So that’s it. After announcing in March that she would be retiring, embarking on a farewell tour which would start in SHIMMER in April and making final appearances in OZ Academy, WAVE, Diana, Ice Ribbon, Gatoh Move and Sendai Girls, Ayumi Kurihara has made her final appearance as an active wrestler.
Despite citing nagging injuries for her reason for bowing out of her eight year career, the 29-year old certainly didn’t hold back or take it easy on herself as she did her farewell rounds. She made the promise in her blog where she revealed her intentions to walk away that she would “continue to fight with all her strength and all her heart until August 4th”, regardless of the damage that it could do to the clavicle injury which was forcing her out. As a result she took part in more than 40 matches in 5 months, including some hard-hitting contests with the likes of Mercedes Martinez and Mayumi Ozaki – something which earned her a recognition in our Good Half Year series last month. (more…)
In 1995, a mere four years after the invention of the World Wide Web, Amazon.com launched onto the Internet as an online bookstore with a simple, yet slightly baffling plan. Instead of looking to be a viable entity, it anticipated that it may not make money until the turn of the millennium. Its plan was to expand its brand quickly – no matter the cost – by making sure that everyone online knew about Amazon, what it did and its reputation. Going under the mantra of “get big fast”, it was its high profile which helped it to survive the dot-com bubble bursting in early 2000, which claimed a lot of firms which had floated on the stock exchange. Despite having not made a profit by that point, business kept flowing and it finally went into the black in the fourth quarter of 2001, more than six years after being launched.
The reason I bring up this tale is because over the last year, a number of women’s wrestling promotions have done similar things – rolled the dice to generate a following very quickly, enhance its profile and make sure that fans know that they are a real player. Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females and Bellatrix have managed certain degrees of success in the UK with a plan which is seeing them speculate to accumulate both financially and creatively, but a certain promotion in Florida has gone even further in leapfrogging up the ladder to the point where it is being discussed as being the best women’s wrestling promotion in the western world… (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa continues her quest towards Madison Eagles‘ SHIMMER Championship, while Jessie McKay and Nicole Matthews settle their feud in a best of three falls match.
1. Kellie Skater defeated Courtney Rush with a Skate And Destroy.
2. LuFisto beat Sassy Stephie with the Mangalizer.
3. Rachel Summerlyn made Mena Libra tap out to the Texas Cloverleaf.
4. 3S (Hiroyo Matsumoto & Misaki Ohata) beat Pretty Bitchin’ (Nikki Roxx & Ariel) to retain the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship – Matsumoto pinned Roxx following an Exploder Suplex.
5. Mercedes Martinez pinned Britani Knight with a Fisherman Buster.
6. Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa defeated Mia Yim & Jamilia Craft. Nakagawa pinned Yim with a Fisherman Suplex.
7. Jessica James pinned Athena after hitting the Hard Boiled Egg.
8. MsChif beat Sweet Saraya with a Desecrator.
9. Serena Deeb defeated Portia Perez via DQ when Perez hit Deeb with a cookie sheet.
10. Nicole Matthews beat Jessie McKay in a best of three falls match. Matthews took the first fall with a tights-assisted O’Connor Roll, McKay equalised with multiple Schoolgirl Crushes, and Matthews scored the third fall with the Vancouver Maneuver.
11. Cheerleader Melissa & Ayako Hamada beat Madison Eagles & Sara Del Rey when Hamada rolled up Eagles for the pin.
• 3S continue their run as SHIMMER Tag Team Champions and establish themselves as the most over team in the promotion’s history with a second successful title defence over Pretty Bitchin’.
• Both Sweet Saraya and daughter Britani Knight are defeated by SHIMMER originals, MsChif and Mercedes Martinez respectively. The former sees the Knight’s manager Rebecca Knox get involved in the match but gets her comeuppance when a Saraya basement dropkick goes awry.
• Haze and Nakagawa earn a SHIMMER Tag Team Title shot by remaining undefeated, beating Mia Yim & Jamilia Craft.
• The Serena Deeb/Portia Perez feud that began following Deeb’s return to the promotion after her release from WWE the previous year continues and starts to involve weapons.
• Nicole Matthews and Jessie McKay put their on-off feud to bed after their best of three falls match after trading victories in singles and tag matches.
• Ayako Hamada pins Madison Eagles to earn a shot at the SHIMMER Championship, much to the chagrin of Cheerleader Melissa, who wanted to get the pin to earn the shot for herself. (more…)
As Chikara gets ready for JoshiMania this coming weekend (December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, December 3rd in Everett, MA & December 4th in Manhattan, NY), we at Ringbelles are helping to point everybody in the direction of the sort of action and introduce some of the performers you can see on this groundbreaking weekend. A total of 12 joshi names from a handful of different booking offices and promotions will be represented at this festival of fighting females, and in today’s “In Video” segment, we’re taking a look at a fairly recent trios match featuring three of the participants of JoshiMania.
From WAVE on August 28th, 2011, we’re presenting a match which was billed as Yumi Ohka‘s tenth anniversary match, as she and her BLACK DAHLIA faction (comprising here of Ohka, Misaki Ohata and JoshiMania participant Ayako Hamada) against the team of Tomoka Nakagawa and two JoshiMania participants in WAVE founder GAMI and the legendary Aja Kong.)
Kong will headline nights one and two of JoshiMania, firstly against Sara Del Rey and then against Hamada, whilst Hamada will take on Sara Del Rey in the main event in Manhattan. Keep an eye on Ringbelles this coming week as we continue on The Road To JoshiMania. If you’re lucky enough to be attending live, please get in touch, we’d love to get reports and opinions from anybody attending the shows.
If you’re reading this, you may already know of Yumi Ohka. However, you may have only heard of the name before now, or you may have only heard it for the first time yesterday when the 32-year old was announced as being one of the members of the SHIMMER: Women Athletes roster for this October’s DVD tapings. No matter what the reason is, you’re here now. Take your shoes off. After all, we’ve got two matches to show you in this week’s Retro instead of the regular one.
9-year veteran Ohka originally got into the grap game as an “athress” – models who would be taught wrestling with the intent of getting them into the acting industry – with the JD’star promotion before it shut down in 2007 and splintered into a number of groups, one of them being her current home promotion, WAVE. Ohka currently works as a heel alongside Bambi, Misaki Ohata and Ayumi Kurihara‘s masked alter-ego A*YU*MI in the Black Dahlia faction. Having said that, there’s a masked wrestler called Sakura Candle who bears a resemblance to Ohka, but that’s nothing but rumours… (more…)
Last Sunday, Hailey Hatred made her first defence of the JWP Openweight Championship against Kaori Yoneyama, who is on the retirement trail, which is due to end in December when she hangs up her boots for good. The 4’11″, 30 year old veteran of ten years was looking to regain the title which she won on July 18 last year, and dropped it to Leon on March 4. Current champion Hatred won the belt on June 26, and had to face her outgoing friend with three of her four championships up for grabs.
Steve was one of the 957 in attendance at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, and has given his permission for us to repost his review of the show here for you. Enjoy.
Sunday lunchtime my host and I went to JWP Pure Slam at Korakuen Hall, through tickets my host had been left at the door by JWP Openweight Champion Hailey Hatred. Having a chat with Hailey before finding our seats was surreal, but there was plenty more surreal to come later. Korakuen Hall itself was smaller than I imagined; the seats were clearly not designed with the idea that a “Western” pelvis might want to occupy them – and why would they have? – but I got it. Squeeze it was, but never truly uncomfortable. I should add at this point going up the steps to our seats and looking at all the wrestlers’ (and fans) signatures/writing/doodles on the famed walls was akin to a religious experience for me. I’m taking a marker pen on Saturday to immortalize my visit, but I’m not sure what to write… (more…)
Amongst the offerings for sale at the S-Ovation table at the most recent SHIMMER tapings was a DVD entitled “Joshi 4 Hope”, and featured matches from the self-produced show this past November at Shin-Kiba First Ring. As well as the four young joshi talents who regularly impress at SHIMMER and who symbolise the “Joshi 4 Hope” concept (Ayumi Kurihara, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Misaki Ohata & Tomoka Nakagawa), the show featured the Japanese debut of SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles along with an international cast which featured Canadian (Cherry Bomb), American (Hailey Hatred) and Mexican (Sexi Star) talent along with a number of other joshi names such as then NEO Champion Yoshiko Tamura. In fact, it was the first-time meeting between Eagles and Tamura along with an Ayumi Kurihara vs Tomoka Nakagawa rematch that persuaded me to be parted with the cash for the disc. Let’s see what sort of investment I made… (more…)
The Big News
First off, sorry about the shortness of the Roundup this week (and in advance for next week). We’re in Las Vegas for fun and giggles, but we’ll still be covering what happens at Ring Of Honor and WrestleMania.
SHIMMER: Women Athletes volume 37 may be the best show the promotion has ever put on. Featuring a tag team title change, the debut of the Knight Dynasty (which caused such a stir that Britani and Saraya were spit on at one point by supposedly “smart” fans), a great technical contest between Daizee Haze and Serena Deeb and a great title match between Mercedes Martinez, this is one DVD that you HAVE to buy when it is released.
The heat this mother and daughter generated was incredible. So much so, that they have been asked to appear at CWF Mid-Atlantic (though the promoters have told us they will have to bring in extra police for their appearance), and have an inbox utterly stacked with requests from promoters looking to book them based on their work this weekend. Coupled with the return after 4 years of Rebecca Knox, this is a stable that has seen heat which is unrivalled in the promotion. Forget the Minnesota Home Wrestling Crew – this is the ultimate heel tag team in SHIMMER. (more…)
SHIMMER Women Athletes returned to action on Sunday to film Volumes 39 & 40 of their DVD series. In results and news from the show:
a. Rhia O’Reilly & Jett Riley defeated Brittany Force & December in SPARKLE action. As the only women’s SPARKLE match on the day, this got a little more time than the two matches yesterday. O’Reilly beat Force with a cross body to avenge her loss from the day before. A fairly good match, with O’Reilly’s fire and Force’s personality coming through most strongly.
1. Kellie Skater defeated Courtney Rush with a Skate or Die, giving “Rate Tank” a much needed win, albeit at the expense of one of the stars of the first day of tapings. Tank’s knee-bend Torture Rack initiated chants of “Total Package” in a decent, and somewhat surprising victory. Rush wasn’t back on Vol 40, but I hope to see a lot more of the former PJ Tyler, who looked very good in her appearances this weekend.
2. LuFisto defeated Sassy Stephie with a twisting Downward Spiral. Stephie was making her first SHIMMER appearance in several volumes, having missed the previous set of tapings with a shoulder injury. Madamoiselle Rachelle managed Stephie here, and although she didn’t get particularly involved in the pleasingly pretty even matchup, she did contribute to the end of the match, when Stephie and Rachelle coming together on the apron, setting up LuFisto for the win. A fine match. (more…)
Apologies for the delay in getting to you, but we’re in Chicago, working on a poor wifi connection and there is much socialising to be done, but we’re finally updating you with the results of the tapings of volumes 37 and 38 of SHIMMER: Women Athletes, held in Berwyn, IL on Saturday.
So we’ll furnish you with the results and my thoughts on any standout moments.
SPARKLE: Bonesaw b Jett Riley with a double-arm DDT. Bonesaw’s improved since her last SHIMMER outings last year and looks much more aggressive with her forearm strikes, so good on her. Jett Riley is one colourful individual – it makes her stand out and be memorable, so thumbs up for that too.
SPARKLE: Brittany Force b Rhia O’Reilly by getting a pin while her feet were on the ropes. Force is a tough-looking cookie, and her appearance is aggressive yet mildly sleazy, which works for her character. O’Reilly flew over to Berwyn on her own dime for the opportunity to wrestle for SHIMMER, which makes her the most far travelled SPARKLER in the promotion’s history.
MsChif b Kellie Skater with the Desecrator. MsChif’s return to SHIMMER after her freak shoulder injury while preparing for the tapings last September was in a comedy outing, but she still had her sharp edge taking out the Rate Tank.
Mena Libra b Courtney Rush with a samoan drop with a bridge. Rush (formerly PJ Tyler) unleashed a shedload f impressive suplexes on the bigger Libra, which got the crowd into the contest, even though neither are SHIMMER regulars, and are pretty unknown to the Berwyn crowd, even though both have SPARKLEd here before. Both Rush and Libra have something to offer SHIMMER.
A backstage interview with Christina Von Eerie was interrupted by Sara Del Rey, who proceeded to beat the holy crap out of the spiky-haired punk and send her down two flights of stairs to show who was superior. Very different to previous backstage segments, this one used actions as well as words, setting up a match later on in the tapings. (more…)
A bumper week of TV in prospect here, kids. Not only do we have the return of Trish Stratus on Raw and Alissa Flash taking the Madison Rayne open challenge on Impact, we’ve got women’s matches on the secondary shows too (Superstars and Xplosion), so given that these shows actually feature longer matches, I had initially planned to deal with the “B” shows first, but believe it or not, my favourite match of the week was from the next level down, namely Florida Championship Wrestling, as AJ takes on her former NXT buddy Kaitlyn.
Last week’s fun sprint of a match between Madison Rayne and ODB certainly entertained me, and having read the spoilers from TNA’s Fayetteville tapings, I was rather looking forward to this week’s edition of Impact too – but it seems like the next stop on Madison’s “brush with greatness” tour won’t be until next week (the second half of the Fayetteville tapings), so instead, Impact gives us the payoff to the Velvet Sky vs Sarita feud that has been simmering for… well, it seems like months.