365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
Are we still amid the peak era for women’s wrestling? Have we reached that peak? The prominence of women’s wrestling definitely has grown in recent years. Major promotions’ women’s divisions spent the 1990s earmarked mostly for bra-and-panty type content or forgettable filler matches — assuming a women’s division even existed at all. Today, that’s changed. Women have headlined pay-per-views, including a WrestleMania.
TNA Wrestling (now known as IMPACT) didn’t even institute a women’s title until late 2007 — more than five years after the promotion started running. The quality has ebbed and flowed through the years but, today, their Knockouts division holds up with as good a collection of female talent as any other company: Jordynne Grace, Deonna Purrazzo, Rosemary, Kimber Lee, Taya Valkyrie, Su Yung, just to name a few. And it all started with a rivalry between Gail Kim and Awesome Kong, the competitors in today’s selection as part of 365 Wrestling. In this one, Kim defends her Knockouts Title against Kong in a No DQ Match from Final Resolution 2008.
You can watch this match on YouTube, and I also have embedded it below:
Kim became the first Knockouts Champion in the fall of 2007, and her major rival during that reign was Kong, who had made a name for herself in Japan and on the U.S. independent circuit before coming to TNA. The rivalry between Kim and Kong helped put the Knockouts Division on the map and established it as an alternative to the women’s matches coming out of WWE at the time.
You also might recognize Kong from her role on the GLOW Netflix show.
Certain stories just work in wrestling, and they’ve been told countless times through the years. This is one of them, with the gutsy underdog babyface (Kim) going against the unstoppable juggernaut heel (Kong). Kong is in her element in this match, battering Kim and throwing her around. An early exchange on the ringside floor helps set the tone, with Kong menacing Mike Tenay and Don West and teasing an Awesome Bomb through the commentary table. Meanwhile, Kim does a great job helping to make Kong look like a monster. She takes a spinning backfist while seated on the top turnbuckle, taking a spill that looks even nastier when one leg gets hooked, leaving her dangling above the floor.
They reap plenty of fruit from the No DQ stipulation. A brawl through the crowd whips the Impact Zone fans into a frenzy and that battle sees the first major momentum shift in the match in the champ’s favor, when Kong misses on a charging attack and Kim zeroes in attacking Kong’s lefty arm and shoulder. Later, after Kim eats a sweet-looking wheelbarrow facebuster and narrowly kicks out, Kong releases her frustrations after the near-finish by annihilating the official with an Awesome Bonb, then a chairshot. Ultimately, Kong’s aggression proves to be her undoing; Kim gets the chair and delivers multiple blows, followed by a splash off the top for another near fall counted by a replacement referee. When Kong hits Kim with a chokeslam for another close two count, and Kong goes to powerbomb that referee as well, Kim ensnares Kong in a schoolboy for the pin, after which the official flees in terror.
–TNA/IMPACT has produced a huge amount of nonsense through the years, but much of the in-ring product is good to great. The Impact Zone crowd added a lot to this one, even if some or most of them may have been plants.
–Speaking of nonsense, after meeting in a title match with a stipulation, these two wrestled AGAIN on the subsequent episode of TV, where Kong won the title after interference from her new manager. Why not do that here, especially since Tenay explicitly mentions “an associate” of Kong’s being in attendance for the pay-per-view? Beats me.
–Kim’s facial expressions and mannerisms after felling Kong with the chairshots and splash, only to get a two count, were great.
–A couple of unprotected chairshots in this one, which always makes me cringe a bit given what we have learned in recent years about concussions.
–This was one of two TNA pay-per-views in 2008 called Final Resolution, with the other happening in December. Weird.
Final Rating: 5.9
This rivalry between Kong and Kim helped establish the new Knockouts division, and this is the best match from their feud that I have seen. It’s a solid, satisfying watch in the “three star” range.
Got a match you’d like me to watch as part of this 365 Wrestling project? Agree or disagree with my take on this match? Let me know by using the contact form on this site, or reach me on Twitter.