We’re on the so-called “Road to WrestleMania” in WWE – a time when, generally, it’s considered to be a good time to be a wrestling fan. If everything is going to plan, storylines and feuds will culminate at the Showcase of the Immortals, and we usually see both the in-ring performers and the booking teams step up their games as we approach the big day. However, rarely does that involve the Divas. Even as WWE prepares to induct its second former WWE Women’s Champion in two years to the Hall of Fame, it’s no shock to anybody that the Divas division is considered a mere afterthought. Statistically, we’ve already mentioned recently that Divas ≠ Ratings on TV – but as we mentioned at the time, it’s been so long since there was a Divas angle or feud with any real strong substance, it’s no wonder their segments are considered skippable. Ironically enough, Kaitlyn, who was Divas Champion at this time last year didn’t even work the WrestleMania show, and spent the weekend giving away tickets to fans who were able to find her in the NY/NJ metropolitan area, “Where’s Wally?” style. As it turned out, no Divas got to wrestle on the show last year, as the mixed tag featuring the Bellas and the Funkadactyls ended up getting nixed for time.
So… assuming that we’ll get some sort of match involving the Divas this year, here are five options (some more likely than others, admittedly) for New Orleans… (more…)
When I was 19 years old, I went to a friend’s house to watch SummerSlam 2000. We had known each other for about a year after meeting at university and discovering that we were both wrestling fans. I was in his house for about 10 minutes when his 15 year old sister came in, introduced herself and then hitched up her underwear over her hips and said that she was a Lita fan.
Apart from not knowing where to look, what to say or anything, I was surprised at how someone who had just met me was so keen to impart the fact that she was a fan of Lita. Granted, she knew that I was a wrestling fan, but that sort of stuff shouldn’t happen, should it? I put it down to how cool Lita was and left it at that, but when you look back on her influence during WWF Attitude, you could argue that she was the best representation of women that the company had ever presented up to that point.
Unlike her rival Trish Stratus, Lita wasn’t a barbie doll. She was rough and ready, looked a little messy and did not dress to impress – she dressed for comfort. Copying the Hardy Boyz look with the baggy pants, she coupled it with a tight sports top or t-shirt and got stuck in against the guys. She delivered flying ranas and bodypresses to the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Test, Albert, Edge and Christian, and was happy to take the lumps too. She was powerbombed by the Dudley Boyz, Guerrero and Test as well as getting speared by Edge. She was a game girl who settled things in a way that no woman before her had done so. As a consequence, she was amazingly cool and was arguably more or a role model for women than Trish was. Stratus was too perfect, like she was almost above it all, whereas Lita would hang out with you, drink with you, share a laugh and be your friend. She was the opposite of a Diva, and that made her stand out from the – admittedly smaller in that era – pack.
It is fitting that Amy “Lita” Dumas is going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. At 38, she is one of the youngest inductees, though she may have done more to draw women to WWE than any other female before or since. (more…)
In the December 17 edition of the Roundup, I mentioned about Madison Rayne’s return to TNA. I knew the results of the subsequent shows up to where we are right now, but didn’t reveal what was going to be coming up. At the time, I wrote: “I’m hoping there will be some explanation as to why Rayne is now a babyface and going after [Gail] Kim. I have a theory, but I want to see how it plays out.” Well, it’s been 3 weeks and there have been quite a few twists and turns. However, at no point has TNA explained exactly WHY Madison has such aggression towards her former friend.
We have had three weeks for an explanation to take place. We’ve had candid videos from Rayne and an extensive interview on the Knockouts website with Madison talking about giving birth – including the claim that she’s the first female to return to the ring after giving birth – which must make the likes of Saraya Knight and Allison Danger fall over laughing – and her desire to get back to wrestling, and there is still no revelation on what caused the friction. In that time, Rayne and ODB have beaten Kim and Lei’D Tapa, and last week Madison defeated the Knockouts Champion in her Open Challenge series to become the number one contender to the title – and yet, still nothing as to why.
Considering this is the headline feud for the division, it’s curious as to what TNA is thinking. At this point, we still haven’t been told as to what is the issue between the pair and it’s even more of a head scratcher when you consider that there is a storyline already done for them. All they had to do was produce one simple video package to explain it all. It’s staring them in the face. (more…)
Ohio Valley Wrestling’s women’s division has had an interesting year.
The first four months of 2013 saw a litany of title changes, with Jessie Belle, Heidi Lovelace, Taryn Terrell and Epiphany claiming the championship at some point, before it landed in the hands of a returning Trina Thompson, who gravitated towards a feud with Lei’D Tapa before her 5 month reign came to a sudden end due to a knee injury a week before they were to square off at September’s Saturday Night Special.
Over this time, Lovelance and Taeler Hendrix were drawing more eyes to the division by their beautifully played out same-sex unrequited manipulative romance with Lovelace having eyes for the conniving redhead and being bent to do Hendrix’s bidding in order to show how much she cared – including fighting friend Trina, who was doing her best to make her see sense. The storyline got a bit skewed near the end as it was cut short fairly quickly, but Lovelace ended up seeing how she was being played and got her revenge against her former crush. It was a great showing by both parties and really helped to show off their versatilities as characters.
The success of this storyline meant there was a huge amount of interest in who the vacant Women’s Championship was going to end up on, and was decided in a 4-way Ladder Match with Tapa, Hendrix & Hannah and Holly Blossom all looking to climb the rungs to victory. As it turned out, the underlying friction that the twins were experiencing at the time came to a head as Hannah knocked her sister off the ladder to snare the title – though quickly lost it to Tapa while repairing the bond with her sibling.
Unfortunately, since that high, things have fallen apart. (more…)
I was stunned watching the Divas Survivor Series match. It’s not because of the state of the match, but just that I didn’t know that WWE had 14 women on its main roster. Well technically, it’s 15, but one of them has been missing in action since September 23.
The last time anyone saw Layla on WWE TV was part of a 10 woman tag team match on Raw where she, AJ Lee, Aksana, Alicia Fox and Tamina Snuka lost to the Bella Twins, the Funkadactyls and Natalya. It had been a rotten 6 weeks for the former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion, as her heel turn had been so laughably limp that it left her with absolutely no momentum. Her push accelerated like a dog on a rug, and then stopped abruptly.
Layla’s turn came after she turned on Kaitlyn during the NXT Season 3 winner’s title challenge against AJ after inexplicably accompanying her for months before. It was never explained why she was with Kaitlyn in the first place, nor why she turned or why she took so long considering Kaitlyn had received a number of title matches before. After turning, she skipped away with AJ, got a win over her former buddy on Raw and was victorious again in a tag match on SmackDown – and then she started losing… often. By the point she disappeared from the scene, her star had never been lower, and it took a while before anyone really noticed she was gone. (more…)
In what is the Survivor Series match with the most participants since the 10 on 10 tag team elimination match from the 1988 offering, the Total Divas cast of Natalya, Eva Marie, Jojo, Cameron, Naomi and Nikki & Brie Bella take on Divas Champion AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Tamina Snuka, Aksana & Summer Rae in a 7 on 7 elimination match.
• From a long-term standpoint, AJ Lee has been squabbling with the Total Divas cast since the Raw after SummerSlam where she verbally berated them and turned them all baby face as a result. Since then, she has turned back the title challenges from Naomi, Natalya and Brie Bella.
• Short-term, the 14 women had a shoving contest on last week’s Raw during a game of Musical Chairs which set up this match. No, really.
• Before the match, AJ delivered a pep talk to her teammates which didn’t go well and only served to separate herself from the others – barring Tamina, who stayed loyal. Essentially, AJ was telling her partners that they were overlooked for Total Divas selection and should be annoyed about it. (more…)
Have you listened to the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Taeler Hendrix yet? Without hyperbole, it is one of our favourite shows in a long time. Interesting, insightful and revealing, the former TNA Knockout talks about how she had no idea what the result of her Gut Check would be or that Joey Ryan was going to gatecrash the segment, was told very little about what her future in the promotion would be or that they were planning to release her.
She also reveals that she wasn’t fully open with them either, as the reason why she put on the weight in-between appearances was to keep herself healthy to fight off the possibility of cancer, and because she was suffering pain when she wrestled as she had no padding on her body when she was bumping. That weight issue is something that I discussed with recovering anorexic and former gymnast Sarah Robertson, and she practically said the same thing.
Taeler also discussed her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, how she was disappointed with her start in the promotion despite winning the Women’s Championship, and how an instinctive “wrong” move saw her fortunes turn around. She also revealed her intentions to release a book, form a tag team with distant relative Cherry Bomb – all is revealed in the interview – and wrestle in as many places as possible. Instead of moping, shaking her fist at the world or complaining that she’s the victim of a conspiracy theory, she dusted herself off, made a plan and is executing it. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (29 October 2013) – LuFisto’s title aspirations, Nikki Roxx winding down, PWI Female 50
Where there is chaos, there is opportunity.
Injuries to Courtney Rush and Xandra Bale, travel issues for Ayako Hamada and personal matters involving Saraya Knight all contributed to a lot of re-jigging for SHIMMER and NCW: Femmes Fatales, with one woman benefiting more than any other.
Realistically, had all of the other wrestlers been healthy or present, LuFisto may not have ended Open Female Fight Season standing over a defeated Cheerleader Melissa with the SHIMMER Championship over her head – however, that’s exactly what did happen, and the 16-year veteran is now in a position where she could conceivably earn another SHIMMER Title match next year and even dethrone the reigning champion. Nobody has enjoyed as much momentum against Melissa during either of her title reigns – even Saraya didn’t have as much build up before beating her adversary for the title – and there seems to be a real ground swell for another match between the bullying cheerleader and the Super Hardcore Anime… and it’s the hardcore aspect which has furthered things, albeit accidentally… (more…)
Summer Rae makes her WWE main roster in-ring debut at Hell in a Cell as part of a mixed tag team match alongside Fandango against Natalya & The Great Khali, while AJ Lee puts the Divas Championship on the line against Brie Bella once again.
The Great Khali & Natalya v Fandango & Summer Rae
• The two couples have squared off in dance-offs earlier in the year, but the most recent hostilities took place on last Friday’s SmackDown. Summer and Natalya exchange words and punches outside the ring during the singles match between Fandango and Khali, which led to this “bonus match” on the pay-per-view. (more…)
Last weekend was a big one for Cheerleader Melissa, with its ups and downs. When it came to the SHIMMER tapings, she came through the weekend still in possession of the singles championship, beating Leva Bates, Hiroyo Matsumoto and LuFisto in title defences. However, her match against the Super Hardcore Anime saw her uninterrupted run of 60 volumes come to an end, as an accidental laceration she suffered during the contest meant that she was taken to the hospital for 10 stitches above her left eyebrow. Melissa still managed to notch up an appearance on Volume 61, interfering in the main event by hitting LuFisto with her title belt, leading to her loss against Mercedes Martinez, standing over her fallen rival while repeating how many stitches she needed to close the wound.
As well as the in-ring aspect of what went down, arguably Melissa’s shining moment came on volume 58 where she was named the number one in the 2013 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50, rising two places from last year. We highlighted her big accomplishments over the last 12 months on Saturday in this article, though instead of surmising what criteria she satisfied to top the list, we decided to go to PWI itself. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (8 October 2013) – Saraya and Melissa settle things, AJ Lee injured, Total Divas in-ring debut
I certainly didn’t see it coming, and I doubt many others would have.
On Sunday evening at Bellatrix 7, I was fully expecting Saraya Knight to win the war against Cheerleader Melissa on her home turf by finally beating her decisively, ending the six and a half year feud between them – four of which were spent with silent hostility in the air from opposite sides of the Atlantic. However, instead of there being an out and out winner of the feud, there was a time limit draw following 20 minutes of battering each other both inside and outside of the ring. As a result, it seemed as if nothing was settled between them. With two wins, two losses and two draws each, it was a total stalemate – but that seemed to be perfectly acceptable to both. (more…)
Brie Bella challenges AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Championship at Battleground with Brie’s sister Nikki at ringside, while AJ’s new bodyguard Tamina Snuka accompanied the Divas Champion.
• Brie pinned AJ as part of a 10-Diva tag team match on the September 23 episode of Raw. It was later announced that Bella would challenge AJ for the title.
• After Brie beat Aksana on the final SmackDown before the PPV, AJ came out to run down Bella’s engagement to Daniel Bryan – saying that if they were to have children, the doctor would spank Brie for producing such an unattractive baby. (more…)
Following an introduction to the festivities with Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females, SHINE 13 and Pro Wrestling Syndicate Bombshells 7 over the last week or so, Open Female Fight Season is upon us and it kicks off with a bumper Sunday, with big cards on both sides of the Atlantic.
The festivities kick off in the UK with an interpromotional card which will also see the culmination of a bitter blood feud…
A long-running score will be settled at Sunday’s Bellatrix: Female Warriors show in Norwich, England when Saraya Knight takes on her heated rival Cheerleader Melissa at part of the Bellatrix 7: Bellatrix v SHIMMER event.
The pair have battled on both sides of the Atlantic and traded the SHIMMER Championship over the last 18 months, with their most recent contest taking place inside a steel cage in New Jersey in April in the main event of SHIMMER Volume 53, where Melissa regained the title. However, their battles began in the English county of Norfolk, with the pair meeting for the first time at ChickFight VII in Great Yarmouth in January 2007. That match was won by Melissa via referee stoppage when Saraya got her neck tied up in the ropes.
In the five contests between them, each has won two, and there has been one no-contest – and it is the inconclusive match from June 17, 2007 in Colchester which is the reason for the bad blood. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (24 September 2013) – Knockouts division reaches critical point, plus news & more
It’s felt like Groundhog Day since the start of July when TNA Knockouts started dropping from their perch. We are now at the point that things seem totally desperate with the division, with just two full-time wrestlers on the roster and two playing valet roles but are likely on call just in case.
The latest Knockout to disappear from our screens is Mickie James, who dropped the Knockouts Championship two weeks ago on an Impact Wrestling taping which was televised last Thursday. As a result, ODB is now the reigning champion, currently in her fourth run with the title. ODB holding the title isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though you have to imagine that had the roster not reduced to the state that it is in now, she would still be the referee and Taryn Terrell would be holding the belt, considering she was on the monster push. As things turned out, she is on an indefinite leave of absence and TNA did what it had to do to get the belt off James before her contract expired.
When we wrote about Mickie’s contract situation just over a week ago, it was reported that she was still in negotiations with TNA and if the right deal could be struck she would be back on the show. However earlier today, her profile was removed from the roster page on the company’s website, which can’t be a good sign. Mickie James may be back, but I personally wouldn’t hold my breath. Considering the financial issues leading to a massive amount of cost-cutting on the roster – and talk of the show moving back to a singular location because of the sheer outgoings caused by Impact going on the road and not pulling in the crowds, it could just be that TNA can’t afford Mickie James money right now, and may not for the foreseeable future.
As it stands, the only full-time female wrestlers on the roster are champion ODB and Gail Kim, with Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher working as hangers-on for Bully Ray and Chris Sabin respectively. That’s pretty weak by anyone’s standards. (more…)
WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee puts the title on the line at Night Of Champions against three members of the Total Divas cast – Natalya, Naomi & Brie Bella in a fatal four way match.
• AJ Lee kicked the ant hill on the August 26 Raw with a promo on the Total Divas cast, calling them “interchangeable” and “cheap”.
• From there, a bigger wedge was driven between the Total Divas cast and the rest of the Diva roster when Aksana, Layla and Alicia Fox took the side of AJ to attack the stars of the E! show.
• On last week’s SmackDown, the Total Divas tried to get at AJ with a meansure of success, but the Divas Champion’s new buddies rescued her.
• However, just before the start of this title defence, Aksana and Fox decided that they were done helping the thankless and self-absorbed AJ, and Layla also backed out of being by her friend’s side for the match. (more…)
Total Divas is directing the Divas division in WWE at the moment.
Last Friday’s match between Naomi and Brie Bella on SmackDown ended in a no-contest when some of the Divas – AJ Lee, Aksana, Layla & Alicia Fox – who aren’t a part of Total Divas came down to the ring and attacked the seven stars of the E! Show. On Raw last night, AJ’s opponents at this Sunday’s Night Of Champions show – Natalya, Brie & Naomi – defeated Aksana, Layla & Fox in a six woman tag when Alicia tapped out to Natalya’s Sharpshooter. In addition, Naomi defeated AJ Lee in non-title matches in Canada at the weekend, and if you were a betting man, you would put money on the Divas Championship changing hands this Sunday.
The show is after a happy ending to its season extension/season two run due to start later this year, following the conclusion of the current season which ends next week with Natalya’s marriage to TJ Wilson (Tyson Kidd). Seeing as all three of AJ’s challengers are babyfaces for this angle – and are the three most likeable women on the show – it is perfectly plausible that any one of them could walk out with the belt. (more…)
Natalya takes on Brie Bella with most of the Total Divas cast at ringside, while Kaitlyn teams with Dolph Ziggler to face AJ Lee and Big E Langston as part of WWE SummerSlam.
Natalya v Brie Bella
• The Bella Twins have been goading and poking at Natalya since the debut of Total Divas last month with emotions spilling over on last Monday’s Raw.
• The addition was made of Nikki Bella and newcomer Eva Marie in Brie’s corner, while Funkadactyls Cameron and Naomi would accompany Natalya.
• At SummerSlam Axxess earlier in the day, Natalya and TV host Maria Menounos beat Brie and Eva Marie in tag team action. Incidentally, the victory means Menounos is still undefeated with a near four year winning streak. (more…)
It has been discussed for a while – provisionally for the WWE Network, which is seemingly still a long way from becoming a reality – but today, WWE and E! made the announcement that a new series featuring five current and two new Divas will launch on the entertainment channel on July 28. Titled Total Divas, it is one of five new reality shows the channel is launching in the near future. This one will follow Natalya, Funkadactyls Cameron & Naomi and Nikki and Brie Bella, with WWE’s press release insisting that it will “[highlight] the professional and personal lives of WWE’s leading ladies”, as well as “complete and utter access to the backstage workings of WWE, the show examines the preparation and fallout from matches, [and] the romantic entanglements of a WWE locker room”.
As mentioned, there will also be two new Divas, hired as part of a privately-held Diva Search which happened recently. They are Natalia Eva Marie – who will be known as Eva Marie – and Joseann Alexie Offerman - who will will be repackaged as Jo-Jo Offerman. (more…)
Under normal circumstances, now would be the time when we would do a review of the match which occurred on the previous night’s PPV offering, pointing out what happened, what we liked, what we didn’t and whether it was a successful contest. However, for WrestleMania XXIX, we won’t be needing to do that, as for the first time since WrestleMania 13 back in 1997 – ostensibly before WWE started calling their women “Divas” – no women competed on a WrestleMania card. (more…)
Last week, I repeated my previous assertion that two championships would change hands at NCW Femmes Fatales XI in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Saturday. Lo and behold, that’s what happened – with the Bellatrix World Championship and the Femmes Fatales International Titles being won by Courtney Rush and Mercedes Martinez respectively.
Martinez’s victory over Kalamity is only part of her story in the show. She continued her cross-promotion feud with LuFisto following her defeat to the Super Hardcore Anime at Women Superstars Uncensored’s An Ultraviolent Affair in February by attacking her foe during LuFisto’s challenge for the SHIMMER title against Saraya Knight. The steel chair attack to LuFisto’s head was enough for Knight to lock in the Bridal Rocking Horse for the stoppage and retain the belt, meaning that no matter what happened with Mercedes’ challenge to Kalamity, the Martinez/LuFisto programme would continue.
As it turns out, the programme will likely feature the International Championship, as the Latina Sensation used a Fisherman Buster onto a steel chair to gain the pinfall and bring The Oncoming Storm’s 17-month reign to an end. (more…)
We mentioned it during yesterday’s Roundup and today it came to pass: WWE made it official that at WrestleMania XXIX on April 7 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins – Nikki and Brie – will square off against Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls – Cameron and Naomi.
While Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes have been on a mission to censure the antics of Brodus Clay and Tensai since before Elimination Chamber, Clay’s backing dancers were brought into the fold following the return of the Bellas on the March 11 Raw, and set their sights on Cameron and Naomi on the subsequent SmackDown. (more…)
We’re in that post-WrestleMania period where everything is supposed to kick off for the next year. Brock Lesnar is destroying John Cena and making him spit blood, the word “yes” is replacing “what” and “whoo” as the cool thing to say, and CM Punk is being drowned in alcohol. But there is nothing for the Divas Champion Beth Phoenix. In fact, there is less than nothing.
The only in-ring Divas action on regular TV (as NXT hardly counts) for WWE since WrestleMania is a sub-three minute affair between Nikki Bella and Phoenix, which Bella won after Beth was distracted by Kelly Kelly. Presumably, this would lead to a title shot for Nikki, as she had just pinned the Divas Champ. That may happen on the live SmackDown happening later (though it may be a foregone conclusion, as I’ll discuss later), or a continuation of Kelly v Phoenix from WrestleMania, even though it was Maria Menounos who got the pin on Beth. Either way, things are flimsy at best, and it hasn’t looked good for the titleholder for many months.
Barring a decent build and match against Tamina Snuka in February, Phoenix has hardly set the world alight in 2012. This may be a combination of forgettable matches, no storylines – including the fizzling of the Pin-Up Strong angle when it should have exploded – or no interest from any of the writers. Indeed, nothing has happened with the in-ring product involving WWE’s women for at least half a year, and it must be frustrating the Champion. (more…)
It was the worst match at Money in the Bank by a long way, and nobody would have bought the show to see it, but Kelly Kelly retained the WWE Divas Title over Brie Bella in the second match of the show.
Brie spent much of the match working over Kelly’s abdominals after faceplanting her on the arena floor from the apron before Kelly fought back and claimed the victory with her K2 finisher.
Eve Torres accompanied Kelly to the ring after the angle on Monday’s Raw where she was beaten down by the Bellas after Kelly defeated Melina, but had absolutely no impact on the content of the match or the outcome.
It seems pretty redundant, as it was a fairly throwaway contest, but let’s look again at what was thumbs up, what was thumbs down, and what was thumb in my arse then into my mouth… (more…)
It’s about a year later than she exclusively told us she wanted it to be, but Kelly Kelly finally won the WWE Divas Championship on this week’s Raw.
As part of the three hour Power To The People edition of the show, Kelly was voted into the title match against Brie Bella with 53% of the vote, beating out out Beth Phoenix (36%) and Eve Torres (11%). Kelly used a victory roll on Brie, which was reversed, but Kelly reversed it back to gain with winning pinfall.
While we’ll have a more comprehensive analysis of the result in the Roundup later, we have mixed feelings about it all. Obviously, it makes sense for Kelly to have the belt – after all, she is the most over woman on the roster. She’s in Maxim’s Hot 100, has been doing the rounds at E3 this month to help promote the new WWE ’12 videogame, and is the kind of company girl that WWE likes, much like Torres. She’s also been in WWE for five years, and everyone eventually get a turn with the belt. Rosa Mendes must be rubbing her hands somewhere…
However, with her being the most popular woman there, would it have not been worth writing a programme for Kelly and the Bellas to lead up to a pay-per-view match? It may not have generated a huge amount of extra buys for the show, but every single buy is worth it, right?
Regardless, congratulations to Kelly. After plugging away for all this time, she deserves a run with the Divas Championship.