Pro Wrestling Illustrated sent WWE and TNA and a message last week – sort out your women’s divisions.
They did so by crowning SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles as its number one in the annual Female 50, which marked the first time in its four year history that someone from outside the national promotions had taken the honour – Awesome Kong, Mickie James and Michelle McCool had won previous years. Mickie was the highest-ranked Big Two employee at number three, with WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez taking the runner-up spot. In fact, the women on the independent circuit had a strong showing in the top ten, with Cheerleader Melissa, MsChif and Sara Del Rey making sure that the women who accept their own bookings took up half of the final countdown.
Understandably, the PWI list isn’t perfect – after all, it doesn’t take into account Europe, Asia or South America, and only ranks Australasian talent that has competed in the US. Therefore, it’s a pretty strangled list – had it been opened up further, Britani Knight, Hailey Hatred, Amapola and others would have likely been included – but it’s a vast improvement on previous years, though with the proviso that it still has a long way to go before it can be a comprehensive rundown.
Still, it’s a massive pat on the back to Eagles, who doesn’t even live in the US – though she was residing there for a portion of the year – and has never even had a tryout in WWE or TNA, yet is still recognised by a world-reknowned magazine for being the best female wrestler in the world. When you take into account the fact that PWI still portrays wrestling as being a legitimate, competitive sport and judges the list by wins and losses, it would be hard to deny the 6’1” Australian the top spot, or Mercedes runner-up place either. After all, both had been champion of their respective promotions for the entire year; both had racked up win after win, and had put on incredible matches to justify their desire and will to be the champion. When you consider that the only real competitor for the top spot from WWE was Kelly Kelly or Layla, you can see why they only ranked at 15 and 13 respectively. Pretty much every Diva was booked badly over the last 12 months – and seeing as that is how PWI assesses who goes where, we have to look at the writing over the performances – and nobody has gotten over to the point where you would want to spend money to see them.
As for the Knockouts, it’s more understandable why Mickie is placed so high, considering the length of her first Knockouts Title reign – we’ll overlook the fact that the second lasted for just 72 hours – but if you were to look at the matches themselves, you would be hard-pressed to justify that position.
However, this is all subjective. For wrestlers like Eagles and Martinez, it is a fantastic selling point for any card that needs to be promoted – and it’s a double boost for a heel like Eagles, who can use it to brag about how great she is. For anyone who isn’t number one, or as high-up as they might expect themselves to be – Tara for example, complained that instead of being at number 8, she should be at number one, even though her booking by TNA has been abysmal for months now – they can dismiss it by saying that it is a kayfabed list that doesn’t take into account the ability of the wrestlers involved. You could argue that without the skill, the wrestler may not be booked so strongly with win after win, but that is another argument for another day. It doesn’t stop you from having your own favourites and if you don’t agree with the list, you don’t have to. Let’s face it, there’ll be another list coming along soon enough anyway.
It was booked well, it made sense and contained retribution, elation and showed plenty of promise for the future. Of course, I’m not talking about WWE or TNA – at the moment, I’m sceptical whether either could successfully organise an orgy in a whorehouse. Instead, I’m talking about SMASH – Tajiri’s fledgling promotion in Japan, which crowned its first Divas Champion last Thursday.
The final between Kana and Serena Deeb had history. Serena had pinned her joshi opponent on two occasions – once in a tag team match on April 30, and then in a singles bout three days later, both times using her spear to get the pinfall. Considering they were in separate brackets in the tournament, it seemed inevitable that they would be the final two women left to compete for the title. Kana made her way to the final by beating Lin “Bitch” Bairon and Syuri, while Deeb defeated Tomoka Nakagawa and Makoto to take her undefeated streak in the promotion to seven with no defeats.
So we had Kana 0-2 against her opponent and seemingly the underdog despite her brash persona, against the gaijin former WWE Diva who had not tasted defeat in the promotion. And the underdog won, claiming her first ever singles championship.
Kana won the title after making Deeb tap out with her Kana Lock (crossface chickenwing) to claim the title, and was congratulated by the defeated Serena afterwards. It looks likely that there will be a rematch at some point, as Serena still holds two wins over Kana, while Kana only has one against Deeb – albeit the most important victory of their series. After the match, Bairon’s masked alter ego Ray, Nakagawa, Syuri and Makoto all came to the ring, showing off the strong division that SMASH has set up for itself this year. It will be interesting to see how the Divas roster evolves from here, but it has beautifully set itself up for 2012.
In the UK, women’s wrestling has a great chance of making a great impression with the mainstream TV audience by having a grappler on the latest series of Big Brother. Faye Palmer, 19, applied last year while she was still training, but was offered a spot in the house this year, four months after turning pro. Of the 14 contestants, she seems to be one of the most normal and likeable, even though she has many attributes that people may be jealous/envious of – she is an athlete, model, beauty pageant winner and wrestler, so there is a lot for people to be judgemental or dismissive about. However, as of press time, she is keeping her head down, and is one of the favourites to win the whole shebang, though things will no doubt ebb and flow as the series progresses.
Wrestling as Darcy Steele, Palmer has already had TV exposure in the UK as part of the UKW promotion which broadcasts on one of the satellite channels, along with her sister Jemma, who has also had TV fame as Inferno from the recent Gladiators revival. Hopefully both can personally profit from Faye’s appearance, and if people are impressed with the female wrestler on terrestrial TV, they may be inclined to see her at a show and get into wrestling in general, leading to repeat visits and possibly into fandom.
The best of the rest
Mia Yim has been added to the SHIMMER tapings at the start of next month… Commando Bolshoi and Meiko Satamura has been announced for Joshimania in December… Emi Sakura, Hikaru Shida, Hikari Minami & Tsukasa Fujimoto have been announced for Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon on October 8 & 9… Queen Maya, Miss Mina and Skarlett have all been confirmed for WAWW in November… Speaking of Skarlett, she will defend her Extreme World Wrestling Women’s Championship against Saraya Knight on October 15… Velvet Sky will return to AAA next month… Ohio Valley Wrestling is running a pregnancy angle. Taryn Shay is accusing the promotion’s resident ladies’ man Brandon Bray of being the father of he unborn child… Kana’s first defence of her SMASH Divas Championship against Aki Shizuku on October 28… On her official website, Mickie James admitted she hasn’t ruled out a return to WWE… Madison Rayne’s husband, who serves in the US military, has been sent overseas… Naomi Night is back on the road with WWE. She’s the only NXT season 3 member still employed who is yet to officially debut on WWE TV… Rima Fakih says despite flopping on Tough Enough, she is still looking to make it to WWE… Congratulations to Ice Ribbon’s Ray, who won the CMLL-REINA International Jr Championship on Saturday… Sticking with REINA, Mia Yim will return to the promotion in September, and joining her will be Nicole Matthews, Portia Perez and Sara Del Rey… In the absence of sister Faye, Jemma Palmer turned heel at New Scene Wrestling in Birmingham, England on Saturday, becoming Blake Warning’s replacement girlfriend… Torrie Wilson has signed on for a show called The Z Team, which will be sent by law enforcement agencies to deal with real life dangerous situations involving the mob, drug dealers and crooked politicians… Rosa Mendes turned to her Twitter to say that AJ doesn’t look like a Diva. Good, I say. She also proceeded to insult the other new women, including Kaitlyn, Aksana and Maxine… Kana will face Madison Eagles on October 7 and Sara Del Rey on October 8 in CHIKARA… If Beth Phoenix does not win the Divas Championship on Sunday at Night of Champions, this Divas Of Salvation storyline is dead… Sarita wore her mask on Sunday at TNA No Surrender, though she wrestled in CMLL earlier in the week without it on… Melina will wrestle for Wrestling All Star Pros in Mexico from November 4-20. Jillian Hall, Io Shirai and Serena Deeb will also be part of the tour.
September 6: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Princesa Blanca b Marcela
September 6: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Estrellita & Goya Kong b Amapola & Princesa Sugheit
September 6: NWA Pro (Adelaide, Australia) – Nicole Matthews b Madison Eagles
September 6: WWE NXT (Toledo, OH) – AJ & Titus O’Neil b Maxine & Derrick Bateman
September 7: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Solo Darling won a battle royale
September 7: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Sayaka Obihiro b Dorami Nagano; Hamuko Hoshi b Maki Narumiya; Makoto Oishi b Mochi Miyagi and Ribbon Takanashi in a 3-way; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hikaru Shida b Kaori Yoneyama & Ray
September 7: NWA Pro (Adelaide, Australia) – Madison Eagles b Nicole Matthews
September 8: WWE Superstars (Toledo, OH) – Alicia Fox b Tamina
September 8: SMASH (Tokyo, Japan) – Ayumi Kurihara & Ray b Makoto & Syuri; Mio Shirai b Takuya Kito; Kana b Serena Deeb to win the SMASH Divas Championship
September 8: NWA Pro (Adelaide, Australia) – Damian Slater & Nicole Matthews b Greg Graham & Madison Eagles
September 9: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukushi b Sayaka Obihiro; Ray & Kurumi b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Neko Nitta
September 9: WWE SmackDown (Toledo, OH) – Kelly Kelly b Natalya
September 9: AAA (Guanajuato, Mexico) – Jennifer Blake & Yuriko b Lolita & Pimpinela Escarlata
September 9: Welsh Wrestling (Welshpool, Wales) – TAFKA Becky James b Pollyanna
September 10: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Ray b Dorami Nagano; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Maki Nurimiya; Emi Sakura b Sakaya Obihiro; Hikaru Shida & Kurumi b Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi
September 10: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Yuu Yamagata b Eri Susa; Tomoka Nakagawa b Saki Kashima; Eri Susa v Saki Kashima went to a time limit draw; Io Shirai & Nanae Takahashi b Arisa Hoshiki & Mayu Iwatani and Natsuki Taiyo & Yuzupon Mask and Yoko Bito & Yuzuki Aikawa in a 4-way
September 10: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Tomoko Morii b Saya; Leon b Lady Afrodita; Yumiko Hotta & Micro b Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ariya; Ayumi Kurihara & Aki Kanbayashi b La Comandante & Dama de Hierro; Ray b Zeuxis to win the CMLL-REINA International Jr Title
September 10: NWA Coastal Wrestling (Jackson, NJ) – Kimber Lee b Jackie Daniels & Simply D-Vyne in a 3-way
September 10: WrestleFest (Stockbridge, GA) – Tracy Taylor b Pandora
September 10: Maximum Pro Wrestling (Vaughn, ONT, Canada) – Xandra Bale b Seleziya Sparx
September 10: IWA Florida (Orlando, FL) – Jelena b Cherry Layne & Zoe Dawn in a 3-way to win the IWA Florida Women’s title
September 10: New Scene Wrestling (Birmingham, England) – April Davids b Jenny Sjodin
September 10: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – KC Spinelli b Taya Valkyrie
September 10: Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Ryo Mizunami & DASH Chisako b Cherry & Jenny Rose; Kaori Yoneyama b Keiko Aono; Dynamite Kansai b Sareee; Aja Kong & Kaoru Ito b Meiko Satomura & Kagetsu; Kyoko Inoue b Andrea Mother
September 11: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Aoi Yagami, masu-me & Manami Katsu b Nao Komatsu, Nana Kawasa & Rabbit Mito; Sachie Abe & KAZUKI b Leon & Micro; Toshie Uematsu b Tomoko Morii; Tsubasa Kuragaki b Kayako Haruyama & Command Bolshoi in a 3-way; Kaori Yoneyama & Hailey Hatred b Hanako Nakamori & Misaki Ohata
September 11: TNA No Surrender (Orlando, FL) – Winter b Mickie James to win the Knockouts Title
September 11: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Lady Apache b Princesa Sugheit to win the Pro Wrestling Revolution championship
September 11: NWA Championship Wrestling From Hollywood (Los Angeles, CA) NY Knockout Nikki b Thunderkitty; Lucky O’Shea b NY Knockout Nikki
September 11: AULL (Tlalnepantla, Mexico) – Lady Sensacion, Shitara & Vaneli b Chica Maravilla, La Vequerita & Yuki Star
September 12: WWE Raw (Ottawa, ONT, Canada) – Kelly Kelly b Vickie Guerrero
September 17: IndyGurlz (Boonton, NJ) – Mercedes Martinez v Sumie Sakai; Kellie Skater v Portia Perez; Jessie Brooks v Amy Morgane; Angel Orsini v Annie Social; Jennifer Cruz v Jana; Simply D’Vyne v Niya
September 17: CHIKARA (Brockton, MA) – Sara Del Rey v Ares
September 18: CHIKARA (New York City, NY) – Sara Del Rey v Ophidian
September 18: CMLL (Tokyo, Japan) – Amapola v Ayumi Kurihara
September 18: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Mia Yim v ACH; Lillie Mae v Portia Perez
September 24: IndyGurlz (Shrewsbury, MA) – Sara Del Rey v Mercedes Martinez
September 24: Great Championship Wrestling (Levittown, PA) – Sassy Stephie v Rain; Alicia & Brittney Savage v Allysin Kay & Jessicka Havok
September 24; Southside Wrestling Entertainment (Huntingdon, England) – Super Janey B v Rhia O’Reilly
September 25: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Lakewood, OH) Sassy Stephie v Madison Rayne; Jessicka Havok & Allysin Kay v Mickie Knuckles & Angel Dust
September 30: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif, Nevaeh & Jessie McKay v Mena Libra, Sassy Stephie & Madison Eagles
September 30: Melbourne City Wrestling (Tullamarine, Australia) – Shazza McKenzie v Harley Wonderland
October 1 & 2: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
October 2: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Hailey Hatred v Cherry Bomb
October 7: Dynamo Pro Wrestling (Glen Carbon, IL) – MsChif v Billy McNeil v Jamie Lyte v Jackal v Makaze v Jack Gamble
October 7: CHIKARA (Burlington, NC) – Madison Eagles v Kana
October 8: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Tiana Ringer v Mercedes Martinez; Tomoka Nakagawa v Portia Perez v Sweet Cherrie; Cheerleader Melissa v Mary Lee Rose; Lufisto v Kalamity; Angie Skye v Cherry Bomb
October 8: Lucha POP (Tlalnepantla de Baz, Mexico) – Mary & Faby Apache v Keira & Lolita
October 8: CHIKARA (Kingsport, TN) – Sara Del Rey v Kana
October 8 and 9: Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon (Nottingham, UK) – April Davids v Jenny Sjodin
October 9: St Louis Anarchy (Fairview Heights, IL) – Rachel Summerlyn v Darin Corbin
October 15: Extreme World Wrestling (Hastings, England) – Skarlett v Sweet Saraya
October 26: SMASH (Osaka, Japan) – Syuri & Makoto v Kana & Mio Shirai
October 28: SMASH (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana v Aki Shizuku; Syuri v Makoto v Ray v Tomoka Nakagawa
October 28: Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (Surrey, NC, Canada) – Nicole Matthews v KC Spinelli
November 5: New Scene Wrestling (Birmingham, England) – Alpha Female v Jenny Sjodin; April Davids & Jemma Palmer v Darcy Steele & Becky James
November 6: New Scene Wrestling (Birmingham, England) – Alpha Female v Jenny Sjodin; Kay Lee Ray v Carmel Jacob
November 19: World Association of Women’s Wrestling (Norwich, England)
November 19: International Wrestling Cartel (Meadville, PA) – Traci Brooks v Gail Kim
November 19: Women Superstars Uncensored (Union City, NJ) – Jetta & Rain v The Boston Shore; Serena Deeb v Melina; Mercedes Martinez, Alicia & Brittney Savage v Jessicka Havok, Allysin Kay & Sassy Stephie; Nikki Styx v Gabby Gilbert; Becky Bayless v Rick Cataldo
March 3, 2012 (Union City, NJ) – Mercedes Martinez v Jessicka Havok
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get the message out there.
– Lee Burton