Gail Kim vs. Maria Kanellis (c)
Knockouts championship match
Gail Kim and Maria Kanellis-Bennett have been at odds since Maria walked in the doors to the company earlier this year. Not long after coming on board, the First Lady of professional wrestling started bashing the Knockouts. Maria felt that the KOs were stale and struggling and she was the only one able to fix it.
Long time TNA wrestler Gail Kim took exception to Maria’s comments, believing there was nothing wrong with the division she’s been a feature of for so long. Their issues looked to set them on a collision course for the Slammiversary pay-per-view (PPV) this last summer. Unfortunately, a broken hand kept Maria from being able to compete and more importantly, saved her from having to wrestle Gail Kim.
Fast forward a couple months, and Maria has cemented herself as the power of the Knockouts division. She had claimed that she’s the leader of the Knockouts, but TNA President Billy Corgan had a different thought. If there was to be a leader of the Knockouts, it would be earned. Therefore he set up a ladder match involving all the Knockouts. Maria was able to climb the ladder and grab the contract to win the match. She was leader of the Knockouts.
Add that to the fact that her enforcer Sienna defeated Jade for the KOs title at Slammiversay, Maria found herself in a great position. She had control of the title and all the power to keep it. She had all she needed to keep the gold away from that pesky Gail Kim, who wouldn’t stop coming for Maria.
Maria decided to be “generous.” She decreed that if Gail Kim could defeat every Knockout in the division, she would earn a title match against Sienna. Gail succeeded against almost everyone, setting up a final match against Jade, the toughest opponent the division had to offer. However, during that match, Maria sent her enforcer Sienna out to attack both women. The first lady claimed that that’s not a legit win, and Gail doesn’t get a title shot. Clearly, Gail was never going to get an opportunity while Maria was in charge.
Then Maria lost control of things.
The following week, tired of watching Maria’s abuse of power, Billy Cogan booked a Knockouts championship match with every Knockout asides from Gail Kim. Sienna would have to face Marti Bell, Jade, Madison Rayne, and Maria’s assistant Allie. Sweet, unassuming, Allie.
Maria brought Allie on as her personal assistant. Charged with announcing Maria’s presence as she entered the ring in the most shrill voice imaginable, her job was to do whatever Maria ordered her to. Unfortunately, she often wasn’t that good at it. She wasn’t a wrestler so when she had to participate in matches, she couldn’t carry her weight. She’d continually mess up her instructions from her boss. But all the while, despite working for the biggest bad gal on the roster, her personality started to win over fans.
That came to a head during this title match when she won the Knockout’s gold. Sure it wasn’t due to skill. It was purely by mistake. She was knocked unconscious by a baton onto Madison Rayne. And while she was sleeping, Earl Hebner counted the 1-2-3 and to the crowd’s delight, Allie was champion.
Maria didn’t share the fan’s delight. In fact, she was furious. Sienna was a good champion. She was strong and powerful and could hold onto the gold. Allie didn’t even know how to wrestle. So Maria made a cruel executive decision. She ordered her assistant to lie down for her so she could cover her to win the title herself. Allie didn’t want to do it. Winning the title meant so much to her, along with the support that the crowd gave her. But Maria was her boss so, on the verge of tears, she did. The control was back with Maria.
But there was still the matter of Gail Kim. A couple weeks later, Dixie Carter decided to create a Knockouts gauntlet battle royal to crown a number one contender to Maria title. And since Maria couldn’t be champion and leader of the Knockouts due to conflict of interests, her past rulings regarding Gail Kim were null and void. Gail Kim was allowed to enter the battle royal and won it. She’d finally have her match.
Now we are back to where we were in June, but now no longer just a grudge match. The title is on the line too. And on a night where Gail Kim will be the first woman inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame, she also has a chance to win the title for the sixth time.
The biggest thing to look for in this match is what roles former champions Sienna and Allie will play. At one point, Allie is going to be unable to keep taking Maria’s hostility. Will tonight be the night she can’t take any more and will that aid Gail Kim in her quest?