The TNA Knockouts: The Women of Impact Wrestling
The Women of Impact Wrestling: the TNA Knockouts
TNA (or Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) was founded back on May 10th, 2002. When the promotion started, a lot of people hoped it would be competition for the WWE, but that (so far) has not come to pass.
TNA originally started out with a pretty good talent pool, having some performers that while that may not have been as well known as the WWE Superstars, were just as (if not more) skilled.
Although TNA has had female wrestlers since the beginning, the term "TNA Knockouts" wasn't coined until the 2006 DVD "Knockouts: The Ladies of TNA Wrestling, Vol.1".
Some of the talent TNA used before the actual division was created included female wrestlers like Desire (Kim Neilson), Lucy (Better known as Shannon or Daffney or Shannon Claire Spruill), Trinity (Stephanie Finochio), Alexis Laree (known now as Mickie James), Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore) and Traci Brooks.
After the division actually started after a 10-Knockout gauntlet match on October 14th, 2007 at Bound for Glory (which was won by Gail Kim), I had really high hopes for the TNA Knockout division. But, now it seems as though TNA is "WCW Lite" with not a lot of attention given to the women's division. They have gained talent like Tara (former WWE Diva Victoria) another former WWE Diva Mickie James, and Canadian luchadora Sarah Stock (Sarita). But, they have also lost a lot of talent like Gail Kim, Jacqueline, Raisha Saeed (Cheerleader Melissa) Hamada (Joshi wrestler Ayako Hamada) and Awesome Kong.
Here is the current TNA Knockout roster, but keep watching, it can change any day . . .
Velvet Sky (Jamie Szantyr)
Possibly one of the most beautiful women in pro wrestling today, wrestler Jamie Szantyr is better known as Velvet Sky.
Don't think this lovely young lady is just a pretty face.
She was trained by Jason Knight and Kevin Landry at the House of Pain Pro Wrestling Dojo and made her pro wrestling debut in 2003.
Since her debut, she has worked for wrestling promotions like Women's Extreme Wrestling, Lucha Libre Femenil, World Xtreme Wrestling, Defiant Pro Wrestling, TNT Pro Wrestling and many more.
Though she never technically worked for the WWE, she did show up on SmackDown and HEAT in 2005 and 2006.
Velvet started working for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2007 and has been there ever since.
As part of The Beautiful People, she has held the TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship and she has held the TNA Knockouts championship twice.
In July 2012, just a few days after Angelina's release, Velvet left TNA as well, but on December 6th, 2012 Velvet returned to TNA on an episode of Impact Wrestling, making her appearance during a segment with Mickie James and TNA Women's Knockout Champion Tara.
On April 22, 2016, Velvet Sky left TNA for the third time.
She was written off with a storyline where if she lost a match against Knockout roster member Sienna (Allysin Kay), she would lose her job which she did.
Now is the WWE in her future?
ODB (Jessica Kresa)
ODB has a background that's a little different than a lot of female wrestlers.
She actually started out in ice hockey and went to pro wrestling.
Although not technically a Diva, ODB did work for the WWE in their development territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling.
She was there from 2006 to 2007, when she left OVW for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
ODB stayed there from 2007 to 2010, holding the TNA Women's Knockout Championship three times, the Queen of the Cage title in 2009 and she was the winner of the New Year's Knockout Eve Tournament also in 2009.
She left TNA in June of 2010 but has returned as of May 2011.
On August 21st, 2014, she left again.
Brooke Tessmacher (Brooke Adams)
Another former WWE Diva, Brooke Adams is Ms. Tessmacher on TNA.
Yes, she was named after Lex Luthor's assistant in Superman 1 and 2.
I guess Eric Bischoff thinks he's Lex.
Anyway, Brooke started out as a model, and was in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, though she didn't make it into the final eight.
She was hired by the WWE anyway but only stayed with the company from 2006 to 2007.
Three years after her release by the WWE, Brooke showed up on TNA as Eric Bischoff's assistant and has slowly made her way into the squared circle.
On June 10th, 2012, Miss Tessmacher won the TNA Knockouts Championship.
On November 15th, 2015, Brooke left TNA.
Angelina Love (Lauren Williams)
The original other half of The Beautiful People is Angelina Love or Lauren Williams.
Like Velvet, Angelina has paid her dues.
She was trained by Rob "El Fuego" Etcheverria at Squared Circle Pro Wrestling training gym and Bill DeMott at Deep South Wrestling, and she made her pro wrestling debut in 2000.
Before TNA she worked for Impact Wrestling Federation, Old School Pro Wrestling, Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion (AAA), NWA: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling and Full Throttle Wrestling.
Well actually back in 2004 she had a match on TNA Xplosion against Trinity, but she didn't sign with TNA until 2007.
So far at TNA, she has held the TNA Women's Knockout Championship five times and the TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship once, surprisingly not with The Beautiful People, but with Winter.
On July 1st, 2012, Angela announced on her Twitter page (which evidently is now the way all official wrestling announcements are made now) that she had been granted her release from TNA.
On March 13, 2014, she returned to TNA.
On March 27, 2016, she left TNA again.
On January 8th, 2017, she came BACK to TNA for the fourth time.
Madison Rayne (Ashley Nichole Simmons)
The beautiful Ashley Simmons appears on TNA as Madison Rayne, the Indy circuit as Ashley Lane and Lexi Lane, and showed up on Wrestlicious as Amber Lively.
Ashley was trained by "Big Guns" Jeff Cannon and made her pro wrestling debut in 2004.
She wrestled in the Indys and Shimmer Women Athletes before signing with TNA.
So far in TNA she has held the TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship (with Lacey Von Erich and Velvet Sky, The Beautiful People at the time) twice and the TNA Women's Knockout Championship five times.
And now another WWE Diva turned TNA Knockout . . . Gail Kim.
Yes, Gail Kim has returned to TNA making her the first WWE Diva/TNA Knockout/WWE Diva/TNA Knockout.
Gail had a bit of a stormy breakup with the WWE as she said on her Twitter account she quit the WWE on August 5th, 2011.
BUT, the WWE didn't grant her release and made her stay till her contract ran out.
Then they took down her WWE. com profile, and on October 20th, Gail returned to TNA as a heel and her first act was to attack TNA Women's Knockout Champion Velvet Sky.
I love Gail as a heel.
In 2016, Gail was put in the TNA Hall of Fame. She was the first woman inducted into it.
Okay she may not actually be a Knockout . . . or she may be THE Knockout, depends on how you look at it.
Dixie Carter-Salinas was born on October 6th, 1964 in Dallas, Texas and though she has never wrestled in a ring, as the president of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, she wields a lot of power there.
And you have to admit, she looks a LOT better than Vince McMahon.
Dixie is the daughter of Robert W. Carter, who is the chairman and founder of Panda Energy International, who in turn owns TNA.
Panda saved TNA from bankruptcy in 2002 and afterward, Dixie was named president replacing Jeff Jarrett.
And no this Dixie was never in Designing Women.
Now TNA has added another innovation by getting yet another former WWE Diva, Taryn Terrell (Tiffany), to become their first female Knockouts ref.
Taryn isn't new to this though, she refereed a few matches back when she was in the WWE and FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling).
Of course, she does have ring experience, so I wonder how long it will be before she winds up in a match.
Since I wrote this back in 2011, Taryn has held the TNA Women's Knockout Championship once.
On January 4th, 2016, she left TNA.
Daffney (Shannon Spruill)
She's been known by a lot of names in the wrestling ring.
Lucy, Lucy Furr, Shark Girl, Shannon and of course Daffney.
But when Shannon Claire Spruill was in TNA, she was The Governor (a pretty good Sarah Palin imitation) and her usual crazy Daffney self.
The "Scream Queen" was trained by Crowbar, Shane Helms, Malia Hosaka, Dusty Rhodes, Selena Majors, Leilani Kai, and Madusa, and made her wrestling debut in 1999.
She was with TNA from 2008 to 2011.
Securing TNA's position as the wrestling promotion with the most redheads, we have former WWE Diva and current TNA Knockout Christy Hemme.
I have a whole Lens devoted to Christy so I'm not gonna go into a lot of detail about her here.
On April 1, 2016, Christy left TNA.
Brittany (Santana Garrett)
TNA Knockout Brittany (Santana Garrett) made her pro wrestling debut back in 2009.
As Santana Garrett she has wrestled for a lot of Indy promotions and held titles in American Pro Wrestling Alliance, Belleview Pro Wrestling and Coastal Championship Wrestling. She held the Women of Wrestling Tag Team Championship with Amber O'Neal, and as far as I know, still holds it.
Santana worked for TNA before as a valet for Orlando Jordan in 2010, but in 2014 she was signed and appeared as Brittany. Unfortunately, she didn't stay with TNA for long.
She left the company in December of 2015.
Rebel (Tanea Brooks)
The newest TNA Knockout is a member of "The Menagerie".
The Menagerie is supposed to be a group of circus performers/carnival acts, that kind of reminds me of the old WWF "Misfits" gimmick.
"Rebel" is the sister of Knux (Mike Hettinga) aka The Ringmaster and she is a fire-breather in the act.
Rebel is actually Tanea Brooks, an ex-Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, a Lingerie Football player and actress.
As of September 3rd, 2016, Rebel hasn't appeared in over 30 days. But she has been wrestling for AWA and TCW,
Havok (Jessica Cricks)
I have followed the career of Jessica Cricks aka Jessicka Havok aka TNA Knockout Havok for a long time.
She debuted in 2004 and has had a long colorful career in the Indy wrestling promotions.
I hope they use Havok well in TNA because she is too good of a talent to let go to waste.
At six feet even, 170 pounds, she is a great "Monster Heel".
Havok left TNA in July of 2015.
Jade aka Mia Yim (Stephanie Bell)
Jade aka Mia Yim (Stephanie Bell)
Stephanie Bell aka Mia Yim aka Jade was born on April 16, 1989 in Fontana, California.
She made her pro wrestling debut in 2009 and besides Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) she has wrestled for Ring of Honor (ROH), Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Shimmer Women Athletes, and Shine Wrestling.
A lot of people don't know this but in 2014 she actually did a little work for the WWE's developmental territory WWE NXT, losing to Charlotte in a match.
Cherry Bomb (Laura Dennis)
After making a few appearances for them in 2013 and 2015, on March 23, 2016, TNA announced that they had signed Indy wrestler Cherry Bomb to a contract.
She was trained by Squared Circle Training centre based in Toronto, Ontario, (Rob Etcheverria) and made her pro wrestling debut in 2005.
Laurel Van Ness
Canadian pro wrestler Laurel Van Ness (aka Chelsea Green aka Jaida) was a contestant on WWE Tough Enough VI.
She was eliminated seventh, but went on to appear as Daniel Bryan's physical therapist, "Megan Miller" on WWE Raw.
However, Chelsea has a fairly good wrestling background.
After getting eliminated from WWE's Tough Enough in 2014, she went on to work for Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, Big West Wrestling, All-Star Wrestling and Queens Of Combat.
Chelsea even held the ASW Women's Championship.
Maria (Maria Kanellis-Bennett)
A lot of people still know Maria from her ditsy character back in the WWE from 2004 to 2010.
But after she left the WWE, she went to Ring of Honor and stayed with them from 2011 to 2015 as the valet of her then boyfriend (and later husband), Mike Bennett.
In January of 2016, she made her debut as a heel in TNA introducing her husband as "The Miracle" Mike Bennett.
Maria later won a ladder match to become the new TNA Knockouts Division Commissioner.
TNA Knockout Marti Bell was born Martibel Payano on August 7, 1988 in New York City, New York.
She signed with TNA in 2015 though she appeared at the Knockouts Knockdown 2 pay-per-view in 2014.
She made her wrestling debut in 2008 with World of Unpredictable Wrestling and then she went to Women Superstars Uncensored where she teamed with Tina San Antonio to form "The Belle Saints".
Marti has also worked for Evolve, Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling wrestling promotions.
Raquel (Gabriela Castrovinci)
Well here is a lady that will be showing up soon on my Fitness Women Wrestling Hub, Raquel (Gabriela Castrovinci).
Raquel (Gabriela Castrovinci) is a Brazilian pro wrestler, valet and fitness model.
Although she is now on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as the valet of the BroMans (Robbie E and Jessie Godderz), she started out in wrestling as a contestant on the sixth season of WWE's Tough Enough.
Oh yeah...and she is also trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Sadly, on January 6th, 2017, she revealed that she was no longer with TNA
The Valet of Matt Hardy, Reby Hardy, was originally Reby Sky.
She was born Rebecca Victoria Reyes on August 6, 1986 in Flushing, Queens, New York City.
A lot of people don't realize this, but before TNA, she worked for Lucha Libre USA and Shine Wrestling.
So she actually does know her way around a ring.
And before those lip injections or whatever she was really pretty as well.
Holly Letkeman aka Courtney Rush aka Rosemary was born on November 29th, 1983 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
She made her pro wrestling debut on January 30, 2008, so she wrestled for 8 years before coming to TNA.
Besides wrestling, she also acts.
She appeared in the 2011 independent horror-comedy film, "Monster Brawl".
Five foot ten, 150 pound TNA Knockout Sienna is really Indy wrestler Allysin Kay.
She made her pro wrestling debut on December 28, 2008, after training at the Blue Collar Wrestling Alliance (BCWA).
Allysin made her TNA debut at Knockouts Knockdown 2016, where she defeated five time Knockouts champion Gail Kim.
At Slammiversary (2016), Sienna captured the TNA Knockouts Championship defeating Jade and Gail Kim in a Triple Threat match for the TNA Knockouts Championship.
At Turning Point on August 25th, 2016, Sienna lost the TNA Knockouts Championship in a Five Way Match, also involving Allie (the winner) Madison Rayne, Marti Bell, and Jade.
At Knockouts Knockdown 2016, Kay made her TNA debut defeating former 5-time Knockouts champion Gail Kim in her very first match via a count-out.
TNA Knockout Brandi Rhodes is a model, former ring announcer and professional wrestler.
In the WWE she was known as Eden Stiles, where she was a ring announcer and backstage interviewer.
She is also the wife of Cody Runnels aka Cody Rhodes and Stardust.
Though she has usually been an announcer, she is now getting into the ring.
Alisha Edwards was born on January 7, 1987 in San Diego, California.
She's now in TNA as Alexxis Nevaeh, but she has also wrestled under the names Lexxus, Alexxus and she even worked for TNA before under the name Mercedes Steele.
Alexxis is five feet tall, weighs 100 pounds and made her pro wrestling debut in 2006.
She is married to fellow pro wrestler Eddie Edwards.
New TNA Knockout MJ Jenkins is not only a wrestler, but also a singer and personal trainer.
She was trained by Johnny Rodz and made her wrestling debut on October 18, 2015.
Besides TNA she has worked for AIWrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW).
TNA Name Change....Again
Now TNA has changed it's name to Global Force Wrestling.
So the promotion has been NWA: Total Nonstop Action (NWA-TNA), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Impact Wrestling and now Global Force Wrestling (GFW).
I don't know if I should change the title or not because who knows what they will call themselves next week.
Female pro wrestler is another new TNA Knockout...excuse me...Global Force Wrestling Knockout.
Amber is five foot four, weighs 101 pounds and was born on November 2, 1991, in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
She was trained by Chasyn Rance and Aaron Epic and made her pro wrestling debut in 2016.
Amber reminds me a lot of the ECW's Beulah McGillicutty.
At the August 18th TV GFW tapings in Orlando Lucha Underground and former AAA star Taya Valkyrie made her GFW Impact debut.
Allie and Gail Kim lost to Sienna and Taryn Terrell and then after the match, the heels beat down the babyfaces until Rosemary ran into the ring to make the save.
Despite Rosemary showing up, the Heels continued the beatdown until Taya’s music hit and she ran in to make the save.
However, Taya ended up turning heel, taking Rosemary out with the facebuster.
Hania the Howling Huntress (Tamara McNeill) is the newest Impact Wrestling Knockout.
Hania debuted during the November 11th tapings, attacking Rosemary and setting up a feud between the two.