Ringbelles Roundup (31 May 2011)
The Big News
In what was a pretty classy move by WWE, not only did they let Kharma go out there and tell the truth, they also left the door open for her return.
Following a week of speculation – started by the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online by saying she would be out of action for nine months – Kharma came clean to the world and revealed her pregnancy on Raw last night.
In a straight promo – much like Edge’s when he revealed he had to retire – she told us about how she had two dreams, the first of which was to be a WWE Superstar (note she said Superstar instead of Diva… telling. Also, she said the word “wrestling” or “wrestler” three times). She talked about applying for Tough Enough 2 back in 2002 – something I’ve documented in the past – and how Jim Ross thought she was too fat to make it. Undeterred, she travelled to Japan, scrubbed floors and earned the right to train and become a star there, as she told to us in the Women of Wrestling Podcast last year.
From there, Kharma also talked about how she had always wanted a family, and officially let us know about her pregnancy – something that received a nice reception from the fans. She described it as a “high risk pregnancy”, which is understandable considering her working environment, thanked the audience for their support and said that she would return in a year.
Of course, with this being WWE, there was an interruption by the Bella Twins who mocked Kharma with some poorly written, and even more poorly delivered, insults. Seriously, if Nikki and Brie were any more wooden, they could have been part of the hull of Noah’s Ark. Perhaps they didn’t fully believe or support the words they were saying, so it came across that way in the promo. Still, Kharma promised that she would be back for them in a year, which makes sure that we haven’t seen the last of her in WWE.
Overall, it was a well-done segment, and let Kharma leave with her head held high. In the past, we may have expected less from WWE, as they have not had a great track record of being sensitive to women falling pregnant while under their watch. Back in 2005, the company released Dawn Marie while she was on maternity leave – something that she hasn’t expanded on since, after being instructed not to, presumably by lawyers seeking some sort of compensation deal. However, considering WWE’s Executive Vice President Stephanie McMahon-Levesque has three children of her own, the company may now be more receptive to working mothers.
Lack of tolerance isn’t exactly a WWE-only controversy though. A year after the Dawn Marie situation, TNA released Jackie Gayda-Haas under similar circumstances. Unlike Dawn though, Jackie opened up about what happened in the third episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast when we asked whether she was let go because of her pregnancy:
That’s kind of a grey and sticky area – nobody will say no or yes to that. I was still in the company and even on TV for after about four months after I found out and then it became ‘well, it might be a liability reason to even be on set’ and ‘we’re going to keep you under contract’ but with TNA you have to work to be paid while in WWE you’re on a downside [guarantee]. So technically I was still under contract, but I was not making any income from them since I wasn’t working.
Then when the time came to say ‘OK, I’m back and I could be ready and we can talk about things on a limited quantity of shows or a limited schedule’ – because this was when they were starting to do house shows too – then it became this grey and sketchy area of ‘oh well, we’re not going to renew because we need more out of you than what we think you can give’.
We’re glad that things are less draconian these days, and that WWE is open to the idea of more working mothers in its company. After all, Jillian Hall wrestled in the promotion for 5 years while having a young daughter and balanced the two. In the independents, grapplers like Allison Danger, Madison Eagles, Sweet Saraya and Klondyke Kate manage or managed to balance the two – in fact in most professions, it’s possible to be a working mum, so it’s about time that WWE got on board with the rest of the world.
On a personal note, we at Ringbelles with Kharma all the best with her pregnancy and her impending motherhood. Both Stew and I have met, drank with and shared laughs with her on a number of occasions over the last four years, and couldn’t be happier for her. Very few people ever manage to achieve their dreams – she managed to do both of hers at the same time.
Miyako Matsumoto was forced to leave Ice Ribbon as a result of being beaten by Tsukasa Fujimoto last Wednesday. Apparently she’s been on promoter Emi Sakura’s bad side for a few months now. 25-year old former dancer Matsumoto is opening her own promotion called Gakenohuchi Pro Wrestling (translation: Edge-of-the-cliff Pro Wrestling) with the first show being held on June 3.
The best of the rest
Chyna’s management had to produce a statement last week that she was not going back into pornography after TMZ reported she was going back into the grot biz. The story was reposted around the internet… Jillian Hall will face Kristin Astara at WSU’s Uncensored Rumble on June 25. Astara’s scheduled opponent, Tina San Antonio, will team with Belle Saints partner Marti Belle, replacing Jazz, to challenge for the Tag Team Titles against the Boston Shore – the Shore won the titles on Friday night… Layla’s had surgery for a torn MCL and ACL… Ivelisse Velez has told us that the leg injury she suffered during Tough Enough is fully healed… The Bella Twins appeared on a taping of The Price Is Right… Ayumi Kurihara returned the NEO Singles Title – which was never going to be defended as the promotion has closed. She also handed back the NWA Women’s Pacific Singles belt, which is now vacant… Taryn Terrell announced her split from husband Drew McIntyre on Twitter. Why do some people feel the need to live their lives in 140 characters or less?… Hikari Minami won the 19 Pro title on Friday by pinning Tsukushi. The former champion was in tears afterwards, while Minami was bouncing off the walls with joy… AJ Lee made her SmackDown debut this week, teaming with Kaitlyn against Tamina and Alicia Fox… The first match of the Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen Of Queens tournament has been announced. Serena Deeb will take on Amanda Fox in the opening round. Athena, Lillie Mae, Christina Von Eerie, Rachel Summerlyn and Mia Yim will also compete in the tourney on June 26 in Live Oak, TX – one name is yet to be announced… Jemma Palmer informed Ringbelles last week that she no longer has a WWE Developmental deal. She was let go because ECW was shut down and NXT began, and there was no place for her… Showing that he’s unable to let things go, Bubba The Love Sponge spent time on his show last Friday insulting Kharma… Vicki Guerrero went onto her Facebook to say that she’s single again after her personal trainer boyfriend cheated on her.
May 25: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Taryn Shay b Jessie Belle Smothers
May 25: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hikari Minami b Maki Narumiya; Mochi Miyagi b Hikaru Shida; Emi Sakura & Chii Tomiya b Makoto Oishi & Makoto; ICEx60 Singles Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto b Miyako Matsumoto
May 26: Freak Show Wrestling (Las Vegas, LV) – Allison Danger b Terra Calaway
May 26: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James b Winter
May 26: CMLL (Toluca, Mexico) – Jennifer Blake, Polvo de Estrellas & Sexy Star b El Brazo, Fabi Apache & Lolita
May 27: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Elmhurst, NY) – Boston Shore b Belle Saints to win the WSU Tag Team Championship; Brittney Savage b Nikki Styx
May 27: WWE SmackDown (Spokane, WA) – Alicia Fox & Tamina b AJ & Kaitlyn
May 27: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Hikari Minami b IW19 Singles Champion Tsukushi to win the title
May 27: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Goya Kong & Marcela b Amapola, Estrellita & Princesa Sugheit
May 27: New Scene Wrestling (Wolverhampton, England) – Jemma Palmer b Faye
May 28: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (Surrey, BC, Canada) – Pete Powers & Veronika Vice b Tony Baroni & KC Spinelli
May 28: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Aoi Ishibashi b Natsumi Kawano; Roxie Cotton b Mika Iida; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Senri Kuroki; Manami Toyota & Hailey Hatred b Aki Kanbayashi & Mia Yim; Tomoka Nakagawa & Silueta b A*YU*MI & Zeuxi
May 28: Dungeon Championship Wrestling (Newhall, CA) – Thunder Kitty b Sassy Stephie; NY Knockout Nikki b Allison Danger
May 28: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Crumlin, Wales) – Adam Day b Pollyanna
May 28: DIANA (Takamatsu, Japan) – Mariko Yoshida b Sareee; Ryo Mizunami & Kagetsu b Bambi & Hiren; Aya Yuki b Annie Social; Kaour Ito & Keiko Aono b Kyoko Inoue & Ayako Sato by 2 falls to 1
May 28: Lucha Libre USA (Albuquerque, NM) – Nikki Coreleone (Nikki Roxx) b Chrissy Cialis (Kristin Astara); Chrissy Cialis & Tigresa Caliente (Rhaka Khan) b Octagoncito & Mini Park
May 29: STARDOM (Tokyo, Japan) – Hiroyo Matsumoto b Eri Susa; Haruka vs Yoko Bito went to a time-limit draw; Yuzuki Aikawa b Mayu Iwatani; Mika Nagano b Arisa Hoshiki; Nanae Takahashi & Yoko Bito b Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko
May 29: Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (Tokyo, Japan) – Hanako Nakamori b masu-me; Command Bolshoi & Tomoko Morii b Leon & Manami Katsu; Kayoko Haruyama, Sachie Abe & Hanako Nakamori b Tsubasa Kuragaki, KAZUKI & masu-me
May 29: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Moeka Haruhi b Mika Iida; GAMI vs Io Shirai went to a time-limit draw; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Sakura Hirota; Sawako Shimono b Nao Komatsu; Misaki Ohata vs Mio Shirai went to a Double Count Out; Cherry vs Kana (15:00) went to a time-limit draw; Toshie Uematsu b Tomoka Nakagawa; Yumi Ohka b Ayumi Kurihara
May 29: DIANA (Kochi, Japan) – Ayako Sato b Sari; Kagetu & Annie Social b Bambi & Hiren; Mariko Yoshida b Ryo Mizunami; Kyoko Inoue & Aya Yuki beat Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono in a best of 3 falls match
May 29: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Moeka Haruhi b Mika Iida; GAMI v Io Shirai went to a 10 minute time limit draw; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Sakura Hirota; Sawako Shimotsuke b Nao Komatsu; Misaki Ohata v Mio Shirai went to a double countout; Cherry v Kana went to a 15 minute time limit draw; Toshie Uematsu b Tomoka Nakagawa; Yumi Ohka b Ayumi Kurihara
May 29: Max Pro Wrestling (Sudbury, ON, Canada) – Xandra Bale b Courtney Rush
May 29: NBW Southside (St Neots, England) – Jemma Palmer b Faye
May 30: WWE Raw (Omaha, NE) – Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly b Nikki & Brie Bella
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: Juggalo Championship Wrestling (Smithfield, NC) – Amber O’Neal v Mia Svensson
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 12: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Rachel Summerlyn v JT LaMotta
June 12: TNA Slammiversary (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James v Angelina Love
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; The Belle Saints v The Boston Shore; Serena v Nikki Roxx; Alicia v Jessicka Havok; Sassy Stephie v Rain; Cindy Rogers v Allison Danger; Kristin Astara v Jillian Hall; 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, Rachel Summerlyn, Athena, 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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