2015, for me, was the year that the Knockouts division became just another segment on a wrestling show. Since its inception in 2007, the Knockouts have been far and away my favorite thing about TNA – hell, my favorite thing in wrestling – but gone are the days when the ladies of TNA represented the coolest, most cutting edge and BEST women's wrestling on the planet.
That's not to say there weren't some good things – there were and I'll touch on them in a moment – but for the most part, like everything else on Impact Wrestling this year, the Knockouts division suffered. There wasn't one particular thing that did it this year. It's been a downward spiral that probably started around the time Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff came to TNA but for me, it all came to a head in 2015.
I don't intend to to use this column to pick apart all the things that went wrong with the Knockouts division in 2015 because, really, nothing monumentally bad happened. It was more a case of, nothing happened at all. The division became stagnant. The girls put in the effort but without a strong creative direction and a purpose and a path laid out, it all just felt like they were spinning their wheels.
The year started promisingly enough with Havok poised to carry the torch of the new monster on the block and when Awesome Kong returned, there seemed to be a lot of mileage to be had out of their feud and eventually even a partnership. Sadly, after Kong beat Havok, TNA seemed to lose all interest in the newcomer and she was dropped from the division. Now it appears touch and go as to whether or not Kong will be around much longer as she is toying with the idea of retirement. If that's the case, then sadly no one really benefited from this short rivalry.
This may be something TNA resumes next year when Angelina is ready to return but realistically, the Beautiful People have had their day and the wise thing would have been to put over The Dollhouse as strongly as possible to signal that there are some new chicks in the neighborhood who are taking over. I love the entrance, the look and the attitude of the Dolls. I just wish TNA creative would give us a backstory or something to sink our teeth into with them.
Aside from that, not much else happened in the Knockouts division in 2015. Brooke had an uninspiring title run, Taryn Terrell became the longest reigning Knockouts Champion in history, and Gail Kim was... Gail Kim. Meanwhile, over in NXT the world fell in love with women's wrestling as Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Bayley, Becky Lynch and others were given the platform to be taken seriously and tear the house down in stellar match ups. All of which put the TNA Knockouts in the rear view mirror.
All is not lost, however. With 2016 and a new domestic television deal comes new hope for TNA and by proxy, the Knockouts division. I know that TNA have a lot of things to work on but the Knockouts division shouldn't be ignored because, really, there isn't that much that needs to be done to improve it. If TNA could hire a Knockouts dedicated road agent and a Knockouts dedicated creative writer, it would go a long way to giving the division the structure it needs, both in and out of the ring.
Aside from that, the biggest glaring need is new blood. Keep the Dollhouse, Gail Kim and have a couple of veterans in Angelina Love and Madison Rayne but if the budget is there, go out and hire six new girls from the independent, UK, Japanese or Mexican scenes and relaunch the division in the new year. Let the writer come up with characters and stories for these girls, and let the agent put together matches where the girls can showcase their talents to the fullest. It's not rocket science; it just involves someone being proactive and saying, it's time to make the Knockouts division Queen again.
So, which six girls would you hire for the 2016 Knockouts division?