"I think Madison is the best part of the TNA Knockouts division at the moment. She's the most entertaining character, one of the best wrestlers in the division and the single most effective heel they've had in the entire division, not named Kong. Madison has worked her character to perfection and if you can't see how oozing with charisma her persona is, you must be blind.
The problem that TNA faces is that they don't have much of a face opposition in Angelina Love. Angelina isn't very comfortable as a face and some of the chemistry is disjointed between Rayne and Love. Rayne is over like rover and Love is only over when she acts as a counterpart to Rayne. TNA needs to get some effective face characters into the Knockouts division and soon."
-Prof. Newton Gimmick.
I respect Newton Gimmick a great deal, but this response was so inexplicable to me that I simply had to chime in with my 2 cents. I suppose it's a character flaw of mine that I just can't seem to let things like this go. At any rate, I will proceed to respectfully disagree with the Professor's opinion of Madison Rayne and explain exactly why I believe him to be in the wrong on this particular issue.
Let's just go over this point-by-point, shall we?
"I think Madison is the best part of the TNA Knockouts division at the moment."
I would argue that Madison Rayne is actually one of the worst things about the Knockout division right now, and that is 100% the fault of the writers. The woman was booked as a complete jobber for the first 18 months of her TNA run. Then, from out of nowhere, she wins the title despite the fact that she had never earned even ONE singles victory prior to this and had zero credibility.
This was done in an ill-conceived and completely transparent move by the writers to make the Beautiful People the top heels in the wake of Awesome Kong's departure, even though this particular incarnation of the group was comprised of the 3 worst female workers on the roster. Granted, Madison Rayne was and is a better worker than Velvet Sky and Lacey Von Erich, but being the lesser of 3 evils doesn't mean you deserve a championship. They gave her the title when she was nothing more than enhancement talent and then went so overboard trying to make her credible afterward that they forgot to think first.
All of a sudden, Madison Rayne, a woman who until then couldn't win a match if her life depended on it, was going over EVERYONE. And this was a big problem because, as a wrestler, she's really not that good. She doesn't even have the look of someone who can beat other women. Madison can't be much more than 5 ft tall and looks like she weighs about 100 lbs. And yet, she was constantly beating women who were not only much larger and more powerfully built, but clearly much more athletic and better workers than she is. This simply did not work because she couldn't make any of these wins look convincing.
Had her character been some kind of chicken shit heel who talked a big game, but then had to weasel her way out of losing matches in order to keep the title or outsmart her opponents because she obviously couldn't overpower them, her title reign might have been much more effective than it was, but that's not what happened. The writers tried to turn her into a dominant badass, not understanding that this type of character was completely wrong for her. Do you really think "badass" when you look at a woman who is dwarfed by Velvet Sky? Hell no! This was the push they should have given Alissa Flash. Madison Rayne just does not have the physical tools to pull off that type of character and she never did. This is why her title reign didn't work; it just wasn't convincing in any way.
"She's the most entertaining character,"
That's a matter of opinion. There might be people out there who find her entertaining. I don't. She's improved on the mic, but her acting could use a little work. When Angelina cuts an angry promo, she actually sounds angry. When Madison tries to act angry, she ends up screeching all her lines. Maybe this works for some people, but I just don't care for it.
"one of the best wrestlers in the division"
No. No. No. No. No. Just... no. Hell no.
With all due respect, Professor, I absolutely refuse to believe that this is what you really think. It is simply not true.
Anyone who thinks Madison Rayne is one of the best workers on the Knockout roster, I ask you this question: How many standout matches has she had in TNA?
She's had some good matches, she's had some solid matches, but that's it. And pretty much every time, she was 100% carried by her opponent. If the best thing you can say about her as a wrestler is that she can be carried to a good match if she has a good opponent, that does not make her a great wrestler herself.
Did she have a single match during her title reign that was even worth talking about? Her defenses against Tara at Sacrifice and Roxxi at Slammiversary were probably the best performances he had, but in both cases the other woman carried the action of the match, so you really can't say either match was good because of Madison. And once she started feuding with Velvet & Angelina the quality of her matches went down the toilet. Did you not see her embarrassing bout with Velvet at No Surrender? That's exactly what you get when it's up to her to carry a match.
And just in case anyone is wondering, if we're rating the Knockouts from best to worst in terms of wrestling ability based on the quality of their matches, it would look something like this:
3. Taylor Wilde
6. Angelina Love
7. Madison Rayne
8. Velvet Sky
9. Lacey Von Erich
That's right, people. 3rd from the bottom is where Madison rates. If anyone out there disagrees with me on this, by all means, show me a match, ANY match which proves that she belongs higher on this list.
"and the single most effective heel they've had in the entire division, not named Kong."
Professor, the woman hasn't even gotten over. Have you been watching her since she won the title at Lockdown? It seems pretty obvious to me that how over Madison Rayne is at any given time depends entirely on 2 things:
1. Who her opponent is.
2. Who her allies are.
She got heel heat at Sacrifice because she was facing Tara, who was over as a face. She got heel heat at Slammiversary because she was facing Roxxi, who was over as a face. She got heel heat when she was standing next to the other members of the Beautiful People because the Beautiful People were over as a heel faction. But what happens when she's out there by herself with no one to get heat off of and has to do it on her own? Usually, she gets very little, if any.
Seriously, what are you basing this on? She's had a lot of time devoted to her this year, but that doesn't mean it's been time well spent. I would actually say that Madison has been one of the most INeffective heels the Knockout division has had and point to her subpar matches and the lack of crowd response she gets when not standing next to someone more over than she is as 2 of the main reasons why.
I'm not the biggest fan of Angelina Love these days, but I will say that Angelina as a heel was FAR more effective than Madison Rayne has been up to this point.
"The problem that TNA faces is that they don't have much of a face opposition in Angelina Love. Angelina isn't very comfortable as a face and some of the chemistry is disjointed between Rayne and Love."
Here's something we agree on. One need only listen to Angelina's recent 'babyface' promos on ReACTION to know that Angelina obviously and desperately wants to be a heel. Her face promos come off as more heelish than Madison's heel promos, which, I might add, is just further evidence of not only Madison's ineffectiveness as the top heel, but both Angelina's effectiveness as a heel and INeffectiveness as a face as well.
"Rayne is over like rover and Love is only over when she acts as a counterpart to Rayne."
Stop. Stop. Stop. Now you're just flat out making stuff up.
Angelina has been over since the day she turned heel in early 2008. Just listen to the audience when she comes out. She was over as a heel. She's over as a face (though I'm not really sure why since she's so naturally heelish). I may not be a huge fan of hers personally, but I won't deny that the woman gets mad crowd response.
I've already explained why Madison Rayne is not over, but I'll give 2 examples to illustrate this.
1. In her and Tara's match with Velvet & Angelina on the 9/02/10 iMPACT, there was a moment when Tara had been thrown out of the ring and Madison was surrounded by the babyfaces. If she were as over as you say she is, this would have been a really hot moment with the crowd going nuts in anticipation that Madison was finally going to get the beating she had deserved for months, but that's not what happened. The crowd was dead for this. They didn't care. Just like they didn't care at...
2. No Surrender when Madison faced Velvet Sky in a match the crowd slept through. And let's be honest, that's really hard to pull off. The iMPACT Zone fans will pop and cheer for just about anything, even if they're only doing it to entertain themselves. For a match in the iMPACT Zone to get NO reaction like this one did is really telling. You'd think a match featuring the supposed top female heel in the company would illicit SOME kind of crowd response, wouldn't it? But it didn't. The crowd popped for the Beautiful People's entrance, but once that was over and the bell rang, they just didn't care.
In fact, I would offer this match as the final proof that not only is Madison Rayne not a very good wrestler (that match sucked), but she's not over as a heel either.
"TNA needs to get some effective face characters into the Knockouts division and soon."
Well, here's the thing about that -- they already have effective face characters, but they never bother to use them. Hamada is over as a face. Daffney is over a face. Taylor Wilde used to be over as a face, but doesn't seem to be anymore, which I'm sure is due in no small part to her being depushed into the toilet for months. Even her and Hamada capturing the Knockout tag titles recently doesn't mean much because they once again disappeared from TV immediately afterward so all the spotlight could continue to be on Madison Rayne and the Beautiful People.
The writers have several good options for babyface Knockouts. The problem is nobody really notices this anymore because the entire division has revolved around the Beautiful People (past and present members) and Tara for the last year.
Creative is constantly running into this problem because they've never learned the lesson they should have learned a long time ago. As I've often said, they have tunnel vision with the Knockouts. They build up a top heel and a top face to focus on, and every other Knockout is treated like a non-entity. And then when something inevitably happens to said top face or heel, they're left with nothing. It happened when Gail left, it happened when Kong left, it happened when Tara left (before she came back).
The writers could very easily fix this problem by simply making use of the whole roster and building the other Knockouts into strong characters so they would have women who could step into these roles when they need to be filled by someone new. Unfortunately, that would require a certain amount of thought and effort that I just don't think they feel like putting into the Knockout division these days.
And if they're not smart enough to do this, then they'll have to bring in new talent to work as a face. I hear they just signed some chick named Mickie. Would she ever work as a top babyface? Only time will tell. lol
"Madison has worked her character to perfection and if you can't see how oozing with charisma her persona is, you must be blind."
Well, then I must be blind because I don't see it. In fact, Professor, I accuse you of seeing things that simply are not there. The last several months have done little more than expose Madison Rayne as not being suited for the spot she was in. She's not a particularly great wrestler and she's not particularly over. Her title push was a failure and she doesn't have what it takes to be a top star.
I say good day to you, sir.