These Brits seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. In WWE, Paige is still NXT Women’s Champion after defeating Emma on the first live show in the feeder system’s history. Broadcast on the WWE Network, social media was buzzing after the match with praise for both women – though it was the 21 year old from Norwich who had the focus as the winner.
As a showcase for the up and coming women in Florida, it was a great piece of work which dispelled the recurring criticism that Divas can’t wrestle. Given the chance to go out there with no gimmicks or distractions as well as enough time to tell a story, the pair proved that women do have a place in a wrestling ring in the top company in the world. That sentiment was shared by trainer Sara Del Rey, who said “Congratulations @RealPaigeWWE and @EmmaWWE you both are paving the way!!!”, and Stephanie McMahon sang their praises in a post-show interview. Indeed, there were many plaudits singing their praises.
As well as having the confidence to let Paige and Emma go out there and do their thing, they also put the marketing machine behind its Women’s Champion by releasing a t-shirt for her. Considering how little merchandise WWE had for its women up until last year and how she isn’t even on the main roster yet, it’s a real sign that the company is high on the former Britani Knight. (more…)
Paige and Emma had the stage to showcase their talents, and they did not disappoint. As part of NXT‘s ArRIVAL live show on the new WWE Network, the Briton made the Australian tap out with a Scorpion Crosslock to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
After going for their respective finishers early and seeing their efforts thwarted, the action swayed back and forth with Paige nailing her big knees with Emma draped in the ropes, while the challenger responded with the Dil-Emma and the Emma Sandwich before the titleholder could respond with a surfboard submission attempt. Taking to the ropes, the champion attempted a superplex but it was countered into a sunset power bomb by Emma for a tantalising near-fall, leading to an amusing “Better than Batista” chant while Paige got a long two count of her own with her Paige Turner finisher before locking in the Scorpion Crosslock – which you can see to your right – for the submission victory. (more…)
The first live show of the WWE Network takes place on Thursday with the first live broadcast of NXT. Dubbed ArRIVAL, it features three matches – one of which sees Paige defend the NXT Women’s Championship against number one contender Emma, in a match which has been a long time coming.
The cheerful Australian earned her crack at the title back in August and then had to defend her right to challenge for the belt by beating Natalya at the start of this year. While carrying on her #EMMAlution in Florida, she also graduated to the main WWE roster by originally appearing in the crowd – antagonising fellow NXT alumni Summer Rae in the process – before taking part in dance-offs and making her in-ring TV debut last night on Raw, defeating Summer with the Emma Lock. While fans who haven’t seen her NXT character evolve are getting used to the newcomer with the awkward dance moves, it seems as if things are going in the right direction.
It could be argued that the NXT Women’s Champion has been ready to make a similar jump for a while. As the sole titleholder – winning the title tournament last June, but the show being broadcast the following month – she has turned back the challenges of Summer Rae and Natalya, though hasn’t wrestled on a show since the end of November. Injury was cited as the reason, though the Wrestling Observer said the layoff was for personal reasons. Thursday’s match will be her first match in more than three months, and in that time, her opponent – and the woman she beat in the tournament final to win the belt in the first place – has caught up with her success. (more…)
AJ Lee defends the WWE Divas Championship against a mystery opponent at Elimination Chamber – that challenger turned out to be Cameron.
• There isn’t really much of one, considering this is an impromptu match. AJ had a pop at Cameron’s partner Naomi before she found out who her opponent was going to be, saying that she would not have minded taking on a new challenger considering she had beaten all of her competition, but said that Naomi had to go and “break her face”, referring to the fractured eye socket that she suffered a few weeks ago thanks to the knee of Aksana.
• AJ then found out that her opponent would be the Funkadactyl, who danced her way to the ring before getting serious by throwing her pom poms at the titleholder. (more…)
Eva Marie is a stunning woman. With her great looks and amazing figure, she is a visual asset to WWE’s Divas division. Her presence is a striking one as she stands out from the pack with her pillarbox red hair, coupled with red lipstick framing a beautiful smile. Looks-wise, she is every inch the Diva, with the sort of figure that teenage boys would likely sketch in a schoolbook. Her appeal is also experiencing crossover value as she made such an impression on Total Divas that she graced the pages of Maxim Magazine last August. On paper, Eva Marie has everything it takes to be a star in the women’s division of World Wrestling Entertainment…
Until she steps foot in the ring, it seems.
The 29-year old made her debut at SummerSlam Axxess on August 18 where she and Brie Bella lost to Natalya and Maria Menounos (still undefeated, by the way), but her first TV contest wasn’t until October 7 when she, JoJo and Natalya defeated Aksana, Rosa Mendes & Alicia Fox. She has wrestled 12 matches in total, all of them in tag team contests or battle royals. However, the 13th and most recent contest technically doesn’t exist as even though it was recorded for last week’s episode of SmackDown, it was never broadcast – and probably never will be. (more…)
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the fractured eye socket that Naomi suffered at the hands (or more specifically, knee) of Aksana on the February 3 episode of Raw. Dr Chris Amann told WWE.com that she will not require surgery for the injury, as “neither the nerve nor the eye muscles are trapped in the fracture itself”, but added that “the break that she has off the medial or inside wall of the orbital bone, [there is] communication between her sinus cavity and the back of the eye socket.” As a result, the 26-year old is not allowed to fly due to the pressure differences, and will not be able to return to the ring for around 4-6 weeks.
That is a big blow for the Funkadactyl, who was reported to be in line to win the WWE Divas Championship from AJ Lee, possibly at WrestleMania XXX – which was one of the options discussed in yesterday’s Bunch of Fives article – but it isn’t all bad news, and WWE isn’t said to be concerned about Naomi’s fortunes. (more…)
We’re on the so-called “Road to WrestleMania” in WWE – a time when, generally, it’s considered to be a good time to be a wrestling fan. If everything is going to plan, storylines and feuds will culminate at the Showcase of the Immortals, and we usually see both the in-ring performers and the booking teams step up their games as we approach the big day. However, rarely does that involve the Divas. Even as WWE prepares to induct its second former WWE Women’s Champion in two years to the Hall of Fame, it’s no shock to anybody that the Divas division is considered a mere afterthought. Statistically, we’ve already mentioned recently that Divas ≠ Ratings on TV – but as we mentioned at the time, it’s been so long since there was a Divas angle or feud with any real strong substance, it’s no wonder their segments are considered skippable. Ironically enough, Kaitlyn, who was Divas Champion at this time last year didn’t even work the WrestleMania show, and spent the weekend giving away tickets to fans who were able to find her in the NY/NJ metropolitan area, “Where’s Wally?” style. As it turned out, no Divas got to wrestle on the show last year, as the mixed tag featuring the Bellas and the Funkadactyls ended up getting nixed for time.
So… assuming that we’ll get some sort of match involving the Divas this year, here are five options (some more likely than others, admittedly) for New Orleans… (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…)
Remember the infamous PipeBombshell promo from the August 26 episode of Raw last year? AJ Lee came out following Brie Bella’s win over Natalya to talk down the whole Total Divas cast, calling them “interchangeable” and “cheap”. The promo received a lot of buzz and at the time, it was thought that it would factor into the story for the season one extension of Total Divas. As it turned out, it came to nothing as it was never followed up and while Lee defended the Divas Championship against members of that cast until the end of the year – and beyond, considering Naomi is her next challenger – no real mention was made of the promo which started it all. Now, we may have the reason why…
AJ attended the Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans, LA last Friday, and amongst talking about comic books and video games, the Divas Champion discussed why it was nixed. You can click here to listen to her response, but we’ve got it for you after the jump. (more…)
This week’s Wrestling Observer posted some interesting figures compiled by Chris Harrington, looking at TV ratings for WWE performers. By utilising the numbers over the last year, he has put together the top and bottom 20 for either drawing viewers or losing them. The top ratings grabber in 2013 was The Rock, gaining around 335,698 for every segment he was part of on WWE TV. At number 7 is Stephanie McMahon who attracts 242,841, while Vickie Guerrero is in 8th, pulling in 234,359.
Unfortunately, while the female authority figures seem to get attention, the same cannot be said for the actual Divas, as they take up the bulk of bottom ten… (more…)
Both Shanna and Alpha Female made their first appearances in a TNA ring during the recent UK tour, though they handled the publicity for it in different ways.
Portugal’s Perfect Athlete got the word out early that she would be booked on the February 1 show in London, England, as well as the following date in Birmingham. She wrestled singles matches for the Xplosion tapings – the first against Alpha and the next saw her take on Gail Kim. I was at the Birmingham taping, and while I won’t spoil the result, Shanna looked perfectly comfortable in that ring in what was a big opportunity for her to impress. She wasn’t just cannon fodder for the full-time Knockout either – she got in her fair share and even got to nail the Perfect Press.
Since announcing that she would be wrestling for TNA, Shanna has encouraged her fans to get the attention of the company to demonstrate her fanbase and how much she wants to be part of the promotion. She has retweeted many of the messages sent to TNA, and is showing her enthusiasm and overwhelming desire to sign a contract, while also increasing her brand and marketability. No doubt, she has a lot of people backing her, which is very encouraging. (more…)
It has been a prospect for a while, and we have to wait a little longer before it happens, but it’s official – Emma will challenge Paige for the NXT Women’s Championship on the brand’s first live episode on February 27, airing on the WWE Network. The announcement was made during the February 19 taping which took place at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, yesterday.
The pair have history – the Briton became the first NXT Women’s Champion on the July 24 episode last year by beating her Australian opponent in the finals of the championship tournament after going through Tamina Snuka and Aksana to make it to the final. Emma earned another shot at the belt on the August 7 episode, but has had to wait for her shot, and also had to defend her right to challenge for the title by beating Natalya on the December 18 show.
Paige hasn’t wrestled on NXT since the December 18 episode where she beat Sasha Banks – though in reality, the 21-year old hasn’t wrestled since November 21, as that’s when the show was recorded. There were rumours of injury, though that was refuted by the Wrestling Observer, who said that she was given time off for personal reasons. (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…)
There are currently 13 WWE Divas on the main roster. With the elevation of Summer Rae – and more recently Emma – from NXT as well as reports of the likes of Paige and Lana following in the not-so-distant future, it could be argued that it’s getting quite crowded in the women’s locker room for Raw and SmackDown. The number was thinned by one with the departure of Kaitlyn earlier this month, but conceivably, WWE could jettison some others without too much hassle. Considering how many women are waiting in the wings, it may be coming to that time. So who could be lost from a business perspective? Well, we have five suggestions.
Incidentally, these selections aren’t made out of malice. It’s more from a clinical standpoint as to what they can conceivably deliver based on their past records and how they have been booked. (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…)
AJ Lee won the WWE Divas Championship from Kaitlyn at Payback on June 16, 2013 – a date which she had tattooed on the back of her neck. Today marks the 213th day of her reign, and WWE is marking it as the day which sees her become the longest-reigning Divas Champion in the title’s five and a half year history… though if you look at it another way, AJ won’t hit that accolade until Sunday.
You see, WWE is claiming that Maryse‘s mammoth title run was 212 days – from December 26, 2008 to July 26, 2009. However, her title victory over Michelle McCool was on a taped episode of SmackDown, and the taping took place on December 22, 2008. If you argue that a title reign begins when the switch happens on a taped show and not when it is broadcast – making Maryse’s run with the belt at 216 days rather than 212 – then AJ is celebrating her achievement four days early.
In WWE’s Universe where tapings aren’t acknowledged and everything is treated as being live, today really is the day – so by its own logic, AJ has hit her milestone. (more…)
After two weeks of reports on the deterioration of her health – and misinformation about her death – WWE confirmed yesterday evening that Mae Young has passed away at the age of 90. The company’s website wrote:
WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of WWE Hall of Famer Johnnie Mae Young.
“There will never be another Mae Young,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “Her longevity in sports entertainment may never be matched, and I will forever be grateful for all of her contributions to the industry. On behalf of WWE, I extend our sincerest condolences to her family and friends.” (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…)
In a move for which we were unprepared – and yet are unsurprised – Kaitlyn has parted ways with WWE via mutual consent. The official statement by the company was a little longer than its standard announcement of someone leaving:
As of Jan. 8, Kaitlyn (Celeste Bonin) will no longer be under contract with WWE. The former Divas Champion has chosen to pursue other endeavors outside the sports-entertainment world.
WWE wishes Kaitlyn the best in all her future endeavors.
Kaitlyn’s final WWE match took place on a Main Event taping in Philadelphia, PA last night where she wrestled Divas Champion AJ Lee – a woman she broke onto WWE TV with, stood alongside and more recently fought against. The contest will be televised tonight. (more…)
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…)
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been doing a lot of retrospective articles. From the looks back to the 2012 award winners to the announcing of the 2013 recipients, from the personal highlights of Stew and myself to reviews of of the Women Of Wrestling Podcasts and our other audio shows, there has been a big look into the past. Now, here’s a look into the future.
Both Stew and I have written a list of things we would like to see happen in 2014. Neither of us have a crystal ball – or more critically, a booking sheet – so we can’t say whether any of these will actually happen, but this is what we would like to see in a perfect world.
Seeing as I’m here, I’ll start:
• I would love to see LuFisto win the SHIMMER Championship. After storming through the last set of tapings and working up a pretty heated rivalry with reigning titleholder Cheerleader Melissa, she ended Female Fight Season standing above her enemy at the end of Femmes Fatales XIII. While no plans have been put in place for SHIMMER 62 in New Orleans, LA, I would be happy to see Melissa and Lufisto in the main event with the Super Hardcore Anime taking the title which would mean the world to her. Even if she only holds it until the DVD tapings the following week, I would love for it to happen. (more…)
You know you have intrinsic importance when people seem to work around you to make things work.
Courtney Rush participated in her first training session after receiving clearance from her doctor. She has been given a clean bill of health after fracturing her clavicle on September 15 in the pre-show ahead of Smash Wrestling’s CAN USA event in Toronto, ON, Canada. At the time, nobody knew she was hurt as she was wrestling under a hood under the name of La Tigre Diablo against Jasmin, and the break happened in what Rush described at the time as a “freak accident”. She didn’t appear on the show as planned, and instead was rushed to hospital with the fear in her head that the plans she had for the following month or so were out of the window.
Rush had been due to travel to England to defend the Bellatrix World Championship at Bellatrix 7 on October 6, but the match between Liberty and she was pushed back – meaning that she would not have to relinquish the title which she won from Allison Danger at NCW Femmes Fatales XI in March. She still participated in the proceedings, turning heel and costing her title challenger the RQW European Championship, which she dropped to Sammi Baynz.
Like Bellatrix, Femmes Fatales also made concessions to accommodate Courtney’s literal tough break. (more…)
There are few genuine success stories when it comes to wrestlers’ lives after WWE – unfortunately, many wrestlers leave the business because they were unable to do it anymore or had outserved what their employers perceived to be their usefulness, and have not planned far enough into the future to make sure they are financially secure. Women are more likely to manage it – Stacy Keibler, Lisa Marie Varon and even Kelly Kelly immediately spring to mind – but few managed to have a great life after leaving the ring more than Trish Stratus.
With a happy marriage, a successful yoga business and getting ready for her first Christmas as a mother, things have gone well for the 38-year old Canadian since she retired from full-time competition in 2006 – and the reason we’re talking about her here is because earlier today she tweeted a picture of her WWE Women’s Championship belt. As a result, we’re posting the video of her final match against Lita at Unforgiven in September 2006, where she won the title for a record-setting seventh time.
Unarguably the most successful WWE Diva in history, she is the person that the company used as a template for its top women for a long time, and has only recently started to move away from that blueprint with the likes of AJ Lee and Paige, for example. However, her success at raising the profile of women’s wrestling in WWE was rewarded with her being allowed to go out as champion in her home city of Toronto. Click the jump to watch the match between two longtime rivals. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 December 2013) – AJ Lee issues, Natalya’s resurgence, Rain: the ultimate worker
AJ Lee got into a bit of trouble at last Wednesday’s Tribute to the Troops show. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer says she gave NBC presenter Michelle Beadle an obscenity-laced tongue-lashing in public for talking to her boyfriend, CM Punk. Beadle referred to it in a tweet, saying “Lost another friend to CGFN… crazy girlfriend neutering. It’s real people. Check your buddies. Affects everyone.” She later claimed that she thought AJ was joking, so didn’t react to it at the time, but then believed it wasn’t after a while.
Another account says that AJ was working because she was told to do so by an agent for a segment on the WWE App, and then everyone acted surprised when she did it, as if it was some sort of double cross on her, while another says AJ wasn’t yelling, and was standing up for Punk after Beadle allegedly said something that rubbed him the wrong way (even though he would likely say something himself if that was the case, so the whole scenario seems implausible – and a skit for the app would allude to Punk and AJ being an item, which is something that has never been brought up or acknowledged anywhere in WWE, so that lacks credibility too). The story has since been disregarded as being bogus. (more…)