Ringbelles Retro: Wendi Richter in a steel cage

Wendi Richter Heidi Lee MorganAfter Wendi Richter was screwed out of the World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship in November 1985, she went straight to the locker room, grabbed her bag and left without changing out of her gear. She caught a taxi from outside Madison Square Garden in New York City and disappeared into the night, and wasn’t seen on WWF/E TV until her induction in the Hall of Fame in 2010.

Richter didn’t disappear from wrestling though. She wrestled in Puerto Rico for the World Wrestling Council, competed in Japan and also enjoyed bookings in domestic promotions like the American Wrestling Association, and the National Wrestling Federation – which is from where this Retro emanates.

In this contest from June 20, 1987, Richter defends her NWF Women’s Championship against Heidi Lee Morgan – whose highest profile work was in the WWF in 1993 where she was defeated in the finals of the Women’s Title tournament, won by Alundra Blayze. The match also takes place in a steel cage – and for some extra nostalgia, the competitors are announced to the ring by the classic tones of Gary Michael Capetta. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Lita & Trish Stratus main eventing Raw in 2000

Lita Trish StratusIt seems fitting that Trish Stratus inducts Lita into the WWE Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks. After all, their wrestling careers are so tightly intertwined – they debuted in the company at roughly the same time, were each other’s biggest rival and both left the promotion within a few weeks of each other.

We have featured their final match against each other in a previous Retro, but we go even further back for this one. We travel all the way back to 2000, with both about six months into their run, and main eventing Raw as part of a mixed tag team match which had multiple stories crossing over.

Lita and Stratus had been feuding for a few months alongside their respective male tag teams of the Hardy Boyz and T&A, though their programme had taken on a life of its own. Meanwhile, Stratus was one of the catalysts for friction between Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and saw Kurt Angle start to muscle in and make a move on Stephanie. Angle and HHH were trying to keep it civil in respect for Stephanie but were secretly wanting to tear each other apart – a situation exacerbated by them both being top contenders for The Rock‘s WWF Championship, with the trio squaring off in a triple threat match at that year’s SummerSlam. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: The Beautiful People’s original run

Angelina Love Velvet Sky TNAAngelina Love returned to TNA last week and tried to talk Velvet Sky into reuniting the Beautiful People. Sky was reticent to agree straight away but the pair left things on friendly terms. No spoilers, but that story continues on tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling – so we’ve delved into TNA’s archives to check out Love and Sky’s original run, where they were arguably the most over tandem at the time.

Combining great looks with the ultimate bitchy nature, the Beautiful People were the perfect addition to the fledgling Knockouts roster and saw them picking fights with the likes of Roxxi and Gail Kim. Couple that with their arrogant entrance and brown paper bag treatment and they were easy to dislike – and is part of the reason why it never felt the same when they reunited as babyfaces in mid-2010.

This retro comes from Victory Road on July 13, 2008 and sees Love take on Kim in singles action. Click the jump to watch. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Cheerleader Melissa & Sara Del Rey in 2002

Sara Del ReyThe image on the left is how most of us remember Sara Del Rey but it took a while for the Queen of Wrestling to get to this point. To illustrate this, let’s hop back more than a decade where Del Rey wrestled under a different name against another rookie looking to make her mark in the world of wrestling – as well as a couple of names you may recognise…

Following the death of Roland Alexander in November, Joey Ryan posted a match from his early days of wrestling in All Pro Wrestling in California. The match from May 24, 2002 features Del Rey under the name of Nikki teaming with Jardi Frantz & JoJo Fantastico against Ryan, Cheerleader Melissa and a gentleman by the name of Bryan Danielson, better known these days as Daniel Bryan.

Del Rey looks hugely different wrestling baggy denim, while Melissa is sporting a similarly modest set of threads. It is an interesting insight into the beginnings of two hugely successful wrestlers – one who is the reigning two-time SHIMMER Champion, and other who is mentoring the next generation of WWE Divas. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: A look back at Women’s Extreme Wrestling

WEW posterAfter six years away, Women’s Extreme Wrestling is reportedly planning a return to TV, according to PWInsider. A poster has been released for a PPV called Booty Whipping, though it seems that it could be a compilation of previous events.

We have reviewed a WEW – former known as Women’s Erotic Wrestling – DVD in the past, and while it had its moments, we weren’t very impressed with Nude War Games. However, considering it ran for six years, it did fine for itself as a company and it gave women wrestlers another forum to hone their craft. That’s why we’ve posted a video from WEW’s YouTube channel.

For example, Nude Takedown from May 20, 2007 features the likes of Velvet Sky, April Hunter, Annie Social, Sumie Sakai, Amy Lee, Daffney, Nikki Roxx, Simply Luscious, Christie Ricci, ODB, Amber O’Neal, Francine and Mercedes Martinez. You can watch the video after the jump, but be ready for some pretty sexist commentary and suggestive content. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Nikki Storm’s early days

Nikki Storm Saraya KnightNikki Storm‘s first match at Pro Wrestling: EVE back on October 16, 2010 may have been against Saraya Knight (pictured), but it wasn’t the first time the two had stood across the ring from each other – in fact, one of their first encounters was one of Storm’s first ever matches.

Back in 2009, Storm was a fresh-faced rookie representing Scotland at Scottish Wrestling Alliance‘s The Gathering II in Glasgow on September 20, 2008. On the opposing side was Saraya and her husband Ricky Knight, who were the leaders of an English squad. In this contest, Storm is partnered by Majik.

Incidentally, this is the final of the weekly Retro series. In the future, retro videos will be posted as and when something interesting is found. In recent months, we have had difficulty in finding noteworthy videos for you, and didn’t want to post substandard contests. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: The Knockouts get festive

Taylor Wilde TNAHopefully everyone who has read this has enjoyed a healthy and happy Christmas filled with wrestling joy – I, for example received the Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches book featuring contests like the Original Screwjob and when June Byers and Mildred Burke tried to resolve a title dispute with a legitimate contest. While we’re having a bit of a rest day at Ringbelles, we couldn’t resist adding a Retro featuring the TNA Knockouts from the Christmas Day episode of Impact in 2008.

Another reason why we’re posting this match is because of the nib we posted in yesterday’s Roundup about Taylor Wilde doing some wrestling appearances next year. She is featured in this contest alongside Roxxi (Nikki Roxx), ODB and Christy Hemme against the Kongtourage faction consisting of Sojo Bolt, Rhaka Khan, Raisha Saeed (Cheerleader Melissa/Alissa Flash) and the Knockouts Champion Awesome (Amazing) Kong. The baby faces get into the Christmas spirit by getting into costume, so click the jump and get into some festive fighting. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Trish Stratus bows out

Trish Stratus Lita WWEThere are few genuine success stories when it comes to wrestlers’ lives after WWE – unfortunately, many wrestlers leave the business because they were unable to do it anymore or had outserved what their employers perceived to be their usefulness, and have not planned far enough into the future to make sure they are financially secure. Women are more likely to manage it – Stacy Keibler, Lisa Marie Varon and even Kelly Kelly immediately spring to mind – but few managed to have a great life after leaving the ring more than Trish Stratus.

With a happy marriage, a successful yoga business and getting ready for her first Christmas as a mother, things have gone well for the 38-year old Canadian since she retired from full-time competition in 2006 – and the reason we’re talking about her here is because earlier today she tweeted a picture of her WWE Women’s Championship belt. As a result, we’re posting the video of her final match against Lita at Unforgiven in September 2006, where she won the title for a record-setting seventh time.

Unarguably the most successful WWE Diva in history, she is the person that the company used as a template for its top women for a long time, and has only recently started to move away from that blueprint with the likes of AJ Lee and Paige, for example. However, her success at raising the profile of women’s wrestling in WWE was rewarded with her being allowed to go out as champion in her home city of Toronto. Click the jump to watch the match between two longtime rivals. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Daffney challenges Mickie Knuckles

Mickie KnucklesConsidering Mickie Knucklesreturn to IWA Mid-South last weekend, we’ve dug up a match from her past in the promotion.

The contest we have for this week’s Retro is from April 22, 2007 where Knuckles defended the IWA Mid-South Women’s Championship on a cross promotion show with Anarchy Championship Wrestling in San Antonio, TX. Challenging her is then-ACW regular Daffney, in what turned out to be a bloody encounter.

Speaking of Daffney, an interview she conducted with Highspots earlier this year has been released. Diva Diaries covers her infiltration of the TNA Knockouts Knockdown audience back in March after concluding her legal issues with the promotion, as well as revealing that she has been living with bipolar disorder.

You can order the DVD by clicking here, and you can see the match as well as a preview of the Diva Diaries presentation after the jump. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Tough Enough 1 v Tough Enough 2

Nidia Jackie GaydaI’m a huge fan of the first three series of WWE reality show Tough Enough, as evidenced by the two articles I wrote about the female winners and notable names who participated on the show. That’s why I’m a little giddy at finding the match which is being featured in this week’s Retro.

After both being released from WWE in 2004 and 2005 respectively, Nidia Guenard and Jackie Gayda-Haas kept their feet in the wrestling waters. Tough Enough 1 victor Nidia travelled across the world, competing in places like Mexico and Australia, while TE2 victor Jackie (who we interviewed in the third-ever Women Of Wrestling Podcast back in 2009) – wrestled around the US for the most part, including a short stint in TNA. However, the pair would meet for their only match against each other in Naples, Italy for Nu-Wrestling Evolution. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: The very early days of TNA

NWA-TNA-2002As we have found out from the 7-on-7 Divas Survivor Series match on Sunday and the repeat of the contest on Raw the following night, more does not always mean better. In fact, sometimes it can mean far worse.

While many fans lamented how much of a mess both matches were, I’m managed to put things into perspective for you with this week’s Retro offering from the very beginnings of NWA: Total Nonstop Action. With the acronym of TNA and it still being in the hangover of the Attitude Era, there was a lot of scantily-clad women in the early days, and a whole bunch of them were threw into one match on the June 26, 2002 broadcast in the form of a Lingerie Battle Royal. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Sour Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb DanyahFans at SHIMMER‘s most recent DVD tapings got to see Cherry Bomb‘s heel schtick alongside Kimber Lee, though she has been a riot in Combat Zone Wrestling for a while now. With a multitude of great facial expressions, mouthy comments and bitchy antics, she’s great at getting people to be annoyed with her. However, her heel ways have been something that the recently-married Torontarian has been doing for a while – and that’s what this Retro is all about.

This week’s match from the past is from June 21, 2008′s Great North Wrestling show in Hawkesbury, ON, Canada, with Cherry Bomb teaming up with former SHIMMERer Miss Danyah taking on Misty Haven and Josianne The Pussycat. As you can tell from the screengrab, there is a fair deal of crowd work, so click the jump and watch for yourself. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Nikki Roxx v Ariel v April Hunter

Nikki RoxxMy word, styles were different nine years ago. Just look at Nikki Roxx in the picture to the left – that hair has been bleached to within an inch of its life.

Clearly, this is from Roxx’s early days of wrestling – at this point, she was around two years in and was still finding her feet, look and style. It would come, but we are still in the teething process here. However, practice makes perfect and it all worked out for her in the end – though it’s always nice to look back at the early days to see how wrestlers were when they started out.

Roxx’s opponents in this match were her future tag team partner the Portuguese Princess Ariel and April Hunter as part of the WrestleJam 1 card in Northford, CT on May 25, 2004. The smaller Ariel is working babyface against her two taller and stronger opponents, but who would emerge as the victor? Click the jump and find out – and check out the fan who legitimately kissed Hunter’s foot… (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Dark Angel, (almost) a decade ago

Dark Angel Sarah StockIt’s probably not been the best week for Dark Angel. She lost the Wonder of Stardom Championship to Act Yasukawa at the promotion’s 100th show on Monday after holding the title since April, but she has made Japan her second home after spending most of 2013 wrestling there – so it seems like Stardom is more of an interest to her these days that CMLL in Mexico.

Dark Angel has been wrestling for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre since 2004, but started out her luchadora run wrestling for Lucha Libre Feminil and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, putting the mask on in LLF in 2003, and carrying the gimmick on to AAA.

Before losing her mask on April 2, 2004 against Princesa Sugheit, the pair had seen their feud building up for quite some time, and one of the gimmick matches before they reached their Mask v Mask contest was a Chain Match fought under Strap Match rules where you had to touch all four corners without interruption to win. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Halloween hilarity with Victoria

Sumo Victoria WWELisa Marie Varon is amazing. As well as being a great wrestler who can be all serious and eyes-on-the-prize, she is also secure enough in herself to be silly, be the butt of jokes and create some truly funny moments. One of them is part of this week’s Retro, which saw the WWE Divas dress up for a Halloween battle royal on the October 29, 2007 episode of Raw. While others dressed tough or sexy, Varon – then under the name of Victoria – donned a sumo suit.

Thinking about it, it’s a brilliant move, as the extra bulk of the outfit makes her difficult to throw over the top, because of the lowering of her centre of gravity – so much so that it saw her tumble down the ramp in her entrance, after ring announcer Lilian Garcia struggled to maintain her composure while introducing her.

Her appearance in this match is a stark contrast to the Retro we posted in the summer when she and Trish Stratus knocked lumps out of each other at the 2002 Survivor Series but it shows the versatility she possesses. Click the jump and enjoy. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Redhead v Redhead

Christy HemmeChristy Hemme loves wrestling. After winning the WWE Diva Search in 2004, she immersed herself into the business and showed huge enthusiasm for her work. Even if her demeanour behind the curtain is a tenth of what she displays in front of the camera, she must be great to work with.

However, after leaving WWE in 2005 – with the company citing budget cuts but Hemme saying she left on her own terms because “I stuck to my guns on my morals and values as a human being. I knew in my gut that it would be the end, but I also knew that carrying guilt for knowingly doing something against what I believed wasn’t worth getting ahead” – she joined TNA and was afforded opportunities to wrestle elsewhere. One of the places she worked was Queens Of Chaos in France in November 2006.

She joined the likes of Portia Perez, Queen Maya, Jazzy Bi (now Alpha Female) and others for a Princess Of Chaos Tournament. For this week’s Retro, we have her first round contest against fellow American April Hunter. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Lacey & Rain brawl around the building

Lacey Rain Gilda PasquilThey terrorised the wrestling world as the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew – and later as the International Home Wrecking Crew – but before they teamed up to run roughshod over rosters, Lacey and Rain fought each other. A lot.

Their careers ran parallel with each other from the start, with the pair scrapping in promotions including Mid American Wrestling, Steel Domain Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, IWA Mid-South and more. The contest for this week’s Retro comes from Neo Pro Wrestling in April 2004, and it’s a fight which spills outside the ring and into the fans due to its Falls Count Anywhere stipulation.

One thing which may surprise you is that Rain is wrestling babyface. Considering her nefarious antics in SHINE and SHIMMER, it feels really… foreign. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: It’s Summers all year round

Savannah SummersOpen Female Fight Season is treating Australia’s Savannah Summers well. After making her US debut last Sunday at Absolute Intense Wrestling‘s Girls Night Out tapings – which saw her pick up a win in her debut match against Sassy Stephie – she has picked up some new fans, and is likely to accrue a few more as she is scheduled to wrestle for the SHIMMER pre-show SPARKLE in a week and a half, followed by a trip to Florida for SHINE 14 where she will face Shanna and Mia Yim in a 3-way.

Close to a year ago, we posted a piece about Summers where she mentioned how she was looking to wrestle in the US, and she had made that aspiration a reality, which has to be congratulated.

As part of today’s Retro, we go back to Estonian Hall in Adelaide on November 1, 2008 – around a year after her debut – where she took on Miami in Riot City Wrestling. The pair would clash again in May 2012 to crown the first RCW Women’s Champion, with Summers winning the title.

You can learn more about The First Lady of RCW by listening to NHB Girls‘ recent interview with her and by clicking here to see ten must-know facts. While you’re doing that, click the jump to see Savannah’s early days. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Does Groucho Marx know what Judy Grable does for a living?

Judy GrableFor this week’s Retro, it’s something a little a different. Not a match, but a segment featuring Groucho Marx meeting the woman known as “The Barefoot Contessa”.

Judy Grable appeared on the TV show What’s My Line? on September 20, 1958. Then 23, she had been trained by the Fabulous Moolah and been wrestling for five years. Her nickname came about because of her preference to wrestle without the benefit of boots, which probably means better traction but likely came with a greater risk of broken toes. Competing in the National Wrestling Alliance for the duration of her career, she didn’t win the World Women’s Championship, though her accomplishments did not go unrecognised. In 2011, she was inducted into the prestigious Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame in Amsterdam, NY. However, she wasn’t at the ceremony, as she did on May 11, 2008 after living with diabetes, strokes, and Alzheimer’s.

The What’s My Line segment with Marx became famous for his risqué line of questioning, though it immortalised the segment to such a point that it’s available online. Click the jump to watch. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: A big brawl in WOW

WOW logoDespite being dormant for more than a decade, there are some members of the original Women Of Wrestling roster who returned for the new incarnation of the promotion. Among them were Jungle Grrrl, Lana Star, Terri Gold and the Caged Heat tag team, but two others are original trainers Selina Majors and Thug.

Both women have history beyond WOW, and also have history with each other. Under her more well-known name of Peggy Lee Leather, Thug worked for the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-1980s before moving to the American Wrestling Association, World Championship Wrestling and the Ladies Professional Wrestling Association. Majors – who competed primarily using the name Bambi – also worked in the AWA and WCW, where she and Leather built up quite a rivalry over the years. The pair also faced each other at WrestleReunion in 2005 on opposite teams in an 8-woman tag team match. However, it’s their feud in WOW in 2000 which we’re looking at today. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: LuFisto takes it to Joey Ryan

LuFistoIn December 2006, LuFisto took nine months away from the ring to recover from a career-threatening back injury. While it hadn’t completely healed, it eventually became bearable enough for the Super Hardcore Anime to come back.

One of her final shows before retreating to recover was deathmatch tournament at Stranglehold Bloodstock 2006 which she won by beating Necro Butcher in the final, and a month after coming back, she competed at the IWA Mid-South Queen Of The Death Matches tournament in October 2007 – however, LuFisto’s comeback also marked the start of her changing direction from the hardcore, weapons-based contests to ones involving more conventional wrestling – a good move to extend her career, one which is still going strong to this day.

Three months after returning, the Montral native travelled to Newall, CA to compete for EPIC WAR against Joey Ryan. Yes, that Joey Ryan – the one who participated in TNA’s Gut Check, lost, and ended up on more TNA shows than some of the winners. The one with the epic 70′s porn star moustache. The one with the loud trunks. He’s at his sexist best here against LuFisto in a dramatic contest which pulls no punches and doesn’t see Ryan hold back – which is a good thing, and LuFisto pours it on. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Cheerleader Melissa v Mercedes Martinez

Cheerleader Melissa Mercedes MartinezThe title of this week’s Retro should be enough of a mouth-watering prospect, but it’s also a nice snapshot into what is roughly the mid-points in the respective ongoing careers.

This contest between Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez comes from June 2006 and is part of a fundraiser show – but despite it not having the name of a big promotion overseeing it, the pair leave it all in the ring in a contest which looks like it opened the eyes of a number of fans in the audience.

As of right now, both Mercedes and Melissa are riding high – Martinez holds the NCW Femmes Fatales International Championship and Melissa is enjoying her second reign as SHIMMER Champion. Both will represent SHIMMER at the Bellatrix 7 iPPV on October 6 in Norwich, England, with Mercedes defending her title against Miss Mina, while Melissa takes on longtime foe Saraya Knight in a non-title contest. You can order the event at a discounted price by clicking here.

On a side note, one of the commentators calling the match is the late “Sweet And Sour” Larry Sweeney. It’s nice to hear his voice again. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Sensational Sherri wins WWF gold

Sensational SherriConsidering Sensational Sherri won the World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship on a house show in Houston, TX on July 24, 1987, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the title change was filmed and was given commentary from Gorilla Monsoon and Jimmy Hart.

Sherri – competing under the name of Sherri Martel at the time – defeated the Fabulous Moolah, who was enjoying her third reign as champion at the time. Holding the belt for 441 days, she boasts the fourth longest Women’s Title reign in WWF/E history, with only Moolah, Rockin’ Robin and Trish Stratus having runs longer than hers.

If you haven’t yet, have a listen to our Women Of Wrestling Podcast which we put together to mark five years after her death on June 15, 2007. Bill Apter, Candi Divine, Marianne Ryan, Lexie Fyfe & “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase all offer their stories and thoughts. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: A full episode of GLOW

GLOWWe talked a lot about the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling promotion on this website last year. As well as reviewing the documentary about the programme, we also spoke to GLOW stars Little Egypt and Tina Ferrari – who went on to become WWE‘s Ivory – one not just one, but two occasions. Around the time of the premiere of the documentary, we posted a Retro featuring a couple of Tina Ferrari matches. This time, we post an entire GLOW episode which was uploaded to YouTube yesterday. (more…)