Ivelisse Velez & Lei'D Tapa do the TNA Gut Check

Ivelisse Velez Lei'D TapaEight months after Taeler Hendrix became the first woman to vie for (and earn) a TNA contract, two more women had the chance to take part in the promotion’s Gut Check. Ivelisse Velez (named as Ivelise Felez) and the Barbarian‘s niece Lei’D Tapa fought on last night’s Impact Wrestling, with Velez gaining the victory with tap out via a guillotine choke. The pair will return next week for evaluations.

Both had the chance to talk a bit about themselves before their match in individual profile videos, but while Ivelisse’s struck the right chord – talking about going into wrestling against her mother’s wishes, causing their relationship to be fractured – Tapa’s felt wrong for the heel role that she played later, as it showed her crying over the opportunity she was about to receive. It didn’t sit well with her monster character that she portrayed in the match.

As for the match itself, it only went four minutes so didn’t have the chance to make much of an impression – and Velez’s match with LuFisto at SHINE 7 last week was much better due to having more time to tell a story and make you care – but it was a decent enough TV outing, and the visual tale of Tapa being much bigger and more aggressive while Ivelisse used an MMA style made sure that the way they were presented was sufficiently different.

Both would have something to offer the Knockouts division. Velez’s MMA style would set her apart from other women on the roster, and it can’t be an accident that Ivelisse brings out a shootfighter gimmick in the same week that women’s MMA exploded into the fight zeitgeist Ivelisse Velez Lei'D Tapathanks to the fight between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche last Saturday. However, such hot-shot cashing by TNA in may work against her, as there is the argument that why would you want to watch fake shootfighting when the real stuff has as much – or arguably more – drama?

Meanwhile, Tapa’s size and heritage are easy and great selling points. Towering over the opposition with wild hair, half of a story in a match is already told before the bell rings. Sure, she’s not as agile or mobile as others – but as a taller and larger athlete, that’s totally fine. She shouldn’t be running all over the place and flying everywhere, and that should be left to her smaller opponents. TNA tried out Isis The Amazon a couple of years ago, but she was too big and too immobile. Lei’D Tapa is a much more manageable size for a giant.

Mike Tenay also pointed out that Velez had pulled out of her MMA debut due to take place today in Cicero, IL. Looking at the card for the show, Ivelisse’s name is not on there, even though there is still a promo video on the page. One would assume that she is not fighting as scheduled, but whether she pulled out due to her participation in this Gut Check is open to speculation.

We’ll find out next week if either one earns a contract – and you would assume that Ivelisse has the edge considering she was the one who went over – but both put up a decent showing and should do well from the international exposure.

– Lee Burton
– Photos by TNA


3 thoughts on “Ivelisse Velez & Lei'D Tapa do the TNA Gut Check

  1. Ivelisse will easily win. She showed that she was more skilled in the ring than Lei’d Tapa.

    The match was okay and allowed each prospect show what they got, but it makes me wish Gut Check still used it’s original format where the contestant faced a TNA wrestler. A Gail Kim vs Ivelisse match would have been awesome seeing both trying to out submission each other. Besides spotlighting Ivelisse it would have also fit in with the current Gail vs Velvet feud by showing Gail is ready to take on all comers.

    Like you said Lei’d Tapa would be a great monster KO. TNA should also send her down OVW do gain more experience in the ring. At various points in the match she seemed to lose focus on what was suppose to happen next and didn’t know how to naturally adlib to get it back on track. A good example was when Lei’d Irish whipped Ivelisse into the corner and she fell to the mat. Instead of moving in to do some punches, etc. to set up the whip again she waited for Ivelisse to get up first.


  2. I can definetly see Ivelisse getting signed more so than Tapa due to her past with WWE, and while that may anger me normally, I’ll let it slide since she should be on main TV regardless of who she is with, since she has the skills, looks and charisma needed to be on the main screen.

    As for Tapa, while I dont think she’s ready for big time TV just yet, considering she’s been at it for 2 years, she had a very good showing in this match. She sold Ivelisse’s offence rather well and that can make someone stand out just as much as the moves they do to their opponent.

    If she doesn’t win Gut Check, I hope TNA manage to keep her around in OVW or something since she can do wonders for fresh faces in TNA if they wanted to do that in the future. Plus OVW could use some new faces down there as well, theres only so much we can have of Taeler Hendrix (who should be in TNA right now), Jesse Belle, Epiphany & Heidi Lovelace we can have down there.


  3. Lei’d looked green and lost most of the time and I wasn’t buying any of Ivelisse’s offense, but since it didn’t go very long, I’d say it wasn’t much worse than the shitty LuFisto match at all. I didn’t fall asleep or zone out completely during it though, so I guess it was more watchable than most Knockouts matches.


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