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…)
It seems fitting that Trish Stratus inducts Lita into the WWE Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks. After all, their wrestling careers are so tightly intertwined – they debuted in the company at roughly the same time, were each other’s biggest rival and both left the promotion within a few weeks of each other.
We have featured their final match against each other in a previous Retro, but we go even further back for this one. We travel all the way back to 2000, with both about six months into their run, and main eventing Raw as part of a mixed tag team match which had multiple stories crossing over.
Lita and Stratus had been feuding for a few months alongside their respective male tag teams of the Hardy Boyz and T&A, though their programme had taken on a life of its own. Meanwhile, Stratus was one of the catalysts for friction between Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and saw Kurt Angle start to muscle in and make a move on Stephanie. Angle and HHH were trying to keep it civil in respect for Stephanie but were secretly wanting to tear each other apart – a situation exacerbated by them both being top contenders for The Rock‘s WWF Championship, with the trio squaring off in a triple threat match at that year’s SummerSlam. (more…)
At last November’s Survivor Series, we watched a pretty rotten 7 on 7 Divas elimination match. Not content with its badness, it was then repeated on Raw the following night. Having not learned that more does not necessarily mean better, WWE has booked a 14 woman match for WrestleMania XXX on April 6.
It came about on last night’s Raw after Divas Champion AJ Lee deliberately got herself counted out in her title defence against Naomi. Irritated, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero decided to punish AJ by booking her in a title defence at WrestleMania with 13 challengers. That means that going for the title in New Orleans, LA will be Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina Snuka.
How happy a Diva would be in being in this match depends on the Diva to whom you are referring. Should you ask Eva Marie, Cameron, Emma, Aksana, Alicia, Summer, Emma, Layla, Tamina or Rosa, I would imagine you would get a happy response – especially Rosa and Layla, who have barely been seen in recent months. Under normal circumstances, there would be little to no chance of them being involved in a title match at WrestleMania. Because of this booking, they can say they challenged for the belt at a WM and will receive a big pay-per-view payoff in the process. However the opposite feeling may be forthcoming from the rest – who could have held a claim for at one time being in the frame for a singles challenge on the show. (more…)
When I was 19 years old, I went to a friend’s house to watch SummerSlam 2000. We had known each other for about a year after meeting at university and discovering that we were both wrestling fans. I was in his house for about 10 minutes when his 15 year old sister came in, introduced herself and then hitched up her underwear over her hips and said that she was a Lita fan.
Apart from not knowing where to look, what to say or anything, I was surprised at how someone who had just met me was so keen to impart the fact that she was a fan of Lita. Granted, she knew that I was a wrestling fan, but that sort of stuff shouldn’t happen, should it? I put it down to how cool Lita was and left it at that, but when you look back on her influence during WWF Attitude, you could argue that she was the best representation of women that the company had ever presented up to that point.
Unlike her rival Trish Stratus, Lita wasn’t a barbie doll. She was rough and ready, looked a little messy and did not dress to impress – she dressed for comfort. Copying the Hardy Boyz look with the baggy pants, she coupled it with a tight sports top or t-shirt and got stuck in against the guys. She delivered flying ranas and bodypresses to the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Test, Albert, Edge and Christian, and was happy to take the lumps too. She was powerbombed by the Dudley Boyz, Guerrero and Test as well as getting speared by Edge. She was a game girl who settled things in a way that no woman before her had done so. As a consequence, she was amazingly cool and was arguably more or a role model for women than Trish was. Stratus was too perfect, like she was almost above it all, whereas Lita would hang out with you, drink with you, share a laugh and be your friend. She was the opposite of a Diva, and that made her stand out from the – admittedly smaller in that era – pack.
It is fitting that Amy “Lita” Dumas is going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. At 38, she is one of the youngest inductees, though she may have done more to draw women to WWE than any other female before or since. (more…)
There are few genuine success stories when it comes to wrestlers’ lives after WWE – unfortunately, many wrestlers leave the business because they were unable to do it anymore or had outserved what their employers perceived to be their usefulness, and have not planned far enough into the future to make sure they are financially secure. Women are more likely to manage it – Stacy Keibler, Lisa Marie Varon and even Kelly Kelly immediately spring to mind – but few managed to have a great life after leaving the ring more than Trish Stratus.
With a happy marriage, a successful yoga business and getting ready for her first Christmas as a mother, things have gone well for the 38-year old Canadian since she retired from full-time competition in 2006 – and the reason we’re talking about her here is because earlier today she tweeted a picture of her WWE Women’s Championship belt. As a result, we’re posting the video of her final match against Lita at Unforgiven in September 2006, where she won the title for a record-setting seventh time.
Unarguably the most successful WWE Diva in history, she is the person that the company used as a template for its top women for a long time, and has only recently started to move away from that blueprint with the likes of AJ Lee and Paige, for example. However, her success at raising the profile of women’s wrestling in WWE was rewarded with her being allowed to go out as champion in her home city of Toronto. Click the jump to watch the match between two longtime rivals. (more…)
Earlier this month, we spoke to Crazy Mary Dobson and covered a range of different subjects, including her match against Jazz this Friday in the main event of Girl Fight Wrestling‘s first show in Charlestown, IN – a show which also being broadcast on iPPV, which you can order for $10 by clicking here. Dobson admitted that facing the former WWE Women’s Champion is more of a nerve-wracking prospect that competing in a death match – and you can understand why.
With a very enviable portfolio of matches under her belt throughout her 15-year career – and currently enjoying a career resurgence thanks to iPPV exposure in SHINE Wrestling – the Louisiana native is arguably Mary’s toughest challenge to date.
Considering this is a first-time experience for Dobson, we’ve decided to show off a first for Jazz – her first match in the World Wrestling Federation. While her official debut was as a mystery entrant as part of the Six Pack Challenge for the Women’s Championship at the 2001 Survivor Series – a match which saw Trish Stratus claim her first title – Jazz also wrestled in the WWF before that PPV. The match we have today is from the SmackDown tapings on November 13, 2001 – five days before that show – in a dark match with Lita. (more…)
Over the years, the number of taboos in wrestling seem to have evaporated. After all, few bat an eyelid about wrestlers who have barely reached their teens stepping into the ring in Japan. Wrestlers with disabilities are given the same opportunities as anyone else, and nobody tells anyone that they are too old to lace up the boots, even though some really should be. However, the prospect of a man facing a woman in a wrestling match still seems to be something which makes some fans squirm in their seats.
I can see some of you imagining it right now.
For a long while, mixed matches seemed to be a no-no, but then it hit the mainstream with the late comic Andy Kaufman wrestling women and calling himself the Intergender Champion of the World, before Jerry Lawler piledrove him onto his head. From there, we saw the odd mixed tag team match on special occasions – WrestleMania VI with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri Martel being a prime example – but very seldom did the women interact with the men… but times changed. (more…)
While being interviewed for the new WWE 13 video game, Amy “Lita” Dumas explained the difference between the Divas now and the ones from the Attitude era:
I think the women of The Attitude Era really did a good job at figuring out who they were and what they wanted to portray to the fans. So each woman was such an individual — you were never going to get Lita and Ivory confused. You’re not going to get the two confused, as opposed to now, is it the hot athletic girl with the short shorts on? No, it’s the other hot athletic girl with the short shorts on.
It’s harsh, but fair, and she has a point.
There are eight women on the main roster who are considered wrestlers rather than valets or managers, and for the most part, they are interchangeable curvy shapes with little character to speak of. The obvious exception which jumps out is AJ Lee, who despite being tiny, geeky and – compared to the others but probably not in real life – could be considered mousey or plain, is the most developed personality of all the women who step into the ring… and that’s something that Dumas pointed out:
I think it’s interesting to see the Divas of today and to see who the fans are attaching to. Obviously, right now, it’s AJ Lee, who’s not the strongest; she’s not one of those classically hot chicks. But she sets herself apart, and you have emotion when she’s out there and you get a sense of who she is, and so I think that’s really cool to see the kid that wasn’t supposed to make it being the one that’s out there, and that’s who the fans want to know more about.
Eve Torres defends the WWE Divas Championship against Kaitlyn at Survivor Series this Sunday, so to mark that upcoming contest, we have a match from a Survivor Series gone by – not a long match, but an eventful one nonetheless.
Back in 2000, Lita challenged Ivory for the WWF Women’s Championship, looking to regain the title which she lost to the Right To Censor member on the November 2 episode of SmackDown following interference from Edge and Christian.
During the match, the challenger to an errant boot to the eye area, which caused her to be legitimately busted open, and probably affected the quality of the match, but conversely added to the drama. You can see the match after the jump, as well as the post match interview while Lita’s boody face is being tended to.
While Trish Stratus is the one who is revered as being the golden girl of WWE‘s Divas division, one should not overlook the efforts of Lita. Granted, Lita was not as good a wrestler as Stratus, and did not receive as many strong storylines as her Canadian colleague, but the two debuted at roughly within a month of each other in 2000, quit full-time wrestling within 8 weeks of each other in 2006, and gravitated towards each other a lot of the time, sharing a number of their major moments.
For example, their first feuds were against each other when Stratus was the manager of T&A and Lita was part of Team Xtreme with the Hardy Boyz, teamed up as part of the Invasion storyline to fend off the likes of Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson, made their in-ring WrestleMania debuts in a match against each other (and also involving Jazz) and Stratus’ final match of her full-time WWE tenure was her defeating Lita to win a record-setting seventh Women’s Championship. However, their longest storyline took place in 2004, following Stratus’ heel turn and alignment with Christian. (more…)
There are three strands to Women Superstars Uncensored’s hellraising triumvirate known as the Midwest Militia. At the top of the heap is Jessicka Havok, the current dual singles champion in the promotion, undefeated in singles competition and general baddest bitch on the block. She is backed up by Sassy Stephie, former Spirit Champion, current Tag Team Champion and SHIMMER regular. And then there’s the third corner of the triangle, Allysin Kay – tag team partner of Havok in Team Be Jealous, other half of the Tag Team Champion and the owner of wrestling’s most colourful tattoo. However, there was something about Kay that felt like she was placed 3rd out of three when it came to the Militia’s pecking order. I can’t put my finger on it, as it is an intangible that is difficult to define, but there was a perception that while she was an integral part of the Militia, her accomplishments left her at the back.
That is, until last weekend.
On Saturday, Stephie and Kay defended the Tag Team Championship against the team they defeated at WSU’s 5th Anniversary Show last month, Alicia and Brittney Savage. Though the booking could be questioned – after all, the Militia defeated the challengers in an Uncensored Rules match back in March – it really did a world of good for the champions’ reign to prove that they are no fluke team who weaselled their way to the straps by beating an already exhausted Jana & Luscious Latasha, who had just defeated Lexxus & Destiny and/or Tina San Antonio to win the titles for themselves. By beating two of the promotion’s top babyfaces under regular tag team rules rather than a big brawl with tornado stipulations served them well as established them as a tandem who would be difficult to take down. Credibility asserted, Kay then went on to Cleveland, OH to compete for the vacant Absolute Intense Wrestling Women’s Championship in the main event of Girls Night Out 6… (more…)
Trish Stratus‘ first ever pay-per-view appearance was a WrestleMania back on April 2, 2000 – quite a high profile start for a woman who was brand new to wrestling. Her role wasn’t big – just standing there while her team of T&A (Test and Albert) defeated Head Cheese (Al Snow & Steve Blackman). The following year at WrestleMania X-Seven, she played a part in Vince McMahon getting his comeuppance against son Shane and getting revenge on daughter Stephanie in the process, as the Billion Dollar Princess had been lording it over the Canadian for the previous month.
On March 17, 2002 at WrestleMania X8, Trish made her WrestleMania in-ring debut in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the SkyDome in front of 68,237 fans (me included). Unfortunately, her three way match against Lita and Women’s Champion Jazz was given the slot of death on the show, and is largely forgotten as a result…
Trish had claimed her first Women’s Title back at Survivor Series the previous year when she won the vacant belt in a six-way challenge that also featured Jazz’s WWF debut. The two engaged in a feud, with their first high-profile match taking place at the 2002 Royal Rumble which Stratus won to retain the title, though she dropped the belt to the former ECW star on Raw on February 4. When Lita was added to the mix, the Divas match for WrestleMania X8 was set – however, its positioning after Hollywood Hulk Hogan v The Rock and Chris Jericho v Triple H for the WWF Undisputed Championship meant that the contest was showcased in front of a set of deflated fans who struggled to care, even though the girls tried hard. (more…)
Eve Torres turned full blown heel on Raw when she admitted she used Zack Ryder then said that she planned to use John Cena. Her plan came unstuck seconds later as Cena had overheard everything and then insulted and blew her off. Essentially, she turned and received her comeuppance in the first 11 minutes of the show. However, the biggest problem was the misogynist views that were purported by Cena and consequently, the fans in the arena in Minneapolis, MN.
After calling her a “hoeski”, Eve was treated like a wanton harlot or a gold-digging whore, and then was having a breakdown in the ring. Cena couldn’t help but throw her an insult before leaving about being disease-free and he’d like to keep it that way (because, women have to be carrying a sexually transmitted infection), leaving Eve to be escorted from the ring in tears. Cena could have been more compassionate and tell her to re-evaluate her life, but instead, led the crowd in chanting insults at her, belittling and humiliating her in public.
John Cena is meant to be a role model and head cheerleader for taking the high road these days. So why was it OK for him to verbally destroy a woman for 5 minutes in front of the world – ostensibly saying that you can still be a nice guy but treat someone who is vulnerable like shit. No question, this was bullying, and totally went against everything that Cena, and WWE’s BA STAR(D) campaign stands for.
In the first segment of Raw, Eve Torres went from being a confused soul to a prick-teasing, manipulative, gold-digging hussy, and then made to look small, pathetic and broken. Clearly, WWE didn’t know where they were going with the story when they started it, found an out and got rid of it before allowing Cena to focus of his match with the Rock. She was cannon fodder to get Cena over as a babyface. The question is: considering the backlash this has received online (and the meatheads saying that “all women are the same”), was it really all worth it? (more…)
I’ve been struggling with this week’s Roundup, as I wanted to write something about the Slammys, and the words just aren’t coming. Partly because there is nothing to say. What started as anger and frustration towards WWE has changed to a huge chunk of apathy – and that’s the worst feeling I could have towards it. At least with dislike, there is an emotion there. These days, I think a Vulcan could have more feeling towards WWE than I could. A real shame, considering that I wouldn’t have become a wrestling fan if it wasn’t for the WWF back in 1991.
I guess something cracked after yesterday’s Raw, when it became patently obvious that the Divas have had an utter stinker of a year. When WWE chose to go with Divalicious Moment of the Year instead of the usual Diva of the Year award, you could tell that they were screwed, mostly because nobody had a defining run this year, and Kelly Kelly’s Divas title run was the thing that could be most celebrated, and that was a disappointment, barring a couple of weeks leading up to SummerSlam’s match with Beth Phoenix. Even the appearance of Lita on the show was muted, as absence has not made the heart grow fonder in the eyes of the fans. Meanwhile, the appearance by Phoenix and her Pin-Up Strong teammate Natalya was also something that you could easily glaze over. Nothing matters. Nothing has an effect. Sure, Phoenix is the best Divas champ that WWE can have right now, but her alliance with Natalya blew up on the launchpad and has been a massive disappointment – partly due to there being no direction for the gimmick, and partly because she has precisely zero credible challengers for the belt. (more…)
In last week’s Roundup, I posted a bit of a rambling vent about the booking of the Divas and (mostly) the Knockouts. While it received support, it also received criticism, saying that it implied that all the fault of the poor state of women’s wrestling in TNA and WWE was entirely down to the writers and promoters, and didn’t take into account the actual wrestling ability – or in many cases, lack of it – of the performers involved. So for the sake of fairness, I’m going to put the actual wrestling skills of WWE Divas and TNA Knockouts under the microscope…
Before we go on, there’s going to be a lot of criticism here, and names will be named. I’m just calling it as I see it, and it’s just one man’s opinion. If you don’t agree, that’s fine – I’m not saying that my word is gospel, and you may enjoy what’s presented to you. If that’s you, great, and more power to you. However, we at Ringbelles have committed to being honest, even if it’s not a popular opinion.
And for anyone who may say that I’m in no place to comment as I’ve never been in the ring before, that also means that my compliments are not valid either, as I’ve clearly never been in a ring – unless you count a few ring announcing gigs. (more…)