January saw TNA launch its Gut Check Challenge with the promise that the winner of the vote would be offered a chance of a match on Impact Wrestling and an evaluation from the judges, which could lead to a TNA contract. However, things were a mess from the start.
Without consulting the people who had taken part in their sessions in the US, Canada and the UK, the company put personal details of the wrestlers on their website – real names, professions, home towns – leading to some such as Mia Svensson going with it, but saw others like Courtney Rush show anger for a breach of confidence. On top of that, you could vote before the actual poll began – not that it counted – and the official start date was moved on three occasions.
Some wrestlers like LuFisto lobbied hard for votes. Her campaigning in particular was so successful that she was leading her bracket by a country mile, but then the next mess-up occurred when a glitch meant that people could register multiple votes, meaning that LuFi went from leading the bracket to a distant fifth. TNA went with it until realising that the vote was being royally skewed, and shelved the whole thing in mid-February. By that point, a number of wrestlers – including Athena – had washed their hands of the whole debacle – but now, it’s back. (more…)
If last night’s Gut Check segment on TNA Impact Wrestling taught us anything, it’s that winning isn’t everything.
After winning her match against Lei’D Tapa on the February 28 episode of Impact, it seemed that the smart money would have been on Ivelisse Velez being offered a deal to join the TNA roster. Both received praise for their work in the match – which was doubly impressive considering the stinker between Velvet Sky and Tara earlier on in last week’s show – with calls for the company to sign them both. However, only one would go forward to the evaluation stage, live in the ring… and Velez was not picked, despite winning the match.
Later on in the broadcast, Tapa faced the music, with Ohio Valley Wrestling‘s Danny Davis and Al Snow giving her the nod, seeing her earn the contract by 2 votes to 1, much to the chagrin of the live crowd, who were audibly upset that Velez was eliminated. (more…)
Eight months after Taeler Hendrix became the first woman to vie for (and earn) a TNA contract, two more women had the chance to take part in the promotion’s Gut Check. Ivelisse Velez (named as Ivelise Felez) and the Barbarian‘s niece Lei’D Tapa fought on last night’s Impact Wrestling, with Velez gaining the victory with tap out via a guillotine choke. The pair will return next week for evaluations.
Both had the chance to talk a bit about themselves before their match in individual profile videos, but while Ivelisse’s struck the right chord – talking about going into wrestling against her mother’s wishes, causing their relationship to be fractured – Tapa’s felt wrong for the heel role that she played later, as it showed her crying over the opportunity she was about to receive. It didn’t sit well with her monster character that she portrayed in the match.
As for the match itself, it only went four minutes so didn’t have the chance to make much of an impression – and Velez’s match with LuFisto at SHINE 7 last week was much better due to having more time to tell a story and make you care – but it was a decent enough TV outing, and the visual tale of Tapa being much bigger and more aggressive while Ivelisse used an MMA style made sure that the way they were presented was sufficiently different. (more…)
TNA’s Impact Wrestling is being recorded in London, England at the moment, and a big development with the Knockouts has taken place. However, seeing as it is a spoiler for the show which won’t be broadcast until February 21, you may not want to know. If you DO want to know, click the jump… (more…)
It says something very positive when two people who aren’t officially a part of the TNA roster elicit as much of a reaction as anybody else on a TNA card, because that’s exactly what Hannah and Holly Blossom did last night.
The twins were the third match on what was a great card in Nottingham, England, beating Knockouts Champion Tara and PWI Female 50 winner Gail Kim, with Velvet Sky as the special ref – inserted into the role possibly due to Miss Tessmacher (along with ring announcer Christy Hemme) coming down with the flu, causing them to miss this date as well as the Glasgow, Scotland card the previous night. It makes you wonder what match we would have had if Tessmacher was well, as with four babyfaces and two heels, there would have been a discrepancy. I can only assume we would have got a three way tag team match, with Sky and Tessmacher teaming up…
Even before the match began, there was tension among the heel team, with Tara wanting the play the queen bee, pushing Kim aside so she could do her bending-over-the-ropes pose before the match, and said friction would be important as the contest reached its conclusion. As the the match, it was your regular tag team fare with Holly taking a beating from both of her opponents, with them both looking to one-up each other to the point where a missed dive by Gail led to the hot tag and Hannah cleaning house. However, her opponents’ experience saw Kim hit her Eat Defeat finisher for what would have been the win, had Tara not broken up the pinball, claiming that she should be the one to get the victory with the Widow’s Peak in what was a fun tag team match. (more…)
There are many interesting prospects in North America. One which has been simmering for a while is Mia Yim, who has been honing her skills and gaining more experience by partaking in a number of extended trips to Japan to wrestle for REINA x World. Domestically, she has had some interesting matches which have been of a good quality, and was a beneficiary when one of her kicks broke Allysin Kay’s nose last January leading to a number of well-received matches between the two with greater stipulations reflecting the development of the programme, culminating in a cage match at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 7. She had a fine outing against Jessicka Havok at SHINE 3 last September, and also enjoyed outings against the likes of Kana and Yumi Ohka in SHIMMER in 2011.
However, there is one major sticking point when it comes to her work in the US – barring the original nose-breaking match against Kay at GNO5, Yim has lost most of those high-profile outings.
Despite that, she has the opportunity to claim a really big scalp at SHIMMER volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ on April 6, and spoil the homecoming of one of its biggest stars at the same time. (more…)
As of this writing, TNA’s Gut Check vote is due to start this evening – though this is the fourth start date which has been set – and one woman who has been part of it has been campaigning hard for you to vote for her – so much so that she has posted a video encouraging you to do so. In fact, the brackets are up – GO VOTE!
The “Scandinavian Sweetheart” Mia Svensson joins us on Fight Like A Girl to discuss her history with Gut Check, how she has changed during that time, and also how she felt about her real name being posted online. In addition, she gets badgered about why she doesn’t use her real name as her ring name, to the point where she considers changing it.
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The TNA Gut Check series isn’t just played out on TV. The promotion has spent the last two years travelling the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland offering sessions to wrestlers looking to make an impact (pun intended). That means that it’s not just winner Taeler Hendrix who has been involved in the process – and as we mentioned last June, both LuFisto and Courtney Rush were involved in the Gut Check which took place in Oshawa, ON, Canada. However now, TNA has thrown the selection process for who gets a shot on Impact Wrestling out to us, the fans. We will have our say in who we want to step into the ring in Orlando, FL.
To do this, TNA has listed every single person who has participated in any one of the sessions since the first one took place in September 2010 in Rahway, NJ. As stated in the press release – from tomorrow evening, we have the chance to go via the promotion’s website and vote in the Gut Check Challenge, described as “an interactive experience by letting fans decide the one previous “TNA Gut Check” participant who is most deserving of appearing on IMPACT WRESTLING’s “TNA Gut Check” segment on Spike TV.” There will be rounds – 16 brackets in all – until all the wrestlers are whittled down to one.
A number of women have attended the Gut Check sessions, and all of them are eligible, including the aforementioned LuFisto and Rush. After the jump, we’ll let you know which names to look out for – but first, A WARNING.
Beyond this point, we will be revealing the real names of a lot of wrestlers, as that is how their names will likely – appear on the voting form though some are just going by their wrestler persona. If you are someone who likes not knowing their true monikers, stay away. With that said, anyone who’s OK with it can jump in and see who’s vying for your vote from tomorrow evening [UPDATE: it's been bumped to Monday afternoon], as well as the links to their profiles on the Gut Check site, where available. (more…)
Five TNA Knockouts meet in a Gauntlet Match with the winner becoming the number one contender to Tara‘s Knockouts Championship.
• Well, there wasn’t any really. On last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, Miss Tessmacher and Robbie E beat Tara and Jesse Godderz, but it didn’t lead into this match at all.
• It was announced that Tessmacher, Mickie James, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky and ODB would meet in a Gauntlet match at Genesis fought under the winner-stays-on format, not like TNA’s usual gauntlet style with a battle royal with the final two then competing in a regular match.
• Kim and Tessmacher started the proceedings with some tidy sequences between two wrestlers who have always had good chemistry with each other. For the most part, it was the Texan who got the upper hand with flying forearms and dropkicks – however the key factor was Gail’s boot, as she planted it in Tessmacher’s jaw with an Eat Defeat to send her to the showers. (more…)
Ahead of the launch of TNA British Boot Camp on January 1, the Blossom Twins have been doing the media rounds in the UK, and made a massive splash today, appearing in four newspapers including The Sun, Daily Express and Metro.
In the articles, Hannah and Holly (real names Lucy and Kelly Knott) discuss their day jobs as teaching assistants at the Stockport school which they attended as youngsters, and also discussed how they got into wrestling at the age of 12: “We used to love watching wrestling with our brother when we were younger and we decided together it was what we wanted to do. Since then we have lived and breathed wrestling whenever we can. We really are living the dream – to be able to teach while wrestling is incredible.” (more…)
Mickie James challenges Tara for the TNA Knockouts Championship after returning from three months on the shelf.
• James earned her shot at the belt on the November 12 episode of Impact Wrestling by winning a battle royal. It was her first appearance on Impact since August 2 – she’d been out after having surgery to have a benign mass removed.
• Tara faced her challenger last Thursday on Impact, and was interrupted by the returning Velvet Sky, who made it clear that she wanted to regain the Knockouts belt in 2013.
• The two veterans started out with some mat wrestling, but quickly got more aggressive, with Mickie throwing Tara about by the hair and following it up with some quick pin attempts and a headscissors out of the corner.
• All the time, the challenger was keeping an eye on Tara’s boyfriend Jesse Godderz, though her concern with him gave the titleholder the opportunity to strike, and attacked her on the outside of the ring.
• Jesse’s interference also meant that a flash sunset flip pin by James was missed by referee Taryn Terrell, who was admonishing him for climbing onto the apron.
• James managed to mount a comeback with upkicks and clotheslines, as well as a big Thesz Press from the top to the floor. However, as she cut Godderz’s interference off with a kick, she was snared by Tara, who hit the Widow’s Peak for the pinfall. (more…)
The pigeons were let loose, and now they have returned.
After being released from TNA back in July, Velvet Sky made her return to Impact Wrestling last night, making a vow to regain the Knockouts Championship and make 2013 her year. In doing so, she interrupted current titleholder Tara and Mickie James, who clash with the belt on the line on Sunday’s Final Resolution pay-per-view.
Rumours of the 31-year old’s return to the promotion have been flying about for a few months. With talk that TNA President Dixie Carter was personally upset that contract negotiations with Sky and TNA had collapsed, there were always rumblings of her still having some attachment to the company, as her picture gallery remained on the TNA website and her profile was never removed from the roster page. In October, the Wrestling Observer claimed she was back in talks, and in Tuesday’s Roundup, we covered the reports that she had possibly put pen to paper on a new contract.
Yesterday morning, Sky tweeted a Bible passage, saying “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24″ – hinting that the rumours were true, and she would be returning to the Impact Zone. (more…)
I believe the winner will be [Gail] Kim – the woman who offered some much-needed stability to the Knockouts after winning the belt in November and holding it until June, making her the longest reigning Knockouts Champ in the promotion’s history. She also enjoyed a four month run as Knockouts Tag Team Champion with Madison Rayne, and has been the focal point of TNA’s women’s division.
No joke, those were the exact words I used in August when I was looking at who I thought would win Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s Female 50 for 2012 – click here to read the whole thing.
Earlier today, PWI sent out a press release informing us that the former Knockouts singles and tag champ – the woman who was the foundations of the division so Miss Tessmacher has the right springboard for her Knockouts title reign – had been awarded the top spot in this year’s list, following in the path of previous winners Madison Eagles (2011), Michelle McCool (2010), Mickie James (2009), and Awesome Kong (2008). (more…)
For the second PPV in a row, Miss Tessmacher defends the TNA Knockouts Championship against former Tag Team Championship partner, former friend and mentor Tara.
• On the episode of Impact Wrestling following her successful defence of the title at No Surrender, Tessmacher was attacked by Tara and left laying following a Widow’s Peak.
• The veteran later made it clear that she was given focus by her new “Hollywood boyfriend”.
• In between the two PPVs, Tara has shown a more aggressive and selfish side, beating ODB to gain the number one contender spot again, and sacrificing her partner Gail Kim to win a match over Tessmacher and ODB. (more…)
Earlier this month, we let you know about the Blossom Twins competing in a new TV show to try and earn a TNA contract. Called British Boot Camp, the details were sparse – but earlier today, we received an email from TNA giving us more insight into what fans watching in the UK can expect.
Starting in December, the show will feature 6 half hour episodes, and contrary to early assumptions, the programme will not only be recorded in Britain, but part of it will take place in the US too.
From the release, which you can also read in full by clicking here, it says:
Cameras follow them as they travel from their homes in the UK to the USA, get trained and mentored by famous names from the world of UK and US wrestling, and meet TNA’s President Dixie Carter. (more…)
Last night’s scary incident involving Jerry “The King” Lawler’s heart attack during the live broadcast of Monday Night Raw in Montreal, Quebec, Canada saw an outpouring of support across the Internet, with various woman involved in wrestling taking to Twitter to wish the WWE Hall Of Famer all the best. AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero, Velvet Sky (who worked on shows with Lawler in Aruba at the weekend) and former wife Stacy Carter all expressed their sentiments.
Lawler’s current girlfriend Lauryn McBride took to her Facebook to let everyone know the situation:
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. It has been confirmed that Jerry did have a heart attack…he is in stable condition and breathing on his own & heart is stable. I’m getting on the first flight out of here to be with him & will keep everyone posted. He is a strong man and we will get him back at his best as soon as I can get him home! I love you so so much baby!!
Miss Tessmacher defends her TNA Knockouts Championship against her mentor, friend and former Tag Team Championship partner Tara.
• Tara defeated Tessmacher on the August 23 episode of Impact Wrestling after the champion (who had regained the title from Madison Rayne following last month’s Hardcore Justice PPV) issued the challenge to her mentor as part of Open Fight Night. Tara won with a superplex.
• Following that result, Knockouts boss lady Brooke Hogan booked another match between the two with the title on the line – however, it was announced just this Tuesday online, and the two had no interaction on last Thursday’s TV. Instead, while Tessmacher was wrestling Mickie James on a house show in Dalton, GA, Tara was defeating Gail Kim on Impact. (more…)
It was announced at TNA‘s Fan Party in London, England yesterday that the promotion would be launching a UK-based TV show, with the winners earning themselves a contract – much like a TNA version of WWE‘s Tough Enough. There would be three acts vying for the deal – the charismatic Rockstar Spud, top-end grappler Marty Scurll and Hannah and Holly Blossom, taking part as one competitor.
Filming of the show starts today, and the show will premiere on Challenge TV in the UK in December – the same channel which airs Impact Wrestling. You can see them being announced by Jeremy Borash by clicking here.
When approached for further information on what the show – called British Boot Camp – will entail, a TNA spokesperson said it’s confidential right now, apart from the news which was announced at the party, though there will be more detail released in due course. (more…)
Last Sunday at TNA Hardcore Justice, I questioned the Knockouts Title victory by Madison Rayne, saying that it was the right result in the right storyline – as it pertains to her advances to referee Earl Hebner – but it arrived too soon, as it cut the legs off the previous champion Miss Tessmacher, who was still finding her way in her first reign. The situation changed on last night’s Impact Wrestling when Tessmacher regained the belt after the law stopped leaning in the direction of Rayne.
Knockouts boss lady Brooke Hogan had clearly seen enough, and made the ruling that Hebner was not going to ref any more women’s matches, which bent the new champion out of shape as she waited in the ring for what she thought was going to be a victory party. She then got two further kicks in the teeth when she was informed that the rematch between her and Tessmacher would happen later in the show, and there would be a debuting ref, and it would be a woman – not that female refs are a new thing in TNA, as Traci Brooks donned the stripes for a while in 2008.
Rayne got in a cutting blow before leaving though, saying that Brooke was only there because of her surname – an interesting, and possibly close-to-the-bone line, considering that argument was raised in this week’s Wrestling Observer about how she’s not over and not much of a talker. Granted, her on-mic stuff here wasn’t great, but she’s hardly the worst ever – perhaps she’s being unfairly compared to her dad. (more…)
Madison Rayne challenges Miss Tessmacher for the TNA Knockouts Championship, hoping that she has the ace in the hole by swaying the affections of the referee in her favour.
• For months, Rayne has been talking about the crush that’s making her all gooey-eyed, and it was finally revealed to be referee Earl Hebner. Since then, he has been smitten with her. This has been demonstrated by controversially awarding her the decision in matches, though it could be argued they were bad calls rather than favouritism.
• The latest instance came in a 4-way match to determine a new top contender when Rayne beat Gail Kim, Mickie James and Tara. Madison was the one being pinned but was awarded the victory.
• Rayne also kissed Earl right in front of the Knockouts Champ on last week’s Impact Wrestling to make it seem that she had the ref in her pocket. (more…)
Having worked in every major American promotion, lucha libre legend and Wrestling Observer Hall of Famer Konnan (who currently works in the booking department of Mexico’s AAA promotion) is a man who has seen most everybody come and go, and someone who recognises genuine talent when he sees it. In a typically candid interview with Bryan Alvarez & Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio this week (July 26th), Konnan ended up getting onto the topic of Karen Jarrett‘s run in AAA (alongside her husband Jeff, who currently holds the AAA Mega Unified Heavyweight Championship), where she has been known as “La Bruja” (The Witch) Karen – going so far as to compare Jarrett to the late Sensational Sherri.
She’s incredible man. The best valet I ever worked with, or against, or whatever, was Sherri Martel. And you know, Sherri Martel, man… she brought it. You know, when she was in Mexico she fuckin’ partied hard and she worked even harder. And she had no fear. I mean, I remember her one time climbing to the top of a cage, you know, and just fuckin’ took off her shoes and just jumped off on Jake The Snake. Just didn’t give a shit. And you know, one time she fuckin’ slapped the shit outta me in a promo, and she hit me so hard that I kinda blacked out for a couple of seconds – and I thought it was Jake. And I got really hot, and I went after him and he goes “Nah, man… it was her”, and I was looking at her like “God damn, you can *punch*”. But she was just great, and I don’t have to tell you about her work. And Karen? Karen reminds me a lot of her. Karen doesn’t care. She goes out there, she agitates the crowd. If she has to show ass, she will. We had this one thing where we dressed her up as a witch and everybody was calling her a witch, and she was selling it great. You know, she just has this affinity for knowing what to do and when do to it. And she just loves to perform. You know, for somebody who really wasn’t even in the business, she’s incredible man. (more…)
Former five-time Knockouts Champion has parted ways with TNA. In a statement posted on her Twitter last night, the 30-year old said:
To all my wonderful fans, just want to let you know I have been granted my release from TNA. It was completely amicable parting of ways and I want to thank TNA and all of its employees for the wonderful journey I’ve had there over the years. Now I’m on to the next amazing chapter of my life! If you are looking to book me please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you so much!
One would say that Love has been seldom used of TNA TV this year – which is true, as her appearances on Impact Wrestling have considerably dropped in 2012 – but the 30-year old has been keeping busy on the promotion’s house show circuit, where she has wrestled semi-regularly, although very seldom has her hand raised in victory. It was a different story in TNA Indian off-shoot Ring Ka King where she won most of her matches, though it did not translate to a push back in North America. It is a crushing shame for the Toronto, Ontario, Canada native, who has had more Knockout title reigns than any other woman, and at one point was part of the most over act in the company… (more…)
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… (more…)
Back when it was still in single figures, we interviewed LuFisto for the Women of Wrestling Podcast. Among the mass of topics which were discussed, including her changing an Ontarian law which prevented men wrestling women and competing in brutal and bloody deathmatches, she pointed out one ambition which she held dear – one which has yet to be accomplished.
The last thing I would love to do is have one match with TNA. Just one. Dark match, whatever – I don’t care. I just want to experience what it is.
Considering she has been wrestling her entire adult life in numerous countries (and spilt blood in many of them – either her own or someone else’s) it sounds like a modest request. Debuting at the age of 17 in 1997, the Montreal native has broken barriers for women in her home country of Canada, competed and won championships in Combat Zone Wrestling, hanging with the guys there along the way, won deathmatch tournaments (one of which saw a piece of broken fluorescent bulb glass lodged in her back for around four years), and also proven that she’s not a one-trick pony by wrestling in SHIMMER without the benefit or distraction of weapons. Much like Mick Foley’s transformation from Cactus Jack and cellar dweller Mankind to the cuddly guy who is everyone’s happy uncle, LuFisto transitioned from a violent, partially masochistic maniac character to one which is based around Japanese anime and peppered with fun and happiness. LuFisto is a pioneer for women’s wrestling who has been trying for a number of years to get a foot in the door at either WWE or TNA, with the usual response being that she doesn’t have the “look” that they are after. However last Saturday, on the 15th anniversary of her debut, she got the opportunity she’s been after for years, when she got a chance to wrestle in a TNA ring as part of its Gut Check before the card in Oshawa, Ontario. (more…)