Nikki Bella won the WWE Divas Championship on Raw last night. There are a couple of issues that stem from this, so let’s deal with the Bella situation first.
First off, this title change has been on the cards for weeks, so it wasn’t a kneejerk reaction to the “twist” in the match. However, according to previous reports, the Bella Twins’ contract expires on Monday, and unless they have signed a contract extension – which we don’t believe has happened – they are set to go. Putting the Divas strap on Nikki is a curious choice, as it has to be a short reign – don’t be fooled, she won’t be taking the belt away with her like CM Punk did with the WWE Championship last June after winning it at Money in the Bank – so there are only three shows where she could conceivably drop it – SmackDown, Extreme Rules on Sunday, or the Raw the following day. Realistically, option 2 is the most likely, meaning a six day reign, and there is a prime candidate for winning the title, probably in some sort of open challenge…
I really hope that in one year, when I come back, you two will still be here.
That’s the parting words Kharma gave to the Bella Twins last May before taking a sabbatical following the announcement of her pregnancy. As has been reported, things tragically didn’t work out with that, but it seems that she is ready to get back onto the scene after being interviewed for a TV news piece about GLOW while she was at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas last week (more on GLOW later). Besides, if she wants to make good on her threat to destroy the Bellas, she has a window of a mere few days to get the job done, and the cherry on top would be taking the Divas Championship in the process.
Let’s face it – the Divas roster is tragically light at the moment when it comes to talent, and those with the skills have been crippled by crap booking and a lack of quality opponents. Natalya is wrestling on NXT, being cannon fodder for AJ on SmackDown and is confined to the shadows since the fizzling out of Pin-Up Strong, while the other half of that tandem has seen her 205 day reign came to a muted end after having a series of valleys with very few peaks, leading to a run which is hardly going to be spoken about in fables in the future. Giving Kharma the title and feeding her a bunch of women to steamroll to re-establish herself – essentially making her the female version of Brock Lesnar – and the title will help for when she is challenged by someone like Natalya or Phoenix – the latter of whom probably will be the one to topple the monster, though it would be wise to keep her out of the way while that happens… which brings us to the other thread of the match last night.
Beth appeared to twist her ankle as she jumped from the apron to the floor to go after Nikki during their Lumberjill Match, which caused enough of a distraction for Bella to get the pin and claim the title. Storyline-wise, it makes sense for Phoenix to have some sort of excuse for why she lost, as there is no credible way that Nikki Bella should beat Beth Phoenix in a straight-up contest – even Nikki’s victory over the then-champ on SmackDown three weeks ago only came about after Phoenix was distracted by Kelly Kelly at ringside. As a result, having a screwy ending is logical, though now questions are being raised about whether the ankle injury is real or not.
We believe it is not.
Sure, WWE is saying that Phoenix was hurt, with the claim that she “affected her anterior talofibular ligament, which is the most common injured ankle ligament on an inversion injury”, and went for an x-ray and MRI, with Beth herself tweeted that she was hobbling through the airport, but there is still no solid report of her actually going to hospital. In fact, if her ankle was thoroughly screwed, she would have been in hospital for a good few hours – hell, even if she wasn’t, the process of checking it out would still take some time. I have watched back the jump from the apron and from my viewpoint, the injury looks too perfect, if that makes sense. After getting back up, she wasn’t screaming in pain like at the end of the match, and she shoved over Brie Bella without a problem, even posting off the left leg. Sure, back in the ring, the ref asked if she wanted to continue and she said that she could, but if this was a real injury, you would have seen that dreaded X sign from the official, and more than likely, the match would have fallen to pieces as they collectively work out how to get to the end. On top of that, if she was legitimately hurt, the camera wouldn’t have been capturing everything so closely while she was being asked if she was OK, or after the match when she was frantically trying to get her boot off.
As a basis of comparison, I went back to Phoenix’s match from May 14, 2010 when she defended the Women’s Championship against both Michelle McCool and Layla in a handicap match in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, in a match which she entered while suffering a torn ACL in her left leg. She competed for two minutes on a leg that Phoenix had no place standing on, let alone wrestle on it, though gutted it out, kept it professional in the ring and dealt with it after going back through the curtain. Yes, she sold her leg after the match, though not much of it was selling, but she wasn’t screaming in pain, and I daresay a torn ACL is just as serious as her reported current ailment. I would be more inclined to say this is an elaborate – and well executed – work that has sucked in many people. If this is a real injury, then that has to be one of the most coincidental injuries that has ever existed. However, as I mentioned before, if that was a real injury, the match would have fallen to bits, but it didn’t, and that’s probably the biggest piece of evidence to support the theory that it’s not legitimate.
GLOW hit the headlines here last week for all the wrong reasons. A revival of the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling as part of a show on Monday in Las Vegas, boasting GLOW Girls from the past as well as current female talent including Candice LaRae, Sara Del Rey, Taeler Hendrix and Buggy Nova was being purported to be tapings for a fifth season of the TV show, more than 20 years after the fourth series wrapped in the US. As it turned out, not only was a show a disorganised damp squib, but the talent on the show was given the runaround by the promoter, left stranded in an unfamiliar city with no accommodation, transport or pay.
The show itself started more than an hour last, saw a mere 14 fans paying to get in and featured four matches, three of which featured no winners – instead being double disqualifications and time limit draws – and the main event battle royal was booked by one of the GLOW Girls, who took it upon herself to put it together. Needless to say, it was a total shambles. If that had been where the story ended, it would be a shame, mildly annoying, but nothing with any kind of lasting damage. However, the story went much deeper as the promoter Eric Rolphe Nyenhuis allegedly tried to duck out of the show before the conclusion without financially settling up with everyone, leaving them without any idea where they were staying, how to get to whatever hotel they were supposedly booked in, as well as transportation to and from the airport or sorting out flights for some talent. We at Ringbelles are aware of some members of the roster who were short changed and left scared in a strange city with nowhere to sleep. You can read more about what went down by clicking here and here.
Since then, many original GLOW talent have come out on their Facebook pages to say that they do not support the new GLOW or Nyenhuis, and have distanced themselves from the supposed revival, though we strongly doubt that the footage of last week’s show will emerge anywhere – and if it does, it will look highly embarrassing. Hopefully, the attempt at reviving GLOW will be consigned to history, and be dismissed as another “zombie promotion” – that is, one that died and then experienced an attempt to bring it back to life, with minimal success.
However, this week also sees the premiere of the documentary on the original product, entitled GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, which is being screened at the Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival on Friday and Saturday. The production features interviews with around twenty of the original talent, as well as from trainers like Mondo Guerrero. It is expected to be a hell of a watch, so if you have the chance to catch it, do so. If you can’t, it is likely to be released on DVD. It is also likely to be a great example of letting things stay in the past.
You can hear more about the documentary, the origins of GLOW and much more in our most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Angelina “Little Egypt” Altishin.
Quite a few big stories came out of JWP’s Korukuen Hall on Sunday.
First off, the title changes. Sawako Shimono’s JWP Jr and Princess of Pro Wrestling Championship reigns, which stretch back to last July, came to an end in the second match of the card at the hands of teenager Rabbit Mito, who only debuted on August 7 last year at JWP Pure Slam 2011 in a short exhibition contest against Nana Kawasa. Mito scored the win with La Rabistral to claim both belts. In fairness, Shimono was outgrowing the titles anyway, wrestling not just in JWP but also in Pro Wrestling WAVE, Sendai Girls, OZ Academy and also in CHIKARA as part of JoshiMania last December. For Mito, the win is the biggest of her short career, and should help to springboard her to a new level, much like it did with Shimono’s reign.
Meanwhile in the main event, Kayoko Haruyama regained the JWP Openweight Championship, defeating Tsubasa Kurugaki – who kicked off her second reign as champion on December 23 last year by beating Hailey Hatred – with a diving guillotine drop. Haruyama’s previous reign was the second longest in the title’s 20 year history, holding it for a whopping 719 days between April 29, 2008 and April 18, 2010. If her previous run with the belt is any indicator, the 32-year old, 14 year veteran could hold onto the Openweight crown for some time.
The other big story to come out of the show pertained to a pair of stipulations in the match between Emi Sakura and Kaori Yoneyama. It went like this: if Sakura won, Yoneyama would join BKK Pro, her new promotion that she is constructing in Thailand on the heels of her leaving Ice Ribbon in January; however, if Yoneyama won, Sakura would be forced to become a part of JWP’s roster. Both had been exchanging comments on Twitter, and you would think that this would have been a titanic battle, considering either would have to change their career plans if they lost.
You would be incorrect.
The entire contest lasted a mere 31 seconds, with Sakura getting the pinfall with La Magistral to ensure that Yoneyama would be garnering another stamp in her passport. The combination of Yoneyama and Sakura in Thailand should help to raise BKK Pro’s profile a bit more, as things are in a very embryonic stage at the moment. Much like at the start of Ice Ribbon, BKK Pro has no ring, or even a venue yet, as matches have been contested at hotel pools and on the beach, which has made for some entertaining videos. Hopefully having two joshis there will help to inspire Thai girls to want to train with Sakura, and start to form a proper roster. It is unlikely that Yoneyama will see out her career in Thailand, but her presence can only be a good thing for BKK Pro’s future.
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The best of the rest
AJ was disqualified in her match against Natalya on SmackDown. Natalya was busted open hardway during the contest, and the ring had to be cleared up with geeks with towels… Brooke Tessmacher returned to Impact last week. She hasn’t been on TNA TV since February… Barely news, but Brodus Clay’s dancers Cameron and Naomi have been added to the Divas roster… ODB joined Colt Cabana on his Art of Wrestling Podcast, where she said a number of Knockouts are two-faced… Cherry was taken to hospital in Osaka on Friday after being unable to get up a match in Pro Wrestling WAVE. She was complaining of pain in her chest and neck but a CT scan found nothing major. She’ll be examined again in three weeks – she is due to wrestle on May 4… Former TNA and WWE/ECW talent Trinity has taken up New York roller derby team Strong Island Derby Revolution… Christy Hemme woke up on Saturday morning to find burglars in her house. She wasn’t hurt… Kellie Skater and Jessie McKay advanced into the semi-finals of the PWWA Interim Title tournament on Saturday, beating Alex Lee (Irena Janjic) and Harley Wonderland respectively. Incidentally, Skater’s match was her first on home soil in 2012. The final two opening round matches in the PWWA Interim Championship tournament take place on May 5 – New Zealanders and tag team partners Evie & Megan-Kate will square off in one of the matches, while rivals Eliza Sway and Shazza McKenzie will fight in the other… Allysin Kay’s first defence of her AIW Women’s Championship will be on May 12 against Jennifer Blake… Former WWE rivals (and they’re hardly friendly in real life either) Mickie James and Melina will wrestle each other on a World Wrestling Council show in Puerto Rico on June 30. It will be the first time that they have faced each other in four years. When asked last year about whether she would like to see Melina join TNA, Mickie skilfully avoided the question… Shanna and Holly Rocamora both returned to the ring in Nottingham, England on Sunday at Southside Wrestling Entertainment – Shanna had suffered an arm injury, while Holly had taken a hiatus following personal issues. Shanna got the win… Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi will defend the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship against Aoi Kizuki & Sayaka Obihiro at Ice Ribbon’s Golden Ribbon show at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall on May 5… Yumiko Hotta and La Commandante put their hair on the line at REINA 33 on May 13 in a Falls Count Anywhere match… Mia Yim returns to Japan for REINA in May. She will be joined by CZW graduate and relative rookie Kimber Lee. I would assume Yim recommended her to REINA management… 2CW Girls Grand Prix winner Rachel Summerlyn will face Mickie James on July 13 in Watertown, NY… Cute gimmick during the mixed tag team match on Lucha Libre USA’s weekend show in Houston. Melina’s partner Shane Helms was “knocked out” in the early portion of their match against Chavo Guerrero & Jillian Hall, leaving Melina to fight on alone. Helms later returned in the Hurricane gear to even things up… Eve Torres is now the Executive Administrator to GM John Laurinaitis. Not sure how this helps her, but there you go.
April 13: Lucha Libre Feminil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Dark Fantasy b Rockera ; La Justiciera b Princesa Maya; Angelica, La Bandida, Lady Maravilla, Hija de Karonte, Lady Jaguar, Lady Puma b Xtreme Girl
April 16: CMLL (Puebla, Mexico) – Marcela b Princesa Sugheit
April 17: WWE NXT (London, England) – Maxine b Kaitlyn
April 18: WWE (Sheffield, England) – Alicia Fox b Natalya
April 18: WWE (Milan, Italy) – Nikki & Brie Bella b Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix
April 18: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – GAMI & Makoto b Moeka Haruhi & Yuu Yamagata; Shuu Shibutani & Mika Iida b Kana & Mio Shirai; Yumi Ohka & Ayako Hamada b Ryo Mizunami & Sawako Shimono; Toshie Uematsu v Misaki Ohata went to a time limit draw; Tomoka Nakagawa b Toshie Uematsu; Toshie Uematsu v Kyoko Kimura went to a time limit draw; Cherry b Toshie Uematsu; Ayumi Kurihara b Toshie Uematsu
April 19: WWE SuperStars (London, England) – Eve Torres b Kelly Kelly
April 19: WWE (Toulouse, France) – Nikki & Brie Bella b Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix
April 19: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Mickie James, Tara, Brooke Tessmacher & Velvet Sky b Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Sarita & Rosita
April 20: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dalis la Caribeña, Dark Angel & Marcela b Mima Shimoda, Princesa Sugheit & Tiffany
April 20: WWE (Newcastle, England) – Alicia Fox b Natalya
April 20: WWE (Paris, France) – Nikki & Brie Bella b Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix
April 20: WWE SmackDown (London, England) – Natalya b AJ
April 20: Nordisch Fight Club (Hamburg, Germany) – Erin Angel b Jennifer Sofie
April 20: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – April Davids & Kurumi b Dorami Nagano & Tsukushi; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Sayaka Obihiro
April 20: World Women’s Pro Wrestling Diana (Tokyo, Japan) – Jaguar Yokota b Leon & Piyota Mask in a 3-way; Sareee b Nana Sato; Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue b Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono
April 20: Lucha Libre USA (Houston, TX) – Melina & Shane Helms b Jillian Hall & Chavo Guerrero
April 20: TNA (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – Gail Kim b Velvet Sky
April 21: Pro Wrestling Women’s Alliance (Woy Woy, Australia) – Kellie Skater b Alex Lee; Jessie McKay b Harley Wonderland
April 21: CHIKARA (Philadelphia, PA) – Chuck Taylor b Saturyne
April 21: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Sammy Hall b Raven Lake
April 21: WWE (Glasgow, Scotland) – Alicia Fox b Natalya
April 21: WWE (Antwerp, Belgium) – Nikki & Brie Bella b Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix
April 21: Melbourne City Wrestling (Thornbury, Australia) – Shazza McKenzie b Eliza Sway
April 21: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Ken Ohaka b Meari Naito; Ribbon Takanashi b Hikari Minami; Miyako Matsumoto, Tsukushi & Dorami Nagano b Aoi Kizuki, Sayaka Obihiro & Neko Nitta; Tsukasa Fujimoto b April Davids; Hikaru Shida b Kurumi
April 21: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – Danny Daniels b MsChif
April 21: Kaientai Dojo (Chiba, Japan) – Captain Daigoro b Bambi, Hiro Tonai, Ricky Fuji, Ryuichi Sekine, Saburo Inematsu, Shiori Asahi & Yuji Hino in an elimination match
April 21: Capital City Championship Combat (Ottawa, ONT, Canada) – Twiggy b Jody D’Milo
April 21: Northern Championship Wrestling (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity b She Nay Nay
April 22: Dramatic Dream Team (Yokohama, Japan) – Kana & Mio Shirai b Hikaru Sato & Michael Nakazawa
April 22: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Mayu Iwatani b Saki Kashima; Nanae Takahashi, Miho Wakizawa & Yuuri Haruka b Natsuki*Taiyo, Yoshiko & Act Yasukawa; Io Shirai, Arisa Hoshiki & Natsumi Showzuki b Yuzuki Aikawa, Yoko Bito & Kairi Hojo; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Eri Susa; Nanae Takahashi, Miho Wakizawa & Yuuri Haruka b Io Shirai, Arisa Hoshiki & Natsumi Showzuki
April 22: Independent Wrestling Federation (Moscow, Russia) – Marilyn Klein b Alexandra Vavilova and Katya Pronina and Kolibri & Nataly in a 5-way
April 22: REINA 31 (Tokyo, Japan) – Hiro Tonai b Ayumu Honda; Saya v Basara went to a time limit draw; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto b La Malcriada & Bambi; Aja Kong & Zeuxis b Yumiko Hotta & Aoi Ishibashi
April 22: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Nana Kawasa & Aoi Yagami b Dorami Nagano & Sareee; Rabbit Mito b Sawako Shimono to win the JWP Jr. & POP Championship; Hanako Nakamori & Misaki Ohata b Sachie Abe & Arisa Nakajima; Mayumi Ozaki, Command Bolshoi, Kyoko Kimura & Manami Katsu b Carlos Amano, Keiko Aono, KAZUKI & Maury; Emi Sakura b Kaori Yoneyama; Toshie Uematsu & Ran Yu-Yu b Leon & Ray; Kayoko Haruyama b Tsubasa Kuragaki to with the JWP Openweight Championship
April 22: FutureShock (Stockport, England) – Hannah Blossom b The Artiste Formerly Known as Becky James
April 22: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (Nottingham, England) – Shanna b Holly Rocamora
April 23: WWE Raw (Detroit, MI) – Nikki Bella b Beth Phoenix to win the WWE Divas Championship
April 25: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – April Davids & Hikaru Shida v Kana & Aki Shizuku
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 27: Lucha Libre Feminil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Gabby Gilbert v Angelica v Lady Maravilla
April 28: Women Superstars Uncensored J-Cup (Deer Park, NY) – Jessicka Havok v Mercedes Martinez; Annie Social 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: Australian Wrestling Alliance (Carina, Australia) – Minx v Mighty Mel
April 29: Apex Pro (Huntington Park, CA) – El Jefe & Terra Calaway v Tyler Bateman & Raze
May 3: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Mayu Iwatani, Eri Susa & Saki Kashima v Kairi Hojo, Natsumi Showzuki & Yuuri Haruka; Arisa Hoshiki v Act Yasukawa; Io Shirai v X; Miho Wakizawa & X v Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko; Nanae Takahashi v Hiroyo Matsumoto
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) – Hikaru Shida v Kana; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi v Sayaka Obihiro & Aoi Kizuki
May 5: Pro Wrestling Alliance (Casula, Australia) – Megan-Kate v Evie; Eliza Sway v Shazza McKenzie
May 12: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Jennifer Blake
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) – Basara & Saya v Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto; Aki Kanbayashi v Kimberley; Mima Shimoda, Ray & X v Aja Kong, Zeuxis & Dalys; Princesa Blanca v Lady Apache; Aoi Ishibashi & Mia Yim v Kyoko Inoue & Sareee; Yumiko Hotta v La Commandante
May 19: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Reby Sky v Jessicka Havok
May 19: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Velvet Sky v Sassy Stephie
May 20: International Wrestling Cartel (Newell, WV) – Sassy Stephie v Marti Belle
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)
June 24: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Live Oak, TX)
June 30: World Wrestling Council (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) – Melina v Mickie James
July 1: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Mia Yim
July 7: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews v Sweet Cherrie & TBA; Kalamity v Sara Del Rey
July 13: Squared Circle Wrestling (Watertown, NY) – Mickie James v Rachel Summerlyn
July 14: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Alpha Female v Nikki Storm
– Lee Burton