Following her arrest over being arrested for narcotics possession last week, Io Shirai was indefinitely suspended by her home promotion, Stardom. The official statement refrains from making a comment on the current legal situation, but did distance itself from the former Triple Tails member, and apologised to fans. Io’s sister Mio did the same thing in a blog post, saying that their relationship had been strained recently, and Io had distanced herself from her family. She also pointed out that she heard about the arrest in the same way everyone else did – via the media.
Shirai’s suspension should not come as a surprise. Drugs are a serious no-no in Japan, and any wrestling organisation would want to disassociate itself with anything that may trouble or dissuade sponsors.
22-year old Shirai and her boyfriend NOSAWA Rongai were arrested at Narita Airport after returning from Mexico, after a total of 75 grams of marijuana was found hidden in the frames of two paintings given to them from fans. In somewhere like the US or UK, 75 grams is a small amount of cannabis – but this Japan, which has ferocious anti-drug laws to discourage people from smuggling, selling, cultivating or selling them in the country. For example, because caught with weed could result in a five year prison sentence which also incorporates hard labour. That’s a stiff penalty, and really not worth the risk.
At the moment, both Shirai and Rongai (who deny the allegations) are being held in a detention centre where the prosecutor will prepare in indictment. If that happens, the chances of being acquitted is very slim. (more…)
With OVW being named earlier this week as the new Developmental Territory for TNA Wrestling (which we covered in this week’s Roundup), it’s probably apropos that we dedicate this weekend’s “In Video” segment to a few of OVW’s women’s division. It remains to be seen whether TNA will actually pick new Knockouts from this existing talent pool or they’ll “sign” indy prospects and assign them to OVW for training – but for the last five years or so, Danny Davis and OVW have had a Women’s Title that can claim former champions such as Beth Phoenix, Serena Deeb and Katie Lea (now TNA’s Winter) as former champions. Lee’s Roundup shone the spotlight mostly on the STDs and the Blossom Twins (including biographical details on all four), so where better to start than a tag team match featuring those two teams?
Yesterday, TNA announced that they were forming a working relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling to be a “training and developmental facility”, much like the setup that OVW had with WWE until 2008.
In a statement, TNA declared:
NASHVILLE, TN (November 7, 2011)– TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announces that they are entering into an exclusive relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), effective immediately, as the official training and developmental facility for TNA’s current and future stars of TNA IMPACT WRESLTING. Former wrestling star and OVW owner Danny Davis will work closely with TNA SVP of Programming and Talent Relations Bruce Prichard in the development of the talent through training, live events, and weekly television production allowing talent to explore every aspect of the business.
“OVW is the best of the best as far as training and nurturing potential superstars. Their track record speaks for itself. Whether looking to develop brand new talent or to fine tune existing talent, OVW has the talent and program to fit our needs.” says TNA’s Prichard. “TNA is providing developmental talent the opportunity to hone their craft in an environment that will allow them to grow and prosper.”
TNA talent will be arriving soon at the facility to begin an extensive training program with the industry’s leading experts. The program is akin to a college scholarship program where talent is provided a scholarship style agreement with TNA to learn the craft. The talent to attend the program is selected by TNA’s Prichard and TNA officials who will be monitoring the progress of each wrestler at camp and the live events.
Now, nonwithstanding the fact that TNA’s press office can’t spell “WRESTLING” – even though it matters – this will be a good opportunity for many aspiring young talent in TNA. Quite frankly, it’s something both WWE and TNA need, as the limited number of approved places for wrestlers to get more experience in either company is pretty slim. However, this is also a two way street, as some wrestlers who currently consider Louisville, KY their main base could use it as an opportunity to make contacts and get spotted – or re-spotted, in the case of the former Sojo Bolt, AKA current OVW Women’s Champion Lady JoJo.
For example, if TNA wants to give its tag team division a bit of a revival (yes, I realise what I just said) then there are two potential teams waiting to go. The first would be the combination of the Smothers Twisted Daughters, comprised of Izza Belle and Jessie Belle Smothers – the latter of which really is the daughter of the awesome Tracy Smothers. (more…)
It’s been a pretty successful 8 days for Izza Belle Smothers. After winning the AIW Women’s Championship last Friday at Girls Night Out 4 as her alternative character Mickie Knuckles, Smothers went into Ohio Valley Wrestling‘s Saturday Night Special to challenge Lady JoJo for the Women’s Championship that she had held since August 28 last year. It was being billed as a big deal, as OVW was pre-selling the show with the main hype being Izza Belle v JoJo, though you can still pick up an autographed copy if you’re fast.
Presented to a sold-out crowd in Louisville, KY – so packed that extra chairs had to be brought in – Ringbelles‘ Jennifer Logsdon also swung by to see the match.
In Izza’s corner was her sister Jessie Belle, and in Lady JoJo’s corner was Taryn Shay. The match saw Izza getting the upper hand at first but after interference from Taryn, JoJo dominated for the most of the match. The crowd was hot the whole time and there were dueling chants for both women. Finally Jessie took out Taryn and Izza capitalised with a pump handle slam into a sit out power bomb to get the three count. Solid match.