Eight wrestlers from the US and Canada compete at the American Legion Post 80 in Binghampton, New York for Squared Circle Wrestling‘s first ever Girls’ Grand Prix tournament.

Results
1. Girls Grand Prix Quarter Final: Portia Perez pinned Cherry Bomb with a tights-assisted rollup.
2. Girls Grand Prix Quarter Final: Rachel Summerlyn defeated Veda Scott with the Best Of Both Worlds (swinging neckbreaker).
3. Girls Grand Prix Quarter Final: Sara Del Rey made Allysin Kay tap out to a Cross Armbreaker.
4. Girls Grand Prix Quarter Final: Mercedes Martinez pinned Mia Yim with a Fisherman Buster.
5. Girls Grand Prix Semi Final: Rachel Summerlyn made Portia Perez give up to the Texas Cloverleaf.
6. Jay Freddie defeated Jason Axe, Eddie Edwards and Brodie Lee to retain the 2CW Heavyweight Championship. Freddie made Axe tap out with a Sharpshooter.
7. Girls Grand Prix Semi Final: Sara Del Rey beat Mercedes Martinez with a Royal Butterfly.
8. Kevin Graham, Punisher Van Slyke & ZS3 beat Loca Vida, Steve McKenzie & Kage. Graham pinned Kage with a sunset flip.
9. Carlito pinned Sean Carr with a roll up.
10. Girls Grand Prix Final: Rachel Summerlyn defeated Sara Del Rey via submission with a Texas Cloverleaf.

Facts
• This was 2CW’s first attempt at running a show with the primary focus on the women. The promotion had held two Grand Prix tournaments for men in the past.
• The run-up to the show was somewhat of a shaky one. Half of the announced women in the tournament were unable to attend for various reasons, meaning that Serena Deeb, Courtney Rush, Nikki Roxx and Alexxis Nevaeh all missed the show – they were replaced by Scott, Yim, Kay and Martinez.
• Del Rey and Martinez squared off in a the semi-finals, rekindling their series of matches which helped put SHIMMER on the map in the promotion’s early days.
• Speaking of Martinez, this was her first high-profile show since suffering a concussion the previous November. She spoke about it during the Christmas episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast.
• Rachel Summerlyn added to the ACW American Joshi Queen of Queens honour that she won last June by taking the first ever Girls Grand Prix trophy.

Observations
• For the most part, the matches in the tournament were arranged to make sure that they would work well, especially in the quarter finals. For example, fellow Ontarians Portia Perez and Cherry Bomb were placed together, as were Del Rey and Kay. In addition, having regular opponents Perez v Summerlyn and Martinez v Del Rey in the semis and Summerlyn take on Del Rey in the final helped to make sure the awkward moments were kept to a minimum, and the entertainment was high.
• For example, Perez v Cherry was a great way to start the show, as they know each other well and have chemistry.
• However, this also meant precious few “first time ever” matches. In fact, Summerlyn v Scott was the only one. This was safe booking, which has both its advantages and disadvantages. However, a little leeway should be given, considering this is 2CW’s first attempt at an all-female tournament, so I imagine the talent had suggestions into what matches would work.
• 2CW regulars Perez and Del Rey were looked after and protected, as even though neither won the tournament, both were beaten by the eventual winner. This isn’t a complaint – after all, both would be returning to the promotion, while the others may or may not.
• All of the quarter final matches delivered, though Scott v Summerlyn was a little patchy, probably due to them not wrestling each other before. However, their near-fall-fest at the start of the match was sweet, and made sense, as they wanted to get the win quickly to stay fresh for the subsequent rounds.
• Speaking of Summerlyn, her continued weight loss is startling. She looks fantastic and is a great example of what dedication and hard work can accomplish. Good on you, Rachel.
• Allysin Kay took it to Sara Del Rey in their back and forth match to the point where you were thinking there would be an upset. That’s a testament to how well this match was wrestled.
• Mia Yim v Mercedes Martinez was, on the face of it, a stiff battle, but both protected themselves well. A god thing, considering Mercedes concussion issues at the time.
• Perez v Summerlyn was for the most part, a brawl worthy of their feud in ACW. They completed two full laps of ringside while fighting, and even got to use a few weapons like a chair and one fan’s artificial leg, which was a first. Summerlyn also came out selling her knocks from the first match, which was a lovely touch that you seldom see anymore.
• The 2CW Title match was where things started to bother me about this show. So, it’s called Girls’ Grand Prix and is meant to be a showcase for a women’s tournament, yet this title match was overbooked nonsense that went more than 25 minutes. Because of the lack of commentary on this DVD, I couldn’t tell who was face and who was heel, as all four men seemed to be cheered and booed, and I had no idea of the backstory that had led to this match. Even more infuriating was that there was a lengthy spot which featured SIXTEEN dives to the outside by pretty much every member of the men’s roster that night (including Carlito), as well as referees, ringside security and the commissioner of 2CW. It was stupid beyond everything and did its level best to steal the spotlight from the tournament, as it burnt the fans out. There were 8 women booked on this show, while the men’s matches, which are meant to be filler to let the women rest inbetween rounds, featured TWELVE wrestlers. That’s an imbalance that makes me suspect that 2CW was unsure whether a women’s show would either draw or deliver in the ring, so put all of this in as well. And for a new 2CW viewer, none of it registered, as I had no idea who most of these people were.
• Del Rey v Martinez lasted for just nine minutes. Whether that was because of the concussion or because the previous match had gone long, I couldn’t say, but I was left feeling a little deflated. For what it was, it was everything you would expect from a match between these two.
• The six-man tag and Carlito v Sean Carr were like the 2CW title match – long filler with no explained history, due to the lack of commentary. For that reason, I had a hard time investing in it. In fact, these two matches make up the bulk of the second DVD, which lasts 1 hour and 10 minutes – the Del Rey/Martinez match and Del Rey/Summerlyn final take up no more than 25 minutes on the disc.
• The only real shocker in the tournament is that Del Rey tapped out to Summerlyn’s Texas Cloverleaf, and considering the battles that these two have had in the past, Rachel’s victory isn’t even that much of an upset. In fact, in certain circles, these two are almost equals.

Match of the Night
Sara Del Rey v Allysin Kay
Wake up world, and look busy – Allysin Kay has arrived.

We discussed in the Ringbelles Roundup last month about how Kay was making her mark in wrestling in 2012, and this match solidifies that statement. The contest started out with both women trying to work on each other’s arms in a technical tug-of-war, but Kay managed to gain the advantage by muscling up Del Rey in an impressing showing to deliver a Samoan Drop and go to work on her more powerful opponent. Utilising chinlocks to wear her down Kay even had a chance to generate some great heel heat by delivering a snapmare to Sara, then backing off like she was about to deliver a kick to the spine, only to drop down for another reverse chinlock. Think Mick Foley during his anti-hardcore run in ECW and you’ve got the idea.

Things came unstuck when Del Rey managed to deliver a schoolgirl on Kay in the corner so her arm connected with the turnbuckle. From there, the former SHIMMER Champion took over, delivering a focussed attack on the elbow, then connected with a Capo Kick in the corner and executed a cross armbreaker for the tap-out. Great match that only saw Kay lose due to the cunning nature of her opponent. Thumbs up.

Overall Impressions
2CW has something with this Girls’ Grand Prix concept – however, it bottled it slightly by not letting the women shine as they could have. The men’s matches dominate the duration of this show – a third of disc 1 is the 2CW title match alone, and most of disc 2 is male action – which make the tournament feel like the filler, and not the other way around. It means the women’s matches are shorter than they could have been, with the final feeling a little flat due to it being quite brief. I accept that in theory, they should be fighting harder to get a quick win as they had both wrestled two matches beforehand, but a few more minutes would have been welcome, especially as their match was a no count out, no DQ affair.

Having said that, having Carlito on the show was a good shout, as it would pull in a few WWE fans, but temper the amount stuff that detracts from the main selling point of the show.

As for the tournament itself, it has no bad matches. Like I say, some were too short, but none of the matches were bad. Even the weakest match on the show – Summerlyn v Scott – was fine, and the awkwardness in places can be forgiven because of it being their first match against each other, and very seldom does everything go perfectly the first time.

Also, a note for 2CW – for people who don’t know who won the tournament, putting Summerlyn holding a trophy on the cover is something of a giveaway.

Is it worth $17 of your money? I’d say so, just about – if you’re only watching it for the tournament itself, you should be satisfied. Check it out for yourself by picking it up from the 2CW store. Hopefully if the promotion goes ahead with a Girls’ Grand Prix next year – and I think it should, as it is something that could become an annual event – more focus is put on the women in the tournament and less on the male members of the roster. They have many more opportunities to shine over a year, and could easily move to one side to let the women bask in the spotlight.

– Lee Burton