The word impact is described as having a strong effect on someone or something. And for over a decade, making an impact has become a way of life for the men and women that make up IMPACT Wrestling. In this new TNAsylum exclusive series, we'll take a look at some of the most impactful moments from TNA's past and present product, all in an attempt to preview what has yet to come.
For this third edition of INSTANT IMPACT, we'll take a look at the initial reign of dominance of Awesome Kong in IMPACT Wrestling, her unlikely return, and what her golden aspirations now mean for the Knockouts Champion, Taryn Terrell.
AN AWESOME REIGN OF TERROR
Professional wrestling is a man's world that some women just happen to just live in. At least, that's Vince McMahon's altered perception of reality. Look no further than the name of the WWE's embarrassing version of women's wrestling: the Divas division.
Diva is a derogatory word for a woman, yet WWE found it befitting of the women they hired to "wrestle" each week on their bevvy of programming. It's not as if the WWE doesn't possess women with talent, either. In fact, the majority of their division has often consisted of incredibly talented wrestlers. From Lita, to Trish Stratus, to AJ Lee and Paige, among a host of others.
Yet, rarely are they afforded the opportunity to showcase their talents. And furthermore, many have been turned down simply because they weren't considered to be "tens" in favor of models who'd never previously stepped inside of a ring in their life.
But in 2007, the world was finally able to see a true women's division when TNA introduced the Knockouts. The standout from the string of Knockouts that debuted during this time was a woman by the name of Awesome Kong: a 270 pound behemoth hell-bent on destruction through her immovable size and unbelievable strength.
Kong would run rampant over the Knockouts division, with her only true competition coming from Gail Kim. Kim, a woman not considered hot enough for WWE, was a fan favorite Asian-American who, despite the size difference, possessed the heart and wrestling ability to cut Kong down to size.
Kim and Kong would have a classic series of matches still talked about to this day: Turning Point 2007, Final Resolution (the first of two in 2008, don't ask) in a No Disqualification match, and finally the January 10, 2008 edition of IMPACT when Kong finally captured Kim's Knockouts Championship, following the debut of her new manager Raisha Saeed.
After her victory, Kong was so dominant that she would place a $25,000 reward for anyone who could defeat her for her Knockouts Championship. So bored she placed a bounty on her own head, essentially.
Taylor Wilde would return time and time again to collect said bounty, and would eventually be successful, although it wasn't long until Kong recaptured her crown. And this time, she lost her championship in a match where she wasn't even pinned. Kong also became a TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion alongside Hamada before her controversial exit from the company in 2010.
For years, Kong stated she would never work for TNA again.
Following a run in the WWE as Kharma that ended as quickly as it started due to her pregnancy, The Awesome One vanished from television altogether. And it wasn't until earlier this year that she finally made her presence felt once more.
AN UNLIKELY RETURN
January 7, 2015 was an historic day for IMPACT Wrestling, as it made its long-awaited debut on Destination America. TNA President Dixie Carter had promised a show chock-full of surprises for the relaunch of her brand, but no one expected quite the surprise we got.
At the conclusion of a battle royal for the Knockouts Championship, IMPACT's newest Amazon—Havok—went on a rampage after she had been shockingly eliminated. Amidst her rampage, the lights in the Manhattan Center went out.
The crowd fell silent in anticipation, then unraveled at the reveal: Awesome Kong standing toe-to-toe with Havok. For weeks, these two would face-off in brawls, making it clear that they were on a collision course. A collision course in which commenced at LockDown with Kong and Havok meeting inside the confines of Six Sides of Steel.
In a match so volatile that not even the steel cage could contain the combatants, Kong would be the one to establish herself as not only the most dominant Knockout today, but the most dominant Knockout in TNA history, as she defeated Havok.
A mere two weeks later, Awesome Kong would attack Knockouts Champion Taryn Terrell after her successful title defense against Angelina Love.
While Terrell refused to back down, Kong made quick work of her, until she backed down when Gail Kim came to her friend's aid: which spoke volumes of the respect that Kim had earned from Kong in past years.
This past week, Taryn called out Kong, claiming that she was ready for a fight. Gail Kim would try to let Taryn know the odds she would be up against, calling The Awesome One the toughest woman to ever step foot in a wrestling ring. And if Taryn thought Havok was bad, look what Kong did to her. Still, though, the champion was up for a fight.
Kong wouldn't waste time in giving her that fight, either. The lights went out, and Kong was staring Terrell in the face when the lights came back on.
Taryn tried her damnedest to knock Kong off her feet, but she had no such luck. Thus, for the second week in a row, Taryn Terrell fell victim to the Implant Buster.
SPINNING IT FORWARD
Taryn Terrell called her Knockouts title reign a dream come true. However, with Awesome Kong now setting her sights on Taryn's gold, it's only a matter of time until her dream come true becomes a true nightmare.
As great as Taryn Terrell's rise to prominence has been, coming in as the Knockouts referee, an unbelievable rivalry with Gail Kim, and her championship victory, Terrell seems doomed to suffer the same fate as Kim did years ago. And once she does, there's no telling how awesome Kong's reign of terror will be this time around.