The WWE Divas Championship turned 5 years old on Saturday, and has evolved from the secondary title on the SmackDown brand to being the top belt in the promotion. Some would argue that in that time, the prestige of the primary women’s title in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world has dropped for various reasons, but it’s what we’re being presented, and it would be worth a look to see what state the title and the division itself is in right now.
Announced on June 6, 2008 by then-GM Vickie Guerrero so the women on her roster would have their own title, with the inaugural champion being Michelle McCool, who made Natalya tap out at that year’s Great American Bash. At the time, McCool was the pet project for WWE’s future, having been in the original Diva Search in 2004 and floating around for a long while before hitting a groove as a wrestler. However, she was a pretty unexciting one – and despite defeating Maryse a number of times over the course of the next month, it was the French Canadian who wrested the title from her in December of that year, which saw McCool turn heel on friend and special ref Maria Kanellis after the contest’s conclusion.
Maryse embarked on what is still the longest Divas Championship reign in the title’s history at 216 days, but her matches were pretty poor, and could not compare to the Raw brand’s women’s roster which was seeing the likes of Melina, Mickie James and Beth Phoenix competing over the Women’s Championship. However, during Maryse’s reign, she was drafted from SmackDown to Raw and took the belt with her, while Women’s Champion Melina went in the other direction. (more…)
While many fans are happy with the expansion of women’s wrestling promotions over the last few years, a criticism has been that similar names can be seen across the board. It could be argued that the reason they are so regularly booked is because of their ability, skill and match quality, but on the flip side, others may say that it stifles the development of others and makes rosters seem very similar. Women Superstars Uncensored may book some wrestlers which are regularly seen in other promotions – for example LuFisto – but in August, the promotion has plans to introduce more than half a dozen new names. Some of them you may be familiar with, others may be new to you. Some have had national exposure, some are competitively unknown. However, if you follow WSU, you’ll be getting to know them very soon… (more…)
In 1995, a mere four years after the invention of the World Wide Web, Amazon.com launched onto the Internet as an online bookstore with a simple, yet slightly baffling plan. Instead of looking to be a viable entity, it anticipated that it may not make money until the turn of the millennium. Its plan was to expand its brand quickly – no matter the cost – by making sure that everyone online knew about Amazon, what it did and its reputation. Going under the mantra of “get big fast”, it was its high profile which helped it to survive the dot-com bubble bursting in early 2000, which claimed a lot of firms which had floated on the stock exchange. Despite having not made a profit by that point, business kept flowing and it finally went into the black in the fourth quarter of 2001, more than six years after being launched.
The reason I bring up this tale is because over the last year, a number of women’s wrestling promotions have done similar things – rolled the dice to generate a following very quickly, enhance its profile and make sure that fans know that they are a real player. Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females and Bellatrix have managed certain degrees of success in the UK with a plan which is seeing them speculate to accumulate both financially and creatively, but a certain promotion in Florida has gone even further in leapfrogging up the ladder to the point where it is being discussed as being the best women’s wrestling promotion in the western world… (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 June 2013) – Kaitlyn’s secret admirer, Kalamity, Brittney Savage, Gorgeous George and more
So Kaitlyn’s secret admirer was Big E Langston, as many originally assumed it would be. However, there was a sting in the tail, as Langston was sending the notes as a way to build up the Divas Champion to knock her down as part of a nefarious plan with AJ Lee.
Last night on Raw, Kaitlyn took the ring to ask for whoever had been sending her the notes and gifts, and had a look of bewilderment on her face as it was Big E who was revealed to be the one behind it all. He pointed out that it does appear to be a bit weird and awkward, but softened her with his words. As he moved closer for a kiss, he learnt her back for a romantic smooch, but let her fall to the floor. At that moment, AJ’s music hit and she came skipping to the ring to reveal that it was all one big head game ahead of their title match this Sunday at Payback.
AJ’s reasoning for doing it was that she felt that Kaitlyn had not supported her enough after Daniel Bryan dumped her last year and she went off the rails, and was more focussed on winning the Divas Championship. What Lee is leaving out is that Kaitlyn actually was there for support and to get her back on track, but AJ slapped her on two separate occasions before the friendship fell apart. The pair briefly reunited at the end of last year before AJ turned full-blown heel at TLC and aligned herself with Dolph Ziggler, but it was never meant to last.
AJ became the number one contender to the Divas strap by winning a battle royal on April 22, and since then it has been pushed to one side when it wasn’t convenient to address it. The pair had a backstage set-to at Extreme Rules, but that has been the only real storyline development until last night. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (28 May 2013) – Florida’s popularity, Ice Ribbon, Taeler Hendrix and Heidi Lovelace & more
Florida. It’s the home of WWE’s developmental territory, was the base for TNA’s Impact Wrestling show, and also has a lot of indie promotions dotted around the state offering wrestlers the chance to step into the ring on a regular basis, and also train with a range of different names. It has also become the home to one of the most exciting women’s promotions in the United States, and it has caught the attention of a number of female grapplers.
SHINE Wrestling held its 10th show at the weekend – main points can be found below – and is on the verge of crowning its first champion. Considering this time last year the promotion didn’t exist, it is remarkable that many are ranking it as one of the top all-women promotions in the country – and for good reason. It is presenting shows on a monthly basis – save for a couple of breaks, like the one happening next month when no show is being presented – it is on internet pay-per-view, meaning the wrestlers are showcased to the entire world at the same time as the fans in attendance at Ybor City’s Orpheum, and many of the roster also increase their earning by spending the weekend in the state to work extra shows or work a Slammin’ Ladies custom shoot or two. It’s all great experience for women who may only wrestle a few times a month to get some extensive ring time. It also has some pleasant weather, so that must also be an attraction.
This has not gone unnoticed by some wrestlers. Names like Mia Yim, Luscious Latasha, Brittney Savage, Solo Darling, Jessicka Havok and more have either moved or are in the process of moving to Florida to put themselves in a more advantageous position when it comes to the local promotions like Battling Bombshells, Florida Underground Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, I Believe In Wrestling and more. After all, why would a promoter pay to fly someone in when a similarly impressive talent is a short drive away? It cuts expenses and makes for a better bottom line. Great wrestlers can get regular work, while ones looking to get more experience have the chance to work with names who may have more matches under their belt, and are also in a prime place to be spotted by and to tryout for WWE. It’s a beneficial opportunity for all, and everybody wins. Right? (more…)
This week’s top piece is about a storyline which is ongoing, so I may be jumping the gun with my feelings on the matter, but I feel that more eyes should be directed towards what is happening, as it has the potential to do something really positive.
On Ohio Valley Wrestling TV between January and the end of April, Taeler Hendrix had been receiving gifts from a secret admirer. Considering the flirting which had taken place between the pair previously, the former Women’s Champion believed that the presents were coming from Ryan Howe, who had captured her attention since her OVW debut, much to the disappointment, anger and frustration of her put-upon boyfriend Dylan Bostic – who was not as cool, edgy or exiting as the long-haired newcomer sporting an electric guitar.
Things escalated to the point that on March 23, Hendrix and Bostic took on Howe and fellow former Women’s Champion Heidi Lovelace which ended in a no-contest when the men’s fighting got out of control. The following week, Hendrix came to ringside during Howe’s TV Title match against Rockstar Spud, which prompted both Bostic and Lovelace to come out, causing Ryan to be counted out of the ring. On the April 27 episode, Howe insisted that it was not he who was sending Taeler the gifts, leading a confused (and somewhat hurt) Hendrix to wonder who was showering her with these presents.
As it turns out, it was Heidi Lovelace, who came out to reveal the truth before leaving the ring. (more…)
Anyone who watched TNA Impact Wrestling last week saw an unnecessarily uncomfortable moment for one of the roster.
Ring announcer Christy Hemme made a mistake on the live broadcast during the entrance for Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, incorrectly introducing them as Kazarian and Christopher Daniels’ team of Bad Influence. A silly mistake, but it’s live TV and mistakes sometimes happen. Upset, Aries got into the ring, backed Hemme into a corner and forced her to give the correct introductions, which she did, under some duress. As she was finishing off her correction, Aries climbed onto the ropes, essentially placing his crotch less than six inches from her face – something which Hemme laughed off.
However, things clearly weren’t so funny for Christy.
When asked about the incident on Twitter, Hemme replied with the solitary word of “unacceptable”, which made it clear that her reaction to Aries actions were not something that she found amusing, but had brushed it off to be a professional and get on with her job. Aries responded on his Twitter on Saturday with a load of penis and testicle puns, saying “Pretty nuts, some of the junk people get the balls to say over the net, knowing they couldn’t to your face…Eh, anyway, time to sack out.” (more…)
It’s an intergender kind of day at Women Superstars Uncensored today, who run their annual intergender tag team tournament (renamed this year to Queen and King of the Ring rather than the other way around) alongside Combat Zone Wrestling as part of a double header – and after eschewing iPPV for the first couple of shows under the new management, this is the first new era WSU show available live worldwide, through RFVideo.
On top of the eight team tournament, we have non tourney action featuring members of the Midwest Militia – both in non-title action – with Tag Champs Allysin Kay & Sassy Stephie facing Spirit Champion Marti Belle and Lexxus, and reigning WSU World Champion Jessicka Havok taking on “The Callihan Death Machine” Sami Callihan. Havok was apparently given carte blanche to pick her opponent for the match, following the withdrawal of LuFisto – who is currently out with injury. If you haven’t had a chance to listen, LuFisto addresses her current situation exclusively with us on the Women of Wrestling Podcast, and issued a promo directed at Jessicka Havok this week, which you can view on YouTube. You can still order the show at CZWIPPV.com, but we’ll have live results after the cut. (more…)
This weekend sees Women Superstars Uncensored return to iPPV (click here to order) with its Queen and King of the Ring show – changing the gender titles around from how it has been since the gimmick started back in 2006. As well as the intergender tournament – which is being held in conjunction with Combat Zone Wrestling, moving away from having the male roster members come from National Wrestling Superstars – the show will also see a singles male v female contest with WSU Champion Jessicka Havok facing CZW’s Sami Callihan.
The first winners of the tournament were Julio Dinero and Kara Slice – the latter of whom found fame in WWE as Cherry, the sweet but put-upon girlfriend/sister of Deuce and Domino. Last year’s victors were Mike Dennis and Jennifer Cruz, though Cruz has faded out of the WSU picture in the 12 months since her regal victory.
We have two matches for this week’s Retro, both of which have been released for free by WSU in the past couple of days to whet your appetite ahead of this Saturday’s event. The first is from the first round brackets in 2009, with then-WSU Tag Team Champion Miss April - now better known as WWE’s AJ Lee – alongside her trainer Jay Lethal taking on Trixie Lynn & Helter Skelter. We also have former Extreme Championship Wrestling colleagues Jazz & Balls Mahoney facing Amber O’Neal & Bison Bravado from the opening round in 2010. Admittedly, the photo we’ve used for this post gives away the result of the first match, but take a watch and see what you think. (more…)
Episode 56 with LuFisto
On April 6th at the iPPV broadcast of SHIMMER Vol 53, Montreal’s “Super Hardcore Anime” LuFisto crashed out on a moonsault to the floor during her match – a landing which caused what is medically referred to as an “exploded kneecap”. Now, a month (and a surgery) later, LuFisto talks exclusively to the Women of Wrestling Podcast, and updates us on her current status. LuFi takes us back to that fateful afternoon and gives us a blow by blow account what happened in the ring, the immediate aftermath in the back and the days following. She’s also got an update on the injury status of her pupil Kalamity, who feared she had broken her foot in training in the last week. We talk about some of the things that she missed out on because of her injury, including SHIMMER the following weekend, her WSU World Title shot at Jessicka Havok and her being stripped of the NSPW Title. We talk rehab – including the part BonRoxx Fitness is playing in helping her get back to her best – and estimate her return date. We talk her experiences in AAA, her admiration for Konnan and her future in that company; her feud with Mercedes Martinez in WSU & NCW:FF; facing Saraya Knight and Jazz; taking on Ivelisse in SHINE and ambitions to face Tara some day. We also revisit the comments made by Al Snow following her Gut Check for TNA and her current feelings on the Gut Check Challenge voting, and there’s quite a deep discussion on LuFisto’s ever-changing relationship with the business, what it means to have “succeeded” in wrestling, and bring up the prospect of retirement. It’s a pretty exhaustive hour and a half with an awesome lady. Download, spread the word and enjoy.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
If the original Triple Tails members of Kana, Mio & Io Shirai were to hold a party and bring along their biggest accomplishment, Io would be last to arrive, but would be sporting the shiniest trinket. That’s because the 22-year old claimed the World Of Stardom Championship from Alpha Female at the promotion’s Ryogoku Cinderella show at Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan in front of a reported crowd of 5,500 paid fans (though some reports say that may have been inflated). Using a rolling cradle, Shirai put down the massive German for the pin, claiming her first singles championship, and a prestigious one at that.
While Kana held the SMASH Divas Championship on two occasions, the belt is now defunct and she never managed a successful defence in either reign, and Mio Shirai’s run with Ice Ribbon’s ICEx60 belt was more successful than Kana’s SMASH stints, it isn’t as prominent a championship as her sister’s current hardware – which is a big sign that the nightmare of last year is well behind her… (more…)
Sitting in the Tokyo ward of Sumida, Japan, Ryōgoku Kokugikan is primarily a venue for sumo wrestling, hence the alternative name of Sumo Hall. Hosting tournaments throughout the year as well as three special events in January, May and September, the 28-year old building holds a lot of tradition for sports other than sumo. The building also hosts boxing, concerts and professional wrestling. However, when it comes to joshi, Sumo Hall may well have been in Narnia, as there has not been a show there since Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling held an event there on February 12, 2007.
The show featured the semi-finals and final of a 10-woman All Star Tournament with Shinobu Kandori pinning Meiko Satomura to win the whole shebang. Attendance numbers are disputed, though the reported figure was about 5,800, which is less than half of the 13,000 that the building can hold.
Since then, there has not been a joshi show held there, though that will change next Monday, when Stardom presents its biggest and most ambitious show in its two and a half year history with a stacked card which features wrestlers from a number of different joshi promotions. (more…)
For those who saw SHIMMER Vol 53 this past Saturday on iPPV, they’ll have seen a very scary moment during the four way SHIMMER Tag Team Titles match when Montreal’s “Super Hardcore Anime” LuFisto flew off the top rope to the outside with a moonsault, and crashed and burned on the concrete floor in a sickening thud.
After not moving for several seconds, LuFisto managed to struggle back to her feet and re-enter the match – including hitting a Burning Hammer on Taylor Made to eliminate the team of Made in Sin from the contest. Soon after, LuFisto was pinned by Kellie Skater, eliminating her and her partner Kana from the match. Adrenaline is a crazy thing, and nobody has ever doubted LuFisto’s toughness for one second – but the days that followed have told a different story. After returning home and icing the knee, she tweeted “Swollen knee, no weird colours. Looks better. #positive #wrestlingYAY” – but there was worse news when she went to see a doctor earlier today.
In an open letter published on her facebook, LuFisto revealed that following an X-Ray on the injured knee, she actually suffered a fractured kneecap on that landing, and as a result is looking at at least 2 months out of action, and may require surgery depending on the opinion of an orthopedist this weekend. What that means is that her booking this weekend at SHIMMER is now off, as is her challenge for the WSU World Title at the “Queen & King of the Ring” show on May 11th in Vorhees, NJ, where she was scheduled to face Jessicka Havok. Click through after the jump for the full text of LuFisto’s open letter. (more…)
Lots to mention from SHIMMER volume 53 on Saturday afternoon, so let’s get into it.
Let’s start with the main event, which had the right result for the biggest show in the promotion’s history (not 93,173 as announced by Joey Eastman but more around a hefty 700+, which is more than three times the maximum attendance at the Berwyn Eagles Club). With nowhere for her enemy to run and with nobody to help her, Cheerleader Melissa soundly defeated Saraya Knight inside a monolithic steel cage to regain the SHIMMER Championship. While the match was OK, the real tale was in the story told, which did not see Melissa eke out a victory with luck, but saw her deliver a super hurricanrana, missile dropkick and Air Raid Crash to convincingly pin her rival of close to six years.
The crowd was quiet for much of the match – part of the reason being that a lot of the crowd may not be completely familiar with their history, or that the action was not the crisp sort of execution as other contests because most of their matches look more like fights than matches – but they came out of their seats for the finishing sequence, which was a simple tale of good punishing evil and the snarling, unfriendly heel finally getting her comeuppance. However, despite her loss, Saraya retained her scary aura, attacking fans on her way out of the ring – and was also put over by Bryan Alvarez, who was getting his first viewing of Knight, pointing out that she was a proper, grizzly, old-school wrestling heel.
One would anticipate that Melissa will enjoy a longer run with the belt during her second reign than with her first – when she dropped the title to Knight on her fourth defence, following wins over Nicole Matthews, Portia Perez and Jessie McKay. While there is no detail on who Melissa will be facing in Berwyn this weekend for the usual two-day, four-DVD taping extravaganza, there are a lot of names to play around with – including one debutante who surprised everyone when she hit the ring… (more…)
Last week, I repeated my previous assertion that two championships would change hands at NCW Femmes Fatales XI in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Saturday. Lo and behold, that’s what happened – with the Bellatrix World Championship and the Femmes Fatales International Titles being won by Courtney Rush and Mercedes Martinez respectively.
Martinez’s victory over Kalamity is only part of her story in the show. She continued her cross-promotion feud with LuFisto following her defeat to the Super Hardcore Anime at Women Superstars Uncensored’s An Ultraviolent Affair in February by attacking her foe during LuFisto’s challenge for the SHIMMER title against Saraya Knight. The steel chair attack to LuFisto’s head was enough for Knight to lock in the Bridal Rocking Horse for the stoppage and retain the belt, meaning that no matter what happened with Mercedes’ challenge to Kalamity, the Martinez/LuFisto programme would continue.
As it turns out, the programme will likely feature the International Championship, as the Latina Sensation used a Fisherman Buster onto a steel chair to gain the pinfall and bring The Oncoming Storm’s 17-month reign to an end. (more…)
Not making it to Bellatrix 5 in Norwich, England on Sunday may have been unfortunate, but it did provide me the opportunity to utilise the option to watch the show on iPPV. Considering a lot of the changes from Bellatrix 4 last November were being done because of this one being broadcast live, it was interesting to be able to assess if those changes were successful.
Improvements to aesthetics like giant wall hangings of the roster, an improved entranceway, ringside barriers and more attention paid to start and running times were coupled with the venue being a purpose-built TV studio with full-scale lights and sound systems, the Epic Studios in Norwich looked vastly different to 5 months ago. The benefit of it being a proper studio also made it easier for the show to be streamed online, as the facilities to broadcast were all there, and had been tried and tested with previous unrelated shows. As a result, Bellatrix 5 was one of the slickest women’s wrestling iPPVs produced to date. (more…)
On Sunday, TNA records an all-female version of the One Night Only pay-per-views which it is using to run in the months when it’s not presenting one of its big PPVs like Genesis, Lockdown, Slammiversary or Bound For Glory. Entitled Knockout Knockdown, it is advertised as a show to determine the true Queen of TNA. It is possible that the show will be a tournament if it is going to determine an overall winner, and to make it an occasion, TNA invited former members of the Knockouts roster to be part of it.
It probably didn’t go as well as they had hoped.
When asked on Twitter, Angelina Love, Nikki Roxx (Roxxi), Traci Brooks & Amazing Kong (Awesome Kong) all revealed that they were not going to be part of the proceedings and Dark Angel (Sarita) is also unavailable as she is in Japan. Considering the impression that each of them made to the division and the contributions that they made, for them to decline or not be in the country speaks volumes about what they may feel about TNA these days. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (5 March 2013) – Paige’s rise, AJ Lee’s fall, Femmes Fatales XI, ABC Catch and more
On Saturday night in Kalamazoo, MI, Paige defeated AJ Lee at a WWE house show in a match refereed by Hornswoggle. The following evening in Cleveland, OH, the same match took place with the same outcome. The results of a WWE house show don’t usually mean much, but in these instances, they may mean a great deal.
First off, let’s look at the 20-year old Briton. It’s the second time that Paige has been on the road with WWE since she first reported to developmental in Florida 14 months ago – the first time round saw her team with Layla to beat Aksana and Natalya in tag matches in South Carolina at the start of December. However, she’s been given an even bigger shot in the arm by wrestling singles matches and beating AJ – the most over woman in WWE last year. (more…)
Episode 52 with AIW Promoter John Thorne
This Friday, Absolute Intense Wrestling brings their Girls Night Out franchise to iPPV via Smart Mark Video – so we’ve invited one of the AIW owner/promoters John Thorne onto the show to explain exactly why you should consider paying $14.99 of your hard earned cash on the show. We talk preparations for the show on the final week, Taylor Made‘s late pull-out and the addition of Addy Starr, the idea of iPPV (and whose idea it was) and the financial state of the company. We go back to the early days of GNO and talk about how important Hailey Hatred was to getting the first show off the ground, favourite shows so far, and how they’ve improved through each event. We talk the current status of former AIW Women’s Champions Mickie Knuckles and Jessicka Havok, touch on an AIW Women’s Champion who never was, and the 2012 ascent of Allysin Kay and Mia Yim to the main event – including the amazing finish to their Steel Cage match last August. We discuss the Indiegogo campaign to get Athena to GNO 7 last year, and John offers his opinion on some of the WSU/Drew Cordeiro twitter-drama from last week, and touches on an aborted GNO/WSU invasion/merger angle. We talk Allysin Kay’s mystery opponent for Friday (and maybe get a hint…), the formation of The Social Network and help give the final push for the iPPV on Friday. Some really interesting insight here from someone who was anything but a women’s wrestling fan a few years ago.
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
Ringbelles Roundup (26 February 2013) – wrestling’s equivalent of Ronda Rousey, Girls Night Out 8 and more
Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche delivered in spades on Saturday as part of the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC 157 pay-per-view. While PPV buyrates are only an estimate – though expected to be around the 400,000 mark – the other numbers are amazing.
With those two headlining the show, the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA drew 15,525 fans with a gate of $1.4 million and reportedly fewer comps than usual. It’s the highest attendance for a UFC show in the building, which includes UFC 121 with Cain Velasquez against Brock Lesnar. Admittedly, both Rousey and Carmouche hail from the state, which means that both had a relative hometown crowd, but it’s evidence that women can headline male-dominated shows, given the right booking, promotion and hype. Additionally, the fact that it outdrew Velasquez v Lesnar is even more astounding considering it’s a Hispanic market which would be behind Cain, and Brock is one of the UFC’s biggest draws in its history. (more…)
The relaunched Women Superstars Uncensored promotion came under fire yesterday from a number of sources on Twitter, including several talents which were a regular part of the promotion before the transfer of ownership from Sean McCaffrey to Drew Cordeiro of Beyond Wrestling. Most notably, these included WSU “icon” Alicia, Brittney Savage and others.
The situation appeared to arise from a perceived knock on Alicia by WSU who, when answering a fan’s question on whether they can expect to see Alicia brought back to the WSU roster, responded with a simple “Not Happening”. Picked up on by fellow wrestler, Missy Sampson, who tweeted “It’s disgusting watching you be so disrespectful to someone whose back your company was built on! @AliciaDidIt”.
Earlier this month, there was a clash of shows, with no more than 70 minutes drive between the two. In Voorhees, NJ, you had a double-header featuring Women Superstars Uncensored in the afternoon followed by a Combat Zone Wrestling card. Meanwhile, 65 miles away in Metuchen, NJ, there was a Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling event followed by a show from its parent company Pro Wrestling Syndicate. Critically, the WSU show was better than the (frankly poor) BLOW event, though the latter boasted the larger audience number. For all that anybody knows, it could have been more, but there were hundreds of fans down the I-95 watching another couple of promotions running at approximately the same time. It meant that fans had to choose which show they wanted to see, and was a clash which felt unfortunate. It was very unlikely to happen again.
Or was it…? (more…)