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…)
Natalya challenges AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Title at TLC, looking to regain the championship which she lost in January 2011.
• Natalya made AJ tap out to the Sharpshooter to win the 14 Diva Survivor Series match last month, then pinned AJ on the December 2 episode of Raw in a 6-Diva tag match. As a result, she was named the top contender for the Divas Championship.
• The pair fought on PPV earlier this year as part of a 4-way which also involved Naomi and Brie Bella at Night Of Champions, though this is Natalya’s first singles title challenge on PPV in three years – the last one was at Bragging Rights in October 2010, though she won her only Divas belt in a handicap match against Lay-Cool at that year’s Survivor Series.
• Before the match, AJ cut a promo saying she is the number one Diva, while the Divas division, the WWE Universe and the Total Divas show are all jokes. She then promised to retain the title and be the one who’s laughing. (more…)
Ohio Valley Wrestling’s women’s division has had an interesting year.
The first four months of 2013 saw a litany of title changes, with Jessie Belle, Heidi Lovelace, Taryn Terrell and Epiphany claiming the championship at some point, before it landed in the hands of a returning Trina Thompson, who gravitated towards a feud with Lei’D Tapa before her 5 month reign came to a sudden end due to a knee injury a week before they were to square off at September’s Saturday Night Special.
Over this time, Lovelance and Taeler Hendrix were drawing more eyes to the division by their beautifully played out same-sex unrequited manipulative romance with Lovelace having eyes for the conniving redhead and being bent to do Hendrix’s bidding in order to show how much she cared – including fighting friend Trina, who was doing her best to make her see sense. The storyline got a bit skewed near the end as it was cut short fairly quickly, but Lovelace ended up seeing how she was being played and got her revenge against her former crush. It was a great showing by both parties and really helped to show off their versatilities as characters.
The success of this storyline meant there was a huge amount of interest in who the vacant Women’s Championship was going to end up on, and was decided in a 4-way Ladder Match with Tapa, Hendrix & Hannah and Holly Blossom all looking to climb the rungs to victory. As it turned out, the underlying friction that the twins were experiencing at the time came to a head as Hannah knocked her sister off the ladder to snare the title – though quickly lost it to Tapa while repairing the bond with her sibling.
Unfortunately, since that high, things have fallen apart. (more…)
The NXT Women’s Title match between champion Paige and challenger Natalya is the best women’s match presented on WWE TV this year. It’s received a world of praise, and deservedly so, but it also receives a surprised reaction from us, because it features a really strong performance from Natalya.
While she can be fine most of the time she tends to be given more slack than most, partially based on past work – as honestly, some of her stuff this year has been pretty disappointing, and in some cases a complete head-scratcher considering her seniority. However that albatross was shaken off her back for this match against the Briton, which made for a really entertaining contest.
The match came about after a pretty bitchy session between the pair the previous week where Paige was slightly hellish is claiming that Natalya had lost her focus on wrestling in favour of the Hollywood spotlight which came with the Total Divas fame. It led to the titleholder offering to put her belt on the line against the former Divas Champion, which led to this match, which you can see (along with the preceding angle) after the jump. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (3 December 2013) Renee Young is great, Gail Kim praises Taryn Terrell, plus more
Female backstage interviewers are as rare as rocking horse poop in World Wrestling Entertainment, and finding a good one is hugely unlikely. In late 1994, Stephanie Wiand signed on, co-hosting WWF Mania with Todd Pettengill, and also worked a few pay-per-views in 1995, though very few fans remember her, and probably could not pick her out of a lineup. Rue DeBona also did a bit of backstage mic work on SmackDown in 2004, but wasn’t around long enough to do anything apart from marry (and later divorce) Josh Mathews. Some Divas also turned to asking the questions rather than answering them. Lilian Garcia has done the job at pay-per-views in the past, Terri Runnels performed interviewing duties between 2002 and 2004, Sunny did the odd bit in 1997 but seemed to be more keen on having the spotlight for herself, and after being eliminated from the Diva Search, Maria Kanellis worked the backstage but was given the ditzy gimmick where she asked poor questions, got wrestlers names wrong and simpered a lot.
However, WWE seems to have stumbled across a diamond in current interviewer Renee Young. (more…)
I was stunned watching the Divas Survivor Series match. It’s not because of the state of the match, but just that I didn’t know that WWE had 14 women on its main roster. Well technically, it’s 15, but one of them has been missing in action since September 23.
The last time anyone saw Layla on WWE TV was part of a 10 woman tag team match on Raw where she, AJ Lee, Aksana, Alicia Fox and Tamina Snuka lost to the Bella Twins, the Funkadactyls and Natalya. It had been a rotten 6 weeks for the former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion, as her heel turn had been so laughably limp that it left her with absolutely no momentum. Her push accelerated like a dog on a rug, and then stopped abruptly.
Layla’s turn came after she turned on Kaitlyn during the NXT Season 3 winner’s title challenge against AJ after inexplicably accompanying her for months before. It was never explained why she was with Kaitlyn in the first place, nor why she turned or why she took so long considering Kaitlyn had received a number of title matches before. After turning, she skipped away with AJ, got a win over her former buddy on Raw and was victorious again in a tag match on SmackDown – and then she started losing… often. By the point she disappeared from the scene, her star had never been lower, and it took a while before anyone really noticed she was gone. (more…)
In what is the Survivor Series match with the most participants since the 10 on 10 tag team elimination match from the 1988 offering, the Total Divas cast of Natalya, Eva Marie, Jojo, Cameron, Naomi and Nikki & Brie Bella take on Divas Champion AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Tamina Snuka, Aksana & Summer Rae in a 7 on 7 elimination match.
• From a long-term standpoint, AJ Lee has been squabbling with the Total Divas cast since the Raw after SummerSlam where she verbally berated them and turned them all baby face as a result. Since then, she has turned back the title challenges from Naomi, Natalya and Brie Bella.
• Short-term, the 14 women had a shoving contest on last week’s Raw during a game of Musical Chairs which set up this match. No, really.
• Before the match, AJ delivered a pep talk to her teammates which didn’t go well and only served to separate herself from the others – barring Tamina, who stayed loyal. Essentially, AJ was telling her partners that they were overlooked for Total Divas selection and should be annoyed about it. (more…)
Summer Rae isn’t doing too badly for herself, is she? As well as being the first of the NXT Diva crop to make it to WWE TV, she was successful in her debut match, which also happened to be on pay-per-view. In that match, she and Fandango defeated Natalya and The Great Khali in a mixed tag, where the women were the better workers. This Sunday, Summer is one of the seven women taking on the Total Divas cast at the Survivor Series PPV – an impressive feat, considering former Divas Champion Layla is not part of the septet.
It seems that the 29-year old has some big supporters in WWE, and for good reason. This week’s Wrestling Observer reports that there are three acts that the company is high on – Roman Reigns from The Shield, Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston and our Summer. Considering she has only been part of the wrestling business for around two years, it’s an enviable progression…
Before signing with World Wrestling Entertainment in November 2011, Danielle Moinet was no stranger to contact sports in small amounts of clothing. As team captain and cornerback for the Chicago Bliss in the Lingerie Football League, her shining moment was being one of two Bliss players to make it to the LFL All-Star Game. Getting stuck into wrestling life very quickly, she debuted on Florida Championship Wrestling a month after reporting to Tampa by managing Abraham Washington and becoming the show’s ring announcer. In March 2012, she had her first run-in with new face Paige but ascended to the General Manager position the following week. The following month, she made her wrestling debut in a triple threat involving Paige and Sofia Cortez (Ivelisse Velez), which was won by the Puerto Rican spitfire. (more…)
In last week’s Roundup, we had a note about Mickie James spending a week at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, FL working with the developmental Divas. At the time, we kept it a bit muted as that was all the information that we had, and if WWE or Mickie wasn’t going to divulge any details that would be all we would know – that she was there and that was it. As it turns out, WWE.com made more of a deal about it than we thought, as they conducted a full interview with the former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion.
As well as asking about her favourite WWE moments – the usual ones were there like her match with Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22 and her matches with Beth Phoenix, though she curiously also pointed out the Piggie James angle which I thought was a particular low point in recent Diva history though she spun it to say it brought the issue of bullying to the fore – but she also discussed how she ended up at WWE’s new facility in the first place. (more…)
In a story that has been developing on social media in the last hour or so, and confirmed by a WWE source a short time ago, it appears that WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee fainted in front of the crowd at a WWE Live Event at the O2 Arena in London, England. In a statement issued to PWInsider, WWE confirmed
“Tonight in London, WWE Diva AJ Lee briefly fainted during a match with Brie Bella due to dehydration. She is currently being evaluated by WWE medical staff.”
Twitter was, as you’d expect, awash with both concern and baseless speculation as to the reason for the collapse, which reportedly took place as Lee was on the apron during a match with Brie Bella. She was attended to by WWE medical staff and eventually she was able to make her way to the back under her her own steam. It has been said that the current WWE European Tour is gruelling and has been taking its toll on the performers. It’s therefore entirely plausible that dehydration, exhaustion and the hot lights in the arena combined to cause this scary situation. We wish all the best to AJ Lee and wish her well for a swift and safe recovery.
Click the jump for more detail on the situation. (more…)
Does anybody remember this woman – rather muscular, goofy personality, likes moustaches, calls herself the Hybrid Diva and held the WWE Divas Championship for close to half of 2013? She won the title from Eve Torres halfway through January in her hometown of Houston, TX to a big pop, and successfully defended the belt against Tamina Snuka at Elimination Chamber the following month, and then was involved in a long running feud with her former tag partner and friend AJ Lee, which led to her dropping the championship and losing the subsequent rematch?
Seriously, has anyone seen what happened to Kaitlyn‘s in-ring career? It went AWOL after SummerSlam – where she won – and while there have been brief sightings of her at a couple of house shows and also two TV appearances in October (both losses), she has been off our screens in a wrestling capacity for more than a month, and before her losses on Superstars and SmackDown, she had been missing since she and Dolph Ziggler defeated AJ and Big E Langston in Los Angeles. It’s a massive fall from grace for someone who was riding the crest of the wave as 2013 got underway. (more…)
Have you listened to the latest Women Of Wrestling Podcast with Taeler Hendrix yet? Without hyperbole, it is one of our favourite shows in a long time. Interesting, insightful and revealing, the former TNA Knockout talks about how she had no idea what the result of her Gut Check would be or that Joey Ryan was going to gatecrash the segment, was told very little about what her future in the promotion would be or that they were planning to release her.
She also reveals that she wasn’t fully open with them either, as the reason why she put on the weight in-between appearances was to keep herself healthy to fight off the possibility of cancer, and because she was suffering pain when she wrestled as she had no padding on her body when she was bumping. That weight issue is something that I discussed with recovering anorexic and former gymnast Sarah Robertson, and she practically said the same thing.
Taeler also discussed her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, how she was disappointed with her start in the promotion despite winning the Women’s Championship, and how an instinctive “wrong” move saw her fortunes turn around. She also revealed her intentions to release a book, form a tag team with distant relative Cherry Bomb – all is revealed in the interview – and wrestle in as many places as possible. Instead of moping, shaking her fist at the world or complaining that she’s the victim of a conspiracy theory, she dusted herself off, made a plan and is executing it. (more…)
It’s weird – this website was buzzing with stories last month as part of Open Female Fight Season, with results from Bellatrix, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Women Superstars Uncensored, SHIMMER, SHINE & NCW: Femmes Fatales all flowing in, interspersed with interviews, reaction and discussion. It was certainly a busy time for women wrestling fans, and sites dedicated to it, such as this one. You would imagine that at the conclusion of such a period, there would be a hangover of sorts where many wrestlers would rest, promotions would ease down and there would not be that much to talk about. (more…)