I have experienced the buzz you feel after a SHIMMER weekend on a number of occasions, though recently I have been following the enthusiasm from fans in a more remote sense. While the festivities were ongoing in Berwyn, IL on Saturday and Sunday, I was at home in the UK keeping up with results and reaction, and for the most part, everyone was buzzing so much that Chicago could have experienced a very unlikely earthquake.
With volume 63 being called one of the best shows in the promotion’s history and the Tag Team Championship match on the following volume being described as one of the greatest in the company’s seven and a half years. So many wrestlers – be they new faces or long-running stars – impressed and improved their standing that it’s tough to start.
Stew was there to watch the shows and is writing up thoughts for each taping – he’s still got two to do but is in the process of flying home and has been struck down with the dreaded SHIMvirus so we may have to wait a little longer for reactions to volumes 65 and 66 (though you can see the results and thoughts for 63-64 here), but he sent through some overall thoughts on who did well: (more…)
Insane Championship Wrestling Fierce Females presents its first show of 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland this evening, where a new #1 contender to Kay Lee Ray‘s Scottish Championship will be decided. Viper, Debbie Sharpe, Bete Noire and Sammii Jayne will compete in a four-woman tournament to see who will earn the next crack at the title.
Elsewhere, Kasey and Leah Owens are in singles matches against Carmel Jacob and Sara respectively, with Fiona Fraser taking on newcomer Courtney.
Lots of stuff to cover in this Roundup, and we start with the goings-on in WWE over the last few days…
AJ Lee survived the odds put against her by Vickie Guerrero to retain the Divas Championship at WrestleMania XXX. By tapping out Naomi, she defeated her 13 challengers for the title in a match which played to the strengths of its more skilled participants and managed to generate a slight buzz – which was a herculean effort considering the wave of depression in the Superdome in New Orleans, LA because of Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker in the previous contest – and also stuck it to Guerrero for putting her in such a disadvantageous position and for emerging victorious. Standing on the middle rope, AJ soaked in the victory, which was her most high profile in her Divas Championship reign…
And her last. (more…)
Getting injured seems to have had ultra-positive effects on Athena.
It’s not like the Wrestling Goddess was doing badly for herself when she went down with damage to her shoulder last August. She was a day away from challenging for the Women Superstars Uncensored Championship and was a mainstay in SHIMMER, as well as getting into Absolute Intense Wrestling. Things were going well for her – and while getting hurt could have been a huge setback that sent her skidding off the tracks, she has used the time away to her advantage.
Employing a look inspired by Game of Thrones, the 25-year old revamped her image with new gear, altered her character and has worked on her promos, employing the catchphrase of making “art out of war” and doing away with calling her opponents “hussies”. In addition, while the time off to let her shoulder heal may have been a frustrating wait, it has also allowed her body to recover from the constant grind of being on the road and wrestling on a regular basis. It’s likely that when she returned to action at the start of this year, she had no niggling aches and pains, which seems to have given her a new lease of life.
That renewed vigour was evident at WSU’s Mutiny show where she and LuFisto put together an early contender for Match of the Year which saw the Texan defeated – but gaining a lot of new plaudits along the way. That buzz followed her to AIW’s Girls Night Out tapings last weekend where she was such an integral part of the double show that promoter John Thorne skipped out of his own show to go and pick her up from the airport in Cleveland, OH after her flight was affected by inclement weather. The show experienced a long intermission to allow Athena to get to the building and wrestle Mia Yim in their scheduled match – which against received a wealth of thumbs-up reviews. (more…)
If you haven’t listened to last week’s Fight Like A Girl with Bête Noire, do so – it’s an engrossing chat and she certainly has a lot of interesting topics to cover. One of them is Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females, and her most memorable match so far is undoubtedly her weapons-filled brawl with Crazy Mary Dobson at Luke… Who’s Yer Da? last May.
Chairs, makeshift tables, kendo sticks and staple guns all made appearances during this battle which elicited big reactions from the crowd in Glasgow, Scotland, and was a standout performance for both women. Noire proved that she can absorb huge amount of punishment – something which we have seen repeated since this match – as well as dish it out, and Dobson thrilled with a mixture of brawling and high-flying tactics, and she spoke to us about her first Scottish trip for a Fight Like A Girl last year.
You can watch the match after the jump. Brace yourself. (more…)
Former My Name Is guest Bête Noire has achieved quite a bit since she was busy introducing herself to the world in 2012 – not least of which was taking the time to go and live and train in Japan at the ICE Ribbon Dojo earlier this year. We’ve got that to talk about, but first… she’s just had laser eye surgery, and *newsflash* – apparently it kinda hurts. We talk about fun trips to A&E/ER rooms, including that time she had the imprint of a title belt basically TATTOOED across her forehead… whilst accompanied by BBC Documentary cameras. Speaking of the Beeb, we discuss last week’s Insane Fight Club documentary profiling Insane Championship Wrestling (BBC iPlayer link for UK residents), the reaction to the documentary and its stars, and naturally talk a bit about ICW’s spin-off female promotion Fierce Females, where Bête has gone to war with the likes of Viper and Crazy Mary Dobson. And of course, there’s Japan. How it happened, how it went, missing home, training differences between Scotland and Japan, and the feeling on whether she’ll be back there soon. Oh, and tea. Naturally. An intriguing 40+ minute chat. Enjoy.
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Episode 65 with Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna
It’s taken over two years since she said “yes” to a podcast appearance to get everything aligned for this show to come together, but the delay has been all for the better because she had a big year last year with US tours taking in appearances in WSU, AIW and SHINE – and she’s on the verge of a third US visit next month to challenge Jessicka Havok for the WSU World Championship at WSU Mutiny on February 8th. We talk to Shanna about all manner of things, including her experiences on her last two US tours, the origins (and pronunciation) of her ring name, her initial years in the business, working with ABC Catch in mainland Europe, injuries, the match that Shanna describes as her “best match ever”, thoughts on TNA (where she finished second in last year’s GutCheck voting), exclusive news and teasers about upcoming US tours and possible bookings and some of her loves away from wrestling… including, yes… 80s rock music~!
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Kirsty Love is someone who’s looking to turn the corner in her wrestling career and leave 2013 behind her. While it had its moments, the 21-year old Scot admits that in a professional standpoint, the last 12 months have not fulfilled her expectations, despite a number of real high points. However, it’s another year, and that means the slate has been wiped clean.
As part of this near-20 minute chat, Kirsty discusses her affection for her new home promotion RAD:PRO Wrestling, its similar ethos to CHIKARA, her tag team partnership with Rubix Roach and taking on the likes of Fire Ant and Jigsaw. She also talks about her ongoing issues in ICW: Fierce Females with James R Kennedy, her desires for both the near and long-term future and cooking Christmas dinner.
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The first thing I think when I look back over my own personal memories of the last year of women’s wrestling is, as usual, my regular trips to SHIMMER live events in Berwyn, IL. I can’t say enough about the whole experience, but if you’ve ever even vaguely considered making the pilgrimage, DO IT. I believe this year represented my tenth and eleventh trips there, and yeah, I’m still keen to return in the coming year and still love the whole experience. Dave Prazak has often described SHIMMER as a DVD product (and it basically still is), but for me, (and I think a lot of the people I see returning time and time again), it’s become live product more than anything else, and it’s like getting together with your friends from all over the world twice a year. They’re long weekends for the fans, but they’ve ultimately given me such great memories. From seeing the return from injuries of the likes of Serena Deeb & Madison Eagles, to seeing people like Kimber Lee wrestling live for the first time, to seeing Nikki Storm get over so huge on her first trip there, to openly weeping in public as Allison Danger wrestled her last match – all things that will live long in the memory. Sure, the October taping was beset by a number of integral people missing for various reasons, but I’m still glad I was there (Kimber Bombs!!), and only underlines how much talent there is to return in 2014. (more…)
Make no mistake – even though I’m write a lot about wrestling, I’m primarily a fan. I love going to shows, watching matches live and getting into what’s unfolding before my eyes. I love shouting about great wrestling and encouraging others to get involved. I can never say for sure if my enthusiasm has ever swung anyone’s opinion, but it’s nice to have this little pocket of the Internet to be able to talk about women’s wrestling. It’s also nice to have seen Ringbelles become more popular over the last 12 months too, and for that I have to thank you, the good reader for coming back on a regular basis to listen to our audio shows – of which there have been many this year – and read show reports, check out reviews and catch the week’s news in the Roundup.
I didn’t want to make a big deal of it at the time, but the December 10 Roundup was the 150th edition, and that was a nice little milestone for me. When the site started, we didn’t want to post a slew of topics on the front page so more important content was lost in the shuffle so I suggested collating the women’s wrestling news from around the world into one document. Little did I know how much it would swell to the point that each Roundup is around 4,000 words. It’s evolved over that time to feature more commentary to go with the news, but it gives me the aforementioned forum to talk about a topic I care a lot about and want to see continue to grow – and that topic has certainly done that this year. (more…)
Welcome to the 2013 Ringbelles Year End Awards – a trio of accolades where we acknowledge the standouts of what has been a bumper year for women’s wrestling around the world, and giving us plenty of candidates to chew over en route to picking our victorious three. Tomorrow and Sunday respectively, we reveal the Breakout Star and Wrestler of the Year – but first, we begin with the Discovery of the Year, and this was a complicated one. Let us explain, but first, we should mention some of the wrestlers who featured very heavily in our considerations.
The swelling of iPPV over the last year has afforded everyone great opportunities to find out about more stars, especially if we lack the means to be able to see them live. Instead of videos leaking onto the Internet and you having to stumble on them, live online broadcasts have meant that we have been introduced to new faces – many of whom have made an impression on us. As a result, we got the chance to enjoy the work of Barbi Hayden, who did a great job on two Women Superstars Uncensored cards in the latter half of the year; meanwhile, Xandra Bale also raised our eyebrows and was very unlucky to have suffered a fibula injury, as it meant she missed a potential standout match against Cheerleader Melissa at NCW Femmes Fatales XIII. Speaking of Canadian stars and WSU, Jewells Malone has also done some great work and enjoyed some quality exposure. Another up for consideration was Crazy Mary Dobson, who was a big hit for Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females, and also made a good impression at the most recent SHIMMER tapings, and moved away from the death match stuff to also develop her wrestling skills in Japan.
The wrestler who just missed out on winning the accolade is Heidi Lovelace, who has really shone in 2013 with a great outing at National Pro Wrestling Day, as well as defeating Eddie Kingston in the main event of October’s Wrestling Is Heart show and was also part of one of the year’s best storylines, playing the infatuated party in a manipulative same-sex romance with Taeler Hendrix in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
The term “discovery” is an abstract one, and is subjective, depending as to when you were exposed to that particular wrestler. If you were to draw parallels with music, you could have someone who has been following a band in small venues for many years before they start to get signed to a major label, release singles and albums and start doing larger tours. One fan will discover the band at a different time to another, though both have experienced that initial exposure at one time. For that reason, the Discovery of the Year award goes to a woman who – like Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna – made a big impact in the United States, but also had success in Japan… (more…)
Earlier this week, a fancam version of the Portia Perez v Nikki Storm match from ICW: Fierce Females‘ show last Sunday was posted on YouTube, which caught us off guard until we considered the source of the recording. It’s been uploaded by Independent Women’s Internet Wrestling, which sponsored Portia’s trip to Scotland where she wrestled three matches in as many days – contests against Kay Lee Ray and Carmel Jacob as part of Premier British Wrestling cards as well as the XX: It’s In Our DNA show which we attended, and can read our report of by clicking here.
At the time, we described the match as a test of who could be the bigger bastard. Now you can see two great heels trying to out-cheat each other.
Obviously, the video you’ll watch after the jump is not the most perfect way to see the show as it pertains to a video format. Fierce Females will be releasing the whole event on DVD in the near future with multiple optimal camera angles and commentary overlaid to really showcase the matches. For now though, have a look at one of the matches from one of the top women’s promotions in the western world right now. Should your appetite be whetted, you can buy the DVDs of the first two shows at the promotion’s shop. Dive in. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (24 September 2013) – Knockouts division reaches critical point, plus news & more
It’s felt like Groundhog Day since the start of July when TNA Knockouts started dropping from their perch. We are now at the point that things seem totally desperate with the division, with just two full-time wrestlers on the roster and two playing valet roles but are likely on call just in case.
The latest Knockout to disappear from our screens is Mickie James, who dropped the Knockouts Championship two weeks ago on an Impact Wrestling taping which was televised last Thursday. As a result, ODB is now the reigning champion, currently in her fourth run with the title. ODB holding the title isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though you have to imagine that had the roster not reduced to the state that it is in now, she would still be the referee and Taryn Terrell would be holding the belt, considering she was on the monster push. As things turned out, she is on an indefinite leave of absence and TNA did what it had to do to get the belt off James before her contract expired.
When we wrote about Mickie’s contract situation just over a week ago, it was reported that she was still in negotiations with TNA and if the right deal could be struck she would be back on the show. However earlier today, her profile was removed from the roster page on the company’s website, which can’t be a good sign. Mickie James may be back, but I personally wouldn’t hold my breath. Considering the financial issues leading to a massive amount of cost-cutting on the roster – and talk of the show moving back to a singular location because of the sheer outgoings caused by Impact going on the road and not pulling in the crowds, it could just be that TNA can’t afford Mickie James money right now, and may not for the foreseeable future.
As it stands, the only full-time female wrestlers on the roster are champion ODB and Gail Kim, with Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher working as hangers-on for Bully Ray and Chris Sabin respectively. That’s pretty weak by anyone’s standards. (more…)
Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females has a big take ahead of itself if it wants to better its last show. Luke… Who’s Yer Da? was called our favourite show of year up until that point in May, and it’s still probably our favourite card of 2013. However, this evening’s first anniversary show – entitled XX: It’s In Our DNA – features some mouth-watering contests.
One of the headline matches sees Crazy Mary Dobson return to Scotland following her standout victory against Bete Noire on May 4 by facing one of the country’s best in Carmel Jacob – who, since bitching out the rest of the roster at ICW’s last show – has taken a much darker direction. She’s gone slightly unhinged, and that bodes her well for someone who has the reckless abandon of Dobson – though Jacob is not stranger to hardcore matches.
Elsewhere, Nikki Storm battles Portia Perez in what will likely be a contest where each competitor will look to outfox each other. Neither are known for massive highspots, so the emphasis will be on tactics, psychology and possibly the occasional bending of the rules.
As well as a round robin tournament between Rhia O’Reilly, Erin Angel & Shanna, the Scottish Championship will be on the line when titleholder Kay Lee Ray – who discusses the match and her career to date in our latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast – defends the belt against Viper and Amazing Kong in a triple threat encounter which will see KLR at a massive size disadvantage.
Ringbelles is at the Classic Grand in Glasgow for what promises to be a big night. Click the jump and keep hitting refresh to get the latest results. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 September 2013) – Courtney Rush speaks on her injury, rejigged matches, Total Divas finale
There is never a good time to sustain an injury – but for Courtney Rush, the timing of her current ailment has to feel horrendous for her.
Tweeting yesterday, she said: “I don’t know how to say this so I’ll just spit it out: last night I broke my collarbone & will be out of wrestling for the rest of the year. The past 24 hours have been the most frustrating and heartbreaking I have experienced in a very long time. But I must remain positive. A thousand thanks to those who showed such compassion and love and did everything to help me through the pain and emotion. I love you all.”
Speaking exclusively to Ringbelles, Rush revealed that the injury happened in a “freak accident” while she wrestled under a mask as La Tigre Diablo against Jasmine in the warm up match at Sunday’s Smash Wrestling CanUSA Classic show in Toronto, ON, Canada – explaining why she did not feature on the show in her announced match against Candice LeRae. While the fractured collarbone is a massive blow, it also means a lot of Courtney’s plans for the next month or so are out of the window. (more…)
Episode 60 with Kay Lee Ray
We’re just over one week away from ICW: Fierce Females “It’s In Our DNA” in Glasgow, Scotland – the follow up to what we called the best show of the year earlier this year – and with that in mind, we’re talking today to the ICW:FF Scottish Women’s Champion, Kay Lee Ray. On that show, she will be defending her title against Viper and Amazing Kong in a three way match – so we get her thoughts on that, her daredevil style, and whether she still gets the jitters before her matches. We talk about how she got involved in wrestling despite never watching it, wrestling international talent for the first time through Pro-Wrestling EVE, and the story of her concussion during the No Man’s Land iPPV last year where she went to the finals of the Queen of the Ring tournament. We discuss injuries and her high pain threshold, spending Christmas and New Year in Japan, including tales of sickness, karaoke, drinking and wrestling (not necessarily in that order), and her experience so far of working big industry names. There’s also talk of her never-ending feud with her perfect opponent Carmel Jacob, which has involved televised death matches, Carmel’s promo from last weekend, and what that means going into Fierce Females. A really interesting chat with one of Europe’s most fearless competitors. We’ve also got predictions for WWE‘s Night of Champions this weekend, as well as a preview of Female Fight Season in October.
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Kay Lee’s powerbomb from the ring into a wall
Kay Lee’s balcony dive from ICW:Fierce Females – Luke, Who’s Yer Da
Carmel Jacob’s promo from ICW
Is the Kay Lee/Carmel rivalry over?
Total Divas is directing the Divas division in WWE at the moment.
Last Friday’s match between Naomi and Brie Bella on SmackDown ended in a no-contest when some of the Divas – AJ Lee, Aksana, Layla & Alicia Fox – who aren’t a part of Total Divas came down to the ring and attacked the seven stars of the E! Show. On Raw last night, AJ’s opponents at this Sunday’s Night Of Champions show – Natalya, Brie & Naomi – defeated Aksana, Layla & Fox in a six woman tag when Alicia tapped out to Natalya’s Sharpshooter. In addition, Naomi defeated AJ Lee in non-title matches in Canada at the weekend, and if you were a betting man, you would put money on the Divas Championship changing hands this Sunday.
The show is after a happy ending to its season extension/season two run due to start later this year, following the conclusion of the current season which ends next week with Natalya’s marriage to TJ Wilson (Tyson Kidd). Seeing as all three of AJ’s challengers are babyfaces for this angle – and are the three most likeable women on the show – it is perfectly plausible that any one of them could walk out with the belt. (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…)
The wilder half of the Owens Twins has a lot on her plate over the next month or so. This Sunday, Leah Owens takes on Nikki Storm in a Bra and Panties Match at Insane Championship Wrestling‘s sold out Dave’s Not Here Man show in Edinburgh, Scotland (you can see the build-up videos here, here and here) – and she is also part of the ICW: Fierce Females XX: It’s In Our DNA card in Glasgow on September 22. However, for the rest of the time inbetween those two shows, Leah is going to be joining her twin sister Kasey in Japan, where she has been since early July, which will create a new milestone.
As part of this Fight Like A Girl, Leah talks about all of the above as well as moving from Northern Ireland to Scotland to further her career and why she is the Hawk to Kasey’s Animal.
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Shoot interviews are always a funny thing. With wrestlers who have retired and have nothing to lose and are looking for a final few paydays without running the risk of torpedoing any future prospects, they can sometimes be an interesting walk down memory lane, with some fun stories from the past and some misty-eyed memories can be revisited by both the subject and fans who remember the era. However, with wrestlers who are still active, it can be a more dangerous venture.
What happens if you reveal more than you want to and it hurts your chances of making it somewhere in the future? What if you have a grudge with someone, voice it and then have uncomfortable moments if you have to share dressing rooms down the line? What about annoying a friend by saying something about someone who you dislike but they have a lot of time for? It’s a much bigger minefield.
That’s why the recent Kayfabe Commentaries piece by Amazing Kong has ruffled a few feathers. (more…)
What was already promising to be a big first anniversary show for Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females has just become a bit bigger with the announcement of a former WWE and TNA star.
The promotion made the announcement on its Facebook page earlier today that Amazing Kong would be in action at the XX: It’s In Our DNA show at the Classic Grand in Glasgow, Scotland on September 22. This will be the first stop on her visit to the UK, which will also include bookings at Preston City Wrestling‘s weekender on November 15 and 16, and a trip to Southside Wrestling in Nottingham on the 17th.
It will also be Kong’s first match in the UK in more than 4 years – the last one was a win over Saraya Knight at a Real Deal Wrestling show in Hull, England back on July 5, 2009. (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…)
While we don’t know who the Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females Scottish Champion is going to be by the time the promotion’s first anniversary show rolls around, we know the two main events will be for the show, and whoever goes into the event as the titleholder will be defending the belt on the September 22 show in Glasgow, Scotland.
On August 25, current champion Kay Lee Ray defends the title against Carmel Jacob in Edinburgh with the same stipulations which the pair competed under on the first show last September – Last Woman Standing rules. Should Ray retain the championship, she will have to put the belt on the line against the woman who she had to defeat to win the title in the first place. Viper is more than capable of winning the title, and came tantalisingly close to becoming the first champion at May’s Luke… Who’s Yer Da? show in what was a sparkling end to a great card. However, considering the madness of that contest – including a huge balcony dive by Kay Lee, just what else do they have in reserves? We’ll likely find out, regardless of whether or not it is for the title… (more…)
We’ve been itching to talk about it for a month, and are glad that now that it has been broadcast, there is nothing to stop us now. Paige is the first NXT Women’s Champion, spotlighting her as the top woman in WWE’s developmental division right now. It is the shining moment in the 20-year old’s 6-year career – the last 18 months of which has been spent in Florida in Florida Championship Wrestling and later NXT. It was also a testament to WWE’s faith in the Briton that she defeated two established WWE Divas en route to the final of the tournament, defeating Tamina Snuka and former Divas Champion Alicia Fox to make it to the decider against Emma.
In what was the opening contest of last Wednesday’s broadcast, Paige and Emma put together what has to be the best women’s match that WWE has presented in the last year at least. With big moves peppering the proceedings, a decisive finish via the Paige Turner and the endorsement of fellow Divas and WWE COO Triple H made it all feel like a really big moment – as it should have been.