Mercedes Martinez has had her share of career ups and downs in the past couple of years, holding stints in both WWE, NXT, and AEW, but never really hitting her stride. Well, by winning the 8-woman tournament at Impact Wrestling’s Knockouts Knockdown event on Saturday night – earning a future Knockouts Championship match in the process – perhaps she’ll be able to finally climb to the top of the mountain.

Her win was one of a few highlights of the all-women’s event, which aired on the Impact Plus streaming network and on Impact’s Ultimate Insiders YouTube subscription page.

Intended not only a celebration of women’s wrestling, the show also served as a tribute to some of the pioneers of Impact’s Knockouts division, with appearances from Gail Kim, Mickie James, Christy Hemme, and Awesome Kong. As well, the show featured a few touching tributes to one of the company’s favourite daughters, the late Shannon “Daffney” Spruill.

One of those tributes actually kicked off the event. The women on the show, some legendary Impact women, and Gail Kim were in the ring, while the men’s roster circled the ring on the floor. Gail dedicated the show to everyone who have given their passion and heart to the business, and then Spruil’s friend Lexy Fyfe was introduced to start a 10-bell salute for Daffney. This was a classy and moving moment and helped showcase the significance of the show.

After a video package showcasing the history of the Knockouts division and its influence on the business that continues even today, they introduced Veda Scott and Mickie James as the special hosts and commentary team for the evening, with Melissa Santos handling the ring announcer duties, and – though not mentioned at the top of the show – it was notable that all of the referees on the show were women.

Match 1: Lady Frost vs. Rachael Ellering – Knockouts Tournament first round match

They started off with some technical wrestling, and the commentators noted how that was Rachael’s expertise, while Frost’s offence was based more on gymnastics and aerials. She didn’t get much of a chance to show them off, though, as Rachael was one step ahead of her for most of the match.

She eventually did, avoiding a Rachael charge, and then hitting Rachael with a Cartwheel Dropkick before hitting a series of gymnastic-themed moves. Rachael stopped her from hitting a Twisting Moonsault, and then they exchanged corner attacks. Rachael nearly got the pin after a Springboard Elbow, and then continued way-laying Frost with hard shots. Rachael hit a big Spinebuster, but Frost surprisingly kicked out. Frost may have injured herself on that move, because for the next while, she seemed to be moving underwater – if she was just selling the impact of the Spinebuster, then great job.

With her hurt, it didn’t take long before Ellering was able to hit the Boss Woman Slam to get the pin.

This was fine, though it probably could have ended a few minutes earlier, as it dragged a bit near the end.

Winner: Rachael Ellering


Match 2: Renee Michelle vs. Chelsea Green – Knockouts Tournament first round match

They had some extended lockup sequences that went on for a bit. Michelle got the crowd into her when she complained about being dropped on her face.

After being outwrestled, Michelle turned on the aggression, going after Chelsea’s arm, smashing her cast against the ring post. With Green in pain, she was unable to defend as Michelle targeted her arm.

To get some distance, Green hit a huge Pump Kick that stunned Michelle.


She then used her legs to hit Michelle with various kicks and knees. Michelle gave as good as she got, though, and a huge Spinning Kick nearly got her the three, but Green was able to grab the rope to break the count.

Shortly after that, Green had a flurry, and a Jumping Unprettier ended Michelle’s tournament hopes.

This was fine.

Winner: Chelsea Green


Match 3: Mercedes Martinez vs. Brandi Lauren – Knockouts Tournament first round match

The interview package was neat in that Lauren – who was taken to the Undead Realm by Su Yung didn’t say anything. Instead, between Mercedes’ talking clips, they would flash quick images of Lauren’s scary face.

Brandi’s supernatural influence let her absorb Martinez’ strong offence. Until it didn’t. When Lauren went to the top, Mercedes stopped her with a huge kick to the face. Mercedes then hoisted her up and hit the OG Drop (a Spinning Crucifix Bomb) to get the pin.

This was a quick, dominant win that really showcased Martinez, and it was really effective.

Winner: Mercedes Martinez


Match 4: Tasha Steelz vs. Jamie Senegal – Knockouts Tournament first round match

Senegal, an out trans woman, had a strong personal and professional relationship with Daffney, and wore Daffney-inspired ring gear for this one.

Senegal was outpowering Tasha early on, but the Boricua Badass brought the Flava and some dirty tactics to take control. At one point, Steelz hanged Senegal over the top rope by her knee and then wrenched her back backwards, which looked painful. Steelz then hit some vicious stomps on Senegal’s back before smashing her with some hard forearms and a Running Soccer Kick for a near fall.

But Senegal fired up and she took over with some powerful strikes. But some more dirty moves by Steelz – including trapping Senegal in the ropes and then kneeing her in the head repeatedly – gave her the edge yet again. Steelz hit a Springboard DDT for two and then hit a huge Diamond Cutter that had everyone thinking it was over – but, again, Senegal kicked out!

Shortly after that, though, Steelz hit a Crucifix Bomb, and Senegal wasn’t able to kick out of that one, sending Steelz into the semi-finals.

This wasn’t the best match. Tasha is good, but wasn’t able to overcome Senegal’s limitations. Steelz is a great personality, so it will be interesting to see if they are giving her a singles push while she’s still teaming with Savannah Evans.

Winner: Tasha Steelz

Gia Miller interviewed Gail Kim in the back. Gail said she was very proud of what she’s seen so far tonight. Miller tried to get Gail to reveal her pick for the tournament winner, but Kim wouldn’t go out on a limb.


Match 5: Deonna Purrazzo (w/ Matthew  Rehwoldt) vs. Masha Slamovich

Slamovich was chosen as Deonna’s opponent by Mickie James as part of the Pick Your Poison stipulation set up between Purrazzo and James in advance of their upcoming title match at Bound For Glory on October 23rd.

In the opening minutes, Purrazzo out-techniqued Masha early on, so Masha tried to mix things up with a show of strength, but Purrazzo surprisingly came out on top of that, too. But then Slamovich kicked it into a higher gear, hitting a series of Suplexes that sent Purrazzo to the floor to seek counsel from Rehwoldt. Slamovich protected Purrazzo from a Slamovich dive, but then ate one himself.


The distraction ultimately worked, though, as after Slamovich got up, Purrazzo clobbered her from behind.

Purrazzo then went back to her tried and true tactics, picking apart Slamovich’s arm, attacking it with submission locks and various strikes.

Slamovich made it interesting, though, and after a variety of kicks, she nearly got the pin. She hit a huge Masha Driver that looked great, and it was a very long two-count that one could argue was three.

But Purrazzo is like a shark that smells blood in the water, and she went back to the arm, clamping on the Venus De Milo, and Slamovich had no choice but to submit.

This was another strong Purrazzo performance. Really, she has to be in the conversation for wrestler of the year in Impact once again. Certainly, she’s right up there as one of best – if not THE best – women in any company today.

Winner: Deonna Purrazzo


Match 6: Mercedes Martinez vs. Rachael Ellering – Knockouts Tournament semi-final round match

Ellering offered a handshake at the bell, and surprisingly Mercedes obliged in a show of mutual respect. The first few minutes saw the two of them exchanging some technical moves, ending in an even-steven deadlock.

Martinez broke it, though, with some big Suplexes and a huge Jumping Knee to Ellering’s head. That sent Ellering rolling to the apron where, after an exchange of punches and kicks, Martinez planted her with a huge Spear.


Martinez then took the fight to the floor, beating Ellering around ringside for a bit, before rolling her back in the ring where she hit some V-Triggers for a two-count.

Ellering fired back with a huge kick, but couldn’t follow up, eating a Codebreaker and a Twisting Elevated Neckbreaker for two. Mercedes locked on a Body Stretch, but Ellering got to the ropes. Martinez tried for a running corner kick, but Ellering moved and Martinez’s knee got wrenched in the ropes.

Ellering then hit a Spinning Forearm that stunned Mercedes, and then dropped Martinez with a Spinebuster, but Martinez used her reserve power to kick out. Ellering hit a Boss Woman Slam, but the experienced Martinez rolled to the ropes to avoid the pin. She bought herself enough time to bait Ellering into the OG Drop. But instead of going for the pin, Mercedes locked on a Guillotine and Ellering had no choice but to tap out.

After the match, the two embraced in a show of mutual appreciation.

This was the best match in the tournament so far, with the right winner.

Winner: Mercedes Martinez

In the back, Gia Miller interviewed Chelsea Green who has to face Tasha Steelz in the next semi-final match. Green said that she wants to compete against Martinez, but first she has to beat Steelz


Match 7: Tasha Steelz vs. Chelsea Green – Knockouts Tournament semi-final match

The early minutes saw neither woman get an edge, leading to a sequence where they each got about half a dozen two counts, earning some cheers from the crowd. Green outsmarted Steelz, leading to a big kick that sent Steelz to the floor for a time-out. But Green would have none of that, and after a brief chase, Green hit a huge dive to the floor that looked awesome.


A second one didn’t work so well, though, as Tasha blasted her in the face.

Back in the ring, the match went back-and-forth, leading to both of them being downed after they butted heads. Back on their feet, they had a “Yay boo” punch exchange which Chelsea won, and she followed that up with a nifty Neckbreaker.

They fought on the apron where Tasha hit Green with a Cutter that sent Green to the floor. She avoided the count-out, and maneuvered herself to the top, dropping Steelz with a Missile Dropkick. They exchanged finishers, but neither one would be pinned.

Steelz got caught going up top, and was going for a Backpack Stunner or something, but Steelz held on and Green hit the mat hard. She landed in a position that made her the perfect target for a Frog Splash by Steelz. And that was all she wrote.

This one had some sloppy moments, but overall was fine. It’s going to be an interesting dynamic in the finals, since physically, Martinez would be the monster heel over Steelz, but that’s not how their personalities run.

Winner: Tasha Steelz

Backstage, Gia Miller interviewed Mercedes Martinez, who said that she was an OG Badass. She said that when she beats Steelz, she will be the real Boricua Badass.


Hall of Fame Inductee Announcement – Awesome Kong

Christy Hemme made her way to the ring, and it’s great to see her back. She got emotional when she introduced the next inductee into the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame: Awesome Kong. A video package aired, and it was noted that the induction will take place at Bound For Glory.

Awesome Kong came to the ring to a huge ovation and “Hall of Famer” chants. She seemed overwhelmed by the response. She noted she was humbled by the honour. As someone who was there for the birth of the Knockouts Division, she said how proud she was to see an event like tonight’s happen. She said that her main priority today was to pay tribute to Daffney, who opened the doors for so many young women, including those competing in the Monster’s Ball match tonight. She said that everyone, no matter who they are or what they do, they should open the doors for others.

A tribute video aired for Daffney, with comments from Taylor Wilde, who was Daffney’s opponent in the first (and only one until tonight) Women’s Monster Ball match. She noted that Daffney wanted to help the next generation of wrestlers by donating her brain to the Boston concussion institute. And that may be her biggest legacy of all. This was a sweet, touching moment.


Match 9: Jordynne Grace vs. Kimber Lee vs. Savannah Evans vs. Alisha Edwards – Monster’s Ball match

The weapons came out early tonight, including a garbage can and a Singapore cane. It was a bit chaotic with brawling on the floor and the ring at the same time.

Lee put a garbage can on Grace’s head and then smashed it with a crowbar but the pin was broken up. After that, she wedged a chair wrapped in barbed wire between the ropes. She tried to whip Alisha into it, but the throw got reversed, and Lee hit the chair face-first – ouch.


Edwards then brought out Kenny and Kendra, her and Eddie’s his-and-hers Singapore canes. But Kendra was wrapped up in barbed wire for the occasion. She went to work smashing Lee with both of them, and then pressed Kendra against Lee’s forehead, which was already bleeding after the chair spot earlier.

Evans and Grace got into a slugfest in the middle of the ring, and when Alisha tried to get involved, she got punished for it, as Grace put them both in the corner and hit them with Running Double Knees.

Grace brought out a barbell plate that looked like it was at least 40 pounds, but Lee stopped her before she could do anything with it. Lee then went under the ring and brought out a bag of thumbtacks, which she dumped out onto the mat. She tried to Suplex Grace into it, but Grace reversed it, and instead hit Lee with a Muscle Buster right into the pile of tacks. That looked great.


Alisha then ran in and hit a DDT on Grace, putting her face into some tacks, bloodying her up. Edwards picked up the weight plate and went to DDT Grace on them, but Grace dropped her onto the plate face first. Savannah came up from behind and threw a handful of Grace’s powerlifting chalk into Grace’s face. Grace blindly left the ring, leaving Savannah and Edwards alone in the ring. A huge, ugly Full Nelson Slam by Savannah planted Edwards for the pin.

This was a fun little brawl with good use of the weapons. No psychology or anything, but that’s not what this one was about.

Winner: Savannah Edwards

Backstage, Tasha Steelz told Gia Miller that after her friend and partner Savannah won her match, she was going to do the same by beating Mercedes Martinez in the tournament finals.


Match 10: Mercedes Martinez vs. Tasha Steelz – Knockouts Tournament finals

Steelz tried for some mental games on Mercedes, but Mercedes ended those with a huge forearm shot and a series of power moves, including a series of Suplexes (Suplii?) for a near fall. Steelz decided to employ some hit and move techniques instead of duking it out, and fared well with a Flying Hurancarana and a Tornado DDT.

But eventually Mercedes caught her and laid on some ground-and-pound punches. Steelz reversed an OG Driver attempt, got behind Martinez and hit a huge Cutter that bought her some time and space. But that was only temporary, as Mercedes got hold of her yet again and pummeled Steelz with strikes and kicks.

Mercedes tried for a Superplex, but Steelz slipped through and hit a Frankensteiner off the top, and followed that up with Stratusfaction – but Mercedes kicked out!


Tasha climbed up to the top and they had a bit of an awkward exchange while Steelz was up there and Martinez was on the apron, and they had to maneuver to both get into position for the finish. Once Martinez got back in the ring, she kicked Steelz in the face, plucked her off the top, and hit the OG Drop for the convincing pin.

After the match, Gail Kim presented Mercedes Martinez with the Knockouts Tournament trophy. In addition, with the win, Martinez earned a future Knockouts Championship match, so will face the winner of the Purrazzo-James match at Bound For Glory.

This was good, the stuttered ending aside, and it’s great to see Impact not doing the conventional thing and having an entrenched roster member win. Martinez and Purrazzo or Mickie should be a good match when it happens, and will be a good fresh matchup.

Match and Tournament Winner: Mercedes Martinez

Veda Scott and Mickie James talked about the Tag Me In campaign, that many wrestlers and legends around the world are supporting to open the dialogue around mental health and normalize open discussions by people who are struggling. To support the campaign, you can buy a T-shirt at ProWrestlingTees, or buy swatches from the ring canvas tonight at the official Impact E-bay store.


Match 11: The Influence (Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood) (w/ Kaleb) vs. Decay (Rosemary and Havok) (c) (w/ Crazzy Steve and Black Taurus) – for the Knockouts Tag Team Championship

Rayne was scared to get in the ring early on, and her fears were well-founded when she got her face bitten off by Rosemary, and then she got hit with front-and-back forearms by the champs.


Havok threw Madison around for a while until Rayne scrambled to her corner and tagged a reluctant Dashwood.

She didn’t fare any better, taking air and taking damage from Havok who heaved her across the ring a few times before hitting a huge Backbreaker and a Clothesline, before Rosemary took her to the Upside Down.

Interference by Kaleb on the floor helped his team turn things around, as they isolated Rosemary in their corner, taking turns hitting her with power moves that punished her torso, with kicks and stomps, including delivering blows while Rosemary was trapped in the Tree of Woe, and a Low Cross Body in the corner.

Rosemary finally got the tag to a fresh Havok who was on fire. But some more Kaleb distractions allowed the Influence to regain control. They actually hit the Collab on Rosemary, but the shenanigans on the outside between Kaleb and Steve and Taurus meant the ref missed the count, or otherwise we would have seen new champions.

Crisis averted, Decay regrouped, and hit an Assisted Spear on Madison to successfully retain their titles.

This was a decent match, though it could also have been a regular TV match. After nearly three hours, the big win by Martinez, and the hardcore match, this felt like a bit of an underwhelming way to end the show, even though the match itself was good.

Winners, and still Knockouts Champions: Decay

As the show came to a close, they showed a teaser, announcing that the Iinspiration (formerly, the Iiconics in WWE) will be making their company debut at Bound For Glory. That should be some fun.






Impact Wrestling Knockouts Knockdown - October 9th, 2021

Skyway Studios - Nashville, TN

Many people credit Impact’s showcasing of women as the true starting point of the women’s revolution in the wrestling industry. And although none of the matches tonight will likely ever be considered in the same rare air as some of the classic Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong matches, it’s great to see the company’s commitment to the division continues and gives women the opportunity to shine brightly.