In a quick shuffle of developmental talent, presumably to make room for incoming talents, WWE have released a handful of NXT competitors today. Of note to this website, the only developmental Divas being released are Ashley Miller, who competed under the name Audrey Marie and Anna Bogomazova, who competed as Anya.
Ashley Miller, of Houston, TX finishes up after approximately two years in the developmental system. She is a former holder of the (now deactivated) FCW Divas Championship, a title she won in September 2011, which was a mere three months after her debut. Of late, Audrey has been very much kept in the background as far as the WWE developmental Divas have been concerned. Her last taped match came on the NXT tapings held on May 5th, when she lost to Emma in a match which is due to air on May 30th. (more…)
Lots to mention from SHIMMER volume 53 on Saturday afternoon, so let’s get into it.
Let’s start with the main event, which had the right result for the biggest show in the promotion’s history (not 93,173 as announced by Joey Eastman but more around a hefty 700+, which is more than three times the maximum attendance at the Berwyn Eagles Club). With nowhere for her enemy to run and with nobody to help her, Cheerleader Melissa soundly defeated Saraya Knight inside a monolithic steel cage to regain the SHIMMER Championship. While the match was OK, the real tale was in the story told, which did not see Melissa eke out a victory with luck, but saw her deliver a super hurricanrana, missile dropkick and Air Raid Crash to convincingly pin her rival of close to six years.
The crowd was quiet for much of the match – part of the reason being that a lot of the crowd may not be completely familiar with their history, or that the action was not the crisp sort of execution as other contests because most of their matches look more like fights than matches – but they came out of their seats for the finishing sequence, which was a simple tale of good punishing evil and the snarling, unfriendly heel finally getting her comeuppance. However, despite her loss, Saraya retained her scary aura, attacking fans on her way out of the ring – and was also put over by Bryan Alvarez, who was getting his first viewing of Knight, pointing out that she was a proper, grizzly, old-school wrestling heel.
One would anticipate that Melissa will enjoy a longer run with the belt during her second reign than with her first – when she dropped the title to Knight on her fourth defence, following wins over Nicole Matthews, Portia Perez and Jessie McKay. While there is no detail on who Melissa will be facing in Berwyn this weekend for the usual two-day, four-DVD taping extravaganza, there are a lot of names to play around with – including one debutante who surprised everyone when she hit the ring… (more…)
News has broken today, courtesy of Irish newspaper The Herald, that Rebecca Quin, 26 – who has competed internationally as Rebecca Knox – has signed a developmental deal with World Wrestling Entertainment. According to The Herald, “A trial in Florida secured her a two-year developmental deal with WWE” and links Quin’s potential with that of former WWE Champion Sheamus (Stephen Farrelly), quoting the Dublin native as saying “I want to make the most of this opportunity. Sheamus has shown that Irish pro-wrestlers can go all the way to the top”.
Quin, who has been mostly out of action since a serious injury back in 2006, made a memorable return to SHIMMER Women Athletes in March of 2011 in a non-wrestling role, managing The Knight Dynasty of Saraya & Britani Knight on their debuts, and more recently made an in-ring return for Fight Factory Pro-Wrestling (FFPW) in Bray, Ireland. The return was intended to be, and was, in fact a very low key affair – but when we heard of her return, we got on the ball immediately and spoke to Knox a few days after her return in an exclusive audio interview where she discussed how it felt to get back in the ring, as well as her future plans. Since then, she was also a guest on FeckTV.com‘s Unique Lives – viewable on YouTube – this past January, where she discussed the various paths her life has taken her down.
It seems like a new – potentially very bright – path has opened up for her now, so we’ll take this chance to wish her all the best, and look forward to seeing her in WWE.
– Stew Allen
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…)
On Sunday, TNA records an all-female version of the One Night Only pay-per-views which it is using to run in the months when it’s not presenting one of its big PPVs like Genesis, Lockdown, Slammiversary or Bound For Glory. Entitled Knockout Knockdown, it is advertised as a show to determine the true Queen of TNA. It is possible that the show will be a tournament if it is going to determine an overall winner, and to make it an occasion, TNA invited former members of the Knockouts roster to be part of it.
It probably didn’t go as well as they had hoped.
When asked on Twitter, Angelina Love, Nikki Roxx (Roxxi), Traci Brooks & Amazing Kong (Awesome Kong) all revealed that they were not going to be part of the proceedings and Dark Angel (Sarita) is also unavailable as she is in Japan. Considering the impression that each of them made to the division and the contributions that they made, for them to decline or not be in the country speaks volumes about what they may feel about TNA these days. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (5 March 2013) – Paige’s rise, AJ Lee’s fall, Femmes Fatales XI, ABC Catch and more
On Saturday night in Kalamazoo, MI, Paige defeated AJ Lee at a WWE house show in a match refereed by Hornswoggle. The following evening in Cleveland, OH, the same match took place with the same outcome. The results of a WWE house show don’t usually mean much, but in these instances, they may mean a great deal.
First off, let’s look at the 20-year old Briton. It’s the second time that Paige has been on the road with WWE since she first reported to developmental in Florida 14 months ago – the first time round saw her team with Layla to beat Aksana and Natalya in tag matches in South Carolina at the start of December. However, she’s been given an even bigger shot in the arm by wrestling singles matches and beating AJ – the most over woman in WWE last year. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (26 February 2013) – wrestling’s equivalent of Ronda Rousey, Girls Night Out 8 and more
Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche delivered in spades on Saturday as part of the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC 157 pay-per-view. While PPV buyrates are only an estimate – though expected to be around the 400,000 mark – the other numbers are amazing.
With those two headlining the show, the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA drew 15,525 fans with a gate of $1.4 million and reportedly fewer comps than usual. It’s the highest attendance for a UFC show in the building, which includes UFC 121 with Cain Velasquez against Brock Lesnar. Admittedly, both Rousey and Carmouche hail from the state, which means that both had a relative hometown crowd, but it’s evidence that women can headline male-dominated shows, given the right booking, promotion and hype. Additionally, the fact that it outdrew Velasquez v Lesnar is even more astounding considering it’s a Hispanic market which would be behind Cain, and Brock is one of the UFC’s biggest draws in its history. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (29 January 2013) – Trish Stratus, National Pro Wrestling Day, Pro Wrestling: EVE & more
It was announced during last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw that Trish Stratus would be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this April as part of the WrestleMania XXIX weekend. As expected, the wave of congratulations came from wrestlers past and present like Lita, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Gail Kim and more, as well as personalities both inside and outside of the business like Jim Ross, Lilian Garcia and Snooki. Indeed, there are a lot of supporters of the Torontarian, and she was quick to react to the announcement:
I still can’t believe it. I’m just so honored to be taking my place alongside WWE’s greatest, as a wrestling fan – I’m kind of blown away! It’s simply amazing.
The 37-year old joins the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Sensational Sherri, Sunny and Wendi Richter in the Hall, and is the most modern Diva to be inducted, though this provided a sticking point for some who felt that while she was worthy of going in, it was ahead of others who they felt should go in first – Leilani Kai, Bull Nakano and Madusa were names which cropped up, as well as Lita, whom Stratus’ career ran parallel with for damn near the entirety of their runs.
Now, while I’m not the biggest Stratus fan in the world, I’m fair – and without a doubt, Trish deserves to be in that Hall of Fame, and as far as the criteria of this particular one is concerned, is more worthy than the others. If we were discussing the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame or the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY, then Stratus would get nowhere near the ballots, but for WWE’s version, all you have you do is get the green light from one Vince McMahon – and when it comes to that element, Stratus was always inevitable, as she was a model WWE employee. (more…)
Anyone with eyes would have noticed that there is a dearth of options when it comes to the WWE Divas as it pertains to the main roster. After all, there is only so many times that you can have combinations of matches involving Eve Torres, Layla and Kaitlyn. That’s why over the weekend’s house shows, WWE has offered different matches – so AJ Lee and Kaitlyn reunited as the Chickbusters to face Torres and Rosa Mendes (the latter of whom is used sparingly inside the ring). However, one new name appeared on a SmackDown house show in Columbia, SC last night, with NXT’s female standout Paige going on the road with the blue brand to team with Layla in a winning effort against Aksana & Natalya.
Since arriving in the US 11 months ago, the 20-year old has graduated from the dark-haired newcomer with the reflective complexion to the antithesis of what you would expect a Diva to look like, to the most over woman on the NXT roster, to tagging with Layla on bona-fide WWE house shows… and winning to boot. It has been an impressive year for the youngster from Norwich, England, and bodes well for 2013. Could we see her debut before 2012 is out? There are four weeks left – anything’s possible… (more…)
With WWE Divas seemingly planning their exits from the company at alarming speed – such as Kelly Kelly yesterday and Beth Phoenix reportedly going next month – eyes are naturally drawn to what’s going on in Florida with the women in developmental – although things aren’t exactly going swimmingly there either, and haven’t been for the last couple of months.
However, two hot prospects who are seemingly keeping their heads down are England’s Paige who arrived at developmental in January, and Australian Emma, who arrived in June following her clearance from some pretty heavy shoulder surgery. While Paige has been cutting her teeth there for a while and is set to receive a push on the NXT show, Emma is still waiting for a TV break. While she does that, she has also been keeping busy by wrestling on the house shows in the state, and we’ve got a match between the two which took place just last night. (more…)
A number of internet rumours have started to circulate this evening over the disappearance of Raquel Diaz‘s profile on the NXT Roster Page – had she been released from her deal? Was it simply a case of her profile page being taken down for maintenance? Well, word has reached us here at Ringbelles that Raquel Diaz, aka Shaul Guerrero, has been released from WWE at her own request. While we’re not at liberty to expand any further on the whys or wherefores at this time, we can at least confirm that as of now, Shaul and WWE have parted ways.
It’s interesting to note yet another female talent stepping away from WWE at their own request, in the same week that it was confirmed by several sources, including the Observer, that Beth Phoenix would be finishing up in October, having requested her own release also – which theoretically may open up a spot on the main roster. Of the women in the developmental system, it would’ve seemed safe to assume that Shaul would have found herself on the main roster sooner rather than later. A third generation member of the legendary Guerrero family, the 21-year-old daughter of Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero and current WWE heat magnet Vickie Guerrero looked to have it made – while she never seemed to have anything quite approaching her father’s instinctual talent level, Shaul was able to throw herself into her most recent “Ultra Diva” role (as seen on NXT as part of her “Exfoliating Ugliness” Tour) very well and was starting to carve herself out a niche amongst the developmental women.
In other NXT Divas related news, the situation regarding the former Buggy Nova, aka Skyler Moon is still murky. Her profile has been missing from the NXT roster page for several weeks, but we’ve been unable to clarify exactly what’s going on. We’ll keep an eye on the story.
UPDATE: Further to the post earlier, we’ve received troubling word that Skyler/Buggy has, in fact, been checked into WWE sponsored rehab, which would explain her profile being gone from the NXT website and her absence from social media for the last month. It brings us no pleasure to report this news, but we hope she can deal with her issues. Her current status either in her rehab program or with the company at large remains unclear, but we wish her all the best at this time.
UPDATE 2: In an interesting twist to the lead story, today the Observer is reporting that WWE officials are saying that Shaul Guerrero is still under contract after all. It remains to be seen what this means, but for now the company line is what the company line is. Speculating, it could mean that there have been eleventh hour talks to salvage a future in the company for Shaul – with Vickie held in good standing on the main roster, and WWE keen to look after Eddie’s family, it would be unsurprising if that is the case. We shall see.
UPDATE 3: Despite Shaul’s mother Vickie Guerrero tweeting in confirmation of our story, explaining that Shaul “asked to be released from WWE for personal reasons. Im grateful to WWE for the support & love toward my family”, the final update on the situation appears to be that WWE have *not* granted a release in the hope that she will return. From what we understand, Shaul has returned home for personal reasons. There is absolutely no expectation or timetable for anything, and what happens will eventually be up to Miss Guerrero, but it seems that while she and the company *have* parted ways, WWE aren’t cutting off an olive branch for when/if she wishes to return.
A week on Sunday, Kaitlyn will challenge Layla for the WWE Divas Championship at Night Of Champions in a match that she earned by way of winning a battle royal on the August 20 episode of Monday Night Raw. As it has been claimed since then, the ending was not meant to have Kaitlyn winning, and it should have been Eve Torres getting the shot – which adds credence to why everyone seemed so confused with the result and Eve being shoehorned into the build-up for the match – so it could end up being a three-way, but as it stands, it’s still Kaitlyn v Layla for the belt, and shows how far the challenger has come since winning the third season of NXT.
In fact, today marks two years to the day since Kaitlyn’s WWE TV debut on the first episode of the show as a last-minute replacement to become Vickie Guerrero‘s rookie Diva. Then 24, Celeste Bonin had only signed a WWE contract less than two months previous, and had made her first appearance on Florida Championship Wrestling TV a month before making it onto the main roster, and that was only as a lumberjill. To say that she was nowhere near ready to be on NXT would be an understatement, but she seized the opportunity, displaying her quirky personality and accidentally becoming a wedge between Guerrero and her protege/boyfriend Dolph Ziggler throughout the course of the show. As a wrestler, she was lime green, but her character carried her through, and since then, she has been working to become a credible grappler.
Granted, for the 18 months following her victory, Kaitlyn was nothing much to write home about, but more recently, WWE has been putting her in the ring with Natalya, with the third-generation Hart getting the upper hand at the start, but the former fitness model, bodybuilder and model has since started running away with the victories, leading up to getting the win – regardless of whether it was booked or not – in the battle royal. In some ways, Kaitlyn earned her way into this title match in the same way that she got onto NXT – through being in the right place at the right time. If her history is to repeat itself, she may end up winning the title, especially since Layla’s run as Champion has been pretty unspectacular.
But what of the rest of the NXT season 3 contestants – what happened to them? Well, let’s take a look at where they are now, and let’s start with the one who never made it to TV and was replaced by Kaitlyn… (more…)
Wrestling promotions spend a long time building up a reputation. Many groups which are starting out at the moment like SHINE and BLOW are looking to get some traction, credibility and a fan base behind them to be mentioned in the same sort of high regard as companies like SHIMMER and Women Superstars Uncensored. Another promotion which has created a great reputation for itself is Montreal, nCw Femmes Fatales, which was worked hard over the last three years to be known as the standard bearer for all-women shows in Canada.
Earlier this year, another promotion looking to start its own women’s show did not do as much research as it probably should have. Insane Championship Wrestling in Scotland called its group Femmes Fatales, but after realising that there was already another Femmes Fatales out there which already had a positive reputation and was working on heritage. After a brief contact from the original, ICW agreed to change the name to Fierce Females, admitting that there would have been some confusion, rebranded itself and looked ahead to promoting its first show, which takes place in Glasgow on September 30 (which Ringbelles will be attending, we may add). It was a considered, reasonable and mature approach exhibited by all which meant that nobody felt aggrieved or hard done by, and would mean that there would be no confusion by fans.
A similar situation came to light this week. (more…)
When Sofia Cortez (Ivelisse Velez) informed the world yesterday that she had been released from her WWE developmental contract, we decided to pause for a moment before making any sort of comment. We wanted to know if there was any specific reason, be it down to budget, creative ideas or whatever. About 24 hours on, we have some sort of explanation.
The word is that while she was solid in the ring and getting good reviews, Ivelisse had an “attitude problem”. F4W Online reports that sources say she thought she was better than what the trainers thought of her and had apparently made noise about how she should be working on WWE’s main roster.
This is the first we had heard of any sort of supposed arrogance from the 24-year old Puerto Rican. Fair enough, we’re not on the inside, but given her progression from Florida Championship Wrestling to the rebooted NXT, winning the first Divas match of the new season isn’t something you do to a wrestler who you are unhappy with. (more…)
I’ve been concerned about the future of Pro Wrestling: EVE, as each show seemed to be becoming a stand-alone production. EVE v Ice Ribbon was a great weekend of action, but didn’t really offer much indication on what would happen next, barring the win streaks of Alpha Female and Nikki Storm. At No Man’s Land in February, there was only one advertised match, which was the title match with Jenny Sjodin defending against Alpha, and that ended inconclusively. Meanwhile in the Queen of the Ring tournament which was set up after the plans to crown new Tag Team Champions fell though, Nikki won, which only reminded us that she was the next contender, and didn’t offer much to speculate about for the next show. Then Alpha won the belt on a non-EVE show, which – while it was the right move – would have been best on the No Man’s Land card. In addition, attendances were less than stellar, which was a shame – doubly so for the EVE v Ice Ribbon shows, which featured some spectacular matches.
However, last Saturday, things slotted into place very nicely. (more…)
As noted a few days ago in our article about whether there were any bright lights in the future of the WWE Divas division, we’ve seen a surprisingly large amount of people decide to walk away from WWE rather than being released/fired. For whatever reason, the dream of WWE stardom doesn’t glint just as brightly as it used to. Well, it seems that we can add another name to the list of people who have determined that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence – WWE Diva Maxine has quit the company, according to a story first broken by Mike Johnson on PWInsider. According to Johnson…
The word making the rounds is that she had been frustrated with a number of things, including not being offered a guaranteed deal and not having the chance to prove herself on TV beyond the WWE NXT level.
The last week has seen the continued downfall of two women who were among the most popular females in the wrestling in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Starting with wrestler-turned-porn star Chyna, who collapsed three times between Thursday and Saturday while in Miami Beach, FL for the 2012 Exxxotica Expo, where she was promoting her latest appearance in a skin flick, playing She Hulk in a porn parody of The Avengers. The first incident happened on Thursday when she passed out in the Catalina hotel’s pool at the Expo’s launch party and was asked to return to her hotel room to sleep it off. But all Chyna did was recover for another assault on the bar the following day.
The following morning, the former WWE Intercontinental and Women’s Champion passed out at the convention itself, right in front of the main stage. After being checked out by paramedics, the 41-year old was helped back to her hotel room for more rest and relaxation – and she needed that help, as video footage posted on TMZ showed that she was in no condition to walk unaided. One day later, she was back, and was seen slumped in the lobby. She was taken to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach after the third incident, and did not return to the event.
Now, I’m not writing this to poke fun at or mock Chyna. On the contrary, this is a plea for her to reassess her life.
Before her one-off in-ring comeback at TNA Sacrifice a year ago, word had gone around that she was planning to move to Japan and teach English as a foreign language – something that I fully supported. It would be a good career for her to be part of, would make a positive difference in people’s lives and could see her slip away from the spotlight that was eating her alive. After all, she had taken part in a very public rehabilitation on Celebrity Rehab in 2008 which she took part in after admitting that drugs had seen her life spiral out of control – she claimed she was in the middle of her drug use when her sex tape, later released as One Night In Chyna was filmed. Before Celebrity Rehab, she had undergone private rehab after a revealing interview with Howard Stern where she said she didn’t want to do drugs anymore, but if a line of cocaine was put in front of her, she would have to have it. (more…)
It was only a matter of time, really…
Paige and Sofia Cortez made their debut on WWE’s NXT show as part of its first evening of tapings at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL last night. They appear in the third taping, but for those of you who don’t want to know what happens, we won’t tell you.
We welcome this advancement for the self-titled Anti Diva Army, as both the former Britani Knight and Juliet the Huntress are the best female wrestlers on Florida Championship Wrestling‘s roster. 24-year old Cortez was the first of the pair to arrive in FCW, having been on last year’s revival of Tough Enough under her real name of Ivelisse Velez, but was cut from the competition on the May 10 episode after injuring her leg. Despite being the most talented of the female contestants, she was the last of the TE women to be offered a WWE developmental deal following Ariane Andrew (now Cameron Lynn, one of Brodus Clay‘s dancers) and Christina Crawford (now Caylee Turner, who had a developmental contract before auditioning for TE anyway). Debuting as Sofia Cortez on November 11 last year and first appearing on TV on the Christmas Day episode, things ambled along, with Sofia forming a partnership with Raquel Diaz – but then Paige rocked up. (more…)
Episode 14 with Serena Deeb
We’ve had a couple of months downtime, but we’ve not been resting on our laurels – as we return with one of our biggest guests yet, recent WWE “Anti Diva” Serena Deeb! A nicer person you could not hope to meet, as despite being inundated with wrestling bookings, she was able to give us over an hour of her time to discuss her career to date – including, but not limited to: her return at SHIMMER in September, training with Rip Rogers in OVW, the early days of her career when she was trying to get noticed, meeting CM Punk, SHIMMER memories, getting signed, comparing FCW to OVW, the Mia Mancini character, thoughts on who should win NXT, meeting Vince McMahon, the hair shaving, walking down the ramp at WrestleMania, scratching the wrestling itch, and her plans for 2011 (and whether those plans include TNA).
Not only that, before Serena joins us, we’ve got quick mentions on recent shows from SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales & Pro-Wrestling EVE, including a quick exclusive chat with Nikki Storm, who had a big coming out party at the last EVE show, solidifying her as one to watch in the European scene in 2011.
Follow Serena Deeb on twitter | Official fansite
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
Episode 13 with Dave Prazak
You know how they say 13 is “unlucky for some”? Well, us too. We had intended to bring you our first double-shot show featuring interviews with both Allison Danger (discussing her big announcement) and Dave Prazak (discussing SHIMMER’s upcoming tapings this month), but through circumstances beyond any of our control, Danger’s announcement has been on hold for well over a week. While we wait for that, we’ve taken the decision to split the show and present our interview with Prazak, complete with a newly recorded intro segment where we get a chance to discuss the sad passing of Luna Vachon and we take a cautious look at what WWE have in store for NXT Season 3. Then it’s off to the time machine for the Prazak segment, recorded a week ago, where we discuss upcoming tapings, the success stories in SHIMMER history, the promotion’s business model and the evils of downloading. Oh, we also ask whether a certain bald headed ex WWE star (and SHIMMER alumni) might show up at the Eagles Club…
Follow Dave Prazak on twitter | Follow SHIMMER on twitter | SHIMMER Board
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)