The women’s revolution in wrestling today is a huge hit. TNA did their part many years ago attempting to build a credible division during the mid-to-late 2000s. The Knockouts division was created with their hopes of offering a plethora of different female stars with different wrestling styles, visual looks and characters. Some women just worked as managers or personalities while others represented the wrestling portion. For many years, TNA outdid the WWE in terms of the women’s division. The Knockouts segments consistently achieved the highest ratings on Impact during their early days on Spike TV.
Momentum grew early with the Knockouts finding success in various forms. Things unfortunately fell apart, specifically when Vince Russo started to book them like the women during the Attitude Era. The Knockouts division would go through many ups and downs through the years, but the peak period will always be most of the 2010 time period. We'll take a look at the first wave of the female wrestling stars to make a name in TNA. Each woman had a different path during their TNA career and possibly beyond. Let’s take a look at what fifteen of the top TNA knockouts from the 2000s are currently doing today.
15 Awesome Kong: Actress
The talented Awesome Kong received her biggest break in the first year of the Knockouts division. Following success in Japan, TNA made her the top heel against underdog hero face Gail Kim. The two had perfect chemistry to create the first breakout feud in the Knockouts division to get momentum growing. TNA would start to underutilize Kong leading to her leaving the company.
14 Taylor Wilde: Firefighter
The TNA career of Taylor Wilde is one of the more depressing ones despite the fact that she achieved great success. TNA attempted to make Wilde the face of the division by having her win the Knockouts Championship. The departure of Gail Kim back to WWE led to TNA viewing Wilde as the woman to build the division around.
13 Jackie Gayda: Nutrition Store Owner
TNA signed Jackie Gayda before planning their official women’s division to be a part of the storylines. Gayda was coming off her WWE tenure and TNA hoped she would provide a familiar face to contribute to the betterment of the television show. The big storyline saw Jackie become a reluctant part of Planet Jarrett after they blackmailed her with an implied private tape she didn’t want released.
12 Jacqueline Moore: 2016 WWE Hall Of Fame Inductee
Another former WWE talent signed by TNA for the early stages of a women’s division was Jacqueline Moore. The tough Texan made her career by adding credibility to women’s wrestling during the more depressing times for the division in WWE. TNA brought her into the company with the intention to add the same credibility to their growing division.
11 Shelly Martinez: Acting & Modeling
Shelly Martinez joined TNA as a member of the LAX faction when they turned face. Konnan left TNA and the LAX group needed a new manager to appear ringside with Hernandez and Homicide. Martinez joined the company under the name of Salinas. The name was inspired by Dixie Carter’s husband Serge Salinas showing just how ridiculous things were in TNA.
10 Daffney: Indie Appearances
The introduction of Daffney proved just how ridiculous it can be getting your foot into the door of a wrestling company. TNA hired her to join the Knockouts division, playing a parody of politician Sarah Palin when she ran as the Vice President in 2008. Daffney played “The Governor” fooling The Beautiful People into thinking she was the real Palin.
9 ODB: Impact Wrestling/Bartender
One of the standout early talents to get over with a ridiculous gimmick in the women’s division was ODB. The outlandish character work became a hit with the Impact Zone to earn ODB a spot in the company for many years. ODB is a four-time Knockouts Champion with many storylines making her a stalwart in TNA for many years.
8 Trinity: Roller Derby
The only two women employed by TNA during their early Fox Sports television deal on Friday afternoons were Trinity and Traci Brooks. Trinity pulled off some incredible stunts getting involved in cage matches and other dangerous situations. Brooks and Trinity both wanted to be the assistant to authority figure Dusty Rhodes which made them bitter enemies.
7 Roxxi: Fitness Industry
Roxxi Laveaux did a great job standing out as a unique talent in the early years of the Knockouts division. The original placement in the company featured her as a manager for Road Dogg and Billy Gunn during their Voodoo Kin Mafia days. Roxxi moved into a singles role in a personal feud with The Beautiful People. The evil heels shaved Roxxi’s head and attempted to humiliate her. It just inspired a new look that worked out for the best.
6 So Cal Val: Model/Fashion Blog
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So Cal Val was one of the rare longtime female employees of TNA that never actually wrestled. The roles of Val changed from ringside girl to manager to heel personality to broadcaster to backstage employee. Val’s peak was definitely the storyline with Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt fighting over her love. Following the end of her run with Dutt, Val did not have any storylines for her character.
5 Gail Kim: Indie Circuit
The first big star in the Knockouts division to showcase how important it could be was Gail Kim. TNA made the right decision by having Gail become the first ever Knockouts Champion when the title was introduced in a gauntlet. Kim tried her luck in WWE one more time but grew frustrated enough to leave for a return to TNA.
4 Velvet Sky: Indie Circuit
The Beautiful People stable of Angelina Love and Velvet Sky featured the duo playing egotistical and conceited heels that tormented the other female wrestlers on the roster. Both women became huge success stories in TNA working together. Sky specifically became a standout performer and later went on to become one of the top faces on the show.
3 Angelina Love: Impact Wrestling
Angelina Love was the other half of The Beautiful People and managed to create a great dynamic with Velvet Sky. The accomplishments of Love speak for itself with an incredible six Knockouts Championship reigns. Love often played the top heel in the company and had stronger wrestling skills than Velvet which put her in the big match situations.
2 Traci Brooks: Motherhood
Traci Brooks was the original Knockout in TNA lasting through all of the early changes from weekly PPV to Fox Sports to Spike TV. Brooks worked as both a manager and a wrestler often being the top female presence on the show before more joined the company. Traci did a good job in her various roles but fell down in the pecking order when the bigger names came aboard.
1 Christy Hemme: Motherhood/Writer
A big signing at the time for TNA saw them bring Christy Hemme into the company after she was released from WWE. This was before TNA signed just about every ex-WWE name and before they had any female stars. Hemme became the face of the women’s roster for projects like calendars, DVDs and photo shoots.
Christy eventually moved into a wrestling role with the inception of the Knockouts division before an injury ended her in-ring career. Hemme would become most known for her long tenure as a ring announcer. TNA and Christy would split ways when money and time became an issue. Hemme did write for TNA’s Knockouts division towards the end of her stint. That inspired her to go to writing school in hopes of having a long career as an inspiring television writer.
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