IMPACT Wrestling has enjoyed a kind of resurgence in the last couple of months, aided greatly by the recent influx of former WWE talent joining the company. However, where the company shines the most is its treatment of its Knockouts division, which has grown into one of the most must-see women’s divisions in the world. They enjoy a great amount of TV time each week and have been allowed to show their unique and diverse brand of personalities and characters. While some of these characters at times may come off as “hokey”, women like Rosemary and Susie give their all to these personalities. A combination of in-ring dominance and a commitment to diverse character development has made the Knockouts Women’s division must-see.
Strong Title Picture
Deonna Purrazzo, as of writing, stands as the Impact Knockout’s Champion. Purrazzo is truly one of the most technical women’s wrestlers in the world, with her submission maneuvers looking incredibly painful and effective. Her new demeanor and alliance with Kimber Lee have made her a truly dominant force. “The virtuosa” also appears to have more confidence on the mic then she ever has, with the charisma and believability of a top heel on any brand.
Deonna originally debuted in Impact Wrestling in 2014, but at this point in her career did not seem confident enough in her abilities to shine to her highest potential. She returned to Impact over the summer in stunningly vicious fashion, immediately confronting and submitting then Knockouts champion Jordynne Grace. “The Virtuosa” was born, and would quickly rise to the top of the KO division, dethroning Grace at Slammiversary with her patented Fujiwara armbar. She remains the focal point of the division
Meanwhile, Kylie Rae stands as the #1 contender for the Knockouts Women’s Championship. In her short tenure in Impact, “Smiley” Kylie has quickly grasped the hearts of fans with her positive and resilient spirit, and may be the most endearing and infectious character in all of women’s wrestling.
After her abrupt exit from AEW in 2019, questions began to circulate whether she would ever return to the ring. She would eventually make her way back to the indies, and then would make her triumphant comeback to television with IMPACT Wrestling in March. While appearing dainty and over-friendly, Kylie possesses the unprecedented ability to dominate in the ring while never jeopardizing her persona and attitude.
Kylie Rae will face Deonna Purrazzo for the Impact Knockout’s Championship on Saturday, October 24th at Bound for Glory.
The biggest asset that sets the Impact Knockout’s apart from most other wrestling companies is the depth (and existence) of its midcard. While Purrazzo remains the women’s star as champion, there remains a full roster of strong and talented women capable of performing memorable matches and intense feuds.
Jordynne Grace is pound – for -pound the strongest knockout in Impact, and may be the most powerful women’s wrestler in the world today. Grace would debut for Impact in 2018 and made a strong first impression. Her stock would only grow, picking up huge wins against (at the time) the top woman in the company Tessa Blanchard and Impact veteran Madison Rayne to become the #1 contender. She would dethrone the record reign of Taya Valkyrie in January, holding the Knockout’s championship until her eventual loss to Deonna Purrazzo. However, being a part of the first ever Women’s Iron Man Match in Impact history is nothing to shrug about!
Meanwhile, Tenille Dashwood (formerly known as Emma in WWE), has experienced a rejuvenation in her career in recent weeks. With comedy manager Kaleb (with a K) in toe, Dashwood claims to be a social media influencer, and will obnoxiously stop mid matches to take photos with her opponents. It is equal parts ridiculous and brilliant, as it builds Emma as a great wrestler capable of creating heat, but also creates cracks in legitimacy that could lead to some interesting points of character development. Either way, I laugh at their act while also wishing they would lose, which is a win as a heel group in my book!
While Tenille works to rebuild her career, Kimber Lee, who also claimed fame in companies like Chikara and SHIMMER, brings her world trained expertise to the roster. Not to be undersold, however, is Jessicka Havok, who is a different level of powerhouse from Jordynne Grace and truly dominant. In her short tenure in Impact, she has already stood toe to toe with some of the greatest Knockout’s Champions in history. Her bond with Neveah, a Shine Wrestling alum, has been nothing short of impressive. These women, each in their own way, have the potential to be future mega stars in women’s wrestling, and each round out a perfectly balanced division.
Tag Team Potential
While WWE can be credited for bringing the concept of women’s tag team wrestling back into the forefront after a 30-year hiatus, Impact has the potential to have the most dominant tag teams in the world. This has added much-needed storytelling depth to the KO division
Kierra Hogan and Tasha Steelez have been tearing it up in recent weeks as a tag team. Both forces found each other in Impact, and although their charisma shined as individuals, their combined chemistry is something of beauty. They are easily one of the most entertaining combined acts in Impact, coming off as badass street fighters who can also be obnoxiously endearing. Through them, we may be seeing the seeds sewn for an exciting women’s tag team division in Impact Wrestling.
Rosemary and Valkyrie have become a real oddball pairing that has ended up working really well. There were seeds of dissension between the two when Rosemary started getting friendly with John E. Bravo. However, Bravo and Rosemary’s relationship has only gotten stronger, and while this has not lead them to a great winning streak, the potential for memorable segments and eventually tag team title contention is endless.
The alliances don’t stop there as we have the aforementioned Havok and Nevaeh pairing as well as Lee/Purrazzo and Kylie Rae’s partnership with Suzie. IMPACT has built a number of natural pairings that could conceivably make up a tag division.
Array of Characters
Few women’s divisions have the character depth and diversity that Impact displays each week. From an undead corporeal being to a living smile emoji to an influencer, there are many women who have committed fully to their roles.
Su Yung debuted in March 2018, a possessed demon creature that is equal parts scary and captivating. Her real impact lies in her flexibility and understanding of her character. Her portrayal of “Suzie”, the polar opposite alternate personality of Su Yung, is funhouse Bray Wyatt levels of depth and dedication to one’s character. Yung is joined by fellow demon Rosemary who similarly exists in two forms, and creates an interesting complexity to her character, especially with her partnership with her natural foil Taya Valkyrie.
Tenille Dashwood is another example of a star who gets her character and is capable of taking it to the moon. Previously mentioned tag team Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steeles have a believable and passionate dedication to their act as well, which comes off equally brutal and hilarious.
We are in the midst of one of the greatest periods in IMPACT’s history. This is due mostly to the increasing success of its blossoming women’s division. The love and care put into the knockouts division has paid dividends as it has become the companies most interesting output. The “Women’s Revolution” is in high effect in IMPACT harnessing perhaps the most special display of women’s wrestling in the world.
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