Ringbelles Roundup (10 May 2011)
The Big News
Some wrestlers who quit the business can’t stay away from the spotlight and return time and time again. Some – like Bob Backlund – think they still have one more run left in them. Some have to keep wrestling because they can’t afford to stop – Flair, I’m looking at you. And some look like they’re happy to be consigned to history, only to show up out of the blue and shock us all.
And that’s what Joanie Laurer’s done.
Well, I say Joanie Laurer, but as of 2007, that’s no longer her name – in fact, she’s legally changed her name to Chyna, which is why TNA has been able to use the name that she used when she was in the WWF as part of her return to the grap game after nine years away. Her last main stage matches were in New Japan in late 2002, though her last appearance on US wrestling TV was in May 2001 – exactly 10 years ago – when she was the WWF Women’s Champion. She unceremoniously left the promotion after being benched for a few months – while still the champ – because she and the WWF could not reach a deal in her contract negotiations. To take her off TV while still in possession of the title shows just how pissed off they were with her.
Over the last decade, most of the reports and appearances of Chyna have shown her spiralling out of control – she’s been hospitalised a few times due to medication overdoses, as well as appearing on rehab programmes and complete freakshow The Surreal Life.
Things took a positive twist earlier this year when it was reported that Chyna was looking to go to Japan and teach English as a foreign language. As someone who has a number of friends who have done the very same thing in South Korea, it sounded like a great plan for her to get a career and her life back on track. It seemed like she had put wrestling behind her.
Then TNA came calling.
Chyna rocked up to Orlando last week for the Impact tapings as a supposed last-minute swap to the original plan for Kurt Angle’s “mistress”, who would become his tag team partner against Jeff Jarrett and wife Karen at Sacrifice this Sunday. To her credit, the photos that we’ve seen of her look good – she’s in shape, though not as physically built as she was in her prime, but still looking good for someone who has spent the last few years struggling with personal issues.
The original act pencilled in to be Angle’s main squeeze was Lindsay Hayward, the 6’9” woman who wrestles on the indies as Isis The Amazon and was announced as a contestant on WWE NXT 3, renamed as Aloisia, before being released from her deal even before the first show aired. She tried out for TNA earlier this year, wrestling Leva Bates in a dark match. She was at the Impact Zone and was all set to go but was quickly bumped to one side for a 40-year old who hasn’t been on TV for close to a decade.
This is classic TNA. Instead of investing in 23-year old Hayward, who has years ahead of her and could become a real focal point for the Knockouts division – even though at the moment she’s still pretty green and would need a lot of work – the promotion decided to go for another wrestler from the WWF’s Attitude era, who won’t be around for long, is unlikely to spark any real attention, as many fans who say her in her heyday will have moved on, and anyone who started watching after 2002 won’t have seen her before. Chyna is even working in TNA without a contract – she’s on a handshake deal, which means that if she decides to no-show this Sunday’s pay-per-view, TNA has no comeback against her. I know why they have done it – it’s so they don’t have to sort out any problems that may arise due to injuries because ring rust, or with any repeat behaviour to do with medication or whatever – but it’s an incredible risk on their part. Why they didn’t go with Hayward and invest some time and training in her is mind boggling, yet something we see time and time again.
TMZ reports Chyna’s on a very short leash – but why would she care about that? She’s not planning to be there for long, and if she is let go, it’s not like she’s really lost anything, and I bet she’s getting paid a pretty penny for this, as TNA loves paying for past stars instead of trying to create new ones.
Earlier today, Perez Hilton reported that Vince McMahon was so angry that Chyna’s aligned herself with TNA that he’s no longer considering her for the WWE Hall Of Fame. Considering we’re 10 months away from the next HOF, that she’s been off the radar for so long and that nowhere associated with wrestling has reported this yet, I call bullshit. I’d be even surprised if McMahon gave a flying fornication.
In what is a blow to what is already a depleted heel side on SmackDown, Alicia Fox suffered a separated shoulder at the tapings on Tuesday. She landed hard on her side when taking a clothesline from Kharma.
This poses three issues: firstly, this was bound to happen with Fox, as she has a strange way of bumping and looks so brittle; secondly, considering Alicia was wrestling Layla (who is presumably staying as a babyface) that leaves precisely ZERO Divas on SmackDown, and; thirdly, could this count against Kharma, as all it would take is some higher-up with an agenda/lack of faith to say that she “doesn’t know how to work” or that she’s “dangerous”, and the push is over.
The heel issue was resolved at the weekend with Rosa Mendes turning for the benefit of house shows, but that’s a sticking plaster more than anything.
Ice Ribbon’s Golden Ribbon event at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo saw 749 fans see three successful championship defences as well as Neko Nitta & Makoto Oishi go through Ken Ohka & Hikari Minami, Aika Ando & Yoshiaki Yago via tiebreaker (which was a game of rock, paper, scissors) and Makoto & Munenori Sawa to win the Go! Go! Mixed Tag Team Tournament. In the main event, Tsukasa Fujimoto made a third straight successful title defence against IW19 Champion Tsukushi. We’re told the DVD will be made available in due course, though it is being broadcast on Japanese TV this month.
Ivelisse Velez was eliminated from Tough Enough last night. She had been shown suffering from her hamstring injury, while Christina was portrayed as impressing the trainers. In her post-elimination interview, Ivelisse admitted she wanted Christina to be eliminated soon.
Next week’s episode will feature some of the Divas. I guess we should expect plenty of focus on Christina – who still hasn’t revealed she’s Alicia Fox’s sister. Imagine the cries of “fix” if she wins.
The best of the rest
Jessicka Havok and Alicia have been engaged in a Twitter war ahead of their match at the WSU Uncensored Rumble on June 25 in Union City , NJ… Did anyone else notice that Michelle McCool didn’t take any bumps on her back or front during her match with Layla at Extreme Rules? She even put her knees up for the Implant Buster from Kharma. Why would a woman not want to impact their body and quit wrestling at short notice?… Ice Ribbon’s Tsukasa Fujimoto and Makoto will make their US debuts at CHIKARA’s Chikarasaurus Rex: Best Of Sequel shows on July 30 and 31 in Reading and Philadelphia, PA… Kelly Kelly was ranked #82 in Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 list for 2011. Former Diva Stacy Keibler was at #72… The OVW Women’s Championship will be defended on Saturday May 14 in a Gauntlet Match… Chii Tomiya will challenge for Tsukushi’s 19 Pro title on Friday’s live online broadcast… Cheerleader Melissa and Shelly Martinez will be in a future Smashing Pumpkins video. Frontman Billy Corgan met them at the Cauliflour Alley Club in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. He’s a wrestling fan, and has featured Ring Of Honor footage featuring Daizee Haze in a previous video… Britani Knight’s first Pro Wrestling: EVE title defence will be against Jenny Sjodin in Morecambe on June 4 as part of XWA’s War On The Shore event… AAA is asking fans what TNA Knockouts they would like to see in their promotion (not including Sarita). Mickie James and Velvet Sky are the top choices so far. Clearly these fans have never seen Sky attempt lucha… Kellie Skater made her Japanese debut for REINA on Sunday. She lost to Aki Kambayashi… Daffney, Maria, Stacy Carter, Kimona, Chyna, Jillian Hall, Sunny, Rosita, Cookie and others were at the Legends Of The Ring event in New Jersey… Velvet Sky, who at one point was Shane Helms’ girlfriend, is trying to raise money for medical bills for him – he was involved in a motorcycle accident with his current girlfriend… And finally, in Japan, a 34-year old Osaka man’s been arrested after sending death threats to WAVE star Moeka Haruhi, 26. According to reports, he’s been harassing her on and off for two years.
May 3: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Makoto b Kurumi; Hikari Minami & Chii Tomiya b Miyako Matsumoto & Maki Narumiya; Mochi Miyagi b Hamuko Hoshi; Ray & Tsukushi b Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto
May 3: OZ Academy (Maebashi, Japan) – Tomoka Nakagawa b Miss Mongolia; Takako Inoue b Nao Komatsu; Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato b Yumi Ohka & Hiren; Manami Toyota & Ayumi Kurihara b AKINO & Hiroyo Matsumoto; Ran Yu-Yu, Aja Kong & Tomoka Nakagwa b Mayumi Ozaki, Carlos Amano & Dyanmite Kansai
May 4: Juggalo Championship Wrestling (Detroit, MI) – Corporal Robinson b Isabella Smothers
May 5: TNA Impact (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James b Miss Tessmacher; Kurt Angle & Velvet Sky b Jeff Jarrett, Angelina Love & Winter
May 5: WWE Superstars (Orlando, FL) – Beth Phoenix b Melina
May 5: Ice Ribbon (Tokyo, Japan) – Aika Ando & Yoshiaki Yago vs. Riho & Kikutaro went to a 5 minute time limit draw. In a tiebreaker, Yago beat Riho; Neko Nitta & Makoto Oishi b Ken Ohka & Hikari Minami; Kurumi & Shigehiro Irie vs. Tamako & Onryo went to a 5 minute time limit draw. In the tiebreaker, Irie beat Tamako; Makoto & Munenori Sawa b Meare Naito & THE101; Nitta & Makoto Oishi vs. Aika Ando & Yoshiaki Yago went to a 5 minute time limit draw. In the tiebreaker, Oishi b Yago; Makoto & Munenori Sawa b Kurumi & Shigehiro Irie; Neko Nitta & Makoto Oishi b Makoto & Munenori Sawa to win the tournament; Maki Narumiya & Miyako Matsumoto b Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi; JWP Jr. Champion & POP Champion Kagetu b Chii Tomiya; International Ribbon Tag Team Champions Emi Sakura & Ray b Hikaru Shida & Syuri; ICEx60 Singles Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto b Tsukushi
May 6: WWE SmackDown (Orlando, FL) – Layla b Alicia Fox
May 6: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Makoto b Remi Nagano 1-0; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Chii Tomiya b Tsukushi & Hamuko Hoshi
May 6: Ring Wars Carolina (Lumberton, NC) – Mia Svensson b Kacee Carlisle
May 6: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC) – Nicole Matthews b Tenille Tayla
May 7: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Emi Sakura b Kurumi; Hikaru Shida, Maki Narumiya & Tamako b Hikari Minami, Makoto & Miyako Matsumoto; Tsukushi vs. Chii Tomiya went to a 10 minute time limit draw; Makoto Oishi & Neko Nitta b Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi
May 7: Power Trip Wrestling (Luton, England) – Jordan E b Tiffany Wantsmore
May 7: Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (Mexico City) – Estrellita, La Comandante, Princesa Blanca b Dalys la Caribeña, Goya Kong, Luna Mágica
May 7: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Santana b Christina Von Eerie
May 8: STARDOM (Tokyo, Japan) – Tomoka Nakagawa b Eri Susa; Haruka v Natsuki Taiyo went to a time limit draw; Yoko Bito b Arita Hoshiki; Natsuki Taiyo, Yashiko & Yuu Yamagata b Mayu Iwatani, Nanae Takahashi & Yuzuki Aikawa
May 8: Japanese Women Pro-Wrestling Project (Tokyo, Japan) – KAZUKI & Sachie Abe b Ayumi Kurihara & Miki Iida; Command Bolshoi, Hanako Nakamori & Masume b Kayako Haruyama, Manami Katsu & Tsubasa Kuragaki; Misaki Ohata b Yagami Aoi; DASH Chisako b Tomoko Morii; Leon b Ray
May 8: REINA Universal Women’s Pro Wrestling (Tokyo, Japan) – Toshie Uematsu b Natsumi Kawano; Ryo Mizunami & Hiren b Megumi Yabushita & Senri Kuroki; Bambi b Aoi Ishibashi; Tomoka Nakagawa & Hiroyo Matsumoto b Takako Inoue & Silueta; Ayumi Kurihara b Mima Shimoda; Aki Kambayashi b Kellie Skater; Yumiko Hotta & Manami Toyota b Hailey Hatred & Zeuxis; CMLL Women’s World Champion Amapola b Marcela by 2 falls to 1
May 8: Turkish Power Wrestling (Bursa, Turkey) – Alpha Female b Shanna to win the TPW Women’s Championship
May 9: WWE Raw (Knoxville, TN) – Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly b Nikki & Brie Bella
May 10: Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dalys la Caribeña, Estrella Mágica, Luna Mágica v Estrellita, Princesa Sujei, Tiffany
May 10: Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (Guadalahara, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Goya Kong, Marcela v Amapola, La Comandante, Princesa Blanca
May 13: Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (Cuautitlan, Mexico) – Alan Stone & Jennifer Blake vs El Elegido & Lolita
May 14: CHIKARA (Burlington, BC) – Daizee Haze v Grizzly Redwood
May 14: Extreme World Wrestling (Hastings, UK) – Skarlett v Lucy Clayden
May 14: New England Championship Wrestling (Carver, MA) – Alexxis Nevaeh v Mistress Belmont
May 14: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Brooklyn, NY) – Jillian Hall v Winter
May 15: Diana (Kowasaki, Japan) – Rain v Aka Yuki
May 15: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Evening Gown Match: Athena v Rachel Summerlyn v Jessica James v Sara Del Rey v Amanda Fox v Portia Perez
May 20: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Lakewood , OH) – Jessicka Havok v Mickie Knuckles
May 21: CHIKARA (Easton, PA) – Madison Eagles, Soldier Ant, Fire Ant & Green Ant v Daizee Haze, Ares, Pinkie Sanchez & Jakob Hammermeier
May 26: Freak Show Wrestling (Las Vegas, LV) – Amanda v Allison Danger
May 27: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Queens, NY) – Belle Saints v Boston Shore; Brittney Savage v Nikki Styx
May 29: NBW Southside (St Neots, England) – Jemma Palmer v Melanie Price
June 4: NCW: Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Cheerleader Melissa & Mercedes Martinez v Portia Perez & Kalamity; Mary Lee Rose v Mistress Belmont; Madison Eagles v Courtney Rush; LuFisto v La Farfaite Caroline
June 4: XWA Wrestling (Morecambe, UK) – Britani Knight v Jenny Sjodin
June 5: FutureShock (Stockport, UK) – TAFKA Becky James v Swedish Tigress v Melanie Price v Charlotte Quinn
June 25: Women Superstars Uncensored: Uncensored Rumble (Union City, NJ) – Mercedes Martinez v Brittany Savage; Marti Belle & Jazz v The Boston Shore; Serena v Nikki Roxx; Alicia v Jessicka Havok; Sassy Stephie v Rain; Cindy Rogers v Allison Danger; Kristin Astara v Tina San Antonio; Niya v Barbie; Amy Lee, Jamilia Craft & The Soul Sistas v Rick Cataldo, Allysin Kay, Jennifer Cruz & Monique
June 26: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen Of Queens (Live Oak, TX) – featuring Serena Deeb, Amanda Fox, Mia Yim, Christina Von Eerie and Daffney
September 17: IndyGurlz (Boonton, NJ)
September 24: IndyGurlz (Worcester, MA)
October 1 & 2: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
October 8 and 9: Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon (Doncaster, UK)
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