Nikki Bella won the WWE Divas Championship on Raw last night. There are a couple of issues that stem from this, so let’s deal with the Bella situation first.
First off, this title change has been on the cards for weeks, so it wasn’t a kneejerk reaction to the “twist” in the match. However, according to previous reports, the Bella Twins’ contract expires on Monday, and unless they have signed a contract extension – which we don’t believe has happened – they are set to go. Putting the Divas strap on Nikki is a curious choice, as it has to be a short reign – don’t be fooled, she won’t be taking the belt away with her like CM Punk did with the WWE Championship last June after winning it at Money in the Bank – so there are only three shows where she could conceivably drop it – SmackDown, Extreme Rules on Sunday, or the Raw the following day. Realistically, option 2 is the most likely, meaning a six day reign, and there is a prime candidate for winning the title, probably in some sort of open challenge…
I really hope that in one year, when I come back, you two will still be here.
That’s the parting words Kharma gave to the Bella Twins last May before taking a sabbatical following the announcement of her pregnancy. As has been reported, things tragically didn’t work out with that, but it seems that she is ready to get back onto the scene after being interviewed for a TV news piece about GLOW while she was at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas last week (more on GLOW later). Besides, if she wants to make good on her threat to destroy the Bellas, she has a window of a mere few days to get the job done, and the cherry on top would be taking the Divas Championship in the process. (more…)
Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, how about a look at two of the romances running in WWE that involve two of the biggest storylines going on at the moment?
On Raw this week, the relationship between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres ground to a halt when Eve decided to kiss John Cena after he helped to rescue her from the clutches of Kane. Unfortunately, a crushed Ryder saw the whole thing, though Torres claimed it was a heat of the moment thing, then called things off with him, hoping that they can remain friends.
On the plus side, this storyline is the best opportunity that Torres has every had to show some personality in her near five year WWE tenure, even though it has caused her to experience derision from the audience for knowingly or unknowingly screwing over one of the favourite wrestlers in the promotion right now – someone who has captured the hearts and imagination of fans by standing up to his bosses with his YouTube Z! True Long Island Story, getting over in spite of his booking (or lack of it) and then being sucked into one of the most asinine and ridiculous storylines in years, that being Cena v Kane, by being the whipping boy who is the real life equivalent of Kenny from South Park being murdered on every show. By screwing over the guy who has the sympathy of fans, Eve is positioned as a heel… for now. (more…)
Legendary Bull Nakano returns on her 44th birthday to finally bid farewell to her fans, and shines a light on the current stars of joshi puroresu
1. Ayako Hamada beat Aja Kong (15:14) with an AP Cross.
2. Guillotine Drop Match: Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami beat AKINO & Maki Narumiya (13:34) with a Diving Guillotine Drop from Mizunami on Narumiya.
3. 50s & 40s & 30s & 20s & 10s: Dump Matsumoto, Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sawako Shimono & Tsukushi defeated Jaguar Yokota, Manami Toyota, Tomoka Nakagawa, Natsuki*Taiyo & Cherry (16:15) with a Powerbomb from Inoue on Cherry.
4. Kana beat Kagetsu (11:23) with the Kana Lock.
5. Nanae Takahashi, Meiko Satomura & Emi Sakura beat Ayumi Kurihara, Yoshiko & Tsukasa Fujimoto (21:41) with a 450 Splash from Sakura on Fujimoto.
6. Yuzuki Aikawa beat Hikaru Shida (15:11) with a Yuzupon Kick.
7. Bull Nakano Retirement Ceremony
• Ayako Hamada and Aja Kong go from headlining at JoshiMania the previous month to opening the show here. Not that these two toned anything down for an opener.
• The Guillotine Drop match was four women (each from a different promotion) who all use the legdrop, as per Bull herself. Sendai Girls’ Mizunami eventually hit a top rope version on ICE Ribbon’s Maki Narumiya for the win.
• The concept for the ten woman tag match is genius. Each team has one competitor in their 50s, one in their 40s, one in their 30s, one in their 20s and one in their teens. Cherry is a bit of a cheat on her team, as she’s portrayed as a teenager, but otherwise the gimmick works very well.
• Kana vs Kagetsu was a total change of pace – a grappling and striking clinic early, leading to suplexes and submissions later. Stuck between two multi-women tags, it’s a bit of an unsung gem.
• The six woman tag in the semi-main slot was my most anticipated match of the card, and it was the one I ended up enjoying most. Emi Sakura pinned Tsukasa Fujimoto to win, but more about this match below.
• The positioning of a match between Hikaru Shida and Yuzuki Aikawa as the main event on the show (or at least the last match before the extended Nakano retirement) showed a lot of faith in these two. Aikawa is limited in experience, while Shida has only just moved to the top of ICE Ribbon cards. That being said, they did a phenomenal job in delivering a quality main event, with Aikawa eking out the win.
Click through for observations, match of the night and overall impressions (more…)
This is a new review style for Ringbelles, and one that I’ve adopted (with blessing) from Thomas Holzerman on The Wrestling Blog. I’ve never seen the need for huge swathes of play-by-play recapping, so this format appeals to me. It hopefully will tell you all you need to know about the show, and what I thought about it in an easy to read and digest format. It’s my first time reviewing a show like this, so feel free to offer any suggestions or opinions… thanks.
“Just Starting Out In The World Of Pandemonium”
• The opening video of Emi Sakura walking along the painted lines on a road, and being joined on her journey by various members of the Ice Ribbon roster was quite lovely. Whimsical, carefree and actually quite cinematic. Emotional too, as Sakura wiped tears from her eyes over her imminent departure from ICE Ribbon (she would wrestle her last match for the promotion on January 7th, citing “personal reasons”)
• To fit the 2hr time block, some of the undercard matches are clipped/joined in progress, but there’s more than enough to enjoy about each of them, from Aoi Kizuki’s happiness, a fairly inconsequential elimination tag match (which includes over-the-top-rope elimination rules) and the bizarre nature of the Ice Ribbon vs UMA Corps match.
• The first ever ICEx60 Champion Seina retired on the show in a match with her little sister Riho.
• Minori Makiba also retired, having been special referee for Seina vs Riho.
• Both Makiba and Seina had apparent farewell speeches read to them by friends from the past, each complete with dipped lights and background music. Former IR competitor Makoto returned to read Makiba’s sendoff, while Hikari Minami was apparently overcome and unable to read the her speech for Seina. Riho read it instead, and the speech apparently called for one final match between Minami & Seina.
• Seina therefore had two “retirement” matches back to back, essentially – Neither the match with little sister Riho nor the impromptu match with Minami were particularly long, but both were dripping in emotion.
• The semi main event was a three way mixed tag match – which seemed quite storyline based, and was unfortunately fairly incomprehensible to me. There was dancing. A lot of dancing. Shenanigans too. A lot of shenanigans.
• Hikaru Shida overcame her peer Tsukasa Fujimoto to become the ICEx60 Champion for the first time.
Click through for the meat and potatoes of the review
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…)
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…)
Well, that’s SHIMMER all over with for 2011 (see the complete results and extra thoughts by clicking here and here), but the flood of quality women’s wrestling doesn’t end there. This upcoming weekend sees two great promotions in two countries – nCw Femmes Fatales have a card on Saturday which sees International Champion LuFisto defending her title against Kalamity, with a distinct possibility of a title change, though instead of explaining it – and the rest of the card here, check out the latest edition of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast which will be online later today.
So let’s focus on the other promotion hosting three separate events over Saturday and Sunday in Nottingham, England.
Pro Wrestling: EVE has undergone a changing of the guard since the last time it ran a full show in April. At that time, Britani Knight became the first EVE Champion by wrestling five matches to win the title tournament, but lost the belt on her second defence to Jenny Sjodin under a series of circumstances that led to she, her mother Sweet Saraya and World Association of Wrestling breaking away. Things have stabilised since that warm June evening in Morecambe – Sjodin has become a double champion by adding the Norwegian Women’s Wrestling Alliance title to her collection by defeating Aurora Flame in a title for title affair, and is pitted to take on her teammate in the European Empire group – as well as her Northern Shooters tag team partner – April Davids with the EVE Championship on the line. (more…)
It’s fair to say that we at Ringbelles have become quite the fans of Ice Ribbon – on the back of their weekly, free to air 19pro Ustream show, the easily accessible English information about the product (on twitter, tumblr and facebook) and the fact that their wrestlers are just really fun to watch – so when I got the chance to watch Ice Ribbon’s most recent Korakuen Hall show a mere two weeks after it happened, I jumped on it. Ice Ribbon usually run shows at their small Warabi Dojo in the Saitama area, but every so often they run Korakuen Hall in Tokyo (one of seemingly hundreds of promotions that run there regularly), and this most recent edition, entitled “Ice’s Adventures in Wonderland” promised the most enticing IR lineup at Korakuen this year.
The ethereal intro video introduces the main stories running into the show – Manami Toyota mentoring and encouraging Tsukushi, Sayaka Obihiro returning to face the challenge of JWP’s Kaori Yoneyama, Makoto’s final appearances (for now) with the company before heading off to SMASH, the feisty Riho challenging SMASH’s head man TAJIRI and the ICEx60 Title defense of Tsukasa Fujimoto against the dynamic Hikari Minami.
As part of the build up for the Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon weekender at the Doncaster Dome in the UK on October 8 and 9, the Ice Ribbon stars – including Tsukasa Fujimoto, Makoto, Kurumi, Tsukushi, Hikaru Shida, Emi Sakura, Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi – got together to make a short hype video and prove that Japanese women are SO happy all of the time.
While I like the excitement, I hope that as the show draws nearer, we get some threats, aggression and competitiveness coming out. While it’s nice to see wrestlers shaking hands and liking each other, I’d like a BATTLE between duelling promotions. I suppose that will happen when we know which wrestlers will be participating and the matches are announced.
Click after the jump for a fan video hyping up the card, featuring footage from the EVE title tournament weekend, and Jenny Sjodin‘s title win over Britani Knight two weeks ago. (more…)
The future of women’s wrestling in Britain was looking bright. In May 2010, Pro Wrestling: EVE debuted with a lot of fanfare, announcing a working relationship with World Association of Wrestling, meaning Sweet Saraya and her daughter Britani Knight would be part of the proceedings, along with other WAW talent Destiny and Amazon (and later, Liberty and Melodi). The partnership seemed to be working well, with training seminars being held with WAW, and EVE making Britani its first Champion two months ago.
Fast forward 13 months, and things are looking much muddier.
Last Saturday, less than two hours before Britani would defend the EVE title against Jenny Sjodin at an XWA Wrestling show in Morecambe, Saraya took to her Facebook to say that the relationship with WAW and EVE was being permanently severed, and would not be healed. In addition, it also said that WAW talent would no longer be on EVE shows.
While our Twitter exploded with requests for information, both from fans and wrestlers themselves, I was sat in the crowd at Morecambe unaware, much like EVE promoter Dann Read and the participants in the match. As it turned out, not even Saraya’s daughter knew that this decision was going to be made, nor that it had been made public and was being discussed.
There was no massive incident that caused the split, but more of a lot of little niggles that eventually became too much. Britani travelled to Morecambe against the wishes of family members as she was ill, with swollen legs and voice gone, presumably still suffering the after-effects of the glandular fever that she wrestled with on the EVE Championship weekend. According to Saraya, she did so because of promises made by Dann Read that he wanted to get her booked all around the country and get a number of successful defences under her belt – thereby increasing EVE’s national exposure. It seems that when Saraya learned that Britani would be dropping the title that night, it went against what they were told would be happening with Britani, and saw it as a betrayal of trust. We must point out that it isn’t down to Britani being upset with the booking decision and refusing to drop the title – it apparently is down to promises being made then then reneged on.
Saraya also went on to say that she would be reviving World Association of Women’s Wrestling – a promotion which promoted a number of cards between 2006 and 2009. (more…)
Two title changes highlighted a historic evening at the Ice Ribbon dojo in Saitama, as the groundbreaking “19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro-Wrestling” show on uStream celebrated its first anniversary. The show, which topped 1000 live views, lasted longer than usual (almost 100 minutes) and featured three big matches. In the opener, the inexorable rise of “Team Sexy” (Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi) culminated in the capture of the International Ribbon Tag Titles from Ice Ribbon founder Emi Sakura and her partner Ray. An all-action bout, peppered with countless near falls, saw Ray in particular excel at keeping the match together. It’s worth noting that while Hoshi & Miyagi have had the rocket strapped to their backs of late since forming their partnership, Miyagi in particular is still very inexperienced, having debuted only five months ago (on Christmas Day, 2010). The finish was a bit untidy, with Miyagi’s original attempt at a second rope Styles Clash on Ray falling apart. Some improvisation later, and Miyagi hit the crushing move to win the titles. Sakura & Ray are arguably the two most reliable wrestlers in the promotion, but it’s also exciting to see Ice Ribbon get behind new stars as they’re doing with Team Sexy. Whether it ends up as too much too soon remains to be seen, but this was a lot of fun.
Up for review here is Ice Ribbon‘s “Ribbon March” show at Korakuen Hall on March 21st, headlined by ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto defending her title against the masked Ray. This was the first big Ice Ribbon show since the Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami that crippled the country only ten days prior, so this show not only has the emotional weight of the disaster on its shoulders, but is presented basically “bare bones” as far as presentation is concerned, due to energy conservation – so no special lighting effects etc.
Elimination Match: Hikari Minami, Kurumi & Tsukushi vs Tamako, Riho & Maki Narumiya
So we start with a six girl elimination match. I don’t know an awful lot about some of these girls, and in fact one of them (Tamako) is making her pro debut here, while another (Narumiya) had only debuted less than a fortnight earlier. It does feature a bunch of the absolute youngest girls on the roster though… Kurumi is 10 years old, Riho is 13, while Tsukishi and Hikari Minami are both 15 years old. Bizarrely, the aforementioned new girls Tamako (at 21) and Narumiya (at 26 years old) are double the age of some of the other competitors here. Absolutely insane. Anyway – Tamako is super cute, but is clearly not at all ready, muddling her way through 54 seconds with Tsukishi before being pinned by a terrible schoolgirl. Riho works with Kurumi and pins her with a Northern Lights Suplex Hold at 2:43 to even the odds. Narumiya doesn’t look too bad before Hikari Minami pins her with a Finlay Roll – which leaves Riho alone against Tsukishi & Minami. Here’s where it started to pick up. Riho worked for three here, handling both with the polished aplomb you *really* don’t expect a girl of 13 to have. She eliminated Minami via ringout (causing your opponent to hit the floor – a common Japanese variant of the usual elimination rules), duelled with submissions and rollups with Tsukishi before eventually being pinned in 8:40 with a victory roll. The first half of the match was pretty awful, but Riho saved it with some excellent stuff in the second half. Good job.
As Stew discussed earlier this week, there’s a much bigger world of wrestling out there than the Divas or Knockouts stuff which leaves us disappointed on a weekly basis. It’s not entirely the girls’ fault – they get fed crap and have to go out there and make the best of it – but considering how often they train and wrestle – especially in the case of the Divas – then some of them should be much better than they are.
There is so much women’s wrestling action every week that your best plan is to vote with your remote and your wallet. However, if you’re short on cash and don’t want to take a punt on something just in case you don’t like it, there’s some free wrestling out there to watch too… as long as you’re not at work or asleep or something… (more…)