The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Spring TNA Knockout Report
The Kingfish Arnie Katz evaluates the current strengths and weaknesses of the individual performers of TNA’s Knockout Division
TNA is coming up to the Sacrifice, the pay per view that will probably determine the company’s direction for the next few months. That includes the Knockout Division, which has again gotten a strong push.
Here’s this quarter’s evaluation:
Wrestling. Awesome Kong was working through some painful physical problems, chiefly a bad back, at the time of the last quarterly Knockout Report. Either she has rehabbed it to some extent or has learned to live with the pain, because she is wrestling much stronger once more. Kong isn’t the one for flying moves, but her overall ring work is at the top of the Knockout Divisio0n. (B+)
Dramatics. Awesome Kong doesn’t speak and Raisha Saeed has not developed any nuance or sophistication as her mouthpiece. Endless growling about how Kong will crush her next opponent are repetitive and, ultimately, boring. (C-)
Charisma. The end of the Kong-tourage and a few interesting matches have revived Kong’s charisma. No one looks magnetic when they pummel someone they should obviously beat, so better opponents always translate into more excitement about the near-300-lb. star. (B)
Heat. This is Kong’s biggest area of improvement. The competitive matches and the opposition of Sojo Bolt and Mi Pi Sexy (forget that horrible match against Madison Rayne). (B)
The Kingfish Comments: Awesome Kong has seemed a lot more awesome in the last month or so. She was in danger of becoming a sideshow instead of a champion, but the crisis seems to have passed, at least for now.
Wrestling. The former underdog champion doesn’t have a wide repertoire of moves, but she does the ones she knows pretty well. She can work an interesting match, which is the ultimate test in this regard, though she will always look best against smallish, mobile women. (B-)
Dramatics. She is still learning how to present herself outside the ring. She has had the bad luck to be teamed with women who have either left the company or radically changed their role in the show, either of which doesn’t help Wilde’s confidence. She needs a long, stable program to shine with the microphone and she hasn’t really had that since she came out of the stands to become the champion. (C)
Charisma. Some fans call her a Barbie Doll, but she looks fairly capable, though petite. Taylor Wilde lights up the ring for most guys and has a combination of glamour and athleticism that plays very well. (B-)
Heat. The storylines that never quite jell have dented her heat significantly. The fans are happy to see her and generally give her a good amount of cheering, but she is not on fire. (C)
Wrestling. Even for an ODB mark, her ring performance is starting to get a wee bit stale. She knows how to work a match, but lately she seems like a caricature rather than her normal explosive self. Cody Deener isn’t much of a help to her matches, either. (B)
Dramatics. The Cody Deener storyline, complete with ODB’s new look, is certain a change, but I’m not yet sure whether or not it’s for the better. The coif looks kind of ridiculous and Deener is not exactly an innovative character, but it’s also true that One Dirty Bitch needed something different. I thought they yanked the talk show away from her too quickly. (B)
Charisma. Some men dream of an antiseptic, scrubbed-clean Fairy Princess. For them, there are the Divas and, in TNA, the Beautiful People. Others like things a little funkier, a little less plastic. ODB plays strongly to the “darker side” of the fans’ psycho-sexual imperatives. The announcers are on the wrong track by constantly asserting her unattractiveness. OK, so I’m a mark for ODB. (B+)
Heat. Fans love her. She is Stone Cold with Mammoth Breasts. (B).
The Kingfish comments: My undying passion for ODB notwithstanding, all that hoopla with Cody Deener needs to translate into a string of hot matches with someone,
Wrestling. She is still the best wrestler among the three women in Mi Pi Sexy, but there is still considerable room for improvement. A couple of more flashy moves, including a distinctive finisher, would greatly upgrade her in-ring act. (B)
Dramatics. Her acting is surprisingly uneven. Her best promos, like the “Rough Cut” series she did a while back are outstanding, but some of the “Beautiful People” stuff just drops and lays there, twitching. Some of that is bad writing, most likely, but it is still up to Love to make the most of what she’s given. (B-)
Charisma. She’s very pretty and sexy, so fans probably like her a little despite her character’s abrasive personality. She has a lot of potential, very little of which is being used in TNA. (B-)
Heat. Angelina Love has largely overcome the problem of fans looking her simply as a “playmate” type model. She has paid some dues in the indies and it shows in her determination to make the most of her lucky breaks. Her championship victory enhanced her status and made her matches more “important.” (B)
The Kingfish comments: The Mi Pi Sexy gimmick doesn’t work. The women just look foolish and inconsequential. The idea isn’t necessarily bad, but they aren’t implementing it very well. Weak writing is the curse of TNA.
Wrestling. Angelina Love doing more singles matches puts a lot of pressure on her long-time TNA teammate. She is not capable of a B+ singles match at this point in her caress, but she wrestling much better than she did when she arrived in TNA, Wrestling more singles contests will teach her how to do them, so look for further improvement from her. (B-)
Dramatics. Velvet does more talking now than she did a few months ago – and she does a reasonably good job of it, too. She is improving with practice and is already solid in the Mi Pi Sexy scenes. (B-)
Charisma. Velvet Sky is just plain gorgeous. If Playboy wants to use a TNA woman, they could certainly start with her. What a body! Her looks gave her charisma even when she couldn’t speak or wrestle all that well. As she gains confidence in both areas, those little poses and gestures she does improve, too. Her challenge now is to turn her personal charisma into heat for her character, because there’s a limit to how far you can go on pure sex appeal. (B-)
Heat. The Beautiful People are TNA’s only female tag team. They can fight Roxxi and Wilde till the end of time, but no one really cares, since there’s nothing at stake for either duo. (B-)
The Kingfish comments: Maybe now is the time to consider feuding Velvet Sky with Angelina Love.
Wrestling. Under whatever name, the Governor or Daffney, she uses, this TNA newcomer is not one of the world’s greatest female wrestlers. She is also rusty, though time should cure that. She will also get better as she recalls old lessons learned. (C)
Dramatics. Now that she’s Daffney again, she can do the scream. Other dramatics may be slower in coming. (C)
Charisma. The current state of her looks is against her. She is neither beautiful nor grotesque; a slightly-better-than-average-looking girl who is probably much too skinny to appeal to most wrestling fans, who seem t0o like their women a little thick. (C)
Heat. Maybe it’s unfair to rate this category until Daffney has had a couple of months to get the character over with fans. (Inc.
The Kingfish comments: That body may be right for fashion modeling, but she is much too skinny. She’s going to hurt herself unless she puts a little more toned muscle on those bones.
Wrestling. She can work. Sojo has strength and decent flexibility. She is not so big that the dwarfs the other women, like Awesome Kong, but not so small that she couldn’t work well against ODB or Awesome Kong. (B)
Dramatics. We haven’t seen too much of that from her yet. (Inc.)
Charisma: She may not look much like the WWE Divas, but Sojo certainly has something. Even through the indifferent push she has received, she draws all eyes when she struts to the ring, (B)
Heat: She has not gotten over with the fans to the extent TNA hoped she would. Her matches don’t spark a lot of crowd reaction and most fans might dins it hard to say whether she’s a babyface or a heel, because her character is not distinctive. (C)
That’s all for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.
– Arnie Katz