As we have found out from the 7-on-7 Divas Survivor Series match on Sunday and the repeat of the contest on Raw the following night, more does not always mean better. In fact, sometimes it can mean far worse.
While many fans lamented how much of a mess both matches were, I’m managed to put things into perspective for you with this week’s Retro offering from the very beginnings of NWA: Total Nonstop Action. With the acronym of TNA and it still being in the hangover of the Attitude Era, there was a lot of scantily-clad women in the early days, and a whole bunch of them were threw into one match on the June 26, 2002 broadcast in the form of a Lingerie Battle Royal. (more…)
In last week’s Roundup, we had a note about Mickie James spending a week at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, FL working with the developmental Divas. At the time, we kept it a bit muted as that was all the information that we had, and if WWE or Mickie wasn’t going to divulge any details that would be all we would know – that she was there and that was it. As it turns out, WWE.com made more of a deal about it than we thought, as they conducted a full interview with the former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion.
As well as asking about her favourite WWE moments – the usual ones were there like her match with Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22 and her matches with Beth Phoenix, though she curiously also pointed out the Piggie James angle which I thought was a particular low point in recent Diva history though she spun it to say it brought the issue of bullying to the fore – but she also discussed how she ended up at WWE’s new facility in the first place. (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…)
On Saturday, Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s Dan Murphy revealed that Cheerleader Melissa had been placed first in the 2013 Female 50 list as part of the SHIMMER Volume 58 taping. On Tuesday, we posted a few answers from Murphy on why Melissa came first, and why AJ Lee, who many of you predicted would come first, did not. Well, the full list has now been revealed in the publication’s digital issue, which has been released a few days ahead of the hard copy version.
As it turns out, the WWE Divas Champion was placed 9th, while the silver and bronze positions went to Mickie James and Saraya Knight respectively. In fact, former Divas Champ Kaitlyn placed above Lee in 5th, while last year’s winner Gail Kim is in 6th. Meanwhile, NXT Women’s Champion Paige is 12th above the likes of Natalya and 2011 winner Madison Eagles.
As for wrestlers who didn’t make the cut, Serena Deeb, Angelina Love, Amazing Kong and even TNA Knockouts Champion ODB are all missing.
You can see the full list after the jump, but to see why each woman has been placed in each position, we recommend buying the magazine. You can order it from this direct link.
Agree with the list? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (8 October 2013) – Saraya and Melissa settle things, AJ Lee injured, Total Divas in-ring debut
I certainly didn’t see it coming, and I doubt many others would have.
On Sunday evening at Bellatrix 7, I was fully expecting Saraya Knight to win the war against Cheerleader Melissa on her home turf by finally beating her decisively, ending the six and a half year feud between them – four of which were spent with silent hostility in the air from opposite sides of the Atlantic. However, instead of there being an out and out winner of the feud, there was a time limit draw following 20 minutes of battering each other both inside and outside of the ring. As a result, it seemed as if nothing was settled between them. With two wins, two losses and two draws each, it was a total stalemate – but that seemed to be perfectly acceptable to both. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (24 September 2013) – Knockouts division reaches critical point, plus news & more
It’s felt like Groundhog Day since the start of July when TNA Knockouts started dropping from their perch. We are now at the point that things seem totally desperate with the division, with just two full-time wrestlers on the roster and two playing valet roles but are likely on call just in case.
The latest Knockout to disappear from our screens is Mickie James, who dropped the Knockouts Championship two weeks ago on an Impact Wrestling taping which was televised last Thursday. As a result, ODB is now the reigning champion, currently in her fourth run with the title. ODB holding the title isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though you have to imagine that had the roster not reduced to the state that it is in now, she would still be the referee and Taryn Terrell would be holding the belt, considering she was on the monster push. As things turned out, she is on an indefinite leave of absence and TNA did what it had to do to get the belt off James before her contract expired.
When we wrote about Mickie’s contract situation just over a week ago, it was reported that she was still in negotiations with TNA and if the right deal could be struck she would be back on the show. However earlier today, her profile was removed from the roster page on the company’s website, which can’t be a good sign. Mickie James may be back, but I personally wouldn’t hold my breath. Considering the financial issues leading to a massive amount of cost-cutting on the roster – and talk of the show moving back to a singular location because of the sheer outgoings caused by Impact going on the road and not pulling in the crowds, it could just be that TNA can’t afford Mickie James money right now, and may not for the foreseeable future.
As it stands, the only full-time female wrestlers on the roster are champion ODB and Gail Kim, with Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher working as hangers-on for Bully Ray and Chris Sabin respectively. That’s pretty weak by anyone’s standards. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 September 2013) – Courtney Rush speaks on her injury, rejigged matches, Total Divas finale
There is never a good time to sustain an injury – but for Courtney Rush, the timing of her current ailment has to feel horrendous for her.
Tweeting yesterday, she said: “I don’t know how to say this so I’ll just spit it out: last night I broke my collarbone & will be out of wrestling for the rest of the year. The past 24 hours have been the most frustrating and heartbreaking I have experienced in a very long time. But I must remain positive. A thousand thanks to those who showed such compassion and love and did everything to help me through the pain and emotion. I love you all.”
Speaking exclusively to Ringbelles, Rush revealed that the injury happened in a “freak accident” while she wrestled under a mask as La Tigre Diablo against Jasmine in the warm up match at Sunday’s Smash Wrestling CanUSA Classic show in Toronto, ON, Canada – explaining why she did not feature on the show in her announced match against Candice LeRae. While the fractured collarbone is a massive blow, it also means a lot of Courtney’s plans for the next month or so are out of the window. (more…)
We’ve decided to collate the bulk of spoilers concerning TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James into one post for you – but that means that you click beyond this jump, the element of surprise concerning future events will be ruined for you. If you’re the type of person who likes to watch wrestling shows not knowing what’s going to happen, leave now. If you’re interested in finding out the info, click away… (more…)
Total Divas is directing the Divas division in WWE at the moment.
Last Friday’s match between Naomi and Brie Bella on SmackDown ended in a no-contest when some of the Divas – AJ Lee, Aksana, Layla & Alicia Fox – who aren’t a part of Total Divas came down to the ring and attacked the seven stars of the E! Show. On Raw last night, AJ’s opponents at this Sunday’s Night Of Champions show – Natalya, Brie & Naomi – defeated Aksana, Layla & Fox in a six woman tag when Alicia tapped out to Natalya’s Sharpshooter. In addition, Naomi defeated AJ Lee in non-title matches in Canada at the weekend, and if you were a betting man, you would put money on the Divas Championship changing hands this Sunday.
The show is after a happy ending to its season extension/season two run due to start later this year, following the conclusion of the current season which ends next week with Natalya’s marriage to TJ Wilson (Tyson Kidd). Seeing as all three of AJ’s challengers are babyfaces for this angle – and are the three most likeable women on the show – it is perfectly plausible that any one of them could walk out with the belt. (more…)
Despite winning her Career v Respect match against Jessicka Havok at SHINE 8 back in March, Reby Sky hasn’t been back to the promotion since then – and that’s a shame, as fans were really getting into her work. However, despite not being at SHINE, the “Diva Overachiever” has been keeping busy by stepping into rings elsewhere in the US.
One of Sky’s most recent matches took place in Gaithersburg, MD for Big Time Wrestling on August 13, culminating a weekend of events. Click after the jump to see the contest between she and the self-absorbed reigning TNA Knockouts Champion. (more…)
Ahead of the release of the all-women TNA One Night Only PPV on September 6, the company has put together a preview video to sell the event to US viewers – ones in the UK will get it for free five days later. Hosted by Christy Hemme, it features a montage of all the Knockouts Champions since the title was created in 2007; a look at the Gauntlet Match at Bound For Glory in that year which determined the inaugural titleholder; a recap of the feud between Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell which featured a great Last Knockout Standing Match at Slammiversary this year and also a fine Ladder Match on Impact Wrestling in July; and a rundown of all the women who will be involved in the show itself.
The event was taped in March – you can read results of it here if you don’t mind spoilers – and it is interesting to see which Knockouts are no longer with the company in the time the show was recorded and it making to air. Tara, Taeler Hendrix and Madison Rayne have all gone – though Rayne didn’t wrestle on the show as she was already pregnant – while Brooke Hogan has also parted ways with TNA – which is a big continuity error, considering she is the one advertised as putting the event together but was unceremoniously dumped in the storylines. In addition, Terrell – who was clearly a big priority for TNA – has disappeared from our screens.
Still, it’s a nicely put together hard-sell for the show, so click after the jump, rekindle some memories and see if it can pull some money from your bank account. (more…)
For those of you wondering why Taryn Terrell has been absent from TNA TV for more than a month, the answer was revealed in this week’s Wrestling Observer, where it was reported that she is taking time off for personal reasons and isn’t expected back any time soon. PWInsider clarified the situation saying that she is dealing with a family matter and she is not in trouble or in danger of being released.
While we wish her well, the situation is a blow for her professionally. Her last appearance on Impact Wrestling was the Ladder Match with Gail Kim which was taped on June 29 in Las Vegas, NV, and broadcast on Spike on July 7, and despite the loss, the Observer reports that she was to win the Knockouts Championship from Mickie James at Bound For Glory in October. While she could return in time for that to still happen, there is still no guarantee that she will be ready to come back to TNA by then. This also leaves TNA with a problem, as it is another reduction in the Knockouts roster… (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.
The WWE Divas Championship turned 5 years old on Saturday, and has evolved from the secondary title on the SmackDown brand to being the top belt in the promotion. Some would argue that in that time, the prestige of the primary women’s title in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world has dropped for various reasons, but it’s what we’re being presented, and it would be worth a look to see what state the title and the division itself is in right now.
Announced on June 6, 2008 by then-GM Vickie Guerrero so the women on her roster would have their own title, with the inaugural champion being Michelle McCool, who made Natalya tap out at that year’s Great American Bash. At the time, McCool was the pet project for WWE’s future, having been in the original Diva Search in 2004 and floating around for a long while before hitting a groove as a wrestler. However, she was a pretty unexciting one – and despite defeating Maryse a number of times over the course of the next month, it was the French Canadian who wrested the title from her in December of that year, which saw McCool turn heel on friend and special ref Maria Kanellis after the contest’s conclusion.
Maryse embarked on what is still the longest Divas Championship reign in the title’s history at 216 days, but her matches were pretty poor, and could not compare to the Raw brand’s women’s roster which was seeing the likes of Melina, Mickie James and Beth Phoenix competing over the Women’s Championship. However, during Maryse’s reign, she was drafted from SmackDown to Raw and took the belt with her, while Women’s Champion Melina went in the other direction. (more…)
Mickie James‘ run in TNA has seen a resurgence, especially since April. After a stop-start 2012 which saw storylines stopped in their tracks and medical worries hindering her momentum, the 33-year old has been given an angle to get her teeth into, prospects for the future and is also engaging in other projects outside of the ring. While a lot of the early months of 2013 were spent putting together and then promoting her latest studio album, we’re focussing on her wrestling career… (more…)
The untimely death of Matt Osbourne got me to thinking. In his role as the original Doink The Clown, he took what immediately appeared to be a bit of a lame gimmick and turned it into something quite special – a dark character with a painted on smile, exacting sadistic actions to wrestlers and fans alike, while also working as a skilled technician in the ring. Check out his matches with Mr Perfect and Bret Hart for some of his best work in mid-1993.
Osbourne’s run as Doink came to an end in the latter part of the year as he was fired from the WWF for re-occurring drug issues, and with it, the character then becoming a lame babyface which lacked the edge or sparkle of the original portrayal. However, it was a great example of making chicken salad out of chicken guano, and is relevant to a couple of women who are plying their trade in WWE today.
Before we get to that, it’s worth pointing out some of the other gimmicks in mainstream wrestling over the years – including which had mileage and which crashed and burned… (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (18 June 2013) – Mickie James, Brittney Savage, Divas, Bellatrix & Queen of Queens
Mickie James turned full heel on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling by attacking Velvet Sky. Velvet had produced a letter from her doctor saying she was cleared to wrestle and wanted a rematch for the Knockouts Championship, but Mickie argued that she could have just downloaded it from the Internet before going after her previously injured knee before being peeled off her rival by the referees.
Fair play to TNA, James and Sky – this angle has been booked and executed beautifully. Everyone involved has done a great job to get the new Knockouts Champ over, and it looks like she is having a great time finally having something she can really sink her teeth into… and it’s long overdue.
To be brutally honest, both WWE’s and TNA’s writers have been coasting with Mickie James for the past six years. Following the epic angle between she and Trish Stratus which hit its zenith at WrestleMania 22, nothing of real note has been given to the 33-year old. Once she turned babyface in the summer of 2006, there were a few feuds with Lita, Melina, Beth Phoenix and Maryse, but she was portraying the typical white meat babyface with no real reason as to why you should cheer for her apart from that she was smiley and was wrestling heels. The only other big storyline she was part of was the “Piggie James” deal with Lay-Cool which felt like it was an unfair public rib on her – and she lost that feud, which meant that she never even got her redemption. Considering how well she had played a character in her first 8 months in WWE, it’s still staggering that she was not given the opportunity to do anything like that again during her run, except for being the punching bag to get Michelle McCool and Layla over in a nasty, bullying fashion which seemed to make people hate WWE’s writers than Lay-Cool. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 June 2013) – Kaitlyn’s secret admirer, Kalamity, Brittney Savage, Gorgeous George and more
So Kaitlyn’s secret admirer was Big E Langston, as many originally assumed it would be. However, there was a sting in the tail, as Langston was sending the notes as a way to build up the Divas Champion to knock her down as part of a nefarious plan with AJ Lee.
Last night on Raw, Kaitlyn took the ring to ask for whoever had been sending her the notes and gifts, and had a look of bewilderment on her face as it was Big E who was revealed to be the one behind it all. He pointed out that it does appear to be a bit weird and awkward, but softened her with his words. As he moved closer for a kiss, he learnt her back for a romantic smooch, but let her fall to the floor. At that moment, AJ’s music hit and she came skipping to the ring to reveal that it was all one big head game ahead of their title match this Sunday at Payback.
AJ’s reasoning for doing it was that she felt that Kaitlyn had not supported her enough after Daniel Bryan dumped her last year and she went off the rails, and was more focussed on winning the Divas Championship. What Lee is leaving out is that Kaitlyn actually was there for support and to get her back on track, but AJ slapped her on two separate occasions before the friendship fell apart. The pair briefly reunited at the end of last year before AJ turned full-blown heel at TLC and aligned herself with Dolph Ziggler, but it was never meant to last.
AJ became the number one contender to the Divas strap by winning a battle royal on April 22, and since then it has been pushed to one side when it wasn’t convenient to address it. The pair had a backstage set-to at Extreme Rules, but that has been the only real storyline development until last night. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (28 May 2013) – Florida’s popularity, Ice Ribbon, Taeler Hendrix and Heidi Lovelace & more
Florida. It’s the home of WWE’s developmental territory, was the base for TNA’s Impact Wrestling show, and also has a lot of indie promotions dotted around the state offering wrestlers the chance to step into the ring on a regular basis, and also train with a range of different names. It has also become the home to one of the most exciting women’s promotions in the United States, and it has caught the attention of a number of female grapplers.
SHINE Wrestling held its 10th show at the weekend – main points can be found below – and is on the verge of crowning its first champion. Considering this time last year the promotion didn’t exist, it is remarkable that many are ranking it as one of the top all-women promotions in the country – and for good reason. It is presenting shows on a monthly basis – save for a couple of breaks, like the one happening next month when no show is being presented – it is on internet pay-per-view, meaning the wrestlers are showcased to the entire world at the same time as the fans in attendance at Ybor City’s Orpheum, and many of the roster also increase their earning by spending the weekend in the state to work extra shows or work a Slammin’ Ladies custom shoot or two. It’s all great experience for women who may only wrestle a few times a month to get some extensive ring time. It also has some pleasant weather, so that must also be an attraction.
This has not gone unnoticed by some wrestlers. Names like Mia Yim, Luscious Latasha, Brittney Savage, Solo Darling, Jessicka Havok and more have either moved or are in the process of moving to Florida to put themselves in a more advantageous position when it comes to the local promotions like Battling Bombshells, Florida Underground Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, I Believe In Wrestling and more. After all, why would a promoter pay to fly someone in when a similarly impressive talent is a short drive away? It cuts expenses and makes for a better bottom line. Great wrestlers can get regular work, while ones looking to get more experience have the chance to work with names who may have more matches under their belt, and are also in a prime place to be spotted by and to tryout for WWE. It’s a beneficial opportunity for all, and everybody wins. Right? (more…)
She may not have fully turned over to the dark side yet, but Mickie James was pretty ruthless en route to winning the TNA Knockouts Championship on last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling. She defeated Velvet Sky by clipping the defending titleholder’s injured left leg, hitting a low DDT and getting the fall to begin her third run with the Knockouts strap.
As for the match itself, it was pretty poor, with huge pregnant pauses in places where nothing was happening during sequences. Sky’s selling of her leg was sporadic at best, holding it and limping then running ropes and putting weight on it moments later without a problem.
As mentioned, James’ heel turn isn’t complete, though tendencies were shown by clipping Velvet’s leg, when she had said after losing a title match last month that if she had been “more heartless“, she would have taken the belt at the time. On this occasion, glimpses of that heartlessness was shown, and it paid dividends. (more…)
I’m still buzzing after Insane Championship Wrestling’s Fierce Females show on Saturday, which culminated with Kay Lee Ray winning her first ever championship when she won the tournament to become the inaugural Scottish titleholder. Beating Rhia O’Reilly and Viper in two very different contests, she proved that she is versatile and dependable as a main event talent. However, it was more than just KLR who impressed, with her defeated opponents also impressing, along with Carmel Jacob, Bete Noire, Erin Angel and Blue Nikita putting together great outings, and North American talent like Leah Von Dutch and Crazy Mary Dobson also entertaining. In fact, those two elements got me thinking…
First off, women’s wrestling fans are doing themselves a disservice by ignoring Europe. While places like America, Canada, Japan and Mexico are places which get a lot of attention, there are now three major all-women’s indie promotions to speak of in the UK alone, and plenty of skilled women from all over the continent looking to make their mark, and they can make it in the likes of Fierce Females, Pro Wrestling: EVE and Bellatrix because of their differing standpoints. (more…)
Sitting in the Tokyo ward of Sumida, Japan, Ryōgoku Kokugikan is primarily a venue for sumo wrestling, hence the alternative name of Sumo Hall. Hosting tournaments throughout the year as well as three special events in January, May and September, the 28-year old building holds a lot of tradition for sports other than sumo. The building also hosts boxing, concerts and professional wrestling. However, when it comes to joshi, Sumo Hall may well have been in Narnia, as there has not been a show there since Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling held an event there on February 12, 2007.
The show featured the semi-finals and final of a 10-woman All Star Tournament with Shinobu Kandori pinning Meiko Satomura to win the whole shebang. Attendance numbers are disputed, though the reported figure was about 5,800, which is less than half of the 13,000 that the building can hold.
Since then, there has not been a joshi show held there, though that will change next Monday, when Stardom presents its biggest and most ambitious show in its two and a half year history with a stacked card which features wrestlers from a number of different joshi promotions. (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…)
Well, it had a difficult birth – with most of the former Knockouts banding together and turning down offers to work the show – but TNA have managed to put together a Knockouts only PPV as part of their taped “One Night Only” series after all, and managed to pull a coup out of the bag by featuring Serena Deeb‘s first match since October 2011. Deeb took on fellow OVW trainee Mickie James in the match, which it is believed will likely air in the July or August slot on TNA’s One Night Only calendar. (X-Travaganza will air in April, the Jokers Wild Tag Tournament in May, and TNA’s live Slammiversary will air in June). All of the early matches were termed as qualifiers for the main event “Queen of TNA” Gauntlet match, which is TNA’s Royal Rumble style timed-entrance Battle Royale with the final two facing off in a pinfall/submission standard match.
Interestingly, one former Knockout did show up despite not being booked – as Daffney, fresh off resolving litigation with the company, was seen protesting the show with an “I’m here independently” sign (in reference to her threat to challenge the so-called ‘Independent Contractor’ clause in TNA contracts).
Click back after the break for an exclusive pic of Daffney & Amber O’Neal at the show, along with full results, which also saw the return of other former Knockouts, a former Diva, Gut Check competitors and independent talent (more…)