Episode 51 with Serena Deeb
Last week, Serena Deeb was announced as returning to the ring after an eighteen month injury hiatus following a severe concussion suffered on SHIMMER Vol 44 – which begs a number of questions; questions that we aim to ask on this podcast. Get the full rundown on her decision to return to the ring, how close she was to returning last Fall, and how attending a show a couple of weeks ago helped convince her to get back in the ring. We talk about what she’s been up to for the last year and a half, including Yoga and DVD box-sets, how much she’s kept in contact with both the wrestling business and the people in it, and discuss what exactly happened when she was arrested last July 4th. We also touch on Davina Rose‘s signing with WWE, and nail down whether this is a temporary or a permanent comeback, and talk future plans. Plus, before the 40 minutes with the Deebious One, Stew & Lee spend 20 minutes running down what to expect in the next couple of months – from SHINE to EVE, Bellatrix to SHIMMER and AIW to NCW: Femmes Fatales. Oh, and just what is happening with Kaitlyn for WrestleMania? We ponder the imponderable, here on the Women of Wrestling Podcast.
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Kaitlyn makes her first defence of the WWE Divas Championship against challenger Tamina Snuka at Elimination Chamber.
• The pair were expected to clash at last month’s Royal Rumble, but the match was cut due to time constraints. The following day on the January 21 episode of Raw saw them wrestle in a Lumberjill Match with degenerated into a stupid farce involving the women surrounding ringside wearing Las Vegas showgirl outfits getting into a bad brawl while Kaitlyn and Snuka looked on in bewilderment.
• This match was made via WWE’s mobile app, with Vickie Guerrero making the contest for Elimination Chamber. Snuka got the advantage in a backstage shoving match, sending her over one table and into another, leaving her laying. (more…)
I have been very reluctant to write anything about the current situation involving Tammy Sytch, as it’s not a nice thing to discuss, and felt a little exploitative. Having been arrested half a dozen times in as many months over issues surrounding her boyfriend and seemingly stemming from alcohol abuse, it was beyond messy. At the time that it started last September when she was arrested three times in as many days, it seemed ridiculous and consequently opened Sytch up to derision. However we are now in February, and things may have gone from bad to worse because of some choice words put out by the WWE Hall Of Famer.
On Monday, shoot interview series Kayfabe Commentaries released a sample clip of its latest interview with her, recorded before her most recent arrest last month where she discussed – among other things – how she claims the WWE sponsored rehab that she was part of changed depending on what was going on at the time – most specifically, Linda McMahon’s second attempt to become a Senator, which for a second time, ended in failure.
At this time, this is when Linda McMahon was running for Senate. So me being in the news all over New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut – the 6 o’clock news, the 11 o’clock news – four or five times over a month period plus TMZ five times wasn’t looking good for her or for the company. They were quite upset. (more…)
The two big stories coming out of Women Superstars Uncensored’s An Ultraviolent Affair were Jessicka Havok retaining the WSU Championship by beating Athena with a top rope Air Raid Crash, and LuFisto defeating Mercedes Martinez in a Falls Count Anywhere match to become the next number one contender. However, after the latter match, a double-turn took place, with Mercedes Martinez turning heel and LuFisto turning babyface.
As a result, Martinez is now the aggressor in all the big-name women’s promotions in North America. Previously, WSU had been the exception to the rule, with her smiling and playing nice while in SHIMMER, NCW Femmes Fatales and SHINE, she was hankering for the jeers of the fans. Likewise, WSU was the only place where LuFisto was working heel. What that now means is that there is a status quo amongst the big players on the continent, so fans don’t have to work out whether they should be cheering or booing somebody. While this makes it easier on the audience, does it create a natural harmony that isn’t necessarily needed? (more…)
On Sunday, I sat among 400 people in a hall in a small city in the west of England. The only reason why I had decided to go – well, apart from it being a 15 minute walk from my front door – was that it featured a women’s match that was pretty hyped up about. Unfortunately, the billed contest between Kay Lee Ray and Shanna had to be scrapped because of KLR suffering a broken toe two days previous, then wrestling for about 40 minutes on it the previous day – though as it turns out, her metatarsal had been broken for about a month, which was compounded by the broken toe. As a result, a suitable replacement was brought in to replace Ray, and it would more than compensate.
The fans at Alternative Wrestling World in Wolverhampton had no idea who Emi Sakura was. To them, she was a Japanese woman who wears a lot of fabric, doesn’t show much skin and visually, didn’t look like much to write home about. Around me, I heard some borderline racist jokes about the “Chinese” woman in the ring and some unfunny gags about ordering Chinese cuisine in a mocking Far Asian accent. Her opponent also got the heckles, with a guy yelling “get your tits out” to Portugal’s Perfect Athlete – as if that line has EVER worked. Needless to say, we were dealing with an audience with spectacularly low expectations for the contest, and more than their fair share of xenophobia and ignorance. I’m stunned that I didn’t see anyone get up to go to the bar or toilets. They would have regretted it if they had, as little did they know, but they were going to be treated to a showcase featuring one of Europe’s best against one of the best in the world… (more…)
You may wonder why we would be bothered about such an occurrence, but there are residual effects to this announcement.
WWE DVD News reports that a planned DVD for the Divas for 2013 has been canned. Top 20 Divas Countdown would have been the first Divas DVD in the last seven years – following presentations like Divas’ Postcard from the Caribbean and Divas Undressed – and was due to have been released in September of this year. However, said release has now been dropped in favour of a piece about Mid-South Wrestling and the Universal Wrestling Federation, which admittedly will be a great historical feature to watch.
The issue is that in the past, there was lots of Divas merchandise to choose from, and with the sales comes the royalty cheques, which is a great way to supplement your income – and can keep making you money long after you leave, as Madusa proved last year when she revealed she had received $305,563.46 for for appearing on video releases – like the Greatest Superstars of the 90s DVD – sold between October 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. These days, WWE shop offers just a handful of products, and none of them are specific to any wrestler – though there are products like the Divas Calendar, which has Kelly Kelly as the main image, embarrassingly enough.
Having a DVD would have generated some extra money for the women who would have made the DVD, but that’s not going to happen now. Hopefully the division will surge this year, warranting a Divas DVD to be put onto the schedule for 2014.
- Lee Burton
Ringbelles Roundup (29 January 2013) – Trish Stratus, National Pro Wrestling Day, Pro Wrestling: EVE & more
It was announced during last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw that Trish Stratus would be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this April as part of the WrestleMania XXIX weekend. As expected, the wave of congratulations came from wrestlers past and present like Lita, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Gail Kim and more, as well as personalities both inside and outside of the business like Jim Ross, Lilian Garcia and Snooki. Indeed, there are a lot of supporters of the Torontarian, and she was quick to react to the announcement:
I still can’t believe it. I’m just so honored to be taking my place alongside WWE’s greatest, as a wrestling fan – I’m kind of blown away! It’s simply amazing.
The 37-year old joins the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Sensational Sherri, Sunny and Wendi Richter in the Hall, and is the most modern Diva to be inducted, though this provided a sticking point for some who felt that while she was worthy of going in, it was ahead of others who they felt should go in first – Leilani Kai, Bull Nakano and Madusa were names which cropped up, as well as Lita, whom Stratus’ career ran parallel with for damn near the entirety of their runs.
Now, while I’m not the biggest Stratus fan in the world, I’m fair – and without a doubt, Trish deserves to be in that Hall of Fame, and as far as the criteria of this particular one is concerned, is more worthy than the others. If we were discussing the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame or the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY, then Stratus would get nowhere near the ballots, but for WWE’s version, all you have you do is get the green light from one Vince McMahon – and when it comes to that element, Stratus was always inevitable, as she was a model WWE employee. (more…)
While we didn’t mention it at the time – despite other places doing so in some form or fashion – we have been waiting for Davina Rose to make her WWE debut since signing her developmental deal last month. On Tuesday, WWE Hall Of Famer Dusty Rhodes mentioned her (by real name) in a tweet, and on Thursday it happened, with the Californian making her first appearance in a WWE ring as part of an NXT live event in Tampa, FL. Teaming with Charlotte and Paige, she defeated Emma, Summer Rae and Audrey Marie in a six-woman tag match, with a curious new addition to her gimmick – a mask.
That’s right – as you can tell by the image on the left, Davina has her face obscured, and her gear is also a lot darker than the oranges and greens which SHIMMER fans were getting accustomed to seeing.
Now, before anyone starts kicking off about her wearing a mask and accusing WWE of maltreatment, gimmicks change all the time, and she’s only been there for five minutes – I have an open carton of apple juice in my refrigerator that has been there longer than Rose has been a WWE employee. It’s called developmental for a reason, and I’m sure there will be more tweaks to her look and character until they’re happy with it – in fact, she wrestled the following day as a heel against Charlotte without the mask, losing via a backslide. One thing that they will likely not have to work on for very long is her wrestling, as over the last four years, this Rose has blossomed into quite the athlete, and has grabbed a lot of attention along the way… (more…)
There are many interesting prospects in North America. One which has been simmering for a while is Mia Yim, who has been honing her skills and gaining more experience by partaking in a number of extended trips to Japan to wrestle for REINA x World. Domestically, she has had some interesting matches which have been of a good quality, and was a beneficiary when one of her kicks broke Allysin Kay’s nose last January leading to a number of well-received matches between the two with greater stipulations reflecting the development of the programme, culminating in a cage match at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 7. She had a fine outing against Jessicka Havok at SHINE 3 last September, and also enjoyed outings against the likes of Kana and Yumi Ohka in SHIMMER in 2011.
However, there is one major sticking point when it comes to her work in the US – barring the original nose-breaking match against Kay at GNO5, Yim has lost most of those high-profile outings.
Despite that, she has the opportunity to claim a really big scalp at SHIMMER volume 53 in Secaucus, NJ on April 6, and spoil the homecoming of one of its biggest stars at the same time. (more…)
Saraya Knight may be scary and intimidating to some, as well as being as tough as week-old bread – but she’s also got a big heart, and that is evident when you ask her about her family. That’s why when she is asked about her daughter Paige, she is more than willing to tell you how proud she is of her accomplishments in the industry.
“I was there when Britani (Paige) was told. It was amazing, she was bouncing off the walls. We as a family were buzzing for her, but inside we all knew we would have to lose her to the States.
“We knew she was going to be huge and are so proud. Now it is the rest of the world’s turn to find that out.”
So Kaitlyn is finally the WWE Divas Champion. A week shy of five months after (accidentally) winning a battle royal to challenge for the title at Night Of Champions – a shot which never happened after she was written out so Eve Torres could vie for the belt like was originally planned – the NXT Season 3 winner reached the top of the pile, defeating Torres on the 20th anniversary episode of Raw. We’ll get to the new champ in a moment – but firstly, let’s discuss the noise which preceded the match…
Yesterday, PWInsider reported that last night would be Eve’s final match with WWE before leaving the company, and it would be likely that she would be dropping the belt to Kaitlyn, who she has been feuding with since mid-September. As it turns out, that is exactly what happened, though her title loss came a bit earlier than others were expecting. According to the most recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Torres handed in her notice a month ago with the agreement that she would stay on to build up the title feud with Kaitlyn and then drop the belt to her, with the internal expectation being that she would lose the title at the Royal Rumble in two weeks, after a series of matches between the two when Eve would use underhanded tactics to retain the title. Instead, the decision was made for the switch to take place on the milestone Raw – which makes more sense, as it means more viewers would see the change and Kaitlyn’s moment of glory would take place in her home town of Houston, TX. It was a smart move, as the partisan crowd was hotter for the match than it would have likely been compared to the audience at the Rumble in Phoenix, AZ. Besides, fans have been conditioned to a certain extent to not be that bothered about the Divas, so it was unlikely that the match would have generated a massive amount of pay-per-view buys. (more…)
In front of her hometown fans in Houston, TX as part of the 20th Anniversary episode of Raw, Kaitlyn finally ascended to the top of the company’s women’s division by winning the WWE Divas Championship, pinning Eve Torres with a spear after outwitting the three-time titleholder.
In a match where the stipulation was added that should Eve be disqualified or counted out she would lose the belt (an amendment added because Torres deliberately got herself counted out last week to save her reign), she tried to gain a count-out victory by throwing the challenger over the barricade. Unbeknownst to her, Kaitlyn had already returned to the ring, and was waiting to deliver the match-winning move.
The match was arguably the best outing the pair have had, and was aided by an enthusiastic crowd. However, one person was seriously unhappy. (more…)
We got the impression earlier today that something had gone on with WWE developmental Diva Skyler Moon. About 5 hours ago, the 23-year old tweeted:
I can finally cuss again in the internet…..FUUUUUUUCK :)
Clearly, this is not something that WWE would be happy about one of their employees doing this, which raised suspicions – and a few minutes ago, PWInsider gave some weight to that suspicion, reporting that the Riverside, CA native had been released from her contract.
The move comes in the same week that Ricardo Rodriguez tweeted a picture of the two of them together backstage at Monday’s Raw in Tampa, FL. The former Buggy Nova had been absent since early autumn while she received help for what she revealed was an eating disorder, and looked like she was getting back into the swing of things.
The release comes at the start of what PWInsider claims is going to be a series of WWE releases, so there may be more women let go – if that should happen, we will let you know.
- Lee Burton
Superfly Jimmy Snuka is a proud dad, so he wants the best for his daughter Tamina. Naturally, he was upset about how she was booked in her early days, as after getting an initial push, was relegated to being the jobber to the stars for the WWE Divas involved in title feuds. Speaking to Arda Ocal of theScore TV Network, he said:
I taught both her and my son. At first they were using her pretty good, but all of a sudden they start [having her lose] and I thought ‘what’s going on here’? It’s kind of early into the show [with] whatever gimmicks [WWE] are trying to work out for her. So I’m watching this thing mostly every week to try to catch her. She hurt her wrist and was out for a while and now she’s back again. She looks even better than ever and I’m so proud of her. I tell her to put only one focus in your mind and take care of number 1 and that’s it.
Former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion Michelle McCool must have talked to her official fansite MichelleMcCool.net for about a kabillion years for it to produce as many different releases about things she has said about her time in WWE. There are masses of quotes about Beth Phoenix, Maria Kanellis, Layla, Sharmell Huffman, Vickie Guerrero, Tara, Natalya, Torrie Wilson, Mickie James and more. Seriously, the interview must have gone on for about three hours to sufficiently cover all these topics. Quite why she has decided to do this now after spending more than 18 months out of the wrestling spotlight is a discussion in itself, as it is doubtful that she is doing to come back, and she has positive things to say about everyone, which doesn’t lead to that many juicy tidbits. However, it is her comments about her experiences with Melina which we found the most interesting.
The 32-year old discussed how they collectively got in trouble following their contest at Night Of Champions 2009, where McCool successfully defended the Women’s Championship, with one particular move on the outside of the ring causing the problem:
It was that day – I was like: “could you not tell anybody, but do you think we could do a DDT on the barricade?” And [Melina] was like: “Ohhhh! Yeah!!!” — Not even thinking twice about it. We kind of hid it all day, even though we did ask our agent for approval, I think it was Fit — which is no secret that he was always fighting for the girls. We just made sure that we can stand up and get our balance, but we never actually did the bump. She was the one who was going to take the huge bump, and there was no doubt, no hesitation, that she would make it look ridiculous — and it did! [During the match] She finally takes the bump, it looks sick [pictured above], pops off — up to that point, that was the best match I’ve ever had. We had the pay-per-view, we had time, I was really proud of that match. (more…)
Emi Sakura has had a hell of a year, and it’s been well documented here at Ringbelles. Her success since leaving Ice Ribbon has included setting up her own promotion in Thailand, having it migrate to Japan, winning the JWP/Daily Sports Tag Team Championship, securing the services of Kaori Yoneyama then having her take her side in some sort of Stockholm Syndrome scenario, forming a team to invade JWP and then taking hold of the promotion’s crown jewel by winning the Openweight Championship. In addition, she defended the belt in the UK for the first time in its history and won the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship on the same night. Indeed, it has been one hell of a year for the 36 year old. However, it seems as if 2012 is going to end on a mildly disappointing note.
Yesterday, 17-year veteran dropped the Openweight Title in the main event of Climax 2012 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall after 57 days – the second shortest reign in the title’s 20 year history (for the record, the shortest was Devil Masami’s 32 day run which ended when the title was vacated for unknown reasons). She was beaten by current Tag Team Champion Arisa Nakajima, who has also enjoyed a tremendous 2012. (more…)
2012 Diva of the Year (named by both WWE Magazine and the WWE fans via the Slammy Awards) AJ Lee is about as far away from WWE’s idea of what a Diva should be as you can imagine. Short, quirky, geeky, lacking the body shape that others have had in the past, she comes across as the person you would be more likely to meet over an Xbox Live session of Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 than at an awards ceremony or a fancy bar. She’s your friend, your buddy – she’s not what WWE would perceive to be the ultimate in femininity.
But scratch beneath the surface, and she may be more woman than anyone else on the roster. She’s independent, driven, and has forged a path which she was never meant to go down – and in doing so, forced WWE to take notice.
After all, at the start of this year, she was Daniel Bryan’s put-upon girlfriend – the one who was the foil for him to turn heel, and saw her end up being verbally abused and put in harm’s way. If anything, at the time she was another version of the antithesis of a Diva – meek, helpless and unable to take care of herself. However, when their relationship ended on the post-WrestleMania SmackDown following Bryan’s loss of the World Heavyweight Title – which he blamed on her – she went off at the deep end. It gave her character a chance to have an edge, and she ran with it. (more…)
Naomi challenges Eve Torres for the WWE Divas Championship in her first ever pay-per-view match after earning the opportunity earlier in the evening.
• A “Santa’s Little Helper” battle royal was held on the pre-show which involved all the Divas except AJ Lee and Vickie Guerrero. The final two left in the ring were the two finalists on NXT season 3 – Kaitlyn and Naomi.
• In the end, Kaitlyn was dumped after Torres – who was on commentary – struck her longtime rival, allowing Naomi to eliminate her with a dropkick. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (11 December 2012) – Divas future, intergender wrestling part 2, Portia’s tweets, Fierce Females DVD review & more
WWE knows the Divas division is in tatters at the moment, and seems intent on asking us what we want to happen to it, so the promotion has been contacting focus groups asking about the future of the women. PWInsider reports they were sent out to ask fans what they think of the Divas in the past, what they are like now, and which women they liked. Another question which was reportedly on the list is what role they wanted to see them in – be it as valets/managers, dancers, wrestlers, love interests and more.
This could be the opportunity that fans of women’s wrestling have been waiting for. If the data comes back in the way which we would hope for, it could see a resurgence of in-ring action for the Divas in 2013, along with some proper storylines with episodic character development, culminating in big matches at pay-per-views. It could see them take more prominent roles on the TV shows, and have their segments played out in front of interested, active crowds who care about what is going on. It could also see an injection of new talent into the ranks, possible gimmick revamps to make them more interesting, and having more options of big matches all as part of the quest to snare the Divas Championship.
Oh yes, it could be the start of something beautiful.
But what if it isn’t? (more…)
Over the years, the number of taboos in wrestling seem to have evaporated. After all, few bat an eyelid about wrestlers who have barely reached their teens stepping into the ring in Japan. Wrestlers with disabilities are given the same opportunities as anyone else, and nobody tells anyone that they are too old to lace up the boots, even though some really should be. However, the prospect of a man facing a woman in a wrestling match still seems to be something which makes some fans squirm in their seats.
I can see some of you imagining it right now.
For a long while, mixed matches seemed to be a no-no, but then it hit the mainstream with the late comic Andy Kaufman wrestling women and calling himself the Intergender Champion of the World, before Jerry Lawler piledrove him onto his head. From there, we saw the odd mixed tag team match on special occasions – WrestleMania VI with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri Martel being a prime example – but very seldom did the women interact with the men… but times changed. (more…)
Anyone with eyes would have noticed that there is a dearth of options when it comes to the WWE Divas as it pertains to the main roster. After all, there is only so many times that you can have combinations of matches involving Eve Torres, Layla and Kaitlyn. That’s why over the weekend’s house shows, WWE has offered different matches – so AJ Lee and Kaitlyn reunited as the Chickbusters to face Torres and Rosa Mendes (the latter of whom is used sparingly inside the ring). However, one new name appeared on a SmackDown house show in Columbia, SC last night, with NXT’s female standout Paige going on the road with the blue brand to team with Layla in a winning effort against Aksana & Natalya.
Since arriving in the US 11 months ago, the 20-year old has graduated from the dark-haired newcomer with the reflective complexion to the antithesis of what you would expect a Diva to look like, to the most over woman on the NXT roster, to tagging with Layla on bona-fide WWE house shows… and winning to boot. It has been an impressive year for the youngster from Norwich, England, and bodes well for 2013. Could we see her debut before 2012 is out? There are four weeks left – anything’s possible… (more…)
Episode 48 with Amazing Kong
Few people have elicited the intense speculation and column inches as much as our guest on this edition of the Podcast – and as such we are very pleased to welcome back Amazing Kong, who recently returned to the ring at SHINE 5 following her WWE run. So it’s time to dissect the last couple of years and get to the truth of a lot of speculation and rumours. We talk getting back in the ring at SHINE and Florida Underground (both teaming with Jazz) a couple of weekends ago and how that return came about. We talk endorsements from Jim Ross and Steve Austin leading to meetings with John Laurinatis leading to her dream job. Is it fair to call her a Triple H Project? We talk the first meeting with Vince McMahon, and the Kharma name (and more to the point, discover a rejected alternate name!), and what the initial plans were for her push. We talk acceptance into the Diva locker room, and the reaction to her pregnancy. Seen her wrestling ring-shaped engagement ring? Now hear the *true* story of how her fiancé popped the question. Stew and Kong compare how many Royal Rumbles each of them have been in, and we talk about the great personal tragedy in Kong’s life around that time and how various things contributed to her eventual WWE release. We discuss the oft-reported story that Layla was a last minute replacement for Kharma at Extreme Rules 2012 and how aware she was of the growing interest in a match with Beth Phoenix. From there it’s a discussion of future plans both at home and abroad to wrap up the episode. A pleasure to have Kong back on the show.
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In a recent interview with Edge, he was asked why so many women are voluntarily choosing to leave WWE. His reply: “I don’t think they get a shot and that’s why most leave. No incentive.”
Now, I was all set to expand on this, but there is the flip side – what about the fortunate ones who do get a shot? Do they seize the opportunity with both hands? Well, one is certainly doing so at the moment, and she seems to be the only one on the main roster taking the her role as a wrestler deadly seriously.
Consider what WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres has been up to in the last week. She was featured in a profile video for American Latino which focuses a large amount of time on the self defence for women programme she offers – something that she believes very passionately about. She teamed up with the Gracie Academy for the Women Empowered DVD set, and has worked hard promoting women being able to take care of themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
The interview also saw Torres justifying her heel character in WWE by saying she is a woman who gets what she wants, and her holding the WWE Divas belt is proof of that. It’s weird logic, but she has a point – it gets around the fact that she is a heel too, even though she is purporting herself to be on the side of the good girls. (more…)