Ringbelles Roundup (3 December 2013) Renee Young is great, Gail Kim praises Taryn Terrell, plus more
Female backstage interviewers are as rare as rocking horse poop in World Wrestling Entertainment, and finding a good one is hugely unlikely. In late 1994, Stephanie Wiand signed on, co-hosting WWF Mania with Todd Pettengill, and also worked a few pay-per-views in 1995, though very few fans remember her, and probably could not pick her out of a lineup. Rue DeBona also did a bit of backstage mic work on SmackDown in 2004, but wasn’t around long enough to do anything apart from marry (and later divorce) Josh Mathews. Some Divas also turned to asking the questions rather than answering them. Lilian Garcia has done the job at pay-per-views in the past, Terri Runnels performed interviewing duties between 2002 and 2004, Sunny did the odd bit in 1997 but seemed to be more keen on having the spotlight for herself, and after being eliminated from the Diva Search, Maria Kanellis worked the backstage but was given the ditzy gimmick where she asked poor questions, got wrestlers names wrong and simpered a lot.
However, WWE seems to have stumbled across a diamond in current interviewer Renee Young. (more…)
In last week’s Roundup, we had a note about Mickie James spending a week at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, FL working with the developmental Divas. At the time, we kept it a bit muted as that was all the information that we had, and if WWE or Mickie wasn’t going to divulge any details that would be all we would know – that she was there and that was it. As it turns out, WWE.com made more of a deal about it than we thought, as they conducted a full interview with the former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion.
As well as asking about her favourite WWE moments – the usual ones were there like her match with Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22 and her matches with Beth Phoenix, though she curiously also pointed out the Piggie James angle which I thought was a particular low point in recent Diva history though she spun it to say it brought the issue of bullying to the fore – but she also discussed how she ended up at WWE’s new facility in the first place. (more…)
It’s weird – this website was buzzing with stories last month as part of Open Female Fight Season, with results from Bellatrix, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Women Superstars Uncensored, SHIMMER, SHINE & NCW: Femmes Fatales all flowing in, interspersed with interviews, reaction and discussion. It was certainly a busy time for women wrestling fans, and sites dedicated to it, such as this one. You would imagine that at the conclusion of such a period, there would be a hangover of sorts where many wrestlers would rest, promotions would ease down and there would not be that much to talk about. (more…)
On Saturday, Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s Dan Murphy revealed that Cheerleader Melissa had been placed first in the 2013 Female 50 list as part of the SHIMMER Volume 58 taping. On Tuesday, we posted a few answers from Murphy on why Melissa came first, and why AJ Lee, who many of you predicted would come first, did not. Well, the full list has now been revealed in the publication’s digital issue, which has been released a few days ahead of the hard copy version.
As it turns out, the WWE Divas Champion was placed 9th, while the silver and bronze positions went to Mickie James and Saraya Knight respectively. In fact, former Divas Champ Kaitlyn placed above Lee in 5th, while last year’s winner Gail Kim is in 6th. Meanwhile, NXT Women’s Champion Paige is 12th above the likes of Natalya and 2011 winner Madison Eagles.
As for wrestlers who didn’t make the cut, Serena Deeb, Angelina Love, Amazing Kong and even TNA Knockouts Champion ODB are all missing.
You can see the full list after the jump, but to see why each woman has been placed in each position, we recommend buying the magazine. You can order it from this direct link.
Agree with the list? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section. (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…)
We’ve been itching to talk about it for a month, and are glad that now that it has been broadcast, there is nothing to stop us now. Paige is the first NXT Women’s Champion, spotlighting her as the top woman in WWE’s developmental division right now. It is the shining moment in the 20-year old’s 6-year career – the last 18 months of which has been spent in Florida in Florida Championship Wrestling and later NXT. It was also a testament to WWE’s faith in the Briton that she defeated two established WWE Divas en route to the final of the tournament, defeating Tamina Snuka and former Divas Champion Alicia Fox to make it to the decider against Emma.
In what was the opening contest of last Wednesday’s broadcast, Paige and Emma put together what has to be the best women’s match that WWE has presented in the last year at least. With big moves peppering the proceedings, a decisive finish via the Paige Turner and the endorsement of fellow Divas and WWE COO Triple H made it all feel like a really big moment – as it should have been.
While we reported it under a spoiler warning a month ago, now that it has been broadcast we can just come out and say it. Paige is the first NXT Women’s Champion after beating Tamina Snuka, Alicia Fox and Emma in the final to win the title.
The match itself is arguably the best women’s contest to take place in a WWE ring in 2013, and possibly even longer than that. In a match which saw big headbutt, DilEMMAs, superplexes and the RamPaige, it was the Brit’s Paige Turner finisher which saw her garner the championship.
At the time, it was reported that Paige’s colleagues had come out to congratulate her on her victory. We expected that to be broadcast, but couldn’t be sure if the appearance by WWE COO Triple H would be shown as well. Happily, it was – and it helped to rubber stamp the 20-year old’s most significant victory in her 19-month run as a WWE employee.
We have got hold of the match for you to watch – it’s after the jump, so click away and enjoy the complete match which was the opening contest on the show, but could have easily fit in the main event slot. (more…)
The WWE Divas Championship turned 5 years old on Saturday, and has evolved from the secondary title on the SmackDown brand to being the top belt in the promotion. Some would argue that in that time, the prestige of the primary women’s title in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world has dropped for various reasons, but it’s what we’re being presented, and it would be worth a look to see what state the title and the division itself is in right now.
Announced on June 6, 2008 by then-GM Vickie Guerrero so the women on her roster would have their own title, with the inaugural champion being Michelle McCool, who made Natalya tap out at that year’s Great American Bash. At the time, McCool was the pet project for WWE’s future, having been in the original Diva Search in 2004 and floating around for a long while before hitting a groove as a wrestler. However, she was a pretty unexciting one – and despite defeating Maryse a number of times over the course of the next month, it was the French Canadian who wrested the title from her in December of that year, which saw McCool turn heel on friend and special ref Maria Kanellis after the contest’s conclusion.
Maryse embarked on what is still the longest Divas Championship reign in the title’s history at 216 days, but her matches were pretty poor, and could not compare to the Raw brand’s women’s roster which was seeing the likes of Melina, Mickie James and Beth Phoenix competing over the Women’s Championship. However, during Maryse’s reign, she was drafted from SmackDown to Raw and took the belt with her, while Women’s Champion Melina went in the other direction. (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…)
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…)
Episode 59 with Ivelisse Velez
This Friday, SHINE Wrestling crowns its first ever champion on iPPV – and if you ask our guest on this show, she’ll be the one holding up the title belt at the end of the night. It’s Ivelisse Velez, everybody! We talk SHINE, and her standout matches with the likes of LuFisto & Athena, experiences in SHINE so far, rule confusion in Mexico for PdM, starting her career as “Sexy Juliette” in Puerto Rico, alternate life plans, moving to Chicago and eventually entering the WWE Tough Enough process. We talk auditioning, the editing process, struggling with injury, the Steve Austin elimination speeches and working with Trish Stratus on the show. Post Tough Enough, we discuss how Ivelisse worked hard at getting her shot in FCW/NXT and her experiences when she got there, an aborted name idea before she was re-christened Sofia Cortez, working with Paige, promo classes, seemingly conflicting advice and some interesting circumstances surrounding her WWE release. We also talk her TNA Gutcheck experiences, her mentality coming in, her on-camera reaction when it was decided she wasn’t going through to the final assessment, and coming back for a couple of taped PPVs that are still to air. We also talk her twice aborted MMA debut and whether that’s still coming. A refreshingly fun and interesting interview. Check it out. (Plus we’ve changed up our Podcast theme for the first time ever!!)
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
The first ever NXT Women’s Champion was crowned at last night’s tapings at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. On TV, there have only been three quarter finals televised so if you don’t want to know the final semi-finals and who emerged as champion, don’t click the jump. For everyone whose curiosity is getting the better of them or don’t care about spoilers, here we go… (more…)
Well, yes and no.
Footage has leaked out of some of the WWE developmental talent trying their hand at promos while being watched by their peers. Among them are a number of the Divas-in-waiting trying new styles – and in some cases, new gimmicks.
The screengrab to the left is from a promo by Paige, Summer Rae and the recently released Anya. Shot on December 13 last year, it pre-dates the feud which Paige and Summer are currently involved in, and is about a month after Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns debuted on the main roster as The Shield. It looks like an idea was toyed around for a female version in NXT to revitalise the women’s division, but never came to fruition.
It’s an interesting prospect though – Paige as the workhorse, Summer Rae as the mouth and Anya as the muscle could have been something which may have worked. As it turns out, we’ll never know, but you can let the idea run around in your mind for a while.
You can watch the video after the jump – and be fast, as there’s no telling when it will be pulled from the Internet. Also there are videos of Emma being slightly delusional, and Sasha Banks requesting a match from Charlotte – who may have been touted for a matchmaker role. (more…)
It’s been a little while since we checked in on Paige‘s progress in NXT, and for our ‘In Video’ segment this weekend we present a couple of her recent TV matches from NXT. While NXT remains on the air throughout much of the rest of the world, it is still not broadcast on TV in the USA, so there’s a chance that you haven’t seen much of Saraya Knight‘s baby girl lately – so let’s get you caught up.
Paige is without doubt the most popular Diva amongst the developmental set at the minute, and she’s in the middle of a bitter feud with Summer Rae – yes, who you’ve seen of late on Raw, Fandango-ing with errr… Fandango. Blond-haired Summer Rae is the quintessential example of everything Paige’s “Anti Diva” character is opposed to, so it makes for a really good dynamic – and while Summer certainly has nowhere near the experience or talent of Paige in the ring, she’s good enough and has the charisma to carry herself as a star. Check out the quick feud recap at the start of the video for how Summer recently put Paige out of action for a time.
We follow that up with a look at Paige going against one of her fellow former SHIMMER roster members in Bayley – formerly known as Davina Rose. This one is certainly worth a look as it’s two of the best female wrestlers on the NXT roster going one on one. But look out for that dastardly Summer Rae… (more…)
I’m still buzzing after Insane Championship Wrestling’s Fierce Females show on Saturday, which culminated with Kay Lee Ray winning her first ever championship when she won the tournament to become the inaugural Scottish titleholder. Beating Rhia O’Reilly and Viper in two very different contests, she proved that she is versatile and dependable as a main event talent. However, it was more than just KLR who impressed, with her defeated opponents also impressing, along with Carmel Jacob, Bete Noire, Erin Angel and Blue Nikita putting together great outings, and North American talent like Leah Von Dutch and Crazy Mary Dobson also entertaining. In fact, those two elements got me thinking…
First off, women’s wrestling fans are doing themselves a disservice by ignoring Europe. While places like America, Canada, Japan and Mexico are places which get a lot of attention, there are now three major all-women’s indie promotions to speak of in the UK alone, and plenty of skilled women from all over the continent looking to make their mark, and they can make it in the likes of Fierce Females, Pro Wrestling: EVE and Bellatrix because of their differing standpoints. (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…)
On Sunday, I sat among 400 people in a hall in a small city in the west of England. The only reason why I had decided to go – well, apart from it being a 15 minute walk from my front door – was that it featured a women’s match that was pretty hyped up about. Unfortunately, the billed contest between Kay Lee Ray and Shanna had to be scrapped because of KLR suffering a broken toe two days previous, then wrestling for about 40 minutes on it the previous day – though as it turns out, her metatarsal had been broken for about a month, which was compounded by the broken toe. As a result, a suitable replacement was brought in to replace Ray, and it would more than compensate.
The fans at Alternative Wrestling World in Wolverhampton had no idea who Emi Sakura was. To them, she was a Japanese woman who wears a lot of fabric, doesn’t show much skin and visually, didn’t look like much to write home about. Around me, I heard some borderline racist jokes about the “Chinese” woman in the ring and some unfunny gags about ordering Chinese cuisine in a mocking Far Asian accent. Her opponent also got the heckles, with a guy yelling “get your tits out” to Portugal’s Perfect Athlete – as if that line has EVER worked. Needless to say, we were dealing with an audience with spectacularly low expectations for the contest, and more than their fair share of xenophobia and ignorance. I’m stunned that I didn’t see anyone get up to go to the bar or toilets. They would have regretted it if they had, as little did they know, but they were going to be treated to a showcase featuring one of Europe’s best against one of the best in the world… (more…)
There are many interesting prospects in North America. One which has been simmering for a while is Mia Yim, who has been honing her skills and gaining more experience by partaking in a number of extended trips to Japan to wrestle for REINA x World. Domestically, she has had some interesting matches which have been of a good quality, and was a beneficiary when one of her kicks broke Allysin Kay’s nose last January leading to a number of well-received matches between the two with greater stipulations reflecting the development of the programme, culminating in a cage match at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 7. She had a fine outing against Jessicka Havok at SHINE 3 last September, and also enjoyed outings against the likes of Kana and Yumi Ohka in SHIMMER in 2011.
However, there is one major sticking point when it comes to her work in the US – barring the original nose-breaking match against Kay at GNO5, Yim has lost most of those high-profile outings.
Despite that, she has the opportunity to claim a really big scalp at SHIMMER volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ on April 6, and spoil the homecoming of one of its biggest stars at the same time. (more…)
Saraya Knight may be scary and intimidating to some, as well as being as tough as week-old bread – but she’s also got a big heart, and that is evident when you ask her about her family. That’s why when she is asked about her daughter Paige, she is more than willing to tell you how proud she is of her accomplishments in the industry.
“I was there when Britani (Paige) was told. It was amazing, she was bouncing off the walls. We as a family were buzzing for her, but inside we all knew we would have to lose her to the States.
“We knew she was going to be huge and are so proud. Now it is the rest of the world’s turn to find that out.”
Over the years, the number of taboos in wrestling seem to have evaporated. After all, few bat an eyelid about wrestlers who have barely reached their teens stepping into the ring in Japan. Wrestlers with disabilities are given the same opportunities as anyone else, and nobody tells anyone that they are too old to lace up the boots, even though some really should be. However, the prospect of a man facing a woman in a wrestling match still seems to be something which makes some fans squirm in their seats.
I can see some of you imagining it right now.
For a long while, mixed matches seemed to be a no-no, but then it hit the mainstream with the late comic Andy Kaufman wrestling women and calling himself the Intergender Champion of the World, before Jerry Lawler piledrove him onto his head. From there, we saw the odd mixed tag team match on special occasions – WrestleMania VI with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri Martel being a prime example – but very seldom did the women interact with the men… but times changed. (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…)
While being interviewed for the new WWE 13 video game, Amy “Lita” Dumas explained the difference between the Divas now and the ones from the Attitude era:
I think the women of The Attitude Era really did a good job at figuring out who they were and what they wanted to portray to the fans. So each woman was such an individual — you were never going to get Lita and Ivory confused. You’re not going to get the two confused, as opposed to now, is it the hot athletic girl with the short shorts on? No, it’s the other hot athletic girl with the short shorts on.
It’s harsh, but fair, and she has a point.
There are eight women on the main roster who are considered wrestlers rather than valets or managers, and for the most part, they are interchangeable curvy shapes with little character to speak of. The obvious exception which jumps out is AJ Lee, who despite being tiny, geeky and – compared to the others but probably not in real life – could be considered mousey or plain, is the most developed personality of all the women who step into the ring… and that’s something that Dumas pointed out:
I think it’s interesting to see the Divas of today and to see who the fans are attaching to. Obviously, right now, it’s AJ Lee, who’s not the strongest; she’s not one of those classically hot chicks. But she sets herself apart, and you have emotion when she’s out there and you get a sense of who she is, and so I think that’s really cool to see the kid that wasn’t supposed to make it being the one that’s out there, and that’s who the fans want to know more about.
Funny how the past comes back to haunt you.
In June, while she was still campaigning to be Connecticut Republican candidate for the US Senate, Linda McMahon’s past as the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment was brought up, including the effect the programming may have had on women and men’s views of how to treat women. One particular incident keeps cropping up – the segment on the March 5, 2001 episode of Raw Is War when Linda’s husband Vince forced Trish Stratus to crawl on all fours, bark like a dog and then strip in the middle of the ring, all in an attempt to humiliate and degrade her.
Even at the time, the event was seen as so offensive that it was never shown in the UK, and it is still great ammunition for opponents of McMahon. Back in June, Linda’s opponent Chris Shays said during a debate: “I think when you force a woman to take off all her clothes in an arena, and get down on the ground and bark like a dog, I think that’s assault on women.” (more…)
Former World Association of Women’s Wrestling British Ladies’ Champion Liberty joined us yesterday for a talk ahead of WAWW Bellatrix 4 on Friday, November 9. Despite losing the belt at Bellatrix 3 last month to Rhia O’Reilly, the 18-year old still has grand ambitions.
In our chat, as well as talking about the growth of WAWW she discusses being trained by Sweet Saraya, her hopes of wrestling in the US, watching Paige wrestle in WWE and whether she is holding onto her UK roots, her friendship with Penelope, and which WAWW title she would like to go for next.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)