)
-Wha... ROXXI! HOLY CRAP!
-Nice to see Madison come out without Velvet & Lacey for once. It's also nice to see that Roxxi is no less over despite another prolonged absence; she's like ODB that way.
-Surprisingly, the announcers explained Roxxi's absence with exactly what caused it in the first place; she broke her ankle in a match with Hamada on the New Year's Eve show. Unsurprisingly, they neglected to mention that she was released from the company while rehabbing said injury, which is why she didn't return to TV when she was cleared to return to the ring months ago. Gotta love that selective memory.
-I noticed they dropped the "hardcore Knockout" gimmick. I'm glad about that. It always sounded awkward and it didn't really fit her anyway. When we interviewed her on QCWradio last summer, Roxxi said it wasn't something she wanted to be labeled as. Besides, she's proven that she doesn't need a gimmick to get over.
-Damn... pretty short match. So much for Madison milking the, "I ended Tara's career," angle to get heel heat. What a wasted opportunity that was. They had a great way to really get some legitimate heat on Madison in her own right, not just as one third of TBP, and instead they have her lose her very next match in short order, with no fanfare, sweeping that whole angle under the rug immediately. After a brief bout with sanity and logic with the Knockouts last Sunday, I guess it's back to the writers booking the women with the, "Everything is counter productive and we don't care!" philosophy. Sigh...
-On the other side of the coin, this does immediately reestablish Roxxi as a strong competitor and a threat to the title, so it accomplished that much. It did come at the expense of neutering the champion, but we have to take what we can get these days.
-These two had a webmatch last year that was better than this. And the reason this match wasn't as good was... you guessed it! Once again, the inferior wrestler (Madison) carried most of the action. For the life of me, I don't understand why the bookers keep making the same mistake over and over again. When the better worker carries the action, you get a better match; what about this is so damn hard to figure out?
-After looking into this, I have two theories on why TNA brought Roxxi back again. The first is that this is a situation similar to the one with Shane Douglas last year, where management wanted to bring back someone who helped the company get to where it is today for a match at Slammiversary. The second is that they're doing damage control, since Tara is now gone and the only other babyface they bothered to devote any time to whatsoever in the last six months is on the shelf with a torn bicep. The former seems unlikely since they're currently trying to cut costs wherever they can, so I'm guessing the latter is what's going on here.
-If they wanted to bring back a former Knockout (one that didn't leave over pay grievances) who could get over quickly and be believable in a top spot, they couldn't have made a better choice, IMO. Roxxi was always very popular with the fans and, in terms of character, she was the best opponent TBP ever had. TBP's whole shtick is that they think they're more beautiful than everyone else, so they work best when they're played against the more unconventional looking women. It was turning on Roxxi originally that got them so over as heels in the first place, but put them in the ring with women that are just as hot or hotter than they are and their gimmick isn't as effective, which I think is one of the reasons why their feud with Sarita & Taylor didn't get over as well.
-For the record, I am by no means implying that Roxxi isn't hot herself. I wouldn't kick her out of bed in a million years. I'm just trying to make a distinction between women who have their spot in one of the big companies because of their looks and women who have their spot because of their wrestling ability.
-Roxxi works so well against TBP because she's one of those women who is there to be an athlete, not a model. She has that girl next door, everywoman vibe about her, which TBP can just dig at endlessly -- the Betty Cooper to TBP's Veronica Lodge, to use a comic reference. Plus, she's also a skilled enough wrestler to carry Madison and Velvet to watchable matches. Not Lacey though unfortunately; Roxxi's good, but she's not a miracle worker.
-Yeah, I was hoping that Sarita would get this spot, but that's because I never considered that they might bring Roxxi back after the way they cut her when she was injured the last time she was there. I'm not unhappy about this move at all. Hell, I think it's great! Roxxi was always my favorite Knockout and TNA really dropped the ball with her more than once. Congratulations to her -- she certainly deserves to have some good things happen to her after getting constantly jerked around by this company over the last few years.
-The Knockout roster is still pretty thin right now, but it just got a little better. Yay!
ROXXI BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
-It makes me role my eyes every time they make reference to Roxxi's broken ankle putting her out of action and yet don't mention the fact that she was released from the company while she was rehabbing the injury.
-Roxxi's getting a title shot against Madison Rayne at Slammiversary? Awesome. Although it does call into question why in the world they gave the match away for free last week if they wanted us to pay money to see it on PPV. I don't know why TNA does this so much; it can't possibly help their PPV buyrates.
-Some people might criticize this interview, but this is one of the reasons why I like Roxxi. So many wrestlers these days are trying (and failing) to play some kind of character. Yes, having a character is important, and if they can sell it, that's great. But if the wrestler can't play it convincingly, it just seems like they're trying way too hard and it ends up feeling really fake. Roxxi isn't a character; she just comes off like a normal person. I see an interview like this and I see her having a natural reaction, not some scripted promo. She's very likable and relatable in that aspect.
-Having said that, I think Roxxi is one of those people who would probably benefit from that worked shoot documentary style the production team has been using to film backstage promos lately. The wrestlers generally seem to feel more comfortable on the mic in that environment.
-I'm glad they're announcing this match so early; it gives them some time to hype it up. A lot of the time, the writers tend to take the baffling route of waiting until the last minute to announce PPV matches, which really doesn't make any sense. The earlier you announce the match, the more time you have to promote it.
SARITA & TAYLOR WILDE vs. THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (w/ MADISON RAYNE)
-Saritaylor don't get their entrance. Booo!
-Tenay reminds us that TBP hold all the gold. That's right, Tenay, twist the knife.
-Sarita & Taylor did their best with what little time they had, but there's only so much you can do with Lacey & Velvet.
-Lacey holding a clean pinfall over Taylor makes me want to spew bile all over my TV screen.
-Why didn't Sarita try to break up the pin? She was just standing right there on the ring apron watching it happen and didn't try to stop it. They needed a better camera angle there.
-The writers need to get off their asses and make some new Knockout tag teams already because TBP only have one team to feud with right now, who they just beat in two minutes.
-I do NOT need or want to see midgets in a TNA ring. There's already enough people saying that TNA tries to be WWE-light. They don't need fans watching iMPACT and thinking of Hornswoggle. At least they had TBP kick the midget's ass. God, I wish someone would kick Hornswoggle's ass.
-Another tease of a possible Lacey face turn when she makes out with the midget... I can't believe I just typed that.
-Once again, the Knockouts match scored the highest rated segment on iMPACT last week. This is just hilarious to me. They put the world title on Rob Van Dam as an obvious ratings ploy, one week later the show scores the lowest rating in its entire history, prompting SpikeTV to move it back to Thursdays, and now the Knockouts, who have been treated as more or less an afterthought for months, are outdrawing Van Dam despite getting only a fraction of the screen time he gets. How's your self esteem these days, RVD? lol
-Late last week, Roxxi's profile and some new pictures of her were added to the TNA website. It's worth noting that this was never done when the company brought her back last year. At the time, she was working on a pay per appearance deal. But if they're putting her profile back on the roster page, hopefully that's a sign that she'll be sticking around this time.
ROSIE LOTTALOVE vs. ROXXI
-Rosie Lottalove? Seriously? Holy crap, that name is made of EPIC FAIL! And then there's her burlesque dancer ring attire to consider. This is just embarrassing. What is it with these writers giving so many of the Knockouts these laughably ridiculous names? How is anyone supposed to take this woman seriously with a name that stupid? Hell, if that name isn't a rib on her, then it must be some kind of private joke that no one outside of the writers room is going to find funny or even understand. With a handle like that, she should be on Wrestlicious or the set of a porn movie. Probably the only good thing you can say about it is that it doesn't sound quite as asinine as 'Sojourner Bolt' did. Sigh... only in TNA, folks.
-This was not a good match, but it wasn't the fault of either woman. As usual, the booking was crap. A debuting new talent's first match and they have it end in a screwy finish after less than two minutes. I don't know what management was expecting out of this segment, but they couldn't possibly have thought it was going to be anything even remotely good. What a train wreck.
-The only thing this segment accomplished was making me really miss Awesome Kong.
TAYLOR WILDE vs. MADISON RAYNE (c)
-At least Taylor actually got her entrance this time. Unfortunately, Sarita didn't come out with her. Boooo! Nevertheless, half the entrance is still pretty damn hot.
-Mike Tenay says that Madison Rayne has been very impressive since winning the singles title at Lockdown. I'm really not sure what he's basing this on. Just saying that doesn't make it true, Tenay. The only reason why her title reign hasn't been a disappointment is because there were no expectations for it to begin with.
-If this crowd is any indication, Madison Rayne is not over whatsoever unless the other two thirds of TBP are standing next to her. That shows just how badly the writers have dropped the ball with this woman. After retiring Tara, she really should be getting more heat than this. Maybe she would be if the writers had played up the "ending Tara's career" angle instead of sweeping it under the rug and jobbing out Madison in her very next match, thus making her win over Tara look like a fluke. I'm just saying...
-Why are the webmatches just as short as the TV matches, if not shorter? They don't have to conform to the TV format or be crammed in with a bunch of other segments, and yet they hardly ever get more than 2-4 minutes. Hell, this match barely lasted longer than the women's entrances!
-Taylor wrestles circles around Madison for 2 minutes, Madison hits a weak-looking finisher and Taylor gets pinned after one move. It's so stupid for Taylor to be beaten that easily by someone like Madison Rayne. If she were taking a powerbomb from Awesome Kong, then it would make sense; that's a devastating move. But Madison's offense, much like Velvet & Lacey's, is extremely weak -- it doesn't even look like it hurts, so the audience is left wondering why Taylor didn't just pop right back up.
-Oh well. Nice to see Taylor in the ring again at least. Why we don't see her more often these days is just baffling to me.
-Inexplicably, the fact that Madison is defending the singles title at Slammiversary this Sunday was never even mentioned in this segment. You figure that out. Sigh...
-Here's an interesting news item. Apparently, Sara Del Rey will be working another TNA house show in Jersey next month. They used her once before when they ran a show in that area late last year as part of some kind of cross promotion venture with JAPW, of which I believe she's still the women's champion. While I'm skeptical that this will be about anything more than what it is, it's certainly encouraging that Del Rey is on the company's radar. Plus, TNAsylum.com has reported that the company will be taking a "long, hard look" at her... so who knows. Del Rey is a tremendous worker and the Knockout division would benefit enormously from having her there, especially if the rumors of Hamada being cut from the roster are true. Who better to fill the 'monster heel' void left by Awesome Kong than Death Rey?
ROXXI & ROSIE LOTTALOVE vs. THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (w/ MADISON RAYNE) HEELS BEAT DOWN THE BABYFACES POST-MATCH
-This match took place at the TV tapings, but it never aired on the show. My guess is that after the interminable Jeff Jarret video packages that never seemed to end, they were short on time and had to cut something. So apparently, the Knockouts title match at Slammiversary is less important than a guy who isn't even advertised for the show. Thanks a lot, Double J.
-For the record, Roxxi vs. Madison for the Knockouts title was not even announced when they were running down the card for Slammiversary. So I guess it's back to business with Roxxi getting pissed on. Damn, that happened even faster than I thought.
MADISON RAYNE PRE-MATCH PROMO
-Madison somehow convinces Roxxi to put her career on the line in this match for no reason at all, even though Roxxi would have everything to lose and nothing to gain by doing so. God, I hate it when these types of angles are done. Writing like this doesn't make the heel look like a despicable person, it just makes the babyface look like a complete dumbass.
-Why would any babyface in their right mind ever agree to such a thing when they don't have to? Why would the writers add a stipulation like this to a match without announcing it ahead of time? Do they not understand that announcing things ahead of time adds intrigue to a match and might entice fans to watch it? Why add the stip right before the match starts when the whole point is to get more buys for the show and anyone who's watching the PPV has either already bought it or is one of the growing number of fans so frustrated with TNA's ass-backwards booking that they're watching the show online so they don't have to pay for it?
-I'm sure you can all guess what happened next...
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH:
ROXXI vs. MADISON RAYNE (c)
-TNA really need to stop booking nine matches on their PPV cards because every time they do this, several matches end up being too short to really be PPV quality, and unfortunately that's what happened here. Madison's promo got the crowd fired up and the match was solid while it lasted, but it wasn't nearly long enough to mean what it should have meant considering there was someone's career at stake. When a wrestler's career is ended following a four minute match, it makes the whole thing seem really anticlimactic.
-So Madison Rayne has now ended TWO women's careers. Anyone else think this will help her get over about as much as retiring Tara did? Yeah, I thought so.
-I know I've said this a lot, especially lately, but I'm going to say it again: the writers are wasting their time trying to make Madison Rayne (or any of TBP for that matter) look like a badass because 1) they're obviously not smart enough to do it right, and 2) Madison simply doesn't have the tools to pull it off. They had a chance to turn her into something and they blew it. She retired Tara, and instead of playing that up, they barely mentioned it and then had her lose her very next match, all of which came after over a year of being booked like a jobber prior to winning the title. No one is ever going to take Madison seriously as a force because, as much the writers probably wish it didn't, the first year and a half of her TNA run still exists.
-And if you think for one second that I'm wrong about the writers not being smart enough to do a "career killer" gimmick right, just think about this: Roxxi was really emotional after the match, but instead of actually showing that, instead of focusing on her reaction to milk the drama of the situation and get heat on Madison, instead of having the announcers shut up and letting the moment happen, Tenay & Taz talked over the whole thing like was just another every day occurrence and then the production team cut away from it way too quickly so they could show a video package for the next match. Still think I'm wrong?
-This is such garbage. Diva-dirt is reporting that there was major heat backstage from a lot of people when Roxxi arrived at the building and found out that a late breaking decision had been made to cut her AGAIN and I'm not surprised one bit. The way TNA have treated Roxxi has been disgusting and classless.
-So Roxxi's gone. AGAIN. My God, that poor woman is making a career out of getting screwed over and jerked around by this company. It's absolute bullshit. Roxxi deserves better and so do the fans. Did the idiots in management not hear the pops she was getting? Why the hell would you want to get rid of a woman who gets that kind of reaction?
-The way I feel right now, I'm suddenly hoping that Sara Del Rey does NOT wind up in TNA. She's too good for them. They don't deserve her and they certainly don't deserve Roxxi.