As I was looking back over all 17 episodes of TKO season 1, I realized what a mammoth read this must have been for some people, especially if they were following it week-to-week. Sure, I had no trouble following it, but I wrote the damn thing.
So, considering how detailed and complex this little project of mine turned out to be, and what story and character nuances may have been missed along the way, I thought I might make it a little easier for people. So here I present to you every episode of TKO Season 1 collected in a single volume. Because, much like a Brian Michael Bendis comic book, I think TKO probably reads better as a trade. lol
Setting the Stage
This is a series of columns I've been thinking about writing for a long time and there were a number of factors that made me finally decide to do it:
1. The writing and booking of iMPACT being sloppy, full of logic holes and pretty frustrating in general.
2. My unhappiness with the current state of the Knockout division.
3. The overall quality of the division being all over the map for the last year -- going from bad (anything involving the Beautiful People), to good (Mickie vs. Tara), to bad again (the continued push of Madison Rayne).
4. The New Year's Knockout Eve special from a little over a year ago drawing a pretty respectable rating despite the lack of male stars and, you know, airing on New Years Eve.
5. Continued complaints about TNA's overcrowded talent roster negatively affecting the product because trying to showcase so many people all at once prevents them from being able to spotlight anyone effectively and the popular argument that a second weekly show could alleviate this problem.
6. A hypothetical Knockout spinoff show that was rumored to be in the works a few years ago, which the now infamous TNAngry said was taken off the table due to Dixie Carter deciding that the women needed to stay on iMPACT because of their supposed drawing power.
7. A recent debate on a TNAsylum thread about how much of an effect (positive or negative) the Knockouts really have on the ratings. There were a lot of differing opinions, and IMO, nothing was proven conclusively one way or the other, but that isn't important here. What I found interesting was that this debate generated more comments in a single thread than I'd seen for any thread on TNAsylum in months previously. Even those who thought the women didn't draw ratings kept coming back to debate the topic at length. Clearly it was a hot button issue. Regardless of what was being said, people were talking about it a lot, and continue to do so in various other threads, I've noticed.
8. My growing belief that TNA's current creative team has very little understanding of pacing, character development, how to get wrestlers over and how to properly construct a story.
I'm going to try to address all of these things with this series.
It's long been my belief that a Knockout spinoff show could potentially work IF done right (a big IF, I admit). Would it work under current conditions? Probably not. Maybe it would have a few years ago when there were different people in charge of the Knockouts backstage, the division had a lot of buzz, the booking of it was great, they had a large and diverse talent roster, almost all of whom were over with the fans, could deliver good to great matches and were in spots they were well suited for.
That's not what we have right now. The roster has been gutted, the booking is a constant source of frustration, and to be honest, I don't feel like the people currently responsible for the Knockouts have much of a handle on what they're doing at all. Sometimes they get lucky, like with the Mickie/Tara feud, but more often than not, I see them trying to force round pegs into square holes, trying to do things with the women that I just don't see working out at all.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I could write a better show in their place, I'm not saying I know more about pro wrestling than them or anyone else, but I do know what I like. I know what kind of product I want to see as a fan. And I know that TNA isn't giving it to me right now.
So for all these reasons, and for the simple fact that I've got a lot of ideas that I just need to get out of my damn head, I hereby announce the start of the purely fictional, one hour a week, Knockout exclusive iMPACT spinoff show. This is TNA: TKO.
For the record, this is not a simple fantasy booking series I'm doing just to amuse myself. There are some important points I want to make with this about TNA's booking philosophy and creative direction. In terms of writing and booking they are just not giving me the kind of show I want. So I'm going to show them the kind of show I want.
The TKO roster consists of current Knockout roster members: Angelina Love, Miss (Brooke) Tessmacher, Christy Hemme, Cookie, Daffney, Madison Rayne, Mickie James, Sarita, SoCal Val, Tara, Velvet Sky and Winter.
The roster can include any women who have been signed to contracts, but haven't debuted yet (Divina Fly), anyone who is rumored, but not officially confirmed to be signed (Christina Von Eerie), as well as independent talents who have received recent tryout matches and could potentially be signed with minimal legwork (Jennifer Blake).
Also eligible for inclusion are any former Knockouts who are not currently with the company, but are available to return (this excludes any who are signed with WWE now) if TNA were to ask them back.
There is only one rule that TKO abides by: Absolutely nothing happens that could not conceivably happen if the show existed in real life.
And away we go...
BACKSTAGE: Velvet, Winter and Angelina are arguing. Winter is trying to apologize for fighting with Velvet last week. She says she only did it because Velvet's false accusations really upset her. Velvet thinks Winter is full of crap and keeps insisting that she was the one who attacked Velvet backstage after she was eliminated from the 6-woman tag match. Winter denies this and says Velvet has no proof. Velvet says Winter was the only one who could have done it, but when Angelina asks her if she actually saw the person who laid her out, Velvet admits that she didn't.
Velvet doesn't trust Winter and thinks she's going to screw them over. Winter says this is ridiculous as she's done nothing but help Angelina, and points out that she was the one who helped Angelina win the tag title match when Velvet wasn't there.
Angelina tries to calm the 2 of them down. Velvet tells Angelina to back her up, but Angelina is trying not to take sides as Velvet is her best friend, but she's tag team champions with Winter. Angry that Angelina won't support her, Velvet storms off. Angelina isn't happy about the situation, but Winter says Velvet is just jealous and she'll get over it.
Starting here, Winter's "crazy" gimmick is being toned down. It didn't seem to be getting over and it was negatively affecting her in-ring performance.
iMPACT ZONE: Mike Tenay is in the ring and asks the entire Knockout division to join him. Once all the women have showed up, Tenay announces that after Against All Odds, the Knockouts will be moving to a new home. As part of TNA's continued growth, SpikeTV has greenlit a Knockout spinoff show for a one season trial run, a la ReAction. The trade-off is that the women will have their own show, but will no longer appear on iMPACT or PPVs. TNA's roster has become too large to feature effectively and this is being done in the hopes that it will free up more screen time to do that.
Tenay says that a Director of Authority has been hired to run the show and that person will be there next week.
iMPACT ZONE: Mike Tenay introduces the TKO Director of Authority: Traci Brooks! Traci, clad in a business suit, admits that this job is a huge undertaking, but she's going to bust her ass to get it done the right way. She says she's been on the phone with a lot of women from outside the company who want in on this, so everyone in the locker room had better up their game. Traci says that the wrestling business is about evolution and people who can't evolve with it don't last -- a lesson she herself had to learn a year ago. She has a lot of plans and not everyone is going to like them, but she promises that what she does will be what's best for this new show and what's best for TNA.
As Traci leaves the ring, Tenay wonders what she meant by "people who can't evolve don't last." Taz is more curious about these plans of Traci's that not everyone is going to like.
BACKSTAGE: As Traci is leaving the arena, many of the Knockouts come up to her, congratulating her, telling her how excited they are, asking questions, etc. Traci is glad they're excited, but can't answer any of their questions right now. They'll get their answers along with the rest of the world when TKO debuts next week.
Before Traci drives off, she takes Mickie James aside to tell her that she's going to be a big part of this show and that Traci is rooting for her to win the title at Against All Odds this Sunday.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
BACKSTAGE: Mickie James cuts a promo about how it's taken her months to get to this point. It's been hard, but that will just make it sweeter when she finally holds the title in her hands. She feels tonight is going to be her night.
Mickie leaves the frame and 4 women in the background come into view. The camera man zooms in and we see Traci, Winter and the Beautiful People in the midst of an argument. Angelina and Winter in particular are very angry. We aren't able to hear what they're arguing about.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH: MICKIE JAMES vs. ANGELINA LOVE vs. SARITA vs. MADISON RAYNE (c) (w/ TARA)
Traci joins the announcers at ringside. As Angelina walks to the ring looking pissed off and forgoing her usual entrance, Tenay asks Traci what the argument was about. She says it was business and she can't discuss it right now.
The finish comes when Tara tries to interfere, but it backfires, causing Madison to get pinned.
WINNER AND NEW KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Mickie James
As Mickie celebrates, Traci gets out of her seat, taking the Knockouts championship belt. This gets Mickie's attention and she happily invites Traci to join her in the ring. Instead, Traci, her face unreadable, backs up the ramp and leaves, taking the title belt with her.
The announcers have no idea what's going on. Neither does Mickie, who jumps out of the ring and goes after Traci.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is told by a stage hand that Traci has left the arena.
The announcers say to expect fireworks when TKO debuts next week.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Welcome to TKO, the fictional, one hour a week, Knockout exclusive iMPACT spinoff.
ROSTER: Angelina Love, Brooke Tessmacher, Daffney, Eden (Melanie Cruise), Jennifer Blade (Jennifer Blake), Haley Vaughn (Leva Bates), Madison Rayne, Mickie James, Sarita, Serafina (Christina Von Eerie), Tara, Terryn Shane (Serena Deeb), Trina Diaz (Divina Fly/Rosita), Velvet Sky, Winter
BROADCAST TEAM: Jeremy Borash & Don West
RING ANNOUNCER: SoCal Val
INTERVIEWER: Christy Hemme
DIRECTOR OF AUTHORITY: Traci Brooks
ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR OF AUTHORITY: Cookie
TKO abides by one rule: Absolutely nothing happens on the show that could not conceivably happen if it existed in real life.
COLD OPEN: Traci Brooks is backstage, heading towards the ring, flanked by 2 security guards. Christy Hemme catches up to her and asks her to shed some light on her actions at Against All Odds. Traci says she's going to explain everything, but she's going to do it in the ring.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West welcome us to the show as Traci makes her entrance. The entire Knockout roster already surrounds the ring, sans Daffney and Cookie, who are conspicuous by their absence. Also, Karen Jarrett is there. Mickie James, looking angry, stands separate from the group. West comments that those security guards may be to protect Traci from Mickie.
Traci says she understands that a lot of people were confused by what she did at Against All Odds. She also understands that people were upset by it. She knows Angelina & Winter aren't happy and she can see from Mickie's face that she's not happy either, but there was a reason for it. She directs everyone's attention to the stage just to the side of the entrance ramp where SoCal Val stands next to something covered in a red sheet. Val pulls the sheet off and we see the Knockout singles and tag team championships locked in a glass display case.
Because this is a new show, Traci wants to start new and fresh. She has decided to hold up both championships. Over the next few weeks, 2 tournaments will be held to determine #1 contenders, who will then face the former title holders. The winners of those matches will become the new champions. Traci acknowledges that this may seem unfair to the former champions and that's why all 3 of them have been given a pass to the finals in the interest of fairness. Traci insists that this isn't about screwing anyone over, just about starting things off with a bang.
Traci then moves on to the next order of business and asks Karen Jarrett to join them in the ring. Karen looks very smug until Traci asks her what she's doing there. Karen says she knew Traci was going to need her help on this show, which is why she came. She says she's looking forward to working with Traci and whipping these women into shape. Traci doesn't recall asking for any help, in fact, she doesn't recall even inviting Karen in the first place. Karen says she's there because this is a Knockouts show, but Traci doesn't see how that applies to Karen. Traci explains that the Knockouts are the ones who wrestle and Karen doesn't wrestle. Come to think of it, Karen really doesn't do anything except suck up TV time.
Angry now, Karen says she has every right to be there, she can do anything she wants because her husband is the boss (or one of them at least). Traci retorts that Karen might have a point IF this were iMPACT, but this isn't iMPACT. This is Traci's show and her contract states that on TKO, she's the boss, not Jeff Jarrett, not anyone else. Traci explains that the security guards she brought with her are there to escort Karen from the building. As the guards drag Karen, kicking and screaming, out of the arena, Traci tells them to make sure she doesn't get back in.
With Karen gone, Traci happily announces that it's time to get this show started.
BACKSTAGE: We open on a closeup of a copy of Eric Bischoff's book, Controversy Creates Cash, sitting on a desk. The camera zooms out to reveal that we are in Traci's office. Traci is on the phone with someone when Velvet Sky barges in. Velvet says she just checked the run sheet for tonight. She throws an oversized white t-shirt on the desk and demands to know if this is some kind of joke.
Traci says it's no joke, and she thought that, under the circumstances, Velvet would be grateful for Traci trying to find something for her to do. When Velvet responds with incredulity, Traci reminds her that she hasn't exactly been on a role lately and someone who hasn't been pulling her weight probably shouldn't piss off her new boss. She tells Velvet to just grit her teeth and do it -- it will only last for a minute. Velvet takes the t-shirt and leaves, looking outraged.
Before Traci can even sit down again, Mickie walks in. For a minute, she just glares at Traci, not saying a word, then she asks her what the hell is going on. Traci thought she explained everything in the ring. Mickie tells her to think again. Mickie is pissed off because she worked for months to win the title and before she even got to hold it, it was taken away from her. Traci says she'll get the championship back and her title reign will be reinstated; all she has to do is beat the winner of the tournament. It will be no different than if she were defending the title against her first challenger.
Mickie points out that if this is the case then there's really no reason why she had to strip the champions of the titles in the first place and insists that this makes no sense. Traci says it makes sense to her and that's all that matters. Irritated now, Traci adds that Mickie getting in her face about this is not going to improve her chances of getting the title back. Mickie tells Traci that she hasn't heard the last of this and leaves the office. The camera lingers on Traci. She doesn't look happy.
The announcers wonder what Traci is up to. West says there could be more to this than they think.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina Love makes her entrance, looking like she's not messing around tonight. Winter accompanies her.
SoCal Val announces that the next participant is making her TNA debut and introduces new Knockout, Serafina (Christina Von Eerie). West remarks that she looks like Daffney's punkish little sister.
ROUND 1 TOURNAMENT MATCH
ANGELINA LOVE (w/ WINTER) vs. SERAFINA
During the match, Mickie comes out to watch from the stage.
Serafina is in control of the match until she's distracted by Winter at ringside, leading to Angelina hitting the botox injection. Angelina doesn't notice Winter's involvement.
WINNER: Angelina Love in 7:43
The announcers put over Serafina's effort. They agree that she looked to be closing in on an upset victory until Winter got involved.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet Sky is changing. JB says to stay tuned for the debut of a new segment coming up after the break.
BACKSTAGE: We're met with a graphic: 60 Seconds of Fan Service With Velvet Sky
Velvet is wearing the t-shirt from earlier. A 60 second timer appears in the corner of the screen. It starts counting down and 2 men wearing tuxedos begin spraying Velvet with hoses. She shrieks about the water being freezing cold while, off screen, a woman's voice taunts her with insults and catcalls. When the timer reaches zero, the hoses stop. Velvet looks humiliated. She storms off and passes the woman who was teasing her. It's Sarita.
Laughing, Sarita says Velvet is really earning that paycheck and sarcastically asks how Velvet's wrestling career is going. Angry, Velvet says she'd be happy to show her in the ring, but Sarita is unimpressed. As fun as kicking Velvet's ass for the 50th time in a row sounds, Sarita already has a match tonight. She'd suggest Velvet save her energy for the tournament if Velvet were entered in it, but she's not. She'd suggest that Velvet do what she always does and run back to prop up Angelina, but it looks like Angelina has found someone better for that. Sarita says not to worry, she'll take care of Winter tonight, since Velvet obviously can't do it herself.
Velvet just stands there as Sarita leaves, joking that Velvet has been outsourced.
We go to an interview with Tara. She's excited to be included in the tournament, glad to finally be back in the title hunt. Christy informs her that her qualifying match will be next week, and it's against Madison Rayne. Momentarily losing her composure, Tara insists that her and Madison are BFFs, but they understand that only one woman can be champion, and ultimately, it's all about the title.
Christy asks what she's going to do in the match. Tara doesn't understand. Christy reminds her of the iMPACT after Bound for Glory when Tara was the champion and laid down for Madison, basically handing her the title. This sets Tara off. Suddenly angry, she grabs Christy by the neck and slams her into a wall. Struggling to breathe, Christy chokes out that she's just saying what Tara did. Tara yells at her to shut her mouth; she says she knows what she did. She lets Christy go and stalks off, kicking over a trash can on her way.
iMPACT ZONE: Madison Rayne makes her entrance as the announcers speculate on Tara's frame of mind. They agree that Tara wasn't as at peace with the night she laid down for Madison as they thought she was.
Madison says that despite anything Mickie and Traci have done, she is still the champion and winning the tournament is just a technicality. She says everyone knows it's a foregone conclusion that she will have the title again very soon. But in preparation for her match next week, she needs a warm up, and challenges anyone in the locker room to come out and face her.
Brooke Tessmacher comes out. Madison laughs, not taking her seriously.
MADISON RAYNE vs. BROOKE TESSMACHER
BTW, the loaded glove gimmick is gone. It's just gone.
Madison acts very cocky, making arrogant covers, acting like Brooke is almost beneath her notice. Brooke gets a hope spot at the end, she looks like she has Madison on the ropes for a second until Tara runs out and nails her from outside the ring.
WINNER: Madison Rayne in 2:30
Tara raises Madison's hand as Madison celebrates like she won the Superbowl. Tara looks conflicted.
The announcers hype up Sarita vs. Winter.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet enters the Beautiful People's dressing room where Angelina is helping Winter get ready for her match. There are 2 matching seats with their names embroidered on them and Winter is sitting in Velvet's. Angelina asks why Velvet is all wet, but she avoids the question.
Angelina takes Velvet aside and says, quietly, that she knows Velvet doesn't trust Winter, but for the time being they need to be on the same page. She says Winter is going to take Sarita out of the tournament tonight and she hopes Velvet can be on board with that at least. Velvet says nothing, but nods half-heartedly.
In the background, Winter watches them like a hungry lioness.
iMPACT ZONE: Again, Mickie comes out to watch the match from the stage. The announcers discuss the possibility of Winter facing Angelina in the 2nd round if she wins tonight.
ROUND 1 TOURNAMENT MATCH
SARITA vs. WINTER (w/ ANGELINA LOVE)
Sarita is back to wrestling her fast-paced, high flying style as her matches were better when she worked like that IMO.
During the match, we cut to backstage where Velvet is watching on a monitor. West wonder what's going through Velvet's mind since she probably doesn't want either woman to win this match.
WINNER: Sarita in 9:36
Sarita celebrates. She stands on the turnbuckle and points to Mickie on the stage, taunting her. Mickie slowly approaches. Sarita yells at her to bring it. Mickie hits the ring and they start brawling. Mickie tries to whip Sarita into the ropes, but Sarita reverses and sends Mickie crashing into Winter. Angry, Winter nails Mickie and both women start attacking her.
Angelina jumps into the ring to join the fight. Then Tara runs down the ramp to get involved. Then Madison. Then Velvet. Then Serafina. Then Brooke. It breaks down into a huge brawl! The women are fighting all over the ring!
Traci arrives with security guards to restore order. The guards try to pull the women apart on the floor, but Sarita climbs the ropes and dives off the turnbuckle onto everyone. It's a huge melee and security can do nothing to stop it!
As the entire Knockout roster continues tearing into each other, we...
COLD OPEN: Velvet Sky barges angrily into Traci Brooks' office. She says she put up with this crap last time, but 2 weeks in a row is going too far. This is degrading and it's not what she's there for. She's a wrestler!
Traci asks her if that's really true. She's been going over Velvet's win/loss record and, frankly, it sucks. Velvet's had success as part of the Beautiful People, but almost none individually. And since the Beautiful People are on hold for the moment, perhaps indefinitely if Angelina & Winter regain the tag titles in a few weeks, that puts her in a tough spot.
Traci understands that the fans like Velvet and that's why she's still there, but Traci can't continue putting someone in the ring if they never win matches as it becomes redundant and it's not good business. Therefore, she has to find something else to do with Velvet and this is something that utilizes Velvet's best assets -- her looks. If Velvet doesn't like it, she's welcome to sit on the bench and do nothing until her contract expires, which, Traci reminds her, is fairly soon.
Traci excuses herself, saying she has business to take care of, leaving Velvet alone in the office, completely speechless.
iMPACT ZONE: Traci walks to the ring as the announcers discuss the huge brawl that closed last week's show. Wasting no time, Traci asks Mickie James to join her in the ring. She has to call Mickie several times before her music plays. As Mickie walks down the ramp, West reminds us that she was the instigator of the brawl.
Traci asks Mickie what the hell that was last week. Mickie says she was simply starting the show off with a bang, sarcastically quoting Traci's own words from the debut episode. Traci tells Mickie that she can't have people starting riots on her show and mentions that she almost had to call the police.
Mickie asks her what she expected; when you strip people of championships for no reason, it tends to piss them off. Traci insists that she understands Mickie is upset, but asks Mickie to just remember that she's not her enemy. Mickie retorts that maybe Traci should have remembered that.
Mickie leaves the ring with the announcers saying this did nothing to help smooth things over between these 2.
BACKSTAGE: Winter is heading for the Beautiful People's dressing room when Serafina approaches her. Winter ignores her, walking right passed her. Serafina yells at her, calling her a bitch. This gets Winter's attention. Serafina blames Winter for costing her the match last week and taking her out of the tournament. Winter calls her delusional and says Angelina doesn't need her help to beat some grungy little peasant.
Serafina says she doesn't know what Winter's deal is, but she doesn't like her. What's more, she doesn't like people who get involved in her business, and challenges Winter to a match. Winter laughs this off and starts to leave. Serafina says she isn't finished yet and attacks Winter. They brawl for a minute until they're separated by security. As the guards hold her back, Serafina screams at Winter, asking if she's got her attention now.
Traci arrives and can't believe that they're only 10 minutes into the show and she's already got fires to put out. She tries to book them in a match, but Winter says that's impossible as she wasn't booked to compete tonight and didn't bring her gear, also she has to be in Angelina's corner later in the night.
Serafina calls her a pussy. Winter says she'll gladly teach Serafina some manners in the ring, but she'll have to wait until next week. Serafina says this is BS. Traci seems to agree and tells Winter to bring her gear every week from now on. In the meantime, if Serafina wants to fight so badly, she's got someone for her fight. Traci thinks Mickie is getting a little too comfortable around here and books Mickie James vs. Serafina for tonight.
BACKSTAGE: Christy Hemme interviews Madison Rayne and Tara about their match tonight. Tara insists that there is not even an issue with it. The match will happen and may the best woman win. Madison says that's it exactly. Throughout the interview, they avoid looking at each other.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie makes her entrance as the announcers wonder if Madison and Tara are on the same page or not. West thinks Madison may have different ideas about what "may the best woman win" really means.
BACKSTAGE: As Serafina heads for the ring, she says that Winter is trying to duck her and she's pissed that she has to wait until next week to get her hands on Winter. She doesn't have a problem with Mickie, but she's got some aggression to work off and if Mickie has to be the recipient tonight, so be it.
MICKIE JAMES vs. SERAFINA
The match is competitive. Serafina gets in enough offense that she looks strong in defeat.
WINNER: Mickie James in 7:34
Mickie doesn't linger in the ring once the match is over and immediately heads for the back. The announcers put over Serafina's effort. While she hasn't gotten a notch in the win column yet, she's had impressive showings against 2 highly decorated veterans.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet enters the Beautiful People's dressing room where Winter is helping Angelina get ready for her match. Angelina asks if something is wrong, but Velvet doesn't want to talk about it. Angelina says she's made it to round 2 of the singles title tournament and has a pass to the finals of the tag tournament, which means she's only 3 matches away from being a double champion. The next few weeks are going to be really big for her and she needs Velvet in her corner if she's going to pull it off.
This idea does nothing to improve Velvet's mood. She says she'll be there, but she doesn't look happy about it. Angelina wants to discuss her match with Sarita tonight, but Velvet can't. Miserably, she informs her friend that she has to get changed.
In the background, Winter watches silently.
The announcers hype up Madison Rayne vs. Tara as we go to a break.
60 SECONDS OF FAN SERVICE WITH VELVET SKY: Velvet poses in a string bikini as a timer counts down from 60 seconds. 2 men in tuxedos walk up from behind and pour a cooler of icy water over her. She shrieks at the cold. The timer reaches zero. Velvet walks away, mortified, trying to ignore several leering stage hands.
She passes Sarita, who is applauding her. "It's just onward and upward for you, isn't it?" Sarita comments, laughing. She says that Angelina could probably get Velvet out of this if she cared at all, but it looks like Angelina has more important things to do and more important people to do them with. Velvet's become nothing more than a lost puppy without a master.
Embarrassed and angry, Velvet says Sarita won't be so cocky after Angelina beats her tonight. Sarita just laughs again. She thinks it's funny that Velvet believes that. She says Angelina might have a shot if Winter comes out with her and suggests Velvet's hapless ass should come out with them too to cancel Winter out.
iMPACT ZONE: Tara makes her entrance. West remarks that she's got her game face on and looks ready for a fight. Madison makes her entrance, looking completely unconcerned, waving to the crowd, blowing them kisses. It takes her quite a while to get in the ring where Tara is waiting for her.
ROUND 1 TOURNAMENT MATCH
TARA vs. MADISON RAYNE
The bell rings and Tara moves to lock up with Madison. Madison immediately backs off, asking Tara what the hell she's doing. Tara is confused. Expectantly, Madison points down at the mat. West says she can't be serious -- Tara already did this once and they saw last week that it still ate at her. Tara just stares at Madison, looking horrified and conflicted. Madison starts screaming at her. "What did you think you were here for? I'm the champion! You were fired! I brought you back! You wouldn't even be here if it weren't for me!"
Slowly, finally, Tara drops to the mat and lies down. Madison covers her.
WINNER: Madison Rayne in 2:30
Madison celebrates, making a huge production of it. Tara just sits there in the ring, clearly disgusted with herself. As Madison's prolonged celebration ends, she heads for the back. Dejected, Tara follows.
BACKSTAGE: Tara sits alone in a stairwell. Christy tries to get a comment from her. Tara has nothing to say about the match. Christy asks her if she still wants the title or not. Tara says of course she wants the title, but we don't always get what we want. Sometimes we have to deal with circumstances we didn't expect instead and fulfill obligations we never thought we'd have. She says Madison will win the title back in 2 weeks and that's the way it's going to be. She looks miserable.
They air a video package, promoting the upcoming debut of new Knockout, Jennifer Blade (Jennifer Blake).
Angelina and Winter leave the Beautiful People's dressing room and head for the ring. They pass Serafina in the hallway who glares daggers at Winter, but Winter acts like she's not even there. Via split screen, we see Sarita heading for the ring as well.
JB tells us to stay tuned. The main event is up next.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina and Winter make their entrance, now joined by Velvet. Sarita makes her entrance, with West commenting on how confident she looks, despite Angelina having 2 friends with her.
SARITA vs. ANGELINA LOVE (w/ WINTER & VELVET SKY)
Mickie James comes out and watches the match from the stage.
Sarita taunts Velvet at ringside throughout the match. The finish comes when Velvet finally loses her cool and tries to get at Sarita in the ring. Winter restrains her and they start arguing. Velvet and Winter are about to come to blows, momentarily distracting Angelina, allowing Sarita to roll her up with a handful of tights.
WINNER: Sarita in 9:31
Angelina, Winter and Velvet bicker about what just happened. Sarita climbs the turnbuckle and stares down Mickie on the stage. JB says that with the roll Sarita is on right now, she has to be considered the favorite to win the tournament and earn the right to face Mickie for the title.
Suddenly, Madison emerges from the back and nails Mickie with a chair shot. Mickie is out cold.
JB tells us that next week, Sarita, Angelina and Madison will meet in a triple threat match to determine the #1 contender.
Madison moves to the display case where the championship belt is kept and shrieks to Sarita and Angelina that the title is hers as we...
iMPACT ZONE: The announcers welcome us to the show and hype up tonight's main event, a triple threat match between Angelina Love, Sarita and Madison Rayne to determine who will earn the right to challenge Mickie James for the Knockouts championship next week.
Madison Rayne's music plays and she comes out to stand on the stage, followed by Tara. Madison is once again making a big production, waving to the crowd, blowing kisses, almost acting like she's royalty. Tara looks rather bored with the whole thing.
Madison says that she knows the fans have missed seeing her with the title because it's so much uglier for not being around her gorgeous waist. She tells them to be patient just a little longer as she will have it back very soon. Angelina, Sarita and Mickie are nothing to her, she knows she's still the champion in the hearts and minds of all her fans, and after tonight, she will be one step closer to retaking her rightful place as the queen of this show.
BACKSTAGE: Winter cuts a promo about her match tonight with Serafina. She calls Serafina a filthy street person who walked in from the gutter. A woman with Winter's class and refined upbringing doesn't normally associate with miscreants like this, but she's making an exception tonight so she can teach Serafina to know her place. Afterward, she will need to be disinfected because she doesn't think Serafina bathes.
Traci Brooks approaches Mickie James at the catering area. She says she knows they got off to a bad start, but they need to find a way to work together. Mickie could be the champion again soon, which means she'll be the top woman in this company, but Traci is still her boss and they need to be on the same page. She understands Mickie hasn't agreed with a lot of her decisions, but she needs to at least respect them. She tells Mickie to think about it.
Serafina is on her way to the ring and cuts a promo on Winter. She says Winter came up with some BS excuses to get out of wrestling her last week, but the joke's on her because Serafina has had 7 days instead of 7 minutes to think about how much she doesn't like this bitch. If there's one thing she can't stand, it's people who think they're better than everyone else. She calls Winter an elitist scumbag. Last week, Winter looked down on her, but when Serafina is finished, Winter will be staring up at the lights.
iMPACT ZONE: The women make their entrances as the announcers talk about the fight between them last week. They agree Winter kind of brought this match on herself by disrespecting her, but Serafina flew off the handle really quickly and seems to have a pretty short fuse.
SERAFINA vs. WINTER
Serafina is out-wrestling Winter until Winter goes for a cheap pin with her feet on the ropes.
WINNER: Winter in 6:03
JB & West agree that Serafina had the match won until Winter decided to take a shortcut.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet Sky emerges from the Beautiful People's dressing room in a silk robe. Angelina Love is there and says she has a really important match tonight. She asks if she can count on Velvet to be in her corner after Velvet is done with this. Velvet says she can, but she doesn't look happy. JB hypes another installment of 60 Seconds of Fan Service With Velvet Sky as we cut to a break.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina cuts a promo about the main event tonight. She says it's fitting that the 2 stumbling blocks between her and that title shot are her 2 least favorite people in this company right now. Madison used to be the chump who carried Angelina's luggage, and Sarita may be on a role right now, but that's going to come to an end tonight. Angelina promises that she will win this tournament and be a double champion when it's all said and done.
Velvet follows a stage hand and asks him what embarrassing crap she's going to have to suffer through this week. He directs her to an area that's been set aside where 2 men in tuxedos are filling an inflatable kiddie pool with mud. Velvet stares at it, incredulously. Then she snaps. She says the show is over; she's not doing this. She takes off down the hallway, yelling for Traci.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie's music plays and she walks to the ring with a mic. She says that Traci Brooks talked to her a few minutes ago and told Mickie to think about the 2 of them trying to work together. Well, she thought about it and she's not buying it. Mickie explains that for years she worked for a company where the people in charge abused their power on a weekly basis, making life miserable for everyone there, and she likes to think she's gotten pretty good at recognizing the signs.
She says you can call her paranoid if you want to, but something about Traci just isn't adding up to her. Traci told Mickie to respect her decisions, but her decisions make no sense, and that won't change as long as she's refusing to explain herself to anyone. Traci tried to extend an olive branch to her earlier, but Mickie has decided that, until she figures out what Traci is up to, she can keep it.
BACKSTAGE: Traci is in her office, watching this on a monitor, her face very dark.
Velvet barges in, yelling at her. Anger boiling over, Traci starts yelling back. She has bigger problems to deal with right now and the last thing she needs is Velvet bugging her about the same damn thing 3 weeks in a row. Velvet doesn't care; this stuff Traci has her doing is insulting and it's not what she's here for. She came to TNA to be a wrestler, not some cheap sex toy for perverts to drool over. She hates it. It's humiliating, it's garbage, and she's not doing it anymore.
Traci says Velvet is putting her in a hell of spot. Not to mention, she could be screwing herself in the process. Velvet doesn't care; she's had enough of the fan service crap and shrieks at Traci to just tell her what she has to do to fix this.
Traci gets right in her face and says, "Win. A. Match."
Determined, Velvet promises that she'll beat anyone Traci puts in front of her. Traci tells her to put her gear on and get her ass to the ring.
BACKSTAGE: Sarita cuts a promo about the main event. She came to TNA with big plans and tonight is the night that the wheels start turning. She says Madison was a paper champion that she's already beaten twice, and the only reason why Angelina has had so much success in this company is because until Sarita got there, her only competition was a bunch of no-talent bimbos who wouldn't know a wrestling clinic from an STD clinic. She's got moves these losers can't even imagine. She says she will have championship gold around her waist again very soon, and then maybe she'll rub it in Velvet's face just because she can.
iMPACT ZONE: Velvet makes her way to the ring, not bothering with her usual crotch rope rub entrance. She's fired up and dead serious. West says that Velvet looks like she wants to hurt someone.
SoCal Val announces that the next participant is making her TNA debut and introduces new Knockout, Trina Diaz (Divina Fly/Rosita).
Trina is all smiles as she heads down the ramp, slapping hands with the fans at ringside, clearly a babyface. West comments on how young and small she looks. JB says she's only 19 years old, making her the youngest person on the roster. She's a rookie with very little experience, especially compared to Velvet. She could have her hands full here.
VELVET SKY vs. TRINA DIAZ
Velvet attacks Trina like an animal the second the bell rings. Forgoing any of her flashier moves (headscissors, etc), Velvet isn't wrestling, so much as fighting. West remarks that Velvet is being kind of reckless, but she's been so frustrated for the last few weeks that she can't be thinking clearly right now. He says she's looking at Trina and probably picturing Sarita, or Winter, or Traci -- Velvet's angry at so many people right now, it's hard to tell.
Velvet is dominating until she makes a careless misstep. Trina capitalizes and rolls her up.
WINNER: Trina Diaz in 2:48
Velvet is horrified; she can't believe she lost, to a rookie no less. JB reminds us about what Traci said to Velvet earlier, as well as last week. West says that Velvet may have just endangered her career.
Trina offers to help Velvet up and tries to shake her hand. Velvet bats Trina's hand away and shoves her, knocking her down. JB wonders if this is just her frustration getting the better of her, or if maybe this is a bit of the old (re. heel) Velvet reemerging.
Velvet quickly heads to the back, looking distraught.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet trashes the backstage area, throwing things, breaking anything she can get her hands on.
Sarita walks in, applauding sarcastically. She says that must have been pretty embarrassing just now. Velvet tells her to get lost before she hurts her. Sarita says it's pretty sad that Velvet still thinks she can do that after what just happened. "I can read you like a book, Velvet," she says. "You've got nothing on me. Hell, you just got beat by a rookie." But Sarita adds that, in a way, she kind of admires Velvet's persistence. After all, anyone else in her place probably would have killed themselves by now.
Velvet snaps. She throws herself at Sarita, who sidesteps and sends Velvet crashing into a bunch of trash cans.
Sarita gets really serious now. "Look at you!" she yells. "You think you can beat anyone when you're like this? You're pathetic! You can't even figure out who you're really angry at!" She gets in close, grabbing Velvet by the tights. "But I'll give you a little hint, Velvet. That person you're so angry at? It's not me."
Sarita smashes Velvet over the head with a trash can lid and walks away, leaving Velvet lying there, beaten, humiliated and demoralized.
JB says the main event is up next as we cut to a break.
They air a video package promoting the upcoming debut of Jennifer Blade (Jennifer Blake). Match footage is intercut with interview footage where she describes herself as a powder keg and a risk-taker.
iMPACT ZONE: Sarita makes her entrance as JB & West discuss what just happened. West wonders if Angelina knows about it yet. Then Madison makes her entrance, followed by Tara.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina is looking for Velvet, but Winter says they don't have time to wait for her and pushes Angelina toward the entranceway.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina makes her entrance, followed by Winter.
ROUND 2 TOURNAMENT MATCH
ANGELINA LOVE (w/ WINTER) vs. SARITA vs. MADISON RAYNE (w/ TARA)
Before the bell, Mickie comes out to join JB & West at the announce booth. They ask her about her issues with Traci, but she avoids the question, focusing on the match.
The finish comes when Sarita and Angelina are both down. Tara tries to pass Madison a chair to use on them, but Winter nails Tara and grabs the chair before Madison can use it. Momentarily distracted, Madison turns back to the match and walks into a tiger bomb from Sarita. Sarita makes a cover, but Angelina grabs her, throws her out of the ring and pins Madison herself.
WINNER: ANGELINA LOVE in 10:24
Angelina wins the title shot against Mickie James next week. She's elated. As she celebrates, Winter jumps into the ring, hugs her and lifts Angelina up on her shoulders.
Velvet appears on the stage, watching all this happen, looking lost and helpless.
Mickie leaves the announce booth and enters the ring. She and Angelina shake hands and stare each other down like opponents at a UFC weigh in.
Suddenly, Traci appears on the video screen. She congratulates Angelina. She says the match between her and Mickie next week will decide who the new Knockouts champion is. And since this is such an important match, there will be a special guest referee: TRACI!
As Mickie stares at the grinning image of Traci on the screen, we...
COLD OPEN: Traci Brooks is in her office, talking on the phone with someone. We can't hear the person on the other line, but Traci asks if she can can be there when they discussed. The person's answer makes her happy. She says that's great and she's really excited about this too. Mickie James enters the office, prompting Traci to quickly end the call because, "She just walked in..."
Mickie asks what the call was about. Traci says it was just business.
Switching gears, Mickie asks Traci to tell her the truth -- did she appoint herself the referee in the title match tonight because Mickie rejected her offer last week? Traci says Mickie not wanting to try to iron things out between them was disappointing, but she's a professional and she can work around that. Her being the referee tonight is just to ensure there's no funny business since Angelina is bound to have Winter and/or Velvet with her, and it seems like every time there are people at ringside on this show, things tend to get complicated. She insists that she only wants to make sure the match ends the way it's supposed to.
"The way it's supposed to, huh?" Mickie asks skeptically. "Yeah... we'll see."
Mickie leaves the office. The camera lingers on Traci.
BACKSTAGE: Winter is heading for the ring. Serafina blocks her path. Winter tries to go around her. Serafina won't let her. "Not so tough now, huh?" Serafina asks. "Scared of getting your hands dirty, bitch?" Impatient, Winter shoves passed her, saying she doesn't have time for this. Serafina says she's going to make time and attacks Winter. They fight for a minute until security separates them. Winter quickly leaves with Serafina yelling that she'll see her later tonight.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina Love comes to the ring as West comments that maybe Traci should just assign some security guards to follow Serafina around all the time, since a lot of fights seem to break out around her.
Angelina has a mic. She says that she was the first ever 5-time Knockouts champion in TNA history, and after tonight, she will be the first ever 6-time Knockouts champion in TNA history. But every time she's hit a peak in her career, she's always had someone with her, backing her up. That's why she's out here, because for the last few months, she's had 2 friends that just can't seem to get along. She asks both of them to come out to the ring so they can settle this.
Winter comes out immediately. Angelina has to call Velvet several times before she shows up, looking like she wants no part of this.
Angelina says the next few weeks are going to be really big for them, and if it's all going to work out the way she hopes it will the 3 of them need to put an end to all this tension because it's giving her stress lines. She knows Velvet doesn't like Winter, but she can't figure out where this is coming from. Winter's helped Angelina a lot -- she was the one who bailed Angelina out in the tag title match. And she knows Velvet couldn't be there because Sarita had choked her out in the dressing room, but that wasn't Winter's fault.
Quietly, Velvet asks if Angelina is taking Winter's side in all this. Angelina insists that she's not taking anyone's side. She and Winter are partners right now, but she and Velvet are BFFs. She knows Velvet has been having problems lately, she knows Velvet has issues with Traci and Sarita -- she won't talk about them, but Angelina knows that stuff has really been messing with her, and maybe that's where all this is coming from. Angelina doesn't know.
But there's one thing she does know. The Knockout division was started 4 1/2 years ago. Out of everyone in that first group that walked to the ring at Bound for Glory that night, Velvet and Angelina are the only ones left. Everyone else quit, or got fired, or retired, or sold out, but there's a reason why they've lasted so long while all those others didn't. It's because when they were a team, they were the best -- they got the biggest ratings, they got the biggest pops, they made the most money. The fans know it, TNA knows it, and most importantly, Velvet knows it. Just because Angelina & Winter are going to be the tag team champions, that doesn't change anything. They're still the Beautiful People, they're still the biggest thing in this division, they're still the reason why the fans show up. Angelina says she can't do this without her BFF and she needs to know that Velvet has her back, if that's what Velvet still wants.
Velvet is silent for a moment, looking back and forth between Angelina and Winter. Finally, she says that, yes, she still wants that. She and Angelina hug. Then Angelina asks Velvet and Winter to shake hands. Winter puts her hand out, but Velvet's demeanor changes immediately and she refuses. Angelina pleads with her to just do it. She doesn't have to like Winter; they just have to coexist. Slowly, reluctantly, Velvet shakes Winter's hand, but lets go very quickly.
The Beautiful People's music plays. Angelina is happy. Velvet isn't. Velvet locks eyes with Winter and their faces say it all. West says it looks like nothing has been settled and the 2 of them coexisting may be a pipe dream.
BACKSTAGE: Christy Hemme interviews Mickie. Mickie says she isn't so sure Traci won't screw her over tonight, but this is just another hurdle that she will overcome like all the rest. She's gone through Tara, Madison Rayne, her problems with Traci -- she's put in too much work over too many months chasing the title to be stopped now. She came to TNA to make history and that's what she's going to do. She promises, one way or another, that championship is leaving with her tonight.
JB hypes up Winter vs. Serafina in a rematch from last week after the break.
They air a Rough Cut video featuring Serafina. She says that her interests as a kid were pretty limited; she was either going to be a pro wrestler or join a punk rock band. She chose wrestling because she likes getting paid to beat people up rather than getting arrested for it. She may be small, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in ferocity. She'll be your best friend or your worst enemy and there isn't a lot of middle ground as far as she's concerned.
iMPACT ZONE: Winter is still in the ring. Velvet is at ringside, looking like she'd rather be anywhere else. JB explains that Angelina went to the dressing room to get ready for her match with Mickie, but she asked Velvet to stay out there and support Winter. West says that the more Angelina tries to make Winter and Velvet get along, the more Velvet resists. Velvet can't stand Winter and he doesn't see that changing.
Serafina makes her entrance.
SERAFINA vs. WINTER (w/ VELVET SKY)
During the match, the action goes outside the ring. Winter tries to whip Serafina into the steel steps, but Serafina reverses and Winter ends up colliding with Velvet. Winter is distracted by Velvet yelling at her for the remainder of the match.
WINNER: Serafina in 7:22
Winter and Velvet glare at each other. West thinks this just seals the deal -- these 2 are never going to be friends.
Serafina flips Winter off as she backs up the ramp.
They air a video package chronicling Mickie's time in TNA thus far and her goal to be the first woman in pro wrestling history to hold every women's title in both of the major promotions.
BACKSTAGE: We see Mickie in the locker room getting warmed up as we cut to a break.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet heads for the Beautiful People's dressing room, passing Sarita in the hall. Sarita is just casually leaning against the wall, as if she was waiting for Velvet. Sarita says that was a nice job out there; Velvet can't even stand at ringside without screwing something up, can she?
Velvet keeps walking, but Sarita follows her, saying there's something she's wondering about -- Angelina said her and Velvet were the best when they were a team, but it seems like that team only translated into success for her. Angelina might be a 6-time champion after tonight, but what has Velvet ever gotten out of this arrangement? Sarcastically, she asks how many singles titles Velvet has won, then admits that was a stupid question since Velvet could never reach that peak on her best day. Though, maybe she and Angelina could have been tag team champions if Angelina hadn't traded up in partners.
Angry, Velvet cuts her off. She tells Sarita that maybe if she focused less on Velvet's business and more on her own, it would be her in that title match tonight. Sarita counters, saying that maybe if Velvet wasn't such a failure who can't accomplish anything by herself, her contract wouldn't be up for review. Velvet is shocked to hear this.
"Oh," says Sarita, playing innocent, "Traci hadn't told you yet, huh? Oops."
Sarita leaves the shot, laughing. Velvet just stands there, at a loss for words.
iMPACT ZONE: The announcers discuss what just happened. JB says he heard in the front office that Velvet was due to start her contract renegotiations in a few weeks, but if her contract is up for review, she may not even get the chance. West says things for Velvet are just going from bad to worse, what with Winter coming between her and Angelina, and now this, and Sarita isn't making things any better. He likens Sarita's recent fixation on Velvet to a cat with a ball of yarn.
BACKSTAGE: Christy interviews Traci, now wearing a referee shirt. Traci acknowledges that she and Mickie have had their differences lately, but that doesn't change anything. Her job tonight is to be an unbiased official and that's what she's going to be. Christy mentions that Mickie seems awfully skeptical about that. Her mood shifting slightly, Traci says to leave Mickie to her.
They air a video package about Angelina's rise to prominence in TNA. It describes her as the most decorated Knockout in TNA history and she's looking to add another accolade to her resume tonight.
In the Beautiful People's dressing room, we see Angelina warming up.
Traci heads for the ring. She's stopped by Mickie. Mickie tells Traci to be straight with her and asks if she should be looking over her shoulder tonight. Traci says comments like that one are the reason why this working relationship has been so messed up. Contrary to what Mickie thinks, Traci really does want to make this work, but Mickie has done nothing but question every decision she's made since she got this job and just seems dead set on believing that Traci is out to get her. She says that whoever becomes the Knockouts champion tonight is going to be the spearhead of this division, and that person will either be Traci's biggest star or her biggest problem. She asks Mickie which one she wants to be.
"I haven't decided yet," Mickie responds. "But I'll let you know... after I win the title."
The camera pans around to Traci's back as she watches Mickie leave. Whatever Traci's face is telling us right now, we can't see it.
JB hypes the main event as we cut to a break.
They air another video package promoting the upcoming debut of Jennifer Blade (Jennifer Blake). We see interview snippets where she talks about her background and how she broke into the business. She cites Tara as her biggest influence and someone she really admired growing up. She says watching Tara is what inspired her to become a wrestler.
iMPACT ZONE: Traci makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina cuts a promo in the dressing room. She's putting nothing passed Mickie, but if Mickie thinks Angelina's going to make this easy for her, she's dead wrong. She says she has her girls behind her and she's 100% confident about this match. Mickie wanted to make history, but tonight she'll have to settle for standing on the sidelines of history.
We hear Angelina's music play in the arena and she heads off down the hallway, followed by Winter and Velvet. The camera follows them to the entranceway like at a UFC PPV. Winter is giving Angelina a last minute pep talk. Velvet scowls, her mind clearly somewhere else.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is psyching herself up. We hear her music. She heads for the entranceway. The camera follows.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie makes her entrance.
SoCal Val introduces each woman separately and holds up the title belt. Mickie and Angelina shake hands.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
MICKIE JAMES vs. ANGELINA LOVE (w/ WINTER & VELVET SKY)
Velvet stands on the opposite side of the ring from Winter during the bout.
There are teases throughout the match that Traci may turn on Mickie, but nothing concrete. The announcers aren't sure which way she's going to go. Toward the end, Winter tries to interfere on behalf of Angelina, but Traci stops her. Winter argues with Traci for a moment until Velvet interjects herself and Winter's vitriol switches to her. Fed up, Traci sends them both to the back. They argue the whole way.
JB & West are convinced that Traci has chosen the high road. Ultimately, she calls the match 100% clean.
WINNER AND NEW (STILL) KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Mickie James in 13:21
Mickie seems genuinely surprised that there was no funny business. Traci gives her the title and raises her hand. They exchange words. We can't hear what's being said, but it doesn't look hostile. Finally, Mickie extends her hand and Traci shakes it.
JB says it looks as if these 2 have finally put their differences aside. West remarks that maybe the issues Mickie had with Traci don't seem so bad now that she finally has the title.
Traci leaves the ring and heads to the back, clapping for Mickie. Mickie celebrates with the fans at ringside. This goes on for a bit. Mickie climbs back into the ring one final time and poses with the belt. Pyro goes off.
Suddenly, a woman in a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled up jumps over the rail and enters the ring from behind. She pulls out a tire iron and blasts Mickie with it. Mickie crumples to the mat.
The woman grabs the title belt and holds it up. She removes the hood...
COLD OPEN: Mickie James walks through the backstage area, followed by Christy Hemme. She says she wasn't sure what to think last week. She didn't trust Traci Brooks, she thought Traci might screw her over in the title match, but she didn't. Then she thought that maybe she'd misjudged Traci, but the second she let her guard down, someone nailed her from behind. She doesn't know where Daffney came from, but somebody had to bring her in. Christy asks if Mickie suspects Traci had anything to do with it. Mickie says she doesn't know, but she's going to find out right now.
They arrive at Traci's office. A security guard stands outside the door. Mickie wants to talk to Traci, but the guard says that's not possible. Traci is in a meeting, so Mickie will be dealing with her new assistant. Mickie asks who the assistant is.
"I prefer the term 'Gal-Friday'," says someone behind her. Mickie turns around. It's Cookie!
Cookie explains that Traci was feeling a little overwhelmed, so she hired Cookie to help her out. Mickie doesn't care how or why Cookie got hired; she wants to talk to Traci right now. Cookie tells her she's out of luck because Traci is busy, and so is Mickie because she has to get ready for her match.
Mickie says she's not booked in a match tonight, but Cookie informs her that she is because Cookie just booked it. "I can do that now, bitch!" Cookie adds, loving this.
"Good for you," Mickie mutters, and leaves, frustrated.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West welcome us to the show and say that tonight's main event will determine who faces Angelina Love & Winter for the vacant Knockout tag team titles.
Serafina's music hits and she makes her entrance as the announcers talk about her win over Winter last week.
BACKSTAGE: Brooke Tessmacher waits by the entranceway and Christy tries to get some pre-match comments from her. Brooke admits that she feels like she's in over her head here. She was originally hired to be Eric Bischoff's assistant, but when Bischoff fired her she had to become a wrestler to keep her job, basically jumping into the deep end of the pool before she learned how to swim. She says she's training every day, but she had to start at zero and everyone else is so far ahead of her in experience that it's pretty nerve-wracking. She says all she can do is her best and hopefully things will come together for her.
iMPACT ZONE: Brooke makes her entrance. JB & West agree that she didn't sound confident about her chances in this match.
SERAFINA vs. BROOKE TESSMACHER
Brooke gets a hope spot towards the end, but is generally out-wrestled by her more experienced opponent.
WINNER: Serafina in 3:12
As Brooke heads backstage, West says it looks like she has an uphill battle ahead of her if she's going to last here.
BACKSTAGE: Christy interviews Madison Rayne & Tara about their tag team title qualifying match tonight against Sarita and her partner. Tara starts to say something, but Madison cuts her off. Madison says that she was unfairly beaten in the singles tournament and the fact that Mickie James is now the champion is a travesty of justice. But she has never been one to shrink from adversity -- she will get the title back sooner or later, but tonight she has other concerns because the only thing better than one title is 2 titles. She promises she will win tonight and be the next Knockout tag team champion.
Silently, Tara puts up with this because she has to.
We see Mickie warming up in the locker room. JB says she will be in action after the break.
BACKSTAGE: Serafina is grabbing a bottle of water from catering. Trina Diaz walks up and introduces herself. She was really impressed with Serafina's match against Winter last week. In turn, Serafina says Trina looked good against Velvet Sky 2 weeks ago, even though Velvet was kind of a bitch to her afterward. Trina thanks her and asks if the Beautiful People are always like that. Serafina says that Winter is, but she doesn't know about Velvet or Angelina since they haven't said a single word to her since she got there.
They joke about the Beautiful People having their own dressing room while everyone else has to share a locker room. They're hitting it off until they're interrupted by Sarita, who tells Trina to cut the crap -- they have to get ready for their match.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie makes her entrance looking pissed off. Next out is Velvet Sky, again looking serious and forgoing her usual entrance.
MICKIE JAMES vs. VELVET SKY
During the match, JB & West discuss Velvet's current predicament. With her contract up for review, every match counts because she may not have long to turn things around. Getting some wins under her belt could be what makes the difference in management's decision to keep her or let her go. They also discuss the Mickie/Daffney situation and whether they think Traci had anything to do with it.
Velvet wrestles like she's giving it everything she's got and really wants the win, but she just can't overcome Mickie.
WINNER: Mickie James in 5:19
Post-match, Mickie grabs a mic from ringside. She says Traci can delay her and throw up as many roadblocks in front of her as she wants, but Mickie's going to get her answers and she's going to get them right now.
Mickie drops the mic and heads for the back. As she's walking up the ramp, Daffney jumps out of the crowd and nails her from behind. Daffney beats her down and gives Mickie her finisher on the ramp, screaming with glee. Security arrives, but she escapes into the backstage area.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is being checked out by TNA medical staff.
We cut to the Beautiful People's dressing room where Christy is interviewing Angelina Love while Velvet and Winter argue in the background. Angelina says the title match last week didn't work out the way she wanted it to, but she can't dwell on it because now she has a another title match to focus on. "But," she adds, frustrated, "This would be a lot easier if 2 certain someones could be in the same room for more than 5 minutes without trying to kill each other."
We cut to a Sarita promo where she explains that she chose Trina Diaz as her partner tonight because Trina is undefeated, making her the best woman on this show after Sarita herself. She's not worried about the match tonight at all and says beating Madison & Tara will be a cakewalk.
We cut back to Mickie, who is angrily throwing off the trainers. She's still wobbly, but the camera follows her as she takes off down the hallway. She runs into Cookie who threatens to "go ghetto" if she doesn't calm down, but Mickie shoves right passed her. She arrives at Traci's office. The security guard tries to stop her; Mickie kicks him in the balls and throws him out of the way.
Mickie storms into Traci's office. Pissed, she says point blank that if Traci was the one who brought Daffney in, she'd better tell her right now. Keeping her cool, Traci says that of course she brought Daffney in; who else would have? "Maybe you haven't noticed, Mickie, but our roster is pretty thin at the moment," she explains. "Hell, our whole tag team tournament is one match with 4 people! When I got this job, the first thing I did was invite every Knockout on the roster to be a part of this. We need all the talent we can get."
Mickie insists that the timing was awfully convenient when the second Traci seems to prove that Mickie can trust her, Daffney shows up from out of nowhere and nails Mickie with a tire iron -- that's an awfully big coincidence. Traci says a coincidence is all it is. She certainly didn't order Daffney to take out Mickie. Daffney is out of her mind and Traci has no idea what she's thinking; who the hell could?
Mickie has one more question. Last week, when Mickie came into her office, Traci was on the phone with someone. This person said she would be there at the time she and Traci discussed. If it wasn't Daffney Traci was talking to, then who was it?
"Me," says someone off camera.
Mickie turns to see who it is: Jennifer Blade (Jennifer Blake)!
Traci introduces them and says that Jennifer will be making her in-ring debut next week. They're going to be having a gauntlet battle royal to determine Mickie's first challenger for her title.
"You've got an answer for everything, don't you?" Mickie asks Traci. Traci says that's her job. Still suspicious, Mickie says that maybe Traci put Daffney up to this and maybe she didn't -- she doesn't know yet. But she knows Daffney is around here somewhere, so she's going to find Daffney and get some answers from the woman herself.
Traci tries to tell Mickie that not everyone's out to get her, but Mickie ignores her and leaves. Traci mutters that she needs a lock on her office door.
Via split-screen, we see Madison/Tara and Sarita/Trina heading for the ring. "This is how it's done, Velvet. Just watch!" Sarita says into the camera.
JB hypes the main event as we go to a break.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is searching for Daffney.
iMPACT ZONE: Sarita & Trina make their entrance. JB wonders about Sarita's mindset in choosing Trina as her partner -- Trina may be technically undefeated in TNA, but she's only had one match. West doesn't think Sarita cares. She's been so cocky lately, she probably thinks she can win this match all by herself.
Madison & Tara make their entrance. Madison makes Tara hold the ring ropes open for her.
TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH QUALIFIER
MADISON RAYNE & TARA vs. SARITA & TRINA DIAZ
When Tara is tagged in, Madison spends the entire time barking orders to her. Tara looks irritated by this, but says nothing about it. The finish comes when Tara has Sarita overpowered, but Madison tags herself in so she can get the pin. Sarita then surprises Madison with a rollup.
WINNERS: Sarita & Trina Diaz in 9:57
Sarita celebrates like she's not giving Trina any credit at all for the win. Angelina & Winter come out to stand on the stage, and the 4 women stare each other down. JB says the tag title match will happen next week.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is still searching for Daffney. Suddenly, the lights go out. We hear Daffney screaming and the sounds of things crashing and breaking.
The lights come back on. Daffney is standing over Mickie's unconscious body, holding the Knockouts title belt. As Daffney screams again, we...
iMPACT ZONE: The announcers welcome us to the show. JB tells us that tonight there will be a gauntlet battle royal match to determine the #1 contender for Mickie James' Knockouts title, and in the main event it will be Sarita & Trina Diaz vs. Angelina Love & Winter to determine the new Knockout tag team champions.
Mickie's music plays and -- her head bandaged -- she makes her way down to the ring. She gets on the mic and says that it's really easy to look like a badass when you're attacking someone in the dark, but she's never been one to take the easy road in anything she's done. She doesn't know why Daffney suddenly has it in for her, but she's putting a stop to it and tells Daffney to get her ass out here.
When Daffney doesn't show up, Mickie says that she didn't know Daffney's M.O. at first, but she's got her figured out now -- Daffney only likes to attack people whose backs are turned. Mickie turns her back to the stage. No sign of Daffney. "Would it help if we turned the house lights off?" Mickie asks angrily. "How about if I blindfolded myself, maybe got someone to tie me up?" Still no Daffney. This goes on for a few minutes, and just when Mickie is about to head backstage and drag Daffney out by her hair, Daffney appears on the video screen.
Daffney says she didn't think she was going to do this, but what Mickie just said made her laugh. "You think you've got me figured out, Mickie? That's just hilarious. Do you know how many people have tried to do that and failed? Eric Bischoff couldn't figure me out in WCW, so he had to fire me instead. The doctors at the insane asylum tried to figure me out and they're the ones who ended up in straight jackets. You can't figure me out, Mickie. You can't plan for me, you can't predict me. Even I don't know what I'm going to do. I just do things -- things that make me happy, whatever that might be. And right now, messing with you, that makes me happy. And you know what else would make me happy? That pretty little belt of yours."
[SIDE NOTE: I'm going for a more sinister version of Daffney's character here. I liken her to Heath Ledger's Joker in the Dark Knight -- less wacky, more dark and calculating. Still crazy, but with a method to her madness.]
While Mickie is watching the video screen, Daffney jumps out of the crowd from behind her. The video was a recording! She hits the ring with her tire iron and attacks, but Mickie is ready this time. Anticipating the attack, Mickie whirls around and cuts her off. They fight for a minute, Mickie gets the better of the exchange and clotheslines Daffney over the ropes.
Mickie grabs the tire iron. Laughing, Daffney jumps back into the crowd before she can use it. Mickie tries to go after her, but Cookie runs out to the stage and yells at her to stop. Cookie says Traci hired her to help her stop things from getting out of control around here and that's what she's doing. She orders Mickie to stay right where she is. She's not going to go running through the stands and start fights in the crowd when they've got a show to do. Mickie isn't going anywhere because they need her to be on commentary during the gauntlet battle royal.
Mickie tries to go after Daffney anyway. Cookie says that if Mickie takes one more step, Cookie will book her in a Jersey street fight against the entire locker room. "I can do that now, skank, remember?" she adds. Security arrives and Cookie orders them to sit Mickie down.
Once again, Daffney has vanished.
JB says the gauntlet battle royal begins after the break.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie is sitting down with the announcers as they recap what just happened. They ask Mickie about it. She tells them it's just like she said -- Daffney likes attacking people from behind. It was a clever trick with the video, but Mickie's been in this business for 10 years. She knows all the tricks and she's not going to be fooled that easily.
West asks if Mickie still thinks Traci could be involved with this somehow. Mickie says that everyone has been calling her paranoid, but Daffney somehow managed to hear Mickie calling her out, record that video, get the production truck to play it and then get to the other side of the arena for her little sneak attack. All that happened really fast and she doesn't see how Daffney could have possibly done it by herself; she has to be getting help from someone. Mickie's not saying it's Traci necessarily, but if not her, then who? Maybe Cookie, maybe someone else -- she doesn't know. Mickie doesn't like surprises and promises to get to the bottom of this.
SoCal Val announces the start of the match. A new participant will enter every 2 minutes.
GAUNTLET BATTLE ROYAL
#1 CONTENDERSHIP TO THE KNOCKOUTS TITLE
BACKSTAGE: Jennifer cuts a quick promo at the entranceway. She says she may have drawn the #1 spot, but she's not intimidated. She planned to turn some heads tonight and that's what she's going to do. She's got energy to burn and an hour to kill, and challenges everyone in the locker room to come get her. Like in the video packages we saw promoting her debut, she calls herself a powder keg. "I don't blow up," she says. "I explode."
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer makes her entrance.
ENTRANT #1: JENNIFER BLADE
ENTRANT #2: BROOKE TESSMACHER
Jennifer pretty muck kicks Brooke's ass and throws her over the ropes before the next participant even enters the match.
BROOKE TESSMACHER ELIMINATED AT 1:37
ENTRANT #3: MADISON RAYNE
Madison puts up more of a fight than Brooke, but Jennifer still manages to eliminate her before the next entrant.
MADISON RAYNE ELIMINATED AT 3:52
ENTRANT #4: ANGELINA LOVE
The announcers say this is going to be the real test for Jennifer as Angelina is the most experienced and decorated wrestler to enter the match so far.
Angelina puts up the best fight. She and Jennifer go back and forth with neither woman gaining the upper hand.
ENTRANT #5: VELVET SKY
West says Jennifer is in trouble now since the Beautiful People are obviously going to work together.
Velvet & Angelina take the advantage, double teaming Jennifer. They have her reeling until they whip her into the ropes and she grabs them to stop herself. Angelina charges, but Jennifer backdrops her onto the ring apron. She tries to knock Angelina off the apron, but Angelina holds on. Velvet then charges at Jennifer. Jennifer sidesteps and sends Velvet crashing into Angelina.
ANGELINA LOVE ELIMINATED AT 7:30
Distracted for a second, Velvet apologizes for her mistake, then turns around and walks into a superkick from Jennifer that sends her over the top rope as well.
VELVET SKY ELIMINATED AT 7:40
The announcers are shocked. Mickie is impressed. Jennifer pounds the mat, fired up. West says she could win the whole thing at this rate.
ENTRANT #6: TARA
Jennifer's resolve vanishes.
JB says this should be interesting and reminds us of the hype video they saw 2 weeks ago in which Jennifer cited Tara as her biggest influence. West says it's more than just that -- he was talking to Jennifer before they went on the air and she told him that watching Tara was what made her want to be a wrestler in the first place. She said she idolized Tara as a kid.
Tara wastes no time and goes on the offensive immediately. In contrast to her earlier aggressive style, Jennifer now seems very tentative and cautious, not putting up much of a fight. West says there's definitely an element of hero-worship here that's messing with her head.
JENNIFER BLADE ELIMINATED AT 9:55
JB & West put over Jennifer's performance. Mickie says how impressed she was with her.
ENTRANT #7: SERAFINA
Tara takes the advantage, overpowering the smaller woman. Tara tries to throw her over the ropes, but Serafina manages to hold on until the next participant enters.
ENTRANT #8: TRINA DIAZ
Trina saves Serafina from elimination and the 2 of them start to double team Tara. West says they've been hanging out together a lot backstage these last few weeks. He thinks they've been sticking together since they're both the new girls on the roster.
They're working Tara over very well until Tara nails both of them with a double clothesline. JB says that normally, Tara would probably have to worry about what Madison Rayne would want, but with Madison already eliminated, there's nothing holding her back. It's probably lighting a fire under Tara to win that title shot.
ENTRANT #9: WINTER
Winter puts an end to the double teaming, going after Serafina. She forces Serafina over the ropes, but Serafina pulls Winter out of the ring with her.
SERAFINA & WINTER ELIMINATED AT 15:41
Tara is close to eliminating Trina. West says that if Trina can hold on for another few seconds, she'll have some help.
ENTRANT #10: SARITA
Sarita hits the ring, taking Tara down with a hurrcanrana. She and Trina hit some double team moves on Tara and succeed in getting her over the top rope. They celebrate, slap a high 5, then Sarita throws Trina over the top rope too.
TRINA DIAZ ELIMINATED AT 17:23
Unbeknownst to Sarita, Tara skinned the cat and was not eliminated. Sarita turns around and walks into a clothesline that sends her over the ropes as well, but she holds on and gets back in under the bottom rope. Sarita and Tara go at it until...
ENTRANT #11: DAFFNEY
Mickie didn't know Daffney was entered in this match. Neither did the announcers. Mickie says she saw the runsheet for tonight and Daffney was not booked to compete -- she calls it an awfully big coincidence that not only does Daffney get added to a #1 contenders match at the last minute, but she also draws the final spot. Suspicious, she says stuff like that seems to be happening a lot around here lately.
The 3 remaining women circle each other for a moment, and then attack. For several minutes no one is able to gain the upper hand. Finally, Sarita is taken out by Tara.
SARITA ELIMINATED AT 23:09
Tara and Daffney square off. Tara dishes out a lot of punishment and Daffney takes it, not fighting back, laughing. Tara tries to eliminate her, but Daffney holds on to the ropes. Frustrated, Tara locks on the tarantula submission hold. Daffney just laughs.
"This is disturbing," West comments. "She really seems to be enjoying this."
Tara finally releases the hold and Daffney falls to the mat, seemingly finished. As Tara is reentering the ring, Daffney kicks her, sending her back out to the apron. Daffney punches her. Tara holds on. Another punch. Tara holds on. Daffney runs the ropes and charges at Tara. Still she holds on.
Then Daffney grabs Tara and spews mist in her face, a la MsChif. Tara is stunned. One more punch and...
TARA ELIMINATED AT 25:46
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: DAFFNEY
Daffney screams. Mickie gets out of her seat. She and Daffney lock eyes. Daffney smiles and invites her into the ring. Mickie hits the ring and they go at it!
The fight goes outside the ring. Daffney goes for a chair and takes a swing, but Mickie ducks and it hits the ringpost. Daffney drops it. Mickie tries to whip Daffney into the steel steps, but Daffney reverses and headbuts Mickie. Mickie staggers. JB reminds us that Mickie already had a head injury and can't be 100%.
Daffney ends the fight by giving Mickie a DDT on the steel chair. Mickie is out cold.
West says Daffney sure wasn't attacking from behind that time. Mickie may have to rethink her strategy when she wakes up.
Daffney stands over Mickie, laughing.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie is being helped to the back by the trainers.
BACKSTAGE: We get a series of quick reactions from the roster about the battle royal.
Cookie says that of course she was the one who added Daffney to the match. Traci is very busy and can't do everything herself, and that's what Cookie is there for. She says the match called for everyone on the roster to participate, so why shouldn't Daffney have been in it?
Jennifer says the outcome wasn't what she was hoping for. After she was eliminated she was rooting for Tara to win.
Serafina says she may not have won the title shot, but being the reason why Winter didn't win it feels almost as good.
Tara says she's pissed off because she came so close. Madison silently glares at her.
Brooke admits she's frustrated that she can't seem to make any progress.
Winter and Velvet are screaming at each other, ignoring the camera. Winter is blaming Velvet for eliminating Angelina from the match. Angry, Velvet insists it was an accident. Angelina is trying to separate them.
Trina is angry that Sarita eliminated her, what with them being tag team partners. Sarita tries to talk her down, claiming that she thought they were the last 2 in the match and only one person could win.
We see the respective arguments between Angelina/Winter/Velvet and Sarita/Trina via split screen.
JB says the match to decide new Knockout tag team champions is up next.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is being examined by TNA medical staff.
iMPACT ZONE: Sarita & Trina make their entrance. Their demeanor is frosty. West comments that Trina doesn't look like Sarita's excuse for eliminating her from the battle royal convinced her of her partner's good intentions.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina, Winter and Velvet are by the entranceway. Winter and Velvet are still yelling at each other. Angelina is desperately trying to get them to calm down and shrieks that their title match is about to start. Velvet says screw the title match, she's not going out there with Winter; she needs some space.
Angelina says she needs Velvet out there with her, but Velvet doesn't think so. "You've got your partner!" Velvet snaps. "What do you need me for?"
Velvet stalks off. Angelina tries to go after her, but Winter says there's no time, noting that their music has already started playing.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina & Winter make their entrance.
JB says there are a lot of combustable elements in this match and anything could happen. Expanding on this, West explains that neither team is getting along and all 4 women have already wrestled tonight so the pressure and stress level must be really high.
JB says the match begins after the final commercial break of the evening.
iMPACT ZONE: SoCal Val gives each team a separate intro.
KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
SARITA & TRINA DIAZ vs. ANGELINA LOVE & WINTER
The finish comes when Winter knocks Sarita off the ring apron and pins Trina.
WINNERS AND NEW (STILL) KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: ANGELINA LOVE & WINTER in 9:09
Sarita glares at Trina. Trina is apologetic, but Sarita's not hearing it. She slaps Trina in the face. Trina tries to retaliate, but Sarita knocks her down and starts pummelling her.
Val hands Angelina &Winter their title belts. They celebrate on the stage as Sarita beats the hell out of Trina in the ring.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is still being checked out by the medical staff. She's still groggy, but she's sitting up now. She asks where her title belt is.
Then Daffney attacks again! She has the title belt and nails Mickie in the head with it. Mickie goes down and Daffney assaults her like an animal. As the trainers try to restrain Daffney, we...
SIDE NOTE: Daffney's release from TNA will not affect TKO. This has all been mapped out and I will finish the story as if she were still there.
COLD OPEN: A caption on the screen reads 'Earlier today'. Mickie James is arriving at the arena. She runs into Brooke Tessmacher. Mickie asks Brooke if she's seen Daffney anywhere. She hasn't. "Well, I'm going to see her tonight. You can bet your ass on that," Mickie says. "I'm gonna knock some sanity into that bitch."
Mickie and Brooke walk out of the shot and we see someone lurking far off in the background. The camera zooms in. It's Daffney, silently watching and waiting.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West welcome us to the show and recap the Mickie/Daffney rivalry over the last few weeks. West says they still don't know the whole story about what happened last week. Cookie said she was the one who entered Daffney in the gauntlet battle royal, but he noticed that she never said anything about being the one who helped Daffney stage her elaborate sneak attack on Mickie. JB points out that this doesn't mean she didn't do it, but it doesn't necessarily mean she did either. West agrees -- Mickie still suspects Traci, but he thinks it could have been anyone.
Shifting gears, JB says that the Mickie/Daffney title match is coming up next week, and so far, Daffney has had Mickie's number. West remarks that Daffney exists "outside the box" and Mickie has never dealt with an opponent who's so damn unpredictable.
Mickie's music plays and she comes out to the stage with a mic. She says she's been going about this Daffney thing all wrong. Every time she goes looking for Daffney it ends badly for her. It seems like Daffney only shows up when she wants to, so tonight Mickie is just going to hang out and let Daffney come to her. She's going to hang out all over this place and she thought she'd start with the fans.
Mickie hops the rail and heads into the stands to hang out with the fans in the audience. As Mickie starts a "Daffney!" chant in the crowd, West wonders how hard she got hit on the head last week. JB says she's thinking outside the box like West said.
BACKSTAGE: Christy Hemme is with Jennifer Blade as she walks the halls. Jennifer said she got a big surprise when she arrived at the building and checked the runsheet for tonight -- she's been booked in a match against Tara. Jennifer never expected this to happen so soon because she thought she'd have to work her way up to someone like that. Excited, she says she's looked up to Tara for years and this is huge for her. She's looking for Tara so she can introduce herself before the match. She asks a stage hand where she is and he suggests she check catering.
We cut to the locker room where Sarita is beating the crap out of Trina Diaz, yelling that it's Trina's fault they lost the tag title match last week. She rams Trina's head into an open locker and slams the door on it. Then she does it again. And again. Sarita says she'll see her later tonight... if Trina can even make it to the ring.
We go to catering where Madison Rayne is eating at a table. Tara brings her a bottle of water. Madison takes one look, grabs the bottle and pours the water on the floor. Pissy, she says she wanted Evian, not Dasani. Tara says Dasani is all they had. "You're just full of excuses lately, aren't you?" Madison remarks snidely. Angry, Tara says if Madison wants an Evian, she'll find her an Evian. "Without the attitude, I hope," Madison reminds her.
The camera follows Tara as she walks back to the food table, muttering to herself. Jennifer approaches Tara and tries to politely introduce herself. Tara ignores her. Jennifer tries again and Tara yells at her to piss off because she has actual important things to do. She leaves Jennifer standing there as she goes to yell at the catering people to find her a damn bottle of Evian water.
We cut to the Beautiful People's dressing room where Angelina Love and Winter are being tended to by the makeup lady. Velvet Sky is heading out to the ring for a match. Angelina says that she and Winter are going out with her, but Velvet bitterly reminds her that they have a photo shoot to get ready for. Angelina says it's not a problem and they can finish when the match is over, but Velvet tells her not to bother. Velvet doesn't want Winter distracting her, and Winter and Angelina seem to be a package deal these days so Angelina might as well stay in the back too. Velvet says she'll handle this herself.
The camera lingers on Angelina as she watches Velvet leave the dressing room alone.
OUTSIDE THE ARENA: Mickie is with a crowd of fans. She speaks into a megaphone, asking them to make some noise if they want Daffney to show up.
iMPACT ZONE: Velvet makes her entrance. The announcers talk about her contract situation and West says that every match counts -- if Velvet wants to keep her job, she needs to start getting some notches in the win column.
BACKSTAGE: Serafina is waiting for her music to play. She says that she doesn't know Velvet and has never spoken to her. She's heard some good things about Velvet and some not so good things, but she knows Velvet hates Winter's guts, so she can't be all bad.
iMPACT ZONE: Serafina makes her entrance.
VELVET SKY vs. SERAFINA
Again, Velvet does everything she can, but just doesn't seem to be thinking clearly.
WINNER: Serafina in 5:24
Velvet is furious with herself and throws a fit at ringside. West says she keeps letting her frustrations get the better of her and it's only making her situation worse.
Via split screen, we see Angelina watching this on a monitor backstage.
BACKSTAGE: Christy interviews Sarita as she gets warmed up for her match. Sarita says she was the first woman in TNA history to hold the Knockout tag team titles and was the best competitor to ever hold them. The problem is that she's never had a partner that's on her level. She says no one in this company can keep up with her so she keeps having to team with these lame ducks. She's pissed off that Trina cost her the chance to get her tag titles back and she's going to take that out on Trina tonight.
[SIDE NOTE: Mickie and Angelina/Winter were stripped of their titles, but won them back. In the storyline, their original title reigns were reinstated, so technically, this counts as one reign for each of them, not 2.]
BACKSTAGE: Trina is being checked out by TNA medical staff. Serafina walks in and asks how she's doing. Trina insists she's okay and there's no way she's pulling out of the match with Sarita.
We cut to Angelina & Winter doing a photo shoot with the tag titles for the website. Velvet walks in, still upset. Angelina tells the photographer to hold on a minute and goes to talk to her. She asks Velvet what that fit was all about. Velvet doesn't want to talk about it, but Angelina tells her to cut the crap. Velvet's had a bug up her ass for weeks, she's been snapping at people, getting pissed off about every little thing; obviously there's something wrong and Angelina presses her to just spit it out already.
Fed up, Velvet finally tells Angelina about her contract being up for review -- if she doesn't start winning some matches, she's going to be out of a job. Angelina is shocked to hear this and asks why Velvet never said anything about it to her.
"You were busy," Velvet mutters, gesturing to Winter. "I've got to go cool off. Enjoy your photo shoot."
Velvet leaves. Angelina just stands there, speechless.
We cut to Tara heading for the ring, still muttering to herself about Madison and her Evian water as JB hypes up Tara vs. Jennifer.
OUTSIDE THE ARENA: Mickie talks into her megaphone at a group of people in line for a roller coaster and gets them to chant, "We want Daffney!"
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer Blade makes her entrance as the announcers discuss her performance in the battle royal last week. JB points out that she eliminated every woman in the match until Tara entered. West says that Tara seemed to flip a switch in Jennifer somehow and made her lose her confidence.
Tara makes her entrance looking like she's in a foul mood. Before the bell, Jennifer offers to shake hands, which Tara treats with scorn. Tara bats Jennifer's hand aside and nails her in the face.
JENNIFER BLADE vs. TARA
Tara wastes no time and starts working Jennifer over. Jennifer offers little resistance.
JB says Tara's giving Jennifer no respect here and she's being pretty brutal, even for her. West says the Madison Rayne situation is probably on her mind and mentions that things between her and Tara have been pretty strained for the last few weeks. He thinks it's been building for a while, but Madison really put her guard up when Tara almost won the title shot last week. Madison has had Tara more or less in her pocket for months and she clearly wants to keep it that way, but it seems like Tara is starting to get fed up with it. He thinks Tara's itching to take out her anger on someone and Jennifer drew the short straw tonight.
JB talks about how aggressive Jennifer was in her debut last week, but that changed when Tara was added to the equation, and the same thing seems to be happening here -- she looked really fired up during her entrance, but now she just seems overly cautious and unsure of herself. West likens it to being nervous when you meet a celebrity. "I mean, if you got a chance to play ball with Lebron James, you'd probably be tripping all over yourself," he jokes.
The match is a glorified squash. Tara finishes it with the widow's peak.
WINNER: Tara in 2:49
Post-match, Tara wipes her feet on Jennifer and mocks her babyface mannerisms as she heads to the back.
Jennifer watches this, her face unreadable.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is now at catering, still calling for Daffney. Cookie walks up to her and asks her what the hell she's doing. Mickie asks what it looks like she's doing. She says into her megaphone that the fans have spoken and they all want Daffney to show herself. She tells Daffney to come on out.
BACKSTAGE: Christy interviews Jennifer in the locker room. Jennifer is despondent and doesn't really know what to say about what happened tonight. "I kind of feel like an idiot right now," she says, depressed. "It's like you build someone up in your mind for so long, and then you meet them, but it turns out they're really not what you thought they'd be. And maybe that was my fault, maybe I was imagining things that weren't really there. I don't know. But I know I wasn't on my game tonight. If Tara thinks she got the best Jennifer Blade in that match, she's gonna think again pretty soon. I'm really down on myself right now, but I'll get over that. Next week, Tara's gonna have to deal with me again and it's not going to play out like it did tonight."
They air a Rough Cut video featuring Trina Diaz. She says she was picked on a lot as a kid because she was so small and she got into wrestling to learn how to be tough. Once she started, she was always the smallest person in the ring, so she had to be fearless or she'd get crushed in every match. She always sees herself as the underdog, but she refuses to back down to anyone.
We see Trina heading for the ring, still selling the beating from earlier. JB hypes up Sarita vs. Trina as we go to a break.
iMPACT ZONE: Sarita and Trina make their entrances as the announcers talk about how this match came about. JB says their partnership fell apart after 2 weeks. West says that when Trina got pinned in the tag title match last week, Sarita just snapped. It seems like Sarita's been obsessed with regaining the tag titles ever since.
SARITA vs. TRINA DIAZ
Trina has a great showing and puts up a real fight, but she can't overcome the more experienced Sarita, who wins with a tigerbomb.
WINNER: Sarita in 8:37
JB & West put over Trina's effort. Sarita may have gotten the victory, but Trina didn't make it easy for her.
Sarita isn't finished. She attacks again and puts Trina in her submission hold, La Reienera (modified spinning backbreaker rack). Sarita locks on the hold and won't let go. She yells at Trina to say she's had enough. She yells at Trina to beg her to stop. At this point, Trina has passed out from the pain, but Sarita doesn't care. The referee tries to get Sarita to break the hold, but she refuses. Finally, the referee reverses the decision of the match.
WINNER: Trina Diaz in 8:37
Sarita still won't break the hold. JB says they need security out here before Trina is seriously injured.
Serafina runs down the ramp and hits the ring, forcing Sarita to finally break the hold. She tries to attack Sarita, but Sarita rolls out of the ring. They have a staredown as Sarita backs up the ramp.
The camera follows Sarita. She gets in real close and talks right into it. She says she's done with this kid gloves crap. She should have her tag team titles back right now, but Trina cost her that and she payed the price for it. Angelina lucked out when she finally found herself a decent partner after she ditched Velvet, and Sarita urges her to enjoy it while it lasts because she's only delaying the inevitable. "I've already got a new partner, Angelina," she says. "And we're going to be the tag team champions... sooner than you think!" Sarita finishes by spitting into the camera lens.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is in the locker room, still with her megaphone, still calling for Daffney. She's not playing this bit for laughs anymore. Now she's very serious. She says Daffney is going to have to get in the ring with her next week whether she likes it or not. She can hide, but she can't run.
iMPACT ZONE: We hear Daffney's voice over the loudspeaker. She says Mickie has been looking for her all night, but she's been here the whole time. Mickie can make a joke out of this if she wants to, but this isn't a joke to Daffney. This is serious. "And if you want to know how serious I am, Mickie... let me show you."
Daffney walks out to the stage. She's dragging Brooke's unconscious body behind her. Brooke's face is covered in blood.
"You want me, Mickie?" she shrieks. "Here I am! Come get me!"
Moments later, Mickie charges out to the stage, and she and Daffney tear into each other like animals.
JB says Mickie vs. Daffney for the Knockouts title will happen next week, to which West adds, "...if they don't kill each other first!"
COLD OPEN: JB & West welcome us to the show and tell us that tonight's main event will be Mickie James vs. Daffney for the Knockouts title. They discuss how this rivalry has developed over the last 5 weeks with Daffney's sneak attacks and unpredictablity getting under Mickie's skin. They agree that solving the "Daffney puzzle" could prove to be Mickie's biggest challenge yet in TNA.
Cookie's music plays and she comes out to the stage with a mic. She hypes up tonight's main event title match, then says that, just before they came on the air tonight, she had an epiphany. They have 2 championships in this division, not one, but sometimes people tend to forget that. It seems like the Knockout tag titles get glossed over a lot of the time and she means to change this. So tonight Cookie's making an executive decision, "Because I can do that now, bitches!"
Cookie books a tag team title match for tonight. The champions, Angelina Love & Winter vs. Madison Rayne and her partner... Velvet Sky.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina, Winter and Velvet are looking for Traci Brooks. They find her already in the midst of an argument with Madison and Tara. Everyone is upset about this tag title match for different reasons.
Tara is angry that she's not included in the match.
Madison is angry that she has to work with Velvet because Velvet hasn't won a match in months. She says she'd have a better chance if it were a handicap match and she worked it by herself. This pisses Velvet off and the 2 of them have to be separated by Angelina and Tara.
Angelina says she doesn't want to work against her friend. Velvet agrees, plus, she doesn't want to work with Madison.
Trying to address everyone, Traci says that she empowered Cookie to book matches and the decision is final. Tara would have been Madison's partner, but Jennifer Blade already requested and received a rematch with her from last week. Madison needed a partner, and Traci thinks that, under the circumstances, Cookie just did Velvet a huge favor.
Velvet asks what that's supposed to mean. Traci says that the board of directors has rendered their verdict on Velvet's contract and the news isn't good. If she wants to stay in TNA, she needs a win, and not just any win either. She needs a BIG win, and she needs it by the end of the season. If she doesn't get it, she's gone. Winning the tag titles could save her job, and all things considered, Velvet doesn't have the luxury of turning down an opportunity like this.
Angelina is shocked to learn that Velvet's situation is that serious.
We cut to Christy Hemme interviewing Jennifer Blade. This is not the depressed and despondent Jennifer we saw after her match with Tara last week -- she looks composed and focused. Jennifer says she got to meet a woman who was an idol of hers last week and it turns out she wasn't what Jennifer thought she'd be. "In fact, she kind of treated me like dirt," she adds. But Jennifer's not looking for any sympathy. She says you need to have thick skin to survive in this business and that's what she's got. "So someone I looked up to for years turned out to be a mean-spirited bitch. Lesson learned. If she doesn't like me, I don't care. She doesn't have to. But by the time me and her are done, she's gonna respect me. And if she doesn't, I'll just have to make her."
We go to Angelina and Winter. Angelina is pacing back and forth, very much on edge. Winter says she doesn't want to pressure her, but she has to ask what Angelina's plan is for the match tonight. Angelina doesn't answer, so Winter asks again. When Angelina still doesn't answer, Winter raises her voice. Finally Angelina yells that she doesn't know what she's going to do. She doesn't want to lose the tag titles and she doesn't want to work against her friend, but she doesn't want her friend to get fired either.
Winter asks her point blank if she's considering throwing the match to let Velvet win. Angelina doesn't answer. Winter points out that Velvet is a proud person and might consider it an insult if Angelina let her win.
Finally, Angelina leaves the room, saying she has to talk to Velvet.
From there, we go to Tara, heading for the ring. She outright says that she's pissed off. Due to her current situation, she doesn't get title shots very often, and in the last few weeks alone, she's been screwed out of not one, but 2 of them -- first by Daffney and now by this Jennifer Blade chick. Tara asks who the hell Jennifer Blade is. "Where did she come from? I've never even heard of her!" she says bitterly. "I handed her her ass last week and now she thinks she deserves a rematch when I should be getting ready for a tag title shot right now? She must have a death wish. But you know what? I'm glad. I'm glad she's a glutton for punishment because I'm suddenly in the mood to dish some out. This little girl picked the wrong night and the wrong bitch to mess with."
JB hypes up Tara vs. Jennifer Blade coming up after the break.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet is getting warmed up in the locker room (not the Beautiful People's dressing room) when Angelina walks in. Angelina says this is a pretty crazy situation and she didn't want to go to the ring before they talked about it.
Velvet says they could talk about it all day, but there would be no point. She doesn't like this any more than Angelina does, but her back is against the wall here. It sucks that they've been put in this spot, but she has no choice but to go out to the ring tonight and do everything she can to win the tag titles, and Angelina has no choice but to do everything she can to keep them. She says one of them could back out or lie down for the other, but that wouldn't be fair to either of them. Velvet suggests they just leave it all in the ring -- no funny business, no BS -- and may the better team win. She says all this without looking at Angelina.
"Yeah, Winter said you'd say that," says Angelina. Velvet mutters that the 2 of them seem to be getting pretty chummy these days. Angelina tries to dismiss this comment because they're having a moment here, but Velvet needs to get something of her chest. She's wrestling against Angelina tonight because she has no choice, but she won't pretend that she's not looking forward to ramming her fist down Winter's throat. Angelina wanted the 3 of them to be a team, but that's just not going to happen. "Every time there's been 3 of us on this team it just hasn't worked, and it's not going to work this time either. You, me and Winter is just not happening, and it never will."
There's an awkward silent moment as Angelina mulls this over. Then she changes the subject and asks why Velvet never said anything to her about all the crap she was going through with her contract situation.
Velvet says it was nobody else's business. Angelina insists that she could have helped Velvet out with this. "How?" Velvet asks incredulouly. "You're tag team champions with Winter; how were you going to help me? It was my problem, all right? I got myself into it. I wanted to get myself out of it. If I can't even do that much... then maybe I deserve to get fired."
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer and Tara make their entrances as the announcers recap the issues between them. West thinks Jennifer might have been a little naive about a few things. They all know Tara has a wicked mean streak, but they've been here since Tara showed up in TNA. Jennifer's new, to TNA and to the business in general, and she may have some hard lessons in front of her.
Before the bell, Tara sarcastically extends her hand to Jennifer, mocking her behavior from last week. Jennifer just glares at her.
TARA vs. JENNIFER BLADE
The second the bell rings, Jennifer attacks. She doesn't look unsure of herself like she did last week. JB points out that it looks like she's got her aggression back. West says that when Jennifer faced Tara last week she seemed really intimidated, but now she just looks pissed off.
While their match the previous week was a glorified squash, this one is more back and forth with Jennifer getting in a more offense. Toward the end, Tara sets Jennifer up for the widow's peak and JB says this is how Tara won their first match. This time Jennifer counters it into a pin attempt. West remarks that it looks like she learned a few things from their last bout.
Unable to hit the widow's peak, Tara finally locks in a submission hold. They're in the center of the ring and Jennifer has nowhere to go. She fights it for a while, but eventually she has no choice but to tap.
WINNER: Tara in 6:02
Tara spares Jennifer a glance as she heads to the back and they have a momentary staredown. Jennifer is furious.
JB says that, unfortunately for Jennifer, even when you get passed the nerves, you've still got a hell of a competitor to deal with when you're facing Tara. West agrees, but points out that Jennifer did a lot better against Tara tonight than she did last week.
BACKSTAGE: We see Mickie getting warmed up, surrounded by security guards. JB says that Mickie and Daffney have been sequestered in different parts of the studio in an effort to keep them away from each other until it's time for the main event.
Christy tries to get some pre-match comments from her. Mickie says that her head may have taken a pounding recently, but Daffney has obviously been dropped on hers more than a few times, so by Mickie's math that makes them about even. She can't wait for that bell to ring tonight. Daffney's been having a lot of laughs at Mickie's expense since this thing between them started, but after this match, Mickie will be the one laughing.
We cut to Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky at the entranceway. Madison warns Velvet that she'd better not cost her this match tonight. Velvet assures her that she doesn't like this situation any more than Madison does, but she needs this win and doesn't intend to screw it up. Madison says that's no guarantee she won't blow it anyway.
iMPACT ZONE: Velvet & Madison make their entrance.
JB says the tag team title match will begin after the break.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina & Winter make their entrance.
JB & West talk about what a combustable situation this is. There's no love lost between Madison and Velvet, Velvet and Angelina don't want to fight each other, but Velvet really does want to fight Winter, plus, she has no choice but to try to win this match because of her contract dilemma. West says it's anyone's guess what's going to happen here.
KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
MADISON RAYNE & VELVET SKY vs. ANGELINA LOVE (c) & WINTER (c)
The match begins with Velvet and Angelina both tagged in. After a brief tease that they're going to wrestle each other, Angelina tags out to Winter. Throughout the rest of the match, Angelina refuses to wrestle against Velvet and only tags in when Madison is tagged in. West points out that even though there are titles at stake, Angelina just doesn't want to fight against her friend. Velvet doesn't seem to mind this, however, as she takes a lot of joy in finally getting her hands on Winter.
During the match, Sarita emerges from the back and heads down the ramp, looking like she means to interfere. JB says that Sarita has been obsessed with regaining the tag titles since she and Trina Diaz lost their title match a few weeks ago. West reminds us that Sarita said she'd found a new partner last week, but they still don't know who it is.
Whatever Sarita's intentions are, we never find out. Serafina runs down the ramp and attacks her. As the 2 of them brawl to the back, West says Serafina's looking to get payback for what Sarita did to her friend Trina last week.
The match continues, free of interference. The end comes when Winter pins Velvet.
WINNERS AND STILL KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Angelina Love & Winter in 8:24
Winter celebrates. Angelina doesn't. Madison chastises Velvet for getting pinned before storming off.
Looking more defeated than angry, Velvet takes a seat on the steel steps for a minute to collect herself, putting her head in her hands. JB says Velvet must feel really helpless right now. Nothing's gone right for her in months, and no matter what she's done, she can't seem to pull herself out of this downward spiral. West remarks that there comes a point when it all gets to be too much for someone to handle and something has to give.
Finally, Velvet gets up. Angelina tries to talk to her, but Velvet brushes her off and walks to the back alone.
BACKSTAGE: Daffney cuts a promo in a darkly lit stairwell. Like Mickie, she is also surrounded by security guards. Daffney says Mickie should look at the people around her. All these guards aren't there to protect her from Mickie, they're to protect Mickie from her. She's glad that Mickie's looking forward to their match, because she is too, but for different reasons than Mickie thinks. She promises that, if she does anything tonight, she's going to make this rivalry personal.
JB says the main event begins after the final break of the evening.
BACKSTAGE: Tara walks into the locker room where Madison is waiting. As soon as she sees Tara, Madison jumps to her feet and starts shrieking at her. She asks Tara where the hell she was a few minutes ago and why she wasn't out there to help Madison during the tag title match. As the 2 of them argue, we cut away to...
...Angelina, who is outside Traci's office. She doesn't look happy. Cookie tries to stop her from coming in, but Traci says it's okay and asks Angelina what the problem is. Angelina says she needs to talk to Traci in private. She enters the office and closes the door on the camera man, leaving him shut out.
They air a video package for the Mickie/Daffney feud.
iMPACT ZONE: SoCal Val announces to the crowd that it's time for the main event and Daffney's music hits the loudspeaker.
BACKSTAGE: Daffney begins her walk to the entranceway. Just like in the Mickie/Angelina title match, the camera follows her to the ring.
iMPACT ZONE: Daffney makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie paces anxiously in the hallway. Her music plays and she makes her walk to the entranceway. The camera follows.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie makes her entrance.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
DAFFNEY vs. MICKIE JAMES (c)
The match goes for a while, free of any funny business or interference. Mickie is starting to get the better of Daffney until the action spills over the ropes. They battle around the ring until Mickie tries to whip Daffney into the ring post, but Daffney reverses and Mickie hits it instead. Daffney grabs Mickie and rams her head into the ring post. Then she does it again. And again. JB points out that Mickie's head wasn't 100% going into this match and Daffney is targeting her weak spot.
Daffney keeps ramming Mickie's head into the ring post until the referee tries to force her to stop. Daffney responds by punching him in the face, knocking him over. The referee calls for the bell.
WINNER VIA DQ AND STILL KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Mickie James in 9:20
Daffney doesn't miss a beat. She rams Mickie's head into the guard rail several times, then throws her back into the ring and grabs a steel chair. West says this isn't just about the title for Daffney -- she doesn't just want to beat Mickie, she wants to hurt her! The referee tries to stop Daffney, but she blasts him with the chair.
Mickie is helpless by this point. Daffney readies to take her head clean off with the chair. She's about to strike, but security arrives to restrain her just in time. Daffney screams as she fights them off while the trainers pull Mickie out of the ring and help her to the back. Mickie is barely conscious and can't walk under her own power.
JB says Mickie and her title reign survived this encounter, but this rivalry with her and Daffney just got a lot more serious.
Mickie is all but carried to the back with Daffney's laughing face on the video screen as we...
COLD OPEN: A caption on the screen reads 'Last week'. We see footage of Mickie James being helped to the back by the trainers after her match with Daffney. She's groggy and not fully aware of what's going on as she's examined by the medical staff. One of the trainers is interviewed and he says that Mickie was lucky tonight, but she's riskng a concussion if she takes any more shots to the head like she took in this match.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West welcome us to the show and run down tonight's card. In addition to the matches, Angelina Love has informed them that she will make a major announcement later. They move on to discussing Daffney's assault on Mickie last week and they both agree that the issues between these women are far from over. Then they switch gears and talk about what Sarita did to Trina Diaz 2 weeks ago. West says Sarita was so furious with Trina for costing them the tag team titles that she just snapped and Trina was lucky Serafina made the save when she did. As it is, she had to go to the hospital for observation after Sarita brutalized her.
Traci Brooks and Cookie come out and cut a promo from the stage. Traci addresses Daffney and Sarita, saying that she doesn't condone what they did to Mickie and Trina respectively. She can't have competitors deliberately trying to put each other in the hospital when she's got a show to put on and both of them will be dealt with. Tonight, Sarita will face Serafina, who's been dying to get her hands on Sarita for the last 2 weeks. And if Daffney wants another title shot, she's going to have to defeat Mickie in a non-title match tonight to get it.
JB says Traci is laying down the law, but West wonders if Traci didn't just do Daffney a favor. They all saw the condition Mickie was in last week; going another round with Daffney right now might just soften her up. It gives Daffney another chance to injure Mickie, and if she wins, she could have an easy road to the title when she gets her championship rematch. Either way, he thinks Mickie could be in some trouble tonight.
BACKSTAGE: Madison Rayne and Tara are in the middle of an argument. Tara is trying to explain that she'd just come out of a match and that's why she wasn't in Madison's corner last week, but Madison says that she doesn't want to hear any more excuses. She thinks Tara is forgetting her place -- she hasn't been on the same page as Madison for weeks now and she'd better get her head in the game, or else. Madison suggests that Tara watch what she does in her match tonight and take notes, lest Madison remind her who's the boss in this partnership.
Tara takes offense to this comment and she almost says something about it, but stops herself. Madison asks if she has anything she wants to say. Through gritted teeth, Tara says she doesn't. "That's what I thought," Madison snarks, walking off.
We see Jennifer Blade heading for the ring and JB hypes up Jennifer vs. Madison.
We cut to Serafina, who is working over a punching bag while Christy Hemme tries to get some comments about her match tonight with Sarita. Serafina says that with a personality like hers she doesn't have a lot of friends and really doesn't want a lot of friends, but the ones she has she keeps really close. If someone messes with them, they have to deal with her, and if someone happens to put one of her friends in the hospital, that's just stoking the fire.
She says she knew about Sarita from when she used to wrestle down in Mexico. They worked for different companies, so they never crossed paths, but Sarita and her mean streak had a reputation that everyone knew about. "But I've got a reputation too that she's gonna to learn all about tonight," she says. "You mess with me, I mess you the @#$% up." Serafina wails on the punching bag one more time. The bag breaks off and goes flying.
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer makes her entrance as the announcers talk about the issues with her and Tara. She hasn't been able to beat Tara, but not for lack of trying. JB says it will be interesting to see how she does against Madison with Tara at ringside.
Madison makes her entrance with Tara following. She makes Tara hold the ring ropes open for her. Jennifer watches, disgusted by this.
JENNIFER BLADE vs. MADISON RAYNE (w/ TARA)
Tara taunts Jennifer throughout the match. Jennifer starts to get the better of Madison, but Tara trips her as she tries to run the ropes. Jennifer kicks Tara in response. Angry, Tara jumps up on the ring apron to get in her face. Madison tries to use this as a distraction, but Jennifer whips Madison into the ropes and she collides with Tara instead. Jennifer then gets the win with a roll up.
WINNER: Jennifer Blade in 5:43
Tara immediately hits the ring. She and Madison try to beat down Jennifer, but Jennifer rolls out of the ring and escapes, trash talking with Tara as she backs up the ramp. Concurrently, Madison starts yelling at Tara for costing her the match.
JB says Jennifer isn't backing down until she gets another shot at Tara, and from the look on Tara's face, she may just get her wish.
BACKSTAGE: We see Angelina Love heading for the ring. JB hypes Angelina's big announcement after the break.
They air a video package chronicling the issues between Angelina, Winter and Velvet Sky since Angelina & Winter won the tag titles.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina makes her way to the ring looking very serious. For a minute, she just stands in the ring, looking somberly at her tag team title belt that she brought out with her. Then she begins...
She says she's accomplished a lot in this company. She's the most decorated Knockout in TNA history. She's won more singles championships than any woman that's ever been through here. But when she looks back on it all, the first time she won the title was really the most special to her, and she felt the same way when she won this tag team championship because that was a first for her too. Unfortunately, problems have reared their ugly heads and have put her in a situation she never thought she'd be in. There are a lot of issues she's being forced to deal with right now and the only way she can think of to deal with them is by making a hard decision she really didn't want to make. She was hoping like hell she'd be able to avoid this, but last week she realized that she's got no choice.
Angelina says she hasn't discussed this with Winter yet and she expects Winter is going to be really pissed off about it, but she's made her decision and she's sticking with it. She talked to the boss and Traci Brooks has approved this. Next week Angelina is going to face Winter in a match, with the winner earning sole possession of the Knockout tag team championships and the right to choose a new partner.
BACKSTAGE: The camera follows Velvet Sky who's looking for Angelina. Finding her, Velvet immediately asks what that was all about. Angelina says that Velvet was right -- them and Winter together wasn't going to work, so she decided to pull the plug. Velvet says that's not what she meant and asks why in the hell Angelina would put her tag title on the line like this.
Angelina says that it's not on the line because she knows she's going to beat Winter next week. What's more, the reason why should be pretty obvious -- she's doing this for Velvet.
There's an awkward moment as this just hangs in the air, then Velvet asks her what she means. Angelina says that once she beats Winter, she'll gain both the tag titles. Then she can name Velvet as her new partner. And if Velvet is one half of the tag team champions, management will have to give her a new contract.
Velvet doesn't seem to know how to take this news. She insists that she wanted to take care of this problem herself, but Angelina reminds her that this strategy hasn't been going so well. Velvet needs a big win and she hasn't been able to get one on her own -- that's why they need to be a team again.
Velvet asks what that's supposed to mean, sounding slightly offended. Angelina just says that Velvet has a better chance of getting wins if the 2 of them work together.
There's another awkward pause. Then Velvet asks if Angelina thinks she can't win matches by herself. Angelina insists that isn't what she said, but Velvet is already getting angry and defensive. "But you were thinking it, weren't you? Oh my God. I can't believe I'm hearing this from you of all people. I have to eat this crap from Sarita every damn week. You think that stuff just rolls off? It doesn't! I know what everyone's been saying about me behind my back. I know what people around here think of me. I just didn't think you were one of them."
Angelina is just trying to calm Velvet down, insisting that she didn't mean that and Velvet is twisting her words around, but Velvet isn't hearing it. "You know what?" she says, very upset. "Save yourself the trouble and call off the match with Winter next week. You want us to be a team again -- well, maybe I don't want to be part of this team anymore!"
Velvet storms off, leaving Angelina standing there, completely stunned.
iMPACT ZONE: The announcers discuss what just happened. JB says neither of them expected Velvet to react to this news that way. West says she's been under a lot of stress for months and that does weird things to people, but Velvet's pride may be getting in the way of her brain and it might do her good to rethink this and take Angelina up on her offer.
Serafina makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Sarita is standing at the entranceway, waiting for her music to play. Christy asks her if she's ready to reveal who the mystery partner is that she talked about 2 weeks ago. "Nope," Sarita says. "But I'll give you a hint. In just a minute you're gonna cross someone's name off your list of candidates."
iMPACT ZONE: Sarita makes her entrance.
SARITA vs. SERAFINA
The match is back and forth. Serafina has a great showing, but can't overcome Sarita, who wins with a tigerbomb.
WINNER: Sarita in 8:23
As Sarita is walking up the ramp, Serafina flips her off. Angry, Sarita jumps back into the ring and attacks her again. Sarita locks Serafina in La Reienera (modified spinning backbreaker rack) and refuses to release the hold. She screams at Serafina to beg her to stop. Serafina just yells, "F#$% YOU!" every time she does.
The referee is unable to get Sarita to break the hold and finally reverses the decision of the match due to Sarita's actions, just like in her match with Trina 2 weeks ago.
WINNER: Serafina in 8:23
Sarita still won't break the hold. The referee calls for security. The guards manage to pull her off Serafina, who needs to be helped out of the ring by the trainers.
West says that Sarita is going off the deep end. JB points out that she was going to interfere in the tag title match last week, but Serafina stopped her. Sarita is obsessed with regaining the tag titles, and the longer this goes on, the more unhinged she becomes.
BACKSTAGE: Traci and Cookie watch this on a monitor. Traci isn't happy, but she doesn't look angry either. She looks more thoughtful than anything else.
We cut to Mickie James, who is getting her head rebandaged by a trainer.
JB hypes up Mickie vs. Daffney after the final break of the evening.
BACKSTAGE: Outside the Knockout locker room, the door opens and Madison throws all of Tara's stuff (wrestling gear, street clothes, etc) out into the hallway. Tara tries to talk sense into her, but Madison shrieks that Tara can't do anything right, and until she does, she doesn't get to share a locker room with her. Madison then slams the door shut, leaving Tara in the hall with her stuff all over the floor.
As Tara starts to gather up her things, the camera pulls back to reveal Jennifer silently watching.
We cut to Mickie, her head now bandaged. She's quiet and subdued, but looks determined. She says that ever since this thing with her and Daffney started, nothing has gone right. Mickie's stayed in there with Daffney, but Daffney has taken a chunk out of her in every encounter. Now she has to face Daffney again when she's far from 100% and notes how interesting it is that Traci says Daffney is going to be punished, and instead gives her an opportunity to earn another title shot by beating someone the trainers are saying shouldn't even be wrestling tonight. That aside, Mickie insists that this will not stop her. "There's a reason why wounded animals are the most dangerous kind. Daffney may have hurt me last time, but her real mistake was not taking my head clean off."
We cut to Daffney and Christy by the entranceway. Daffney asks if Christy would believe her if she said there was a method to her madness. Christy says that, honestly, she wouldn't. Daffney asks if Christy thinks that Mickie would. Christy doesn't know.
"Really?" Daffney asks, grinning. "I'll see if I can fix that."
iMPACT ZONE: Daffney makes her entrance. Then Mickie, who forgoes her usual routine, instead walking slowly to the ring, stopping at the foot of the ramp. For a minute, she just glares at the grinning Daffney, then she hits the ring and they go at it!
#1 CONTENDERSHIP TO THE KNOCKOUTS TITLE
DAFFNEY vs. MICKIE JAMES (c)
Daffney spends the entire match working over Mickie's head. Mickie makes a valiant effort and gets plenty of hope spots, but ultimately her injuries are too much for her to push through. Daffney hits her finisher and gets the clean pin.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: Daffney in 9:00
Daffney takes the Knockouts title belt from ringside. She holds it up as she stands over the unconscious Mickie, then drapes the belt over Mickie, kneels down next to her head and screams right into her ear.
JB says that Daffney now has a clear path to the title and Mickie's problems just got bigger as we...
COLD OPEN: A caption on the screen reads 'Earlier today'. Angelina Love and Winter sit in the empty stands of the iMPACT Zone. We join them in mid-conversation.
Angelina says she knows that Winter is really upset about this match tonight, but the 3 of them together just wasn't working and something had to give. Winter says she isn't upset, just concerned -- hasn't she helped Angelina a lot, hasn't she been there for Angelina every day since since she got here? Angelina admits that Winter has, but this is a no-win situation. If it were up to Angelina, this wouldn't be happening, but it isn't up to her. She doesn't want to have to choose between her 2 friends, but if she doesn't, one of her friends is going to lose her job.
"So this is about Velvet then?" Winter sighs. Angelina admits that is. Winter remarks that she heard Velvet didn't take that too well, but Angelina knows Velvet will thank her for this later.
Winter says she won't pretend that she's not disappointed, but at the end of the day, Angelina needs to do what's best for her, and if that's what this is, then so be it. "But I need to do what's best for me too," she continues, "And that means keeping my tag team championship tonight."
Angelina is understanding, but she can't let that happen. So it looks like they're both in a spot they don't want to be in. Winter thinks they should make the most of it then. "Let's not sully this with a lot of underhanded rubbish." As a courtesy, she requests that Angelina ask Velvet to stay in the back during this match.
They agree to have no funny business or backstabbing in their match tonight. It will be just the 2 of them and may the better woman win. They shake hands and part as friends.
iMPACT ZONE: The announcers welcome us to the show. They play a video package of Daffney beating Mickie James last week and earning another title match against her. JB says that Mickie's head injury was aggravated during the match -- she has a concussion now, which the trainers had warned her about. Mickie won't be here tonight because she's at home nursing her head. They don't know yet how her injury will affect the title match with Daffney.
"Speak of the devil," JB says as Daffney's music hits the loudspeaker and she walks to the ring with a mic.
Daffney asks if Mickie can hear that -- that's her time as Knockouts champion ticking away. Their title match is going to happen next week, so she's got just 7 days left with that belt before Daffney takes it from her. She explains that there's a reason why she's survived in the wrestling business as long as she has. She's never been the biggest, or the strongest, or even the smartest. And yet she's still here. She's had just as many injuries, if not more, than any other woman who's ever stepped into a wrestling ring, and yet she's outlasted countless others whose stars rose higher, but burned out quicker, just like Mickie.
"I survived like all scavengers do -- any way I can. I'll pick the meat off a dead, rotting carcass if that's what it takes to get me back in the ring next week, or next month, or next year, and that's all you are now, Mickie! I picked at you and picked at you and picked at you until you broke! And now I'm standing here tonight while you sit at home with an ice pack taped to your head. And it wasn't Tara that did it to you, it wasn't Trish Stratus, or Angelina Love, or Alundra Blayze, or Sarita, or Chyna, or Gail Kim, or Lita, or Taylor Wilde, or Awesome Kong, or LayCool! It was me! ME! So you think about that, Mickie. You think about that for the next 7 days. Think about it every time you have to down a bottle of vicodin just so you can get to sleep at night. And while you're doing that, I'll be here. And since I'm here, I think I want a little warm up for next week."
Daffney challenges any woman in the back to meet her in the ring later tonight if they've got the stomach for it. She leaves the ring, but as she's walking up the ramp, Brooke Tessmacher appears on the stage. Daffney laughs, mocking her. JB reminds us how Daffney injured Brooke weeks ago to lure Mickie into a fight, and this is the first time they've seen her since then.
Daffney approaches Brooke and pinches her cheek condescendingly. Brooke tackles her to the ground and starts wailing on her. West says it looks like Brooke wants some payback.
As the 2 women fight, JB informs us that he's just received word that Traci Brooks has made the match and Daffney vs. Brooke will happen later tonight.
BACKSTAGE: Madison Rayne cuts a promo in the locker room. She says tonight she's in a fatal 4-way match with Jennifer Blade, Velvet Sky and Tara. She says things with her and Tara haven't been going well lately. She thinks Tara has been a little too preoccupied with this Jennifer Blade chick and she doesn't like it. "Tara needs to be reminded of what's really important around here: Me. Apparently, Jennifer Blade has some kind of problem with that -- maybe she's got a girl crush on Tara or something. I don't know and I don't care. But I'm getting Tara back on the same page as me tonight. If Blade doesn't like it, I'll take care of her. And if Tara doesn't like it... I've got an answer for her too." She then looks off camera and shrieks about where the hell her Evian is.
We cut to Tara at catering, arguing with the man who runs it. She's asking why the hell they still don't have Avion water after the big stink she made about this a few weeks ago. Tara says this is a load of crap. She has to get back into the locker room and he is not making it easy for her. She's about to threaten the man with physical violence when Jennifer Blade appears and stops her.
Bitterly, Jennifer asks if Tara is just Madison Rayne's slave now, or if she's more like a butler. Tara asks if Jennifer has any Avion water, and if she doesn't, then get lost. Ignoring this, Jennifer insists that Tara is going to have to explain something to her because she doesn't get it -- why is Tara acting subservient to some chump who couldn't shine her boots? Jennifer has faced Madison in the ring and Madison has got nothing on Tara, so why is she degrading herself like this? Did Tara lose a bet, or did she lose her self-respect when she lost her balls?
This hits a nerve with Tara and she slams Jennifer into a wall. Jennifer lets her do it. She says Tara is obviously pissed off about this Madison Rayne situation, so why doesn't she do anything about it? Tara says Jennifer is new and hasn't learned how things work around here yet, so she's going to give her a little advice. "When you have no idea what you're talking about, keep your damn mouth shut unless you want to get hurt. Again."
Tara lets Jennifer go and stalks off. Jennifer silently glares at her as she leaves.
We cut to Brooke and Christy Hemme. Brooke says that 3 weeks ago she was minding her own business backstage when someone jumped her from behind. The next thing she knew, she was waking up in a hospital bed. Brooke knows she's the rookie on this roster, but that doesn't mean she's just going to roll over and let people do whatever they want to her -- you can't do something like that and get away with it.
Christy reminds her that by accepting Daffney's challenge she may be getting in over her head. Brooke says she's been in over her head since the day she walked into this company. The difference is right now she's too angry to care. Daffney might very well put her in the hospital again tonight, but if she can hurt Daffney back for what Daffney did to her, it will be worth it.
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer, Velvet Sky, Madison and Tara make their entrances. Once again, Madison makes Tara hold the ropes open for her. Tara looks legit insulted by this now, but again, she says nothing.
JENNIFER BLADE vs. VELVET SKY vs. MADISON RAYNE vs. TARA
West says that Jennifer is starting to realize that her issues with Tara are tied into Tara's issues with Madison and one is starting to affect the other. The more Tara gets under Jennifer's skin, the more Jennifer gets under Madison's, the more Madison gets under Tara's.
Madison spends the entire match barking orders to Tara as they double team the 2 faces (who are working separately), focusing mainly on Jennifer. The finish comes when Tara and Velvet spill over the ropes and out to the floor, leaving Madison and Jennifer alone in the ring. Madison goes for her finisher, but Jennifer escapes it and hits a superkick to get the win.
WINNER: Jennifer Blade in 8:20
Tara immediately tries to attack Jennifer, but again, she escapes.
JB says this is the second time in a row that Jennifer has pinned Madison despite Tara's best efforts to stop her. Tara looks furious. West says she could be in for a major headache when Madison comes to.
They air a video package about Sarita, how she's been growing more angry and brutal, injuring people as her obsession with regaining the tag team titles has steadily deepened over the last several weeks.
We cut to a prerecorded sitdown interview with Angelina Love. JB asks her to explain what brought her to the decision to ask for this match with Winter tonight.
Angelina explains that before Winter showed up, she was in a slump. For whatever reason, she couldn't win a match and was getting further and further away from the title picture. Then Winter appeared and her luck changed for the better. She's as independent as the next person, but you can't do everything by yourself -- sometimes you need your friends to help you out. Winter helped her get back on the winning trail and helped her become a champion in TNA for the 6th time; the only woman in TNA history to ever accomplish that. But then certain information came to light that she hadn't known about. Angelina saw her other friend having the same problem she'd been having. The difference was this problem was putting Velvet's career in jeopardy. Angelina wasn't going to just stand around while her friend gets fired if she could do something about it. She feels really bad about how her partnership with Winter ended -- she may have done a lot for Angelina, but her being there was tearing apart Angelina and Velvet, which put Velvet in a slump even worse than hers had been. Angelina made this decision because this was the only way she could think of to help her friend.
Just like Winter did earlier, JB points out that Velvet didn't take this very well. Velvet seemed to feel like this meant Angelina didn't think much of her and her abilities.
Angelina says Velvet takes a lot of pride in what she does and she wanted to handle this problem herself, but it just wasn't working out. She admits Velvet is angry about this and they haven't spoken since last week, but you can't bite the hand that feeds you, especially when you're starving. She says Velvet will come around when she cools off and she'll realize that this is her best chance to keep her job.
Finally, JB asks what Angelina is going to do if Winter wins this match and both tag titles tonight.
Angelina says to let her worry about that.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet is walking the halls, upset about the match. She runs into Sarita who tells her what a great job she just did. "You still lost, but you actually didn't get pinned. That's a new personal best for you."
Velvet isn't in the mood for this and tries to walk away, but Sarita sarcastically says that was awfully sweet what Angelina did last week. This stops Velvet dead in her tracks. Sarita talks about how Angelina is putting her own tag title on the line just so Velvet can get one of those belts handed to her. Sure, it's kind of pathetic, but it was the only way to save her job at this point because everyone knows Velvet wasn't going to save it herself.
This cuts very close to home for Velvet, but she says it must drive Sarita crazy to think that Velvet & Angelina could be the tag team champions after tonight instead of her. "I guess you and that partner of yours are out of luck."
Sarita laughs, playing along. "Yeah, I guess you've got me there, Velvet. You finally one-upped me. So congratulations. And, hey, to put all this bad blood behind us, if Angelina wins tonight and you get that championship, I'll personally give you a ride to the nearest tattoo parlor so you can get 'Charity Case' etched across your forehead."
This seems to wound something in Velvet. She just stands there stricken as Sarita walks away.
They cut to Tara pounding on the locker room door, yelling at Madison to let her in. Madison shrieks through the door that Tara is worthless, and to come back and try again after she deals with that bitch Jennifer Blade, if she can even manage that much without screwing up.
Just like last week, the camera pulls back, to reveal Jennifer silently watching this.
They air a Rough Cut video featuring Brooke. She talks about her background and how she broke into the business as a dancer. We see her busting her ass in the gym and go through a montage of her daily workout regimen. Then we get snippets from her trainer -- he says that she's working hard, but it's like if someone played baseball their whole life and then one day was thrown into the NFL with no preparation.
iMPACT ZONE: Brooke makes her entrance, followed by Daffney.
BROOKE TESSMACHER vs. DAFFNEY
Brooke is given a few more hope spots than usual, but the outcome is never in doubt.
WINNER: Daffney in 5:31
BACKSTAGE: Christy is standing by with Traci, who has a special announcement. In light of how extreme the issues between the 2 women have become, she has decided to make the Mickie James/Daffney title match next week a No DQ match.
West says that Mickie had better be making good use of her time at home because she's going to be in for a fight next week.
We see Angelina and Winter warming up via split screen and JB says Angelina vs. Winter for sole possession of the Knockout tag team titles will happen after the final break of the night.
They air a video package chronicling the Angelina/Winter/Velvet storyline since it began.
BACKSTAGE: Winter cuts a promo as she waits for her music to play. She says she feels Angelina made a bad decision. She asked for this match out of some misguided loyalty to Velvet, but at this point, Velvet is like a horse with a broken leg -- you might love the horse, but you can't win races with it anymore, and the kindest thing you can do is just put it out of its misery. Winter and Angelina will settle their business tonight honorably, but she feels Angelina may come to regret this very soon.
Winter's music plays in the arena and she heads off down the hall. The camera follows her.
iMPACT ZONE: Winter makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina is in the Beautiful People's dressing room with Christy Hemme. Christy asks her if she has any pre-match comments. Angelina says she's done all her talking, she's said all that needs to be said, and the only thing left is to do it. Her music plays in the arena and she begins her walk to the hall. The camera follows.
As Angelina reaches the entranceway, she finds Velvet waiting there for her. Velvet admits she wasn't sure if she was going to show up for this. Angelina says she knew Velvet would come around. "I haven't," Velvet admits. "Not yet anyway. Just promise me one thing, all right? Kick that bitch's ass."
Angelina promises she will and says it's good to have Velvet back on the team where she belongs. As Angelina heads out the entranceway, the camera lingers on Velvet. We see from her face that perhaps she's not exactly thrilled about what Angelina just said.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina makes her entrance.
SoCal Val gives each woman a separate intro. They shake hands and the bell rings.
SOLE POSSESSION OF THE KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM TITLES
ANGELINA LOVE (c) vs. WINTER (c)
The match goes for a while with no heel tactics or funny business. JB points out the mutual respect between the 2 and West says that both women seem to want this match to be a fair contest.
Towards the end of the match there's a ref bump and he gets taken out. Sarita then appears on the stage looking murderous and walks slowly down the ramp. JB says it's about to hit the fan -- Sarita has been obsessed with the tag titles for weeks. She put Trina Diaz in the hospital for costing her the titles and did the same to Serafina for stopping her from interfering in a title match. God knows what she has in mind for Angelina and Winter.
Angelina is distracted by Sarita and yells for someone to get her out of here. Velvet runs out from the back with a steel chair and stands between Sarita on the ramp and Angelina in the ring.
For a moment, nothing happens...
Then Winter grabs one of the tag title belts from ringside and blasts Angelina with it! Angelina goes down. Velvet whirls around -- she's distracted for just a moment and Sarita kicks the chair into her face!
Winter covers Angelina. Recovered, the referee makes the count.
WINNER AND SOLE OWNER OF THE KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM TITLES: Winter in 10:35
Val gives Winter both title belts and she holds them up.
Sarita jumps into the ring. She and Winter stare each other down.
Then Winter hands Sarita one of the belts.
They grin wickedly at each other and hug like long-lost sisters.
The new tag team champions celebrate with the titles.
"What the hell did we just witness?" JB asks as we...
COLD OPEN: We see the iMPACT Zone with the house lights off. 2 spotlights are aimed down at the ring, illuminating 2 stools. A caption reads 'Tonight, an Evening With Winter & Sarita'.
The show begins with a video package chronicling 2 separate storylines: the friction between Angelina/Winter/Velvet, and Sarita's obsession with regaining the tag titles and claims of having some new mystery partner, leading up to Winter screwing Angelina out of the title match the previous week and revealing Sarita's partner to be herself.
iMPACT ZONE: SoCal Val introduces the new Knockout tag team champions, Sarita & Winter, who then come out with new music and a new entrance with lights, lasers, etc. They enter the ring and take a seat on the stools.
Sarita says that the entire locker room and all the fans have had the wool pulled over their eyes for months. Contrary to what people have been lead to believe, Winter is one of her best friends and has been for years. What happened last week was the culmination of a 6 month plan, but it goes back a lot further than that. She points to the video screen and we see a series of clips chronicling the lengthy period in 2010 in which the entire Knockout division essentially revolved around the Beautiful People (past and present members).
"You know what all those clips have in common?" Sarita asks the audience. "I'm not in any one of them." She explains that when she first came to TNA promises were made to her that she would be given the ball, and no one can say she didn't run with it. Hell, her debut match was voted the Knockout MOTY in 2009! And a few months later she made history, becoming the first woman to ever hold the Knockout tag team titles. But then everything started to change. Hogan & Bischoff showed up, and suddenly, one by one, the women who made this division what it was started disappearing, the biggest victim in that group being Sarita herself.
Sarita claims that she delivered everything she said she would when she came here. And her reward was getting benched for 5 months while this division turned into a joke. Week after week, she had to sit backstage and watch while a bunch of no-talent models were paraded out to the ring, embarrassing themselves, having matches she wouldn't wipe her ass with. Finally, she'd had all she could take of this and decided to do something about it. "So I ditched my lame duck tag team partner," she says, grinning, "And I called my new one."
Winter says that she and Sarita met years ago during a tour of the UK, and hit it off immediately because each was the only person who could keep up with the other. They became friends because they realized that the 2 of them were better than everyone else. So when Sarita called her, she didn't even think twice about it.
Sarita knew there was only one way she could change this situation and break the status quo once and for all. She had to take out the reason for her becoming an afterthought; she had to destroy the Beautiful People. So she pulled a few strings, got Winter her contract, and the 2 of them started laying the groundwork for their masterpiece.
They point to the video screen again and we see clips of Winter showing up in TNA for the first time and immediately starting to dig her hooks into Angelina Love on the very same night that Velvet Sky's issues with being unable to beat Sarita began. Laughing, they ask if anyone honestly thought that was a coincidence.
They show clips of that backstage brawl from several months ago in which Sarita was attacking Angelina only to be stopped by Winter, and another clip of when Angelina attacked Sarita after her match with Velvet, but Sarita got the better of her, only to be stopped by Winter again. Both times, Winter proved herself to be Angelina's ally and Sarita's enemy, "...without ever laying a finger on her." Winter says she was very proud of her acting performance. Sarita remarks that she was snubbed at the Oscars.
They show how Sarita took out Velvet in the locker room the night of the tag title match, which allowed Winter to take her place and become tag champions with Angelina. They say they were laughing about that at the bar afterward.
They move the clock forward a few months to when TKO first began. Sarita vs. Winter is the main event of the debut show -- Winter flat out says that she laid down for Sarita and she was so convincing that no one even knew it. A few weeks later, Winter & Angelina regain the tag titles by defeating Sarita & Trina Diaz. The clip shows Winter knocking Sarita off the apron and pinning Trina. Sarita says she let Winter knock her off the apron and win that match. All of it was done in an effort to sell the illusion. No one ever thought for a second that the 2 of them could actually be friends after that.
They show more clips of Velvet being increasingly pissed off about Angelina's partnership with Winter. Sarita explains that she made sure to make that whole thing worse for Velvet by never letting her forget it. She wasn't taunting Velvet just to be a bitch; she knew exactly what she was doing the whole time and it came together just as she knew it would. Angelina's rise back to prominence coinciding with Velvet's downward spiral, Velvet being unable to win a match due to frustrations Sarita & Winter orchestrated, Angelina always winning with Winter, but never when Velvet was there with her too... all of it part of the plan.
They knew that if they pressed the situation long enough and hard enough, eventually something or someone would break, but even they couldn't have predicted how Angelina reacted to it.
Winter says that when Angelina decided to end their partnership in a match with both tag titles at stake, it was like divine intervention, like the gods were actually conspiring against her, and they couldn't have scripted it any better. After that, it was child's play.
"Ironically," Winter states, "the only one who ever suspected me was the biggest fool on this roster. Velvet said I was going to screw over Angelina, and she was right." Winter admits that at first she was concerned that Velvet might blow it for them. The warning signs were there in the beginning, but once Angelina had some gold around her waist, she turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to Velvet's protestations, proving that the bond between the Beautiful People wasn't as strong as everyone thought, even the Beautiful People themselves.
And now that they have the tag team titles, now that they've left Angelina & Velvet shamed and humiliated, it's time for them to do what all great hunters do, and move in for the kill. Because the final phase of this plan wasn't the tag titles. That was check, but checkmate will be when the killing stroke is delivered to the Beautiful People, and they are ended, once and for all.
At this moment, Angelina explodes out of the entranceway. She hits the ring and attacks Winter & Sarita like a bat out of hell. For a minute, she's a house of fire, but the double team quickly becomes too much for her. Winter & Sarita start beating her down. This goes on for a minute. Finally, Velvet shows with a steel chair and wards them off, pulling Angelina out of the ring.
Traci Brooks appears on the stage. She congratulates the tag team champions on fooling everyone, including her. She admits that it was really impressive what they pulled off. But if they want to destroy the Beautiful People, they may find that's not so easy when they put their titles on the line against them next week.
Wasting no time, Angelina immediately tries to jump back into the ring. Winter & Sarita taunt her as Velvet holds her back.
BACKSTAGE: A caption reads 'During the break'. We see the Beautiful People (mostly Angelina) being separated from Winter & Sarita by security and escorted backstage.
We cut the Beautiful People's dressing room. Angelina is swearing and throwing things while Velvet stands calmly off to the side. JB says she looks like she's going to murder someone. West remarks that Winter & Sarita made Angelina look like a fool. In fact, they played everyone for fools, but Angelina got the worst of it. He says he wouldn't want to be in their shoes when Angelina gets her hands on them next week.
We cut to Daffney in the backstage area. Daffney is playing with a toy horse and a cowgirl doll (signifying Mickie). She puts them on the floor and smashes them to pieces with a hammer. JB says she has another chance to become the Knockouts champion by defeating Mickie James tonight.
From there we cut to the locker room. Christy Hemme is with Jennifer Blade as she gets warmed up. Christy asks her who she thinks will win the title match tonight. Jennifer says Mickie is down right now, but she's not out. And when someone's back is against the wall, you find out what they're really made of.
Madison Rayne enters, interrupting her. Madison says it sickens her that she's wasted any time whatsoever being preoccupied with some newby, but Jennifer just isn't smart enough to know when to quit. Jennifer may have gotten lucky a few times recently, but that's all going to end tonight because she's instructed Tara to give her the beating of a lifetime for embarrassing Madison.
Unimpressed, Jennifer says that Madison is in no position to be making threats. By her count, she's kicked Madison's ass 3 times in a row, and just because she's got Tara under her thumb, that's not going to help her. "I did my homework. I've got Tara figured out now. And after I beat her tonight, maybe she'll get her balls back and realize it's not me that's been wasting her time; it's you."
Angry, Madison attacks Jennifer, but Jennifer overpowers her and slams her into a locker. Jennifer calls Madison a midget who's been believing her own hype for way too long. The truth is, when you remove Tara, on her own, Madison's not as good as she thinks she is, and Jennifer's already proven that. She warns Madison not to make her prove it again unless she wants to be spitting teeth.
We cut to the returning Serafina and Trina Diaz at catering. They're discussing the Winter/Sarita reveal from last week. Serafina says she shouldn't have been so surprised because it only makes sense that the 2 biggest bitches on the roster would do something like this. Trina still wants to get some payback on Sarita, and if she's partners with Winter now, then you can throw her in there too -- it's just a shame the Beautiful People are getting the first crack at them. Serafina isn't so sure Velvet & Angelina are going to win next week, but while that's going on, maybe her and Trina should explore this tag team idea they had.
Christy walks in and asks them who their picks are in the title match tonight. Trina picks Mickie because Mickie's the underdog right now and you should never underestimate an underdog. Serafina picks Daffney because, "...she was a big influence on me."
We cut back to Madison who is standing by the entranceway. Tara appears and tosses her a bottle of water. "There's your precious Evian," she says. "Happy?" Madison throws the bottle down and shrieks that she's not happy! Jennifer Blade just disrespected her and put her hands on her, and you don't do that to the queen of this show! Madison says that if Tara knows what's good for her, she'll destroy Blade tonight. Tara's been useless for everything, but this is the one thing she seems to be good for, and she'd better do it, or else.
Fed up, Tara gets in Madison's face. "Listen to me. You helped me get my job back here, and I appreciate that. I'll gladly help you out with a lot of things, but I'm not your slave. I'll take care of Blade tonight, but because I want to. And once I finish her off..." She picks up the bottle and shoves it back into Madison's hand. "...you can start getting your own damn water."
Tara's music begins to play and she hits the entranceway, leaving Madison there, shocked.
iMPACT ZONE: Tara makes her entrance, followed by Jennifer.
TARA vs. JENNIFER BLADE
West wonders what's going through Madison's head right now. She doesn't want Jennifer to win, but she does want to keep Tara subservient to her. Tara's been showing signs of growing beyond her control lately and beating Jennifer again might just add to that. While he explains this, we see Madison watching intently on a monitor backstage.
This match is much more back and forth than their previous 2. Jennifer can't seem to get the advantage, but for the first time since their rivalry started, Tara can't get the advantage either.
JB says Jennifer definitely looks to have grown in confidence since their last 2 encounters. West likens it to Matt Hughes & Georges St. Pierre -- the first time they fought, GSP was full of hero-worship and it messed him up, but when they fought again the hero-worship was gone and he kicked Hughes' ass. He sees the same thing starting to happen here.
Tara tries for the widow's peak, which she used to beat Jennifer in their first match. Jennifer reverses it into a pin attempt. Tara tries the submission hold that she won their second match with. Jennifer powers out of it. Tara starts arguing with the referee. JB says she's looking really frustrated because nothing in her arsenal is working against Jennifer anymore.
With Tara distracted, Jennifer nails her with a superkick, knocking her into the referee. With the ref down, Tara rolls out of the ring. Jennifer attacks her with a renewed intensity and she finally has Tara reeling. West says Jennifer might just pull this off; Tara doesn't seem to have an answer for her this time.
Then Madison runs out and nails Jennifer with a steel chair. She throws Jennifer back into the ring and tells Tara to pin her. Tara looks back and forth between Madison and Jennifer, conflicted. Madison yells at her to make the pin. Finally, with the referee coming to, Tara covers her.
Jennifer kicks out.
Tara is shocked. So is Madison. JB says Jennifer was operating on pure gut instinct right there. Tara locks in a new submission hold. Jennifer is groggy from the chair shot, but she tries to make it to the ropes. She almost makes it, but Madison pulls the ropes out of her grasp. Tara yells at Madison to cut it out as she pulls Jennifer back to the center of the ring. Jennifer refuses to tap, but she's got nowhere to go. Finally, she passes out from the pain and the referee gives the win to Tara.
WINNER: Tara in 10:49
Madison immediately jumps into the ring and raises Tara's hand. She plays to the crowd, trying to get them to cheer for Tara. JB says that she's making an awfully big show of this. West remarks that it might be overkill, noting that Tara didn't seem to appreciate her interference, though she did still take the victory, tainted or not.
Tara has words with Madison in the ring, saying that she didn't need her help. Madison plays innocent.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie James is getting her head rebandaged by a trainer.
JB hypes Mickie vs. Daffney as we cut to a break.
BACKSTAGE: In the Beautiful People's dressing room, Angelina is pacing back and forth, swearing, still livid about what happened at the start of the show. Velvet tells her to calm down, but Angelina yells that she won't, grabbing a makeup case and throwing it into the mirror, breaking it. She says she will never calm down about this and, in fact, she can't believe Velvet is being so calm about it.
Velvet says it's not that she isn't upset, she just isn't surprised. She reminds Angelina that she thought Winter was going to screw her over months ago, but Angelina didn't listen. Angelina insists that doesn't matter now; all that matters is what happens next. And maybe it's a good thing that this happened because now they get to do this the right way -- no single person holding both belts, no one gets handed any titles. Next week they're going to destroy Winter & Sarita for what they did to her. And when they win those titles, it will be for the right reason: because they're the best damn tag team in this company.
Angelina tells the camera man to zoom in on her. She looks right into the camera and says she thought the Beautiful People needed 3 members and Velvet thought she needed to do this by herself, and they were both wrong.
Velvet frowns at this, but says nothing.
Angelina continues, saying that the real Beautiful People are back as of right now, and next week they're going to make those 2 bitches wish they'd never set foot in TNA.
Velvet appears less than enthusiastic about being part of this team again, but still says nothing.
They air a video package chronicling the Mickie/Daffney feud.
We cut to Christy and Mickie in the locker room. Mickie looks haggard and beaten up, and Christy points out that she's seen better days. Mickie admits that, between Tara, Madison, Traci and Daffney, she's never worked so hard to win a title or so hard to keep it. But at the end of the day, if she can still look herself in the mirror and say that it's all been worth it, that's the only validation she needs. She holds up the Knockouts title belt and says that having this means that it's all been worth it. She doesn't care how bad she's hurt; Daffney can hurt her all she wants because if Daffney really wants to take this title, she's going to have to kill her. And that's not going to happen.
We cut to Daffney alone in the backstage area. She says that everything she's done since she first appeared on TKO has lead up to this match. In a way, she feels pity for Mickie because of what she's about to do to her, but what she feels doesn't matter. She has promises to keep and nothing is going to stop her. Tonight she sacrifices Mickie James on the altar of the goth goddess.
Daffney's music plays in the arena and she begins her walk to the entranceway. The camera follows her.
JB says the title match will begin after the final break of the evening.
iMPACT ZONE: Daffney makes her entrance. Offhandedly, West wonders what she meant about having "promises to keep".
BACKSTAGE: Mickie is psyching herself up. Her music plays in the arena and she beings her walk to the entranceway. The camera follows.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie makes her entrance.
SoCal Val gives each woman a separate intro. But before the match begins, a stage hand runs out from the back and hands her a note. Val says she has just been informed of a last minute change in this match, and introduces the special guest referee... Cookie!
Cookie comes out and says this is an important match, so she appointed herself referee to make sure they get a real finish. Mickie isn't buying this at all and tries to protest. Then Traci Brooks appears on the video screen like Big Brother in 1984 and says that she personally approved the decision for Cookie to officiate this match. She tells Cookie to ring the bell and get this thing started.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
DAFFNEY vs. MICKIE JAMES (c)
They brawl through ringside, they brawl through the crowd. The match goes all over the arena.
The story of the match is Daffney targeting Mickie's head and Mickie having to gut it out and fight through the aggravated injury. There are moments where it's teased that Cookie might screw Mickie over, but it doesn't happen. Cookie calls the match straight, though Mickie's suspicion of her is played up.
Toward the end, after numerous shots to the head and being unable to gain the advantage, Mickie headbuts Daffney out of sheer frustration, staggering her. "Well, that was thinking outside the box," West remarks as Mickie screams defiantly. "Daffney sure didn't see that one coming."
This move changes the momentum of the match. Finally, after a hard fought battle, Mickie hits her finisher and gets the decisive pin.
Cookie seems a bit hesitant to make the 3 count, but she does it anyway, and awards the match to Mickie.
WINNER AND STILL KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Mickie James in 13:25
West calls attention to Cookie and asks JB if he thought that 3 count was slow. It seemed kind of slow to West. JB says he isn't sure.
Cookie quickly heads to the back. She doesn't look thrilled with the outcome of the match, which West also points out.
Mickie celebrates with the title, using the ropes to pull herself to her feet, still selling her head injury. JB says she doesn't look very good. West says no one would look good after that many shots to the head, but finally settling her business with Daffney has to be a huge load off Mickie's mind.
Finally, Mickie rolls out of the ring and heads to the back.
While walking up the ramp, she stops abruptly. She wobbles, seeming suddenly disoriented.
Mickie drops the title belt. She puts a hand to her head... and then collapses.
She falls to the ground and doesn't get up.
The camera zooms in for a close up. Mickie is unconscious and blood is dripping from her mouth.
TNA medical staff rush out to tend to her. Traci emerges from the back and watches everything from the stage, her face unreadable.
As the trainers start lifting Mickie onto a stretcher, we...
COLD OPEN: Winter & Sarita arrive at the arena. JB says tonight they make their first tag team title defense against the Beautiful People.
The show begins with a video package about how Winter & Sarita screwed Angelina out of the tag team titles, chronicling their entire elaborate deception.
BACKSTAGE: The Beautiful People are watching this video on a monitor. Livid, Angelina Love grabs the monitor and throws it against the wall, destroying it. Velvet Sky thinks she really needs to calm down, but Angelina is too worked up. Angelina says after they end those 2 bitches tonight and take back the tag titles, then she'll calm down. Velvet reminds her that Winter & Sarita are sure to have a game plan and, as much as it hurts to admit, her and Angelina's respective track records against them have been pretty miserable.
Angelina insists this doesn't matter because Winter & Sarita have never had to face the 2 of them together. And like she said weeks ago, when they're together, they're the best there is in this company. They know each other better than anyone, and when they're in synch, no one can measure up to them.
"Yeah," Velvet mutters half-heartedly.
iMPACT ZONE: The ring is covered with a giant tarp. The announcers don't know what's going on, noting that Madison Rayne was working on some big production when they arrived at the studio this morning.
Madison's music plays and she comes out with a mic. She says tonight is a very important night for the fans, but even more important for one very special person. She signals the stage hands in the rafters -- they lift the tarp off the ring revealing it to be covered with Tara posters, Tara merchandise, cutouts from magazines featuring Tara, a mannequin in Tara's likeness. The ring is practically a shrine to Tara.
"Welcome to Tara Appreciation Night!" Madison exclaims giddily.
Madison goes around the ring, using the memorabilia to chronicle Tara's entire career -- her beginnings as a sports model, her debut in WWE, her feuds with Trish Stratus and others, becoming to 2-time Women's champion, her debut in TNA, becoming a 4-time Knockouts champion, her tragic forced retirement (she conveniently leaves out the fact that she was the one who retired Tara) and her triumphant return.
Finally, Madison introduces, "...the guest of honor, and my best friend... TARA!"
Tara walks out from the back, looking about as suspicious as anyone would be. Madison explains that she's prepared one more surprise for tonight; she directs everyone's attention to the video screen and tells the monkeys in the production truck to play the video. An extended Tara promotional video plays which makes Tara look like a million bucks. Afterward, Madison tries to start a "Tara" chant in the crowd.
Tara gets a mic from SoCal Val. Before she can says anything, Madison cuts her off. Madison says she understands that she's been a bad friend to Tara recently. She's taken Tara for granted, but all that's going to change. She vows to be a better person, and together, the 2 of them are going to take back their rightful place and they will both be the queens of this show!
JB & West remark that she's laying it on pretty thick.
Tara studies Madison shrewdly. "Looks like Tara isn't really buying this," says JB. "Would you?" asks West.
Finally, Tara says that it looks like Madison put a lot of work into this. She thanks Madison and thanks the fans for their support. Madison hugs her. Tara hugs Madison back, but it's clear from her face that she sees through Madison's facade. She knows Madison is full of shit, but she's playing along for now.
BACKSTAGE: In the locker room, Jennifer Blade is watching this on a monitor, disgusted. She says it's a @#$%ing joke and turns the monitor off.
Serafina and Trina Diaz are there as well. The 3 of them discuss their 6-woman tag match tonight. They agree that they all stand to gain a lot from getting this win. Jennifer is happy to have another shot at Tara. Serafina & Trina see this as their shot at getting into the title picture, since Tara & Madison are an established team and a win over them could score them a future tag title match.
Also, Serafina is excited about getting in the ring with Daffney for the first time -- she says Daffney was someone she patterned herself after when she was breaking into the business. She was always a big fan because Daffney was different from every other woman in the business and didn't care what anyone thought about it.
Bitterly, Jennifer tells her that she felt the same way about Tara and was given a pretty rude awakening. She advises Serafina to not get her hopes up.
We cut to Angelina and Christy Hemme. Angelina says never in her life was she more humiliated than after what Winter & Sarita did to her 2 weeks ago. She hasn't been able to eat, she hasn't been able to sleep. All she's thought about ever since is what she's going to do when she finally gets her hands on them tonight. She acknowledges that she hasn't given them enough credit -- clearly they're more dangerous than she thought if they were able to set all this up, "...but I'm pretty dangerous too," she says. "There's a reason why I'm the most decorated woman who's ever set foot in a TNA ring. And tonight those bitches are going to find out real fast exactly why that is when I take all 6 of those championships I've won and shove them up their fat asses!" Angelina says she's about to add a 7th title to her collection and promises that she and Velvet are going to make this the worst night of Winter & Sarita's lives.
Noticing she's conspicuous by her absence, Christy asks where Velvet is right now. Angelina doesn't have an answer.
JB hypes the 6-woman tag match as we go to a break.
We see a video package of the Mickie James/Daffney title match from last week and Mickie collapsing afterward.
BACKSTAGE: Christy is standing by with Traci Brooks and Cookie. Christy asks if they have an update on Mickie's condition. Traci says that Mickie's head injury was aggravated during the title match with Daffney. For the time being, she's in the hospital under observation. The doctors expect her to make a full recovery, but they're not sure exactly when she'll be cleared to return. Preparations are being made in the event that Mickie has to be stripped of the Knockouts title. Christy asks what kind of preparations, but Traci won't elaborate.
We cut to Velvet, who is unenthusiastically warming up in the locker room. Winter & Sarita walk in. They tell Velvet not to get excited because they just came to talk. They say that they were looking forward to a real fight in their first title defense, but they couldn't help but notice Velvet's lack of enthusiasm about the whole thing. And that's puzzling because this was exactly what Velvet needed, wasn't it? Not only was she proven right about Winter, but she has a chance for payback against the 2 of them tonight, a shot at the tag team titles with her BFF and a new contract waiting for her, should they win... and yet she almost seems depressed about the whole thing.
Sarita tells Velvet that she should be happy. Sure, the singles thing didn't work out for her, but that just means she can go back where she belongs, back where she always goes, where everyone always knew she'd end up. It might not be very satisfying making a career out of propping up Angelina, but at least it's something that might keep her employed.
They tell Velvet to do herself a big favor and settle, to put away her dreams of being a successful singles competitor and settle for being Angelina's #2. "Because if nothing else, Velvet," says Sarita patronizingly, "You are a perfect #2."
They tell Velvet to think about it and leave the locker room. The camera lingers on Velvet, thinking...
iMPACT ZONE: Daffney, Madison and Tara make their entrances. Madison makes a big show of holding the ropes open for Tara. Tara looks amused, but still suspicious. Then Jennifer, Serafina and Trina make their entrances.
JB & West agree that the faces really have their work cut out for them as the heels have a huge experience edge, Tara is undefeated against Jennifer, Tara & Madison have been a team for months and Daffney just put the Knockouts champion in the hospital. Plus, the faces are all still technically rookies and this is the first time any of them have teamed together.
DAFFNEY, MADISON RAYNE & TARA vs. JENNIFER BLADE, SERAFINA & TRINA DIAZ
Toward the end of the match the action starts to break down and everyone pairs off. Jennifer and Tara are going at it with neither able to gain the upped hand, Daffney and Serafina are wailing on each other, both of them looking like they're having a lot of fun doing it. While those 4 are fighting around ringside, Madison is beating down Trina in the ring.
Tara manages to get the better of Jennifer, throwing her back into the ring. She signals Madison, who gets ready to nail Jennifer with a clothesline. Tara whips Jennifer into Madison, but Jennifer reverses it and sends Tara into Madison instead. The 2 heels collide. Jennifer superkicks Tara out of the ring and drops Madison with a spinebuster. Trina climbs the turnbuckle and finishes Madison with a moonsault.
WINNERS: Jennifer Blade, Serafina & Trina Diaz in 14:00
The faces celebrate on the ramp. The announcers call this a big upset. JB says Serafina & Trina just put themselves in line for a tag title shot and Jennifer made a good case for herself getting one more crack at Tara.
Madison sits in the ring in a state of shock. Slowly, that shock turns to anger; livid, furious anger. She turns her head from the faces to Tara, silently boring holes into Tara with her eyes. West says it looks like Madison's supposed change of heart regarding Tara may have come to an end already.
Tara looks from Madison to Jennifer. She and Jennifer stare each other down.
JB says the tag title match is still to come.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet sits alone in a stairwell. She's deep in thought and looks conflicted about something. Then, slowly, something dawns on her. We see from her face that she's come to some kind of decision. She gets to her feet and heads off down the hallway.
They air a video package about the whole story that lead up to the tag team title match tonight.
We cut to Winter & Sarita with Christy. Sarita says that this tag title match is going to signify a long-overdue changing of the guard in the Knockout division. Winter reminds us that last week they said the final killing stroke would be delivered to the Beautiful People and that happens tonight.
From there we go back to Velvet entering the Beautiful People's dressing room to find Angelina pacing anxiously. Angelina says their match is about to start and asks where the hell Velvet has been. Velvet said she had some thinking to do, but that's done now. She admits that she's been in a funk for the last 2 weeks; she didn't feel excited about this match and wanted no part of it. She knows getting the win could save her job, but she thought it would also mean accepting the fact that she's not cut out to be a singles competitor. She really didn't want to do that, but something Sarita said to her made her think. So she thought, and she decided that she doesn't care about that anymore. What she cares about most is taking her anger out on someone who really deserves it. What she cares about most is this team. Because Angelina was right -- when the 2 of them are together, they're the best there is.
"So let's go out there and prove it," she says. "Let's end those bitches."
Smiling, Angelina says she knew Velvet would come around. Velvet admits that she wasn't so sure for a while because Angelina casts a pretty big shadow, but she realized that she's not going to be in Angelina's shadow because she's always been the pretty one in this partnership anyway.
Angelina laughs. They joke about which one of them is more beautiful.
iMPACT ZONE: SoCal Val announces that it's time for the main event.
BACKSTAGE: Winter & Sarita stand ready in the hallway. Their music plays in the arena. They begin their walk to the ring. The camera follows.
iMPACT ZONE: Winter & Sarita make their entrance.
JB says the main event begins after the final break of the evening.
Winter & Sarita get mics from ringside. They say they hate to break it to the fans, but they don't think this match is going to happen. They were supposed to face the Beautiful People tonight, but they had a chat with Velvet earlier and it seems like her heart just isn't in it anymore. "Velvet is feeling a bit demoralized these days," Winter says mockingly. "So much so that she got handed a golden opportunity, the best chance she'd ever get to save her career... and the poor thing just doesn't think she can do it."
"So Velvet's going to take her ball and go home," Sarita continues, "And we're going to stay here. We're going to mow down every woman in that locker room, we're going to dominate this division from now on. And if any of you bitches backstage think you can stop us, you can't. So just do yourselves a big favor -- do what Velvet Sky did. Just quit. Because you can't beat us and you never will."
The Beautiful People's music hits the loudspeaker. Winter & Sarita are shocked.
Velvet & Angelina appear on the stage, doing their full entrance, now with pyro, and looking pretty smug.
"Looks like Winter & Sarita didn't expect this!" says JB. "You're not kidding!" remarks West. "They can't believe it! They thought they cut the heart out of the Beautiful People, but it's still beating!"
KNOCKOUT TAG TITLE MATCH
THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE vs. WINTER (c) & SARITA (c)
Angelina insists that Velvet start the match for their team. Velvet goes to work on Sarita, quickly gaining the upper hand. Sarita can't seem to make anything happen against the newly invigorated Velvet.
"Looks like Velvet finally got that monkey off her back," says JB. "Well, she was so angry and frustrated for months, what with all the abuse from Sarita and Winter trying to come between her and her friend," West explains. "But now that it's all out in the open, think what a difference that must make. Velvet's finally thinking clearly again."
Velvet can't be stopped. Sarita has been thrown off her game and is getting no offense at all. Finally she makes a desperation tag to Winter. Likewise, Velvet tags in Angelina. In turn, Angelina starts kicking Winter's ass.
West remarks how surreal this is. It's been months since the Beautiful People have worked together as a team. And after all the crap they had to go through, after getting conned out of the tag titles, here they are, back again, as strong as they ever were. Winter & Sarita wanted to destroy the Beautiful People, but their plan failed, and as a final humiliation, it looks like they could very well lose the tag team titles tonight.
Angelina is a house of fire and Winter can't even slow her down. The heels are getting flat out embarrassed.
"It looks like the Beautiful People are about to finish this!" JB exclaims.
Angelina makes a pin attempt, but lets up at the count of 2. She shakes her head, grinning. She points to Velvet.
"Talk about just desserts!" says West. "Velvet's been waiting for this for months!"
Winter is defenseless. Velvet reaches out her hand. Angelina moves to tag her...
Velvet pulls her hand away.
Velvet steps off the ring apron, leaving Angelina alone in the ring.
Angelina is stunned. "What the hell are you doing?" she yells.
Velvet's face is full of conflicting emotions: anger, guilt, jealousy, regret, anxiety, relief. And shock. Even Velvet herself can't believe what she's doing. But she doesn't stop. She backs slowly up the ramp, eyes locked with Angelina.
With Angelina distracted, Winter tags in Sarita. When Angelina finally turns back to the match, both of the tag team champions are standing in front of her. They grin wickedly at her... and then attack!
The match changes in an instant. The heels start dominating Angelina, making quick tags, constantly double teaming her. Angelina can do nothing to stop them; she's helpless.
Finally, the heels lock Angelina in a double team Boston crab/camel clutch submission hold.
Angelina reaches her hand out for Velvet. She's practically begging Velvet to come back and help her.
Velvet just stands on the stage and watches. She's getting emotional now, but still does nothing to help Angelina.
Angelina has nowhere to go and no one to help her. She taps out.
WINNERS AND STILL KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Winter & Sarita in 7:31
The killing stroke is delivered.
Winter & Sarita celebrate.
Angelina looks to Velvet one last time.
Velvet's face has become very dark. She turns her back on her friend and walks off the stage.
COLD OPEN: Angelina Love sits on a chair in the middle of the ring with a baseball bat across her lap. She has a mic and is despondent, but intense as she starts to talk. "I know we've got a show to put on here. I don't care. Everyone saw what happened last week. I want an explanation. And someone damn well better come out here and give me one, or else I'm just going to sit here all night and this show won't go on at all."
After a minute, Traci Brooks comes out. Traci tries to talk sense into her, but Angelina just glares daggers at her, wielding the bat menacingly, and Traci seems to think better of it.
Suddenly, the house lights go off and a video package begins to play on the screen. The video chronicles Sarita's antagonism of Velvet Sky since TKO began, her taunting Velvet for failing at singles competition, Velvet growing increasingly frustrated and angry while, at the same time, Angelina's star was once again on the rise, Angelina's promo from a few weeks ago where she said that Velvet was wrong thinking she needed to be a singles competitor, finishing with the backstage segment from Ep. #3 where Sarita beat Velvet down and said that Velvet couldn't figure out who she was really angry at.
Finally, Winter & Sarita's music hits the loudspeaker and they come out to the stage with steel chairs. Sarita says she's never been one to buy into stereotypes, but 'dumb blonde' really does sum up Angelina perfectly. "Do you think what Velvet did to you last week just happened out of the blue? Just like these belts around our waists, that was months in the making. See, all those weeks that you were preoccupied with my partner, I was busy doing a number on yours. It didn't take a genius to see what was really going on with her... or maybe it did because I'm the only one who saw it. I told Velvet I could read her like a book, and I saw how this book was going to end even before she did."
They explain that all of Velvet's anger and frustration over all that time had never been caused by Winter or Sarita, but by Angelina. And what did Angelina expect? She kept Velvet in her shadow for years and then succeeded instantly with a new parter, leaving her behind, "...after everything she'd done for you," Sarita chides sarcastically. "And people call me a bitch..."
"Maybe if you'd paid closer attention you might have seen what was happening right under your nose," says Winter. "But you didn't. Because the truth is, you really didn't care. You were always more concerned with yourself. That's the way it's always been. We know it, and now Velvet knows it too. And do you know the sickest part in all this, Angelina? Even now that everyone knows what we've done to the Beautiful People, even after we played you like fiddles for months, even after we exposed you for the fools you really are... Velvet doesn't even blame us for it. She blames you... so much so that she walked out of the tag team title match, giving up the best chance she'd ever have to save her career, just to screw you over. That's how much she hates you."
Sarita points out that they said the end game for them was never the tag titles; what did Angelina think they were talking about? They said the killing stroke would be delivered to the Beautiful People -- they just never said they would be the ones to deliver it.
They remark about how good they feel. They destroyed a long-time partnership and turned 2 best friends against each other. There's just one thing missing...
Chairs in hand, Winter & Sarita walk down the ramp and enter the ring. Angelina is ready with her bat, but they have her from both sides. Just when the fight begins, security arrives to separate them. Angelina is having none of this and tries to fight off Traci and the security guards to get at the heels, who just stand there watching and laughing.
They air footage of Angelina being pulled off Winter & Sarita during the break.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina is with Traci. Practically screaming, she demands a match with Winter & Sarita tonight, and she doesn't care if it's a handicap match.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West discuss what just happened. JB says it's still hard to believe what Winter & Sarita managed to pull off. They've got more on the ball than anyone realized and he doesn't know what Angelina is thinking, wanting a match with them. West points out that she's so angry she's probably not thinking, and that's the problem. He says Angelina just got herself into trouble tonight.
We go to the ring where a pair of women are already there, getting warmed up. JB says they're a prospective new tag team that TNA has been scouting and Traci has given them a tryout match tonight.
Their names are Terryn Shane & Haley Vaughn (Serena Deeb & Leva Bates). Terryn is a serious, no-nonsense character, wearing plain black tights, whereas Haley is very goofy and playful, wearing a Power Ranger cosplay outfit. They're doing an odd couple gimmick (a la Lance Storm & the Hurricane). West calls them an unlikely pairing if ever he saw one.
Serafina &Trina Diaz make their entrance. JB informs us that they asked for this match as they want to test what they can do as a tag team.
TERRYN SHANE & HALEY VAUGHN vs. SERAFINA & TRINA DIAZ
Back and forth match. Terryn carries the action for her team with Haley providing a lot of comedy spots. During the match, we see Daffney watching on a monitor backstage.
WINNERS: Serafina & Trina Diaz in 7:48
All 4 women shake hands after the match. The announcers put over Terryn & Haley's performance. West says they had a chance to impress people and he thinks they succeeded.
BACKSTAGE: Traci and Cookie are in Traci's office. They're discussing Terryn & Haley when the phone rings. "Guess who..." Traci mutters, putting it on speaker phone. It's Mickie James.
Traci tries to make pleasantries, but Mickie isn't in the mood. She was watching the show and grills Traci about saying last week that preparations were being made in the event that she had to be stripped of the title. Mickie wants to know what kind of preparations these are, but Traci won't say. Mickie tells Traci that, whatever her plans are, she can forget about them -- Mickie was released from the hospital earlier this week and she's feeling better every day. She's going to be back to defend her title, "...sorry to disappoint you."
Before Traci can say anything else, Mickie hangs up.
Traci and Cookie give each other a knowing look. "So what's the plan?" Cookie asks.
"Same as before," says Traci. "This doesn't change anything."
They air a video package about the growing tension between Madison Rayne and Tara over the last few months.
We cut to Christy Hemme and Tara. Christy asks Tara where the situation with Madison stands right now. Tara says she isn't sure and acknowledges that they haven't been working well together lately. Jennifer Blade has only made things worse, but she really just shined a light on problems that were already there. Tara admits that -- putting personal pride aside for a moment -- Madison is the reason why she still has a job, and that's hard to forget. Madison brought Tara back when she didn't have to and that engenders a certain amount of loyalty. Tara says she's willing to try to work things out with her, but Madison's superiority complex makes it hard. She admits she's asked herself how much of it she's going to put up with.
From there, we go to Jennifer Blade watching this interview on a monitor. "Willing to try to work it out..." she mutters, disgusted. "I've had enough of this horse shit." She turns away from the monitor and takes off down the hallway.
We cut to Winter & Sarita at the entranceway. They say that the beating they gave Angelina last week must have given her brain damage, not that she actually had one to damage in the first place. They're the tag team champions for a reason. If Angelina thinks she can beat them by herself, she should probably call the hospital before she goes out to the ring so she can have a room on standby.
iMPACT ZONE: Winter & Sarita make their entrance. While they're walking down the ramp, Angelina jumps them from behind, nailing both of them with a steel chair.
As Angelina starts laying into the heels, JB says they have to go to commercials. The match will begin after the break if they can get this situation under control.
ANGELINA LOVE vs. WINTER (c) & SARITA (c)
The bell rings as we return to the show. JB says Angelina spent most of the break pummeling the tag team champions on the ramp and the referee couldn't stop it because the match hadn't officially begun yet. West says that was a wise move on her part. Angelina needed to soften them up somehow if she was going to get through this match. JB doesn't think Angelina sees it that way -- she just wanted to hurt them.
Winter & Sarita are on the defensive at first, still reeling from the chair shots. After a few minutes they start to recover. The momentum of the match changes and the heels take control.
As the end approaches, Angelina is getting demolished. In a desperation move, she clotheslines Sarita out of the ring, but she goes over the ropes as well. The 2 of them fight around the ringside area. For a moment, Angelina is starting to get the better of Sarita again, but suddenly, Velvet Sky appears out of the crowd and shoots hair spray into Angelina's face.
Blinded, Angelina is helpless. Sarita rolls her back into the ring, and she and Winter lock in their double team Boston crab/camel clutch submission hold.
WINNERS: Winter & Sarita in 6:42
Post-match, Winter & Sarita pose on the stage with the tag titles and take a bow.
Velvet has vanished into the crowd.
BACKSTAGE: Winter & Sarita are boasting about their win as they head to the locker room. They pass Traci and Cookie in the hallway, and tell Traci not to forget about them during her preparations regarding the Knockouts title situation.
Traci watches them thoughtfully as they leave. She tells Cookie to make a note of this.
We cut to Serafina & Trina going over their tag match from earlier. They're excited about their chances of scoring a title shot because Winter & Sarita will have to defend those belts before too long, and with the Beautiful People on the outs now, they just became the only other tag team on this show.
Suddenly, Daffney walks into the shot. She looks Serafina up and down appraisingly, grins, as if giving her approval, then leaves without saying a word. Trina asks what that was about. Serafina has no idea.
We cut to Jennifer about to hit the entranceway. She tells the guy manning the sound board to play her music.
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer's music plays and she walks down the ramp looking dead serious. She takes a mic from SoCal Val and jumps into the ring. She says she wasn't planning to do this, but she saw something a few minutes ago that made her want to throw up. She tells Tara to get out here before she goes backstage and drags her out.
After a minute, Tara emerges from the back, annoyed and exasperated. Climbing into the ring, Tara says that this thing with Jennifer is really getting old. "I've beaten you 3 times in a row now. I've got other things to deal with and bigger problems than you, so whatever your issue with me is, get over it. This is done."
Jennifer slaps Tara in the face and yells at her to shut up. "You don't have to respect me, but you're sure as hell gonna listen to me!" she says. "You see, back in high school, when all my friends were picking out colleges, my mom asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I pointed to the TV where you were beating the hell out of Trish Stratus, and I said 'I want to do that.' That's the whole reason why I started doing this in the first place -- because of you. Because I wanted to be like you!"
Tara still looks irritated, but Jennifer has her attention now.
"Every day that I went to wrestling training, every time I had a match, you were the person I tried to model myself after. But then I met you. And I found out that the person I looked up to all those years never existed!"
Tara's expression is getting very dark now.
"Last week when Madison Rayne was talking about everything you've done in your career, all the accomplishments you've had -- it was all true! That was you who did all that stuff! But it was like she was talking about someone else. I look at you and I don't see that person -- hell, nobody does anymore! All I see is a big @#$%ing sellout! And why?! Some 5 ft chump gets lucky and scores a fluke win over you one time, and just like that you throw away everything you used to stand for just so she'll bring you back and pull your strings like a goddamn puppet! She says jump, you say how high, she says shit, you say what color!"
By now, Tara looks like she's going to murder someone, but Jennifer is still going.
"That's what baffles me! That's what I can't figure out! You had everything! You had championships and accolades! You had all the respect in the world..."
"Are you done talking?" Tara asks, speaking over her. "Because I'm done listening." Tara turns to leave.
"...and you just threw it all away so you could be Madison Rayne's bitch!"
Tara stops dead in her tracks. She whirls around. She and Jennifer lock eyes for just a second... then Tara launches herself at Jennifer and they tear into each other like wolverines!
JB says this is months of pent up frustration being released for both of them. "My God, she's furious!" exclaims West. "Have you ever seen Tara like this?" "I've never seen either of them like this!" says JB.
Tara is livid, but Jennifer is giving as good as she's getting. The 2 of them spill over the ropes. They fight all over ringside. Finally, security arrives to separate them. The guards pull Jennifer back into the ring to try to get some distance between them, but Jennifer blows past the guards and suicide dives onto Tara! They go at it again! The guards try to pull them apart, but they just can't contain this!
Finally, Traci runs out to the stage. She says if they want to kill each other so bad, then she's going to let them do just that. Next week it's going to be Tara vs. Jennifer Blade in a Last Woman Standing match!
Tara immediately throws herself at Jennifer again. As the security guards try and fail to restrain them, we...
COLD OPEN: They start with a video package of the Jennifer Blade/Tara confrontation from last week. Then they show post-show reactions which were not aired.
Tara is livid. "No one talks to me that way!" she yells. "No one! Last Woman Standing match... That little bitch... when I get done with her, she'll never stand again!"
Then they cut to Jennifer. "I'm thrilled," she says, looking focused and determined. "I can't wait. Can't wait."
Traci Brooks' music plays and she walks out to the stage with Cookie. Traci says that, in light of the injuries Mickie James has suffered, they are making preparations in the event that she has to be stripped of the Knockouts championship. "Mickie has informed us that she's going to be back in time to defend her title but, to be honest, I'm a little skeptical. So over the next 2 weeks we're going to be having qualifying matches to determine the top 5 contenders on the roster. These 5 women will go on to compete in something that has never been done in TNA before. And the winner of that match will be crowned the new TNA Knockouts champion."
By virtue of being the current tag team champions, Winter & Sarita have already qualified. There are 3 spots left to fill, so Traci advises all the other women to step their game up.
She says that, ultimately, it will be the fans who decide if TKO gets a second season, so they're giving the fans everything they've got. "We're coming up on our season finale, so it's time for these guns to start blazing."
JB & West wonder what Traci has in store for the women who qualify. Neither of them have any idea.
West says he might be imagining things, but Traci didn't seem terribly upset about the idea of Mickie being stripped of the title.
BACKSTAGE: Traci and Cookie are only just returning to the backstage area, and they find Winter & Sarita waiting for them. The tag team champions say that they're the best 2 competitors in this company and they don't need any handouts. They want to be entered in qualifiers like everyone else, and they will win their way into this match because they're better than everyone else.
Traci doesn't hide the fact that this pleases her. She says she's very happy to hear them say that and tells Winter to go get suited up. Traci watches them approvingly as they leave.
We cut to the locker room where Christy Hemme is standing by with Tara. Christy asks Tara if she has any thoughts on her match tonight. Tara said she didn't have a problem with Jennifer Blade until she stuck her nose in Tara's business. But she just can't seem to let this thing go and now she's making it personal. "No one has ever talked to me like she did last week. No one disrespects me like that and definitely not some punk rookie who's still wet behind the ears. So my thoughts on this match are that I'm happy. I'm happy it's Last Woman Standing because that means there's no handcuffs this time. I can do whatever I want to her and no one's going to stop me. And I'm going to hurt her. I'll break her will, I'll break her body, and if she's got anything left when I'm done, I'll break that too."
Christy remarks that the things Jennifer said must have really hit home to get Tara so worked up. Tara insists that they didn't hit home, they just pissed her off. But Christy thinks that perhaps Jennifer did have a point about some things and she asks if Tara has considered that Jennifer might not be the real source of all this anger she's feeling; that it might be someone else. Christy is alluding to Madison Rayne, but never actually says her name outright.
Tara doesn't answer. She seems to be considering this question, but finally she just walks out of the shot.
We cut to Daffney and Angelina Love heading for the ring via split screen. JB says the first qualifying match begins after the break.
They show a video package of Velvet Sky abandoning Angelina in the tag title match 2 weeks ago.
iMPACT ZONE: Cookie comes out and stands on the stage with a clipboard. Then Daffney makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Christy catches up to Angelina at the entranceway and tries to get some comments from Angelina about the situation with Velvet. Angelina doesn't even stop to answer the question, shoving Christy out of the way.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina walks down the ramp looking really pissed off and forgoing her usual entrance. Her hair is unkempt and her makeup looks like it was applied in a hurry.
DAFFNEY vs. ANGELINA LOVE
Angelina attacks Daffney the second she enters the ring, not even waiting for the bell. West says she must really be in a mood to hurt someone right now and he doesn't blame her.
Angelina controls most of the match. She's being very aggressive, but working recklessly, making careless mistakes that Daffney capitalizes on. JB says she doesn't seem to be thinking about what she's doing. West comments that she's probably too angry about Velvet turning on her to think right now. Velvet had the same problem for months, where she was so frustrated about so many things that it was affecting her matches. He thinks Angelina should be more careful, lest she give Daffney an opening.
Angelina has Daffney reeling. She's setting up for the botox injection, when suddenly Velvet appears on the video screen. She's in a spa, lying on a table, getting massaged by 2 men. "Well, well... trying to win your way into yet another title match, are we? You didn't waste any time moving on without me -- gee, there's a shock. Not that I'm bitter or anything; I'm passed all that. You, on the other hand, look pretty upset, and I don't blame you. Because all these dreams you have of being Knockouts champion again, of being the most decorated Knockout in the history of ever? You're going to have to put those away... because they're not going to happen. And I know why, and you know why. All you people don't know why yet, but don't worry, I'll tell you... just not tonight. Tonight I'm a little busy."
The video ends with Velvet instructing the masseurs to go lower. Transfixed, Angelina can't take her eyes off the screen. With her distracted, Daffney sneaks up behind her and rolls her up.
WINNER: Daffney in 8:31
Daffney is the first qualifier in the title match. Cookie is shown writing on her clipboard.
Angelina just sits there in the ring, in utter shock.
BACKSTAGE: The camera is on Traci as she heads for her office. A security guard comes up and says there's someone waiting for her; he tried to stop her, but she was insistent. Traci asks who it is, opening the door to her office. It's Mickie James, sitting in Traci's chair, behind her desk.
"Why am I not surprised?" Traci asks.
"Because you know me," Mickie replies. "And I know you. That's why I'm here."
Mickie says she had a feeling that Traci was going to move ahead with her plans to crown a new champion, so she thought she'd swing by the arena to show Traci that it won't be necessary. "The headaches are getting smaller every day, my vision cleared up and I'm going to be ready to go by the time this big match of yours rolls around. So whatever kind of match you've got in mind, you can put it out of your mind right now. There won't be a new champion and that title isn't going anywhere."
Traci looks mad, but is keeping her anger under control. "Listen to me," she says. "You don't tell me what to do. I'm the boss, you're the employee. I tell you what to do. I already announced the match, the match is set, and it's going to happen in 2 weeks whether you like it or not. If, by some medical miracle, you get a doctor to clear you by then, I'll happily put you in the match and let you defend the title like any self-respecting champion should." Traci is being purposefully derisive here and it doesn't go unnoticed. "And if, in your state, you somehow manage to beat 5 other women who are gunning for you, then you're right, there won't be a new champion. Although, I have to say, Mickie... I don't like your chances."
"Yeah..." Mickie mutters sarcastically as she gets up and heads for the door. "Sure you don't."
Mickie leaves the office. The camera lingers on Traci. She's not happy.
We cut to Jennifer in the locker room, cutting a promo on her match with Tara tonight. "Yeah, I saw the interview. She looked really pissed off. I don't know why she's so angry at me when she's been putting up with worse from Madison Rayne for months. I guess I finally hit a nerve. Good. I'm glad. I'm glad she wants to hurt me. I hope she brings everything she's got tonight. This whole thing started because I met a woman I looked up to for years, someone I'd modeled myself after, and all I wanted was to earn her respect. Well, I don't want her respect anymore -- she can keep it, because her respect doesn't mean anything. I wanted it from the woman I idolized, but I haven't seen that woman since I got here. I know I caught a glimpse of her last week, and I don't know who's gonna show up tonight, the warrior or the bitch, but it won't make a difference. She only beat me in our last match because Madison got involved -- I don't think I'll have to worry about that this time. It's just going to be me and Tara. The hero-worship is gone, and now I'm just someone with a big grudge to settle. I'm every bit as good as she is, and she's finally going to have to accept that when I'm the last woman standing. After that, the sky is the limit. Tonight I finish my business with Tara, next week I qualify for the title match, and then I'm putting every single bitch in this locker room on notice. You think you've seen the real Jennifer Blade... you've got no @#$%ing idea."
We cut to Winter heading for the ring. JB says the second qualifying match will begin after the break.
iMPACT ZONE: Again, Cookie comes out with her clipboard. Then Winter makes her entrance.
Haley Vaughn (Leva Bates) is already in the ring, this week dressed in a Chun Li (from Street Fighter) cosplay outfit. JB informs us that Haley and her partner, Terryn Shane (Serena Deeb), are still being evaluated. Last week we saw them in tag team competition and now they're going to have to prove what they can do as singles competitors.
WINTER vs. HALEY VAUGHN
This is mostly a comedy match, with Haley being very silly and goofy, playing to the crowd and annoying Winter with her fangirl antics. At one point she jumps on Winter's back and tries to ride her like a horse. Haley keeps Winter very flustered with her comedy spots. Finally, Winter gets so irritated that she simply nails Haley with a steel chair when the referee is distracted.
WINNER: Winter in 6:20
Winter is the second qualifier. Cookie is shown making notes on her clipboard.
Still very annoyed, Winter throws a volley of insults at Haley as she walks to the back, calling Haley a peasant who should be performing on a street corner for loose change. The camera follows her as she walks to the backstage area. Sarita is waiting there for her and congratulates her on getting the win, but Winter is still really aggravated -- Haley has clearly gotten under her skin.
As the 2 of them head for the locker room, they pass Serafina & Trina Diaz, who tell them not to get so focused on the singles title that they forget about the tag titles. They remind the heels that they're going to have to defend the tag titles again before too long. Sarita & Winter blow them off and keep walking. Serafina & Trina yell that the heels will to have to deal with them sooner or later.
We cut to Christy and Daffney. Christy asks Daffney for her comments on qualifying for the big title match. Daffney thinks for a minute, then screams into the mic. Christy has to cover her ears.
We see Tara and Jennifer warming up via split screen. JB says the Last Woman Standing match is still to come.
BACKSTAGE: Winter cuts a promo about qualifying for the title match. She says it was a forgone conclusion. In 2 weeks, the championship will either be coming to the UK or Mexico, and either way, it's coming home. She also has more harsh words for Haley, saying that clowns belong in a circus, not a wrestling ring.
They air a video package chronicling the entire Tara/Jennifer Blade rivalry.
iMPACT ZONE: SoCal Val announces that it's time for the main event of the evening.
BACKSTAGE: Jennifer is psyching herself up. Her music plays in the arena. She begins her walk to the entranceway. The camera follows.
iMPACT ZONE: Jennifer makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Tara is pacing in the halls. Her music begins to play and she heads for the ring. The camera follows.
When Tara reaches the entranceway, Mickie is there waiting for her.
"She wasn't wrong, you know," Mickie says ("she" meaning Jennifer).
"Yeah," Tara replies sullenly, not looking at Mickie. "I know."
iMPACT ZONE: Tara makes her entrance.
JB says the Last Woman Standing match will begin after the final break of the evening.
Back from the break, Val gives each woman a separate intro. They stand face to face. The bell rings. Still, they just stand there, boring holes into each other with their eyes. The intensity on their faces builds, their anger rising... and they go at it!
LAST WOMAN STANDING MATCH
TARA vs. JENNIFER BLADE
For the first time since their rivalry started, Jennifer and Tara fight each other as equals. Jennifer is no longer intimidated by Tara and Tara is no longer taking Jennifer for granted, thinking she can be beaten easily. Each time Tara attempts something she's beaten Jennifer with in the past, Jennifer has the move scouted -- she escapes the widow's peak, she reverses every submission hold.
But Tara is a tough customer and she's hard to beat at the best of times. Tara is also withstanding everything Jennifer is dishing out. For the first time, Jennifer starts breaking out her big signature moves -- kobashi chops, suicide dives -- Tara absorbs it all, but it's taking a toll.
JB says that Tara won't go down easily, but Jennifer is wrestling like she really wants this win.
As they approach the end of the match, both women are spent, but they're still going. There's a big series of multiple reversals, with neither of them able to land a move on the other...
Suddenly, Madison Rayne appears on the stage with a steel chair. Tara is distracted by her for a split second, but a split second is all it takes.
Jennifer grabs Tara and hits the dynamite destroyer (double underhook flip piledriver). Tara goes down and doesn't get up. The referee makes the count.
WINNER: Jennifer Blade in 14:58
The announcers play this up like a huge deal. JB says Jennifer just earned the biggest win of her career. West said it must be pretty cathartic for her to finally take Tara down a peg after all she went through.
The referee raises Jennifer's hand, but Jennifer doesn't celebrate. In fact, she doesn't even look happy. She just stares bitterly down at Tara on the mat, her face very dark. Finally, she shakes her head and exits the ring, wiping her feet on Tara as she leaves, just like Tara did to her after their first match.
She passes Madison as she walks up the ramp. They lock eyes for a moment, then Jennifer gestures to the ring, as if silently saying 'she's all yours', and keeps walking.
Madison grabs a mic and enters the ring. She unfolds the chair, sets it down on top of Tara and sits on it, pinning Tara to the mat by her neck. "Tara," she says, "this arrangement with the 2 of us... it's not working for me anymore. I'm tired of it and I'm tired of you. You've outlived your usefulness. So when I face you next week, not only am I going to qualify for the title match, but I'm going to wash my hands of you, once and for all. The last time we faced each other one-on-one I ended your career. The only reason you even still have one is because of me. But this time... it's going to be permanent."
As Tara struggles to free herself from under the chair, we...
COLD OPEN: Angelina Love is in the ring with a mic. Her hair is messier than last week, as is her makeup. She looks like she hasn't slept.
She says that a few weeks ago everything was going great for her. She was back on the winning trail where she belonged, she was a champion in this company for the 6th time and working on a 7th, she was on top of the world. Then she took a calculated risk with something that meant an awful lot to her, and put it on the line to help a friend out of a bad situation, but she was screwed out of it by someone else that she thought was her friend. Then, 3 weeks ago she had a chance to not only rectify a mistake and get back what she was screwed out of, but to get payback on the 2 bitches who did it. Everything was going perfectly until she was abandoned by her partner, a woman she considered to be her best friend in the world. And then, a week later, that same friend showed up again and stabbed her in the back. Ever since then, she hasn't been able to think about anything else. She's been racking her brain, trying to figure out why this happened.
"Well, I'm done thinking," she says. "Winter & Sarita offered up an explanation, but that's not good enough. I'm not going to be satisfied until I hear it from my supposed BFF, and after everything we've been through together, I deserve that much at least. Velvet, I don't know where you are right now, but I know you're listening. I'm through waiting for you to explain yourself. Either you bring your ass out here, look me in the eye and tell me why you did what you did, or I'm going to find you, wherever you are, and get the answers myself!"
Velvet Sky appears on the video screen. We see her lying on a tanning bed, looking very relaxed. "Hard to believe how much things can change so quickly, isn't it, Angelina?" she asks smugly. "Just a little while ago, things couldn't have been going better for you. Back on the road to the top of the card, talking about becoming a double champion, you had the world at your fingertips. And now look at you -- lost your tag team championship, betrayed by all your friends, shut out of the big title match and your makeup lady's apparently gone blind. I don't blame you for being upset. But we both know that's not why you're really angry. All these fans might think they know, but they're as ignorant as I used to be." Finally, she looks into the camera. "So let me clue you people in."
The feed switches to a video package chronicling the entire history of the Beautiful People. It's edited to highlight the numerous moments that Angelina was glorified while Velvet had to play second fiddle, including soundbites of the announcers talking about how Angelina has always been seen as the better of the 2 (I specifically recall Don West pointing this out more than once). It shows Angelina's numerous singles title wins, all the accolades she gained, and finishes with a snippet from her promo in Ep. #4 where she said that every time she hit a peak in her career, she'd always had someone backing her up.
The feed switches back to Velvet. "Always had someone backing you up, huh? That might have been the first honest thing you've ever said, Angelina. That "someone" was me. It was always me! And so I present to all you people the real Angelina Love. You might think she's a nice girl, a great competitor who accomplished so much because she's just that good at what she does, but the truth is she's nothing but a petty, conniving little parasite. And you were right about one thing, Angelina -- you have been a huge success -- most decorated Knockout in TNA history, blah, blah, blah... but you didn't do any of that alone. The only reason you accomplished as much as you did is because I was there with you every step of the way, propping you up. You rose higher than any other woman has in this company, but you stood on my shoulders to do it! And if you'd had it your way, it would have stayed like that until the day you retired.
"But then you saw me starting to break away from you. You saw that I was tired of being in your shadow and wanted to accomplish something for myself for once, and God knows you couldn't have that, could you? So you came up with this brilliant idea -- you and me becoming the tag team champions. You knew my back was against the wall and I couldn't afford to to turn this down, right? So you went ahead with your little plan because you thought it was the only way to keep me where you wanted me. Because you need me, Angelina. You need me to prop you up, you need me to be in your shadow because the truth is you're such a small, insecure speck of a human being that holding someone like me down is the only way for you to feel good about yourself. How dare you! Angelina Love, I am just as good as you are. I am as big a star as you ever were. You know it, I know it, and in 2 weeks, when I come back... the whole world is going to know it."
The video ends. Angelina just stands there, blanked-faced, as we silently go to a break.
Back from the break, the announcers discuss what just happened. Neither of them can believe what Velvet said. West comments that they knew Velvet had a lot of problems that she'd been keeping to herself, but it looks like they ran a lot deeper than any of them thought.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina sits alone in a stairwell, her face a mess of conflicting emotions. Christy Hemme tries to get some comments from her, but she doesn't say a word.
We cut to Jennifer Blade getting warmed up. Mickie James enters the shot and says that she was really impressed with how Jennifer handled herself last week, and congratulates her on finally getting that win over Tara. Jennifer seems very down about the whole ordeal. She thanks Mickie, but admits she'd hoped things would have worked out differently. Mickie wishes her luck in her qualifying match tonight.
They air a short video hyping up the big title match next week as something that has never been done before.
iMPACT ZONE: Terryn Shane (Serena Deeb) is in the ring. JB says that her and Haley Vaughn (Leva Bates) are still being evaluated and the 2nd step of the process is showing what they can do in singles matches. West says Terryn may have drawn the short straw tonight, judging by who her opponent is.
Sarita makes her entrance. JB reminds us of how Haley really got under Winter's skin last week and Sarita may be looking to dish out some punishment for her partner.
SARITA vs. TERRYN SHANE
During the match, West points out that, while Winter & Sarita did say they wanted to earn their way into the title match like everyone else, he questions whether Traci Brooks is letting them breeze through this by giving them untested rookies as their opponents.
To Sarita's surprise, the match is highly competitive, with Terryn proving to be a very game competitor. There are multiple nearfalls with Terryn actually scoring several herself. Sarita starts getting frustrated that she can't seem to put Terryn away and West says she looks like she didn't expect this woman to put up such a good fight.
Finally, after nothing else she's tried has worked, Sarita manages to get a cheap pin with her feet on the ropes.
WINNER: Sarita in 8:37
Sarita is the third qualifier in the title match.
Sarita watches Terryn like a hawk as she backs up the ramp. JB wonders if Sarita might be feeling a little threatened by her.
BACKSTAGE: Christy is standing by with Madison Rayne and asks for Madison's thoughts about her match tonight with Tara. Madison says this was almost a year in the making. Last year at Sacrifice she ended Tara's career and the biggest mistake she ever made was bringing her back. A queen shares her throne with no one and Tara has never understood that, so tonight, she'll just have to beat it into her. Madison promises that, when she's done with Tara, she'll wish Madison had never brought her back. To stick the knife in a little bit deeper, Madison says if Tara somehow manages to beat her tonight, their business arrangement will be finished and Tara can resume her career on her own terms, but when Madison wins tonight, Tara is gone from TNA, forever this time.
We cut to Jennifer Blade and Brooke Tessmacher via spitscreen on their way to the ring. JB says the fourth qualifying match is coming up after the break.
Sarita is with Winter and cuts a promo on her match. She says everything happened the way she knew it would. Now her and her partner are both in the title match next week and it's a done deal that one of them is walking out with the belt. She's asked if she was surprised that Terryn put up such a good fight. Sarita scoffs at this, saying that just because she actually broke a sweat, it doesn't mean the other girl put up a fight. She tries to make light of Terryn, but it's clear that Terryn surprised Sarita with how good she was. When she's finished, Winter steps in and takes a few jabs at Haley as well.
iMPACT ZONE: The women make their entrances.
JENNIFER BLADE vs. BROOKE TESSMACHER
Jennifer wastes no time taking it to Brooke. She looks angry and is being very aggressive, not letting up, which JB draws attention to. He says her rivalry with Tara seems to have brought about a change in her. West says that Jennifer has been very quiet and keeping to herself backstage since she finished her business with Tara last week, and he doesn't blame her, since that whole situation hardly went the way she wanted it to.
Brooke is giving it everything she's got. JB goes into how hard she's been training, but she just hasn't been able to make any headway in the ring yet.
Brooke puts up a fight, but Jennifer ultimately gets the win with a superkick.
WINNER: Jennifer Blade in 8:04
Jennifer is the fourth qualifier in the title match.
Just like after her match with Tara last week, Jennifer doesn't look particularly enthused about her victory. She doesn't bother celebrating and heads to the back almost immediately.
The camera lingers on Brooke, sitting on the ring apron, looking very defeated.
BACKSTAGE: Tara cuts a promo on her match with Madison tonight. "Sometimes in life, you're faced with really hard decisions and sometimes you're faced with really easy ones. Last week, Madison made a hard decision really easy. I honestly did appreciate her for bringing me back, so I did a lot for her and I probably would have done a lot more; all I wanted from her was a little respect. But she kept pushing me and pushing me and pushing me, and now all the respect in the world isn't going to stop what I'm going to do to her tonight. I don't even care if my job is on the line at this point. Madison brought this on herself and I'm going to enjoy every second of it. And then, I'm finally setting my sights on what's most important, and that's getting my title back. That's what I want, that's why I came here in the first place, and that's what's going to happen."
JB says the main event is coming up.
Brooke trudges into the locker room. She passes Serafina & Trina Diaz, who tell her to keep at it, but she's not listening. She drops down onto a bench and just stares miserably at the floor, depressed and discouraged.
We cut to a Jennifer promo. She says that of course she's happy about qualifying for the title match next week, but she admits she hasn't felt right since what happened last week. Mickie James told her she did a great job, but despite what a huge compliment that was coming from someone like her, Jennifer doesn't feel like she did a great job. She just feels disgusted about how the whole thing with Tara played out, and angry, like she wants to put her fist through a wall. She doesn't think she'll ever be at ease about it, so she's just going to try to put it out of her mind and focus on something more important. She says if there's anything that's going to make her feel better, it's getting that Knockouts championship belt around her waste.
Traci Brooks walks in. She says she was listening just now and has to say something. Traci says she signed Jennifer to a deal personally because she knew Jennifer had a lot of potential and thought she could be a big part of this division. The fact that Jennifer is so torn up about the Tara situation is really upsetting to her. She always tries to look out for the well being of her roster and asks Jennifer to come to her office so they can talk about it. Jennifer goes with her.
The air a video package chronicling the entire Tara/Madison storyline.
iMPACT ZONE: The women make their entrances.
TARA vs. MADISON RAYNE
Tara goes after Madison immediately. JB says Tara's really going for it here, and looks like she's enjoying herself. West says the situation with Madison had been building for so long that he'd be shocked if she wasn't relishing this.
Tara keeps Madison on the defensive, but Madison manages to avoid taking serious damage for a good portion of the match by scouting many of Tara's moves. Finally, Tara wears her down enough to hit the widows peak.
WINNER: Tara in 9:19
Tara earns her freedom and is the fifth and final qualifier in the title match.
Tara is thrilled. She's so happy to finally be finished with Madison that she hugs the referee. JB says this was a long time coming and she's got to feel great right now.
Suddenly, Winter & Sarita hit the ring and attack Tara. Tara tries to fend them off, but gets overwhelmed. Then Jennifer runs down the ramp and joins the fight. Then Daffney jumps out of the crowd and gets involved herself. All 5 women are going at it now!
JB says they all want the Knockouts title and they're going to tear each other apart to get it next week.
Mickie James' music hits the loudspeaker. She walks out to the stage and yells at the women in the ring to look at her. She gets their attention and they stop brawling for a moment. Mickie says she's glad they're all so fired up about becoming Knockouts champion because she wouldn't have it any other way. "And I hate to spoil your little party, but it's not going to happen. I'm going to be cleared by next week, which means I'm going to be in that match too. I'm walking into that match the champion and I'm walking out of that match the champion. I'll go to war with every single one of you to keep this title! And if I have to do it with all 5 of you at the same time, I can do that too. So you'd better bring everything you've got next week, ladies, because I'm--"
Mickie is interrupted when the house lights suddenly dim. The same video we saw earlier plays, but with new footage spliced in -- familiar footage of men beating the hell out of each other, of the cage at ringside. It emphasizes this is something that has never been done before, and the video ends on 4 words...
...QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN.
We come back to another Velvet Sky video. This time she's wearing a towel, lounging in a steam room.
"3 weeks ago, I had a moment of clarity," she says. "I didn't want to be a part of a team again, but I needed that ever-elusive big win to save my job. I thought about it and thought about it, and the more I thought, the more trapped I felt. And then finally it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I saw through all your lies, Angelina, all your BS, all my own frustrations, and I finally realized what I had to do.
"And you were right -- I needed a win and what I was doing wasn't working. But you were wrong when you said the best way for me to get that win was for us to be a team again. Because I finally saw another way, a way so much sweeter than anything you could ever dream of. You and me becoming tag team champions -- that was a gamble -- but this is a sure thing. Because, for me, there's a golden goose out there, bigger than any tag team title, bigger than any singles title. It's you, Angelina Love.
"And the best part is, it's going to be the easiest thing in the world, because I know you. I know you better than anyone else does; you said it yourself. And after being your little sidekick all these years, I know how you move, I know how you think, I sure as hell know how you wrestle. If there's any woman in the world I can beat in that ring, it's you, and we both know it.
"I already exposed you to the whole world for the truly ugly person you really are, and in 2 weeks, when I come back for the season finale of TKO, I'm going to get my new contract. I'm going to get it by beating the most decorated Knockout in TNA history.
"And after that, honey, there's going to be some changes around here. I'm going to do what I should have done a long time ago. I'm going to cleanse the world...
...one beautiful person at a time."
The video ends and we fade to Angelina watching it on a monitor backstage. Her face is blank. She's too shocked to even react to everything Velvet has hit her with in the last hour. Finally...
"All right, Velvet," she murmurs. Her voice is quiet, but intense as anything. "You want to make this ugly... I'll show you ugly."
COLD OPEN: A caption on the screen reads 'Earlier today'. Mickie James sits in a doctor's office. The doctor is going over the injuries she suffered in her feud with Daffney one last time. Mickie says they've already been over this, but the doctor just wants to make sure she isn't taking any of it lightly. He says that once he signs this release form on the desk she will be cleared to wrestle. She's passed all the physicals and he can't stop from living her life, but he strongly urges her to take at least a few more weeks off before she returns to the ring.
"Noted," Mickie says.
The doctor signs the release.
OPENING VIDEO: The usual video is replaced with a Queen of the Mountain hype video.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West welcome us to the show. They hype up the QOTM tonight.
BACKSTAGE: We see a quick series of shots of all 6 competitors preparing for the match. JB reiterates that the Knockouts have never competed in a match like this before. West says there are 6 very anxious women backstage right now and tensions are running high.
iMPACT ZONE: JB says that before they get to QOTM they have a bonus match to do, and he sends it to the ring where Terryn Shane & Haley Vaughn (Serena Deeb & Leva Bates) are prepped and ready. This week Haley is wearing purple tights and green body paint -- an homage to the Incredible Hulk. The bell rings and the match begins.
TERRYN SHANE vs. HALEY VAUGHN
JB explains that these 2 have been here for a few weeks now, trying to earn TNA contracts. They've shown what they can do in tag team and singles matches, and this is the last leg of their evaluation process.
Terryn controls most of the match, with Haley getting various hope spots -- one of which makes the announcers laugh out loud when she 'Hulks up'.
WINNER: Terryn Shane in 7:46
The 2 women hug after the match. JB says they've done everything they can, and now the decision of whether or not they get contracts is in the hands of Traci Brooks and company management.
They switch gears, discussing the situation with the Beautiful People and how Velvet Sky turned on Angelina Love, and then last week she had some very disturbing things to say about her now former friend.
They air a video package showing how Velvet abandoned Angelina in the tag title match a few weeks ago, turning on her, and a narration plays of Velvet's message to Angelina last week about how Angelina always tried to keep Velvet in her shadow, and she refuses to be held down anymore.
JB says they have to go backstage, as he's being told there's some kind of disturbance going on.
BACKSTAGE: Christy Hemme is hurrying toward the Beautiful People's dressing room, from which we hear sounds of a huge ruckus. She enters the room and gasps. The entire place is wrecked! The furniture has been destroyed, the mirror is shattered into a million pieces, makeup is littered all over the floor, Beautiful People t-shirts have been cut to ribbons, even a few holes have been punched in the walls.
Angelina, now completely disheveled -- no makeup, hair a mess -- sits on the floor in a corner of the room, looking dark and despondent.
Christy asks Angelina what in the world happened here.
Angelina responds with just one word... "Therapy."
iMPACT ZONE: Traci and Cookie come out to the stage. Traci says that tonight is a huge night for them, but next week is going to be even bigger. Next week is the TKO season finale and they're saving the best for last. Traci has some things up her sleeve and promises it's going to be a night of great moments, big reveals and a few surprises, too. She says the fans aren't going to want to miss this and asks them to show up and support the wrestlers who have been busting their asses all season long, as well as the champion, "...whoever that might be by then."
Just like she did a few weeks ago, Traci says that, ultimately, it will be the fans who decide if TKO gets a second season or not. She's done everything she can think of to make this the best show she could possibly make it, but in 7 days it will be out of her hands. If the fans want a season 2, Traci directs them to a page on the SpikeTV website that has been set up and urges them to let the network know how they feel.
As Traci's promo ends, JB says she doesn't seem to think Mickie has much of a chance of retaining the title in QOTM tonight. West adds that he thinks Traci is looking forward to seeing the title change hands. He admits he wasn't really buying Mickie's suspicions of Traci at first, but a lot of things that have happened in the last few months just haven't added up and he thinks Mickie may have been onto something from the beginning.
BACKSTAGE: Serafina & Trina Diaz are waiting outside Traci's office. Traci and Cookie show up, and they say they want a tag title shot on the season finale next week. Trying to make their case, they point out that they won that 6-person tag a few weeks ago, pinning the former champion Madison Rayne when no one was giving them much of a chance, Serafina holds a win over Winter, they both have unfinished business with Sarita, and unless it's escaped Traci's notice, they are the only other tag team on the roster right now.
Traci says they've been bugging her for weeks about this. Personally, she's not sure they're ready to get into the title picture, but if they want it that badly, she's going to grant their wish. She makes the match, Serafina/Trina vs. Winter/Sarita for the Knockout tag team titles next week.
From there, we go to a sitdown interview with Christy and Mickie James. Christy asks Mickie for her thoughts on the QOTM match tonight.
Mickie says that when she came back to TNA last year she knew she had a challenge ahead of her, but she never anticipated the challenge would be this big. Since she got here, she's been beaten, manipulated, concussed, hospitalized, and that was just in the last few months. "Traci's thrown everything but the kitchen sink at me, and tonight she's throwing the sink too. And, yeah, I'm not 100% yet, but it doesn't matter. I've always been a fighter, I've always been a survivor, I've made it this far and I'll make it through this."
Christy asks her for her thoughts on her 5 opponents.
Mickie gives her opinions on each woman while footage of them plays over ominous music. "Every one of these women is a different type of challenge. Put them all in the same ring at the same time and I've got my work cut out for me. I've faced Winter before, not in TNA, but I have wrestled her, and beaten her, but she's never made it easy. I've been in the ring with Sarita a couple times now, and I've beaten her too, but that was before. Her and Winter have really become a force since then, plus they're going to be working together. Wrestling Daffney is like wrestling a rabid dog -- I never know what she's going to do, and every time I think I've got her figured out she pulls something different out of her hat. I know what she's capable of now and I've beaten her when it counted, but it definitely took a tole on me. More than anything, I have be mentally strong when I face Daffney or she'll just pick me apart. Even on her worst day, Tara is an absolute beast in the ring. She's been doing this almost as long as I have, she knows all the same tricks I know. I know I can I beat her, but on any given night, she can beat me too. But out of all these women, the one I'm most concerned with is Jennifer Blade. She's the only one I've never been in the ring with, but from what I've seen of her, she's impressed the hell out of me. Tara's the only one who's been able to beat her so far and she's already avenged those losses. She's still a rookie, but she doesn't wrestle like one. All the pieces are there and it's actually a little intimidating to think how good she's going to be when she puts them all together."
Finally, Christy asks Mickie if she has any words for her 5 opponents before the match tonight.
"Yeah, I do." Mickie looks into the camera. "You see this?" She holds up the Knockouts title belt. "This is mine. All of you are good enough to hold this title, but not tonight. Tonight it's coming home with me, even if they have to lay it down next to me in my coffin. Last week, I said I'd go to war with every single one of you if that's what it took, and that's what's going to happen. So put your game faces on, ladies. Let's do this."
Mickie stands up and walks out of the shot.
JB says the QOTM match is coming up next.
They air one last video package spotlighting each of the 6 competitors.
iMPACT ZONE: While explaining the match, JB says the rules have been simplified. You still have to make a pin before you can qualify to win the match and those who get pinned still have to go to the penalty cage, but the "reverse" gimmick has been done away with. The winner is the one who takes the belt down, just like in a normal ladder match.
SoCal Val announces that it's time for QOTM.
Traci and Cookie come out and sit at ringside. Cookie has a big tub of popcorn they're both eating from.
All 6 women make their entrances. Once in the ring, Val runs down each of their stats individually, just like at a UFC PPV.
JB says the match beings after the final commercial break of the night.
The bell rings.
QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
SARITA vs. WINTER vs. DAFFNEY vs. TARA vs. JENNIFER BLADE vs. MICKIE JAMES (c)
Jennifer is the first to qualify to go for the belt by pinning Tara. She's also the only woman who does not get pinned during the match. For a large portion of the bout, she is the only one to qualify, managing to break up numerous pin attempts by the other women. "It looks like Mickie was right to be concerned about Jennifer," says JB. "She might just pull off a win here if she can keep this up."
As the match goes on, Winter, Sarita and Daffney all make pins and qualify, leaving only Tara and Mickie. Eventually, Tara qualifies by pinning Mickie.
Mickie is on the defensive for most of the match, not getting much offense, showing that she's not fully recovered yet and having to push through it. As they approach the end, Mickie finally qualifies by pinning Tara.
Over the next few minutes, everyone is trying to go for the belt, but no one is able to get to it. The end comes down to Mickie, Jennifer and Tara. Mickie jumps off the turnbuckle and splashes onto Winter, Sarita and Daffney outside the ring, taking them out. Meanwhile, Tara and Jennifer are duking it out at the top of the ladder, both of them within reach of the title, and Jennifer is starting to get the better of the exchange. Mickie jumps back into the ring and shoves the ladder in a desperation move. Jennifer falls off, but Tara just barely holds on. Mickie cimbs the ladder as Tara recovers her balance. She and Tara trade blows. Finally, Mickie knocks Tara off the ladder and grabs the title belt.
WINNER AND STILL KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Mickie James in 24:36
Pyro goes off. Mickie celebrates, exhausted, but happy.
They show highlights of the match. JB says every one of them killed themselves to get the title, but the real story was Jennifer. West agrees, saying she did everything but win the match.
Mickie climbs the turnbuckle and stares down at Traci on the floor. She holds up the belt defiantly, as if to rub it in Traci's face.
Traci does not look happy.
Traci gestures to Cookie and they head for the back. The camera follows them closely.
"That seals the deal," Traci says. "Mickie wants a war... so we're going to need an army."
COLD OPEN: They air a video package of the QOTM match last week, Mickie James overcoming the odds to win the match, retaining her title, and Traci Brooks' cryptic final line about needing an army.
iMPACT ZONE: The announcers welcome us to the season finale of TKO. JB says it's been a long, arduous journey for the entire roster, but it's been a hell of a season and they're going out with a bang.
Running down the card for tonight, they announce that, after tensions rising between these women all season long, tonight Serafina & Trina Diaz finally receive their tag team title shot against Winter & Sarita. After that, it's a grudge match years in the making as Angelina Love takes on her former partner and best friend, the woman who stabbed her in the back, Velvet Sky. And in the main event, Traci Brooks has decreed that Mickie James must defend the Knockouts championship again, just one week after a grueling QOTM match. But during the week, upper management called an audible, went over Traci's head and, by virtue of Mickie's QOTM victory, has given her the right to choose her opponent. Mickie made her decision earlier today. So tonight, the main event will be Mickie defending the Knockouts title against Tara.
Traci's music plays and she walks to the ring with a mic. She welcomes everyone to the season finale of TKO. She says this will be their last show for now, but she once again directs the fans to a page that has been set up on the SpikeTV website, urging everyone to go there and show their support if they want a second season. She says SpikeTV officials will be making the decision of whether or not to greenlight season 2 based on the fans responses and she hopes she can count on all of them.
Switching gears, Traci remarks about what an amazing ride this season has been. She wants the fans to know that when she first got this job, she promised herself that she would bust her ass like she never has before and has done everything she possibly could to make this show work. It wasn't always easy, there were people who made her job really difficult at times, but if this is their last show, she just wants to say that...
Mickie's music plays, interrupting her. From the look on Traci's face, she was expecting this.
Mickie walks down the ramp, grabs a mic from ringside and gets right in Traci's face. Mickie remarks that what Traci just said made a lot of sense. This might be their last show, and if it is, then she won't have another opportunity to do this. So as long as they're getting things off their chests, she challenges Traci to finally come clean. "I want to know what's really been going on with you. People can call me paranoid all they want, but you've been out to get me since day one, and I know it. Way too much stuff has happened in the last 4 months for it to all be a coincidence, Traci. I know you've got a hand you haven't played yet; I just don't know why. You owe me an explanation and you owe all these people an explanation. So why don't you just cut the crap, forget all your cryptic little warnings and passive aggressive BS, and just give us all a straight answer."
Traci considers this for a moment. "You're right, Mickie," she says finally. "I have been keeping things from you. And believe it or not, I've had very good reasons for everything that I've done. And since this is our season finale, maybe it's time for full disclosure. So I'll tell you what... you get passed Tara tonight and I'll come clean. I'll tell you, and all these people, everything you want to know. Until then..." she grins, oozing with sarcasm, "...good luck. You're going to need it."
Traci leaves the ring and backs up the ramp. Mickie doesn't take her eyes off her.
BACKSTAGE: Christy Hemme is standing by with Serafina & Trina Diaz, and asks for some comments about their tag title shot tonight. Serafina says she's wanted to break every tooth in Winter's face since the first day she got here and both of them owe Sarita a beating, too. Winning the tag titles tonight would be the icing on a really sweet cake, so she couldn't be happier about this. Trina says that those 2 have got a comeuppance coming, someone's got to dish it out and it might as well be them. Serafina adds that she'll be pissed if it's not them, joking that otherwise the last 4 months will have been a huge waste of time. She knows Winter & Sarita are going to be tough opponents -- they split up the Beautiful People, so obviously they're more dangerous than they look. But she says to look at her and Trina; at first glance they sure don't look like a real team, but people were thinking the same thing about Winter & Sarita just a few weeks ago. She thinks it's time to earn their keep around here, and tells the fans to get ready to be shocked and awed.
We cut to Winter & Sarita heading for the ring. JB says the tag title match begins after the break.
We see a video package, chronicling how the rivalry between these 2 teams developed over the course of the season, from Serafina's initial rivalry with Winter, to Sarita turing on Trina and taking out her anger on both of the faces, to Winter & Sarita capturing the tag team titles and ending the partnership of the Beautiful People, to the faces coming together and trying to gain a title shot, putting the 2 teams on a collision course.
iMPACT ZONE: Serafina & Trina come out to new music and a new entrance. SoCal Val introduces them by their new team name, Shock & Awe. Then the champions make their entrance.
KNOCKOUT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
SHOCK & AWE vs. WINTER (c) & SARITA (c)
Serafina and Trina prove how serious they are by really taking it to the champs. Making multiple quick tags, they actually have the heels on the defensive for a good chunk of the match.
JB says Winter & Sarita look awfully surprised by how well the faces are doing. West agrees that they really do work well together. They seem like such an unlikely pairing, but he remembers a time a few years ago when people thought the same thing about Beer Money, and look at them now.
Having trouble putting the faces away, the heels start getting frustrated. Winter grabs a chair from ringside and tries to use it on Serafina, but Daffney runs out from the back and takes the chair away before she can use it. With Winter distracted, Serafina nails her from behind, sending her over the top rope. She then climbs the turnbuckle and dives onto Winter on the floor. Meanwhile, Trina and Sarita go at it in the ring. Sarita shoves Trina aside and suicide dives onto Serafina. Not missing a beat, Trina moonsaults onto all 3 women.
The action starts to break down. The referee begins to count. With seconds left, Trina manages to throw Sarita back into the ring. Trina rolls her up, but Winter grabs her, rolling Sarita on top. Sarita puts her legs on the ropes for leverage and Winter holds them down.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: Winter & Sarita in 9:21
The announcers point out that Winter & Sarita just barely escaped with the win here, and even that they didn't come by easily. They agree that Serafina & Trina just got screwed.
Winter & Sarita laugh and immediately attack the faces again. Furious, Serafina & Trina fight back. A big brawl ensues.
The faces actually start to get the better of the champs, beating them down, when suddenly Terryn Shane & Haley Vaughn (Serena Deeb & Leva Bates) emerge from the crowd, jump over the rail and join the fight as well, taking it to both teams (this week, Haley is dressed as the Punisher). JB asks what they're doing here; their tryout was finished and management hadn't made a decision on whether or not to sign them yet. West says it looks like Terryn & Haley are trying to make a better case for themselves.
Cookie arrives with security. She tries to get involved, but gets bowled right over. The guards try to separate the 6 women. They can't.
Minutes later, things are just now starting to get under control. Serafina & Trina are being restrained in the ring, yelling and cussing at Winter & Sarita, who are backing up the ramp. JB says this is definitely a rivalry that is far from over, but adds that there may be a new X-factor to consider now as we see Terryn & Haley being escorted from the arena.
BACKSTAGE: We see Jennifer Blade in a hallway, talking on her phone. Mickie comes up to her and she ends the call. Mickie says that Jennifer was the person she was most worried about in the QOTM match and she definitely proved why. Mickie also understands that she's probably not happy about Tara getting the title shot tonight, but insists that Jennifer definitely made a case for herself in the future. Mickie encourages her to be patient and says that if Jennifer keeps going, it won't be long before she becomes champion.
Jennifer thanks her, saying that means a lot coming from Mickie. They shake hands and Mickie leaves. Jennifer watches her go.
They air a pre-recorded interview with Mickie where she explains why she choose to put the Knockouts title on the line against Tara tonight. Mickie says that, in the end, the QOTM match came down to her and Tara. Mickie thought her business with Tara was finished, but it seems as if they may still have something to prove to each other. When she returned to TNA last year, her journey to the title started with Tara, so it just seems fitting somehow that Tara be her final opponent of season 1 to bring things full circle.
We go to Christy and Tara. Tara says that she's been in such a great mood since she finally got that monkey off her back 2 weeks ago (the monkey being Madison Rayne). She didn't think anything could feel better than that, but then she found out that Mickie had given her a title shot tonight, which, she admits really surprised her. She and Mickie may never be best friends, but in light of this and everything else that's happened, she thinks it could be time to put the bad blood behind them. She's not interested in screwing people over or doing underhanded crap anymore; she's done with all that. She just wants to go out to the ring and do what she does best. She promises that her and Mickie are going to put on a show tonight. There's just one thing she has to do first...
We cut to Cookie, who is standing in front of a row of men. Angry, she says that from day one the security around here has been a total joke, and what happened out there a few minutes ago was the last straw. "These chumps can't even separate a bunch of girls!" she shrieks. She says she's looking for a new head of security -- she just fired the previous one because they need someone who can actually do this job and get stuff done. She thinks one of these guys might be the person she's looking for.
She goes down the row, giving each man the once over, stopping at the last person in line. It's a tall, burly, muscle-bound woman (Melanie Cruise). She says her name is Eden. Cookie asks what she brings to the table. In response, Eden lifts Cookie up and presses her like weights.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Cookie exclaims. "You're hired!"
We cut to outside where Velvet Sky, wearing brand new ring gear, stands in front of a flaming garbage can. She has one of her old Beautiful People t-shirts in her hands, staring at it darkly. She wads it up into a ball and tosses it in the fire. "That's the last one," she says quietly. "That part of my life is over. The next chapter gets written tonight. It's my time to shine, Angelina. I hope you're ready."
They air a video package, chronicling the entire history of the Beautiful People, up to and including Velvet turning on Angelina, and why.
iMPACT ZONE: JB & West explain the ramifications of this match. By decree of the board of directors, Velvet needs a big win to earn her new contract. With this being the season finale of TKO, this is her last chance to save her job. Either Velvet topples her former best friend or this is her last night in TNA.
JB doesn't know how this is going to play out. Velvet says she knows Angelina better than anyone and, by virtue of that, knows how to beat her better than anyone, but doesn't that go both ways? West says that normally it might, but this isn't the Velvet that they remember. She's showing a side of herself that no one has ever seen before, including Angelina.
Angelina's new music beings to play.
BACKSTAGE: Angelina makes her walk to the ring. Christy is waiting for her by the entranceway. She tries to get some pre-match comments, but Angelina says that she's done talking and walks right by her.
iMPACT ZONE: Angelina walks to the ring, not bothering with her usual entrance. She looks terrible. No makeup, hair dirty, mismatched ring attire -- she's a mess. When JB points this out, West says that after everything that's happened to Angelina recently, it's not surprising that she hasn't been taking care of herself like she used to.
Velvet's new music begins to play.
BACKSTAGE: Velvet makes her walk to the entrance.
iMPACT ZONE: Velvet appears, doing a whole new elaborate entrance and brimming with confidence.
JB directs our attention to 2 manilla envelopes that Val is holding. In her right hand she holds Velvet's termination notice and in her left hand she holds Velvet's new contract. One way or another, Traci is going to be signing one of those forms when this match is over.
Val gives each woman a separate intro.
VELVET SKY vs. ANGELINA LOVE
Angelina wrestles very recklessly. She's too angry to think clearly and it shows. West point out that Velvet basically gutted her on national television and she stuck that knife in deep. Playing nice is the last thing on Angelina's mind right now.
But Velvet is keeping her cool, picking her spots very carefully. She has all of Angelina's big moves scouted, but connects with her own, taunting Angelina as she does it. Finally, Angelina gets so pissed off at this that she charges at Velvet, throwing caution to the wind.
Velvet is ready for this. She trips Angelina with a drop toe hold and Angelina lands hard, hitting her throat on the ropes. As Angelina gasps for air, Velvet quickly rolls her up and gets the sudden clean pin from out of nowhere.
WINNER: Velvet Sky in 8:52
Velvet celebrates. Angelina just sits there in a state of shock.
Confetti falls from the rafters, color coordinated to match Velvet's new ring gear. Her celebration goes on for a minute as she soaks this in. Then she smugly waves goodbye to her former friend. She walks up the ramp, takes her new contract from Val and leaves Angelina alone in the ring without looking back.
They air a video package about Brooke Tessmacher's struggles throughout the season to survive on the roster despite her lack of experience. It's intercut with footage from a never-before-seen interview conducted after her loss to Jennifer 2 weeks ago. "I don't know," she says, very depressed. "I don't know what else I can do."
BACKSTAGE: In the locker room, Brooke is packing up her stuff in a gym bag. Mickie comes in and asks her if she's going somewhere. Sadly, Brooke admits that she's throwing in the towel. "I've tried everything, worked as hard as I can, but it's just not happening."
Mickie encourages her not to give up, but Brooke just feels defeated. "I didn't even come here for this. I was supposed to be Eric Bischoff's assistant, and then he went and threw me in with the sharks. And you know what sad thing is? I actually liked it. Being a wrestler is great. This is the most fun I've ever had. And I thought if I busted my ass I could learn enough to survive here, but it just hasn't worked. I had a chance and I blew it. I'm not entitled to anything else." She sighs. "Man, I really wanted this job..."
Mickie sits down, thinking about this. She says that everybody wants something, but knowing what we're really entitled to and what we're not is hard sometimes. It seems like everyone in the locker room has had this problem since TKO started -- thinking they're entitled to things like respect, championships, or even just simple honesty, and she herself has been as guilty of that as anyone. "Who knows... maybe if I'd given Traci the benefit of the doubt and not pissed her off so much, things might have worked out differently."
They seem to have established some common ground, but Brooke asks where Mickie is going with this.
"Everyone deserves a fair shake," Mickie says, getting to her feet. "You haven't really gotten that. So here's the deal: you stick around for a while and give this another shot, and I'll train you myself."
Brooke asks if she's serious. Mickie says she's always serious. Brooke smiles and accepts Mickie's offer.
From there we cut to Tara walking into catering. She approaches Jennifer, who immediately jumps out of her seat. Tara says she comes in peace and tells Jennifer to relax. Tara explains that Jennifer was really getting under her skin for a while there, and she admits it pissed her off. But now that she's had a chance to think about everything that's happened, she realizes that the reason she got so angry is because Jennifer was right and she just didn't want to accept it. "When Madison Rayne retired me last year, it really shook me. And I didn't understand how much it shook me until you threw it in my face. And if you hadn't done that, I'd probably be carrying Madison's luggage tonight instead of wrestling for the title. You wanted me to respect you... well that's something I respect."
Tara gives Jennifer props and offers to bury the hatchet if she'll accept Tara's apology for treating her like shit. She offers to shake hands, finally giving Jennifer what she wanted this whole time.
Jennifer considers this. "I'll think about it," she says. She walks away without shaking Tara's hand, bookending the scene from their first match where Jennifer tried to shake hands, but Tara blew her off.
They air a video package chronicling the Mickie/Tara feud from last year. We see both women via split screen.
JB says the main event is coming up next.
iMPACT ZONE: JB says before the main event they're going to take a look back at TKO season 1, and they air one last video chronicling the entire season, all the big feuds, the swerves, the betrayals, the memorable moments, QOTM, etc. West says it's pretty surreal when you think about everything that's happened in just the last 4 months.
Val announces that it's time for the main event. Tara's music begins to play.
BACKSTAGE: Tara begins her walk to the ring. Jennifer is standing by the entranceway, waiting for her when she gets there.
"Show her who you really are," Jennifer says. Tara nods at her, smiling.
iMPACT ZONE: Tara makes her entrance.
BACKSTAGE: Mickie's music begins to play and she starts her walk to the ring.
iMPACT ZONE: Mickie makes her entrance.
Val gives each woman a separate intro.
KNOCKOUTS TITLE MATCH
TARA vs. MICKIE JAMES (c)
No swerves. No funny business. It's nothing more than a great match between 2 great wrestlers.
WINNER AND STILL KNOCKOUTS CHAMPION: Mickie James in 13:29
Post-match, Mickie and Tara shake hands and hug. JB says that it looks like they've finally put the bad blood behind them.
Tara tries to leave, but Mickie grabs a mic and tells her to stick around because this concerns her too. In fact, it concerns everyone. "Hey, Traci!" she says. "The match is over and I'm still the champion. So come on out. You've got some explaining to do."
Traci's music plays and she comes out, joining them in the ring. West says he can't wait to hear what Traci has to say.
"I'm waiting..." says Mickie.
Traci takes a deep breath and begins. "Do you remember what I said that first night I came back to TNA, 4 months ago?"
Mickie remembers. She said that she had plans that not everyone was going to like, and she wasn't kidding.
"That's just part of it," Traci responds. "I said 2 important things. The other one was that this business is about evolution, and people who can't evolve don't last. You see, about a year and a half ago I had to learn that the hard way when management called me up and told me I was done here. So you know what I did? I evolved. I made myself into something better. So when those same people who fired me started looking for someone to run this show of theirs, there was really no better choice than me. It isn't every day that you get a second chance in this business -- hell, you should know that as well as I do. So when I got my foot back in the door I told myself that I was going to do everything under the sun to make this show a success. So I evolved again and put my plan into motion.
"I knew I needed 2 things to make this work. The first one was you, Mickie. And this is where all your little suspicions of me came in. I was actually kind of surprised that you had me pegged from so early on because I thought I covered my ass pretty well. I wasn't ready to show my cards until now, but I guess congratulations are in order... because you were right, Mickie. About me. About everything.
"I have been out to get you. I've been out to get you from the day all this first started. When I stripped you of the title on our first show, I didn't do it to start things off with a bang, I did it to piss you off! When Daffney showed up from out of nowhere and went after you like a slasher movie villain, she was doing it because I put her up to it. I got her out of the mental hospital and she owed me a favor, so I told her 'I want you to take out Mickie James'. I didn't know for sure if she could do it, but I knew she'd give you the fight of your life, and that's what I wanted."
Mickie and Tara exchange confused looks.
"Everything I've done this season, every deal I made behind your back, every match I made where it looked like you couldn't possibly win, everything you accused me of -- it was all true. Because if this show was going to work... you and me? We couldn't.
"I did all of this because I wanted you to hate me."
"You can't be serious," Mickie says. She's completely flabbergasted. "All this time, all the lies, all the double dealing, all the underhanded BS... it was all just about giving me a white whale to chase?!"
Traci grins. "Exactly."
"WHY?!" Mickie screams.
"Because I needed a chase, Mickie!" yells Traci. "That was the second thing! I needed Ahab to chase his whale because if we didn't have a chase, we didn't have a show! That's what this was always about -- controversy, infighting, creating conflict -- because that's what sells! That's what keeps the fans coming back for more every week! Do you think they were going to watch a show about a bunch of women who all get along and play nice? It doesn't work like that! I thought it did once upon a time and it cost me my job! But I wised up, just like you're going to have to.
"So from now on, this is how it's going to work: I'm going to make your life a living, breathing, stinking hell. You're going to fight me every step of the way. All these people are going to pay to see it. And together, you and I are going to make piles and piles and piles and piles and piles of money."
"You're insane..." says Mickie. She can't believe what she's hearing.
"No," Traci remarks. "I'm just doing business. This was always just about business. It was never supposed to be personal. And for what it's worth, Mickie... I'm sorry."
"For what?" Mickie asks.
Winter & Sarita jump out of the crowd. They hit the ring and drop Mickie with steel chairs. Tara tries to fight them off, but they take her out just as quickly, and the tag team champions start to tear into both of them.
Serafina, Trina and Brooke all run down the ramp to help, but they don't have weapons of their own and get dispatched in short order.
The heels return their attention to Mickie, with Traci ordering them to give her the conchairto.
They're about to finish Mickie off when Jennifer, with a chair of her own, hits the ring. She stands menacingly between the heels, and the beaten Mickie and Tara. Winter & Sarita look hesitant to attack someone similarly armed.
Slowly, Mickie drags herself to her feet...
Then Jennifer whirls around and flattens Mickie with the chair herself.
Mickie crumples to the mat.
Laughing, Traci pulls Mickie up. Jennifer and Sarita do the conchairto on Mickie. Then Jennifer and Winter do the same to Tara.
Traci celebrates. Winter & Sarita celebrate. Jennifer just glares down at the fallen Mickie and Tara; her face a mask.
Cookie, carrying a bag, emerges from backstage, followed by Eden. They join the others in the ring and Cookie pulls 3 t-shirts out of the bag.
Jennifer, Winter and Sarita put the t-shirts on. Each shirt has a stylized graphic on the chest: W3
The W3 graphic appears on the video screen. Unfamiliar music plays over the loudspeaker. Pyro goes off.
The announcers are in shock at everything that has just transpired. "Can you believe this?" JB asks. "I can't," West admits. "I had a feeling Mickie was right about Traci, but I had no idea how right she was. Mickie said she was going to go to war... I guess this makes it official."
JB tells the viewers that if they want to see what happens next, then he urges them to go the webpage SpikeTV set up and show their support, because he sure as hell wants to see what happens next.
Traci raises the hands of her army. They stand triumphantly over the broken bodies of Mickie and Tara as we...
END OF SEASON 1
Much like television in real life, these things are often open-ended. This series is on hiatus for now, but if you readers want more TKO, make your voices heard and let me know about it.