Since its inception, Impact Wrestling’s Knockouts Division has been a key part of the company’s success, and a major part of its TV and PPV programming. This weekend, a number of the past and present stars of the division will be appearing at the company’s celebration of its 1000th episode.  Two of the big names announced are The Beautiful People – Velvet Sky and Angelina Love, two of the most popular… or maybe most hated?… but definitely two of the most memorable Knockouts ever.

During a virtual media conference call held in the days leading up to Impact 1000, both Knockouts shared their excitement about the Impact 1000 event.

“To be part of the 1000th episode is very near and dear to our hearts,” said Love, who will actually be wrestling on the show as part of a 10-Knockouts Tag Team match. “Every time we get to do something as the Beautiful People, it’s the best time of my life.”

“It’s going to be very exciting to go home where it all started. We worked our entire career to be wrestling. Impact – TNA Wrestling at the time – gave us that platform, they gave us the ball to run with. I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of the Knockouts who are there now who I’ve never met before.”

During their heyday, the Beautiful People were one of the most popular acts on the show, and often were the highest-rated segment on the show. Indisputably, some of that appeal can be attributed to their eye-popping ring entrance, which definitely highlighted their bodily assets. But, even more so, the characters – whether in the ring or during backstage segments where their mean-girl personalities were spotlighted – were also must-see draws.

“We were such good characters,” Love said proudly. “Even if we didn’t have a match, we had backstage segments, like where we would paper bag Christy Hemme. The two of us together just blew up.”

“We’ve always had a natural and organic chemistry,” Sky said about her and her partner and friend. “That chemistry made us as successful as we were. We would go out there and do our thing – it didn’t feel like work. People didn’t’ know what we were going to do next, and that (generated) interest in the people watching at home. There’s no question of maybe we’ll ‘pop the rating’ at Impact 1000… we will pop the rating,” she predicted.

As for that aforementioned entrance, they don’t minimize how much it helped distinguish them from other women on the roster or in the business, particularly when the pair was really at the top of their game.

“When we really started coming up in 2007, 2008, that’s when WWE went PG,” Love recalled. “I don’t think PG and wrestling is a good mix. We were the envelope-pushers – we gave wrestling that sexy edge that was being taken out of wrestling elsewhere.”

“We grew up during the Attitude Era where every woman you saw on screen would be glitzed and glammed to the nines,” added Sky. “It’s a cosmetic industry – we were inspired by that glitz and glam and makeup, and we just kind of took that with us for the ride. When you have the name the Beautiful People, you don’t want to be seen as the Haggard People,” she chuckled. “Our entrance, hands down, is my favourite thing that we’d ever do. During the entrance, all the attention is on you – it sets the tone for everything else. Your character, your match. At Impact 1000, well, let’s just say you’re going to see exactly what you’d expect to see from us.”


The Beautiful People in NWA. Instagram photo

That includes their entrance, their in-ring skills, and might also include paper-bagging other Knockouts. Whatever it was about the act that struck a chord, both Love and Sky are super grateful that they got the opportunity to show off all of their talents. They know that things could have gone a much different way if Impact didn’t give them the opportunity. Or, perhaps even more so, if they hadn’t pushed Impact to give them that opportunity.

“We’d known of each other from doing independent shows,” Sky said about the genesis of the team. “When we met in TNA, we got to know each other more and more, and we clicked instantly. We pitched the idea of being put together, and when we finally were, we had that chemistry – it came naturally. When the ratings began to pop, we felt we were definitely on to something. They gave us the ball and we ran with it.”

“We were just two girls that loved wrestling, and wanted to success and do what we love. The creation of the Knockouts Division, to my knowledge, was a sink-or-swim idea. Miss Jackie, Gail Kim, and Traci (Brooks) were already here. (Management) said that they wanted to try a women’s division – Jeff (Jarrett), Dutch (Mantell) and Vince (Russo) were very much behind it. They brought in a number of (women at Bound For Glory in 2007) to do a Gauntlet match to kick off the division, and that felt like a really big deal. From the ratings, fans were letting us know that they wanted to watch the women. So the decision was made to let it swim.”

“Velvet and I felt that we should do something together, to do something different from what everyone else in the division was doing, mainly as singles,” Love noted.

“Management would see us backstage – we were always together,” Sky added. “The more that Vince Russo and the powers that be saw us, the more they felt there could be something there.”

“We pitched our name to be Velvet Love Entertainment, but (someone in senior management) said that it was not going to work, that it was career suicide. That kind of hurt,” admitted Sky. “But we said, ‘Okay, let’s prove him wrong.’ When they first put us together, we were babyfaces. And we were booed. Management saw that and said, no, they’ve got to be heels. Once we came out as heels, that’s when the magic started.”

The success of the group resulted in others being added to the mix, including Lacey Von Erich, Madison Rayne, and even Billy Gunn who was called Cute Kip during his Beautiful People stint.

“We were massive DX fans, so when we learned they were going to put Kip with us we were (stunned),” shared Love. “We were terrified, because we thought he was going to hate us, that he would think we were so lame. But then (over time) we got to know him, and learn that he’s the nicest person ever. If you see how quickly he became Cute Kip, and he got the pink shorts and he’d tie up his shirt in the front, you could see he was having so much fun with it. We loved working with him.”

Sky echoed Love’s recollections, noting that it took a bit of time for Kip to warm up to them, but when he did, they became forever friends.

“I don’t think he necessarily cared for us (originally). Not because we did anything wrong, but because he didn’t know us. Once he warmed up to us and saw how serious we were on perfecting our characters, that’s when he really started warming up to us. It didn’t take long before he was wearing pink boas and half-shirts and swiveling his hips. He adopted the gimmick and made it his own as well. There are things he did (like hanging off the ropes and spreading his legs widely during their entrance) that we didn’t even know he was going to do.”

“After a while,” she continued, “we were his girls. He really took us under his wing. He gave us advice, he protected us, he had our back. There was nothing that we would do that he wouldn’t have a say in it to see that we were comfortable, and that it made sense for us.”

Adding in the other women wasn’t necessarily something the women were really interested in at first. But both Von Erich and Rayne eventually

“I don’t think we knew they were going to add Madison Rayne to the group until Vince (Russo) called and asked us,” Love said. “When Madison came in, she was like everybody else who comes into the locker room, kind of quiet and shy. But it worked for her when she first came in, because of what we were doing. It really worked to introduce her to the audience.”

“When Lacey first came in, I think she rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,” said Sky. “Not me – her humor won me over immediately. But that humor, her personality is larger than life, I think that she came in as that, and that wasn’t well-received by a lot of the boys. When someone with that big of a personality, there’s a feeling-out process. But once that was done, she filled in the role well.”

As for whether there’s anyone on the roster today that could join the team, the duo aren’t necessarily looking for any recruits. Love suggested that Gisele Shaw’s faction of her, Savannah Evans, and Jai Vidal Share some of the same character traits as the Beautiful People, but Sky said they would be a better team to feud with than to align with.

“Angelina and I are the OGs,” said Sky. “We could feud with Gisele’s group – like a feud over who does it better, who looks better. But we wouldn’t want anyone else in the Beautiful People.”

Which, she insisted not be taken out of context or used as clickbait to create fictional backstage drama between them and Shaw or any other members of the roster.

“The Knockouts Division now is just killing it,” she praised. “They’re making must-see TV, and I’m so proud of all the women there. They look good, they wrestle good, and from what I’ve heard the locker room is like a sisterhood. Back when the Knockouts Division was born in 2007, that’s what the locker room was like. We didn’t want all the catty crap. We never brought any (negative) energy to the locker room. Even if you were just an extra walking in for the first time. We never (had an environment) where you had to prove yourself first. We were always very welcoming to everyone.”

Love agreed wholeheartedly.

“I don’t think there will ever be a time in Impact where the Knockouts Division will not rock.”

Impact 1000 takes place on Saturday, September 9th at the Westchester County Center in White Plains NY.

Tickets to the event and that afternoon’s Fan Axxess event, featuring appearances by the Beautiful People, Shark Boy, Team 3D, Awesome Kong, ODB, Trinity, Traci Brooks, America’s Most Wanted, World Champion Alex Shelley, and various others, can be purchased here.