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…)
We’re back for a second day of DVD tapings for SHIMMER, with questions being raised about LuFisto‘s current intentions. After being denied another chance at the SHIMMER title in the near future while Cheerleader Melissa still holds the belt, she came out to try to help Yumi Ohka win the strap in the main event of volume 64, but was rebuffed for her actions. The pair came to blows after Melissa retained the championship, leading to LuFisto and Ohka meeting as part of the volume 65 card today.
Elsewhere, Melissa defends the title against Mia Yim following Yim’s wins over Hikaru Shida and Mercedes Martinez, while Shida and Martinez will face off in a first-time ever match. Following her walking out of their tag team match yesterday, Veda Scott will wrestle Leva Bates in a rematch from volume 62, but with more hostile feelings abound.
Meanwhile in tag team action, Kimber Lee and Cherry Bomb square off against Ray and Leon, while Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa defend the Tag Team Championship against Saraya Knight and Rhia O’Reilly.
The bumper weekend of DVD tapings that is SHIMMER is upon us with more than 30 of the world’s top female talent descending on the Eagles Club in Berwyn, IL for what will be around 40 matches over the next two days.
Following the controversial ending of SHIMMER 62 last week in New Orleans, LA, LuFisto will team up with tag partner Kana to take on Mercedes Martinez and SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa, looking to get some revenge following her loss in her title challenge, and to possibly secure another crack at the championship at some point over the weekend.
Elsewhere, we may see friction within the Canadian Ninjas following Nicole Matthews‘ decision to team with Madison Eagles to unsuccessfully challenge the Global Green Gangsters for the Tag Team Championship last week – a move which raised the hackles of Portia Perez, who tweeted her displeasure at the development.
You can read more about what we could see over the next four DVD tapings by looking at this week’s Roundup, but we will also be bringing you live results courtesy of the Twitters of Reid Allen and Dave Muscarella, who we thank for their constant great work in getting the word out to the rest of us – and Stew will be back after the tapings for some in-depth thoughts. Click the jump to see the results – and keep hitting refresh to make sure you’re up to date. (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…)
SHIMMER returns to iPPV for its second straight WrestleMania weekend with SHIMMER 62, headlined with a titanic encounter between reigning champion Cheerleader Melissa and challenger LuFisto.
After their bloody match at volume 60 last October which was won by Melissa and LuFisto getting a pinball win over her during a tag match the following week at NCW Femmes Fatales XIII, the stakes have been raised to their highest point with this title match will be decided under two out of three falls rules and will have a mammoth 90 minute time limit. You can see more about the background to the match by clicking here.
Also in action will be Tag Team Champions Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa along with Madison Eagles, Nicole Matthews, Athena, Mercedes Martinez, Mia Yim, Heidi Lovelace, Nikki Storm, Hikaru Shida, Kimber Lee, Veda Scott and SHIMMER debutantes Candice LeRae and Ivelisse Velez – the latter of whom was announced yesterday evening after the revelation that Barbi Hayden had withdrawn from the show.
We will be watching the show live – and you can do the same by clicking here to order the event – but if you aren’t in a position to catch it, we will have results updated live from New Orleans, LA after the jump. (more…)
In what is a huge disappointment at Ringbelles HQ, Barbi Hayden has announced that she won’t be part of SHIMMER 62 tomorrow in New Orleans, LA. In a statement on her Facebook page, the NWA World Women’s Champion says:
I would like to publicly apologize to everyone. I will not be in New Orleans this weekend as scheduled against Angelina Love at Mid South, or at SHIMMER. I can’t explain enough how sick to my stomach I am right now about this, I am truly sorry. I let down a lot of people; fans, promoters, my opponents and myself.
The reason for her not being at SHIMMER – or the Mid-South Legends Fanfest this evening where she was meant to defend the NWA strap against Angelina Love – is bizarre. (more…)
Getting injured seems to have had ultra-positive effects on Athena.
It’s not like the Wrestling Goddess was doing badly for herself when she went down with damage to her shoulder last August. She was a day away from challenging for the Women Superstars Uncensored Championship and was a mainstay in SHIMMER, as well as getting into Absolute Intense Wrestling. Things were going well for her – and while getting hurt could have been a huge setback that sent her skidding off the tracks, she has used the time away to her advantage.
Employing a look inspired by Game of Thrones, the 25-year old revamped her image with new gear, altered her character and has worked on her promos, employing the catchphrase of making “art out of war” and doing away with calling her opponents “hussies”. In addition, while the time off to let her shoulder heal may have been a frustrating wait, it has also allowed her body to recover from the constant grind of being on the road and wrestling on a regular basis. It’s likely that when she returned to action at the start of this year, she had no niggling aches and pains, which seems to have given her a new lease of life.
That renewed vigour was evident at WSU’s Mutiny show where she and LuFisto put together an early contender for Match of the Year which saw the Texan defeated – but gaining a lot of new plaudits along the way. That buzz followed her to AIW’s Girls Night Out tapings last weekend where she was such an integral part of the double show that promoter John Thorne skipped out of his own show to go and pick her up from the airport in Cleveland, OH after her flight was affected by inclement weather. The show experienced a long intermission to allow Athena to get to the building and wrestle Mia Yim in their scheduled match – which against received a wealth of thumbs-up reviews. (more…)
In Video: Ray & Leon set to return to SHIMMER in Berwyn; Revisit their match with Kurihara & Hamada!
Not an April Fool’s Joke! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! Masked duo Ray and Leon are due to make their returns to the United States in less than a fortnight as they join the roster for SHIMMER Women Athletes Vols 63-66 in Berwyn, IL on the weekend of April 12-13. While all eyes are on New Orleans this weekend for SHIMMER Vol 62 (available on iPPV as part of the WWNLive Experience) and the big Cheerleader Melissa vs LuFisto 2/3 Falls SHIMMER Championship match, the announcement of the high-flying joshi duo adds a real sense of excitement for the following weekend’s festivities. Although they have only graced one set of SHIMMER tapings in the past (Vols 45-48 in March 2012), their influence that weekend was great – competing in both singles and (memorably) as a tag team. In tag team competition, they defeated the team of Mia Yim & Davina Rose (now Bayley in NXT) at Vol 46 before getting a SHIMMER Tag Team Title shot on Vol 47 against the then incumbent champions of Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara. The match was incredible – and the SHIMMER Office have seen fit to release the full video of the match as a taster of the sort of action you can expect to see in Berwyn. Click through after the jump for the video… you *won’t* regret it, and if you can possibly get to suburban Chicago by next weekend, get your tickets here! (more…)
At last November’s Survivor Series, we watched a pretty rotten 7 on 7 Divas elimination match. Not content with its badness, it was then repeated on Raw the following night. Having not learned that more does not necessarily mean better, WWE has booked a 14 woman match for WrestleMania XXX on April 6.
It came about on last night’s Raw after Divas Champion AJ Lee deliberately got herself counted out in her title defence against Naomi. Irritated, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero decided to punish AJ by booking her in a title defence at WrestleMania with 13 challengers. That means that going for the title in New Orleans, LA will be Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina Snuka.
How happy a Diva would be in being in this match depends on the Diva to whom you are referring. Should you ask Eva Marie, Cameron, Emma, Aksana, Alicia, Summer, Emma, Layla, Tamina or Rosa, I would imagine you would get a happy response – especially Rosa and Layla, who have barely been seen in recent months. Under normal circumstances, there would be little to no chance of them being involved in a title match at WrestleMania. Because of this booking, they can say they challenged for the belt at a WM and will receive a big pay-per-view payoff in the process. However the opposite feeling may be forthcoming from the rest – who could have held a claim for at one time being in the frame for a singles challenge on the show. (more…)
SHIMMER Women Athletes returns to action on Saturday, April 5th – the eve of WrestleMania XXX – as part of the WWNLive Experience at the McAlister Auditorium at Tulane University, St Charles Ave, New Orleans – and the marquee matchup for Volume 62 has been announced. As seemed very likely coming out of the events of SHIMMER Vol 61 in October (and Femmes Fatales XIII the following weekend), SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa and the Super Hardcore Anime LuFisto are on a collision course. They will meet in the main event in New Orleans, with the SHIMMER Championship on the line, and with the stipulation that the match be decided as the best two out of three falls, and will be contested under a NINETY minute time limit! (buy your tickets now)
If you remember, coming out of last Fight Season, LuFisto turned out to be the right woman in the right place at the right time. With various talents unable to make the tapings either through injury or travel disruption, and with the opportunity presenting itself, Quebec’s wrestling queen grabbed it with both hands – and with a SHIMMER Championship match against Cheerleader Melissa on Volume 60, managed to ignite a literal blood feud. The two had only wrestled once before in SHIMMER competition (Vol 20, which was later picked as SHIMMER’s Match of the Year for 2008), but with LuFisto additionally defending the honour of recently retired Allison Danger, (who had been assaulted by Melissa on Vol 58), the Melissa vs LuFisto title match on Volume 60 took on even more importance, and was the match that we at Ringbelles at the time, hailed as the best main event of the entire October tapings set. A stray elbow from LuFisto sliced up Melissa’s forehead, causing her to bleed heavily during the match, and after narrowly retaining the title with an Air Raid Crash, caused Melissa to go to the Emergency Room and miss competing in Vol 61 that evening (the first SHIMMER Volume she’s ever missed). Melissa did turn up back at the building for the end of Vol 61, laying out LuFisto with a belt shot to the head and ominously standing over her to close out the Volume. (more…)
If the plan is still for AJ Lee to defend the Divas Championship against Naomi at WrestleMania XXX, then WWE is certainly going round the houses to do it – that’s if they’re even planning to do it.
Before her injury to her eye socket occurred, it was reported that the plan was for Naomi to be the one to end AJ’s mammoth title reign (which is now the longest run in WWE history be it for singular or combined reigns) though it was said that the plan would still be on for WrestleMania on April 6 if the Funkadactyl could be cleared in time. It was partly because of that possibility that AJ had a title defence against Cameron at Elimination Chamber and again on the subsequent SmackDown. However things have gone in another direction in the last week as there now seems to be a queue of pretenders to the throne.
Natalya made AJ tap out in a tag match on SmackDown on Friday and is to get a Divas Title shot on tonight’s live edition of Main Event. Meanwhile on last night Raw, Nikki Bella got the pin on the titleholder as part of another tag team match, after which she held up the Divas belt while Natalya – who was on commentary – looked on. It seems as if there is a bottleneck of challengers, though it’s also up in the air as to who the champion may be by the time we get to WrestleMania. (more…)
It was successful defence number 6 for the SHIMMER Tag Team Champions in the main event of Joshi 4 Hope V in Japan earlier today. The Global Green Gangsters (Tomoka Nakagawa & Kellie Skater) held onto their belts by defeating Madison Eagles & Evie when Nakagawa scored the pin on the former SHIMMER Champion with the 120% Schoolboy.
In the semi-final match on the show at Shin-kiba 1st RING in Tokyo, former SHIMMER doubles champion Misaki Ohata defeated Ice Ribbon‘s Tsukushi, who was standing in for an injured Manami Katsu. Elsewhere, there were wins for Leon, Kagetsu, and Alpha Female (twice). The full results are posted after the jump, courtesy of the translated tweets from Youji Kawauchi.
Joshi 4 Hope revealed on its Facebook page that it does not have a return date, but thanked everyone for their participation on the show.
Finally, a quick word on SHIMMER – the promotion says it will announce the main event of its Volume 62 show on April 5 in New Orleans, LA at some point this week. When it is made public, we will let you know. (more…)
Both Shanna and Alpha Female made their first appearances in a TNA ring during the recent UK tour, though they handled the publicity for it in different ways.
Portugal’s Perfect Athlete got the word out early that she would be booked on the February 1 show in London, England, as well as the following date in Birmingham. She wrestled singles matches for the Xplosion tapings – the first against Alpha and the next saw her take on Gail Kim. I was at the Birmingham taping, and while I won’t spoil the result, Shanna looked perfectly comfortable in that ring in what was a big opportunity for her to impress. She wasn’t just cannon fodder for the full-time Knockout either – she got in her fair share and even got to nail the Perfect Press.
Since announcing that she would be wrestling for TNA, Shanna has encouraged her fans to get the attention of the company to demonstrate her fanbase and how much she wants to be part of the promotion. She has retweeted many of the messages sent to TNA, and is showing her enthusiasm and overwhelming desire to sign a contract, while also increasing her brand and marketability. No doubt, she has a lot of people backing her, which is very encouraging. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (28 January 2014) – Ivelisse Velez strikes gold, Rain retires for real, Nevaeh & Leva Bates impress
It’s been some comeback by Ivelisse Velez from being released by WWE in August 2012. Refusing to be a statistic, she picked herself up and got back in the saddle. While she has experienced TV exposure with WWE by being in the most recent Tough Enough in 2011 and in TNA for its Gut Check (which she weirdly lost, even though she won her match against Le’D Tapa, who ended up getting the contract), leading to working the Knockouts Knockdown and World Cup PPV tapings, arguably her biggest achievement happened last Friday in Ybor City, Florida.
It’s funny – WWE’s rumoured reasoning for releasing Velez was that she had “attitude issues”. I would say that rather than “attitude”, she has self-confidence and determination, and they are major contributing factors as to why she holds the SHINE title. (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa is receiving a second Cauliflower Alley Club award to go with the Future Legend title she collected in 2004. The SHIMMER Champion is being given the Women’s (Active) Award at the 49th annual reunion in Las Vegas, NV between June 2-4. The only other woman to receive the honour was Amazing Kong in 2011, as the CAC seemingly only seems to deliver awards to women who have retired from active competition.
It’s been a big year for the 31-year old. In the last 12 months, she has regained the SHIMMER Title at SHIMMER 53, defended the belt against Mercedes Martinez, Kalamity, Courtney Rush, Leva Bates, Hiroyo Matsumoto and LuFisto throughout the year, as well as turning heel in the promotion.
Elsewhere, Melissa took down Allysin Kay at NCW Femmes Fatales XI, went to a double DQ with Courtney Rush at Femmes Fatales XII, though lost in the main event tag team match at Femmes Fatales XIII, with her current rival LuFisto getting an edge on her. She also went went to a time limit draw with old enemy Saraya Knight at Bellatrix 7 before burying the hatchet with a post-match embrace.
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…)
This video sits in the middle of two different stories – on one side, it’s relevant because of the announcement that Athena returns to the ring next month and will be competing at Women Superstars Uncensored Mutiny on February 8; on the other, it’s a heads-up that tickets for SHIMMER’s volumes 63-66 DVD tapings in Berwyn, IL go on sale tomorrow (Sunday, January 12th at 7PM Eastern). You can find all the details on prices and how to be a part of the the weekend of April 12 and 13 by clicking here – but to when your appetite, here’s an example of what’s on offer.
Athena v Jessie McKay v Mia Yim took place at SHIMMER Volume 42 in October 2011 and was a great showcase for all three, but particularly the Wrestling Goddess. It was arguably the first real springboard for the Texan, and has made her a real one to watch in women’s wrestling. You can watch the contest after the jump. (more…)
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been doing a lot of retrospective articles. From the looks back to the 2012 award winners to the announcing of the 2013 recipients, from the personal highlights of Stew and myself to reviews of of the Women Of Wrestling Podcasts and our other audio shows, there has been a big look into the past. Now, here’s a look into the future.
Both Stew and I have written a list of things we would like to see happen in 2014. Neither of us have a crystal ball – or more critically, a booking sheet – so we can’t say whether any of these will actually happen, but this is what we would like to see in a perfect world.
Seeing as I’m here, I’ll start:
• I would love to see LuFisto win the SHIMMER Championship. After storming through the last set of tapings and working up a pretty heated rivalry with reigning titleholder Cheerleader Melissa, she ended Female Fight Season standing above her enemy at the end of Femmes Fatales XIII. While no plans have been put in place for SHIMMER 62 in New Orleans, LA, I would be happy to see Melissa and Lufisto in the main event with the Super Hardcore Anime taking the title which would mean the world to her. Even if she only holds it until the DVD tapings the following week, I would love for it to happen. (more…)
The first thing I think when I look back over my own personal memories of the last year of women’s wrestling is, as usual, my regular trips to SHIMMER live events in Berwyn, IL. I can’t say enough about the whole experience, but if you’ve ever even vaguely considered making the pilgrimage, DO IT. I believe this year represented my tenth and eleventh trips there, and yeah, I’m still keen to return in the coming year and still love the whole experience. Dave Prazak has often described SHIMMER as a DVD product (and it basically still is), but for me, (and I think a lot of the people I see returning time and time again), it’s become live product more than anything else, and it’s like getting together with your friends from all over the world twice a year. They’re long weekends for the fans, but they’ve ultimately given me such great memories. From seeing the return from injuries of the likes of Serena Deeb & Madison Eagles, to seeing people like Kimber Lee wrestling live for the first time, to seeing Nikki Storm get over so huge on her first trip there, to openly weeping in public as Allison Danger wrestled her last match – all things that will live long in the memory. Sure, the October taping was beset by a number of integral people missing for various reasons, but I’m still glad I was there (Kimber Bombs!!), and only underlines how much talent there is to return in 2014. (more…)
Make no mistake – even though I’m write a lot about wrestling, I’m primarily a fan. I love going to shows, watching matches live and getting into what’s unfolding before my eyes. I love shouting about great wrestling and encouraging others to get involved. I can never say for sure if my enthusiasm has ever swung anyone’s opinion, but it’s nice to have this little pocket of the Internet to be able to talk about women’s wrestling. It’s also nice to have seen Ringbelles become more popular over the last 12 months too, and for that I have to thank you, the good reader for coming back on a regular basis to listen to our audio shows – of which there have been many this year – and read show reports, check out reviews and catch the week’s news in the Roundup.
I didn’t want to make a big deal of it at the time, but the December 10 Roundup was the 150th edition, and that was a nice little milestone for me. When the site started, we didn’t want to post a slew of topics on the front page so more important content was lost in the shuffle so I suggested collating the women’s wrestling news from around the world into one document. Little did I know how much it would swell to the point that each Roundup is around 4,000 words. It’s evolved over that time to feature more commentary to go with the news, but it gives me the aforementioned forum to talk about a topic I care a lot about and want to see continue to grow – and that topic has certainly done that this year. (more…)
With Nikki Storm and Kimber Lee announced over the last couple of days as the 2013 Discovery of the Year and Breakout Star of the Year respectively, the final question that needs to be answered in our 2013 Awards season is the big one. Who was the Wrestler of the Year for 2013 – following in the steps of previous winners Madison Eagles (2010), Hailey Hatred (2011) and Ayako Hamada (2012)? As is customary, before we make our final announcement of our winner, we’ll consider a couple of really strong contenders who ultimately we didn’t go with this year, but would have been worthy winners all the same.
A lot of people – including us, it must be said – made a lot of noise about Madison Eagles this year. After missing the entirety of 2012 with a career threatening knee injury, the fact that Eagles is back and competing at such a high level again is worthy of incredible praise. We remarked when reviewing Eagles’ US return match (vs Jessie McKay at SHIMMER 53 in April) that she “laughs in the face of ring rust”, and that’s pretty much dead on. Standout matches this year include a cracker with Kana at SHIMMER 55, and a couple of matches with Jessicka Havok (at SHINE 9 and SHIMMER 60), and although she started experimenting with fork-based humour in the second half of the year, her credibility at the highest level is still there. Eagles deserves an award for her achievements in 2013, but she just misses out on our biggie.
We’ve mentioned her above, but Kana was also up for consideration. When you factor in her amazing work at SHIMMER over the year against the likes of Eagles, McKay, Kalamity and Kimber Lee, as well as her success in her native Japan, it has certainly been an eventful 12 months in the life of the 32-year old. She was a losing finalist in the tournament to crown the first Regina di WAVE Champion but rebounded to win the WAVE Tag Team titles with Mio Shirai, holding the championship for four months before dropping it in July. In JWP, she became the outsider who won the Openweight Championship and rubbed her accomplishment in the faces of the regular roster before dropping the belt back to Arisa Nakajima earlier this month. As well as her in-ring accomplishments, Kana has reinvented her look, wearing crazy face paint designs and more outlandish outfits to really make herself stand out from the pack.
Also coming close was another name we’ve heard from a lot of people this year as we’ve gauged opinions both from fans and people in the industry – Cheerleader Melissa. From winning the SHIMMER Championship in a Cage Match in SHIMMER’s biggest show ever (Vol 53 at WrestleCon) to holding onto the title throughout the rest of the year, this has been the extended run with the title that she didn’t get first time round (when she lost the championship in the ring before the DVD documenting her title win was even released). It has also coincided with a slow-burn heel shift that has resulted in some of Melissa’s most interesting work for some time. North of the border, she’s also been integral to ongoing storylines for NCW Femmes Fatales, and has been involved in some of their most highly praised matches of 2013.
Eventually though – we went with the same criteria we did last year when we picked Ayako Hamada. Who was the best in ring performer of the year? Who regularly entertained and impressed us most? Who raised up other people to her level? We ended up choosing a sensation… (more…)
After yesterday’s announcement of Nikki Storm as our Discovery of the Year for 2013, it’s time to move on to our announcement of our Breakout Star of the Year. This award, as we’ve mentioned before, is given to the wrestler who, in our opinion, took the biggest strides in 2013. The wrestler who became a player during this calendar year and became an integral part of multiple promotions by getting over with the crowd and making herself indispensable. The wrestler who went from just being a promising name on a card to becoming someone you’d actually pay money to see. Someone who “gets it” and someone who expanded their horizons in a major way. As usual, we had a number of potential winners to sort through, but by the time we got down to our final shortlist, we had three top contenders to win. Before we announce our 2013 Breakout Star of the Year, let’s have a quick look at those who came within a hair of winning the award this year.
Mia Yim came ridiculously close. This was the year where Yim really started to excel and fulfil the potential she has undoubtedly had since she started. This year, I’ve heard first-hand from people who really weren’t on the Mia Yim bandwagon tell me that this was the year that she changed their minds. Yim was undoubtedly one of the biggest breakout stars of Fight Season in October, and the SHIMMER weekend in particular, where her matches demonstrated what appeared to be a new confidence in the ring. Likewise in SHINE she’s found herself in more and more important matches as the year progressed, including discovering what might well be her perfect opponent in Ivelisse Velez. Santana Garrett also was amongst the final three shortlisted – having managed to not only debut for WSU and AIW, continue to impress in SHIMMER & SHINE, she managed to appear on TV for both TNA (as part of the Knockouts Knockdown PPV) and WWE (on their NXT brand) in this calendar year. Yes, depending on where you live in the world, those appearances may be either PPV or VOD, but she’s certainly moving in the right circles and making the right connections to get on the radar for the national promotions. Her matches weren’t as high up the card as Yim’s or our eventual winner, but as far as “breaking out” and reaching for the stars, Garrett is a perfect example of someone who has used 2013 as a springboard to bigger and better things.
Our winner though? For our money, our winner stepped up in multiple promotions, gained confidence by the bucketload, delivered quality throughout and… well, she’s going to have to clear a little bit more space on her mantle for her second Ringbelles Award… (more…)
Welcome to the 2013 Ringbelles Year End Awards – a trio of accolades where we acknowledge the standouts of what has been a bumper year for women’s wrestling around the world, and giving us plenty of candidates to chew over en route to picking our victorious three. Tomorrow and Sunday respectively, we reveal the Breakout Star and Wrestler of the Year – but first, we begin with the Discovery of the Year, and this was a complicated one. Let us explain, but first, we should mention some of the wrestlers who featured very heavily in our considerations.
The swelling of iPPV over the last year has afforded everyone great opportunities to find out about more stars, especially if we lack the means to be able to see them live. Instead of videos leaking onto the Internet and you having to stumble on them, live online broadcasts have meant that we have been introduced to new faces – many of whom have made an impression on us. As a result, we got the chance to enjoy the work of Barbi Hayden, who did a great job on two Women Superstars Uncensored cards in the latter half of the year; meanwhile, Xandra Bale also raised our eyebrows and was very unlucky to have suffered a fibula injury, as it meant she missed a potential standout match against Cheerleader Melissa at NCW Femmes Fatales XIII. Speaking of Canadian stars and WSU, Jewells Malone has also done some great work and enjoyed some quality exposure. Another up for consideration was Crazy Mary Dobson, who was a big hit for Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females, and also made a good impression at the most recent SHIMMER tapings, and moved away from the death match stuff to also develop her wrestling skills in Japan.
The wrestler who just missed out on winning the accolade is Heidi Lovelace, who has really shone in 2013 with a great outing at National Pro Wrestling Day, as well as defeating Eddie Kingston in the main event of October’s Wrestling Is Heart show and was also part of one of the year’s best storylines, playing the infatuated party in a manipulative same-sex romance with Taeler Hendrix in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
The term “discovery” is an abstract one, and is subjective, depending as to when you were exposed to that particular wrestler. If you were to draw parallels with music, you could have someone who has been following a band in small venues for many years before they start to get signed to a major label, release singles and albums and start doing larger tours. One fan will discover the band at a different time to another, though both have experienced that initial exposure at one time. For that reason, the Discovery of the Year award goes to a woman who – like Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna – made a big impact in the United States, but also had success in Japan… (more…)
With the 2013 Year End Awards rapidly approaching, we have been covering the fortunes of our 2012 winners. So far, we have looked at how Kimber Lee continued her ascent after being named the Discovery of the Year, and we’ve given an update of Allysin Kay‘s successful 12 months since winning the Breakout Star of the Year title. Rounding off our recap of 2013 is the woman who we proclaimed to be 2012′s Wrestler of the Year: Ayako Hamada…
We justified our choice to select the 32-year old as our top grappler for the simple reason that when it came to in-ring match quality, nobody impressed us or entertained us more than Ayako Hamada in 2012, and that was illustrated in a quote from NCW Femmes Fatales booker Stephane Bruyere during a Women Of Wrestling Podcast this time last year:
All of my ten favourite matches I’ve seen this year, there’s six of her. That’s six out of eight she did at SHIMMER, and six of them are in my top ten favourite matches [...] She’s just amazing. She’s the best right now. When we talk about quality of matches, there’s nobody that can top what she can do. There are a lot of great wrestlers – we know Mercedes Martinez, we know LuFisto, we know Cheerleader Melissa – those are really, really great wrestlers and they had good years, but none of them had the year Hamada had this year.
When it comes to picking a Wrestler of the Year, it’s sometimes as easy as that. (more…)