The WWE Divas Championship turned 5 years old on Saturday, and has evolved from the secondary title on the SmackDown brand to being the top belt in the promotion. Some would argue that in that time, the prestige of the primary women’s title in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world has dropped for various reasons, but it’s what we’re being presented, and it would be worth a look to see what state the title and the division itself is in right now.
Announced on June 6, 2008 by then-GM Vickie Guerrero so the women on her roster would have their own title, with the inaugural champion being Michelle McCool, who made Natalya tap out at that year’s Great American Bash. At the time, McCool was the pet project for WWE’s future, having been in the original Diva Search in 2004 and floating around for a long while before hitting a groove as a wrestler. However, she was a pretty unexciting one – and despite defeating Maryse a number of times over the course of the next month, it was the French Canadian who wrested the title from her in December of that year, which saw McCool turn heel on friend and special ref Maria Kanellis after the contest’s conclusion.
Maryse embarked on what is still the longest Divas Championship reign in the title’s history at 216 days, but her matches were pretty poor, and could not compare to the Raw brand’s women’s roster which was seeing the likes of Melina, Mickie James and Beth Phoenix competing over the Women’s Championship. However, during Maryse’s reign, she was drafted from SmackDown to Raw and took the belt with her, while Women’s Champion Melina went in the other direction. (more…)
Io Shirai, Dark Angel win major titles and Yuzuki Aikawa retires at historic “Ryogoku Cinderella” event
It was a historic day today at the fabled Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo as Stardom presented Ryogoku Cinderella – their most ambitious card to date – in the hallowed building, and it was a day of change, as three of the promotion’s titles changed hands while the curtain came down on the career of Yuzuki Aikawa. Attendance was announced at 5,500, though it seems from live reports that the actual attendance was quite a bit smaller than that (inflated attendances are fairly common in wrestling worldwide, but especially in Japan – although reports last week suggested 3,000 tickets had been sold), which while impressive for a joshi crowd in 2013 appears disappointing given the size of the venue and the hopes/expectations Stardom had to have had for the event.
In title changes, Io Shirai won the World of Stardom Title (aka “The Red Belt”) from Alpha Female, who drops the title that she won last month from inaugural champion Nanae Takahashi. Alpha’s transitional run lasted just 43 days, but you have to imagine Shirai is now going to be considered Stardom’s “ace” going forward. It was a bad day for Monster-Gun, as the recently dominant stable lost the Goddesses of Stardom (Tag) Titles also, as Kyoko Kimura & Hailey Hatred fell to the team of Hoshow Tennyo (Kairi Hojo and Natsumi Showzuki) when Hojo upset Hatred. The other new champion in Stardom is Dark Angel (aka Sarah Stock), who won the decision match against Act Yasukawa to determine only the second ever Wonder of Stardom champion. That title had been vacated earlier this month by inaugural champion Yuzuki Aikawa ahead of her retirement.
Speaking of Aikawa, she fought one of her toughest rivals one last time – finally losing to Yoshiko in her farewell. During her retirement ceremony, the ring was bathed in yellow streamers. The win for Yoshiko sets her up as the first challenger for Io Shirai’s World of Stardom title – with that match announced for Stardom’s June 2nd show back at Korakuen Hall. Click through for full results. (more…)
The reign of inaugural World Of Stardom Champion Nanae Takahashi is over. Her run with the title – which began on July 24, 2011 – came to an end at today’s Korukuen Hall show in Tokyo, Japan at the hands of Alpha Female.
The 6’1″ German – who went to a 30 minute draw with the Takahashi last October – snared the title in the main event of the show which was hyped by a hell of a show poster last month. The win is a massive boost for Alpha as she is the first European to hold any top joshi championship – which is a landmark moment and something that she can use as a marketing point in the future – and remains undefeated in the promotion. More pressing is the fact that as champion, she has a future in Stardom as she will have to defend the belt at some point.
Alpha is one quarter of the imposing Kimura Monster-gun stable, which enjoyed more success on the card… (more…)
Did you watch Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 8? If not, you can still buy it at Smart Mark Video, and it’s worth it, as there are three matches well worth your $10. However during the interval, AIW screened a match from GNO6 between Hailey Hatred and Jenny Rose – though due to a technical issue, the conclusion of the match wasn’t shown. AIW put that right this weekend by uploading the match to YouTube… and what a match it was.
Both Hatred and Rose have spent the last few years of their respective careers in Japan – Hatred primarily with JWP, while Rose’s character was born in Diana, casting her Jamilia Craft gimmick to one side to start afresh. Both returned to the US for brief periods of time last year, and their paths crossed in Cleveland, OH on April 15 last year. Click the jump to watch. (more…)
Episode 52 with AIW Promoter John Thorne
This Friday, Absolute Intense Wrestling brings their Girls Night Out franchise to iPPV via Smart Mark Video – so we’ve invited one of the AIW owner/promoters John Thorne onto the show to explain exactly why you should consider paying $14.99 of your hard earned cash on the show. We talk preparations for the show on the final week, Taylor Made‘s late pull-out and the addition of Addy Starr, the idea of iPPV (and whose idea it was) and the financial state of the company. We go back to the early days of GNO and talk about how important Hailey Hatred was to getting the first show off the ground, favourite shows so far, and how they’ve improved through each event. We talk the current status of former AIW Women’s Champions Mickie Knuckles and Jessicka Havok, touch on an AIW Women’s Champion who never was, and the 2012 ascent of Allysin Kay and Mia Yim to the main event – including the amazing finish to their Steel Cage match last August. We discuss the Indiegogo campaign to get Athena to GNO 7 last year, and John offers his opinion on some of the WSU/Drew Cordeiro twitter-drama from last week, and touches on an aborted GNO/WSU invasion/merger angle. We talk Allysin Kay’s mystery opponent for Friday (and maybe get a hint…), the formation of The Social Network and help give the final push for the iPPV on Friday. Some really interesting insight here from someone who was anything but a women’s wrestling fan a few years ago.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
ICE Ribbon present their year-end big show from Korakuen Hall, their first RibbonMania without founder Emi Sakura, and look to the future right from the opener to the main event.
1. New Wrestler Elimination Match: Risa Sera, Hiroko Terada (debut) & 235 (debut) beat Rutsuko Yamaguchi (debut), Eri Wakamatsu (debut) & Ayano Takeda (debut) (8:26).
– Takeda eliminated 235 with a Fisherman Suplex (3:46). Terada eliminated Takeda with an Anaconda Vice (4:31). Sera eliminated Wakamatsu with a modified Shubain (6:31). Yamaguchi eliminated Terada with a Heel Drop (7:16). Sera eliminated Yamaguchi via over-the-top-rope elimination (8:26).
2. Duel 120Kg!!: Jaiko Ishikawa beat Kuzira Oshima (4:31) with an Abdominal Stretch.
3. 4 Way Match: Makoto Oishi & Neko Nitta beat Cherry & Meari Naito and Hailey Hatred & Kurumi and Aki Shizuku & Shoko Hotta (8:21) with a Cross Kneelock from Nitta on Naito.
4. Yumiko Hotta vs. Hamuko Hoshi – Time Limit Draw (15:00).
5. Kazunari Murakami beat Miyako Matsumoto (5:19) with a Haraigoshi.
6. International Ribbon Tag Team Title & REINA World Tag Team Title: Aoi Kizuki & Tsukushi beat Kyoko Kimura & Sayaka Obihiro (c) (17:36) with a Denden Mushi from Tsukushi on Obihiro – New Champions.
7. Special Tag Match: Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo beat Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto (20:51) with a Taiyo*Chan Spanish Fly from Taiyo to Fujimoto.
8. ICEx60 Title: Maki Narumiya beat Mio Shirai (c) (13:28) with the You’ll Never – New Champion.
If it wasn’t for ChickFight, there would be no Ringbelles. Stew and I met at ChickFight VII in Great Yarmouth, England in January 2007, in the first of the series to take place in the UK, as the rest would until cards ceased in 2008. Before that, the first six events (which were all tournaments which would tend to take place over two days) were presented by Californian promotion All Pro Wrestling – and the Retro we have for you today is from the inaugural event, held in Hayward, CA on the 29th and 30th of October in 2004…
Hailey Hatred and Candice LaRae had been eliminated from the proceedings in the first round by Nikki Roxx and Princesa Sugheit respectively. Christie Ricci fell at the semi final at the hands of Cheerleader Melissa after advancing by beating Tiffany (no, not the former ECW General Manager), while Roxx missed out on making to the final when she was defeated by Sugheit – for the record, the luchadora won the tournament by beating Melissa in the final. Because they were at a loose end for the second day, Hatred, LaRae, Ricci and Roxx all met in the ring in what was supposed to be a tag team match. However, one of the participants wasn’t happy with that arrangement, and decided to make some changes… (more…)
Time certainly flies. Scotland’s Kay Lee Ray competed in her first match in Japan earlier today as part of Emi Sakura‘s Gatoh Move promotion, a little over two weeks since it was announced that she was going to be heading over there. However, when you’re flying by the seat of your pants, things tend to be more exciting, so you can only imagine how she’s feeling right now.
Her debut on the show in Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan was not a victory, as she and former Ice Ribbon starlet Riho were beaten by the Queens Revolution – namely former JWP and Daily Sports Tag Team Champions Hailey Hatred and Kaori Yoneyama, marking the first time the pair have linked up in more than a year. However, the defeat did not involve Ray’s shoulders being pinned to the mat, as it was Riho who took the fall when Yoneyama rolled her up while the 20-year old gaijin was on the arena floor. (more…)
The 2012 Ringbelles Awards week kicks off tomorrow, and in preparation, we are taking a look back at the winners from 2011. We have already seen how Kay Lee Ray‘s star has grown, how Jessicka Havok took 2012 by the balls, and now we look at what Hailey Hatred‘s been up to after spending a portion of 2011 holding six separate championships…
There was a mild irony of our timing when we revealed that Hatred had won the Wrestler of the Year title. We announced that the 29-year old had won a day after she lost the JWP Openweight Championship – a title which was instrumental in us choosing her as the winner, as she was the first non-Japanese woman to hold the belt in its 20-year history. However, we judge from December 1 of one year to November 30 of the next, in order to make sure all the awards are despatched and received before the end of the calendar year.
Hatred’s disappointments continued in January as she was unsuccessful in her challenge for the CMLL World Women’s Title – at the time held by Ayumi Kurihara – and was unable to wrest the Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team Championship, as she and Dorami Nagano lost to then-champs Hikaru Shida and Maki Narumiya. However, a return to the United States for half a year saw her amass some quality outings against world-class opponents… (more…)
It’s called Absolutely Intense Wrestling for a reason, and the match we bring to you today from said promotion proves it.
Hailey Hatred and John Thorne had traded victories in singles and tag team matches from late 2008, including one which saw Thorne beat Hatred in a No-Rope Barbed Wire affair. The match presented after the jump is a bloody and violent I Quit Dog Collar match from Absolution IV on June 12, 2009.
By the way, this match adds more to the intergender match discussion we have been having stemming from last week’s Roundup. Feel free to add your thoughts and feelings on matches with men facing women in the comments, and we will collate the best ones for a follow-up on Tuesday. (more…)
Over the years, the number of taboos in wrestling seem to have evaporated. After all, few bat an eyelid about wrestlers who have barely reached their teens stepping into the ring in Japan. Wrestlers with disabilities are given the same opportunities as anyone else, and nobody tells anyone that they are too old to lace up the boots, even though some really should be. However, the prospect of a man facing a woman in a wrestling match still seems to be something which makes some fans squirm in their seats.
I can see some of you imagining it right now.
For a long while, mixed matches seemed to be a no-no, but then it hit the mainstream with the late comic Andy Kaufman wrestling women and calling himself the Intergender Champion of the World, before Jerry Lawler piledrove him onto his head. From there, we saw the odd mixed tag team match on special occasions – WrestleMania VI with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri Martel being a prime example – but very seldom did the women interact with the men… but times changed. (more…)
A lot can happen in a week.
Seven days ago, Tsukasa Fujimoto and Hikaru Shida were preparing to defend their REINA x World Tag Team Championships and would attempt to unify them with the Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team belts, held at the time by Tsukushi and Kurumi. On Sunday in Nagoya, Japan, they accomplished that feat and doubled their stash of doubles titles. Yesterday, Fujimoto would score another title by winning the WAVE Tag Team Championships with Misaki Ohata, meaning she held three different tag team titles in three separate promotions. 24 hours later, she was relieved of two of those belts during Ice Ribbon’s weekday show in Saitama by two women who already hold titles there…
Triangle Ribbon Champion Hailey Hatred and IW19 Champion Hamuko Hoshi successfully joined forces to win the unified Ice Ribbon and REINA x World straps, marking their first reign as REINA x World champs as well as Hatred’s first run with the Ice Ribbon belts, though it is Hoshi’s fourth time holding that title.
In addition, the win means that like year, Hatred now holds six different championships at one time – the aforementioned REINA x World and Ice Ribbon tag belts, the Triangle Ribbon title, the IMW Hybrid Fighting Championship, the TLW World Women’s title, and Remix Pro‘s Women’s belt, which she successfully defended against MsChif seven weeks ago at Joshi4Hope IV. (more…)
Joshi4Hope ran their fourth standalone show today at the Tokyo Kinema Club, headlined by the return of MsChif to Japan, where she challenged Hailey Hatred for her Remix Pro Women’s Championship.
1. Yuhi pinned Veda Scott (6:10) after a Firebird Splash.
2. Tomoka Nakagawa & She Nay Nay bt Maki Narumiya & Yumi Ohka (16:28) when Nakagawa made Narumiya submit to the CRB.
3. Ayumi Kurihara & Mika Iida bt Leon & Manami Katsu (15:32) when Kurihara pinned Katsu with a uranage
4. Hiroyo Matsumoto & Ryo Mizunami bt Arisa Nakajima & Aya Yuki (15:37) when Matsumoto pinned Aya Yuki after a backdrop suplex.
5. Remix Pro Women’s Championship: Hailey Hatred (c) pinned MsChif (17:12) with a running Ligerbomb
For ringside photography, and a pretty amazing bit of what can only be described as stop-motion animation of Yuhi’s Firebird Splash finisher on Veda Scott, visit Lady Go!. Hiroyo Matsumoto, Tomoka Nakagawa, Yumi Ohka and Ryo Mizunami are all scheduled to travel to the US this month to join MsChif & Veda Scott for SHIMMER Vols 49-52 in Berwyn, IL (Oct 26 & 27), while Matsumoto & Mizunami will stay in North America for NCW: Femmes Fatales X in Montreal, QC (Nov 3).
We are coming up to the time that the winner of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 is revealed – though the magazine itself will not be released until mid to late November. Since its launch in 2008, the second week of September is when the winner’s name comes out, so I’ve been having a think about who PWI could possibly select as the woman who will sit atop the heap.
Now bear in mind that PWI still bases the criteria for the winner in the way any legitimate sport could be judged, so victories, title wins and lengths of reigns come way above match quality or column inches, so whoever you may think would win may not necessarily be the same as who PWI has in mind. When we asked the question on who you would think would win on our Facebook and Twitter, AJ Lee‘s name popped up a couple of times, with the reasoning being that she is the WWE Raw General Manager and has been embroiled in the WWE and World Championship pictures this year. However, she is unlikely to win the PWI editors’ pick because as an in-ring performer, she has only wrestled a handful of times, and hasn’t won any championships. Likewise, Sara Del Rey is probably an outside bet to win – despite placing in the men’s PWI 500 due to her victories over men in CHIKARA – as she doesn’t have many championship wins or reigns to speak of, and has lost quite a bit recently. (more…)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated may still hold the pretence that wrestling is totally legit (oh, don’t act like you didn’t know) but there is still a lot of buzz around who will top its annual PWI500 list, which runs down the top 500 wrestlers in the world. This year’s was won by CM Punk, as the magazine still recognises wins and title reigns as more important than anything, so it was obvious that he would sit atop the heap. However, our interest lies in who sits in spot 430 – it’s Sara Del Rey.
While PWI generally doesn’t observe women for its list, the magazine says Del Rey’s inclusion comes down to her victories over men in promotions like CHIKARA, where she has seen off the likes of Tim Donst, Ophidian, Ares, Kodama and the massive Tursas over the last 12 months – most as part of the 12 Large: Summit, of which she almost reached the finals.
Sara is the fourth woman to be featured in the men’s list – preceding her are Jackie Moore (back when she was Miss Texas), Chyna and Madd Maxxine – the latter of which we had to do some research on, but she was a 6’2″ West German wrestled briefly for the WWF‘s women’s division in the mid-1980s and also fought some mixed and intergender matches in the Universal Wrestling Federation, teaming with Jack Victory or facing the likes of Percy Pringle (Paul Bearer) on her own. (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa defends her newly-won SHIMMER Championship against Nicole Matthews, Athena looks to settle the score with Mercedes Martinez, and four women make their debuts.
1. Courtney Rush pinned Rhia O’Reilly with a Skyward Suplex.
2. Melanie Cruise & Mena Libra defeated Shazza McKenzie & Veda Scott. Cruise got the pin following a top rope legdrop on McKenzie.
3. Sara Del Rey beat Leon following a big powerbomb.
4. Sweet Saraya made Davina Rose tap out to the Knightmare (half crab).
5. Jessie McKay beat Mia Yim with the Boyfriend Stealer.
6. Ray pinned Kellie Skater with a Phoenix Splash.
7. Hailey Hatred & Kalamity beat LuFisto & Kana. Hatred pinned LuFisto following a running powerbomb.
8. Ayumi Kurihara & Ayako Hamada retained the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship by beating ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates. Hamada pinned Danger with the AP Cross.
9. Athena defeated Mercedes Martinez with the O-Face.
10. SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa retained the title by beating Nicole Matthews with the Air Raid Crash. (more…)
Ayumi Kurihara‘s reign as CMLL World Women’s Champion was not very long – winning the belt in November last year and dropping it in March – but it certainly had its moments, one of which we bring to you this weekend.
Hailey Hatred‘s challenge for the title came less than a month after dropping the JWP Openweight Championship to Tsubasa Kuragaki, and winning the CMLL World Women’s strap would have been a great way to bounce back and get on track again. Kurihara, meanwhile, was not keen on dropping the title. She had already retained the belt over Cherry at Union Pro on January 3, and claiming the scalp of Hatred would be a great boost to her credibility while enjoying her first world title reign in any promotion. Click the jump to watch the entire 2 out of 3 fall contest from REINA 24 held on January 15… (more…)
Former WWE and ECW personality Dawn Marie seems to have a good heart. Setting up Wrestlers Rescue in 2008 (and the subsequent Pro Wrestlers Relief) in 2009, her goal was to make life easier for wrestlers with medical issues to help them pay their bills – a common problem for wrestlers outside of WWE who may not be able to secure the proper insurance needed to cover their ailments.
In the last week or so, her charity has received a battering from James “Kamala” Harris, who has had both of his legs amputated due to complications stemming from diabetes and high blood pressure. He claims that Wrestlers Rescue and Boston-based independent wrestling promotion the Millennium Wrestling Federation promised to help him out financially, and never did so, calling Dawn Marie “no good” and accusing her of keeping the money that was raised for him.
Wrestlers Rescue has not had the best of reputations in its short existence, but following this high-profile attack on her work, Dawn Marie decided to go public with all the details. (more…)
Quite a few interconnected items to discuss this week, but they all start at the same point, so let’s go back to last Saturday night…
On the “Before They Were WWF Superstars” DVD back in 2001, we got a look at Edge and Christian’s background, learned about their friendship and how they were high school buddies. From there, they went back to their old school, walked the corridors and showed how a particular hallway entrance doubled up as their wrestling ring.
One element that is pertinent to this piece is that the group of friends that they hung around with were known as the Getalong Gang, as they got along with all the other cliques like the jocks, the geeks and so on. They were the middleground that everyone could be friendly with and not face any attitude, hostility or pretty grudges.
nCw Femmes Fatales is the Getalong Gang. (more…)
It’s day two of the SHIMMER tapings in Berwyn, IL (you can find out the results, thoughts and photos from yesterday’s DVD tapings by clicking here), and a number of matches have been announced.
After defeating both Canadian Ninjas in singles matches yesterday, Cheerleader Melissa defends her SHIMMER Championship against Jessie McKay, aware that Sweet Saraya has apparently put a bounty on her head.
Elsewhere, the Tag Team Championship will be on the line as holders Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara defend against high-fliers Ray and Leon in an all-joshi affair, Mercedes Martinez takes on Hailey Hatred, and the unlikely team of Sara Del Rey and Courtney Rush will meet ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates.
As with yesterday, we will be adding the results to this post as they happen, and Stew will offer his thoughts from ringside later. Click after the jump and keep hitting refresh to follow the goings-on. (more…)