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)
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…)
Episode 43 with Saraya Knight
Saraya Knight continues her fantastic year with a record-breaking third appearance on the Podcast – and what an opportune time it is to talk to the SHIMMER Champion. As well as discussing *that* weekend in March, Saraya gives us the lowdown on the Channel 4 documentary airing on her family this week (Wednesday, 10pm) – including being very frank on some issues she has with the first cut of the show. We talk her daughter Raya, now wrestling as Paige in FCW and Saraya gives a real mother’s view of how that separation has affected both her and her daughter. We talk about her upcoming debut for NCW: Femmes Fatales in Montreal in November (and even possibly further afield), exclusive news on a rather unique charity calendar from WAWW (which may have resulted in the creation of a new word), and discuss Saraya’s recent fight with a punter at an All Star show in Croydon. Then it’s back into Saraya’s bag o’ stories for recollections of a sledgehammer showdown in Camberley and some very unexpected medical news about 20 years ago…
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
If you want to watch the documentary, click after the jump: (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…)
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…)
The former Britani Knight has been part of the Florida Championship Wrestling roster for about five months now (read about her move here), having been repackaged as the Anti-Diva Paige, and establishing an Anti Barbie Army alongside Sofia Cortez and Raquel Diaz. In that time, she has become an integral part of the FCW female roster, and has been engaged in an ongoing battle with the likes of Audrey Marie and Summer Rae.
However, before heading to Florida to revolutionise the way that women wrestlers are perceived as part of the next chapter in her life, there were some loose ends to tie up as Britani, by taking on her mother Saraya. It all came to a head last October on SHIMMER volume 43, following Britani’s loss to Jessie McKay, continuing a run of losses by the younger Knight that was infuriating her mother. Needless to say, the pair didn’t settle their differences by sitting down with a mediator over a number of sessions, or with giant mugs of tea and lemon drizzle cake. No – they elected to beat the living bejeezus out each other… (more…)
Eve Torres turned full blown heel on Raw when she admitted she used Zack Ryder then said that she planned to use John Cena. Her plan came unstuck seconds later as Cena had overheard everything and then insulted and blew her off. Essentially, she turned and received her comeuppance in the first 11 minutes of the show. However, the biggest problem was the misogynist views that were purported by Cena and consequently, the fans in the arena in Minneapolis, MN.
After calling her a “hoeski”, Eve was treated like a wanton harlot or a gold-digging whore, and then was having a breakdown in the ring. Cena couldn’t help but throw her an insult before leaving about being disease-free and he’d like to keep it that way (because, women have to be carrying a sexually transmitted infection), leaving Eve to be escorted from the ring in tears. Cena could have been more compassionate and tell her to re-evaluate her life, but instead, led the crowd in chanting insults at her, belittling and humiliating her in public.
John Cena is meant to be a role model and head cheerleader for taking the high road these days. So why was it OK for him to verbally destroy a woman for 5 minutes in front of the world – ostensibly saying that you can still be a nice guy but treat someone who is vulnerable like shit. No question, this was bullying, and totally went against everything that Cena, and WWE’s BA STAR(D) campaign stands for.
In the first segment of Raw, Eve Torres went from being a confused soul to a prick-teasing, manipulative, gold-digging hussy, and then made to look small, pathetic and broken. Clearly, WWE didn’t know where they were going with the story when they started it, found an out and got rid of it before allowing Cena to focus of his match with the Rock. She was cannon fodder to get Cena over as a babyface. The question is: considering the backlash this has received online (and the meatheads saying that “all women are the same”), was it really all worth it? (more…)