There had been some speculation about the future of a number of joshis following the closure of SMASH on March 14, as wrestlers like Makoto and Syuri had made it their home promotion, and others like Kana, Serena Deeb and Tomoka Nakagawa had enjoyed success there too. As it turns out, SMASH founder Tajiri moved fast to announce a replacement, which was unveiled today.
Wrestling New Classic has already announced its first two shows – the first on April 26 at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan, with the follow-up a month later on May 24 at Korukuen Hall. The first show already has a joshi match booked featuring Makoto and final SMASH Divas Champion Syuri taking on former Divas titleholder Kana and her Triple Tails S partner Mio Shirai, in a match that actually took place in SMASH in Osaka on October 26 last year – for the record, Kana and Shirai won…
This announcement is particularly good news for Syuri and Makoto, who considered SMASH their highest profile exposure. Makoto had started to keep herself busy, securing her in-ring debut for Union Pro, while Syuri seemingly did not have any more wrestling bookings on the horizon, though she could always have gone down her other avenue of interest, shootboxing and kickboxing. Kana did not have such quibbles, as she regularly works for other promotions including Dramatic Dream Team and Pro Wrestling WAVE. (more…)
Almost five years ago, Sweet Saraya was injured in a match against Cheerleader Melissa where her kneecap was severed – an injury so bad that not only was she told she may never wrestle again, but she may lose her leg. Showing the same sort of guile and determination that saw her endure brutal attacks while as a valet, and become clinically blind, she returned to the ring four months later – probably earlier than she should have, but nobody is going to stop Saraya when she sets her mind on something.
Saraya and Melissa didn’t share a building again until a year ago when the British veteran debuted in SHIMMER alongside her daughter Britani. The fact that she even made it to the promotion in the first place was a big unlikelihood, as she believed her time for wrestling in the US had passed, and in her own mind, was only tagging along as part of a showcase for her 18-year old offspring, who was well on the radar of WWE at the time – she’s now signed, as has been renamed Paige, making her FCW TV in-ring debut last week – but something happened. Instead of being in the background, Saraya ended up right in the spotlight due to her surly demeanour, violent tendencies and venom-filled promos – so much so that when Britani turned babyface and they wrestled on SHIMMER Volume 44 last October, the pair brutalised each other with Britani getting the win, and the wicked witch was vanquished. Some thought that would also be the last we would see of the red-haired menace in SHIMMER.
They were wrong. (more…)
Earlier this month, we described the SMASH Divas Title as a hot potato, considering how many times it changed hands during the championship’s short existence – which is due to end next month when the promotion closes its doors. It currently sits around the waist of Syuri, who won the belt from two-time titleholder Kana at SMASH 25, putting an end to their rivalry which has spanned the promotion’s existence.
As we pointed out, there has not been one successful title defence by past champions Kana or Tomoka Nakagawa, and Syuri won’t get the chance to have one either, as she is not booked to defend the belt on the promotion’s final card next month. It also means that – barring some last minute booking decision – the shootboxer/kickboxer/wrestler will be the final Divas Champion, which is pretty fitting seeing as she is the woman that embodies SMASH more than any other.
After the jump, you can see not only the contest in full – watch it soon, as it may not be on YouTube for very long – as well as the hype video before the match. And in case you’re not fluent in Japanese, don’t worry, because Kana and Syuri are subtitled in English, and the voice-over is in English too. (more…)
First it was was Kana. The it was Tomoka Nakagawa. Then it was Kana again. And now, the SMASH Divas Championship is in the hands of Syuri.
All of these title changes have taken place since the creation of the title back on September 8 last year, with not one single successful title defence by any of the champions, and with just one more SMASH show to go – taking place in Tokyo on March 14, what’s the betting that there won’t be another changing of the guard then?
23-year old shootboxer/kickboxer/wrestler Syuri won the title by defeating two time champion Kana with a high kick at the 12.50 mark in the penultimate match of the SMASH 25 show, held in front of a super no vacancy crowd of 3,000 fans at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall. However, while this would normally be a massive high-point in her career, I can’t help feeling that Syuri ascent to the top of SMASH’s female division is slightly tainted by the lineage of the title. (more…)
Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, how about a look at two of the romances running in WWE that involve two of the biggest storylines going on at the moment?
On Raw this week, the relationship between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres ground to a halt when Eve decided to kiss John Cena after he helped to rescue her from the clutches of Kane. Unfortunately, a crushed Ryder saw the whole thing, though Torres claimed it was a heat of the moment thing, then called things off with him, hoping that they can remain friends.
On the plus side, this storyline is the best opportunity that Torres has every had to show some personality in her near five year WWE tenure, even though it has caused her to experience derision from the audience for knowingly or unknowingly screwing over one of the favourite wrestlers in the promotion right now – someone who has captured the hearts and imagination of fans by standing up to his bosses with his YouTube Z! True Long Island Story, getting over in spite of his booking (or lack of it) and then being sucked into one of the most asinine and ridiculous storylines in years, that being Cena v Kane, by being the whipping boy who is the real life equivalent of Kenny from South Park being murdered on every show. By screwing over the guy who has the sympathy of fans, Eve is positioned as a heel… for now. (more…)
Beth Phoenix and Natalya sat down with WWE Magazine for an interview which has been published in the February 2012 issue (though this must have been conducted a while back, as Phoenix has been off TV for more than a month and the Pin-Up Strong gimmick has been limping for a long time now), with one of the questions asked being which male-dominated stipulation match they would like to see introduced to the Divas Division. Both went for the ladder match.
“I want to compete in the first-ever Diva Ladder Match. Beth and I think it would be amazing, and I believe we could really pull it off,” Natalya says.
Beth adds, “I have been campaigning for WWE to let me compete in one and have even volunteered to put my Divas Championship on the line in it against absolutely anybody. I have the experience and truly believe the bar could be raised with that bout. There is no doubt in my mind that it would be the most spectacular Divas match of all-time.”
No doubt, a Divas ladder match would be pretty unique, but there is no way that this match should happen now, or even in the near future. A ladder match would have to be the culmination of a strong feud between two Divas who can go, with a number of matches having took place with inconclusive winners and the odd ladder attack, leading to the Divas title belt being hung above the ring. The problem that WWE has at the moment is that the Divas roster as a whole is probably at its most neglected in the last decade, and the number of quality female workers in the promotion who could successfully pull it off is tragically slim.
Beth would have to be one of them. Though it’s not saying much, she’s probably the most over and best all-rounder of all the women, though when it comes to her opponent, it’s slim pickings, for sure. (more…)
‘In Video’ this week presents a couple of matches from SMASH‘s most recent big show, SMASH.23, which took place on November 24th at the hallowed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Headlined by the SMASH debut of Fit Finlay (who lifted the SMASH Title from first champion Starbuck), the show featured the usual strong spotlight on the women in their Divas division (yes, they really call it that). Today we’d like to draw your attention to two singles matches featuring the stars of said division.
Coming up after the page break you’ll see video footage from Kana‘s SMASH Divas Title defence against S-Ovation’s Tomoka Nakagawa, but before that, here’s a chance to check out the uber-talented Lin Bairon (who has now moved past her “Bitch” phase and returned to her original look and demeanour), taking on SMASH’s resident shootboxer Syuri in a hardcore match that will probably go some way to determining the next title contender.
Follow through to after the cut to check out Kana vs Tomoka Nakagawa (more…)
With the WWE Championship having changed hands a near inconceivable nine times since May this year, wrestling fans in the West have gotten used to hot potato title changes. Thankfully, such quick swaps are far from the norm in Japan, but in what one hopes won’t be a regular thing, one of the more “Americanised” puro products (Yoshihiro Tajiri’s SMASH) followed up crowning first ever champions in both the male and female divisions by having both champions lose their titles on their first defences at today’s SMASH.23 event at Korakuen Hall.
While former WWE wrestler (and Divas trainer) Dave “Fit” Finlay captured the SMASH Title from the Lance Storm trained Starbuck, former SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Tomoka Nakagawa took her opportunity and lifted the SMASH Divas Title from the inaugural champion Kana in a fairly brief 8:53 match, avoiding a kick and rolling up the “Most Dangerous” one with a schoolgirl. Quite a surprise, then, to see SMASH’s most prominent and vocal female competitor lose her title on her first defence – but you can’t argue that it’s great to see Tomoka win a major singles title. Somewhat underappreciated by the masses, Nakagawa is long overdue a spotlight. The question is – what sort of a reign will she get? The next main numbered SMASH show will be SMASH.24 on December 30th – and you’d imagine that Kana will want her title back pretty damn quickly.
Click after the jump for a shot taken seconds after Tomoka’s victory, video of the match, and other related results from today. (more…)
Yesterday, TNA announced that they were forming a working relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling to be a “training and developmental facility”, much like the setup that OVW had with WWE until 2008.
In a statement, TNA declared:
NASHVILLE, TN (November 7, 2011)– TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announces that they are entering into an exclusive relationship with Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), effective immediately, as the official training and developmental facility for TNA’s current and future stars of TNA IMPACT WRESLTING. Former wrestling star and OVW owner Danny Davis will work closely with TNA SVP of Programming and Talent Relations Bruce Prichard in the development of the talent through training, live events, and weekly television production allowing talent to explore every aspect of the business.
“OVW is the best of the best as far as training and nurturing potential superstars. Their track record speaks for itself. Whether looking to develop brand new talent or to fine tune existing talent, OVW has the talent and program to fit our needs.” says TNA’s Prichard. “TNA is providing developmental talent the opportunity to hone their craft in an environment that will allow them to grow and prosper.”
TNA talent will be arriving soon at the facility to begin an extensive training program with the industry’s leading experts. The program is akin to a college scholarship program where talent is provided a scholarship style agreement with TNA to learn the craft. The talent to attend the program is selected by TNA’s Prichard and TNA officials who will be monitoring the progress of each wrestler at camp and the live events.
Now, nonwithstanding the fact that TNA’s press office can’t spell “WRESTLING” – even though it matters – this will be a good opportunity for many aspiring young talent in TNA. Quite frankly, it’s something both WWE and TNA need, as the limited number of approved places for wrestlers to get more experience in either company is pretty slim. However, this is also a two way street, as some wrestlers who currently consider Louisville, KY their main base could use it as an opportunity to make contacts and get spotted – or re-spotted, in the case of the former Sojo Bolt, AKA current OVW Women’s Champion Lady JoJo.
For example, if TNA wants to give its tag team division a bit of a revival (yes, I realise what I just said) then there are two potential teams waiting to go. The first would be the combination of the Smothers Twisted Daughters, comprised of Izza Belle and Jessie Belle Smothers – the latter of which really is the daughter of the awesome Tracy Smothers. (more…)
It’s a more than welcome return to the Women of Wrestling Podcast for “The Nicest Woman In Wrestling” Serena Deeb – and a timely one too, given her recent serious concussion. Want the full story on what happened and the up-to-date news on her health? She’s got it. There’s loads more to talk about too, such as the match she was supposed to be having at WSU later this month with Melina, and her thoughts on Melina as a performer and exactly where she stands in her career at this point. We talk Serena’s regular trips to Japan in 2011 for SMASH, and discuss the younger talents like Amanda Fox and Davina Rose who are trying to walk in Serena’s footsteps. We talk her incredible intensity in the ring, the possibility of returning to WWE and who Serena sees as the absolute best in the business right now. We also discuss the “World Famous” Kana, who made her US debut last month. As usual, an uplifting chat with the Deebious One. What a feeling!
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
The cover is dedicated to the interviews with the ReGeneration X tag team of Allison Danger and Leva Bates, though the magazine also chases down Mia Yim for a chat, and there is the second part of their giant interview with former WWE Women’s Champion and Tough Enough trainer Trish Stratus.
Throw in reviews of ACW’s American Joshi Queen of Queens 2011 and AIW’s Girls Night Out 3, and you’ve got 46 pages of great reading. Click the picture to get stuck in.
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…)
Earlier today at SMASH 21 in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall, Japanese sensation Kana defeated SHIMMER star Serena Deeb in the finals of the SMASH Divas Title Tournament to establish the first champion in the division. It was quite the deal for Kana, who got the monkey off her back, having suffered two previous pinfall losses to Deeb’s spear, sealing the win with her Kana Lock (Crossface Chickenwing). The title win signals the start of a new chapter in SMASH’s female division, which has actually been the source for a number of really great womens matches in the last year or so – and with Kana now officially crowned champion, she is going to have a whole list of potential challengers to work through.
To get to the finals, Kana had to defeat longtime rival Lin “Bitch” Bairon (at SMASH 18) and Syuri (at SMASH 20), whilst Deeb had to go through Tomoka Nakagawa (at SMASH 19) and Makoto (at SMASH 20), and at yesterday’s press conference, Serena cut the very model of confidence, while Kana seemed demure and probably slightly intimidated. Deeb’s loss here represents her first loss in SMASH, following seven consecutive wins in singles and tag matches, all finishing with her dreaded spear.
So it’s official; Melina’s return to indie wrestling will be on November 19 at Women Superstars Uncensored’s Breaking Barriers II iPPV where she will wrestle fellow ex-WWE employee Serena Deeb. WSU made the match official in its press release yesterday, where it claims “Melina, who has a very storied career in WWE, wants to prove to the world that she is not just a diva, but a full-fledged womens wrestler. She will get that opportunity on 11/19. Serena is calling herself “The Best in the World”. We’ll find out if that rings true on 11/19 in this first time ever one-on-one clash.”
In theory, this is will be a comfortable return for Melina to a different style of action than you normally see on WWE TV, as she and Serena can work a half WWE, half indie style. It’s a decent idea, considering she has not been on the indie scene since 2004, a mere three years into her wrestling career. It’s also Melina’s best opportunity to create a new first impression…
32-year old Melina Perez has a reputation for being troublesome behind the scenes, with a number of reports from a number of different sources – some of them could be true, some of them could be phoney. However, after a number of reported incidents, it becomes ever more likely that the next incident will be more readily believed, regardless of its validity. Melina polarises opinions – some think she is excellent, others think she is more trouble than she is worth – but she has a chance to sell herself to a fresh set of eyes on November 19. In essence, she has an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and give us the chance to see that she is taking wrestling seriously, and is willing to muck in and work towards presenting a better product for women’s wrestling fans. (more…)
Most of you reading this will already know the main details about Gail Kim and Melina’s departures from WWE – Melina was released on Thursday after a number of controversial incidents, while Kim “quit” on last Monday after eliminating herself from Raw’s battle royal. The situation since then is that both are still somewhat tied to the company, be it by choice or circumstance.
Despite walking out of WWE last week, Gail Kim is still yet to have been officially released. Instead, she’s breaching her contract – which may have as little as a month or two left on it – in the hope that the deal will be terminated and she will be free to do whatever she wants with her life. The two most obvious possibilities to this strategy were that either Kim would get what she wanted – which was unlikely, as why would they roll over for someone who has behaved unprofessionally in just walking out of the door – or that WWE would sue her for breaching her contract. However, they decided to choose option three – keep her on the payroll. (more…)
Thursday, July 19, 2001 was a pretty humdrum day in world history. As a frame of reference, the most newsworthy thing was the Code Red virus taking hold of a massive number of computers after being released online 6 days previously.
In the world of wrestling, Steve Austin was on SmackDown, showing “the old Stone Cold” was back when he stunnered everyone in the ring ahead of the WWF Invasion pay-per-view, which was to take place in three days. It would intrigue wrestling fans who wondered what would happen if the WWF and WCW ever clashed on one show. As it turned out, it would be a decent – and high grossing – show which was followed by months of killing the WCW image to the point that it was worthless by November.
However, also on this very day ten years ago at Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro, MO, a young lady by the name of Christine was handed her first ever defeat in a mid-card contest at the hands of a debuting wrestler to Gateway Championship Wrestling. That wrestler was MsChif.
Rachel Collins had been asked by her colleague at her human genetics job – the role she had before going into microbiology – what she would love to do more than anything. Concluding that it would be to learn to wrestle, she decided to train at at GCW under the tutelage of Johnny Greenpeace (who was the tough trainer) and Jack Adonis (who was the comic relief), with the black-metal-banshee character naturally evolving while she was learning her craft. Even though she never believed that she would wrestle outside of St Louis, MsChif would go on to win a shedload of top championships including the SHIMMER title, the NWA World Women’s Title and the NWA Midwest/IWA Mid-South Women’s Title – which she held all at one time during 2008 and 2009 – as well as winning ChickFight IV and being ranked 4th in the PWI Female Fifty for 2009.
When asked for comment, MsChif told Ringbelles: “It’s crazy to think I’ve been wrestling for 10 years now. It doesn’t feel like it’s been so long. Wrestling has brought on some very amazing times, places and people. I couldn’t imagine life without wrestling.” (more…)
Two big pieces of business have surfaced as it pertains to CHIKARA‘s weekend of shows at the end of July.
The first is a trios tag team match on July 30 as part of CHIKARAsaurus Rex: King of Sequel night 1 featuring joshi tag team specialist and current CMLL star Mima Shimoda, Ice Ribbon‘s ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto and Canadian Ninja Portia Perez taking on BDK members Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze linking up with Ice Ribbon’s next challenger to the Chii Tomiya‘s IW19 Championship and semi finalist in SMASH‘s women’s title tournament, Makoto.
This news confirms that Makoto will be back to fitness ahead of her US visit after suffering a neck injury on June 8 before an Ice Ribbon card. She’ll return at the SMASH show on July 15 and will apparently be ready to go in Reading, PA. The match also marks the return of Perez to CHIKARA after a 3 and a half year absence. She has had two matches in the promotion – her debut being a loss to Haze on August 20, 2006; her other was a loss to Shane Storm on November 16, 2007. (more…)
Serena Deeb is really racking up those stamps in her passport. Not only is she making a name for herself in Japan as part of SMASH, she is currently in Australia to take part in a charity show which also featured former WWE stars (and fellow Ohio Valley Wrestling alumni) U-Gene, Paul London, Rob Conway and Spirit Squad member Mike Mondo.
In the sole women’s match on the Wrestling For Rotary card held on Saturday night at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre in Victoria, Serena took on Australia’s own Kellie Skater – the woman who Serena wrestled in her return to SHIMMER after being released by WWE.
Australia’s most likely got a special place in Serena’s heart, as it’s where she finally got the chance to step into the WWE ring and wrestle. After spending most of her time as a follower of CM Punk as part of the Straight Edge Society, she got to wrestle alongside Layla against Kelly Kelly and Natalya in Melbourne last August as part of the SmackDown World Tour.
Both Deeb and Skater had representatives on the outside in the form of presenters from a local radio station – Skater’s second spent much of the match getting involved in the action to help his charge get the advantage, but ended up eating humble pie after Serena’s guy fought back, allowing her to get the win with her trademark spear.
Ringbelles got in touch with Skater to get her thoughts on the show. Click after the jump for comments, video and photos… (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.