Another one bites the dust.
Following the departures of Brooke Hogan, Tara, Taeler Hendrix and Madison Rayne, SoCal Val has confirmed that she has left TNA. She tweeted: “Thank u #ImpactWrestling, the lockerroom & esp the fans for 9 wonderful years. No longer w the company. Really excited 2 see what’s NEXT!”
Officially, Val signed with TNA in 2006 – and while you may initially shrug her shoulders at going as most fans at shows see her as being the Impact Wrestling ring girl who returns gear to the locker room or working as a ring announcer for Xplosion, she did a lot more than that, rising through the ranks backstage to become a valued part of their international product. (more…)
It looks like TNA is really serious about this cost-cutting exercise. After bidding farewell to Madison Rayne, Taeler Hendrix and Tara in July, the company has reportedly let go Brooke Hogan, who was working as an authority figure for the Knockouts and was part of an ongoing storyline involving on-screen husband and TNA Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray. The news was revealed by PWInsider yesterday evening, and a similar report was also uploaded to F4W Online soon afterward.
Quite honestly, this is a surprise. It’s not because of Hogan’s usefulness in the promotion – which was minimal as far as a boss lady for the women’s division, or even because of the storyline with Bully Ray – but because of her surname. As Hulk‘s daughter, you would have thought she would have been bulletproof from these releases as part of measures to appease their biggest star. The indication that she is just as susceptible to being cut as anyone else is a real eye-opener. Nobody is safe. (more…)
Shoot interviews are always a funny thing. With wrestlers who have retired and have nothing to lose and are looking for a final few paydays without running the risk of torpedoing any future prospects, they can sometimes be an interesting walk down memory lane, with some fun stories from the past and some misty-eyed memories can be revisited by both the subject and fans who remember the era. However, with wrestlers who are still active, it can be a more dangerous venture.
What happens if you reveal more than you want to and it hurts your chances of making it somewhere in the future? What if you have a grudge with someone, voice it and then have uncomfortable moments if you have to share dressing rooms down the line? What about annoying a friend by saying something about someone who you dislike but they have a lot of time for? It’s a much bigger minefield.
That’s why the recent Kayfabe Commentaries piece by Amazing Kong has ruffled a few feathers. (more…)
For those of you wondering why Taryn Terrell has been absent from TNA TV for more than a month, the answer was revealed in this week’s Wrestling Observer, where it was reported that she is taking time off for personal reasons and isn’t expected back any time soon. PWInsider clarified the situation saying that she is dealing with a family matter and she is not in trouble or in danger of being released.
While we wish her well, the situation is a blow for her professionally. Her last appearance on Impact Wrestling was the Ladder Match with Gail Kim which was taped on June 29 in Las Vegas, NV, and broadcast on Spike on July 7, and despite the loss, the Observer reports that she was to win the Knockouts Championship from Mickie James at Bound For Glory in October. While she could return in time for that to still happen, there is still no guarantee that she will be ready to come back to TNA by then. This also leaves TNA with a problem, as it is another reduction in the Knockouts roster… (more…)
There are a lot of women’s wrestling promotions in the northern half of the planet. SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales, Women Superstars Uncensored, SHINE, IndyGurlz, Lucha Libre Feminil, Bellatrix, Pro-Wrestling: EVE, Fierce Females, WAVE, OZ Academy, JWP, Diana, Ice Ribbon, and Sendai Girls, just to name a few. In addition, there are promotions with women’s divisions like Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, Acclaim Pro Wrestling, Squared Circle Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, AAA, CMLL, FutureShock, ABC Catch and more.
In the southern hemisphere, there are comparatively few – which means if you are the champion of one of those, you are in a much more exclusive club. While there are some like the IndyGurlz Australia title and the Riot City Wrestling Women’s strap, arguably the most prestigious belt in women’s wrestling is in the southern hemisphere is the one representing the Pro Women’s Wrestling Alliance, and it’s now officially held by a grappler who has spent the last year as the lady in waiting… (more…)
We’ve been itching to talk about it for a month, and are glad that now that it has been broadcast, there is nothing to stop us now. Paige is the first NXT Women’s Champion, spotlighting her as the top woman in WWE’s developmental division right now. It is the shining moment in the 20-year old’s 6-year career – the last 18 months of which has been spent in Florida in Florida Championship Wrestling and later NXT. It was also a testament to WWE’s faith in the Briton that she defeated two established WWE Divas en route to the final of the tournament, defeating Tamina Snuka and former Divas Champion Alicia Fox to make it to the decider against Emma.
In what was the opening contest of last Wednesday’s broadcast, Paige and Emma put together what has to be the best women’s match that WWE has presented in the last year at least. With big moves peppering the proceedings, a decisive finish via the Paige Turner and the endorsement of fellow Divas and WWE COO Triple H made it all feel like a really big moment – as it should have been.
The WWE Divas Championship turned 5 years old on Saturday, and has evolved from the secondary title on the SmackDown brand to being the top belt in the promotion. Some would argue that in that time, the prestige of the primary women’s title in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world has dropped for various reasons, but it’s what we’re being presented, and it would be worth a look to see what state the title and the division itself is in right now.
Announced on June 6, 2008 by then-GM Vickie Guerrero so the women on her roster would have their own title, with the inaugural champion being Michelle McCool, who made Natalya tap out at that year’s Great American Bash. At the time, McCool was the pet project for WWE’s future, having been in the original Diva Search in 2004 and floating around for a long while before hitting a groove as a wrestler. However, she was a pretty unexciting one – and despite defeating Maryse a number of times over the course of the next month, it was the French Canadian who wrested the title from her in December of that year, which saw McCool turn heel on friend and special ref Maria Kanellis after the contest’s conclusion.
Maryse embarked on what is still the longest Divas Championship reign in the title’s history at 216 days, but her matches were pretty poor, and could not compare to the Raw brand’s women’s roster which was seeing the likes of Melina, Mickie James and Beth Phoenix competing over the Women’s Championship. However, during Maryse’s reign, she was drafted from SmackDown to Raw and took the belt with her, while Women’s Champion Melina went in the other direction. (more…)
As part of the ongoing cost-cutting measures that have seen several fringe TNA stars axed (in the Knockouts Division we’ve seen Madison Rayne’s contract allowed to expire – whilst pregnant, no less – and GutCheck winner Taeler Hendrix ask for her release), TNA this evening tweeted that they have released Lisa-Marie Varon, aka Tara from her contract.
So there you go. After just over four years in the company – where she picked up five Knockouts Championships, tying Angelina Love for most reigns with the title, and one reign as Knockouts Tag Team Champions (though the less said about those belts the better), she apparently finds herself surplus to requirements. (more…)
In 1995, a mere four years after the invention of the World Wide Web, Amazon.com launched onto the Internet as an online bookstore with a simple, yet slightly baffling plan. Instead of looking to be a viable entity, it anticipated that it may not make money until the turn of the millennium. Its plan was to expand its brand quickly – no matter the cost – by making sure that everyone online knew about Amazon, what it did and its reputation. Going under the mantra of “get big fast”, it was its high profile which helped it to survive the dot-com bubble bursting in early 2000, which claimed a lot of firms which had floated on the stock exchange. Despite having not made a profit by that point, business kept flowing and it finally went into the black in the fourth quarter of 2001, more than six years after being launched.
The reason I bring up this tale is because over the last year, a number of women’s wrestling promotions have done similar things – rolled the dice to generate a following very quickly, enhance its profile and make sure that fans know that they are a real player. Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females and Bellatrix have managed certain degrees of success in the UK with a plan which is seeing them speculate to accumulate both financially and creatively, but a certain promotion in Florida has gone even further in leapfrogging up the ladder to the point where it is being discussed as being the best women’s wrestling promotion in the western world… (more…)
We raved about the Last Knockout Standing Match at Slammiversary between Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim. Terrell was especially impressive, considering so little was expected of her and she delivered so much in what was arguably the best women’s match in the Big Two so far in 2013. However, Kim’s contributions as the veteran in the match cannot be overlooked, as she was the one who kept things together, even though Taryn more than held up her end of the bargain.
Naturally, considering the buzz from their first match, there would be another – and this one would be on free TV so more people could watch and realise what they missed out on. Filmed two weeks ago in Las Vegas, NV, the Ladder Match between the pair aired on last night’s Impact Wrestling – and to add a bigger pot at the end of the rainbow, the winner would become the number one contender to Mickie James‘ Knockouts Championship. Who would win? Would it be better than their Slammiversary match? Watch after the jump, and let us know your thoughts in the comments. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (9 July 2013) – Knockouts dearth, Heidi & Taeler, SHINE, Maria Kanellis, Sunny & more
We praised Mickie James’ last six months in TNA, including her winning the Knockouts Title and turning heel in the process. However, you have to wonder what sort of division she is reigning over, when you consider how many – or conversely, how few – female wrestlers there are on the roster these days.
As well as James, you have Gail Kim, Miss Tessmacher, ODB, Tara, Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky as in-ring performers – though ODB is usually a ref these days, Terrell is hardly a regular and Tessmacher & Tara has been absent for a while. That’s seven women – half of what they had in 2008 when the division was really a pioneer and vastly overshadowing what was going on in WWE at the time. When you consider that TNA only has about three women doing most of the work these days, you can see why the promotion binned its Knockouts Tag Team Titles following them being vacated by ODB and Eric Young.
The roster was thinned out last Wednesday when a four time Knockouts Champion and the first Gut Check winner were cut from the roster. Madison Rayne – who is heavily pregnant and is due to give birth next month – saw her contract expire and it wasn’t renewed. Some have complained that it was a bit tactless of TNA to do that, but Rayne herself apparently holds no grudges and has made no complaints in public. It is possible that she may return in time.
The other departure is Taeler Hendrix, who has been criminally underused by the promotion since winning the Gut Check last June. She has only appeared on two episodes of Impact – one was the Thanksgiving Day episode, which was a filler show because so few were watching, and the other was last month as she served as cannon fodder for Mickie’s slow-burn heel turn. Meanwhile, she has been working on her character during her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which we cover in more detail later on. (more…)
Episode 59 with Ivelisse Velez
This Friday, SHINE Wrestling crowns its first ever champion on iPPV – and if you ask our guest on this show, she’ll be the one holding up the title belt at the end of the night. It’s Ivelisse Velez, everybody! We talk SHINE, and her standout matches with the likes of LuFisto & Athena, experiences in SHINE so far, rule confusion in Mexico for PdM, starting her career as “Sexy Juliette” in Puerto Rico, alternate life plans, moving to Chicago and eventually entering the WWE Tough Enough process. We talk auditioning, the editing process, struggling with injury, the Steve Austin elimination speeches and working with Trish Stratus on the show. Post Tough Enough, we discuss how Ivelisse worked hard at getting her shot in FCW/NXT and her experiences when she got there, an aborted name idea before she was re-christened Sofia Cortez, working with Paige, promo classes, seemingly conflicting advice and some interesting circumstances surrounding her WWE release. We also talk her TNA Gutcheck experiences, her mentality coming in, her on-camera reaction when it was decided she wasn’t going through to the final assessment, and coming back for a couple of taped PPVs that are still to air. We also talk her twice aborted MMA debut and whether that’s still coming. A refreshingly fun and interesting interview. Check it out. (Plus we’ve changed up our Podcast theme for the first time ever!!)
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
Mickie James‘ run in TNA has seen a resurgence, especially since April. After a stop-start 2012 which saw storylines stopped in their tracks and medical worries hindering her momentum, the 33-year old has been given an angle to get her teeth into, prospects for the future and is also engaging in other projects outside of the ring. While a lot of the early months of 2013 were spent putting together and then promoting her latest studio album, we’re focussing on her wrestling career… (more…)
Taeler Hendrix – who tweeted earlier that “Fans I’m not mad. It was a decision I made. Be happy for the direction I choose- I #DareToBe Revolutionary & now I can do that for my future” – only made two appearances on Impact Wrestling following her Gut Check success. The first was a loss to Tara on Thanksgiving Day’s episode last year, and the other was on June 6 where she was defeated by Mickie James in the middle of her gradual heel turn. She participated in the as-yet-unseen TNA Knockouts PPV, losing to Hannah Blossom in a triple threat match which also involved Sojo Bolt, and also worked a house show loop in March, losing to Velvet Sky – though the reason may be because the shows were in Kentucky, where Hendrix resides. (more…)
My contract w/ TNA has ended. I want to thank you all for the constant love & support and PROMISE you I will be back in the ring again soon!
And with that tweet, Madison Rayne bade farewell to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling after four years with the company. The former four-time Knockouts singles and two-time Knockouts Tag Team Champion has been inactive since March where she revealed that she was pregnant, though her shining moments had passed by that point. However, the 27 year old has plenty of boast about, and for a decent amount of time was the focus and rudder of the entire women’s division…
Following four years on the independent circuit under the names of Lexi Lane and later Ashley Lane – highlighted by being one half of the first ever SHIMMER Tag Team Champions with fellow Ohio native Nevaeh – the Columbus native arrived in TNA in January 2009, quickly aligning herself with Velvet Sky and Angelina Love in the Beautiful People, serving them in a lackey position in the Mi Pi Sexy sorority, but was kicked out following a number of screw-ups. She apologised to the pair who welcomed her back, and Rayne substituted for Love in the tournament to crown the first Knockouts Tag Team champs when Angelina had to leave the company due to visa issues – however, Velvet and Madison were beaten in the finals by Sarita and Taylor Wilde. (more…)
The untimely death of Matt Osbourne got me to thinking. In his role as the original Doink The Clown, he took what immediately appeared to be a bit of a lame gimmick and turned it into something quite special – a dark character with a painted on smile, exacting sadistic actions to wrestlers and fans alike, while also working as a skilled technician in the ring. Check out his matches with Mr Perfect and Bret Hart for some of his best work in mid-1993.
Osbourne’s run as Doink came to an end in the latter part of the year as he was fired from the WWF for re-occurring drug issues, and with it, the character then becoming a lame babyface which lacked the edge or sparkle of the original portrayal. However, it was a great example of making chicken salad out of chicken guano, and is relevant to a couple of women who are plying their trade in WWE today.
Before we get to that, it’s worth pointing out some of the other gimmicks in mainstream wrestling over the years – including which had mileage and which crashed and burned… (more…)
It was interesting to see the Bellatrix roster after the Bellatrix 6 card. Out of their wrestling gear, they got dressed again into their branded t-shirts and glammed them up with shorts, skirts, blazers and the like to meet and greet the fans, sign autographs and pose for photos. In every photo, the Bellatrix logo was visible, pushing the brand and getting the recognition out there. Coupled with the gigantic wall hangings, Bellatrix: Female Warriors has ascended to be the most professional looking promotion in the western world.
Granted, a lot of joshi promotions in Japan have branded gear, and Ice Ribbon & Stardom have had workout gear too – but it is rarer to see in the English-speaking countries. However, it is something that other promotions would do well to adopt in the future.
Since rebranding from the World Association of Women’s Wrestling in January, Bellatrix as a brand has been ascending at a rapid pace, and it’s being noticed. Ahead of Sunday’s card, promoter Saraya Knight was interviewed on F4Wonline.com, the BritWresChat podcast and the BBC radio station serving Norfolk – the county which Bellatrix is based. In addition, hype was posted on a number of websites and also in the local print media, which led to an audience of more than 250 coming along to the show to make a lot of noise and generate a proper atmosphere. As far as exposure goes, Bellatrix has taken big steps forward – however, as Saraya explained during the interview with Bryan Alvarez, the end goal is not to have the promotion as the main focus; instead, it is being used as a way to point eyes towards the wrestlers on the show. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (18 June 2013) – Mickie James, Brittney Savage, Divas, Bellatrix & Queen of Queens
Mickie James turned full heel on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling by attacking Velvet Sky. Velvet had produced a letter from her doctor saying she was cleared to wrestle and wanted a rematch for the Knockouts Championship, but Mickie argued that she could have just downloaded it from the Internet before going after her previously injured knee before being peeled off her rival by the referees.
Fair play to TNA, James and Sky – this angle has been booked and executed beautifully. Everyone involved has done a great job to get the new Knockouts Champ over, and it looks like she is having a great time finally having something she can really sink her teeth into… and it’s long overdue.
To be brutally honest, both WWE’s and TNA’s writers have been coasting with Mickie James for the past six years. Following the epic angle between she and Trish Stratus which hit its zenith at WrestleMania 22, nothing of real note has been given to the 33-year old. Once she turned babyface in the summer of 2006, there were a few feuds with Lita, Melina, Beth Phoenix and Maryse, but she was portraying the typical white meat babyface with no real reason as to why you should cheer for her apart from that she was smiley and was wrestling heels. The only other big storyline she was part of was the “Piggie James” deal with Lay-Cool which felt like it was an unfair public rib on her – and she lost that feud, which meant that she never even got her redemption. Considering how well she had played a character in her first 8 months in WWE, it’s still staggering that she was not given the opportunity to do anything like that again during her run, except for being the punching bag to get Michelle McCool and Layla over in a nasty, bullying fashion which seemed to make people hate WWE’s writers than Lay-Cool. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 June 2013) – Kaitlyn’s secret admirer, Kalamity, Brittney Savage, Gorgeous George and more
So Kaitlyn’s secret admirer was Big E Langston, as many originally assumed it would be. However, there was a sting in the tail, as Langston was sending the notes as a way to build up the Divas Champion to knock her down as part of a nefarious plan with AJ Lee.
Last night on Raw, Kaitlyn took the ring to ask for whoever had been sending her the notes and gifts, and had a look of bewilderment on her face as it was Big E who was revealed to be the one behind it all. He pointed out that it does appear to be a bit weird and awkward, but softened her with his words. As he moved closer for a kiss, he learnt her back for a romantic smooch, but let her fall to the floor. At that moment, AJ’s music hit and she came skipping to the ring to reveal that it was all one big head game ahead of their title match this Sunday at Payback.
AJ’s reasoning for doing it was that she felt that Kaitlyn had not supported her enough after Daniel Bryan dumped her last year and she went off the rails, and was more focussed on winning the Divas Championship. What Lee is leaving out is that Kaitlyn actually was there for support and to get her back on track, but AJ slapped her on two separate occasions before the friendship fell apart. The pair briefly reunited at the end of last year before AJ turned full-blown heel at TLC and aligned herself with Dolph Ziggler, but it was never meant to last.
AJ became the number one contender to the Divas strap by winning a battle royal on April 22, and since then it has been pushed to one side when it wasn’t convenient to address it. The pair had a backstage set-to at Extreme Rules, but that has been the only real storyline development until last night. (more…)
An aspiring wrestler was on MTV in the US last weekend.
Dana Adiva – who models and has wrestled a couple of shows for Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling as well s some smaller promotions in the Midwest – was one of two subjects featured on an episode of True Life entitled “I’m Too Beautiful”. In it, her sister complained about how attractive her sibling was and how it was affecting their relationship. Adiva also talked about how she had to drop out of school because she was bullied about her looks, finds it hard to get a boyfriend (though her Facebook says she is currently attached) and boasts that “I get anything I want and I get treated like a princess… I don’t have to be smart, because I have my looks.”
However, she also complains that “At the same time it sucks being pretty, it would nice being taken seriously once in a while,” though also discusses the possibility of getting a breast enhancement, claiming “I feel I will be more beautiful with bigger boobs. Instead of a 10 I’ll be a 200.”
MTV followed Adiva around for eight months filming this and she was one of two stories which were compressed into an hour long show, which means about 40 minutes of programme when you take out the commercials. The producers could have weaved any story they liked out of it – however, she said these things, regardless of whether she was coerced or cajoled into doing it. (more…)
Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell seek to settle their differences in a Last Knockout Standing Match as part of TNA Slammiversary XI.
• The pair have had hostilities for months. In January, Terrell – who had been recruited as an official – made a number of refereeing errors as part of the Gauntlet Match at Genesis. Most of the mistakes benefited Kim, though the decisive one worked against her, allowing Velvet Sky to pick up the win.
• At Lockdown in March, the bad blood boiled over during Kim’s challenge to Sky’s Knockouts Championship. Gail slapped Taryn, daring her to issue the disqualification – however, Terrell fought back and gave Velvet the opening to score the victory.
• Following that incident, Terrell was fired as a referee, only to be immediately rehired as a wrestler, with she and Kim then clashing on a regular basis. Eventually, the decision was made for the two to square of under Last Knockout Standing rules at Slammiversary. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (28 May 2013) – Florida’s popularity, Ice Ribbon, Taeler Hendrix and Heidi Lovelace & more
Florida. It’s the home of WWE’s developmental territory, was the base for TNA’s Impact Wrestling show, and also has a lot of indie promotions dotted around the state offering wrestlers the chance to step into the ring on a regular basis, and also train with a range of different names. It has also become the home to one of the most exciting women’s promotions in the United States, and it has caught the attention of a number of female grapplers.
SHINE Wrestling held its 10th show at the weekend – main points can be found below – and is on the verge of crowning its first champion. Considering this time last year the promotion didn’t exist, it is remarkable that many are ranking it as one of the top all-women promotions in the country – and for good reason. It is presenting shows on a monthly basis – save for a couple of breaks, like the one happening next month when no show is being presented – it is on internet pay-per-view, meaning the wrestlers are showcased to the entire world at the same time as the fans in attendance at Ybor City’s Orpheum, and many of the roster also increase their earning by spending the weekend in the state to work extra shows or work a Slammin’ Ladies custom shoot or two. It’s all great experience for women who may only wrestle a few times a month to get some extensive ring time. It also has some pleasant weather, so that must also be an attraction.
This has not gone unnoticed by some wrestlers. Names like Mia Yim, Luscious Latasha, Brittney Savage, Solo Darling, Jessicka Havok and more have either moved or are in the process of moving to Florida to put themselves in a more advantageous position when it comes to the local promotions like Battling Bombshells, Florida Underground Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, I Believe In Wrestling and more. After all, why would a promoter pay to fly someone in when a similarly impressive talent is a short drive away? It cuts expenses and makes for a better bottom line. Great wrestlers can get regular work, while ones looking to get more experience have the chance to work with names who may have more matches under their belt, and are also in a prime place to be spotted by and to tryout for WWE. It’s a beneficial opportunity for all, and everybody wins. Right? (more…)
She may not have fully turned over to the dark side yet, but Mickie James was pretty ruthless en route to winning the TNA Knockouts Championship on last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling. She defeated Velvet Sky by clipping the defending titleholder’s injured left leg, hitting a low DDT and getting the fall to begin her third run with the Knockouts strap.
As for the match itself, it was pretty poor, with huge pregnant pauses in places where nothing was happening during sequences. Sky’s selling of her leg was sporadic at best, holding it and limping then running ropes and putting weight on it moments later without a problem.
As mentioned, James’ heel turn isn’t complete, though tendencies were shown by clipping Velvet’s leg, when she had said after losing a title match last month that if she had been “more heartless“, she would have taken the belt at the time. On this occasion, glimpses of that heartlessness was shown, and it paid dividends. (more…)
This week’s top piece is about a storyline which is ongoing, so I may be jumping the gun with my feelings on the matter, but I feel that more eyes should be directed towards what is happening, as it has the potential to do something really positive.
On Ohio Valley Wrestling TV between January and the end of April, Taeler Hendrix had been receiving gifts from a secret admirer. Considering the flirting which had taken place between the pair previously, the former Women’s Champion believed that the presents were coming from Ryan Howe, who had captured her attention since her OVW debut, much to the disappointment, anger and frustration of her put-upon boyfriend Dylan Bostic – who was not as cool, edgy or exiting as the long-haired newcomer sporting an electric guitar.
Things escalated to the point that on March 23, Hendrix and Bostic took on Howe and fellow former Women’s Champion Heidi Lovelace which ended in a no-contest when the men’s fighting got out of control. The following week, Hendrix came to ringside during Howe’s TV Title match against Rockstar Spud, which prompted both Bostic and Lovelace to come out, causing Ryan to be counted out of the ring. On the April 27 episode, Howe insisted that it was not he who was sending Taeler the gifts, leading a confused (and somewhat hurt) Hendrix to wonder who was showering her with these presents.
As it turns out, it was Heidi Lovelace, who came out to reveal the truth before leaving the ring. (more…)