On October 14, 2007, 10 women competed at TNA Bound For Glory to crown the first TNA Knockouts Champion. That Gauntlet Match was won by Gail Kim, who subsequently engaged in a series of matches with Awesome Kong which cemented TNA as being the place to be for women wrestlers who wanted to knuckle down and graft in the ring. It separated itself from WWE’s Divas division by having a wide range of different-looking women – from your Kongs and Kims to your ODBs, your Jackie Moores and your Roxxi Leveauxs. Most of them have come and gone – in Roxxi’s case, on a number of occasions – but through it all, there has been one woman who has been there uninterrupted. On Sunday, that woman became Knockouts Champion for the very first time.
30-year old Jamie Szantyr started out as a valet back in 2003 under names like Talia, Talia Doll and Miss Talia before settling on Talia Madison, soon forming a tag team with April Hunter, ironically called T&A. Before long, she was being booked around the country, winning her first championship two years later in Afa’s World Xtreme Wrestling in a battle royal. The following years saw her flirt with going to WWE, appearing as an extra on episodes of SmackDown and Heat, as well as wrestling Victoria on the latter show – Victoria was pretty much the test for most women in their tryouts, as Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez also faced her in televised matches around the same time. Although unsuccessful in attaining an offer that way, she tried her luck in the 2007 Diva Search (which was won by Eve Torres), though didn’t make it through to the final 8.
By the time 2007 rolled around, Madison had been wrestling for four years, and she got her chance to be part of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s blossoming Knockouts Division. Although BFG was her first in-ring appearance, she featured in a couple of backstage segments and was also at ringside for Kong’s pre-BFG demolition of Kim on the go-home episode of Impact.
Soon after the Gauntlet match, Madison wrestled Kong and was soundly defeated, then changed her name to Velvet Sky so TNA could copyright it. As one of a slew of women who had just arrived, it was difficult for Sky to cut through, as compared to some of the other wrestlers, her skills weren’t as sharp – but what she had going for her was her stunning looks, and along with Angelina Love – who had changed her name from Angel Williams – she set out to carve her own niche in the Knockouts division. (more…)
Sometimes you have to fall on your face to become as good as you can be.
That’s what happened to Katarina Waters. Before her days as Winter in TNA or Katie Lea in WWE, Waters was Nikita in the Frontier Wrestling Alliance based in the south of the UK. Back in May, we featured Nikita in another Retro from 2003 leaping from the balcony at York Hall in London as part of an intergender tag team match. However, the year before, Nikita had been part of the biggest British show of the young millennium – a big-time show on British satellite and cable TV, the first televised wrestling programme in the country for 14 years. Nikita would take on Lexie Fyfe – one half of former SHIMMER tag team The Experience with Malia Hosaka and the boss of Florida-based customs promotion SLAMmin Ladies.
Nikita had been put on the card despite some reservations about whether she was ready for the biggest stage that British wrestling had seen for half a generation, but the dice were rolled, and after the jump, you can see what happened. (more…)
Back in the July 5 Roundup, we let you know about Nanae Takahashi’s 15th anniversary plans, and how she would be facing Women Superstars Uncensored World Champion Mercedes Martinez in the semi-final of the Queen of Stardom tournament to crown its first champion. That event took place on Sunday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in front of a full house of 1,310 paying fans, with Takahashi not only defeating Martinez, but going on to beat Yoko Bito – who got by Mika Nagano earlier in the night to make it to the finals – to claim the championship in the promotion that she helped to create.
Some may complain that Takahashi winning the championship is a bit of a swizz, considering that she’s a founder of Stardom and has been booked to be the first champion. I can understand that complaint, considering it seems that it’s an exercise in ego-stroking, but I believe it means more than that. For example, Nanae winning the title is a recognition of her work since debuting in 1996, and if she is the best wrestler in the promotion – which is somewhat likely, considering its main function is to season younger wrestlers to get them ready, then should she not be the first champion to give the title some traction, so when one of the younger wrestlers matures, it will be a more prestigious title to win? (more…)
After withdrawing from CHIKARA and moving back to Australia, many would have expected SHIMMER and PWWA Champion Madison Eagles to rest up her injured shoulder and prepare herself for the return of PWWA on September 3 for her next SHIMMER title defence against both Nicole Matthews and former tag team partner Jessie McKay.
But this is Madison Eagles we’re talking about. This is the woman who perforated her eardrum during her #1 contenders’ match against Cheerleader Melissa in SHIMMER and came back the next day to wrestle MsChif and win the title. This is the woman who fractured her wrist and elbow last year and carried on training through it. This is the woman who had racked her shoulder up in a car accident in April and still went balls to the wall against Courtney Rush at nCw Femmes Fatales VI less than two months later.
So when she returned unannounced to her home fed of PWA in Liverpool, Australia on Friday after living in the US for six months, she wasn’t there to stand and wave at the fans. Instead, she turned heel by kicking Jessie McKay in the face and delivering a Hellbound (Death Valley Driver over the knee) to Robbie Eagles, setting the stall for the SHIMMER title match Before the turn, it would have been heel Matthews against babyfaces McKay and Eagles. Now, the pressure is on Everybody’s Favourite Girlfriend, who has her longtime SHIMMER rival in Matthews, and former tag team partner and regular opponent Eagles gunning for her. (more…)
The future of women’s wrestling in Britain was looking bright. In May 2010, Pro Wrestling: EVE debuted with a lot of fanfare, announcing a working relationship with World Association of Wrestling, meaning Sweet Saraya and her daughter Britani Knight would be part of the proceedings, along with other WAW talent Destiny and Amazon (and later, Liberty and Melodi). The partnership seemed to be working well, with training seminars being held with WAW, and EVE making Britani its first Champion two months ago.
Fast forward 13 months, and things are looking much muddier.
Last Saturday, less than two hours before Britani would defend the EVE title against Jenny Sjodin at an XWA Wrestling show in Morecambe, Saraya took to her Facebook to say that the relationship with WAW and EVE was being permanently severed, and would not be healed. In addition, it also said that WAW talent would no longer be on EVE shows.
While our Twitter exploded with requests for information, both from fans and wrestlers themselves, I was sat in the crowd at Morecambe unaware, much like EVE promoter Dann Read and the participants in the match. As it turned out, not even Saraya’s daughter knew that this decision was going to be made, nor that it had been made public and was being discussed.
There was no massive incident that caused the split, but more of a lot of little niggles that eventually became too much. Britani travelled to Morecambe against the wishes of family members as she was ill, with swollen legs and voice gone, presumably still suffering the after-effects of the glandular fever that she wrestled with on the EVE Championship weekend. According to Saraya, she did so because of promises made by Dann Read that he wanted to get her booked all around the country and get a number of successful defences under her belt – thereby increasing EVE’s national exposure. It seems that when Saraya learned that Britani would be dropping the title that night, it went against what they were told would be happening with Britani, and saw it as a betrayal of trust. We must point out that it isn’t down to Britani being upset with the booking decision and refusing to drop the title – it apparently is down to promises being made then then reneged on.
Saraya also went on to say that she would be reviving World Association of Women’s Wrestling – a promotion which promoted a number of cards between 2006 and 2009. (more…)
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…)