Five TNA Knockouts meet in a Gauntlet Match with the winner becoming the number one contender to Tara‘s Knockouts Championship.
• Well, there wasn’t any really. On last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, Miss Tessmacher and Robbie E beat Tara and Jesse Godderz, but it didn’t lead into this match at all.
• It was announced that Tessmacher, Mickie James, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky and ODB would meet in a Gauntlet match at Genesis fought under the winner-stays-on format, not like TNA’s usual gauntlet style with a battle royal with the final two then competing in a regular match.
• Kim and Tessmacher started the proceedings with some tidy sequences between two wrestlers who have always had good chemistry with each other. For the most part, it was the Texan who got the upper hand with flying forearms and dropkicks – however the key factor was Gail’s boot, as she planted it in Tessmacher’s jaw with an Eat Defeat to send her to the showers.
• Gail decided to try and jump ODB before she made it to the ring, but bounced right off her, which was a sign of things to come for this fall, as the Knockouts Tag Champion bullied around her smaller opponent – however, Kim blocked ODB’s attempt at the Dirty Dozen, pulled her off the ropes and rolled her up while grabbing the tights for the pin.
• Mickie came out fast to avoid being jumped, taking control on a weary Kim with a similar flurry to the opening fall of the match. Gail tried to catch a breather outside the ring and dodged a baseball slide, but ended up eating a rana on the outside.
• Back inside, Gail avoided a top rope attack from James by grabbing the legs of referee Taryn Terrell, then reversed an O’Connor roll and grabbed the tights for the pinfall, even though Mickie’s hand was under the ropes, which should have caused a break in the count.
• Reverting to her original plan, Gail jumped Sky and rammed her into the steps to get the early lead in the final fall, but another O’Connor roll attempt didn’t lead to a win when Terrell noticed Kim grabbing the rope. An argument between the two caused Gail to take her eye off the ball enough for Velvet to nail the In Yo Face for the pin, though Terrell goofed again by not noticing Kim’s foot was under the rope.
• While the match itself was perfectly enjoyable – with Tessmacher v Kim being the best fall – the booking seemed weird. Despite cheating her way through the match, the final fall where Kim’s foot was under the ropes led to me feeling sympathetic to her, even though she had broken the rules throughout the contest.
• On the flip side, the babyface Velvet looks like she has earned a tainted victory against a weary wrestler who had already wrestled three falls previously against fresh wrestlers each time. It’s the sort of thing a heel would do.
• The booking reminded me of the Gauntlet Match at SummerSlam 99 where Edge and Christian blew through most of the opposition before being stopped by the fresh Acolytes, who went on to win the match. However, the story there was the babyfaces fighting through with guile and bravery before falling to their larger, fresher opponents. Here, it was all ass backwards.
• There was also a lot of stuff to do with Terrell’s supposed poor officiating. She fluffed two pinfalls – so you can’t say she was favouring the babyface when she counted Gail down as her mess-up actually benefited her earlier in the match – and got into an argument with Kim too. I wish there was less focus on the ref and just let the wrestlers wrestle.
• Don’t get it lost in the shuffle that Gail Kim was great. She’s the backbone of the Knockouts division and she was the backbone of this match. She carried every fall, and deserves a lot of credit.
• The win means Velvet will challenge Tara for the Knockouts belt in the future, probably after working a storyline between the two. Considering that TNA has reduced the number of pay-per-views per year to four, it could mean a three month build-up, or it could take place on an episode of Impact with less backstory. Either way, TNA has time to make the fans care about the match.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by TNA