Two months ago I wrote an article about great women wrestlers most likely not heard of in North America. Ayako Hamada was on my list. A physical and aerial talent, I last saw Ayako leaving AAA in Mexico and heading back to Japan.
Well, I was definitely in for a major shock upon hearing that Ayako had signed with TNA.
For the past few months, more so since Gail Kim left, the TNA Knockouts Division has lost a tremendous amount of momentum and focus. I questioned what happened to them especially in light of Cheerleader Melissa being kept under a burkha, the "Governor Palin" gimmick, and the recent signing of a reality show winner.
At one point, the Knockouts division was being considered better than the WWE. But they began taking 300 steps back. The signing of Ayako Hamada can be the beginning of a major shift.
It all depends on what they do with her. TNA doesn't have good history with using foreign stars. This is a company that had the likes of Japanese male superstars Shinsuke Nakamura and the IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroshi Tanahashi more recently, and did nothing with either.
My fear with Ayako is that she will be put into some silly gimmick, perhaps even as a geisha to some male star. If they won't use what they have now, Ayako Hamada is the answer to the Gail Kim void. This woman has the capabilities and then some to put on amazing matches with Awesome Kong as well as others.
For now I will bask in the anticipation of her debut, and pray TNA uses her right. It can bring them back to Crossing the Line and once again, get the last laugh on the WWE.