40 years ago, Bobby Riggs and Billie-Jean King took to the tennis court in an event dubbed The Battle of the Sexes. It was actually the second intergender match for Riggs, as he had already beaten Margaret Court in straight sets earlier in the year, but this was the big one – with 30,472 watching in person at the Houston Astrodome, 50 million viewers watching the match in the US, and a total of 90 million worldwide. In the end, it was King who won in three straight sets, winning the $100,000 prize and doing a truckload of good for women’s liberation.
A documentary of the match has just been released in cinemas and for the Retro today, we’ve decided to go back and look at a woman who did her bit for women’s lib in the World Wrestling Federation. (more…)
A few weeks ago, we posted a WWF dark match from late 2001 featuring Jazz wrestling Lita before the former’s official debut at that year’s Survivor Series. A quick nose around the same YouTube account brought up another untelevised contest from around the same time, so we bring it to you for this week’s Retro.
This one sees Molly Holly in action under her Mighty Molly gimmick. Her persona from the female Holly cousin happened after she turned on her boyfriend Spike Dudley to align herself with The Hurricane who was part of the WCW and ECW conglomerate known as The Alliance. To match in with his superhero persona, she became his ever-faithful sidekick – though the gimmick was so over that it eventually started to be cheered – and once the Invasion angle was over with, the pair turned babyface.
This match from December of that year sees Molly take on Dee Dee Venturi – a woman who at the time was doing jobs on WCW and WWF TV. Starting her wrestling career relatively late – at the age of 33 – she had been wrestling for three years when this match rolled around. Earlier in 2001, she had fallen to Lexie Fyfe in a WWF dark match, and had also wrestled Molly herself in WCW on a few occasions when Holly was competing under the name of Mona. (more…)
Sara Del Rey seems to be doing a good job behind the scenes in WWE working with the women in NXT – there probably wouldn’t be a tournament to crown a Women’s Champion if things weren’t going well – but we thought we would delve into her back catalogue to show off one of her matches from close to a decade ago.
Fresh off a two month trip to Mexico, then-four-year pro Del Rey returned to her home of All Pro Wrestling in Hayward, CA for its ChickFight III tournament, which was held over two days at the end of October in 2005. She and Cheerleader Melissa were disqualified in the opening round, so she was booked into another contest on the second day against APW Worldwide Internet Champion JJ Perez – that’s the match we have for you for this week’s Retro.
A week later, Del Rey would help to put SHIMMER: Women Athletes on the map by going to a 20-minute draw with Mercedes Martinez in the penultimate match on the first volume. (more…)
Reggie Bennett is someone we haven’t mentioned at Ringbelles before. That changes today.
The Californian started wrestling after being approached by Mando Guerrero in the mid-1980s, roughly around the same time that he was training the original cast of the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. A bodybuilder at the time, Bennett started wrestling for the Independent Wrestling Federation before moving to Ladies Professional Wrestling Association until the promotion shut up shop in 1992.
Two years later, the then-33-year old moved to Japan to compete for All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling, winning the IWA World Women’s Championship in 1995 and the All Pacific Championship the following year. Following an appearance at Extreme Championship Wrestling‘s Barely Legal PPV in April 1997 as part of Raven‘s Flock, she joined the brand new Hyper Visual Fighting Arsion promotion, which is where we join her for this week’s Retro as part of the promotion’s first show entitled Virgin, held in Tokyo on February 18, 1998. (more…)
Earlier this month, we spoke to Crazy Mary Dobson and covered a range of different subjects, including her match against Jazz this Friday in the main event of Girl Fight Wrestling‘s first show in Charlestown, IN – a show which also being broadcast on iPPV, which you can order for $10 by clicking here. Dobson admitted that facing the former WWE Women’s Champion is more of a nerve-wracking prospect that competing in a death match – and you can understand why.
With a very enviable portfolio of matches under her belt throughout her 15-year career – and currently enjoying a career resurgence thanks to iPPV exposure in SHINE Wrestling – the Louisiana native is arguably Mary’s toughest challenge to date.
Considering this is a first-time experience for Dobson, we’ve decided to show off a first for Jazz – her first match in the World Wrestling Federation. While her official debut was as a mystery entrant as part of the Six Pack Challenge for the Women’s Championship at the 2001 Survivor Series – a match which saw Trish Stratus claim her first title – Jazz also wrestled in the WWF before that PPV. The match we have today is from the SmackDown tapings on November 13, 2001 – five days before that show – in a dark match with Lita. (more…)
For some reason, I thought of Lacey today, so that’s why we have her in this week’s Retro.
It’s been some five years since the mouthy heel from Minnesota bowed out of wrestling (barring a brief comeback for a solitary match in 2010) to continue with her studies – a vocation which would see her resettle in China – but she was instrumental in forwarding the women’s wrestling scene in the US. She was part of the women’s divisions in both Ring Of Honor and IWA: Mid South – the latter of which would see her win the IWA: Mid South/NWA Midwest Women’s Championship in the Volcano Girls tournament – and was in the main event of the first volume of SHIMMER: Women Athletes. No doubt, Lacey is a pioneer, and should be celebrated as such.
The match we have after the jump is from just before the start of SHIMMER on June 23, 2005 where Lacey took on future TNA Knockout – and current singles champion – Velvet Sky under her former guise of Talia Madison. (more…)
Kacee Carlisle – who is one hell of a great promo, by the way – defends her NWA World Women’s Championship on Friday evening against former Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Champion Barbi Hayden as part of NWA Houston‘s Shut Up And Wrestle show in Cypress, TX.
More than 200 days into her first run with the title, the 33-year old from Sturgis, SD has been part of the wrestling business for all of her adult life. Debuting as a manager in 1998, she accompanied Shorty Smalls sporadically for the first few years before getting more involved in 2003, and eventually transitioning to becoming a wrestler in 2005. Her first in-ring contest is the match we have for you for today’s Retro.
Looking much different to how she appears in the photo to your right, Carlisle took on SHIMMER Original Krissy Vaine in her first encounter on July 30, 2005 on a show in Olney, VA. Watch it after the jump. (more…)
This weekend sees Women Superstars Uncensored return to iPPV (click here to order) with its Queen and King of the Ring show – changing the gender titles around from how it has been since the gimmick started back in 2006. As well as the intergender tournament – which is being held in conjunction with Combat Zone Wrestling, moving away from having the male roster members come from National Wrestling Superstars – the show will also see a singles male v female contest with WSU Champion Jessicka Havok facing CZW’s Sami Callihan.
The first winners of the tournament were Julio Dinero and Kara Slice – the latter of whom found fame in WWE as Cherry, the sweet but put-upon girlfriend/sister of Deuce and Domino. Last year’s victors were Mike Dennis and Jennifer Cruz, though Cruz has faded out of the WSU picture in the 12 months since her regal victory.
We have two matches for this week’s Retro, both of which have been released for free by WSU in the past couple of days to whet your appetite ahead of this Saturday’s event. The first is from the first round brackets in 2009, with then-WSU Tag Team Champion Miss April - now better known as WWE’s AJ Lee – alongside her trainer Jay Lethal taking on Trixie Lynn & Helter Skelter. We also have former Extreme Championship Wrestling colleagues Jazz & Balls Mahoney facing Amber O’Neal & Bison Bravado from the opening round in 2010. Admittedly, the photo we’ve used for this post gives away the result of the first match, but take a watch and see what you think. (more…)
Today marks ten years to the day that Elizabeth Hulette died at the age of 42 from an overdose of painkillers and vodka. It was a sad end for a woman who usually represented a clean and wholesome image on screen. However, her TV character presented us with something of a problem as part of the Retro, as she’s not a wrestler – in fact, she competed in fewer than half a dozen matches in her life, and all of those were at the tail end of her career.
Instead, what we have elected to do is highlight some of the bigger moments in her career which aren’t the Match Made in Heaven at SummerSlam 91. But what else did she do? Well, most of her moments are intertwined with Randy Savage, either being the calmer foil to his more frantic style, or as an antagonist to him in World Championship Wrestling.
After the jump are a lot of videos – some of which you may have seen, others which you may not, but most are a little more outside the usual Elizabeth fare which you may see… (more…)
In yesterday’s Ringbelles Roundup, we led with a preview of next Monday’s Stardom show at Tokyo, Japan’s Sumo Hall. Ryōgoku Cinderella‘s card is headlined by the final match of model-turned-wrestler Yuzuki Aikawa, who held both the Wonder of Stardom and Goddesses of Stardom titles during her short career.
Short, indeed – she debuted in October 2010 with much fanfare, and started with a baptism of fire to prove that she wasn’t going to just rely on her beauty in the hard-hitting world of joshi puroresu. She did so by taking on veteran Nanae Takahashi in a contest which was designed to show that she could take the lumps, earn her stripes in quick order and make it clear that she was not just going to coast through or just leech from the profession to boost her own profile.
For someone in their first ever match after just five months training, it’s a minor miracle of a contest, and despite it not being that far in the past, it is this week’s Retro. Watch the kicking commence after the jump. (more…)
Before there was a Knockouts Championship, there was still a Knockouts division, and while it was showing promise, it was still a work in progress, as you can see momentarily.
The match featured in this week’s Retro is from June 9, 2006 when TNA was looking to establish audiences, and had a go at latching onto the old Extreme Championship Wrestling crowd by holding a show at the former ECW Arena. Featuring former ECW stars like Team 3D, Rhino, Simon Diamond and Jerry Lynn, it worked like a throwback for fans who still wanted an edgier product. The women also got involved with a more suggestive-style match than was being presented at the time – with Original Knockout Traci Brooks facing future inaugural Knockouts Champion Gail Kim, with Christy Hemme serving as a special referee.
It’s not a 5-star match, but it is an interesting example of TNA throwing ideas at a wall at the time and seeing what stuck. Click the jump and enjoy. (more…)
Seeing as Allison Danger‘s impending retirement was announced yesterday, we thought it would be a good idea to delve into her archives – and we’ve gone way back to when she was still a rookie…
The contest we’ve got for you here is from a May 26, 2002 Jersey All Pro Wrestling show in Seaside Heights, NJ – long before Snooki and co invaded and before Hurricane Sandy did its damage – as part of Summer Shore Series. At this point, Danger was a little over a year into her career and yet to set foot into Ring Of Honor, and looked vastly different to her appearance now – looking more gothic and moody.
Her opponent in the match is WWF Tough Enough 1 runner-up Taylor Matheny, who had lost out to Nidia the previous year. You can read more on Taylor’s life after TE by clicking here, but you can see their match in two parts by clicking the jump. (more…)
There are a lot of big talking points focussed on this Saturday’s SHIMMER Volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ, and also being broadcast on iPPV (click here to order). As well as the SHIMMER title cage match between Saraya Knight and Cheerleader Melissa, the returns of Amazing Kong, Madison Eagles and Serena Deeb, the debuts of Evie and Kimber Lee and much more, Ayumi Kurihara makes her final appearance in the promotion before retiring in August. She’ll take on SHIMMER original Mercedes Martinez in what is likely to be a bruising affair – especially since the former CMLL World Women’s Champion has vowed to keep competing at the highest level possible before bowing out, despite the nagging injuries which are forcing her out of the grap game before the age of 30.
Kurihara was a hot prospect from very early on in her career following her debut in April 2005. Two years later on April 30, 2007, Kurihara squared off against Manami Toyota for the JD Star promotion as part of its GRAPPLE BEAUTY ~ FUTURE07 season, which is the match we have for you in this week’s Retro. (more…)
You may or may not know that Beth Phoenix is the stone in the pond that led to me (Stew) picking up a copy of SHIMMER Vol 1 in 2006, which in turn led to meeting fellow Ringbelles founder Lee at a ChickFight show in 2007, which led to us becoming travel buddies to the US for live SHIMMER action in 2008, which led to us starting a Podcast in 2009, which led to this site launching in 2011. Kinda funny to imagine what life would be like without that Beth-inspired flash of inspiration on that day, seven years ago… but to go back a little further, let’s see what it was that originally drew me to Beth Phoenix – and to do that, you’ve got to go back to Ohio Valley Wrestling. I was an avid fan of the Jim Cornette booked OVW product in the early part of the 21st Century, and one of the wrestlers around at the time was Aaron “The Idol” Stevens. Now, he had a cup of coffee in WWE as Idol Stevens as part of a tag team with fellow OVW alum KC James, but he ended up being released, being brought back and being repackaged as none other than “The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses” Damien Sandow. However, back in those heady OVW days of yore, Stevens had an intriguing gimmick whereby he was a playboy who had two valets – one was the blond good girl (played by Beth Phoenix) and one a raven-haired bad girl (played by Shelly Martinez) – and I’m not going to lie, the gimmick was racy. Check out this interview clip, and feel free to have a cigarette afterwards if you so choose.
For this week’s retro offering, we’ve selected a clip from OVW from after the breakup of that particular ménage-a-trois, and actually after I’d fallen out of watching regular OVW (my interest in the product waned when Cornette was removed) – and features a babyface Beth taking on a heel Shelly from early 2006, with the debuting Trinity, previously of NWA:TNA, making her debut in WWE developmental. Here’s to Beth for the inspiration, and if you want to know what she’s up to now, check out her art on Etsy, where she is selling both original pieces and prints as part of her GlamCanvas store. (more…)
Ahead of the first WrestleMania on March 31, 1985, Vince McMahon and his WWF was doing all that it could to swell its following, expanding nationally and exposing its product to new fans. That included migrating onto Ted Turner’s SuperStation WTBS network, taking over the time slot that had been home to Georgia Championship Wrestling and its World Championship Wrestling show for 12 years. In what became known as Black Saturday, the WWF took over proceedings on July 14, 1984 – and viewers loathed it.
Thousands wrote to and called TBS complaining about the loss of their favourite names, and started switching off the show to the point that McMahon decided to get out, retaining the GCW name but selling the time slot to Jim Crockett Promotions – the promotion which eventually became WCW. (more…)
We at Ringbelles miss Maryse.
It’s not important that she wasn’t the best wrestler in the world, made a lasting mark on the industry or inspired any women to follow in her footsteps – I personally liked her and looked forward to segments involving her. Her character was one of the best in WWE at the time – self-obsessed, cocky and secure in her belief that she was the greatest thing that has ever or will ever exist. Her character believed it so strongly that there was never a question in the viewer’s mind that she thought she was the greatest thing since an egg-white omelette. Plus – the dismissive hand she threw in people’s faces? Awesome.
Despite her lack of ability, Maryse still won two Divas Championships – the first of which, at 216 days, is still the longest Divas Title reign in history. Her original title victory is the match we have for you for today’s Retro. (more…)
Back in the 1980′s, many of the big wrestling promotions like the World Wrestling Federation, World Class Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions were trying to make their mark with supercards, especially around the early times of pay-per-view. The American Wrestling Association was also getting involved – it had already drawn 20,000 fans with its Super Sunday show in 1983, and in 1986, had its next foray into supercards with WrestleRock at the Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH) Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN, which opened with a fabulously bad rap, proving that Shawn Michaels really isn’t musical…
23,000 AWA fans watched the 16 match show at the venue, with the promotion’s women taking part in a battle royal as part of March 8, featuring Joyce Grable, Kat LeRoux, Sensational Sherri Martel, Rose Divine, Taylor Thomas, Despina Montega, Misty Blue Simmes, Debbie Combs, Luna Vachon (amusingly introduced an Leona Vachon by ring announcer Gary Capetta), and then-Women’s Champion Candi Divine. (more…)
Since this match on February 7, 2009, life has taken some twists and turns for Rain and Nevaeh. At the time, both were part of strong tag teams in SHIMMER – Rain was teaming with Jetta in the International Home Wrecking Crew while Nevaeh and Ashley Lane were the promotion’s Tag Team Champions. These days, Rain is the leader of the stable in SHINE known as Valkyrie – alongside April Hunter, Ivelisse Velez, Allysin Kay and Taylor Made – and Nevaeh is the sole female member of the Combat Zone Wrestling faction the OI4K, with running buddies Sami Callihan, Dave Crist and Jake Crist.
While neither are SHIMMER regulars these days, they’re not short of work, with Nevaeh also working in Women Superstars Uncensored as well as CZW, and Rain headlining SHINE as part of what she insists is her final year of competition.
This Retro comes from UnderGround Wrestling‘s A Night Of Heartache in Joliet, IL, which you can see after the jump. (more…)
Last month, it became apparent that Sarita (Sarah Stock) had parted ways with TNA. She hadn’t been seen for some time in the promotion, but had been keeping busy by wrestling for her home promotion of CMLL in Mexico under her Dark Angel character, as well as spending a little time in Japan last summer, wrestling with Stardom.
However, as we noted in the Roundup yesterday, the 33-year old adopted luchadora is preparing to compete in the US for the vacant Pro Wrestling Revolution Women’s Championship. She’ll wrestle Cheerleader Melissa in San Francisco, CA on Saturday in what is essentially a decider between the two – Stock won their first encounter on SHIMMER volume 11, with Melissa evening the score on volume 18. Since then, both have enjoyed success – Melissa won the SHIMMER Championship in 2011, while Stock enjoyed two reigns as TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion. For today’s Retro, we go back before the pair faced each other in the ring, with Dark Angel challenging for the vacant CMLL World Women’s Championship.
Both she and Marcela won a Torneo cibernetico elimination match on September 9, 2005 to earn their way into competing for the belt, which was vacated after champion La Diabólica left the promotion – ironically she’s also the woman who was stripped of the PWR belt that Melissa and Dark Angel are fighting over this weekend. The following week, the pair squared off for the title, and you can watch the match after the jump.
Considering that Serena Deeb‘s return was announced yesterday, let’s have a Retro featuring her days in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Serena uprooted herself from Virginia to Kentucky in March 2005 at the tender age of 18 to follow her dream of wrestling, and stayed there until May 2009 when she signed with WWE. Success came relatively quickly, as less than a year after her debut, she uprooted ODB to become OVW’s second ever Women’s Champion, and was the first women to win the belt on six different occasions – Josette Bynum pipped that achievement in 2011 with seven reigns.
Speaking of Bynum, it is she who Deeb faces in this Retro from May 23, 2008, under her former moniker of Josie. It is a match which took place at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom with Josie’s Women’s Championship on the line, and sees Serena vying to win the belt for a second time – though the commentators say it’s the third. Click after the jump to watch.
In a recent interview with WrestleShark, Velvet Sky admitted that she has been bugging TNA to do all they can to tempt Angelina Love back to the company and reform the Beautiful People, much like they were doing during the tail end of last year after both had left the promotion. She admitted that their heel run in 2008 was their favourite time – and I would tend to agree, as they were arguably the most over heels on the show. However, as she told us last November, Angelina has no real interest in re-signing with TNA at the moment.
However, before the pair teamed up in TNA, they also worked together on the indie circuit, as evidenced in the match we have for this week’s Retro from October 5, 2007 – about a week and a half before both competed in the Gauntlet Match to crown the first Knockouts Champion at Bound For Glory. They under their indie guises of Angel Williams and Talia Madison – form two thirds of a 3-way at a Prestige Entertainment show, with the third opponent being Nikki Roxx, and has Daffney as the special guest referee. (more…)
Just over a year ago, we posted a match in the Retro featuring Portia Perez as a babyface – and as part of the build up to it’s An Ultraviolent Affair show on February 9, Women Superstars Uncensored has released another.
She takes on Angelina Love from WSU’s The Show Must Go On in Boonton, NJ on June 21, 2008 – her other match that day was on the Army Of One card with her teaming with Dawn Marie to beat Love and Becky Bayless.
This was Perez’s first venture into WSU – she would return a few more times over the next two years, with her most recent appearance being on November 6, 2010 where she would beat ODB on one taping, and lost a number one contender 4-way on the other. (more…)
At the age of 23, Vivian Vachon was the wrestler who was given centre stage of the 1973 documentary movie Wrestling Queen. The story is loosely centred around the career of the aunt of the late Luna Vachon, though it also features the stories of brothers Paul “Butcher” Vachon and Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon, along with others like Killer Kowalski, Grizzly Smith and a certain Jean ‘The Giant’ Ferre, later better known as Andre The Giant. Billed as “a snapshot of a rarely seen part of 70’s culture”, it offers a great insight into wrestling in that era, and has some great footage inside the ring featuring action from both genders.
Born on February 14, 1944 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Vivian Vachon started wrestling before turning 16, and was trained for a time by the Fabulous Moolah. By the time Wrestling Queen was filmed, Vachon had already won the AWA Women’s Championship, defeating Betty Boucher on November 4, 1971 to win the belt, and held it for close to two years. Vachon tragically died with her daughter Julie in a road accident on August 25, 1991 at the age of just 47. (more…)
Believe it or not, there was a time when Mercedes Martinez was new. She’s been such a solid fixture of wrestling in the US for more than a decade, and has the memories – and autobiographical tattoos – to prove it.
The Retro for today is from May of 2002, about 18 months after her debut, and was an early women’s match in New England Championship Wrestling. Martinez had been wrestling against the likes of Della Morte, though it was this contest which NECW asserts in this video was one of the reasons why it decided to go ahead with creating the World Women’s Wrestling brand in 2005 – with Martinez being its first champion, crowned on June 5 of that year.
Her opponent in this match is Sumie Sakai, who at this point had been wrestling for around 5 years. This is the first match of what would be many Martinez v Sakai contests throughout a range of promotions, but as you’ll see in this contest, the first one wasn’t all plain sailing… (more…)