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…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 December 2013) – AJ Lee issues, Natalya’s resurgence, Rain: the ultimate worker
AJ Lee got into a bit of trouble at last Wednesday’s Tribute to the Troops show. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer says she gave NBC presenter Michelle Beadle an obscenity-laced tongue-lashing in public for talking to her boyfriend, CM Punk. Beadle referred to it in a tweet, saying “Lost another friend to CGFN… crazy girlfriend neutering. It’s real people. Check your buddies. Affects everyone.” She later claimed that she thought AJ was joking, so didn’t react to it at the time, but then believed it wasn’t after a while.
Another account says that AJ was working because she was told to do so by an agent for a segment on the WWE App, and then everyone acted surprised when she did it, as if it was some sort of double cross on her, while another says AJ wasn’t yelling, and was standing up for Punk after Beadle allegedly said something that rubbed him the wrong way (even though he would likely say something himself if that was the case, so the whole scenario seems implausible – and a skit for the app would allude to Punk and AJ being an item, which is something that has never been brought up or acknowledged anywhere in WWE, so that lacks credibility too). The story has since been disregarded as being bogus. (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…)
The untimely death of Matt Osbourne got me to thinking. In his role as the original Doink The Clown, he took what immediately appeared to be a bit of a lame gimmick and turned it into something quite special – a dark character with a painted on smile, exacting sadistic actions to wrestlers and fans alike, while also working as a skilled technician in the ring. Check out his matches with Mr Perfect and Bret Hart for some of his best work in mid-1993.
Osbourne’s run as Doink came to an end in the latter part of the year as he was fired from the WWF for re-occurring drug issues, and with it, the character then becoming a lame babyface which lacked the edge or sparkle of the original portrayal. However, it was a great example of making chicken salad out of chicken guano, and is relevant to a couple of women who are plying their trade in WWE today.
Before we get to that, it’s worth pointing out some of the other gimmicks in mainstream wrestling over the years – including which had mileage and which crashed and burned… (more…)
Well, it had a difficult birth – with most of the former Knockouts banding together and turning down offers to work the show – but TNA have managed to put together a Knockouts only PPV as part of their taped “One Night Only” series after all, and managed to pull a coup out of the bag by featuring Serena Deeb‘s first match since October 2011. Deeb took on fellow OVW trainee Mickie James in the match, which it is believed will likely air in the July or August slot on TNA’s One Night Only calendar. (X-Travaganza will air in April, the Jokers Wild Tag Tournament in May, and TNA’s live Slammiversary will air in June). All of the early matches were termed as qualifiers for the main event “Queen of TNA” Gauntlet match, which is TNA’s Royal Rumble style timed-entrance Battle Royale with the final two facing off in a pinfall/submission standard match.
Interestingly, one former Knockout did show up despite not being booked – as Daffney, fresh off resolving litigation with the company, was seen protesting the show with an “I’m here independently” sign (in reference to her threat to challenge the so-called ‘Independent Contractor’ clause in TNA contracts).
Click back after the break for an exclusive pic of Daffney & Amber O’Neal at the show, along with full results, which also saw the return of other former Knockouts, a former Diva, Gut Check competitors and independent talent (more…)
Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers/listeners, who are spending the day eating roasted birds and things containing pumpkins while watching Gridiron football or the Macy’s parade. As Brits, we’re not entirely clued up on what goes on on this particular Thursday in November, but we have seen a lot of people talking about what they are thankful for. So, in the spirit of the day, we shall do the same.
We are thankful for every single one of you who chooses to visit our website, download an interview or podcast, read an article, leave a comment, share our contributions with others and so on. We are also thankful for women who go step into the ring and work hard to entertain the fans; we’re thankful for promoters who give them the opportunity to do so, and we’re thankful for every fan who spends money supporting the wrestlers and the promotions.
So as a thanks to all of you, we’ve got a series of videos of matches which took place around Thanksgiving, but may not necessarily have a Thanksgiving theme. As a result, we’ve got Trish Stratus v Molly Holly from WWF SmackDown on November 23, 2000; The Pilgrims (Michelle McCool, Layla & Jillian Hall) v The Indians (Kelly Kelly, Mickie James & Melina) from WWE Raw on November 23, 2009; Hannah Blossom v Josie from OVW Thanksgiving Thunder on November 28, 2009; and Winter, Angelina Love & Madison Rayne v Velvet Sky, Brooke Tessmacher & Tara from TNA Impact Wrestling on November 24 last year.
Happy Turkey Day, everybody! (more…)
“I am so sorry I have not been in touch in a while. I have been in and out of hospital and have not been able to get access to the internet in over a week. I am very upset I have to write this email because I have to cancel all future dates until December. I am not sure if you had heard about the knock to the head I got in Germany a few weeks ago or not, but I got a bad cut above the eye and it was stitched up and all seemed fine. But after a few days I was getting extremely painful headaches, loud buzzing in my left ear and my vision in my left eye is completely blurred. The doctor has told me it may be damage to the 8th cranial nerve and I am waiting for a CT brain scan and have been advised to stop wrestling for the next few months. It could be permanent or it could go away by itself, but until all signs have been alleviated I will not be able to engage in any heavy physical activity.”
That’s the message Rebecca Knox posted on her own website back in October 2006, following her serious injury in a match against Kisu in Dortmund on September 22 of that year. The match finished as normal, and took on Sweet Saraya the following night in Great Yarmouth, England in a match which saw her drop the Queens Of Chaos Championship. After that, she took some time out to get medically checked out, which gave her the bad news about her 8th cranial nerve injury. It also meant that the proposed Iron Woman Match between she and Daizee Haze at SHIMMER Volume 7 had to be scrapped, after the pair had engaged in a heated feud in the promotion’s early days.
As she points out in her post, she was expecting to be out until December 2006. It’s now October 2012, and only now is the 25-year old from Dublin, Ireland seriously thinking of a return. (more…)
Gimmicks change over time when you’re in a WWE developmental facility. It may be that a wrestler may go through multiple character alterations. For example, while Serena Deeb was in Florida Championship Wrestling, she changed to Serena Mancini and later Mia Mancini, with her portraying a Mafia-like persona. As she was called up to WWE to have her head shaved as part of the Straight Edge Society in early 2010, she was changed back to Serena, and the Mafia gimmick was dumped when she returned to FCW in favour of her SCS look, which she was now more famous for.
When it comes to Mickie James and Jillian Hall, the same situation holds true during their time in Ohio Valley Wrestling in the middle part of the last decade. Hall did away with her Macaela Mercedes character, though retained the “Bombshell” nickname for a while. For Mickie, she stuck to the Alexis Laree name which she had used on the indy circuit as well as in TNA’s early days.
At the time of this Retro, Mickie was still going under the Alexis name, but both were polishing their characters and style ahead of the call to go on the road with WWE. Hall would get to go first in mid 2005 as the “fixer” for MNM and later JBL before becoming a wrestler, while James followed soon afterwards as the superfan of Trish Stratus in a storyline which would make her a star, and was heavily discussed on an episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast earlier this year. (more…)
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…)
This gif from last night’s Raw makes me sad.
At the conclusion of last night’s Raw match, Tamina pinned Brie Bella, followed by she and Beth Phoenix having a staredown. Looks like it’ll be the next Divas title match, which will probably take place at Elimination Chamber. However, judging by the reaction of the live crowd, nobody could give a flying fornication about that match, or Divas matches in general. Part of me thinks that it’s sad that they don’t get credit when they are out there trying (after all, Tamina’s getting something resembling a push at the moment), but the matches are so short, basic and without any form of excitement that I don’t blame the fans for not reacting.
As we discussed with Alex Greenfield on the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, the women WANT storylines to get their teeth into. And in WWE’s case, a couple of them are getting involved in angles as being associated with the guys (AJ with Daniel Bryan, Eve Torres with Zack Ryder for example) but they aren’t exactly the focus of the proceedings. In fact, their roles could be somewhat interchangeable. However, as Alex also pointed out, when given the right story, the appropriate amount of time and the backing (or apathy) of Vince McMahon, things can skyrocket.
The potential for this to happen next time for the WWE Divas would be in a potential Beth v Kharma series of matches, but with fan enthusiasm at an all-time low, is there a possibility of it being a draw like it possibly could be. Well, there is a chance, as Kharma generates excitement amongst the audience due to her unique look and how she is so vastly different to the mountains of tanning, hairspray and sprayed-on outfits that are trotted out for sub-two minute matches every week. Variety is the spice of life, and Kharma is the most left of the middle woman that the promotion has. This should be harnessed or even exploited to draw interest and money for the girls and make the audience realise there is more to the women than mountains of tanning, hairspray and sprayed-on outfits. The thing is, it’s going to need some help… (more…)
Women Superstars Uncensored‘s first matches of the year as part of a joint show with National Wrestling Superstars in Stirling, NJ fell victim to the harsh weather that the north east of the US is dealing with at the moment. Sub-zero temperatures, snowy conditions and icy roads meant that Luscious Latasha, Amber, Lexxus and Molly Holly didn’t make it, while Jillian Hall (who was meant to be wrestling Traci Brooks in the main event with Molly refereeing) was stranded in Atlanta, GA. That meant a big rewrite of the WSU matches…
The scheduled 10 woman tag team match became an 8 woman affair instead, with Jennifer Cruz (who was originally pitted to wrestle Mercedes Martinez before the match was cancelled due to the WSU Champion’s concussion) replacing Amber and Lexxus, while the other team was one down because of Latasha’s absence. Meanwhile, the main event was changed to a 6-woman tag with the Midwest Militia of Jessicka Havok, Sassy Stephie and Allysin Kay, as well as Brittney Savage and Alicia pulling double duty.
Despite the rewrite, our correspondent David Muscarella reports that the women’s matches outshone the men’s contests, so that is still a success for WSU. Click after the jump to see the results. (more…)
Thursday, July 19, 2001 was a pretty humdrum day in world history. As a frame of reference, the most newsworthy thing was the Code Red virus taking hold of a massive number of computers after being released online 6 days previously.
In the world of wrestling, Steve Austin was on SmackDown, showing “the old Stone Cold” was back when he stunnered everyone in the ring ahead of the WWF Invasion pay-per-view, which was to take place in three days. It would intrigue wrestling fans who wondered what would happen if the WWF and WCW ever clashed on one show. As it turned out, it would be a decent – and high grossing – show which was followed by months of killing the WCW image to the point that it was worthless by November.
However, also on this very day ten years ago at Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro, MO, a young lady by the name of Christine was handed her first ever defeat in a mid-card contest at the hands of a debuting wrestler to Gateway Championship Wrestling. That wrestler was MsChif.
Rachel Collins had been asked by her colleague at her human genetics job – the role she had before going into microbiology – what she would love to do more than anything. Concluding that it would be to learn to wrestle, she decided to train at at GCW under the tutelage of Johnny Greenpeace (who was the tough trainer) and Jack Adonis (who was the comic relief), with the black-metal-banshee character naturally evolving while she was learning her craft. Even though she never believed that she would wrestle outside of St Louis, MsChif would go on to win a shedload of top championships including the SHIMMER title, the NWA World Women’s Title and the NWA Midwest/IWA Mid-South Women’s Title – which she held all at one time during 2008 and 2009 – as well as winning ChickFight IV and being ranked 4th in the PWI Female Fifty for 2009.
When asked for comment, MsChif told Ringbelles: “It’s crazy to think I’ve been wrestling for 10 years now. It doesn’t feel like it’s been so long. Wrestling has brought on some very amazing times, places and people. I couldn’t imagine life without wrestling.” (more…)
Anyone see Raw this week? I mean besides the awesome stuff with CM Punk? I mean, the Divas match in particular between Kelly Kelly and Melina, with a post-match beatdown by the Bella Twins on Kelly and Eve Torres? Anyone see how Melina joined in with the beatdown? No?
That’s because it didn’t happen. The two-time Divas Champion and three-time Women’s Champion was left in the shadows after being defeated in 100 seconds by Kelly, having only got in three moves, and two of those were kicks. It could be claimed that the match was short – so short that Melina was introduced in the ring and din’t even get to do her signature entrance with the paparazzi and the splits – because the show was overrunning. Some would say it’s a big push for Kelly, given that she is the Divas Champ right now, and that she has a title defence this weekend on the Money in the Bank pay-per-view against Brie Bella - and that’s all true. However, Kelly could have beaten any number of women on the Raw roster in what was effectively a squash match – Maryse would have been perfect for that role. It is telling that WWE chose to send out Melina – its former golden girl, the woman who was the figurehead of the division for years and the woman who has seemingly been in the Diva doghouse for all of 2011 – to lie down… (more…)
Jillian Hall made her return to wrestling last weekend, defeating Santana at Pro Wrestling Xtreme in Orlando. This Saturday, she takes on Kristin Astara at Women Superstars Uncensored’s 4th annual Uncensored Rumble, which is being presented on iPPV – you can pre-order the show right now for $10.
Hall was released from WWE last year after taking on a role of trainer for the women at Florida Championship Wrestling, and has only wrestled the aforementioned match at PWX since she was let go. For this week’s Retro, we head back to Hall’s first match in WWE – which also turned out to be the final match for her opponent, Stacy Keibler.
Before becoming the resident “fixer” for MNM and later John Bradshaw Layfield, and before Hall headed to Ohio Valley Wrestling on her own dime to train and make it to WWE – as OVW was one of the promotion’s farm systems at the time – 30-year old Jillian was Macaela Mercedes, a woman who was much more muscley, rugged and bruiser-esque than the Diva that she eventually became. However, on her call up to WWE, she was lumbered with possibly the worst gimmick of the last decade – a giant growth on the side of her face that detracted from her looks and made her a freakshow. Luckily, the gimmick was dropped within a year – after the Boogeyman bit it off (seriously, did that really happen?!) – but during that interim period, we have the match which we’re bringing to you today. (more…)
The Big News
In what was a pretty classy move by WWE, not only did they let Kharma go out there and tell the truth, they also left the door open for her return.
Following a week of speculation – started by the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online by saying she would be out of action for nine months – Kharma came clean to the world and revealed her pregnancy on Raw last night.
In a straight promo – much like Edge’s when he revealed he had to retire – she told us about how she had two dreams, the first of which was to be a WWE Superstar (note she said Superstar instead of Diva… telling. Also, she said the word “wrestling” or “wrestler” three times). She talked about applying for Tough Enough 2 back in 2002 – something I’ve documented in the past – and how Jim Ross thought she was too fat to make it. Undeterred, she travelled to Japan, scrubbed floors and earned the right to train and become a star there, as she told to us in the Women of Wrestling Podcast last year.
From there, Kharma also talked about how she had always wanted a family, and officially let us know about her pregnancy – something that received a nice reception from the fans. She described it as a “high risk pregnancy”, which is understandable considering her working environment, thanked the audience for their support and said that she would return in a year.
Of course, with this being WWE, there was an interruption by the Bella Twins who mocked Kharma with some poorly written, and even more poorly delivered, insults. Seriously, if Nikki and Brie were any more wooden, they could have been part of the hull of Noah’s Ark. Perhaps they didn’t fully believe or support the words they were saying, so it came across that way in the promo. Still, Kharma promised that she would be back for them in a year, which makes sure that we haven’t seen the last of her in WWE. (more…)
The Big News
Card subject to change.
It’s a phrase used by nearly all wrestling promotions to cover themselves in case an advertised match doesn’t happen, or an advertised wrestler doesn’t appear. While no promotion wants to let down the paying audience, sometimes circumstances happen and alternative decisions have to be made. It’s the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with a high-contact sport such as professional wrestling – accidents and injuries happen, transport fails, some even hold up promoters for more money. Whatever the reason, it’s a useful get-out clause if what you had planned can’t materialise.
TNA forgot those four words on Sunday at Lockdown.
Instead of engaging in a competitive contest which would put over the might and will of the champion and thusly make the title mean more when the challenger defeats her, Mickie James ended Madison Rayne’s record 188-day run as Knockouts Champion in just 34 seconds. This was because James still hasn’t fully recovered from the separated shoulder she suffered a few weeks ago – in fact, Dave Meltzer reports that James arrived at Lockdown in Cincinnati, OH with her arm still in a sling, and only took it off for the match before putting it back on when she got to the back.
If this is the case, it explains why the match was so short, but doesn’t explain why the match had to happen at all. (more…)
The Big News
Two big stories coming out of the UK this week…
It was a rough yet rewarding weekend for Britani Knight. Suffering from what she thought was tonsillitis, the 18-year old member of the Knight Dynasty wrestled 5 matches in 28 hours on route to becoming the first ever Pro Wrestling: EVE champion. However, she was bedridden the next day with what turned out to be glandular fever, causing her to miss a date with her home promotion, World Association of Wrestling. We at Ringbelles wish her congratulations on her title win and also a speedy recovery from a nasty illness.
EVE’s title tournament turned out to be less complicated that the brackets would have led you to believe. Starting with FIVE four corner matches and a Last Chance Battle Royal for the losers to determine the quarter finalists, they were hurried through relatively quickly to leave us with singles matches which varied from fine to good – the standout matches of the first night featured Erin Angel v Nikki Storm and Britani v Jenny Sjodin in the quarters, and Sweet Saraya taking on Blue Nikita in a Last Woman Standing match. The return of Blue Nikita was something of a surprise after her relationship with EVE went sour after the first show – so when she ran in to attack Saraya in the opening match of the evening, it took many by surprise. It also meant that both voluntarily took themselves out of the tournament – Saraya was eligible for the Battle Royal and Blue Nikita never got to compete in her four-way contest due to brawling with Saraya before the bell – to compete in the Last Woman Standing affair, which Saraya won with a sunset powerbomb.
The Project nightclub was a makeshift venue after the Royal British Legion was pulled as a host due to licensing issues and complaints – somebody even called up the local radio station pretending to be EVE management to say the event at the Project had been completely cancelled – but as an environment for the audience, it was great. It was cosy, yet sat the fans comfortably with plenty of space, and felt safe yet anarchic. Apparently it was a little too cosy backstage, as there wasn’t much room for the wrestlers – of which there were around 20 – to change, but that could be changed if EVE decides to return to the venue – something the owners were pretty receptive to. (more…)
Jillian Hall may have spent most of her WWE tenure as a heel, she was also a plucky babyface when she was plying her craft in Ohio Valley Wrestling in the early half of the last decade. Here we have a match from the July 30, 2003 episode OVW TV featuring Hall against then-WWE Women’s Champion Molly Holly.
Molly was essentially playing the same role Ric Flair did in the 1980s – travelling from promotion to promotion as the NWA World Champion trying to get the most out of the top stars in the territory but still escaping with the title or with his pride intact, but leaving the top star in a better position than before he entered.
Also, keep an eye out in the video for Alexis Laree. You know her better as Mickie James.