Close to a year ago, we reported that Shaul “Raquel Diaz” Guerrero had requested her WWE release, which was granted. It was a little confusing at the time as there were conflicting reports about whether she had left or not, though it was confirmed by her mother Vickie in a tweet, saying “@Shaul_Guerrero asked to be released from WWE for personal reasons. Im grateful to WWE for the support & love toward my family”.
At the same time, there was some talk about Skyler Moon checking into WWE-sponsored rehab at the time – which turned out to be for an eating disorder – before being released from the company in January. As it turns out, the two developmental Divas were dealing with similar issues.
Over the last week, it has come out that Guerrero is planning to return to Florida from Houston, TX – more specifically, to Orlando, where WWE’s new and impressive Performance Center is based. The prospective date for her move is Tuesday, based on a tweet she sent a few days ago. While there has been no confirmation about whether she has signed a new WWE deal – or if she was never fully released from her original deal and it was just mothballed – but it seems that the time is right for her to resume the Raquel Diaz Exfoliating Ugliness Tour which was picking up steam… (more…)
Considering Sensational Sherri won the World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship on a house show in Houston, TX on July 24, 1987, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the title change was filmed and was given commentary from Gorilla Monsoon and Jimmy Hart.
Sherri – competing under the name of Sherri Martel at the time – defeated the Fabulous Moolah, who was enjoying her third reign as champion at the time. Holding the belt for 441 days, she boasts the fourth longest Women’s Title reign in WWF/E history, with only Moolah, Rockin’ Robin and Trish Stratus having runs longer than hers.
If you haven’t yet, have a listen to our Women Of Wrestling Podcast which we put together to mark five years after her death on June 15, 2007. Bill Apter, Candi Divine, Marianne Ryan, Lexie Fyfe & “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase all offer their stories and thoughts. (more…)
Female Fight Season is creeping up on us and as more talent is announced for the shows, one thing that jumps out is the number of wrestlers who are making this first trips abroad to face new people, venture into new locker rooms and expand their horizons.
Let’s start with the women who are travelling to the United States. As we have mentioned on this website in the past, Nikki Storm is making the trip from Scotland to take bookings for SHINE, Women Superstars Uncensored and Absolute Intense Wrestling in the month of October, and was announced for SHIMMER this evening too. She is certainly making the most of her time in the US by working for as many of the major women’s groups as possible. Networking her way around the country will also help to attain new contacts, connect with new audiences and shift a lot of merchandise. Joining her as another fresh face in the US will be Australia’s Savannah Summers, who will also be part of AIW’s Girls Night Out tapings on October 6. Her announcement was somewhat out of the blue, as this is the first time that the six year pro will venture outside of her native country and ply her trade elsewhere. Considering her experience and character – her heel work is pretty great and she’s also likeable as a babyface – she should create a good impression with the crowd in Cleveland, OH. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (27 August 2013) – Speculation on Tara’s future, Total Divas, #PipeBombshell & more
It’s been a pretty quiet week as far as news from the world of women’s wrestling is concerned, but one thing which stood out was what one former TNA Knockout said about the company – as well as what she didn’t say.
In an interview released on the Wrestling Observer, the former Tara (Lisa Marie Varon) talked about how she will “never” return to TNA, kept tight-lipped about the worst things concerning the promotion, and also openly praised WWE’s direction with the Divas both on the main shows and in NXT. Now, I would imagine that because of her being so direct about her lack of desire to return to the promotion, there are probably some stories there but are being held back out of professional respect to not run down a company which still has people she likes working there, or she’s saving it for when the time is right. She also goes out of her way to praise the opposition, which raises an eyebrow or two. (more…)
Another 6 episodes of Total Divas have ordered by E! for a season extension. The current 8 episode run ends on September 15, with the next half dozen starting on November 17. The show has been a big hit for E! so far, with audiences rising between episodes 1 and 3. Starting out with 1.3 million viewers, it rose to 1.52 million the following week and reached 1.67 million last week.
However, numbers dropped a little for Sunday’s most recent episode to 1.35 million – though that’s still higher than the premiere episode. One of the reasons may be is because it clashed with SummerSlam – though anyone who watched the pay-per-view will see that despite Total Divas being a hit, it’s not caught the imagination of many wrestling fans. In fact, it could be argued that the crossover audience isn’t as big as you may imagine. (more…)
Natalya takes on Brie Bella with most of the Total Divas cast at ringside, while Kaitlyn teams with Dolph Ziggler to face AJ Lee and Big E Langston as part of WWE SummerSlam.
Natalya v Brie Bella
• The Bella Twins have been goading and poking at Natalya since the debut of Total Divas last month with emotions spilling over on last Monday’s Raw.
• The addition was made of Nikki Bella and newcomer Eva Marie in Brie’s corner, while Funkadactyls Cameron and Naomi would accompany Natalya.
• At SummerSlam Axxess earlier in the day, Natalya and TV host Maria Menounos beat Brie and Eva Marie in tag team action. Incidentally, the victory means Menounos is still undefeated with a near four year winning streak. (more…)
Shoot interviews are always a funny thing. With wrestlers who have retired and have nothing to lose and are looking for a final few paydays without running the risk of torpedoing any future prospects, they can sometimes be an interesting walk down memory lane, with some fun stories from the past and some misty-eyed memories can be revisited by both the subject and fans who remember the era. However, with wrestlers who are still active, it can be a more dangerous venture.
What happens if you reveal more than you want to and it hurts your chances of making it somewhere in the future? What if you have a grudge with someone, voice it and then have uncomfortable moments if you have to share dressing rooms down the line? What about annoying a friend by saying something about someone who you dislike but they have a lot of time for? It’s a much bigger minefield.
That’s why the recent Kayfabe Commentaries piece by Amazing Kong has ruffled a few feathers. (more…)
There are a lot of women’s wrestling promotions in the northern half of the planet. SHIMMER, Femmes Fatales, Women Superstars Uncensored, SHINE, IndyGurlz, Lucha Libre Feminil, Bellatrix, Pro-Wrestling: EVE, Fierce Females, WAVE, OZ Academy, JWP, Diana, Ice Ribbon, and Sendai Girls, just to name a few. In addition, there are promotions with women’s divisions like Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, Acclaim Pro Wrestling, Squared Circle Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, AAA, CMLL, FutureShock, ABC Catch and more.
In the southern hemisphere, there are comparatively few – which means if you are the champion of one of those, you are in a much more exclusive club. While there are some like the IndyGurlz Australia title and the Riot City Wrestling Women’s strap, arguably the most prestigious belt in women’s wrestling is in the southern hemisphere is the one representing the Pro Women’s Wrestling Alliance, and it’s now officially held by a grappler who has spent the last year as the lady in waiting… (more…)
We’ve been itching to talk about it for a month, and are glad that now that it has been broadcast, there is nothing to stop us now. Paige is the first NXT Women’s Champion, spotlighting her as the top woman in WWE’s developmental division right now. It is the shining moment in the 20-year old’s 6-year career – the last 18 months of which has been spent in Florida in Florida Championship Wrestling and later NXT. It was also a testament to WWE’s faith in the Briton that she defeated two established WWE Divas en route to the final of the tournament, defeating Tamina Snuka and former Divas Champion Alicia Fox to make it to the decider against Emma.
In what was the opening contest of last Wednesday’s broadcast, Paige and Emma put together what has to be the best women’s match that WWE has presented in the last year at least. With big moves peppering the proceedings, a decisive finish via the Paige Turner and the endorsement of fellow Divas and WWE COO Triple H made it all feel like a really big moment – as it should have been.
So tonight was the debut of the much hyped “Total Divas” on E! and despite needing to get some sleep, my curiosity kicked in and I couldn’t help but check out the premiere episode as soon as possible. Truth be told, I hadn’t been looking forward to the show for two specific reasons – firstly, I have little or no interest in watching the WWE Divas bitching at each other for an hour (which given how the show has been trailed on WWE Raw with a multi-camera backstage “bitchy Bellas” skit a few weeks ago and that awful segment from last Monday where Jerry Lawler was randomly slapped, bitchiness is apparently a selling point of the show) – and secondly, much of the pre-show publicity seemed to centre around who the women are/were/might be sleeping with. The promise of an upcoming storyline where rookie Diva Eva Marie “targets” Fandango worryingly gives the impression that these women are defined by who they are sleeping with as much as anything else. Oh, yeah – and to quote Canadian indy worker Kc Spinelli from an episode of “World of Hurt” with Lance Storm, “There’s nothing as fake as reality TV”
Still, I figured I’d try and go into it with an open mind… and honestly… it wasn’t that bad. (more…)
While we reported it under a spoiler warning a month ago, now that it has been broadcast we can just come out and say it. Paige is the first NXT Women’s Champion after beating Tamina Snuka, Alicia Fox and Emma in the final to win the title.
The match itself is arguably the best women’s contest to take place in a WWE ring in 2013, and possibly even longer than that. In a match which saw big headbutt, DilEMMAs, superplexes and the RamPaige, it was the Brit’s Paige Turner finisher which saw her garner the championship.
At the time, it was reported that Paige’s colleagues had come out to congratulate her on her victory. We expected that to be broadcast, but couldn’t be sure if the appearance by WWE COO Triple H would be shown as well. Happily, it was – and it helped to rubber stamp the 20-year old’s most significant victory in her 19-month run as a WWE employee.
We have got hold of the match for you to watch – it’s after the jump, so click away and enjoy the complete match which was the opening contest on the show, but could have easily fit in the main event slot. (more…)
On Saturday, we posted an intergender match between Kirsty Love and Jigsaw. Well, for this weeks Retro, we’re posting another.
In the summer of 2003, Vince McMahon was in an angle where he was having an affair with the recently returned Sable – and his daughter, SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon was none too happy about it. The two women fought at Vengeance in July with Sable getting the win after the GM was mown down by the A-Train (now Tensai). However, despite his new squeeze getting the upper hand, hostilities between father and daughter continued into the latter part of the year with Vince pressuring Stephanie to resign from the position he assigned to her the year before.
The developments which led right up the match began when Stephanie interrupted Vince presenting Brock Lesnar with the WWE Championship which he had won the previous week by beating Kurt Angle in an Iron Man Match to say that he would defend the belt against The Undertaker at No Mercy in October. Irritated, the big boss demanded that she call the match off, though she resisted, leading to Vince announcing that she would face his own daughter in an I Quit Match at the pay-per-view. The stipulation was later added that if Stephanie lost, she would also quit as GM – though the playing field was levelled somewhat when Vince’s wife Linda pressured her hubby into agreeing to reigning as WWE Chairman if he gave up – though he later also added that Stephanie could beat him via pinfall in order to throw her another lifeline.
I’m not joking when I say that I really like this match. It’s no CM Punk v Daniel Bryan as far as workrate is concerned, but the story is all there and it makes for an entertaining contest filled with great drama… and Linda McMahon’s crappy acting. (more…)
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…)
A champion is only as good as the challengers who they face and send packing. At the moment, AJ Lee is without a future contender for her Divas Championship following her title victory over Kaitlyn at Payback and successfully defending the belt at Money In The Bank, but we think there may be five options to be the next heir apparent to the Divas throne. With a month to go to SummerSlam in Los Angeles, CA, there is every possibility that the title will be defended. However, who do we think is in line for a crack at the belt? For argument’s sake, let’s look at potential babyfaces who could challenge the heel AJ, as heel v heel is seldom a money-spinner… (more…)
Considering the sudden news about the TNA release of Tara last night – something which she hasn’t publicly acknowledged as of now, it feel appropriate that we delve back into her history of matches spanning more than a decade, where she has been the focal point of both TNA and WWE. For this week’s Retro, we jump back all the way to November 17, 2002.
After a brief period as one of the Godfather’s Hos in the summer of 2000, Lisa Marie Varon was taken off TV for about two years for training and development, and repackaged as Victoria, the unhinged maniac who was given a storyline background with Trish Stratus which was partly based in reality, as both had been fitness models before joining WWE. Victoria re-debuted on the July 7, 2002 broadcast of Sunday Night HeAT, and the pair squared off on pay-per-view for the first time at No Mercy in October, where Stratus – who by this point had won her third Women’s Championship – successfully defended her title. However, the hostilities continued, and it reached the point where it was decided that the pair would face off again under Hardcore Rules at the Survivor Series in New York City’s Madison Square Garden… (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…)
Kaitlyn gets her rematch against WWE Divas Champion and former friend and tag team partner AJ Lee, who has been tormenting her since winning the title at Payback last month.
• After winning the championship (and following a dressing down by Stephanie McMahon which went nowhere), AJ continued to poke the ribs of the former titleholder, dressing up as Kaitlyn to gloat over how she had humiliated her. This was followed up with Kaitlyn returning the favour, impersonating the new champion. AJ responded by showing a photoshopped image of Kaitlyn to make her look overweight, though instead of getting angry, Kaitlyn brushed it off as being infantile.
• The go-home segment on last Friday’s SmackDown saw the first ever Diva contract signing, which saw AJ again get one-up on her opponent, reading out text messages that Kaitlyn sent to her “secret admirer” – which turned out to be Big E Langston as part of an AJ ruse – bitching about Natalya, Cameron and Naomi. Kaitlyn responded by beating on AJ, slapping Langston and spearing the champion to leave her laying in the ring. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (9 July 2013) – Knockouts dearth, Heidi & Taeler, SHINE, Maria Kanellis, Sunny & more
We praised Mickie James’ last six months in TNA, including her winning the Knockouts Title and turning heel in the process. However, you have to wonder what sort of division she is reigning over, when you consider how many – or conversely, how few – female wrestlers there are on the roster these days.
As well as James, you have Gail Kim, Miss Tessmacher, ODB, Tara, Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky as in-ring performers – though ODB is usually a ref these days, Terrell is hardly a regular and Tessmacher & Tara has been absent for a while. That’s seven women – half of what they had in 2008 when the division was really a pioneer and vastly overshadowing what was going on in WWE at the time. When you consider that TNA only has about three women doing most of the work these days, you can see why the promotion binned its Knockouts Tag Team Titles following them being vacated by ODB and Eric Young.
The roster was thinned out last Wednesday when a four time Knockouts Champion and the first Gut Check winner were cut from the roster. Madison Rayne – who is heavily pregnant and is due to give birth next month – saw her contract expire and it wasn’t renewed. Some have complained that it was a bit tactless of TNA to do that, but Rayne herself apparently holds no grudges and has made no complaints in public. It is possible that she may return in time.
The other departure is Taeler Hendrix, who has been criminally underused by the promotion since winning the Gut Check last June. She has only appeared on two episodes of Impact – one was the Thanksgiving Day episode, which was a filler show because so few were watching, and the other was last month as she served as cannon fodder for Mickie’s slow-burn heel turn. Meanwhile, she has been working on her character during her time in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which we cover in more detail later on. (more…)
Episode 59 with Ivelisse Velez
This Friday, SHINE Wrestling crowns its first ever champion on iPPV – and if you ask our guest on this show, she’ll be the one holding up the title belt at the end of the night. It’s Ivelisse Velez, everybody! We talk SHINE, and her standout matches with the likes of LuFisto & Athena, experiences in SHINE so far, rule confusion in Mexico for PdM, starting her career as “Sexy Juliette” in Puerto Rico, alternate life plans, moving to Chicago and eventually entering the WWE Tough Enough process. We talk auditioning, the editing process, struggling with injury, the Steve Austin elimination speeches and working with Trish Stratus on the show. Post Tough Enough, we discuss how Ivelisse worked hard at getting her shot in FCW/NXT and her experiences when she got there, an aborted name idea before she was re-christened Sofia Cortez, working with Paige, promo classes, seemingly conflicting advice and some interesting circumstances surrounding her WWE release. We also talk her TNA Gutcheck experiences, her mentality coming in, her on-camera reaction when it was decided she wasn’t going through to the final assessment, and coming back for a couple of taped PPVs that are still to air. We also talk her twice aborted MMA debut and whether that’s still coming. A refreshingly fun and interesting interview. Check it out. (Plus we’ve changed up our Podcast theme for the first time ever!!)
(left click on picture to stream, right click and “save as” to download)
The untimely death of Matt Osbourne got me to thinking. In his role as the original Doink The Clown, he took what immediately appeared to be a bit of a lame gimmick and turned it into something quite special – a dark character with a painted on smile, exacting sadistic actions to wrestlers and fans alike, while also working as a skilled technician in the ring. Check out his matches with Mr Perfect and Bret Hart for some of his best work in mid-1993.
Osbourne’s run as Doink came to an end in the latter part of the year as he was fired from the WWF for re-occurring drug issues, and with it, the character then becoming a lame babyface which lacked the edge or sparkle of the original portrayal. However, it was a great example of making chicken salad out of chicken guano, and is relevant to a couple of women who are plying their trade in WWE today.
Before we get to that, it’s worth pointing out some of the other gimmicks in mainstream wrestling over the years – including which had mileage and which crashed and burned… (more…)
40 years ago, Bobby Riggs and Billie-Jean King took to the tennis court in an event dubbed The Battle of the Sexes. It was actually the second intergender match for Riggs, as he had already beaten Margaret Court in straight sets earlier in the year, but this was the big one – with 30,472 watching in person at the Houston Astrodome, 50 million viewers watching the match in the US, and a total of 90 million worldwide. In the end, it was King who won in three straight sets, winning the $100,000 prize and doing a truckload of good for women’s liberation.
A documentary of the match has just been released in cinemas and for the Retro today, we’ve decided to go back and look at a woman who did her bit for women’s lib in the World Wrestling Federation. (more…)
It was interesting to see the Bellatrix roster after the Bellatrix 6 card. Out of their wrestling gear, they got dressed again into their branded t-shirts and glammed them up with shorts, skirts, blazers and the like to meet and greet the fans, sign autographs and pose for photos. In every photo, the Bellatrix logo was visible, pushing the brand and getting the recognition out there. Coupled with the gigantic wall hangings, Bellatrix: Female Warriors has ascended to be the most professional looking promotion in the western world.
Granted, a lot of joshi promotions in Japan have branded gear, and Ice Ribbon & Stardom have had workout gear too – but it is rarer to see in the English-speaking countries. However, it is something that other promotions would do well to adopt in the future.
Since rebranding from the World Association of Women’s Wrestling in January, Bellatrix as a brand has been ascending at a rapid pace, and it’s being noticed. Ahead of Sunday’s card, promoter Saraya Knight was interviewed on F4Wonline.com, the BritWresChat podcast and the BBC radio station serving Norfolk – the county which Bellatrix is based. In addition, hype was posted on a number of websites and also in the local print media, which led to an audience of more than 250 coming along to the show to make a lot of noise and generate a proper atmosphere. As far as exposure goes, Bellatrix has taken big steps forward – however, as Saraya explained during the interview with Bryan Alvarez, the end goal is not to have the promotion as the main focus; instead, it is being used as a way to point eyes towards the wrestlers on the show. (more…)
The first ever NXT Women’s Champion was crowned at last night’s tapings at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. On TV, there have only been three quarter finals televised so if you don’t want to know the final semi-finals and who emerged as champion, don’t click the jump. For everyone whose curiosity is getting the better of them or don’t care about spoilers, here we go… (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (18 June 2013) – Mickie James, Brittney Savage, Divas, Bellatrix & Queen of Queens
Mickie James turned full heel on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling by attacking Velvet Sky. Velvet had produced a letter from her doctor saying she was cleared to wrestle and wanted a rematch for the Knockouts Championship, but Mickie argued that she could have just downloaded it from the Internet before going after her previously injured knee before being peeled off her rival by the referees.
Fair play to TNA, James and Sky – this angle has been booked and executed beautifully. Everyone involved has done a great job to get the new Knockouts Champ over, and it looks like she is having a great time finally having something she can really sink her teeth into… and it’s long overdue.
To be brutally honest, both WWE’s and TNA’s writers have been coasting with Mickie James for the past six years. Following the epic angle between she and Trish Stratus which hit its zenith at WrestleMania 22, nothing of real note has been given to the 33-year old. Once she turned babyface in the summer of 2006, there were a few feuds with Lita, Melina, Beth Phoenix and Maryse, but she was portraying the typical white meat babyface with no real reason as to why you should cheer for her apart from that she was smiley and was wrestling heels. The only other big storyline she was part of was the “Piggie James” deal with Lay-Cool which felt like it was an unfair public rib on her – and she lost that feud, which meant that she never even got her redemption. Considering how well she had played a character in her first 8 months in WWE, it’s still staggering that she was not given the opportunity to do anything like that again during her run, except for being the punching bag to get Michelle McCool and Layla over in a nasty, bullying fashion which seemed to make people hate WWE’s writers than Lay-Cool. (more…)