“I hate wrestling”.

I’ve said this quite a few times during conversations with people, and generally, the topic which causes me to say the aforementioned statement is TNA Wrestling (or Impact Wrestling, whatever they want to be called this week).

Unlike most other Roundups, instead of reporting the big news (as there is none) I’m venting about the decline about the Knockouts division and for me, how it’s probably the most hair-extractingly frustrating thing in wrestling today. I equate it to having a child who you know is a genius, but instead decides to hit the crack pipe – you know it’s capable of so much more, but makes the decision to screw things up, and it saddens you, as you know said child is capable of so much.

Remember when everyone used to rave about TNA’s women’s division and how it was so much more varied and dynamic than the WWE Divas, and how the wrestling was in a different league in terms of quality? Remember how it used to be the place that female wrestlers aspired to go, believing that it would give them the freedom to do what they love to do on national and international TV? Those days are long gone, though that belief still lingers on.

Sacrifice, Victory Road, Slammiversary – all of the Knockouts offerings were no better than average, and at worst, were really bad. The reasons for this all come down to the Knockouts being a victim of their initial success. They’re being overbooked to the nth degree.

Dave Meltzer pointed out on Wrestling Observer Radio earlier this week that the reason why the girls did so well at the start is because nobody could be bothered coming up with storylines for them, so they were just sent out there to wrestle. So when that got over, people began to take notice, and they started getting booked – first in angles to lead to matches, but then during matches themselves, to the point that you can’t have a Knockouts match without a stipulation, a ref bump, a weapon, a screwjob, interference or other shenanigans. It must be so frustrating to be a wrestler in that company, after being booked to be there because of your wrestling ability, and then being made to do a whole bunch of other stuff that not only do people not want to see, but dilutes your own abilities.

Sarita is a hell of a talent – anyone who watches lucha or has seen her work in SHIMMER can attest to that. So why is it that when she goes out there on TNA, it just doesn’t carry over? It could be a number of reasons – not gelling with her opponents, being made to work a character, or even more silly, making her work heel. Her and Rosita have the look and movesets that lend them to being babyfaces, and yet they have to stifle what they’re good at to work a heel style that their repertoire doesn’t lend itself well to. Likewise, whoever decided that Velvet Sky should be a babyface – and then put her into three simultaneous feuds where she looks either whiney or bitchy – is a massive piece of miscasting. Sure, she has a ring entrance that pops a crowd, but it was much more effective when she was doing it to spite a crowd rather than tease them.

I admit, I’m probably being a bit simplistic about all of this, but Jim Cornette once said the same thing (in reference to WCW) back in 1997, pointing out that “wrestling fans watching a wrestling program want to see wrestlers wrestle”. Sure, they need a reason to be put in the ring together, but beyond that, why not just let them go from there? Give them a reason to fight – a real, competitive reason, not one that is over witchcraft and drugging – and let them go into the ring to settle it and find out who is the best. Is it that hard? The Ultimate Fighting Championship manages to build up and hype a fight so much better than the top two pro-wrestling companies does these days, and it’s a real sport. Shouldn’t it stand to reason that if you can make up any reason you like for people fighting, shouldn’t you be able to do it with much more ease?

It staggers me that bookers still try to make wrestling more complicated than it has to be. One person thinks they’re better than someone else, the other person disagrees, and then they wrestle to find out which one of them is right. It’s a practice that’s worked in boxing, wrestling and now mixed martial arts, yet writers insist on showing us how clever they think they are by trying to write something so incomprehensible that it’s implausible to the average mind, or it’s so asinine and ridiculous that it’s impossible to defend. The Winter/Angelina Love storyline springs to mind immediately.

I don’t know how this all came about – as in, was Winter a figment of Love’s imagination made real, or was she really good at hiding when Velvet Sky and Lacey Von Erich came into the room – nor do I understand where this is going. Sky has threatened and attempted to beat up her drugged up friend, showing all the compassion of a nihilistic executioner, and got her shapely rear end handed to her as a result. You would imagine that she would have been the most likely one to be able to reason with Angelina, and failed at the first hurdle. So unless Love snaps herself out of it – which would be the dumbest and most anticlimactic end ever – I don’t see where this is going, or why I should care while it goes down. After all, this storyline has been going on since last October and there is still no end in sight. Eight months of tedium that has dominated the Knockouts time on Impact and we still can’t see how this will be resolved. I’m even questioning if the writers have any idea how it’s going to end. And if they don’t have an idea how it’s going to end, why did they start with it in the first place?

The fact that I’m having to ask so many questions is indicative of how screwed up the story is.

If Impact Wrestling wants to live up to its new tagline of “Wrestling matters”, then let the girls wrestle. They’ve already proven that they can – we’ll ignore how Mickie James v Love at Slammiversary ended, as it doesn’t help my point – so just tell them that they have an allotted time – hopefully longer than 60 seconds – and let them go out and wrestle. It’s all they want to do, so let them do it.

And as for that 60 seconds, I need to wag a finger at WWE. A Divas tag match with FOURTEEN women and it goes a minute, with only two people legally in the match? Natalya didn’t even take off her frigging jacket. The awful Rockettes display afterwards was even worse. Fine, do that with AJ, Kaitlyn, Eve and Kelly, as they’re more happy-go-lucky characters, but keep Gail Kim, Natalya and especially Beth Phoenix out of that. They’re meant to be the tougher babyface women, and to see a musclebound Phoenix doing high kicks is utter bullshit.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, as it’s more me blowing off steam than anything, but I wish I could turn on the TV and see some actual wrestling from women instead of meaningless fluff or a storyline so convoluted that it rivals The Matrix Reloaded.

And with that, I’m off to watch King Of Trios. Save me, Madison Eagles and Manami Toyota…

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The best of the rest

Congratulations to former WWF Women’s Champion Madusa, who’s getting married to her soldier fiance and streaming the ceremony online. She’ll be honeymooning in Germany (avoid the beansprouts)… WAWW is holding its first training session since breaking away from Pro Wrestling: EVE on the weekend on August 20/21. All female wrestlers are welcome to attend and will be considered for future WAWW cards… Makoto had to pull out of Wednesday’s Ice Ribbon match against Chii Tomiya after suffering a neck injury during training that morning. She was replaced by Hikaru Shida… Beth Phoenix has been positioned as the next contender to Brie Bella’s Divas Title… The dark match before last week’s SmackDown tapings between Natalya and Rosa Mendes was cut short when Rosa suffered a “wardrobe malfunction”… Kharma’s legal reps issued a statement on Wednesday denying Byron Wilcott was the father to her baby. He’s claimed paternity… MsChif’s leg injury is healing up pretty well. She’s still hoping to be back in the ring by next month… Kana and Lin Byron wrestled in the SMASH Diva title tournament with the stip that the loser must bare their breasts. Byron lost, but escaped before Kana could strip her… Add Torrie Wilson to the list of women appearing at K&S WrestleFest’s A Hot Summer’s Night in Philadelphia on August 27… According to Power Slam magazine, Karen Jarrett’s had breast augmentation surgery. By the sounds of it, that is probably a boob lift rather than implants… Courtney Rush is part of a new film called Monster Brawl which also stars Kevin Nash, Jimmy Hart and UFC referee Herb Dean… Annie Social’s film Kingdom of Gladiators won the Award of Excellence at Indie Fest 2011… Get well soon to Australian wrestler Sara Jay who was in a car accident last week… On Saturday’s Ice Ribbon show, Emi Sakura was pinned by Tsukushi in just FOUR seconds… Candice Michelle and Leva Bates will be at the Philadelphia Comic Con this weekend… Australia’s PWWA promotion’s being taken out of mothballs – the next show will be in Sydney on September 3… No matches or wrestlers have been announced, but half the tickets have already been sold for SHIMMER’s October DVD tapings… TNA’s BaseBrawl event in Memphis on Saturday was a short washout. It started half an hour late and even with a rain delay halfway through, the whole show lasted 90 minutes… Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling’s released three SuperGirls DVDs featuring Nicole Matthews, Veronika Vice, Kharma and Angel “Angelina Love” Williams… Speaking of Angelina Love, she’s booked for a Slammin’ Ladies customs shoot next month. But contrary to what some websites are intimating, this is a customs business which doesn’t do sleazy crap – it’s about putting on actual matches.

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Results

June 8: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Emi Saukra b Tsukasa Fujimoto; Hikaru Shida b Meare Naito, Neko Nitta & Maki Narumiya; Makoto Oishi & Chou-un Shiryu b Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi; Chii Tomiya b Hikaru Shida

June 9: SMASH (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana b Lin Byron; Syuri b Hikaru Shida

June 9: WWE Superstars (Richmond, VA) – Melina & Maryse b Eve Torres & Gail Kim

June 9: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Witer & Angelina Love b Mickie James & Tara; Velvet Sky b ODB

June 9: CMLL (Naucalpan, Mexico) – Cinthia Moreno, Octagoncito & Pimpinela Escarlata b La Hechicera, Mini Histeria & Yuriko

June 10: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Kurumi; Hikaru Shida b Chii Tomiya

June 10: TNA BaseBrawl (Marion, IL) – Velvet Sky b Angelina Love

June 10: Melbourne City Wrestling (Tullamrine, Australia) Tenille Tayla & KC Cassidy b Sway & Shazza McKenzie

June 11: TNA BaseBrawl (Memphis, TN) – Velvet Sky b Angelina Love

June 11: Riot City Wrestling (Adeleide, Australia) – Miami b Melodi Summers

June 11: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Chii Tomiya b Hikaru Shida; Tsukasa Fujimoto, Hikari Minami & Riho b Maki Narumiya, Neko Nitta & Meare Naito; Tsukushi b Emi Sakura; Makoto Oishi & Chou-un Shiryu b International Ribbon Tag Team Champions Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi to win the titles

June 11: Global Entertainment Wrestling (Granby, Quebec, Canada) – LuFisto b Mary Lee Rose

June 11: Wrestling For Rotary (Bendigo, Australia) – Serena Deeb b Kellie Skater

June 11: Southern Allstar Wrestling (Gallatin, TN) – Tracy Taylor b Miss Rachel

June 11: Australasian Wrestling Federation (Sydney, Australia) – Rachel Rose b Selene

June 11: Combat Zone Wrestling (Philadelphia, PA) – Kyoko Inoue b Sumie Sakai

June 11: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Lady Jojo b Trina Thompson

June 11: Wrestling Past Present Future (East Moline, IL) – Silas Young & Valerie Malone b Mason Beck & Becky Collins

June 11: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Santana b Christina Von Eerie

June 11: Live Pro Wrestling (Dorchester, Ontario, Canada) – Courtney Rush b Holly Hilton

June 12: STARDOM (Tokyo, Japan) – Saki Kashima v Natsuki*Taiyo went to a 3 minute time limit draw; Yoshiko b Eri Susa; Haruka v Cherry went to a 3 minute time limit draw; Natsuki*Taiyo b Arisa Hoshiki; Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoko Bito b Nanae Takahashi & Mayu Iwatani

June 12: Dropkick Divas (Canton, OH) – Allysin Kay b Side Saddle Sally; Angel Dust b Brittany Force; Amanda Ruffin b Big Mama; Jessicka Havok b Sassy Stephie; Sassy Stephie won a 6 woman battle royal

June 12: Japanese Women Pro-Wrestling Project (Tokyo, Japan) – masu-me b Manami Katsu; Command Bolshoi & Yagami Aoi b KAZUKI & Tomoko Morii; Kayoko Haruyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki & Misaki Ohata b Ran Yu-Yu, Toshie Uematsu & Mika Iida; TLW World Women’s Singles Champion Hailey Hatred b Sachie Abe to retain the title;
JWP Openweight Champion Leon b Hanako Nakamori to retain the title.

June 12: World 1 (Jackson, NJ) – Roxie Cotton b Veda Scott

June 12: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – The Takeover & Miss Maulie b Ricky Romida, Jeff Gant & Lillie Mae; Lady Poison b Angel Blue; JT Lamotta b Rachel Summerlyn

June 12: TNA Slammiversary (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James b Angelina Love

June 13: WWE Raw (Long Island, NY) – Kelly Kelly, A.J., Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Natalya, Beth Phoenix and Kaitlyn b Maryse, Alicia Fox, Melina, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Rosa Mendes and Tamina

Upcoming

June 15: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) Kagetsu v Nao Komatsu; Tomoka Nakagawa v Ryo Mizunami; Nagisa Nozaki v Misaki Ohata

June 17: Phoenix Pro Wrestling (West Bromwich, England) – Pollyanna v Chrissy Valentine v Bacardi

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: Ballarat Professional Wrestling (Wendouree, Australia) – Shazza McKenzie v Eliza Sway

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 25: Riot City Wrestling (Adelaide, Australia) – Miami v Melodi Summers

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

July 15: SMASH (Tokyo, Japan) – Serena Deeb v Tomoka Nakagawa; Makoto v TBA

September 3: Pro Wrestling Women’s Alliance (Sydney, Australia)

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)

Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to secure more bookings? Let us know by emailing us at ringbelles@gmail.com and we’ll get the message out there.

Ron says:

Couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the TNA knockouts division. Like you,…I am a fan of real women’s wrestling and I remember how excited I used to be about the Knockouts division just a couple of years ago. They had, for a very brief time, one of the best women’s rosters in history. Awesome Kong, Alyssa Flash(Melissa Anderson) Sarita,(Sarah Stock), Daffney, Taylor Wilde and TARA.
Not mention Gail Kim who has completely sucked since returning to the WWE.
Only Stock and TARA are left. And the story of Daffney’s treatment and pending lawsuit seems to sum up what’s being going on backstage. The concensus around the blog universe is that the blame goes directly to Russo and Bischof. I have heard on many occassions that Russo has no respect for women’s wrestling at all.
TNA as whole just seems like a bad low budget sequel to WCW.

Anyway, great website and podcasts.