On June 19, 2022, IMPACT Wrestling will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the company will be hosting its annual Slammiversary pay-per-view. IMPACT Wrestling has come a long way even when fans swore the company would die a quick death. From its early weekly pay-per-view days in 2002, IMPACT has continually bounced back, established a loyal fanbase, and has grown in a way that is unparalleled. One of the reasons, IMPACT has thrived and survived is because of its solid women’s division, the IMPACT Knockouts.
Ask many TNA/IMPACT fans today, and they will present a strong argument for why the IMPACT Knockouts are the best division on TV now and in the mid-2000s. The Knockouts are trailblazers. But what Knockout blazed the largest trail? Which Knockouts had the biggest impact in IMPACT history? Here are five Knockouts who have had the biggest impact in TNA/IMPACT history, plus some of their most entertaining matches. All matches can be watched on the IMPACT Plus app (or YouTube), so put your subscription to good use.
No. 5 Taya Valkyrie
By Mike Kalasnik – https://www.flickr.com/photos/10542402@N06/34118030453/in/album-72157684240381786/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75914912
Former IMPACT Knockouts World Championship, Taya Valkyrie, has the current record for the longest Knockouts title reign of 377 days. In just one title reign. Currently, Valkyrie has the fourth-longest days combined reign, just four days short of Madison Rayne. Valkyrie had an amazing 2019, so much so, that she won the IMPACT Year End Knockout of the Year award that year. She is the second woman to challenge for the IMPACT World Championship and participated in the first-ever all-female IMPACT World Championship match.
Must see Taya Valkyrie matches:
- vs Deonna Purrazzo for the AAA Reina de Reinas Title at Rebellion 2022
- vs Deonna Purrazzo for the IMPACT Knockouts Title at Hard To Kill 2021
- vs Jordynne Grace vs ODB in a Triple Threat for the IMPACT Knockouts Title at Hard To Kill 2020
- vs Jordynne Grace in a Brewery Brawl Street Fight at Bash at the Brewery 2 2020
- vs Rosemary in a Demon’s Dance Match on the April 12, 2018 episode of IMPACT Wrestling
No. 4 Deonna Purrazzo
By John Manard – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=92399925
“The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo has accomplished a fair amount since her return to IMPACT Wrestling in 2020. In less than six months of returning to IMPACT, Purrazzo won the IMPACT Knockouts World Championship. Purrazzo made IMPACT Wrestling history when she defended the Knockouts World Championship against Jordynne Grace in the first-ever Knockouts 30-minute Iron Woman match. At Triplemania XXIX, in a Champion vs Champion match, challenged Faby Apache for the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship and defended the IMPACT Knockouts World Championship. Purrazzo defeated Apache to become the new AAA Reina de Reinas champion. Consequently, the Champ Champ was born.
In the IMPACT Wrestling history books, Purrazzo is a two-time IMPACT Knockouts World Champion, one-half of the IMPACT Wrestling Homecoming King and Queen 2021 winner, and a four-time IMPACT Year End award winner. In 2020, Purrazzo won both the Wrestler of the Year award and the Knockout of the Year award. In 2021, she won the Knockout of the Year award and Knockouts Match of the Year for her Bound for Glory match against Mickie James. Purrazzo ranked number three on the 2021 PWI Women’s 150. A true pandemic era MVP.
Must see Deonna Purrazzo matches:
- Bonus: The Best of Deonna Purrazzo
- vs Rok-C for the AAA Reina de Reinas and ROH Women’s World Title on the January 13, 2022 episode of IMPACT Wrestling
- vs Mickie James at Bound for Glory 2021
- vs Su Yung in a No DQ match for the IMPACT Knockouts Title at Turning Point 2020
- vs Jordynne Grace in a 30 Minute Iron Woman Match for the IMPACT Knockouts Title at Emergence Night 2, August 25, 2020
- vs Jordynne Grace for the IMPACT Knockouts Title at Slammiversary XVIII 2020
No. 3 Mickie James
By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77534687
A true TNA pioneer, Mickie James, made her TNA debut as Alexis Laree on the company’s first weekly pay-per-view in 2002. During her early TNA days as Alexis Laree, James became the only woman to compete in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match against Jeff Jarrett. James’ true influence on TNA/IMPACT Wrestling began in 2010 when she returned to the company.
She is a four-time TNA/IMPACT Knockouts World Champion and a 2013 TNA World Cup of Wrestling winner. James is the first woman in wrestling history to have held the WWE Women’s Championship, the WWE Divas Championship, and the TNA Knockouts Championship. During her time in TNA, James won PWI’s Woman of the Year for the second time in 2011. In 2021, James won the Knockouts Match of the Year for her Bound for Glory match against Deonna Purrazzo.
In 2022, James did something that no other Knockout has done, when it was announced that she would participate in the 2022 WWE Women’s Royal Rumble. During the Royal Rumble match, WWE acknowledged IMPACT Wrestling and James’ championship reign by allowing her to wear the IMPACT Knockouts World Championship to the ring. For the match, James used her IMPACT Wrestling theme song “Hardcore Country” when she entered at number 20. James lasted 11:40 and eliminated Michelle McCool, but was eliminated by Lita.
Must see Mickie James matches:
- vs Deonna Purrazzo in a Texas Death match for the IMPACT Knockouts World Championship at Hard to Kill 2022
- vs Serena Deeb at Knockouts Knockdown 2013
- vs Angelina Love for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Slammiversary IX 2011
- vs Madison Rayne in a steel cage Title vs Hair match for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Lockdown 2011
- vs Madison Rayne in a Last Knockout Standing match for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Against All Odds
- vs Tara in a Falls Count Anywhere match at Final Resolution 2010
- Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun at NWA-TNA PPV #41
No. 2 Awesome Kong
By Mike Kalasnik – Awesome Kong, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/10542402@N06/14882302542
We can’t talk about TNA/IMPACT Wrestling without mentioning Awesome Kong (and the number 1 Knockout). Awesome Kong changed the mainstream US wrestling and help put TNA/IMPACT on most wrestling fans’ radar. For evidence of this, check out Awesome Kong vs Gail Kim 2007-2008 feud. Kong and Kim crafted and executed the game plan for what women’s wrestling could be and should be. These two women have had the biggest influence on TNA/IMPACT Wrestling’s history.
Awesome Kong’s impact on TNA/IMPACT is a reflection of her illustrious accomplishments. Kong is a two-time TNA Women’s Knockout Championship and a former TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion. She is the 2015 Queen of the Knockouts winner and 2016 Knockouts Gauntlet for the Gold winner. She ranked number one on the inaugural PWI Women’s 150, formerly known as the PWI Female 50 in 2008. That same year, PWI named Awesome Kong the PWI Woman of the Year.
In 2021, at Knockouts Knockdown, IMPACT Wrestling announced that Awesome Kong would be inducted into the IMPACT Hall of Fame at Bound for Glory 2021. She was inducted into the hall of fame by her greatest IMPACT rival, Gail Kim. What an awesome career in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling!
Must see Awesome Kong matches:
- Bonus: Awesome Kong | TNA’s Greatest Matches
- Gauntlet for the Gold at TNA One Night Only 2016
- Knockouts Knockdown 2015
- vs ODB vs Tara in a Three Way Dance for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Bound for Glory 2009
- vs ODB in a Falls Count Anywhere Match for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at No Surrender 2008
- vs Gail Kim in a NO DQ match for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Final Resolution 2008
No. 1 Gail Kim
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Gail Kim, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64056227
You guessed it, Gail Kim ranks number one. Gail Kim is one of the most influential women in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling history. Kim was a driving force in the foundation of the TNA Knockouts division, and was integral to the division’s success, as the division was a success of the company.
Just like Awesome Kong, it’s hard to talk about TNA/IMPACT Wrestling without mentioning Kim. Her influence on the TNA/IMPACT Knockouts division and IMPACT as a whole is still felt today because Kim still works with IMPACT. We recently saw Kim announce IMPACT’s first-ever Queen of the Mountain match at this year’s Slammiversary. Kim, herself, has participated in an important first-ever Knockouts match in 2007. In fact, she won the first-ever Knockouts Gauntlet for the Gold match to become the inaugural Knockouts champion.
In her Knockouts career, Kim would win the championship a total of seven times and has the record for most Knockout title reigns. She is also a one-time Knockouts tag team champion, two-time Gauntlet for the Gold winner (2007 and 2016), and a one-time, Queen of the Knockouts winner (2013), and 2015 TNA World Cup of Wrestling winner. She also won the Knockout of the Year IMPACT Year End Award in 2007. In 2016, Kim was the first woman inducted into the IMPACT Hall of Fame. Talk about making an IMPACT!
Must see Gail Kim matches:
- Bonus: Gail Kim | TNA’s Greatest Matches
- Gauntlet for the Gold on the September 15 2016 episode of IMPACT Wrestling.
- vs Madison Rayne in a steel cage match for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Lockdown 2014
- Knockouts Knockdown 2013
- vs Taryn Terrell in a Last Knockout Standing match with ODB as a special guest referee at Slammiversary XI 2013
- vs Mickie James for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Final Resolution 2011
- vs Awesome Kong vs ODB in a Three-Way Dance for the TNA Women’s Knockout Championship at Destination X 2008
- Gauntlet for the Gold at Bound for Glory 2007
The IMPACT Knockouts are the backbone of IMPACT Wrestling. Their hard work and dedication have helped keep the company afloat. The Knockouts have stepped up to the plate time and time again. It’s honestly impossible to only choose five Knockouts that have had the biggest impact in IMPACT history because so many Knockouts have been a part of the company and have helped build the division from its inception. However, it’s clear that women like Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, and Deonna Purazzo will be remembered for their IMPACT Wrestling accomplishments.