The Big News
Lots of Tough Enough stuff, so let’s go chronologically…
Former Monday Night Raw guest host and current Miss USA Rima Fakih has been announced as the first participant in the reboot of Tough Enough, starting on April 4, the night after WrestleMania XXVII.
The 25 year old’s only appearance on any wrestling show was on November 29, 2010 when she crowned Sheamus as King of the Ring.
That WWE announced Miss USA as the show’s first participant is a decent media coup for the promotion, as it’s got crossover appeal. However, when you consider that WWE put out press releases asking for independent female wrestlers to apply for the show – Mercedes Martinez, Roxie Cotton, Anne Social, Brittney Savage and Sara Del Rey all had a crack – and none of them made the cut while an untrained model did is a little galling to a female wrestler who drives hundreds of miles to wrestle in a dirty ring in front of 40 people for little money.
Trish Stratus made her return to WWE, announcing herself as the third of four trainers for Tough Enough – I imagine she will join partway through the season as filming started two weeks ago, unless she’s been contributing in secret and everybody involved kept their mouths shut.
Her entrance was probably not as massive as you would expect – partly because she’s sandwiched inbetween a slew of returns which have included Kevin Nash, Booker T, The Rock and then the hyped return of the Undertaker (and the surprise return of Triple H) last night on Raw, and partly because unlike some of the others who have been out of WWE for some time, their profile has remained pretty high, be it in TNA or in Rock’s case, making movies.
Elimination Chamber must have been a bittersweet occasion for Trish. She returns, gets the chance to throw out a promo, and she has to recite the most god-awful crap handed to her by the writers – mimicking the Rock’s catchphrase. Did nobody think that would look stupid and second rate, considering the man himself did it in the ring on Raw just six days previously? Secondly, Trish is no fool – why didn’t she know it sounded dumb and suggest she does something else, knowing that it would go over like horse manure on a wedding dress? Still, at least the blame for that can partly be apportioned to uncreative – her later appearance showed that she forgot the ultimate rule if you’re a worker showing up to a show and you’re not booked to work… bring your gear anyway.
Stratus’ high heeled boots meant that she couldn’t perform her trademark Stratusphere handstand rana during her saving of a reinstated Kelly Kelly from the attack of LayCool. As a result, it looked clunky – though she did redeem herself with doing a trademark Stratusfaction bulldog to both Layla and Michelle McCool.
I’ve no doubt that 35-year old Trish will do fine as a Tough Enough trainer – after all, she (more than the other trainers) will be able to advise the trainees on having to learn fast and adapt quickly to the rigours of being in the WWE ring. She was thrown into the mix quickly when she joined the WWF in 2000, and had to learn on the job. She will probably act as confidante to the contestants, assist them in extra-curricular challenges and no doubt teach them some yoga, as that what she’s been up to since she left WWE in 2006. She’s also the most high-profile female name WWE could have chosen from its alumni – Lita would be the only option, and if you were to compare the two, I’m sure you’d pick Trish every time.
However, why did WWE not elect to offer a trainer spot to an active member of the roster to give them a push of sorts? Say the spot was given to Natalya, Beth Phoenix or Gail Kim – they would use that exposure on a weekly basis to build up their profile and then enter a programme for the Divas title after the show finishes. It seems like a wasted opportunity to push a member of the Divas division.
Could TNA be taking their Knockouts division seriously again? After seeing ODB, Taylor Wilde, Alissa Flash and Amazing Kong leave the promotion in 2010, there are signs that there’s been a casting calls put out to new women. And that’s a good thing – after all, the Beautiful People, Tara, Madison Rayne and Mickie James have been pretty much the the entire roster, with Sarita and Winter doing the odd bit and Daffney – though still contracted to TNA – nowhere to be seen.
Just on a side note, Daffney’s absence is strange – during her one appearance in damn near forever during the Knockouts Tag Team Title tournament alongside Sarita against the Beautiful People, she was easily the most over woman in the match. For whatever reason, she’s not on Impact or Xplosion, and that’s a real shame, as she’s someone who would keep you on Spike if you were channel surfing, if only to comprehend what she was all about.
Anyway, so far this month we have seen 4’11” Davina Fly debut as Rosita, the cousin and tag partne of Sarita and has been placed at the side of the returning Hernandez. Last week, TNA offered tryouts to 6’9” Isis The Amazon – who was part of WWE for a week and was announced for NXT season 3 before being let go – Team 3D student Leva Bates, who’s seen her popularity in SHIMMER grow over the last year, and Niya, who has wrestled for Afa’s WXW and also in WSU. All three have different appearances that could work immediately in TNA – Niya is exotic, Bates is a walking cartoon character and Isis is a giant – so all could get bookings, especially Bates as a Team 3D graduate and Isis being able to tower over pretty much everyone in the promotion except Matt Morgan.
Finally, congratulations to Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team – Summerlyn and James followed in the footsteps of Sumie Sakai and Roxie Cotton by winning a tag team title primarily competed for amongst men by capturing the Anarchy Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship as part of a fatal four way match in Live Oak, Texas on Sunday.
The best of the rest
Ice Ribbon has announced the formation of a new championship – Internet Wrestling 19 (or IW19) Title. The belt will be part of their 19 O’Clock internet show… MsChif v Sara Del Rey has been added to ROH’s 9th Anniversary show in Chicago this Sunday… ODB returns to TNA on Thursday – not sure if it’s a one-shot deal yet… You can tell it’s coming up to SHIMMER time again – Madison Eagles, Nicole Matthews and Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team have all released new – and impressive – t-shirts… Michelle McCool suffered a broken toe, torn mcl, torn joint capsule & swelling in the bone after delivering a single kick to Layla. Two questions: how hard was that kick, and; is Layla’s head made of granite?… Caylee Turner’s profile’s been released from the FCW roster. That could mean curtains for her big sister Alicia Fox, who’s seen a dip in profile of late. Shaul Guerrero has been added to the FCW roster though… Jessie McKay and Kellie Skater have been confirmed for the SHIMMER DVD tapings on March 26-27… There was talk that Isis The Amazon rubbed a few people in TNA up the wrong way on the day of her tryout. Nothing substantiated though… Congratulations to Jessicka Havok, who won the AIW Women’s Title last Friday. Havok and Sassy Stephie also appeared on a New York radio station to hype the upcoming WSU iPPV too… PWInsider reports that Tammy Lynn Sytch may be in line to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this year. She insists she’s only in Atlanta that weekend to work for Ring Of Honor.
Ice Ribbon (16/02, Warabi Dojo) – Makoto b Tamako; Emi Sakura & Mika Iida b. Hikaru Shida & Mochi Miyagi; – Yonyamakao Lee & Choun Shiryu b. Hikari Minami & CHANGO; Chii Tomiya b. Tsukasa Fujimoto.
TNA Impact (17/02) – Sarita & Rosita b. Angelina Love & Velvet Sky
Ice Ribbon (18/02) – Makoto b. Remi Nagano; Tsukasa Fujimoto went to a 15 minute draw with Chii Tomiya
WWE SmackDown (18/02, San Diego, CA) – Layla & Maryse b. Eve Torres and Beth Phoenix
AIW (18/02, Lakeland, OH) – Jessicka Havok b. Angel Dust
MCW (18/02, Melbourne, Australia) – Kellie Skater b Shazza McKenzie
2CW (18/02, Binghamton, NY) – Madison Eagles b. Portia Perez
Ice Ribbon (18/02) – Makoto b. Remi Nagano; Tsukasa Fujimoto drew with Chii Tomiya
AAA (19/02, Teziutlan, Mexico) – Jennifer Blake, Mini Chessman & RONIN b. Lolita, Mini Charly Manson and SUGI
Ice Ribbon (19/02, Saitama, Japan) – Emi Sakura b. Mochi Miyagi; Miyako Matsumoto b. Mika Iida; Chii Tomiya b. Makoto and Tsukushi; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hikaru Shida b. Hikari Minami & Lee Yoneyamakao
OZ Academy (19/02, Osaka, Japan) Hiroyo Matsumoto b. Nao Komatsu; Aja Kong, AKINO & Tomoka Nakagawa b. Carlos Amano, Dynamite Kansai & Manami Toyota; Mayumi Ozaki b. Takako Inoue; OZ Academy Tag Team Champions Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato beat Yumi Ohka & Hiren to retain the titles; OZ Academy Openweight Champion KAORU beat Ran Yu-Yu to retain the title.
WAW (20/02, Norwich, UK) – Maya won a 14 woman Rumble, last eliminating Britani Knight.
CHIKARA (20/02, Easton, PA) – Amasis & Hiericon b. Ice Cream, Jr. & El Hijo del Ice Cream, Scott Parker & Shane Matthews, Delirious & Daizee Haze
ACW (20/02, Live Oak, TX) – Rachel Summerlyn & Jessica James b.Children of Pain, Flippy Shit and Smurf Nation to win the ACW Tag Team Titles
DDT (20/02, Funabashi, Japan) – KAORU & MIKAMI b. Minorum Fujita & Toshie Uematsu
WAVE (20/02, Tokyo, Japan) Sawako Shimotsuke, Ryo Mizunami & Aya Yuki b. Nao Komatsu, Cherry & Syuri; Hiroyo Matsumoto b. Senri Kuroki; Mio & Io Shirai b. Hanako Nakamori & Mika Iida; Kana b. Kagetu; Misaki Ohata & Hiren b. Moeka Haruhi & Tomoka Nakagawa
WWE Raw (20/02, Fresno, CA) – Nikki & Brie Bella b. Gail Kim & Eve Torres
February 23: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Chii Tomiya v Tsukasa Fujimoto
February 25: WILD Wrestling (Chino, CA) – Tabitha Buck v Aiden Riley
February 26: CLASH Wrestling (Taylor, MI) – Sassy Stephie v Arella Angel plus Mena Libra in action
February 26: ROH (Chicago, IL) – MsChif v Sara Del Rey
February 26: SWA (Glasgow, Scotland) – Nikki Storm v Sara-Marie Taylor
February 26: POWW (Elk Grove Village, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Nikki
February 27: Futureshock Wrestling (Stockport, UK) – The It Girl Melanie Price, The Artiste Formerly Known as Rebecca James and Charlotte Quinn v Swedish Tigress and Team Blossom
March 5: WSU (Union City, NJ) – iPPV with WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez v Serena Deeb; Spirit Champion Brittney Savage v Sassy Stephie; Uncensored Rules – Tag Team Champions Belle Saints vs Amy Lee/Cindy Rogers vs Soul Sisters; Alicia vs Jazz; Jessicka Havok vs Rain; April Hunter & ??? vs The Boston Shore; Jennifer Cruz vs Jamilia Craft; Nikki Roxx vs Niya; Kristin Astara vs Allisyn Kay; ??? vs Brittney Force; Leva Bates v Athena
March 12: ACW (St Louis, MO) – Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team v MsChif and Daizee Haze v Portia Perez and Electro
March 12: NCW: Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec) – LuFisto v Ayako Hamada; Kalamity v Mercedes Martinez; Mary Lee Rose v She Nay Nay v Cherry Bomb v Cheerleader Melissa; Cat Power v PJ Tyler; Anna Minoushka v Mistress Belmont; La Parfaite Caroline v Karen Brooks; Anastasia Ivy v Allison Danger; Kellie Skater v Sweet Cherrie
March 12: CHIKARA (Williamsport, PA) – Madison Eagles v Toshie Uematsu
March 13: CHIKARA (Brooklyn, NY) – Sara Del Rey v Toshie Uematsu
March 19: POWW (Fox Lake, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Serena Deeb
March 19: TUW (Thetford-Mines, Quebec, Canada) – LuFisto v Anastasia Ivy v Kira v Milouu
March 19: CWF/ArenaChicks (Burlington, NC) – Kellie Skater v Mia Svensson
March 20: Pro Wrestling SUN (Jackson, NJ) – Allison Danger v Madison Eagles; Mia Svensson v Mia Yim; Sara Del Rey v Mercedes Martinez v Kellie Skater
March 25: AIW (Lakewood, OH) – Jessicka Havok v Super Oprah
March 26-27: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL) – 4 DVD tapings featuring SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles, Tag Team Champions the Canadian Ninjas, Serena Deeb, Daizee Haze, Sara Del Rey, Cheerleader Melissa, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Misaki Ohata, Britani Knight and Sweet Saraya
April 8-9: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Norwich, UK (April 8) and Sudbury UK (April 9)) – A two night tournament to determine the first ever PW:EVE Champion featuring Alpha Female, Britani Knight, Sweet Saraya, Jetta (April 9 only), Nikki Storm, Becky James, Rhia O’Reilly and the debuting Kay Lee Ray
April 15-17: CHIKARA King Of Trios (Philadelphia, PA) – featuring Manami Toyota
April 25: JCW (St Ambroise, Quebec, Canada) – LuFisto v La Parfaite Caroline
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