TNA has delivered itself a stunning blow by releasing Roxxi from her contract, but will it be enough of a self-inflicted wound to take down an already weakened women's division?
A year ago (more or less), TNA was on top of the wrestling world with its Knockouts Dvision. Gail Kim and Awesome Kong continued to battle for the championship, while The Beautiful People tormented the likes of ODB and Taylor Wilde.
Now Kim has returned to WWE; ODB has basically been reduced to a comedy act; Kong has been turned from a monster heel into a babyface; and The Beautiful People are still in recovery from a string of bad creative decisions.
And now Roxxi has become another casualty in the scenario.
The Voodoo Queen
My TNA fandom doesn't extend back but about two years, and when I started watching, Roxxi was known as the "Voodoo Queen" Roxxi Laveaux, the manager of the Voodoo Kin Mafia (VKM), B.G. and Kip James.
In this role, Roxxi didn't make much of an impact in TNA. She didn't seem to draw fans, though her patented Voodoo Drop drew attention from the fans.
Seeds were planted for VKM to split when B.G. James won a "Feast or Fired" case and a World Tag Team Title shot and chose his father to be his partner instead of Kip James.
Roxxi was fired by the duo and went on for a while continuing her Voodoo Queen gimmick. She became a babyface persona and began to get over with the crowd, even winning the Queen of the Cage match at Lockdown 2008.
Roxxi continued to gain a fan base, and she kept improving and improving. Then came the fateful Sacrifice pay-per-view, where she would truly find a place in the heart of many fans.
The ladder match that changed it all
At Sacrifice 2008, the knockouts competed in the first ever Makeover Battle Royale.
The match started as a gauntlet match, with the final two women competing in a ladder match. The winner would receive a title shot, and the loser would have her head shaved.
Gail Kim, one of the final two competitors along with Roxxi, had won immunity, meaning if she lost, the third finalist would suffer the head shaving. That woman, at the peak of her heel heat, was Angelina Love.
In the end, Love screwed Roxxi out of a win. Following the match, fans everywhere watched in horror (or sick fantasy fulfilled for some weird guys out there) as she made the ultimate sacrifice for a woman and gave up her hair... and she had a lot of it.
As the hair was trimmed away, a cut suffered during the match continued to bleed, and Roxxi's blood poured everywhere.
Fans thought this would be the start of something big. It should have been the start of a massive push, as Roxxi suddenly found herself on top of the women's division (if not the entire company) in terms of fan support.
It was a push she deserved. It was push she had earned. It was a push that never came.
A hardcore failure
Roxxi found some success after making her sacrifice, but fans kept wanting more.
What they got instead was a gimmick change. The former Voodoo Queen became The Hardcore Knockout, a punk rock-inspired Roxxi who swore worse than a sailor.
The new character was not who Roxxi needed to be. It was not a character that connected with the fans.
To put it bluntly, TNA dropped the ball with Roxxi.
Roxxi should have been a woman with vengeance on the mind. She should have been seeking vicious retribution on the people who cost her her hair, and her dignity.
Sure, she tried to get back at The Beautiful People by teaming with Wilde and recruiting a Sarah Palin look-alike to lead them on and eventually drop a load of crap on Love and Velvet Sky.
In doing so, TNA essentially dropped a load of crap on their fans as well.
Now she's gone
Roxxi has now left TNA, a zero-time champion.
Yes, the woman who connected with the fans and made a huge sacrifice for the company has left without ever holding gold.
Since Kim left to return to the WWE, fans have wondered who could carry the women's division on their shoulders. That woman was Roxxi.
Not the Hardcore Knockout Roxxi, but the Roxxi that should have been. She had the potential, she had the fan base, and she had the skill. She had everything it would have taken.
Just like after the loss of Kim, the division will go on. But it will now be facing an even steeper mountain to climb, looking for new faces to carry the division. Life will go on, but it won't be what it could have been.
If WWE wants to step things up, they should reach out to Roxxi. It would give the fans a chance to see her on television still and give the company another woman to be proud of having aboard.
R.I.P. Roxxi in TNA. Here's to hoping we see you again soon.