Episode 46 with Kellie Skater
We’ve been meaning to get Kellie Skater back on the Podcast for some time, and with PWWA‘s next show coming up very soon and her being announced as returning to SHIMMER in October, what better time? This will be her eighth trip over for SHIMMER, and we talk favourite memories of her stateside adventures so far, and future plans in SHIMMER. We discuss her three month Japanese trip from earlier in the year in great detail, including Christmas in Japan, training, friendships, drinking, networking, drinking, getting kicked in the face and more drinking – and we get a crash course in conversational Japanese (and swear words). We also talk Australia, and recent goings on Down Under, including the recent interim PWWA Title tournament – and Skater calls out her preferred opponent for PWWA on October 6th. Plus more!
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Ayumi Kurihara‘s reign as CMLL World Women’s Champion was not very long – winning the belt in November last year and dropping it in March – but it certainly had its moments, one of which we bring to you this weekend.
Hailey Hatred‘s challenge for the title came less than a month after dropping the JWP Openweight Championship to Tsubasa Kuragaki, and winning the CMLL World Women’s strap would have been a great way to bounce back and get on track again. Kurihara, meanwhile, was not keen on dropping the title. She had already retained the belt over Cherry at Union Pro on January 3, and claiming the scalp of Hatred would be a great boost to her credibility while enjoying her first world title reign in any promotion. Click the jump to watch the entire 2 out of 3 fall contest from REINA 24 held on January 15… (more…)
For many wrestlers, Japan is still the mecca when it comes to what they do. Many strive to get there, and some accomplish it. For some, it is for a booking or two, or maybe a stint with a specific promotion. For Kellie Skater, she packed up her suitcase and headed out to Japan for three months with no set plan on how many times she would be wrestling, or for which promotions or against which talent. What ended up happening was a rapid evolution of the Rate Tank, maturing into a more well-rounded competitor – so much so that it caused more than a few people to sit up and take notice… (more…)
Following her arrest over being arrested for narcotics possession last week, Io Shirai was indefinitely suspended by her home promotion, Stardom. The official statement refrains from making a comment on the current legal situation, but did distance itself from the former Triple Tails member, and apologised to fans. Io’s sister Mio did the same thing in a blog post, saying that their relationship had been strained recently, and Io had distanced herself from her family. She also pointed out that she heard about the arrest in the same way everyone else did – via the media.
Shirai’s suspension should not come as a surprise. Drugs are a serious no-no in Japan, and any wrestling organisation would want to disassociate itself with anything that may trouble or dissuade sponsors.
22-year old Shirai and her boyfriend NOSAWA Rongai were arrested at Narita Airport after returning from Mexico, after a total of 75 grams of marijuana was found hidden in the frames of two paintings given to them from fans. In somewhere like the US or UK, 75 grams is a small amount of cannabis – but this Japan, which has ferocious anti-drug laws to discourage people from smuggling, selling, cultivating or selling them in the country. For example, because caught with weed could result in a five year prison sentence which also incorporates hard labour. That’s a stiff penalty, and really not worth the risk.
At the moment, both Shirai and Rongai (who deny the allegations) are being held in a detention centre where the prosecutor will prepare in indictment. If that happens, the chances of being acquitted is very slim. (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…)
In news that landed on the Internet yesterday morning, Women Superstars Uncensored has been sold to what the official Twitter referred to as an “independent buyer”. In a statement in the newsletter, the promotion stated: “WSU is in the process of changing ownership. The sale will not affect any WSUVideo.com purchases or upcoming events. We will have a press release once the sale is signed.”
We understand that the press release will arrive by the end of this week, though there is no official word on whether this will affect the current direction of the promotion, the booking, the storylines, the upcoming Uncensored Rumble V iPPV next month, or the working relationship with nCw Femmes Fatales.
There is a possibility that the “independent buyer” who has bought WSU has plans to expand the brand. After all, there are elements which make it valuable. It is the busiest women’s promotion in the US, holding around a dozen cards a year – either officially or in collaboration with other companies – as well as having episodic storylines, a strong bunch of top-line characters like the Midwest Militia, Mercedes Martinez, Alicia and Brittney Savage, and it has ironed out a lot of the kinks that it suffered while it found its feet on iPPV. We hope that if there are changes, they don’t happen too suddenly, as it may be jarring for fans who are used to the current setup. We also hope that this buyer has a plan, and isn’t a money mark who throws a shedload of money at it, and pulls out if he or she does not see a return, killing the promotion as a consequence. After all, there is some evidence that WSU is not as profitable as it could be at the moment…
As we have pointed out on this site, attendance numbers have been pretty weak since WSU moved from its regular base of the ACE Arena in Union City, NJ to the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park, NY, though we have no real indication on how financially successful the iPPVs have been – for all we know, they could be bombing, or they could be booming. While we have a few bits and pieces of information about the current situation, it would be best to wait until there is an official word to try and get more of a handle on the situation.
We will bring you more on this sale as we get it. (more…)
Word coming out of Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall today confirms that the show which was initially billed as REINA‘s first anniversary show has ended up being their final show. Ice Ribbon’s Ray took to twitter following the show tweeting “I was surprised at the dissolution of REINA, but it gave me the opportunity to fight lots of overseas stars and go to Mexico. I will be forever grateful. Happiness to everyone” (translated from original Japanese).
REINA (or to give the promotion its full name – Universal Women’s Pro Wrestling REINA) was formed a year ago by reina CEO Riki Tamashiro and produced by Tamashiro along with veteran figurehead Yumiko Hotta & Aki Kanbayashi. REINA was unique amongst the joshi scene as it had a specific talent agreement with CMLL in Mexico to bring over their luchadoras, often for extended tours, to give the REINA promotion a very lucha flavour. In the last year, CMLL regulars Zeuxis, Silueta & La Commandante have been amongst the most common luchadoras (although pretty much all the CMLL luchadoras have made at least one visit to Japan), and the promotion has hosted title matches for both the CMLL World Women’s Title and the CMLL National Women’s Title. REINA even created their own World Champion (Yumiko Hotta), a set of tag team belts (currently in possession of Mima Shimoda & Zeuxis), and joined with CMLL to create the co-promoted CMLL-REINA International Junior Title (currently with Silueta). REINA didn’t only look to Mexico for inspiration, and used a lot of other international talents, such as Sara Del Rey, Courtney Rush, Kellie Skater, Roxie Cotton, Simply Luscious, Luscious Latasha, Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews on shows. In fact, CZW’s Kimber Lee debuted for REINA on this final show. (more…)
What have Rachel Summerlyn, Nikki Storm, Amazon, Jenny Rose and Maria Kanellis all done this year, and what has Kurumi done twice?
If you guessed “win tournaments”, take yourself to the Winners’ Circle.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love a good tournament. It’s a great way to have multiple storylines running in one show, concluding some, forwarding others and starting a few more. It can also be a push for the winner, and even for a plucky name who gets further than you would expect them to. But the reason why I mostly love tournaments is because it’s a special occasion, much like your birthday, Christmas (although people who know me will know that I’m not fond of Christmas) or the release of a new Police Academy film. Across North America, the UK and Canada, there have been seven tournaments in the past 12 weeks. (more…)
Earlier this week, Luscious Latasha became the first guest on My Name Is, an opportunity for wrestlers to let fans know a bit more about who they are, what they’re about and what goals they have. Even though she is a staple in Women Superstars Uncensored, Latasha admitted that she is looking to wrestle abroad more often in 2012, especially after the 24-year old’s appetite was whetted by a trip there last year, competing and Union Pro and predominantly, REINA.
Latasha wrestled for REINA eight times during her visit, with one of her matches taking place at REINA 9 on August 7, 2011 where she took on former SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Hiroyo Matsumoto in the semi main, and that’s the match we’ve got for you today, uploaded to YouTube by Latasha herself – click after the jump to see.
Speaking of REINA, Ringbelles‘ Wrestler of the Year Hailey Hatred challenges CMLL World Women’s Champion Ayumi Kurihara for the title at tomorrow’s REINA card. Keep an eye on our Twitter for results. (more…)
Ever seen a name on a show, or seen someone wrestle and wanted to know a bit more about them? That’s what this is all about – giving wrestlers a spotlight to introduce themselves to more people. Our first guest, Luscious Latasha, got in touch with us looking to expand the circle of wrestling fans who know who she is.
24-year old Latasha has goals for 2012. As well as being on half of Women Superstars Uncensored‘s Soul Sisters tag team, she also made her debut for REINA in Japan last year and is looking to get more stamps in her passport over the next twelve months. In addition, she wants to wrestle for more promotions domestically, and is looking to take her profile to the next level. Lee Burton spoke to her earlier today to find out what her list looks like.
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Friday, December 2 will be a big day in Sara Del Rey’s life, as she finally get the chance to wrestle her hero.
“Something I grew to understand about her was her idolisation of Aja Kong,” said CHIKARA’s Mike Quackenbush when discussing Del Rey in the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast. It is due to the 31-year old’s continued great body of work and the first opportunity to have them in the same place at the same time which has led to Del Rey and Kong facing each other in the main event of the first of three days of JoshiMania shows spanning the northeast of the United States.
Their paths have never really crossed during Del Rey’s tours of Japan, and there has been no chance of Aja being on the same card as her in the US, as she hasn’t been in the country since late 1995 when she was working with the WWF and was set to challenge Alundra Blayze for the Women’s Championship before the titleholder jumped to WCW, taking the belt with her – Sara didn’t debut until 2001. However, their paths WILL cross on Friday with one of the best joshis of her generation meeting one of the best female wrestlers in the world at this moment. It should be a titanic encounter, and while Del Rey may be all intense on the outside, you can expect her to be a giggling mess inside, and who can blame her? I know that Skye felt the same way when she wrestled her idol Daizee Haze at ChickFight VII back in 2007…
Del Rey also gets the chance to repeat her epic match with Ayako Hamada that took place at SHIMMER Volume 28 in late 2009 on the third and final JoshiMania show, while the second evening’s main event will complete the round robin with Hamada taking on Kong – not bad on Hamada’s part, seeing as she was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, who will still be there as part of a training seminar, but isn’t cleared to wrestle. She’s been announced as a participant at Ice Ribbon’s Ribbonmania on December 25, so here’s hoping she’s given a clean bill of health before then. (more…)
Imagine SHIMMER, WSU, ACW, Femmes Fatales, ECCW, AIW, OVW and FCW all clubbing together, putting up their best representatives and holding a tournament where they would be whittled down to one promotion as the best? Can you imagine the politics, jostling, arrangements, hostility, distrust and remarks there could possibly be? On the flip side, there is the chance that all would get on, things would be decided amicably and all would work together for the greater good – highlighting the plethora of great female wrestling talent out there, showing off their top wrestlers and then taking that momentum, breaking off again and working their own areas to capitalise on the buzz that was created in order to sell more tickets, shift more merchandise and create more awareness of their product. After all, women’s wrestling is a niche product within a niche product, and the amount of awareness – and interest – is not as high as it could be.
OK, I’m dealing in extreme hypotheticals on both sides, but if anything, it could create an intriguing night of action, capitalising on the sort of buzz that wrestling fans experienced when the WWF bought WCW a decade ago, throwing up some potential dream matches. Fair enough, it never really worked out that way, but that doesn’t stop wrestling fans from dreaming.
Over in Japan last week, such an event took place. Wednesday’s FLASH tournament featuring talent from Sendai Girls, JWP, Diana, REINA, WAVE, Ice Ribbon, Stardom and a freelance team drew a hugely impressive 1835 fans to Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall – a Super No Vacancy Full House. The first round was 5 on 5, the semi finals were 3 on 3 and the final was a straight tag match. (more…)
Last month, we featured an “In Video” post highlighting the cartwheeling Ice Ribbon sensation Ray as she captured the first CMLL-REINA Jr Championship in a match at REINA.12, defeating CMLL‘s own Zeuxis in a three fall match. Since then, the champion was busy, heading off to Mexico almost immediately thereafter for a several week long stay. During the course of the trip, she had cause to defend her newly won championship against another CMLL regular, Silueta. Any excuse to highlight Ray is fine with us – so check it out, why don’t ya?
Click through the link for another uniquely lucha match, this time from AAA, which gives new meaning to the term “Dark Match”
A bumper two weeks of women’s wrestling kicks off this weekend with SHIMMER: Women Athletes undertaking two days of DVD tapings for volumes 41-44. With close to 40 wrestlers expected to compete over the weekend, fans have got 12 hours of debuts, returns, twists, turns and top quality wrestling to look forward to in Berwyn, IL.
As mentioned, there will be a number of new faces at the tapings, the most publicised is the current SMASH Divas Champion Kana. The 30-year old took the title earlier this month by beating rival Serena Deeb, ending her seven match undefeated streak, and avenging the two pinfall losses to her gaijin opponent. In addition to wrestling at SHIMMER, Kana will also compete in CHIKARA the following weekend against current SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles, and former titleholder Sara Del Rey.
Current JWP Openweight Champion Hailey Hatred returns to the US to wrestle for the first time at SHIMMER on October 1 before going on to Absolute Intense Wrestling the following day to take on Cherry Bomb. Arguably the most successful non-Japanese female wrestling talent to ever compete in Japan, Hatred had an absolute slew of titles in her possession, and was criminally left out of the PWI Female 50 this year, because the magazine does not recognise wrestling from Japan or Mexico.
Yumi Ohka’s debut has been slightly overshadowed by Kana’s arrival, but she will be unlikely to accept being looked past. A member of Misaki Ohata’s Black Dahlia group in WAVE, 32-year old Ohka has been wrestling for close to a decade after originally lacing up the boots to migrate into the acting industry, though elected to stay wrestling instead. She could be the sleeper star of the weekend. (more…)
Very WWE heavy at the top of this week’s Roundup, as I take a look at the last three shows the promotion has presented on TV, and how the writers have made a complete balls-up of the Kelly Kelly v Divas Of Doom storyline. Personally, I’d have produced things a different way, so I’m going to list what happened, my grievances with it and what I would have done instead. Bear in mind, this is just one man’s opinion, and I’m sure many will disagree with what I say, but I believe that this is logical, and not just the rantings of some fanboy.
On the go-home episode of SmackDown in Toronto before Night of Champions, Beth Phoenix defeated AJ, then delivered a promise to defeat Kelly at the pay-per-view. And that’s it.
Considering hometown girl Trish Stratus was on the show, it was a wasted opportunity. Stratus was only featured in backstage segments with Edge, Christian and Zack Ryder, and had no interaction with the girls. The chance was there for Trish to use some of the superstar status she has to give Kelly the rub (take your heads out of the gutter, you filthy people) and maybe get some heat for Beth at the same time. On goes my fantasy booking hat… (more…)
While the joshi scene in Japan isn’t what it once was, there are still quite a number of promotions out there pumping out quite a lot of good stuff – each struggling to develop its own identity in the sea of puroresu indy feds. One such promotion is the fairly new REINA promotion. Officially debuting several months ago (May 2011) following a few pre-launch “Fiesta” shows, REINA has (at publication date) ran over a dozen events in front of small but enthusiastic crowds, and tried to forge its own personality by incorporating a lucha style and having a strong bond with the oldest lucha libre promotion in the world, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). As a result, a number of CMLL luchadoras have made their way across to Japan for extended tours – CMLL World Women’s Champion Amapola, Marcela, Silueta, La Commandante and Zeuxis (the latter three of whom have appeared as regulars), as have various other gaijin, such as Mia Yim, Kellie Skater and Luscious Latasha. It makes for a unique blend of wrestlers and styles.
While REINA recognises CMLL’s World Women’s Title (and in fact will be hosting another defense of the belt in a few hours at REINA.13 as Amapola defends against Ayumi Kurihara, it has taken the opportunity to develop a brand new co-recognised champion with CMLL. The belt, debuted in July and named the CMLL-REINA Campeonato Internacional (International Champion), is intended to be fought over by wrestlers with under ten years of experience. A tournament was held, with CMLL’s Zeuxis and Ice Ribbon’s Ray as the two finalists – with the two squaring off as the headline attraction of REINA.12 at Edogawa-ku Tobu Friend Hall on October 9th.
Click on after the page break to see the remainder of the match
Pro Wrestling Illustrated sent WWE and TNA and a message last week – sort out your women’s divisions.
They did so by crowning SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles as its number one in the annual Female 50, which marked the first time in its four year history that someone from outside the national promotions had taken the honour – Awesome Kong, Mickie James and Michelle McCool had won previous years. Mickie was the highest-ranked Big Two employee at number three, with WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez taking the runner-up spot. In fact, the women on the independent circuit had a strong showing in the top ten, with Cheerleader Melissa, MsChif and Sara Del Rey making sure that the women who accept their own bookings took up half of the final countdown.
Understandably, the PWI list isn’t perfect – after all, it doesn’t take into account Europe, Asia or South America, and only ranks Australasian talent that has competed in the US. Therefore, it’s a pretty strangled list – had it been opened up further, Britani Knight, Hailey Hatred, Amapola and others would have likely been included – but it’s a vast improvement on previous years, though with the proviso that it still has a long way to go before it can be a comprehensive rundown.
Still, it’s a massive pat on the back to Eagles, who doesn’t even live in the US – though she was residing there for a portion of the year – and has never even had a tryout in WWE or TNA, yet is still recognised by a world-reknowned magazine for being the best female wrestler in the world. When you take into account the fact that PWI still portrays wrestling as being a legitimate, competitive sport and judges the list by wins and losses, it would be hard to deny the 6’1” Australian the top spot, or Mercedes runner-up place either. After all, both had been champion of their respective promotions for the entire year; both had racked up win after win, and had put on incredible matches to justify their desire and will to be the champion. When you consider that the only real competitor for the top spot from WWE was Kelly Kelly or Layla, you can see why they only ranked at 15 and 13 respectively. Pretty much every Diva was booked badly over the last 12 months – and seeing as that is how PWI assesses who goes where, we have to look at the writing over the performances – and nobody has gotten over to the point where you would want to spend money to see them. (more…)
After withdrawing from CHIKARA and moving back to Australia, many would have expected SHIMMER and PWWA Champion Madison Eagles to rest up her injured shoulder and prepare herself for the return of PWWA on September 3 for her next SHIMMER title defence against both Nicole Matthews and former tag team partner Jessie McKay.
But this is Madison Eagles we’re talking about. This is the woman who perforated her eardrum during her #1 contenders’ match against Cheerleader Melissa in SHIMMER and came back the next day to wrestle MsChif and win the title. This is the woman who fractured her wrist and elbow last year and carried on training through it. This is the woman who had racked her shoulder up in a car accident in April and still went balls to the wall against Courtney Rush at nCw Femmes Fatales VI less than two months later.
So when she returned unannounced to her home fed of PWA in Liverpool, Australia on Friday after living in the US for six months, she wasn’t there to stand and wave at the fans. Instead, she turned heel by kicking Jessie McKay in the face and delivering a Hellbound (Death Valley Driver over the knee) to Robbie Eagles, setting the stall for the SHIMMER title match Before the turn, it would have been heel Matthews against babyfaces McKay and Eagles. Now, the pressure is on Everybody’s Favourite Girlfriend, who has her longtime SHIMMER rival in Matthews, and former tag team partner and regular opponent Eagles gunning for her. (more…)