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…)
It has been discussed for a while – provisionally for the WWE Network, which is seemingly still a long way from becoming a reality – but today, WWE and E! made the announcement that a new series featuring five current and two new Divas will launch on the entertainment channel on July 28. Titled Total Divas, it is one of five new reality shows the channel is launching in the near future. This one will follow Natalya, Funkadactyls Cameron & Naomi and Nikki and Brie Bella, with WWE’s press release insisting that it will “[highlight] the professional and personal lives of WWE’s leading ladies”, as well as “complete and utter access to the backstage workings of WWE, the show examines the preparation and fallout from matches, [and] the romantic entanglements of a WWE locker room”.
As mentioned, there will also be two new Divas, hired as part of a privately-held Diva Search which happened recently. They are Natalia Eva Marie – who will be known as Eva Marie – and Joseann Alexie Offerman - who will will be repackaged as Jo-Jo Offerman. (more…)
In a move that nobody anticipated, Emi Sakura left Pro Wrestling: EVE’s second iPPV as the promotion’s Champion, after successfully defending her JWP Openweight Title earlier in the night, then challenging new EVE titleholder Nikki Storm in an impromptu match which saw the founder of Gatoh Move hit a quick 450 splash for the pin.
Now, I get the reasoning for putting the belt on Sakura. On an immediate level, it offers a happy ending for the show, and the visual of the JWP and EVE titles together is pretty striking. Longer term, it means that the belt is now associated with the oldest active women’s title in Japan, and considering how good Sakura is at garnering publicity, there is a lot of opportunity for joshi fans to find out about Pro Wrestling: EVE because people will inevitably ask about this other belt that she’s holding. In turn, it could lead to more international recognition and possibly more DVD sales and iPPV buys from Japan in the future.
However, the circumstances in which she won the title seems to be a big sticking point among some fans who both attended the show and watched online. (more…)
There has been a lot of focus on the continent of Australasia recently, and most of it centres around one kick-happy wrestler from New Zealand.
As we have documented, Evie has been catapulted into everyone’s line of sight, winning both the IPW Women’s and PWWA Championships in the space of seven days – the first in a triple threat match with Megan-Kate and Britenay, and the latter against Jessie McKay just last Saturday.
When approached for comment, the Auckland resident told Ringbelles:
Winning the IPW Women’s Title and then the PWWA Interim Title… words can’t pinpoint the feelings I felt over those nights. I was extremely emotional… a few tears were shed, and it definitely is the highlight of my career to date. I came away from both matches battered and bruised, but it was all worth it in the end… after five years, I finally feel like a champion.
The fans have also been rad… I can’t believe how much support I received through those tournaments, both online and in person. It was amazing!
Ahead of the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match at the pay-per-view with the same name, we are offered an unadvertised six-Diva tag team match featuring Divas Champion Layla aligning with Tamina Snuka and Kaitlyn against Beth Phoenix, Natalya and Eve Torres.
• None. I’m serious. There is no build-up to this match, as none of these women have really had much TV time in the last month. Eve has been off filming another TV show until recently; Layla has barely been seen except to help forward the AJ angle; Beth and Natalya are ghosts when it comes to the main two shows and even then, they are often on the losing end; Kaitlyn is barely on the radar and Tamina is seen even more rarely than the rest.
• If you wanted to try and salvage some sort of reason, Kaitlyn pinned Phoenix in a tag match on Superstars this week which also featured Natalya and Alicia Fox, though that’s stretching it, and it was never acknowledged by the commentators anyway. (more…)
I was due to write the review of the Beth vs Layla match at No Way Out last week, but due to other priorities, I had to leave it to Lee. It’s probably just as well that I’ve had a week to think about it, because for what it’s worth, I hated the match. Well, maybe “hated” is too strong a word, but I really didn’t like the comedy of Layla stealing Beth’s headband and dancing with it. The finish of Beth losing again also irritated me a bit, mostly because it’s patently clear that WWE have absolutely nothing in mind for Layla, and with Beth losing again, it securely slots her below Layla on the pecking order and kills another level of anticipation (whatever there is left of it anyway) for the Beth Phoenix vs Kharma feud that we’ve been waiting/hoping for ever since Kharma signed up with the company.
Let’s make it clear here – my major downer on the Divas division at the minute is not the usual “wrestlers vs models” debate (I’ve learned for the most part to turn off my brain and find a way to enjoy the Divas for what they are rather than what they aren’t)… no… my big problem is the fact that at the minute, the future of the Divas division is just deathly dull. (more…)
A lot is discussed about how the WWE Divas feel about the short amount of TV time they are given for wrestling, and even less for angles, interviews and promos – something that we discussed with Kelly Kelly in one of our early Women Of Wrestling Podcasts – and it seems there is some credence to those rumours of what goes on behind the scenes.
A poster over at GameFaqs claims that he was an assistant for the writing team, primarily based at WWE’s facilities in Stamford, CT. He claims that his time with the company was not long – just between September and December of last year – but during that time, he says that he picked up on a number of different issues. Whether they hold any water or not is your decision, but we believe some of the allegations – listed in two posts by Scott Keith here and here – are plausible.
The overlying point is the frustration that the women in WWE have for the short amount of screen time they have to get over – which generally isn’t enough, but they have to make do, though they apparently do not take out their issues on their colleagues:
The biggest complainers are probably the Divas, and rightfully so. They always wish they were getting more TV time and longer matches and I can’t blame them…
The Divas all seem very nice and friendly. I only managed to introduce myself to AJ backstage at Survivor Series. She was sweet and introduced herself as April. Beth [Phoenix], Natalya and Alicia [Fox] walked by me on a few occasions backstage and smiled or nodded professionally.
After the jump, there is more, including how the Natalya farting gimmick came about, and why Tamina Snuka was pushed earlier this year: (more…)
It’s been Golden Week in Japan, which has meant a slew of wrestling across the country. However, we have a brief history lesson first…
Golden Week starts at the end of April and runs through until May 5, and incorporates a number of Japanese public holidays, including honouring the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day – which is to commune with nature – and Children’s Day, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It is also the longest vacation period of the Japanese year, and many people are given paid time off as many companies completely close during that period. For that reason, Japan has a lot of spare time – many people travel, and the west coast of the US and Canada sees a slew of Japanese tourists during that time, but others stay at home, and can entertain themselves during their leisure time by watching pretty much any wrestling promotion that they choose, as most of them hold a show, while some stage supercards. Here’s a rundown of some of the things that went down during Golden Week in the world of joshi:
Kurumi’s push in Ice Ribbon continues – she and Ribbon Takanashi won the Golden Ribbon Mixed Tag Team Tournament on Saturday, defeating Hamuko Hoshi & Hoshi Tango, Hikari Minami & Dynasty and Maki Narumiya & Masamune to win the whole shebang. As well as winning tournaments to win the IW19 Championship and to earn the right to become Manami Toyota’s tag team partner to challenge for the International Ribbon Tag Team Titles at Ice Ribbon March, 12-year old Kurumi is quickly becoming the tournament queen in the promotion. Don’t bet against her in the future – you’ll lose money if you do so. (more…)
The Wrestling Observer has reported that Dave Finlay has returned to WWE in an agent/producer role after being let go a year ago following a heat-grabbing snafu involving The Miz and the national anthem which upset the National Guard. In his previous tenure, Finlay was an agent and trainer for the Divas – and you can see how things were in his absence, with the women involved in few strong storylines, and the main one of Pin-Up Strong fizzling out to nothing, when it could have been a big focus point of this weekend’s WrestleMania XXVIII.
However, before his return to WWE, Finlay was interviewed by Power Slam magazine, where he had some choice words for one of the most controversial storylines involving one of the Divas – namely, Natalya‘s flatulence gimmick which was supposed to make her a babyface, but has only served to ruin any credibility that the third generation wrestler has. When interviewer Greg Lambert labelled it as being “extremely distasteful, Finlay replied:
Well, I haven’t seen that, but I’ve been told about it. Yes, I agree… Had that been presented to me [as SmackDown producer], I’d have said… erm… Well, she may be comfortable with it. I don’t know. (more…)
So, Jessicka Havok ascended to the top of Women Superstars Uncensored’s mountain on Saturday night by winning the promotion’s top championship from Mercedes Martinez at the 5th Anniversary Show, making her an undefeated Champion and putting an end to Martinez’ reign four days shy of the three year mark. In a match that was a wild brawl of a war more than a technical affair, it was unconventional, but successful. The pair fought all over the building and took some crazy bumps along the way – the Fisherman Buster from the apron through the table to the concrete floor being the height of the lunacy. No doubt, Havok was given the best springboard that she could possibly get for the start of her reign, and Martinez pulled out everything to give her that launch.
The ending was somewhat of a head-scratcher, with both going through a table from the top rope but Havok managing to get the pin, but I imagine the idea is that it shows just how evenly matched the two are and a draped arm was the only thing that could separate them. However, having a slightly more decisive match-ending move may have sweetened things slightly – though at this point I’m splitting hairs on what was a great main event, and also an early contender for Match of the Year.
Many have described the 5th Anniversary show their best iPPV to date. Having seen most of them, it would be hard to disagree with that. When it came to aesthetics, things went well – most of the direction was good, the cameramen were in the right place for most of the stuff (barring a couple of incidents, which I’ll get to) and the graphics and editing went well. As a TV product, it was the sharpest yet. And there was a boob toss. Nothing more to be said about it really, but I felt it just HAD to be mentioned. (more…)
This past Saturday night saw a fight between two athletes headline a national TV show – a fight that not only was very real, but was built up as a proper grudge between two combatants who didn’t like each other. One was the determined, serious champion, one was the mouthy, charismatic upstart. The public cared. Newspapers gave them front page coverage. The internet was ablaze with interest. Step forward Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey – who proved that, while their gender was certainly part of the reason why the fight got such publicity, they were justifiable main eventers, and they delivered with a stunning fight which saw “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey utterly destroy Miesha Tate’s arm with a first round armbar to go 5-0 and become the new face of women’s MMA. Now, we don’t cover MMA here at Ringbelles, but the lessons are there to be learned. I believe, much as Alex Greenfield said in his recent appearance on the Women of Wrestling Podcast, that “Women’s wrestling is something that can generate real dollar business”. In the aftermath of the Tate vs Rousey show, I had a brief twitter exchange with fellow wrestling podcaster Mike Sempervive (of the Adam & Mike Big Audio Nightmare and Wrestling Observer Live over at WrestlingObserver.com) about whether WWE would learn anything from (a) the simple, old-school but effective build of Tate/Rousey as compared to ridiculous “Sports Entertainment”, or (b) the fact that women were presented as main draws. Semp tweeted “While the look of the messenger changes, it’s always the story that hooks people. And those donks lost that plot a long time ago”. Sadly, he’s not wrong. So here we stand, just a few days after a high-water mark for women’s combat sports, and also less than four weeks away from the biggest show in wrestling history, and rumours are currently swirling that (at the minute), there is *no* women’s match scheduled for WrestleMania. Now, one thing we as fans of (and commentators on) WWE have learned a long time ago is that Vince McMahon is an infinitely fickle man, and Raw shows are often written, re-written and re-written again even on the day of the show – so there’s every chance that by the time I’ve finished writing this article and uploaded it to the website, it’s already out of date – but with under a month to the big show, let’s consider the options for WrestleMania. (more…)