Even in defeat, a wrestler can still emerge looking stronger than when they went in.
That’s certainly the case when it comes to Ryo Mizunami, who rolled out of SHIMMER last weekend with a 1-3 record (you can read the results here and here), having defeated Courtney Rush on volume 49, but then falling in a four way on 50, then to LuFisto and Yumi Ohka the following day. However, because of her strong fighting spirit, great power and hard-hitting ability, she garnered a lot of new fans – a number of which will be present in Montreal, Quebec, Canada today for the double DVD taping of nCw Femmes Fatales X.
Later today, the 24-year old, 8-year pro will take on Ontarians Leah Von Dutch and Xandra Bale in a triple threat match in the first taping, and meets Rush in a return match from last weekend in the following taping. The Ringbelles team will be at the show, and will bring you results, photos and thoughts after the event.
For today’s video, we have one of Mizunami’s matches from earlier this year, with her facing the now-retired Toshie Uematsu in singles action in Pro Wrestling WAVE. (more…)
WWE tops the list of topics this week.
Layla returned from a year away from the ring at Extreme Rules on Sunday as the mystery opponent against then-Divas Champion Nikki Bella, and won the title in a short yet spirited match that was more of a device to get the title off the Bellas before their departure (which we will get to later). After suffering a double tear of the MCL and ACL in her left knee, you could forgive the 33-year old Brit for deciding to calling it a day and moving on with her life, as the rehab process to get back into ring shape is a lot more intensive than just recuperating to the point where you could live a normal life.
It is to be commended that she sucked it up and got back in the ring, especially since she is pegged as a Diva Search winner, and could be perceived as only seeing wrestling as a job, or something to do until the next big offer comes along. However, she went through the surgery, the pain, the impatience, the frustration and the physical testing that was necessary to return to WWE. In her post match interview on WWE.com, she described about how she had to learn to walk, to run and to jump, and she started welling up. Any doubt on whether she is in the for the right reasons should be kicked out of the window now – Layla is a wrestler, not a model pretending to fight. As a stone-hearted journalist, I felt for the woman, and I am happy that she is back doing what she enjoys.
I am also happy that she is back for personal reasons, as I was starting to enjoy watching Layla wrestle when she was struck down with a bad wheel. Sure, she wasn’t Sara Del Rey, but she was reaching the top of the pile when it came to Divas – and I concede, that is hardly high praise, but she was plugging away, and it was producing results. Plus, she was hanging with Michelle McCool, who was one of the most technically proficient female wrestlers WWE had at the time, even though I found her slightly cold in the ring and never really enjoyed her work. Being in the right place with the right people played into the former cheerleader’s favour – as did her dance background, as I am now a firm believer that if you want to turn non-wrestling women into wrestlers, go for dancers and gymnasts over models, as they are more open to pain, hard work and dedication, while models know how to stand there and look good, which doesn’t translate to the ring.
You could see fire and desire in Layla on Sunday – running all over the place, executing dropkicks and springboard flying bodypresses – and it was exciting, and it’s not often you can say that about Divas matches recently. Even Beth Phoenix, possibly the best wrestler in the Divas division, is hardly a thrill to watch these days, though it could be argued that some of that may be down to what she is working with. Either way, I had fun watching Layla defeat Nikki Bella on Sunday, and taking both Bellas out on Monday’s Raw, even though the match consisted of one dropkick and a schoolboy roll-up. It felt like wrestling, not a bunch of pre-arranged, mechanical moves, and Layla should be praised for that. It is also something that people like Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox should look at. Intensity is not screaming on cue. (more…)
This is a new review style for Ringbelles, and one that I’ve adopted (with blessing) from Thomas Holzerman on The Wrestling Blog. I’ve never seen the need for huge swathes of play-by-play recapping, so this format appeals to me. It hopefully will tell you all you need to know about the show, and what I thought about it in an easy to read and digest format. It’s my first time reviewing a show like this, so feel free to offer any suggestions or opinions… thanks.
“Just Starting Out In The World Of Pandemonium”
• The opening video of Emi Sakura walking along the painted lines on a road, and being joined on her journey by various members of the Ice Ribbon roster was quite lovely. Whimsical, carefree and actually quite cinematic. Emotional too, as Sakura wiped tears from her eyes over her imminent departure from ICE Ribbon (she would wrestle her last match for the promotion on January 7th, citing “personal reasons”)
• To fit the 2hr time block, some of the undercard matches are clipped/joined in progress, but there’s more than enough to enjoy about each of them, from Aoi Kizuki’s happiness, a fairly inconsequential elimination tag match (which includes over-the-top-rope elimination rules) and the bizarre nature of the Ice Ribbon vs UMA Corps match.
• The first ever ICEx60 Champion Seina retired on the show in a match with her little sister Riho.
• Minori Makiba also retired, having been special referee for Seina vs Riho.
• Both Makiba and Seina had apparent farewell speeches read to them by friends from the past, each complete with dipped lights and background music. Former IR competitor Makoto returned to read Makiba’s sendoff, while Hikari Minami was apparently overcome and unable to read the her speech for Seina. Riho read it instead, and the speech apparently called for one final match between Minami & Seina.
• Seina therefore had two “retirement” matches back to back, essentially – Neither the match with little sister Riho nor the impromptu match with Minami were particularly long, but both were dripping in emotion.
• The semi main event was a three way mixed tag match – which seemed quite storyline based, and was unfortunately fairly incomprehensible to me. There was dancing. A lot of dancing. Shenanigans too. A lot of shenanigans.
• Hikaru Shida overcame her peer Tsukasa Fujimoto to become the ICEx60 Champion for the first time.
Click through for the meat and potatoes of the review
I sit here, having watched 21 matches as part of the three JoshiMania events which took place at the start of December 2011. As I watched the three DVDs, I jotted down notes of the big moments and key incidents in the matches. I now have EIGHT pages of bullet points to go through, and one thing because blatantly obvious: doing a match-by-match review of JoshiMania would be incredibly laborious, repetitive and dull for you, the good reader.
So instead of going through JoshiMania chronologically, what this review will be about is the best matches, the standout stars and moments, and which shows were the best if you absolutely, positively can only by just the one DVD…
The shows had a bumpy road leading up to the first event in Philadelphia on December 2. Meiko Satomura, Madison Eagles and Command Bolshoi all had to pull out due to injury, leading to replacements such as Ayako Hamada, Kaori Yoneyama, GAMI and Portia Perez and a fair bit of rewriting to the matches, as the trio who didn’t make it would likely have been part of the matches at the higher end of the card. Hamada was the biggest beneficiary, as she ended up in two of the three main events (against Aja Kong on night 2, and taking on Sara Del Rey on the final show).
However, nothing can take away from the huge amount of organisation that took place to bring JoshiMania to fruition. As Mike Quackenbush revealed to us on the Women Of Wrestling Podcast the week before the shows, the introduction of Manami Toyota to CHIKARA came about thanks to retired Jumping Bomb Angel Itsuki Yamazaki. From there, it was thanks in part to Toyota’s reputation and contacts that facilitated stars from across Japan to come together for the shows, effectively closing down the joshi scene while tars from promotions like JWP, WAVE, OZ Academy, Union Pro and more came together for a series of interpromotional contests. Indeed, a lot of potential issues were circumnavigated and resolved to come to the point that these shows even took place. So how were they? Well, let’s see… (more…)
JoshiMania is in the history books, and is already available to buy. Click here to take a look.
In the week leading up to the three nights of action, there had been a lot of buzz concerning the event. With joshi talent from a number of different promotions in Japan, female wrestling there had largely stopped (Ice Ribbon carried on as normal, and WAVE also held a card), as many of the top stars had crossed the Pacific and international datelines to wrestling in Philadelphia, PA, Everett, MA and Manhattan, NY for the CHIKARA promoted cards.
The shows main focus – other than showing off some of the great Japanese female talent – seemed to be to provide a platform for CHIKARA talent Sara Del Rey, who won both of her main events against her idol Aja Kong on night one – in a match that she reportedly dominated – and against Ayako Hamada on night 3 in a match which was said to be equal to (or greater than) their SHIMMER volume 28 outing two years ago. Considering Hamada was brought in as a late replacement for the injured Meiko Satomura, she made a strong impression, and also showed TNA what they missed out on by having this woman on its roster, not using her, mismanaging her and letting her go. (more…)
Tonight (or this afternoon, to be more accurate, considering it’s a 4pm EST start) is the final JoshiMania card, emanating from Manhattan, NY. You can check out the results from night one and night two to see how things have gone down so far. In the final main event, Sara Del Rey - who so far has defeated Aja Kong and Tsubasa Kuragaki – will take on SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada – who is 1-1 after teaming with Cherry to beat Mayumi Ozaki & Mio Shirai on night one, and was defeated by Kong last night.
Click after the jump for the matches that will be taking place, and keep hitting refresh to see the latest results… (more…)
Following a successful first night in Philadelphia, PA, JoshiMania rolls into Everett, MA for night two of the three day extravaganza. As with last night, bell time is 7.30pm EST, and we will be bringing you results as they happen, with the main event being joshi legends Aja Kong (who was defeated last night by Sara Del Rey) taking on current SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ayako Hamada. Click after the jump for the results… (more…)
Good evening everybody, it’s Night 1 of Chikara‘s JoshiMania this evening at The Asylum Arena in Philadelphia, PA. Belltime is 7:30pm, and we’re hoping to bring you live results of the show as well as any news coming out of the shows. Click through to after the jump and keep refreshing the page for results as they come in. (more…)
(Yesterday, I focussed on Anarchy Championship Wrestling as an alternative to the lack of female wrestling in Ring Of Honor. As it turns out, the article was pretty well-timed, as Portia Perez won the ACW Heavyweight Title, if only for an hour. Today, let’s look elsewhere…)
The other promotion that has done equally well by it’s female talent is Chikara. Started by Mike Quackenbush and Tom Carter in 2002, it started integrating female wrestlers right off the bat. Its sixth show, which took place June 28th, 2002, was one that featured talent from their sister promotion Kiryoku Pro in an almost all-female show (there was a ten person tag team match that came as a result of interference in an earlier women’s match). After that all-female show, there were two other regular shows that had women’s matches billed as “Kiryoku Pro Showcase” matches.
Eventually the overall ethos of the promotion changed. They no longer saw gender as a wall – rather, the company wanted wrestlers to wrestle each other, regardless of sex. This started in 2003, at the first annual Tag World Grand Prix on July 5th, where the Kiryoku Pro team of Mercedes Martinez & Sumie Sakai took on The Wild Cards of Eddie Kingston and Blackjack Marciano. On October 18th, 2003′s International Invasion Of The International Invaders Sumie took on Jigsaw.
Granted, 2004 saw less female v female or female v male matches than 2002 or 2003 but 2005 was a sort of rebirth for women in Chikara. You had a slew of talent that made for some interesting matches (Chris Hero v Sumie Sakai? It happened at Running in the Red on November 13th, 2005). This also coincided with the birth of SHIMMER in November 2005 and the high point of IWA: Mid South‘s women’s division. It felt like women on the independent circuit had more choices than ever before. In 2006, two women debuted that would become Chikara mainstays: Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze. These two would also become part of Chikara’s biggest storyline to date in late 2009: The Bruderschaft des Kreuzes versus the rest of Chikara. (more…)
It’s all about the build-up this week on the TV digest, as both WWE & TNA actually put some effort into building up some future matches and programmes. In WWE, the build is towards this coming Monday on Raw, when Eve Torres will defend her Divas title against Natalya, while TNA are promoting their “Against All Odds” PPV this weekend, as Madison Rayne is set to defend her Knockouts Title against Mickie James in a “Last Knockout Standing” encounter.
TV match of the week this week goes to the challenger for the Divas Title, Natalya, who took on Alicia Fox on Superstars this week in a match that was a significant cut above the Melina vs Tamina mess from the previous week.