For those of you who are not regular TNA viewers, that is NOT a picture of Eve Torres circa People Power. Rather, that is an amazing picture of the current TNA Knockouts Champion, Miss Tessmacher (or, Brooke Adams in real-life). If she looks familiar, it's because once upon a time, Tessmacher was a WWE diva. She is a former Extreme Expose member (an ECW dance group that also featured Kelly Kelly and Layla) who never got a chance to do anything but shake her tail on WWE television. Following her WWE release, Brooke would eventually join TNA and be introduced as Eric Bischoff's personal secretary/assistant, and would even win the TNA Knockout tag team titles with another former diva, Tara. After a hiatus, Tessmacher would return to TNA and would put an end to Gail Kim's "reign of terror" by defeating the Canadian for the Knockouts Championship at last month's Slammiversary Pay-Per-View.
Now, many of you reading this already know Tessmacher's backstory, but for those who don't, there you have it. What I do want to tell you today is why Miss Tessmacher is my number one favourite woman's wrestler in the world today. Before you write me off as a mark or delusional, hear me out.
In your opinion, what makes the perfect wrestler? One who can talk, wrestle, and is loaded with charisma? Fair enough. As for divas and knockouts, who never get as much promo time as they should, I would argue their look is more essential to their success than their microphone abilities. That being said, they must also be capable of backing it up in the ring. If not, you're stuck with a Kelly Kelly who looks good but can't wrestle, and can't act for shit. At the same time, if you have a woman who's a great wrestler, but her look isn't "appealing", she won't be as successful as she can be (former divas like Tara/Victoria, Molly Holly, and Jazz should have been bigger than they were, but I feel WWE held them back because they didn't think they were beautiful).
I'm sure most of you will remember the original Beautiful People - Velvet Sky and Angelina Love. They were arguably the hottest (no pun intended) act in TNA for several months, and that's because they were the perfect combination of beauty and brawn. Sky was easily the more attractive of the pairing, but her in-ring skills left a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, Love was no butterface, but she belonged in a wrestling ring, not a fashion pageant. Combine that with a hatable (and later lovable) personality and you had an excellent women's stable. It's a shame they were broken up so soon, as The Beautiful People had all the tools required to shake up the Knockouts Division, which they did, just not as much as I wished.
Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but I really feel Miss Tessmacher is a great choice to represent TNA as the Knockouts Champion. I cannot remember the last time she cut a promo, but she always comes across as extremely likable in her backstage segments (that Texas accent of hers is sooooo cute!). She will be the first person to tell you she's not the best wrestler in the company, but she won't be the only person to tell you she's improving, either. And I'm not talking about improving at a Kelly Kelly pace. In the past five years, Kelly has had maybe two good matches. In the past five months, Tess has had at least two really good matches. It helps that Tess can work with the likes of Tara and Gail Kim to guide her between the ropes, but Kelly has wrestled against Beth Phoenix and Natalya many times over the years, so what's her excuse?
Anyways, as the above picture suggests, Tessmacher is no sore sight for the eyes to gaze on. In fact, she is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women currently employed to TNA.
And that's where the haters come in.
There are many people who think Tessmacher is the TNA version of Kelly Kelly - a hot woman who can't wrestle. They argue her success comes solely from her looks, and have even nicknamed her "Miss Titsmacher". They honestly believe she is the most undeserving Knockouts Champion of all-time.
To those people I say (and borrow a line from birthday boy Hustle) - get ALLLL the way outta here with that shit.
Is she as talented as Beth Phoenix in the ring? No. Can she cut a great promo like Madison Rayne? No. But she is a young, new face, and unlike a lot of other WWE and TNA workers, she's not there to collect a paycheck every week. Tessmacher wants to be there. She is proud of being the champion, and she wants to keep getting better.
A few days ago, Tessmacher was asked if she would consider returning to WWE one day. She simply replied, "No." She knows there is a huge pay difference between WWE and TNA, but as she states in the interview, WWE don't know how to treat their women wrestlers, which is true. So rather than taking the easy way out and signing with WWE (which many people would do, I mean, who wouldn't want to get paid to sit home and do nothing?), Tess is willing to taking the smaller paycheck because she loves what she does. I admire Tess for that, I really do.
Love her like I do, or hate her like others do, it does not change the fact Miss Tessmacher is the current Knockouts Champion and shows no signs of slowing down. I'm not expecting her to hold onto the title for another six months, but if she can put together a decent reign and keep on improving, then there's no reason why she can't be a huge name for the Knockouts Division in the not-so-distant future. Sure, she'll always be an ex-WWE talent, but she has found her niche in TNA, and seems determined to help the company any way she can. She's also smoking hot, which is never a bad thing.
What about you? Are you a fan of Tess? Do you think she's a flash in the pan? Is she really Kelly Kelly TNA style, or on the path to something greater? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
2. Day 2
Cody Rhodes. Matt Hardy. Kane. The Big Show. Christian. Kofi Kingston. Dolph Ziggler. Drew McIntyre.
If you haven't already figured it out, those are the eight men who competed in the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match at the show's 2010 Pay-Per-View. Many people will tell you this was one of the better MitB matches in history, despite the presence of Kane and Big Show. However, few will soon forget the sight of The Big Red Machine being the last man standing and retrieving the briefcase. Kane would once again make history by cashing in the briefcase later the same night to become world heavyweight champion and keep the title for nearly five months. The MitB and world title win was regarded as WWE's way of saying 'thank you' to Kane for his hard work and loyalty to the company throughout the years.
But of course, I have to ask - what if things turned out differently? I didn't list the other seven participants in the MitB match just because I wanted to fill up space. As you can see, there was a lot of hungry talent competing for the opportunity to wrestle for the world title, and one of those men was Drew McIntyre. Around the same time Money in the Bank took place, McIntyre was on top of the world. He was coming off an impressive reign as Intercontinental Champion, and many people bought into his nickname of "The Chosen One". McIntyre was a favourite to win the briefcase that night, but he didn't. Besides a short-lived run as tag team champion and an impressive showing in the 2011 Elimination Chamber match, McIntyre's career has fallen by the wayside. Kane, on the other hand, has main-evented several PPVs since his world title win two years ago, and remains one of the company's bigger stars, heel or face.
Therefore, what if we could go back in time and put the SmackDown briefcase in someone else's hands? What if...Drew McIntyre, not Kane, won the Money in the Bank briefcase?
This might surprise you, especially if you're a D-Mac fan, but I think had McIntyre won the briefcase in 2010, he would be in a worse place than he is now. Before you ask what can be worse than jobbing on RAW and SmackDown, and seeing the majority of his television time take place on NXT and/or Superstars, I'll tell you. McIntyre would have become the next Jack Swagger, no matter how long he waited until cashing in the briefcase.
Now, I am well aware that Swagger's career was boosted after he won MitB at Wrestlemania 26 and cashed in a few days later to defeat Chris Jericho for the world heavyweight championship. Unfortunately for Swagger, the fans weren't ready to see Swagger in the main-event. I argue that the man was ready for the big-time - he's a great wrestler and despite his lisp, made the most of his promo time when given a chance. But as Swagger and WWE found out, you don't go from being winless on RAW for months to being world champion a few weeks later. There is no way anyone could live up to that kind of test, let alone someone young and inexperienced in the main-event like Swagger. It's one thing for a guy like Kane or Jericho to go from losing streak to number one contender in a manner of weeks, but Swagger is clearly not on either man's level. WWE rushed Swagger and now he's paying the price.
With McIntyre, it's a similar situation. McIntyre was brought back to the main roster in 2009 as "The Chosen One", both on-screen and behind the scenes. Vince McMahon was a huge fan of McIntyre and it showed by the way McIntyre was pushed to the Intercontinental Championship very quickly. He was essentially being shoved down our throats, much like the way Alberto Del Rio has been since his WWE debut. However, McIntyre is Scottish and does not appeal to the Latino demographic, so if he fumbled after winning MitB and cashing in, he would not have been pushed back to the main-event. Instead, he would have gone the All-American American route and dropped back down to the midcard (if he was lucky).
Many people feel McIntyre not winning MitB in 2010 was a good thing, and I agree with them. McIntyre's de-push has been frustrating to witness, but it has allowed him to improve his in-ring work by working longer matches on NXT and Superstars. By not winning MitB or a world title, McIntyre is yet to reach the pinnacle of his success. From where he's at right now, he has nowhere to go but up the card, unlike poor Swagger, who's character has been DESTROYED since losing the world title to Rey Mysterio two years ago. Swagger may be getting a lot more TV time than McIntyre does, but in the long-run, I believe McIntyre will be more successful, mainly because people will actually remember McIntyre's title run (if it ever happens).
As a huge D-Mac fan, it pains me to see his role in the company take such a huge hit in recent months, but at the same time, I'm glad they didn't rush and give him MitB prematurely. McIntyre wasn't ready for the briefcase two years ago, and it remains to be seen if he'll be a top candidate to win the briefcase next year. I know it's sometimes better to say you've been world champion than say you never won the world title at all, but unless McIntyre is released sometime in the future (and I don't think he's in any danger of that happening), I think patience is key for the Scott. Rather than seeing the company forced to play their McIntyre hand, they should wait until the timing is right to utilize McIntyre's talents. After all, no one wants to become the next Jack Swagger.
Okay folks, now it's YOUR turn to finish the column, if you will. I gave my thoughts on what would have happened had McIntyre won MitB two years ago. But what do you think would have become of Kane's career? Would his feud with The Undertaker still occur? Would Kane ever win a world title on his own? Share your scenario, I'd love to hear it.
Did You Know?
Last Sunday's MitB PPV was the seventh consecutive Pay-Per-View where WWE Champion CM Punk did not compete in the main-event.
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