wrestling / Columns

Csonka Ranks The Impact Knockouts Roster

September 20, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Gail Kim Impact

Welcome back to column time with Larry. Now that I am done covering the Mae Young Classic, I thought I’d talk about the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Division. For the list we’re ranking the ladies who we know are signed and have appeared on TV or One Night Only PPVs. I also used who was on the official knockouts roster page. So due to that, Kiera Hogan and Hania won’t be ranked; they have not been officially announced as signed and have no Impact performances to judge them off of. Have a good time and feel free to share your opinions. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful of other’s opinions, and don’t be a dick.” We all have opinions, we’re going to disagree, just be cool about it.

I am basing my rankings on the following

– Overall skill.
– How they are currently being booked.
– Future potential.

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13. Amber Nova: Similar to Ava Storie (she’s up next), Amber Nova as only been working around a year, and at age 25, has only worked around 50-matches. She’s worked some short appearances on Impact, losing to Sienna, Sienna, Allie and Taya. Those matches have been so short that it’s really hard to see what she has too offer. I have checked out some of her indie work, she tries really hard, but is not only green, but very timid. Like our next knockout, she’s a long-term project for the company.

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12. Ava Storie: Ava Storie is 20-year old Jay Lethal trainee, who has been working for a year and has only worked around 50-matches. She had interest from both ROH & IMPACT, and ended up with IMPACT. At this time her biggest claim to fame is losing is losing four matches to Laurel Van Ness on Impact, XPOLOSION, and One Night Only shows. She’s obviously still a project, being so young and inexperienced, and plays a fine plucky babyface, but down the line they should try her as a heel. From what I have seen so far she comes off better in both attitude and in ring work as a heel. She’s a project for sure.

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11. MJ Jenkins: MJ Jenkins is on the knockouts roster page and reportedly signed back in April. She’s only had limited performances for the company, XPLOSION, Impact and One Night Only PPV (about 5 appearances in total). She has a good look, good attitude as she bussed herself on her own dime to work the lack knockouts PPV. She has passion and drive, but like the previous two ladies mentioned, needs more time in the ring to develop. The advantage she has over Storie & Nova is that she appears to be a really good athlete and is willing to try new things. Unfortunately, that leads to sloppy work at times. She just needs to be booked, not just in IMPACT, she desperately needs experience and needs to work anywhere that will book her.

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10. ODB: ODB is still listed on the company website as a member of the roster. At the age of 39, she still makes the list because she’s on the company’s website, and also worked eight matches for IMPACT in 2017 (more than the previous three ladies). ODB has heavily cut back on the dates she takes over the last few years, and seems to be happy driving her camper around to events, selling BBQ sauce and doing guest bartending appearances. As a regular performer, she’s way past her prime and the gimmick has passed its expiration date. But she has a name, gets a response when she appears and as long as she’s kept as a guest star to put others over she’s a fine friend to have in the Global Force Rolodex.

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9. Alisha Edwards: Alisha Edwards is 30, the wife of Eddie Edwards and is a veteran of almost 300 matches. She was brought into even the odds in the split of the Wolves, feuding with Angelina Love & Davey Richards. Unfortunately, her signing feels like a favor to Eddie, she’s only worked 6-matches for the company and hasn’t been used since the Slammiversary PPV back in July. She’s a solid hand to have around, but all things considered, her future prospects don’t look all that great. She’ll likely remain around for occasional use when they need someone or get the urge to run another Knockouts PPV.

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8. Laurel Van Ness: In my opinion, Laurel Van Ness deserves an employee of the year award for working the broken bride way past its expatriation date for almost 7-months. The good news was that it kept her on TV on TV in a regular role. But while she played the role well, it honestly made for some horrible wrestling matches. Either the dress was in the way or she was too concerned about the gimmick aspect of her performance. She gave the gimmick all she had, and hopefully, they will move away from it so we can see what she can do. I’ve seen some really good work from her outside of the company, and while I find her to be more of a follower than leader in the ring (she needs someone strong to follow and play off of), I think she can continue to be an asset, but hopefully out of the wedding dress.

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7. Diamante: I really dig Diamante and feel she’s been a great fit in LAX. She’s been good in the limited amount of in ring work she’s had to do, but the company has failed to feature her or really given her a shot. I fully believe that the end of DECAY hurt her rise in the company. When DECAY broke up, the natural trios matches and her challenging Rosemary for the title went out the window. But on top of that, I feel that Diamante has two big hurdles ahead of her:

1) She’s part of LAX: The LAX thing is a double-edged sword, it gets her attention, but at the same time, she’ll never be the focus of the group over Santana & Ortiz or even Konnan. She’ll always be the extra, tossing back a beer, talking about keeping the hos in line and getting involved in matches for Santana & Ortiz.

2) I fear that company is going to think she’s too injury prone: In 2017 she’s suffered two big injuries, a dislocated elbow and a knee injury resulting in ACL surgery. Now you can’t blame injuries like this on the talent, but we’ve seen companies “lose faith” in performers in the past for similar reasons. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen with her.

Anyone a Steelers fan? 😘#TarynTerrell #ImpactWrestling #Steelers #footballseason #football

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6. Taryn Terrell: When Terrell left WWE, she was a horrible character and just about as bad a wrestler. But to her credit, she busted her ass, became a rock-solid character and turned into a good wrestler that had the ability to work up to her opponents and deliver in big matches. There may have been better wrestlers (as far as everyday matches) but not everyone has the ability to up their game and deliver in the big matches. She did some great stuff with Gail Kim, and that’s why she is back. Kim is retiring; Terrell never got her revenge, and is now here to ruin the Gail Kim retirement tour. Her return makes me wonder if they will try to bring Kong back for a short run in a similar role, with her and Terrell playing the ghosts of Kim’s past trying to ruin her plans to go out on top. I like the idea of the angle, and to bring her back. She seems all in on the return and hopefully she and Gail can recreate some of their past magic, because if she can return to that level, she’ll be a great addition to the division.

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5. Allie: While Cherry Bomb was a quality wrestler on the indies, the company completely lucked into her getting over as a huge babyface during the horrible Maria vs. Gail Kim feud; she was the only good thing that came out of that feud. But with the regime change, her act was completely cut off and all momentum has been lost. She was the lovable underdog that the crowd fully embraced, which is hard to accomplish with the Impact Zone crowd. To say they dropped the ball with her is an understatement, and while she will likely still be a player going forward, I fear that they will never recreate the magic they stumbled upon.

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4. Taya Valkyrie: So we have some projects to work with, some strong players that could be more with the right chance, but with Gail Kim leaving I was happy to see the company branch out and try to bring in a player, someone with experience. And that’s why I like the signing of Taya Valkyrie. Valkyrie has proven to be a versatile performer, doing really strong character working Lucha Underground and also showing between LU & AAA that she can step it up in the ring in bigger matches. With Gail on the way out, the company making a big deal about Valkyrie’s debut and her relationship with Johnny Impact, she’s going to be a major player going forward.

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3. Gail Kim: Gail Kim is finishing up with the company at the end of 2017, and she’s getting the one last ride tour as she hopes to regain the knockouts title one last time and retire with the championship. Kim has done a lot for the knockouts division over the years, and while she’s been the queen of the division and deserves praise for the work she’s done, it’s time for her to go. I say this with no ill will, but when you consider her age (she’s 40, been wrestling since 2000, and has worked nearly 800 matches), the fact that she’s coming off of a back injury and the fact that the company (no matter who was in charge) could never break away from her and create their next female star, the company needs a fresh start. In a way, Kim is like Sting when it comes to TNA/Impact Wrestling; they have so much love and respect for them that for better or worse, the company keeps going back to them. I am all for giving Kim a nice send-off, she deserves it, but they need to fully commit to life after Gail Kim, they have plenty of talent, but they just have to have a plan and stick with it.

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2. Rosemary: I absolutely love Rosemary and feel that she is the one that the company should have built the division around. She was the reason that people cared about DECAY, as she played the gimmick perfectly, cut quality promos and was delivering in the ring. With her rise along with the way Allie was loved, they had a real chance to take a feud that had been successful on the indies and make it their own. But much like Allie, Rosemary was cut off for no real reason. She was over; she was having good matches and the potential Rosemary vs. Allie feud seemed inevitable. Instead they were made oddball besties and downgraded because they weren’t the chosen one and in doing so, also dropped the feud with Gail Kim that they had heavily teased.

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1. Sienna: Sienna wouldn’t have been my top pick to run with, but she’s #1 on the list with ease. She got to end Rosemary’s run, she got to unify the titles and while she had help, she recently got to beat Gail Kim. Sienna is skilled, she is the champion and she’s being booked as the queen of the division. I like Sienna, I think she’s a very strong performer and on her own is a strong heel champion. But I also feel that KM completely takes away from her act, he’s really no good in any capacity and takes away from Sienna’s legitimacy. I really wish that they would have gone a different direction with Sienna, she looks legit, she comes off as a bad ass and she could have been a dominant champion who just wins, because it’s ok for heels to just be better sometimes and win clean, while saving the shenanigans and desperation for a special occasion. As of this writing, Sienna reigns as the queen of the mountain; I just hope she gets an actual chance to shine instead of being booked like every cliché heel ever.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

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