If you’re a women’s wrestling fan living in the western hemisphere, chances are you’ve had your fill of top in-ring action over the last two weeks. In the US, there was SHIMMER (results and thoughts here and here); Canada had nCw Femmes Fatales (detailed results here); and in the UK, Pro Wrestling: EVE collaborated with Ice Ribbon to present three shows over two days (results and photos here and here, and interviews here). While there were big names, such as Cheerleader Melissa, Serena Deeb and LuFisto who achieved or surpassed what fans have grown to expect of them, there have been some wrestlers who have managed to break into that next echelon of success and have opened up a new world of possibilities. In this week’s Roundup, I’ll be having a look at them.
The first to make an impact (lower-case I) was Athena, who turned babyface in SHIMMER as part of a double-turn which saw Mercedes Martinez go heel. In a pretty accurate homage to Steve Austin and Bret Hart flip-flopping sides back in 1997 at WrestleMania 13, Martinez got frustrated by the less experienced Athena refusing to stay down, and used a chair to attack her ankle in full view of the referee, intentionally disqualifying herself. Refusing to be beaten, Athena got on the mic to say she would be back when her leg was 100% again.
I’ve been harping on for a while now that Athena’s athletic, high flying moveset, attitude and look lend themselves to being a flashy yet tough babyface. In most promotions, she is portrayed as a heel, which she does well, but fans still applaud her when she executes some of her aerial moves – such as her springboard attacks, which virtually no other female in America does at the moment, and even fewer do it with such grace and ability. By turning her babyface, those reactions look set to become more passionate cheers, rather than applause of begrudging respect. As long as she keeps calling people hussies, keeps the swagger and tempers the flying to make it mean more when she does it, Athena looks set to be a massive star in SHIMMER. Granted, she is a multi-time American Joshi Champion in Anarchy Championship Wrestling, but the worldwide reach of SHIMMER will see her profile and stock shoot up in 2012. Best of luck to her. (more…)