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…)
With upcoming matches at Shine 6 next Friday (vs Leva Bates) and WXW tomorrow (vs Nikki Roxx), one of 2012′s most entertaining performers is hitting the ground running in 2013 – so we thought it about time we talked to Kimberly. We talk about her opportunities and character in Shine to date, show some love to WXW and Afa, the Wild Samoan, and talk about how she WRESTLES ALLIGATORS… FOR FUN (as seen on Discovery‘s Swamp Brothers) and her hopes for 2013. Start your New Year as a Winner and have a listen.
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Emi Sakura has had a hell of a year, and it’s been well documented here at Ringbelles. Her success since leaving Ice Ribbon has included setting up her own promotion in Thailand, having it migrate to Japan, winning the JWP/Daily Sports Tag Team Championship, securing the services of Kaori Yoneyama then having her take her side in some sort of Stockholm Syndrome scenario, forming a team to invade JWP and then taking hold of the promotion’s crown jewel by winning the Openweight Championship. In addition, she defended the belt in the UK for the first time in its history and won the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship on the same night. Indeed, it has been one hell of a year for the 36 year old. However, it seems as if 2012 is going to end on a mildly disappointing note.
Yesterday, 17-year veteran dropped the Openweight Title in the main event of Climax 2012 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall after 57 days – the second shortest reign in the title’s 20 year history (for the record, the shortest was Devil Masami’s 32 day run which ended when the title was vacated for unknown reasons). She was beaten by current Tag Team Champion Arisa Nakajima, who has also enjoyed a tremendous 2012. (more…)
After a month off, SHINE Wrestling returns on January 11 with SHINE 6, and a number of long-standing feuds may be settled, or more fuel may be thrown onto these fires…
For starters, Jessicka Havok and Reby Sky will collide once again after Havok won their match at SHINE 2 and then went after her opponent after the bell. The pair also had a face-off at SHINE 4 when Sky prevented her rival from delivering further punishment to Leva Bates after their contest.
The main event was meant to be a rematch between Jazz and Mercedes Martinez after their match at SHINE 2 was thrown out before it even started and after facing each other in tag team action at SHINE 5 in November. However, Jazz has had to remove herself from the card – marking the first show she will have missed – and Martinez will now face Jazz’s partner on SHINE 5 - Amazing Kong, which is more than a suitable replacement… (more…)
It’s time for the second of our three honours which comprise the Ringbelles 2012 Year End Awards, and that brings us to the Breakout Star of the Year. While we define the Discovery category as someone who caught our attention and made us believe that great things are in that wrestler’s future, the Breakout Star award is for those wrestlers who have gone from being another name in another match to someone who has become a genuine player, breaking through that proverbial glass ceiling to being a must-have selection for promoters, and someone who fans are now going out of their way to see, learn more about and follow.
As was mentioned in yesterday’s Roundup, the Breakout Star category saw the biggest field of potential winners, with fifteen women in contention for the award. Names on the list included Hiroyo Matsumoto, who challenged for numerous championships in Japan and earned another crack at the SHIMMER title on volume 51; Courtney Rush, who was part of the brilliant Queens Of Winning storyline and has been part of higher profile matches in 2012, showing how well regarded she is and how you can rely on her to put on an entertaining contest; Athena, who won the Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens and had big outings against the likes of Ray, Mercedes Martinez and Ayako Hamada, as well as challenging for both the SHIMMER and nCw Femmes Fatales International championships; Evie, who in the space of seven days in August won two of the most high-profile titles in Australasia and fought some staggeringly hard-hitting matches along the way; and Nikki Storm, who blossomed over the year from an entertaining prospect for the future into a consistently entertaining performer and the Pro Wrestling: EVE Champion – albeit for only a matter of minutes.
Three of the aforementioned names came within a gnat’s whisker of winning this award. However, we elected to give it to a woman whose rise over 2012 came to be because of an errant kick which caused her nose to explode… (more…)
2012 Diva of the Year (named by both WWE Magazine and the WWE fans via the Slammy Awards) AJ Lee is about as far away from WWE’s idea of what a Diva should be as you can imagine. Short, quirky, geeky, lacking the body shape that others have had in the past, she comes across as the person you would be more likely to meet over an Xbox Live session of Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 than at an awards ceremony or a fancy bar. She’s your friend, your buddy – she’s not what WWE would perceive to be the ultimate in femininity.
But scratch beneath the surface, and she may be more woman than anyone else on the roster. She’s independent, driven, and has forged a path which she was never meant to go down – and in doing so, forced WWE to take notice.
After all, at the start of this year, she was Daniel Bryan’s put-upon girlfriend – the one who was the foil for him to turn heel, and saw her end up being verbally abused and put in harm’s way. If anything, at the time she was another version of the antithesis of a Diva – meek, helpless and unable to take care of herself. However, when their relationship ended on the post-WrestleMania SmackDown following Bryan’s loss of the World Heavyweight Title – which he blamed on her – she went off at the deep end. It gave her character a chance to have an edge, and she ran with it. (more…)
As we build up to the 2012 Ringbelles Awards, we’re having a look back at last year’s winners and how they fared in 2012. Yesterday, we recapped Kay Lee Ray‘s 2012 after winning Discovery of the Year – now it’s the turn of the Breakout Star of the Year for 2011, Jessicka Havok…
At the time of us awarding her the Breakout moniker, Havok was the Women Superstars Uncensored Spirit Champion and on course to challenge Mercedes Martinez for the WSU World Title at the promotion’s 5th Anniversary card in March. Needless to say she won that match, holding both singles championships at the same time and establishing herself as the top woman in WSU. This was followed by her successfully defending the Spirit Title against Marti Belle not once, but twice – but also lost the WSU crown on her first defence against former champ Martinez, though regained it the same night in a 3 way also involving Brittney Savage. (more…)
Episode 48 with Amazing Kong
Few people have elicited the intense speculation and column inches as much as our guest on this edition of the Podcast – and as such we are very pleased to welcome back Amazing Kong, who recently returned to the ring at SHINE 5 following her WWE run. So it’s time to dissect the last couple of years and get to the truth of a lot of speculation and rumours. We talk getting back in the ring at SHINE and Florida Underground (both teaming with Jazz) a couple of weekends ago and how that return came about. We talk endorsements from Jim Ross and Steve Austin leading to meetings with John Laurinatis leading to her dream job. Is it fair to call her a Triple H Project? We talk the first meeting with Vince McMahon, and the Kharma name (and more to the point, discover a rejected alternate name!), and what the initial plans were for her push. We talk acceptance into the Diva locker room, and the reaction to her pregnancy. Seen her wrestling ring-shaped engagement ring? Now hear the *true* story of how her fiancé popped the question. Stew and Kong compare how many Royal Rumbles each of them have been in, and we talk about the great personal tragedy in Kong’s life around that time and how various things contributed to her eventual WWE release. We discuss the oft-reported story that Layla was a last minute replacement for Kharma at Extreme Rules 2012 and how aware she was of the growing interest in a match with Beth Phoenix. From there it’s a discussion of future plans both at home and abroad to wrap up the episode. A pleasure to have Kong back on the show.
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While being interviewed for the new WWE 13 video game, Amy “Lita” Dumas explained the difference between the Divas now and the ones from the Attitude era:
I think the women of The Attitude Era really did a good job at figuring out who they were and what they wanted to portray to the fans. So each woman was such an individual — you were never going to get Lita and Ivory confused. You’re not going to get the two confused, as opposed to now, is it the hot athletic girl with the short shorts on? No, it’s the other hot athletic girl with the short shorts on.
It’s harsh, but fair, and she has a point.
There are eight women on the main roster who are considered wrestlers rather than valets or managers, and for the most part, they are interchangeable curvy shapes with little character to speak of. The obvious exception which jumps out is AJ Lee, who despite being tiny, geeky and – compared to the others but probably not in real life – could be considered mousey or plain, is the most developed personality of all the women who step into the ring… and that’s something that Dumas pointed out:
I think it’s interesting to see the Divas of today and to see who the fans are attaching to. Obviously, right now, it’s AJ Lee, who’s not the strongest; she’s not one of those classically hot chicks. But she sets herself apart, and you have emotion when she’s out there and you get a sense of who she is, and so I think that’s really cool to see the kid that wasn’t supposed to make it being the one that’s out there, and that’s who the fans want to know more about.
SHINE Wrestling headlines its SHINE 5 show with the worldwide return of the former Kharma in her first match since January, with Amazing Kong teaming up with Jazz as Rhythm and Bruise to take on the tandem of Rain and Mercedes Martinez.
It’s the main event of a pretty stacked card in Ybor City, FL, with another of the mouth-watering outings being Jessicka Havok facing Nikki Roxx in a rematch of the Women Superstars Uncensored contest which helped to put Havok on the path to the top, while Kimberly looks to end her run of losses by teaming with Leva Bates against Made In Sin – Allysin Kay and Taylor Made – video of which you can see in this month’s SHINE Scouting Report.
With no show scheduled for December, and Shine 6 already confirmed for January, Shine signs off on 2012 with what appears to be a pretty stacked card topped with an outstanding return, as Amazing Kong returns to the wrestling ring for the first time since the Royal Rumble in January. Kong teams with Jazz in a tag main event vs Mercedes Martinez & Rain. Also on the show, an increasingly desperate Kimberly turns to Leva Bates to help her 0-4 record, and Jessicka Havok & Nikki Roxx renew an old WSU rivalry. Apart from Kong, Shine 5 also brings debuts for 5 other stars, including another former WWE star…
Big debut for former Chicago area indy star Juliet The Huntress, and more recently Sofia Cortez on WWE’s NXT brand … Competed in last year’s WWE Tough Enough under her given name and impressed with her determination before being eliminated on week 6 due to injury … Signed a developmental deal anyway and went on to become one of FCW/NXT’s most promising Divas, often teaming with Paige … Was released from her WWE deal in August 2012 to many people’s surprise … Has had a dark match tryout with TNA last month, losing to Tara … SHINE 5 will be her first match since the WWE release.
Episode 47 with Rhia O’Reilly
31 episodes ago we had a rookie wrestler on our Christmas show, who we thought had a bright future… now, coming off a quite astoundingly successful 2012 it’s time to welcome back our friend Rhia O’Reilly and see what’s causin’ all this. We talk working in NCW: Femmes Fatales earlier this year (and getting a “Finlay’s Daughter” chant), working heel on St Patrick’s Day in SHIMMER, “The Catchphrase” (Oh Really??), her second trip to SHIMMER in October, working Cheerleader Melissa & Davina Rose and interjecting herself into the main event of SHIMMER Vol 52, black eyes, working SHINE in Florida, Su Yung wackiness, the impact of Lexie Fyfe on her career, winning the British Ladies Title at WAWW, Scottish hijinks at Fierce Females and her friendship with “Amazon” Ayesha Ray which has become a tag team in Pro Wrestling: EVE. With a year like this, how can 2013 compare? Well, Rhia’s already got her sights on another continent…
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
In a move that nobody anticipated, Emi Sakura left Pro Wrestling: EVE’s second iPPV as the promotion’s Champion, after successfully defending her JWP Openweight Title earlier in the night, then challenging new EVE titleholder Nikki Storm in an impromptu match which saw the founder of Gatoh Move hit a quick 450 splash for the pin.
Now, I get the reasoning for putting the belt on Sakura. On an immediate level, it offers a happy ending for the show, and the visual of the JWP and EVE titles together is pretty striking. Longer term, it means that the belt is now associated with the oldest active women’s title in Japan, and considering how good Sakura is at garnering publicity, there is a lot of opportunity for joshi fans to find out about Pro Wrestling: EVE because people will inevitably ask about this other belt that she’s holding. In turn, it could lead to more international recognition and possibly more DVD sales and iPPV buys from Japan in the future.
However, the circumstances in which she won the title seems to be a big sticking point among some fans who both attended the show and watched online. (more…)
Today, Shine Wrestling made the announcement that Jazz‘s mystery partner for their main event tag match this Friday at SHINE 5 is none other than the return of Amazing Kong. Yes, the former Awesome Kong (TNA) and Kharma (WWE) is back, and has Mercedes Martinez & Rain in her sights this Friday on iPPV.
The return of Kong was revealed in this video message…
Allysin Kay, Santana Garrett, Ryo Mizunami, Heidi Lovelace, Thunderkitty, Su Yung, Shazza McKenzie, Angelus Layne, Sweet Cherrie, Mary Lee Rose, Deziree, Missy, Medianne, Xandra Bale, Leah Von Dutch, Jewells Malone, Serphentina, Angie Skye & Pink Flash Kira all share a common thread with me in relation to all the wrestling I’ve seen in the last few weeks – seven shows since October 26, and two more to come this weekend, where I can add Kaori Yoneyama and Angelina Love to that list. They are all wrestlers who I have seen live for the first time, and I think that’s a massively important thing to be excited about.
While at SHIMMER, the discussion took place about Lexie Fyfe’s announcement as part of the heel team for the elimination match which headlined volume 50, with the assertion that if you merely read the results, or even saw it on DVD, it would not generate the same reaction or experience as watching it live. At the Berwyn Eagles Club, RPM by Sugar Ray hit and there was a wave of excitement as the recognition sunk into fans’ heads, realising that Fyfe would be wrestling her first SHIMMER match since May 3, 2009, where she and Malia Hosaka fell to Ariel and Nikki Roxx. It was a nice throwback to a previous generation, and provided a lovely nostalgic feeling. Had you just seen the result on paper, or knowing that it was going to happen, it may not have garnered the same buzz. (more…)
Being able to pick yourself up after being released from WWE is a positive character trait that we have already experienced in the last few days with Su Yung, who has gone from strength to strength since being let go in August last year, and made a great showing for herself at SHIMMER last weekend (results here and here).
Just over two months ago, Ivelisse Velez was released from WWE, but similarly, she is looking to stay involved in wrestling, as evidenced by her name being included in the list of wrestlers announced for SHINE Wrestling‘s SHINE 5 on November 16.
She – along with Nikki St John, Athena, Niya and Marti Belle – will be making their SHINE debuts, though no matches have been announced yet.
To prepare for her debut for the promotion, we have a retro match from June 26, 2010 between she – wrestling under her old name of Juliet the Huntress – and Melanie Cruise – who also had a good SHIMMER weekend – in Purely Obsessed Wrestling World‘s Summer X-plosion show in Elk Grove, IL. Incidentally, Cruise wrestles St John and Stacy Shadows in a triple threat at POWW’s WrestleRage X show on November 10 in Melrose Park, IL, so it seems everybody’s very busy at the moment… (more…)
It’s time to Shine once again with SHINE 4, live and direct from The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL.
With big sister promotion SHIMMER Women Athletes running next weekend in Berwyn, IL, SHINE 4 kicks off what looks like a busy few weeks for SHIMMER Champion Saraya Knight, who debuts on this show, making her first defence of the SHIMMER Title against former WWE Women’s Champion Jazz. If she gets past Jazz, she will defend against MsChif at next Friday’s AAW show in Berwyn before arriving at SHIMMER next Saturday and Sunday. Saraya can’t afford to look past Jazz, who is headlining her fourth straight SHINE show.
Also on the show, the maniacal Jessicka Havok takes on Leva Bates, Made in Sin reform to take on the debuting team of Davina Rose & Shazza McKenzie, while Reby Sky returns to SHINE to take on the challenge of Australia’s “Rate Tank” Kellie Skater.
In addition, Mercedes Martinez takes on future SHIMMER debutante Santana Garrett, Rain battles Christina Von Eerie, Kimberly *promises* to get her first win over veteran Brandi Wine, and it’s a SHINE debut for “The Fighting Irish” Rhia O’Reilly as she takes on Su Yung.
Click through to after the cut for ongoing results as they come in, and later, opinions and pictures. (more…)
If you skipped Shine 3 last month on the belief that it was likely to be a bit of a placeholder show, shame on you, because it turned out to be a heckuva worthwhile show, with Jazz & Rain delivering in the main event and Jessicka Havok vs Mia Yim winning a lot of match of the night plaudits. But chances are you’re back for Shine 4 anyway, with the influx of SHIMMER related talent, and a SHIMMER Title defence in the main event, as Saraya Knight brings her distinctive brand of belligerence to Ybor City in a battle with former WWE Women’s Champion Jazz… so let’s take a look at Shine’s newbies.
Saraya Knight – SHIMMER Champion
First SHIMMER Title defence for the 20+ year veteran, having defeated Cheerleader Melissa at SHIMMER Vol 48 earlier this year … “The English Rose” is the matriarch of female wrestling in Britain, having won multiple titles and promoted wrestling (WAW) with her husband “Rowdy” Ricky Knight for over 15 years … Now promotes World Association of Women’s Wrestling (WAWW) featuring women from all over Europe … Mother of WWE NXT Diva Paige … Came back from a believed career ending injury in 2008 … Former WOW Podcast guest … Likes to “play” when in the US, so keep your hands to yourself and your words soft and sweet in case you have to eat them.
“I am so sorry I have not been in touch in a while. I have been in and out of hospital and have not been able to get access to the internet in over a week. I am very upset I have to write this email because I have to cancel all future dates until December. I am not sure if you had heard about the knock to the head I got in Germany a few weeks ago or not, but I got a bad cut above the eye and it was stitched up and all seemed fine. But after a few days I was getting extremely painful headaches, loud buzzing in my left ear and my vision in my left eye is completely blurred. The doctor has told me it may be damage to the 8th cranial nerve and I am waiting for a CT brain scan and have been advised to stop wrestling for the next few months. It could be permanent or it could go away by itself, but until all signs have been alleviated I will not be able to engage in any heavy physical activity.”
That’s the message Rebecca Knox posted on her own website back in October 2006, following her serious injury in a match against Kisu in Dortmund on September 22 of that year. The match finished as normal, and took on Sweet Saraya the following night in Great Yarmouth, England in a match which saw her drop the Queens Of Chaos Championship. After that, she took some time out to get medically checked out, which gave her the bad news about her 8th cranial nerve injury. It also meant that the proposed Iron Woman Match between she and Daizee Haze at SHIMMER Volume 7 had to be scrapped, after the pair had engaged in a heated feud in the promotion’s early days.
As she points out in her post, she was expecting to be out until December 2006. It’s now October 2012, and only now is the 25-year old from Dublin, Ireland seriously thinking of a return. (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…)
Following last night’s Monday Night Raw (which we will get to in a minute, be patient), Beth Phoenix was approached by fans outside the Times Union Center in Albany, NY, asking if the rumours about her planning to leave WWE and retire were true. Lords Of Pain reports that she replied she was neither leaving WWE or retiring in the near future.
To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies – a model involved in one of the biggest scandals of in British 1960s politics, the John Profumo/Christine Keeler affair and discredit of the Conservative Government at the time – “well, she would, wouldn’t she?”
Wrestling Inc was the first website to report that Phoenix was intending to leave WWE. It posted a piece last Thursday saying that they had heard from a source that she would be going in October. This was later picked up by other wrestling news sites, and was given extra weight by the Wrestling Observer, which says it has had it confirmed by other sources within the company. However, Phoenix is a professional, and will likely not be addressing the rumours – if she is leaving, she will do so in the right way, quietly slipping into the shadows, likely putting over remaining talent along the way. (more…)
SHINE Wrestling hits iPPV this evening for its third monthly instalment with nods to the past, present and future.
For the past, the promotion is honouring stars from yesteryear; the present is the card (which we will run down in just a moment); and the future is the announcement on the show which will affect both SHINE and big sister promotion SHIMMER: Women Athletes.
The big matches on the show see Jazz take on Rain, while Jazz’s rival Mercedes Martinez meets Jayme Jameson (plus Jazz and Martinez are banned from interacting), and Jessicka Havok steps into the ring against Mia Yim. Elsewhere, four women make their debuts (get more info on them here), and Made In Sin engage in their first singles matches in the promotion.
Tomorrow sees Shine Wrestling return with SHINE 3, live from The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL. As per normal, there are a number of pricing options available from WWNLive.com – and it also means it’s time for another Scouting Report. Only four talents are making their debuts on this show, so for background on the competitors not listed here, please refer back to the SHINE 1 and SHINE 2 Scouting Reports…
From “Temptation Island”, pint-sized Latasha stands just 4’11″, but she’s a little firecracker … Trained by (amongst others) similarly undersized Matt Hyson aka Spike Dudley … Best known for her run in WSU, where she was the first ever WSU Spirit Champion, and one half of the tag team champions with Jana … Looking to make an impact with Gabby Gilbert as the tag team “Rainbow Bright” (they’ve even got a joint twitter account) … We talked to Latasha at the start of the year for the first edition of “My Name Is…” where she talked about her desire to work more places this year … Toured with REINA in Japan earlier in the year … Watch out for her Luscious Breaker (neckbreaker) (more…)
SHINE Wrestling announced yesterday that it would be honouring wrestling legends, though exactly who it would be were not revealed by the time yesterday’s Roundup was published. However, we now have the names – they’re Sabrina, Diane Von Hoffman, Joyce Grable and Leilani Kai, all trained at some point by the Fabulous Moolah.
Now, most of you will know who Leilani Kai is – former WWF Women’s singles and tag team champion, participated at WrestleManias I and X and also won the NWA World Women’s Title in 2003 at a TNA show. Joyce Grable adopted the name as she bared a resemblance to the original who retired in 1974, and won the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship on four occasions.
Von Hoffman still wrestles occasionally today – she originally portrayed herself as a German Nazi and then as Moondog Fifi, teamed with Kai and also made two tours of Japan in the early 1980s. Finally, there’s Sabrina, who still laces up the boots once in a while. She started wrestling under the name of Susan Stirling before changing her moniker and also held the NWA tag straps in 1982 with her partner Princess Victoria. (more…)