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…)
As a publicly traded company, World Wrestling Entertainment is mandated by the United States federal Securities and Exchange Commission to post quarterly fiscal reports. Known as a 10-Q, it details all the financial goings on, and is readily available on the corporate portion of WWE’s website. For the most part, it’s a lot of legal jargon and numbers, but PWInsider had a closer look an unearthed a contract signed last month which may see Stephanie McMahon return to the ring…
Section 2 of the 10-Q is a booking agreement between WWE and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque (her married name) which sees her referred to as a wrestler as part of a three-year contract for $325,000 per annum, and was signed on October 18. (more…)
Lisa Marie Varon is amazing. As well as being a great wrestler who can be all serious and eyes-on-the-prize, she is also secure enough in herself to be silly, be the butt of jokes and create some truly funny moments. One of them is part of this week’s Retro, which saw the WWE Divas dress up for a Halloween battle royal on the October 29, 2007 episode of Raw. While others dressed tough or sexy, Varon – then under the name of Victoria – donned a sumo suit.
Thinking about it, it’s a brilliant move, as the extra bulk of the outfit makes her difficult to throw over the top, because of the lowering of her centre of gravity – so much so that it saw her tumble down the ramp in her entrance, after ring announcer Lilian Garcia struggled to maintain her composure while introducing her.
Her appearance in this match is a stark contrast to the Retro we posted in the summer when she and Trish Stratus knocked lumps out of each other at the 2002 Survivor Series but it shows the versatility she possesses. Click the jump and enjoy. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (29 October 2013) – LuFisto’s title aspirations, Nikki Roxx winding down, PWI Female 50
Where there is chaos, there is opportunity.
Injuries to Courtney Rush and Xandra Bale, travel issues for Ayako Hamada and personal matters involving Saraya Knight all contributed to a lot of re-jigging for SHIMMER and NCW: Femmes Fatales, with one woman benefiting more than any other.
Realistically, had all of the other wrestlers been healthy or present, LuFisto may not have ended Open Female Fight Season standing over a defeated Cheerleader Melissa with the SHIMMER Championship over her head – however, that’s exactly what did happen, and the 16-year veteran is now in a position where she could conceivably earn another SHIMMER Title match next year and even dethrone the reigning champion. Nobody has enjoyed as much momentum against Melissa during either of her title reigns – even Saraya didn’t have as much build up before beating her adversary for the title – and there seems to be a real ground swell for another match between the bullying cheerleader and the Super Hardcore Anime… and it’s the hardcore aspect which has furthered things, albeit accidentally… (more…)
Last weekend was a big one for Cheerleader Melissa, with its ups and downs. When it came to the SHIMMER tapings, she came through the weekend still in possession of the singles championship, beating Leva Bates, Hiroyo Matsumoto and LuFisto in title defences. However, her match against the Super Hardcore Anime saw her uninterrupted run of 60 volumes come to an end, as an accidental laceration she suffered during the contest meant that she was taken to the hospital for 10 stitches above her left eyebrow. Melissa still managed to notch up an appearance on Volume 61, interfering in the main event by hitting LuFisto with her title belt, leading to her loss against Mercedes Martinez, standing over her fallen rival while repeating how many stitches she needed to close the wound.
As well as the in-ring aspect of what went down, arguably Melissa’s shining moment came on volume 58 where she was named the number one in the 2013 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50, rising two places from last year. We highlighted her big accomplishments over the last 12 months on Saturday in this article, though instead of surmising what criteria she satisfied to top the list, we decided to go to PWI itself. (more…)
Around a year ago, WWE developmental Divas Raquel Diaz and Skyler Moon hastily vanished from our screens – and while the reasons for Diaz’s departure were shrouded in mystery at the time, Moon revealed that she was getting help for an eating disorder. Just before her return to WWE, Diaz revealed that she had been going to Eating Disorder Anonymous meetings in Houston, TX, though did not outright say that she had a disorder.
In order to shed more light on the subject on eating disorders involving women in sporting environments, we got in touch with Sarah Robertson who campaigns for greater awareness for knowledge on eating disorders, and is recovering from one herself. She spends around half an hour discussing the stigma behind talking about it, the pressures on women in wrestling, health implications and what wrestlers, promoters and fans can do to help. It’s worth a listen to get a better understanding on the internal battle some women in sports and performance can go through.
(right click on the picture and “save as” to download, or stream in our media player below)
Women Superstars Uncensored announced a mild change in ownership at the Blood And Thunder iPPV on Saturday, with it being revealed that Combat Zone Wrestling boss DJ Hyde was becoming a co-owner along with Drew Cordiero, who bought the promotion from Sean McCaffrey last June. Hyde was greeted by WSU Champion Jessicka Havok, who dropped him with an Air Raid Crash after successfully defending her title against Lexxus, eliciting a big positive reaction from the fans in Voorhees, NJ. The move positions Havok as more of a babyface than ever, and possibly distancing her from her Midwest Militia teammates Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie – especially the latter, as the pair have entered a distant war of words.
The developments make for an intriguing future for WSU, but seeing as it’s been just over a year since the first Cordiero-run card, it seems like as good a time as any to see how things have gone. What has worked? What has been less successful? And what should we expect from WSU down the road? (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (8 October 2013) – Saraya and Melissa settle things, AJ Lee injured, Total Divas in-ring debut
I certainly didn’t see it coming, and I doubt many others would have.
On Sunday evening at Bellatrix 7, I was fully expecting Saraya Knight to win the war against Cheerleader Melissa on her home turf by finally beating her decisively, ending the six and a half year feud between them – four of which were spent with silent hostility in the air from opposite sides of the Atlantic. However, instead of there being an out and out winner of the feud, there was a time limit draw following 20 minutes of battering each other both inside and outside of the ring. As a result, it seemed as if nothing was settled between them. With two wins, two losses and two draws each, it was a total stalemate – but that seemed to be perfectly acceptable to both. (more…)
Brie Bella challenges AJ Lee for the WWE Divas Championship at Battleground with Brie’s sister Nikki at ringside, while AJ’s new bodyguard Tamina Snuka accompanied the Divas Champion.
• Brie pinned AJ as part of a 10-Diva tag team match on the September 23 episode of Raw. It was later announced that Bella would challenge AJ for the title.
• After Brie beat Aksana on the final SmackDown before the PPV, AJ came out to run down Bella’s engagement to Daniel Bryan – saying that if they were to have children, the doctor would spank Brie for producing such an unattractive baby. (more…)
Following an introduction to the festivities with Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females, SHINE 13 and Pro Wrestling Syndicate Bombshells 7 over the last week or so, Open Female Fight Season is upon us and it kicks off with a bumper Sunday, with big cards on both sides of the Atlantic.
The festivities kick off in the UK with an interpromotional card which will also see the culmination of a bitter blood feud…
A long-running score will be settled at Sunday’s Bellatrix: Female Warriors show in Norwich, England when Saraya Knight takes on her heated rival Cheerleader Melissa at part of the Bellatrix 7: Bellatrix v SHIMMER event.
The pair have battled on both sides of the Atlantic and traded the SHIMMER Championship over the last 18 months, with their most recent contest taking place inside a steel cage in New Jersey in April in the main event of SHIMMER Volume 53, where Melissa regained the title. However, their battles began in the English county of Norfolk, with the pair meeting for the first time at ChickFight VII in Great Yarmouth in January 2007. That match was won by Melissa via referee stoppage when Saraya got her neck tied up in the ropes.
In the five contests between them, each has won two, and there has been one no-contest – and it is the inconclusive match from June 17, 2007 in Colchester which is the reason for the bad blood. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (24 September 2013) – Knockouts division reaches critical point, plus news & more
It’s felt like Groundhog Day since the start of July when TNA Knockouts started dropping from their perch. We are now at the point that things seem totally desperate with the division, with just two full-time wrestlers on the roster and two playing valet roles but are likely on call just in case.
The latest Knockout to disappear from our screens is Mickie James, who dropped the Knockouts Championship two weeks ago on an Impact Wrestling taping which was televised last Thursday. As a result, ODB is now the reigning champion, currently in her fourth run with the title. ODB holding the title isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though you have to imagine that had the roster not reduced to the state that it is in now, she would still be the referee and Taryn Terrell would be holding the belt, considering she was on the monster push. As things turned out, she is on an indefinite leave of absence and TNA did what it had to do to get the belt off James before her contract expired.
When we wrote about Mickie’s contract situation just over a week ago, it was reported that she was still in negotiations with TNA and if the right deal could be struck she would be back on the show. However earlier today, her profile was removed from the roster page on the company’s website, which can’t be a good sign. Mickie James may be back, but I personally wouldn’t hold my breath. Considering the financial issues leading to a massive amount of cost-cutting on the roster – and talk of the show moving back to a singular location because of the sheer outgoings caused by Impact going on the road and not pulling in the crowds, it could just be that TNA can’t afford Mickie James money right now, and may not for the foreseeable future.
As it stands, the only full-time female wrestlers on the roster are champion ODB and Gail Kim, with Velvet Sky and Brooke Tessmacher working as hangers-on for Bully Ray and Chris Sabin respectively. That’s pretty weak by anyone’s standards. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (17 September 2013) – Courtney Rush speaks on her injury, rejigged matches, Total Divas finale
There is never a good time to sustain an injury – but for Courtney Rush, the timing of her current ailment has to feel horrendous for her.
Tweeting yesterday, she said: “I don’t know how to say this so I’ll just spit it out: last night I broke my collarbone & will be out of wrestling for the rest of the year. The past 24 hours have been the most frustrating and heartbreaking I have experienced in a very long time. But I must remain positive. A thousand thanks to those who showed such compassion and love and did everything to help me through the pain and emotion. I love you all.”
Speaking exclusively to Ringbelles, Rush revealed that the injury happened in a “freak accident” while she wrestled under a mask as La Tigre Diablo against Jasmine in the warm up match at Sunday’s Smash Wrestling CanUSA Classic show in Toronto, ON, Canada – explaining why she did not feature on the show in her announced match against Candice LeRae. While the fractured collarbone is a massive blow, it also means a lot of Courtney’s plans for the next month or so are out of the window. (more…)
WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee puts the title on the line at Night Of Champions against three members of the Total Divas cast – Natalya, Naomi & Brie Bella in a fatal four way match.
• AJ Lee kicked the ant hill on the August 26 Raw with a promo on the Total Divas cast, calling them “interchangeable” and “cheap”.
• From there, a bigger wedge was driven between the Total Divas cast and the rest of the Diva roster when Aksana, Layla and Alicia Fox took the side of AJ to attack the stars of the E! show.
• On last week’s SmackDown, the Total Divas tried to get at AJ with a meansure of success, but the Divas Champion’s new buddies rescued her.
• However, just before the start of this title defence, Aksana and Fox decided that they were done helping the thankless and self-absorbed AJ, and Layla also backed out of being by her friend’s side for the match. (more…)