Ringbelles Retro: Luna Vachon v Jessicka Havok

Luna VachonWhen we spoke to Jessicka Havok for episode 36 of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast in February last year, she talked about how in her formative wrestling years, she gained a lot of knowledge from working with Luna Vachon. We’ve finally tracked down a match between the pair, and have it for you as part of this week’s Retro.

Luna was seeing out her wrestling days at the point when this match took place on a Cleveland All-Pro Wrestling event on August 5, 2007, as she ended up retiring from the ring that December after 22 years of grappling which had seen her wrestle for the likes of the American Wrestling Association, All Japan Pro Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation, Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling and Women Superstars Uncensored. As far as finding someone to tap the knowledge of, Havok hit the jackpot with Vachon.

At this point, Jessicka had been competing for around three years, and had been tearing her way through the CAPW roster to the point where she challenged Vachon for her Universal Women’s Hardcore Championship. Click after the jump to watch a lot of crazy brawling between a tough veteran and equally tough rising star. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: La Felina sharpens her claws

Gail KimIf you asked a wrestling fan who La Felina would be better known as, chances are most would struggle to tell you the correct answer. However, were you to say that La Felina would gain international fame under her real name of Gail Kim, give yourself a gold star.

Debuting in December 2000 under a mask, it was fellow Canadian and fellow future TNA Knockout Traci Brooks who would unmask her – though she later admitted that the mask wasn’t her idea and she didn’t miss the mask when it was removed.

Kim wrestled as La Felina for close to two years before being signed by WWE in October 2002, with one of her trips taking her to Allentown, PA, where she would compete for World Xtreme Wrestling. This Retro is from around September 2002, with her teaming with Nuisance against Brooks and Sinn in a mixed tag match. Despite the sound going out of sync during the video, it’s still interesting to see Kim before all the WWE and TNA fame. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Before Chyna, there was Joanie Lee

ChynaLast week, rumours started concerning Chyna‘s status with WWE and that there may be a dialogue between the two sides for the first time in a long time, with the end goal being her being inducted into the Hall Of Fame alongside her stablemates in D-Generation X. That’s a pretty big thing when you think about it as she has been persona non grata in WWE since leaving in 2001 – compounded when she entered the world of hardcore pornography.

In June, we presented a match of hers from her WWF days where she defended the Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho but this week, we’ve gone a little deeper into her archives and stumbled across a contest from her days on the indie circuit before she became the bodyguard of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, debuting in In Your House: Final Four in February 1997, acting as a fan to choke Goldust‘s then-wife/director Terri “Marlena” Runnels before being dragged away by security. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: First SHIMMER Champion crowned

Sara Del Rey Gilda PasquilIt was right around the time that SHINE Wrestling was crowning its first champion that SHIMMER posted up the deciding match to determine its first titleholder.

The first weekend in June 2007 saw SHIMMER hold a 16-woman tournament, with Sara Del Rey and Lacey making it to the finals. The American Angel made it to the last match by beating Cindy Rogers, Alicia and Dark Angel Sarah Stock, while the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew member got there by turning around a pretty crummy win-loss record up to that point to defeat Eden Black (remember her?), Nikki Roxx and Daizee Haze.

Of course, it was Del Rey who emerged victorious to become the first SHIMMER Champion, though if you don’t have volume 12, you can watch the final here – which also sees involvement from Rain, Allison Danger and Roxx. Click the jump to watch the full contest. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Father v Daughter in WWE

Stephanie McMahon WWEOn Saturday, we posted an intergender match between Kirsty Love and Jigsaw. Well, for this weeks Retro, we’re posting another.

In the summer of 2003, Vince McMahon was in an angle where he was having an affair with the recently returned Sable – and his daughter, SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon was none too happy about it. The two women fought at Vengeance in July with Sable getting the win after the GM was mown down by the A-Train (now Tensai). However, despite his new squeeze getting the upper hand, hostilities between father and daughter continued into the latter part of the year with Vince pressuring Stephanie to resign from the position he assigned to her the year before.

The developments which led right up the match began when Stephanie interrupted Vince presenting Brock Lesnar with the WWE Championship which he had won the previous week by beating Kurt Angle in an Iron Man Match to say that he would defend the belt against The Undertaker at No Mercy in October. Irritated, the big boss demanded that she call the match off, though she resisted, leading to Vince announcing that she would face his own daughter in an I Quit Match at the pay-per-view. The stipulation was later added that if Stephanie lost, she would also quit as GM – though the playing field was levelled somewhat when Vince’s wife Linda pressured her hubby into agreeing to reigning as WWE Chairman if he gave up – though he later also added that Stephanie could beat him via pinfall in order to throw her another lifeline.

I’m not joking when I say that I really like this match. It’s no CM Punk v Daniel Bryan as far as workrate is concerned, but the story is all there and it makes for an entertaining contest filled with great drama… and Linda McMahon’s crappy acting. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Victoria’s violence

Victoria Tara Survivor Series Trish Stratus WWEConsidering the sudden news about the TNA release of Tara last night – something which she hasn’t publicly acknowledged as of now, it feel appropriate that we delve back into her history of matches spanning more than a decade, where she has been the focal point of both TNA and WWE. For this week’s Retro, we jump back all the way to November 17, 2002.

After a brief period as one of the Godfather’s Hos in the summer of 2000, Lisa Marie Varon was taken off TV for about two years for training and development, and repackaged as Victoria, the unhinged maniac who was given a storyline background with Trish Stratus which was partly based in reality, as both had been fitness models before joining WWE. Victoria re-debuted on the July 7, 2002 broadcast of Sunday Night HeAT, and the pair squared off on pay-per-view for the first time at No Mercy in October, where Stratus – who by this point had won her third Women’s Championship – successfully defended her title. However, the hostilities continued, and it reached the point where it was decided that the pair would face off again under Hardcore Rules at the Survivor Series in New York City’s Madison Square Garden… (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: NWA v AWA; MsChif v Amazing Kong

MsChif Amazing Kong Gilda PasquilOn April 7, 2007, Amazing Kong and MsChif competed in what was – at the time – the most anticipated SHIMMER match in its history as part of the volume 9 taping. After seeing Kong steamroller through the opposition up to that point, it was thought that Your Soul’s Tormentor would be a viable challenge, and would push her to her limit.

It was an accurate assumption – but in the end it was Kong who emerged victorious, and would not be pinned in the promotion until November 2009 where she was toppled in the main event of volume 28… coincidentally, by MsChif.

However, a month after their original encounter in the promotion, the pair would face off again – except it wasn’t in a SHIMMER ring in Berwyn, IL this time. Instead, it would be in nearby Streamwood as part of an NWA Midwest show with quite a lot at stake. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: A trip down Memory Lane

Ashley Lexi Lane Madison RayneConsidering her departure from TNA was announced today, it seems logical to showcase a match from Madison Rayne‘s history, even back before she was given the moniker of Ashley Lane – a name she was given when she arrived in SHIMMER, as the promotion already had a Lexie Fyfe.

This Retro comes from September 2006 – around 18 months into young Lexi Lane‘s career – and follows a series of matches against fellow Ohio natives Hailey Hatred and Jessicka Havok. The match itself is from her home promotion at the time, Ohio Championship Wrestling, and was a second to last contest on the card, which is a big feather in the cap of someone which comparably little ring time under her belt.

Her opponent is a woman who she would eventually call a colleague in TNA, Traci Brooks. Click after the jump to watch. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: Battle of the Sexes – Chyna v Jericho

Chyna Chris Jericho40 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: A Mighty Molly dark match

Mighty Molly HollyA 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Sara Del Rey in APW

sara del rey slammin ladiesSara 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Reggie Bennett in Arsion

Reggie BennettReggie 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Jazz in the WWF before her debut

Jazz Crazy Mary Dobson Girl Fight WrestlingEarlier 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: A look back at Lacey

LaceyFor 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Kacee Carlisle – then and now

Kacee CarlisleKacee 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Past Queen & King of the Ring matches, plus a pre-WWE AJ Lee

Jay Lethal Miss April AJ Lee WSUThis 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Lots of Miss Elizabeth

Miss ElizabethToday 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Yuzuki Aikawa’s debut, featuring lots of pummelling

Yuzuki AikawaIn 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Knockouts visit ECW’s old home

Traci Brooks Christy HemmeBefore 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Early Allison Danger

Allison DangerSeeing 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Arigato Ayumi Kurihara

Ayumi KuriharaThere 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Phoenix Rising in OVW

lYou 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Wendi Richter, pre WrestleMania I

Wendi RichterAhead 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…)

Ringbelles Retro: Memories of Maryse

MaryseWe 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…)