We love our podcasts here at Ringbelles. In fact, the entire site you’re looking at right now was initially founded as a new home for our flagship “Women of Wrestling Podcast”, and everything that has been built around it (from the regular website content to you, our ever expanding audience) has been constructed around the basic belief that our podcast is our core business. When we launched our first WOW Podcast over three years ago, we were of the opinion that nobody else was giving the women of the wrestling business a soapbox to tell their stories. Now, standing on the brink of our 50th edition, we can look back at the seventeen podcasts we’ve produced in 2012 (and the addition of three “Rush Hour” Podcasts), and be content that we’re delivering on our promise with quality interviews of the women in the business.
We have new listeners join us all the time, so for their benefit (as well as a nostalgic kick for our regulars), it’s time to look back at our shows in 2012, and maybe pick out a few shows you either get to listen to for the first time (or again). (more…)
I’ve had a few days to knock up my thoughts on NCW: Femmes Fatales X from this past Saturday at the Centre St-Barthelemy in Montreal. A few days that have given me a little distance from the show, both mentally and physically (I’m now sitting back in my home over 3,200 miles away). I’m working from memory that has already been through the jet-lag wringer, so apologies if I’m a little vague with anything I struggle to remember clearly.
This was the first time that the NCW crew had decided to run a SHIMMER-style double taping, and I think there were some definite positives and definite negatives to the decision. On a positive note, I enjoyed the shows and got to see over 20 matches featuring talents from around the world – but on the other hand, the show felt different to the one I attended in March, and I wonder how much of that was due to the raised ticket prices possibly turning off local casual fans. Yes, there were lots of travelling fans (a good few having been at SHIMMER the weekend before), but the atmosphere was certainly lacking during the first taping especially, and the audience seemed far harder to rouse. Had FFX ended after the first taping, I think I’d have been disappointed, but luckily the second half of the show redeemed the day, both by producing better matches and by the crowd finally loosening up and reacting. I’m pretty certain that this double taping was an experiment rather than the new status quo at FF, and I’m sure that’s something that management will be looking at going into 2013. (more…)
Just over a week ago, we reported that Skyler Moon‘s absence from WWE‘s NXT live event shows and on the company’s website was because of her being part of sponsored rehab. Following that, some websites erroneously reported that the rehab was down to drug issues, which the former Buggy Nova took to her Twitter to clarify:
For all the rumors and speculations, I do not have a drug problem, I have an eating disorder. Thank you all for the love and support!! I will b back stronger then ever :) soon!!!!! I love you guys thanks for having my back. I’m not ashamed of my disease, i’m blessed to want to make myself better.
The series of tweets has since been deleted for reasons unknown, but it prompted speculation about whether going into rehab would affect her standing in WWE. I have a few thoughts on that – but first, it may be worth providing some insight on what Skyler is dealing with, and it’s just as serious as any addiction. (more…)
Already 3 years since the start of that crazy project that became Femmes Fatales. We worked hard to give fans a product they would appreciate and I think it’s easy to see the progression of the company from show to show as we tried to correct what needed to be corrected and work on what could be “upgraded”.
As of now, September 5th 2012, I can say that I’m happy of where we are. Our main goal was to offer our Quebec wrestlers a platform to be known elsewhere and that is for sure a huge success. Fans around the World now know who are Kalamity, Angie Skye, Sweet Cherrie, Pink Flash Kira, etc.
We won’t stop to work and we know we are not perfect, but keep getting better is our goal.
In the first 3 years of Femmes Fatales, 60 different wrestlers from around the globe stepped foot in a Femmes Fatales ring. That’s already a big number, that won’t stop to grow!
We had some amazing moments, some amazing matches, some difficult moments, some emotional moments…
Here is my Top 5 of my most memorable moments in the first 3 years of our existence. (more…)
We are coming up to the time that the winner of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 is revealed – though the magazine itself will not be released until mid to late November. Since its launch in 2008, the second week of September is when the winner’s name comes out, so I’ve been having a think about who PWI could possibly select as the woman who will sit atop the heap.
Now bear in mind that PWI still bases the criteria for the winner in the way any legitimate sport could be judged, so victories, title wins and lengths of reigns come way above match quality or column inches, so whoever you may think would win may not necessarily be the same as who PWI has in mind. When we asked the question on who you would think would win on our Facebook and Twitter, AJ Lee‘s name popped up a couple of times, with the reasoning being that she is the WWE Raw General Manager and has been embroiled in the WWE and World Championship pictures this year. However, she is unlikely to win the PWI editors’ pick because as an in-ring performer, she has only wrestled a handful of times, and hasn’t won any championships. Likewise, Sara Del Rey is probably an outside bet to win – despite placing in the men’s PWI 500 due to her victories over men in CHIKARA – as she doesn’t have many championship wins or reigns to speak of, and has lost quite a bit recently. (more…)
I was due to write the review of the Beth vs Layla match at No Way Out last week, but due to other priorities, I had to leave it to Lee. It’s probably just as well that I’ve had a week to think about it, because for what it’s worth, I hated the match. Well, maybe “hated” is too strong a word, but I really didn’t like the comedy of Layla stealing Beth’s headband and dancing with it. The finish of Beth losing again also irritated me a bit, mostly because it’s patently clear that WWE have absolutely nothing in mind for Layla, and with Beth losing again, it securely slots her below Layla on the pecking order and kills another level of anticipation (whatever there is left of it anyway) for the Beth Phoenix vs Kharma feud that we’ve been waiting/hoping for ever since Kharma signed up with the company.
Let’s make it clear here – my major downer on the Divas division at the minute is not the usual “wrestlers vs models” debate (I’ve learned for the most part to turn off my brain and find a way to enjoy the Divas for what they are rather than what they aren’t)… no… my big problem is the fact that at the minute, the future of the Divas division is just deathly dull. (more…)
Gail Kim meets Brooke Tessmacher with the TNA Knockouts Championship on the line at Slammiversary X this weekend. The rematch comes just a month after the pair put together a good outing at Sacrifice, with Kim barely escaping with the belt after pinning Tessmacher with her feet on the ropes.
The plucky challenger earned another shot at the championship on last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling after winning a four-way match over former titleholders Mickie James, Tara and Velvet Sky. For the record, Tessmacher pinned James to win the match, which lends to the Mickie heel turn which is being revived after being teased earlier this year – James was also upset earlier in the show when Sky was given a role in a Montgomery Gentry music video, reluctantly joining in with a congratulatory group hug.
On a personal level, I am happy that this match is going ahead. In last month’s Sacrifice write-up, I expressed my desire to see this match again, so I’m glad it’s happening. As I’ve said in the past, given her experience level, Tessmacher is better than she has any right to be, and Kim has carried the Knockouts division since returning to TNA last October, and has held the title since November – making her the longest reigning Knockouts Champ in the title’s 5 year history. However, all good things must come to an end, and I believe that if there was ever a time for her to drop the belt, Sunday at Slammiversary could be it. (more…)
If you didn’t order the Chikarasarus Rex iPPV on Go Fight Live last night, I strongly recommend that you do so. A solid card of action as well as a host of different stipulations and match types made for an entertaining evening’s viewing. However, with this being a website which pays attention to female wrestlers, we were interested in the handicap match featuring Obariyon, Kodama and Kobald of the Batiri facing off against Sara Del Rey and rookie sensation Saturyne.
Now, we all know how good Del Rey is, but we were suitably impressed with Saturyne’s efforts during the match too. Showing skills way beyond her years, she busted out some incredibly athletic moves like a gorgeous spinning heel kick in the corner, and a fearless springboard plancha to the outside. Coupled with some new gear – white and gold, which also complimented Del Rey’s outfit so they looked like a proper team – and you had quite the impressive tandem. (more…)
The names Hogan and Flair have been inextricably linked in the wrestling business for years – whether that be as the main men in 80s era World Wrestling Federation and Jim Crockett Promotions respectively to the latterday geriatric double act which more often than not sees Ric Flair as Hogan’s opponent of choice when he needs someone to look good (and make him look good) as the Hulkamania juggernaut rumbles on – that it’s faintly curious that yesterday saw the names Hogan and Flair flash across wrestling news sites once again, as we heard “Flair to WWE!” and “TNA sign Hogan!” news. However, we’re talking Ashley Flair and Brooke Hogan – so let’s not get overexcited. Here’s what we know…
We brought you word in the Roundup a couple of weeks ago that Ric Flair’s daughter Ashley was training in Charlotte, NC for pro-wrestling. An accomplished volleyball player in high school, Ashley has been working as a personal trainer before deciding to take up the “family business”, and has apparently being signed to a developmental deal based entirely on her surname (there’s a lot of that in wrestling). What is interesting is the fact that Ashley has opted to sign up with WWE and relocate to Florida to train at FCW rather than sign with TNA and learn her craft in OVW in Louisville. Interesting also that it comes at a time when nobody is quite sure what’s up with Ric himself. He no-showed some advertised TNA house shows last weekend in Louisiana and took no part in this past week’s TV tapings – but both sides are staying quiet as to exactly what is going on. This coming less than two months after Flair appeared on WWE TV and was inducted into their Hall of Fame for the second time? It’s circumstantial at best, but certainly makes Ashley’s choice interesting. (more…)
While we updated last night’s Women Superstars Uncensored double DVD tapings (click here for results) featuring the J-Cup and Jessicka Havok v Mercedes Martinez, among others, our Twitter and Facebook accounts were flooded with comments about the booking. Messages we received included terms such as ‘confused’, ‘silly’, ‘pointless’ and ‘ridiculous’. Because of these references, as well as the official release from WSU, we felt there was enough to dive into the debate and release a few feelings of our own.
First though, a recap…
• Brittney Savage won the J-Cup for the second year running, defeating Ezavel Suena, Annie Social and Athena to take the tournament and earn a WSU Championship match on the subsequent DVD taping.
• Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie held onto the Tag Team Championship by defeating the team that they beat to win the belts in the first place, Jana and Luscious Latasha.
• Tina San Antonio defeated Marti Belle in an Uncensored Rules match after bleeding all over the place following being hit in the head with a bottle.
• Martinez regained the WSU Championship by beating Havok, who lost the belt on her first defence. Havok’s foot was under the bottom rope, which caused her much anger when the result stood. The loss was also Havok’s first in singles competition in the promotion.
• Havok destroyed Marti Belle to retain the Spirit Championship.
• Queen of the Ring Jennifer Cruz beat Jana to remain undefeated in 2012.
• Alicia defeated Allysin Kay, causing another blip in the Midwest Militia‘s dominance.
• After defeating Athena, Rain promised to retire if she could not win the Uncensored Rumble on June 16. Earlier in the show, Lexxus promised to win the Rumble for the second straight year.
• Savage v Martinez for the WSU Title became a triple threat when Havok invoked her rematch clause and won the belt by pinning Martinez after Savage nailed the titleholder with a diamond cutter, but was thwarted by Stephie.
So they are the talking points – after the jump, we’ll look at who has benefited and who has suffered… (more…)
Stewart Allen is a no-good, low-down son of a bitch. He and his consigliore, Lee Burton drew me in with promises of “interviews” and “exposure” and “we’ll link to your movie!” Then they start in with the, “Come on, man… just check out this one match… all the cool kids are doing it.”
Next thing you know, I’m pushing deadlines to watch Mercedes Martinez and Madison Eagles brawl through an arena. I’m seeing Kana and Hailey Hatred beat the ever-loving hell out of each other instead of working on a pitch. I’m leaping out of my chair when Jenny Sjodin hooks a picture-perfect guillotine on Alpha Female, ignoring my wife when she asks if I’ve changed the cat litter.
It’s a downward spiral, friends. Stew and Lee: they’re bad people. You should click a button on your browser and get out while you can. You don’t want to end up like me.
I’ve been a wrestling fan since I watched Dick Murdoch screw Ted DiBiase out of beating Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in Mid-South when I was nine or ten. Hogan/Piper, Doctor Death Steve Williams, Four Horsemen, Flair/Steamboat, nWo, Austin, Brock, JBL/Eddie, Undertaker/Batista, Joe/Angle, Punk/Cena, Henry’s World Title run. Until recently, these were my touchstones as a wrestling fan.
Two things have happened to my wrestling sensibility since the beginning of 2012.
First, after years of effort Court Bauer got me watching All Japan from the ‘90s (with an assist from the Torch’s Bruce Mitchell and the Observer’s Dave Meltzer). I got hooked immediately – if I’ve seen a better series of matches than Steve Williams vs. Kenta Kobashi or Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada, I must have been on an alcoholic blackout because I don’t remember them.
Second: those rat bastards, Stew and Lee. I did an interview with them to talk about my contribution to the Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James story at WWE and they used their Merry Olde Empire powers of hypnosis to tell me about SHIMMER and Femmes Fatales and EVE. “Just watch Shimmer Volume 37,” they said. “You’ll love it.”
They were right. Now I buy dvds and waste time I can ill afford because of these Ringbelles douchebags. They’ll do the same to you if they can, gentle reader. Get out while you can. (more…)
This past Saturday night saw a fight between two athletes headline a national TV show – a fight that not only was very real, but was built up as a proper grudge between two combatants who didn’t like each other. One was the determined, serious champion, one was the mouthy, charismatic upstart. The public cared. Newspapers gave them front page coverage. The internet was ablaze with interest. Step forward Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey – who proved that, while their gender was certainly part of the reason why the fight got such publicity, they were justifiable main eventers, and they delivered with a stunning fight which saw “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey utterly destroy Miesha Tate’s arm with a first round armbar to go 5-0 and become the new face of women’s MMA. Now, we don’t cover MMA here at Ringbelles, but the lessons are there to be learned. I believe, much as Alex Greenfield said in his recent appearance on the Women of Wrestling Podcast, that “Women’s wrestling is something that can generate real dollar business”. In the aftermath of the Tate vs Rousey show, I had a brief twitter exchange with fellow wrestling podcaster Mike Sempervive (of the Adam & Mike Big Audio Nightmare and Wrestling Observer Live over at WrestlingObserver.com) about whether WWE would learn anything from (a) the simple, old-school but effective build of Tate/Rousey as compared to ridiculous “Sports Entertainment”, or (b) the fact that women were presented as main draws. Semp tweeted “While the look of the messenger changes, it’s always the story that hooks people. And those donks lost that plot a long time ago”. Sadly, he’s not wrong. So here we stand, just a few days after a high-water mark for women’s combat sports, and also less than four weeks away from the biggest show in wrestling history, and rumours are currently swirling that (at the minute), there is *no* women’s match scheduled for WrestleMania. Now, one thing we as fans of (and commentators on) WWE have learned a long time ago is that Vince McMahon is an infinitely fickle man, and Raw shows are often written, re-written and re-written again even on the day of the show – so there’s every chance that by the time I’ve finished writing this article and uploaded it to the website, it’s already out of date – but with under a month to the big show, let’s consider the options for WrestleMania. (more…)
The former Divas Champion is currently the focus of a flatulence gimmick (which started last week and continued on Friday’s episode), where she would be passing gas by accident and other wrestlers would be reacting to it, embarrassing her in the process. Apparently, this is a storyline designed to get the third generation wrestler over, in order to push her in the future, as if the Pin-Up Strong gimmick with current champion Beth Phoenix was not enough of a basis to do that.
While Natalya is being the good company girl and putting a positive spin on it, her uncle Smith Hart took to his Twitter this weekend to complain about the storyline, saying that he is “appalled by this ridiculous flatulence gimmick given to my niece Natalya. Anyone that knows Natalya, knows she is a radiant and incredibly inspirational person deserving of so much more.”
Now, this storyline is insulting, don’t get me wrong. It’s pure “Vincertainment” – a term used for stories, angles or gimmicks that are likely to amuse Vince McMahon, but everyone else believes is dumb or counterproductive – and will eventually lead to fans coming to shows with “THE FART DYNASTY” signs or something equally “witty”. Besides, this isn’t a case of WWE messing around with the 29-year old over the last few weeks – WWE has been messing around with her for six whole months – to the day, in fact…
Former WWE United States Champion Finlay has been speaking about criticisms directed towards the Divas’ matches in a recent interview he granted to I Met A Wrestler ahead of this weekend’s WrestleReunion event in Los Angeles.
When asked about WWE hiring models and then trying to turn them into wrestlers, the former Divas trainer said:
Those girls are so beautiful, and most of them are models, but every single one of them that I’ve worked with has got a passion to be in the ring. If they didn’t – they wouldn’t be there. I know nothing about football, absolutely nothing. And I can sit and watch and pull it apart, but I can’t go in and do it. Opinions are like backsides, everybody’s got one. I think the girls are very unfortunate that people try to pull them apart. They’re not as good as this, not as good as that. Hey, here’s my opinion: shut your mouth unless you try it.
I’ve seen them all get busted open, you know. Trish [Stratus] dislocated her shoulder, or her elbow I think it was. Victoria slapped Beth [Phoenix] in the face and broke her jaw, I’ve seen all sorts. And for someone to sit at home and pull the girls apart, especially girls doing this as a profession, as their job, they need to just sit back and enjoy it. As I said before, if you’ve never done it, shut your mouth.
Unfortunately, while I see the point that Finlay is trying to make, there is a fundamental flaw in the argument. (more…)
It’s fair to say that Ringbelles HQ has had a bit of a dark cloud of depression hanging over it recently, as Lee and I have often found ourselves discussing how terrible it is that a number of our favourite wrestlers are out – in some cases, possibly permanently – with injuries. Daizee Haze has already hung up her tights, LuFisto & Mercedes Martinez have been struggling and resting up with serious injuries (back and concussion respectively – the latter of which has taken Martinez out of WSU’s event next weekend in New Jersey) and more serious still, Serena Deeb has been told she should no longer wrestle due to a severe concussion while Madison Eagles admits her knee injury could be career threatening. It’s amazing how much these women give of themselves to the service of pro-wrestling – often in front of small (albeit appreciative) crowds. Call it passion, or call it what you will, they continue to push themselves hard (and probably harder than they should) in order to entertain – and as we’re seeing quite clearly, with that comes a price. Going into the upcoming “Spring Season” of shows from the major North American indy wrestling companies, it’s hard to imagine a SHIMMER taping without Madison Eagles; or what about Serena Deeb, who is still scheduled to debut for NCW Femmes Fatales on March 10th in Montreal? What if Mercedes Martinez can’t completely shake her concussion issues by March? Main events in SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales and crucially WSU may all have to be re-written. In my head, it all felt very “glass half empty”.
Happily though, a chat with a friend in the business a little while ago persuaded me to turn the frown upside down. “Well,” she said (when contemplating the worst case scenario that Deeb, Eagles and others may be facing the end of their careers) “That gives plenty of opportunity for other girls to move up and take those spots”. I stopped and thought for a moment, and answered in the affirmative. I wasn’t yet 100% convinced, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured that there was a definite ring of truth to that statement. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely *not* ready to contemplate life without Eagles and Deeb, and I’d love nothing better than to have them back – but if they don’t return (or even just miss an extended length of time as they overcome their issues), it’s worth considering who actually is likely to benefit, and why we can actually look forward to 2012 as a year of opportunity as much as anything else. (more…)
“[Promotion] is so much better than any other independent promotion, they book
the wrestlers fans want to see!”
“[Wrestler] is so overrated.”
“[Promotion] is the BEST in the world!”
“[Wrestler] is awesome, she should be booked everywhere!”
“[Promotion] only accepts the best, period.”
“[Promoter/booker] doesn’t know how to book properly, he’s screwing up
“[Wrestler] can’t go to WWE, they will ruin her!”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? If you are an independent wrestling fan, and more specifically a female wrestling fan, you’ve heard these sentences before and more like them. Some probably a lot more vulgar at times, some more hurtful, some more personal.
As a wrestling fan myself it makes me cringe sometimes. I get being a fan of a particular person or promotion (I have my favourites like everyone else), but what I don’t get is running down other companies that are trying to provide an outlet for talented wrestlers (male or female), or running down women who are doing their best to show that it’s not all Divas or Knockouts. (more…)
As the last moments of 2011 fade away, while being thankful for the many wonderful wrestling-related moments, it’s only natural to look to the new year. A new year brings new opportunities, a chance to start fresh and the ability to make things happen. Most of us make New Years resolutions to have set goals we want to meet. As pertains to wrestling, I gave some thought as to what I, personally, would like to see happen (or not happen, as the case may be). Some of these are serious, some are downright implausible but hey, I’m an optimistic gal for the most part. Who is to say what may or may not happen in 2012? Lets kick this off!
1) I wish that Madison Eagles, Lufisto, Mercedes Martinez, and Serena Deeb would completely heal and recover from their various physical ailments. I won’t say if I wish that they would return to wrestling – that’s something that they must decide for themselves. As a fan, I’ll respect and support whatever their decision may be. However, they’re young women in the prime of their lives, and knowing the long term damage wrestling does, I want them to heal so that they aren’t affected later in life. They are all wonderful women who deserve to live long, healthy lives after their wrestling careers come to an end. (more…)
As 2011 comes to a close, and Christmas is just around the corner, around this time people look back at the year and reflect on their blessings. This is true in wrestling fandom as well as anywhere else. If you are a fan of female wrestling, there was a ton to be grateful for in 2011, although if you concentrated on WWE, I feel bad for you – nothing good, aside from Kong’s debut as Kharma, happened in 2011 in that company. I wanted to take the time to look back and write about what I, personally, was grateful for this year and share with you my thoughts. Feel free to comment and tell me what you were grateful for in wrestling this year.
Thanks to my trips to SHIMMER: Women Athletes, I was able to see a number of women wrestle in person for the first time that I personally admire and look up to.
With her health problems in 2010 and being rotated out of the September ’10 SHIMMER tapings, I had worried I’d not get the chance to see her in person. Fortunately that fear was baseless as Lufi was back and stronger than ever. In April, I thoroughly enjoyed her matches with Tomoka Nakagawa (it’s always a treat to watch her wrestle joshi women), Sassy Stephie, and the four way match with her, Portia Perez, Cheerleader Melissa and Serena Deeb. However, at the October tapings I wasn’t sure she would be there. She had had heart surgery in July to repair a hole in her heart, and with the precautions she now has to take, I felt it doubtful.
To my great pleasure, she was not only there but had some of the best matches of the tapings. The four way between her, Tomoka, MsChif, and Kellie Skater was just plain fun. I popped huge for MsChif’s Freddy Krueger gear (I’ve been a fan of Nightmare on Elm Street for years) but Lufi’s Pink Power Ranger gear was incredibly cute! Her match against Mia Svensson is a personal favourite – you have the up and coming taking on the veteran, giving the former a chance to see what she can do. However, Lufisto was involved in one of the best matches of the weekend, and given the talent that was on display, this is a bold statement but entirely true. In Kana‘s last match, she wrestled Lufi and it was tremendous. Kana pulled out the win, but while everyone else stood, I remained in my seat. I refused to applaud unless Kana shook Lufisto’s hand – I felt that Lufisto had gone toe to toe with her, and unless she also recognised this and shook her hand, I didn’t feel that Kana was worthy of respect. However, she did.
Lufisto is a lady I have so much respect and admiration for, I can absolutely say it was wonderful to see her wrestle in person. (more…)
Okay, who amongst us believes that WWE takes their women seriously? Raise your hand. I’ll wait.
No hands? Okay, is there anyone out there who believes WWE has any interest in promoting serious female wrestling? Show of hands.
No hands again. This is good. Lets see if we can go three for three. Who believes that the women’s division is an interesting, captivating part of WWE? Hands please.
As I suspected. Much like myself, few of us have any faith in WWE anymore when it comes to their women’s division. If they want to see great female wrestling, they know to go outside the company. The question is, what should be done about it? My solution is this:
Get rid of the Divas division. Have no female wrestling on any of the shows or cards. Retire the Divas Championship. Let Beth Phoenix be the last holder of that meaningless belt.
Extreme? Absolutely. However, there are precedents, albeit usually when the current holder of the title leaves WWE under less than pleasant circumstances. In 1990, then-champion Rockin’ Robin left the company without dropping the belt. The title was deactivated until 1993, when Alundra Blayze won a tournament to crown a new women’s champion. We know what happened with her in early 1996. Again, the title was deactivated until 1998, when it was Jacqueline who won the belt. Lastly, in 2001 when Chyna was the champion, she left the company without dropping it. However, given the talent in the division, it was quickly reactivated in November of that same year.
Having no female wrestling division in WWE has been done before. Let us be honest, how much of an impact does a 2 minute match on RAW have on your basic fan? If anything, it gives the fan in the audience a chance to relieve their bladder or buy some merchandise. It gives the fan at home a chance to get a beverage or a snack. Except for those die-hard Diva fans, those 2 minute matches mean nothing. (Is it even fair to call it a ‘match’?) Eliminating it would not diminish ticket sales, DVD sales or anything else money-wise. (more…)
When Beth Phoenix and Natalya turned heel back in August, WWE Diva fans held their breath. They seemed hell bent on turning the division upside down, separating themselves from the “models” like Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox and others. They christened themselves the Divas of Doom, or, alternatively, Sisters of Salvation, claiming that they were out to “save” the Divas division from princesses and perky blondes.
The storyline has mostly gone downhill now, for several reasons. It took Beth three matches to defeat Kelly for the Divas title. Even when she won it, at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, it was only after Natalya interfered by hitting Kelly in the head with a microphone. Hardly a dominant win. Creative also didn’t go nearly far enough with the storyline – Beth and Natalya still refer to themselves as “Divas”, they still do photo shoots, and they have been very selective in who they choose to go after. So far it has only been the faces such as Kelly, Eve, Alicia, AJ and Kaitlyn. If they were after the models, shouldn’t they also target Brie and Nikki Bella, as well as Rosa Mendes? Tamina was never a model, so there is a logical reason why they wouldn’t go after her.
Also, at the start, Natalya was presented as an equally dominant partner. However, her singles wins have been sporadic, at best – any match that she won was when she was in a tag team match with Beth. Lately she has lost out to Alicia on RAW, SmackDown and at the house shows. This weakens the concept of the dominant team they were originally made out to be. Now it seems like they are another version of LayCool. (more…)
(Yesterday, I focussed on Anarchy Championship Wrestling as an alternative to the lack of female wrestling in Ring Of Honor. As it turns out, the article was pretty well-timed, as Portia Perez won the ACW Heavyweight Title, if only for an hour. Today, let’s look elsewhere…)
The other promotion that has done equally well by it’s female talent is Chikara. Started by Mike Quackenbush and Tom Carter in 2002, it started integrating female wrestlers right off the bat. Its sixth show, which took place June 28th, 2002, was one that featured talent from their sister promotion Kiryoku Pro in an almost all-female show (there was a ten person tag team match that came as a result of interference in an earlier women’s match). After that all-female show, there were two other regular shows that had women’s matches billed as “Kiryoku Pro Showcase” matches.
Eventually the overall ethos of the promotion changed. They no longer saw gender as a wall – rather, the company wanted wrestlers to wrestle each other, regardless of sex. This started in 2003, at the first annual Tag World Grand Prix on July 5th, where the Kiryoku Pro team of Mercedes Martinez & Sumie Sakai took on The Wild Cards of Eddie Kingston and Blackjack Marciano. On October 18th, 2003′s International Invasion Of The International Invaders Sumie took on Jigsaw.
Granted, 2004 saw less female v female or female v male matches than 2002 or 2003 but 2005 was a sort of rebirth for women in Chikara. You had a slew of talent that made for some interesting matches (Chris Hero v Sumie Sakai? It happened at Running in the Red on November 13th, 2005). This also coincided with the birth of SHIMMER in November 2005 and the high point of IWA: Mid South‘s women’s division. It felt like women on the independent circuit had more choices than ever before. In 2006, two women debuted that would become Chikara mainstays: Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze. These two would also become part of Chikara’s biggest storyline to date in late 2009: The Bruderschaft des Kreuzes versus the rest of Chikara. (more…)
On September 24th, 2011, Ring of Honor returned to television on Sinclair Broadcast network. Former owner Cary Silkin has stayed on with them as an executive and although Sinclair doesn’t have a channel in many cities, the company sees this as a positive step forward. For those who are unable to see it on television, you can view each week’s episode for free on their website.
However, on September 27th, Sara Del Rey noted on her Twitter:
I just noticed I’m not a part of the ROH roster anymore…boo
In fact, if you take a look at the website, not only is Del Rey not listed as part of the roster, but neither are fellow Women of Honor Daizee Haze or MsChif. The only woman who is listed is Mia Yim, as part of Prince Nana’s Embassy stable. Given that this is considered a new start of sorts for the company with their debut on SBG, perhaps it isn’t that surprising that ROH is choosing to focus on their male talent and grow their audience from there. However, other fans have taken note of this. Over at ROHWorld.com, Dave Wood wrote a piece explaining why he believes a female division in ROH would be a benefit, and gives details on how to re-create one, which you can read here and here.
One consistent criticism was the lack of time given to their matches. Another was that there were no storylines, except for sporadic times (such as last year when Daizee and Del Rey were clamouring for competition). You would have a match every now and again on the HDNet show or on the iPPV with no background attached. It’s hard to be invested in a division that isn’t really given any real focus.
Other companies have taken the ball ROH dropped and ran with it. Two promotions come instantly to mind that have incorporated women into not only a division of their own but have integrated them with the male roster, producing memorable feuds and showing that when booked right, women can have great, credible matches with men. (more…)
This weekend at Turning Point, TNA Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky puts the title on the line for the first time since winning the belt at Bound For Glory last month against challenger and one half of the Knockouts Tag Team Champions, Gail Kim, in a match that is significant for both.
For Velvet, it’s her first title defence in her first reign – while for Gail, it’s her first opportunity to wrestle on live TV since returning to the promotion on the post-BFG Impact Wrestling show. With no editing suite to patch things up if she slips on a banana peel, and the pressure to wrestle someone who she hasn’t faced in many years, the pressure is on the veteran Kim to knock this one out of the park. Kim has also had critics who assert that she may have lost that spark from 3 years of doing nothing of note in WWE, and may be in TNA for the spotlight, rather than to promote and enhance the Knockouts division.
Meanwhile for Sky, she is looking to solidify her first run as KOs Champ, which was hardly launched in the best of circumstances – winning in an overbooked 4-way mess that did more to further the tension between Karen Jarrett and Traci Brooks more than anything else, and also saw Velvet win the belt by not pinning then-titleholder Winter to gain the title, but Madison Rayne. Both have things to prove to the audience and to sceptics, and many fans have an opinion on which way it will go. However, I have an opinion on which way it SHOULD go, so everyone involved comes out with what they need and offers some options for down the line. (more…)