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Impact: Night of the Knockouts; Countdown to Hulkamania brother!
By BLAINE VAN DER GRIEND - SLAM! Wrestling


The knockouts have the spotlight tonight as a single elimination tournament is on tab tonight, with the winner meeting Tara for the Knockouts title next week. Plus the TNA Women's Knockout Tag Team champions in action. And TNA counts down the top three matches of the year.

Well we are certainly in store for a night to remember, as TNA prepares for their biggest show in company history on Monday night. But that’s then and this is now, and it’s all about the knockouts and no, that doesn’t mean that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao happened months in advance.

We kick things off on this 4 HOUR edition of Impact with a first round match in the knockout tournament.

Match #1: Madison Rayne vs. Hamada in a quarter-final match in the knockouts #1 contender’s tournament

Decent match here and a great way to start the show. Hamada utilizes her Japanese strong style early, by weakening the arm of her opponent. Hamada attempts a hiptoss, but Madison flips 360 ala Marty Janetty and delivers an armdrag. Hamada is quick to respond though with a mafia kick (won’t be the first one we see tonight) and then tries the Lucha style armdrag off the top rope, but I guess nobody’s perfect as she botches it. Hamada gets right back up and feeds Madison a mule kick and then a crescent kick. She tries a moonsault, but Madison gets out of the way, only to have Hamada land on her feet and deliver a spin kick, followed by the Hamada driver for the win.

Winner: Hamada by pinfall

Christy Hemme (who is apparently Lauren’s replacement) is backstage with the knockouts champion Tara, who says she doesn’t care who wins, because she’s a fighting champion and plans on keeping her belt. She then reveals another surprise (wasn’t that surprising) that she will be introducing the top three matches in the company in 2009 later in the show.

Match #2: Traci Brooks vs. ODB in a quarter-final match in the knockouts #1 contender’s tournament

This match was sloppy from start to finish. ODB takes a drink from her flask and then spews it right in the face of Traci and starts to work over her already injured arm (is that like the theme of tonight’s matches?). Traci fights back aggressively with knees, but ODB plants her face-down with a bulldog and then delivers a shoulderbreaker and a single-arm DDT for two. Traci goes on the attack with a spear and then delivers some knife-edge chops to ODB’s Adam’s apple (wait a second). Traci manages to get the crowd back into it by losing some clothes (apparently the knockouts have made a big thing out of wearing more than one top). She heads upstairs, but ODB catches her and yanks her down to the canvas by the arm and then delivers the TKO for the win (I guess ODB’s a total knockout. Okay that was lame. And I do realize the “T” stands for technical).

Winner: ODB by pinfall

Christy is now backstage with the Beautiful People, who get in her face for rubbing in the fact that Madison lost. They say the only reason she has a job is because Lauren got fired. Velvet says after she beats Roxxi, she gets Hamada in the second round and fortunately, Madison softened her up. Please bring back Angelina!

Match #3: Velvet Sky vs. Roxxi in a quarter-final match in the knockouts #1 contender’s tournament

Velvet is very vocal as she goes on the offensive, but Roxxi’s not having any of it as she delivers a faceplant out of the corner for two. Velvet fights back and applies an octopus, shades of Antonio Inoki. Roxxi escapes and delivers a discus forearm and then finishes Velvet off with the voodoo drop.

Winner: Roxxi by pinfall

JB catches up with Roxxi after the match, who says she took great pleasure in taking out the trash and now it’s time to move up the ranks. Right as she says that, Lacey Von Erich Pearl Harbours Roxxi and beats her with the ugly stick (a little too late).

Up next is a recap of Jeff Jarrett’s long history with TNA

Next, Tara introduces the first of the three top matches of the year. From Turning Point, it’s Kurt Angle vs. Desmond Wolfe. I thought this was the best match of the year for both major promotions and it really got Desmond Wolfe noticed as an even bigger star than he made himself in ROH.

Match #4: Daffney vs. Awesome Kong

Someone needs to locate Doc Brown and get Daffney in the dolorian, so she can join us back in 2010 and leave the Marilyn Manson attire behind. Although given what’s expected to happen next week, maybe she does have the right mindset. This match didn’t last long as I didn’t think it would. Daffney tries to take out the legs of Kong, but almost gets bealed right back to the ‘90s and then Kong applies a torture rack, which would make medieval dungeon masters shake in their armor. She then delivers the implant buster for the win.

Winner: Awesome Kong by pinfall

So with the knockouts singles competitors set for round 2, it’s time to switch over to the tag team knockout division as Christy Hemme is standing by with the tag champs Taylor Wilde and Sarita. Taylor says they want to bring in the new year with a bang, but they seem more focused on their tag title defense next week against Hamada and Kong (thanks for the spoilers. Geez!). Christy also congratulates Sarita on her CMLL championship victory in body building (I hope that’s not a tease to bring in Joanie Laurer).

Match #5: Taylor Wilde and Sarita vs. Lorelei and April Hunter

Well this is a new tag team that’s debuting and the announcers could not care less about them. There’s absolutely no mention of who they are or why we should care. The British Invasion joins Tenay and Taz for commentary, as they’ve apparently decided to invade (it is what they do best) ladies night in TNA. This was a decent match, but very forgettable. Sarita utilized a drop toe hold on Lorelei, as Taylor followed it up with a dropkick. Taylor then delivered the backstabber on Hunter (could this be a rib on Triple H?), as the Brits mentioned they were out there to scout the competition, as they’ve beaten all the male tag teams (I guess the no male on female violence rule has been scrapped then). The end comes where Taylor kicks off the ropes and Sarita swings her partner into Lorelei with a dropkick and then Taylor moonsaults off Sarita to finish off their opponents.

Winners: Taylor Wilde and Sarita by pinfall

Up next is match 2 in the countdown of the top three matches in 2009 (what happened to top ten?). It’s another classic from Turning Point, the three-way dance between AJ Styles, Daniels and Samoa Joe. A great match this was and it lived up to all the expectations set by their first match in 2005 (they have had two other matches, but apparently TNA doesn’t acknowledge the year 2006).

Match #6: Hamada vs. Roxxi in a semi-final match in the knockouts #1 contender’s tournament

Hamada goes on the offensive early with an STF (pay attention Cena). Roxxi barely escapes, only to fall victim to another submission hold, as Hamada steps on one of Roxxi’s fight and twists the other with an ankle lock. Roxxi counters brilliantly with a cross-armbar, but Hamada makes it to the ropes. Both women exchange armdrags in the middle of the ring and try dropkicks at the same time to and then almost had a stand-off, until Roxxi was showing the effects of her injured ribs, at the hands of Lacey Von Erich from earlier. Hamada then applies a modified abdominal stretch, which she turns into an octopus. Tenay then makes an inadvertent fat joke at Hamada’s expense, saying that the octopus hurts more when applied by Hamada, rather than Velvet, as Hamada weighs more. Hamada takes full advantage of Roxxi’s injuries as she heads to the third floor and delivers a double foot stomp to Roxxi’s back and then applies a half crab. Roxxi fights back with an exploder suplex and then a big boot for two, but gets caught with a crescent kick. Hamada then delivers a picture-perfect dragonsteiner, shades of the Ultimo Dragon for two. She then delivers a missile dropkick right to Roxxi’s rib area and lifts Roxxi up with a firewoman’s carry, but Roxxi escapes and tries a schoolgirl for two. Hamada then delivers a spin kick and then tries the Hamada driver, but Roxxi counters with an inside cradle for two. Roxxi then tries the voodoo drop, but Hamada escape. However, Roxxi is quick to rebound as she loads Hamada up for a modified torture rack and then just pancakes her on the canvas. She tries the voodoo drop again, but Hamada fights out with headbutts and utilizes a sunset flip for the win. Great match!

Winner: Hamada by pinfall

Match #7: ODB vs. Awesome Kong in a semi-final match in the knockouts #1 contender’s tournament

Get out the bowling shoes! In between drinks, ODB tries to meet Kong, coming down the runway, but it backfires, as Kong delivers huge chops and then whips ODB into the steps and delivers a short-arm clothesline on the floor. ODB then gains the advantage and delivers the bronco muncher (how classy) for two. Kong accidentally splashes the ref in the corner, allowing ODB to grab her glass bottle (I guess she finally dropped the flask) and then as Kong loads ODB up for the Awesome bomb, ODB smashes the bottle over Kong’s head, allowing her to advance in the tournament to meet Hamada.

Winner: ODB by pinfall

The third match in the trilogy of 2009 matches tonight is from TNA’s flagship pay per view Bound for Glory, and it features Sting vs. AJ Styles. This was another great match and perhaps Sting’s best match since he signed with the company.

Match #8: ODB vs. Hamada in the finals of the tournament to crown a new #1 contender for the TNA Women’s Knockout title

ODB takes a drink and then starts mocking Hamada with a phony ceremonial bow. Hamada gets irate and goes on the attack with headbutts and then a flying headscissor, followed by a springboard tornado DDT for two. ODB then does her boob-smacking taunt, but instead of getting another drink, she eats a mafia kick from Hamada. Hamada utilizes a mahistral cradle for two and then an Oklahoma roll for two. She tries a moonsault, but ODB cuts her off and leaves her in a tree of woe position. ODB then delivers a fallaway slam for two and applies a bearhug. Hamada fights back with an enzugiri and then a moonsault on a vertical ODB for two. As soon as she gets up, Hamada delivers a spin kick for two. ODB fights back with a jawbreaker and then Awesome Kong makes her way to ringside with a table and sets it up. The referees, at the request of ODB, ask Kong to leave. But the distraction allows Hamada to deliver a crescent kick, sending ODB to the outside. She then follows her with a running somersault off the apron and tries the moonsault, but ODB moves in the nick of time and Hamada comes crashing down, allowing ODB to plant her with the TKO for the win.

Winner and new #1 contender: ODB by pinfall

After the match, JB tries to get a word with ODB, who says she’s going to get back her knocked up title (this is not a misprint) and then Tara can go be a diva again, because in women of TNA wrestle, instead showing skin (I guess ODB doesn’t make a habit of watching her own matches, but then I can’t blame her). Tara then shows up as them be fightin’ words. She says she didn’t look like a diva when she kicked ODB’s fat ass at Final Resolution and she has no problem doing it again. She then refers to ODB as the equivalent of a truck-stop restroom wall, which was kind of funny. ODB calls Tara a joke and Tara just slaps the taste out of her mouth (wow that was a slap!). ODB then tackles Tara and the two of them start brawling as the show goes off the air.

To end the show is an interesting video montage, looking at all the major stars of TNA, which was somewhat enjoyable.

Final thoughts:

This was a very interesting show to say the least. I give TNA credit on this bold move to let the knockouts have the spotlight for the four-hour broadcast. I thought they did a fairly decent job with the tournament and accomplished what I think they meant to accomplish. I really wanted Hamada to win, because she really had her working boots on tonight and got good matches out of Madison Rayne, ODB and Roxxi, which nobody else can say. But they kind of ruined the ending, when they already announced that Hamada and Kong were challenging for the Women’s tag belts next week, so you kind of new neither of them was winning anyway. I still would have liked to have Hamada win and then have Kong get jealous, because Hamada’s the singles champion and isn’t focusing too much on the tag team. Nevertheless, I think they got both Hamada and Roxxi over, even in defeat, and the two of them now look like strong contenders for the future and they’ve also created another contender in Kong, should ODB come out with the belt next week, so that storyline’s all set up as well. I just hope this doesn’t mean that the knockouts are the only ones who won’t be adversely affected by Hogan coming in and I hope that he’s learned from his past mistakes and I’m optimistic that next week’s show might be a good one. And now that Vince has called Hogan on it with all of his cards on the table, I don’t think they have any choice but to make it a standout show and they have been promoting it for a couple months now, so we’ll have to wait and see. That’s it for me though. 8 out of 10 (record high) this week. Happy New Year peoples!