After yesterday’s announcement of Nikki Storm as our Discovery of the Year for 2013, it’s time to move on to our announcement of our Breakout Star of the Year. This award, as we’ve mentioned before, is given to the wrestler who, in our opinion, took the biggest strides in 2013. The wrestler who became a player during this calendar year and became an integral part of multiple promotions by getting over with the crowd and making herself indispensable. The wrestler who went from just being a promising name on a card to becoming someone you’d actually pay money to see. Someone who “gets it” and someone who expanded their horizons in a major way. As usual, we had a number of potential winners to sort through, but by the time we got down to our final shortlist, we had three top contenders to win. Before we announce our 2013 Breakout Star of the Year, let’s have a quick look at those who came within a hair of winning the award this year.
Mia Yim came ridiculously close. This was the year where Yim really started to excel and fulfil the potential she has undoubtedly had since she started. This year, I’ve heard first-hand from people who really weren’t on the Mia Yim bandwagon tell me that this was the year that she changed their minds. Yim was undoubtedly one of the biggest breakout stars of Fight Season in October, and the SHIMMER weekend in particular, where her matches demonstrated what appeared to be a new confidence in the ring. Likewise in SHINE she’s found herself in more and more important matches as the year progressed, including discovering what might well be her perfect opponent in Ivelisse Velez. Santana Garrett also was amongst the final three shortlisted – having managed to not only debut for WSU and AIW, continue to impress in SHIMMER & SHINE, she managed to appear on TV for both TNA (as part of the Knockouts Knockdown PPV) and WWE (on their NXT brand) in this calendar year. Yes, depending on where you live in the world, those appearances may be either PPV or VOD, but she’s certainly moving in the right circles and making the right connections to get on the radar for the national promotions. Her matches weren’t as high up the card as Yim’s or our eventual winner, but as far as “breaking out” and reaching for the stars, Garrett is a perfect example of someone who has used 2013 as a springboard to bigger and better things.
Our winner though? For our money, our winner stepped up in multiple promotions, gained confidence by the bucketload, delivered quality throughout and… well, she’s going to have to clear a little bit more space on her mantle for her second Ringbelles Award… (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 December 2013) – AJ Lee issues, Natalya’s resurgence, Rain: the ultimate worker
AJ Lee got into a bit of trouble at last Wednesday’s Tribute to the Troops show. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer says she gave NBC presenter Michelle Beadle an obscenity-laced tongue-lashing in public for talking to her boyfriend, CM Punk. Beadle referred to it in a tweet, saying “Lost another friend to CGFN… crazy girlfriend neutering. It’s real people. Check your buddies. Affects everyone.” She later claimed that she thought AJ was joking, so didn’t react to it at the time, but then believed it wasn’t after a while.
Another account says that AJ was working because she was told to do so by an agent for a segment on the WWE App, and then everyone acted surprised when she did it, as if it was some sort of double cross on her, while another says AJ wasn’t yelling, and was standing up for Punk after Beadle allegedly said something that rubbed him the wrong way (even though he would likely say something himself if that was the case, so the whole scenario seems implausible – and a skit for the app would allude to Punk and AJ being an item, which is something that has never been brought up or acknowledged anywhere in WWE, so that lacks credibility too). The story has since been disregarded as being bogus. (more…)
Next weekend we start making our announcements of the winners of our 2013 Year End Awards. Once again, we will be presenting awards in three categories – Discovery of the Year, Breakout Star of the Year and Wrestler of the Year. But before we get to that, let’s take a look back twelve months and check in with last year’s award winners and see how 2013 has treated them. First, let’s look at our 2012 Discovery of the Year, Kimber Lee.
As we wrote last year when we made the announcement of Kimber Lee as our Discovery of the Year, the spirit of this award is to recognise someone who we didn’t know twelve months prior, but who “caught our attention in a positive way… and is therefore someone that we’re tipping to bloom and flourish in the coming years.”. Twelve months on, and I think we can assuredly say Mission: Accomplished – and still aged just 23 years old and continuing to impress and improve by the month, there’s little doubt that there’s a lot more to come from the native of Seattle. (more…)
Another 6 episodes of Total Divas have ordered by E! for a season extension. The current 8 episode run ends on September 15, with the next half dozen starting on November 17. The show has been a big hit for E! so far, with audiences rising between episodes 1 and 3. Starting out with 1.3 million viewers, it rose to 1.52 million the following week and reached 1.67 million last week.
However, numbers dropped a little for Sunday’s most recent episode to 1.35 million – though that’s still higher than the premiere episode. One of the reasons may be is because it clashed with SummerSlam – though anyone who watched the pay-per-view will see that despite Total Divas being a hit, it’s not caught the imagination of many wrestling fans. In fact, it could be argued that the crossover audience isn’t as big as you may imagine. (more…)
Joshi legend, multi time champion and Diana promoter Kyoko Inoue is making a whistlestop tour of the US in the middle of this month, wrestling for Combat Zone Wrestling, taking part in a training session and doing some signing appearances.
The 41-year old debuted in 1988, and in that time, has won countless titles in AJW, WWWA and NEO, as well as winning mens’ championships in DDT and WEW – additionally, she was the first woman to hold a male belt in Japan. Having wrestled for more than 22 years and wrestling four matches which were give five stars by the Wrestling Observer, Inoue also won Match of the Year in 1995 for her contest against Manami Toyota on May 7.
1995 was a pretty big year for Inoue, as she also gained some exposure to an American (and possibly worldwide) audience by working briefly for the WWF, competing in an 8-woman elimination match at the Survivor Series and also competing on Monday Night Raw in December (click the links to see the matches). Unfortunately, the division crumbled the following month when Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze‘s contract expired and she jumped to WCW. (more…)