In a recent episode of the "My World" podcast, Jeff Jarrett, AEW's on-screen talent and co-founder of IMPACT! Wrestling, recalled the seminal moments of the TNA Knockouts division. Reflecting on the period, Jarrett firmly believes that TNA, now known as IMPACT!, was a trailblazer in emphasizing the importance of women's wrestling.
"Gail [Kim] worked with me during the early stages, before the Knockouts division existed," Jarrett reminisced. He expressed gratitude for the unique stories they managed to weave in the era of cable television. He emphasized the uniqueness of the Knockouts division: a collection of 8-10 distinct female characters brought together under a unified narrative.
The focus was simple and intuitive. "We began with a straightforward, engaging narrative between Gail and Awesome Kong. As we expanded the roster, the core story always circled back to these two giants of the division," Jarrett explained.
He likens Kim's role in her feud with Kong to that of a dragonslayer, a heroine who stood tall amidst adversity. This strategic storytelling did wonders for ratings, with the Knockouts often being the highlights of many shows and pay-per-view events.
Addressing Kim's standing and potential move back to WWE, Jarrett revealed candid conversations with Bob Carter, former owner of Panda Energy and the parent organization behind IMPACT! "Competing financially with WWE was never on the table," Jarrett admitted.
Evolution of Women's Wrestling
Drawing parallels between then and now, Jarrett highlighted the evolution of women's wrestling over the last 15 years. "Women's wrestling has matured. Today's dynamics differ from the past, and expectations have shifted," he opined.
Diving deeper, Jarrett alluded to recent comments made by WWE's Becky Lynch concerning the positioning of women in today's wrestling. "After 15 years of dedicated women's divisions, things are bound to change," he mused, crediting Gail Kim as the linchpin.
"She was our AJ Styles in the Knockouts division." Gail Kim's journey has been nothing short of impressive. After parting ways with WWE, she found prominence in TNA and became an integral part of their legacy. Recently, she made her return to the ring at "IMPACT!
1000", teaming with wrestling luminaries like Awesome Kong, Jordynne Grace, and Mickie James, in what fans termed an unforgettable match-up.