At last November’s Survivor Series, we watched a pretty rotten 7 on 7 Divas elimination match. Not content with its badness, it was then repeated on Raw the following night. Having not learned that more does not necessarily mean better, WWE has booked a 14 woman match for WrestleMania XXX on April 6.
It came about on last night’s Raw after Divas Champion AJ Lee deliberately got herself counted out in her title defence against Naomi. Irritated, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero decided to punish AJ by booking her in a title defence at WrestleMania with 13 challengers. That means that going for the title in New Orleans, LA will be Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina Snuka.
How happy a Diva would be in being in this match depends on the Diva to whom you are referring. Should you ask Eva Marie, Cameron, Emma, Aksana, Alicia, Summer, Emma, Layla, Tamina or Rosa, I would imagine you would get a happy response – especially Rosa and Layla, who have barely been seen in recent months. Under normal circumstances, there would be little to no chance of them being involved in a title match at WrestleMania. Because of this booking, they can say they challenged for the belt at a WM and will receive a big pay-per-view payoff in the process. However the opposite feeling may be forthcoming from the rest – who could have held a claim for at one time being in the frame for a singles challenge on the show. (more…)
Earlier this month, TNA wrestlers travelled to Japan to film a special One Night Only PPV in conjunction with Wrestle-1 in front of 5,800 fans at Tokyo’s Ryōgoku Kokugikan. While most of the matches on the Outbreak event were TNA v Wrestle-1 affairs, the women’s match featured Knockouts Gail Kim and Knockouts Champion Madison Rayne squaring off in a non-title affair – partly because Wrestle-1 does not have any joshi talent and usually presents women’s matches featuring stars from other promotions.
Still, it’s interesting to see Kim and Rayne having a western-style match in front of a Japanese crowd which traditionally takes a while to warm up, and generally doesn’t respond in this contest until the big moves are brought out. Click the jump to watch it in its entirety. (more…)
“Lei’D Tapa lost – she done with TNA.”
And with that, the woman who won the Gut Check a year ago was written out of the company. She lost clean to Gail Kim on last night’s Impact Wrestling after the pair came to blows following Kim’s loss to Brittany on last week’s episode. The 31-year old took to Twitter afterwards, saying: “When 1 door closes another door opens! Thank you @IMPACTWRESTLING for giving me the opportunity! To my fans I luv u all!! #BowDown” (more…)
Angelina Love returned to TNA last week and tried to talk Velvet Sky into reuniting the Beautiful People. Sky was reticent to agree straight away but the pair left things on friendly terms. No spoilers, but that story continues on tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling – so we’ve delved into TNA’s archives to check out Love and Sky’s original run, where they were arguably the most over tandem at the time.
Combining great looks with the ultimate bitchy nature, the Beautiful People were the perfect addition to the fledgling Knockouts roster and saw them picking fights with the likes of Roxxi and Gail Kim. Couple that with their arrogant entrance and brown paper bag treatment and they were easy to dislike – and is part of the reason why it never felt the same when they reunited as babyfaces in mid-2010.
This retro comes from Victory Road on July 13, 2008 and sees Love take on Kim in singles action. Click the jump to watch. (more…)
“Candice Michelle went to PWG in 2008 & raved about me to John Laurinaitis. When I saw him, he said ‘What does a Diva know about wrestling?’”
This is a tweet from Joey Ryan which he posted back in January – one of many which he wrote in reference to his tryout with WWE, where he asserts that was told that he was too old and too experienced to be in developmental.
Despite his wrestling persona being someone who is quite misogynistic and employs moves like the Boobplex, it is clear that he would not be allowed to do moves like this unless the recipients were comfortable with him – in fact, because of the amount of inter gender wrestling that he does, you could argue that he’s a huge advocate for women’s wrestling. With these tweets, one would imagine that Ryan is not thinking about trying out again, but it’s difficult to see if he has an axe to grind. If he does, it calls into question the validity of the claim – but if it is real, what does this say about WWE’s former Senior Vice President of Talent Relations?
Laurinaitis – who resigned from the post in July 2012 but still works within WWE – has form with not taking the Divas division very seriously. In 2006, he suddenly hired two models who he spotted in a catalogue – 20-year old Victoria Crawford and 19-year old Barbie Blank, who became known as Alicia Fox and Kelly Kelly respectively. It doesn’t show that much respect for women who toil for years to become good wrestlers to see two women hired just by how they pose in swimwear. While WWE still does hire women with no wrestling background, they do seem to go for people who have athletic ability. Summer Rae for example, used to be part of the Lingerie Football League, while new signing Shara used to be a competitive arm wrestler. (more…)
Angelina Love made her return to TNA yesterday after more than 18 months away. She was announced as being part of the Impact Wrestling show an hour before the broadcast began via the company’s Facebook page, and then her first appearance on the broadcast was in a backstage segment with Jeremy Borash.
Later on in the show, Love took to the ring as a babyface – having shaken off being under the spell of Winter – and invited Velvet Sky down to suggest a reunion of the Beautiful People, which was the group which turned them into one of the most marketable acts in TNA in 2008. While Velvet was open to the idea, she didn’t fully commit to the proposal and asked for more time to think about things.
Love was released from TNA in July 2012 and made a return to the independent circuit, originally wrestling for the higher-budget indie groups like Northeast Wrestling and Family Wrestling Entertainment before making a trip across the Atlantic to wrestle for a number of promotions, with the most high-profile being Pro Wrestling: EVE, as she and Erin Angel defeated Sara-Marie Taylor & Carmel Jacob at Wrestle Fever. At the time, we questioned Angelina about whether a return to TNA was likely – though she insisted that she was happy managing her own bookings and being her own boss. (more…)
If the plan is still for AJ Lee to defend the Divas Championship against Naomi at WrestleMania XXX, then WWE is certainly going round the houses to do it – that’s if they’re even planning to do it.
Before her injury to her eye socket occurred, it was reported that the plan was for Naomi to be the one to end AJ’s mammoth title reign (which is now the longest run in WWE history be it for singular or combined reigns) though it was said that the plan would still be on for WrestleMania on April 6 if the Funkadactyl could be cleared in time. It was partly because of that possibility that AJ had a title defence against Cameron at Elimination Chamber and again on the subsequent SmackDown. However things have gone in another direction in the last week as there now seems to be a queue of pretenders to the throne.
Natalya made AJ tap out in a tag match on SmackDown on Friday and is to get a Divas Title shot on tonight’s live edition of Main Event. Meanwhile on last night Raw, Nikki Bella got the pin on the titleholder as part of another tag team match, after which she held up the Divas belt while Natalya – who was on commentary – looked on. It seems as if there is a bottleneck of challengers, though it’s also up in the air as to who the champion may be by the time we get to WrestleMania. (more…)
Madison Rayne puts her TNA Knockouts Championship on the line against former titleholder Gail Kim as part of the Lockdown card in Miami, FL.
• Rayne returned to TNA in December last year and went after her former friend and Tag Team Championship partner, though no explanation was really given as to why they had a problem with each other – even though a storyline was ready to go.
• Madison marked her comeback after having her first child by defeating Gail to win the Knockouts Title at the Genesis card held on Impack Wrestling in January.
• The pair fought during TNA’s tour of the UK, with Kim earning a shot at the title by beating Rayne in a street fight on the February 20 episode of the show.
• The match was announced for Lockdown, meaning it would be held inside a steel cage. (more…)
These Brits seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. In WWE, Paige is still NXT Women’s Champion after defeating Emma on the first live show in the feeder system’s history. Broadcast on the WWE Network, social media was buzzing after the match with praise for both women – though it was the 21 year old from Norwich who had the focus as the winner.
As a showcase for the up and coming women in Florida, it was a great piece of work which dispelled the recurring criticism that Divas can’t wrestle. Given the chance to go out there with no gimmicks or distractions as well as enough time to tell a story, the pair proved that women do have a place in a wrestling ring in the top company in the world. That sentiment was shared by trainer Sara Del Rey, who said “Congratulations @RealPaigeWWE and @EmmaWWE you both are paving the way!!!”, and Stephanie McMahon sang their praises in a post-show interview. Indeed, there were many plaudits singing their praises.
As well as having the confidence to let Paige and Emma go out there and do their thing, they also put the marketing machine behind its Women’s Champion by releasing a t-shirt for her. Considering how little merchandise WWE had for its women up until last year and how she isn’t even on the main roster yet, it’s a real sign that the company is high on the former Britani Knight. (more…)
The first live show of the WWE Network takes place on Thursday with the first live broadcast of NXT. Dubbed ArRIVAL, it features three matches – one of which sees Paige defend the NXT Women’s Championship against number one contender Emma, in a match which has been a long time coming.
The cheerful Australian earned her crack at the title back in August and then had to defend her right to challenge for the belt by beating Natalya at the start of this year. While carrying on her #EMMAlution in Florida, she also graduated to the main WWE roster by originally appearing in the crowd – antagonising fellow NXT alumni Summer Rae in the process – before taking part in dance-offs and making her in-ring TV debut last night on Raw, defeating Summer with the Emma Lock. While fans who haven’t seen her NXT character evolve are getting used to the newcomer with the awkward dance moves, it seems as if things are going in the right direction.
It could be argued that the NXT Women’s Champion has been ready to make a similar jump for a while. As the sole titleholder – winning the title tournament last June, but the show being broadcast the following month – she has turned back the challenges of Summer Rae and Natalya, though hasn’t wrestled on a show since the end of November. Injury was cited as the reason, though the Wrestling Observer said the layoff was for personal reasons. Thursday’s match will be her first match in more than three months, and in that time, her opponent – and the woman she beat in the tournament final to win the belt in the first place – has caught up with her success. (more…)
Earlier this month, Shanna wrestled Gail Kim on the final show of TNA‘s tour of the UK and Ireland as part of a taping for an upcoming episode of Xplosion. That episode aired in the UK last night, and we have it for you here.
At the time, I pointed out that “Shanna looked perfectly comfortable in that ring… she got in her fair share and even got to nail the Perfect Press.” After watching it back, that quote still holds water, and should help with Portugal’s Perfect Athlete’s quest to snare a TNA contract.
You can watch the match after the jump, and feel free to leave your thoughts on the match in the comments. Does Shanna have a place in the Knockouts division? Let us know. (more…)
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…)
This weekend is the real kick-off of the all-women promotions for 2014, and it begins with the promotion which closed out 2013.
Things were left somewhat up in the air at the end of SHINE 15 on December 13. Rain had just backed out of her impending retirement after retaining the SHINE Championship by beating Amazing Kong via count out. However, her gloating came to an abrupt end when she was informed that her next challenger would be fellow Valkyrie member Ivelisse Velez, who had beaten Mia Yim earlier in the night – that is, if Ivelisse decided to accept the opportunity. What followed was a series of videos where a number of people offered their thoughts to the would-be challenger. Starting proceedings was fellow stablemates Taylor Made and Allysin Kay who implored their friend to not accept the match, and was followed by Rain, who echoed those sentiments. Afterwards, SHINE VP Lexie Fyfe told Velez that she was picked because she was the most deserving, not because of some sort of plot to destroy Valkyrie from within. (more…)
It was more of a renaissance than a Genesis for Madison Rayne on last night’s Impact Wrestling. After giving birth to her first child in August last year and returning to TNA on the December 12 episode, Rayne capped off her comeback by defeating Gail Kim to win the Knockouts Championship for a fifth time, tying the record shared by Angelina Love and Tara.
Rayne was forced to fight through adversity, as she was attacked by Kim and Lei’D Tapa before the match, so was selling her ribs during the contest – during which she was also attacked by Tapa, before getting the win with the Rayne Drop. You can see the match for yourself after the jump.
As previously highlighted by us, there have been problems surrounding the reason for Madison’s face turn and why there has been no explanation despite one right there, but TNA has done a successful job of turning around its former top heel into a babyface people are happy to get behind – though credit must also go to Kim for being the pain in the arse that people want to see knocked down a few pegs. (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…)
Ringbelles Roundup (3 December 2013) Renee Young is great, Gail Kim praises Taryn Terrell, plus more
Female backstage interviewers are as rare as rocking horse poop in World Wrestling Entertainment, and finding a good one is hugely unlikely. In late 1994, Stephanie Wiand signed on, co-hosting WWF Mania with Todd Pettengill, and also worked a few pay-per-views in 1995, though very few fans remember her, and probably could not pick her out of a lineup. Rue DeBona also did a bit of backstage mic work on SmackDown in 2004, but wasn’t around long enough to do anything apart from marry (and later divorce) Josh Mathews. Some Divas also turned to asking the questions rather than answering them. Lilian Garcia has done the job at pay-per-views in the past, Terri Runnels performed interviewing duties between 2002 and 2004, Sunny did the odd bit in 1997 but seemed to be more keen on having the spotlight for herself, and after being eliminated from the Diva Search, Maria Kanellis worked the backstage but was given the ditzy gimmick where she asked poor questions, got wrestlers names wrong and simpered a lot.
However, WWE seems to have stumbled across a diamond in current interviewer Renee Young. (more…)
Following Hannah Blossom‘s failed challenge to Gail Kim last week another wrestler stepped up to the plate to see if they could defeat the TNA Knockouts Champion in a non-title match. This time around, it was Candice LeRae – who worked a tryout match last month before Bound For Glory against Veda Scott.
Rumours had been swirling that the 28-year old from Winnipeg – who primarily wrestles in California for Pro Wrestling Guerilla and Alternative Wrestling Show – was going to be the next non-TNA wrestler to take up Kim’s challenge, and friends like Hudson Envy tweeted some thinly-veiled hints that it was someone from her area who would be on the show, and considering Kim said her opponent would be a blonde, it narrowed the list down to just LeRae. (more…)
It’s weird – this website was buzzing with stories last month as part of Open Female Fight Season, with results from Bellatrix, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Women Superstars Uncensored, SHIMMER, SHINE & NCW: Femmes Fatales all flowing in, interspersed with interviews, reaction and discussion. It was certainly a busy time for women wrestling fans, and sites dedicated to it, such as this one. You would imagine that at the conclusion of such a period, there would be a hangover of sorts where many wrestlers would rest, promotions would ease down and there would not be that much to talk about. (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…)
ODB defends the TNA Knockouts Championship against former titleholders Gail Kim and Brooke Tessmacher at Bound For Glory.
• It was announced on the October 10 episode of Impact Wrestling that ODB would defend her title at Bound For Glory against Kim and the winner of Tessmacher and Velvet Sky, with the former winning the match against an opponent who was still suffering the effects of an attack by Lei’D Tapa.
• Speaking of Tapa, she and ODB got into a fight on the same episode. The pair tangled during a match where ODB was taking on Jessie Godderz with the lofty newcomer getting the upper hand. Tapa was seen holding the Knockouts Championship above her head while standing over the fallen champion. (more…)
Female Fight Season is creeping up on us and as more talent is announced for the shows, one thing that jumps out is the number of wrestlers who are making this first trips abroad to face new people, venture into new locker rooms and expand their horizons.
Let’s start with the women who are travelling to the United States. As we have mentioned on this website in the past, Nikki Storm is making the trip from Scotland to take bookings for SHINE, Women Superstars Uncensored and Absolute Intense Wrestling in the month of October, and was announced for SHIMMER this evening too. She is certainly making the most of her time in the US by working for as many of the major women’s groups as possible. Networking her way around the country will also help to attain new contacts, connect with new audiences and shift a lot of merchandise. Joining her as another fresh face in the US will be Australia’s Savannah Summers, who will also be part of AIW’s Girls Night Out tapings on October 6. Her announcement was somewhat out of the blue, as this is the first time that the six year pro will venture outside of her native country and ply her trade elsewhere. Considering her experience and character – her heel work is pretty great and she’s also likeable as a babyface – she should create a good impression with the crowd in Cleveland, OH. (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…)
If you asked a wrestling fan who La Felina would be better known as, chances are most would struggle to tell you the correct answer. However, were you to say that La Felina would gain international fame under her real name of Gail Kim, give yourself a gold star.
Debuting in December 2000 under a mask, it was fellow Canadian and fellow future TNA Knockout Traci Brooks who would unmask her – though she later admitted that the mask wasn’t her idea and she didn’t miss the mask when it was removed.
Kim wrestled as La Felina for close to two years before being signed by WWE in October 2002, with one of her trips taking her to Allentown, PA, where she would compete for World Xtreme Wrestling. This Retro is from around September 2002, with her teaming with Nuisance against Brooks and Sinn in a mixed tag match. Despite the sound going out of sync during the video, it’s still interesting to see Kim before all the WWE and TNA fame. (more…)
There are a lot of women’s wrestling promotions in the northern half of the planet. SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales, Women Superstars Uncensored, SHINE, IndyGurlz, Lucha Libre Feminil, Bellatrix, Pro-Wrestling: EVE, Fierce Females, WAVE, OZ Academy, JWP, Diana, Ice Ribbon, and Sendai Girls, just to name a few. In addition, there are promotions with women’s divisions like Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, Acclaim Pro Wrestling, Squared Circle Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, AAA, CMLL, FutureShock, ABC Catch and more.
In the southern hemisphere, there are comparatively few – which means if you are the champion of one of those, you are in a much more exclusive club. While there are some like the IndyGurlz Australia title and the Riot City Wrestling Women’s strap, arguably the most prestigious belt in women’s wrestling is in the southern hemisphere is the one representing the Pro Women’s Wrestling Alliance, and it’s now officially held by a grappler who has spent the last year as the lady in waiting… (more…)