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.
A week on Sunday, Kaitlyn will challenge Layla for the WWE Divas Championship at Night Of Champions in a match that she earned by way of winning a battle royal on the August 20 episode of Monday Night Raw. As it has been claimed since then, the ending was not meant to have Kaitlyn winning, and it should have been Eve Torres getting the shot – which adds credence to why everyone seemed so confused with the result and Eve being shoehorned into the build-up for the match – so it could end up being a three-way, but as it stands, it’s still Kaitlyn v Layla for the belt, and shows how far the challenger has come since winning the third season of NXT.
In fact, today marks two years to the day since Kaitlyn’s WWE TV debut on the first episode of the show as a last-minute replacement to become Vickie Guerrero‘s rookie Diva. Then 24, Celeste Bonin had only signed a WWE contract less than two months previous, and had made her first appearance on Florida Championship Wrestling TV a month before making it onto the main roster, and that was only as a lumberjill. To say that she was nowhere near ready to be on NXT would be an understatement, but she seized the opportunity, displaying her quirky personality and accidentally becoming a wedge between Guerrero and her protege/boyfriend Dolph Ziggler throughout the course of the show. As a wrestler, she was lime green, but her character carried her through, and since then, she has been working to become a credible grappler.
Granted, for the 18 months following her victory, Kaitlyn was nothing much to write home about, but more recently, WWE has been putting her in the ring with Natalya, with the third-generation Hart getting the upper hand at the start, but the former fitness model, bodybuilder and model has since started running away with the victories, leading up to getting the win – regardless of whether it was booked or not – in the battle royal. In some ways, Kaitlyn earned her way into this title match in the same way that she got onto NXT – through being in the right place at the right time. If her history is to repeat itself, she may end up winning the title, especially since Layla’s run as Champion has been pretty unspectacular.
But what of the rest of the NXT season 3 contestants – what happened to them? Well, let’s take a look at where they are now, and let’s start with the one who never made it to TV and was replaced by Kaitlyn… (more…)
Australia’s Shazza McKenzie is one of the two big interviews featured in HONOUR Magazine this month. The bouncing cheerleader discusses starting out, her relationships with Madison Eagles, Jessie McKay and Veda Scott, wrestling in SHIMMER and also being a part of the Captured Beauty forum – which is the same group which produces this very e-mag. Also, fellow Aussie and NHB Girls founder Rhi Lockwood discusses her love for wrestling and talks about supporting your local promotions.
Allysin Kay is the cover girl, and talks about the Midwest Militia, working in WSU, her feelings on Mia Yim and the broken nose she suffered earlier this year. It’s a pretty candid chat, so it’s worth a read.
Elsewhere, there is a look at Maxine‘s departure from WWE, LuFisto celebrating 15 years in wrestling, intergender rivalries, double standards between women and men, and a preview of SHINE later this month. Click the picture to jump to the magazine and have a read.
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…)
As noted a few days ago in our article about whether there were any bright lights in the future of the WWE Divas division, we’ve seen a surprisingly large amount of people decide to walk away from WWE rather than being released/fired. For whatever reason, the dream of WWE stardom doesn’t glint just as brightly as it used to. Well, it seems that we can add another name to the list of people who have determined that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence – WWE Diva Maxine has quit the company, according to a story first broken by Mike Johnson on PWInsider. According to Johnson…
The word making the rounds is that she had been frustrated with a number of things, including not being offered a guaranteed deal and not having the chance to prove herself on TV beyond the WWE NXT level.
I was due to write the review of the Beth vs Layla match at No Way Out last week, but due to other priorities, I had to leave it to Lee. It’s probably just as well that I’ve had a week to think about it, because for what it’s worth, I hated the match. Well, maybe “hated” is too strong a word, but I really didn’t like the comedy of Layla stealing Beth’s headband and dancing with it. The finish of Beth losing again also irritated me a bit, mostly because it’s patently clear that WWE have absolutely nothing in mind for Layla, and with Beth losing again, it securely slots her below Layla on the pecking order and kills another level of anticipation (whatever there is left of it anyway) for the Beth Phoenix vs Kharma feud that we’ve been waiting/hoping for ever since Kharma signed up with the company.
Let’s make it clear here – my major downer on the Divas division at the minute is not the usual “wrestlers vs models” debate (I’ve learned for the most part to turn off my brain and find a way to enjoy the Divas for what they are rather than what they aren’t)… no… my big problem is the fact that at the minute, the future of the Divas division is just deathly dull. (more…)
WWE tops the list of topics this week.
Layla returned from a year away from the ring at Extreme Rules on Sunday as the mystery opponent against then-Divas Champion Nikki Bella, and won the title in a short yet spirited match that was more of a device to get the title off the Bellas before their departure (which we will get to later). After suffering a double tear of the MCL and ACL in her left knee, you could forgive the 33-year old Brit for deciding to calling it a day and moving on with her life, as the rehab process to get back into ring shape is a lot more intensive than just recuperating to the point where you could live a normal life.
It is to be commended that she sucked it up and got back in the ring, especially since she is pegged as a Diva Search winner, and could be perceived as only seeing wrestling as a job, or something to do until the next big offer comes along. However, she went through the surgery, the pain, the impatience, the frustration and the physical testing that was necessary to return to WWE. In her post match interview on WWE.com, she described about how she had to learn to walk, to run and to jump, and she started welling up. Any doubt on whether she is in the for the right reasons should be kicked out of the window now – Layla is a wrestler, not a model pretending to fight. As a stone-hearted journalist, I felt for the woman, and I am happy that she is back doing what she enjoys.
I am also happy that she is back for personal reasons, as I was starting to enjoy watching Layla wrestle when she was struck down with a bad wheel. Sure, she wasn’t Sara Del Rey, but she was reaching the top of the pile when it came to Divas – and I concede, that is hardly high praise, but she was plugging away, and it was producing results. Plus, she was hanging with Michelle McCool, who was one of the most technically proficient female wrestlers WWE had at the time, even though I found her slightly cold in the ring and never really enjoyed her work. Being in the right place with the right people played into the former cheerleader’s favour – as did her dance background, as I am now a firm believer that if you want to turn non-wrestling women into wrestlers, go for dancers and gymnasts over models, as they are more open to pain, hard work and dedication, while models know how to stand there and look good, which doesn’t translate to the ring.
You could see fire and desire in Layla on Sunday – running all over the place, executing dropkicks and springboard flying bodypresses – and it was exciting, and it’s not often you can say that about Divas matches recently. Even Beth Phoenix, possibly the best wrestler in the Divas division, is hardly a thrill to watch these days, though it could be argued that some of that may be down to what she is working with. Either way, I had fun watching Layla defeat Nikki Bella on Sunday, and taking both Bellas out on Monday’s Raw, even though the match consisted of one dropkick and a schoolboy roll-up. It felt like wrestling, not a bunch of pre-arranged, mechanical moves, and Layla should be praised for that. It is also something that people like Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox should look at. Intensity is not screaming on cue. (more…)
Okay, who amongst us believes that WWE takes their women seriously? Raise your hand. I’ll wait.
No hands? Okay, is there anyone out there who believes WWE has any interest in promoting serious female wrestling? Show of hands.
No hands again. This is good. Lets see if we can go three for three. Who believes that the women’s division is an interesting, captivating part of WWE? Hands please.
As I suspected. Much like myself, few of us have any faith in WWE anymore when it comes to their women’s division. If they want to see great female wrestling, they know to go outside the company. The question is, what should be done about it? My solution is this:
Get rid of the Divas division. Have no female wrestling on any of the shows or cards. Retire the Divas Championship. Let Beth Phoenix be the last holder of that meaningless belt.
Extreme? Absolutely. However, there are precedents, albeit usually when the current holder of the title leaves WWE under less than pleasant circumstances. In 1990, then-champion Rockin’ Robin left the company without dropping the belt. The title was deactivated until 1993, when Alundra Blayze won a tournament to crown a new women’s champion. We know what happened with her in early 1996. Again, the title was deactivated until 1998, when it was Jacqueline who won the belt. Lastly, in 2001 when Chyna was the champion, she left the company without dropping it. However, given the talent in the division, it was quickly reactivated in November of that same year.
Having no female wrestling division in WWE has been done before. Let us be honest, how much of an impact does a 2 minute match on RAW have on your basic fan? If anything, it gives the fan in the audience a chance to relieve their bladder or buy some merchandise. It gives the fan at home a chance to get a beverage or a snack. Except for those die-hard Diva fans, those 2 minute matches mean nothing. (Is it even fair to call it a ‘match’?) Eliminating it would not diminish ticket sales, DVD sales or anything else money-wise. (more…)