At Slammiversary 2020 the landscape of the knockouts division changed once again when the “Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo defeated Jordynne Grace to become Knockouts champion. The match between the ‘hossette’ Jordynne Grace and Purrazzo was considered by many to be the match of the night, which can hardly come as that much of a surprise considering the history of the division.
But how does today’s division compare with the divisions from the past?
Featuring names like Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Tara, The Beautiful People and Awesome Kong, the Knockouts were a huge jewel in the crown of IMPACT Wrestling. It’s not hard to see why. With quality matches taking place and the fantastic feuds, the Knockouts never failed to deliver. Gail Kim vs Awesome Kong at Turning Point 07 set the bar extremely high for women’s wrestling – go check it out on the IMPACT+ app – it still holds up as one of the best matches, not only in the Knockouts division but in the company as a whole.
That’s not to say that this current crop of knockouts isn’t capable of putting out some incredible matches, because they certainly are.
Look at the recent feud taking place on IMPACT between Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz vs Havok and Neveah. Kylie Rae and SÜSIE have been two of my personal favourites over recent weeks. Talent such as Kimber Lee and Alisha Edwards have really shown what they’re capable of, it’s also a testament to how far the knockouts have come that up until recently intergender wrestling was quite a big staple in IMPACT.
Yes, TNA had the occasional intergender match, but it was mainly featured as a comedy spot, with Eric Young and ODB becoming knockouts tag team champions, or again ODB vs Cody Deaner for the knockouts championship at No Surrender 2009 (available on the IMPACT+ app).
But for every questionable match, there was an absolute banger like Mickie James vs Tara in a steel cage being one of the first women’s matches to main event IMPACT, Gail Kim vs Taryn Terrell in a Last Knockout Standing match at Slammiversary 2013 and Jordynne Grace vs Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts Championship at the most recent set of TV tapings filmed in Mexico when Grace became champion.
The Knockouts division continues to grow and continues to build and build by adding some of the very best women’s wrestlers, either on the independent scene or those who have been released by other companies.
This has been the case for as long as I have been following IMPACT. Go back and watch some of Knockouts Knockdown One Night Only shows on the IMPACT+ app.
OK, some of the one night only shows may not have been some of the best shows overall, but the Knockouts’ shows were always something I personally enjoyed. Wrestlers such as Jade (Mia Yim), Marti Bell, Reby Hardy and the current knockouts champion Deonna Purrazzo all made their first appearances on the Knockdown shows. Looking were those women are now arguably proving that IMPACT spotted their potential and knew there was something special there before anyone else.
The list of former knockouts champions reads like a list full of some of the best and in some cases, the most underrated stars in wrestling: Velvet Sky, Taryn Terrell, Awesome Kong, Rosemary, Maria, Allie and Su Yung.
Of course, recently there was some talk about IMPACT changing the name of the division to simply the women’s division. The amount of former and current Knockouts who responded to this saying how the term “Knockout” empowered them and how it gave the division an identity to stand out from the other women’s divisions out there, not only the knockouts of the past but those on the roster today were standing by the knockouts name.
That’s just a testament to how much they all care about the division and also shows there’s the same passion in today’s division that there was when the Knockouts first came about. I wonder if Impact would ever consider a Best of the Knockouts tournament…?