So, as I type this in my hotel room after a fantastic day of women’s wrestling, I thought I’d chime in with some overall thoughts on the people who I thought really stood out on these shows.
1) Tessa Blanchard.
Without a doubt in my mind, the person who left the biggest impression with me was Tessa. This was a women I knew almost nothing about. I’ve seen a little of her work on YouTube, but nothing to really inform an opinion about. From the moment she came through the curtain at GNO 13, she just radiated “STAR”. Not only is she incredibly good looking, but she has a ton of charisma. She plays the part of a Blanchard. She knows who she is and will tell everyone about it. She interacted with the crowd, including me, in a way that I rarely see. She hasn’t been wrestling long, but she’s already got more presence than most of the GNO roster. No one else on this show even came close as to be hated like she was. I would be absolutely shocked if she isn’t in WWE sometime soon. And on top of it all, she’s very competent in the ring. She didn’t look like a rookie at all in her matches. Just a complete package. One last note, her theme song is remix of the 4 Horsemen theme and it’s my new favorite theme in wrestling. It’s perfect.
2) Heidi Lovelace.
Heidi continues to grow to the point where she is no longer the scrappy underdog getting beat down for long portions of her matches. Her match with Mia Yim in my mind, surpassed all others on both GNO 13 and 14. Not only is her in ring work on the level of a Mia Yim, Athena, etc, but her heel work in AIW has really been top notch. She’s wildly entertaining in this role. It’s not going to be much longer until we see her with more championship gold around her waist.
3) Taeler Hendrix.
Taeler’s work in previous GNO events has never really wowed me. Her work was always fine, but something was missing. That has changed at these shows. She now has a more dominant heel role and plays to her opponent and crowd much more. It makes her matches very entertaining and fun. She’s also tweeked her look to a more seductive/darker look and I think its a big improvement from the flashy neon outfits she was known for. Solid stuff from her tonight and I’d say she has gone from an afterthought to someone I really look forward to seeing on these shows.
4) Chasity Taylor.
I am gonna be honest here. I’ve seen a few matches from Chasity in person before these GNO shows and they were generally pretty bad. While she looks fantastic and has a ton of energy, her work left a lot to be desired. She’s still new and I imagine most people don’t grasp wrestling that quickly, but I was worried I’d see some of that here. This was thankfully not the case. She has improved leaps and bounds since I saw her a few months ago. She seems more sure of herself and poised in the ring. She surprised me by winning her first match vs Angeldust, and then having a really stellar outing vs Tessa Blanchard. I think somewhere along the line, something inside her has “clicked” and now she improving greatly from her experiences. She is a great babyface with a lot of fire and a million dollar smile. I also enjoyed her choice of theme song, Guns N Roses’s “Sweet Child of Mine”.
5) Veda Scott.
Last, but not least, I just want to touch on Veda Scott here. I think her match vs Athena in the main event of GNO 14 was the finest in-ring work I’ve ever seen out of Veda. While, I have always been a huge supporter of her due to her fantastic promo ability and character work, far too often her in-ring skills have been a little lacking. Both her matches during this taping had purpose and real fire with them. She was a perfect first opponent for Tessa Blachard as Tessa reminded me a lot of Veda’s old heel character in AIW. Veda even comments on this fact during the match. Her work in the main event vs Athena for the AIW Women’s championship was so good, it got the crowd almost completely behind her. The crowd wanted Veda to win the title. They were begging for her to win the title. When Athena won the match, there was a noticable letdown by the crowd. Veda busted her ass in the main event. More than even in her matches vs Allysin Kay and Greg Iron. While this match didn’t have the spectacle of her diving off a cage, it told a wonderful story of her fight for respect. No one on the AIW roster IMO deserve to hold the Women’s title more than her. She’s been on more shows than any other female. She has legit connection with the AIW crowd. Her day will come. And I hope its soon.
Overall, these were the best GNO shows I can remember. Everyone performed on this show and performed well. I could go on and on about the other women like Mary Elizabeth Monroe, Jasmin, Alexxia Nicole, etc, but it’s all can be summed up in two words. Hard work. There were no forgettable matches. Nothing I’d want to skip when rewatching them. If this was it for the GNO brand, and Turner’s Hall as a wrestling venue, I think they went out with a bang. I implore you support AIW. Support Girls Night Out. Support Women’s wrestling. Some of these girls actually lost money wrestling on these shows due to travel costs, but wrestled anyway because they love it. I don’t think anyone should want to see passion like that end.
Photo 1 by JuicyPodcast, Photos 2 & 3 by Dave Muscarella