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…)
Five TNA Knockouts meet in a Gauntlet Match with the winner becoming the number one contender to Tara‘s Knockouts Championship.
• Well, there wasn’t any really. On last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, Miss Tessmacher and Robbie E beat Tara and Jesse Godderz, but it didn’t lead into this match at all.
• It was announced that Tessmacher, Mickie James, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky and ODB would meet in a Gauntlet match at Genesis fought under the winner-stays-on format, not like TNA’s usual gauntlet style with a battle royal with the final two then competing in a regular match.
• Kim and Tessmacher started the proceedings with some tidy sequences between two wrestlers who have always had good chemistry with each other. For the most part, it was the Texan who got the upper hand with flying forearms and dropkicks – however the key factor was Gail’s boot, as she planted it in Tessmacher’s jaw with an Eat Defeat to send her to the showers. (more…)
Ahead of the announcement of the 2012 Ringbelles Awards – which start on Monday – we thought it would be a good idea to see what happened to the three winners in 2011. How has the last 12 months been for them? Well, let’s start with out pick for Discovery of the Year, Kay Lee Ray…
We selected the high-flier from Scotland for her strong showings over the course of 2011, which included strong showings against joshi talent Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto (the latter as part of a three-way with Erin Angel) at Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon in October and her thrilling deathmatch against old enemy Carmel Jacob at Insane Championship Wrestling. She ventured outside of the UK to wrestle in Denmark, and we surmised that because of the positive opinions garnered by her work, her profile would go from strength to strength in 2012. That’s exactly what happened, and she’s capping the year off being on the other side of the world… (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 December 2012) – Divas future, intergender wrestling part 2, Portia’s tweets, Fierce Females DVD review & more
WWE knows the Divas division is in tatters at the moment, and seems intent on asking us what we want to happen to it, so the promotion has been contacting focus groups asking about the future of the women. PWInsider reports they were sent out to ask fans what they think of the Divas in the past, what they are like now, and which women they liked. Another question which was reportedly on the list is what role they wanted to see them in – be it as valets/managers, dancers, wrestlers, love interests and more.
This could be the opportunity that fans of women’s wrestling have been waiting for. If the data comes back in the way which we would hope for, it could see a resurgence of in-ring action for the Divas in 2013, along with some proper storylines with episodic character development, culminating in big matches at pay-per-views. It could see them take more prominent roles on the TV shows, and have their segments played out in front of interested, active crowds who care about what is going on. It could also see an injection of new talent into the ranks, possible gimmick revamps to make them more interesting, and having more options of big matches all as part of the quest to snare the Divas Championship.
Oh yes, it could be the start of something beautiful.
But what if it isn’t? (more…)
Mickie James challenges Tara for the TNA Knockouts Championship after returning from three months on the shelf.
• James earned her shot at the belt on the November 12 episode of Impact Wrestling by winning a battle royal. It was her first appearance on Impact since August 2 – she’d been out after having surgery to have a benign mass removed.
• Tara faced her challenger last Thursday on Impact, and was interrupted by the returning Velvet Sky, who made it clear that she wanted to regain the Knockouts belt in 2013.
• The two veterans started out with some mat wrestling, but quickly got more aggressive, with Mickie throwing Tara about by the hair and following it up with some quick pin attempts and a headscissors out of the corner.
• All the time, the challenger was keeping an eye on Tara’s boyfriend Jesse Godderz, though her concern with him gave the titleholder the opportunity to strike, and attacked her on the outside of the ring.
• Jesse’s interference also meant that a flash sunset flip pin by James was missed by referee Taryn Terrell, who was admonishing him for climbing onto the apron.
• James managed to mount a comeback with upkicks and clotheslines, as well as a big Thesz Press from the top to the floor. However, as she cut Godderz’s interference off with a kick, she was snared by Tara, who hit the Widow’s Peak for the pinfall. (more…)
In a recent interview with Edge, he was asked why so many women are voluntarily choosing to leave WWE. His reply: “I don’t think they get a shot and that’s why most leave. No incentive.”
Now, I was all set to expand on this, but there is the flip side – what about the fortunate ones who do get a shot? Do they seize the opportunity with both hands? Well, one is certainly doing so at the moment, and she seems to be the only one on the main roster taking the her role as a wrestler deadly seriously.
Consider what WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres has been up to in the last week. She was featured in a profile video for American Latino which focuses a large amount of time on the self defence for women programme she offers – something that she believes very passionately about. She teamed up with the Gracie Academy for the Women Empowered DVD set, and has worked hard promoting women being able to take care of themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
The interview also saw Torres justifying her heel character in WWE by saying she is a woman who gets what she wants, and her holding the WWE Divas belt is proof of that. It’s weird logic, but she has a point – it gets around the fact that she is a heel too, even though she is purporting herself to be on the side of the good girls. (more…)
Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers/listeners, who are spending the day eating roasted birds and things containing pumpkins while watching Gridiron football or the Macy’s parade. As Brits, we’re not entirely clued up on what goes on on this particular Thursday in November, but we have seen a lot of people talking about what they are thankful for. So, in the spirit of the day, we shall do the same.
We are thankful for every single one of you who chooses to visit our website, download an interview or podcast, read an article, leave a comment, share our contributions with others and so on. We are also thankful for women who go step into the ring and work hard to entertain the fans; we’re thankful for promoters who give them the opportunity to do so, and we’re thankful for every fan who spends money supporting the wrestlers and the promotions.
So as a thanks to all of you, we’ve got a series of videos of matches which took place around Thanksgiving, but may not necessarily have a Thanksgiving theme. As a result, we’ve got Trish Stratus v Molly Holly from WWF SmackDown on November 23, 2000; The Pilgrims (Michelle McCool, Layla & Jillian Hall) v The Indians (Kelly Kelly, Mickie James & Melina) from WWE Raw on November 23, 2009; Hannah Blossom v Josie from OVW Thanksgiving Thunder on November 28, 2009; and Winter, Angelina Love & Madison Rayne v Velvet Sky, Brooke Tessmacher & Tara from TNA Impact Wrestling on November 24 last year.
Happy Turkey Day, everybody! (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.
“Lesson to men: Cheat on a good woman, You get choked out.”
No joke – those were the first words that Tammy Lynn Sytch decided to make public on her Facebook page after being arrested three times in three days last week on domestic violence complaints. Seeing as legal proceedings are underway, this was a colossally dumb thing to do, as it’s pretty much an admission of guilt. How about “Lesson to men: Cheat on a good woman, you get dumped.” As someone who works fairly closely with a domestic violence charity, this sort of flippant approach to alleged crimes like this really grinds my gears.
According to TMZ – and later picked up by the Associated Press and local TV media outlets – the 39-year old WWE Hall of Famer was first arrested by police in Branford, CT, on Tuesday night at 8:55pm for disorderly conduct involving a man living in the house she was with, which was later confirmed to be the home of boyfriend and pro wrestler Damian Darling. It apparently all began with a heated argument between the couple. (more…)
Gimmicks change over time when you’re in a WWE developmental facility. It may be that a wrestler may go through multiple character alterations. For example, while Serena Deeb was in Florida Championship Wrestling, she changed to Serena Mancini and later Mia Mancini, with her portraying a Mafia-like persona. As she was called up to WWE to have her head shaved as part of the Straight Edge Society in early 2010, she was changed back to Serena, and the Mafia gimmick was dumped when she returned to FCW in favour of her SCS look, which she was now more famous for.
When it comes to Mickie James and Jillian Hall, the same situation holds true during their time in Ohio Valley Wrestling in the middle part of the last decade. Hall did away with her Macaela Mercedes character, though retained the “Bombshell” nickname for a while. For Mickie, she stuck to the Alexis Laree name which she had used on the indy circuit as well as in TNA’s early days.
At the time of this Retro, Mickie was still going under the Alexis name, but both were polishing their characters and style ahead of the call to go on the road with WWE. Hall would get to go first in mid 2005 as the “fixer” for MNM and later JBL before becoming a wrestler, while James followed soon afterwards as the superfan of Trish Stratus in a storyline which would make her a star, and was heavily discussed on an episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast earlier this year. (more…)
It’s the end of an era as far as Women Superstars Uncensored is concerned on Saturday. At the conclusion of the Uncensored Rumble V iPPV from Deer Park, NY, the WSU founder Sean McCaffrey will hand over the reins to another group, described to us as a promotion which is as major as an indie promotion can be.
A month ago, WSU made the announcement that it had been sold to an “independent buyer”, but the initial buyer was said to have fallen through, with other options being explored. Clearly, one of those options paid off, as everything has been sorted out ahead of the Uncensored Rumble, where we will all find out just who has acquired the promotion.
It is an uncertain period though, as there is no guarantee that the new owners will share the same vision of WSU. There is a possibility that things will progress as planned, but there is also a chance that whoever Is taking over will have new ideas and suggestions for storylines and talent, so there could be some shake-ups to come too. WSU’s outlook may change over time, but it is unlikely that if there will be any alterations, they won’t happen immediately. After all, the fans are the ones who finance things in the long run, and to make changes immediately and in a big fashion could be too jarring to the WSU faithful and possibly drive them away. Much more likely would be a subtle movement in direction to enhance what already exists.
Last week, we were contacted through Twitter by a lady called Estelle. She informed us about a recent Facebook update made by former TNA and WWE employee Trinity, who had written this simple update:
I gotta go back to wrestling
Now we can read into this as much or as little as we like, but it did generate a buzz on her page. Had she gotten the itch to return to the ring and bust out more moonsaults? No clue, as it was never expanded on, but it caused us to have a look back at Trinity matches, as we believe that she had the skills, charisma and talent to go further than she did – both in TNA as well as the WWE revival of ECW. In addition, she had a look to her. Muscles but still feminine, and in her later wrestling days, using not much more than police tape to protect her modesty, she was also attractive enough to put on posters to draw fans, though neither company seldom did, which is a shame. Still in great shape at 40 – seriously, her and Tara must be in some sort of Awesome At Forty conest or something – and working as a stuntwoman and taking part in roller derby, she should be able to carve a spot for herself.
Still, let’s look back at one of her matches from the early days of TNA on April 2, 2003, where she took on Alexis Laree – better known these days under her real name of Mickie James. (more…)
I miss Daizee Haze.
After bowing out of wrestling last October following her and Tomoka Nakagawa losing the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship to Ayumi Kurihara and Ayako Hamada, nothing has been heard from Haze, as she has stayed out of the public eye, with no real indication of what she has been doing to fill the time. On the second day of the weekend, Haze was collecting donations for an animal charity, and there was talk of her going to college, but as has been the case during her life, Daizee’s private life remains totally private. She has no Facebook or Twitter to speak of, and keeps off the grid as much as she can. It’s like she’s John Connor in Terminator 3 or something.
Still, I got to thinking about Haze, and took a look back into the archives (and by that, I mean scoured YouTube) to seek out a match from days gone by. And here’s what I found; a contest from TNA Xplosion on July 2, 2003 in Nashville, TN featuring Daizee – barely a year after her debut – teaming with her Gateway Championship Wrestling running buddy Matt Sydal taking on Gathering teammates Alexis Laree (better known now as Mickie James) and Julio Dinero. As you would imagine, with 14 months experience, Daizee is still somewhat green, but she and Laree do fine, and admittedly, much of this glorified squash features the men wrestling, but there aren’t many videos out there which show early Daizee in Daisy Dukes and a tie-dye tank top, before she busted out the sewing machine and knocked up some of the awesome outfits we saw from 2005 onwards… (more…)
Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, how about a look at two of the romances running in WWE that involve two of the biggest storylines going on at the moment?
On Raw this week, the relationship between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres ground to a halt when Eve decided to kiss John Cena after he helped to rescue her from the clutches of Kane. Unfortunately, a crushed Ryder saw the whole thing, though Torres claimed it was a heat of the moment thing, then called things off with him, hoping that they can remain friends.
On the plus side, this storyline is the best opportunity that Torres has every had to show some personality in her near five year WWE tenure, even though it has caused her to experience derision from the audience for knowingly or unknowingly screwing over one of the favourite wrestlers in the promotion right now – someone who has captured the hearts and imagination of fans by standing up to his bosses with his YouTube Z! True Long Island Story, getting over in spite of his booking (or lack of it) and then being sucked into one of the most asinine and ridiculous storylines in years, that being Cena v Kane, by being the whipping boy who is the real life equivalent of Kenny from South Park being murdered on every show. By screwing over the guy who has the sympathy of fans, Eve is positioned as a heel… for now. (more…)
The feud between Mickie James and Trish Stratus hit its zenith at WrestleMania 22 (you can see the awesome angle leading up to it following Mickie’s heel turn and the match itself by clicking here), but as discussed in our most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast with former WWE writer Alex Greenfield, their first match is a forgotten encounter from a couple of months earlier.
Mickie earned her first shot at Stratus’ Women’s Championship by defeating Victoria on December 12, 2005, with the match taking place at New Years Revolution on January 8 in Albany, NY. At the time, the pair were friends – though their relationship was starting to become strained – and Mickie was still a Trish superfan, desperate to be like her idol, and that included becoming Women’s Champ.
Some moments to look out for in the match include Mickie copping her first inappropriate feel on Trish before going for the infamous V-lick; a smattering of chants for Mickie as the fans start to get into her character; the fans getting more into the match as it continues (the sign of a strong match) and; how Mickie’s obsession is her own undoing. Click after the jump to watch… (more…)
“You know, at one time, Mark Chapman was a huge John Lennon fan.” – Jerry Lawler, WrestleMania 22
That line of commentary from “The King” sums up one of the best female feuds in WWE history – the “Obsession” angle between then WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus and her stalker fan Mickie James. From October 2005 through April 2006, Alex Greenfield was the producer of all the angles/promos in the feud, and in this unique episode of the Podcast, he guides us through the twists, turns, shrines and kisses of the angle from conception to (injury hastened) completion. Find out the inspiration for the feud and how it changed organically as it got over, who came up with various parts of the angle, and personal opinions on all the major story beats of the story. Not only that, before the Mickie vs Trish stuff, we talk about the return of Kharma last weekend at the Royal Rumble and consider where she’s going on the Road to WrestleMania, and how that ties in to one Beth Phoenix. A fascinating peek behind the curtain of working for WWE.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
I swore off going to WWE shows back in 2005 when I decided that they weren’t worth my time. I felt that the ratio of entertainment to investment wasn’t good enough, so after having gone to at least one WWE show a year since 1996, I walked away. Since then, I have been to smaller shows, and avoided events from the bigger wrestling companies.
That is, until this Thursday, when after seven years away, I headed to Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena for the first UK date of the TNA Maximum Impact IV European tour.
To be honest, I was looking forward to it, as I had always heard good things about TNA house shows, while the Impact Wrestling shows are more hit and miss. Buoyed by my interview with Tara earlier this month, I was confident that I was going to enjoy myself, even though I’m not as much of a TNA viewer as have been in the past. So along with fellow wrestling fan and work colleague Tom Campbell (the voice of the infamous Big’Un in Wigan), we hopped into my car and – barring an unscheduled stop because of my brakes almost catching fire – made the 90 minute drive to Nottingham. (more…)
…and the hits just keep on coming.
Former TNA Knockouts Champion and Knockouts Tag Team Champion Tara gave us a call earlier today after discovering that she will be on her way to the UK later this month for the Maximum Impact IV tour, which will take in Nottingham, Manchester and London’s Wembley Arena, with the Wembley show being a full-on Impact Wrestling TV taping.
As part of our chat with Tara, she talked to us about finding out that she was booked for the tour after all, what it felt like to main event Impact last year against Mickie James in a steel cage, her relationship with Brooke Tessmacher both inside and outside of the ring, what Jerry Lawler said to her during her training when he found out her age, as well as which Knockouts will be on the tour (and there’ll be a few).
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
Don’t forget to leave us a comment below!
You can also read about Tara’s pre TNA days in her excellent interview with HONOUR Magazine by clicking here.
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…)
In their third meeting for the TNA Knockouts Championship, Mickie James was set to take on Gail Kim. However, due to the interference of Madison Rayne during their second meeting during the main event two weeks ago, one Knockout in particular had had enough. Before the match, Velvet Sky tracked down Sting and arranged something she called the “Velvet Touch.” Come time for the match, it turned out “Velvet Touch” was a cage that Madison would be put in and hoisted up – effectively taking her out of the picture.
However, it turned out that Rayne still affected the match. With Velvet at ringside cheering Mickie on, the two women put on another good match with a few near falls. Towards the end, when the referee’s back was turned, Rayne pulled something out of her boot and dropped it down to the mat below. The item bounced out of the ring and the referee went to retrieve it. The object was a pair of brass knuckles, which Gail strenously denied using or having the intent to use them. The ref went to give it to Christy Hemme, and that’s when Madison dropped a second pair of knucks. Second time wasn’t the charm, however, as Mickie got to them first. The frustration and anger with Gail got the best of her and she popped the KO champ right infront of the referee, causing a disqualification. Gail retained her title but Mickie seemed unphased by the fact she effectively cost herself the championship.
As always, lets break it down into what was silk, what was leather and what was cotton… (more…)
While hanging out at the TNA Fan Party in Nottingham last night, I was sitting with my back to pretty much everyone while chatting to friends when someone slipped between my chair and the table behind me to grab an empty chair. It took a few seconds to clock who it was, but then it came to me – it was Hannah or Holly Blossom… I couldn’t tell which one, as they’re identical and I’ve not studied their faces to notice any differences…
Still, being slightly opportunistic, I grabbed them for a quick chat with the former Ohio Valley Wrestling Women’s Champions about wrestling and being trained at OVW, the promotion’s women’s division, their upcoming debut with Pro Wrestling: EVE on February 18, wrestling Mickie James over the summer, and OVW’s new working relationship with TNA. It’s a fun chat, so click after the jump and enjoy! (more…)
After going through six out of ten Knockouts in a gauntlet match, Mickie James became number one contender to Gail Kim‘s TNA Knockouts Championship. Between then and now, Karen Jarrett made Mickie’s path to the pay-per-view a difficult one. Karen reinstated ODB and gave her the order: hurt Mickie and pin her, and she would become number one contender. Despite her best efforts in a street fight, Mickie pinned ODB after kicking a chair into the latter’s face. Karen then called upon Gail’s tag team partner, Madison Rayne, and called her her “lynch pin.” She ordered Madison to tear Mickie apart so she would be unable to show at Final Resolution. Again, to no avail – Mickie pinned Madison after a jumping DDT.
The last time these two met was when they were employed by WWE on August 17th, 2009. Mickie defended her Divas title against Gail Kim in what was an unqualified disaster of a match. When Gail returned to TNA, people wondered how long it would be until the two wrestled again, and if the match would turn out better or worse than the last time. At Final Resolution, Gail kept the Knockouts Championship after Madison distracted Mickie long enough for Gail to hit Eat Defeat. Let me break it down into what was Batman, what was Batman Returns and what was Batman & Robin… (more…)