The Knockouts Division got its start back in 2002 but they weren't labeled Knockouts until 2006. The term came from an Impact Wrestling fka NWA: Total Nonstop Action DVD entitled "Knockouts: The Ladies of TNA Wrestling, Vol.1. Back in 2002 the women in the company at the time competed in a Lingerie Battle Royal for the title of Miss TNA. From 2003 to 2006 the women would be used in multiple ways from cage dancers to occasionally wrestling matches and even competing for the NWA World Women's Championship briefly. The Knockouts Division wouldn't be established until 2007 by this time big-name wrestlers such as Francine, Mercedes Martinez, Gail Kim, Christy Hemme, Amber O'Neal, and Sherri Martel have come and gone. 2007 would be the year that TNA/IMPACT would begin to build their Knockouts Division with Gail Kim vs Jacqueline being the feud of the winter and Christy Hemme vs Roxxi Laveaux being the feud of the summer. In October at Bound For Glory TNA/IMPACT crowned Gail Kim as their first-ever Knockouts Champion in a 10 Knockout gauntlet match. Now that we know the history of the Knockouts Division lets take a look at the current state of the division.
Fast forward to 2020 and the IMPACT roster as a whole has been the most STACKED that it's been a long time more importantly the Knockouts Division is currently in one of their best incarnation to date. The current Knockouts Division has some big-name apart of it like Tessa Blanchard, Jordynne Grace, Tenille Dashwood, and Taya Valkyrie just to name a few. When you look who IMPACT has been signing as of late they are all in their prime and under 40. This is very telling as IMPACT is looking towards younger talent and the future. Two of the best examples of this would be the current IMPACT world and Knockouts champions Tessa Blanchard and Jordynne Grace who as of this article are both only 24. The current incarnation has a mixture of veterans and up and coming talent which nice combination to have as the veterans can carry the majority of the matches, give advice to the younger talent, or put over the younger talent. The Knockouts Division since 2007 has been one of the most talkable women's divisions in the whole world. In 2020 that notion is still true to this day as the Knockouts put on some the best matches of the night.
While the goal for any knockout is to one day become Knockouts Champion but thanks to the history maker herself, Tessa Blanchard who earlier this year became the first-ever female world champion in the company's 18-year long history by defeating Sami Callihan at the Hard to Kill PPV. Tessa is showing that there are more opportunities outside of the Knockouts Division as she also challenged for the X-Division title at Bound For Glory. This is not a knock on the Knockouts Championship at all as it has so much history and many legends such as Gail Kim and Awesome Kong have held the gold.
When comparing the Knockouts Division to WWE, AEW, and ROH in my opinion I would put them at the top for many reasons. In TNA's hay day they had one of the deepest rosters and some of the biggest names. The division was very much character and storyline driven. Lastly they would put on some of the most talked-about matches and feuds. Go back and watch ANY Gail Kim vs Awesome Kong match, Taryn Terrell vs Gail Kim in both ladder and last knockout standing matches, The ENTIRE Winter/Angelina Love storyline, and Tessa Blanchard vs Gail Kim. I could go on for hours about how good the Knockouts Division was and still is today.
Overall the current state of the knockouts division is in good hands with the lucky 13 ladies that are signed to the company right now. A great mix of veteran status and younger talent is the key to any great division.