It snuck up on us somewhat because of women’s wrestling’s March Madness, but TNA‘s Victory Road hosted a Knockouts Title match last night, pitting (former) friends Gail Kim and Madison Rayne facing each other for Kim’s belt.

Rayne earned the shot at the title by sneaking her way to victory in a battle royal, causing her friendship with then-Knockouts Tag team Championship partner Kim to become somewhat strained, as the two began arguing and distancing themselves from each other in situations where they would have helped each other out, to the point where the pair lost their doubles straps to ODB and Eric Young on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling. Freeing themselves of the shackles of being forced to associate with each other, the pair met last night with the singles strap at stake.

In what turned out to be a back and forth contest with no real aggressor, Kim was able to retain the championship by hitting the challenger with Eat Defeat on her second attempt for the winning pinfall, albeit with a handful of Rayne’s tights.

It was a short match, so this will be a fairly short report, but we’ll look at what was bacon, what was baloney, and what was offal…

The Good

Credit to them, they tried hard, and some of the offence was pretty innovative – the most notable being Gail’s attack on Madison’s leg for a brief bit of heat, where she used her weight to spike the challenger’s foot into the mat, jarring it all the way up to her hip, which looked pretty cool. Rayne – known during her Knockouts title reign for being quite deliberate and rarely straying from punches, kicks and chokes – used some of the dynamic repertoire that she employed on the indies during her Ashley Lane days with things like flying heel kicks, running knees and quick neckbreakers being pulled out of the bag.

The Bad

It’s the same story as all PPVs from the Impact Zone – the crowd didn’t give a flying fornication. There were a smattering of chants, but nothing to get excited about, and because the match was ostensibly heel v heel, it was difficult for the fans to get behind anyone. A possible reason for that might be Rayne herself – not that it’s her fault, but the crowd seems to be more enthusiastic for former WWE Divas than for home-grown talent.

The Ugly

As a result of the fans’ lack of interaction and not having a babyface to do the fiery comebacks, it was – while not ugly – pretty dull, with no real story to tie the match together apart from them being former tag team championship partners whose friendship had come to an end.

**

It’s a shame really. Knockouts matches have been relatively good this year, but this felt like a throwback to last year’s humdrum. Hopefully Victory Road was just a potbole and things will improve again soon enough.

– Lee Burton