The WWE Divas Championship is put on the line for the first time in its five year history at a WrestleMania as AJ Lee defends the belt against Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie, Summer Rae, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Aksana, Layla, Emma, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes and even her own bodyguard Tamina Snuka as part of the first ever Vicki Guerrero Divas Invitational.
• After ducking out of defending her title against Naomi on the March 24 episode of Raw by deliberately getting counted out, Guerrero decided to punish (and screw) AJ by booking her in a 14-woman match at WrestleMania XXX against every member of the Divas roster.
• Little was known about the rules until last Monday, when Guerrero declared that the contest would have all the women in play at one time with one pinball deciding the winner.
• AJ Lee has held the Divas Title since June 16, 2013, where she defeated Kaitlyn to win the belt. (more…)
“Candice Michelle went to PWG in 2008 & raved about me to John Laurinaitis. When I saw him, he said ‘What does a Diva know about wrestling?’”
This is a tweet from Joey Ryan which he posted back in January – one of many which he wrote in reference to his tryout with WWE, where he asserts that was told that he was too old and too experienced to be in developmental.
Despite his wrestling persona being someone who is quite misogynistic and employs moves like the Boobplex, it is clear that he would not be allowed to do moves like this unless the recipients were comfortable with him – in fact, because of the amount of inter gender wrestling that he does, you could argue that he’s a huge advocate for women’s wrestling. With these tweets, one would imagine that Ryan is not thinking about trying out again, but it’s difficult to see if he has an axe to grind. If he does, it calls into question the validity of the claim – but if it is real, what does this say about WWE’s former Senior Vice President of Talent Relations?
Laurinaitis – who resigned from the post in July 2012 but still works within WWE – has form with not taking the Divas division very seriously. In 2006, he suddenly hired two models who he spotted in a catalogue – 20-year old Victoria Crawford and 19-year old Barbie Blank, who became known as Alicia Fox and Kelly Kelly respectively. It doesn’t show that much respect for women who toil for years to become good wrestlers to see two women hired just by how they pose in swimwear. While WWE still does hire women with no wrestling background, they do seem to go for people who have athletic ability. Summer Rae for example, used to be part of the Lingerie Football League, while new signing Shara used to be a competitive arm wrestler. (more…)
If the plan is still for AJ Lee to defend the Divas Championship against Naomi at WrestleMania XXX, then WWE is certainly going round the houses to do it – that’s if they’re even planning to do it.
Before her injury to her eye socket occurred, it was reported that the plan was for Naomi to be the one to end AJ’s mammoth title reign (which is now the longest run in WWE history be it for singular or combined reigns) though it was said that the plan would still be on for WrestleMania on April 6 if the Funkadactyl could be cleared in time. It was partly because of that possibility that AJ had a title defence against Cameron at Elimination Chamber and again on the subsequent SmackDown. However things have gone in another direction in the last week as there now seems to be a queue of pretenders to the throne.
Natalya made AJ tap out in a tag match on SmackDown on Friday and is to get a Divas Title shot on tonight’s live edition of Main Event. Meanwhile on last night Raw, Nikki Bella got the pin on the titleholder as part of another tag team match, after which she held up the Divas belt while Natalya – who was on commentary – looked on. It seems as if there is a bottleneck of challengers, though it’s also up in the air as to who the champion may be by the time we get to WrestleMania. (more…)
Eva Marie is a stunning woman. With her great looks and amazing figure, she is a visual asset to WWE’s Divas division. Her presence is a striking one as she stands out from the pack with her pillarbox red hair, coupled with red lipstick framing a beautiful smile. Looks-wise, she is every inch the Diva, with the sort of figure that teenage boys would likely sketch in a schoolbook. Her appeal is also experiencing crossover value as she made such an impression on Total Divas that she graced the pages of Maxim Magazine last August. On paper, Eva Marie has everything it takes to be a star in the women’s division of World Wrestling Entertainment…
Until she steps foot in the ring, it seems.
The 29-year old made her debut at SummerSlam Axxess on August 18 where she and Brie Bella lost to Natalya and Maria Menounos (still undefeated, by the way), but her first TV contest wasn’t until October 7 when she, JoJo and Natalya defeated Aksana, Rosa Mendes & Alicia Fox. She has wrestled 12 matches in total, all of them in tag team contests or battle royals. However, the 13th and most recent contest technically doesn’t exist as even though it was recorded for last week’s episode of SmackDown, it was never broadcast – and probably never will be. (more…)
We’re on the so-called “Road to WrestleMania” in WWE – a time when, generally, it’s considered to be a good time to be a wrestling fan. If everything is going to plan, storylines and feuds will culminate at the Showcase of the Immortals, and we usually see both the in-ring performers and the booking teams step up their games as we approach the big day. However, rarely does that involve the Divas. Even as WWE prepares to induct its second former WWE Women’s Champion in two years to the Hall of Fame, it’s no shock to anybody that the Divas division is considered a mere afterthought. Statistically, we’ve already mentioned recently that Divas ≠ Ratings on TV – but as we mentioned at the time, it’s been so long since there was a Divas angle or feud with any real strong substance, it’s no wonder their segments are considered skippable. Ironically enough, Kaitlyn, who was Divas Champion at this time last year didn’t even work the WrestleMania show, and spent the weekend giving away tickets to fans who were able to find her in the NY/NJ metropolitan area, “Where’s Wally?” style. As it turned out, no Divas got to wrestle on the show last year, as the mixed tag featuring the Bellas and the Funkadactyls ended up getting nixed for time.
So… assuming that we’ll get some sort of match involving the Divas this year, here are five options (some more likely than others, admittedly) for New Orleans… (more…)
Both Shanna and Alpha Female made their first appearances in a TNA ring during the recent UK tour, though they handled the publicity for it in different ways.
Portugal’s Perfect Athlete got the word out early that she would be booked on the February 1 show in London, England, as well as the following date in Birmingham. She wrestled singles matches for the Xplosion tapings – the first against Alpha and the next saw her take on Gail Kim. I was at the Birmingham taping, and while I won’t spoil the result, Shanna looked perfectly comfortable in that ring in what was a big opportunity for her to impress. She wasn’t just cannon fodder for the full-time Knockout either – she got in her fair share and even got to nail the Perfect Press.
Since announcing that she would be wrestling for TNA, Shanna has encouraged her fans to get the attention of the company to demonstrate her fanbase and how much she wants to be part of the promotion. She has retweeted many of the messages sent to TNA, and is showing her enthusiasm and overwhelming desire to sign a contract, while also increasing her brand and marketability. No doubt, she has a lot of people backing her, which is very encouraging. (more…)
In the December 17 edition of the Roundup, I mentioned about Madison Rayne’s return to TNA. I knew the results of the subsequent shows up to where we are right now, but didn’t reveal what was going to be coming up. At the time, I wrote: “I’m hoping there will be some explanation as to why Rayne is now a babyface and going after [Gail] Kim. I have a theory, but I want to see how it plays out.” Well, it’s been 3 weeks and there have been quite a few twists and turns. However, at no point has TNA explained exactly WHY Madison has such aggression towards her former friend.
We have had three weeks for an explanation to take place. We’ve had candid videos from Rayne and an extensive interview on the Knockouts website with Madison talking about giving birth – including the claim that she’s the first female to return to the ring after giving birth – which must make the likes of Saraya Knight and Allison Danger fall over laughing – and her desire to get back to wrestling, and there is still no revelation on what caused the friction. In that time, Rayne and ODB have beaten Kim and Lei’D Tapa, and last week Madison defeated the Knockouts Champion in her Open Challenge series to become the number one contender to the title – and yet, still nothing as to why.
Considering this is the headline feud for the division, it’s curious as to what TNA is thinking. At this point, we still haven’t been told as to what is the issue between the pair and it’s even more of a head scratcher when you consider that there is a storyline already done for them. All they had to do was produce one simple video package to explain it all. It’s staring them in the face. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 December 2013) – AJ Lee issues, Natalya’s resurgence, Rain: the ultimate worker
AJ Lee got into a bit of trouble at last Wednesday’s Tribute to the Troops show. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer says she gave NBC presenter Michelle Beadle an obscenity-laced tongue-lashing in public for talking to her boyfriend, CM Punk. Beadle referred to it in a tweet, saying “Lost another friend to CGFN… crazy girlfriend neutering. It’s real people. Check your buddies. Affects everyone.” She later claimed that she thought AJ was joking, so didn’t react to it at the time, but then believed it wasn’t after a while.
Another account says that AJ was working because she was told to do so by an agent for a segment on the WWE App, and then everyone acted surprised when she did it, as if it was some sort of double cross on her, while another says AJ wasn’t yelling, and was standing up for Punk after Beadle allegedly said something that rubbed him the wrong way (even though he would likely say something himself if that was the case, so the whole scenario seems implausible – and a skit for the app would allude to Punk and AJ being an item, which is something that has never been brought up or acknowledged anywhere in WWE, so that lacks credibility too). The story has since been disregarded as being bogus. (more…)
Natalya challenges AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Title at TLC, looking to regain the championship which she lost in January 2011.
• Natalya made AJ tap out to the Sharpshooter to win the 14 Diva Survivor Series match last month, then pinned AJ on the December 2 episode of Raw in a 6-Diva tag match. As a result, she was named the top contender for the Divas Championship.
• The pair fought on PPV earlier this year as part of a 4-way which also involved Naomi and Brie Bella at Night Of Champions, though this is Natalya’s first singles title challenge on PPV in three years – the last one was at Bragging Rights in October 2010, though she won her only Divas belt in a handicap match against Lay-Cool at that year’s Survivor Series.
• Before the match, AJ cut a promo saying she is the number one Diva, while the Divas division, the WWE Universe and the Total Divas show are all jokes. She then promised to retain the title and be the one who’s laughing. (more…)
Ohio Valley Wrestling’s women’s division has had an interesting year.
The first four months of 2013 saw a litany of title changes, with Jessie Belle, Heidi Lovelace, Taryn Terrell and Epiphany claiming the championship at some point, before it landed in the hands of a returning Trina Thompson, who gravitated towards a feud with Lei’D Tapa before her 5 month reign came to a sudden end due to a knee injury a week before they were to square off at September’s Saturday Night Special.
Over this time, Lovelance and Taeler Hendrix were drawing more eyes to the division by their beautifully played out same-sex unrequited manipulative romance with Lovelace having eyes for the conniving redhead and being bent to do Hendrix’s bidding in order to show how much she cared – including fighting friend Trina, who was doing her best to make her see sense. The storyline got a bit skewed near the end as it was cut short fairly quickly, but Lovelace ended up seeing how she was being played and got her revenge against her former crush. It was a great showing by both parties and really helped to show off their versatilities as characters.
The success of this storyline meant there was a huge amount of interest in who the vacant Women’s Championship was going to end up on, and was decided in a 4-way Ladder Match with Tapa, Hendrix & Hannah and Holly Blossom all looking to climb the rungs to victory. As it turned out, the underlying friction that the twins were experiencing at the time came to a head as Hannah knocked her sister off the ladder to snare the title – though quickly lost it to Tapa while repairing the bond with her sibling.
Unfortunately, since that high, things have fallen apart. (more…)
The NXT Women’s Title match between champion Paige and challenger Natalya is the best women’s match presented on WWE TV this year. It’s received a world of praise, and deservedly so, but it also receives a surprised reaction from us, because it features a really strong performance from Natalya.
While she can be fine most of the time she tends to be given more slack than most, partially based on past work – as honestly, some of her stuff this year has been pretty disappointing, and in some cases a complete head-scratcher considering her seniority. However that albatross was shaken off her back for this match against the Briton, which made for a really entertaining contest.
The match came about after a pretty bitchy session between the pair the previous week where Paige was slightly hellish is claiming that Natalya had lost her focus on wrestling in favour of the Hollywood spotlight which came with the Total Divas fame. It led to the titleholder offering to put her belt on the line against the former Divas Champion, which led to this match, which you can see (along with the preceding angle) after the jump. (more…)
In what is the Survivor Series match with the most participants since the 10 on 10 tag team elimination match from the 1988 offering, the Total Divas cast of Natalya, Eva Marie, Jojo, Cameron, Naomi and Nikki & Brie Bella take on Divas Champion AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Tamina Snuka, Aksana & Summer Rae in a 7 on 7 elimination match.
• From a long-term standpoint, AJ Lee has been squabbling with the Total Divas cast since the Raw after SummerSlam where she verbally berated them and turned them all baby face as a result. Since then, she has turned back the title challenges from Naomi, Natalya and Brie Bella.
• Short-term, the 14 women had a shoving contest on last week’s Raw during a game of Musical Chairs which set up this match. No, really.
• Before the match, AJ delivered a pep talk to her teammates which didn’t go well and only served to separate herself from the others – barring Tamina, who stayed loyal. Essentially, AJ was telling her partners that they were overlooked for Total Divas selection and should be annoyed about it. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (29 October 2013) – LuFisto’s title aspirations, Nikki Roxx winding down, PWI Female 50
Where there is chaos, there is opportunity.
Injuries to Courtney Rush and Xandra Bale, travel issues for Ayako Hamada and personal matters involving Saraya Knight all contributed to a lot of re-jigging for SHIMMER and NCW: Femmes Fatales, with one woman benefiting more than any other.
Realistically, had all of the other wrestlers been healthy or present, LuFisto may not have ended Open Female Fight Season standing over a defeated Cheerleader Melissa with the SHIMMER Championship over her head – however, that’s exactly what did happen, and the 16-year veteran is now in a position where she could conceivably earn another SHIMMER Title match next year and even dethrone the reigning champion. Nobody has enjoyed as much momentum against Melissa during either of her title reigns – even Saraya didn’t have as much build up before beating her adversary for the title – and there seems to be a real ground swell for another match between the bullying cheerleader and the Super Hardcore Anime… and it’s the hardcore aspect which has furthered things, albeit accidentally… (more…)
Summer Rae makes her WWE main roster in-ring debut at Hell in a Cell as part of a mixed tag team match alongside Fandango against Natalya & The Great Khali, while AJ Lee puts the Divas Championship on the line against Brie Bella once again.
The Great Khali & Natalya v Fandango & Summer Rae
• The two couples have squared off in dance-offs earlier in the year, but the most recent hostilities took place on last Friday’s SmackDown. Summer and Natalya exchange words and punches outside the ring during the singles match between Fandango and Khali, which led to this “bonus match” on the pay-per-view. (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…)
WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee puts the title on the line at Night Of Champions against three members of the Total Divas cast – Natalya, Naomi & Brie Bella in a fatal four way match.
• AJ Lee kicked the ant hill on the August 26 Raw with a promo on the Total Divas cast, calling them “interchangeable” and “cheap”.
• From there, a bigger wedge was driven between the Total Divas cast and the rest of the Diva roster when Aksana, Layla and Alicia Fox took the side of AJ to attack the stars of the E! show.
• On last week’s SmackDown, the Total Divas tried to get at AJ with a meansure of success, but the Divas Champion’s new buddies rescued her.
• However, just before the start of this title defence, Aksana and Fox decided that they were done helping the thankless and self-absorbed AJ, and Layla also backed out of being by her friend’s side for the match. (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…)
Natalya takes on Brie Bella with most of the Total Divas cast at ringside, while Kaitlyn teams with Dolph Ziggler to face AJ Lee and Big E Langston as part of WWE SummerSlam.
Natalya v Brie Bella
• The Bella Twins have been goading and poking at Natalya since the debut of Total Divas last month with emotions spilling over on last Monday’s Raw.
• The addition was made of Nikki Bella and newcomer Eva Marie in Brie’s corner, while Funkadactyls Cameron and Naomi would accompany Natalya.
• At SummerSlam Axxess earlier in the day, Natalya and TV host Maria Menounos beat Brie and Eva Marie in tag team action. Incidentally, the victory means Menounos is still undefeated with a near four year winning streak. (more…)
Shoot interviews are always a funny thing. With wrestlers who have retired and have nothing to lose and are looking for a final few paydays without running the risk of torpedoing any future prospects, they can sometimes be an interesting walk down memory lane, with some fun stories from the past and some misty-eyed memories can be revisited by both the subject and fans who remember the era. However, with wrestlers who are still active, it can be a more dangerous venture.
What happens if you reveal more than you want to and it hurts your chances of making it somewhere in the future? What if you have a grudge with someone, voice it and then have uncomfortable moments if you have to share dressing rooms down the line? What about annoying a friend by saying something about someone who you dislike but they have a lot of time for? It’s a much bigger minefield.
That’s why the recent Kayfabe Commentaries piece by Amazing Kong has ruffled a few feathers. (more…)
So tonight was the debut of the much hyped “Total Divas” on E! and despite needing to get some sleep, my curiosity kicked in and I couldn’t help but check out the premiere episode as soon as possible. Truth be told, I hadn’t been looking forward to the show for two specific reasons – firstly, I have little or no interest in watching the WWE Divas bitching at each other for an hour (which given how the show has been trailed on WWE Raw with a multi-camera backstage “bitchy Bellas” skit a few weeks ago and that awful segment from last Monday where Jerry Lawler was randomly slapped, bitchiness is apparently a selling point of the show) – and secondly, much of the pre-show publicity seemed to centre around who the women are/were/might be sleeping with. The promise of an upcoming storyline where rookie Diva Eva Marie “targets” Fandango worryingly gives the impression that these women are defined by who they are sleeping with as much as anything else. Oh, yeah – and to quote Canadian indy worker Kc Spinelli from an episode of “World of Hurt” with Lance Storm, “There’s nothing as fake as reality TV”
Still, I figured I’d try and go into it with an open mind… and honestly… it wasn’t that bad. (more…)
A champion is only as good as the challengers who they face and send packing. At the moment, AJ Lee is without a future contender for her Divas Championship following her title victory over Kaitlyn at Payback and successfully defending the belt at Money In The Bank, but we think there may be five options to be the next heir apparent to the Divas throne. With a month to go to SummerSlam in Los Angeles, CA, there is every possibility that the title will be defended. However, who do we think is in line for a crack at the belt? For argument’s sake, let’s look at potential babyfaces who could challenge the heel AJ, as heel v heel is seldom a money-spinner… (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…)
On the April 29th edition of Monday Night Raw, WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn received a studded hat as a gift in a backstage segment. The accompanying note was anonymous, and we embarked on a “secret admirer” angle – with the apparently flattered Kaitlyn receiving further gifts and exchanging text messages with the mystery admirer. Said suitor apparently seems to know the way to her heart. Heck, if I knew the way to Kaitlyn’s heart involved quoting Simpsons lines, I’d have been more active on twitter in the last couple of years. However, I digress. Having already established that it must be someone in the WWE locker room, and despite The Great Khali‘s best efforts as an undercover mole in the locker room, it was announced this week that WWE are preparing to unveil the Secret Admirer this week on Raw. There have been theories floating around, and indeed legitimate booking ideas have apparently changed more than once on the admirer’s identity – so on the eve of Kaitlyn’s big day, we thought we’d have a look at five possible ways this angle could pay off on Raw. (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…)