Posts tagged “Tough Enough

WOW Podcast #59 with Ivelisse Velez

WOW Ivelisse Velez

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!!)

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Ringbelles Roundup (24 May 2011)

The Big News

Christina Crawford was eliminated from Tough Enough last night, putting an end to any prospect of a woman winning the show for the first time since 2002. She was cut by Steve Austin for not showing enough charisma during this week’s challenge, and had lost her confidence after suffering an ankle injury on last week’s show when her leg buckled from delivering a top rope axehandle.

It doesn’t seem to have made a difference to her prospects of ending up on WWE TV though, as she was filmed last week wrestling at Florida Championship Wrestling, where she had been training previously before getting out of her developmental deal to compete in Tough Enough. The indication that she has returned back to the situation she was in previously just shows that she had a fall-back option in case she was cut, in that she could return to Florida and pick up where she left off. It must annoy other female wrestlers who applied that this was possibly an “easier option” for Christina, rather than being her best chance at making it to WWE.

In fact, many women – Brittany Savage, Mercedes Martinez, She Nay Nay, Athena, Jessicka Havok, Roxie Cotton and the like – must be pretty disappointed how for the most part, none of the girls made any impression on the show in one way or another. None of them won a skills challenge, and between the five girls, they featured in the bottom three on a total of eight occasions in eight episodes. (more…)

Ringbelles Roundup (17 May 2011)

The Big News

Hide your kids, hide your wife – Wrestlicious is back.

On Monday, it was announced that the second season of TakeDown would be shown on a cable network owned by Viacom. That could mean it could be hosted on Comedy Central, an MTV channel, VH1 or even Spike – the channel which currently hosts TNA TV.

In the official press release, Union Square Agency, with whom Wrestlicious has formed this partnership, says it will provide sponsorship sales, television production, syndication, media sales, event extensions, venue selection, strategic partnerships and manage licensing and merchandising.

Wrestlicious launched on TV in the US and Canada last year, two years after host and producer Johnny Cafarella and Jimmy Hart teamed up with Jonathan Vargas, a 19-year old who won $35.3 million on the Powerball Lottery. The original concept for Wrestlicious was dreamt up in 2003 when Hart produced a pilot for Crush, which was exactly the same as what Wrestlicious is – a mix of cartoony wrestling with comedy skits spliced in. Featuring wrestlers like Melina, Lacey, Rain and Cheerleader Melissa, it had proper wrestlers as well as models who would be trained up – sound familiar? Some of the characters were even recycled – the Felony character was originally played in Crush by Melissa, but seeing as she was contracted to TNA at the time, Felony was played by Rain in Wrestlicious. (more…)

Ringbelles Roundup (10 May 2011)

The Big News

Some wrestlers who quit the business can’t stay away from the spotlight and return time and time again. Some – like Bob Backlund – think they still have one more run left in them. Some have to keep wrestling because they can’t afford to stop – Flair, I’m looking at you. And some look like they’re happy to be consigned to history, only to show up out of the blue and shock us all.

And that’s what Joanie Laurer’s done.

Well, I say Joanie Laurer, but as of 2007, that’s no longer her name – in fact, she’s legally changed her name to Chyna, which is why TNA has been able to use the name that she used when she was in the WWF as part of her return to the grap game after nine years away. Her last main stage matches were in New Japan in late 2002, though her last appearance on US wrestling TV was in May 2001 – exactly 10 years ago – when she was the WWF Women’s Champion. She unceremoniously left the promotion after being benched for a few months – while still the champ – because she and the WWF could not reach a deal in her contract negotiations. To take her off TV while still in possession of the title shows just how pissed off they were with her.

Over the last decade, most of the reports and appearances of Chyna have shown her spiralling out of control – she’s been hospitalised a few times due to medication overdoses, as well as appearing on rehab programmes and complete freakshow The Surreal Life.

Things took a positive twist earlier this year when it was reported that Chyna was looking to go to Japan and teach English as a foreign language. As someone who has a number of friends who have done the very same thing in South Korea, it sounded like a great plan for her to get a career and her life back on track. It seemed like she had put wrestling behind her.

Then TNA came calling. (more…)

Ringbelles Roundup (26 April 2011)

The Big News

One of only of a handful of transgendered wrestlers in the world has made history again.

The original WILD Wrestling match scheduled for the show at Insane Wrestling League in Chino, CA, last Friday was meant to be Buggy taking on Allison Danger. When that was announced as no longer taking place, champion Lucky O’Shea was drafted in to face a mystery opponent. That turned out to be “The Bloodthirsty Vixen” Amanda, who defeated O’Shea to win the title.

Standing 5’9” and weighing 140lb and hailing from Long Beach, CA, 28-year old Mariah Moreno started out as a manager, then trained at the Santino Bros Wrestling Academy in Bell Gardens in 2008 before making her debut a year later.

Speaking to the Windy City Times at the end of last year, Amanda described when she started living her life as a woman in her teenage years: “I was born male and, at age 15, I decided to start living my life as a female,” said Moreno, who had breast-augmentation surgery about five years ago. “I plan on going forward with [full transition] surgery within the next five to seven years.” (more…)

Attention whores get more attention

Not content with collectively appearing on Tough Enough, America’s Next Top Model, Survivor, The Celebrity Newlywed Game, Celebrity Fear Factor, Celebrity Poker Showdown, Camp Reality, WWE SmackDown, TNA Impact, Ring Of Honor and Dragon Gate USA, recent TE contestant Michelle Deighton and her husband Jonny Fairplay decided to appear on Dr Phil on Thursday to discuss their marital problems.

Why they couldn’t just go to a regular marriage counsellor is a mystery. Then again, after some people get a camera pointed at them, just like oxygen, water and food, they need a camera lens to survive.

Check out the full recap of their appearance on the show – as well as some video footage – by clicking here.

The basic story is that they’re arguing about everything, but one quote really stood out for us. Said Deighton:

“I have a full-time job, I’m a full-time student and I have a 3-year-old daughter. I’m the president of the Teach Club at my college. I’m in the Student Leadership program. I volunteer and I’m in a play that’s opening next weekend. When I come home, instead of doing dishes, instead of cleaning up a mess, I’m going to get on the floor and play with my baby girl,”

If that’s true, when did she pick up her 11 years of wrestling experience, considering she’s 25 and she claims she took about 6 years off? Moreover, had she won the Tough Enough contract that she was competing for before dropping out on last week’s episode, how would she have balanced that with her full-time job, full-time studies (how is it even possible to have a both of those at the same time anyway?) the Teach Club, the volunteering, her acting AND a toddler?!

Most people credited her with a lot of heart in “giving up her dream” for her family on last week’s show. Indeed, she even got an admittedly rare hug from “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for her decision, but really, is anyone else getting the idea that she never set out to win, but to get a little more publicity for herself?

In other Tough Enough news, Ariane Andrew, who was the first contestant eliminated yet left us with this gem of a moment, has been off Twitter since April 5 – the day after she was kicked off the show. The message that was on there saying that she has been signed to a developmental deal is still curiously absent. Meanwhile, Rima Fakih’s been doing the media circuit, but hasn’t been talking about WWE in her future, according to this week’s Wrestling Observer. After hitting the bottom two for the last two weeks and clearly being way out of her depth as far as technique goes, it will be interesting to see how much longer she was afforded the ‘top secret immunity’ from elimination that came with being Miss USA and WWE’s believed mainstream star of the show. It’s not a knock on Fakih, who has been portrayed as game and likeable on the show – more the situation she was dropped into. With stories a couple of months ago of a potential return for the Diva Search later this year, one has to wonder whether WWE would have been smarter to hold off Fakih for that competition rather than one that presumably requires the winner to be an immediate TV performer.

Ringbelles Roundup (19 April 2011)

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…)

Ringbelles Roundup (12 April 2011)

The Big News

Two big stories coming out of the UK this week…

It was a rough yet rewarding weekend for Britani Knight. Suffering from what she thought was tonsillitis, the 18-year old member of the Knight Dynasty wrestled 5 matches in 28 hours on route to becoming the first ever Pro Wrestling: EVE champion. However, she was bedridden the next day with what turned out to be glandular fever, causing her to miss a date with her home promotion, World Association of Wrestling. We at Ringbelles wish her congratulations on her title win and also a speedy recovery from a nasty illness.

EVE’s title tournament turned out to be less complicated that the brackets would have led you to believe. Starting with FIVE four corner matches and a Last Chance Battle Royal for the losers to determine the quarter finalists, they were hurried through relatively quickly to leave us with singles matches which varied from fine to good – the standout matches of the first night featured Erin Angel v Nikki Storm and Britani v Jenny Sjodin in the quarters, and Sweet Saraya taking on Blue Nikita in a Last Woman Standing match. The return of Blue Nikita was something of a surprise after her relationship with EVE went sour after the first show – so when she ran in to attack Saraya in the opening match of the evening, it took many by surprise. It also meant that both voluntarily took themselves out of the tournament – Saraya was eligible for the Battle Royal and Blue Nikita never got to compete in her four-way contest due to brawling with Saraya before the bell – to compete in the Last Woman Standing affair, which Saraya won with a sunset powerbomb.

The Project nightclub was a makeshift venue after the Royal British Legion was pulled as a host due to licensing issues and complaints – somebody even called up the local radio station pretending to be EVE management to say the event at the Project had been completely cancelled – but as an environment for the audience, it was great. It was cosy, yet sat the fans comfortably with plenty of space, and felt safe yet anarchic. Apparently it was a little too cosy backstage, as there wasn’t much room for the wrestlers – of which there were around 20 – to change, but that could be changed if EVE decides to return to the venue – something the owners were pretty receptive to. (more…)

Ringbelles Retro: 11 years? Sure…

Tough Enough contestant Michelle Deighton says she’s been wrestling for ELEVEN YEARS. Whatever.

Still, let’s say that it’s true – that would mean that the match on this week’s Retro took place after being involved in wrestling for four years. Let’s see how she gets on against Night Angel, with Deighton wrestling under the name of Jessie Belle (Jezebel, get it?).

Ringbelles Roundup (05 April 2011)

The Big News

Again, sorry about the shortness of the Roundup this week. We’ve been in Las Vegas for fun and giggles with Allison Danger.


Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi could be a genius.

She got paid tens of thousands of dollars to essentially do a lunge, a handspring hip attack and a cartwheel into a splash to get the win for her, Trish Stratus and John Morrison at WrestleMania XXVII on Sunday in Atlanta. They defeated LayCool and Dolph Ziggler in the only women-related wrestling action on the show. However, it only lasted around 3 minutes, was in the graveyard slot after the well-received Triple H v Undertaker match, and was probably the wrong result for longevity.

Fair enough, Trish is the Tough Enough trainer, and it wouldn’t look good for her to lose the day before the new season began, but it meant that Michelle McCool – who was the only person who was legal on her side for the entire contest – had to sell for a woman who hasn’t wrestled in more than a year, and for a sub-five foot heavy drinker from Jersey Shore.

I’m not knocking Snooki though – after all, she did what she was asked to do, and exceeded my expectations. The mainstream media coverage wasn’t forthcoming though – HLN did mention Snooki, but it was because a school has paid $32,000 to have her talk to the pupils about something completely unrelated to WrestleMania.

However, this leaves McCool and Layla in a tough spot. The planned break-up seemed to be back on, as Michelle shoved her partner before the contest began, and they had a number of miscues which led to their downfall. The problem is that they are near-heatless together these days as fans are sick of them, but separately, they are likely to struggle. McCool – though talented – is something of a heat vacuum, and while Layla is a great character, she’s not polished enough in the ring to lead as a heel, and not sympathetic enough as a babyface. (more…)

Ringbelles Roundup (22 March 2011)

The Big News

Three of the five female contestants in the relaunch of Tough Enough kicking off on April 4th (my birthday, send cake… lemon drizzle) have had ties to WWE in the past. As mentioned on February 17th (before the website went live), Miss USA Rima Fakih was the first contestant’s name to be announced. The 25-year old appeared on Raw at the end of last year to crown Sheamus as the King Of The Ring as part of her guest host duties. She was tweeting four days before the shooting wrapped, so one would assume that she got close, but didn’t make it to the final.

25-year old Michelle Deighton was a part of America’s Next Top Model cycle 4 in 2005 – a show which had something in common with the original Tough Enoughs in that they both had Ken Mok as an executive producer, so shared many aspects of presentation – and was known as a wrestler at that point. After having her hair fried blonde and suffering impetigo during the show, she was eliminated, but showed up on SmackDown in November of that year as both that and Top Model were on UPN at the time.

Since then, she has had a daughter, now 3, and married Survivor star and TNA part-timer Jonny Fairplay – but seeing she was featured on a YouTube vodcast in North Carolina last week and the show is still being filmed in California, one can assume that she has already been eliminated. That must be a slap in the teeth since she’s been involved in wrestling for 11 years and apparently didn’t last as long as Miss USA… (more…)

The Pocket Volcano Erupts: Too many Divas spoiling the broth?

NOTE: This is a commentary. The views expressed may or may not reflect those held by Ringbelles Admin.

With the upcoming returns of both Tough Enough next month and the Diva Search later this year, it leaves this writer wondering: if the pattern from previous contests holds true (in that, no matter who won either show, some of the runners-up made it into the WWE), will we see an influx of new female talent? If so, could some of the current Divas on the roster be in jeopardy of losing their jobs? Most likely and off the top of my head, four names came to mind. Mind you, this is all speculation, but there are some women whose jobs are secure for the most part and some are very much expendable. The following list is in no particular order. (more…)

Ringbelles Roundup (22 February 2011)

The Big News

Lots of Tough Enough stuff, so let’s go chronologically…


Former Monday Night Raw guest host and current Miss USA Rima Fakih has been announced as the first participant in the reboot of Tough Enough, starting on April 4, the night after WrestleMania XXVII.

The 25 year old’s only appearance on any wrestling show was on November 29, 2010 when she crowned Sheamus as King of the Ring.

That WWE announced Miss USA as the show’s first participant is a decent media coup for the promotion, as it’s got crossover appeal. However, when you consider that WWE put out press releases asking for independent female wrestlers to apply for the show – Mercedes Martinez, Roxie Cotton, Anne Social, Brittney Savage and Sara Del Rey all had a crack – and none of them made the cut while an untrained model did is a little galling to a female wrestler who drives hundreds of miles to wrestle in a dirty ring in front of 40 people for little money. (more…)

Miss USA signs on for Tough Enough

Former Monday Night Raw guest host and current Miss USA Rima Fakih has been announced as the first participant in the reboot of Tough Enough, starting on April 4, the night after WrestleMania XXVII.

The 25 year old’s only appearance on any wrestling show was on November 29, 2010 when she crowned Sheamus as King of the Ring.

Check out her thoughts in the official press release. (more…)

The Women of Tough Enough: Where Are They Now? Part 2

In the original part of this look back of The Women of Tough Enough, we checked out the three winners – Nidia Guenard, Linda Miles and Jackie Gayda Haas. In this concluding part, we should take a peek at some of the other contestants who ended up in the biz, as well as the applicants who didn’t make it into the house but still forged a career in wrestling anyway.

So let’s go through it season by season… (more…)

The Women of Tough Enough: Where Are They Now? Part 1

NOTE: These articles were originally posted elsewhere last year – but dammit, they’re my articles, so I’m adding them to Ringbelles. Enjoy.

Roughly ten years ago, a group of eager wannabes queued up on the bitterly cold streets of New York City to audition for a new WWF concept. Tough Enough was looking for a group of 13 men and women to learn how to wrestle from scratch over 9 weeks. Two winners would be chosen, given WWF contracts and be on their way to becoming WWF Superstars.

It had its critics – most notably Triple H, who thought it exposed the business too much, and he might have had a point, as the first season gave every viewer a rough guide on how to bump, which must have resulted in a few shocked vertebrae – but it was a big hit on MTV, where it was hosted. Three seasons were produced for the network, with a fourth featuring on SmackDown in 2004 and was a rough blueprint for the wonderful programme we know and love called NXT.

Now we have been informed that USA Network is planning to revive Tough Enough, though it is still unclear what the format will be. It could follow the format of the original three seasons by taking novices and teaching them from the bottom. It could bring in indie wrestlers and polish them, reminiscent of The Ultimate Fighter; or it could take WWE contracted wrestlers currently plying their craft in Florida Championship Wrestling and put them in a house – though that version will probably be more scripted and moulded towards who WWE want to push. However, to judge how successful any potential winner of Tough Enough: The Return would be, it would be a good idea to look into its history.

Tough Enough produced seven winners – three female, four male – with John Morrison being the most successful of the bunch. But if they have a Y chromosome, we’re not really interested in them, no matter how long and floppy their hair is. So in this two-part piece, we’ll have a look at the fates of the women of Tough Enough, what happened to their careers, and what they are up to these days.

To start with, let us examine the fortunes of the three female winners – in the second part coming next week, we can have a nose around at the other contestants who didn’t win, and the ones who didn’t even make it into the house.

So why don’t we kick off with the originator…? (more…)

WOW Podcast #3 with Jackie Haas

Episode 3 with Jackie Haas
The Women of Wrestling Podcast returns with an epic third episode featuring former WWE Diva and TNA Knockout Jackie Haas. Jackie may have had an abbreviated career, but it was an eventful run. Here she talks about winning Tough Enough 2, that match on Raw, Ohio Valley Wrestling, Rico, love and marriage with Charlie, her run in TNA (just where was that blackmail angle going?), returning to WWE for the WrestleMania battle royal, family, friends and the future. She’s done well for a ‘Diva Search’ girl (listen to the show…)
Follow Jackie Haas on twitter | Jackie Haas on facebook | Official Website

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