Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, how about a look at two of the romances running in WWE that involve two of the biggest storylines going on at the moment?
On Raw this week, the relationship between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres ground to a halt when Eve decided to kiss John Cena after he helped to rescue her from the clutches of Kane. Unfortunately, a crushed Ryder saw the whole thing, though Torres claimed it was a heat of the moment thing, then called things off with him, hoping that they can remain friends.
On the plus side, this storyline is the best opportunity that Torres has every had to show some personality in her near five year WWE tenure, even though it has caused her to experience derision from the audience for knowingly or unknowingly screwing over one of the favourite wrestlers in the promotion right now – someone who has captured the hearts and imagination of fans by standing up to his bosses with his YouTube Z! True Long Island Story, getting over in spite of his booking (or lack of it) and then being sucked into one of the most asinine and ridiculous storylines in years, that being Cena v Kane, by being the whipping boy who is the real life equivalent of Kenny from South Park being murdered on every show. By screwing over the guy who has the sympathy of fans, Eve is positioned as a heel… for now.
What could happen is Zack will turn heel, seek revenge against Cena and Torres in the future, and make fans who relate to Ryder – unlucky in love but dying for the same sort of swagger and popularity that he displays – feel that nice guys really do finish last. Essentially, WWE has positioned Eve to be the woman who makes many of the male viewers being bad for being themselves, and the reason why guys sometimes become irrational when it comes to issues with the heart.
Still, at least she’s in a storyline near the top of the card and has the chance to become a more three-dimensional character, instead of WWE just expecting her to get cheers because she’s pretty, which clearly isn’t enough.
Over on SmackDown, AJ is now the most valuable woman on that roster. After proclaiming her love to World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan – without the feeling being reciprocal – and being flattened by the Big Show a few weeks ago, she is an integral cog in the current storyline over the title. While viewers can see that Bryan clearly cares more for the title than for his girlfriend, he is almost putting her in harm’s way to cause his larger opponent to lose focus so Bryan can sneak win to retain the belt.
AJ meanwhile, is apparently oblivious to how she is being misled and manipulated, blinded by her love. You would expect at some point that she will realise how she is being screwed around, give Bryan a taste of his own medicine and possibly costing him the title. By doing so, she has the potential to become the most popular woman in the promotion and could skyrocket her to a much more favourable position when she returns to wrestling again. However, it could all be a potential ruse that AJ is in on so Bryan can remain champion. If you have had a chance to catch some of AJ’s heel schtick in Florida Championship Wrestling, you will be aware that she can also be an effective yet unlikely antagonist.
Although she is being made to look the fool at the moment, AJ’s situation has a potentially happier ending than that of Eve, and could be more of a positive story for women to stand up for themselves, not be played for fools and be strong independent women. On the flip side, it could just be another situation where women in WWE are made out to be untrustworthy bitches who aren’t worth your time. Hopefully, with a woman at the helm of the booking team in the form of Stephanie McMahon, we won’t get outcomes which could help to reinforce misogynistic views, but this is WWE, and happy endings are few and far between.
Lots of joshi tidbits, so let’s jump into it…
SMASH will be dissolved after the show at Korukuen Hall on March 14, entitled SMASH FINAL. It was announced last week by promoter, former WWE and ECW star Yoshihiro Tajiri that operations would shut down due to issues within management, though all scheduled shows are to go ahead as planned.
Though none of the SMASH roster seem to be too concerned about the situation – what appears likely is that Tajiri will launch a new show with new backers who share more of his ideology. However, another rumour going round is that Tajiri will be part of the new cruiserweight show which is planned for the upcoming WWE Network. If the former is the case, then Kana’s SMASH Divas title reign will continue (should she remain champion by then, as she defends against Syuri on Sunday), and the other women who are booked by the promotion will carry on as normal. Should SMASH 2.0 not materialise, it leaves a few question marks for a number of the joshis.
For wrestlers like Kana and Tomoka Nakagawa, there will be no real problem. Even though SMASH is a home promotion for Kana, she is also booked in WAVE and should find no problem getting bookings elsewhere. Likewise, Nakagawa spreads herself around. For someone like Syuri, it may be a little more difficult as she primarily wrestlers for SMASH. She could prospectively get bookings in other promotions, but she may choose to focus on kickboxing and shootboxing, where she is currently 3-0.
The intriguing one could be Makoto, who left Ice Ribbon last year to become part of SMASH to further her quest to be employed by WWE. In the short term, she may go freelance or return to Ice Ribbon, where even though she left somewhat abruptly, she doesn’t seem to be on bad terms with the promotion, and even made an appearance during Seina’s retirement ceremony at RibbonMania on Christmas Day. Long term, having Tajiri inside WWE again could see her name being bandied about a little bit could see her gain the attention of the company that she is desperate to work for. In a roundabout way, SMASH closing may be the best thing to ever happen to her.
A month after bidding farewell to the promotion she set up, Emi Sakura has announced her post-Ice Ribbon plans. She announced on Sunday’s JWP card in Tokyo that she will be setting up a women’s wrestling promotion in Thailand. Given the working title of Bangkok Girls Pro Wrestling, it sounds like it’s going to be another Ice Ribbon-esque venture, training young women to wrestle and holding dojo shows alongside main cards, though is completely unconnected to Ice Ribbon itself.
Sakura has had dealings with Thailand in the past year, as Ice Ribbon started broadcasting its dojo shows there on the Sports Plus channel and recording promos for commercials. With her name already in the minds of wrestling fans in the country, it makes sense to set up a promotion there. It is probably a good idea to not set up a new joshi promotion in Japan too, as there are so many of them at the moment, and fans’ money only stretches so far.
As for the “personal reasons” why she left Ice Ribbon in the first place, they are still unknown.
Cherry and Mio Shirai had an amusing angle at UNION on Friday. Claiming she had a big announcement to make, Cherry told the audience that it was that she was moving her blog (well, she is “forever 18” after all, and that’s big news for a teenager). Mio Shirai came out, saying that she expected that the announcement was going to be that Cherry was going to finally reveal her age – a very well kept secret. She then challenged Cherry to a match at the March 18 show, where if Shirai won, Cherry would have to tell everyone how old she really is. This could be really big – by my guess, Cherry could be as old as mid to late 30s…
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The best of the rest
Congratulations to Rhia O’Reilly. The 26-year old makes her Canadian debut on March 10 at nCw Femmes Fatales VIII when she takes on She Nay Nay… Ayumi Kurihara will return to Mexico for CMLL on February 29… The WWE Divas were not part of the Raw tour of Abu Dhabi due to the strict dress codes of women there… Maria Kanellis has been added to the Ring Of Honor roster page… Jessie McKay, Allison Danger & Leva Bates have been added to the SHIMMER lineup for March… Good news from Allysin Kay – her broken nose needs no surgery, and should heal up just fine… Kalamity will face LuFisto at the Toronto WrestleReunion show in April… Manami Toyota’s partner from the Ice Ribbon roster to challenge Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi for the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship in March will be decided in a tournament. It will be one of Kurumi, Miyako Matsumoto, Neko Nitta or Maki Narumiya… Dark Angel (Sarita) will pull double duty on March 4. As well as wrestling on the Io Shirai 5th anniversary show in Tokyo, she will also wrestle for SMASH… The jury’s out on Taeler Hendrix’s reign as OVW Women’s Champion. She hasn’t been featured on TV this year, and her matches are usually desperately short squash matches which aren’t really getting her over… Mickie James wasn’t keen on Hulk Hogan endorsing Garrett Bischoff on Impact Wrestling two weeks ago. She tweeted: “Ummm…. Did my ears just deceive me… Or did the Immortal Hulk Hogan just call Baby Bischoff the future of this business? WTH?! FML!” It’s all leading to a Mickie heel turn on TV… The Santana Garrett/Christina Von Eerie feud is expanding. Von Eerie will team with her fiance Jesse Neal against Garrett & Chasyn Rance in a mixed tag match in NWA Ring Warriors on March 29. Tammy Lynn Sytch will be the special ref… No idea what the deal is with Sayaka Obihiro in Ice Ribbon at the moment. She’s losing a lot and can’t get a run going… The remaining quarter final matches to crown the first Riot City Wrestling Women’s Champion take place this Saturday in North Adelaide, Australia with Miami v Vixsin and Eliza Sway v Harley Wonderland. KC Cassidy & Savannah Summers are already into the semi finals… ICEx60 Champ Hikaru Shida miassed Saturday’s show with a back injury… There’s a rumour floating round that Beth Phoenix is being considered for the Wonder Woman movie role… Mia Yim and Greg Excellent will compete in a TLC match in CZW on March 10. Yim is currently 0-2 against her male opponent… One half of the WSU Tag Team Champions is taking an immediate and indefinite leave from wrestling due to “personal demons and issues”. Amber’s departure means that partner Lexxus will be able to select a new partner… There is tension between Madison Rayne and Gail Kim. Rayne walked off during Kim’s match at Against All Odds against Tara, though Kim retained the title anyway. It mirrors the teased tensions between Beth Phoenix and Natalya in WWE… Congratulations to Courtney Rush, who will make her first visit to Japan for REINA on February 25. It explains why she was unable to attend the 2CW Girls Grand Prix. She will wrestle Aki Kanbayashi for the TLW World International Title in Tokyo… Earl Hebner’s daughter Katie is training to be a wrestler. She was featured in TNA in 2008 as Gail Kim’s “sister” Katie Kim… Shanna injury update: her hyper-extended elbow is recovering well, but her dislocated shoulder remains immobilised… Seems like WWE is doing more to acknowledge that Tamina is Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s daughter. On last night’s Raw, she was announced as “Tamina Snuka” instead of just Tamina. She will wrestle Beth Phoenix for the Divas Title on Sunday at Elimination Chamber, and it’s being put over as an intriguing match by Jerry Lawler, much like what I was calling for in last week’s Roundup… The quarter final matches for Saturday’s Pro Wrestling: EVE’s Queen of the Ring tournament have been finalised. You can see the matches in the Upcoming section below.
February 6: CMLL (Puebla, Mexico) – Dalis la Caribeña, Dark Angel & Lady Apache b La Comandante, Princesa Blanca & Princesa Sugheit
February 7: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dalis la Caribeña, Goya Kong & Marcela b La Seductora, Tiffany & Zeuxis
February 7: Florida Underground Wrestling (Largo, FL) – Jessie Belle Smothers b Mercedes
February 8: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Taeler Hendrix, CJ Lane & Paredyse b Bobbie Bardot, Epiphany Jones, & Bull Bronson
February 8: WWE NXT (Tulsa, OK) – Maxine b Kaitlyn
February 8: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Maki Narumiya b Meari Naito; Ken Ohka & Cherry b Marines Mask II & Sayaka Obihiro; Kayoko Haruyama b Hamuko Hoshi; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Miyako Matsumoto b Hikaru Shida & Dorami Nagano
February 10: WWE SmackDown (Tulsa, OK) – Beth Phoenix b Alicia Fox
February 10: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Estrellita & Goya Kong b Amapola, Princesa Blanca & Princesa Sugheit
February 10: UNION (Tokyo, Japan) – Sexxxy Eddy b Mio Shirai
February 10: NWA Houston (Cypress, TX) – Jen-Alise b Jazz
February 10: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Kurumi b Sayaka Obihiro; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi b Hamuko Hoshi & Dorami Nagano
February 10: World League Wrestling (Richmond, MO) – Stacy O’Brien b Miss Natural
February 11: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi b Nana Kawasa; Tsukushi b Sayaka Obihiro; Hikari Minami b Maki Narumiya; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Miyako Matsumoto b Kurumi, Mochi Miyagi & Dorami Nagano in a handicap match
February 11: Newcastle Pro Wrestling (New Lambton, Australia) – Harley Wonderland b Shazza McKenzie
February 11: Empire Wrestling Federation (Lake Elsinore, CA) – Terra Calaway b Yyan Nakano
February 11: Stardom (Nagano, Japan) – Kellie Skater b Yuuri Haruka; Miho Sawa b Kaori Housako; Natuski Taiyo & Yuka Yasukawa b Eri Susa & Hiroyo Matsumoto; Nanae Takahashi b Natsumi Showzuki; Saki Kashima, Yoko Bito & Yuzuki Aikawa b Arisa Hoshiki, Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani
February 11: Combat Zone Wrestling (Voorhees, NJ) – Alex Colon b Kimber Lee
February 12: United Wrestling Federation (Georgetown, KY) – Epiphany b Aleida Ortiz
February 12: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Shuu Shibutani b Miu Rabbito; GAMI v Sakura Hirota went to a time limit draw; Aya Yuki & Sawako Shimono b Moeka Huruhi & Yuu Yamagata; Misaki Ohata & Hanako Nakamori b Mika Iida & Ayumi Kurihara; Yumi Ohka & Ayako Hamada b Meiko Satomura & Kagetsu; Toshie Uematsu b Ryu Mizunami
February 12: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko b Manami Katsu & Moon Mizuki; Hanako Nakamori & Misaki Ohata b Mochi Miyagi & Nana Sato; KAZUKI, Sachie Abe & Morely b Command Bolshoi, Leon & Rabbit Mita; Natsuki Taiyo b Kaori Yoneyama; Ran YuYu & Toshie Uematsu b Kayoko Haruyama & Tsubasa Kurugaki
February 12: Alpha Omega Wrestling (Palm Desert, CA) – Terra Calaway b Lucky O’Shea
February 12: WWE (Bakersfield, CA) – Alicia Fox b Natalya
February 12: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Estrellita & Marcela b Amapola & Dalis la Caribeña
February 12: UNION (Osaka, Japan) – Cherry b Maki Narumiya
February 12: TNA Against All Odds (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim b Tara
February 12: DTU v IWL (Tlalnepantla, Mexico) – Alison Evans v Baby Mama v Lily Fighter went to a no contest; Keira & Lily Fighter b Alison Evans & Baby Mama
February 13: CMLL (Puebla, Mexico) – Dalis la Caribeña, Lady Apache & Marcela b Amapola, La Seductora & Princesa Blanca
February 13: WWE Raw (San Diego, CA) – Tamina Snuka b Brie Bella
February 15: Premier Promotions (Camberley, England) – Amazon v Erin Angel
February 17: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Tomoki Yagami
February 17: Resistance Pro (Chicago, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Sassy Stephie
February 18: Riot City Wrestling (North Adelaide, Australia) – Eliza Sway v Harley Wonderland; Miami v Vixsin
February 18: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Jenny Sjodin v Alpha Female; Nikki Storm v Hannah Blossom; Rhia O’Reilly v April Davids; Holly Blossom v Sara-Marie Taylor; Carmel Jacob v Kay Lee Ray
February 18: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Maki Narumiya v Neko Nitta; Kurumi v Miyako Matsumoto
February 18: NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling (Johnson City, TN) – Tasha Simone v Misty James
February 19: Lucha POP (Tlalnepantla, Mexico) – LuFisto v Vaquerita
February 19: WWE Elimination Chamber (Milwaukee, WI) – Beth Phoenix v Tamina Snuka
February 19: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Live Oak, TX) – Angel Blue v Mia Yim; Davey Vega & Athena v Darin Childs & Angel Blue v Gregory James & Rachel Summerlyn v ACH & Mia Yim
February 19: SMASH 25 (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana v Syuri; Makoto, Lin Bairon & Aki Shizuku v Nanae Takahashi, Tomoka Nakagawa & Kagatsu
February 19: WrestleForce (Harlow, England) – Skarlett v Cassandro El Exotico
February 19: Tri City Wrestling (Kitchener, ONT, Canada) – Cherry Bomb v Courtney Rush
February 22: Joshi4Hope (Tokyo, Japan) – Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara v Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata
February 24: AAW (Merrionette Park, IL) – Mena Libra v MsChif
February 24: Squared Circle Wrestling “Girls Grand Prix” (Binghamton, NY) – Rachel Summerlyn v Veda Scott; Portia Perez v Cherry Bomb; Allysin Kay v Sara Del Rey; Mercedes Martinez v Mia Yim
February 25: CHIKARA (Reading, PA) – Sara Del Rey v Archibald Peck
February 25: Family Wrestling Entertainment (New York City, NY) – Tara v Maria Kanellis; Winter v Brooke Tessmacher
February 25: REINA 27 (Tokyo, Japan) – Aki Kanbayashi v Courtney Rush
February 25: St Louis Anarchy (Granite City, IL) – Serenity v Rachel Summerlyn
February 26: CHIKARA (Long Island, NY) – Sara Del Rey v Saturyne
March 3: Women Superstars Uncensored (Deer Park, NY) – Mercedes Martinez v Jessicka Havok; Sassy Stephie & Allysin Kay v Brittney Savage & Alicia; Annie Social v April Hunter; Leva Bates v Athena; Becky Bayless v Jennifer Cruz; Rick Cataldo & Ezavel Suena v Jessie “Bonesaw” Brooks & Jenny Rose; Rain v Lexxus
March 3: East Coast Wrestling Association (Newark, DE) – Shazza McKenzie v Kylie Pierce
March 3: Extreme World Wrestling (Hastings, England) – Skarlett v Exodus
March 3: Millennium Pro Wrestling (Simi Valley, CA) – NY Knockout Nikki v Amanda
March 3: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (St Neots, England) – Nikki Storm v Erin Angel
March 4: Io Shirai 5th Anniversary (Tokyo, Japan) – Io Shirai & Dark Angel v Nanae Takahashi & Miho Wakizawa
March 9: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Rahway, NJ) – Brittney Savage v Reby Sky v Spyra Andover
March 10: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity v Mercedes Martinez; LuFisto v Jazz; Hailey Hatred v Cheerleader Melissa; Kellie Skater v Kira; Jessie McKay v Angie Skye; Rhia O’Reilly v She Nay Nay
March 10: Combat Zone Wrestling (Philadelphia, PA) – Mia Yim v Greg Excellent
March 10: IndyGurlz (Lebanon, PA) – Shazza McKenzie v Simply D’Vyne
March 17: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Jessicka Havok b Angel Dust
March 17-18: SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
March 18: UNION (Tokyo, Japan) – Cherry v Mio Shirai
March 20: Ice Ribbon March 2012 (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi v Manami Toyota & TBA; Hamuko Hoshi & Kayoko Haruyama v Mochi Miyagi & Nana Kawasa
March 23: Northeast Wrestling (Poughkeepsie, NY) – Melina v Velvet Sky
March 24: Northeast Wrestling (Waterbury, CT) – Melina v Velvet Sky
March 24: World Association of Women’s Wrestling (Norwich, England)
March 24: IndyGurlz (Boonton, NJ) – Simply D’Vyne v Veda Scott
March 29: NWA Ring Warriors (Ft Lauderdale, FL) – Jesse Neal & Christina Von Eerie v Chasyn Rance & Santana Garrett
March 30: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Nanae Takahashi v Meiko Satomura
March 30: Pro Wrestling Australia (Camden, Australia) – Mikey Broderick & Jessie McKay v Bishop Sommers & Harley Wonderland
March 31: Adrenaline Unleashed (Las Vegas, NV) – Ny Knockout Nikki v Michelle Morgan; Allison Danger v Davina Rose
March 31: Rock n’ Roll Wrestling (Melbourne, Australia) – KC Cassidy v Nikita Naridian
April 4: Purely Obsessed Wrestling World (Onley, IL) – Sassy Stephie v Nikki St John
April 6: Dynamo Pro Wrestling (Glen Carbon, IL) – Santana Garrett v Christina Von Eerie
April 7: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Hailey Hatred v Mia Yim
April 7: Traditional Championship Wrestling (Fort Smith, AR) – Mickie James v Cheerleader Melissa v Malia Hosaka
April 14: WrestleReunion (Toronto, ONT, Canada) – LuFisto v Kalamity
April 21: East Coast Wrestling Association (Sewell, NJ) – Veda Scott v Kimber Lee
April 29: Apex Pro (Huntington Park, CA) – El Jefe & Terra Calaway v Tyler Bateman & Raze
May 5: Ice Ribbon ‘Golden Ribbon’ (Tokyo, Japan)
– Lee Burton