The 2010's were a 'difficult time' for TNA/Impact Wrestling for reasons that are well known today, the promotion was still able to take female athletes and turn many of them into legends.
While the quality of the storylines were starting to decrease at the time, there were a handful of Knockouts who would stick out and become one of the best things at a time of upheaval within the company.
So with all of that said, here are the Top Five Impact Wrestling Knockouts of the first half of the 2010's.
Winter aka Katarina Waters
Rosita aka Thea Trinidad
Tara's rise in mainstream wrestling occurred in the early 2000's after first appearing in the World Wrestling Federation as one of The Godfather's Ho's before competing in a Memphis based developmental promotion owned by the WWF (later known as the WWE).
From there, she would wrestle under the name of Victoria where she stepped in the ring with names like Trish Stratus, Lita, Ivory, Molly Holly, Beth Phoenix, Candice Michelle and countless others while also winning the WWE's women's championship at least two times before leaving the company in early 2009.
Wrestling fans didn't have to wait too long to see her get back in the ring as the newly named 'Tara' debuted in TNA in the summer of 2009 where she feuded with Angelina Love and The Beautiful People for the Knockouts Championship and later wrestled against Awesome Kong and ODB.
Tara's work in the early 2010's saw her win the prestigious Knockouts Championship three times whilst interacting and competing against fellow legends like Mickie James, Daffney, Gail Kim, Mia Yim, and Madison Rayne (with Tara being the enforcer to the latter in 2011).
She would also go on to win the Knockouts Tag Team Titles with Brooke Tessmacher as a team known as 'TnT (Tara n Tessmacher) where they competed against teams like Sarita and Rosita and Gail Kim and Madison Rayne before Tara turned on Tessmacher to join forces with former Big Brother cast member, Jesse Godderz.
While the 'relationship'' between Tara and Godderz was indeed memorable, her work in both companies tends to get overlooked by some fans and critics alike but her contributions to the sport of professional wrestling are undoubtedly second to none.
4. Mickie James
Before she became the household name she is today, Mickie competed in the early days of TNA from 2002-03 and during her time their she became a member of a group lead by ECW superstar Raven, battle names like Stephanie Trinity and April Hunter and competed with some of the men on the roster most notably NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett.
Following this Mickie would join the WWE and embark on a five year career that saw her competing against Lita, Maryse, Jillian Hall, Beth Phoenix. Michelle McCool and at times kissing her opponents like Trish Stratus and Melina. Mickie's first run in the WWE ended as part of the infamous 'Piggy James' in which the previously mentioned McCool and Layla would harass and make funny of Mickie for being fat despite clearly not have a ounce of fat on her at the time, regardless it was McCool and Layla who came out on top in the end as they pinned Mickie in a tag team match in April of 2010 before being released from the WWE due to the company allegedly wanting to "move in a new direction with their women's division"...whatever that means?!?
Mickie James then returned to TNA on the go home episode before Bound For Glory 2010 where she announced that she would be the special guest referee for a four way knockouts title match at the up-and-coming pay per view.
She would then adapt the nickname 'Hardcore Country' and get into heated feuds with Tara and Madison Rayne between late 2010 to the summer of 2011 with James winning her first ever Knockouts Championship from Madison at Lockdown 2011.
Mickie's second run in the TNA/Impact saw her become on the leading faces of the Knockouts Division from 2011-13 where she battled names like Gail Kim, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love, Winter, ODB and Serena Deeb.
Her actions outside of the wrestling world while still signed with Impact were also impressive as she would wed former TNA world champion, Magnus aka Nick Aldis in 2014 and create a music career for herself which saw her release songs like 'Somebody's Gonna Pay', 'Is Everybody Doing Ok' and 'Hardcore Country' which would go on to be the theme song for the duration of her second run in the company.
She even managed to hold and perform in a number of concerts most notably performing at the CMA Music Festival in 2011 and 2013; While her second run did have a few questionably moments, her time with the company helped to make the Knockouts Division all the more better.
3. Taryn Terrell
Coming into a new promotion with little fanfare only leave the company some years later as a beloved wrestler has got to be a tremendous feeling to have especially if you're Taryn Terrell who's rise to the top within the Knockout's Division is quite withstanding.
Debuting on the August 16th 2012 edition of Impact as the new referee in the company, Taryn would eventually get under the skin of Gail Kim (who was heel at the time); Due to an alleged mistake on Terrell's part during a match, Gail would constantly get into Taryn's face which lead to the 'Hot Mess' (as she was later nicknamed) to attack the former Knockouts Champion.
This would ultimately see Taryn getting fired from her job as a referee but immediately rehired as an official wrestler and her first target was none other then Gail Kim; This paved the way for Gail and Taryn to compete in the first ever 'Last Knockout Standing Match' which has gone down as one the all time modern classics in not just Impact's history but in women's wrestling as the media exposure around this match would garner the company some much needed positive attention and it even led to Vince McMahon and the WWE trying to copy it during AJ Lee's feud with Kaitlyn around the same time.
After losing a number contender's ladder match, Terrell would be taken off of TV to focus on her real life pregnancy but she would return to the company and soon afterwards she would wrestle names like Angelina Love, Madison Rayne, Santana Garrett, Brooke Tessmacher and Jessicka Havok before winning her first and to date only Knockouts Championship on the November 19th 2014 edition of Impact.
Taryn's reign as Knockouts Champion would see her battle Awesome Kong which would lead to her turning heel and revealing herself as the leader of the brand new all female faction known as 'The Dollhouse'; With fellow members Jade (Mia Yim), Marti Belle, and Rebel the group ran rough shot over the division from 2015-16 with Taryn resuming her feud with Gail and managing to retain her title until she lost it to Brooke Tessmacher ending her 279 day reign as Knockouts Champion which was the longest reign for any champion in company history until Taya Valkyrie in 2019.
Taryn would return for another run in 2017 but due to issues stemming from her previous marriage with Drew McIntyre/Galloway, she was not able to enter Canada which was the location for that year's Bound For Glory PPV where she was set to compete.
While her run in the company may have ended in unspectacular fashion and she's since appeared for Billy Corgan's NWA promotion, her time within Impact has transformed her career from being the pretty face who was the GM on WWE's ECW brand to being tough as nails competitor inside the ring.
2. Madison Rayne
For those of you who've seen her work during this time period, it shouldn't be surprising to see Madison Rayne on this list.
While Madison maybe a household named in the Knockouts Division today, she had only four years of experience when she first appeared in TNA Wrestling back in early 2009; Rayne would soon be involved in a storyline with The Beautiful People where Angelina Love and Velvet Sky who constantly haze the blonde haired newbie as Madison wanted to become a member of the group.
Sure enough, Madison would become a member of the group and what an opportune time as Angelina was being taken off of television to take care of some issues with her visa and thus Madison joined with Velvet to unsuccessfully take on Taylor Wilde and Sarita for the Knockouts Tag Team Championships at No Surrender.
By the end of the year, The Beautiful People would included Lacey Von Erich into the faction and Madison would quickly establish herself as the new leader of the group.
During her time as leader, Madison Rayne would lead the Beautiful People to championship gold as The Beautiful People would win the Knockouts singles and tag team titles by the time of Lockdown 2010 and soon she would begin to distance herself from the group and began to embark on her own singles career where she would crown herself 'The Queen Bee' and have successful title defenses against Tara, Alissa Flash, ODB, Roxxi and Mickie James.
The list of accomplishments Madison Raye achieved during this time include
- Ranking number 5 in PWI's Top 50 female wrestlers in 2011
- Being the first knockout to hold the Knockouts tag team and single title at the same time
- Winning the Knockouts Championship Five Times...Not sure if you heard about that one #sacarsm
- Officially became Queen of the Knockouts at Knockouts Knockdown 2013
And so much more...
By the time 2015 came to an end, Madison competed against some best female wrestlers not signed to the WWE at the time and had achieved more than any other Knockouts before her...except the #1 entry.
As a result of her hard work and dedication with Impact, she become a living legend within the Knockouts Division.
1. Gail Kim
So many people have wondered why I didn't put Gail Kim on previous list, the 'Top five Impact Wrestling Knockouts of the 2000's' article, well the answer is that while I respect the work Gail put into the division from 2007-08, her best work really came in the 2010's in my opinion.
Returning to the company after a failed second stint in the WWE, Gail Kim reemerged in TNA in late 2011 and she never really looked back. After regaining the Knockouts Championship and winning the Knockouts Tag Team titles with Madison Rayne (making Gail the second to hold both belts at the same time), Gail Kim would defend her belt against wrestlers like Mickie James, Velvet Sky, Brooke Tessmacher and Madison Rayne before losing it to the aforementioned Tessmacher in Brooke's home state of Texas at Slammiversary 2012 ending her reign at 210 days.
Gail would then go on to feud with Taryn Terrell and Jessicka Havok which helped to elevated their careers and make them into future stars within mainstream wrestling; Gail would also ranked number one on PWI's Top 50 Females in 2012, making it the first time a Knockout has done so since Awesome Kong back in 2007.
Speaking of Kong, Gail would renew her rivalry with the Awesome one in the lead up to Bound For Glory 2015 where she defeat Kong and retained her title.
In addition to winning the Knockouts title fours times during the early to mid 2010's, Gail Kim also was pretty much the heart and soul of not just the Knockouts Division but the company itself as most of the TNA originals like Kaz and Daniels, Chris Sabin, AJ Styles and others were leaving but she stayed loyal and helped to lead the promotion during a so so time in it's history.
Combine this with what she would do in the latter half of the decade and it easy to see why Gail Kim is the number one best Impact Wrestling Knockout of the early 2010's.
Do You Agree or Disagree With This List? Who Do You Think Are The Top 5 Knockouts of the Early to Mid 2010's?
Be sure to check out the article I did talking about the 'Top 5 Impact Wrestling Knockouts Of The 2000's'
I also plan on doing the 'Top 5 Impact Wrestling Knockouts Of The Late 2010's' article before the year comes to an end, so be sure to look out for that.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to follow me on Twitter @hakeemfullerton and for more wrestling related content, be sure to follow, Wrestling New World on Twitter @wnwnews.