A week and a half ago, we previewed the upcoming match at Absolute Intense Wrestling with Hailey Hatred defending her JWP Openweight, TLW Womens and IMW Hybrid Fighting Championships against Gail Kim in Cleveland, OH on November 25. However, with just over a week to go until the event, the match has had to be pulled.

Announcing it on their website, AIW said:

When we announced Gail Kim VS. Hailey Hatred, we had every intent on delivering that match. But sometimes even your best intentions are for nothing. While both women are currently holding close to ten titles between them, we had to deal with many different wrestling offices. Sadly we weren’t able to cut thru the red tape on this one. Trust us, if there was any way this match could have taken place, it would have.

We believe them. AIW aren’t shitarses who’ll announce a match of this level without working out all the kinks beforehand. We are sure that everything was confirmed and ready to go, with TNA ready to let Gail wrestle there, as well as JWP, TLW and IMW giving their permission to have their titles defended on the show. That alone is a difficult setup to arrange, having to liase with four different promotions to get one singles match booked. However, things changed between the announcement and the decision to axe the match…

On Sunday, Gail Kim added the Knockouts singles title to her tag strap, effectively making her the most valued female wrestler in the company. Just afterwards, we pointed out how the contest had become juicier, but in the back of our minds, we also could deduce that politically, the negotiations for the match would have escalated to a new level.

You can be pretty confident that TNA decided to move the goalposts somewhat so their Knockouts champion didn’t have to lay down and take the fall, which was probably going to be the likely outcome. Let’s face it – it’s doubtful that the titles were going to change hands, but it makes for an interesting headline for the belts to be put on the line. It’s also likely that it would have been a good match, would have been a contest that Kim could have really gotten her teeth into (possibly her best match since her series with Awesome Kong close to four years ago), and Gail herself made a video saying she was looking forward to it. Now the rug’s been yanked out from underneath her through booking decisions out of her control.

It is understandable that one company wouldn’t want their champion to look weak, but TNA have some nerve to wade into battle late and expect everyone to fold for them because they don’t want their new Knockouts Champion to lose, when that would have been likely outcome before Kim won the belt. Like it was mentioned in the Roundup, Kim being booked to win the belt didn’t exactly benefit the storylines, and made outgoing champion Velvet Sky look like a fluke titleholder. Had she not won the belt, it would have made for a more interesting dynamic going forward with Kim saying that she had underestimated Sky and would not do that again in the future, and it would have also left her open to wrestle Hatred at AIW without the nockouts belt being something of an albatross around her neck.

If you think about it, over the last month TNA has cut the legs out from Tara and Brooke Tessmacher by having them lose the KO tag belts to Gail and Madison Rayne (who were teaming up for the first time ever) as well as Sky by having her lose the KO title on her first defence all to push Kim, and then they spoiled Gail’s ambition to show how great of a wrestler that she is by scuppering the plans for her to wrestle the most decorated female champion in Japan.

We at Ringbelles have known about TNA’s requirements for booking their talent for a few years now. We had a conversation with a promoter back in 2008 who let us know about the amount of hoops he had to jump through to book one particular TNA talent for a match. TNA allegedly wanted to know the opponent, the booking of the match and who was going to win – and that winner would have to be the TNA talent so their star wouldn’t look weak, regardless of the fact that it was on a small indy show that only the fans in the building saw and was forgotten about not long afterwards. With politics and drama like that – as well as the high fees the promotion supposedly charges to book one of their wrestlers – it’s no wonder that indy groups don’t have that many matches involving TNA wrestlers, why many leave the promotion to try their luck managing their own bookings elsewhere or have to take on a second job to subsidise their income due to low pay – or no pay, if they’re not being booked for TV tapings or the house show circuit.

As a result of the match being pulled, Hatred will no longer be on the show, which must be pretty gutting for her seeing as it is her home promotion, and due to all the drama involving the promotions, she won’t get to wrestle there. However, Kim will still be attending, and she will be the referee in the AIW Women’s Championship match, with titleholder Mickie Knuckles – who won the belt at Girls Night Out 4, defending against Mia Yim, which should still be an entertaining affair.

– Lee Burton

Codebreaker says:

Ahhh this is so disappointing. I have been wanting Gail to wrestle a high calibre opponent on the Indys for ages now, to see what she can do.