Ringbelles Roundup (10 April 2012)

We’re in that post-WrestleMania period where everything is supposed to kick off for the next year. Brock Lesnar is destroying John Cena and making him spit blood, the word “yes” is replacing “what” and “whoo” as the cool thing to say, and CM Punk is being drowned in alcohol. But there is nothing for the Divas Champion Beth Phoenix. In fact, there is less than nothing.

The only in-ring Divas action on regular TV (as NXT hardly counts) for WWE since WrestleMania is a sub-three minute affair between Nikki Bella and Phoenix, which Bella won after Beth was distracted by Kelly Kelly. Presumably, this would lead to a title shot for Nikki, as she had just pinned the Divas Champ. That may happen on the live SmackDown happening later (though it may be a foregone conclusion, as I’ll discuss later), or a continuation of Kelly v Phoenix from WrestleMania, even though it was Maria Menounos who got the pin on Beth. Either way, things are flimsy at best, and it hasn’t looked good for the titleholder for many months.

Barring a decent build and match against Tamina Snuka in February, Phoenix has hardly set the world alight in 2012. This may be a combination of forgettable matches, no storylines – including the fizzling of the Pin-Up Strong angle when it should have exploded – or no interest from any of the writers. Indeed, nothing has happened with the in-ring product involving WWE’s women for at least half a year, and it must be frustrating the Champion.

On May 6, Beth Phoenix will become the longest-reigning Divas Champion of all time, surpassing Maryse’s 216 days with the belt between December 22, 2008 when she defeated Michelle McCool to July 26, 2009 when she dropped it to Mickie James. That was a fairly forgettable reign, as has this, for the most part, and it’s hardly Beth’s fault. She did her best with Kelly to win the belt, but her stock had been hurt by falling to her twice before winning the title, and after that, nothing of note really happened. She and Natalya could have ploughed through the roster and have them rise up as a unit to stop her reign of torment before someone ether stopped her, or Natalya grew tired of being considered the understudy and took the title. Neither of those scenarios happened. Instead, her reign has limped along, bereft of any coherent story arc for the fans to get interested in, and it’s led to Phoenix doing some legwork of her own.

She tried picking a fight with talk show host and comedienne Chelsea Handler which saw her get buried and did her no favours, and has also had a running dialogue with Madusa over who is/was the more dominant wrestler, which would benefit Madusa more than it would Beth if the match ever took place, which is very unlikely, though not impossible. A lot of this may stem from boredom or frustration – after all, WWE barely promoted her WrestleMania match with Eve Torres against Kelly and Maria, barring a clip of their angle on Extra which set the whole thing up. We’re used to WWE not caring about the women, but they are outdoing themselves at the moment.

And you’re possibly wondering why I care. Simple. The trickle effect.

If women in WWE are treated like a viable and interesting element on the show, that rubs off elsewhere. A lot of indie promotions follow WWE’s lead – you can tell just by how many Money In The Bank derivatives there are these days – and if it looks like WWE fans are interested in women wrestling, then other local shows would be more inclined to book a match or two, and maybe even start having storylines and running programmes between a flourishing women’s roster. Fair enough, a lot of promotions already do this, but there are a lot of them out there that are strictly men only because they either don’t like women’s wrestling, see it as a piss break, don’t think women CAN wrestle, or don’t think it’s a draw. Well, it can be, if it’s booked right, and WWE can lead by example here. As the biggest, it can set the standard, if it chooses to. It won’t, but wouldn’t it be great if people got more curious about women’s wrestling and then stumbled across where Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Kharma, Paige and AJ wrestled before they were signed? It could see an increase in sales for things promotions like WSU, SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales, Pro Wrestling: EVE and WAWW, and that benefits everyone, right?

So whether you like it or not, hope for a strong Divas division. We as women’s wrestling fans will reap the rewards when our favourite promotions have more money to play with.

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The Bella Twins are being advertised for a signing session in California for May as “Brianna and Nichole, formerly The Bella Twins in WWE”. It could just be a glitch, or the Bellas may be on the way out of WWE. The Bellas have responded via their Twitter, urging us to not believe everything that’s reported.

Either way, their contract expires at the end of this month, and they are reportedly yet to sign a new one. The pair signed developmental deals in June 2007 and debuted just over a year later, with Brie debuting in a win over Victoria (now Tara), though it was technically Nikki who got the pin when they switched over under the ring. They were revealed to be twins about 2 and a half months later. Since then, they’ve turned heel, bickered, dated Carlito and Primo, fought over Daniel Bryan, and shared the Divas title, with Brie taking the belt last year.

It would be in WWE’s interests to keep hold of them. Fair enough, neither of them are ever likely to set the world on fire with their promos or wrestling ability – though Brie is better than Nikki – but they ARE pretty twins, and that makes them an excellent commodity for promotional purposes. In addition, they are bilingual, which makes them doubly valuable in Spanish-speaking markets.

I can understand why they may not want to commit to themselves to three more years of WWE as they will be 31 when it expires, and that may be a little late for them to explore other options. Getting out after being employed for close to 5 years and accomplishing everything that they could possibly accomplish while still healthy and uninjured is the best way to leave.

However, if they are going to leave, put someone over on the way out. Didn’t Kharma say she would be back for them before she bowed out last May…?

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Cherry’s age is still a secret after defeating GAMI at Union Pro on Sunday. Like with her match against Mio Shirai, she would have had to reveal her age if she had lost. Cherry’s passport is still missing though, after GAMI said she’d sent it to an Executive Director, but couldn’t remember who, so things could come out in the future. Cherry and Mio will now fight on May 4 with the stip being that if Shirai loses, she’ll have to wrestle the next match without make-up. Also on that Union Pro show, Princess Makoto and Mio Shirai fought over the nonexistent Union Sexy Championship.

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The best of the rest

Kc Spinelli defends her ECCW Women’s Championship against former champ Nicole Matthews this weekend… SHIMMER has announced its next taping dates. Volumes 49-52 will be recorded on the weekend on October 27-28. Promoter Dave Prazak also revealed that nCw Femmes Fatales final show of the year will be the following weekend on November 3… OVW Women’s Champion Taeler Hendrix threw out an open challenge on our most recent Fight Like A Girl show, saying she was willing to wrestle anyone from around the world… The documentary on GLOW will debut at the Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival on April 27… Maria Menounos went on Conan O’Brien last week, and WrestleMania was discussed – specifically, her stinkface which left her looking like she’d crapped herself. She pointed out that she took to Twitter to say it was Eve’s make-up, then used the term “cray-cray”, which is so juvenile that it’s laughable… SMASH’s replacement was announced on Thursday. Called Wrestling New Classic, it will debut on April 26 with Kana & Mio Shirai v Syuri & Makoto as one of the matches on the card… April Davids’ return to Japan has been hindered by a bout of food poisoning… Good news for the Knockouts: TNA has announced that it has signed a new contract with Spike TV. The current deal was set to expire in the second half of this year… Natalya defeated Kaitlyn on NXT last week, marking her first singles victory on TV since defeating AJ on August 5 last year (if you count NXT as a TV show even though it’s only available online in the US). After the match, she and Tyson Kidd left together. Looks like they’re reuniting… Speaking of that match, Kaitlyn was seen bleeding from the chin. She “had a little accident before the match”, according to one of her tweets… Gabriella Vanderpool’s opponent for Girls Night Out 6 on Sunday’s been changed. Instead of Seleziya Sparx, she’ll be wrestling Leva Bates… Daniel Bryan dumped AJ on SmackDown, blaming her for him losing the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds at WrestleMania… Gail Kim will defend the Knockouts Title against Velvet Sky at TNA Lockdown on Sunday… Sara Del Rey wrestles El Generico for the first time ever on April 28 in Chicago for CHIKARA… Aida Marie has been added to the Resistance Pro roster… Alex Lee (Irina Janjic) will face Kellie Skater in the first round of the PWWA Interim Championship tournament. On the same night, Jessie McKay will take on Harley Wonderland… Hailey Hatred spilled her own blood en route to defeating John Thorne at AIW on Friday… We may be looking at Mari Apache v Fabi Apache for AAA TripleMania… Mickie James is holding a web concert on Thursday… Congratulations to Cherry Bomb, who will make her third visit to Japan in May… Kelly Kelly is apparently single again… nCw Femmes Fatales International Champion Kalamity will defend the title against She Nay Nay on April 21… The JWP Tag League was won by Ran YuYu & Toshie Uematsu on Sunday. They claimed the promotion’s Tag Team Championship in the process.

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Results

April 3: WWE NXT (Orlando, FL) – Natalya b Kaitlyn

April 3: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dalis la Caribeña, Lady Apache & Marcela b La Seductora, Princesa Blanca & Tiffany

April 3: Independent Championship Wrestling (Miami, FL) – Angel Rose b Santana Garrett

April 5: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Velvet Sky b Mickie James, Winter, Tara, Angelina Love & Madison Rayne

April 6: WWE SmackDown (Orlando, FL) – Nikki Bella b Beth Phoenix

April 6: Florida Championship Wrestling (Tampa, FL) – Paige b Audrey Marie & Raquel Diaz in a 3-way

April 6: Florida Championship Wrestling (Punta Gorda, FL) -Sofia Cortez b Summer Rae & Paige in a 3-way

April 6: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Kurumi & Tsukushi b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Sayaka Obihiro; Maki Narumiya b Dorami Nagano

April 6: Union Pro (Osaka, Japan) – Apple Miyuki b Ebessan & Takaku Fuke in a 3-way

April 6: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Hailey Hatred b John Thorne

April 6: AAA (Neza, Mexico) – Fabi Apache, Lolita & Mascarita Dorada b Mari Apache, Mini Psicosis & Sexy Star

April 6: Top Rope Promotions (Fall River, MA) – Alexxis Nevaeh & Luscious Latasha b Loretta Van Wick & Sandy Starr

April 6: NWA Dynamo Pro Wrestling (Glen Carbon, IL) – Shorty Biggs & Outtkast b MsChif & Makaze; Santana Garrett b Christina Von Eerie

April 7: Premier Championship Wrestling (Providence, RI) – Barbie b Taeler Hendrix

April 7: Metro Pro Wrestling (Kansas City, KS) – Santana Garrett b Christina Von Eerie

April 7: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Aoi Kizuki v Maeri Naito went to a time limit draw; Ken Ohka b Miyako Matsumoto; Aki Shizuku & Maki Narumiya b Sayaka Obihiro & Hikaru Shida; Masahiro Takanashi Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi b Dorami Nagano, Tsukushi & Kurumi

April 7: NWA Warriors of Wrestling Federation (Union City, TN) – Rebecca Raze b Stacey O’Brien

April 7: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Hailey Hatred b Mia Yim

April 7: Professional Championship Wrestling (Rowville, Australia) – Siren Monroe b Nikita Naridian

April 7: Traditional Championship Wrestling (Fort Smith, AR) – Mickie James b Cheerleader Melissa

April 7: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Yoshiko b Yuuri Haruka ; Amigo Suzuki b Shinya Ishikawa; Miho Wakizawa b Saki Kashima; Natsuki*Taiyo & Act Yasukawa b Nanae Takahashi & Eri Susa; Yuzuki Aikawa, Yoko Bito & Kairi Hojo b Io Shirai, Mayu Iwatani & Natsumi Showzuki

April 7: New All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling (Tokyo, Japan) – Megumi Yabushita b Mika Iida; Command Bolshoi b Sakura Hirota; Command Bolshoi b Sakura Hirota; Yuu Yamagata & Kaori Yoneyama b Misaki Ohata & Sawako Shimono; Takako Inoue b Shuu Shibutani; Yumiko Hotta, GAMI & Ryo Mizunami b Manami Toyota, Kayoko Haruyama & Sachie Abe

April 7: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Leon b Nao Komatsu; Mayumi Ozaki, Yumi Ohka & Mio Shirai b Carlos Amano, Sonoko Kato & Ran Yu Yu; Aja Kong b Tomoka Nakagawa; AKINO & Ayumi Kurihara b Tsubasa Kuragaki & Hiroyo Matsumoto; Chikayo Nagashima b Toshie Uematsu

April 7: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Yumiko Hotta b Saya; Luna Mágica b Bambi; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hikaru Shida b Dorami Nagano & Miyako Matsumoto; Aki Kambayashi & Aoi Ishibashi b Zeuxis & Lluvia

April 7: Millennium Pro Wrestling (Simi Valley, CA) – NY Knockout Nikki b Lucky Pierre

April 8: IWRG (Naucalpan, Mexico) – Fabi Apache, Negro Navarro & Trauma II b Gran Apache, Mari Apache & Trauma I

April 8: Stardom (Niihama, Japan) – Yuka Yasukawa b Natsumi Showzuki; Shinya Ishikawa b Amigo Suzuki; Saki Kashima & Yoko Bito b Miha Sawa & Eri Susa; Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko b Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani; Kairi Hojo & Yuzuki Aikawa b Nanae Takahashi & Yuuri Haruka

April 8: K-DOJO (Tokyo, Japan) – Aki Kanbayashi & Apple Miyuki b Bambi & Tomoka Nakagawa

April 8: Dramatic Dream Team (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana b Danshoku Dino, Makoto Oishi, Michael Nakazawa, Hoshitango & Keita Yano

April 8: Union Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – Cherry b GAMI; Kengo Ohka & Mio Shirai b Choun-Shiryu & Princess Makoto

April 8: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Ayumi Kurihara, Kana & Io Shirai b Aya Yuki, Sawako Shimono & Yuu Yamagata; Shuu Shibutani b Sakura Hirota; Cherry & Misaki Ohata b Aya Mizunami & GAMI; Makoto b Moeka Haruhi; Ayako Hamada b Yumi Ohka

April 8: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Rabbit Mita b Manami Katsu; KAZUKI & Maury b Nana Sato & Sachie Abe; Leon b Ray; Ran YuYu & Toshie Uematsu b Hanako Nakamori & Misaki Ohata to win the JWP Tag Team Championship

April 8: Ibaraki Women’s Wrestling Festival (Ibaraki, Japan) – Hikaru Shida b Sayaka Obihiro; Aoi Ishibashi & Tsukushi b Dorami Nagano & Kurumi; Jaguar Yokota b Eiger; Dump Matsumoto b Sakura Hirota; Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono b Kyoko Inoue & Sareee; Kyoko Inoue won a battle royal

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Upcoming

April 10: Premier Promotions (Bournemouth, England) – Erin Angel v Amazon

April 13: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukushi v Aki Shizuku

April 14: Jersey All Pro Wrestling (Rahway, NJ) – Mia Yim v Kimber Lee

April 14: CHIKARA (Rahway, NJ) – Sara Del Rey v Kodama; Saturyne v Kobald

April 14: WrestleReunion (Toronto, ONT, Canada) – LuFisto v Kalamity

April 14: Squared Circle Wrestling (Rome, NY) – Cherry Bomb & Pepper Parks v Muscle Marcus & Nikki Jett

April 14: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) – Kc Spinelli v Nicole Matthews

April 14: Women Superstars Uncensored (Dunelleny, NJ) – Jessicka Havok v Marti Belle; Sassy Stephie & Allysin Kay v Brittney Savage & Alicia

April 14: All Action Wrestling (Perth, Australia) – Imogen Jane v Storm

April 14: River City Wrestling (San Antonio, TX) – Alissa Flash v AJ Summers

April 14: Union of Independent Professional Wrestlers (Toronto, ONT, Canada) – Cherry Bomb v Seleziya Sparx

April 15: Union Pro (Nagoya, Japan) – Cherry & Hiroshi Fukuda v Cao Zhang & Princess Makoto

April 15: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Serenity v Lady Poison

April 15: TNA Lockdown (Nashville, TN) – Gail Kim v Velvet Sky

April 15: Dungeon Championship Wrestling (Monrovia, CA) – Allison Danger v Athena

April 15: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 6 (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Mia Yim; Jenny Rose v Hailey Hatred; Sara Del Rey v Veda Scott; Annie Social v Taeler Hendrix; Sassy Stephie v Cherry Bomb; Melanie Cruise v Taylor Made; Miss Heidi v KC; Crazy Mary Dobson v Venus; Gabriella Vanderpool v Leva Bates; Kimber Lee v Jennifer Blake

April 15: Ice Ribbon ‘Teens 5′ (Saitama, Japan) – Riho v Kurumi; Tsukushi v Dorami Nagano; Hikari Minami & Manami Katsu v Aoi Ishibashi & Rabbit Mito

April 20: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Sayaka Obihiro

April 21: Purely Obsessed Wrestling World (Antioch, IL) – Melanie Cruise v Taylor Made

April 21: Northern Championship Wrestling (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity v She Nay Nay

April 21: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif v Danny Daniels

April 21: Pro Wrestling Women’s Alliance (Woy Woy, Australia) – Alex Lee v Kellie Skater; Jessie McKay v Harley Wonderland

April 26: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana & Mio Shirai v Makoto & Syuri

April 27: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi v Neko Nitta

April 28: Women Superstars Uncensored J-Cup (Deer Park, NY) – Jessicka Havok v Mercedes Martinez; April Hunter v Nikki Syxx; Alicia v Lexxus; Athena v Christina Von Eerie; Brittney Savage v Ezavel Suena

April 28: New Focus Wrestling (Evansville, IN) – Aleida Ortiz & Epiphany v Lady Vendetta & Serenity

April 28: CHIKARA (Chicago, IL) – Sara Del Rey v El Generico

April 28: International Pro Wrestling UK/Nu Wrestling Evolution (London, England) – Nikki Storm & Shanna v Hannah & Holly Blossom

April 29: Apex Pro (Huntington Park, CA) – El Jefe & Terra Calaway v Tyler Bateman & Raze

May 4: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Rahway, NJ) – Maria Kanellis & Brittney Savage v Jillian Hall & Reby Sky

May 4: Union Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – Cherry v Mio Shirai

May 5: Ice Ribbon ‘Golden Ribbon’ (Tokyo, Japan)

May 12: Solent Wrestling Federation (Gosport, England) – Amazon v Erin Angel

May 12: IWA Unlimited (Onley, IL) – Sassy Stephie v Nikki St John

May 13: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Princesa Blanca v Lady Apache; Goya Kong & Dalis v Zeuxis & Mima Shimoda

May 19: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Reby Sky v Jessicka Havok

May 20: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Rachel Summerlyn v Angel Blue; Athena & Davey Vega v Su Yung & Matthew Palmer

May 26: United States Wrestling Alliance (Mansfield, OH) – Nevaeh v Sassy Stephie

June 2: NWA Hammerlock (Tonbridge, England) – Jenny Sjodin v Rhia O’Reilly

June 16: Women Superstars Uncensored “Uncensored Rumble V” (Deer Park, NY)

July 7: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews v Sweet Cherrie & TBA; Kalamity v Sara Del Rey

July 14: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Alpha Female v Nikki Storm

- Lee Burton