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The Sharpshooter: Why The Knockouts Division will light up 2018

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WWE history will soon be made once again; with the inaugural women's Royal Rumble fast approaching, all eyes will be on the WWE's women's division this Sunday. I've always loved The Royal Rumble, with its twists and turns... the number lottery, the many surprises and returns... and the huge amount of compelling storylines that could be started, told and ended in a single match.

It feels like a pivotal moment for women's wrestling, and I just hope WWE allows it's female roster the right amount of time to be able to showcase their undoubted abilities and athleticism.

With that being said, perhaps it's the right time to put the spotlight back on another group of talented women, who have spent the last couple of years fighting hard to rebuild their division, to make their mark on the wrestling world during a period of upheaval and uncertainty for the company they work for.

Impact Wrestling is starting to gain some momentum again, with Anthem's solid financial backing - and a resurgence in it's creative team - one of its greatest assets in turning things around has been the Knockouts. In Rosemary, Sienna, Allie and the departing Laurel Van Ness.. there has been many memorable matches and feuds in recent times, and it's only going to improve with the addition of Taya Valkyrie, Su Yung, Alisha Edwards and Keira Hogan... harking back to the glory years of Awesome Kong, Gail Kim, Tara, and The Beautiful People.

Allie in particular has been a blessing for Impact. When I heard Laura Dennis aka Cherry Bomb had been signed along with her partner Braxton Sutter; I'll admit seeing her as a cute ditzy apprentice working for Maria... wasn't quite what I expected. But watching her character's growth and in-ring progression has been pure joy right from the beginning. Starting with her standing up to her bullying boss and that surprise title win, and then probably one of my favourite bits of television from last year - The Wedding of LVN and Sutter. It's evidence that long-term storylines are the way forward for wrestling television... when I can invest in a character emotionally, I'm far more likely to go to a live show, buy merchandise and mark out when that wrestler wins or overcomes the odds. Allie is a true babyface, and it's going to be thrilling to follow her on her journey as she continues to become more aggressive and confident against more fearsome opponents.

It's with great sadness personally that Chelsea Green is moving on, but I thank her for the memories and hope she returns to Impact one day. She's given her all to the Laurel Van Ness character... not every performer could spend months in a Wedding Dress with lipstick smeared across their face. If only her relationship with Grado had worked out...

I'm a firm believer, that for all Rosemary has achieved in Impact, there's no reason why she can't go on to dominate Impact for years to come. Her character feels otherworldly right now... but very easy to fall in love with. She's a great role model to people that might feel a little bit different. There's so much you could do with her going forward... continue the blossoming relationship/rivalry with Allie? Make a New Decay? Have her become demonic and destructive again? The possibilities with her character are limitless.

It's been refreshing to see this group of women on social media too - clearly all friends, interacting with fans, talking positively about the company they work for, and respecting each other as performers. Impact Hall of Famer Gail Kim's leadership role cannot be dismissed either. Her wealth of experience and technical knowledge is only going help the division thrive and push on to greater heights.

The truth is, without Impact there would be no "Women's Revolution" - Impact has, throughout its history, given women wrestlers a platform to legitimately showcase their skills to an international audience. I've never understood why certain wrestling "journalists" and "fans" want to continually bash Impact, instead of supporting it, and writing about the great things the company is doing. The Knockouts Division will continue to strengthen, innovate and excite as we move into 2018.

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