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American women’s wrestling has come a long way from meaningless filler bouts and bra-and-panty matches. The Knockouts division in TNA Wrestling helped create that change. The Knockouts are still going strong in what is now known as IMPACT but really turned a corner with the Gail Kim–Awesome Kong rivalry. Let’s take a look at a chapter of that feud, 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 foe during that reign was Kong, who made a name for herself in Japan and on the U.S. independent circuit before coming to TNA. You also might recognize Kong from her role on the GLOW Netflix show.
Certain stories just work in wrestling, to the point they’ve been told countless times. This is one of them, with the gutsy undersized fan favorite (Kim) going against the unstoppable juggernaut villain (Kong). Kong is in her element in this match, battering Kim, tossing her around, manhandling referees and menacing Mike Tenay and Don West at the commentary table. Meanwhile, Kim makes Kong look like a monster. Kim 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 sees the first major momentum shift in the champ’s favor, when Kong misses on a charging attack and Kim zeroes in attacking Kong’s lefty arm and shoulder. Kim makes her comeback by annihilating Kong with multiple chairshots, followed by a top rope splash and has a great reaction when it doesn’t get the pin. Kong’s aggression toward the referee(s) proves to be her undoing, and prey for a schoolboy pin by the champion.
After all this, these two wrestled yet 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. This type of nonsense booking was common in TNA.
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 match to watch.
We remember an all-time great wrestler, and person.
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