Say What??? vol. 1By Drowgoddess · · 3 Comments
Author’s Note: This article was written and comments received before Awesome Kong signed with WWE, Taylor Wilde officially quit TNA of her own accord, and Hamada parted ways with TNA. Those facts will change some aspects of the two remaining articles in the series, “It’s a Girl Thing,” on women’s wrestling in North America.
In the first article of the “It’s a Girl Thing” series, readers were encouraged to send in responses to three questions. Several of you did just that, and here’s what you had to say.
1. Of all the Knockouts who are no longer with the company, who was the biggest mistake to release / allow to quit, and why? How would you have booked / used her?
Jamie Kennedy: I guess it was unfortunate that Bubba “The Love Sponge” ended up being a part of TNA wrestling, for so many reasons. As a wrestling character, he was horrible, arrogant and couldn’t take the product seriously. My main rationale for mentioning Mr. Sponge is that he was partly responsible for the parting between TNA and Awesome Kong.
As much as TNA circa 2008-2009 was so confusing (and I suppose it still is), there were some standout moments in amongst all that fog. One of my personal highlights was watching the way the company booked Kong as a complete and utter monster. There was no other way to use her. It wouldn’t have been viewed as realistic had she been forced to play a minor role in the fledgling Knockouts division, trading wins with the other members. She simply HAD to be portrayed as a cold-blooded killer, capable of ending the match at any point. Her feud with Gail Kim was one of the reasons why I tuned in and had some great storytelling. How I would love to see Kong in WWE, taken seriously.
G: This is no easy question to answer. I had to stop and reread the list… multiple times, and then consider on all-encompassing point. You noted a significant point about Awesome Kong, “How many chances at a legitimate unstoppable monster heel do women’s divisions get?” And honestly, this has to be my answer. While she is not my favorite Knockout, she is extremely unique with her build. And she can sell the giant-type character very well.
As much as I tend to criticise the so-called “hoss” wrestler-type, I still endorse having one giant. This aspect of a roster allows for logical booking amongst kayfabe. Awesome Kong is easily described as a worker. Giant Gonzalez need not apply here.
I feel the division would be stronger with Knockouts like Kong. Visual diversity helps sell story-lines, even within my own criticism of the huge slow grapplers. If you look at the division right now, Madison Rayne, Sarita, and Mickie James have all had moments where they appear exactly the same… right down to almost wearing identical ring gear. I realize in-ring ability should be prioritized over physical appearance, but that should not happen. I see it as a glaring oversight when I can’t tell the opponents apart. The only time I would not criticise this, is if the Killer Bees, for example, were having a match against each other.
There are certainly other Knockouts who have been released that I feel were not utilized properly… speaking of which….
RYTMAN: MHO Gail Kim; aside from giving the KO title some badly needed credibility she also could’ve been used to build a whole new generation of Knockouts by putting over younger talent. (I know that’s KINDA what she’s doing in WWE, however in my vision, the word “talent” isn’t used ironicly.) Gail Kim vs. Allissa Flash would’ve drawn money like Disney.
williamhughes6332: Alissa Flash. For one due to her triple characters in the ring (Cheerleader Melissa, Raseed…) She was a multi-talented find willing to play along with any angle. I would have had her persue Madison Rayne as Alissa Flash and come up short and during an episode of Impact have a return as Cheerleader Melissa and beat Rayne for the title. Once champion have her return to her Future Legend Alissa Flash and constantly challenge opponents as either character.The dual role would create drama with the fellow knockouts.
2. Of the currently active Knockouts roster, who is the most ineffectually or poorly used, regardless of the amount of screen time given? How / why? Describe how to better utilize this person.
Jamie Kennedy: This is a pretty tough one but I’d have to go for Christy Hemme. Her meaningless backstage interview schtick doesn’t really cut it for me. Jeremy Borash was fine in that role and there didn’t seem to be any point in replacing him! Hemme was much, MUCH better out there in front of the audience – where she could let her natural zest and personality shine through. I found that her rockstar-like gimmick was highly under-rated and could have led to so much more.
G: Roxxi is in a league that I think doesn’t exist anymore in the bigger promotions. The ban on blood and hardcore style has many issues that concern performer’s health and safety. I respect that… we’ve moved on. At the same time, Roxxi brings an approach to the table that I think I have to liken to that of Tommy Dreamer. While Dreamer is certainly a product of an era and style, Roxxi’s willingness and ability to perform dangerous stunts is admirable. She’s also shown a willingness to, as you’ve pointed out, participate in humiliating angles including shaving her head or to be used as a one-off enhancement talent.
After the VKM angle ended, and Roxxi began wrestling under this moniker, I felt she was given a decent push. However, in lieu of her abrupt release, I was somewhat surprised to see her return. Roxxi could have easily fit the role that Tara played as the mysterious biker who escorted Madison Rayne to the ring. Tara has already taken on a new gimmick as the cougar type (an unnecessary gimmick for her, but let’s focus on one Knockout at a time). Roxxi in this role would have also allowed for a shocking return upon revealing her identity. And she could easily argue to have a grudge against the Beautiful People by addressing the issue of the “cookie-cutter” approach the show had taken at that point under the influence of the Hogan/Bischoff regime.
Tara wouldn’t have been hurt by this at all. They very easily could book her to return as coming out of retirement to settle a grudge. Had Mickie James not returned at the time that she did, this would have been a great way to reintroduce Tara provided TNA stuck with the current storyline for these two Knockouts feud.
Anyone who has watched her wrestle, can’t deny her skill set. However, if we are going to address the stereotypical approach TNA has taken in the division over the last while, it is clear that Roxie didn’t fit into their “vision.” Many critics have cited TNA’s tendency to attempt to mirror the WWE. Here, we do see a focus upon the plastic bimbo model, but TNA still retains the unquestionable overall product. Sadly, the division lost many great grapplers as a result.
RYTMAN: Who isn’t? This whole roster is a cluster-fudge of wasted talent and demented priorities. I’m calling a tie between Tara/Sarita. Tara should be the “Ric Flair” of the Knockouts; give her the title and let her put over younger, fresher talent while fighting off their relentless challenges. Sarita actually has my attention w/the whole “unstable bad-ass” routine going, but she needs a feud w/a purpose and a goal. If you’re willing to rehash a routine, have her stalking Mickie James, obsessed w/taking her spot in the company. (I’m thinking more along the lines of Austin-Brett Hart than Mickie-Trish Stratus.)
williamhughes6332: Of course Daffney.If your not going to give her the championship belt at least have her tag with new arrival Christina Von Eerie who represents the punk movement. Together they could become PG Express, a subtle play on words and go for the gold.
3. If you were Dixie Carter, and suddenly woke up one morning with your head on straight, who are the five women in all of pro wrestling whom you would desperately try to sign / persuade to return? Explain your plans for each of them, and how they would fit in to the current Knockouts division, as well as TNA as a whole.
Jamie Kennedy: I’m gonna have to throw a curveball at this question and say that I really couldn’t say 5 female wrestlers who would fit snugly into the confines of TNA wrestling. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of awesome female grapplers out there. That isn’t the issue. The issue for me is that I’m not really sure they would thrive in TNA or indeed many other pro wrestling companies these days. If only Gail Kim could be persuaded to be let go by WWE and head on back to the iMPACT! Zone. This will obviously never happen, what with the amount of money Kim will be earning in WWE compared to TNA.
G: This is in no particular order, as I could see all of these women contributing significantly to any female division booked to allow them to shine. This was also written under the assumption that Daffney is still part of the company upon being published.
1). Roxxi. I made a case for her in the second answer. I would be booking Roxxi for her hardcore style, but not necessarily to exploit big spots, blood, and garbage wrestling. However, her ability to execute those styles is very important here. Roxxi should be presented as a no-nonsense competitor. Somewhere along the lines of Kurt Angle or Lance Storm. If she holds a belt, she’s a fighting champion. If she’s in the chase, she’s the type of character who won’t back down from anyone. I see her as a potential tweener character.
2). Natalya. There is no denying how good this fellow Calgarian is. She clearly would be coming in as a face character, and I wouldn’t change her too much from where she is at in the WWE. Let her remain flamboyant and feminine, but with the ability to kick ass at a moment’s notice. If the current TNA talent pool was to remain the same with the inclusion of my five picks, I could see a number of great potential matchups between Natalya and Sarita or Tara. Hell, Natalya could even carry Madison Rayne to a good match (she’s done this more than enough times in the WWE with lesser skilled Divas). On top of this, she could easily feud with any of the other four women I’m bringing in. Also:
<p style=”text-align: center;”><img src=”http://www.gifsoup.com/view1/1350665/natalya-is-awesome-o.gif” alt=”Logo” />
<em>Look at this move. Seriously.</em></p>
Natalya would be a primary singles competitor, as I would not want to fall back on a Hart faction gimmick. There really is no other current equivalent character to be her “Anvil,” because let’s face it… while she’s the daughter of the Anvil, her style is far more akin to technical wrestling like Bret. However, she could be useful on occasion to “save” other faces who need a last minute partner such as Taylor Wilde.
3). Awesome Kong. I think I did a good job making a case as to why having a monster is a strong aspect of a Knockout division already. And that is precisely how I’d book her. Also, if I could have a sixth choice, I’d bring back Alissa Flash/Raisha Saeed to serve as her manager. An added bonus is that with the Flash persona, she could viably have two characters to add to the talent pool while significantly helping to get the monster heel Kong over.
4). MsChif. This women is more than a respected proven independent star, she’s also a genetics scientist. Yes, she has a degree outside of wrestling. Thus, she’s smart. That’s an important reason to bring any capable wrestler in. She’s barely had more than a cup of coffee in her few one-off TNA appearances.
As a performer, she has held numerous championships amongst various territories. While my exposure to her has been limited to the good people at YouTube, every time I watch her go it’s impressive. It’s also a mystery to me as to why neither the WWE nor TNA has successfully pursued this talented women.
With MsChif, we get established chemistry as a singles competitor with some of my choices, like Kong. I’d be bringing her in to initially form a tag-team with Daffney, however, and re-establish their connection from the NWA circuit and Shimmer.
Also, if I am allowed to cheat and bring in Alissa Flash/Raisha Saeed as the manager of Awesome Kong, that means I also get Cheerleader Melissa. She’s like a female Mick Foley with multiple persona’s. Not only has she feuded with MsChif in the indies, she’s also tagged with her as well. As Alissa Flash, she could also serve as a heel manager for a Daffney/MsChif tandem (and one who could step into a grappling role due to injury to one of the other women, and so forth).
The beauty of having McChif in the fold, is that you get the total package. She’s got a unique look and complimentary gimmick to team with Daffney. As a singles competitor, she clearly can hold her own, if not dominate the competition. I’d be trying to book her along the lines of a Chris Jericho equivalent… in that she’s got a great chance as being seen as a legitimate threat in any program regardless if she even holds a title.
5). Beth Phoenix/Hamada/Gail Kim. See, I want all three in my Knockout division. Sadly, I’ve already cheated and fudged the numbers by sneaking in Alissa Flash. All three of my options bring in a strong face character with unique looks and great in-ring ability… but I will am begrudged to settle on one and explain why the other two don’t make the cut first.
Hamada is my choice.
Beth Phoenix is great. I mean fucking great. It’s sad that she does not make my cut here, and it’s really a result of having Awesome Kong as my giant. If I have to sacrifice Phoenix for any reason, it’s that I prefer to have only one huge performer to enhance the significance of the giant to the division. There can be only ONE Andre.
Gail Kim loses out here for two reasons. First, I think what I’ve seen from Hamada was better in the ring. Secondly, TNA has enough cookie cutter model body types already. And in all fairness, some of them are actually very good. Simply to avoid having too many doppelgangers, and on the same principle I argue for with Kong, I want a diverse looking roster. It’s impossible to avoid the role physical appearance plays to the fans, and as opposed to trying to sell sex, I want to have a stable of unique characters. This helps alleviate relying on stupid gimmicks to separate Knockouts from the pack.
Hamada is someone I have not seen a lot from, in the sense of matches. However, from what I have seen impressed me so much, that I am willing to choose her over other capable and quality grapplers. I am not sure if there is baggage that comes with her backstage (considering the misinformation about her recent release), but I am willing to accept that on a gamble. She’s demonstrated high-flying abilities, which I am a self-admitted mark for, as well as all important in ring technical prowess and psychology. This women can go, and comes across as one tough individual. I could see her in programs as a face that could go toe to toe with any of my selections. In fact, I think I’d start her off in a program with Roxxi simply over the premise of who is tougher. Make it a best of 5… leading into a fifth match ending in a draw. This, in turn, could lead them to form a team out of mutual respect for each other and face the likes of the Beautiful People, Tara/Madison, or the newly reformed team of Daffney/McChif.
RYTMAN: If I woke up as Dixie Carter, the first thing I do is shove a handgun in my mouth and pray to God for good aim; OR sell TNA to somebody who would would have some clue as to how to run a show. What five women – hell, ONE woman -would want to work for me after everything I’ve done to their profession?
Assuming the God/Goddess of wrestling could forgive my sins, and grant me the hutzpah to approach any established woman in this industry, I’d go for Natalie Neidheart, Gail Kim, Layla, and as a long shot, Lita ( Amy Dumas ) and Trish Stratus. Lita and Trish would be upper-midcard developmental talent, putting over the fresh faces, Gail would too, but usually as defending champion (like I mentioned w/Tara.) Natalie would be a Jericho, a trusty hand in the ring I’d keep in the title hunt whenever I needed someone to fill out a role. The forementioned ladies would be the foundation of a whole new generation of A+ talent that would take women’s wrestling to another level.
williamhughes6332: Hamada. She is wrestling royality and her presence would go over as a future contender for the world title. Also since the global title has no business being in the men division and she already fought for the title they should bring it to the women’s division were she could be an excellent representative of a Global Champion. She would be the silent warrior taking on all challengers for her G-title setting up future matches with Sarita and a hopefully improved Velvet Sky.
Mschif. The idea would be to send her on as a herald character at first and observe her paving the way for who she is scouting for. Have her go to war with Alissa Flash and Mickie James setting the stage for her employer.
Sara Del Rey. She could definitely fill the role of Awesome Kong. Her stiff, power style would put the other knockouts on alert have her challenge Tara in a Bimbo’s Brawl match eventually setting her on a collision course with first Hamada for the Global title shot. Somewhere epic like Bound for Glory.
I have a three way draw for 5th place. Roxxi, Lufisto and Girl Dynamite Jennifer Blake. As for the first two you could start off with Daffney proclaimly PG Express as the most hardcore tag team ever! Cue the music and in steps Roxxi coming out and disputing this claim and proceeds to bring out her tag partner Lufisto, a veteran in the hardcore intergender wrestler with enough battle scars to prove it. Setting up a pay per view match similar to a Monster’s Ball. Jen Blake would represent our face in the title field against the heels of Tara, Madison Rayne and Sara Del Rey maybe even start a four way match with Blake showing an impressive outing setting her up in Tna as a face to be reckoned with.
The “Say What???” feature is intended to play a larger part in the BWF scheme of things, and will definitely be applicable to the remaining two articles in this series. Whether you responded or not this time, all readers and staffers are encouraged to submit thoughts and comments on the next one.
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