The first live show of the WWE Network takes place on Thursday with the first live broadcast of NXT. Dubbed ArRIVAL, it features three matches – one of which sees Paige defend the NXT Women’s Championship against number one contender Emma, in a match which has been a long time coming.
The cheerful Australian earned her crack at the title back in August and then had to defend her right to challenge for the belt by beating Natalya at the start of this year. While carrying on her #EMMAlution in Florida, she also graduated to the main WWE roster by originally appearing in the crowd – antagonising fellow NXT alumni Summer Rae in the process – before taking part in dance-offs and making her in-ring TV debut last night on Raw, defeating Summer with the Emma Lock. While fans who haven’t seen her NXT character evolve are getting used to the newcomer with the awkward dance moves, it seems as if things are going in the right direction.
It could be argued that the NXT Women’s Champion has been ready to make a similar jump for a while. As the sole titleholder – winning the title tournament last June, but the show being broadcast the following month – she has turned back the challenges of Summer Rae and Natalya, though hasn’t wrestled on a show since the end of November. Injury was cited as the reason, though the Wrestling Observer said the layoff was for personal reasons. Thursday’s match will be her first match in more than three months, and in that time, her opponent – and the woman she beat in the tournament final to win the belt in the first place – has caught up with her success. (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.
Ringbelles Roundup (9 July 2013) – Knockouts dearth, Heidi & Taeler, SHINE, Maria Kanellis, Sunny & more
We praised Mickie James’ last six months in TNA, including her winning the Knockouts Title and turning heel in the process. However, you have to wonder what sort of division she is reigning over, when you consider how many – or conversely, how few – female wrestlers there are on the roster these days.
As well as James, you have Gail Kim, Miss Tessmacher, ODB, Tara, Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky as in-ring performers – though ODB is usually a ref these days, Terrell is hardly a regular and Tessmacher & Tara has been absent for a while. That’s seven women – half of what they had in 2008 when the division was really a pioneer and vastly overshadowing what was going on in WWE at the time. When you consider that TNA only has about three women doing most of the work these days, you can see why the promotion binned its Knockouts Tag Team Titles following them being vacated by ODB and Eric Young.
The roster was thinned out last Wednesday when a four time Knockouts Champion and the first Gut Check winner were cut from the roster. Madison Rayne – who is heavily pregnant and is due to give birth next month – saw her contract expire and it wasn’t renewed. Some have complained that it was a bit tactless of TNA to do that, but Rayne herself apparently holds no grudges and has made no complaints in public. It is possible that she may return in time.
The other departure is Taeler Hendrix, who has been criminally underused by the promotion since winning the Gut Check last June. She has only appeared on two episodes of Impact – one was the Thanksgiving Day episode, which was a filler show because so few were watching, and the other was last month as she served as cannon fodder for Mickie’s slow-burn heel turn. Meanwhile, she has been working on her character during her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which we cover in more detail later on. (more…)
Looks like our most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast interview with Maria Kanellis has been a big hit. With thousands of downloads in the last 24 hours, the First Lady of Ring Of Honor‘s feelings and memories on a number of subjects has generated a lot of interest.
She’s also clarified her position with ROH, after reports saying that she was looking to bid farewell to the company:
I never said that I was done with Ring Of Honor. I just said that WWE had contacted me… Ring Of Honor is still my home.
As part of the interview, Maria discusses how far down the road she got with negotiations for a return to WWE, and her thoughts on rumours that her proposed return was nixed:
I don’t think that the Bella Twins could be so immature – I always found them to be very mature and business minded so I can’t imagine them doing that. Unfortunately we may never know the truth unless we get it from the horse’s mouth. I try not to play too much into rumours because that can get you into a lot of trouble. (more…)
Episode 54 with Maria Kanellis
Coming off a super busy WrestleMania weekend, we’re very pleased to welcome the wonderful Maria Kanellis to the Podcast for a chat. She shares her thoughts on the weekend and meeting up with friends both old and new. We talk about Sara Del Rey training the next generation of WWE Divas and hear all about her relationship with fiancé Mike Bennett (including wedding details and their engagement story). Back on the wrestling, we talk about her work in Crossfire Entertainment and her thoughts on working with Jessicka Havok, Reby Sky & Allysin Kay. We discuss how she got her start in wrestling via the Diva Search, and follow that story right through OVW with Paul Heyman and developing the ditzy character that eventually became her trademark in WWE. We talk Fit Finlay‘s influence on the Divas Division, some of her favourite WWE memories, including where her Slammy Award is now. We also talk whether music is still something she wants to do, just how she got her shot on Celebrity Apprentice, and more future projects – and of course we talk about a potential return to WWE, clarify some recent rumours regarding her future with ROH and discuss reported issues in the past with Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins. An absolute pleasure to chat to Maria. Get downloading.
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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…)
Not making it to Bellatrix 5 in Norwich, England on Sunday may have been unfortunate, but it did provide me the opportunity to utilise the option to watch the show on iPPV. Considering a lot of the changes from Bellatrix 4 last November were being done because of this one being broadcast live, it was interesting to be able to assess if those changes were successful.
Improvements to aesthetics like giant wall hangings of the roster, an improved entranceway, ringside barriers and more attention paid to start and running times were coupled with the venue being a purpose-built TV studio with full-scale lights and sound systems, the Epic Studios in Norwich looked vastly different to 5 months ago. The benefit of it being a proper studio also made it easier for the show to be streamed online, as the facilities to broadcast were all there, and had been tried and tested with previous unrelated shows. As a result, Bellatrix 5 was one of the slickest women’s wrestling iPPVs produced to date. (more…)
We at Ringbelles miss Maryse.
It’s not important that she wasn’t the best wrestler in the world, made a lasting mark on the industry or inspired any women to follow in her footsteps – I personally liked her and looked forward to segments involving her. Her character was one of the best in WWE at the time – self-obsessed, cocky and secure in her belief that she was the greatest thing that has ever or will ever exist. Her character believed it so strongly that there was never a question in the viewer’s mind that she thought she was the greatest thing since an egg-white omelette. Plus – the dismissive hand she threw in people’s faces? Awesome.
Despite her lack of ability, Maryse still won two Divas Championships – the first of which, at 216 days, is still the longest Divas Title reign in history. Her original title victory is the match we have for you for today’s Retro. (more…)
SHIMMER: Women Athletes was lacking some of its big names for the most recent tapings, including the injured Madison Eagles and Serena Deeb, as well as Jessie McKay and Sara Del Rey – the latter of whom has since signed with WWE. While the top storyline with SHIMMER Champion Sweet Saraya and Cheerleader Melissa was still on, the Tag Team Championship had changed hands from Del Rey and Courtney Rush to Portia Perez and Nicole Matthews inbetween the March tapings and now, leaving Rush knocked from having one of the most popular storylines in the promotion cut off before it even got started. However, the booking for last weekend’s shows proved that creating writing and a strong willed lineup can easily fill the gaps. (more…)
Wrestling promotions spend a long time building up a reputation. Many groups which are starting out at the moment like SHINE and BLOW are looking to get some traction, credibility and a fan base behind them to be mentioned in the same sort of high regard as companies like SHIMMER and Women Superstars Uncensored. Another promotion which has created a great reputation for itself is Montreal, nCw Femmes Fatales, which was worked hard over the last three years to be known as the standard bearer for all-women shows in Canada.
Earlier this year, another promotion looking to start its own women’s show did not do as much research as it probably should have. Insane Championship Wrestling in Scotland called its group Femmes Fatales, but after realising that there was already another Femmes Fatales out there which already had a positive reputation and was working on heritage. After a brief contact from the original, ICW agreed to change the name to Fierce Females, admitting that there would have been some confusion, rebranded itself and looked ahead to promoting its first show, which takes place in Glasgow on September 30 (which Ringbelles will be attending, we may add). It was a considered, reasonable and mature approach exhibited by all which meant that nobody felt aggrieved or hard done by, and would mean that there would be no confusion by fans.
A similar situation came to light this week. (more…)
Former WWE and ECW personality Dawn Marie seems to have a good heart. Setting up Wrestlers Rescue in 2008 (and the subsequent Pro Wrestlers Relief) in 2009, her goal was to make life easier for wrestlers with medical issues to help them pay their bills – a common problem for wrestlers outside of WWE who may not be able to secure the proper insurance needed to cover their ailments.
In the last week or so, her charity has received a battering from James “Kamala” Harris, who has had both of his legs amputated due to complications stemming from diabetes and high blood pressure. He claims that Wrestlers Rescue and Boston-based independent wrestling promotion the Millennium Wrestling Federation promised to help him out financially, and never did so, calling Dawn Marie “no good” and accusing her of keeping the money that was raised for him.
Wrestlers Rescue has not had the best of reputations in its short existence, but following this high-profile attack on her work, Dawn Marie decided to go public with all the details. (more…)
Velvet Sky was released from TNA last week, and I’m sure it wasn’t a decision that she came to lightly. However, following the departure of her longtime tag team partner Angelina Love at the start of July, she thought out loud on Twitter about a Beautiful People reunion, and there was no way that could happen on TNA TV, so we should have read into that at the time. Well, now it’s set to happen, as Sky and Love (now going under her original guise of Angel Williams) will be on the same show for Northeast Wrestling on September 22 in Fiskhill, NY, and have been booked to participate in a tag team match for Family Wrestling Entertainment on October 5 in Brooklyn, NY against Maria Kanellis and a partner who has not been announced yet.
Like I pointed out when the news of her release was announced, Sky must imagine that there must be a lot of money on the table for the Beautiful People to do a tour. However, as well as taking the money on the table, both she and Williams have the opportunity to give back too. (more…)
There was been a lot of talk about SHINE Wrestling in the lead up to the first Internet PPV on Friday night, and plenty more afterward, with plenty of comments from both people who where there, as well as fans who watched online.
For that reason, we asked Joe Vitale – who was at the Oprheum in Ybor City, FL – what he thought of the show, as he got to experience the atmosphere first hand. Below are some of his reactions:
“I like the setup for the show; it felt like a good introduction to the characters and styles of the workers and it was nice that almost all of the ladies came off like individuals to be interested in rather than “Brunette girl 1″… I really like how well the heels interacted with the crowd, Jayme Jamison and Allyson Kay/Taylor Made made fans out of my non-wrestling friends.”
Overall, one can view the show as being a big success, which built to a tremendous crescendo with Sara Del Rey falling to Jazz in the main event. Nikki Roxx and Rain may only wrestle on a limited basis these days but had a good outing which shows that they have a lot to offer both in in-ring activities but also knowledge that they can impart onto younger talent. Mercedes Martinez and Leva Bates had a tidy outing that set Martinez up for an apparent match against Jazz on SHINE 2 on August 17, and Bates proved that despite wearing a Spider-Man outfit, slinging webs and hanging upside down, there is a wrestler in there who can work, and is ready to get serious. (more…)
Opportunities. Some have them, enjoy success and then they are lost; others don’t get them when they feel they’ve been patient, done all the right things and are continually overlooked. One WWE Diva has left the company due to a lack of chances, while one TNA Knockout has also departed after seeing herself slipping down the ladder after being the most decorated women on the roster.
The first one to leave was Maxine (Karlee Perez) who has spent the bulk of her WWE tenure in either Florida Championship Wrestling or on NXT, where she debuted as part of the all Diva season 3 run, or on NXT Redemption, which was the show that would never end. While I was never that impressed with her on season 3, her antics on Redemption involving the love triangle with Johnny Curtis and Derrick Bateman showed that she had some range as an entertainer. As a wrestler, she was really nothing to write home about, but she had potential as a manager or authority figure – like she was in FCW, before she was relieved of her duties. (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…)
What have Rachel Summerlyn, Nikki Storm, Amazon, Jenny Rose and Maria Kanellis all done this year, and what has Kurumi done twice?
If you guessed “win tournaments”, take yourself to the Winners’ Circle.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love a good tournament. It’s a great way to have multiple storylines running in one show, concluding some, forwarding others and starting a few more. It can also be a push for the winner, and even for a plucky name who gets further than you would expect them to. But the reason why I mostly love tournaments is because it’s a special occasion, much like your birthday, Christmas (although people who know me will know that I’m not fond of Christmas) or the release of a new Police Academy film. Across North America, the UK and Canada, there have been seven tournaments in the past 12 weeks. (more…)
It’s that time of year again.
March is almost upon us, and women’s wrestling in North America is coming out of hibernation, all invigorated, revived and ready to unleash a shedload of matches upon us, the wrestling fan. Coming up later this month, we have nCw Femmes Fatales and SHIMMER, as well as matches in promotions like POWW, AIW, RCW, NWA Houston, NWA Ring Warriors and more, but we start off on the east coast this Saturday with Women Superstars Uncensored’s 5th Year Anniversary in Deer Park, NY…
Among some of the undercard matches worth noting include two J-Cup qualifiers for April featuring Annie Social against April Hunter and Leva Bates meeting Athena in a rematch from last year’s WSU Anniversary show – which was won by Athena with her O-Face top rope stunner. Elsewhere, Lexxus pulls double duty for the second iPPV in a row when she faces rival Rain in a singles battle, but also has to select a new Tag Team Championship partner to face Jana and Luscious Latasha, after her Boston Shore teammate Amber bowed out of wrestling because of “personal demons” – a phrase which wrestling fans are ever so familiar with. In addition, the former Tag Team Champions Marti Belle and Tina San Antonio do battle after months of circling around each other in a storyline that actually began a year ago when Tina was “attacked” before the 4th Anniversary, only for it to come out months later as being a big fake, while Belle chose Jazz as a partner to win the vacant championships.
The big undercard contest pits two thirds of the Midwest Militia – Sassy Stephie and Allysin Kay – meeting Brittney Savage and Alicia in a continuance from their War Games match at Breaking Barriers 2 last November, but the figureheads of both the Militia and Team WSU are the meat and potatoes of the show. (more…)
Maria Kanellis is someone who likes to keep busy. She is the co-presenter of the post WWE Raw show on Afterbuzz TV, is booking the women’s matches at Crossfire Entertainment and is also valeting alongside her beau Mike Bennett as “The First Lady of Ring Of Honor“. However, all of those jobs do not require her to step into the ring. That void in her life was filled last night as she returned to in-ring action for the first time in a shade over two years at Family Wrestling Entertainment where she became the first ever FWE Women’s Champion – and she did it on her 30th birthday.
No doubt, Maria has a mind for wrestling. Though she came into the industry through the much-criticised WWE Diva Search back in 2004, she worked hard to understand how and why things happened, applied the knowledge and became a star in her own right. So popular in fact, that she won the fan-voted 2009 Diva Of The Year Slammy Award – much to the chagrin of WWE itself, who had not been pushing her on TV – but was quietly released from the company on February 26, 2010, one day after her 28th birthday. Her final match for the company was a loss alongside Matt Hardy and The Great Khali to the Hart Dynasty, comprised of Natalya, David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd, broadcast on WWE Superstars the previous day.
Still, the former Playboy cover girl has projects outside of wrestling too. She released an EP – she even pointed out that one of the reasons why WWE let her go was because they would not allow her to pursue outside projects such as making music – was a hit on The Celebrity Apprentice, launched her own perfume, hosted a series of DVDs called Maria’s B-Movie Mayhem and also makes an acting debut next year. Like I said, she likes to keep busy.
Last night, Maria took part in a one-night, four women tournament to crown the first ever FWE Women’s Champion, with the other three talents being TNA Knockouts – Tara, Brooke Tessmacher and Winter. She outlasted them all to win the title, though it wasn’t without some shenanigans. PWInsider was on the scene, and with their report, we’ll break down the women’s action at FWE No Limits from St Paul’s Hall in New York City after the jump…
Coming off a 2011 which saw her pick up awards galore (including our Breakout Star of the Year), noted “Magnificent Beast” Jessicka Havok is heading into the biggest match in her life on March 3rd on iPPV against Mercedes Martinez… so what better time than to cut through the crap and get to know the real J-Hav? We discuss her recent training regime, and the various looks she’s had since her start in the business and how she got involved in the first place. We talk about two vastly different experiences of working former WWE wrestlers Ivory & Luna Vachon early in her career, never-before-asked questions about the formation (and dissolution) of her team with Hailey Hatred, her career to date in WSU, the addition of Allysin Kay & Sassy Stephie to become the Midwest Militia, thoughts on Maria Kanellis and Crossfire Entertainment, AIW (along with some candid thoughts on Mickie Knuckles), opinions on whether Femmes Fatales & SHIMMER are in her future, last year’s controversial War Games match and the final build to the match with Mercedes. It’s our longest single interview yet, and one of our most informative. Jump on the bandwagon while there’s still time!
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This week’s Roundup is a little different, as it’s a bit more personal. There’ll be the news information as usual, but it’s not as clinical as it tends to be.
The past week has seen a number of ‘goodbyes and good lucks’ in women’s wrestling, but all on varying levels. The first was last week when Britani Knight (Saraya-Jade Bevis) left her home in Norwich, England to head to Tampa, FL to report to Florida Championship Wrestling.
In a way, it was a great, and yet poorly kept secret. Yes, most people had knowledge that she had agreed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to wrestle for it. However, reports of when she was starting varied all over the place, which is why we at Ringbelles kept quiet until every single hoop that WWE had put in front of her had successfully been jumped through. For the same reason, it is also why we have not reported on who (if any) tried out for WWE during the last European tour in the autumn – after seeing how many potential mines there are to tread on, it’s better to not enter the minefield.
While Stew wrote a personal piece about Britani’s career as he has a stronger friendship with her, I can’t let her departure slide by without saying something about it myself. (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…)