Lots of stuff to cover in this Roundup, and we start with the goings-on in WWE over the last few days…
AJ Lee survived the odds put against her by Vickie Guerrero to retain the Divas Championship at WrestleMania XXX. By tapping out Naomi, she defeated her 13 challengers for the title in a match which played to the strengths of its more skilled participants and managed to generate a slight buzz – which was a herculean effort considering the wave of depression in the Superdome in New Orleans, LA because of Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker in the previous contest – and also stuck it to Guerrero for putting her in such a disadvantageous position and for emerging victorious. Standing on the middle rope, AJ soaked in the victory, which was her most high profile in her Divas Championship reign…
And her last. (more…)
One thing we’ll happily own up to here at Ringbelles in the last few months is throwing a spotlight on Texas’ own Barbi Hayden (including, but not limited to two ‘Fight Like A Girl’ podcast appearances in September 2013 and January 2014) – and with good cause. Hayden has “it” by the bucketload, and has started the year on an absolute tear, winning both the Anarchy Televised Championship in ACW and the NWA World Women’s Championship. A big part of Hayden’s increased profile is thanks to her association with Women Superstars Uncensored, who, through iPPV and VOD, have certainly helped give Hayden a bigger worldwide platform. It was a shame, then, that Hayden was nowhere to be found on WSU’s latest iPPV “Mutiny” – but with her opponent for the show Santana Garrett having signed up to join TNA Wrestling, the agreement was that the Hayden/Garrett match could not be broadcast on iPPV. The vagaries of what TNA contracted talent can and can’t appear on apparently doesn’t extend to later broadcast on YouTube, thankfully – so just over a fortnight later, WSU have released the “dark” Hayden vs Garrett match for everybody to check out. It’s not a particularly long match (WSU were already late in getting people into the venue due to overrunning ice hockey and therefore late for what should’ve been the start time of their iPPV – so it’s feasible that the match wasn’t afforded as much time as it might otherwise have been), but it *is* a really strong spotlight for one of 2014′s brightest stars so far in Barbi Hayden as she makes the very first defence of her NWA World Women’s Title. Check it out after the page break. (more…)
When I was 19 years old, I went to a friend’s house to watch SummerSlam 2000. We had known each other for about a year after meeting at university and discovering that we were both wrestling fans. I was in his house for about 10 minutes when his 15 year old sister came in, introduced herself and then hitched up her underwear over her hips and said that she was a Lita fan.
Apart from not knowing where to look, what to say or anything, I was surprised at how someone who had just met me was so keen to impart the fact that she was a fan of Lita. Granted, she knew that I was a wrestling fan, but that sort of stuff shouldn’t happen, should it? I put it down to how cool Lita was and left it at that, but when you look back on her influence during WWF Attitude, you could argue that she was the best representation of women that the company had ever presented up to that point.
Unlike her rival Trish Stratus, Lita wasn’t a barbie doll. She was rough and ready, looked a little messy and did not dress to impress – she dressed for comfort. Copying the Hardy Boyz look with the baggy pants, she coupled it with a tight sports top or t-shirt and got stuck in against the guys. She delivered flying ranas and bodypresses to the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Test, Albert, Edge and Christian, and was happy to take the lumps too. She was powerbombed by the Dudley Boyz, Guerrero and Test as well as getting speared by Edge. She was a game girl who settled things in a way that no woman before her had done so. As a consequence, she was amazingly cool and was arguably more or a role model for women than Trish was. Stratus was too perfect, like she was almost above it all, whereas Lita would hang out with you, drink with you, share a laugh and be your friend. She was the opposite of a Diva, and that made her stand out from the – admittedly smaller in that era – pack.
It is fitting that Amy “Lita” Dumas is going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. At 38, she is one of the youngest inductees, though she may have done more to draw women to WWE than any other female before or since. (more…)
Less than 24 hours before WSU present “Mutiny” on iPPV (order here), a number of stars turned out for Secret Show #3, headlined by Jessicka Havok‘s WSU World Title defence against Portugal’s Shanna. It was the only announced match for the otherwise pretty secret show – so jump after the cut for full results from the event. (more…)
Tonight at an undisclosed location (likely to once again be the CZW Training School), Women Superstars Uncensored will be presenting their third “Secret Show” in front of a select group of fans. Tonight’s show is particularly interesting as it features a defence of the WSU World Championship by Jessicka Havok against “Portugal’s Perfect Athlete” Shanna. Bumped from tomorrow’s “Mutiny” iPPV in favour of a Havok vs Alpha Female match, Shanna’s title challenge will be the biggest match so far in this fledgling series of shows, which are made available exclusively through StreamWSU.com. The first show from last August (which we reviewed here) was infamous for being the show where Athena picked up the injury which sidelined her for the rest of the year, but was otherwise an interesting, intimate, but ultimately very low budget show – and a nice bit of bonus content for the streaming service. Therefore, before we get the results of Secret Show #3, we’ve gone back to check out Secret Show #2 from October 2013 – featuring the “International J-Cup” tournament – a one-night, eight women elimination tournament. Let’s see how it stacks up. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (28 January 2014) – Ivelisse Velez strikes gold, Rain retires for real, Nevaeh & Leva Bates impress
It’s been some comeback by Ivelisse Velez from being released by WWE in August 2012. Refusing to be a statistic, she picked herself up and got back in the saddle. While she has experienced TV exposure with WWE by being in the most recent Tough Enough in 2011 and in TNA for its Gut Check (which she weirdly lost, even though she won her match against Le’D Tapa, who ended up getting the contract), leading to working the Knockouts Knockdown and World Cup PPV tapings, arguably her biggest achievement happened last Friday in Ybor City, Florida.
It’s funny – WWE’s rumoured reasoning for releasing Velez was that she had “attitude issues”. I would say that rather than “attitude”, she has self-confidence and determination, and they are major contributing factors as to why she holds the SHINE title. (more…)
This weekend is the real kick-off of the all-women promotions for 2014, and it begins with the promotion which closed out 2013.
Things were left somewhat up in the air at the end of SHINE 15 on December 13. Rain had just backed out of her impending retirement after retaining the SHINE Championship by beating Amazing Kong via count out. However, her gloating came to an abrupt end when she was informed that her next challenger would be fellow Valkyrie member Ivelisse Velez, who had beaten Mia Yim earlier in the night – that is, if Ivelisse decided to accept the opportunity. What followed was a series of videos where a number of people offered their thoughts to the would-be challenger. Starting proceedings was fellow stablemates Taylor Made and Allysin Kay who implored their friend to not accept the match, and was followed by Rain, who echoed those sentiments. Afterwards, SHINE VP Lexie Fyfe told Velez that she was picked because she was the most deserving, not because of some sort of plot to destroy Valkyrie from within. (more…)
After a few days of teasing and polling the fanbase, Women Superstars Uncensored today announced a major overhaul of their Mutiny iPPV on February 8th in Voorhees, NJ, switching out their announced main event of Jessicka Havok vs Shanna for the WSU World Championship for a first time dream match of Havok vs Alpha Female. Shanna’s title shot has now been moved to the smaller ‘Secret Show’ that will take place the night before Mutiny. In their release announcing the card change, WSU management point out that “After Alpha Female was unexpectedly added to the “Mutiny” lineup, fans bombarded WSU Management with messages demanding this international dream match. We have gone out of our way to accommodate these requests.”
On Mutiny, Shanna will now team with Chris Dickinson to take on the team of Candice LaRae & Joey Ryan in a match that “will have major implications on May’s “Queen and King of the Ring” Mixed Tag Team Tournament.” Also announced yesterday was the addition of two top contenders for the WSU Title, LuFisto and Athena, in a title eliminator. Both LuFisto and Athena were promised title shots last year, but both missed out due to injury – and at the end of this match, only one will remain as the #1 Contender. (more…)
So Kaitlyn has left WWE. I’m not going to lie here – it totally sucks. Considering she is just 27 years old, considering how she had a personality and physique which could make her stand out from the other Divas, and considering how eager she was to work, she’s a massive loss. The worst part is that her departure is totally understandable as WWE had failed her. Given different circumstances, she could still be a Diva, kicking bottom and being a valuable asset to the company. The reason that she’s not is WWE’s fault, not her’s.
According to the Wrestling Observer, Kaitlyn was keen to get stuck in and was looking for a new storyline. She was reportedly promised that certain opportunities would be forthcoming, but when they were not, she decided that enough was enough and she would hand in her notice. Here was someone who was eager to work, contribute and deliver the goods, and she got nothing. Instead of twiddling her thumbs and receiving a paycheck, she wanted to work. That has to be respected.
To highlight her work ethic, she posted a video telling fans that she is busy planning her wedding, working with a new fitness company and is also setting up her own firm to sell workout clothing for women, entitled Celestial Bodiez – derived from her real name of Celeste Bonin. (more…)
Episode 65 with Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna
It’s taken over two years since she said “yes” to a podcast appearance to get everything aligned for this show to come together, but the delay has been all for the better because she had a big year last year with US tours taking in appearances in WSU, AIW and SHINE – and she’s on the verge of a third US visit next month to challenge Jessicka Havok for the WSU World Championship at WSU Mutiny on February 8th. We talk to Shanna about all manner of things, including her experiences on her last two US tours, the origins (and pronunciation) of her ring name, her initial years in the business, working with ABC Catch in mainland Europe, injuries, the match that Shanna describes as her “best match ever”, thoughts on TNA (where she finished second in last year’s GutCheck voting), exclusive news and teasers about upcoming US tours and possible bookings and some of her loves away from wrestling… including, yes… 80s rock music~!
(right click on the picture and “save as” to download, or stream in our media player below)
In the December 17 edition of the Roundup, I mentioned about Madison Rayne’s return to TNA. I knew the results of the subsequent shows up to where we are right now, but didn’t reveal what was going to be coming up. At the time, I wrote: “I’m hoping there will be some explanation as to why Rayne is now a babyface and going after [Gail] Kim. I have a theory, but I want to see how it plays out.” Well, it’s been 3 weeks and there have been quite a few twists and turns. However, at no point has TNA explained exactly WHY Madison has such aggression towards her former friend.
We have had three weeks for an explanation to take place. We’ve had candid videos from Rayne and an extensive interview on the Knockouts website with Madison talking about giving birth – including the claim that she’s the first female to return to the ring after giving birth – which must make the likes of Saraya Knight and Allison Danger fall over laughing – and her desire to get back to wrestling, and there is still no revelation on what caused the friction. In that time, Rayne and ODB have beaten Kim and Lei’D Tapa, and last week Madison defeated the Knockouts Champion in her Open Challenge series to become the number one contender to the title – and yet, still nothing as to why.
Considering this is the headline feud for the division, it’s curious as to what TNA is thinking. At this point, we still haven’t been told as to what is the issue between the pair and it’s even more of a head scratcher when you consider that there is a storyline already done for them. All they had to do was produce one simple video package to explain it all. It’s staring them in the face. (more…)
Both Bellatrix and NCW Femmes Fatales have started to announce their big matches for their first shows of 2014, and now it’s the turn of Women Superstars Uncensored, which is running its first card of the year before either of the others. It has announced Jessicka Havok‘s next challenger for the WSU Championship, and it will be a “perfect” competitor.
By virtue of winning the International J-Cup at WSU’s Secret Show in October and following it up with another victory the following day at Blood And Thunder, Shanna has earned a crack at Jessicka’s title – a belt which Havok has held since April 28, 2012, and has successfully defended against the likes of Lexxus, Alicia, Mercedes Martinez and Athena. It’s unfortunate that a number of scheduled defences against LuFisto and Athena for a second time didn’t come to fruition through injury last year, but it seems that Havok’s title defences are getting back on track. (more…)
The first thing I think when I look back over my own personal memories of the last year of women’s wrestling is, as usual, my regular trips to SHIMMER live events in Berwyn, IL. I can’t say enough about the whole experience, but if you’ve ever even vaguely considered making the pilgrimage, DO IT. I believe this year represented my tenth and eleventh trips there, and yeah, I’m still keen to return in the coming year and still love the whole experience. Dave Prazak has often described SHIMMER as a DVD product (and it basically still is), but for me, (and I think a lot of the people I see returning time and time again), it’s become live product more than anything else, and it’s like getting together with your friends from all over the world twice a year. They’re long weekends for the fans, but they’ve ultimately given me such great memories. From seeing the return from injuries of the likes of Serena Deeb & Madison Eagles, to seeing people like Kimber Lee wrestling live for the first time, to seeing Nikki Storm get over so huge on her first trip there, to openly weeping in public as Allison Danger wrestled her last match – all things that will live long in the memory. Sure, the October taping was beset by a number of integral people missing for various reasons, but I’m still glad I was there (Kimber Bombs!!), and only underlines how much talent there is to return in 2014. (more…)
With Nikki Storm and Kimber Lee announced over the last couple of days as the 2013 Discovery of the Year and Breakout Star of the Year respectively, the final question that needs to be answered in our 2013 Awards season is the big one. Who was the Wrestler of the Year for 2013 – following in the steps of previous winners Madison Eagles (2010), Hailey Hatred (2011) and Ayako Hamada (2012)? As is customary, before we make our final announcement of our winner, we’ll consider a couple of really strong contenders who ultimately we didn’t go with this year, but would have been worthy winners all the same.
A lot of people – including us, it must be said – made a lot of noise about Madison Eagles this year. After missing the entirety of 2012 with a career threatening knee injury, the fact that Eagles is back and competing at such a high level again is worthy of incredible praise. We remarked when reviewing Eagles’ US return match (vs Jessie McKay at SHIMMER 53 in April) that she “laughs in the face of ring rust”, and that’s pretty much dead on. Standout matches this year include a cracker with Kana at SHIMMER 55, and a couple of matches with Jessicka Havok (at SHINE 9 and SHIMMER 60), and although she started experimenting with fork-based humour in the second half of the year, her credibility at the highest level is still there. Eagles deserves an award for her achievements in 2013, but she just misses out on our biggie.
We’ve mentioned her above, but Kana was also up for consideration. When you factor in her amazing work at SHIMMER over the year against the likes of Eagles, McKay, Kalamity and Kimber Lee, as well as her success in her native Japan, it has certainly been an eventful 12 months in the life of the 32-year old. She was a losing finalist in the tournament to crown the first Regina di WAVE Champion but rebounded to win the WAVE Tag Team titles with Mio Shirai, holding the championship for four months before dropping it in July. In JWP, she became the outsider who won the Openweight Championship and rubbed her accomplishment in the faces of the regular roster before dropping the belt back to Arisa Nakajima earlier this month. As well as her in-ring accomplishments, Kana has reinvented her look, wearing crazy face paint designs and more outlandish outfits to really make herself stand out from the pack.
Also coming close was another name we’ve heard from a lot of people this year as we’ve gauged opinions both from fans and people in the industry – Cheerleader Melissa. From winning the SHIMMER Championship in a Cage Match in SHIMMER’s biggest show ever (Vol 53 at WrestleCon) to holding onto the title throughout the rest of the year, this has been the extended run with the title that she didn’t get first time round (when she lost the championship in the ring before the DVD documenting her title win was even released). It has also coincided with a slow-burn heel shift that has resulted in some of Melissa’s most interesting work for some time. North of the border, she’s also been integral to ongoing storylines for NCW Femmes Fatales, and has been involved in some of their most highly praised matches of 2013.
Eventually though – we went with the same criteria we did last year when we picked Ayako Hamada. Who was the best in ring performer of the year? Who regularly entertained and impressed us most? Who raised up other people to her level? We ended up choosing a sensation… (more…)
Welcome to the 2013 Ringbelles Year End Awards – a trio of accolades where we acknowledge the standouts of what has been a bumper year for women’s wrestling around the world, and giving us plenty of candidates to chew over en route to picking our victorious three. Tomorrow and Sunday respectively, we reveal the Breakout Star and Wrestler of the Year – but first, we begin with the Discovery of the Year, and this was a complicated one. Let us explain, but first, we should mention some of the wrestlers who featured very heavily in our considerations.
The swelling of iPPV over the last year has afforded everyone great opportunities to find out about more stars, especially if we lack the means to be able to see them live. Instead of videos leaking onto the Internet and you having to stumble on them, live online broadcasts have meant that we have been introduced to new faces – many of whom have made an impression on us. As a result, we got the chance to enjoy the work of Barbi Hayden, who did a great job on two Women Superstars Uncensored cards in the latter half of the year; meanwhile, Xandra Bale also raised our eyebrows and was very unlucky to have suffered a fibula injury, as it meant she missed a potential standout match against Cheerleader Melissa at NCW Femmes Fatales XIII. Speaking of Canadian stars and WSU, Jewells Malone has also done some great work and enjoyed some quality exposure. Another up for consideration was Crazy Mary Dobson, who was a big hit for Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females, and also made a good impression at the most recent SHIMMER tapings, and moved away from the death match stuff to also develop her wrestling skills in Japan.
The wrestler who just missed out on winning the accolade is Heidi Lovelace, who has really shone in 2013 with a great outing at National Pro Wrestling Day, as well as defeating Eddie Kingston in the main event of October’s Wrestling Is Heart show and was also part of one of the year’s best storylines, playing the infatuated party in a manipulative same-sex romance with Taeler Hendrix in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
The term “discovery” is an abstract one, and is subjective, depending as to when you were exposed to that particular wrestler. If you were to draw parallels with music, you could have someone who has been following a band in small venues for many years before they start to get signed to a major label, release singles and albums and start doing larger tours. One fan will discover the band at a different time to another, though both have experienced that initial exposure at one time. For that reason, the Discovery of the Year award goes to a woman who – like Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna – made a big impact in the United States, but also had success in Japan… (more…)
As we continue to count down to the announcements of our winners of the 2013 Year End Awards next weekend, we’re taking a glance back at those we recognised last year. Yesterday we revisited the last twelve months in the life of our 2012 Discovery of the Year Kimber Lee, and today we’re turning our attention to last year’s Breakout Star of the Year, the classy one herself – Allysin Kay!
The Breakout Star of of the Year Award is meant to recognise someone who really upped their game in the twelve months prior. We’re fond of describing it in the terms of how someone goes from just being a wrestler on the card to being a *player* on the scene. Someone who makes you want to buy a ticket or order an iPPV. Someone who becomes an essential ingredient in a number of promotions – and for the year of 2012, that person was beyond doubt Allysin Kay. (more…)
Next weekend we start making our announcements of the winners of our 2013 Year End Awards. Once again, we will be presenting awards in three categories – Discovery of the Year, Breakout Star of the Year and Wrestler of the Year. But before we get to that, let’s take a look back twelve months and check in with last year’s award winners and see how 2013 has treated them. First, let’s look at our 2012 Discovery of the Year, Kimber Lee.
As we wrote last year when we made the announcement of Kimber Lee as our Discovery of the Year, the spirit of this award is to recognise someone who we didn’t know twelve months prior, but who “caught our attention in a positive way… and is therefore someone that we’re tipping to bloom and flourish in the coming years.”. Twelve months on, and I think we can assuredly say Mission: Accomplished – and still aged just 23 years old and continuing to impress and improve by the month, there’s little doubt that there’s a lot more to come from the native of Seattle. (more…)
Women Superstars Uncensored announced a mild change in ownership at the Blood And Thunder iPPV on Saturday, with it being revealed that Combat Zone Wrestling boss DJ Hyde was becoming a co-owner along with Drew Cordiero, who bought the promotion from Sean McCaffrey last June. Hyde was greeted by WSU Champion Jessicka Havok, who dropped him with an Air Raid Crash after successfully defending her title against Lexxus, eliciting a big positive reaction from the fans in Voorhees, NJ. The move positions Havok as more of a babyface than ever, and possibly distancing her from her Midwest Militia teammates Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie – especially the latter, as the pair have entered a distant war of words.
The developments make for an intriguing future for WSU, but seeing as it’s been just over a year since the first Cordiero-run card, it seems like as good a time as any to see how things have gone. What has worked? What has been less successful? And what should we expect from WSU down the road? (more…)
In what must be an utterly crushing blow for her, Xandra Bale is out of the match against Cheerleader Melissa at NCW Femmes Fatales XIII, which would have determined the next challenger to Mercedes Martinez‘s International Championship. The 5-year pro from Markham, ON, Canada broke a bone in her leg from a dive from the top rope at Women Superstars Uncensored‘s Blood and Thunder iPPV on Saturday. In a statement released on her Facebook page, Bale elaborated on the story:
First and foremost, I just want to thank the lockerroom and staff of WSU and CZW for all their help and support last night. I also want to thank the countless people that have already messaged me their support. Can’t tell you how much it means to me. I broke my fibula (outside bone in the leg) yesterday during my match. No one’s fault but my own. I am in a cast for 6 weeks, which means I am unfortunately not going to be able to participate in Shimmer or femmes fatales for this month and I have likely wrestled my last match of 2013. I feel fine physically but I feel like I’ve let so many people down and that is the worst feeling right now. I’m so sorry to everyone and know that I can’t wait to get back in the ring. I am thrilled and so thankful with how 2013 went and I can’t wait to pick up where I left off. (more…)
It’s a big day for Women Superstars Uncensored today, as they put on an iPPV from their usual home base of the Flyers Skate Zone in Vorhees, NJ. It’s an important show as not only does it feature a WSU World Title defence over a year in the making, the full WSU debuts of international talents like Nikki Storm and Saraya Knight (the latter of whom takes on Mickie Knuckles in a No Disqualification match), but will also apparently feature an announcement of a new owner taking a stake in WSU – a new owner who will help secure the future of the company and open up more international doors.
In addition, we also have what might well be the sleeper match of the night as Allysin Kay takes on Kimber Lee, and more from the new generation of WSU talent like Santana Garrett, Barbi Hayden, Jewells Malone and more. You can still order the show (which includes 14 days of VOD access) at CZWiPPV.com, or join us after the cut for results as they come in. (more…)