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…)

In Video: Barbi Hayden & Jessica James tussle in Texas

Barbi HaydenWe’ve become fans of Barbi Hayden because of things like her work at Women Superstars Uncensored‘s Uncensored Rumble back in August and her overall attitude to wrestling – which Stew covered with her in a Fight Like A Girl interview in September. In truth, 2013 has been a successful year for the 23-year old Texan, as she debuted in Mexico and Ring Of Honor as well as WSU, while also continuing to compete for other promotions in her home state – which is what brings us to this video.

The match we have for you is one of Hayden’s from Coastal Championship Wrestling‘s show on August 24 in La Marque. In it, she takes on fellow former Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Champion Jessica James, who had recently returned from a 3 month stint wrestling for the Diana promotion in Japan. Click the jump to take a look. (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…)

In Video: A look at Candice LeRae

Candice LeRae Cheerleader MelissaCandice LeRae has been doing a good job of getting her name out there in the last few months.

Even though she spends the bulk of her time working in California, the 28-year old has been spreading her wings. In September she travelled to Canada to take part in Smash Wrestling‘s CAN USA Classic and also made an appearance at Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, KY for a show which featured a lot of female talent, as well as the 4-way Ladder Match for the vacant Women’s Championship. Last month, she competed in Beyond Wrestling‘s Tournament For Tomorrow 2 and also worked on an episode of TNA Impact Wrestling, falling to Gail Kim – an opportunity which came about after a tryout match before the Bound For Glory PPV in October. Considering there are more eyes on LeRae, we though it would be a good idea to post one of her matches from the summer.

Quintessential Pro Wrestling is a new outfit on the West Coast, and their second show featured LeRae taking on reigning SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa in singles action. Click the jump to see the match, which took place in Monrovia on June 16… (more…)

In Video: Paige v Natalya from this week’s NXT

Paige Natalya NXTThe NXT Women’s Title match between champion Paige and challenger Natalya is the best women’s match presented on WWE TV this year. It’s received a world of praise, and deservedly so, but it also receives a surprised reaction from us, because it features a really strong performance from Natalya.

While she can be fine most of the time she tends to be given more slack than most, partially based on past work – as honestly, some of her stuff this year has been pretty disappointing, and in some cases a complete head-scratcher considering her seniority. However that albatross was shaken off her back for this match against the Briton, which made for a really entertaining contest.

The match came about after a pretty bitchy session between the pair the previous week where Paige was slightly hellish is claiming that Natalya had lost her focus on wrestling in favour of the Hollywood spotlight which came with the Total Divas fame. It led to the titleholder offering to put her belt on the line against the former Divas Champion, which led to this match, which you can see (along with the preceding angle) 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…)

In Video: Heidi Lovelace at National Pro-Wrestling Day

Heidi Lovelace NPWD by Mike Kalasnik
Wednesday on Ringbelles is usually “Ringbelles Retro” day, but our clip from this week isn’t particularly retro – it’s from this year, in fact – but it still seems a long time ago, and was one of the first big moments of the year for one of 2013s most impressive performers, Heidi Lovelace. After this match, which took place at National Pro Wrestling Day 2013, Lovelace would go on to have one of the most talked-about angles of the year with Taeler Hendrix in OVW, and produce quality performances in SHINE, SHIMMER, AAW, AIW, St Louis Anarchy, Chikara Pro and several of the Wrestling Is promotions, to name but a few.

It’s actually thanks to the Wrestling Is YouTube channel that we bring this match to you today – and it’s Heidi Lovelace teaming with Devin Bliss to take on the team of Reed Bentley & Tripp Cassidy, collectively known as The League. The intergender match took place on the evening card at NPWD under the “Wrestling Is Heart” banner. As we pointed out when we commended Heidi during our “A good half year for…” series earlier in the year, this match is ALL about heart. Bliss is in one of his first matches as a pro, and Lovelace, taking the lead for her team, takes an absolute shitkicking from The League. Sadly the YouTube video cuts off pretty swiftly after the match, but if you saw the match at the time on iPPV (or want to buy the VOD via SmartMarkVideo), you’ll see the assembled wrestling fans raise the roof in appreciation after the match for the gusty, heart-filled performance by Lovelace here – setting the scene for her superb year. Click through after the cut to check it out, and when you’re done, check out (or revisit) our half-hour interview with Heidi from earlier in the year when we talked about this match (and more). (more…)

In Video: Mistress Belmont unseats Alexxis Nevaeh

Mistress Belmont Dante LunaHappy Thanksgiving to our American visitors – we hope you have all had a relaxing and wholesome day.

And now, women fighting each other.

On August 8, 2010, Alexxis Nevaeh began an unprecedented third reign as World Women’s Wrestling Champion. She defeated Mistress Belmont to lift the title, getting a measure of revenge after Belmont had beaten her for the belt on March 20 that year. On November 9 of this year, Nevaeh’s 1,208 day reign as champion came to an end with Belmont winning her second WWW title on New England Championship Wrestling‘s card in Beverly, MA.

Between the pair, they have held the WWW Championship for the last 1,592 days, with the last person other than them to wear the belt being Ariel, who dropped the belt to Belmont on August 8, 2009. As you can imagine, this has been a long feud and they have fought many times. After the jump is the match which saw Alexxis’ mammoth reign come to an end. Have a watch while you wait to make room for pumpkin pie… (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…)

In Video: A women’s body bag match?!

Kc Spinelli Riea Von Slasher VL PhotographyRiea Von Slasher and Kc Spinelli have been at each other’s throats in Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling for a while now. After beating the tar out of each other last month in a Falls Count Anywhere match, the pair upped the ante last Friday during VIPW’s show in Vancouver, BC, Canada, with Von Slasher and Spinelli seeking to settle their differences in a Bodybag Match. The rules are much like Casket Match rules: get your opponent into the body bag and zip it up to win the contest.

Click the jump to see another unusual affair in this crazy world of pro wrestling, and also get ready to watch the happy and smiling Kc Spinelli as the nasty, mouthy heel. As we discovered last year, she turns to it well. (more…)

In Video: Pollyanna v Emi Sakura

Pollyanna Ggun PaIt was a big summer for Britain’s Pollyanna. She travelled to Japan in August to train with and wrestle for Emi Sakura‘s Gatoh Move promotion, and picked up a wealth of new skills and experiences along the way. Taking on the likes of Riho, Sayaka Obihiro, Kaori Yoneyama and Hiroyo Matsumoto, the London resident readily admits that it is one of the best experiences in her three and a half year career.

In an interview with Gatoh Move, Pollyanna admits that she would love to return to the promotion in 2014 and to make it a longer stay – however, during her visit she managed to squeeze in a title challenge.

Pollyanna challenged Sakura for the AWF World Women’s Championship at Itabashi Gatoh Heat Summer on August 10 in Itabashi as part of a stacked card. The full match is after the jump, so click and have a watch. (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…)

In Video: Stardom’s 100th show

Io Shirai Nanae Takahashi StardomStardom held a bumper card for its 100th show earlier on this month, with three championship matches, headlined by World Of Stardom Champion Io Shirai defending the belt against former titleholder and 5STAR GP winner Nanae Takahashi.

Presented to 1,020 fans at Tokyo, Japan’s Korakuen Hall on November 4, the show was recently broadcast and has been uploaded to YouTube – so watch it quickly before it goes away. We have the results here, but if you want to watch spoiler-free you can click the jump. (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…)

In Video: A Kiwi Armageddon

Evie Olivia ShawIn the PWWA Interim Title Tournament DVD review from last week (click here to read it), I pointed out that it’s astounding at how proficient Evie is considering the small pool of female wrestlers there are in New Zealand – but it’s not as tiny as you may think.

For example, Impact Pro Wrestling has wrestlers like the aforementioned Evie, as well as former tag team partner Megan-Kate, Britenay and Olivia Shaw. Elsewhere, you have wrestlers like JpE, Nurse Payne and Scarlett in places like New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling and Maniacs United. Some of that talent was on display last weekend at the Armageddon Expo – a Comic Con for Australia and New Zealand featuring sci-fi, gaming, anime, collectibles, TV and movie stars and comic books. (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…)

In Video: Fierce Females – Nikki Storm v Portia Perez

11 Nikki Storm Portia PerezEarlier this week, a fancam version of the Portia Perez v Nikki Storm match from ICW: Fierce Females‘ show last Sunday was posted on YouTube, which caught us off guard until we considered the source of the recording. It’s been uploaded by Independent Women’s Internet Wrestling, which sponsored Portia’s trip to Scotland where she wrestled three matches in as many days – contests against Kay Lee Ray and Carmel Jacob as part of Premier British Wrestling cards as well as the XX: It’s In Our DNA show which we attended, and can read our report of by clicking here.

At the time, we described the match as a test of who could be the bigger bastard. Now you can see two great heels trying to out-cheat each other.

Obviously, the video you’ll watch after the jump is not the most perfect way to see the show as it pertains to a video format. Fierce Females will be releasing the whole event on DVD in the near future with multiple optimal camera angles and commentary overlaid to really showcase the matches. For now though, have a look at one of the matches from one of the top women’s promotions in the western world right now. Should your appetite be whetted, you can buy the DVDs of the first two shows at the promotion’s shop. Dive in. (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…)