Former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion Michelle McCool must have talked to her official fansite MichelleMcCool.net for about a kabillion years for it to produce as many different releases about things she has said about her time in WWE. There are masses of quotes about Beth Phoenix, Maria Kanellis, Layla, Sharmell Huffman, Vickie Guerrero, Tara, Natalya, Torrie Wilson, Mickie James and more. Seriously, the interview must have gone on for about three hours to sufficiently cover all these topics. Quite why she has decided to do this now after spending more than 18 months out of the wrestling spotlight is a discussion in itself, as it is doubtful that she is doing to come back, and she has positive things to say about everyone, which doesn’t lead to that many juicy tidbits. However, it is her comments about her experiences with Melina which we found the most interesting.
The 32-year old discussed how they collectively got in trouble following their contest at Night Of Champions 2009, where McCool successfully defended the Women’s Championship, with one particular move on the outside of the ring causing the problem:
It was that day – I was like: “could you not tell anybody, but do you think we could do a DDT on the barricade?” And [Melina] was like: “Ohhhh! Yeah!!!” — Not even thinking twice about it. We kind of hid it all day, even though we did ask our agent for approval, I think it was Fit — which is no secret that he was always fighting for the girls. We just made sure that we can stand up and get our balance, but we never actually did the bump. She was the one who was going to take the huge bump, and there was no doubt, no hesitation, that she would make it look ridiculous — and it did! [During the match] She finally takes the bump, it looks sick [pictured above], pops off — up to that point, that was the best match I’ve ever had. We had the pay-per-view, we had time, I was really proud of that match.
The next day, one of the agents came up to us and was like: “I can’t believe y’all did that! You have no idea! We were all backstage, scared to death!” We were like: “…What? We know how to safely bump. We wouldn’t do anything that would put either one of us at risk. We’re totally fine! If the men can do it, why can’t we do it?” He said: “It looked too good! You can’t go out there throwing punches like that, or taking bumps like that — that looks better than some of the guys! You can’t do that!”
Finally, I remember Chris Jericho, who was by the ring, hears all of this going on. He said: “Look, if the guys can’t follow what the girls are doing, then the guys need to step it up! I thought it was awesome. They did great. And it’s not their problem that it looked that great!” I was like… “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” Because out of respect, we can’t say anything, and here comes one of the boys — Jericho, of all people, sticking up for us!
This isn’t the first time that we have heard of the women’s ability being throttled. Earlier this year, we posted a Retro featuring a match between Aja Kong and Chaparita Asari from late 1995 which was so good that they were disciplined for it. Similarly, there have been reports during the height of the TNA Knockouts a few years ago that the men were upset at how over the women were and how their matches were overshadowing their efforts.
Doesn’t that sound totally ridiculous to you?
It just seems so counterproductive to hold people back if they have ability to do more. If you have the talent to do something better than everybody else, why would your bosses not celebrate that instead of trying to temper it? I understand you have our big draws who sit atop the cards, but why wouldn’t you push the ones who are working hard and seeing positive results – after all, a bit of healthy competition among colleagues is a good thing, stops people from getting complacent or lazy and makes sure everyone is on their toes. I’m not saying that wrestlers should start trying things that are risky or unsafe, because a person’s health is paramount above everything, but if you become the slickest wrestler with a top personality, why would you not encourage that?
During our Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Alex Greenfield, he mentioned about how after Trish Stratus and Mickie James’ match at WrestleMania 22, they came through the curtain and said “follow that”, which turned out to be Undertaker v Mark Henry in a Casket Match. As it turned out, it couldn’t, and that had the potential to ruffle a few feathers. But I say that’s a good thing, as it forces people to get better, and to cut the dead weight that can’t improve beyond a certain level.
At the moment, WWE’s Divas rarely wrestle a singles match on TV that’s longer than 7 or 8 minutes, though ones on house shows are known to go a bit longer. For that reason, it may be that their scope for growth is restricted, because they only get taught to wrestle up to that time frame, instead of having the knowledge to improvise, read the crowd, change the direction of the match and make it more interactive. Divas matches are criticised for looking very choreographed and mechanical – and part of that may be down to them being educated to follow a series of commands, rather than it being organic and doing what feels right.
An interesting comparison comes from the WWF’s house show’s in the mid-1980s where the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs would be the second match on a card, but their match was so good that nothing could follow it. Instead of telling them that they should rein themselves in, they were put in the main events as a recognition for how well they have done. Now, we’re not saying that WWE should put the Divas in the last match if they’re the best wrestlers on the show – as they’re at a point now where they’re clearly not, and mediocrity is considered an accomplishment on the main Diva roster at the moment – but they should be praised for when they are doing well instead of punished. Could it be that in this male-dominated world of wrestling that the idea that the women can outshine the men is a tad too controversial? And if that is the case, why aren’t women on the inside with power like Stephanie McMahon-Levesque and Dixie Carter doing more to change that?
There was good news and bad news coming out of Ice Ribbon’s annual year-end blow-off event known as Ribbonmania – with the most recent edition taking place at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall yesterday. On the positive side, the promotion crowned new singles and tag team champions, and each titleholder is an Ice Ribbon regular.
In September, Mio Shirai won the ICEx60 Championship from Hikaru Shida on a show that was deemed a disaster by Tsukasa Fujimoto, as “outsiders” Shirai and Hailey Hatred won titles. However, as time progressed, the Ice Ribbon roster regained itself, rallied back to the point that one of the promotion’s hotter prospects holds the top title after less than two years of ring time.
Maki Narumiya debuted in March 2011, losing more often than she won, but also forming the N3 stable with fellow recent debutantes Meari Naito and Neko Nitta. However, with much of the focus being on names like Hikari Minami, Fujimoto, Tsukushi and Hikaru Shida, the 27-year old seemed to be somewhat lost in the shuffle. Her profile started to rise in December when she teamed with Shida to win the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship from Emi Sakura and Tsukushi, and also saw herself make it onto the card for Bull Nakano’s retirement show in early January 2012 where she was beaten in a 4-way Guillotine Legdrop match – she was the one who was pinned by Ryo Mizunami.
Her tag title reign lasted until February when she and Shida were beaten by Fujimoto and Tsukushi at Yokohama Ribbon, but the ball was already rolling. In June, Narumiya received her first ICEx60 title shot against then-Champion and former tag partner Shida, but was unable to wrest the title away. This was followed by her naming her JWP debut as part of a working relationship between they and Ice Ribbon, which culminated with the JRibbon tag tournament, which saw a JWP and Ice Ribbon roster member team up. The whole shebang was won by Narumiya and Hanako Nakamori, who beat Leon & Nitta, Fujimoto & Rabbit Miu and Shida & Arisa Nakajima to take the tournament. As well as JWP, Narumiya also debuted with Union, WAVE and DDT over the year, but back in her home promotion, things were starting to come off the rails.
A seventeen match run of losses ended at the end of November with her beating Miyako Matsumoto, then beating Shida and Tsukushi to earn the right to challenge Shirai for the ICEx60 title which eluded her earlier in the year, and got the job done last night.
Having Narumiya as champion is a fine way for Ice Ribbon to end the year, as she is a home-grown talent who has worked hard to improve over 2012 – rewarded with two title reigns and a tournament victory for her troubles. However, despite efforts to swell the roster – with six women making their official debuts at Ribbonmania – things are quite thin at Ice Ribbon, and another one bowed out on the show.
After she and Kyoko Kimura dropped the International Ribbon and REINA x World Tag Team Championships to Aoi Kizuki and Tsukushi, Sayaka Obihiro was arranged to leave the promotion, after announcing her departure around a month ago. However, she threw a curveball when instead of just leaving wrestling, she followed in the footsteps of fellow former colleague Riho and jumped to Gatoh Move to be with former Ice Ribbon founder Emi Sakura.
When I heard the news, I can’t say I was surprised. These days, anyone who says they’re leaving Ice Ribbon is likely to be flip-flopping over to Gatoh Move. Sakura is a big player in joshi puro, so it makes sense to go with her gravitational pull rather than resist it. She has links to JWP, has her own fledgling promotion and has good relationships in a lot of places. However, it must be creating a lot of suspicion and mistrust among the Ice Ribbon roster, as many of the women who wrestle there – including current ICEx60 Champ Narumiya – were trained by Sakura and likely have a lot of affection and loyalty to her. Hikari Minami backed away from wrestling for studying earlier this year, but promised she will return to the ring, but one would have to wonder if she will return to Ice Ribbon or join Sakura in Gatoh Move. Unless Fujimoto – who seems to be the head trainer at Ice Ribbon now – can season some new stars quickly, the roster could thin even further, which puts the promotion in an even more compromised position.
Elsewhere on the site, we’ve been looking back at our 2012, which includes a look at the WOW Podcasts, other audio like Fight Like A Girl and My Name Is, as well as our personal highlights (click here for Stew’s, and here for mine). On top of that, we’ve posted the SHINE matches from Florida Underground Wrestling last November and have also reviewed Melbourne City Wrestling’s Fight Like A Girl DVD.
Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to tell us about upcoming bookings? Are you a fan who went to a show and saw a match, and would like to tell others about it – what you liked, what you didn’t and would like to encourage others to check it out for themselves? Send us an email!
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The best of the rest
AJ Lee worked the main event at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday as a referee in the cage match between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler. She tweeted about how she took a moment to look up in the stands where she used to sit and watch wrestling when she was younger… Eve Torres “challenged” Mae Young to a match on Raw last night, but when Mae didn’t appear (she was backstage but didn’t come out), she declared herself the winner via forfeit. Kaitlyn then game to the ring and the two had a brawl… AJ Lee and Dolph Zigger had manure dumped on them courtesy of John Cena at the conclusion of the show, because that’s what Cena said that’s both of them were full of… WWE.com picked Kaitlyn and AJ Lee as their Divas to watch in 2013. Not surprising, as there’s really nobody else on the main roster to go with… Layla and Natalya were the only two Divas to wrestle more than 100 matches in 2012. Natalya had 117 (33 wins, 84 losses), while Layla had 101 (74-27). Also of note – Rosa Mendes wrestled 9 matches, losing every single one.
Velvet Sky’s truck spun off the road in the blizzards as she drove to Poughkeepsie, NY on Saturday for a TNA house show. She ended up in a ditch and needed to be towed out. She wasn’t injured in the incident but missed the event. It meant there was no Knockouts match on the show. Sky did wrestle on the following night’s event in Albany, where she took on Tara.
Portia Perez will be in Japan this month to wrestle for Stardom – it’s her second trip to Japan, with the first taking place last year for REINA. She will team with the Global Green Gangstas of Tomoka Nakagawa and Kellie Skater for a trios match on January 14 against Mayu Iwatani, Io Shirai & Natsumi Showzuki… In a preview of their collaborative event on February 9, Combat Zone Wrestling will hold a Women Superstars Uncensored match on its Ascension show on January 12 between Bonesaw Jessie Brooks and Ezavel Suena… A card game featuring the roster of SHIMMER is in the works, featuring 16 wrestlers. It should be released in March… On the subject of SHIMMER, Mia Yim has been added to the volume 53 show in New Jersey… Ivelisse Velez will make her MMA debut for Fight Card Entertainment on March 2 in Cicero, IL… Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 8 will take place on March 1… MsChif defeated Danny Daniels in AAW in a Fans Bring The Weapons match… Santana Garrett has been added to the upcoming return of the Women Of Wrestling promotion on January 19… Mark Madden posted an email sent to him by Maria Kanellis where she insisted that her fiancé Mike Bennett is the “saviour of wrestling”. He pointed out (in a rather crude fashion) that she probably isn’t the most objective commentator on the subject because of their relationship.
Syuri became the first ever Wrestling New Classic Women’s Champion on Thursday when she defeated Nagisa Nozaki to win the tournament. She was also the final SMASH Divas Champion, so I guess there’s some continuity there… Hamuko Hoshi successfully defended the IW19 Championship against Sayaka Obihiro as part of a bumper 19 Pro episode last Friday.
ICW Fierce Females has revealed there will be two more matches before the next card on May 4 to determine the other challengers to become the first Scottish Women’s Champion. They will take place on February 17, with one of them being Bete Noire v Viper. April Davids has already made it to the final… Italy’s Monica Passeri will debut for Pro Wrestling: EVE this year. No word as to on which show though. Passeri reportedly received a WWE tryout last year… Speaking of EVE, it’s asking for its fans to suggest what matches they would like to see featuring the current roster. It also announced that Nikki Storm was the fans’ choice for Wrestler of the Year, and Carmel Jacob will receive an EVE Title shot this year… Viper will challenge Carbon for the EmbryoniX Championship on January 19… WAWW has officially changed its name to Bellatrix: Female Warriors. Find out the reasons for the change in our latest Fight Like A Girl with Destiny.
Australia & New Zealand
Madison Eagles will team with Shazza McKenzie on January 19 in Casula, Australia against Jessie McKay and PWWA Interim Champion Evie. That suggests she’ll be returning as a heel, picking up where she left off before her knee injury… Speaking of Evie, she was named the Breakout Wrestler of 2012 by Aussie women’s wrestling site NHB Girls, while Kellie Skater was named the Wrestler of the Year.
December 24: Kaientai Dojo (Tokyo, Japan) – Yuki Sato b Bambi & Kotaro Nasu in a 3-way
December 26: WWE (Detroit, MI) – Eve Torres b Kaitlyn
December 26: WWE (Chicago, IL) – Layla & Alicia Fox b Aksana & Tamina Snuka
December 27: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – Takuya Kito, Makoto & Akebono b Lin Byron, Hailey Hatred & Josh O’Brien; Syuri b Nagisa Nozaki to win the WNC Women’s Championship
December 27: WWE (New York City, NY) – Eve Torres b Kaitlyn
December 27: WWE (Green Bay, WI) – Layla & Alicia Fox b Aksana & Tamina Snuka
December 27: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim b Miss Tessmacher
December 28: WWE (Minneapolis, MN) – Layla & Alicia Fox b Aksana & Tamina Snuka
December 28: Top Rope Promotions (Fall River, MA) – Kasey Ray b Alexxis Nevaeh & Luscious Latasha
December 28: Gatoh Move (Itabashi, Japan) – Kaori Yoneyama b Kay Lee Ray
December 28: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dalis la Caribeña, Estrellita & Luna Mágica b Amapola, La Comandante & Princesa Sugheit
December 28: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Fumiko Sato v Tsukasa Fujimoto went to a time limit draw; Sai b Kyuuri & Miyazaki in a 3-way; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi b Risa Sera & Akiko Hotta; Hamuko Hoshi b Sayaka Obihiro
December 29: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif b Danny Daniels
December 29: Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Tadahori b Dump Matsumoto; Kaoru Ito & Megumi Yabushita b Keiko Aono & Mask De Sun; Yumiko Hotta b Piyota Mask; Manami Toyota & Mima Shimoda b Kyoko Inoue & Sareee
December 29: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Risa Sera v Rutsuko Yamaguchi ended in a time limit draw; Fumiko Sato b Risa Sera; Hailey Hatred b Akiko Hotta, Cherry & Makoto Oishi in a 4-way; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Sayaka Obihiro; Kyoko Kimura, Maki Narumiya & Tsukushi v Hamuko Hoshi, Hikaru Shida & Kurumi ended in a time limit draw
December 29: Wrestling Is Fun! (Allentown, PA) – Saturyne b Jaka
December 30: GakePro (Saitama, Japan) – Miyako Matsumoto v Sayaka Obihiro went to a draw
December 30: Gatoh Move (Itabashi, Japan) – Kaori Yoneyama b Riho & Masa Takanashi; Emi Sakura b Kay Lee Ray
December 30: Great Canadian Wrestling (Oshawa, ONT, Canada) – Jewells Malone & Shawn Spears b Steve Brown & Tyler Tirva
December 30: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Luna Mágica, Marcela & Silueta b Amapola, La Seductora & Tiffany
December 30: TNA (Albany, NY) – Velvet Sky b Tara
December 30: WWE (Richmond, VA) – Natalya b Alicia Fox
December 30: WWE (Raleigh, NC) – Eve Torres b Kaitlyn
December 31: New Year’s Eve Wrestling (Tokyo, Japan) – Mad Dog & Vixen b Cherry & Tetsuya Endo
December 31: Ice Ribbon Ribbonmania 2012 (Tokyo, Japan) – Risa Sera, Hiroko Terada & 235 beat Ayano Takeda, Eri Wakamatsu & Rutsuko Yamaguchi; Shuji Ishikawa b Kuzira Oshima; Neko Nitta & Makoto Oishi b Meari Naito & Cherry, Hailey Hatred & Kurumi and Aki Shizuku & Shoko Hotta in a 4-way; Hamuko Hoshi v Yumiko Hotta went to a time limit draw; Kazunami Murakami b Miyako Matsumoto; Aoi Kizuki & Tsukushi b Kyoko Kimura & Sayaka Obihiro in to win the International Ribbon & REINA World Tag Team Championships; Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo b Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto; Maki Narumiya b Mio Shirai to win the ICEx60 Championship
January 1: Zero-1 (Tokyo, Japan) – Meiko Satomura b Yuhi
January 5: Ring Of Honor (Baltimore, MD) – Athena v MsChif
January 5: Crossfire Entertainment (Nashville, TN) – Cheerleader Melissa v Jillian Hall; Jessicka Havok v Reby Sky
January 5: Top Rope Wrestling (Waynesboro, VA) – Katarina Leigh v Angelina Love
January 11: SHINE 6 (Ybor City, FL) – Christina Von Eerie & MsChif v Allysin Kay & Taylor Made; Leva Bates v Kimberly; Jessicka Havok v Reby Sky; Amazing Kong v Mercedes Martinez
January 12: Acclaim Pro Wrestling (Greely, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush & Jody D’Milo v Vanessa Kraven & Addy Starr
January 12: Pro Wrestling Alliance (Toukley, Australia) – Evie v Shazza McKenzie
January 14: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Kellie Skater, Tomoka Nakagawa & Portia Perez v Mayu Iwatani, Io Shirai & Natsumi Showzuki
January 18: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – Carmel Jacob v Mad Man Manson
January 19: Pro Wrestling Alliance (Casula, Australia) – Evie & Jessie McKay v Madison Eagles & Shazza McKenzie
January 19: Rad Pro Wrestling (South Shields, England) – Frankie Sloan & Nikki Storm v Rubix Roach & Kirsty Love; Jainus Centurion & Kay Lee Ray v Sam Adonis & Rhia O’Reilly; Carbon v Viper; Pollyanna v Freya Frenzy
January 20: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Rachel Summelyn v Darin Childs
January 26: Zero 1 USA (Mattoon, IL) – Serenity v Angelus Layne
February 2: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Preston, England)
February 2: Destination 1 Wrestling (Charlestown, IN) – Kimber Lee v Crazy Mary Dobson
February 8: F.I.G.H.T. (Shepherdstown, WV) – Kimber Lee v Jessie Kaye
February 9: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ) – LuFisto v Mercedes Martinez; Annie Social & Kimber Lee v Allysin Kay & Sassy Stephie
February 9: Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling (Metuchen, NJ) – Sumie Sakai v Katarina Leigh; Sienna Duvall v Missy Sampson; Amazing Kong v Amy Lee; Shelly Martinez v Amber O’Neal; Niki Nitro v Silvie Silver; Tracy Taylor v La Rosa Negra; Santana Garrett v Mia Yim
February 16: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Brooklyn, NY) – Maria Kanellis v Angelina Love; Gail Kim v Katerina Leigh; Ivelisse Velez v Reby Sky
February 17: Insane Championship Wrestling (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Bete Noire v Viper
March 1: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 8 (Cleveland, OH)
March 30: nCw Femmes Fatales XI (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity v Mercedes Martinez; Cheerleader Melissa v Jessicka Havok; LuFisto v Sweet Saraya
April 6: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Secaucus, NJ) – Sweet Saraya v Cheerleader Melissa; Athena v Ayako Hamada
April 13-14: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
April 27: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Sassy Stephie v Christina Von Eerie
May 4: ICW: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
June 23: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Austin, TX)
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE, Youji Kawauchi, Hiroki Sawada & TNA