24 March 2014

Setting the Record Straight

Recently, TNA parted ways with Knockout Lei'D Tapa. Tapa won a contract with TNA a little over a year ago as one of the Gut Check contestants, and she was soon assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling for development. Tapa was called up to TNA last year, where she feuded with ODB on a couple of the house show tours and appeared on Impact as Gail Kim's bodyguard.

Not long after Tapa's release and her subsequent farewell messages on social media, a story started spreading through several internet wrestling news sites that she was fired due to her unwillingness to work, her inability to improve, and the fact that she was a "ticking time bomb". These rumors quickly spread throughout the internet wrestling community and were taken as fact by many.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer my point of view on this issue. I'm not speaking for Lei'D Tapa in any official capacity, but she is a personal friend of mine, so I do have some insight to offer.

First, nobody works harder than Tapa. Nobody. I've seen her train, and she puts everything she has into it. There's no slowing down at the end or giving half measures, it's all or nothing.

Second, she is constantly trying to improve and perfect her craft. I sat with her as Al Snow broke down one of her matches and gave her direction on what she did right, what she did wrong, and what she needed to do to improve. She listened intently and took to heart everything Snow was teaching her.

And she did improve a good deal from when she was signed. I saw her wrestle in OVW when she first started training there, and I watched her again months later when she was on the TNA house show tours. Her matches against ODB on the fall tour were some very good matches. She was unfortunately booked differently when she started appearing on Impact, and she never really got a chance to let loose in the ring on TV.

Was there room for improvement? Of course there was. Keep in mind, Tapa has only been wrestling for just a couple years. Does anyone remember how rough some of the other Knockouts were when they first started working for TNA? Madison Rayne and Velvet Skye have both improved immensely since they first started on Impact.

Finally, she was loved by everyone who worked with her. Earl Hebner told me how wonderful she was and how much he enjoyed working with her, and many of the Knockouts who have worked with her had nothing but good things to say about her.

Ultimately, TNA decided to part ways with Lei'D Tapa. But the parting was amicable, and she left the company on very good terms. I would not be surprised at all to see Tapa on the TNA roster again at some point in time in the future.

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