Angelina Love puts her TNA Knockouts Championship on the line against number one contender Gail Kim.
• Love won her sixth Knockouts Championship at Sacrifice, defeating Madison Rayne to mark her comeback to the promotion. Around the same time, Kim decided that she had to team up with Rayne and newcomer Brittany to end the potential tyranny threatened by Love and Velvet Sky reuniting the Beautiful People.
• Gail got her first edge on the heel by beating Sky on the May 15 episode of Impact Wrestling. She saved Brittany from a post match beatdown following Love’s victory the next week, which came about because of referee Brian Stiffler being distracted by the flirting of Velvet outside the ring.
• Kim then teamed up with Brittany on the May 29 episode but lost to the Beautiful People because of the newcomer’s overzealous desire to get the win.
• Gail earned her shot at the belt on last Thursday’s show where she pinned Brittany in a 3-way also involving Madison. Love and Sky were trying to help Brittany to spite Rayne, but the hairspray went in the wrong pair of eyes.
• Love went for the Botox Injection right away but Kim avoided it to get in some early shots with trips and forearms, though an attempt at a hurricanrana was countered into a power bomb to allow Angelina to take over, and also saw her counter an Octopus Stretch attempt with a sidewalk slam.
• The challenger was thrown out of the ring but got a few shots in on Velvet before reversing an Irish whip which sent the titleholder flying into the steps.
• Back in the ring, Love regained the advantage with an inverted hangman’s bulldog and Sky sprayed hairspray into Gail’s eyes directly in view of referee Stiffler – who did nothing to admonish her – and Angelina’s Botox Injection led to a near-fall.
• Senior ref Earl Hebner came out to eject Sky and announce that he was taking over duties, which led to Kim making a big comeback with dropkicks, slams and a flying bodypress for a long two count. Angelina attempted to get the cheap win with her feet on the ropes but it was spotted, which led to a Gail running dropkick attempt accidentally wiping out Hebner.
• Kim connected with Eat Defeat but with Hebner wiped out and Stiffler spending more time looking after his colleague, there was nobody to count. An O’Connor Roll garnered the same results with Stiffler not counting, but he was right there when Love reversed it and grabbed a handful of tights to retain her title.
• About bloody time – I’ve been hoping for an exciting, absorbing match in the Knockouts division for what feels like forever and it finally happened at Slammiversary. With a good story and a well executed in-ring product, it wasn’t a chore to watch like women’s matches in TNA have felt for a while.
• Bless Gail Kim for being great. She gives it her everything to make the division work and she worked her rear end off here. While I contend that her character is better as a heel, her wrestling lends itself more to being a babyface, so this worked nicely.
• While I’m being positive about the match, I can’t overlook the sheer ugliness of that inverted bulldog. I see what they were trying to do but it wasn’t nice to look at. Let’s not see that again.
• There are really only five women in the Knockouts division at the moment, and their stories are all interwoven, which is nice. Brittany’s obsession with Rayne feels forced, but you can get the impression that it will lead to Love and Sky taking her under their wing. With the imminent return of Taryn Terrell, it means we’ll have three faces and three heels, which works out fairly well.
• Meanwhile, it looks like the Beautiful People have a referee in their pocket – which would be nice, though we saw the same storyline two years ago with Rayne and Hebner.
• Overall, it’s the best Knockouts match on PPV in a long while, and the heel ref thing adds heat – it’s just a shame that it’s a rehash of a gimmick they ran so recently.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by TNA