With the “first ever” Women’s Pay-Per-View (SPOILER ALERT – it’s not) WWE Evolution just around the corner, Matthew Roberts takes another trip in the TWM Time Machine to go back to September 2013 (well, March 2013) to look at TNA’s One Night Only; Knockouts Knockdown event.
Whilst I am ambivalent to the moaning about WWE Evolution not being the first ever all-female PPV, the fact remains that it is far from the first. As far back as 1992, LLPW presented one (which was such a financial bust it effectively ended the promotion), WOW had one in 2001 and these days the likes of Shimmer, WSU and Pro-Wrestling Eve have all run I-PPV’s. And even if they are not serious “competitors” with the WWE anymore (were they ever), TNA beat the McMahon’s to the punch by half a decade with 2013’s Knockouts Knockdown event.
It is, of course, wise to point out in the first instance that this wasn’t one the scale of Evolution. It was a pre-taped PPV (airing almost six months after being taped) and was part of the One Night Only series of events that TNA had to tape because foreign TV deals had provisions for monthly PPV’s that the company could no longer afford to produce. Still, it made history in its own way; but was it any good?
The show was built around the concept that a series of undercard matches would see the winners qualify for the main event gauntlet to crown the “Queen of TNA”. Maybe the WWE had paid attention to this show because as is now customary when the WWE announce something for the females they hope will get mainstream press attention the ladies start the show gathered in the ring hanging on the every word of an authority figure. Mind you Brooke Hogan is no Stephanie McMahon (for all the latter’s faults). It matters not five years on out of context but it’s worthwhile noting that by the time this was aired Brooke was already gone from TNA.
The opener promises much as it pits Gail Kim, inarguably the greatest TNA “Knockout” of them all, against Alissa Flash (aka Cheerleader Melissa). It largely delivers too. Although clocking in at less than ten minutes it’s a hard hitting affair that also throws in some neat looking submission based offence and certainly sets the crowd (and the event) off on the right note.
Lei’D Tapa and Ivelisse Velez had no hope of following it, even if their previous interaction in TNA’s Gutcheck meant that there was at least a storyline behind their match which the crown bought in to. It wasn’t very good, which was largely down to Tapa not being, well, very good at all and managing to nearly kill Velez on a couple of power spots. In many ways this was reminiscent of the WWE’s Women’s Division “pre-Evolution” as Velez put in all the work, looked by far the sharper and better wrestler and therefore obviously did the j-o-b.
Tara (aka Victoria in the WWE) and Mia Yim (currently to be seen in the Mae Young Classic) couldn’t have failed to be better and they did at least assemble a more cohesive bout. The story was the veteran Tara against the up and coming Mia and for what it was it was perfectly fine. It was never really intended to showcase Mia Yim but it was a reasonable enough match considering it lasted for all of six minutes. Miss Tessmacher and Santana Garrett got even less (about four minutes) and they again did the best they could with what they were given. It wouldn’t have been out of place as an interesting, quick-paced small segment of a TV show.
A video re-cap of ODB and Eric Young’s wedding gets more time than the previous two matches COMBINED as a lead in to ODB’s match with Trinity. Trinity had been in TNA in it’s very early days and had a short run in the WWE’s version of ECW before retiring from the ring to focus on her other career of being a stuntwoman. This was something of a rough, unpolished match which at least sets it apart from other action on the card but that doesn’t mean the match itself was up to much. The next match of Jackie Moore against Taryn Terrell had even more of a “clash of styles” vibe about it but it was relatively good all things considered. This was at the time when Taryn had been carried to some great matches by Gail Kim, flying in the face of just how useless she looked in WWE, but was still a work in progress. For a five minute match, this was pretty good.
A three way match between Hannah Blossom, Sojo Bolt and Taeler Hendrix suffered from the usual three way match problem of pinfalls being broken up by the third person and at only five minutes in length they were cramming a lot into this. Velvet Sky and Jillian Hall were given a similar amount of time, but managed to leave me feeling like they’d done an hour by the time they were over. And not in a positive way either.
By this point the card had largely provided us with TV style matches that were occasionally great, occasionally bad but mainly just much of a muchness. Thankfully Mickie James and Serena Deeb finally gave us something to really get our teeth into. Full of fast-paced, fun action the two worked around the babyface vs babyface routine to drag us all into the action. It was the match of the night by some distance.
We were then left with the Gauntlet, featuring all the winners from the earlier matches. This was a Royal Rumble style match with the remaining squaring off in a one-on-one match to decide the ultimate winner. They tried to advance some on-going storylines and the action was largely fine but it all seemed a way of killing some time until we got down to that final two, which were Gail Kim and Mickie James. Their closing battle was very good, as you’d expect from two good workers with a good history of matches between themselves, and in the end Kim was a fitting winner and was crowned Queen of TNA.
Overall the show was ok, akin to an episode of TV rather than a must-see TV. Admittedly nothing really plumbed the depths of awfulness (with the possible exception of Velvet/Jillian) and most things went got through with a fast pace that rarely got boring. On the flip side, there was little that really excelled, other than the moments that Mickie James and Gail Kim were involved in. An interesting curiosity, but not an essential watch.