The two big stories coming out of Women Superstars Uncensored’s An Ultraviolent Affair were Jessicka Havok retaining the WSU Championship by beating Athena with a top rope Air Raid Crash, and LuFisto defeating Mercedes Martinez in a Falls Count Anywhere match to become the next number one contender. However, after the latter match, a double-turn took place, with Mercedes Martinez turning heel and LuFisto turning babyface.
As a result, Martinez is now the aggressor in all the big-name women’s promotions in North America. Previously, WSU had been the exception to the rule, with her smiling and playing nice while in SHIMMER, NCW Femmes Fatales and SHINE, she was hankering for the jeers of the fans. Likewise, WSU was the only place where LuFisto was working heel. What that now means is that there is a status quo amongst the big players on the continent, so fans don’t have to work out whether they should be cheering or booing somebody. While this makes it easier on the audience, does it create a natural harmony that isn’t necessarily needed? (more…)
On Sunday, I sat among 400 people in a hall in a small city in the west of England. The only reason why I had decided to go – well, apart from it being a 15 minute walk from my front door – was that it featured a women’s match that was pretty hyped up about. Unfortunately, the billed contest between Kay Lee Ray and Shanna had to be scrapped because of KLR suffering a broken toe two days previous, then wrestling for about 40 minutes on it the previous day – though as it turns out, her metatarsal had been broken for about a month, which was compounded by the broken toe. As a result, a suitable replacement was brought in to replace Ray, and it would more than compensate.
The fans at Alternative Wrestling World in Wolverhampton had no idea who Emi Sakura was. To them, she was a Japanese woman who wears a lot of fabric, doesn’t show much skin and visually, didn’t look like much to write home about. Around me, I heard some borderline racist jokes about the “Chinese” woman in the ring and some unfunny gags about ordering Chinese cuisine in a mocking Far Asian accent. Her opponent also got the heckles, with a guy yelling “get your tits out” to Portugal’s Perfect Athlete – as if that line has EVER worked. Needless to say, we were dealing with an audience with spectacularly low expectations for the contest, and more than their fair share of xenophobia and ignorance. I’m stunned that I didn’t see anyone get up to go to the bar or toilets. They would have regretted it if they had, as little did they know, but they were going to be treated to a showcase featuring one of Europe’s best against one of the best in the world… (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (29 January 2013) – Trish Stratus, National Pro Wrestling Day, Pro Wrestling: EVE & more
It was announced during last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw that Trish Stratus would be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this April as part of the WrestleMania XXIX weekend. As expected, the wave of congratulations came from wrestlers past and present like Lita, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Gail Kim and more, as well as personalities both inside and outside of the business like Jim Ross, Lilian Garcia and Snooki. Indeed, there are a lot of supporters of the Torontarian, and she was quick to react to the announcement:
I still can’t believe it. I’m just so honored to be taking my place alongside WWE’s greatest, as a wrestling fan – I’m kind of blown away! It’s simply amazing.
The 37-year old joins the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Sensational Sherri, Sunny and Wendi Richter in the Hall, and is the most modern Diva to be inducted, though this provided a sticking point for some who felt that while she was worthy of going in, it was ahead of others who they felt should go in first – Leilani Kai, Bull Nakano and Madusa were names which cropped up, as well as Lita, whom Stratus’ career ran parallel with for damn near the entirety of their runs.
Now, while I’m not the biggest Stratus fan in the world, I’m fair – and without a doubt, Trish deserves to be in that Hall of Fame, and as far as the criteria of this particular one is concerned, is more worthy than the others. If we were discussing the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame or the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY, then Stratus would get nowhere near the ballots, but for WWE’s version, all you have you do is get the green light from one Vince McMahon – and when it comes to that element, Stratus was always inevitable, as she was a model WWE employee. (more…)
TNA’s Impact Wrestling is being recorded in London, England at the moment, and a big development with the Knockouts has taken place. However, seeing as it is a spoiler for the show which won’t be broadcast until February 21, you may not want to know. If you DO want to know, click the jump… (more…)
It says something very positive when two people who aren’t officially a part of the TNA roster elicit as much of a reaction as anybody else on a TNA card, because that’s exactly what Hannah and Holly Blossom did last night.
The twins were the third match on what was a great card in Nottingham, England, beating Knockouts Champion Tara and PWI Female 50 winner Gail Kim, with Velvet Sky as the special ref – inserted into the role possibly due to Miss Tessmacher (along with ring announcer Christy Hemme) coming down with the flu, causing them to miss this date as well as the Glasgow, Scotland card the previous night. It makes you wonder what match we would have had if Tessmacher was well, as with four babyfaces and two heels, there would have been a discrepancy. I can only assume we would have got a three way tag team match, with Sky and Tessmacher teaming up…
Even before the match began, there was tension among the heel team, with Tara wanting the play the queen bee, pushing Kim aside so she could do her bending-over-the-ropes pose before the match, and said friction would be important as the contest reached its conclusion. As the the match, it was your regular tag team fare with Holly taking a beating from both of her opponents, with them both looking to one-up each other to the point where a missed dive by Gail led to the hot tag and Hannah cleaning house. However, her opponents’ experience saw Kim hit her Eat Defeat finisher for what would have been the win, had Tara not broken up the pinball, claiming that she should be the one to get the victory with the Widow’s Peak in what was a fun tag team match. (more…)
There are many interesting prospects in North America. One which has been simmering for a while is Mia Yim, who has been honing her skills and gaining more experience by partaking in a number of extended trips to Japan to wrestle for REINA x World. Domestically, she has had some interesting matches which have been of a good quality, and was a beneficiary when one of her kicks broke Allysin Kay’s nose last January leading to a number of well-received matches between the two with greater stipulations reflecting the development of the programme, culminating in a cage match at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 7. She had a fine outing against Jessicka Havok at SHINE 3 last September, and also enjoyed outings against the likes of Kana and Yumi Ohka in SHIMMER in 2011.
However, there is one major sticking point when it comes to her work in the US – barring the original nose-breaking match against Kay at GNO5, Yim has lost most of those high-profile outings.
Despite that, she has the opportunity to claim a really big scalp at SHIMMER volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ on April 6, and spoil the homecoming of one of its biggest stars at the same time. (more…)
As of this writing, TNA’s Gut Check vote is due to start this evening – though this is the fourth start date which has been set – and one woman who has been part of it has been campaigning hard for you to vote for her – so much so that she has posted a video encouraging you to do so. In fact, the brackets are up – GO VOTE!
The “Scandinavian Sweetheart” Mia Svensson joins us on Fight Like A Girl to discuss her history with Gut Check, how she has changed during that time, and also how she felt about her real name being posted online. In addition, she gets badgered about why she doesn’t use her real name as her ring name, to the point where she considers changing it.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
The TNA Gut Check series isn’t just played out on TV. The promotion has spent the last two years travelling the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland offering sessions to wrestlers looking to make an impact (pun intended). That means that it’s not just winner Taeler Hendrix who has been involved in the process – and as we mentioned last June, both LuFisto and Courtney Rush were involved in the Gut Check which took place in Oshawa, ON, Canada. However now, TNA has thrown the selection process for who gets a shot on Impact Wrestling out to us, the fans. We will have our say in who we want to step into the ring in Orlando, FL.
To do this, TNA has listed every single person who has participated in any one of the sessions since the first one took place in September 2010 in Rahway, NJ. As stated in the press release – from tomorrow evening, we have the chance to go via the promotion’s website and vote in the Gut Check Challenge, described as “an interactive experience by letting fans decide the one previous “TNA Gut Check” participant who is most deserving of appearing on IMPACT WRESTLING’s “TNA Gut Check” segment on Spike TV.” There will be rounds – 16 brackets in all – until all the wrestlers are whittled down to one.
A number of women have attended the Gut Check sessions, and all of them are eligible, including the aforementioned LuFisto and Rush. After the jump, we’ll let you know which names to look out for – but first, A WARNING.
Beyond this point, we will be revealing the real names of a lot of wrestlers, as that is how their names will likely – appear on the voting form though some are just going by their wrestler persona. If you are someone who likes not knowing their true monikers, stay away. With that said, anyone who’s OK with it can jump in and see who’s vying for your vote from tomorrow evening [UPDATE: it's been bumped to Monday afternoon], as well as the links to their profiles on the Gut Check site, where available. (more…)
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…)
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…)
Yesterday, TNA President Dixie Carter made a startling announcement regarding the future of TNA’s PPV business. While it had already been widely reported that the group were cutting down on PPVs in 2013 (with the shows directly before Lockdown and Bound for Glory already announced as being dropped, in order to allow a greater lead-in time to what are traditionally the biggest two shows of the year), it now turns out that TNA is slashing their live PPV output to just four live pay-per-view shows a year, with only Genesis (January), Lockdown (March), Slammiversary (June) and Bound for Glory (October) left standing. In the place of the axed shows, seven taped PPV “specials” will be recorded and begin airing on the first Friday of the remaining months.
Of interest, it seems that the taped PPV specials are likely to feature branded ideas – with the first two being taped this weekend (an all X-Division special which will air in three months, in April, and a “Jokers Wild Tag Tournament” for May.) Of the remaining specials, PWinsider.com is reporting that a Knockouts PPV special is under consideration. Mike Johnson reports the concept as TNA Knockouts Knockdown, describing the plan as a “One night Knockout tournament with the first round being all stipulation matches and the final four in a “test of their stamina” to see who the final victor is.” (more…)
What do you mean, you thought Sarita already had left?
Considering she hasn’t been on the Impact Wrestling show since April 19 last year where she, Rosita, Gail Kim and Madison Rayne lost to Mickie James, Miss Tessmacher, Tara and Velvet Sky, it would have been a fair bet that she had left. However, she wrestled one more match on TV after that – a loss to Velvet Sky which was broadcast on Xplosion on May 2 – and also competed at a BaseBrawl show on June 14. After that – nothing. (more…)
We’ve talked a lot about the Blossom Twins‘ quest to earn a TNA contract as part of the British Boot Camp show. Well, last night in the UK, the first two episodes aired back-to-back, and you can watch them in their entirety after the jump. However, we’re going to furnish you with a little more than that, as to understand where Hannah and Holly may be going, it’s worth acknowledging where they have been.
The picture to the left is from 2010 – showing how massive their evolution has been in that time. The photo was taken in early 2010, about 6 or so months after they debuted in Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning the Women’s Championship on three occasions between them (Hannah with two reigns, Holly with one). The pair started out as heels (as unusual as it can be to believe that such a wholesome pair could be on the dark side) but turned face in the spring of 2010 when they saved Josie (now Josette Bynum) from a beatdown at the hands of then-Women’s Champion C.J. Lane, as well as Epiphany and Taryn Shay. The Retro match after the jump sees Lane, Shay and Epiphany take on the Blossoms after Josie was attacked backstage, making it a handicap match.
Speaking of British Boot Camp, we give it a thumbs up. It’s more a docudrama than a reality show, but it’s slickly made, beautifully edited and establishes all the competitors quickly. Let us know what you think in the comments section. (more…)
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…)
Ahead of the launch of TNA British Boot Camp on January 1, the Blossom Twins have been doing the media rounds in the UK, and made a massive splash today, appearing in four newspapers including The Sun, Daily Express and Metro.
In the articles, Hannah and Holly (real names Lucy and Kelly Knott) discuss their day jobs as teaching assistants at the Stockport school which they attended as youngsters, and also discussed how they got into wrestling at the age of 12: “We used to love watching wrestling with our brother when we were younger and we decided together it was what we wanted to do. Since then we have lived and breathed wrestling whenever we can. We really are living the dream – to be able to teach while wrestling is incredible.” (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 December 2012) – Divas future, intergender wrestling part 2, Portia’s tweets, Fierce Females DVD review & more
WWE knows the Divas division is in tatters at the moment, and seems intent on asking us what we want to happen to it, so the promotion has been contacting focus groups asking about the future of the women. PWInsider reports they were sent out to ask fans what they think of the Divas in the past, what they are like now, and which women they liked. Another question which was reportedly on the list is what role they wanted to see them in – be it as valets/managers, dancers, wrestlers, love interests and more.
This could be the opportunity that fans of women’s wrestling have been waiting for. If the data comes back in the way which we would hope for, it could see a resurgence of in-ring action for the Divas in 2013, along with some proper storylines with episodic character development, culminating in big matches at pay-per-views. It could see them take more prominent roles on the TV shows, and have their segments played out in front of interested, active crowds who care about what is going on. It could also see an injection of new talent into the ranks, possible gimmick revamps to make them more interesting, and having more options of big matches all as part of the quest to snare the Divas Championship.
Oh yes, it could be the start of something beautiful.
But what if it isn’t? (more…)
Mickie James challenges Tara for the TNA Knockouts Championship after returning from three months on the shelf.
• James earned her shot at the belt on the November 12 episode of Impact Wrestling by winning a battle royal. It was her first appearance on Impact since August 2 – she’d been out after having surgery to have a benign mass removed.
• Tara faced her challenger last Thursday on Impact, and was interrupted by the returning Velvet Sky, who made it clear that she wanted to regain the Knockouts belt in 2013.
• The two veterans started out with some mat wrestling, but quickly got more aggressive, with Mickie throwing Tara about by the hair and following it up with some quick pin attempts and a headscissors out of the corner.
• All the time, the challenger was keeping an eye on Tara’s boyfriend Jesse Godderz, though her concern with him gave the titleholder the opportunity to strike, and attacked her on the outside of the ring.
• Jesse’s interference also meant that a flash sunset flip pin by James was missed by referee Taryn Terrell, who was admonishing him for climbing onto the apron.
• James managed to mount a comeback with upkicks and clotheslines, as well as a big Thesz Press from the top to the floor. However, as she cut Godderz’s interference off with a kick, she was snared by Tara, who hit the Widow’s Peak for the pinfall. (more…)
The pigeons were let loose, and now they have returned.
After being released from TNA back in July, Velvet Sky made her return to Impact Wrestling last night, making a vow to regain the Knockouts Championship and make 2013 her year. In doing so, she interrupted current titleholder Tara and Mickie James, who clash with the belt on the line on Sunday’s Final Resolution pay-per-view.
Rumours of the 31-year old’s return to the promotion have been flying about for a few months. With talk that TNA President Dixie Carter was personally upset that contract negotiations with Sky and TNA had collapsed, there were always rumblings of her still having some attachment to the company, as her picture gallery remained on the TNA website and her profile was never removed from the roster page. In October, the Wrestling Observer claimed she was back in talks, and in Tuesday’s Roundup, we covered the reports that she had possibly put pen to paper on a new contract.
Yesterday morning, Sky tweeted a Bible passage, saying “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24″ – hinting that the rumours were true, and she would be returning to the Impact Zone. (more…)
Over the years, the number of taboos in wrestling seem to have evaporated. After all, few bat an eyelid about wrestlers who have barely reached their teens stepping into the ring in Japan. Wrestlers with disabilities are given the same opportunities as anyone else, and nobody tells anyone that they are too old to lace up the boots, even though some really should be. However, the prospect of a man facing a woman in a wrestling match still seems to be something which makes some fans squirm in their seats.
I can see some of you imagining it right now.
For a long while, mixed matches seemed to be a no-no, but then it hit the mainstream with the late comic Andy Kaufman wrestling women and calling himself the Intergender Champion of the World, before Jerry Lawler piledrove him onto his head. From there, we saw the odd mixed tag team match on special occasions – WrestleMania VI with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri Martel being a prime example – but very seldom did the women interact with the men… but times changed. (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…)
Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers/listeners, who are spending the day eating roasted birds and things containing pumpkins while watching Gridiron football or the Macy’s parade. As Brits, we’re not entirely clued up on what goes on on this particular Thursday in November, but we have seen a lot of people talking about what they are thankful for. So, in the spirit of the day, we shall do the same.
We are thankful for every single one of you who chooses to visit our website, download an interview or podcast, read an article, leave a comment, share our contributions with others and so on. We are also thankful for women who go step into the ring and work hard to entertain the fans; we’re thankful for promoters who give them the opportunity to do so, and we’re thankful for every fan who spends money supporting the wrestlers and the promotions.
So as a thanks to all of you, we’ve got a series of videos of matches which took place around Thanksgiving, but may not necessarily have a Thanksgiving theme. As a result, we’ve got Trish Stratus v Molly Holly from WWF SmackDown on November 23, 2000; The Pilgrims (Michelle McCool, Layla & Jillian Hall) v The Indians (Kelly Kelly, Mickie James & Melina) from WWE Raw on November 23, 2009; Hannah Blossom v Josie from OVW Thanksgiving Thunder on November 28, 2009; and Winter, Angelina Love & Madison Rayne v Velvet Sky, Brooke Tessmacher & Tara from TNA Impact Wrestling on November 24 last year.
Happy Turkey Day, everybody! (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.
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…)