Not making it to Bellatrix 5 in Norwich, England on Sunday may have been unfortunate, but it did provide me the opportunity to utilise the option to watch the show on iPPV. Considering a lot of the changes from Bellatrix 4 last November were being done because of this one being broadcast live, it was interesting to be able to assess if those changes were successful.
Improvements to aesthetics like giant wall hangings of the roster, an improved entranceway, ringside barriers and more attention paid to start and running times were coupled with the venue being a purpose-built TV studio with full-scale lights and sound systems, the Epic Studios in Norwich looked vastly different to 5 months ago. The benefit of it being a proper studio also made it easier for the show to be streamed online, as the facilities to broadcast were all there, and had been tried and tested with previous unrelated shows. As a result, Bellatrix 5 was one of the slickest women’s wrestling iPPVs produced to date. (more…)
Well, it had a difficult birth – with most of the former Knockouts banding together and turning down offers to work the show – but TNA have managed to put together a Knockouts only PPV as part of their taped “One Night Only” series after all, and managed to pull a coup out of the bag by featuring Serena Deeb‘s first match since October 2011. Deeb took on fellow OVW trainee Mickie James in the match, which it is believed will likely air in the July or August slot on TNA’s One Night Only calendar. (X-Travaganza will air in April, the Jokers Wild Tag Tournament in May, and TNA’s live Slammiversary will air in June). All of the early matches were termed as qualifiers for the main event “Queen of TNA” Gauntlet match, which is TNA’s Royal Rumble style timed-entrance Battle Royale with the final two facing off in a pinfall/submission standard match.
Interestingly, one former Knockout did show up despite not being booked – as Daffney, fresh off resolving litigation with the company, was seen protesting the show with an “I’m here independently” sign (in reference to her threat to challenge the so-called ‘Independent Contractor’ clause in TNA contracts).
Click back after the break for an exclusive pic of Daffney & Amber O’Neal at the show, along with full results, which also saw the return of other former Knockouts, a former Diva, Gut Check competitors and independent talent (more…)
Velvet Sky defends the TNA Knockouts Championship at Lockdown against Gail Kim, with a simmering friction between Kim and referee Taryn Terrell all set to boil over.
• The pair have history, which was pointed out by the commentators during the match. Back at Turning Point 2011, Kim defeated Sky to regain the Knockouts Title in what was Sky’s first defence since winning the belt for the first time a month earlier at Bound For Glory.
• The following April, the pair met inside the cage at Lockdown 2012 with Kim successfully retaining the championship.
• Sky regained the Knockouts Title during TNA’s tour of the UK in January, though the title change wasn’t aired until almost a month later. She defeated Tara in her first defence, and was booked to put the belt on the line against Kim in San Antonio, TX at Lockdown.
• Meanwhile, Kim has had a problem with Terrell since Genesis, where Gail benefited in a Gauntlet Match due to Taryn’s errors, but it came back to bite her when another mistake allowed Sky to win the contest. (more…)
Five TNA Knockouts meet in a Gauntlet Match with the winner becoming the number one contender to Tara‘s Knockouts Championship.
• Well, there wasn’t any really. On last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, Miss Tessmacher and Robbie E beat Tara and Jesse Godderz, but it didn’t lead into this match at all.
• It was announced that Tessmacher, Mickie James, Gail Kim, Velvet Sky and ODB would meet in a Gauntlet match at Genesis fought under the winner-stays-on format, not like TNA’s usual gauntlet style with a battle royal with the final two then competing in a regular match.
• Kim and Tessmacher started the proceedings with some tidy sequences between two wrestlers who have always had good chemistry with each other. For the most part, it was the Texan who got the upper hand with flying forearms and dropkicks – however the key factor was Gail’s boot, as she planted it in Tessmacher’s jaw with an Eat Defeat to send her to the showers. (more…)
In a recent interview with Edge, he was asked why so many women are voluntarily choosing to leave WWE. His reply: “I don’t think they get a shot and that’s why most leave. No incentive.”
Now, I was all set to expand on this, but there is the flip side – what about the fortunate ones who do get a shot? Do they seize the opportunity with both hands? Well, one is certainly doing so at the moment, and she seems to be the only one on the main roster taking the her role as a wrestler deadly seriously.
Consider what WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres has been up to in the last week. She was featured in a profile video for American Latino which focuses a large amount of time on the self defence for women programme she offers – something that she believes very passionately about. She teamed up with the Gracie Academy for the Women Empowered DVD set, and has worked hard promoting women being able to take care of themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
The interview also saw Torres justifying her heel character in WWE by saying she is a woman who gets what she wants, and her holding the WWE Divas belt is proof of that. It’s weird logic, but she has a point – it gets around the fact that she is a heel too, even though she is purporting herself to be on the side of the good girls. (more…)
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.
Last Sunday at TNA Hardcore Justice, I questioned the Knockouts Title victory by Madison Rayne, saying that it was the right result in the right storyline – as it pertains to her advances to referee Earl Hebner – but it arrived too soon, as it cut the legs off the previous champion Miss Tessmacher, who was still finding her way in her first reign. The situation changed on last night’s Impact Wrestling when Tessmacher regained the belt after the law stopped leaning in the direction of Rayne.
Knockouts boss lady Brooke Hogan had clearly seen enough, and made the ruling that Hebner was not going to ref any more women’s matches, which bent the new champion out of shape as she waited in the ring for what she thought was going to be a victory party. She then got two further kicks in the teeth when she was informed that the rematch between her and Tessmacher would happen later in the show, and there would be a debuting ref, and it would be a woman – not that female refs are a new thing in TNA, as Traci Brooks donned the stripes for a while in 2008.
Rayne got in a cutting blow before leaving though, saying that Brooke was only there because of her surname – an interesting, and possibly close-to-the-bone line, considering that argument was raised in this week’s Wrestling Observer about how she’s not over and not much of a talker. Granted, her on-mic stuff here wasn’t great, but she’s hardly the worst ever – perhaps she’s being unfairly compared to her dad. (more…)
Anyone see Raw this week? I mean besides the awesome stuff with CM Punk? I mean, the Divas match in particular between Kelly Kelly and Melina, with a post-match beatdown by the Bella Twins on Kelly and Eve Torres? Anyone see how Melina joined in with the beatdown? No?
That’s because it didn’t happen. The two-time Divas Champion and three-time Women’s Champion was left in the shadows after being defeated in 100 seconds by Kelly, having only got in three moves, and two of those were kicks. It could be claimed that the match was short – so short that Melina was introduced in the ring and din’t even get to do her signature entrance with the paparazzi and the splits – because the show was overrunning. Some would say it’s a big push for Kelly, given that she is the Divas Champ right now, and that she has a title defence this weekend on the Money in the Bank pay-per-view against Brie Bella - and that’s all true. However, Kelly could have beaten any number of women on the Raw roster in what was effectively a squash match – Maryse would have been perfect for that role. It is telling that WWE chose to send out Melina – its former golden girl, the woman who was the figurehead of the division for years and the woman who has seemingly been in the Diva doghouse for all of 2011 – to lie down… (more…)
The Big News
In what was a pretty classy move by WWE, not only did they let Kharma go out there and tell the truth, they also left the door open for her return.
Following a week of speculation – started by the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online by saying she would be out of action for nine months – Kharma came clean to the world and revealed her pregnancy on Raw last night.
In a straight promo – much like Edge’s when he revealed he had to retire – she told us about how she had two dreams, the first of which was to be a WWE Superstar (note she said Superstar instead of Diva… telling. Also, she said the word “wrestling” or “wrestler” three times). She talked about applying for Tough Enough 2 back in 2002 – something I’ve documented in the past – and how Jim Ross thought she was too fat to make it. Undeterred, she travelled to Japan, scrubbed floors and earned the right to train and become a star there, as she told to us in the Women of Wrestling Podcast last year.
From there, Kharma also talked about how she had always wanted a family, and officially let us know about her pregnancy – something that received a nice reception from the fans. She described it as a “high risk pregnancy”, which is understandable considering her working environment, thanked the audience for their support and said that she would return in a year.
Of course, with this being WWE, there was an interruption by the Bella Twins who mocked Kharma with some poorly written, and even more poorly delivered, insults. Seriously, if Nikki and Brie were any more wooden, they could have been part of the hull of Noah’s Ark. Perhaps they didn’t fully believe or support the words they were saying, so it came across that way in the promo. Still, Kharma promised that she would be back for them in a year, which makes sure that we haven’t seen the last of her in WWE. (more…)
The Big News
Card subject to change.
It’s a phrase used by nearly all wrestling promotions to cover themselves in case an advertised match doesn’t happen, or an advertised wrestler doesn’t appear. While no promotion wants to let down the paying audience, sometimes circumstances happen and alternative decisions have to be made. It’s the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with a high-contact sport such as professional wrestling – accidents and injuries happen, transport fails, some even hold up promoters for more money. Whatever the reason, it’s a useful get-out clause if what you had planned can’t materialise.
TNA forgot those four words on Sunday at Lockdown.
Instead of engaging in a competitive contest which would put over the might and will of the champion and thusly make the title mean more when the challenger defeats her, Mickie James ended Madison Rayne’s record 188-day run as Knockouts Champion in just 34 seconds. This was because James still hasn’t fully recovered from the separated shoulder she suffered a few weeks ago – in fact, Dave Meltzer reports that James arrived at Lockdown in Cincinnati, OH with her arm still in a sling, and only took it off for the match before putting it back on when she got to the back.
If this is the case, it explains why the match was so short, but doesn’t explain why the match had to happen at all. (more…)
The Big News
Daffney is no longer a part of TNA – she issued a statement to Diva Dirt informing us of the situation:
Yesterday my picture was taken down off of the TNA roster page. My contract expires today and TNA did not renew it. I do not know if it has anything to do with it, but I’ve make a Worker’s Comp against them claim due to injuries I’ve sustained in the ring and my lawyers said to not go into anymore details.
Daffney hasn’t been seen in TNA in 2011. She is slated to appear at Anarchy Championship Wrestling Queen Of Queens on June 26 in Live Oak, TX and at a number of signing appearances over the next few months. Check out the We Want Daffney Facebook page to see if there is one near to you.
This situation does add some credence to this article though, which claims that working conditions in TNA are poor, and that you had better hope you never get hurt under a TNA contract, or you’ll be in trouble:
Angelina Love (who, as leader of The Beautiful People, has been one of company’s established ratings draws for years now) noted in a 2009 interview that she had suffered a very serious concussion at the TNA Lockdown PPV that had just taken place. (This was the in the triple threat cage match with Awesome Kong and Taylor Wilde for the TNA women’s championship, in which Love landed wrong, hit her head and was completely out of it for the rest of the match. With things quickly turning into a shambles, Taylor then improvised a finish on the fly, so Love could win the Knockouts title as scripted. Despite the quick-thinking Taylor’s best efforts, the finish still looked awful: Love could barely do anything, and even standing and smiling with the title at the end seemed beyond her.) Love herself confirms this in the interview: “I was pretty much carried by four security guards to the trainer’s office. I was completely blacked out. I don’t even remember winning.” The interviewer then notes that TNA put her in a match two days later. Love, who has a history of suffering bad concussions, confirmed this, as well as noting: “You’ve got to make a living, so I was doing indie shows about 5 days later. It probably wasn’t too safe…” This story threw up several troubling questions in my mind: Why did TNA put her in a match so soon after what was a fairly serious head injury? What doctor in their right mind told her to get back in the ring just two days after suffering such a severe concussion? Did she even go see a doctor? Could she have afforded to see one?
Either way, we wish Daffney a speedy recovery, and good health and fortune for the future. For someone who gave their body to TNA and allowed herself to be put through tables and thumbtacks for our entertainment, she deserves some good fortune.
LuFisto described it as a “dream come true” – a year after they were originally scheduled to wrestle back on February 10, 2010 in the main event of Femmes Fatales II, the Super Hardcore Anime finally got the chance to take on Ayako Hamada at NCW: Femmes Fatales V last Saturday in Montreal. The two engaged in what’s been described a classic encounter over the Femmes Fatales Championship which saw LuFisto retain the title with a Burning Hammer.
Other notable results include Mercedes Martinez beating Kalamity, and Courntney Rush (the former PJ Tyler) defeating Cat Power in a Combat De Rue in what Power later informed us would be her last match. The Windsor, Ontario native is looking to go back to school and is also looking to continue her boxing training. Stew and I talked to Cat last week as part of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast – her final interview as an active wrestler. We at Ringbelles wish her nothing but the best for the future. (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…)