The Big News
Christina Crawford was eliminated from Tough Enough last night, putting an end to any prospect of a woman winning the show for the first time since 2002. She was cut by Steve Austin for not showing enough charisma during this week’s challenge, and had lost her confidence after suffering an ankle injury on last week’s show when her leg buckled from delivering a top rope axehandle.
It doesn’t seem to have made a difference to her prospects of ending up on WWE TV though, as she was filmed last week wrestling at Florida Championship Wrestling, where she had been training previously before getting out of her developmental deal to compete in Tough Enough. The indication that she has returned back to the situation she was in previously just shows that she had a fall-back option in case she was cut, in that she could return to Florida and pick up where she left off. It must annoy other female wrestlers who applied that this was possibly an “easier option” for Christina, rather than being her best chance at making it to WWE.
In fact, many women – Brittany Savage, Mercedes Martinez, She Nay Nay, Athena, Jessicka Havok, Roxie Cotton and the like – must be pretty disappointed how for the most part, none of the girls made any impression on the show in one way or another. None of them won a skills challenge, and between the five girls, they featured in the bottom three on a total of eight occasions in eight episodes.
23-year Ariane Andrew was the first to go. After famously stating that her favourite match of all time was Melina v Alicia Fox, Austin decided to can her, claiming she had no passion for wrestling. Andrew was the only female to be a part of the show that had no links to wrestling, which could have worked in her favour, as she could have been a blank canvas for WWE to work with. However, she sucked in the ring and had to be let go. Straight after her elimination, she tweeted that she had been signed up to a developmental deal anyway, raising questions as to why bother choosing a winner, if the first person out could still get a contract. Since then, she has deleted that comment, and hasn’t made any entry since April 5. She may have shot herself in the foot by blabbing, and could have had the deal yanked off the table.
Former America’s Next Top Model contestant Michelle Deighton followed in week three. She was treated as a joke by viewers after she claimed she had been wrestling for 11 years but couldn’t run the ropes or execute simple holds. The 25-year old decided to quit the show, claiming that she missed her three-year-old daughter too much and she couldn’t handle being away from her if she ended up winning the contract. She got a respectable send-off from Austin, but the reality is that she never had a shot of winning and would have been cut sooner rather than later.
Probably the most depressing cut in the eyes of USA Network was reigning Miss USA Rima Fakih. The 25-year old Michigan native was the first name to be announced as a contestant, and garnered the most mainstream media attention, though it still wasn’t a huge amount. The channel wanted Rima to win as it would be a great story, so she was treated differently at the start of the process – she was far behind the others when it came to drills, but didn’t even make the bottom three in the first week.
She was in the worst trio for every other week that she was on the show though, and in week four, it was clear that she wasn’t going to win, and it would look far too shady if she continued when others were being let go. Even her attempts to get more training – which is probably something the producers suggested to see if she could catch up – failed to demonstrate any discernable skill, and even made herself look even further behind the pack. In the media, she was criticised by Muslim groups for her conduct on the first episode, swearing at Mickael and throwing things at him in what’s been the only real piece of tension on the show. Meanwhile, Fakih tried to get some positive coverage for the programme by doing a number of appearances, though many of the questions focussed on her status as Miss USA and not the show itself. She didn’t indicate that she was looking to pursue a wrestling career after her elimination and is apparently looking towards being an actress instead.
The remaining women – Ivelisse Velez and Christina – slipped under the scythe-like comments from Steve Austin for a couple of weeks, but could barely hide the dislike they had for each other, though they tried to be smiley and chummy on camera. Their relationship took a major dip when Christina botched a leapfrog – which was a massive disappointment, considering she’s a dancer – and Ivelisse tried to react to it and ended up with two grade 1 strained muscles in her quad and a grade 2 tear of the adductor muscle – a pretty serious injury. Struggling on, 22-year old Velez still managed to continue drills and even managed to do squats on the top rope – dangerous enough even when you have two perfectly healthy legs. She was cut because of the injury, with Austin saying she wouldn’t have been in the bottom three if she had been healthy. Whether she would have won is debatable – she struggled with slamming the heavy bag and wasn’t great at the physical workouts either. Strange, when you consider she was the most accomplished female wrestler there, having spent six years on the independent circuit, competing primarily in the Midwest. In her defence though, she was clearly the smallest contestant there, and while slamming a heavy bag may have been easier for other, she had less strength and leverage to get it onto her shoulders. Of all the girls, Ivelisse was the best.
However, that left 22-year old Christina left as the sole female, which she took as a badge of honour, though it’s not as straightforward as that – had she not injured Ivelisse by accident, she may never have been in that position. After Velez’s departure, she was given a light version of the Rima treatment – getting quiet encouragement from the trainers, including from Bill DeMott, who was spectacularly harsh on others, and getting one on one girly time with Trish Stratus. In addition, she was barely admonished for injuring Ivelisse, while AJ was given the direct blame for Christina getting hurt from her top rope antics. They claimed she was going for a crossbody, but nothing indicated toward that, and from my standpoint, her plan was always to perform an axehandle and her leg buckled underneath her.
Some may question why she was being given the preferential treatment. Perhaps it was because either the trainers or USA Network wanted a girl in the final, or maybe it was because of her existing ties with WWE, considering she’s the sister of Victoria “Alicia Fox” Crawford and it would make for a great story that two sisters would be working for WWE – not that it would be a big deal as long as the Bella Twins were around, but still…
Crawford had so many ways in. She’s the sister of an existing Diva, had a developmental deal and also a bite of the Tough Enough cherry, and none of it was enough. She’s probably going to make it to WWE TV because of the exposure from the show, but whether she deserves to be there is up for debate.
As some sort of post mortem, we really should scritinise the selection process undertaken by USA Network. Instead of going for dedicated independent female wrestlers, they had a token one in Ivelisse and instead went for two complete novices, a very raw trainee, and a deluded reality TV regular. When some great names in wrestling sent in applications and wanted to be part of Tough Enough and they were overlooked for what was chosen, you have to wonder what the channel was thinking – or if they were thinking at all.
Looks like someone’s written a backstory for Kharma. Instead of beating up all the Divas in the 8 woman match on Raw last night, she instead dropped to her knees and broke down in tears. It wasn’t explained why she did this, but I have a theory, based on nothing at all.
Kharma looks different to the other women on the roster, obviously. Perhaps she attacks them because her character is jealous of how they look. You know how boys would push over girls in the playground to try and overcompensate for the fact that they were attracted to them? Same sort of thing here, but less loving feelings and more Implant Busters. So when she was surrounded by eight of them, she realised how different she was to them and couldn’t handle their combined beauty.
At least it’s something to ask questions about, and it’s triggered intrigue, if nothing else. However, if this leads to her being a vulnerable soul who is patronised and mollycoddled by the Divas, WWE would have seriously veered off a productive road with Kharma and entered not-even-the-TomTom-knows-where-the-fuck-we-are…
The best of the rest
Michelle McCool says that since leaving WWE, the only people who regularly keep in contact with her are Layla and Vickie Guerrero, with Natalya sending the odd text. So, well liked, I see… On next Wednesday’s Ice Ribbon show, ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto will wrestle little Miyako Matsumoto, with the stip being that if Matsumoto loses, she’s out of the promotion. Matsumoto’s been on a losing streak recently… Ayumi Kurihara will travel to Mexico next month, presumably to cash in her title shot at CMLL Women’s Champion La Amapola… Miss Tessmacher’s proving to be a TV draw on Impact Wrestling. That warrants a push, even if her wrestling isn’t that great. She’s been working with Tara on house shows to speed up her learning… Judy Grable was inducted into the Amsterdam, NY-based Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame at the weekend… With the news that AJ Lee and Maxine are likely to be called up to the main WWE roster soon, it makes you wonder who could be let go to make room for them… Mena Libra broke her foot in three places during her match with Mickie Knuckles in Absolute Intense Wrestling on Friday night. She finished the match… Speaking of Mena, she’s fundraising for the American Cancer Society. You can donate here… Latasha and Jazz are out of the WSU Uncensored Rumble on June 25. Latasha is booked in Japan, while Jazz is moving house on that date… The attendances for Diana haven’t been great. The last show on May 22 reportedly drew 52 paid… Britani Knight made her first defence of the Pro Wrestling: EVE title on Sunday in Norwich, England when she beat Liberty… K&S WrestleFest’s A Hot Summer’s Night is taking place at the Ramada Philadelphia Airport on August 27. Announced for the event are Wendi Richter, Isis The Amazon, Rockin’ Robin, Lady Jojo, Debra, Kara “Cherry” Drew and Terri Runnels… The front row seats for SHIMMER’s DVD tapings on October 1 and 2 sold out in two and a half hours on Sunday night…
May 17: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Yumi Ohka, Misaki Ohata & Hiren b GAMI, Moeka Haruhi & Ayumi Kurihara; Bambi b Sakura Hirota; Nao Komatsu b Mika Iida; Tomoka Nakagawa b Cherry; Nagisa Nozaki b Mio Shirai; Toshie Uematsu b Ryo Mizunami
May 18: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Emi Sakura & Ray b Makoto Oishi & Neko Nitta; Mika Iida b Maki Narumiya; Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Miyako Matsumoto; Makoto b Chii Tomiya
May 18: AAA (San Luis Potosi, Mexico) – Jennifer Blake, Polvo de Estrellas & Sexi Star b Cinthia Moreno, Mari Apache & Pimpinela Escarlata
May 19: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher & Tara b Madison Rayne, Sarita & Rosita; Velvet Sky b Angelina Love & Winter
May 19: Maryland Championship Wrestling (Baltimore, MD) – Aida Marie b Arlene
May 20: DMV Championship Wrestling (Baltimore, MD) – Arlene b Aida Marie
May 20: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukushi & Mochi Miyagi b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hikari Minami
May 20: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Lluvia & Marcela b Amapola, Estrellita & Tiffany
May 20: All Star Wrestling (Croydon, England) – Erin Angel b Rhia O’Reilly
May 20: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Lakewood , OH) – Mickie Knuckles b Mena Libra
May 21: CHIKARA (Easton, PA) – Daizee Haze, Ares, Pinkie Sanchez & Jakob Hammermeier b Madison Eagles, Soldier Ant, Fire Ant & Green Ant
May 21: Wrestling Past Present Future (East Moline, IL) – Silas Young & Val Maleon b Mason Beck & Mia Martinez
May 21: St. Louis Anarchy (O’Fallon, MO) – Rachel Sumerlyn & Jessica James b Matt Cage & Alex Castle, and Super Electro & Jack O’Lantern
May 21: Big Time Wrestling (Newark, CA) – Sara Del Rey & Davina Rose b Amber O’Neal & Sassy Stephie
May 21: Ice Ribbon TEENS (Saitama, Japan) – Exhibition Match: Hikari Minami b Remi Nagano 1-0; Mika Iida b Kurumi; Shigehiro Irie b Kazuho Tamura & Riho in a handicap match; Hikari Minami b Tsukushi
May 22: DIANA (Saku, Japan) – Ayako Sato b Sari; Kaoru Ito & GAMI b Cherry & Annie Social; Toshie Uematsu b Rain; Kyoko Inoue & Keiko Aono b Ayako Sato & Aya Yuki in a best of 3 falls match
May 22: K-DOJO (Osaka, Japan) – F*CK Recognition World Air Class Champion Apple Miyuki b Bambi
May 22: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Takako Inoue & Mio Shirai b Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata; Ran Yu-Yu, Aja Kong, Tomoka Nakagawa & AKINO b Manami Toyota, Carlos Amano, Ayumi Kurihara & Nao Komatsu; Chikayo Nagashima b Yumi Ohka; Hiren b Sonoko Kato; Mayumi Ozaki b Dynamite Kansai
May 22: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – KAZUKI, Tomoko Morii & masu-me b Ysubasa Kuragaki, Command Bolshoi & Yagami Aoi; Sachie Abe b Manami Katsu; Hanako Nakamori b Misaki Ohata in a 2-count match; Hailey Hatred b Kayoko Haruyama in a submission match; High Speed Champion Leon b DASH Chisako to retain the title
May 22: World Association of Wrestling (Norwich, England) – Britani Knight v Liberty
May 22: WWE Over The Limit (Seattle, WA) – Brie Bella b Kelly Kelly
May 23: WWE Raw (Portland, OR) – Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres v Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Melina & Maryse went to a no contest
May 24: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Goya Kong, Luna Mágica & Marcela v Amapola, La Comandante & Mima Shimoda
May 26: Freak Show Wrestling (Las Vegas, LV) – Amanda v Allison Danger
May 27: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Goya Kong & Marcela v Amapola, Estrellita b Princesa Sujei
May 27: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Queens, NY) – Belle Saints v Boston Shore; Brittney Savage v Nikki Styx
May 28: Dungeon Championship Wrestling (Newhall, CA) – featuring Sassy Stephie, Allison Danger, NY Knockout Nikki & Thunder Kitty
May 28: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Crumlin, Wales) – Pollyanna v Adam Day
May 28: DIANA (Takamatsu, Japan) – Sari v Mariko Yoshida; Hiren & Bambi v Ryo Mizunami & Kagetsu; Aya Yuki v Annie Social; Kyoko Inoue & Ayako Sato v Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono
May 29: DIANA (Kochi, Japan) – Ayako Sato v Sari; Hiren & Bambi v Kagetsu & Annie Social; Mariko Yoshida v Ryo Mizunami; Kyoko Inoue & Aya Yuki v Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono
May 29: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) Sawako Shimono v Nao Komatsu; Toshie Uematsu v Tomoka Nakagawa; Cherry v Kana; Misaki Ohata v Mio Shirai; Yumi Ohka v Ayumi Kurihara
May 29: NBW Southside (St Neots, England) – Jemma Palmer v Melanie Price
June 3: PWA Australia (Liverpool, NSW, Australia) – Jessie McKay v Bombshell Bo v KC Cassidy
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; Angie Skye & Anastasia Ivy v Sherbrooke Connexion; Missy v Xandra Bale
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 15: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) Kagetsu v Nao Komatsu; Tomoka Nakagawa v Ryo Mizunami; Nagisa Nozaki v Misaki Ohata
June 17: Firestorm Pro Wrestling (Mentor On The Lake, OH) – Annie Social v Sassy Stephie
June 18: WAVE (Hiroshima, Japan) – Ayumi Kurihara v Mio Shirai; Cherry v Ryo Mizunami
June 18: AAA TripleMania (Mexico City, Mexico) – Mickie James, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love & Sexi Star v Fabi and Mari Apache, Lolita & Cinthia Moreno
June 19: WAVE (Osaka, Japan) – Kagetsu v Mika Iida; Kana v Ryo Mizunami; Yumi Ohka v Misaki Ohata
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
July 6: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Sawako Shimono v Mika Iida; Toshie Uematsu v Cherry; Kana v Tomoka Nakagawa; Ayumi Kurihara v Nagisa Nozaki; Yumi Ohka v Mio Shirai
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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