The image on the left is how most of us remember Sara Del Rey but it took a while for the Queen of Wrestling to get to this point. To illustrate this, let’s hop back more than a decade where Del Rey wrestled under a different name against another rookie looking to make her mark in the world of wrestling – as well as a couple of names you may recognise…
Following the death of Roland Alexander in November, Joey Ryan posted a match from his early days of wrestling in All Pro Wrestling in California. The match from May 24, 2002 features Del Rey under the name of Nikki teaming with Jardi Frantz & JoJo Fantastico against Ryan, Cheerleader Melissa and a gentleman by the name of Bryan Danielson, better known these days as Daniel Bryan.
Del Rey looks hugely different wrestling baggy denim, while Melissa is sporting a similarly modest set of threads. It is an interesting insight into the beginnings of two hugely successful wrestlers – one who is the reigning two-time SHIMMER Champion, and other who is mentoring the next generation of WWE Divas. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (28 January 2014) – Ivelisse Velez strikes gold, Rain retires for real, Nevaeh & Leva Bates impress
It’s been some comeback by Ivelisse Velez from being released by WWE in August 2012. Refusing to be a statistic, she picked herself up and got back in the saddle. While she has experienced TV exposure with WWE by being in the most recent Tough Enough in 2011 and in TNA for its Gut Check (which she weirdly lost, even though she won her match against Le’D Tapa, who ended up getting the contract), leading to working the Knockouts Knockdown and World Cup PPV tapings, arguably her biggest achievement happened last Friday in Ybor City, Florida.
It’s funny – WWE’s rumoured reasoning for releasing Velez was that she had “attitude issues”. I would say that rather than “attitude”, she has self-confidence and determination, and they are major contributing factors as to why she holds the SHINE title. (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa is receiving a second Cauliflower Alley Club award to go with the Future Legend title she collected in 2004. The SHIMMER Champion is being given the Women’s (Active) Award at the 49th annual reunion in Las Vegas, NV between June 2-4. The only other woman to receive the honour was Amazing Kong in 2011, as the CAC seemingly only seems to deliver awards to women who have retired from active competition.
It’s been a big year for the 31-year old. In the last 12 months, she has regained the SHIMMER Title at SHIMMER 53, defended the belt against Mercedes Martinez, Kalamity, Courtney Rush, Leva Bates, Hiroyo Matsumoto and LuFisto throughout the year, as well as turning heel in the promotion.
Elsewhere, Melissa took down Allysin Kay at NCW Femmes Fatales XI, went to a double DQ with Courtney Rush at Femmes Fatales XII, though lost in the main event tag team match at Femmes Fatales XIII, with her current rival LuFisto getting an edge on her. She also went went to a time limit draw with old enemy Saraya Knight at Bellatrix 7 before burying the hatchet with a post-match embrace.
Hopefully 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…)
With Nikki Storm and Kimber Lee announced over the last couple of days as the 2013 Discovery of the Year and Breakout Star of the Year respectively, the final question that needs to be answered in our 2013 Awards season is the big one. Who was the Wrestler of the Year for 2013 – following in the steps of previous winners Madison Eagles (2010), Hailey Hatred (2011) and Ayako Hamada (2012)? As is customary, before we make our final announcement of our winner, we’ll consider a couple of really strong contenders who ultimately we didn’t go with this year, but would have been worthy winners all the same.
A lot of people – including us, it must be said – made a lot of noise about Madison Eagles this year. After missing the entirety of 2012 with a career threatening knee injury, the fact that Eagles is back and competing at such a high level again is worthy of incredible praise. We remarked when reviewing Eagles’ US return match (vs Jessie McKay at SHIMMER 53 in April) that she “laughs in the face of ring rust”, and that’s pretty much dead on. Standout matches this year include a cracker with Kana at SHIMMER 55, and a couple of matches with Jessicka Havok (at SHINE 9 and SHIMMER 60), and although she started experimenting with fork-based humour in the second half of the year, her credibility at the highest level is still there. Eagles deserves an award for her achievements in 2013, but she just misses out on our biggie.
We’ve mentioned her above, but Kana was also up for consideration. When you factor in her amazing work at SHIMMER over the year against the likes of Eagles, McKay, Kalamity and Kimber Lee, as well as her success in her native Japan, it has certainly been an eventful 12 months in the life of the 32-year old. She was a losing finalist in the tournament to crown the first Regina di WAVE Champion but rebounded to win the WAVE Tag Team titles with Mio Shirai, holding the championship for four months before dropping it in July. In JWP, she became the outsider who won the Openweight Championship and rubbed her accomplishment in the faces of the regular roster before dropping the belt back to Arisa Nakajima earlier this month. As well as her in-ring accomplishments, Kana has reinvented her look, wearing crazy face paint designs and more outlandish outfits to really make herself stand out from the pack.
Also coming close was another name we’ve heard from a lot of people this year as we’ve gauged opinions both from fans and people in the industry – Cheerleader Melissa. From winning the SHIMMER Championship in a Cage Match in SHIMMER’s biggest show ever (Vol 53 at WrestleCon) to holding onto the title throughout the rest of the year, this has been the extended run with the title that she didn’t get first time round (when she lost the championship in the ring before the DVD documenting her title win was even released). It has also coincided with a slow-burn heel shift that has resulted in some of Melissa’s most interesting work for some time. North of the border, she’s also been integral to ongoing storylines for NCW Femmes Fatales, and has been involved in some of their most highly praised matches of 2013.
Eventually though – we went with the same criteria we did last year when we picked Ayako Hamada. Who was the best in ring performer of the year? Who regularly entertained and impressed us most? Who raised up other people to her level? We ended up choosing a sensation… (more…)
It was meant to happen in October but injuries meant that it had to be postponed, but Cheerleader Melissa and Courtney Rush will tangle at NCW Femmes Fatales XIV on April 19 next year to try and determine who will be the number one contender to the International Championship – but a stipulation has been added to the contest.
The pair will wrestle a 30-minute Iron Woman Match at the event in Montreal, QC, Canada – and emotions are running high because of their history, which stems back to last July, when they first met in a Femmes Fatales ring. (more…)
Candice 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…)
Roland Alexander, the owner of California-based All Pro Wrestling, passed away yesterday at the age of 59.
The Wrestling Observer reports that while the cause of death is not known, he has been in poor health in recent years with heart and diabetes issues.
While Alexander – who promoted shows in the state for 22 years – is probably best known for his appearance in 1999 documentary Beyond The Mat, he also has had a profound effect on the women’s wrestling scene, and is partly responsible for getting it to the size that it is today.
APW was where Sara Del Rey began her training back in 2001, and also was one of the main promotions where Cheerleader Melissa worked during the early years of her career, and also was the venue for all-women shows from October 29, 2004 – when the APW Garage in Hayward hosted the first ChickFight tournament which was won by Princesa Sugheit, defeating Candice LeRae, Nikki Roxx and Melissa to take the title. (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…)
After shows from Bellatrix, AIW, WSU, SHIMMER and SHINE, the Fight Season curtain falls tonight in Montreal, Quebec as NCW: Femmes Fatales presents their thirteenth show. Thirteen is an unlucky number in many cultures, and there has certainly been an unlucky streak running through this show, first with the injury to Courtney Rush, then with the injury to her replacement Xandra Bale – and then only this week the last minute withdrawal of Saraya Knight due to a family emergency. However, one could conceivably argue that the final card actually ended up with an even stronger main event after the events of SHIMMER last weekend. While certainly the feud between Saraya and LuFisto in Montreal was hot, having Cheerleader Melissa opposite LuFisto in tag team competition just a week after they battled for the SHIMMER Championship in a bloody war – and with Melissa having Mercedes as her partner, just as she did last weekend in SHIMMER – the stakes are higher than ever. Also on the show will be a tantalising three-way with Angie Skye, Kimber Lee & Christina Von Eerie, a “Strap/Lumberjill match” between Portia Perez & Pink Flash Kira, and more. We’ve got live results from the Centre Sportif St-Barthélemy in suburban Montreal just after the cut. (more…)
On Saturday, Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s Dan Murphy revealed that Cheerleader Melissa had been placed first in the 2013 Female 50 list as part of the SHIMMER Volume 58 taping. On Tuesday, we posted a few answers from Murphy on why Melissa came first, and why AJ Lee, who many of you predicted would come first, did not. Well, the full list has now been revealed in the publication’s digital issue, which has been released a few days ahead of the hard copy version.
As it turns out, the WWE Divas Champion was placed 9th, while the silver and bronze positions went to Mickie James and Saraya Knight respectively. In fact, former Divas Champ Kaitlyn placed above Lee in 5th, while last year’s winner Gail Kim is in 6th. Meanwhile, NXT Women’s Champion Paige is 12th above the likes of Natalya and 2011 winner Madison Eagles.
As for wrestlers who didn’t make the cut, Serena Deeb, Angelina Love, Amazing Kong and even TNA Knockouts Champion ODB are all missing.
You can see the full list after the jump, but to see why each woman has been placed in each position, we recommend buying the magazine. You can order it from this direct link.
Agree with the list? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section. (more…)
The card for this Saturday’s NCW Femmes Fatales XIII card has undergone a number of changes over the past month. It all began when Courtney Rush broke her collarbone in mid-September, with Xandra Bale taking her place in the #1 contender match against Cheerleader Melissa. However, things were thrown into flux again when Bale broke her fibula at Women Superstars Uncensored‘s Blood and Thunder, leaving Melissa without an opponent for the second time. Just before yesterday’s Roundup was posted, Femmes Fatales revealed that Melissa would be slotted into the 3-way involving Kimber Lee, Angie Skye & Christina Von Eerie – though that match was reverted back to the 3-way less than 24 hours later.
Less than an hour ago, Femmes Fatales tweeted that Saraya Knight will not be able to make it to the event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for personal reasons – and in her place will go Melissa, who now teams up with Mercedes Martinez against LuFisto and Sweet Cherrie, meaning the #1 contender match has been scrapped for the show. (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…)
The second day of tapings for SHIMMER Women Athletes is underway, with a big SHIMMER Championship match announced, as well as a return match which could feature some very brutal consequences.
Headlining Volume 60 will be Cheerleader Melissa defending the SHIMMER Title against LuFisto, after the Super Hardcore Anime came to the aid of Leva Bates and Allison Danger on Volume 58, as well as Hiroyo Matsumoto on Volume 59 (you can see all the results here). It should be an emotionally charged contest between the increasingly-viscious Melissa (who is riding high after also coming top of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 yesterday) and the never-say-die challenger.
Also announced yesterday is a rematch from Volume 59, where Nicole Matthews and Hikaru Shida will face off in a contest where Shida’s kendo stick will be legal. The bamboo weapon was instrumental in Matthews’ win yesterday, using it out of the sight of the referee – but today, it’s in play, and both women could be battered and bruised by the end.
Elsewhere, the Global Green Gangsters put the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship on the line against Sassy Stephie & Nevaeh, Matsumoto takes on kleptomaniac Portia Perez, Heidi Lovelace wrestles Nikki Storm, Santana Garrett faces Mercedes Martinez, and Allysin Kay battles Kana.
For the second time in its six year history, a reigning SHIMMER Champion has been given the top spot in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 rundown. In 2011, Madison Eagles was given the honour, and it has just been announced at SHIMMER‘s volume 58 DVD taping that Cheerleader Melissa has earned the top spot for 2013, rising two places from last year’s list.
In the year since the last Female 50, she has become the first ever two-time SHIMMER Champion, defeating longtime rival Saraya Knight inside a steel cage as part of the promotion’s biggest show to date. Their match at SHIMMER Volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ saw her win the belt in convincing fashion, hitting a super-hurricanrana, missile dropkick and an Air Raid Crash to regain the title. The following week, Melissa successfully defended her title against Mercedes Martinez, Kalamity and Courtney Rush – and being decidedly aggressive in the process – before turning heel in Allison Danger’s final match as part of volume 57. (more…)
It’s SHIMMER Time! Yes, once again The Eagles Club in Berwyn, IL is the home for some of the best female wrestling in the world, as SHIMMER Women Athletes presents the DVD tapings for Vols 58-61 across two days. Today features Vols 58 & 59, and Ringbelles will have you covered with both live results as they happen and eventually also full analysis of the day’s events. Japan’s Hikaru Shida debuts today, as does Europe’s Nikki Storm – and Shida features in the (as yet) only announced match for the tapings, taking on Mia Yim in what should be a pretty great showcase for both. Join us after the cut for running results, thanks to Reid Allen, who is in attendance – as is Stew, but international data roaming costs are sky high… (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…)
Bellatrix 7 live results – Saraya Knight & Cheerleader Melissa embrace, Courtney Rush screws Liberty (now with thoughts, photos and Sammi Baynz interview)
Open Female Fight season kicks off in a big way today with Bellatrix 7 from Norwich, England on iPPV – click here to order – featuring a Bellatrix v SHIMMER theme, complete with four interpromotional contests.
The big one is between former SHIMMER Champion and Bellatrix matriarch Saraya Knight and current SHIMMER titleholder Cheerleader Melissa in a non-title affair. We covered the topic at length in this week’s Roundup, so for more flavour on the history of this match, you can click here. Considering the location is a stone’s throw away from where they originally fought and the bad blood which has been between the two in the past, and considering it will be in front of a *very* pro-Saraya crowd, this has all the makings of one hell of a spectacle.
Elsewhere on the show, Mercedes Martinez – who we spoke to earlier this week for the Women Of Wrestling Podcast defends her NCW Femmes Fatales International Championship against Miss Mina, while the Bellatrix v SHIMMER contests are rounded off with Destiny facing LuFisto, and Skarlett taking on Christina Von Eerie.
As well as Martinez defending her belt, there are also two other title matches on the show. Erin Angel puts her British Championship on the line against Penelope in a rematch from their great encounter at Bellatrix 4, while Liberty puts the RQW European Women’s Championship up against Sammi Baynz in a match which will be watched very closely by Bellatrix World Champion Courtney Rush – who was due to defend the belt against Liberty until her fractured collarbone injury, though the pair will now face off at Bellatrix 8 next March.
Ringbelles is on hand to see how it all goes down – but if you want to keep abreast of the results, click the jump and keep refreshing the page. (more…)
Adversity for one Canadian has meant opportunity for another.
When Courtney Rush went down with her broken collarbone on September 15, it through two big matches into flux. One was sorted out pretty quickly with her Bellatrix World Title defence against Liberty scheduled for Sunday’s Bellatrix 7 show postponed until next March, it left a question mark over who would replace Rush in the number one contender’s match at NCW Femmes Fatales XIII against Cheerleader Melissa – which was set to be a rematch following their inconclusive ending to their contest back in July. Yesterday, that was cleared up when Rush selected Xandra Bale to take her spot and hand her a tremendous opportunity to become the next challenger to Mercedes Martinez‘s International Championship. (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…)
The title of this week’s Retro should be enough of a mouth-watering prospect, but it’s also a nice snapshot into what is roughly the mid-points in the respective ongoing careers.
This contest between Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez comes from June 2006 and is part of a fundraiser show – but despite it not having the name of a big promotion overseeing it, the pair leave it all in the ring in a contest which looks like it opened the eyes of a number of fans in the audience.
As of right now, both Mercedes and Melissa are riding high – Martinez holds the NCW Femmes Fatales International Championship and Melissa is enjoying her second reign as SHIMMER Champion. Both will represent SHIMMER at the Bellatrix 7 iPPV on October 6 in Norwich, England, with Mercedes defending her title against Miss Mina, while Melissa takes on longtime foe Saraya Knight in a non-title contest. You can order the event at a discounted price by clicking here.
On a side note, one of the commentators calling the match is the late “Sweet And Sour” Larry Sweeney. It’s nice to hear his voice again. (more…)
Ahead of the release of the all-women TNA One Night Only PPV on September 6, the company has put together a preview video to sell the event to US viewers – ones in the UK will get it for free five days later. Hosted by Christy Hemme, it features a montage of all the Knockouts Champions since the title was created in 2007; a look at the Gauntlet Match at Bound For Glory in that year which determined the inaugural titleholder; a recap of the feud between Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell which featured a great Last Knockout Standing Match at Slammiversary this year and also a fine Ladder Match on Impact Wrestling in July; and a rundown of all the women who will be involved in the show itself.
The event was taped in March – you can read results of it here if you don’t mind spoilers – and it is interesting to see which Knockouts are no longer with the company in the time the show was recorded and it making to air. Tara, Taeler Hendrix and Madison Rayne have all gone – though Rayne didn’t wrestle on the show as she was already pregnant – while Brooke Hogan has also parted ways with TNA – which is a big continuity error, considering she is the one advertised as putting the event together but was unceremoniously dumped in the storylines. In addition, Terrell – who was clearly a big priority for TNA – has disappeared from our screens.
Still, it’s a nicely put together hard-sell for the show, so click after the jump, rekindle some memories and see if it can pull some money from your bank account. (more…)
Shoot interviews are always a funny thing. With wrestlers who have retired and have nothing to lose and are looking for a final few paydays without running the risk of torpedoing any future prospects, they can sometimes be an interesting walk down memory lane, with some fun stories from the past and some misty-eyed memories can be revisited by both the subject and fans who remember the era. However, with wrestlers who are still active, it can be a more dangerous venture.
What happens if you reveal more than you want to and it hurts your chances of making it somewhere in the future? What if you have a grudge with someone, voice it and then have uncomfortable moments if you have to share dressing rooms down the line? What about annoying a friend by saying something about someone who you dislike but they have a lot of time for? It’s a much bigger minefield.
That’s why the recent Kayfabe Commentaries piece by Amazing Kong has ruffled a few feathers. (more…)
Bellatrix 7 card revealed: Bellatrix and Femmes Fatales titles on the line! Saraya vs Melissa! Plus, Bellatrix 8 debuts announced!
We’ve just had the announcement of the full card for Bellatrix 7, featuring the five previously announced SHIMMER imports – along with an intriguing domestic return. Heading up the card will see the UK debut of the Bellatrix World Champion Courtney Rush (right), putting her title on the line against the RQW European Champion Liberty, fresh off her main event win at Bellatrix 6 – while Saraya Knight and Cheerleader Melissa return to Norfolk to (presumably) finally settle the 6+ year feud that first erupted in Great Yarmouth in January 2007.
Also, we will see the first overseas defence of the NCW:Femmes Fatales International Title as Mercedes Martinez will put her title on the line against Norwegian star Miss Mina. Along with the SHIMMER vs Bellatrix bouts, Erin Angel will defend her Bellatrix British Ladies Championship against the returning Sammi Baynes. Not sure who Sammi Baynes is? You may remember her as the other half of the Norfolk Dolls tag team with Britani Knight – Melodi!
Click through for the full card. (more…)