Lei’d Tapa: A Rebirth for the Knockouts Division?

Since exploding onto our screens on Impact a couple of weeks ago, Lei’d Tapa has torn through the Knockouts division like a hurricane, first taking out two-time champion Velvet Sky, and then ripping apart current champion ODB like a wet paper towel. TNA is clearly putting a lot of faith into Lei’d Tapa and this could mean a rebirth for the Knockouts division.

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When Lei’d Tapa first debuted on TNA programming, it was in the recently terminated ‘Gut Check’ segment of Impact, which was designed to give new, up-and-coming stars the chance to compete against one another for a TNA contract. Lei’d Tapa faced MMA-based wrestler Ivelisse Velez in her match and lost; regardless, she was given a contract and sent to OVW for training. Many people, including me, still think that Ivelisse should have gone through thanks to her unique MMA style, but Lei’d Tapa was chosen instead, likely thanks to her intimidating stature and immense physique. While her credentials as a wrestler may be under fire, the early signs look good for Lei’d Tapa: the wild hair, the Amazon warrior look, and the genetic advantages that come with being the niece of the Barbarian, coupled with the astonishing power that she displays, means that all of the Knockouts had better be on their guard.

It is no secret that the Knockouts Division in TNA is in a sorry state with several high profile departures such as Mickie James, Tara, Madison Rayne, and others such as Taryn Terrell on maternity leave, the division has been whittled down to ODB, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher (of which only two have been regularly active recently). This is simply not enough to sustain a division that has always been heralded as one of the best women’s divisions in the world, but the arrival of Lei’d Tapa could well change all that for the better.

Rarely has any wrestler, let alone a female one, been able to make the kind of impact Lei’d Tapa has made in the last two weeks. Ryback was given a strong push in the WWE, but in the beginning even he was fed jobbers. Lei’d Tapa represents a different animal all together, a dominating and powerful presence that demonstrates a threat to the main roster the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Kharma debuted in the WWE. The comparisons don’t stop there with the woman formerly known as Awesome Kong. I am not going as far to suggest that Lei’d Tapa is in the same league as Awesome Kong; however there are parallels in terms of size and style, and she could emulate her success and rip through the Knockouts in much the same way.

Furthermore, what Lei’d Tapa’s arrival could also mean is more female wrestlers coming up from OVW where, much like NXT, there is a wealth of talent from which to draw. Taeler Hendrix and the Blossom Twins have both impressed and could each bring something new to the Knockouts Division, even if it is nothing more than the infectious energy of youth.

Lei’d Tapa at the very least represents a change in thinking and a shift in focus for the Knockouts division that could mean great things in the near future. The way that Lei’d Tapa debuted suggests that TNA are putting a focus on the Knockouts, and by allowing their division to effectively be destroyed, they are paving the way for it to be rebuilt to its former glory.