Could something be brewing for WrestleMania XXVIII that we had not considered? When Stew ran through the most likely options for a Divas match in Miami, FL or April 1, a number of different possible scenarios were raised from Divas title defences to battle royals. However, a curveball may have been thrown that has been bubbling under for a little while, and may start to spill out over the pan.
Madusa made a couple of posts on her Facebook yesterday giving some more information about her plans for the upcoming months. It started with her saying that she would not be at a couple of the WrestleReunion fanfests taking place over the next month:
Just want to let you all know I am NOT at the wrestle reunion in Miami or Canada.
just to set the record straight!
However, after taking away with one hand, she gave with the other:
However…. did receive a call from WWE…… :) and thats all i am say’n!!
The former WWF Women’s Champion has been pretty vocal on her Twitter about challenging current WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix in a winner-take-all affair, even going as far as posting up a picture of herself with the old Women’s Title belt – the one that she dropped in the trash on WCW Monday Nitro in late 1995. Although it all seemed like a bit of grandstanding, maybe WWE has decided to capitalise on it, considering they’re Twitter-crazy these days, and also short of a women’s match for WrestleMania. (more…)
This past Saturday night saw a fight between two athletes headline a national TV show – a fight that not only was very real, but was built up as a proper grudge between two combatants who didn’t like each other. One was the determined, serious champion, one was the mouthy, charismatic upstart. The public cared. Newspapers gave them front page coverage. The internet was ablaze with interest. Step forward Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey – who proved that, while their gender was certainly part of the reason why the fight got such publicity, they were justifiable main eventers, and they delivered with a stunning fight which saw “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey utterly destroy Miesha Tate’s arm with a first round armbar to go 5-0 and become the new face of women’s MMA. Now, we don’t cover MMA here at Ringbelles, but the lessons are there to be learned. I believe, much as Alex Greenfield said in his recent appearance on the Women of Wrestling Podcast, that “Women’s wrestling is something that can generate real dollar business”. In the aftermath of the Tate vs Rousey show, I had a brief twitter exchange with fellow wrestling podcaster Mike Sempervive (of the Adam & Mike Big Audio Nightmare and Wrestling Observer Live over at WrestlingObserver.com) about whether WWE would learn anything from (a) the simple, old-school but effective build of Tate/Rousey as compared to ridiculous “Sports Entertainment”, or (b) the fact that women were presented as main draws. Semp tweeted “While the look of the messenger changes, it’s always the story that hooks people. And those donks lost that plot a long time ago”. Sadly, he’s not wrong. So here we stand, just a few days after a high-water mark for women’s combat sports, and also less than four weeks away from the biggest show in wrestling history, and rumours are currently swirling that (at the minute), there is *no* women’s match scheduled for WrestleMania. Now, one thing we as fans of (and commentators on) WWE have learned a long time ago is that Vince McMahon is an infinitely fickle man, and Raw shows are often written, re-written and re-written again even on the day of the show – so there’s every chance that by the time I’ve finished writing this article and uploaded it to the website, it’s already out of date – but with under a month to the big show, let’s consider the options for WrestleMania. (more…)
In a rare situation, tonight’s Divas match had a decent build up to it. Tamina Snuka started to gain momentum in a feud against Natalya, defeating her in several matches, then gaining a win over Brie Bella two weeks ago. This past week’s SmackDown featured her teaming with Alicia Fox to face Natalya and Beth Phoenix – after a Samoan Drop and a Superfly Splash, Tamina pinned Natalya. When Beth attempted to attack, the WWE Divas Champion got a superkick for her trouble, but avoided recieiving a Superfly Splash of her own.
Despite her greenness, Tamina has been booked strong in the past month. The short semi-squashes against Natalya hid any weaknesses she may still have, and getting the drop on Beth last Friday made her look like a formidable contender. She earned a title shot due to her several victories – suffering only one loss, and that being in a tag team match when she partnered with Aksana to take on Pin-Up Strong - over the last few weeks. With Tamina starting to get a response from crowds and having momentum heading into the PPV, it made for an interesting match.
At Elimination Chamber, after a seven to eight minute match, Beth hit the Glam Slam on Tamina for the pin. It wasn’t a bad match by any means – after all, Beth had got good matches out of Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres in the past. At one point, Snuka took a hard fall to the outside but she recovered and actually had Beth reeling at several points. She hit the superkick and the Superfly Splash but Phoenix kicked out at 2. Lets break things down… (more…)
This gif from last night’s Raw makes me sad.
At the conclusion of last night’s Raw match, Tamina pinned Brie Bella, followed by she and Beth Phoenix having a staredown. Looks like it’ll be the next Divas title match, which will probably take place at Elimination Chamber. However, judging by the reaction of the live crowd, nobody could give a flying fornication about that match, or Divas matches in general. Part of me thinks that it’s sad that they don’t get credit when they are out there trying (after all, Tamina’s getting something resembling a push at the moment), but the matches are so short, basic and without any form of excitement that I don’t blame the fans for not reacting.
As we discussed with Alex Greenfield on the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, the women WANT storylines to get their teeth into. And in WWE’s case, a couple of them are getting involved in angles as being associated with the guys (AJ with Daniel Bryan, Eve Torres with Zack Ryder for example) but they aren’t exactly the focus of the proceedings. In fact, their roles could be somewhat interchangeable. However, as Alex also pointed out, when given the right story, the appropriate amount of time and the backing (or apathy) of Vince McMahon, things can skyrocket.
The potential for this to happen next time for the WWE Divas would be in a potential Beth v Kharma series of matches, but with fan enthusiasm at an all-time low, is there a possibility of it being a draw like it possibly could be. Well, there is a chance, as Kharma generates excitement amongst the audience due to her unique look and how she is so vastly different to the mountains of tanning, hairspray and sprayed-on outfits that are trotted out for sub-two minute matches every week. Variety is the spice of life, and Kharma is the most left of the middle woman that the promotion has. This should be harnessed or even exploited to draw interest and money for the girls and make the audience realise there is more to the women than mountains of tanning, hairspray and sprayed-on outfits. The thing is, it’s going to need some help… (more…)
The former Divas Champion is currently the focus of a flatulence gimmick (which started last week and continued on Friday’s episode), where she would be passing gas by accident and other wrestlers would be reacting to it, embarrassing her in the process. Apparently, this is a storyline designed to get the third generation wrestler over, in order to push her in the future, as if the Pin-Up Strong gimmick with current champion Beth Phoenix was not enough of a basis to do that.
While Natalya is being the good company girl and putting a positive spin on it, her uncle Smith Hart took to his Twitter this weekend to complain about the storyline, saying that he is “appalled by this ridiculous flatulence gimmick given to my niece Natalya. Anyone that knows Natalya, knows she is a radiant and incredibly inspirational person deserving of so much more.”
Now, this storyline is insulting, don’t get me wrong. It’s pure “Vincertainment” – a term used for stories, angles or gimmicks that are likely to amuse Vince McMahon, but everyone else believes is dumb or counterproductive – and will eventually lead to fans coming to shows with “THE FART DYNASTY” signs or something equally “witty”. Besides, this isn’t a case of WWE messing around with the 29-year old over the last few weeks – WWE has been messing around with her for six whole months – to the day, in fact…
“You know, at one time, Mark Chapman was a huge John Lennon fan.” – Jerry Lawler, WrestleMania 22
That line of commentary from “The King” sums up one of the best female feuds in WWE history – the “Obsession” angle between then WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus and her stalker fan Mickie James. From October 2005 through April 2006, Alex Greenfield was the producer of all the angles/promos in the feud, and in this unique episode of the Podcast, he guides us through the twists, turns, shrines and kisses of the angle from conception to (injury hastened) completion. Find out the inspiration for the feud and how it changed organically as it got over, who came up with various parts of the angle, and personal opinions on all the major story beats of the story. Not only that, before the Mickie vs Trish stuff, we talk about the return of Kharma last weekend at the Royal Rumble and consider where she’s going on the Road to WrestleMania, and how that ties in to one Beth Phoenix. A fascinating peek behind the curtain of working for WWE.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
So, Kharma’s back.
After all the speculation about when she would give birth after going through a high-risk pregnancy, as well as whether she would choose to leave WWE and concentrate on being a full-time mother, we saw the return of the biggest and most physical woman in the Divas division in the 2012 Royal Rumble match, entering as a surprise at number 21, causing Michael Cole to scamper with fear, then attacking Dolph Ziggler, eliminating Hunico, and being eliminated by Ziggler himself. Sure, it was short, but it was enough to whet the appetite of fans – and let’s face it, what more would you expect from a woman who gave birth less than a month ago?
TMZ reports that Kharma delivered a baby boy on December 31, who has been named Jamie. Four weeks later, she’s putting back on the leather and stepping foot in a WWE ring to reprise the role which was put on hold on May 30 when she announced she was pregnant on Raw, a week after crumbling in the ring in tears. When she left, she was a heel with a heart, as people empathised with her desire to be a Diva and a mother – and she achieved both at the same time – and was then verbally attacked by the Bellas, before promising to get at them when she returned. Throw on top of that the fact that everyone she had a physical interaction with at the Rumble was a heel, and must was now assume that Kharma is a babyface? If also you consider that the current titleholder Beth Phoenix is the top heel who has been steamrollering the rest of the division and Kharma will inevitably be gunning for the belt, that must also position her as the fan favourite, right? (more…)
This year’s Royal Rumble was just about set in stone as far as matches were concerned. However, the powers that be must have figured that one more match was needed to fill time in between the World Heavyweight title match and the John Cena v Kane contest. Cue an impromptu Divas match – Beth Phoenix, Natalya and Nikki & Brie Bella taking on Alicia Fox (who, like Beth, has returned from exile), Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly & Tamina. No build up for it, but when does a women’s match in WWE have build up anymore?
For the record, Phoenix got the win for her team, delivering a Glam Slam to Kelly to get the victory.
Meanwhile, Kharma made her return to WWE as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match, making Michael Cole eliminate himself, pulverising Dolph Ziggler, throwing out Hunico and then being eliminated by Ziggler while she wasn’t looking.
Lets see what was pepperoni, what was sausage and what was anchovies… (more…)
There may be some friction between the reigning WWE Champion and Divas Champion. CM Punk visited Holberg’s Morning Circus on 98 KUPD in Arizona and granted an interview, which was broadcast on Monday. As part of the conversation, Punk was asked about his love life – something which was brought up during his interview with Maxim which was published in last November’s issue, as it mentioned that he and Beth Phoenix had been dating for a year.
Here, Punk pointed out that he was now single, but then started to elaborate, and wasn’t going to pull any punches – not that you would expect him to:
I ended a relationship in August… it pisses me off to watch people that you love and admire become complete douche bags. People just flake… it didn’t matter who it was [that she was with] as long as SOMEBODY was her boyfriend.
Click after the jump to hear the full clip. (more…)
Beth Phoenix and Natalya sat down with WWE Magazine for an interview which has been published in the February 2012 issue (though this must have been conducted a while back, as Phoenix has been off TV for more than a month and the Pin-Up Strong gimmick has been limping for a long time now), with one of the questions asked being which male-dominated stipulation match they would like to see introduced to the Divas Division. Both went for the ladder match.
“I want to compete in the first-ever Diva Ladder Match. Beth and I think it would be amazing, and I believe we could really pull it off,” Natalya says.
Beth adds, “I have been campaigning for WWE to let me compete in one and have even volunteered to put my Divas Championship on the line in it against absolutely anybody. I have the experience and truly believe the bar could be raised with that bout. There is no doubt in my mind that it would be the most spectacular Divas match of all-time.”
No doubt, a Divas ladder match would be pretty unique, but there is no way that this match should happen now, or even in the near future. A ladder match would have to be the culmination of a strong feud between two Divas who can go, with a number of matches having took place with inconclusive winners and the odd ladder attack, leading to the Divas title belt being hung above the ring. The problem that WWE has at the moment is that the Divas roster as a whole is probably at its most neglected in the last decade, and the number of quality female workers in the promotion who could successfully pull it off is tragically slim.
Beth would have to be one of them. Though it’s not saying much, she’s probably the most over and best all-rounder of all the women, though when it comes to her opponent, it’s slim pickings, for sure. (more…)
When I looked at the card for the Bull Nakano EMPRESS retirement show, I was surprised at what I saw. Not the card itself, which looked very appealing, but the order in which the matches would take place. Unlike American shows which have a card, but barring the main event, you probably won’t know the exact order of the matches. When it comes to Japan, the match listing is usually the order in which those contests would take place. Surprisingly, the singles match featuring veterans and legends Ayako Hamada and Aja Kong would OPEN the show, while the final match on the card would be between two women with comparatively little experience – one had just three years under her belt, while the other had debuted just 15 months ago.
Having said that, the match between Ice Ribbon’s ICEx60 and International Ribbon Tag Team Champion Hikaru Shida and Wonder Of Stardom and one half of the Goddesses Of Stardom Yuzuki Aikawa put forth a hell of a contest, and proved that they were worthy of headlining the card. Even more surprisingly, 28-year old Aikawa won the match in front of 3000 fans at the Tokyo Dome City Hall – though that could be indicative of the potential influence that she could have on joshi in the future…
Despite being trained in taekwondo for ten years, Aikawa made her living before becoming a wrestler as a bikini model and a singer in a girl group, selling picture books, DVDs and CDs, mostly down to her beauty and curvy figure. However, she packed it all in just over two years ago to make the transition to becoming a professional wrestler – funny, in the western world, it usually works the other way around. A year after making the switch, she debuted on October 31, 2010 as part of her own card which she produced, taking on Nanae Takahashi. You would imagine that considering that it was her own card, it was her first match and that she is a pretty woman, she would be eased into the situation by a veteran of the business.
No such luck. Takahashi defeated her, and as part of the deal, beat the shit out of her. (more…)
This week’s Roundup is a little different, as it’s a bit more personal. There’ll be the news information as usual, but it’s not as clinical as it tends to be.
The past week has seen a number of ‘goodbyes and good lucks’ in women’s wrestling, but all on varying levels. The first was last week when Britani Knight (Saraya-Jade Bevis) left her home in Norwich, England to head to Tampa, FL to report to Florida Championship Wrestling.
In a way, it was a great, and yet poorly kept secret. Yes, most people had knowledge that she had agreed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to wrestle for it. However, reports of when she was starting varied all over the place, which is why we at Ringbelles kept quiet until every single hoop that WWE had put in front of her had successfully been jumped through. For the same reason, it is also why we have not reported on who (if any) tried out for WWE during the last European tour in the autumn – after seeing how many potential mines there are to tread on, it’s better to not enter the minefield.
While Stew wrote a personal piece about Britani’s career as he has a stronger friendship with her, I can’t let her departure slide by without saying something about it myself. (more…)
Courtney Rush was one of our absolute favourite people in 2011 – and her appearances on the Women of Wrestling Podcast (episode 28, and again on the epic Christmas Show) left us wanting more… so what better idea than to give Courtney her own show? Joined by the first of her rotating guest co-hosts, friend and retired rival Cat Power, Courtney and Cat break down all manner of things, including how Cat has been adjusting to wrestling retirement, their last match together and yes, even stoke the flames of the small hope of a Cat Power comeback. Momma Power lays down the lessons to the young girls in the Ontario scene, and Courtney discusses her ongoing feud with Cherry Bomb, including calling us to arms for the “Rush Revolution” at Neo Spirit Pro-Wrestling. Also up for discussion is the DVD release of Monster Brawl, love and good wishes sent out to Britani and Saraya Knight on Britani’s FCW debut, last week’s Chelsea Handler/Beth Phoenix twitter kerfuffle (and what you need to say to Cat Power to have her shoot on you). Oh, and there’s a never before told story about a proposed gimmick for Cat & Courtney before they were Cat & Courtney. It’s so packed, it doesn’t even fit in an hour!
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
As we discussed with the Blossom Twins last week, there is a great deal of excitement amongst women within Ohio Valley Wrestling concerning the new relationship with the promotion and TNA, and at the time of the announcement, we listed some of the hotter prospects that could get a break in TNA in the future.
OVW has a history of having strong women’s divisions, as was evident five years ago when the promotion was being used as a farm facility by WWE, and also had independent wrestlers migrating there as it was the best place to catch the attention of the bigger companies. As a result, this week’s Retro (a gauntlet match for the OVW Women’s Championship) features a wealth of stars.
In this match alone, you have defending titleholder Beth Phoenix, Shelly Martinez in her Ariel gimmick, Katie Lea before her WWE debut or current incarnation of Winter in TNA, ODB and Serena Deeb as well as Roni Jonah, Melody, Jennifer Mae, and even Kelly Kelly in a pre-match skit. The match took place on November 1, 2006, about 5 months after the WWE relaunch of ECW, which explains the edition of Ariel and Kelly, who were ECW “vixens” at the time. Beth had already debuted for WWE the previous May as an ally of Trish Stratus, but was taken off screen after she fractured her mandible on the June 5 episode of Raw. She was out of action for two months after having a titanium plate and nine screws inserted into her jaw, before returning to OVW before returning to WWE as a heel in July 2007. (more…)
WWE Divas Champions Beth Phoenix is apparently upset at comments made by late night talk show host Chelsea Handler on her programme Chelsea Lately last night. Tweeting earlier, Phoenix said:
@chelseahandler made some off color comments about Women’s Wrestling last night…Being WWE’s Diva’s Champ I can tell you with confidence that if @chelseahandler has any question about what a “women’s wrestler” can do or how well we entertain, Id be happy to show her… @chelseahandler please allow me to invite you to see a WWE event, live first hand 2/24 at the Staples Center. Of course, the invitation to @chelseahandler extends to the ring… any time… any place… if you would like to see what the Champ is made of.
So we had to check out what was said by Handler and her team in a discussion about Torrie Wilson now dating Alex Rodriguez (we think he’s a baseballer, but don’t quote us on that), and this is the most off-colour thing that was said: (more…)
While it’s been a great year for independent wrestling, it has taken its toll on a number of the biggest stars. Serena Deeb is currently walking a razor’s edge as far as her career is concerned following a concussion that she suffered at SHIMMER in October, LuFisto is taking some time out to let her troublesome back heal and had also had heart surgery this year, while Madison Eagles has a racked up shoulder and a dodgy knee that is currently sporting a massive brace. And now, Mercedes Martinez is getting over her own concussion issues following the War Games match at Breaking Barriers 2 on November 19 – a match in which she suffered temporary paralysis after suffering a stinger.
Women Superstars Uncensored announced last Tuesday that their champion would not be defending her title against Jennifer Cruz on January 21 in Stirling, NJ, as had been originally planned, due to her not being allowed to fly. Instead, her next match will be against Jessicka Havok on March 3 at WSU’s 5th Anniversary Show in Deer Park, NY.
Speaking exclusively to Ringbelles, The Latina Sensation explained what happened and the health issues that followed, immediately and days afterward… (more…)
The term “bonus match” was thrown around a lot on WWF pay-per-views during the Attitude era. Essentially, it was a match that you didn’t know was booked, but were getting to watch anyway, regardless of whether you were happy to pay for it or not. Most of the time, it featured people who would generally wouldn’t have thrown down money to see, as it was usually mid-card acts in a minor feud. Sometimes the match was perfectly fine, at other times it was a complete mess – regardless, no matter how good or bad it was, it generated zero dollars for the show, as it was not advertised ahead of time. As a result, it makes you wonder why the match took place, from a business sense. Sure, it may encourage fans to buy PPVs in the future, as they may get an extra treat – like buying a Kit-Kat and biting into it, only to find there is no wafer and it’s all chocolate or something – but for the most part, it’s merely a time killer that is designed to give the fans a rest before the next big-money match…
That’s exactly what happened with the Divas title match at WWE‘s final PPV of the year, TLC last night. Beth Phoenix retained the belt after defeating Kelly Kelly in an unadvertised affair using an inverted electric chair – if you remember when Big Show used to go through a million finishers in 2001, you may recall it being named the Alley-Oop. The match all came about after the Slammys on Monday when Beth came out to claim Kelly’s trophy, only to be slapped by the perky blonde and see her retrieve the award. Well, at least it had a build-up of sorts, I guess. Still, let’s see what was succulent turkey, what was limp parsnips, and what was sprouts… (more…)
I’ve been struggling with this week’s Roundup, as I wanted to write something about the Slammys, and the words just aren’t coming. Partly because there is nothing to say. What started as anger and frustration towards WWE has changed to a huge chunk of apathy – and that’s the worst feeling I could have towards it. At least with dislike, there is an emotion there. These days, I think a Vulcan could have more feeling towards WWE than I could. A real shame, considering that I wouldn’t have become a wrestling fan if it wasn’t for the WWF back in 1991.
I guess something cracked after yesterday’s Raw, when it became patently obvious that the Divas have had an utter stinker of a year. When WWE chose to go with Divalicious Moment of the Year instead of the usual Diva of the Year award, you could tell that they were screwed, mostly because nobody had a defining run this year, and Kelly Kelly’s Divas title run was the thing that could be most celebrated, and that was a disappointment, barring a couple of weeks leading up to SummerSlam’s match with Beth Phoenix. Even the appearance of Lita on the show was muted, as absence has not made the heart grow fonder in the eyes of the fans. Meanwhile, the appearance by Phoenix and her Pin-Up Strong teammate Natalya was also something that you could easily glaze over. Nothing matters. Nothing has an effect. Sure, Phoenix is the best Divas champ that WWE can have right now, but her alliance with Natalya blew up on the launchpad and has been a massive disappointment – partly due to there being no direction for the gimmick, and partly because she has precisely zero credible challengers for the belt. (more…)
Okay, who amongst us believes that WWE takes their women seriously? Raise your hand. I’ll wait.
No hands? Okay, is there anyone out there who believes WWE has any interest in promoting serious female wrestling? Show of hands.
No hands again. This is good. Lets see if we can go three for three. Who believes that the women’s division is an interesting, captivating part of WWE? Hands please.
As I suspected. Much like myself, few of us have any faith in WWE anymore when it comes to their women’s division. If they want to see great female wrestling, they know to go outside the company. The question is, what should be done about it? My solution is this:
Get rid of the Divas division. Have no female wrestling on any of the shows or cards. Retire the Divas Championship. Let Beth Phoenix be the last holder of that meaningless belt.
Extreme? Absolutely. However, there are precedents, albeit usually when the current holder of the title leaves WWE under less than pleasant circumstances. In 1990, then-champion Rockin’ Robin left the company without dropping the belt. The title was deactivated until 1993, when Alundra Blayze won a tournament to crown a new women’s champion. We know what happened with her in early 1996. Again, the title was deactivated until 1998, when it was Jacqueline who won the belt. Lastly, in 2001 when Chyna was the champion, she left the company without dropping it. However, given the talent in the division, it was quickly reactivated in November of that same year.
Having no female wrestling division in WWE has been done before. Let us be honest, how much of an impact does a 2 minute match on RAW have on your basic fan? If anything, it gives the fan in the audience a chance to relieve their bladder or buy some merchandise. It gives the fan at home a chance to get a beverage or a snack. Except for those die-hard Diva fans, those 2 minute matches mean nothing. (Is it even fair to call it a ‘match’?) Eliminating it would not diminish ticket sales, DVD sales or anything else money-wise. (more…)
Well, that’s not strictly the case – in fact, Phoenix wrestled for Kiryoku Pro a sister version of CHIKARA which started out as a female-heavy promotion in June 2002, though featured a ten man tag match on the card. As we discussed with Mike Quackenbush on the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, the promotion only existed for three shows – the latter two were joint cards with CHIKARA, before it was elected to do away with gender specifications and have the women and men wrestle each other.
Kiryoko Pro was a successful failure of a promotion. It showed fans that female wrestlers deserved to be regarded on an equal platform as men, and should not necessarily be separated from wrestling anyone they choose. This week’s Retro comes from the promotion’s final outing in collaboration with CHIKARA from November 23, 2002, around 18 months after Phoenix debuted, and before her Glamazon character had been esatablished. By the way, did you know that Phoenix’s first match was against Alexis Laree, AKA former WWE Women’s, Divas and TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James? It’s funny how tight some wrestling circles can be, isn’t it? (more…)
When Beth Phoenix and Natalya turned heel back in August, WWE Diva fans held their breath. They seemed hell bent on turning the division upside down, separating themselves from the “models” like Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox and others. They christened themselves the Divas of Doom, or, alternatively, Sisters of Salvation, claiming that they were out to “save” the Divas division from princesses and perky blondes.
The storyline has mostly gone downhill now, for several reasons. It took Beth three matches to defeat Kelly for the Divas title. Even when she won it, at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, it was only after Natalya interfered by hitting Kelly in the head with a microphone. Hardly a dominant win. Creative also didn’t go nearly far enough with the storyline – Beth and Natalya still refer to themselves as “Divas”, they still do photo shoots, and they have been very selective in who they choose to go after. So far it has only been the faces such as Kelly, Eve, Alicia, AJ and Kaitlyn. If they were after the models, shouldn’t they also target Brie and Nikki Bella, as well as Rosa Mendes? Tamina was never a model, so there is a logical reason why they wouldn’t go after her.
Also, at the start, Natalya was presented as an equally dominant partner. However, her singles wins have been sporadic, at best – any match that she won was when she was in a tag team match with Beth. Lately she has lost out to Alicia on RAW, SmackDown and at the house shows. This weakens the concept of the dominant team they were originally made out to be. Now it seems like they are another version of LayCool. (more…)
This year’s Survivor Series featured a WWE Divas title match instead of a more traditional 5 on 5 match up for the women. Thanks to her win during Halloween’s battle royal, Eve Torres became number one contender again to face Beth Phoenix. Last month’s match between the two at Vengeance was one of Eve’s best matches to date, which led people to wonder if their second match could measure up. To make things more interesting, it was announced last week that it would be a Lumberjill match, putting all the Divas at ringside. Whether this would impact the match in any way remained to be seen.
In the second match of the night, Beth defeated Eve with a superb top rope Glam Slam that Eve sold like she was dead. Other than this moment, and Beth coming down the ramp, the crowd was absolutely lifeless. The match wasn’t nearly as polished as last month’s, which was disappointing. Lets take a look at what was 5 stars, what was 3 stars and what was a dud. (more…)
This retro DVD review is all ass-backwards. Instead of us doing a review of a show from days gone by, instead, it is the review which is old and it is of the (then) newly-released SHIMMER: Women Athletes volume 1 – a show that you can still buy as part of the Collectors’ Edition.
Back in February 2006, Stewart Allen decided to pick up a DVD of this new SHIMMER thing – based on Beth Phoenix v Allison Danger – and wrote a review for Figure Four Weekly. So let’s jump in the time machine and go back five and a half years to see what Stew’s first impressions of SHIMMER really were…
I was initially attracted to the idea of checking out the new SHIMMER promotion for the sole intention of being able to see Beth Phoenix in competition. I’ve been a fan of Beth’s in OVW for some time (where she works as the valet to Aaron “The Idol” Stevens) and while she’s quick to get physically involved in his matches, I’d never seen her wrestle a proper match. It was a further bonus that on this Volume 1 release, she happened to be facing Allison Danger – one of the relatively few other women I know from the US indy circuit. So, the promise of some Phoenix/Danger action coupled with the fact that the promotion name was based on a song title by one of my favourite bands (“Shimmer Like A Girl” by Veruca Salt) meant that I actually laid down some dollars and ordered a DVD from ROHWrestling.com. Yay me.
I’ve got to say, I was very surprised to hear that the DVD is reportedly one of ROH’s fastest selling DVDs of all time. “Why??” asked a friend of mine when I told him this piece of information. I honestly didn’t know. I know why *I* bought a copy – but what was the attraction for everyone else? Either way, I unwrapped the DVD with some excitement tonight and stuck it in the machine. Fingers crossed it won’t suck. (more…)
(WARNING: This Roundup contains spoilers for this week’s Impact show.)
I don’t care about Velvet Sky. She’s a choker, she sucks and Gail Kim is far better because she’s been in WWE. And they’re my thoughts because that’s what TNA’s bookers WANT me to think.
OK, maybe it’s not intentional, but the superpush of Gail Kim to the Knockouts singles and tag team titles in less than a month of her return has sent a signal to the rest of the girls that they aren’t stars unless they’ve been in WWE. Fine – Kim was a star in TNA before her muted three years in New York, but her stock had dropped like her stone since leaving and returning. But not to TNA, oh no. Instead, she was portrayed as the unstoppable force alongside Karen Jarrett and Madison Rayne, beating up Tara (who’s one of the best workers that the Knockouts division has), winning the tag belts and then claiming the Knockouts belt from Sky at Turning Point in what was Sky’s first title defence on either TV or pay-per-view. Sure, now Kim looks like the queen, but as a result, Tara, Sky and in a residual way, Brooke Tessmacher have all had their wings clipped, meaning that there are precious few credible babyfaces to challenge for the belt.
Last week, I wrote a piece about why it was in the best interests of all the Knockouts if Velvet Sky won at Turning Point and retained the title. It would establish her first reign as champion as something credible, and Kim wouldn’t really lose much as she was still the Knockouts Tag Champ and could secure a rematch due to her alignment with Jarrett (which still puzzles me, as why is she still Knockouts VP when it was Eric Bischoff who put her in charge and the company is being governed by Dixie Carter and Sting these days?). However, TNA decided that Sky’s important first run as champ was expendable, as the belts clearly don’t matter – and that’s true, as in the last 100 days, the Knockouts belt has changed hands five different times.
According to Dave Meltzer, the idea is that TNA can now market Sky as the plucky babyface going for the Knockouts belt and overcoming the odds to get it back. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t she do that for FIVE YEARS as part of her quest to win the belt for the first time at Bound For Glory, then won it in a four-way match where Jarrett was the biased ref who was pulling for the heels and wouldn’t give the babyfaces an inch? (more…)