Both Shanna and Alpha Female made their first appearances in a TNA ring during the recent UK tour, though they handled the publicity for it in different ways.
Portugal’s Perfect Athlete got the word out early that she would be booked on the February 1 show in London, England, as well as the following date in Birmingham. She wrestled singles matches for the Xplosion tapings – the first against Alpha and the next saw her take on Gail Kim. I was at the Birmingham taping, and while I won’t spoil the result, Shanna looked perfectly comfortable in that ring in what was a big opportunity for her to impress. She wasn’t just cannon fodder for the full-time Knockout either – she got in her fair share and even got to nail the Perfect Press.
Since announcing that she would be wrestling for TNA, Shanna has encouraged her fans to get the attention of the company to demonstrate her fanbase and how much she wants to be part of the promotion. She has retweeted many of the messages sent to TNA, and is showing her enthusiasm and overwhelming desire to sign a contract, while also increasing her brand and marketability. No doubt, she has a lot of people backing her, which is very encouraging. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (27 August 2013) – Speculation on Tara’s future, Total Divas, #PipeBombshell & more
It’s been a pretty quiet week as far as news from the world of women’s wrestling is concerned, but one thing which stood out was what one former TNA Knockout said about the company – as well as what she didn’t say.
In an interview released on the Wrestling Observer, the former Tara (Lisa Marie Varon) talked about how she will “never” return to TNA, kept tight-lipped about the worst things concerning the promotion, and also openly praised WWE’s direction with the Divas both on the main shows and in NXT. Now, I would imagine that because of her being so direct about her lack of desire to return to the promotion, there are probably some stories there but are being held back out of professional respect to not run down a company which still has people she likes working there, or she’s saving it for when the time is right. She also goes out of her way to praise the opposition, which raises an eyebrow or two. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (9 July 2013) – Knockouts dearth, Heidi & Taeler, SHINE, Maria Kanellis, Sunny & more
We praised Mickie James’ last six months in TNA, including her winning the Knockouts Title and turning heel in the process. However, you have to wonder what sort of division she is reigning over, when you consider how many – or conversely, how few – female wrestlers there are on the roster these days.
As well as James, you have Gail Kim, Miss Tessmacher, ODB, Tara, Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky as in-ring performers – though ODB is usually a ref these days, Terrell is hardly a regular and Tessmacher & Tara has been absent for a while. That’s seven women – half of what they had in 2008 when the division was really a pioneer and vastly overshadowing what was going on in WWE at the time. When you consider that TNA only has about three women doing most of the work these days, you can see why the promotion binned its Knockouts Tag Team Titles following them being vacated by ODB and Eric Young.
The roster was thinned out last Wednesday when a four time Knockouts Champion and the first Gut Check winner were cut from the roster. Madison Rayne – who is heavily pregnant and is due to give birth next month – saw her contract expire and it wasn’t renewed. Some have complained that it was a bit tactless of TNA to do that, but Rayne herself apparently holds no grudges and has made no complaints in public. It is possible that she may return in time.
The other departure is Taeler Hendrix, who has been criminally underused by the promotion since winning the Gut Check last June. She has only appeared on two episodes of Impact – one was the Thanksgiving Day episode, which was a filler show because so few were watching, and the other was last month as she served as cannon fodder for Mickie’s slow-burn heel turn. Meanwhile, she has been working on her character during her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which we cover in more detail later on. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 June 2013) – Kaitlyn’s secret admirer, Kalamity, Brittney Savage, Gorgeous George and more
So Kaitlyn’s secret admirer was Big E Langston, as many originally assumed it would be. However, there was a sting in the tail, as Langston was sending the notes as a way to build up the Divas Champion to knock her down as part of a nefarious plan with AJ Lee.
Last night on Raw, Kaitlyn took the ring to ask for whoever had been sending her the notes and gifts, and had a look of bewilderment on her face as it was Big E who was revealed to be the one behind it all. He pointed out that it does appear to be a bit weird and awkward, but softened her with his words. As he moved closer for a kiss, he learnt her back for a romantic smooch, but let her fall to the floor. At that moment, AJ’s music hit and she came skipping to the ring to reveal that it was all one big head game ahead of their title match this Sunday at Payback.
AJ’s reasoning for doing it was that she felt that Kaitlyn had not supported her enough after Daniel Bryan dumped her last year and she went off the rails, and was more focussed on winning the Divas Championship. What Lee is leaving out is that Kaitlyn actually was there for support and to get her back on track, but AJ slapped her on two separate occasions before the friendship fell apart. The pair briefly reunited at the end of last year before AJ turned full-blown heel at TLC and aligned herself with Dolph Ziggler, but it was never meant to last.
AJ became the number one contender to the Divas strap by winning a battle royal on April 22, and since then it has been pushed to one side when it wasn’t convenient to address it. The pair had a backstage set-to at Extreme Rules, but that has been the only real storyline development until last night. (more…)
Not making it to Bellatrix 5 in Norwich, England on Sunday may have been unfortunate, but it did provide me the opportunity to utilise the option to watch the show on iPPV. Considering a lot of the changes from Bellatrix 4 last November were being done because of this one being broadcast live, it was interesting to be able to assess if those changes were successful.
Improvements to aesthetics like giant wall hangings of the roster, an improved entranceway, ringside barriers and more attention paid to start and running times were coupled with the venue being a purpose-built TV studio with full-scale lights and sound systems, the Epic Studios in Norwich looked vastly different to 5 months ago. The benefit of it being a proper studio also made it easier for the show to be streamed online, as the facilities to broadcast were all there, and had been tried and tested with previous unrelated shows. As a result, Bellatrix 5 was one of the slickest women’s wrestling iPPVs produced to date. (more…)
Last October, we posted a video of Leva Bates as a heel, and pointed out how unusual it seems. Similarly, in Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling there is another incongruity with Nicole Matthews working as a babyface as one quarter of the reigning ECCW Tag Team Champions The Riot.
I mean, just look at that face – could you imagine cheering for someone with a smug look like that? Well, yes – in British Columbia, Matthews is hugely popular as part of the wise-cracking foursome with the Shocker as their signature hand gesture.
As an example, we have a match from January 18′s ECCW PoCoPalooza show in Matthews’ hometown of Port Coquitlam, taking on Cauliflower Alley Club Future Legend nominee Sammy “Bambi” Hall in singles action. Click the jump to watch the video. (more…)
On Sunday, I sat among 400 people in a hall in a small city in the west of England. The only reason why I had decided to go – well, apart from it being a 15 minute walk from my front door – was that it featured a women’s match that was pretty hyped up about. Unfortunately, the billed contest between Kay Lee Ray and Shanna had to be scrapped because of KLR suffering a broken toe two days previous, then wrestling for about 40 minutes on it the previous day – though as it turns out, her metatarsal had been broken for about a month, which was compounded by the broken toe. As a result, a suitable replacement was brought in to replace Ray, and it would more than compensate.
The fans at Alternative Wrestling World in Wolverhampton had no idea who Emi Sakura was. To them, she was a Japanese woman who wears a lot of fabric, doesn’t show much skin and visually, didn’t look like much to write home about. Around me, I heard some borderline racist jokes about the “Chinese” woman in the ring and some unfunny gags about ordering Chinese cuisine in a mocking Far Asian accent. Her opponent also got the heckles, with a guy yelling “get your tits out” to Portugal’s Perfect Athlete – as if that line has EVER worked. Needless to say, we were dealing with an audience with spectacularly low expectations for the contest, and more than their fair share of xenophobia and ignorance. I’m stunned that I didn’t see anyone get up to go to the bar or toilets. They would have regretted it if they had, as little did they know, but they were going to be treated to a showcase featuring one of Europe’s best against one of the best in the world… (more…)
2012 Diva of the Year (named by both WWE Magazine and the WWE fans via the Slammy Awards) AJ Lee is about as far away from WWE’s idea of what a Diva should be as you can imagine. Short, quirky, geeky, lacking the body shape that others have had in the past, she comes across as the person you would be more likely to meet over an Xbox Live session of Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 than at an awards ceremony or a fancy bar. She’s your friend, your buddy – she’s not what WWE would perceive to be the ultimate in femininity.
But scratch beneath the surface, and she may be more woman than anyone else on the roster. She’s independent, driven, and has forged a path which she was never meant to go down – and in doing so, forced WWE to take notice.
After all, at the start of this year, she was Daniel Bryan’s put-upon girlfriend – the one who was the foil for him to turn heel, and saw her end up being verbally abused and put in harm’s way. If anything, at the time she was another version of the antithesis of a Diva – meek, helpless and unable to take care of herself. However, when their relationship ended on the post-WrestleMania SmackDown following Bryan’s loss of the World Heavyweight Title – which he blamed on her – she went off at the deep end. It gave her character a chance to have an edge, and she ran with it. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 December 2012) – Divas future, intergender wrestling part 2, Portia’s tweets, Fierce Females DVD review & more
WWE knows the Divas division is in tatters at the moment, and seems intent on asking us what we want to happen to it, so the promotion has been contacting focus groups asking about the future of the women. PWInsider reports they were sent out to ask fans what they think of the Divas in the past, what they are like now, and which women they liked. Another question which was reportedly on the list is what role they wanted to see them in – be it as valets/managers, dancers, wrestlers, love interests and more.
This could be the opportunity that fans of women’s wrestling have been waiting for. If the data comes back in the way which we would hope for, it could see a resurgence of in-ring action for the Divas in 2013, along with some proper storylines with episodic character development, culminating in big matches at pay-per-views. It could see them take more prominent roles on the TV shows, and have their segments played out in front of interested, active crowds who care about what is going on. It could also see an injection of new talent into the ranks, possible gimmick revamps to make them more interesting, and having more options of big matches all as part of the quest to snare the Divas Championship.
Oh yes, it could be the start of something beautiful.
But what if it isn’t? (more…)
Hot on the heels of NCW Femmes Fatales in Montreal earlier in the month, Cat Power had some work to do. Directly after her trip to Montreal, Power headed home to Windsor, Ontario, packed the rest of her worldly possessions and headed off West in search of new adventures and new experiences as a stuntwoman in Vancouver.
Speaking to Ringbelles after the FF show, Power let us in on the fact that literally the day she arrived in her new home province, she was booked on a show where she would take on BC native Kc Spinelli. Sounded great to us – and how pleased were we when said match turned up on YouTube a few days ago courtesy of ECCW?
So… click through past the jump and see whether Cat Power was able to celebrate her first night in her new home with the ECCW Women’s Championship as she challenged Kc Spinelli at the Elks Hall in Port Coquitlam, BC. *meow*
Close to a year after her last recorded match – a loss to Shazza McKenzie in Melbourne City Wrestling in Thornbury, Australia on July 9 – Tenille Tayla has finally moved to Tampa, FL, to report to Florida Championship Wrestling. On her Facebook, the 23-year old from Melbourne said:
Thankyou to all my family and friends for the love and support. It’s been a long hard journey but happy and proud to say I am now getting a chance to fulfil my dream of not only living in the USA but working for the WWE. I am so excited to start this new journey in my life… Can hardly believe it still! :D Hellooooo Tampa!! Let’s get this show on the road!
It has been a long time since there were rumblings of Tenille being offered a deal with WWE. However, she had to go under the knife last July for a recurring dislocating shoulder – so bad that it happened on such a regular basis that she could just pop it back in by herself with no distress, as evidenced on her appearance on World Of Hurt last year – and moved back to Australia from Vancouver, BC, Canada where she had been living, to recover and get rehab. During that time, her trainer Lance Storm replied on Twitter to a question about Tayla, saying that while she had been offered a deal, nothing had been signed. It seems that WWE was waiting for the doctors to give her the all-clear before assessing the landscape. (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…)
Imagine SHIMMER, WSU, ACW, Femmes Fatales, ECCW, AIW, OVW and FCW all clubbing together, putting up their best representatives and holding a tournament where they would be whittled down to one promotion as the best? Can you imagine the politics, jostling, arrangements, hostility, distrust and remarks there could possibly be? On the flip side, there is the chance that all would get on, things would be decided amicably and all would work together for the greater good – highlighting the plethora of great female wrestling talent out there, showing off their top wrestlers and then taking that momentum, breaking off again and working their own areas to capitalise on the buzz that was created in order to sell more tickets, shift more merchandise and create more awareness of their product. After all, women’s wrestling is a niche product within a niche product, and the amount of awareness – and interest – is not as high as it could be.
OK, I’m dealing in extreme hypotheticals on both sides, but if anything, it could create an intriguing night of action, capitalising on the sort of buzz that wrestling fans experienced when the WWF bought WCW a decade ago, throwing up some potential dream matches. Fair enough, it never really worked out that way, but that doesn’t stop wrestling fans from dreaming.
Over in Japan last week, such an event took place. Wednesday’s FLASH tournament featuring talent from Sendai Girls, JWP, Diana, REINA, WAVE, Ice Ribbon, Stardom and a freelance team drew a hugely impressive 1835 fans to Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall – a Super No Vacancy Full House. The first round was 5 on 5, the semi finals were 3 on 3 and the final was a straight tag match. (more…)
It’s been a big month for Kc Spinelli. After making her SPARKLE debut ahead of the SHIMMER tapings earlier this month, she rounded off October by ending the near-year long reign of Nicole Matthews as Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling Women’s Champion to claim her first ECCW title. The Torontarian claimed the title from the Canadian Ninja at last night’s Halloween Hell show in Surrey, British Columbia after becoming the number one contender to the belt as a result of defeating Taya Valkyrie at VanCity Showdown on September 10 in Vancouver.
Spinelli and Matthews have been feuding for a fair while (in fact, Kc’s debut match was in a tag team match where she was facing Nicole), with Nicole usually getting the upper hand, but this was the poignant match in their series. Had Spinelli lost, questions would have been asked where the champion would go from there, as the ECCW roster has been thinned out recently with Valkyrie and Tenille Tayla signing WWE developmental deals and Veronika Vice deciding to hang up her boots for now.
Having Spinelli as the champion and defending against Nicole creates a new dynamic which can be exploited while newer girls make their way to British Columbia. In addition, it will be a massive boost to Spinelli’s star power, and make her much more in-demand with promotions elsewhere in North America and further afield. In addition, we must also give props to Matthews herself, whose long reign as champion helped to boost the value of the title, as well as dumping in the Supergirls name which it had when she won the belt (a description that she told us that she hated), and giving it a classier moniker. (more…)
Time to welcome back friend of the show Dave Prazak for our newest podcast for a look back at the epic SHIMMER tapings from earlier this month. Dave shares his thoughts on the size of the roster (which totalled 49 across the two days), and who really stood out from the pack – both new and old – and how 2012 is shaping up. Dave is, as usual, forthright and honest in his opinions. Then we’re joined by World of Hurt’s Kc Spinelli to talk, yes, the greatness of Kc Spinelli. We also talk about This Wrestling Life, lots of Nicole Matthews mentions, failing to graduate from ECCW’s Academy, and participating on World of Hurt with Lance Storm and Roddy Piper. How fake is reality TV anyway? Thoughts on recent WWE signees Irena Janjic, Tenille Tayla & Taya Valkyrie – and just how much of a gimmick was The French Stallion? Don’t know Spinelli? You will after this show!
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
If you’re a women’s wrestling fan living in the western hemisphere, chances are you’ve had your fill of top in-ring action over the last two weeks. In the US, there was SHIMMER (results and thoughts here and here); Canada had nCw Femmes Fatales (detailed results here); and in the UK, Pro Wrestling: EVE collaborated with Ice Ribbon to present three shows over two days (results and photos here and here, and interviews here). While there were big names, such as Cheerleader Melissa, Serena Deeb and LuFisto who achieved or surpassed what fans have grown to expect of them, there have been some wrestlers who have managed to break into that next echelon of success and have opened up a new world of possibilities. In this week’s Roundup, I’ll be having a look at them.
The first to make an impact (lower-case I) was Athena, who turned babyface in SHIMMER as part of a double-turn which saw Mercedes Martinez go heel. In a pretty accurate homage to Steve Austin and Bret Hart flip-flopping sides back in 1997 at WrestleMania 13, Martinez got frustrated by the less experienced Athena refusing to stay down, and used a chair to attack her ankle in full view of the referee, intentionally disqualifying herself. Refusing to be beaten, Athena got on the mic to say she would be back when her leg was 100% again.
I’ve been harping on for a while now that Athena’s athletic, high flying moveset, attitude and look lend themselves to being a flashy yet tough babyface. In most promotions, she is portrayed as a heel, which she does well, but fans still applaud her when she executes some of her aerial moves – such as her springboard attacks, which virtually no other female in America does at the moment, and even fewer do it with such grace and ability. By turning her babyface, those reactions look set to become more passionate cheers, rather than applause of begrudging respect. As long as she keeps calling people hussies, keeps the swagger and tempers the flying to make it mean more when she does it, Athena looks set to be a massive star in SHIMMER. Granted, she is a multi-time American Joshi Champion in Anarchy Championship Wrestling, but the worldwide reach of SHIMMER will see her profile and stock shoot up in 2012. Best of luck to her. (more…)
Former ECCW Supergirls and PWWA Champion Penni Lane has broken her silence over her continued absence from the ring. The 33-year old Australian, who resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada, wrote a message to ECCW, which was posted on its website.
In response to the question about why she doesn’t wrestle anymore, Lane replied:
I am physically unable to. I overcame one hurdle with the help of a couple of surgeries back in 2009 only to be presented with another completely unrelated hurdle that is proving to be much more challenging to overcome.
While she chose not to elaborate about the situation that she is dealing with at the moment, she admitted that she may never return to wrestling again. Penni also addressed why she has not been at recent ECCW shows:
For two reasons… It’s hard for me… I also don’t want to pretend everything is just fine as that gives off the impression I stopped because I stopped feeling the love for it.
You can read the entire message by clicking here.
While we would like for Penni to be able to get a clean bill of health and return to the ring, we at Ringbelles wish her a pain-free life, along with happiness and success in whatever she may choose to do with her future.
Before appearing as one of the six men and women featured on Canadian TV series World Of Hurt, and before slip-sliding her way all over the shop in Argentina as part of Wipeout Canada, Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling star KC Spinelli was part of another documentary.
Called This Wrestling Life, it follows aspiring wrestlers as they work their way through the SLAM Academy, with Scotty Mac putting the trainees to the test – one of which is Natalie, aka Miss Spinelli.
Meet Travis aka Volt Vegas, Natalie aka KC Spinelli and Bill Taylor, an up and coming referee as this group of loveable misfits negotiate their way through a world full of rituals and rules. Over the course of a year we join the ranks and ride the many ups and downs at one of the top independent wrestling schools in the world. Will the sacrifice needed to graduate from SLAM be too much for this group or will they come out unscathed and stronger than before? Will hard times force them to choose unfulfilling jobs over their dreams? Will the lifestyle and in-the-ring personas cross over into their day to day lives and strain already fragile family ties? In this “fend for yourself” industry, where everyone is trying to make it to the top, loyalty, honor, and friendship are not common traits. However, the relationships among these newcomers, and the veterans that mentor them, reveals a much more human side of this often-misconstrued world. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s This Wrestling Life.
After the jump, we’ve added a couple of deleted scenes featuring Spinelli, with the first seeing her discussing her gimmick, and the second showing her trying out her new gear. (more…)
The Women of Wrestling Podcast raises the “awesomeness” factor to never before seen levels as we welcome the current ECCW SuperGirls Champion Nicole Matthews to the show. Nicole is very forthright in her opinions, and pulls no punches discussing her career to date, including the pride she takes in being a female athlete. She recounts stories of being a wrestling fan growing up, how she broke in with ECCW alongside Veronika Vice, wrestling the likes of Rebecca Knox and Nattie Neidhart within her first year in the business, her inner “mark”, balcony dives, and breaking out as one half of the Canadian NINJAs alongside partner Portia Perez. We discuss exactly what makes their partnership work so well, including how each person complemented the other, and mention the team appearing on the last season of Wrestlicious as “The Naughty Schoolgirls” (and why that won’t be happening again any time soon). We talk about her big showcase matches in singles competition in SHIMMER, her feud with Jessie McKay, and discuss Lance Storm’s World of Hurt, including recent WWE signings Irena & Tenille, the fabulous WOH captioning, and wonder just why she isn’t *on* the show. We also discuss WWE, “the WWE look” and whether that’s anything that she aspires to do with her life, and what’s happening across the Great White North from Femmes Fatales to ECCW. Oh, and don’t mention the term “SuperGirls” to her either…
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
The Australian 22-year old Storm Academy Graduate has been living in Canada for the last couple of years, primarily wrestling for SHIMMER and Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling, winning the latter’s Supergirls Championship on two occasions.
Before moving to North America, Tenille was competing for PWA and PWWA in Australia.
According to Lance Storm (who doesn’t name Tenille directly as she’s waiting on a work visa and the results of a medical), there is another female who has signed with WWE, but she hasn’t been identified.
Tayla is still scheduled to appear on World Of Hurt, premiering May 1, broadcast on The Cave in Canada.