In a move that nobody anticipated, Emi Sakura left Pro Wrestling: EVE’s second iPPV as the promotion’s Champion, after successfully defending her JWP Openweight Title earlier in the night, then challenging new EVE titleholder Nikki Storm in an impromptu match which saw the founder of Gatoh Move hit a quick 450 splash for the pin.
Now, I get the reasoning for putting the belt on Sakura. On an immediate level, it offers a happy ending for the show, and the visual of the JWP and EVE titles together is pretty striking. Longer term, it means that the belt is now associated with the oldest active women’s title in Japan, and considering how good Sakura is at garnering publicity, there is a lot of opportunity for joshi fans to find out about Pro Wrestling: EVE because people will inevitably ask about this other belt that she’s holding. In turn, it could lead to more international recognition and possibly more DVD sales and iPPV buys from Japan in the future.
However, the circumstances in which she won the title seems to be a big sticking point among some fans who both attended the show and watched online.
“Like that she’s champion, not a fan of the way she was booked to win it at all.”
“It felt wrong. Not just because Nikki lost the belt on.. well, we can’t even say on her first ‘defence’. That could have happened and, whilst it still would have been very disappointing, it wouldn’t have seemed quite so frustrating. But the manner of the title change, that’s what really ruined it for me.”
“So Storm was EVE Champion for less than a few minutes… Now Emi Sakura has the title… What. The. Hell?!??”
“I very much enjoyed the show, but I didn’t feel any sort of satisfaction when Nikki Storm lost the title. In fact, I felt quite the opposite.”
Judging from the quotes stemming from wrestling forums, Twitter and Facebook, seems that while absolutely nobody is questioning the credentials of Emi Sakura or her ability to represent the promotion as its Champion, some are upset at how she won the belt. Considering the formalities of the JWP Openweight Title defence earlier in the show against Kay Lee Ray – contract signings, posing for publicity photos, reading the full details of the sanctions, national anthems, certificates for the winners and the like – there is a stark contrast between that and how the Sakura/Storm title match came about, which was totally on the fly and made official, seemingly on a whim.
Storm had defeated Alpha Female in the main event of Wrestle Fever in a no-DQ match that was probably one of the best in each of their individual careers. Both worked hard, toughed it out provided a dramatic contest. In the end, it was two mighty chairshots to the head, a hangman’s Perfect Storm neckbreaker and a choke which saw Alpha pass out, ending her 19-month unbeaten streak in EVE and seeing the title pass over to the mouthy Scot.
It was a fitting culmination to Storm’s ascension in the promotion. For two years, Storm plugged away, worked on her character, her wrestling, her look and her promos to become what we see today. There is nobody who has evolved more in that time – with her new gear and vampish hair, Nikki has grown up before our eyes. Along the way, she went over the likes of Tsukasa Fujimoto, Hikaru Shida, Kay Lee Ray, Viper, Holly Rocamora, Kat Waters (TAFKA Winter) and more, en route to amassing a 19 month undefeated streak of her own. Considering the pair’s last meeting saw Alpha suffer her only EVE loss, it made sense that her second defeat was at the hands of the same person – something that Storm was quick to point out in the post-match promo where she gloated at rising to the top.
As it turns out, that rise to the top would last less than five minutes.
Claiming she would defend the belt against anyone, KLR and April Davids both ran in but were met by belt shots to the face, before Sakura came in, and the aforementioned title change rapidly took place – something that Storm is now referring to as the Sudbury Screwjob on the social networks. It may be a kayfabe way to get some heat for her character, but the inference is based in reality.
As mentioned in the quotes above, it seems unfair that Storm lost the title that way. For someone who had worked their tail off for two years to be knocked off during what should have been a defining moment for her seems unjust, and garners sympathy for the heel. Had it have been that Sakura challenged for the belt and Nikki walked off, saying she’ll defend the belt when she wants, she would have retained that heat – but as it stands, EVE’s two biggest stars both had their 19 month undefeated streaks ended within minutes of each other. It seems a bit of a waste – after all, to elevate Storm to the title, Alpha’s run had to end, so it was a necessary evil, but now Storm has no bragging rights to speak of, and actually looks a little hard done by, and it seems that a number of fans are now feeling sympathy for a heel.
Storm will get a rematch against Sakura on the weekend of February 2/3 in Preston or Blackburn, England, but even if she wins, it may still feel a little hollow unless Nikki can get a decisive victory over the current titleholder.
Booking wise, Wrestle Fever may have missed some other opportunities. For example, Rhia O’Reilly and Amazon Ayesha Ray (who were all over EVE’s Special Edition show in the summer) barely registered on the iPPV, which was a shame considering their international profiles were on a high after visits to the US for SHINE and SHIMMER & Australia for PWWA respectively; and Shanna (who was making her return to EVE after a year’s absence following shoulder and knee injuries) lost to Janey Britannico.
However, when it comes to the bottom line, EVE must have been a financial success. With a crowd of well over 250, the iPPV suffered the issue of starting late because more seating was needed for everyone who had come to the show. Children got in for free, which affects the gate calculations a bit, but there is no way that this show didn’t turn a profit.
Angelina Love, who seems to have been the biggest draw for the show considering the massive queue for photos during the interval, seems to have been the big draw and been a financial gamble which paid off – though it does raise another point.
When Pro Wrestling: EVE launched in early 2010, it advertised itself as being a show featuring just wrestlers from Europe, and would highlight and showcase what they can do. However, while Alpha v Nikki was the main event, it could be argued that Canadian Angelina Love was the main reason why fans bought tickets, and Japanese Emi Sakura holds the EVE title. You may say that the boundaries are being stretched a little – sure, the bulk of the show is still European women, and Love did lose alongside Erin Angel against the Glamour Gym (which was the right result), but there are other elements being brought in which water down the original mantra.
More stars are expected to be brought in for EVE in 2013, so it seems that imports are set to become the norm, but I hope it is not at the expense of the core of the promotion, who have worked hard to build up its reputation over these last two and a half years.
Despite two fairly serious injuries, the World Association of Women’s Wrestling put together its strongest show since its return a year ago on Friday night.
Bellatrix 4 featured a show-long storyline with British Ladies Champion Rhia O’Reilly captaining a squad against the European Champion of Queen Maya, with Maya’s team eventually emerging the winner, scoring 11 points to Team Rhia’s 8. The six match card was capped off with a heated Survivor Series elimination match which saw Skarlett survive for Team Maya and her and Destiny sending the fans into an angry frenzy.
Speaking of the fans, there were more than 250 at this free show, which gave a fine example of what WAWW is all about. The setup of the studios, lighting rig and music was all done nicely, and most of the fans seemed to leave buzzing. We will see next year how many of them come back, but things look positive.
The wrestlers themselves worked really hard to make sure the fans were satisfied with their choice to come along, with Penelope v Miss Mina being the standout match on the card – though Mina suffered an ankle injury during the match which has left her on crutches for the time being. Meanwhile Queen Maya has visited a bone doctor after she seemingly broke either her wrist or forearm on a clothesline attempt on Liberty which meant she had to go to the hospital and bow out of the elimination main event.
There were niggles on the show – such as the Epic Studios’ security being unprepared for how emotional fans can get, and faces tagging with heels, which confused some fans around me – but overall, it was a fine example of what WAWW can do.
On a side note, both of these shows are an example of how wrestling in Britain has ambitions, and wrestling fans from around the world would do well to keep an eye on what is happening. Across EVE and WAWW, there are talents who are looking to make a name for themselves on the world level, so fans and promoters would be well served to take a look at that cold rock in the north Atlantic and see what’s being produced.
Amazing Kong is back on the scene. In the last week, it has been announced that she will make her return to the ring as part of SHINE 5 on Friday, where she will team up with Jazz against Mercedes Martinez and Rain. The following night, she will again link with Jazz (as part of their team called Rhythm and Bruise) to face Made In Sin (Allysin Kay & Taylor Made) as part of NWA Florida Underground.
These developments came about mere hours after we posted about the former Kharma being booked for Chicago’s RESISTANCE Pro card on November 30.
Elsewhere on the site, we round off this busy season of shows with thoughts on Femmes Fatales X, and we also have the first blog from Taya Valkyrie, who is discussing her life wrestling in Mexico. Have a read, there will be more coming from her.
Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to tell us about upcoming bookings? Are you a fan who went to a show and saw a match, and would like to tell others about it – what you liked, what you didn’t and would like to encourage others to check it out for themselves? Send us an email!
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The best of the rest
Kaitlyn and Natalya – who have been working house shows recently, with Kaitlyn winning each time – had a tete a tete on a web segment on WWE.com where Natalya said she would go out to bat for Kaitlyn so she could get another Divas Title shot against Eve Torres – which paid dividends, as Kaitlyn wrestles Torres for the belt at Survivor Series on Sunday after eating Layla on Raw. There was also some advancement on a potential romance between Natalya and The Great Khali. That woman just can’t get a break… Mercedes KV’s new name in WWE developmental is Sasha Banks. Thumbs up for that name, which is a lot better than others in the past… Eve Torres has teamed up with Celebri-tees to design a shirt highlighting the issue of domestic violence.
ODB defeated Tara and her beau Jesse Godderz in a handicap match on Impact, which led to she and her husband Eric Young meeting the loved-up heels at Turning Point on Sunday. ODB and EY won… Madison Rayne came 14th out of 44 in her class in the bikini competition at the annual NPC National Bodybuilding Championships in Atlanta, GA on Friday. She won the Main Stage Muscle’s Victory Classic in Kannapolis, NC back in June.
Elsewhere on SHINE, Kimberly – who is looking to break her losing streak – has talked Leva Bates into being her tag team partner, and they’ll take on Made In Sin. Meanwhile, Jessicka Havok faces Nikki Roxx… Saturyne is taking a few weeks off after tearing a muscle while lifting weights. It means she had to pull out of her CHIKARA match against Mark Angelosetti on Sunday, and may mean she misses her match with Icarus this weekend… Portia Perez worked the double Femmes Fatales X tapings with dislocated ribs, which explains why her matches with Courtney Rush and Pink Flash Kira were short… Ring Of Honor has released a double DVD set of Women Of Honor matches from its history. Incidentally, MsChif has been added to the ROH roster in the last week… Kc Spinelli (who has now been the Women’s Champion for a year) helped out with ECCW’s Wrestling With Hunger charity work last week. She also defeated Cat Power on a fundraiser show on Saturday… Rachel Summerlyn won the ACW Heavyweight Championship at the Lone Star Classic on Sunday. She is the second woman to hold the belt, after Portia Perez.
Aja Kong will take on Ice Ribbon’s Hikaru Shida in OZ Academy on December 9… Kana and Makoto hosted a joint show on Friday where both wrestled twice – they teamed up in the first match to beat Hamuko Hoshi and Hikaru Shida, then Makoto fell to Mayumi Ozaki while Kana & Kagetsu went to a 30 minute draw with Syuri & Arisa Nakajima… Neko Nitta will challenge Mio Shirai for the Ice Ribbon ICEx60 Championship on November 28… New IR recruit Risa Okuda has changed her name to Risa Sera… Amapola beat Mia Yim 2-1 to retain the REINA x World International Championship on Sunday… Arisa Nakajima will be the next challenger to Emi Sakura’s JWP Openweight Championship after beating Morley & Hanako Nakamori in a one night tournament on Sunday.
The ICW: Fierce Females debut show is expected to be released this week, and the promotion is taking pre-orders. Carmel Jacob and Kay Lee Ray headlined the event with a Last Woman Standing Match… Pollyana advanced in the NWA Hammerlock Women’s Championship tournament on Saturday, beating Ireland’s Katey Harvey.
La Magnifica, who won a AAA contract as part of the 2011 QPPC about a year ago appeared in a six woman tag team match on Sunday. It is her first match in the promotion since winning the competition… AAA stars Jennifer Blake, Sexy Star, Lolita & Faby Apache will travel to Japan to compete in Pro Wrestling WAVE later this month. It will be Blake’s first visit there.
Australia & New Zealand
Alex Lee is currently on her second extended trip in Japan for REINA x World… Eliza Sway defeated Savannah Summers on Saturday to win the Riot City Wrestling Women’s Championship. Summers was attacked by Sway’s running buddy Voodoo behind the referee’s back.
November 6: WWE (Glasgow, Scotland) – Eve Torres b AJ Lee & Layla in a 3-way
November 7: Lucha Fiesta (Tokyo, Japan) – A☆YU☆MI & Ray b GAMI & Mika Iida
November 7: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Heidi Lovelace & Jessie Belle b Epiphany & Taeler Hendrix
November 7: WWE (Brussels, Belgium) – Kaitlyn b Natalya
November 7: WWE (Belfast, Northern Ireland) – Eve Torres b AJ Lee & Layla in a 3-way
November 8: WWE (Dublin, Ireland) – Eve Torres b AJ Lee & Layla in a 3-way
November 8: WWE (Zurich, Switzerland) – Kaitlyn b Natalya
November 8: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – ODB b Jesse Godderz & Tara in a handicap match
November 9: WWE (Malaga, Spain) – Kaitlyn b Natalya
November 9: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – Angelina Love b Kay Lee Ray
November 9: World Association of Women’s Wrestling (Norwich, England) – Destiny b Chanel; Skarlett b Violet O’Hara; Rhia O’Reilly b Erin Angel; Penelope b Miss Mina; Liberty b Queen Maya; Skarlett, Destiny, Erin Angel & Miss Mina b Penelope, Liberty, Chanel & Violet O’Hara in an elimination match
November 9: Wrestling New Classic MakoKana Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana & Makoto b Hikaru Shida & Hamuko Hoshi; Ray & Leon b Tigre Blanco (TAJIRI) & Moreno Kito (Takuya Kito); Mio Shirai b Karate Brahman; Yuko Miyamoto & Shu Shibutani b Jun Kasai & Miyako Matsumoto; Mayumi Ozaki b Makoto; Kana & Kagetsu v Syuri & Arisa Nakajima went to a time limit draw
November 9: AAA (Puebla, Mexico) – Cuervo & Fabi Apache b Gran Apache & Mari Apache
November 9: 19 Pro (Saitama, Japan) – Kurumi b Risa Okuda; Tsukushi b Shoko Hotta
November 9: Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Rosa Bonita b Yuiga; Sareee & Jenny Rose b Manami Katsu & Rabbit Miu; Piyota Mask b Nana Kawasa; Jaguar Yokota, Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Ito b Yumiko Hotta, Keiko Aono & Mask de Sun
November 10: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England) – April Davids & Kaori Yoneyama b Hannah & Holly Blossom; Bete Noire & Viper b Kasey & Leah Owens and Rhia O’Reilly & Amazon Ayesha Ray in a 3-way; Janey Britannico b Shanna; Erin Angel b Fiona Fraser; Emi Sakura b Kay Lee Ray; Blue Nikita b Kristy Love; Angelina Love b Carmel Jacob; Carmel Jacob & Sara-Marie Taylor b Angelina Love & Erin Angel; Viper & Bete Noire b April Davids & Kaori Yoneyama; Nikki Storm b Alpha Female to win the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship; Emi Sakura b Nikki Storm to win the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship
November 10: Swiss Championship Wrestling (Aarau, Switzerland) – Amelie Siek & Maik Tuga b Laura Wellings & Tom Sanders
November 10: North Coast Pro Wrestling (Port Macquarie, Australia) – Kristy Lee b Tenley James
November 10: Europe Catch Tour Association (Hersin-Coupigny, France) – Lady Lory & Destiny b Liberty & Penelope
November 10: Combat Zone Wrestling (Voorhees, NJ) – Kimber Lee b Greg Excellent
November 10: NWA Warriors Of Wrestling (Union City, TN) – Jazz b Miss Natural
November 10: NWA Hammerlock (Tonbridge, England) – Pollyanna b Katey Harvey
November 10: Acclaim Pro Wrestling (Greely, ONT, Canada) – Addy Starr b Courtney Rush, Vanessa Kraven, Leah Von Dutch, Xandra Bale & Jodi D’Milo in a 6-way
November 10: Riot City Wrestling (North Adelaide, Australia) – Eliza Sway b Savannah Summers to win the RCW Women’s Championship
November 10: WWE (Minehead, England) – Eve Torres b AJ Lee & Layla in a 3-way
November 10: WWE (Lisbon, Portugal) – Kaitlyn b Natalya
November 10: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) – Kc Spinelli b Cat Power
November 10: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi b Risa Sera; Aoi Kizuki & Tsukushi b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Meari Naito; Sayaka Obihiro b Shoko Hotta; Mio Shirai & Hikaru Shida b Neko Nitta & Maki Narumiya
November 11: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Mio Shirai b Sareee; Tomoka Nakagawa b Manami Toyota; Chikayo Nagashima, Mayumi Ozaki & Nao Komatsu b Aja Kong, AKINO & Ayumi Kurihara; Yumi Ohka & Hiroyo Matsumoto b Sonoko Kato & Tsubasa Kuragaki; Ran Yu-Yu v Carlos Amano went to a time limit draw
November 11: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Yoshiko b Eri Susa, Natsuki*Taiyo, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Hailey Hatred in a scramble match; Yuzuki Aikawa & Yuhi b Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani; Nanae Takahashi & Miho Wakizawa b Act Yasukawa & Saki Kashima; Kairi Hojo & Natsumi Showzuki v Kyoko Kimura & Christina Von Eerie went to a time limit draw
November 11: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Rabbit Mito, Nana Kawase & Sari b Manami Katsu, Rydeen Hagane & Yagami Aoi; Tsubasa Kuragaki & Sachie Abe b Kayoko Haruyama & KAZUKI; Ran Yu-Yu v Command Bolshoi went to a time limit draw; Arisa Nakajima b Morley; Hanako Nakamori b Leon; Arisa Nakajima b Hanako Nakamori
November 11: REINA x World (Tokyo, Japan) – Amapola b Mia Yim
November 11: New Generation Wrestling (Hull, England) – Alpha Female b Angelina Love
November 11: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Evan Gelistico b Khris Wolfe & Angel Blue in a 3-way; Barbi Hayden b Rachel Summerlyn & Jessica James; Rachel Summerlyn b ACH; Rachel Summerlyn b Evan Gelistico to win the ACW Heavyweight Championship
November 11: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Goya Kong, Lady Afrodita & Luna Mágica b Mima Shimoda, Princesa Sugheit & Zeuxis
November 12: WWE Raw (Columbus, OH) – Kaitlyn b Layla
November 16: SHINE 5 (Ybor City, FL) – Jazz & Amazing Kong v Rain & Mercedes Martinez; Allysin Kay & Taylor Made v Leva Bates & Kimberly; Nikki Roxx v Jessicka Havok; Ivelisse Velez v Athena; Nikki St. John v Santana Garrett; Sojo Bolt v Su Yung; Niya v Marti Belle; Sassy Stephie v Heidi Lovelace
November 17: Squared Circle Wrestling (Vaughan, ON, Canada) – Gabriella Vanderpool v Crissy Reid
November 17: Impact Pro Wrestling (Auckland, New Zealand) – Evie & Olivia Shaw v Britenay & Megan-Kate
November 17: Florida Underground Wrestling (St Petersburg, FL) – Amazing Kong & Jazz v Taylor Made & Allysin Kay
November 17: NWA Coastal (Bayville, NJ) – La Rosa Negra v Kacee Carlisle
November 18: WWE Survivor Series (Indianapolis, IN) – Eve Torres v Kaitlyn
November 18: CHIKARA (Manhattan, NY) – Saturyne v Icarus
November 23: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Allysin Kay v KC Warfield
November 23: Zero 1 Australia (Adelaide, Australia) – Jessie McKay v Savannah Summers
November 23: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Motherwell, Scotland) – Fiona Fraser v Nikki Storm
November 30: Resistance Pro (Chicago, IL) – Nikki St John v Melanie Cruise
December 1: Utah Championship Wrestling (Salt Lake City, UT) – La Rosa Negra v Santana Garrett
December 1: International Pro Wrestling: UK (Swanley, England) – Amazon Ayesha Ray v Sakura Lily
December 6: Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling (Rahway, NJ) – Christina Von Eerie v Annie Social; Veda Scott v Sumie Sakai; Becky Bayless v Sienna DuVall; Marti Belle v Missy Sampson; Shelly Martinez v Amber O’Neal; Miss Adiva v La Rosa Negra; Kimber Lee v Silvie Silver
December 7: St Louis Anarchy (Alton, IL) – Angelus Layne v Rachel Summerlyn
December 8: Rad Pro Wrestling (South Shields, England) – James Centurion & Kay Lee Ray v Vulture & Viper; Jonny Storm & Freya Frenzy v Max Heat & Rhia O’Reilly; Rabbit & Alpha Female v April Davids & Rubix Roach; Frankie Sloan & Nikki Storm v Scott Renwick & Amazon Ayesha Ray
December 8: Wrestling Is Awesome (Enosburg Falls, NY) – Saturyne v Portia Perez
December 16: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jessicka Havok v Jaykus Plisken
February 2: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Preston, England)
January 11: SHINE 6 (Ybor City, FL)
February 16: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Brooklyn, NY) – Maria Kanellis v Angelina Love; Gail Kim v Katerina Leigh
March 30: nCw Femmes Fatales XI (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
April 6: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Secaucus, NJ) – Sweet Saraya v Cheerleader Melissa; Athena v Ayako Hamada
April 13-14: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
May 4: ICW: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
– Lee Burton