Back when it was still in single figures, we interviewed LuFisto for the Women of Wrestling Podcast. Among the mass of topics which were discussed, including her changing an Ontarian law which prevented men wrestling women and competing in brutal and bloody deathmatches, she pointed out one ambition which she held dear – one which has yet to be accomplished.
The last thing I would love to do is have one match with TNA. Just one. Dark match, whatever – I don’t care. I just want to experience what it is.
Considering she has been wrestling her entire adult life in numerous countries (and spilt blood in many of them – either her own or someone else’s) it sounds like a modest request. Debuting at the age of 17 in 1997, the Montreal native has broken barriers for women in her home country of Canada, competed and won championships in Combat Zone Wrestling, hanging with the guys there along the way, won deathmatch tournaments (one of which saw a piece of broken fluorescent bulb glass lodged in her back for around four years), and also proven that she’s not a one-trick pony by wrestling in SHIMMER without the benefit or distraction of weapons. Much like Mick Foley’s transformation from Cactus Jack and cellar dweller Mankind to the cuddly guy who is everyone’s happy uncle, LuFisto transitioned from a violent, partially masochistic maniac character to one which is based around Japanese anime and peppered with fun and happiness. LuFisto is a pioneer for women’s wrestling who has been trying for a number of years to get a foot in the door at either WWE or TNA, with the usual response being that she doesn’t have the “look” that they are after. However last Saturday, on the 15th anniversary of her debut, she got the opportunity she’s been after for years, when she got a chance to wrestle in a TNA ring as part of its Gut Check before the card in Oshawa, Ontario.
The former nCw Femmes Fatales International Champion wrestled Courtney Rush and both reportedly received good feedback on both her skills and their look, and received feedback from Al Snow on the latest edition of TNA Today (click here to watch). Much like Taeler Hendrix – who competed on the Gut Check on Impact Wrestling last Thursday and will find out her fate on this week’s episode – LuFisto’s outfits and current character with Pegaboo lend themselves well to TV, and if they want her to turn up the wattage and be one of the more violent Knockouts on the roster, much like what happened with Roxxi, she can do that too. At the moment, both she and Rush – who also has the potential to make an impression on Impact – are waiting to see if they will be invited to be a part of the TV version of Gut Check, though it would be a shame if neither were to advance beyond a tryout. In fact, fans of LuFisto are campaigning on Twitter to get her into the promotion, and we know how much these national companies love their social media these days…
Considering how she has said on a number of occasions over recent years that she is winding down her in-ring career – and even bowed out for many months in 2007 due to a back injury which has continued to dog her ever since – and has recently turned her hand to bodybuilding, LuFisto may not have much time left wrestling. Add that to the stroke which she suffered in spring 2010 caused by the hole in her heart, and the subsequent surgery a year later which found that the hole was four times bigger than doctors had originally diagnosed, and you can conclude that health-wise, she has been through the mill. Though she now says that she now feels healthier than ever since having the surgery, she is dealing with a love-hate relationship with wrestling. Taking some time away from the ring at the end of last year, she has enjoyed another renaissance, returning to Mexico after a number of years away to win the Lucha POP Championship, seeing her and her students Sweet Cherrie and Kalamity forge new ground in places like Women Superstars Uncensored and SHIMMER (the latter of which has seen Kalamity compete against highly-acclaimed international talent like Kana and Hailey Hatred) and there is a lot for LuFisto to be proud of, and point towards if anyone were to question her legacy. Indeed, another sign of her impending withdrawal is seeing Kalamity debut in SHIMMER last year and solidly run with the ball as the Femmes Fatales International titleholder, as it means that the future of women’s wrestling in Quebec is in safe and ambitious hands.
However, one would imagine that if she were to get the opportunity to wrestle on TNA TV as part of Gut Check – or even just be offered a position on the roster without going through that process – she would gladly take it. For someone who didn’t “look right”, it would be a massive thumb in the eye to naysayers who thought she was too short, or not model-like enough – a dumb assertion to make, if you’ve seen some of her shoots from the past.
As a final note on the subject, I’m going to interject a bit of personal thought. I’m not one who generally believes in having heroes, as I always feel that there is always the potential for them to let you down. Even after they die, there is always the chance of some piece of information being revealed that changes your whole vision of who or what they were. However, in recent years I have softened that cynical standpoint, as I now have two heroes, and LuFisto is one of them. For someone to fight on, break barriers, change laws, tirelessly give and help others up the ladder along the way, she deserves that one chance to show an international TV audience just what she is capable of, and you can bet that if it happens, she’ll make sure they know exactly what she is all about.
Congratulations on 15 years of successes, LuFi.
Athena won the Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens on the second time of asking. After making it to the final and coming up short last year, falling to Rachel Summerlyn, she went through Su Yung, Christina Von Eerie and Jessicka Havok to take the tournament, which is now a regular fixture in ACW every summer, and is one of the most popular shows it holds each year, as well as a massive seller when it is released on DVD.
Athena’s victory is another plus in a year which has already seen a lot of high points. She turned babyface in SHIMMER in March, defeating rival Mercedes Martinez as well as Sassy Stephie, falling to Nicole Matthews in a spirited outing, and then achieving a career highlight by defeating joshi Ray. As SHIMMER weekends go, it was an excellent one for “The Wrestling Goddess” – who is quickly living up to that lofty moniker.
Her Queen of Queens win was secured at the expense of Havok, who has been on a tear in the last year, and has risen to the position where defeating her is a big deal. As a result, Athena’s victory – which happened following her O-Face diving stunner from the top onto a steel chair – raises her stock and helps to elevate her to that next level where names like Martinez, Ray and Havok are residing. Make no bones about it, Athena is on the road to stardom, and would be an asset to any promotion which decides to book her – which leads me to my disappointment in the actions of Absolute Intense Wrestling last week.
AIW has launched an Indiegogo fundraiser to try and get fans to donate $1,000 to get Athena to Girls Night Out 7 on August 4, in exchange for various incentives like signed photos, DVDs and even Athena’s old ring gear, if you want to put down a quarter of the asking amount. The reasoning given is that “AIW has money wrapped in other business deals and flights from Texas to Cleveland are very expensive.” As of press time, six people had made contributions, totalling $190. The issue here is not with Athena, but with a promotion asking the fans to pay for a wrestler to make sure she appears on the show. Is not buying tickets, merchandise and DVDs not enough? This is a situation where for AIW, it is no risk, all reward – but business is all about risk, informed decisions and the possibility of reaping the benefits if you get it right. This is the equivalent of a Christmas or birthday present.
Now, I accept that AIW has had financial problems this year, and even got to the point that a statement about the future of the promotion was made before the start of Girls Night Out 6, but that encourage AIW to live within its means. Fans should not feel obligated to front the money so their favourite wrestlers are on the shows. If the promotion can’t afford to bring in the wrestler, they would have to wait until they could, rather than go cap in hand to its audience, as it looks less than professional. In addition, we did some checking, and as an example, a flight on Delta Airlines from Austin, TX to Cleveland, OH costs around $220, before tax. I’m not going to speculate on a wrestler’s fees, but if you take into account a semi-decent hotel, as well as gas costs to get to and from the airports, it’s unlikely to hit four figures.
I know that wrestlers have had their travel expenses paid by fans in the past, and I think it sets a worrying precedent. After all, if the promoter can’t front the money to get them there and pay their fee, they can’t think enough of the wrestler to pay for them to come in. Athena is worth the cash – no doubt about it, so why doesn’t AIW think so?
I once talked to a wrestler who was interested in wrestling overseas, and she said to me that she would never travel to another country unless the promoter (or promoters, if a number of them wanted to club together) were going to pay for her flight. Under no circumstances would she fly over there on her own dime and then try to secure the bookings on the basis that she was already there and they wouldn’t have to fork out for the air fares. Her argument was that if they wanted her enough, they would cover the costs and she would not be out of pocket. I know it’s a little different to this situation, but the theory is still the same – if a promoter doesn’t think you’re worth the price it would cost to get you there, they don’t want you badly enough, and if the reason you’re not booked is because they are not sure they could recoup the outlay, then they shouldn’t book you.
Stuff like using Kickstarter and Indiegogo to try and pay a wrestler’s expenses is concerning, as I ask myself – is this where wrestling is going? Fans paying to get wrestlers to the show, having to pay again for a ticket, and then again if you want to watching it again in the form of video on-demand or DVDs? It’s different for something like GLOW seeking funding for DVD distribution, as the production is done, and there is no way it could find $32,000 to pay all the bills needed to get the movie out to everyone, instead of it being shown at film festivals, where there is a limited audience. But paying for a wrestler’s flight? Sorry, as a fan, that’s not my job.
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The best of the rest
Nikki Storm has challenged Kat “Winter” Waters to a match at Pro Wrestling: EVE – Special Edition. She’s pointing out that Waters has gone soft because of her stints in WWE and TNA. Alpha Female will also defend the EVE Championship on the show against Ayesha Ray, AKA Amazon… In an interview with Slam! Wrestling, Nicole Matthews says she has her sights on the SHIMMER and Femmes Fatales International Championships – she also said Kalamity is arguably the best wrestler in Canada right now… Insane Championship Wrestling is starting to offer its shows as iPPVs on WWN. It may mean that when it launches, its woman-based off-shoot Fierce Females could end up on iPPV too… CMLL has announced a 10 woman cage match featuring Dark Angel (Sarita), Marcela, Estrellita, Goya Kong, Dalis La Caribina, Lady Apache, Amapola, Tiffany, Seductora and Princesa Blanca for this Friday. They’ve all been feuding in different pairs. Dark Angel has also referred to Lady Apache as a “grandmother” in an interview with Kaiser Sports, and wished she could bring in someone who speaks English to watch her back in their feud… Io Shirai appeared at Stardom’s press conference on Thursday – her first public appearance since being bailed following her drugs arrest last month. In a pretty brutal press conference, she apologised to the fans, to Stardom and to her family. No charges have been made as of now, though Shirai will remain suspended until she is either charged or exonerated. However, Shirai appeared after the main event at Sunday’s Stardom show and apologised to the wrestlers in the ring. Nanae Takahashi gave her a pep talk on the mic… Looks like Sofia Cortez has turned babyface, bringing the Anti Diva Army to an end – she teamed with Caylee Turner in a losing effort to Paige and Raquel Diaz on an FCW house show on Wednesday. Also on that show, Buggy Nova appeared in a dance-off and bikini contest under her real name of Natalie… AJ visited the headquarters of Marvel Comics for an interview for The Watcher series… Sara Del Rey will defend her Remix Pro Wrestling Women’s Championship against Sassy Stephie on August 5… REINA x WORLD Tag Champions Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hikaru Shida will be in Mexico between July 2-9… WWE.com posted an article on Thursday about “crazy chicks” – featuring AJ, Luna Vachon, Maxine, Mickie James, Bull Nakano, Victoria, Vickie Guerrero and Sherri Martel – but deleted it soon afterwards… Ayako Hamada will participate in Wrestling New Classic on July 15 when she takes on Syuri. Speaking of WNC, the rivalry between Makoto and Kana took another step when Makoto pinned Kana in a tag match on Friday… AW teased on Twitter that he may be looking to recruit some Divas to his stable. He currently represents the Prime Time Players… MsChif makes a rare trip to California on July 6 for a AWS show. She also faces Danny Daniels in a Chicago Street Fight in AAW on July 21… Beat Down – the film featuring Cherry Bomb and Courtney Rush – was the feature presentation at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto on Friday. The screening sold out… Tsukasa Fujimoto’s run with the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship seems to be over. She lost the belt to Tsukushi at Ice Ribbon on Saturday, who lost it to the mat outside the dojo – seriously – and then Fujimoto pinned the mat to regain it. The following day at DDT, she lost and regained the belt in a hardcore battle royal, but was defeated straight afterwards by Choun-Shiryu… Alissa Flash (Cheerleader Melissa) appeared on KABB FOX 29 in Texas to hype River City Wrestling’s July 7 show… Madison Rayne entered her first fitness bikini contest on Saturday – and won it… Jessie Belle (formerly Jessie Belle Smothers) will face Mickie James on a charity show next month… Sunday marked the five year anniversary of Nancy Benoit’s murder at the hands of her husband Chris, who also killed their son and then himself… Congratulations to Charlie and Jackie Haas, who are expecting their fourth child… Kenn Doane’s character assassination of John Cena continues. After claiming Cena ruined he and Mickie James’ relationship, he also alleges that Cena was having an affair with a married WWE Diva… Melina and Jillian Hall will be part of the World Wrestling Fan Xperience’s Champions Showcase Tour event on October 13, 2012 at the MegaSport Arena in Moscow, Russia… Sara Del Rey faces Santana Garrett this weekend in EVOLVE for a preview of SHINE… AJ won a two minute long Diva battle royal on Raw, eliminating Divas Champ Layla and Vickie Guerrero to get the victory. Kelly Kelly, who was advertised for the show, wasn’t there… Meiko Satomura claimed that ten percent of the town of Shikama showed up to the Sendai Girls show on Sunday… Maria Kanellis was upset after a fan groped her bottom at Ring Of Honor’s Border Wars on Sunday.
June 16: NWA Lone Star (Balch Springs, TX) – Barbi Hayden & Ken Carson b Jazz & Danny Matthews
June 19: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Amapola & Princesa Blanca b Dark Angel & Marcela
June 20: Florida Championship Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Paige & Raquel Diaz b Sofia Cortez & Caylee Turner
June 21: Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Tara b Taeler Hendix; Miss Tessmacher b Mickie James
June 21: Perros Del Mal (Queretaro, Mexico) – Fabi Apache & Ludark Shaitan b Sexy Lady & Taya Vokyrie
June 21: Purely Obsessed Wrestling World (Tinley Park, IL) – Allysin Kay b Melanie Cruise
June 22: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi b Maki Narumiya & Kurumi; Aki Shizuku b Sayaka Obihiro
June 22: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Lin Byron & Ultimo Dragon b Aki Shizuku & Takuya Kito; Makoto & Mio Shirai b Kana & Syuri
June 22: TNA (Buffalo, NY) – Miss Tessmacher b Gail Kim
June 22: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – La Seductora, Lady Apache & Princesa Blanca b Dark Angel, Estrellita & Goya Kong
June 22: United States Wrestling Organisation (Nashville, TN) – Santana Garrett b Nemesis
June 22: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif b Angelus Layne
June 23: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – NOZOMI b Hikari Minami; Command Bolshoi & Rabbit Mito b Cherry & Meari Naito; Leon b Maki Narumiya; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi b Miyako Matsumoto & Kurumi; Tsukushi b Tsukasa Fujimoto to win the DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship; The mat outside the Ice Ribbon School b Tsukushi to win the DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship; Tsukasa Fujimoto b The mat outside the Ice Ribbon School to win the DDT Iron Man Heavymetalweight Championship
June 23: World Association of Wrestling (Norwich, England) – Sweet Saraya & Skarlett b Destiny & Liberty
June 23: Riot City Wrestling (North Adelaide, Australia) – Miami b Michelle K Hasluck
June 23: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Gurv Sihra & Harv Sihra b Nicole Matthews & Andy The Dreadful Bird
June 23: TNA (Oshawa, ONT, Canada) – Miss Tessmacher b Gail Kim
June 23: Pro Wrestling Alliance Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) – Storm b Sara Jay
June 23: Price Of Glory Wrestling (Coldwater, MI) – Sybil Starr b Sin-D to win the POGW Women’s Championship
June 23: WWE (Springfield, IL) – Alicia Fox b Natalya
June 23: WWE (Wheeling, WV) – Layla b Beth Phoenix
June 23: CHIKARA (Strathroy, ONT, Canada ) – Sara Del Rey b Leah Von Dutch
June 24: Dramatic Dream Team (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto b Danshoku Dino, DJ Nira, Gorgeous Matsuno, Hoshitango, Akito, Gota Ihashi, Hiroshi Fukuda, Choun-Shiryu & Tanomusaku Toba; Choun-Shiryu b Tsukasa Fujimoto to win the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship
June 24: Wrestling New Classic (Iwasa, Japan) – Makoto & Kouji Doi b Lin Byron & Kouji Doi (Doi sided with both women)
June 24: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Osaka, Japan) – GAMI & Tomoka Nakagawa b Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru & Apple Miyuki; Moeka Haruhi, Yuu Yamagata & Cherry b Shuu Shibutani, Mika Iida & Misaki Ohata; Sawako Shimono b Aya Yuki; Ayumi Kurihara v Syuri went to a time limit draw.; Mio Shirai b Kana; Yumi Ohka v Tsukasa Fujimoto went to a time limit draw; Ryo Mizunami b Ayako Hamada
June 24: Sendai Girls (Shikama, Japan) – Carlos Amano b Nana Kawasa; Eiger b Rabbit Miu; Eiger b Sakura Hirota; Manami Toyota b Kagetsu; Meiko Satomura b Leon; Sendai Sachiko & DASH Chisako b Command Bolshoi & Tsubasa Kuragaki
June 24: Diana (Nanyo, Japan) – Piyota Mask b Rosa Bonita; Antonio Ko-inoki b Lovesexy Young; Mima Shimoda b Masked Sun; Jaguar Yokota & Kyoko Inoue b Kaoru Ito & Keiko Aono; Jaguar Yokota won a battle royale
June 24: REINA x WORLD (Chiba, Japan) – La Comandante & Kikutaro b Alex Lee & Puchi Tomato; Princesa Sugey b Crazy Mary Dobson; La Malcriada & Zeuxis b Arisa Nakajima & Manami Katsu
June 24: Gakepro (Nagoya, Japan) – Meari Naito v Mamoth Soldie went to a time limit draw; Akito b Miyako Matsumoto
June 24: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Miho Wakizawa b Natsumi Showzuki & Mayu Iwatani; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Yuuri Haruka; Nanae Takahashi b Eri Susa; Natsuki*Taiyo, Yoshiko, Act Yasukawa & Saki Kashima b Yuzuki Aikawa, Yoko Bito, Kairi Hojo & Yuusaku
June 24: CHIKARA (Syracuse, NY) – Sara Del Rey b Tim Donst
June 24: TNA (Hamilton, ONT, Canada) – Miss Tessmacher b Gail Kim
June 24: Chaotic Wrestling (Hudson, MA) – Mercedes KV b Barbie
June 24: WWE (Bloomington, IL) – Alicia Fox b Natalya
June 24: WWE (Huntington, WV) – Layla b Beth Phoenix
June 24: Dungeon Championship Wrestling (Monrovia, CA) – NY Knockout Nikki b Amanda
June 24: United Wrestling Federation (Georgetown, KY) – Lil Naughty b Aleida Ortiz to win the UWF Vixens Championship
June 24: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Live Oak, TX) – James Claxton & Miss Maulie defeated Ricky Romida & Angelina Rush; Athena b Su Yung; Christina Von Eerie b Veda Scott; Rachel Summerlyn b Jazz; Jessicka Havok b Lady Poison; Athena b Christina Von Eerie; Jessicka Havok b Rachel Summerlyn; Angel Blue b Portia Perez; Athena b Jessicka Havok
June 25: Sendai Girls (Sendai, Japan) – Miyako Morino b Nana Kawasa; Eiger b Sakura Hirota; Kagetsu & Leon b Rabbit Miu & Command Bolshoi; Aja Kong & Carlos Amano b Meiko Satomura & Tsubasa Kuragaki; DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko b Kyoko Inoue & Manami Toyota
June 25: WWE Raw (Fort Wayne, IN) – AJ won a battle royal
June 28: EVOLVE (Ybor City, FL) – Sara Del Rey v Santana Garrett
July 28: CWF Mid-Atlantic (Burlington, NC) – Rosita v Jazz
June 29: Melbourne City Wrestling (Melbourne, Australia) – Kellie Skater v Siren Monroe
June 30: Ring Wars Carolina ( Fayetteville , NC ) – Mia Svensson v Cherry Lane
June 30: World Wrestling Council (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) – Melina v Velvet Sky
July 1: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v Mia Yim
July 6: Premier Wrestling Experience (Charlotte, NC) – Amber O’Neal v Fantasia
July 6: Alternative Wrestling Show (Covina, CA) MsChif & Christina Von Eerie v Candice LeRae & Davina Rose
July 7: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews v Sweet Cherrie & Cherry Bomb; Kalamity v Sara Del Rey; Jessicka Havok, Allysin Kay & Sassy Stephie v Courtney Rush, TBA & TBA; Kc Spinelli v Cheerleader Melissa; Missy v Mary Lee Rose; Kira v She Nay Nay; Angie Skye v Leah Von Dutch
July 7: Newcastle Pro Wrestling (New Lambton, Australia) – Shazza McKenzie v Harley Wonderland
July 13: Squared Circle Wrestling (Watertown, NY) – Mickie James v Rachel Summerlyn
July 14: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – Alpha Female v Ayesha Ray; Blue Nikita v Jenny Sjodin; Kirsty Love v Rhia O’Reilly; Hannah & Holly Blossom v Leah & Kasey Owens
July 14: Perth Pro Wrestling (Morley, Australia) – Kellie Skater v Eliza Sway
July 15: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Ayako Hamada v Syuri
July 15: FutureShock (Stockport, England) – Holly Blossom v Charlie Quinn; Hannah Blossom v Jenny Sjodin
July 20: SHINE Wrestling (Ybor City, FL)
July 21: American Championship Wrestling (Floyd, VA) – Jessie Belle v Mickie James
July 21: AAW (Merrionette Park, IL) – MsChif v Danny Daniels
July 27: Big Time Wrestling (Newark, CA) – Davina Rose v Kc Spinelli
August 4: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Jillian Hall v Jessicka Havok
August 4: River City Wrestling (San Antonio, TX) – Rachel Summerlyn v Alissa Flash
August 4: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 7 (Cleveland, OH)
August 5: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Sara Del Rey v Sassy Stephie
August 5: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Live Oak, TX) – Rachel Summerlyn v Jaykus Plisken
August 17: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – CJ Banks v Kay Lee Ray
August 19: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Chikayo Nagashima v Hiroyo Matsumoto
August 25: American States Wrestling Alliance (Mansfield, OH) – Nevaeh v Sassy Stephie
September 16: World Association of Women’s Wrestling (Norwich, England)
October 27-28: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
November 3: nCw Femmes Fatales (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
November 10: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England)
– Lee Burton