Impact Wrestling
Knockouts Knockdown 2021
October 9, 2021
Skyway Studios
Nashville, Tennessee

Watch: FITE

For the first time in four years, Impact Wrestling hosted a Knockouts Knockdown special. It was the second all-female show run by a significant promotion this the year after NWA’s Empowerrr back in August and on this occasion Impact made sure the women took the lead on the broadcasting side, with Veda Scott and Mickie James doing commentary and Melissa Santos on ring announcing duties.

A key theme throughout the night was celebrating the life of former Impact wrestler Daffney, who lost her lengthy battle with mental health issues last month. Before the show began, all the talent congregated in the arena, with the women in the ring and the gents on the outside. Lexie Fyfe was there to represent Daffney’s friends and family as they did the customary 10 bell salute to mark her passing.

There were 10 matches in all, seven in a one-night tournament to award a future Knockouts title match, a four-way Monster’s Ball match in memory of Daffney, Deonna Purrazzo in non-title action against Masha Slamovich and Decay defending the Knockouts tag team titles in the main event.

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament First Round
Rachael Ellering def. Lady Frost

As a big fan of hers, I was pleased to see Lady Frost get a lot of offense in here. She looked good and demonstrated why I feel she’d be a good fit in Impact; stylistically, she offers something completely different to everyone else they’ve currently got under contract.

There were a couple of wonky moments that prevent me going any higher with my rating but this was solid stuff and Frost’s work to the ribs of Ellering, who has continually over delivered on the expectations I had of her when she joined the promotion six months ago, set the story for her next match. ***

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament First Round
Chelsea Green def. Renee Michelle

Every time I’ve seen Renee Michelle wrestle, I feel like she’s gotten a little bit better. There’s clearly still more room for improvement but she’s getting there and looked solid here. This was a lot more one-sided than the opener, Green hitting the Unprettier for the win after just over eight minutes. **1/2

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament First Round
Mercedes Martinez def. Brandi Lauren

Brandi Lauren is currently acting as one of Su Yung’s Undead Bridesmaids and unsurprisingly got absolutely squashed here by Martinez in a little over two minutes. Martinez’s easy victory provided a nice contrast to Ellering in the show opener and set up the story for their semi-final match later in the show.

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament First Round
Tasha Steelz def. Jamie Senegal

Like Lady Frost in the opener, Jamie Senegal was given a lot and that wasn’t too surprising – her connection with Daffney was played up throughout by Scott and James on commentary.

Steelz, on the other hand, probably delivered the most well-rounded singles performance of her Impact career to that point. She looked sharp and much more in control of the pace of a match than I’ve felt she’s been in the past. She got the win in 11:04 with the Crucifix Bomb. ***

Deonna Purrazzo (w/Matthew Rehwoldt) def. Masha Slamovich

I sincerely hope that Masha Slamovich accepted, or is going to accept, the contract Impact offered her last month. She is, for my money, the best-unsigned woman in North America right now and produced a fantastic performance here against Purrazzo.

While a number of the women in Impact have shown an ability to work the technical style favored by Purrazzo, few have been able to inject pace and intensity to their matches with her in the way Slamovich did. Every counter was chained to at least one other piece of offense, and every piece of offense looked slick. Purrazzo for her part was great again too, continually introducing new setups for her armbar submissions – the more ways in, the more unpredictable her matches will become.

There was no real drama that she’d lose here, which stops me going any higher on my rating, but I hope that there are many more clashes between these two in an Impact ring down the line. ***3/4

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament Semi Final
Mercedes Martinez def. Rachael Ellering

These two did a great job in playing off the pre-established narrative for the match, that Martinez was far fresher than the potentially injured Ellering, and delivered a fun, back-and-forth contest.

Going just over 12 minutes, it was fuller showcase for Martinez, who got control through the middle portion of the match thanks to a big spear on the apron. Ellering got back into it down the stretch and hit the Bosswoman slam but she was unable to capitalize, Martinez using her veteran savvy to roll to the outside.

The ensuing ‘fight forever’ chant was probably a bit much (when isn’t it?), but Martinez wrapped it up with a spike Fisherman Buster and a Guillotine. As with any wrestler, I love that they established another finisher for Martinez – it makes nearfalls and submission holds appear that much more effective. ***1/2

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament Semi Final
Tasha Steelz def. Chelsea Green

While they’d teased a Steelz/Martinez final on this week’s Impact, the result still surprised me as Green seemed a very likely choice to win the whole thing. Steelz once again delivered a strong effort, properly breaking out as a credible singles worker in her own right.

After blocking Green’s attempt at a Super Unprettier, Steelz got the win with the Frog Splash – the same move that won her and Kiera Hogan the Knockouts tag titles for the second time back at Under Siege.

Overall, I think they got a bit too cute in this one down the stretch, giving away a little bit too much, and it wasn’t quite on the same level as the other semi but the surprise finish takes this up a notch. ***1/4

Before the Monster’s Ball match, Christy Hemme made her return to Impact to announce Awesome Kong as the latest member of the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame. Kong’s speech in the ring was touching, particularly when she spoke about Daffney’s impact on women’s wrestling and the way others could open doors in their own lives.

Monster’s Ball Match
Savannah Evans def. Alisha Edwards, Kimber Lee & Jordynne Grace

The crowd was always going to be very into this match but after Kong’s remarks, they were red hot. Credit goes to the four women involved, who worked hard and delivered the best version of this match possible.

Kimber Lee took most of the brutal bumps, receiving a number of wild barbed wire cane shots from Alisha and a running Muscle Buster into the tacks from Jordynne, while Alisha was also on the receiving end of a front slam onto Jordynne’s weight discs.

Grace had brought a tub of weightlifting chalk to ringside, a nod to her powerlifting exploits, but it cost her victory, Evans chucking it in her eyes before pinning Alisha with a Full Nelson slam. Evans is still a work in progress but Impact sees something in her and she was the right winner. ***1/2

Knockouts Knockdown Tournament Final
Mercedes Martinez def. Tasha Steelz

While undoubtedly a step down from the performances these two produced in the semis, this was still a solid end to the tournament that crowned the right winner.

Martinez produced a nod to Sara Del Rey with the Royal Butterfly suplex in the early going, while Steelz hit a great-looking Stratusfaction for a nearfall. The finish was rather clunky, with Martinez on the apron and Steelz in and around the corner for a seemingly indeterminate period of time, but after seeing her early attempt at the OG Drop blocked, Martinez hooked Steelz off the top rope and hit it the second time for the win. ***

Post-match, Gail Kim entered the ring and shared an embrace with Martinez after presenting her with the winner’s trophy. Given her background and character, Martinez will be a perfect fit for the winner of the Bound for Glory title match between Deonna Purrazzo and Mickie James, regardless who wins.

Impact Knockouts Tag Team Titles
Decay (Rosemary & Havok) (C) def. The Influence (Tenille Dashwood & Madison Rayne)

Although I personally felt that the tournament final should have probably gone on last, this made sense in the main event slot as Decay recorded their second title defense.

After some of the inevitable initial comedy, with neither Dashwood nor Rayne wanting to be in the ring with Rosemary or Havok, it settled into a steady pattern with the heel challengers isolating Rosemary after some Kaleb interference. Havok got the hot tag but a second bout of interference from Kaleb on the outside allowed The Influence to hit their finisher, a sort of Double Stroke (a la Jeff Jarrett). The ref missed the count though, potentially setting up a rematch down the line, before Decay hit the Russian Leg Sweep/Spear combination for the win. ***

Just before the show faded to black, we got a tease for The IInspiration, the artists formerly known as The IIconics, who’ll be debuting at Bound for Glory. Given that the Knockouts tag division had been crying out for more depth, they’re a great acquisition.

Final Thoughts

Impact has run Knockouts Knockdown specials before but none have felt as polished or as significant as this one. Mercedes Martinez got the hard push out the gate in the title tournament, which also elevated Tasha Steelz as a potential future singles champion. While nothing quite hit the notebook level, Masha Slamovich and Deonna Purrazzo got very close and the four-way Monster’s Ball was the perfect tribute to Daffney. Clocking in at just under three hours, this was a solid show and an easy watch.