Gail Kim meets Brooke Tessmacher with the TNA Knockouts Championship on the line at Slammiversary X this weekend. The rematch comes just a month after the pair put together a good outing at Sacrifice, with Kim barely escaping with the belt after pinning Tessmacher with her feet on the ropes.
The plucky challenger earned another shot at the championship on last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling after winning a four-way match over former titleholders Mickie James, Tara and Velvet Sky. For the record, Tessmacher pinned James to win the match, which lends to the Mickie heel turn which is being revived after being teased earlier this year – James was also upset earlier in the show when Sky was given a role in a Montgomery Gentry music video, reluctantly joining in with a congratulatory group hug.
On a personal level, I am happy that this match is going ahead. In last month’s Sacrifice write-up, I expressed my desire to see this match again, so I’m glad it’s happening. As I’ve said in the past, given her experience level, Tessmacher is better than she has any right to be, and Kim has carried the Knockouts division since returning to TNA last October, and has held the title since November – making her the longest reigning Knockouts Champ in the title’s 5 year history. However, all good things must come to an end, and I believe that if there was ever a time for her to drop the belt, Sunday at Slammiversary could be it.
Let’s face it – Gail Kim has beaten everyone and their dog in this reign, which has built up her profile as champion, but perhaps her reign was too good, as crazy as it sounds. Very seldom did you feel that her grip on the title was ever going to slip, which is why I enjoyed the build-up to the Sacrifice match so much. Tessmacher pinned Kim on a number of occasions in the run up to last month’s pay-per-view, so it made it appear than when it came down to brass tacks that the Knockouts belt was in jeopardy, which made me feel a genuine sense of disappointment when it didn’t happen. And that’s good – it emotionally pulled me in, and if you can capture emotion, you can eke money out of someone’s pocket.
However, TNA may have also missed a trick in Brooke’s run for another title shot. Following Sacrifice, she and Velvet Sky were unsuccessful in wresting the title from Kim on the subsequent Impact, but then nothing happened until last night, when the title match was set up. That’s a pity, as Tessmacher’s heat as a challenger has cooled slightly, when it should be white-hot going into one of TNA’s flagship PPVs of the year.
One other thing – in the month since Sacrifice, Tessmacher’s character has actually devolved. With the arrival of Brooke Hogan last week, TNA has made the decision to remove Brooke’s name and refer to her under her old moniker of “Miss Tessmacher” instead – as you can see from the match graphic for Slammiversary posted above. This is a crushing blow for someone who is essentially a TNA-homegrown character, as it implies that one of their own creations is not as valuable as Hogan. Besides, Brooke Tessmacher was there first – why should she have a name change enforced on her, when Hogan has already admitted that her TNA run is going to be “temporary”? It seems to be a big morale knock for the Knockouts that was unnecessary. Still, one would imagine that when Brooke Hogan goes on her way, Tessmacher can start using her own real first name again.
Having said all of that, I’m looking forward to Kim v Tessmacher II on Sunday, and am predicting a title change. Leave a comment to let me know your predictions.
– Lee Burton