Much like WWE, women's wrestling has been the highlight of IMPACT's programming for some time. In fact, the Knockouts Division has made the company's weekly series must-watch television. The recent feud between Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo is more proof that the women are currently leading the way.
It has been three months since IMPACT terminated Tessa Blanchard's contract and stripped her of the World Championship. The third-generation star was the face of the company following a fantastic run in 2019. However, the Knockouts Division hasn't missed a beat without her.
If anything, the company's world title picture has suffered the most without her star power. On the other hand, IMPACT has made several great signings that helped bolster the Knockouts Division.
In May, they signed a white-hot free agent, Deonna Purrazzo, who was itching to prove herself after a forgettable stint with WWE. IMPACT also add Kylie Rae, Tasha Steelz, and Kimber Lee to an already stacked Knockouts Division. There's so much potential here for new matchups and storylines.
On the June 9 episode of IMPACT, Purrazzo immediately made her presence in the Knockouts Division known when she attacked the Knockouts Champion and locked in her trademark Fujiwara Armbar. This kicked off a compelling title programmed that culminated at Slammiversary where Purrazzo defeated Grace with Venus de Milo, a double Fujiwara Armbar, to become the new champion.
Their brutal and captivating showdown was easily the best match at IMPACT's biggest pay-per-view of the year. So, their inevitable Knockouts Division rematch already had most fans salivating for more. It came as no surprise when the company announced that Purrazzo and Grace would headline the next event, Emergence.
A first-time match stipulation for the Knockouts Division
IMPACT upped the ante, revealing that their rematch would be the first-ever 30 Minute Knockouts Iron Man Match. Straight away, the announcement elicited comparisons to Sasha Banks and Bayley's legendary match from NXT TakeOver: Respect. This match had the same opportunity to make history for the Knockouts Division and it didn't disappoint.
On Tuesday night, Purrazzo and Grace squared off in the main event of Night 2 of Emergence. What followed was another excellent display of technical wrestling and top-notch storytelling from the top two stars of the Knockouts Division.
Early on, Grace chose to forgo her usual taxing power moves. Instead, she adjusted her strategy after their first match and used a more mat-based style. It initially worked well as she surprisingly outwrestled "The Virtuosa," who prides herself as an exceptional technician. Nevertheless, "Thick Mama Pump" used her superior strength and an array of holds to gain an advantage.
However, this didn't work for long as Purrazzo became increasingly vicious and desperate. The momentum shifted with she wrenched Grace's arm and stomped down on her elbow. Then, she methodically targeted her arm and hand. The two-fold attack made it harder for her opponent to use her finisher, the Grace Driver, and made her susceptible to the armbar. Later, she pinned the challengers' hand to the steel steps and stomped it.
Neither competitor had scored a fall halfway through the match, but Grace was in trouble. Around the seven-minute mark, she landed an emphatic superplex and launched a gutsy comeback but Purrazzo survived. In response, Grace suddenly secured a sleeper hold and forced Purrazzo to pass out, causing the referee to momentarily stop the match.
Of course, someone who touted herself as the best technical wrestler in the Knockouts Division would refuse to submit. That was a nice touch. Little character moments like that added so much to this match.
Now with Grace in the lead, Purrazzo made it back to her feet and became frantic. After all, she issued the challenge for the Iron Man match, so she couldn't lose. She eventually pulled the referee into a collision before the challenger finally landed the Grace Driver. Unfortunately, the official was still down so he didn't see it.
Then, Purrazzo took advantage of the situation, grabbed her title belt, and clipped Grace with it. As the referee came to, she scurried over and pinned her to score her first fall and tie the score.
In the remaining minute, both women exchanged submission holds. The damage Purrazzo had done to Grace's arm worked to perfection but she still fought off every attempt at an armbar. In a last-ditch effort, the champion executed a bridging German suplex, but it was actually a feint attack. "The Virtuosa" effortlessly transitioned it into a Fujiwara Armbar as the referee began to count and Grace tried desperately to escape. It was too late as Purrazzo forced her to tap out, keeping Purrazzo atop the Knockouts Division as Champion.
This match lived up to the hype and surpassed their first match from last month. The Knockouts Division is in good hands with Deonna Purrazzo as champion. Now, she's on a collision course with Kylie Rae. The smiley newcomer won the Knockouts Gauntlet Match at Slammiversary to become the new No. 1 contender. If you're familiar with their matches from RISE, you already know we're in for a treat.
On the other hand, Jordynne Grace still came out of this rematch looking like a star. She delivered an amazing performance and she won't be out of the title picture for long. There is plenty for women's wrestling fans to be excited about. The Knockouts Division is rapidly becoming a bright spot for the company again.Published 27 Aug 2020, 00:56 IST