For the Total Nonstop Action (TNA) brand, one of the elements that allowed the company to make a big impact on the television audience was the Knockouts division. Led by Gail Kim and Awesome Kong, the female competitors during its inception was on a quest to make the division very competitive and exciting.
Ten years ago, TNA began to feature the Knockouts in its fifth year of existence. During this time, the division received an immediate spark when former WWE Diva Gail Kim left the company and signed with TNA.
When Kim started WWE, she was immediately thrust into the limelight, as she became the first women's wrestler to win the championship on her first day. However, after that, her run with WWE was rather inconsistent, and she was surprisingly released from the company.
Kim returned to WWE in 2008, where her experience with the company was even worse. In an interview with PW Torch, she stated that the staff were too focused on a power game, and things seemed to be very controlling during her run. As a result, she eliminated herself from the Divas Battle Royal match and quit the company.
"In my opinion, my perception is that it is a control thing for them. They are very powerful and they like to control certain aspects of the company. That really upset me, and when I quit I said to Johnny 'Stop trying to control me. You guys never really cared about me before, so why do you care now whether I want to quit or not?'"
She once again made a huge mark in the Knockouts divisions when she returned to TNA, winning the title multiple times and becoming the first female inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. Kim certainly paved the way for other female wrestlers to make a name for themselves.
One person who was making the effort in endeavoring in a professional wrestling career was Gabi Castrovinci. Gabi originally debuted as a contestant for the Tough Enough WWE competition show in hopes of acquiring a contract from the company. Unfortunately, she did not do very good in the competition and finished in 10th place. However, her time in Tough Enough gave her enough television exposure to gain some experience wrestling for independent promotions.
This also led to being sought after by TNA, and vignettes started to air for her debut in early 2016. Appearing as "Raquel," she started to entice Bobby Lashley. However, this angle did not go far and was soon dropped.
Raquel finally found a place in the company, being the manager of the BroMans team of Robbie E and Jesse Godderz. The fit was a bit awkward, but she did freshen up the team. However, this run did last long either.
As a result, Gabi announced via Twitter that she is no longer with the company.
She also commented regarding the departure.
"The past two years has been something else... it's opened my eyes to many things and many people. It's had its ups and downs and ins and outs. I've been able to take something from that and grow in my own particular way. Over come obstacles, and set in motion opportunities that can change my life."
Although Gabi is no longer with TNA, she still has a busy schedule. She is booked to be a part of the SHINE 40 event on January 13 at Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida. She also is a huge fitness guru and has a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Gabi, who turns 31 on January 10, still has a number of years left to define herself as a female wrestling star. With the exposure in WWE, TNA, and SHINE, there are a number of opportunities in store for the former Tough Enough contestant.
[Featured Image by Impact Wrestling]