If you’re a women’s wrestling fan living in the western hemisphere, chances are you’ve had your fill of top in-ring action over the last two weeks. In the US, there was SHIMMER (results and thoughts here and here); Canada had nCw Femmes Fatales (detailed results here); and in the UK, Pro Wrestling: EVE collaborated with Ice Ribbon to present three shows over two days (results and photos here and here, and interviews here). While there were big names, such as Cheerleader Melissa, Serena Deeb and LuFisto who achieved or surpassed what fans have grown to expect of them, there have been some wrestlers who have managed to break into that next echelon of success and have opened up a new world of possibilities. In this week’s Roundup, I’ll be having a look at them.

The first to make an impact (lower-case I) was Athena, who turned babyface in SHIMMER as part of a double-turn which saw Mercedes Martinez go heel. In a pretty accurate homage to Steve Austin and Bret Hart flip-flopping sides back in 1997 at WrestleMania 13, Martinez got frustrated by the less experienced Athena refusing to stay down, and used a chair to attack her ankle in full view of the referee, intentionally disqualifying herself. Refusing to be beaten, Athena got on the mic to say she would be back when her leg was 100% again.

I’ve been harping on for a while now that Athena’s athletic, high flying moveset, attitude and look lend themselves to being a flashy yet tough babyface. In most promotions, she is portrayed as a heel, which she does well, but fans still applaud her when she executes some of her aerial moves – such as her springboard attacks, which virtually no other female in America does at the moment, and even fewer do it with such grace and ability. By turning her babyface, those reactions look set to become more passionate cheers, rather than applause of begrudging respect. As long as she keeps calling people hussies, keeps the swagger and tempers the flying to make it mean more when she does it, Athena looks set to be a massive star in SHIMMER. Granted, she is a multi-time American Joshi Champion in Anarchy Championship Wrestling, but the worldwide reach of SHIMMER will see her profile and stock shoot up in 2012. Best of luck to her.

Also deserving of plaudits is Kalamity, who has had an amazing October, and we’re only 11 days in. On October 1, she debuted against Hailey Hatred in SHIMMER, giving the JWP Openweight Champion a run for her money, and also popping former NWA World Champion Colt Cabana – who was watching the match from the stage at Berwyn’s Eagles Club – with her 100mph forearm to a downed Hatred in the corner. Seven days later, the 24-year old Quebecer defeated her mentor LuFisto to win the nCw Femmes Fatales International Championship in what’s being seen as a passing of the torch for women’s wrestling in French Canada. Kalamity’s taken some massively positive strides over the last 12 months and looks set to forge ahead in her new role as figurehead of Femmes Fatales. As it turned out, Martinez will be Kalamity’s next challenge, so it seems as if the Latina Sensation holds the future of two of women wrestling’s biggest prospects in her hands at the moment. Knowing her, she will do her damnedest to make sure both are given every opportunity to succeed.

Meanwhile in the UK, three women saw their stock go sky-high as part of the EVE v Ice Ribbon weekend. The first two are the Northern Shooters, April Davids and EVE Champion Jenny Sjodin, who earned a standing ovation for their title match on the Saturday night, which was an MMA-pro wrestling hybrid affair that saw Davids suffer a badly sprained ankle that will keep her out of the ring for approximately a month. On the second day, Sjodin defeated former AJW and NEO Champion Emi Sakura in a match which took Sjodin well out of her comfort zone and forced her to wrestle Sakura’s sort of match. Not only did she survive it, but she excelled, showing some sceptics that she deserves to be the titleholder, after winning the belt from Britani Knight under controversial circumstances behind the scenes.

Davids, meanwhile, showed that her time wrestling at the Ice Ribbon dojo in Saitama has helped to focus her goals in wrestling. Going move for move with Sjodin in their title match and putting together her (and Sjodin’s, for that matter) best match to date was evident after the contest when she broke down in tears in the ring. If Sjodin is EVE’s number 1 wrestler, then Davids must be 1A – and both will have seen their stock increase worldwide, and should be having their doors hammered down by promoters looking to book them. They both deserve it.

The last woman I want to mention is Nikki Storm, who – despite not being able to breathe through her nose on the Saturday due to a heavy cold – was able to come out and wrestle three great – and different – matches over the EVE v Ice Ribbon weekend, defeating Tsukasa Fujimoto in a fast-paced affair on show one, leading and putting away the debuting (and impressive) Kirsty Love in the matinee show, and then engaging a dramatic match with Hikaru Shida, which she also won, making her one of only two women to go undefeated over the weekend (the other being Alpha Female, who is now 10-1 in the promotion).

Before her final match with Shida, Storm declared that she would be deserving of a title shot if she beat her Ice Ribbon opponent. Given the standard of her matches and her win-loss record, it is hard to argue with that, as she has gone from strength to strength since I saw her at Triple X Wrestling two years ago. By all rights, the mouthy Scot should follow in the footsteps of fellow Brit Jetta, as they have the same attitude, approximate look and ability to draw a strong reaction from the crowd. Storm should be looking to expand her horizons in 2012 to Europe and further afield, as she is more than ready for the challenge.

It is an exciting time to be a fan of women’s wrestling. Whether you like your wrestlers athletic and slashing, tough and bruising, on the mat and technical or annoying yet impressive, there is something to pique your interest at the moment. Things are looking healthy thanks to the hard work of all female wrestlers, the promotions which give them a platform to show what they really can do, and the fans that support the product by buying tickets, DVDs and merchandise.

And with that, I’m off to stare at the signed canvases of the four Ice Ribbon joshi talents that came to the UK.

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The best of the rest

Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling has announced that Taya Valkarye has signed a WWE developmental contract… Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly weren’t part of the no-confidence angle on Raw last week because WWE didn’t want them to be booed when they left the ringside area… ArenaChicks record their final match for their second DVD on Friday at the CWF Rumble, which will crown the first ever ArenaChicks Champion. Angel Orsini, Simply Dvyne, Jana Marlene and Veda Scott will fight in a 4-way with the winner claiming the title… Anarchy Championship Wrestling is holding matches over three days at the start of November as part of the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX… Lady Afrodita is starting a league tournament called the “Blue Star Cup” sponsored by JWP… Lisa “Ivory” Moretti will be honoured by the Cauliflower Alley Club in Las Vegas next April… Jessie Belle Smothers has relocated to Florida along with her fiance Ryan Howe, who was nicknamed Skidmarks during his time in Tough Enough earlier this year… Mio Shirai’s been added to Joshimania… Jemma Palmer’s joined her sister Faye in the Big Brother UK house. She’s replacing another contestant who walked out last week… Serena Deeb and Jazz will be part of the next nCw Femmes Fatales show next February… Sara Del Rey missed out on challenging for the CHIKARA Championship at the promotion’s High Noon iPPV when she was defeated by Mike Quackenbush on Friday… Michelle McCool says even though she thinks she has more matches in her, she’s not likely to return to the ring… April Davids is slated to return to Ice Ribbon next year. A number of other EVE talents were said to have impressed the Ice Ribbon crew… AAA’s glow in the dark match on Sunday wasn’t as much of a success as was hoped. According to reports, only Sexy Star’s gear showed up enough to notice what was going on… In an interview with The Sun, Mickie James says that Vince McMahon yelled at her after she came through the curtain from her WWE Women’s Championship win over Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22. She says his anger was down to the infamous “V-lick” which was edited out of the home video… Women Superstars Uncensored has been forced to move the location of its Breaking Barriers iPPV on November 19 to Deer Park, Long Island, NY after the owner of the ACE Arena in Union City, NJ vanished, owing money to the state for fines and taxes.

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Results

October 2: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Manami Katsu b Dorami Nagano; Rabbit Mita b Masume; Command Bolshoi & Kayoko Haruyama b Aoi Yagami & Nana Kawasa; Toshie Uematsu b Tsubasa Kuragaki; Kaori Yoneyama b Kyoko Kimura; Aya Yuki, Hanako Yakamori & Leon b KAZUKI, Morley & Sachie Abe

October 2: ERLL (Apodaca, Mexico) – Chica Tormenta v La Vaquerita ended in a double pin

October 4: Diana (Isesaki City, Japan) – Kagetsu b Jennie Rose; Sachiko Sendai b Piyota Mask; DASH Chisako b Annie Social; Aja Kong b Ryo Mizunami; Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono b Kyoko Inoue & Sareee

October 5: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Izza Belle Smothers & Taeler Hendrix b Lady JoJo & Epiphany

October 5: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hikari Minami & Masamune b Kurumi & Munenori Sawa; Dorami Nagano b Hamuko Hoshi; Mochi Miyagi b Maki Narumiya; Emi Sakura & Kaori Yoneyama b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hikaru Shida

October 6: WWE Superstars (Biloxi, MI) – AJ b Tamina

October 6: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Winter & Madison Rayne b Mickie James & Velvet Sky

October 7: WWE SmackDown (Biloxi, MI) – Beth Phoenix b Alicia Fox

October 7: Scottish Wrestling Alliance: Source (Erskine, Scotland) – Nikki Storm b Lindsay Turner

October 7: TNA (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Miss Tessmacher b ODB

October 7: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – La Amapola, Mima Shimoda & Princesa Sujei b Lady Apache, Marcela & Ray

October 7: WWE (Denver, Colorado) – Beth Phoenix b Eve Torres

October 7: Promociones MV (Tijuana, Mexico) – Diamantina, Sexy Star & Profeta b Lolita, Rubi Gardenia & Urzus

October 7: CHIKARA (Burlington, NC) – Kana b Jessie McKay; Mike Quackenbush b Sara Del Rey

October 8: Ring Wars Carolina (Raeford, NC) – Mia Svensson b Nicole Poliki to win the RWC/FLOW Championship

October 8: IWA Unlimited (Olney, IL) – Athena & Serenity b Angelus Layne & Rachel Summerlyn

October 8: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Angie Skye b Cherry Bomb; Sherbrooke Connexion b Missy and Anna Minoushka; She Nay Nay b Xandra Bale; Mercedes Martinez b Tiana Ringer; Cheerleader Melissa b Yumi Ohka; Courtney Rush b Kellie Skater; Tomoka Nakagawa b Sweet Cherrie & Portia Perez in a 3-way; Kalamity b LuFisto to win the Femmes Fatales International Championship

October 8: CHIKARA (Kingsport, TN) – Sara Del Rey b Kana

October 8: TNA (Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada) – Miss Tessmacher b ODB

October 8: WWE (Loveland, CO) – Beth Phoenix b Eve Torres

October 8: WWE (Beaumont, TX) – AJ & Kaitlyn b Natalya & Tamina

October 8: World League Wrestling (Desloge, MO) – Lucy Mendez b Stacey O’Brien

October 8: Metro Pro Wrestling (Kansas City, KS) – Miss Natural b Steven J Girthy

October 8: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (Nottingham, England) – Emi Sakura & Hikari Minami b Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto

October 8: Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon (Nottingham, England) – Shanna b Kay Lee Ray; Jenny Sjodin b Rhia O’Reilly; Rhia O’Reilly b Super Janey B; Viper b Kirsty Love; Em Jay b Sara Marie Taylor; Nikki Storm b Tsukasa Fujimoto; Alpha Female b Hikaru Shida; Emi Sakura & Hikari Minami b Erin Angel & Shanna; Jenny Sjodin b April Davids

October 9: Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon (Nottingham, England) – Nikki Storm b Kirsty Love; Viper b Super Janey B; Erin Angel b Em Jay; Alpha Female b Sara Marie Taylor; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Rhia O’Reilly; Hikaru Shida b Kay Lee Ray; Shanna & Emi Sakura b Jenny Sjodin & Hikari Minami; Kirsty Love b Sara Marie Taylor; Alpha Female b Viper and Rhia O’Reilly in a 3-way; Super Janey B b Em Jay; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Erin Angel & Kay Lee Ray in a 3-way; Nikki Storm b Hikaru Shida; Hikari Minami b Shanna; Jenny Sjodin b Emi Sakura

October 9: AAA (Monterrey, Mexico) – Jennifer Blake, Sexy Star & Velvet Sky b Cinthia Moreno, Fabi Apache & Mari Apache

October 9: St Louis Anarchy (Fairview Heights, IL) – Rachel Summerlyn b Darin Corbin

October 9: Ringstars Noodles Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – MI*SA*KI b Shu Shibutani; Shigehiro Irie & Sawako Shimono b Ramen Woman & Roasted Pork Filet Woman; Kaori Yoneyama & Cherry b Leon & Chikayo Nagashima; Hiroyo Miu Miu won a Royal Rumble

October 9: NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood (Los Angeles, CA) – Davina Rose b Lucky O’Shea; Lucky O’Shea b NY Knockout Nikki & Kitana Vera in a 3-way

October 9: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Toshie Uematsu & Yuu Yamagata b Aya Yuki & Sawako Shimono; Mio Shirai b Rabbit Mita; Cherry & Misaki Ohata b GAMI & Sakura Himota; Mayumi Ozaki b Moeka Haruhi; Kaori Yoneyama b Shuu Shibutani

October 9: Diana (Osaka, Japan) – Kagetsu b Sareee; Annie Social & DASH Chisako b Jenny Rose & Sumie Sakai; Keiko Aono b Ryu Mizumina; Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe b Jaguar Yakota & Kyoko Inoue

October 10: Diana (Osaka, Japan) – Kagetsu b Annie Social; Jenny Rose b Ryo Mizunami; DASH Chisako b Sumie Saki; ZAP I & ZAP T b Keiko Aono & Sareee; Kyoko Inoue b Takako Inoue

October 10: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Hiroyo Matsumoto b Saki Kashima; Yuu Yamagata b Eri Susa; Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoko Bito b Nanae Takahashi & Io Shirai; Arisa Hoshiki & Mayu Iwatani b Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko

October 10: WWE Raw (Oklahoma City, OK) – Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly b Rosa Menes & Tamina

October 10: Kaori Yoneyama Produce (Tokyo, Japan) – Bolshoi Yoneyama, Micro Yoneyama, & Rabbit Yoneyama b Shuji Ishikawa; Yoneyama Kao Lee & Chou-un Shiryu vs Che Lee & Miso Ramen Woman went to a time-limit draw; Misaki Ohata won a battle royale; Tsubasa Kuragaki & Nana Kawasa b Kayoko Haruyama & Manami Katsu; Shinobu Kandori b Kaori Yoneyama in a judo match; Kaori Yoneyama b Shinobu Kandori in a puddle match; Shinobu Kandori b Kaori Yoneyama in a pro wrestling match

October 10: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Manami Katsu b Tomoki Yagami; Dorami Nagano b Lady Afrodita; Rabbit Miyu & Misaki Ohata b Command Bolshoi & masu-me; Sachie Abe, KAZUKI, & Morley b Kayoko Haruyama, Tsubasa Kuragaki, & Nana Kawasa; Toshie Uematsu b Kaori Yoneyama; Leon b Hanako Nakamori

Upcoming

October 15: Dungeon Championship Wrestling (Newhall, CA) – Allison Danger & Sara Del Rey v NY Knockout Nikki & Morgan

October 15: Warzone Wrestling (Berwick, Australia) – Sway v Shazza McKenzie v Madison Eagles

October 15: CWF Mid-Atlantic (Burlington, NC) – Angel Orsini v Simply Dvyne v Jana Marlene v Veda Scott

October 15: Extreme World Wrestling (Hastings, England) – Skarlett v Sweet Saraya; Lucy Clayden v Pollyanna

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

October 29: Nitro Pro Wrestling Alliance (Blackpool, England) – Kay Lee Ray v Jenny Sjodin

October 29: CHIKARA (Reading, PA) – Sara Del Rey v Serena Deeb

October 30: CHIKARA (Williamsport, PA) – Sara Del Rey v Tursas

November 4: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Barbi Hayden v Athena v Lillie Mae v Angel Blue

November 5: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Rachel and Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team v LOS v Team Sex v The Lost Boys; Portia Perez v Angel Blue

November 5: New Scene Wrestling (Birmingham, England) – Alpha Female v Jenny Sjodin; April Davids & Jemma Palmer v Darcy Steele & Becky James

November 6: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Barie Hayden v Athena v Portia Perez v Rachel Summerlyn v Jessica James v Lillie Mae

November 6: New Scene Wrestling (Birmingham, England) – Alpha Female v Jenny Sjodin; Kay Lee Ray v Carmel Jacob

November 6: Happy Hour (Roppongi, Japan) – Dump Matsumoto v Jenny Rose

November 19: World Association of Women’s Wrestling (Norwich, England) – Sweet Saraya v Allison Danger; Queen Maya v Amazon; Destiny v Miss Mina; Busty Keegan v Nikki Knight; Liberty v Penelope

November 19: International Wrestling Cartel (Meadville, PA) – Traci Brooks v Gail Kim

November 19: Women Superstars Uncensored (Long Island, NY) – 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

January 8, 2012: Bull Nakano retirement show (Tokyo, Japan)

March 3, 2012: Women Superstars Uncensored (Union City, NJ) – Mercedes Martinez v Jessicka Havok; Sassy Stephie & Allysin Kay v Brittney Savage & Alicia

March 10, 2012: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

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.

– Lee Burton