After winning the WWE Divas Championship from AJ Lee in her debut match on April 7, we now know who Paige‘s first challenger for her newly-won title will be. It’s AJ’s bodyguard Tamina Snuka, who earned the number one contender status by winning a battle royal on last night’s episode of Main Event, and the pair will face each other at the Extreme Rules special event (WWE has done away with the term pay-per-view since the launch of the Network) on May 4.
Tamina was dominant in the match, eliminating Nikki Bella, Naomi, Cameron, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella and Natalya to get the victory – the last of whom was sent packing with a big superkick. Conspicuous by her absence was former titleholder AJ Lee, who PWInsider reports is taking some time off from the promotion and there is no word on how long she will be gone. In fairness, it’s fine that she keeps out of the way for now as it means that some other faces can step to the forefront in the Divas division, and it should be a lot stronger when she resurfaces.
The fact that AJ’s bodyguard is getting the first title shot is interesting, as it could create a tense situation if Snuka is holding the belt when the former champion returns. The match also gives Tamina the chance to step out of being AJ’s hired help and puts her firmly in the spotlight instead – though there are variables to consider. (more…)
I have experienced the buzz you feel after a SHIMMER weekend on a number of occasions, though recently I have been following the enthusiasm from fans in a more remote sense. While the festivities were ongoing in Berwyn, IL on Saturday and Sunday, I was at home in the UK keeping up with results and reaction, and for the most part, everyone was buzzing so much that Chicago could have experienced a very unlikely earthquake.
With volume 63 being called one of the best shows in the promotion’s history and the Tag Team Championship match on the following volume being described as one of the greatest in the company’s seven and a half years. So many wrestlers – be they new faces or long-running stars – impressed and improved their standing that it’s tough to start.
Stew was there to watch the shows and is writing up thoughts for each taping – he’s still got two to do but is in the process of flying home and has been struck down with the dreaded SHIMvirus so we may have to wait a little longer for reactions to volumes 65 and 66 (though you can see the results and thoughts for 63-64 here), but he sent through some overall thoughts on who did well: (more…)
Lots of stuff to cover in this Roundup, and we start with the goings-on in WWE over the last few days…
AJ Lee survived the odds put against her by Vickie Guerrero to retain the Divas Championship at WrestleMania XXX. By tapping out Naomi, she defeated her 13 challengers for the title in a match which played to the strengths of its more skilled participants and managed to generate a slight buzz – which was a herculean effort considering the wave of depression in the Superdome in New Orleans, LA because of Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker in the previous contest – and also stuck it to Guerrero for putting her in such a disadvantageous position and for emerging victorious. Standing on the middle rope, AJ soaked in the victory, which was her most high profile in her Divas Championship reign…
And her last. (more…)
We’ve learned not to bet against AJ Lee here at Ringbelles. We’ve predicted title changes a number of times in the last year, and every time she’s managed to keep her title – even last night with 13 simultaneous challengers at WrestleMania – but tonight at Monday Night Raw, AJ Lee’s 295 day reign as WWE Divas Championship came to an end with the debut of the NXT Women’s Champion Paige, and a poorly thought out impromptu challenge match, which ended with a Paige Turner and the creation of a brand new star in the Divas Division.
Following AJ’s post WrestleMania victory promo where she berated the entire Divas division for their inability to beat her, Paige came out, in full gear and with her NXT “Stars in the Night” theme. The internationally skewed audience at Raw reacted to her like a star, chanting her name. It seemed, according to Paige, that she simply wanted to come out and congratulate Lee – which for some reason only managed to irritate the champion, who challenged Paige to a match right there and then, so she could beat her like she’d beaten everybody else. Paige explained that she wasn’t ready yet, but a slap from the champion resulted in a change of mind. In the relatively short match that followed, AJ managed to hook in the Black Widow, but Paige eventually reversed her way out of the move and hit her Paige Turner for the win.
These Brits seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. In WWE, Paige is still NXT Women’s Champion after defeating Emma on the first live show in the feeder system’s history. Broadcast on the WWE Network, social media was buzzing after the match with praise for both women – though it was the 21 year old from Norwich who had the focus as the winner.
As a showcase for the up and coming women in Florida, it was a great piece of work which dispelled the recurring criticism that Divas can’t wrestle. Given the chance to go out there with no gimmicks or distractions as well as enough time to tell a story, the pair proved that women do have a place in a wrestling ring in the top company in the world. That sentiment was shared by trainer Sara Del Rey, who said “Congratulations @RealPaigeWWE and @EmmaWWE you both are paving the way!!!”, and Stephanie McMahon sang their praises in a post-show interview. Indeed, there were many plaudits singing their praises.
As well as having the confidence to let Paige and Emma go out there and do their thing, they also put the marketing machine behind its Women’s Champion by releasing a t-shirt for her. Considering how little merchandise WWE had for its women up until last year and how she isn’t even on the main roster yet, it’s a real sign that the company is high on the former Britani Knight. (more…)
Paige and Emma had the stage to showcase their talents, and they did not disappoint. As part of NXT‘s ArRIVAL live show on the new WWE Network, the Briton made the Australian tap out with a Scorpion Crosslock to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
After going for their respective finishers early and seeing their efforts thwarted, the action swayed back and forth with Paige nailing her big knees with Emma draped in the ropes, while the challenger responded with the Dil-Emma and the Emma Sandwich before the titleholder could respond with a surfboard submission attempt. Taking to the ropes, the champion attempted a superplex but it was countered into a sunset power bomb by Emma for a tantalising near-fall, leading to an amusing “Better than Batista” chant while Paige got a long two count of her own with her Paige Turner finisher before locking in the Scorpion Crosslock – which you can see to your right – for the submission victory. (more…)
The first live show of the WWE Network takes place on Thursday with the first live broadcast of NXT. Dubbed ArRIVAL, it features three matches – one of which sees Paige defend the NXT Women’s Championship against number one contender Emma, in a match which has been a long time coming.
The cheerful Australian earned her crack at the title back in August and then had to defend her right to challenge for the belt by beating Natalya at the start of this year. While carrying on her #EMMAlution in Florida, she also graduated to the main WWE roster by originally appearing in the crowd – antagonising fellow NXT alumni Summer Rae in the process – before taking part in dance-offs and making her in-ring TV debut last night on Raw, defeating Summer with the Emma Lock. While fans who haven’t seen her NXT character evolve are getting used to the newcomer with the awkward dance moves, it seems as if things are going in the right direction.
It could be argued that the NXT Women’s Champion has been ready to make a similar jump for a while. As the sole titleholder – winning the title tournament last June, but the show being broadcast the following month – she has turned back the challenges of Summer Rae and Natalya, though hasn’t wrestled on a show since the end of November. Injury was cited as the reason, though the Wrestling Observer said the layoff was for personal reasons. Thursday’s match will be her first match in more than three months, and in that time, her opponent – and the woman she beat in the tournament final to win the belt in the first place – has caught up with her success. (more…)
It has been a prospect for a while, and we have to wait a little longer before it happens, but it’s official – Emma will challenge Paige for the NXT Women’s Championship on the brand’s first live episode on February 27, airing on the WWE Network. The announcement was made during the February 19 taping which took place at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, yesterday.
The pair have history – the Briton became the first NXT Women’s Champion on the July 24 episode last year by beating her Australian opponent in the finals of the championship tournament after going through Tamina Snuka and Aksana to make it to the final. Emma earned another shot at the belt on the August 7 episode, but has had to wait for her shot, and also had to defend her right to challenge for the title by beating Natalya on the December 18 show.
Paige hasn’t wrestled on NXT since the December 18 episode where she beat Sasha Banks – though in reality, the 21-year old hasn’t wrestled since November 21, as that’s when the show was recorded. There were rumours of injury, though that was refuted by the Wrestling Observer, who said that she was given time off for personal reasons. (more…)
This weekend is the real kick-off of the all-women promotions for 2014, and it begins with the promotion which closed out 2013.
Things were left somewhat up in the air at the end of SHINE 15 on December 13. Rain had just backed out of her impending retirement after retaining the SHINE Championship by beating Amazing Kong via count out. However, her gloating came to an abrupt end when she was informed that her next challenger would be fellow Valkyrie member Ivelisse Velez, who had beaten Mia Yim earlier in the night – that is, if Ivelisse decided to accept the opportunity. What followed was a series of videos where a number of people offered their thoughts to the would-be challenger. Starting proceedings was fellow stablemates Taylor Made and Allysin Kay who implored their friend to not accept the match, and was followed by Rain, who echoed those sentiments. Afterwards, SHINE VP Lexie Fyfe told Velez that she was picked because she was the most deserving, not because of some sort of plot to destroy Valkyrie from within. (more…)
So Kaitlyn has left WWE. I’m not going to lie here – it totally sucks. Considering she is just 27 years old, considering how she had a personality and physique which could make her stand out from the other Divas, and considering how eager she was to work, she’s a massive loss. The worst part is that her departure is totally understandable as WWE had failed her. Given different circumstances, she could still be a Diva, kicking bottom and being a valuable asset to the company. The reason that she’s not is WWE’s fault, not her’s.
According to the Wrestling Observer, Kaitlyn was keen to get stuck in and was looking for a new storyline. She was reportedly promised that certain opportunities would be forthcoming, but when they were not, she decided that enough was enough and she would hand in her notice. Here was someone who was eager to work, contribute and deliver the goods, and she got nothing. Instead of twiddling her thumbs and receiving a paycheck, she wanted to work. That has to be respected.
To highlight her work ethic, she posted a video telling fans that she is busy planning her wedding, working with a new fitness company and is also setting up her own firm to sell workout clothing for women, entitled Celestial Bodiez – derived from her real name of Celeste Bonin. (more…)
Ohio Valley Wrestling’s women’s division has had an interesting year.
The first four months of 2013 saw a litany of title changes, with Jessie Belle, Heidi Lovelace, Taryn Terrell and Epiphany claiming the championship at some point, before it landed in the hands of a returning Trina Thompson, who gravitated towards a feud with Lei’D Tapa before her 5 month reign came to a sudden end due to a knee injury a week before they were to square off at September’s Saturday Night Special.
Over this time, Lovelance and Taeler Hendrix were drawing more eyes to the division by their beautifully played out same-sex unrequited manipulative romance with Lovelace having eyes for the conniving redhead and being bent to do Hendrix’s bidding in order to show how much she cared – including fighting friend Trina, who was doing her best to make her see sense. The storyline got a bit skewed near the end as it was cut short fairly quickly, but Lovelace ended up seeing how she was being played and got her revenge against her former crush. It was a great showing by both parties and really helped to show off their versatilities as characters.
The success of this storyline meant there was a huge amount of interest in who the vacant Women’s Championship was going to end up on, and was decided in a 4-way Ladder Match with Tapa, Hendrix & Hannah and Holly Blossom all looking to climb the rungs to victory. As it turned out, the underlying friction that the twins were experiencing at the time came to a head as Hannah knocked her sister off the ladder to snare the title – though quickly lost it to Tapa while repairing the bond with her sibling.
Unfortunately, since that high, things have fallen apart. (more…)
The NXT Women’s Title match between champion Paige and challenger Natalya is the best women’s match presented on WWE TV this year. It’s received a world of praise, and deservedly so, but it also receives a surprised reaction from us, because it features a really strong performance from Natalya.
While she can be fine most of the time she tends to be given more slack than most, partially based on past work – as honestly, some of her stuff this year has been pretty disappointing, and in some cases a complete head-scratcher considering her seniority. However that albatross was shaken off her back for this match against the Briton, which made for a really entertaining contest.
The match came about after a pretty bitchy session between the pair the previous week where Paige was slightly hellish is claiming that Natalya had lost her focus on wrestling in favour of the Hollywood spotlight which came with the Total Divas fame. It led to the titleholder offering to put her belt on the line against the former Divas Champion, which led to this match, which you can see (along with the preceding angle) after the jump. (more…)
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…)