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…)
So Kaitlyn is finally the WWE Divas Champion. A week shy of five months after (accidentally) winning a battle royal to challenge for the title at Night Of Champions – a shot which never happened after she was written out so Eve Torres could vie for the belt like was originally planned – the NXT Season 3 winner reached the top of the pile, defeating Torres on the 20th anniversary episode of Raw. We’ll get to the new champ in a moment – but firstly, let’s discuss the noise which preceded the match…
Yesterday, PWInsider reported that last night would be Eve’s final match with WWE before leaving the company, and it would be likely that she would be dropping the belt to Kaitlyn, who she has been feuding with since mid-September. As it turns out, that is exactly what happened, though her title loss came a bit earlier than others were expecting. According to the most recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Torres handed in her notice a month ago with the agreement that she would stay on to build up the title feud with Kaitlyn and then drop the belt to her, with the internal expectation being that she would lose the title at the Royal Rumble in two weeks, after a series of matches between the two when Eve would use underhanded tactics to retain the title. Instead, the decision was made for the switch to take place on the milestone Raw – which makes more sense, as it means more viewers would see the change and Kaitlyn’s moment of glory would take place in her home town of Houston, TX. It was a smart move, as the partisan crowd was hotter for the match than it would have likely been compared to the audience at the Rumble in Phoenix, AZ. Besides, fans have been conditioned to a certain extent to not be that bothered about the Divas, so it was unlikely that the match would have generated a massive amount of pay-per-view buys. (more…)
What do you mean, you thought Sarita already had left?
Considering she hasn’t been on the Impact Wrestling show since April 19 last year where she, Rosita, Gail Kim and Madison Rayne lost to Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher, Tara and Velvet Sky, it would have been a fair bet that she had left. However, she wrestled one more match on TV after that – a loss to Velvet Sky which was broadcast on Xplosion on May 2 – and also competed at a BaseBrawl show on June 14. After that – nothing. (more…)
“I don’t think there’s a better female wrestler in the world right now.”
Not my words – though I agree with them – but the words of WWE Champion CM Punk, who confirmed that Sara Del Rey has been employed as a trainer for the company and will be working in its developmental facilities in Florida.
We have stayed deathly quiet over Del Rey’s signing with WWE since we found out, as they notoriously hate their private business affairs being discussed openly, and would not want to jeopardise the position of anyone signing a contract with them. For that reason, we wait until the ink is dry and they appear in WWE facilities. That happened on September 28 when Bill DeMott sent out a Tout video of Joey Mercury, Norman Smiley and Del Rey in NXT trainers’ shirts offering a small pitch for wrestlers to come and try out. A photo of the trainers soon followed, and then came the confirmation from Punk at the Ohio Comic Con on September 29.
“We recently hired Sara Del Rey to train our future Divas. I know a lot of people will be like, ‘Oh, that sucks, Sara should be on television’ and maybe you’re right, but I’ve talked to her about it. This is her dream job. She gets to wrestle everyday and she gets paid for it.” (more…)
ArenaChicks announces monthly iPPVs starting later this year; Jazz & Reby Sky advance in title tournament
Big news coming out of the ArenaChicks taping at the CWF Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium this past Saturday night with the company announcing a new commissioner, adding two new names to the ‘Final Four’ tournament and announcing the intention to go monthly with iPPVs starting later this year.
The new commissioner of ArenaChicks is none other than former WWE/ECW star Shelly Martinez, who announced that it was her job to take ArenaChicks to the next level, and to move the title tournament along a little quicker. Due to the enforced withdrawal of Sara Del Rey from the tournament, Martinez made the match between Reby Sky and Amber O’Neal for Del Rey’s place in the ‘Final Four’. Sky ended up pinning Amber O’Neal to secure the #2 spot in the tournament following interference by Jazz, who blasted O’Neal with her Jazz Stinger.
Jazz followed up by taking on Impact Wrestling’s Rosita in tournament action, having by all accounts a fantastic match with her, before dumping her with a sit-out slam for the three count. Jazz takes the third spot in the tournament. Already advanced is Angel Orsini. (more…)
Quite a few interconnected items to discuss this week, but they all start at the same point, so let’s go back to last Saturday night…
On the “Before They Were WWF Superstars” DVD back in 2001, we got a look at Edge and Christian’s background, learned about their friendship and how they were high school buddies. From there, they went back to their old school, walked the corridors and showed how a particular hallway entrance doubled up as their wrestling ring.
One element that is pertinent to this piece is that the group of friends that they hung around with were known as the Getalong Gang, as they got along with all the other cliques like the jocks, the geeks and so on. They were the middleground that everyone could be friendly with and not face any attitude, hostility or pretty grudges.
nCw Femmes Fatales is the Getalong Gang. (more…)
TNA‘s all-cage PPV goes on the road to Nashville, TN, with Gail Kim defending the Knockouts Championship against Velvet Sky, while in a “bonus match”, Knockouts Tag Team Champions (and new husband and wife) Eric Young & ODB put the belts on the line against Sarita & Rosita.
Knockouts Championship Match:
Gail Kim v Velvet Sky
• Sky earned the title shot by winning a Knockouts Championship Challenge, defeating Mickie James, Winter, Tara, Angelina Love & Madison Rayne on the April 5 episode of Impact Wrestling.
• The match is ostensibly Sky’s rematch for the Knockouts Title – she won the belt at Bound For Glory last October, and then dropped it a month later to Kim at Turning Point in her first defence, though never got an opportunity to challenge for it again.
• Following last months match where they wrestled each other at Victory Road, Madison Rayne is now back by the side of Kim, after the champ gave Madison a tiara. What, is Rayne now Amy Farrah Fowler? (more…)
This Sunday sees Bull Nakano issue her official goodbye to pro wrestling as part of her EMPRESS retirement show on her 44th birthday at the Tokyo Dome City Hall. So far, only two matches have been announced, though the former WWF Women’s Champion has spent the last few months visiting numerous joshi promotions, offering blue envelopes to wrestlers, ostensibly inviting them to be part of the show.
As well as handing out invitations like she’s on an episode of My Super Sweet 16, Nakano has also been preparing herself, putting on weight and growing her hair so she can become the image that she was when she was wrestling – 230lb with hair spiking straight up, and blue veins etched onto her face. It is a big change from a couple of years ago, when as a professional golfer, Keiko Nakano’s weight had dropped weight all the way down to 130lb – partly to ease the pressure on her injured knees that had taken a battering during her hard-hitting 14-year career between 1983 and 1997 (though she returned for one more match in 2001). For that reason, it is unclear if Nakano will wrestle on the event, though nothing should be ruled out. (more…)
At TNA’s Turning Point, we saw two matches with Knockouts involved. The first was a mixed tag team title match featuring challengers Ink Inc. with Toxxin taking on the champions Mexican America with Sarita – it would be the first time either woman had faced each other, inside TNA or outside – whiel the second had Velvet Sky defending her Knockouts Championship against the newly-returned yet already crowned Knockouts Tag Team Champion Gail Kim.
Ink Inc. and Mexican America have had a decent feud with a buildup and it finally led to the debut of Christina Von Eerie as Toxxin to neutralise Sarita and Rosita. The tag titles were retained when Sarita pinned Toxxin after hitting her in the back with a tag belt. Meanwhile, Gail came into Turning Point with a huge wave of momentum, and before the match Karen Jarrett showered her with praise, calling Velvet a “skanky bitch” in the process. Classy. In the Knockouts Championship match, thanks to judicious interference from Karen and Madison Rayne, Gail won the title. How did each of the matches fare? Let’s break it down and take a look at what was oak, what was pine, and what was chipboard… (more…)
In a case of deja vu, Winter won the Knockouts title for the second straight TNA pay-per-view, defeating Mickie James to win the gold. It’s led to a hot potato effect with the title, as the pair are trading the belt between themselves at the moment.
Not only was the result the same as last month at Hardcore Justice, the ending was also the same – Winter spat blood/mist into the eyes of the champion and covered her for the pin, albeit after trying it just moments before and catching Angelina Love in the face. Whether that’s a move that you can go for a cover straight afterwards is debateable, as it isn’t strictly a move that would incapacitate you to the point that someone can pin you, though this is somethnig that I mused about last month and TNA seems to be going with it, so I guess I’m in no point to complain about it any further. However, there are other points to highlight, so once again, lets look at what’s lobster, what’s shrimp, and what’s fish sticks… (more…)
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – Warren Buffett
On Sunday, the Bella Twins must have over-indulged as part of Labor Day weekend. They decided to take .357 Magnums, aim them square at their own feet and pull the triggers until they went click.
WWE.com writer Katie Raymond wrote an article about the Divas of Doom, asking if they were a solution or foil to what is perceived as the Diva-norm portrayed by the likes of Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres and the Bella Twins.
In the article, Raymond wrote:
Stinkfaces. Booty poppin’. If you’re a purist about a woman’s place inside the WWE ring, you might be wondering what Fabulous Moolah is thinking looking down on the Divas division. Would the iconic figure chalk up the current flux of the division on changing times, or would she say, “Someone needs to save this”?
Beth Phoenix and Natalya, the “Divas of Doom,” think so. However, are The Glamazon and third-generation Diva just the two women to call “saviors”?
So does the Divas division need to be saved? Not just yet. But Beth Phoenix and Natalya are certainly doing their share to rejuvenate it.
Taking this as some kind of personal insult, Diva supporters took to Twitter to bombard Raymond with vitriol, insults and threats for writing a KAYFABED article on the company’s KAYFABED website. The number of filters that this would have had to have gone through is ridiculous, yet fans got all butthurt about it, seeing it as a personal insult against the girls, instead of as a piece to fluff up the storyline between the Divas Of Doom and the rest of the roster – and it really needs it, as the storyline has lost so much steam since SummerSlam’s Phoenix v Kelly match that it makes you wonder if WWE had a plan for after the match. While the reaction of the fans was silly, it was expected to a certain extent. However, everything went into meltdown when the Divas themselves started talking about it like it was real. (more…)
As part of a double helping of women’s action, TNA Hardcore Justice saw the first British Knockouts Champion crowned in Winter, a title which she adds to her WILD Championship that she won on Thursday. Earlier on in the pay-per-view, Tara & Miss Tessmacher retained their Knockouts Tag Team Titles over the former champs, Mexican America’s Sarita and Rosita.
Winter won the title after spitting red mist into Mickie James‘ eyes, leading to her being pinned while she could not see. No such shenanigans in the tag team match though, where Rosita was pinned cleanly by Tara following her Widow’s Peak finisher.
As is customary for PPV reports here at Ringbelles, let us take a look at what was mineral water, what was tap water, and what was toilet water. (more…)
A bumper week of TV in prospect here, kids. Not only do we have the return of Trish Stratus on Raw and Alissa Flash taking the Madison Rayne open challenge on Impact, we’ve got women’s matches on the secondary shows too (Superstars and Xplosion), so given that these shows actually feature longer matches, I had initially planned to deal with the “B” shows first, but believe it or not, my favourite match of the week was from the next level down, namely Florida Championship Wrestling, as AJ takes on her former NXT buddy Kaitlyn.
The saga between Angelina Love, Velvet Sky and Winter took another turn as “assistance” from Sky went awry, and cost Love and Winter their TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championships. Sarita and Rosita picked up the scraps to become the new titleholders in their match at Victory Road last night.
So let’s break it down into what’s positive, what’s not, and what’s hideous: (more…)
The Big News
Tammy Lynn Sytch, known better to WWE fans as Sunny, is joining the WWE Hall Of Fame Class of 2011.
38-year old Sytch has been involved in wrestling for close to two decades, and was a mainstay in the WWF between 1995 and 1998 – along with Rena “Sable” Mero and Terri “Marlena” Runnels she ushered in the era of the female valets, which then evolved into the WWF/E Divas.
Sytch started in Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1992 with her then-boyfriend Chris Candido, debuting as Hillary Clinton-idolising heel Tammy Fytch in 1993. She managed Brian Lee to the Heavyweight Title and then represented Candido before the couple jumped ship to the WWF in 1995.
She was teamed up with Candido to form the Body Donnas – a pair of fitness gurus who vowed to get everyone into shape and take care of the “out-of-shape opponents” put in front of Candido (now known as Skip). However, it was Sunny’s promos and manager character that saw her receive the lion’s share of the attention, so when Skip’s star started to fall, Sunny was turned into the “Manager of Champions”, being the only person to guide three consecutive pairs of Tag Team Champions – the Body Donnas (now with Zip partnering Skip), the Godwinns and the Smoking Gunns. Sunny also managed the Legion of Doom in 1998, but by then, she was trying the patience of WWF brass due to no shows and a reported abuse of painkillers and was released in July of that year. (more…)
The Big News
Lots of Tough Enough stuff, so let’s go chronologically…
Former Monday Night Raw guest host and current Miss USA Rima Fakih has been announced as the first participant in the reboot of Tough Enough, starting on April 4, the night after WrestleMania XXVII.
The 25 year old’s only appearance on any wrestling show was on November 29, 2010 when she crowned Sheamus as King of the Ring.
That WWE announced Miss USA as the show’s first participant is a decent media coup for the promotion, as it’s got crossover appeal. However, when you consider that WWE put out press releases asking for independent female wrestlers to apply for the show – Mercedes Martinez, Roxie Cotton, Anne Social, Brittney Savage and Sara Del Rey all had a crack – and none of them made the cut while an untrained model did is a little galling to a female wrestler who drives hundreds of miles to wrestle in a dirty ring in front of 40 people for little money. (more…)
Oh boy. This was not what you’d call a good week as far as TV wrestling is concerned, which is a shame as I had been quietly looking forward to Eve vs Natalya on Raw. To be honest, Eve & Natalya wasn’t bad – it started tremendously and then kinda went off a cliff towards the end, but it was a creditable performance, and with practically zero competition this week, it’s our TV match of the week.
It’s all about the build-up this week on the TV digest, as both WWE & TNA actually put some effort into building up some future matches and programmes. In WWE, the build is towards this coming Monday on Raw, when Eve Torres will defend her Divas title against Natalya, while TNA are promoting their “Against All Odds” PPV this weekend, as Madison Rayne is set to defend her Knockouts Title against Mickie James in a “Last Knockout Standing” encounter.
TV match of the week this week goes to the challenger for the Divas Title, Natalya, who took on Alicia Fox on Superstars this week in a match that was a significant cut above the Melina vs Tamina mess from the previous week.