Angelina Love made her return to TNA yesterday after more than 18 months away. She was announced as being part of the Impact Wrestling show an hour before the broadcast began via the company’s Facebook page, and then her first appearance on the broadcast was in a backstage segment with Jeremy Borash.
Later on in the show, Love took to the ring as a babyface – having shaken off being under the spell of Winter – and invited Velvet Sky down to suggest a reunion of the Beautiful People, which was the group which turned them into one of the most marketable acts in TNA in 2008. While Velvet was open to the idea, she didn’t fully commit to the proposal and asked for more time to think about things.
Love was released from TNA in July 2012 and made a return to the independent circuit, originally wrestling for the higher-budget indie groups like Northeast Wrestling and Family Wrestling Entertainment before making a trip across the Atlantic to wrestle for a number of promotions, with the most high-profile being Pro Wrestling: EVE, as she and Erin Angel defeated Sara-Marie Taylor & Carmel Jacob at Wrestle Fever. At the time, we questioned Angelina about whether a return to TNA was likely – though she insisted that she was happy managing her own bookings and being her own boss.
2013 saw Love make her in-ring debut for SHINE at SHINE 8 in March and competing on most of the promotion’s shows since then with the most high profile contest being an unsuccessful SHINE Championship challenge against Rain at SHINE 13 in September.
Angelina’s return to TNA is a double-edged sword. In doing so, it means that she is unable to wrestle on DVD/VOD tapings and iPPV shows by indie groups – which means SHINE is off-limits – but it does come with the added bonus of being back on international TV, which may be quite valuable for someone who has been out of the casual viewer’s consciousness for more than 18 months. Boosting her profile again is a logical move as it can increase her drawing power should she wish to return to managing her own bookings again in the future.
Elsewhere on the show, Santana Garrett made her first appearance as Brittney, defeating Gail Kim in a two minute match in a contest which did little to get her over as a star. Kim spent most of the match beating on the new Knockout, with Brittany only nailing a few forearms and a side Russian legsweep before the finish – which despite her getting the pin, still saw her as the third wheel.
Lei’D Tapa came into the ring to interfere and accidentally collided with Gail, allowing Brittany to snatch a quick O’Connor Roll pinfall. Kim and Tapa then started fighting before the pair had to be separated. In the meantime, Brittany was nowhere to be seen – hardly the way someone should be celebrating beating the the Ace of the division on her debut.
The tension between Kim and Tapa started a while back but there hasn’t been any indication of it in the last few weeks – there was certainly no friction between them during the six weeks of Impact shows in the UK and nothing to suggest a problem at Lockdown last Sunday. Gail was just pissy with her bodyguard as she came out for this match and five minutes later, they were fighting.
Quite why weeks of simmering bad blood was truncated into one hot-shotted angle which shoved their fresh talent to one side as an afterthought is a head-scratcher. It’s not like TNA has a PPV to work towards in the near future and they have two more women on the roster after last night’s show, both of them babyfaces. It was unclear as to who would be face and heel in a potential Kim v Tapa feud, but one of them will presumably be turning. One would imagine that the most likely one will be Gail as she is the smaller more sympathetic member, though she was the one who blew her stack over Tapa’s error, which wasn’t intentional.
So what did you think of Angelina’s return and proposal to Velvet Sky, Brittney’s debut and the split of Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa? Leave us a comment as I don’t know what to make of it.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by TNA, Ringbelles