Congratulations to Taeler Hendrix, who survived TNA‘s Gut Check to earn herself a contract with the promotion and a spot on the Knockouts roster. She was given the shot after both Taz and Bruce Pritchard gave her the nod, though Al Snow disagreed, claiming that she has potention, but was not seasoned enough yet – which may be a face-saver after reports that he had a little heat for suggesting her for the tryout and some inside the promotion feeling she didn’t have the right look or skill, and was deemed “disappointing” in her match with Tara on last week’s episode of Impact Wrestling. The 23-year old’s evaluation was interrupted by failed Gut Checker Joey Ryan, who invaded the proceedings and was escorted out of the building, so Taeler’s moment wasn’t without a secondary angle, but that’s by the by.
The question which now needs to be raised pertains who what her role in TNA will be. Should she continue as a babyface, considering she has been well received by the fans in her two appearances in Orlando? After all, her colourful gear, bright red hair and smile make her very recognisable and likeable. However, she has also shown some great work as a heel in Ohio Valley Wrestling acting as the oppressive and overly-demanding girlfriend of Dylan Bostic, which we discussed in April, so she is a possibility for either side, though I believe that she would be better suited as a face for now, as there is one major issue that a heel could pick up on to start a feud with her…
For some reason, TNA has been very careful to say that Hendrix was “diagnosed” with cancer – not “battled”, or “beat”. The assertion being made by the very specific wording is that she actually had the disease, though – as she pointed out back in April in our Fight Like A Girl interview with her – she was actually misdiagnosed, and never had cancer, though believed for a year that she did. Once she found out that the original diagnosis was incorrect, she made her move to OVW, which is now a developmental territory for TNA, so Hendrix was in the best place to be spotted.
Some fans have complained about TNA not being as open with all the facts on TV as they could be to make sure everyone is clear on the whole story – Snow did reveal all the details on TNA Today earlier this week, and it has had briefly mentioned on commentary and in backstage clips, but it hasn’t been as prominent as pointing out that she was diagnosed with the disease. There is the argument that TNA is misdirecting fans into assuming that she is a cancer survivor when she is not. This could be something that a heel could pick up on for a storyline, claiming that Taeler got in on a sympathy vote. It’s an emotive storyline that is based in reality, which is the sort of thing that can generate strong results – and could also raise some cancer awareness, if TNA chooses to go down that path, which could be a very philanthropic thing for them to do if they align themselves with some sort of charity.
Either way, it will be interesting to see what TNA has in store for Taeler Hendrix. Hopefully they have something in mind, and haven’t just signed her for signing’s sake, as that will cheapen the Gut Check, restrict Hendrix’s options to work elsewhere and – at a push – harm morale in the Knockouts locker room. Let’s trust that TNA knows what it is doing.
– Lee Burton