I have been a wrestling fan since I can recollect. My cousins and I used to make up matches and moves on the trampoline and we were committed to our characters. I can remember the rewards I used to get from a family friend – we didn’t have cable and he would record all the recent wrestling shows and save them for me to see. Although I was fascinated by Flair, terrified of The Undertaker, mesmerized by The Macho Man, there was one superstar that completely captivated me: The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. It didn’t matter what kind of match he was competing in, if he was a fan favorite face or a hated heel, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of his capability and charisma. He had me hooked.
As far as the women wrestlers went, Molly Holly was the only one I was interested in. I went to watch my first live wrestling show when I was around 15. Molly Holly was the Women’s Champion at the time and as a young girl growing up playing several sports, she was the epitome of everything women’s wrestling, an athlete, was. At that same event Shawn Michaels also performed and pleased the crowd as only he can do. He gave me a high five that night and that was the highlight of my heart’s wrestling beat.
Being that HBK recently retired and no other boy kept me glued to what was going on, and women’s wrestling gave way to the divas division with more model-like ladies and less athleticism and action, I decided to discover some other options for wrestling and women’s outlets. I started searching where these superstars got their starts. I watched some old OVW videos, searched through Shimmer, and finally found TNA Impact Wrestling. Not only did TNA have a noticeable Knockouts division, competitively catapulted by Gail Kim, Awesome Kong and the record-setting five time Knockouts Champion Angelina Love, but they actually acknowledged their female talent and dubbed the Knockouts the “backbone” of the company, as the Knockouts see the highest ratings on the show.
You will probably recognize a lot of the roster from WWE, as a fair amount of the athletes have had contracts with the bigger brand, including Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, RVD, Jeff Hardy, and Mickie James. However, TNA has had its self-made superstars. A.J. Styles was the company’s first ever employee who has made history with the company that he has been loyal to for nine years. He is the longest reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion in the company’s history and the only wrestler to have held every male championship owned and sanctioned by TNA, making him a 17 time champion. Last year he ranked number one on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s PWI 500 list, beating out the bigger name performers from other promotions. Madison Rayne has also climbed the TNA roster and earned her own respect by becoming the longest-reigning Knockouts champion in history, and she also simultaneously represented one half of the women’s tag team titles.
I finally found my way back to the sport that started it all for me and went to watch TNA live on it’s tour, which featured a memorable match between Winter and Mickie James, the first woman to hold a title in every promotion that she has been a part of, and PWI’s # 1 female singles wrestler and Woman of the Year in 2009. With the silence that Shawn Michaels’ retirement put on my wrestling radio, I’m glad that I have been given another wrestling rhythm. When it comes to women’s wrestling, tune in to the talent at TNA. Also, I’ll confess – I still can’t pick up a pillow without wanting to playfully punch or powerbomb it. I recently found my spandex pants from when I was a kid and would compete with my cousins. They still fit. Meet me on the trampoline tonight!