If you’ve not seen Kana in the last six months, she’s evolved her look, adding more elaborate entrance robes and jackets as well as employing an array of different facepaints. It’s really separated her from the pack, and created a lot more buzz for her during her JWP Openweight Championship reign.
She was already painting her face when she won the title from Arisa Nakajima in August, antagonising the roster by rubbing her victory in their faces. Eventually, Nakajima regained the title on December 15 – but before that, Kana notched up a couple of successful defences. The first win was over Manami Katsu on September 16, and the other was the match we have for you today. Kana put the belt on the line against Hanako Nakamori on October 14 at the Tsubasa Kuragaki 15th Anniversary show in Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan – click the jump to watch the match, and the post-fight antics. (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…)
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…)
Have you listened to the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Taeler Hendrix yet? Without hyperbole, it is one of our favourite shows in a long time. Interesting, insightful and revealing, the former TNA Knockout talks about how she had no idea what the result of her Gut Check would be or that Joey Ryan was going to gatecrash the segment, was told very little about what her future in the promotion would be or that they were planning to release her.
She also reveals that she wasn’t fully open with them either, as the reason why she put on the weight in-between appearances was to keep herself healthy to fight off the possibility of cancer, and because she was suffering pain when she wrestled as she had no padding on her body when she was bumping. That weight issue is something that I discussed with recovering anorexic and former gymnast Sarah Robertson, and she practically said the same thing.
Taeler also discussed her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, how she was disappointed with her start in the promotion despite winning the Women’s Championship, and how an instinctive “wrong” move saw her fortunes turn around. She also revealed her intentions to release a book, form a tag team with distant relative Cherry Bomb – all is revealed in the interview – and wrestle in as many places as possible. Instead of moping, shaking her fist at the world or complaining that she’s the victim of a conspiracy theory, she dusted herself off, made a plan and is executing it. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (29 October 2013) – LuFisto’s title aspirations, Nikki Roxx winding down, PWI Female 50
Where there is chaos, there is opportunity.
Injuries to Courtney Rush and Xandra Bale, travel issues for Ayako Hamada and personal matters involving Saraya Knight all contributed to a lot of re-jigging for SHIMMER and NCW: Femmes Fatales, with one woman benefiting more than any other.
Realistically, had all of the other wrestlers been healthy or present, LuFisto may not have ended Open Female Fight Season standing over a defeated Cheerleader Melissa with the SHIMMER Championship over her head – however, that’s exactly what did happen, and the 16-year veteran is now in a position where she could conceivably earn another SHIMMER Title match next year and even dethrone the reigning champion. Nobody has enjoyed as much momentum against Melissa during either of her title reigns – even Saraya didn’t have as much build up before beating her adversary for the title – and there seems to be a real ground swell for another match between the bullying cheerleader and the Super Hardcore Anime… and it’s the hardcore aspect which has furthered things, albeit accidentally… (more…)
Women Superstars Uncensored announced a mild change in ownership at the Blood And Thunder iPPV on Saturday, with it being revealed that Combat Zone Wrestling boss DJ Hyde was becoming a co-owner along with Drew Cordiero, who bought the promotion from Sean McCaffrey last June. Hyde was greeted by WSU Champion Jessicka Havok, who dropped him with an Air Raid Crash after successfully defending her title against Lexxus, eliciting a big positive reaction from the fans in Voorhees, NJ. The move positions Havok as more of a babyface than ever, and possibly distancing her from her Midwest Militia teammates Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie – especially the latter, as the pair have entered a distant war of words.
The developments make for an intriguing future for WSU, but seeing as it’s been just over a year since the first Cordiero-run card, it seems like as good a time as any to see how things have gone. What has worked? What has been less successful? And what should we expect from WSU down the road? (more…)
There have been a lot of women doing the extended Japan trips recently. We spoke to Allysin Kay about it last week for the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, and now another grappler has spoken to Ringbelles about her experience and how much she enjoyed it.
In August, we spoke to Leah Owens, who mentioned going to Japan – though at the time, her twin sister Kasey was already out there training with Ice Ribbon. Now that she has returned to Northern Ireland after three months of work, the more tattooed member of the team talks about how she ended up going there, her favourite matches, who she bonded with, wrestling in Korakuen Hall for both Ice Ribbon and JWP, and how she is not happy with it being just one solo trip.
(right click on the picture and “save as” to download, or stream in our media player below)
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.
(right click on the picture and “save as” to download, or stream in our media player below)
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?
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…)
Another 6 episodes of Total Divas have ordered by E! for a season extension. The current 8 episode run ends on September 15, with the next half dozen starting on November 17. The show has been a big hit for E! so far, with audiences rising between episodes 1 and 3. Starting out with 1.3 million viewers, it rose to 1.52 million the following week and reached 1.67 million last week.
However, numbers dropped a little for Sunday’s most recent episode to 1.35 million – though that’s still higher than the premiere episode. One of the reasons may be is because it clashed with SummerSlam – though anyone who watched the pay-per-view will see that despite Total Divas being a hit, it’s not caught the imagination of many wrestling fans. In fact, it could be argued that the crossover audience isn’t as big as you may imagine. (more…)
Kana is not afraid to put herself in the line of fire. In 2010, her joshi manifesto – which called for wrestlers who aren’t worth anything to quit the business, stop wrestling like women and to refrain from using blatantly fake moves – caused some annoyance because of its brash nature, and she has been accused of working unnecessarily stiff in her early years despite being asked to tone it down.
The controversy was incorporated into her character when she starting wrestling for SMASH, as saw her become the first Divas Champion in the promotion. She then became a part of SMASH’s replacement and looked likely to win the Wrestling New Classic Women’s Championship, but quit the promotion at the end of last year after claiming that they owed her four months’ pay. In a weird twist of fate, walking away from WNC may have been the most prudent move she has made in her 9-year career, as it saw her take more bookings for JWP and lead to today – where she won the Openweight Championship for the first time from Arisa Nakajima. (more…)
Confession time – this choice was incredibly tight, as two other European-based athletes have enjoyed similarly successful half-years. However, the self-proclaimed “World’s Finest” has had a storming six months – pun intended – and narrowly edged into being included in our extended biographies. We will let you know about the ones who also had great half-years but just missed out in our wrap-up piece coming this weekend – but for now, we take a look at six months in the life of the Pro Wrestling: EVE Champion Nikki Storm… (more…)
A bit of a weird one this, I’ll grant you. Considering earlier this year, the 28 year old joshi puroresu standout announced her retirement from the sport due to nagging injuries (citing her 2007 clavicle injury in particular), you’d think Kurihara would be as far away from a discussion like this as it is possible to be – and while, yes, seeing a superb young talent being struck down in the prime of her career is a terribly sad thing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody go on a more joyful final retirement road. Kurihara’s last six months in the business have seen her experience so much, achieve so much and do it all with a huge smile on her face. If she’s leaving wrestling, she’s packing an entire career’s worth of memories into 2013. (more…)
Fresh off a trip to Japan and returning back to the UK with a lot of prospects over the next few months, it seemed like a good time to talk to Nikki Storm, who successfully defended the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship while wrestling in JWP.
During this 25-minute interview, Nikki talks about her win-loss record in Japan, setting foot in Korakuen Hall for the first time, falling asleep backstage and having an embarrassing wake-up call, getting on the wrong side of the JWP Dojo cat, Mink, as well as defending the EVE title against Hanako Nakamori and spending some down time recording a lot of promo videos for YouTube. She also discusses the rise in European women’s wrestlers – a topic we’ve been covering over the last week – facing Rhia O’Reilly at the next EVE show in two weeks (as well as how it’s a throwback to her EVE debut), debuting at Bellatrix next month, and the rise of Scottish talent, including ICW: Fierce Females.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
Lots to mention from SHIMMER volume 53 on Saturday afternoon, so let’s get into it.
Let’s start with the main event, which had the right result for the biggest show in the promotion’s history (not 93,173 as announced by Joey Eastman but more around a hefty 700+, which is more than three times the maximum attendance at the Berwyn Eagles Club). With nowhere for her enemy to run and with nobody to help her, Cheerleader Melissa soundly defeated Saraya Knight inside a monolithic steel cage to regain the SHIMMER Championship. While the match was OK, the real tale was in the story told, which did not see Melissa eke out a victory with luck, but saw her deliver a super hurricanrana, missile dropkick and Air Raid Crash to convincingly pin her rival of close to six years.
The crowd was quiet for much of the match – part of the reason being that a lot of the crowd may not be completely familiar with their history, or that the action was not the crisp sort of execution as other contests because most of their matches look more like fights than matches – but they came out of their seats for the finishing sequence, which was a simple tale of good punishing evil and the snarling, unfriendly heel finally getting her comeuppance. However, despite her loss, Saraya retained her scary aura, attacking fans on her way out of the ring – and was also put over by Bryan Alvarez, who was getting his first viewing of Knight, pointing out that she was a proper, grizzly, old-school wrestling heel.
One would anticipate that Melissa will enjoy a longer run with the belt during her second reign than with her first – when she dropped the title to Knight on her fourth defence, following wins over Nicole Matthews, Portia Perez and Jessie McKay. While there is no detail on who Melissa will be facing in Berwyn this weekend for the usual two-day, four-DVD taping extravaganza, there are a lot of names to play around with – including one debutante who surprised everyone when she hit the ring… (more…)
In the last six months, Nikki Storm’s profile has skyrocketed. Last November, the woman who describes herself as the “world’s finest wrestler” captured the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship at the promotion’s Wrestle Fever show – though lost it to Emi Sakura mere minutes later. However, she rebounded at No Man’s Land 2 in February to recapture the title and become the promotion’s first two-time champion.
All of her hard work has certainly been noticed and acknowledged, as the official announcement was made today by EVE that the 23-year old will venture out to Japan to wrestle for JWP – which means that the Glaswegian may celebrate her 24th birthday out there.
The EVE/JWP relationship has blossomed over the last half-year, with the JWP Openweight Championship being defended at Wrestle Fever with Sakura retaining by beating Kay Lee Ray – which led to Ray enjoying her own trip to Japan – and also saw Kaori Yoneyama also make her UK debut at the same show. (more…)
So Kaitlyn is finally the WWE Divas Champion. A week shy of five months after (accidentally) winning a battle royal to challenge for the title at Night Of Champions – a shot which never happened after she was written out so Eve Torres could vie for the belt like was originally planned – the NXT Season 3 winner reached the top of the pile, defeating Torres on the 20th anniversary episode of Raw. We’ll get to the new champ in a moment – but firstly, let’s discuss the noise which preceded the match…
Yesterday, PWInsider reported that last night would be Eve’s final match with WWE before leaving the company, and it would be likely that she would be dropping the belt to Kaitlyn, who she has been feuding with since mid-September. As it turns out, that is exactly what happened, though her title loss came a bit earlier than others were expecting. According to the most recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Torres handed in her notice a month ago with the agreement that she would stay on to build up the title feud with Kaitlyn and then drop the belt to her, with the internal expectation being that she would lose the title at the Royal Rumble in two weeks, after a series of matches between the two when Eve would use underhanded tactics to retain the title. Instead, the decision was made for the switch to take place on the milestone Raw – which makes more sense, as it means more viewers would see the change and Kaitlyn’s moment of glory would take place in her home town of Houston, TX. It was a smart move, as the partisan crowd was hotter for the match than it would have likely been compared to the audience at the Rumble in Phoenix, AZ. Besides, fans have been conditioned to a certain extent to not be that bothered about the Divas, so it was unlikely that the match would have generated a massive amount of pay-per-view buys. (more…)
Emi Sakura has had a hell of a year, and it’s been well documented here at Ringbelles. Her success since leaving Ice Ribbon has included setting up her own promotion in Thailand, having it migrate to Japan, winning the JWP/Daily Sports Tag Team Championship, securing the services of Kaori Yoneyama then having her take her side in some sort of Stockholm Syndrome scenario, forming a team to invade JWP and then taking hold of the promotion’s crown jewel by winning the Openweight Championship. In addition, she defended the belt in the UK for the first time in its history and won the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship on the same night. Indeed, it has been one hell of a year for the 36 year old. However, it seems as if 2012 is going to end on a mildly disappointing note.
Yesterday, 17-year veteran dropped the Openweight Title in the main event of Climax 2012 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall after 57 days – the second shortest reign in the title’s 20 year history (for the record, the shortest was Devil Masami’s 32 day run which ended when the title was vacated for unknown reasons). She was beaten by current Tag Team Champion Arisa Nakajima, who has also enjoyed a tremendous 2012. (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…)
Ahead of the announcement of the 2012 Ringbelles Awards – which start on Monday – we thought it would be a good idea to see what happened to the three winners in 2011. How has the last 12 months been for them? Well, let’s start with out pick for Discovery of the Year, Kay Lee Ray…
We selected the high-flier from Scotland for her strong showings over the course of 2011, which included strong showings against joshi talent Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto (the latter as part of a three-way with Erin Angel) at Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon in October and her thrilling deathmatch against old enemy Carmel Jacob at Insane Championship Wrestling. She ventured outside of the UK to wrestle in Denmark, and we surmised that because of the positive opinions garnered by her work, her profile would go from strength to strength in 2012. That’s exactly what happened, and she’s capping the year off being on the other side of the world… (more…)
Joshi star Ran Yu Yu is retiring this weekend, capping a career lasting just over 19 years with a final match against Mayumi Ozaki in Oz Academy this Sunday. Much like her famous regular tag team partner Toshie Uematsu, who retired in April, Ran had made it clear for some time that this was her final run as an active joshi competitor – including running her own self-produced “StarlightsRegret” show this past Sunday as a precursor to her retirement, which saw her team with Aja Kong, Akino, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tomoka Nakagawa to defeat the team of Carlos Amano, Chikayo Nagashima, Meiko Satoura, Sonoko Kato & Tsubasa Kuragaki in an all-star ten woman tag match. Ran picked up the win for her team in 62:54, defeating Kuragaki. Yes, the match lasted over an hour.
In this week’s retro, we turn the clock back on Ran’s career ten years to 2002, and a feud she was having with the now retired Azumi Hyuga, who was at the time the JWP Openweight Champion. This is May 19th, and Ran is challenging Hyuga for her title in a streetfight. Ran, first to the ring, is clothed for a fight and brandishing a baseball bat, while Hyuga (in normal wrestling gear) comes out with a chain. It’s vicious, it’s uncompromising, and it won the “Best Bout of 2002″ award for JWP that year – and as Ran Yu Yu departs as an active competitor, it probably represents one of her greatest career matches. Enjoy. (more…)
We called Kay Lee Ray the Ringbelles Discovery of the Year last December for a reason – after her performances at Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon in October last year, we were confident that she was going to start getting noticed, and we were right.
Since winning that moniker, the 20 year old from Glasgow, Scotland has accomplished a number of milestones and created some notable moments – for example, she has face current and former TNA Knockouts in Mickie James and Angelina Love respectively. She also main evented the first ever Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females show back in September against Carmel Jacob in a brutal Last Woman Standing match, and has also taken on Jacob in similarly nutty matches across Scotland and England. Most recently, she had what Stew described as the Match of the Night at EVE’s Wrestle Fever show against Emi Sakurafor the JWP Openweight Title – and that match may have been enough to see an invitation to Japan come her way. (more…)
Pro Wrestling: EVE – Wrestle Fever results (now updated with thoughts, photos and an interview with Angelina Love)
It has been 19 months since their previous encounter, and tonight, the pair meet again. Pro Wrestling: EVE Champion Alpha Female defends the title against number one contender Nikki Storm, with Storm possessing a psychological advantage in that the only defeat on Alpha’s record in the whole of EVE history was by her hands. It’s the main event of Wrestle Fever – EVE’s second foray into iPPV, and you can watch it by ordering it here.
On what is a bumper card of action, JWP Openweight Champion Emi Sakura puts the title on the line against Kay Lee Ray in the first defence of the belt in the UK, while Sakura’s running buddy in Gatoh Move Kaori Yoneyama teams up with April Davids against Hannah and Holly Blossom, with the winners meeting the victors in another tag match involving Kasey & Leah Owens against Amazon Ayesha Ray & Rhia O’Reilly and a mystery team in a mini tag team tournament.
The other high-profile encounter sees former TNA Knockouts Champion Angelina Love take on the Glamour Gym’s Carmel Jacob – elsewhere, Kirsty Love faces Blue Nikita, Janey Britannico steps into the ring against Shanna, and Erin Angel competes against Scottish newcomer Fiona Fraser.
While you’re keeping up with the results, you can have a read of Nikki’s most recent blog where she discusses Wrestle Fever and our chat with her as part of a recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast, and you can click the jump to see the results as they happen. (more…)
“Lesson to men: Cheat on a good woman, You get choked out.”
No joke – those were the first words that Tammy Lynn Sytch decided to make public on her Facebook page after being arrested three times in three days last week on domestic violence complaints. Seeing as legal proceedings are underway, this was a colossally dumb thing to do, as it’s pretty much an admission of guilt. How about “Lesson to men: Cheat on a good woman, you get dumped.” As someone who works fairly closely with a domestic violence charity, this sort of flippant approach to alleged crimes like this really grinds my gears.
According to TMZ – and later picked up by the Associated Press and local TV media outlets – the 39-year old WWE Hall of Famer was first arrested by police in Branford, CT, on Tuesday night at 8:55pm for disorderly conduct involving a man living in the house she was with, which was later confirmed to be the home of boyfriend and pro wrestler Damian Darling. It apparently all began with a heated argument between the couple. (more…)